So last night on my way to work I stopped by my mailbox and my seeds had arrived! I immediately felt the need to open each packet and look at all of them (I probably should have waited and only opened each one as I used it). I am so excited! So this morning I hustled off to Home Depot to pick up a couple of supplies to get some seeds started (time is of the essence, as late summer here is the worst time to plant, due to unfavorably hot initial weather followed by freezes by the time things like peppers get big enough to start producing). While the vast majority of gardening books and blogs I have read advocate using a 4′ fluorescent light hung directly over seedlings, I simply don’t have the space, tools, or know-how to rig one of those up (I mean these people put them on retractable chains and all sorts of craziness!). I figured I could get the same (if miniature) effect by using a plastic Rubbermaid type bin with an 18″ fluorescent plug-in light attached to the inside of the lid. Low and behold, indoor transplants for dummies with small apartments:
I am holding the lid up (that is the lid in the upper left corner) but you can see how bright the light is.
The one downside to my ingenious system is of course the very limited amount of space. I had originally wanted to do eight marigolds, six broccoli and one each of the three cherry tomato varieties and two pepper varieties, but I only had room for four marigolds and three broccoli in addition to the tomatoes and peppers. The peppers I am really not very hopeful about, since they take so very long to mature. They will probably not be ready by the time the weather cools down, but it will be valuable experience learning how to grow the transplants anyway. The pots that I had originally looked at online were square 4″ pots, but when I went to Home Depot they only had round 5″ pots, so not as many plants fit as I wanted. Because broccoli is more of a cool-weather crop, however, once these transplants are moved to the garden in 4 – 6 weeks I can start a few more, and thus hopefully end up with two different harvests of broccoli (plus any side-shoots they produce). Because I am only doing one transplant of each of the tomatoes and peppers, I placed three seeds in each container, just in case some don’t come up. If all of them come up, I will just pick the healthiest one and mercilessly cut the others.
Potting supplies all ready.
Instead of buying label sticks, I cut up one of the blinds that was left out on my balcony when I moved in (the window is missing two blinds, which for some reason were out on the balcony…and this one had been repaired once before across the top by staples, apparently…) and Sharpied in the name of the variety and what kind of plant it is. Because I worked super late (or early this morning, really) last night, I did not make it to the work party at the co-op today, but I will make it to the next one. Meanwhile I will go out probably on Tuesday and prepare the north side of the plot for the corn. That is currently the most overgrown part of the plot, so that will be lots of fun, but it has to be done because the corn really cannot wait. I am relying on the local extension office’s planting dates rather than the other co-op gardener’s opinions as far as all this goes, so it may come back to bite me, but since I am only planting a few of each plant, I will have lots of seeds leftover for next summer anyway, so I’m not terribly concerned. I will leave you today with an image that happened as soon as I brought in the box with the plants and set it up with the light.
Any new object must be cat entertainment.