Gardening

Green Sailor with a Green-ish Thumb

Here is a list of tips and tricks I’ve learned since I started growing plants on the boat:

1. Keep the plants in the shade. This is easily the most important part of keeping my plants alive but it took me the longest to figure out. I specifically got plants that grow well in full sunlight, because I thought they would thrive with all of the sunshine they on deck. Makes sense, right? Wrong. It’s WAY too hot for that.

Although my plants were still growing in size, I noticed their leaves were always droopy and would sometimes turn brown. Within 24 hours of moving them under the dodger in the shade they perked up. Within a few days my sunflower began to bloom.

Current plants: sunflower, basil, pea sprouts Just planted: catnip, broccoli, spinach x2 Not pictured: cilantro, chives

2. Water twice a day. Because it’s so warm in Hawaii watering the plants once a day just wasn’t enough. For the plants that like to have damp soil (ex. Basil), I soak the soil first thing in the morning then give it a quick mist in the afternoon. Even plants that usually don’t require regular watering (ex. Sunflower) I’ve found I need to give them a little water every morning.

3. Plant in a larger container than suggested. I’m not sure if it’s the tropical weather or if I’m just an exceptional gardener (kidding, haha), but my plants tend to grow deeper and a little larger than predicted. I have had to move each plant into a larger than predicted container at least once.

Example: It is suggested to plant basil in soil that is 8-10in deep. My basil is in soil that is ~8in deep and the roots are running out of room. I might move it to an even larger container soon.

4. Touch the plants. This one sounds weird but I swear by it. I like to feel the plants to judge how much water/sunlight they need. Plants that are getting enough water have heavy, pliable leaves. When they need more water the leaves tend to be brittle. If the plant is getting too much sunlight, I’ve noticed their leaves get thin and crunchy. Not enough sunlight and they get soft and almost mushy.

I also think the plants like the affection.

5. When growing sprouts in a mason jar, keep them in refrigerator: it is way too humid below deck on a boat to grow sprouts on the counter. I went through four moldy, smelly, and/or gross batches before realizing my mistake. I just started a new batch that I’m keeping chilled, we will see how it goes!

Bonus tip for sprouts: start small! They expand A LOT more than you would think for such tiny seeds and it is hard to properly rinse them when the container is jammed packed. I also think the jar being too full is another factor in my sprouts going bad.


All in all, I think I’m spending too much time with my plants.

Gardening

Good Chives Only

While dreaming up ideas to make this boat feel more like a home, I had a vision of creating an onboard garden. I was attracted to this idea for two main reasons: 1.) it would be nice to have fresh herbs, spices, veggies, or sprouts to diversify our meals without having to dinghy to shore. 2.) I love bringing my space to life by adding elements that are constantly growing and changing.

One day I impulsively picked up 4 plants without doing much research. I figured most things grow well in Hawaii. I was right! My basil, romaine, chives, and sunflowers are all flourishing.

When I brought them home I planted two of them and then put all four in a container. I fastened them to the stainless on the stern of the boat, then moved them under the dodger for some shade after a few hours. I originally had the idea to transfer them to a hanging shoe rack (I got the idea on Pinterest, I’ll add it below). When my plants started to grow I couldn’t bring myself to contain them in such a small space, so I transferred them into water jugs. It was also a great way to recycle!

All of my plants are now strong and healthy. I’m thinking of adding two more to my collection, but I can’t decide what I should plant. Let me know if you have any suggestions.


Update: 9/18/2020. I have expanded my garden! Unfortunately, the lettuce didn’t grow well on the boat and the leaves kept rotting, so I got rid of that. I now have chives and cilantro growing in the galley (pictures to come) and will be adding more herbs to grow indoors.

Outdoors, Sunny the Sunflower is about to bloom! That has been exciting for everyone on the boat. My basil plant is flourishing. My pea shoots are doing well, but I have no idea when they are good to eat or how to eat them.. let me know if you have any experience with pea shoots and have any tips or tricks for me!

I broccoli, catnip, and mixed greens in the starter pots.. I will keep you all updated on their progress.



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