I am an avid gardener, but I grew up in a home that gardened the old-fashioned way, and I am just now learning about some of the new, “improved” gardening contraptions.
I ran into a new idea today, when I researched the method for starting artichoke seeds indoors.
Next spring, I want to try growing artichokes in my Zone 7 Garden. I realize that this is going to be a challenge. Artichokes like to grow in a more Mediterranean place than the coast of New Jersey, and in order to have a good growing season, I’ll need to start the plants inside.
Again: that will be a challenge. Artichokes have long taproots, and they do not like their roots to be harassed. I’ll need a long seed growing starting system, and my research led me to the rather costly Deep Root Training Seed Starters. Voila! Great idea. The hinges will allow the rooted plants to be removed without significant abuse.
But Whoa! These dudes are expensive [$20.00 per set].
I don’t have money to burn! Surely there is an alternative.
In the same day, I have learned about a new, seemingly valuable gardening concept and subsequequent rejected it–at least part of it.
One year I created my own seed cups by molding wet newspaper inside the black planters that I had saved from the nursery. Good idea, but this system is a bit flimsy–especially after watering.
Some use toilet paper rolls for starting deep root plants.
But I read that toilet paper rolls will not even hold up to the lengthy seeding process that artichokes require. Back to the drawing board.
I found that some people use water bottles as deep root seed starters, and because the water bottle can be cut away from the started plant [thereby not destroying the root system], I decided that I’ll try a variation of the water bottle process.
When transplanting artichoke plants, it is essential that the roots not be disturbed. Even though the water bottle can be cut away from the roots, I decided that I’d improve this system by inserting toilet paper rolls inside the water bottles. The plastic will be there for durability, and the toilet paper roll inside will help protect the roots during transplanting. I can even go a step further and roll newspaper around the toilet paper roll–before placing the roll inside the water bottle.
The same result could be achieved with plastic cups and/or a clear plastic cup on top of the bottle could serve as a greenhouse.
Note: To assure good drainage, I’ll use a drill or a nail to cut holes into the bottom of the bottles. Then I’ll place the bottles in a tray that is also perforated.