Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring update!

Snap peas in the window
There's something wrong about it being past Equinox and there still being two feet of snow outside. I can't see my raised beds because of the depth of the snow. However, indoors we're doing quite well. We started these snap peas from seeds I saved last year, and as you can see they're doing quite well! We have little wood dowels for them to climb up, held in place by a piece of cord suspended between two suction cups with hooks. The seeds are basically up to the cord now, and rapidly attaching themselves to it! I have no idea if they'll live when we move them outdoors, but it's definitely nice to have a little bit of greenery in the house.

In the greenhouse...
Our greenhouse is basically full now (well, one of them is). The top level, which has only one small fish tank light over it (but also receives good light from the window) has our brand new seeds on it. There's some more tomatoes, and then two kinds of basil, some beets, and some oregano and sage. The herbs are all last year's seed, so I don't know if they'll sprout, but I wanted to have a good start if they do. As for the tomatoes, I've been planting them in waves, two to four weeks apart, in the hopes that we'll get tomatoes in shifts, rather than all at once.

The tomatoes we planted earlier in the month are doing very well indeed. The Romas seem to be doing best, but even the Cherokees are growing apace now. All of the tomatoes that were planted before now have true leaves, and some of them have several sets of leaves already. Opening the greenhouse is a joy, as the scent of tomato and herb and dirt waft out and cover you. It's like antidepressant in a scent! I opened the greenhouse yesterday to move things around and ended up just standing there, sniffing, for about five minutes. The warmth radiating out, the smell, the very feel of it was spring-like.

Kale and broccoli
The kale and broccoli from last weekend are coming up great guns. The chives are perky as well. I suspected that they weren't getting quite enough light due to how we had the greenhouse set up, so Miss T and I rearranged the entire greenhouse to better situate the plants. We added two more lights as well, so that there is artificial "sunlight" on all four shelves. The bottom layer has the big tomatoes, then above that are the smaller tomatoes. On the second shelf you can find my kale and broccoli, and the top shelf has the not-yet-germinated seeds.

The greenhouse
I have to say, for the price these little greenhouses have been worth their weight in gold. I love that all my gardening stuff is in one place, and that all the plants are together in a warm, moist environment. Because we use the woodstove for heat, I was expecting to see my plants be very dry, but the greenhouses have kept them moist and happy.

We made a few minor tweaks to the greenhouses. When I put them together, the shelves seemed to be slightly off kilter, so I used zip ties to hold them in place. This had the added benefit of squaring up the greenhouse and giving it a bit of added stability. We've lined each metal wire shelf with tin foil, both to keep drips under control and to make the light reflect better. It's much brighter inside since we added the tin foil!

The lights themselves are ones we picked up at a local hardware store, but they're also available at Walmart and other similar stores. They're very bright, cheap, and they hook up in tandem, meaning we only need to have one plug attached and the rest can be hooked up to each other in a long string. They came with little covers over the lights, which we removed before installing in order to get better lighting. Technically, they're designed to go under cabinets!

What sort of seeds are you starting this year?

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