March 17, 2008

Indoor Gardening

I had an opportunity to purchase some Aerogardens cheap, so I got three. The third one had some minor difficulties which are now solved, so my Italian herbs are just sprouting. But the Garden Salad mix and Tomatoes are off to a great start. Tomorrow I'm going to raise the lights to the next level.

For years I've dreamed of sprouting and growing plants better, and possibly keep us in salad makings through winter. We did keep a cold frame outside that gave us salad makings most of the winter - until voles found it! But it's so labor intensive with putting insulation back on every night and removing in the morning, and sometimes needing to crack the glass open so the plants don't cook! And then last winter with the 3 foot snow dumped just before Christmas that never melted ...

The key for seed and plant growth in low sun angle cool weather is heat for the soil and grow lights. Now I've set that up in the greenhouse! With all the excavating and landscaping we are doing this year, the cheapest route is to start from seed.

Every year, I do start my veggie garden seeds in the house, on the rug in the dining room, just for a bit of warmth, and then move the sprouted seeds to the cooler greenhouse attached to the south side of our house. My growing season averages about ninety days, so I need to get a head start on some things. And too, I've learned what things start best in the garden.

But there's some things I know I can start from seed but have not had a lot of luck with and think it's the soil temperature. So this year will be a year of experiment. I'm going to start my garden seedlings in the greenhouse soon, and the grow lights that I can raise as plants grow, will keep the plants from getting leggy. After the garden starts, I'll start the perennial seeds I got for landscaping and can be planting them out through fall. Then I'll experiment through winter. If the winter gardening is successful in the greenhouse, then I'll be passing on the Aerogardens to my kids.

So far, what I've got growing in the greenhouse is wheatgrass. It's about ready to start harvesting. It's supposed to be very nutritious for you. We had bought some and Monte tried just eating it. His comment was, "It tastes like grass ... not objectionable though". I tried blending it with some juice, and it doesn't 'chew up' very well. So we'll 'juice' it through an extractor like a meat-grinder. I'll give you an update on that.

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