Seasons Change

First Out

With all of the on again, off again weather we’ve had lately, it’s no wonder my green thumb has been itching to get started.

The Shelf

A little over a week ago, I spent the better part of the day preparing and seeding all of my tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and various beans.  Conveniently, the grow lamp-equipped shelf that the Everyman bought me for Christmas a few years ago made it pretty simple to start plants from seed without tying up window space.  This is important because it means it’s less likely that the cats will interfere with the delicate plants (generally speaking, they don’t like the super bright lights).

The top two shelves are usually pretty safe from kitty mischief, but this year they’ve been rather interested in the goings on of the bottom shelf, which in past years I haven’t used.  Because my ambitions for the garden this year are a little bit outsized, I had no choice but to use all 3 levels to light up my seeds, though.  There have been several instances since I installed the little seedlings in the shelving that I’ve come home and found paw sized dents in the plastic wrap tent that’s meant to hold moisture in.  Then, one morning I came down to find an ominous yellow puddle floating on top of the plastic wrap.

Just like that, I resolved to find another home for the grow space.  Fertilizing my precious plants with cat urine is just not an option.

Since the 3 shelves have 5 high intensity bulbs in them, they are glaringly bright, so putting the unit anywhere near the bedroom was out.  It also needed to be close to an outlet, because it obviously needs to be plugged in.  Thirdly, keeping it away from the cats had clearly become a criteria, but the options were limited on this because we only have 2 other closets (which are the only enclosed spaces in our open concept house) and neither of them is wired for electrical.  So, the only reasonable option that left me with was to move everything to my spare bathroom in the basement.  It’s just barely bigger than a closet, but it has an outlet and a door, so that’s just what I had to do.

Newborns

While I was shifting everything temporarily off the shelf so I could move it, I noticed that a few of the seeds had already started to sprout.  First to come out this year ironically was the Pink Zapotec tomato.  This surprised me because I had a really difficult time getting this one to germinate last year, and I’m pretty sure I never managed to actually eat a Pink Zapotec tomato by the end of the season, so this was certainly promising.  Most of the rare and difficult heirloom varieties seem to be popping up well, too.  Unfortunately, since everything on the bottom shelf was trampled by the cat, I had to reseed most of the peppers and wolfberry, but was unable to replant the strawberries because I ran out of seeds.  Here’s hoping that within the next few days at least a few of them manage to come out.  If I can get one or two, I can split the plant into cuttings and propagate it further.  At this point I think it’s too late to order more seeds, so worst case scenario I’ll be paying a visit to my friends at Urban Harvest again this year.  What a tragedy, I know (snerk!)

I love this time of year.  It holds so many possibilities and such unknown opportunity.  Speaking of untapped potential, check out this video of the harvest from the White House winter hoop house garden.  I’ve been wanting to grown in one of these things for a few years now, but haven’t yet squinched up the nerve to do so.

It’s pretty neat exactly how much you can grow when it’s freezing outside, don’t you think?

Until next time…

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