Spring is finally approaching in snowy New England, and not a minute too soon. We're starting to see patches of lawn through the snow and I *think* I spotted a few daffodils shoots springing up.
In the meantime we're getting ready for the growing season and counting our blessings as we keep in mind those who have been affected by the horrific earthquake/tsunami in Japan. Speaking of this, click HERE for info helpful to those wanting to help the 4-legged victims.
I've been starting seeds for my garden already, which has the triple benefit of getting a jump on the growing year, saving money on buying started plants, and keeping me from going stir crazy. I recently attended a gardening workshop led by the dynamic father/daughter team Ron and Jennifer Kujawski and got some great new ideas. They have a new exceedingly practical book that I am loving - click on the picture for more info.
Inspired by their words and lacking a sunroom or even good south-facing window I decided to invest in some additional lighting for my little seedlings. A quick search online and in the local garden store showed that unless I was willing to shell out $100 or more for lights and a stand I was going to have to get creative. Luckily I found some handy websites that helped me do just that.
Marion Owen has a great 1 page resource for seed starting in general at http://www.plantea.com/seedstart.htm#raise - she confirmed the idea that a plain old $15 shop light will be completely suitable and that seedlings like a whopping 14-16 hours of light per day.
Cornell University's Extension added another helpful piece of the lighting puzzle with complete plans for a cheap, easy to build PVC light stand at the following page: http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/factsheets/growlite/index.html
One afternoon visit to the hardware store, about $30, half an hour of work (with a little help from the husband) and my lighting stand is complete!
These are my cold weather crops - Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, and Lettuce. I didn't get them under the lights quite as early as I would have liked so they are a bit leggy, but I'm hoping I can correct this when I transplant the sprouts into individual pots. The clementine box is an ideas from the Kujawski book.
Happy almost spring - next task is pruning the apple trees!