I think the theme for today’s Garden Party was supposed to be “favorite garden views or structures” or some such thing. But since I did take advantage of our snow day last Thursday (school was canceled…) to plant some seeds, the “view” I’m going to share with you all is this:
This is good- I managed to start some seeds three weeks earlier than last year! According to my Organic Gardening Checklist, I could start seeds of early broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, plus cool-weather lettuce and spinach now. I also started some old (as in, four years!) Walla Walla onion seeds I had (which I could’ve started a few weeks ago, looking at the checklist)- just to see if they are still good.
You might notice, too, that I’ve got two different types of pots for the seedlings. I’m trying a little experiment to see if there’s any difference, come planting time, between growing in my normal reused plastic pots and the paper pots I made from TP tubes I’d been storing up for this purpose. I used this tutorial to easily make the pots and while they didn’t take as long as I feared they would to make, it still took 20 minutes to fill only half of this flat.
So you can guess there’d need to be some noticeable difference (I’m thinking less transplant shock, maybe?) for me to spend the time to make these pots…though now that I think about it, they’d be easy to do while watching TV instead of watching the clock to see how much time it was taking. *smile*
Don’t worry- you know I’ll keep you posted!
Since I’m growing these to set outside in cooler weather, I didn’t use the heated grow mat and so they are taking their sweet time to sprout. After four days, only these little cabbage seeds have come up.
But guess what? Seeing even this little amount of tender green shoots is EXCITING! It sure seems like a little bit of spring has sprung in the house (remember this post where I highlighted some reasons to start seeds yourself?).
When I wrote about the steps I take to start my seeds a while ago, I think I shared this with you. It’s still the same: an inexpensive shop light hanging on chains from cup-hooks under a cabinet in our kitchen. I usually have a row of gallon jars here holding flour and such, but I move them out of the way during seed-starting time.
I put one cool fluorescent light and one warm one in the fixture (easy to find at home stores- nothing fancy) and set it to hang as close to the pots as possible, raising it using the chains as the seedlings grow. This is SO much better than a window- you have a much better chance to get strong, stocky plants instead of long, lanky ones desperately reaching for the light.
And get a load of this! I was given an AeroGarden by a friend with some basil plugs last fall, and I finally put it together and read the instructions. This is very interesting. The basil is growing hydroponically with just a plug of soil/peat and I add nutrients to the water whenever a little light comes on.
This is fun and super easy, but it doesn’t seem very frugal as you need to buy the special plugs, nutrients, replace the lights every six months, all in addition to the cost of the AeroGarden itself. Since I didn’t purchase this, I don’t know the total cost, but I’m wondering if buying fresh basil once or twice a month would come close to the cost of all that’s needed to grow it in this? Plus, I’m not sure what’s in the nutrient packets- I doubt if it’s organic, or they’d probably advertise it that way.
Have any of you used one of these before? What do you think?
And if cabbage made me think of spring, well, basil feels like summer.
However the weather outside is reminding me it’s still winter…
Have you done anything in the garden lately? Started any seeds? Weeded or planted bare root plants? Or are you still buried in snow?