A Garden Blog About Saying Goodbye

I'm a gardener in Chicago, IL, and I'm leaving my garden behind at the end of the year - The Last Garden is about my garden's final year. Share & Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Aquarium Chaos: Episode III

Pansies in the aquarium grow tank I set up in January.

Well, this part of the aquarium saga has come to an end. As we prepared to leave on a road trip Saturday, April 2, I went in to water the pansies and remembered, oh yeah, these need to be taken care of every day, otherwise they will die. I stood there and stared at them for a minute in shock, because I'd somehow managed to completely forget about that fact, and then I went about planting them. To save you some suspense, they lived! Here's how I did it.

Here they are, minding their own business. I'm not too pleased with how little they grew in two whole months - I suspect that the aquarium lights turned out to be too weak after all, so now I'm pondering what to do about all the other seeds I had planned to start early inside. I'll have to explore the aluminum foil idea.

But for now, action! I took one look at the little bottomless pansy tubes and figured I wouldn't be carting them outside by hand, one by one. Thus, I temporarily sacrificed one of the baking dishes. It's better now, don't worry.

I managed to squeeze all the tubes into one dish. I didn't have much of a problem with soil dropping on the floor because, despite their puny size aboveground, they all had respectably-sized roots. Nevertheless, if you guys decide to try this (by the way, my official position is now, "Eh, go for the grow light setups," so I don't really recommend this method unless it's cheaper for you than any other), keep one hand under the tube at all times.

Underneath the newly-planted Hamamelis.

Here they are in the ground. It really wasn't a pain to plant them. Toilet paper tubes biodegrade easily, so you don't have to mess around with trying to fish the tubes of soil out of the cardboard; just dig a hole and plunk the tube right on in there.

All told I spent maybe 50 minutes taking the 40 tubes out of the aquarium and planting them in the ground. It took some maneuvering to squash them all in the dish, but they tolerated a good bit of squashing.

Now, ten days later, they're still small but they're doing fine! Hopefully over the month of April they will start to grow and maybe we'll have a few weeks of bloom in May or June.

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