I’m supposed to be working, but I just can’t concentrate so I’m making a blog entry.
I never got around to doing a hoop house. In fact, my enthusiasm right now is so low that it’s almost not there. (Family stuff). I did start some seeds already. I’m leaning towards the soil blocks because they take up less room. But before I decided on doing the soil blocks, I started some mustard seeds in an egg carton. (The sprouted seeds in the little container are asparagus seeds).
I started the mustard seeds in a little flat, and then I took the time to divide the egg cartons into semi-individual compartments (a little obsessive, I know), and then I thought about the soil blocks.
I started the Rainbow Swiss Chard in the egg cartons too, but later transplanted them into a window planter and after that into individual peat pots that fit nicely into the window planter.
I did make some soil blocks and planted/transplanted some herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, lavender), lettuce, broccoli, brussles sprouts, tomatoes (brandywine and sweet 100), bell peppers (green and yellow), asparagus and godetia (thanks, Granny). They’re all growing just fine.
I also planted egg plant, nasturtium, a few snow peas, cauliflower and marigolds into the soil blocks, and I’m waiting for them to germinate.
I didn’t do a hoop house, per se, but last fall I made a compost pile out of leaves and grass and soil from any pots that the plants had finished. I surrounded the pile with fencing and threw a tarp over it. In the front part of the bed I planted some swiss chard plants that my mother-in-law gave me and piled the compost ingredients in the back of the bed. Before I got a chance to pick any of the swiss chard its snowed on them and I threw them out of my mind.
A couple of weeks ago when the weather started warming a little, I went out to check on the compost and noticed it was a little warm. I mixed some alfalfa pellets into the pile to hopefully get it heating up a little faster. Just for the fun of it, I took the dead looking swiss chard and planted them on the top of the compost pile. A few days later I plucked one of the plants out of the ground and saw it was growing new roots. Joy of joys, they’re putting on new leaf growth now.
I wish I had taken a picture of the dead looking things I started with. Anyway, I figured if the compost pile is putting out heat, if I covered the area it would be enough heat for the cool season things. So, I put out the swiss chard first, and it did fine. Then I put out the little tray of lettuce (the first planting), the spinach, the second planting of lettuce, the herbs, broccoli, brussles sprouts and the asparagus. I have no idea how the asparagus is going to do in soil blocks, but it’s an experiment. (They’re the ferny looking things in the lower right of the first photo).
The temp this morning was 36 (brrrrrr! ), but my plants were basking in a cozy 60 degrees. Midday it was up to 70. I fluffed up the compost pile, mixed in a handful of alfalfa pellets, gave it a drink of water and brought out the tray with the warm season stuff. Instead of running the lights and the heating pad in the house and running up my electric bill, I’m using the free heat from the compost and the free light from Mother Nature.
I know I’m taking a chance, but if all else fails and the plants die, I’ll just have to buy bell peppers and tomatoes.
Here’s where the plants are living until I take the time to put them into the ground.
Not very pretty, but it serves the purpose.