AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3: Week 14 Update

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3: Week 14 Update

After 14 weeks of growing in my AeroGarden Farm Plus, I’ve harvest my first bell pepper, all of my jalapenos with new ones growing, and my first tomato is almost ready! Plus, more new peppers!

Fourteen weeks in, and the Farm Plus continues to reap many rewards.

Time to jump into this week’s maintenance details, some exciting and, again, more changes to my fruits, huge harvest of my herbs and, of course, comparison photos to blow your mind.

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 14 Overview

And again, there have been so many changes since my AeroGarden Farm Plus Week 13 update. I have new fruits, harvested a bunch of fruits and herbs, and a few new fruits are growing.

On the herb side, I spent a lot of time harvesting a lot of herbs in yet another attempt to tame that jungle and give other herbs some much needed access to light.

Aside from harvesting a lot of herbs in the left garden, this week’s maintenance also involved pruning some of the fruit plants, and adding nutrients and water. Again, this weeks’s maintenance took a very long time, about as long as last week’s, but it wasn’t a drain on spoons, despite having the flu.

Before we get to the walk through of each plant, here is a comparison of the condition of the Farm Plus last week after maintenance and this week before maintenance.

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 14 Overview

Top: AeroGarden Farm Plus Week 13 after maintenance. Bottom: This week before maintenance.

Week to week, both herbs and fruit continue to explode. At halfway through the herbs’ growing season, I’m still impressed with just how much I’m able to harvest each week. After Week 14, I need to start a second large freezer bag for my herbs. Soon, I need to start doing cost versus savings on grocery bill analysis.

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 14 – Left Side Walk Through

At 14 weeks, I decided I had to take drastic steps to tame this beast of a herb garden. The second cilantro plant — the one that didn’t have any troubles growing unlike the other one — was beginning to do very poorly. As I cook a lot of South Asian food, cilantro is a must and growing two of them simply isn’t enough. So, I must protect the two I have until it’s time to get my second AeroGarden Farm Plus to the best of my ability.

I’m still harvesting from back to front, with some detours to be able to take better before and after pictures.

To begin, below is a comparison of Week 13 left side after harvest compared to Week 14 left side before harvest.

Now, let’s walk through each herb on the left side of my Farm Plus.

Rosemary

There is no comparison photo this week for the rosemary because I didn’t do anything to it this week. There is a bit of sad news, the clone I attempted didn’t stick. There just wasn’t enough room in the pod now that the two stems I originally clones are now growing branches.

Last week, my rosemary was 11 cm (4.3 inches) after I cut off the top for cloning. This week, it was 12 cm (4.7 inches).

Sage

This week, harvesting the sage involved more than just debulking. It also involved harvesting as much original growth as possible while still leaving enough that it can regenerate. The sage was too busy shading the oregano each week and the oregano was starting to suffer as a result. Also, a lot of the 14-week-old sage branches were starting to turn brown because of age.

After last week’s harvest, the sage measured 18 cm (7.1 inches). This week, before harvesting, it measured 24 cm (9.4 inches). After harvesting, the sage measured 13 cm (5.1 inches).

And here is a comparison of the sage last week after harvest vs this week before and after harvest.

Thai Basil

Still being a problem, I did a radical harvest of the Thai basil this week. There was so much new growth hidden in the never-ending blossoming old growth that it was limp and needed more exposure to light. Plus, it continued to block light to neighbouring herbs.

After week 13 harvest, the Thai basil measured 24 cm (9.4 inches). Before this week’s harvest, it once again measured 35 cm (13.8 inches). After the harvest, it measured 22 cm (8.7 inches).

Harvesting was again daunting and it took a long time. But, it was a fun time. I enjoyed hacking away at it and found it very amusing. It was also interesting to really not how differently Thai basil branches grow compared to its now neighbouring Genovese basil.

Above is a comparison of the Thai basil last week after harvest, this week before harvest and after harvest.

Oregano

My oregano is still doing quite well. The browning of the leaves isn’t concerning. It’s a natural part of growing herbs. A thing that concerned me more was that there wasn’t a lot of new baby stem growth since last week. Most likely do to the fact the the sage kept shadowing it. So, this week, I harvested a lot of the first growth and pinched off all the browning oregano leaves.

After last week’s harvest, the oregano measured 9 cm (3.5 inches). This week, before harvesting, it measured 12 cm (47 inches). This week after harvest, the oregano measured 9 cm (3.5 inches).

Below is an image of the oregano last week after harvest, this week before harvest and this week after harvest. This week, I had to take overhead shots of the oregano.

Genovese Basil (19 Weeks Old)

I am honestly amazed that the Genovese basil survived the huge trimming of its roots so that I could transplant it to the AeroGarden Farm Plus. You can read more detail about why this move was necessary in my AeroGarden Sprout LED Garden 1 Week 17 – 18 update.

The browning leaves are a small sign that it didn’t enjoy it, but underneath was a lot of healthy new growth.

This week, before harvest, it measured 21 cm (8.3 inches). After harvest, the Genovese basil measured 18 cm (7.1 inches). Below is an image of all the new growth that is now visible after harvest.

Cilantro 1

There was a very interesting change in this cilantro plant: The middle had a big thick cilantro stem with many shoots growing from it. This cilantro plant is 4 weeks younger than the rest of the its neighbouring herbs, but is doing so much better than the other cilantro plant because it’s getting all the unobstructed light it needs.

Last week, this cilantro plant measured 9 cm (3.5 inches) after harvesting. This week before harvest, it measured 22 cm (8.7 inches), yet again more than doubling its height in one week. After harvest, it measured 11 cm (4.3 inches).

Above is this cilantro plant last week after harvest, this week before harvest and this week after.

Cilantro 2

This cilantro plant is not doing so well because of the mint. It keeps trying to grow, but it hasn’t been getting enough light and is now growing thin, limp stems. The mint, which we’ll get to soon, has been majorly cut back so hopefully now it will once again thrive.

After last week’s harvest, it measured 10 cm (3.9 inches). This week, before harvesting, the second cilantro plant measured 12 cm (4.7 inches). After this week’s harvest, it measured 10 cm (3.9 inches).

Above is a comparison photo of last week after harvest, and this week before and after harvest.

Mint

Just like with the Thai basil, it was time to just hack away at the mint. The mint in my second AeroGarden Sprout LED is now so much healthier after I did it there. Inside of this bulk of a plant were also a lot of brown leaves. It took a good 30 minutes dealing with the mint this week, but it was a fun 30 minutes.

I had to approach the mint differently than other plants in order to isolate every single stem that needed to be cut off at the base and other stems that just needed the top 1/3 cut off.

I began by cutting easily identifiable stems that needed to be topped.  Next, I removed the twist-tie I had around the base in a futile attempt to keep it from growing over the cilantro and pushed all of the stems forwards, so they were laying almost flat against the garden. Then I began to cut away. Below is an image before and after this process.

After Week 13 harvest, the mint measured 21 cm (8.3 inches). This week, before harvest it measured 30 cm (12 inches). After harvesting, it measured 25 cm (9.8 inches), but now it’s laying more flat towards the front of the garden instead of tall towards the lights.

Above is the mint last week after harvest, and this week before and after harvest.

Catnip

Five weeks after replanting the catnip and the second harvest was more than double the first, which again made my cats very happy! Last week, the catnip was 7 cm (2.8 inch) after harvest. This week, before harvest it measured 14 cm (5.5 inches). After harvest, it measured 11 cm (4.3 inches).

Above is a comparison photo of last week, and this week before and after harvest.

Thyme

I did it! I was able to separate each stem of thyme without wanting to rip my hair out! It didn’t stay untangled for long, but it made trimming it a lot easier.

Last week, after harvesting, the thyme measured 10 cm (3.9 inches). This week, before harvesting, it measured 12 cm (4.7 inches). After this week’s harvest, it measured 9 cm (3.5 inches).

And now the comparison shot!

 

And here is what the the left side of the Farm Plus looked like before and after harvest.

Talk about a drastic change! For the first time in 10 weeks, you can see the empty pod in the middle of the garden again and every herb truly has their own light.

Below is this week’s harvest. I did a front shot again just so you can appreciate how big the Thai basil pile was. On the far right of the images, that is everything that I designated for compost as I was harvesting, before the extra stuff the comes as the result of preparing the herbs for freezing. All of that stuff in that pile was just not worth the hassle and time it would have taken to find usable pieces.

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 14 – Right Side Walk Through

Holy moly, were there ever a lot of changes to my fruits this week. I had to pick 4 peppers, my first Manitoba tomato is ready to pick any day now and there are some new peppers growing.

Before we get to all the new fruits and more, just as a reminder, below is a comparison of the right side last week and this week before pruning.

Every single fruit bulked out by quite a bit again but I didn’t prune every fruit. I only pruned the ones that needed some light to reach either fruits or flowers. just like last week.

Manitoba Heirloom Tomatoes

The Manitoba tomato plant after pruning.

The Manitoba tomato plant is now so tall that I can’t measure it.

As a reminder, the Manitoba Heirloom were planted on January 11, 2019. Last week, it measured 90 cm (35.4 inches). Now, it is well over that height. Here is what the last week looked like:

  • Water added to the right side tank April 7, 9 and 11.
  • Continue to pollinate every day after the lights turn on, except for on April 3 because I was away.
  • Cut off a bunch of branches on April 11.

I can’t do a comparison photo because it’s getting more and more difficult to isolate each fruit in pictures. However, it is interesting to note the change of colour in the tomato over the last week. Below is a comparison photo of the first tomato last week compared to this week.

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

During the last week, the Heirloom cherry tomato plant continued to grow despite all odds. Last week, the cherry tomato measured 9 cm (3.5 inches). This week, it measured 10 cm (4 inches). The branches and leaves continue to get thicker.

Serrano Peppers

Another reminder about the Serrano peppers: Like the Manitoba tomatoes, this was planted on January 11, 2019.

This week, yet again, I didn’t do any pruning to the plant. I did, however, find a sixth pepper!

Last week and this week, the Serrano pepper plant measured 38 cm (15 inches). This is how the last week’s maintenance looked:

  • Water added April 7, 9 and 11.
  • 1 pepper found April 11
  • Refound the pepper I found last week but then lost
  • Continue to pollinate every day when the lights turn on, except for the day I was away.
  • Still too many flowers to now count.

The above image shows all six Serrano peppers. In another week or so, I should be able to harvest the biggest Serrano pepper.

Sweet Bell Peppers

There were a bunch of changes to sweet bell pepper plant this week! Last week, it measured 33 cm (13 inches). Here is a summary of other changes and maintenance details:

  • Continue to pollinate daily after the lights turn on, except for that one day.
  • Water added Aprl 7, 9 and 11.
  • Found a pepper April 11.
  • Harvest first pepper April 11.
  • Pruned April 11.
  • Measured 34 cm (13.4 inches) on April 11.

Pruning this week not only involved cutting off some leaves but it also involved cutting off a couple branches that were free from buds and flowers to promote new growth.

I tried to get a picture of the changes in colour to the bell pepper after it was harvested but the lighting just wasn’t right. However, if you scroll back up and look at images of the herb garden, you can see it. Eventually, I plan to let a few peppers reach different stages of ripening, but I want to wait until it really starts to produce a lot of fruit.

Above is an image of the bell pepper last week after pruning, this week before pruning and harvest, and this week after.

Jalapeno Peppers

This week, I harvested the last three jalapeno peppers because they weren’t growing and just blistering even more.

There are still no new jalapeno peppers, but even more buds are in full bloom.

The jalapeno pepper plant had a lot of changes this week. Here is a breakdown:

  • Continue to pollinate daily when the lights turn on.
  • Water added April 7, 9 and 11.
  • Pruned April 11
  • Harvested 4th, 5th and 6th peppers April 11

Last week, the jalapeno pepper measured 33 cm (13 inches). Aside from pruning leaves, I also cut off entire branches like with the bell pepper. After doing so, the jalapeno pepper plant measured 30 cm (12 inches).

Above is the jalapeno plant before and after I pruned it this week.

Red-Fire Chili

This week, the red-fire chili had even more blossoms open. If this pepper follows the course of the other peppers, it should have its first pepper within the next 10 days.

Last week, the red-fire chili measured 19 cm (7.5 inches). This week, it measured the same.

Purple Super Hot Peppers

The purple super hot was planted on January 11, while the majority of the garden was planted on January 3, 2019.

No new peppers were found this week but new flowers continue to open. Maintenance for this fruit has been the same as the rest:

  • Continue to pollinate daily when the lights turn on.

Last week, the super hot measured measured 26 cm (10.2 inches). This week, it measured 27 cm (10.6 inches).

Below is an image of the right side before and after maintenance.

Below is this week’s modest pruning pile plus the harvested peppers.

Below is an image of the entire garden before and after this week’s maintenance. This is the most drastic change to date.

 

My AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 14 Journal Update

This week had a major surprise which is going to effect not only site updates but also Patreon updates. Before I get into that, my journal updates.

Below is this week’s left side journal entry.

And below is the right side entry.

As I wrote last week, I had a surgery consult. I was told during the consult that my surgery was at least nine months out. This is the first of at least three surgeries I’ll need to have in the next year and a bit. It’s a lot but we had plenty of time to finish getting the house better equipped to not only better manage my disabilities in the interim but to also make things easier during long periods of recovery.

This Wednesday, I got a SURPRISE SURGERY phone call. I guess I’ve been bumped up to the top of the priority list for this surgery and now it’s in about a month. I go in for my pre-op physical next week and they told me the surgery would be 2 – 4 weeks after that. That leaves us way less time to finish getting the house ready and for me to cook and pressure can 6 weeks worth of meals to eat during my recovery.

I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this week’s gardening session so much is that on Thursday, my autistic self was still stuck on SURPRISE SURGERY, leaving me unable to even attempt to figure out exactly how we are going to get everything that needs to get done in the next few weeks accomplished. Once I’ve made a plan, it is really difficult for me to just throw it away and start over. I am ruled by plans and schedules.

There were also a bunch of things I was told needed to be done prior to surgery to lessen my already high chances of major complications, including getting me weaned off all of my immuno-suppression therapies for at least 6 months prior and get my pain better managed since there will be a fair amount of added nerve pain post-op. Neither of these things will happen now.

So, this week’s gardening session was really good for grounding me. I think the reason it amused me so much was because at least it was something controllable and not outside of my control. It was really refreshing. After I was done, I was able to at least start on an Amazon Wishlist for my friends who want to help with things I need to prepare for surgery and things I will need to recover that we just can’t afford right now because we just spent a bunch of money on accessibility aides thinking we had close to a year to finish buying everything.

Oh, which leads me back to this site and Patreon. As a result of everything above, I won’t be posting any new recipes until a few weeks post-op when I’m allowed to lift again, unless it’s a recipe as part of the Instant Pot Sous Chef tier on Patreon. I have way too much cooking to do in the next month to be able to do this one other thing.

Garden posts will continue, however, they may be off scheduling for posting by a day or two. I just really don’t know because I don’t know how much time I’ll be able to have to write here, as well as do client work, as well as cook all the things.

Thank goodness I’ll have my gardens to give me breathing space while I attempt to survive the next month of chaos.

And that’s the news!

Let me know if you have any questions! And if you’re brand new to my Farm Plus series, you can catch up here.

Until next time!

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Jules Sherred
hello@disabledkitchenandgarden.ca

Jules Sherred is a gender noncomforming autistic disabled trans man. He has lupus with many secondary disorders, including but not limited to, psoriatic arthritis in every joint, fibromyaligia, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic migraines, and antiphospholipid syndrome -- a bleeding and clotting disorder. He also has Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (C-PTSS). He has found great physical and psychological relief in Instant Pot-ting and AeroGarden-ing. After coming up empty trying to find disability resources, written by disabled people, on how to create a disability-friendly kitchen and garden that has multiple benefits, he decided to take matters in his own hands by sharing what he has learned.

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