Friday, March 7

Better Late Than Never

I have been itching to get my hands dirty for months. As recently as a few weeks ago I was spending much too much time on the houseplants and in a complete failure of willpower I began using my new electronic soil tester on the potting soil in the Christmas cactus.
 
This time of year I forget about all the hours of weeding and toppling tomato plants and all the other things that give me nightmares over the summer months. All I can think about is starting seeds. All that time pouring over seed catalogs, researching soil amendments and surfing the web drooling over pictures of raised beds and drip irrigation has finally driven me over the edge.
 
So a couple of weekends ago (this is where the better late than never comes in since it took me this long to post about it) I went down into the basement with work clothes and a mission.
 
First, our basement is an old, unfinished tomb of sorts. It is full of cobwebs and creepy-crawlies and cat littler boxes. The room where I start my seeds, and raise the baby chicks in one that has adequate power and a door that closes tightly - a must to keep cats away from baby chicks. I took the little man down there with me and together we cleared cobwebs and dusted off planting supplies and swept up all the yuck that seems to accumulate in basements.
 
We ended up with a serviceable seed starting room, and then he wanted to go watch the Magic Schoolbus. No problem. I was ready to play in the dirt.
 
I wanted to get the peppers and tomatoes started that day so I began by testing all my lights to make sure I would not need to run out to the store for a new bulb. With everything in working order I started by mixing the soil in my cheery-colored home depot bucket: 16 dry quarts on Jiffy Organic seed starter and 4 dry quarts of organic Vermiculite. I considered adding a little Garden Tone but I decided to hold off on fertilizer until after things have sprouted. 
 
 


This year I wanted to try a heat mat and since they are astronomically priced for someone on a budget, I just got the one mat and decided to use it for the peppers. This is the first time I have ever used one so I am monitoring the results to see if it might be worth the investment to get a few more for the tomatoes.


For this years peppers I decided on:

Sheepnose Pimento
Sweet Green California Wonder
Hot Cayenne Yellow
Carnival Mix

It just doesn't get any better than a full seeds tray and some packets......

All the peppers are planted and I am waiting for sprouts.....

The setup.....

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