Monday, December 28, 2020

Grow Bag update! Spoiler Alert, my Tomatoes loved them.

Ok so I think the results speak for themselves.  I planted 10 tomatoes in Dollarama fabric bags.  I planted 5 tomatoes into the ground with lots of good soil and manure in both.  The plants in the ground made it to about 5-8 feet tall depending on the variety, with a few tomatoes on each plant.   Nothing too exciting.  I watered and fertilized them all regularly. 

The tomatoes in the bags climbed up the railing, and I wrapped them around strings on the gazebo, they grew up and over the gazebo and then folded back down.  I would estimate they got between 12-14 feet on average, and really produced nicely.  This side gets a bit more morning sun, but the in ground tomatoes get more afternoon sun.


Here's a link to my previous "Mini Grow Bags" post about making and using the fabric grow bags.  I planted up into them when my seedlings outgrew their homes in the seed trays. 

As you can see they had a nice healthy root structure when it was time to plant them out at about 9 weeks old.

I spaced them pretty closely and tied the string to the top of the Gazebo.  As they grew I pruned them to 1 main stem, and kept it nice and airy down below.  It didn't take long for them to take off. 


Here you can see them on the right side.

They grew so fast, I would take weekly pictures of them and was just amazed.

By mid July they were taller then me,
well on their way to the top of the gazebo. 

My faithful tomato guard.  He would check on them daily to see if anything was ripe.

  He was thrilled when he realized he could reach them from the deck ahahha. 

Here's a view from under the gazebo, and they're several feet above it.
Here's a shot out the 2nd story window at the beginning of August 

 You can see the roots came out of the bag and went into the ground at the bottom, I had to really pull the bags to get them out.  

So after the season was done, I chopped down the tomatoes and dumped the bags, and wow, I was really impressed with how the roots had grown.  I watered them every morning, and in the extreme heat we had this summer, I did water twice a day if they felt dry.  I had added some peat and pearlite to the mix and didn't find they dried out anymore then the one I had in the big pot, which I had to water just as often.   

The plants did great in a small pot of soil.  Normally if I grow a tomato in a pot I use giant black pots our trees came in.  So I was able to save space, and soil, and grew the best batch of tomato plants!  

I will be using them again next year for sure.  You can use any color you want, black might be nice but will heat up more.  You can also splurge and buy the actual grow bags if you want. 

You can also make your own Grow Bags of any size using landscape fabric and a sewing machine.  Here is the link to the small seedling size grow bags I made this spring.  How to make your own Mini Grow Bags

Please comment below if you have any questions, or have tried different grow bags yourself.  

Here's a YouTube video I made showing the roots in more detail.   

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Creamy Chicken & Veggie Pasta!

I wanted something cozy on a cold rainy day.  So I used what I had in my fridge.  I had a few pieces of chicken and some random veggies. The sweet potato completely broke down and became super creamy. Any kind of squash or pumpkin would have worked as well.

It turned out really good so I wrote it down, and thought I'd share.  You can adjust the times, if you do it on the stove.  I apologize for no pictures, I had no idea how it would taste, and we gobbled it up. Maybe if I remember when I have leftovers :D

Creamy Chicken Pasta! 

1 onion diced
4 cloves of garlic chopped
4 chicken thighs whole

4 cups of water

¼ Dijon mustard

2 carrots chopped

1 giant sweet potato

Fresh thyme

Lots of Cajun seasoning

pasta of your choice

cream cheese

salt and pepper to taste

grated cheese of your choice.

Put the instant pot on saute, and cook onion till soft, add garlic, and stir.  Add in your chicken, and brown them up a  bit.  Then dump in everything else except the pasta and cream cheese.  Add whatever veggies you have on hand.  Cook for 15-45 mins NPR. (depends on size and type of chicken, and how large you diced your veg). I left everything fairly large and did the full 45 mins as I had plenty of time.

Pull out chicken and set aside, turn pot back to saute mode, and add in your pasta.  I used rotini noodles.  Cook for allotted time till soft, adding any water as needed.  When they’re just about ready add in your cream cheese and adjust your seasoning.   Add the shredded chicken back in that you cleaned off the bone.  (or chicken breasts)

I served it with grated Parmesan, and hot chili flakes, and added capers to my dish.