Getting started

Lettuce and arugula started

Started the first seeds of the year today: lettuce and arugula. At night, the grow racks remind me of a lab experiment, with the plugsheets in trays, carefully labelled and sheathed in plastic under the intense white light (fluorescents up close are pretty bright). And there’s the digital min/max thermometer, keeping score. The whole set-up looks like what it is. It’s great! In the beginning, I kind of obsessively (and largely unnecessarily) check every few hours to make sure the soil mix is sufficiently moist, the temperature is above 60°F, to see if anything’s emerged and it’s time to take off the plastic. Maybe after another five or 10 years, it will become simply routine, but for now, every single plant to emerge is still cool and exciting… For this, the earliest lettuce attempt yet, I’ve started five varieties, all with maturity dates of 50 days or less. There’s Simpson Elite (a really fast 40-day) and Two Stars, both green leaf, Granada and Red Salad Bowl, both red, and Sierra, which is red tinged. As a salad mix in any combination or all together, they’re a great blend of colors, textures and tastes. The arugula, Rocket and Skyrocket, intended for the mix, is faster growing than lettuce, but I felt like starting some now (I’ll start some more, later). If all goes well, these will hit the unheated greenhouse in the beginning of March, a good three weeks ahead of last year!

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5 Responses to “Getting started”

  1. Deborah says:

    me being nosey! If these will be in the greenhouse in March, where are they now? Do you start them off in the house under growing lamps?

    My stuff will all be natural light, firstly because we are almost up to 11 hours of daylight already and secondly because in this part of France very few people seem willing to pay a premium over what they can pay in the supermarkets so I don’t think I could justify the cost of the lighting, but it is something to consider. If the GM ban here is kept and the organic movement gains greater ground then who knows.

    Over here, most French people like to have their own little bit of ground where they will grow their own salad crops. I’ve already found that I’m having to totally re-evaluate my preconceived ideas because the French just don’t think in the same way as the British. Neither way is overall better than the other, just different. I suppose it’s all about researching your market.

    Hopefully, growing plants will never become routine to you, it is wondrous that from a little dry speck, and some TLC we can get food. Do keep us posted how it goes.

  2. Robin says:

    I’m sure you can’t check the trays too many times. What if you missed something? I’m obsessive about it too.

  3. I love your enthusiasm towards seeds. I have the same passion. I love gazing at my seeds as they grow. I’m growing different types of spring veggies like lettuce, swiss chard, radish, broccoli, cabbage, etc. Great tips by the way!

  4. Ethan says:

    I have some of my children’s small toy farm animals standing among my seedlings. Oh no, goats!

    Actually this is my second year gardening and my first working with lights. I think my first batch isn’t doing to well because the lights were not close enough to the plants. I am also trying my hand at soil blocks.

    Love your blog, I learn a lot!

  5. Thomas says:

    Hello,
    I just recently discovered your Blog. AMAZING!
    You have really inspired and motivated me to continue with my organic vegetable garden adventure. Even if it is just 5 rows (6m x 0.6m) for now.
    One question though, what type of fluorescent lamps are you using indoors? Because I see that some of your plants only have two tubes beneath them, and they really look healthy.
    I am using 4x30Watt fluorescent lamps beneath each tray of seedlings, and they still tend to stretch towards the light.
    Thank you once again, for allowing us all to be part of your “tiny farm”.
    May the Lord Jesus bless your efforts.
    Thomas from South-Africa.
     
     
     

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