“An optimist is the human personification of spring.”
~ Susan J. Bissonette
My garden is still covered in a blanket of snow, but it won’t be around for much longer.
I must say, for a while I was rather dreading the end of winter. There was still much needed rest on my mind. It seems I’ve finally rested up and I’m starting to get giddy with excitement for spring. Perhaps it’s because I started my first seedlings this week or maybe it’s that I’m finally tiring of winter. Either way – I’m starting to get excited for spring!
I want to see bare earth and the beginning shoots of green. I want there to be smell in the air and softness to the wind. Most of all, I’m ready to feel the warm sun on my back as I push seeds into the cool dark soil!
Are you still waiting for spring or has spring already come in your garden?Filed under Quote | Comments (16)
I’m finally at the point where I’ve been able to eat the bacon we made way back in November. I’m super sensitive to smells and until now, the smell of the smoke wasn’t allowing me to eat the bacon. I’ve finally reached that point where I can, so we’ve finally be eating up the bacon we made.
So far we’ve tried our German Bacon and the house bacon, both have been great. I can’t wait to try to River Cottage bacon next.
Now that we’ve tried the bacon I can start to give away some bacon. We were reluctant to give any away until we had tried it ourselves.
Now that it’s bacon time, we have a lot of bacon to consume in the next year! No doubt next year will be better for me as far as smells go, now that I’ve gotten through it once, it won’t bother me the next time around.
Are they any food smells that you have a hard time with?Filed under Around the House, Cooking | Comments (19)
I love onions, love love love them. I’m fairly certain not a day goes by that I don’t include onions in my diet. As a result I grow lots of onions. After being disappointed in the varieties of onions available in plant/set, I began starting my onions from seed.
This year I’m trying a few open pollinated varieties and would like to try producing some of my own seed for the future. That’s one reason I chose to grow ‘Clear Dawn’, which is a stabilized open pollinated version of ‘Copra’ a popular long-storing onion.
My ‘Redwing’ onions from last year are storing like champs, which is very rare for red onions. I’m growing them again along with ‘Red Bull’ which is supposed to be an open pollinated long storing red onion. I’ll compare how it stores alongside the ‘Redwing’ onions.
‘Red Weathersfield’ is considered to be one of the healthiest onions, it contains high levels of antioxidants and other goodness. It’s also supposed to store well, we shall see how it stacks up to the other two red varieties above.
I’m also starting a few varieties of leeks, they are great when you don’t want too much oniony flavor and they are great for augmenting the onions in the winter since they’re so cold tolerant.
This is the first year I’ve been able to grow enough onions for my kitchen. My onion harvest is still storing well and I have a good number in the pantry. When the garden thaws I’ll have a few overwintered leeks as well to help make them last until the 2014 harvest comes in.
What’s your favorite vegetable to start from seed?
When we purchased this house we inherited a bunch of keys. There are some hanging in the kitchen, there are others upstairs sitting on the stair railing. We have no idea what they go to, but we keep them around just in case we discover a lock somewhere that they might open.
I’m planning on putting them all in jar in a cabinet somewhere, but them I’m afraid I’ll forget where the jar in. You know how it goes, as soon as we put them away and forget where they are we’ll discover one of the locks they open!
Did you inherit anything you were afraid to throw away with a home?Filed under Around the House | Comments (9)
After years of dealing with insufficient lighting for my seedlings I finally purchased a BIG metal halide light. I grow my own seedlings to have the healthiest plants and I finally decided it was time to take the plunge. I wanted to future proof my investment, so I got a 1000W one. The nice this is that the ballast I got allows me to dim the light to 400W and 600W for when I have fewer seedlings underneath.
Fluorescents were never my favorite when it came to seedlings, I felt that unless the bulbs were replaced every couple years the seedlings suffered. The constant moving of the lights was also a huge pain since I didn’t have a real light shelf. It’s not as big of an issue if you only have one or two lights, but I need around 10 or 15 lights for the number of seed flats I have. There was also the need for more grow lights this year because of my bigger garden and my old grow lights were in need of new bulbs. I was tired of never having enough space and having to swap out seed flats for 12 hour shifts under the lights. I could keep limping along and spending more money on a system I didn’t like, or I could invest in something that would give me better results at a cheaper price. I decided it was time and invested my money in a new fixture.
You may wonder why I chose this particular light. For one, it’s made in the USA (check out SunlightSupply for more info). Another benefit is that it’s actually more efficient for me to use this light than to use fluorescent lights for 20-30 seed flats. How can this be? Because metal halide grow lights produce more lumens per watt than fluorescent lights do. This intense light will also produce shorter, sturdier growth in my seedlings. Another benefit is that this light creates much less waste and environmental impact that fluorescent lights would. The bulb in this fixture needs replaced only every 6000 hours. That means that I can use one bulb for four or five years and when it needs changed it’s only one bulb instead of 30 or 40 bulbs that I would have to replace in fluorescent fixtures. It’s also much more economical for me since each bulb costs around $70. The fixture itself is also much cheaper for the number of seedlings I can grow under it. I can fit 32 flats of seedlings under this light and other plants that need less light around the edges (my citrus trees will be happy in this spot).
This past weekend Mr Chiots and I set up the light in the basement. Eventually it will reside in the potting room up in the garage and hopefully a greenhouse someday, but the ducks live there now, so the basement it is for seedlings this year. I already have a pot of greens germinating under the lights along with planters of cilantro and other herbs.
Do you use grow lights for your seedlings? What kind do you use?Filed under Around the House | Comments (13)