Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring 2.0

We are just entering Year 2 of this five year voyage to grow/raise/barter locally for 70% of the food we consume and so I thought I would start at the beginning (again) with seeds.

Last year, we raised our seeds in little seed trays, nestled in an electric blanket to keep them warm, and placed by the window to give them light. The seeds germinated, but after that explosion of Good, things quickly turned to Bad. No matter where we placed the trays, the young seedlings never got enough light. They grew long and stringy and failed to thrive, even after patiently waiting four weeks or more. I eventually just placed them in the ground or the greenhouse and within days, they were growing again, but we'd lost a lot of time in the trays.

This year, I actually did a little research before jumping in and found that up here near the Arctic Circle (not really, it just feels like that some days), you cannot actually get enough light to start seeds in early spring. That kind of sunlight only comes in summer. In spring, you need to add supplemental lights. And so we dutifully went down to Lowe's and picked up a $20 shop light and installed it over our seed table. We did keep the electric blanket from last year. I can't afford the seed warmers just yet. Maybe for Spring 3.0.

So far, I have been very impressed with my modest investment in lighting. The baby plants are thriving and no longer stringy and weak. They are even starting to get their "real" leaves, a feat never achieved before being placed in the ground last year!

Florescent bulb worshipping seedlings (kale and onions)

In other ways, the farm is coming to life. The garlic is up and the asparagus patch has been de-mulched to allow the sun to entice the spears to the surface. Our 23 hens gave us 20 eggs yesterday. It's going to be a good year.

Did you see what I just did there?? I made it an entire post without mentioning the goats!


jenj said...

So, how are the goats? ;)

AareneX said...

Yes, how are the goats?

Also, I'm afraid that Haiku Farm is even closer to the Arctic Circle than your farm is...I wonder what weird things I will have to do to get seedlings to "go".

Sigh. Back to the library, I guess.

JeniQ said...

Daun - love the seedling worshiping light picture. Are you using regular florescent lights, or plant grow lights?


Daun said...

Hey JeniQ,
Those are normal 6500k "day" bulbs from the hardware store. They are not special grow lights and the seedlings are doing very well.

The rest of you goat lovers, an update will be coming soon!