Friday, February 8, 2013

Hibernation over!

You may have noticed that we haven't exactly been around here a lot lately. Perhaps unsurprisingly, our disappearance began around the holidays, during a time when we do a lot of traveling to make sure we visit both sides of the family. But then, we kind of never came back. We can blame that on winter being a slow time of year for gardening, or whatever sounds the most plausible. The truth is, we got a little lazy. And the worst part is, it wasn't just with the blog, we slacked off on our garden work too.

Remember these guys? Our little winter project to try to grow lettuce? Well, it's a little hard to determine how well that experiment turned out, since we basically stopped watering them. It turns out lettuce, especially baby lettuce, likes water. Who knew? In a remarkable feat of plant kingdom fortitude, a few of our plants survived, as you can see in the picture, though none of them did much growing. Hopefully that will change soon, because of an exciting new addition to the farm.

That's the new and improved seed-starting and indoor growing shelf. It's four feet wide, which accommodates a full-length shop light and two plant trays. And it's about six feet tall, which means at least three, maybe four shelves of plants growing on it, depending on how we space them. We have the one light fixture that we used last year for seed starting, and purchased (but haven't yet set up) a second. So far we are growing some columbines from seed, the remains of the lettuce experiment, and a reboot of indoor greens with spinach this time. So far the spinach seems to be doing okay, though you can tell it's still very young.

This go-round, we're being much more diligent in our watering, and we've incorporated some plant food (fertilizer) since the storebought growing medium doesn't have much in the way of nutrients. We'll see if we can actually grow something worth harvesting indoors when it's only about 35 degrees outside.

Which is all well and good, but the grow-shelf is going to get a lot more crowded in a few weeks as we begin to add our seed starts for the outside garden. Last year we planted broccoli seeds indoors in late February, and got a simply amazing crop after we transplanted them outside. Broccoli is one of our favorites, so we hope to do at least that well this year. And then we'll have to start peppers, and tomatoes, so it should become a very busy shelf unit.

It's hard to believe that the gardening season is starting and it's only February, but it's what we've been waiting for all winter. And now that things are getting going again, hopefully it will kick us out of our stupor and back into growing again!

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