With the rising cost of produce at the store, it makes sense to try some gardening this year. Everything is being started from seed which was purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed. The thinking is to harvest the vegetables and replenish the seed supply for the following year. This is all very much a Ma & Pa Kettle operation, relying on materials at hand and dealing with some less than ideal conditions. But so far the results have been good.
The first order of business was to find a suitable spot to get the seedlings going. The old chicken coup was cleaned out and a makeshift work table and shevling installed. The ceiling height is about two inches lower than my height in the prime working spot, which has resulted in many streams of cursing so far. The old tin roof leaks when it rains, and some of the rafters have seen better days. But, it will work for this year.
Fluorescent lighting provides a supplement to the south facing window. I bought some 6500k bulbs to replace the existing bulbs. I’ve been trying to cycle the seedlings around so that all of them get some time in the natural sunlight as well as the artificial light. The lights are on a timer and run from 6:45am til 9pm every day.
Rather than purchasing seedling heating mats for the tomatoes and peppers, I purchased a 48 foot incandescent rope light and affixed it to the table top. It in turn is wired to a temperature controller that cycles it on and off when needed.
I opted to start the seeds in peat pellets, which in retrospect was probably not the best way to go. I’ve had excellent germination in the pellets, but they are a bitch to keep hydrated properly. The biggest issue is that once they dry out, it’s very difficult to get them rehydrated. I might go with coco coir next time around.
An old but very sturdy rabbit hutch located to the left will be used to harden off the plants when the time comes. Here is a list of whats going so far:
Basil – Dark Purple Opal
Corno di Toro Rosso Pepper
Emerald Giant Pepper
Ozark Giant Pepper
Principe Borghese Tomato
Cherokee Purple Tomato
Black Krim Tomato
Costoluto Genovese Tomato
Amish Paste Tomato
Tom Thumb Lettuce
Grandpa Admire’s Lettuce