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.