Friday, March 6, 2015

Its *almost* planting season...

I know, hard to believe, right? Especially considering we still have a foot of snow on the ground from the big snow storm six weeks ago. It never melted.

The current non-garden-y state of my back yard.The little circle on the bottom right is my 12" planter for the raspberry bushes that drowned during the August flood last year.
 But according to my research, seeds should be started six weeks before the last frost is expected and that means they need to be planted mid March, i.e. about ten days from now.

Which brings me to another dilemma. Last year, I started seeds in my kitchen window. They dried out very quickly even though I watered them twice a day, and didn't grow very fast at all. I have no other windows in which to place seedlings and I really do want to start more than six plants this year.

So my problems are: limited money and limited space and no natural daylight. I could buy a nice shiny indoor greenhouse with grow lights for a few hundred spare (haha) dollars, but the whole point of this little gardening venture is to have ready access to affordable produce that isn't half rotten.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet my dollar store solution: 36 biodegradable miniature seed pots and two lasagna trays with clear plastic lids. (The gloves were bonuses - I can never find my gardening gloves!) $5 for my own little miniature green houses, allowing me to start up to 36 plants. Gosh I love my dollar store.

The plan is to cut air holes in the lids but put them on the plants to keep the moisture in. The trays will allow me to keep the roots damp without overwatering. All I need now to turn my dining room table into a plant growing machine is a small bag of potting soil, two grow light bulbs from Home Depot, and a light timer.

As far as outdoor space for gardening, I'm looking at getting a couple of these raised bed garden kits.

They are only 8 inches deep, so I would want to stack two to get a good depth, but they would give me four times the square footage of the stock tanks that I was considering for the same price. These particular models are made of recycled materials, will not rot, and won't leech chemicals (like those from treated wood) into the soil.  I did also assess the cost of untreated cedar planks to build my own garden bed, but it would have doubled the cost.

I will need a few other things - some wire mesh for the bottom to keep burrowing pests out and a trellis for my vertical gardening ideas.

So there we have it. A few more days of plotting and planning my square foot/vertical garden, which I already know that I will need to bunny proof considering the beating that my apple tree took last year, and I'll be ready to go.

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