OK, as reported before, got the first spring seeds started back in the middle of January. Well the spinach and broccoli sprouted pretty quickly, within 4 days. The tomatoes took a bit longer, more like 6 to 8 days for the Cherokee Purple and the Yellow Pear, and a whopping 11 days for the Flordade. For the most part things are going pretty well, right? Well - not so right. We have very limited 'inside' space so the seed flat was relegated to the top of the refrigerator which actually lives out in the barn.
|Leggy broccoli that can't even stand up on its own|
|The Cherokee Purple tomatoes seem to be doing alright though|
The only other place we have that is both somewhat protected from low temperatures and has a window is the countertop in my van. Except that window is heavily tinted and all I managed to succeed in doing was get the plants to lean one way or the other, depending on which way I turned the seed tray.
The obvious solution, and one I should have taken care of first, is a grow-box. A fancy way of saying some shelves with lights.
The shelf issue was solved by emptying one of our many rolling shelving units of the crap that was important when I put it there yet hasn't been touched since; you know what I'm talking about, everybody's got crap like that. The light situation wasn't so easy, or inexpensive. Long ago I replaced some of the T12 shop lights in the barn with more efficient T8 fixtures so I hunted around for those old fixtures but must have given them away. So I hiked on over to one of the big-box stores and found a 48", 4 lamp T8 fixture that would do the job. Of course it came with no lamps and I was down to a single spare back at the barn so I bought a case of 6500 kelvin lamps, and while I was hunting them down came across some tube protectors so picked up 4 of those as well.
|My sparsely populated seed grower with the front moving|
blanket folded up on top for access
Rather than get fancy with adjustable shelves or lights, I'll just set the seed tray on some blocks to get it closer to the light until the plants get taller then I'll remove the blocks. And to finish the whole thing off I draped it with some of the moving blankets I use when building delicate furniture.
Shelving unit: Free since I already had it.
Moving Blankets: Ditto
Light fixture: $49.98
Lamps: $ 3.33 each $13.32 total
Tube guards: $ 3.68 each $14.72 total (Yeah, I know, maybe not such a good idea.)
Total cost: $78.02 (Man oh man! that first tomato is going to be really expensive!!)
|The Beef-Steak Tomatoes will be thinned to one per cell|
once the true-leaves are out
|The original, and leggy broccoli and spinach center left and|
the new batch of each on the right
|This new batch of broccoli, grown under lights, looks|
much better than the original batch grown in the dark
|Onion sets in the Grow-Box. It never gets down to 20 degrees|
around here so they are safe outside without protection.