Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is it Spring Yet?! Garden Time!

It doesn't seem like it, but it's time to get the seedlings started already!  I planted my broccoli, tomato, and pepper seeds on Sunday, and will plant the watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe in early April.  I plan to direct seed the cucumbers, peas, and carrots, and I will buy sweet potato plants.  That's the plan so far, anyway!  I still need to break out my graph paper and work out the grid.

I planted most of the seedlings in newspaper pots that I made myself.  It was a bit time consuming, but saved me money on buying pots- peat is inexpensive but as I understand it not the best environmental option, and more eco-friendly pots, like cowpots, are on the pricey side (particularly if you're starting 72+ seedlings!).  I had to tweak my folding technique a bit from the video I used to make my newspaper pots because my paper must be a different size, and the tabs were too small.  I cut about a quarter of the full page off and it worked well. It took about an hour to an hour and a half to make 30 pots once I got the hang of it. I do have one suggestion-- don't make them on the carpet! (whoops!)

I filled each newspaper pot  about half full with organic soil mixed with a small amount of Jobe's organic vegetable fertilizer.  I then topped each one off with a mixture of 50% peat moss and 50% vermiculite.  To make the peat/vermiculite mixture I combined the two in a bucket and mixed with water-- the peat is a little resistant to absorbing water, but it worked out.

So there should soon be 69 seedlings sprouting in our back bedroom.  I do not have a grow light, but I do use a small space heater (Target clearance last year-- about $8!) to warm up the room 2-3 times a day.  Here's the plant breakdown: 28 tomatoes, 18 hot peppers, 10 sweet pepper varieties, and 12 broccoli.  I wish I had started the broccoli a bit earlier, but it will have to do.

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