Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hydroponic system dismantling + tomato plant removal

Friendly and bigger cabbage
Fearing the worst, I prematurely stopped my balcony hydroponics operations. This was a multi-step process, since a few of the cabbage plants downstairs were still growing strong. I didn't want to lose them during the freeze. So I decided to remove all the tomato plants from the right side of the upstairs balcony and plant the cabbages there. In doing so, I harvested the remaining tomatoes that the plants decided to grow in this cold.

Refugee tomatoes

The next step was to harvest all the plants downstairs. I was disappointed that not all of the plants made it to full maturity, but they still look good enough to be eaten.
Never neglect greens

After harvesting, I emptied out the net pots and carefully removed the remaining 4 cabbages left in the system. I transplanted those upstairs where the tomatoes used to be. Since the temperature was rapidly dropping, I improvised a high tunnel.
I don't want them freezing the instant they are planted

The high tunnel consists of several sticks, a shower curtain, and some tape. Additionally, I filled up some 2 liter bottles with hot water from the shower to raise the temperature inside the plastic. I think it's working, but I'll have to replenish the water every night. I can reuse the cold water to water the plants with. It all works out in the end.

It'll be running again once I get back from break
Downstairs, there was still the problem of 50 gallons of water on my balcony. I couldn't just leave it out there to freeze. Moving it with buckets downstairs was tedious, and I didn't have a hose long enough to siphon all of it to the ground. So I removed all the water the barbaric way: Literally throwing the water off the balcony like I was bailing water out of a boat. It was much easier to do that then to carry water down a flight of stairs. Thankfully, no one noticed or complained, so I got away with it.

The remaining left side of the upstairs balcony
So now that all of that got dismantled, I could rest. It's just the beginning of this cold snap, so if any other plants start freezing off, I'll have to remove them. The plants on the left side seemed to survive last night's chill, but I doubt the peppers and tomatoes will survive temperatures as low as 23°F.
Chard is spreading uncharacteristically.
Closeup nightshot of cabbage
With my bok choy, I made some stir fry. Slicing the stems from the leaves, I cooked those in olive oil for a few minutes before adding in the leaves. The heat was reduced to simmer and the cover was placed on the pan for 4 minutes to allow the leaves to cook. In combination with rice, the bok choy was very delicious. I can't wait to grow some more bok choy next year!
Quick-- Instagram my dinner!

1 comment:

  1. Your garden is beautiful. You did alot of work to get things protected from the cold. The cabbages are amazing. Have you tried making stuffed cabbage ? delicious ! A nice minestrone would also be good. With your green tomatoes, you can try some fried green tomatoes. That will be a treat.

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