Monday, January 07, 2008

Seed Time for Harvest

Seeds being started in the shop. I float them in trays with water to keep them moist during germination.
Last years seeds after being transplanted into larger containers.
Our Shop "Greenhouse". This is the growing center that Michael built me for about $70.

It is that time once again here on our little farm. I am starting seeds for our late winter/ early spring garden. I have learned that there are a few things that must be overcome when growing under grow lights. First, the plants must be large enough to plant outside. Growing under grow lights is a bit more unsure than growing in a greenhouse. Due to this, I have to factor in a little more growing time for my plants. This is easy by starting the seeds earlier than usual. Secondly, I must make sure that there is plenty of time to hardin off the plants before planting them in the garden. Our growing environment is much different than a greenhouse, and I must take into account that our little plants haven't been outside at all. To hardin off plants, place them outside for a few hours each day. This process takes about a week and the time outside needs to be increased each day. This is a very important step to remember and plan for when growing under grow lights.


This year I am thinking about using hoops over our beds to enable us to plant outside earlier. I want to increase the amount of produce that we grow here on our farm and decrease the amount of food that I must purchase at the grocery store. (We are still harvesting Collard Greens from our garden, but our lettuce has endured one frost too many for this year).


I will be starting Cabbage, Broccoli, Onions, Cauliflower, Spinach, and a few flowers that I want to use on our front porch for spring color. I will also start some different types of lettuce in a few more weeks. Our family loves broccoli so I would like to freeze a lot of this veggie. Michael and I are the only ones to eat cooked cabbage so I only need to freeze enough of that to use in soups and have some to fry upon occasion. However, we all enjoy fresh Cole slaw so I need to plant enough to have Cole slaw and a Cabbage Noodle Salad often. We only like to eat cauliflower fresh so I won't need any of that to freeze. I add cauliflower to our garden salads and I make a wonderful cauliflower salad. Our family also likes to have cauliflower on vegetable platters served with dip. We love having baby spinach in our salads. It is wonderful served fresh, but I must admit I do not like garden spinach cooked. I love spinach out of the grocery store cans, but I could not eat fresh spinach cooked. Michael likes it sauteed with garlic and olive oil. I couldn't even eat it like that. I will stick to fresh spinach salads. I love to make a salad with fresh spinach, pecans or walnuts, and strawberries served with a Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing.


I will post pictures of our plants as they start to grow!


grace and peace,

julie

5 comments:

poststop said...

I am also starting my seedlings in a setup I have in my garage. I have two shelfs right next to two southern facing windows so I do get natural light but I have been wanting to add a little artificial light. Wondering what sort of bulbs you are using in your setup and if you have any idea of the daily average cost of running them?

TnFullQuiver said...

My husband bought full spectrum bulbs from Lowes. We bought them last year and they cost a bit more than the standard white light bulbs. These bulbs last a long time. I do not have any idea of the daily average cost to run the bulbs. I like the fact that I can lower the chain and have the lights right next to my plants. As the plants grow, I can raise the lights by raising the chains. This keeps my plants from getting "leggy" and having week root systems. Hope this helps!
grace and peace,
julie

poststop said...

Yes thanks. I installed an $9 15 watt light last night and I will run a few tests. Good advice about avoiding leggy plants, I had a lot of problems with my transplants last year (my 1'st year of gardening) with that. Most of the lights I see sold are very powerful "grow lights" which I think use quite a bit of juice. I don't think I can justify the cost for that. I am also thinking about using a few mirrors to redirect some of the natural light coming in the windows, not sure if that will actually help of not.

Dawn C said...

Um, Julie, when can I come for dinner??? Your salad sounds sublime!!!

TnFullQuiver said...

Dawn,
Come on by! The more the merrier around our table.