Showing posts with label container gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label container gardening. Show all posts

Thursday, April 29, 2021

How To Grow Camellias In Your Garden Or Container Reviewed

I have always loved the beautiful Camellia. I see it as the beautiful rose of Springtime. When we first moved here I thought one would look lovely in the garden. 

This one is now twenty years old and about ten foot tall and four foot wide. It has been lightly pruned perhaps four or five times in its life so far. 




My Top 5 Reasons To Grow A Camellia 

I love them because all year round they are evergreen with thick glossy beautifully shaped leaves. Camellias provide a fantastic structure in the garden all year long and make a superb hedge too

They look stunning when covered in snow as the dark green leaves and the white snow complement each other beautifully.

They have the most stunningly beautiful flowers in Spring that lift your heart and are a perfect shape and come in pinks, whites, creamy yellows and reds mainly.  

They need very little care once established and grow a dense bushy appearance that no one can see through. 

A mature Camellia provides excellent cover for small birds who also like to nest in it. 


Camellia Flower Blossoms

However, for all these marvelous attributes their true moment in the spotlight arrives in early Spring and culminates in April and May.

From early March I am aware of tight fat buds appearing amongst the green leaves, a promise of what is to come. 

Battered by strong winds and rain here they hang on and remain tightly compressed until the weather calms a while and the sun starts to shine and warm up.

Then slowly the fat buds begin to unfurl revealing beautiful pink flower buds. Over the coming weeks more and more unfurl and the green shrub becomes a riot of pink blossom!

It is so stunningly beautiful and something I look forward to every year.



Each flower petal is perfect a gorgeous unique soft yet strong flower.

The petals are quite thick and not easily broken or torn and I noticed that the birds often take the fallen petals to use in their nests. I can imagine that each petal is perfect for laying eggs in and is very soft and insulating for the little chicks. 

The sparrows often nest in the Cammeilla and we often hear them chattering away to each other, squabbling and bonding. Sometimes a huge flock will fly into the Camellia and they disappear into it. 

As the weeks go by the petals begin to fall and the earth around the camellia is littered with a carpet of pink petals like a bride has passed this way and has been showered with flowers. 

Then by summer, we are back to a glossy evergreen shrub.




Where to Site A Camellia

Camellia generally needs to be sited in a position where there is light sunlight, they are essentially woodland plants so light sun to dappled shade is ideal. They do appreciate a more sheltered site and dislike cold biting winds. 

Never site your Camellia in an East facing spot as they actively dislike it. Also, the buds appear to become damaged by the morning sun when east facing so you will get fewer flowers. South or West facing is the best if possible. 

These shrubs do like acid soil but you may get away with a neutral soil that is slightly acidic. As a woodland shrub, it appreciates a good mulch with leaves each spring. You can also use pine needles or bracken or even fir tree clippings if you have them available. 

Probably the best time to plant is in the Autumn/Fall as the soil is still warm and you may have more rain at this time of year. 

When I first bought ours I planted it on one side of our garden and it basically did nothing for 3 years and looked very unhappy and started to die. So I dug it up and planted it on the other side of the garden where, as you can see it quickly flourished and grew and blossomed. 

I am still not sure why this happened as theoretically this first site was ideal, but there was something the plant did not like. It is worth trying an ailing plant in a different site before giving up. 


Watering Camellia 

When first planting, like any other shrub, do water regularly and deeply every week especially in very hot weather. Do not just sprinkle water on, give it a really good deep drink. Unless it rains heavily I continue to do this with newly planted shrubs for about a year to a year and a half. I find it gives them a good start in life then afterward they are little trouble. 

Light watering will be bad for the plant as it encourages roots to turn upwards to seek the water on the surface. You need to really soak the soil thoroughly so that the water is below the root level and the roots search down and out for water. 

Once it is mature and established you should not need to water at all unless you live in an extremely dry climate or suffer drought conditions. If small buds cease to grow or start to drop, or you do not see any buds, then you know it is suffering drought.

 



Pruning Camellia

This is good news for people who do not like pruning! Camellias do not really need much pruning. The only exceptions are if they grow either too big or are growing in a shape you do not like.

If you need to prune only do it immediately after flowering. If you do it any other time you will damage the emerging flower buds. 

Please do not use a hedge trimmer on your gorgeous Camellia. The result is so much better if you carefully prune with secateurs like these Wolf By Pass Secateurs It will take a little time but can be done gradually.

You can deadhead the faded Camellia flowers if you want to. I think this would be possible on a smaller plant. With a Camellia ten-foot high for me, it would be quite a time-consuming task.

Some people will want to do it though to prevent petal fall over the borders. I do not do this as I like to see it naturally fade and I love to see the pink petals fall to cover the earth and the lawn like a bride has just passed by and guests have thrown confetti! Once they have fallen to the ground, I just treat them as very pretty mulch.

Otherwise, you can let it grow and fade at its own pace and time and simply enjoy it.




Taking Camellia Cuttings

Once you have a mature Camellia I would recommend taking cuttings. This way you can over time have more Cameillas and if you ever move you can start a new plant. They also make lovely gifts. 

Cuttings are easy to take and so far I have had great success with them forming roots and growing on well. They are, however, fairly slow to grow from cuttings so plan ahead. 

Soil Conditions For Camellia

It is advantageous to have acid soil but it can cope with a neutral to slightly acid soil especially if you mulch with acid based materials or an ericaceous compost and feed each spring. 

To check your soil look around at your neighbour's gardens and see what is growing well. If Acers, Azelias, Camellias and Rhododendrons are growing happily in the soil then a Camellia should be just fine. 

The other way to check is to do a soil testing kit available in many places where you can easily test your own soil. 

If your soil is not suitable then do consider growing Camellia in a container with ericaceous compost and using ericaceous plant food.


 


Growing Camellia In A Pot

I always have a "can do " attitude when it comes to gardening. Many people have smaller plots and less room to grow in the soil so its important we consider any plant that can be grown in a container. 




In my experience yes, you can grow Camellia in a container. It will need to be size appropriate and have good drainage holes.

Even if you start with a small cutting which you can pot on in a small container, you will eventually need a large tree pot as they can grow large. You may well need to repot into a larger container every 2 or 3 years.

You will need to provide everything for the shrub in terms of water and food.

The big advantage is that you can move the shrub easily into its perfect position to give it the correct sunlight and shelter positions and you can take it with you if you move to another house. 

Make sure the soil is ericaceous or acid soil as it needs the best conditions to live happily in a container. I generally use this type of ericaceous compost below and every gardener has their own preferences as long as it is suitable for acid loving plants.

 

 


You will need to water well at least once a week. This is vital in the autumn/fall as this is when the buds for the flowers are forming. If you do not give it enough water at this time flower buds will not form and that means no beautiful flowers.

Many people chronically underwater Camellia in pots and do not get any flowers and think the shrub is not a good one to grow. This is so easily remedied by simply watering. Especially make sure you water enough in the autumn when buds are forming.

Rainwater from a water butt is best but if you do not have that simply use tap water and ensure you are careful with feeding enough so you maintain the acid balance in the soil.  Feeding is also vital for container grown Camellias and an ericaceous feed is recommended


You may find as I do that a little more pruning is necessary. The one in the container above is in need of both repotting and a prune to reshape slightly so it sits the container better. I will prune it after all the flowers have bloomed. 

I love the Camillia and would recommend growing it. I see it as an early rose-like flower without the thorns of most roses! I love to grow Roses as well but Camellia flowers early before roses are in bloom and gives a beautiful show of lovely colour along with the Spring flowers and bulbs before the summer flowers bloom.

In the ground it is a real low maintenance shrub that can be easily pruned into size and shape. In a container a little more care is required but it is always a pleasure to look after. 



I will always have at least one Camillia in containers and in the garden, but most likely two or three! 


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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Recently, I wrote about my successful experience with growing microgreens, using Hamama Seed Quilts. I thought it would be helpful to also review both the decorative accessories and most helpful extras I use and love for growing these delicious and extremely nutritious microgreens indoors, in the comfort of my living room.

Although the Hamama's bamboo grow tray frame, seed quilt label holder, and other decorative accessories are designed specifically for the company's innovative, patent-pending growing system, the other recommended products I'm reviewing here would be both useful and beneficial to anyone who enjoys gardening, cooking, or both!

Photo of bamboo accessories and other supplies for Hamama micgrogreens growing system, overlaid with title text, "Hamama Seed Quilt Microgreens Growing Accessories"
My favorite accessories and useful supplies for growing microgreens with Hamama's seed quilt growing system

Microgreens are a delicious, nutritious way to add essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes for those of us who try to live a healthy lifestyle. Since health was my primary motivation for losing nearly 60 pounds on a keto diet, my new healthier lifestyle focuses quite a bit on healthy eating, and especially on getting more nutrition from food and relying less on supplements, something that is especially important when following a ketogenic approach to eating.

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Growing System Accessories and Helpful Supplies

As I shared in my previous post, the Hamama microgreens seed quilt growing system is so easy, even this “brown thumb” gardening amateur is successfully growing delicious, healthy, nutrient-dense microgreens throughout the year, even here in New England. Now that my husband and I are no longer are at the mercy of the unpredictable and often scant selection of packaged microgreens at our local stores, we use our fresh, home-grown microgreens for more than just garnishes. In fact, they make up half the dark, leafy greens in our large, nightly dinner salads!

Along with Hamama's seed quilts and grow trays, the core of their unique container gardening system, I've also purchased a few accessories and supplies that have made the process of growing my own fresh, nutritious kale, broccoli, clover, daikon radish, zesty salad mix, and other varieties of microgreens more enjoyable and convenient. 

Hamama's Custom Growing System Accessories

Bamboo Grow Tray Frames and Seed Quilt Label Holders

Photo of two side-by-side Hamama seed quilts with decorative bamboo grow tray frames and seed quilt label holders
I love the way the bamboo grow tray frames and seed quilt label holders dress up my microgreens growing setup by our living room windows

Since counter space in our small kitchen is at a premium, I grow my microgreens in our living room, which has a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows (although Hamama microgreens seed quilts don’t require a lot of light). So, I successfully harvested a few different varieties of microgreens using this unique growing system, I decided to spring for Hamama’s proprietary bamboo frames and seed quilt label holders. The bamboo frames fit either style of the company's grow tray. I started with Hamama's white ceramic tray. See how nice the bamboo frame looks with it?

Photo of microgreens growing in white ceramic Hamama grow tray with bamboo frame
The white ceramic grow tray is thicker (and heavier) than the black plastic tray.

Not long after, I decided to switch to the black plastic grow trays, which weigh very little and are much easier to carry back and forth to the kitchen (on the other end of our house) for cleaning. Although I try to avoid buying plastic for disposable items, these trays are reusable, and I plan to be using them for the foreseeable future. The walls are much thinner, allowing a narrow margin around the seed quilt, so it's much easier to check the water level in relation to the coconut coir mat (and to add a bit more water, if it's evaporating faster than expected). The marked fill line is also thinner than on the white ceramic tray, so it's easier to gauge how much water to add for soaking the seed quilt.

Whether you prefer the black plastic or white ceramic grow tray, the simple, sleek and stylish bamboo frames make them much more attractive and blend well with any style of home décor. There is a Hamama logo in the lower left corner of one side of the frame. Usually, I'm not a fan of displaying brand names, especially on decorative items. But in this case, I think the logo has been done quite tastefully and doesn't detract from the look. However, it can easily be hidden by facing that side of the frame toward the window, if you prefer.

Photo of Hamama microgreens germinated seed quilt in tray with decorative bamboo grow tray frame and seed quilt label holder
The Hamama bamboo grow tray frames and matching seed quilt label holders give my microgreens growing setup a more attractive, "finished" look.

The matching bamboo label holders are great for displaying the coated cardstock labels that come with each seed quilt at an easy-to-read angle. These labels provide a useful reminder of which type of microgreens I’m currently growing, as well as the approximate number of days until the paper cover should be peeled, and the total number of days until harvest. Before I got these label holders, I used to tape the cardstock labels to the grow trays. The tape left a sticky residue and wasn’t very attractive. Now, my bamboo seed quilt label holders coordinate perfectly with my grow tray frames.

Each holder is a nicely finished, rectangular block of bamboo the exact length of a Hamama seed quilt label, with a thin slot for the label. Whenever you start a new seed quilt, simply slide the label that comes with it into the slot, which holds it upright and angled slightly back for easy reading. When you finish harvesting your microgreens crop, just remove and discard the label from the holder, so it’s ready for the label from your next seed quilt.

More Matching Bamboo Accessories

Hamama makes a matching seed quilt holder for storing your extra seed quilts, but since I don’t store mine out where people can see them, I didn’t need one. The company has just announced its brand new bamboo "grow shelf," a gorgeous self-standing, five-shelf, open shelving unit to current customers, who can preorder one now. I expect it to be added to the Shop section of the website soon, so everyone who wants will be able to order one.

Extra Hamama Grow Trays

Once I knew I was going to be using this unique microgreens growing system regularly, I ordered two additional grow trays. As of this writing, the price of two black grow trays is only four dollars more than the price of just one. And, since it’s essential to clean each grow tray thoroughly after harvesting one seed quilt and before starting another, it’s nice to have an extra tray so there’s a clean one standing by to start my next microgreens seed quilt as soon as I harvest the previous one. I can soak, scrub, and disinfect the used tray at my leisure (it’s also safe to clean in the top rack of the dishwasher).

Hamama Microgreens Harvesting Kit

The company offers a convenient set of three tools for harvesting the microgreens grown with their proprietary seed quilts and grow trays. The kit contains:

  • 1 reusable Stasher silicone bag (sandwich size)
  • 1 pair of scissors (with the Hamama logo)
  • 1 bamboo scrub brush with natural fiber bristles (for thoroughly scrubbing your grow tray)

It's a very useful kit, particularly if you prefer to harvest your microgreens by trimming them just above the top of the seed quilt, rather than pulling them out, roots and all. Alternatively, you can purchase a Stasher silicone food storage bag, a pair of sharp, stainless steel scissors, and a bamboo scrub brush with natural fiber bristles (or use equivalent items you may already own) to create your own customized microgreens harvesting kit.


Save Money on Your First Hamama Grow Kit, Seed Quilt, or Accessories Order!

Don't miss my Hamama shopping link and discount code at the end of this article to save 10%!


My Favorite, Practical Products for Growing, Harvesting and Storing Fresh Microgreens

Stasher Silicone Food Storage Bags

You don't have to grow microgreens to fall in love with these fabulous food storage and cooking bags

In August 2019, I wrote a review of my favorite silicone kitchen tools and accessories, including silicone food storage bag. But, after trying the Stasher silicone bag in my Hamama Harvesting Kit, I fell in love with it. I purchased three more in larger sizes, and I definitely plan to add more over time. Although they cost more than other silicone bags, they're totally worth the price!

These Stasher silicone bags are a cinch to open and close, unlike any other brand of silicone food storage bags I've tried. Yet, they're also airtight and watertight. Many people use them for sous-vide cooking, placing the sealed bag of raw food in a pot of boiling water. And since these bags are leakproof, They're also perfect for marinating meats, poultry, seafood, fish, or vegetables to infuse them with extra flavor.

Photo of four Stasher silicone food storage bags
The Stasher silicone food storage bags I have purchased to date

The Stasher bag that came with the Hamama Harvesting Kit is the sandwich size (7.5" x 7.5" x 1"), which has a 15 oz. capacity. (It's the smallest one in the photo of my current Stasher bag collection.) However, since I wrap my harvested microgreens loosely in a paper towel before placing them in the bag to store in my refrigerator, I find that I need a larger size if I want to harvest all (or most) of a seed quilt at one time.

The sizes I use to comfortably contain an entire crop of paper towel-wrapped microgreens from a Hamama seed quilt are the tall Stasher Silicone Reusable 1/2 Gallon Food Storage Bag (10.25” x 8.25” x 1.5” with a 64.2 oz. capacity), and the Stasher Silicone Reusable Stand-Up Food Storage Bag (7.75" x 7" x 3" with a 56 oz. capacity) that, true to its name, stands up on its own for easy filling and removal of the contents.

Dedicated Scissors

If you prefer to harvest your microgreens with scissors, it's a bad idea to use your general-use utility scissors that are also used to cut paper, crafting materials, etc. I highly recommend dedicating a pair of scissors exclusively to harvesting microgreens and herbs, and cleaning the blades scrupulously before each use. They don't need to be fancy kitchen shears, but they should be sharp and comfortable and have stainless steel blades. (Who wants specks of rust in their microgreens or herbs?) 

If I were putting together my own harvesting kit, it would include the Fiskars 01-004761J Softgrip Scissors with 8-inch stainless steel blades (or something similar), which are backed by a lifetime warranty. 

Bamboo and Natural Fiber Bristle Scrub Brush

It's important to clean Hamama grow trays very thoroughly before starting each seed quilt. Although the trays are top-rack dishwasher safe, the top rack or our modestly sized dishwasher is usually filled to capacity with glasses, cups, bowls, long-handled spatulas, cooking tongs, etc. So, I prefer to scrub my grow trays by hand.

It can be challenging to clean between the ridges inside the black grow trays, particularly at the corners and around the perimeter. That's why the Hamama Harvesting Kit includes the small, round, bamboo handled scrub brush with natural fiber bristles, which I find invaluable for this purpose.

When I looked for a similar brush, most of them had either synthetic bristles or components made of plastic or other non-biodegradable components. After considerable searching, I finally found a palm-sized, mildew-resistant round bamboo scrub brush with organic, natural fiber bristles, very similar to the one in the Hamama Harvesting Kit. As a bonus, it comes with soap dish that can also be used to store the scrub brush out on the counter, if desired (just make sure both the brush and the dish are completely dry first). 

This versatile brush has medium-hard bristles that can also be used to clean even non-stick pots and pans, dishes, vegetables, and more.

3% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide and Fine Mist Spray Bottle

Only one of my Hamama seed quilts has ever developed mold, back when I was still a seed quilt "newbie." It was hot and humid in our living room, since we don't have central air conditioning and only turn on each room's A/C unit when we are actively using the room. I made the common rookie mistake of over-watering that one seed quilt, so that the paper covering was wet. When, unsurprisingly, about a third of the sections failed to germinate. I then compounded the problem by covering those water-logged sections with strips of newspaper for two days, after reading a troubleshooting tip for a different problem. (I did say I had a brown thumb!) Of course, when I pulled off the newspaper strips at the end of two days, there were signs of mold, and unfortunately, the seed quilt was unsalvageable at that point.

Before throwing away the moldy seed quilt, I took a couple of photos and shared them in the Hamama Friends group on Facebook and asked how I could prevent a recurrence. The answers were very instructive. One of the best recommendations I got was from a woman who recommended that spraying the surface of the water in the grow tray with food-grade 3% hydrogen peroxide before soaking future seed quilts. She also said she mists the leaves with it after peeling off the paper cover, and hasn't had any mold issues since she started doing that.

I immediately ordered a bottle of food grade 3% hydrogen peroxide. A while ago, I had purchased a dozen small, cobalt blue glass mister bottles. I filled one of them with the 3% hydrogen peroxide and labeled it (since the rest of my cobalt glass misters are also filled with clear liquids), and it now lives next to my Hamama grow trays to remind me to spritz the water before soaking each new seed quilt. And, like the helpful person who suggested I use the 3% hydrogen peroxide for this purpose, I haven't seen a speck of mold since I started following her excellent advice!

I find these pretty and practical cobalt blue glass spritzer bottles useful for many different purposes. They spray a very fine mist, which makes them ideal for evenly and lightly moistening metal clay with distilled water, since this material dries out very quickly when exposed to air while working with it. I keep another filled with isopropyl alcohol for sanitizing makeup brushes, tweezers, manicure implements, etc. in between full soap-and-water cleanings. I also find that they don't leak, so I'm considering keeping another bottle filled with a CDC-approved alcohol-based disinfectant in my purse for when I leave the house. The cobalt glass isn't just pretty; it also helps protect the contents against UV rays.

Save 10% on Your First Hamama Order!

If you haven't ordered directly from the Hamama website before, you can use my Hamama shopping link (or click on the image below), add the products you want to the shopping cart, then use the discount code SUPERGREENS during checkout to get 10% off your product total. And if you're lucky enough to have receive a Hamama grow kit as a gift, you can use this link and discount code to save 10% on the beautiful bamboo accessories made exclusively for the Hamama seed quilt and grow tray system.

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


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My Personal Keto Testimonial

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review

Image: collage of Hamama microgreens photos with superimposed title, "The EASIEST Way to Grow Your Own Microgreens"
With a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and the company's proprietary seed quilts, growing and harvesting fresh, delicious, and nutritious microgreens is nearly effortless!

Fresh, crisp microgreens are colorful, refreshing, and extremely nutritious. Since last year, when I committed to making healthy lifestyle changes, including a special focus on healthy food choices, I have been adding microgreens to salads, sandwiches, soups, eggs, and other dishes as often as possible.

Although buying packaged microgreens at our local Whole Foods is an expensive and frustrating proposition, growing my own hadn't seemed like a viable option, given my poor track record with keeping even healthy plants alive, much less growing them from seed.

Then, four months ago, I found out about an innovative microgreens growing system from a company called Hamama, which was designed to be as as simple, effortless, and low-maintenance as possible, so that even container gardening newbies like me could grow these healthy, tasty, nutrient-dense greens year-round.  

The proprietary, patent pending Hamama Seed Quilt Growing System is the brainchild of co-founders Camille Richman and Daniel Goodman, who met when they were mechanical engineering students at the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following their graduation from MIT, they worked together full-time at the MIT Media Lab, researching high tech indoor agriculture. After growing food both in the lab and at home for several years, they wanted to make it possible for more people to experience the benefits of growing healthy food at home.

In May, I decided to order a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit, including three seed quilts and a reusable grow tray. I was surprised and delighted by the results, and a few weeks later,  I ordered two more growing trays and 18 more seed quilts. Although I've skipped a week here and there, I've successfully grown and harvested around more than a dozen seed quilts at this point. Now, I'm anxious to share my experience, and perhaps inspire others to try growing their own healthy, delicious, superfood microgreens, even if they have never had any experience, or luck, growing vegetables in the past.

P.S. Make sure to read all the way to the end of this review to find out how to get a 10% discount off the purchase price of your first order of a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kits, Seed Quilts, or other microgreens growing accessories!

Microgreens Are Superfoods That Pack a Powerful Nutritional Punch

Increasing our consumption of nutritious, dark leafy greens is an important part of healthy eating. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating more fruits and vegetables, including dark leafy greens. For those of us who have chosen a low carb, ketogenic approach to eating, dietary restrictions make it even harder to get enough nutrients from the foods we eat, rather than from supplements.

Adding more microgreens to our diets, in particular, provides even greater health benefits. A 2012 research study found that microgreens contain between four and 40 times higher concentrations of essential nutrients than their mature counterparts!

These nutrient-dense, immature plants can be excellent sources of key vitamins such as C, E, K, and also carotenoids including lutein and beta-carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A aka retinol), two important antioxidants provide a wide range of health benefits, including helping to protect our eyes against macular degeneration. 

Photo of a large, colorful, salad topped with Hamama microgreens
We enjoy a large, colorful, salad with a generous helping of freshly harvested microgreens every day!

Why Not Just Buy Packaged Microgreens Instead of Growing Them?

Unfortunately, many supermarkets and grocery stores either don't sell them, or run out of them quickly. Even when I've been lucky enough to find one or two containers, those commercially grown microgreens have cost a pretty penny. Far too often, the expensive organic microgreens we've bought at our local Whole Foods Market have become not just limp but slimy and inedible after just one or two days in the vegetable drawer of our fridge. Most are also sold in single-use, plastic clamshell packaging, which is bad for the environment. 

Finding organic microgreens or ones that have been grown from non-GMO seeds can also be a challenge. 

Unfortunately, since March, these problems have been further exacerbated by the widespread negative impact of the current, unprecedented health crisis.

The Pros and Cons of Using Hamama Seed Quilts vs. Growing Microgreens From Seed

Buying packets of loose seeds and growing them on a bed of moistened potting mix, soil, or coconut coir is, without question, the cheapest way to grow microgreens at home. However, it also requires watering the seeds once or twice a day, and monitoring their progress daily, from the the time they are planted until they are ready to be harvested, usually takes somewhere between 9 days and a few weeks. And they do best with 4–6 hours of direct sunlight, or natural light supplemented by a grow light(s).

While this may be a good option for experienced container gardening enthusiasts, not everyone was blessed with a "green thumb," or enjoys growing things from seed. Some of us just want to have convenient and consistent access to a variety of microgreens and enjoy them when they are at their freshest, tastiest, and most nutritious, and are happy to pay more for an approach that requires significantly less time and effort than growing these immature greens from seed.  

That's why Hamama developed its proprietary seed quilt system, which makes growing fresh, delicious, nutrient-rich microgreens indoors as easy, effortless, and care-free as possible. 

Anatomy of a Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt

Each seed quilt consists of three layers (excluding the seeds):

  1. The bottom layer is a loosely woven coconut coir mat (aka coconut fiber mat or coconut husk pad).
  2. The middle layer is a thin sheet of white felt
  3. The top layer is some type of unbleached paper.

The seeds are sandwiched between the white felt layer and the light brown paper cover, divided into 20 long, narrow, rectangular, "quilted" sections that hold the seeds in place in a fairly even distribution.

Key Benefits of the Hamama Seed Quilt Grow System for Microgreens

  • By combining the seeds, the growing substrates, and the papery cover into a single, compact unit and pairing it with a perfectly-sized growing tray, Hamama has removed as many variables as possible.
  • The Hamama Starter Kit contains everything you need to grow microgreens, except the 24–26 ounces of water for the initial soak. (Depending on the quality of your tap water, I recommend using filtered water.)
  • Starting a new seed quilt takes as little as 1–2 minutes! After that, you can basically ignore it for the next 4–6 days, until the seeds have germinated.
  • This bottom-watering and self-watering growing system is the closest thing to "set-it-and-forget it." Once you pour water inside the grow tray up to the fill line and briefly submerge the seed quilt to get all 20 sections evenly moistened, you shouldn't have to mist the seeds quilt or seedling, or top up the water. (Toward the end of the growing period, I try to check the water level every couple of days, if I remember. just in case it drops below the midpoint of the coconut coir mat.) 
  • The brown paper cover helps to filter the ambient light during the initial 4–6 day germination period, then it peels off easily to provide the seedlings with full exposure to the ambient light.

Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilts Are So Effortless, They Practically Grow Themselves!

Growing a Hamama microgreens seed quilt is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Do the brief initial "soak." Add water to the growing tray's marked fill line (no higher) and submerge the seed quilt for 10–30 seconds, just until all 20 sections have uniformly changed to a darker shade of brown.
  2. After 3–5 days, when the seeds have germinated, pushing against the paper cover and causing the sections to puff up or balloon, peel the paper cover.
  3. Approximately 7–10 days after the initial soak, harvest your microgreens!

You can harvest the entire seed quilt at once and store whatever microgreens you won't use immediately in the refrigerator, if you wish, or harvest a few sections at a time over the next few days. 

Photo of Hamama Earthy Clover and Super Salad Mix seed quilts and are puffed up and ready to peel
I often grow more than one Hamama seed quilt at a time

What's Included In the Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit?

  • One reusable Grow Tray.
    • Black plastic or white ceramic
  • Your choice of three Hamama Seed Quilts (choose all one variety, or mix and match up to three different types) 
  • Easy growing instructions.

Choose From 10 Different Types of Microgreens Seed Quilts

Hearty Broccoli, Refreshing Cabbage, Spicy Daikon Radish, Super Salad Mix, Sweet Wheatgrass, Zesty Mix, Energizing Kale, Earthy Clover, Hot Wasabi Mustard, and Fragrant Fenugreek. All the seeds in Hamama's microgreens seed quilts are non-GMO Six are also organic (Energizing Kale, Fragrant Fenugreek, Hearty Broccoli, Spicy Daikon Radish, Earthy Clover, and Sweet Wheatgrass). The company is working on making the switch to an all certified organic line.

Save 10% on Your First Hamama Order!

Use my Hamama shopping link (or click on the image below), add the products you want to the shopping cart, then use the discount code SUPERGREENS during checkout to get 10% off your product total.


Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Gifts by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, June 24, 2019

City Pickers: Raised Garden Bed Review

My collection of pots for the container garden had become sad and unusable. A refresh was desperately needed and I went on the search for raised garden beds.

 I'd love to have truly raised garden beds about five feet high in the yard, but for now I was searching for a garden bed suitable for the deck. I am very happy to have purchased the City Pickers raised garden bed and will be purchasing more!
City Pickers green raised garden bed on wheels

City Pickers Raised Garden Bed


The size of the garden bed at 24.5" by 20.5" is perfect for the deck. Large enough for room to plant a nice selection of plants, but small enough to move easily. The watering system is also a huge plus as the system holds 2 quarts of water.

They seemed to think of everything when designing this mobile garden including:

  • Self Contained automatic watering system
  • Mobile, on caster wheels
  • Aeration
  • Mulch cover
  • Easy to move
  • Fun colors from the neutral to bold
  • Reasonable price point
  • Waist height version on wheels

Who Wants Color?


I loved the City Pickers is available in 9 colors!

  • Terra Cotta 
  • Aquamarine
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Hunter Green
  • Lime Green (my choice)
  • Red
  • Sandstone

How Much Potting Mix To Fill The Garden Bed?


I used 4 bags of 8 quarts each of potting mix to fill the garden bed plus the recommended cups of lime. The directions are very specific to use potting mix, not topsoil or potting soil! The directions stated 1.5 cubic feet of potting mix is needed to fill the bed; however it depends upon how much muscle you or you have access to! The smaller bags of potting mix are easier to transport and are also frequently on sale.

Assembly Of The City Picker


The City Picker does need to be assembled and the assembly took less than five minutes! It is very easy and quick and requires little labor. One of the advantages of a mobile raised gardening bed is the ease of movement and convenience.


The City Pickers is on wheels which do need to be inserted into the bottom of the bed. I was very pleased to find it took no effort to insert each wheel! Seems like a simple request, but one of my pet peeves for furniture that needs to be assembled is wrangling with the coaster wheels;  these wheels were so easy to pop in and lock on the bottom of the City Pickers garden bed.

Best Way To Save! Swagbucks Hack


This is my favorite way to earn rewards points combined with the ease online ordering! I found one color of the City Pickers in my local big box store, but knew there was a wide selection of colors as I had researched the garden beds online. I really wanted a cheery blue or fun green garden bed.

Back to the internet and I used my swagbucks account to order online from the big box store and have the bed delivered to my door. The option to have the item delivered free of charge to the big box store also is very handy to use and saves time as the items can be picked up at the door at the customer service area.

Swagbucks is a free account in which points are earned for purchases at most online and bricks and mortar stores. The points can then be used for gift cards which are ordered online from the Swagbucks account and the gift code is delivered to your inbox. I love it and this system has worked flawlessly for my shopping.

Click here to sign up for Swagbucks (free!)

 

More Reviews From The Gardeners And Nature Friends at Review This Reviews

Balcony Gardening Tips by Olivia Morris
Garden Kneeler Review by BarbRad
Water A Flower Day by Wednesday Elf
Hostess Gifts For The Gardener by Olivia Morris 
Planting In Spring For Summer by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Creative Flower Photography by Mary Beth Granger



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Fabric Pots Reviewed

Gardening In Fabric Pots

garden vegetables
Could these grow in a cloth container?
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
Do you have a garden? Have you considered growing in fabric pots? Let's review the possibilities. 

I am familiar with the concept of container gardening and have tried it a few times over the years. Until recently, I was not aware that another option is to grow my vegetables, herbs or flowers in a fabric pot. Now, that sounds interesting!

The advantage to using a cloth container is that it allows for better aeration for the roots and better drainage, too. From what I glean from the description of the brand that I am interested in using; transplanting from them allows for a better chance of the plant not going into shock. I am thinking it might work well for starting a small tree to be planted elsewhere when it gets some height to it. 

I love that there are so many options for sizes to grow in, too. A fabric pot can be as small as one gallon or as large as 100 gallons. (Now that is a huge bag!) Personally, I am drawn to the 7 gallon size because I think it offers some real versatility. It also seems to be a very popular size with other gardeners, too. The pots made from cloth would also fit in places that a standard pot or container might not. They won't be as heavy to move, either. 

The possibility of using these little fabric pots over and over again appeals to me. When the growing season is over they can be laundered and saved for the next batch of gardening. Granted, we can do the same thing with clay, resin and plastic pots but the bags would take up much less storage space when not being used. Storage can be a problem for most of us especially the urban gardeners who need to grow their items on a small patio or balcony. 

How about you? Did you know that fabric pots were even an option? Would you be willing to try them out? I am going to give them a try.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, May 6, 2018

8 Creative Flower Planter Ideas for Inside or Outside

Have a lot of broken down cars? Or just one?
There it is, a car planter, with the body as Art
Bring out your inner artistic side to display flowers and plants.

If you're stuck in a rut on the way you feature plants in and around the home, this list is designed to trigger an artistic spark so you can break that chain, and try something different this year.

1. Use An Old Wooden Toolbox
Old Shoes as a Planter?
Hmmm Yes? No?

If you have an old wooden, distressed toolbox - the ones with the handle across the top are especially nice - fill it with dirt, flowers, plants or spices. Place it anywhere you choose. Move it around from time to time.

2. Use Window Boxes Indoors

You've seen window boxes on outdoor railings, porches and the exterior of windows, however you can use a window box inside as well.

Find the window box that works best for your space, and simply duplicate what you would do outdoors. You can also spruce it up with decorative rocks and variety of rock garden plants. 

3. Old Tea Cups or Mugs

Old tea cups and coffee mugs are a creative way to display small plants or spices. If your kitchen has an area to display a set of cups or mugs, use them as a decorating accent or a place to hold your kitchen spices. Get each mug in a different color to add a little funk to your plant area.

A Large Cup of Flowers
4. Old Metal Boxes

You can use a new metal box as well. Any metal container in your home, that's the right size for your needs, can be filled with dirt, rocks, flowers, spices or plants. 

5. Ladder Plant Display

There are a number of ways to display plants on a ladder. You can secure the plants to each rung, or rig it so that each rung can hold a planter box. If doing it yourself isn't an option, you can get an already made free standing ladder that's designed to hold planter boxes. 

6. Drawers from Old Furniture

Rather than toss out your old dressers, use a drawer or two or three to plant flowers in.

Put the dirt directly in the drawer and plant what you want, or use it as a holder to place smaller pots already planted.

If you're able, turn it into a family affair by letting the kids paint a drawer and take care of their plants in their drawer.

7. The Top of a Birdhouse

Create edging around the roof of your birdhouse, fill it with dirt, then plant what you want in the area. It will look lovely, and the birds will appreciate it.

8. An Old Bicycle as a Home for Plants and Flowers

Position an old bike against a wall, tree or in a garden and use it as a prop for planting flowers and other plants. If it has a basket, fill it with hanging flowers. Use the wheels to grow flowers and plants that need a support to tie onto.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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