Here are eighteen tomato seedlings I transplanted over the weekend into some leftover bins I had squirreled away in the greenhouse. We’ve had hit-or-miss luck with about half of the seedlings so far; half of them died off completely and the other half grew out of control. These are now under a growlight up in the new bathroom, and hopefully they will develop quickly with more room for their roots.
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on pre-grown plants at the Friendly Neighborhood Home Superstore this year, Jen and I decided to start our own seed in the basement. Partially inspired by my father’s success (the man can make plants grow from moon dust) and partially inspired by our lack of funds, we bought several mini-greenhouses, their accompanying heating mats, and a bagful of seed. Unfortunately, hubris clouded our better judgement, because after reviewing the space and height requirements for each species of plant we’re starting, it became clear that we don’t have the massive acreage needed to cultivate everything we bought.
For the record, we’re putting in three species of tomatoes (we love our tomatoes here), eggplant (I’m a recent and avid convert), cucumber, pole beans, soybeans (edamame is the shiznit) and a Blackwater-sized army of marigolds and nasturtium to fend off the bugs. We also have an additional pile of pretty flowers to start in a few weeks for the other gardens.
Jen has spent hours poring over book after book, collating information about friendly plant species, best planting practices, soil composition, and harvesting tips. Even so, we spent the better part of Sunday planning out the timing—different seed goes in on different dates, sort of like following the Olympics or reading a complicated train schedule—we then plotted the size, shape, location and arrangement of our vegetable garden-to-be in the backyard for maximum sun exposure and drainage requirements. (Unfortunately, we are cursed with a sloping, shaded, and unevenly drained yard, with a minimum of southern exposure and a swamp in the corner.)
Last night, we put 72 seeds in to bake for six weeks under a grow lamp in the basement, and I transferred our schedule to iCal so that we’re on track with the plants. Let’s hope our efforts are not in vain.