Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sprouting Seeds and Bad Lighting

Nope, it's not just Nick sprouting at our house this week. Although he is looking taller to me these days, and his face is starting to look less babyish and more kid-like every week. No, the reason for the sprouting is because I re-read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" a couple of weeks ago.  You see, I ordered a bunch of seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange, and they arrived on Saturday. I ordered the stuff that Greg and Nick and I like to eat, including: red pepper, sage, broccoli, yellow and red tomatoes, basil, thyme, rosemary, spinach, green beans, cucumber, and several kinds of squash. I got really ambitious on Sunday. . .

When I read the packages, many of the types of seeds said "start indoors 6-8 weeks before the expected date of last frost." Now, I am no gardening expert, (frankly, I'm just now learning how NOT to kill plants) but I know that I'm in zone 5 and that means May 25th is the earliest date to plant most crops. So I figured that I'd better get cracking. I looked up (on e-how, actually) how to build a seed-starting shelf, printed out the directions, and headed to the Home Depot. Now, I should tell you that putting things together is not my greatest skill. The last shelf I put together fell apart minutes after construction. But lately I've become more determined. I told myself, "Melissa, you have a master's degree. You can build a simple shelf that's listed as "moderately easy" in the directions!" And I did.

I'm rather proud of myself for managing to build this on my own. The shelf was simple enough, but I actually had to hook up the wires to add a plug for the lights. My neighbors must wonder about the lights 16 hours a day in the open window. I swear I'm only growing heirloom vegetables and herbs. Note the pointing baby in the photo; lately he keeps pointing out every window and yelling something that sounds like "outside." It was far too cold for me to take him to play outside today, though. But my seeds were sure warm.

Fluorescent lighting makes everybody's skin look weird, I guess, even a toddler. Nick was eating a tortilla chip when I took this picture. Check out my hyacinths--they've grown at least an inch since I bought them on Sunday. Those weren't from seed (obviously), but I love hyacinths and I figured I'd see how they did with the lights.

I believe I may have planted too much thyme in each slot. I think I might have to move some of it. But it sure sprouted well! I'm not terrific at math, so I am not sure if I planted too many seeds or not enough for a medium sized garden. I'm looking forward to spending more time outside digging.

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