Growing Along

In addition to the farm we are growing our square foot gardens as well...and we added two more. Did you just call me crazy?
Well fine, but truth be told, I want produce right out my back door and the farm is 7 miles away. Besides, I'd already started plenty of seeds before I made the farming decision and they need a home. Starting seeds was such a mystery to me last year. The whole process seemed overwhelming and totally foreign. This year there was so much less guess work, and the time commitment was far less as well. I used the same organic, heirloom seeds from last year for almost all of my plants, which means my cost for seeds was cut in half between the two years. Seeds are pennies, starts are dollars. Aside from my peppers I will have started everything I'm growing in my back yard this year from seed. Peppers still scare me a little, as they can be a bit fussy. I'll save seeds from whatever fruit my plants bear and give them a try next year. Today I started hardening off my seedlings, which is a process that is still a little mysterious to me. I think it must be less complicated than I imagine, but it's scary. I started my seeds on March 10th. I'm waiting until at least May 20th to put them in the ground or whenever I've had enough time to get them properly acclimated. I used peat pellets to start the seeds and then when they were getting a little leggy I transferred everything into bigger pots. The Mail Man built me two shelves with grow lights in the basement. The yellow ropes are the pulley system for raising and lowering the lights as the seedlings grow. Grow lights are nothing special. Merely a cool and a warm florescent bulb in a shop light. You do need to be able to raise and lower the light so that you can keep your plants from getting leggy, which is a mistake I made last year. I started the light too high (it needs to be about 2 inches above the foliage) and my little guys shot right up. I thought I was such a good seed Mom until someone told me that I was growing leggy plants that would soon topple. I transplanted into deeper pots immediately and all was well. This year I have so many plants going I can't believe how cool it looks. Pretty exciting for me, but not very photogenic. Now it's time to do dishes and get a shopping list made. I hate to admit that I've been a terrible nutritionist lately. Between evening programs for all my little preschools and gardening tasks, we are not eating well. This is more than ironic to me, but I'm hoping that when school is finished things will get better in the kitchen.

Comments

  1. Very cool! Isn't it amazing how something so mysterious becomes second nature? I love that you're using your own seeds - not just cost effective but very very planet friendly. :)

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  2. You lost me early on but I am really impressed! In other words - I don't know nuttin' 'bout no plantin' ... I can't wait to see what you grow!

    We are in the same rut with dinner - the quality of our meals have gone south. It bums me out. I'm looking forward to summer and a slower pace.

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  3. Ironic, right? Work all day in the garden, come in tired & hungry... order a pizza! LOL. What zone are you in? I started peppers & eggplant pretty much as soon as I could (with bottom heat), and they're still looking like tiny seedlings compared to the starts I'm seeing out at the stores.

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  4. As always, I am so impressed. You know how to provide something stupendous and green for this apartment dweller to live vicariously!!!

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  5. I have to admit...looking at your starts has been a little discouraging. Mine don't look nearly as big. Darn... I hope they still produce for us. I hate not knowing what I'm doing. I feel like a total foreigner.

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  6. now that you are the pro...can you come help me??

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  7. Wow. Very impressive! I can't wait to see your garden pics!

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  8. I have tried starting seeds for three years now and every year I lose most of them... I wish I could figure it out.. Maybe I am just putting to much thought into it. or putting them out to early or not early enough.. I'm not sure what I am doing wrong. But its awesome you have figured it out! and your plants look great :)

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  9. Oh man, I hear you on your struggles in the kitchen. I'm kinda in the same boat right now. I'm so scattered lately!

    I have to say, I am super impressed! Those plants look amazing! You are a total inspiration, Heather. Keep up the great work.

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  10. Wow, Heather! This is awesome. I had such an unlucky time with seeds last year that I've opted to go straight to starts. I hate the cost, but know it's the best bet for me to have success in my garden. Maybe someday I'll get some grow lights and set up something similar to your system. Looks good! HOORAY for gardening!

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  11. Wow, all of your plants are impressive. Grow lights, pulleys, peat pellets...wow!
    Tonight I attempted to make an alfredo sauce (from a packet of alfredo powder, mind you)and realized as it was almost finished that I added water instead of milk to the powdery mixture. Thanks goodness there was a jar of spaghetti sauce in the cupboard, or dinner would've been noodles! I'm looking forward to fresher, more thoughtful meals, too.

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