Today we talk about farm updates. What has been going on with the chickens, pigs and goats. I hope you have your seed catalogs out and are planning your garden. Remember don’t be afraid to start small. Small raised beds or container gardening can give a bountiful harvest and build confidence and skills. You can grow something now indoors. A little supplemental light would be a great boost at this time of year. So we discuss different lighting ideas.
First one may ask “why garden”. Gardening is economical. You can eat better quality food for much less money than the grocery store. Your food will retain more nutrition because it is fresh and hasn’t travelled across the country. You can grow awesome vegetables and fruits you may never see on a grocery store shelf. Just read any heirloom seed catalog and see all the beautiful pictures. It’s good exercise ad healing for the soul to grow things. And it is fun and exciting watching you new babies grow!
So, how do we start? We start with tiny seeds. I’m going to attempt to grow all my veggies from seed this year. It is more economical and I have the best choices for what I can grow. Not just what the big box stores and nurseries sell, which is usually all the same things. So decide what you like to eat and order a bunch of seeds. To start seeds you will need containers. There are many options, peat pots or pellets, homemade paper pots, soil cubes, and the plastic or wooden boxes. You can even make self watering pots from soda bottles or milk jugs. Some beautiful pots can be made from concrete and vermiculite. Next you need a soilless seed starting mix. You can do this with a 1 to 1 mix pot peat moss and vermiculite. There are many recipes available. Or you can buy a prepackaged one. You can plant right into the pots or germinate seeds in vermiculite or on paper towels. I’ll give a tip on using jello and milk and using a cornstarch jell in planting. Since peat is great at holding water but has no nutrition you have to feed the seedlings once they develop true leaves.
Once your plants start growing they will need light. This can be accomplished with a south or southeast facing window. But this time of the year it is better to supplement with light. fluorescent bulbs are probably the cheapest route to go. But after Christmas LED lights for Christmas trees will be really cheap. Some people even make light boxes and we will discuss that.
Once your seedlings get 4 sets of leaves they can be planted if no danger of frost. You will need to harden them up for about a week by bringing them outside several hours a day. Place them in a protected area. If it is still getting cold at night keep them warm or bring them in. So let’s get going!
A link to using recycled 2 liter bottles fro self watering seed pots: http://lifehacker.com/5913914/turn-a-soda-bottle-into-a-worry+free-self+watering-planter
Build an LED light box
A seed starting chart: