Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our Ghetto Greenhouse

Back in late February, I began planning for our veggie garden. (Some of this was done over snow days browsing seed catalogs and drooling over Barbara Kingsolver’s descriptions in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.) The seeds were ordered and each day we checked the mail, I was like a kid waiting for a letter from Santa… “Did they come yet?” The little packets of seeds arrived one day and I began the next phase; setting up our ghetto greenhouse.

This began with getting out all the plastic egg cartons and assorted yogurt/sour cream/ricotta cheese containers I’d been saving all winter. (I told you we reuse everything around here… well, almost; we draw the line at toilet paper.) I punched drainage holes in the egg cartons with an ice pick and nested the two halves together. I did the same thing with the larger plastic containers, saving them for transplanting later.

This meant that I could water them from the bottom and not disturb the seedlings’ tiny roots once they germinated. I filled the top one with organic soilless seed starting mix and then moistened each pod. The seeds were pushed into the moist soil and then I slid the whole set-up into a large bread bag and closed it with a twist tie. We started peppers, heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, basil, brussel sprouts, and cilantro this way. Once these were all ready to go, we put them on a card table in front of our sunny, southern facing window… right in the middle of the living room.

In about six weeks, we had some fabulous seedlings in each pod. I transplanted the tomatoes, lettuce, brussel sprouts, and peppers to the larger yogurt/sour cream containers I had prepared earlier. Using a spoon to scoop them out made this process really easy. Transplanting them to deeper containers really gave the seedlings a jump start.

In the meantime, Benny built some raised vegetable beds for outside in the yard where we’ll transplant the veggies this weekend, after we fill the boxes with a mixture of peat moss, compost, and vermiculite. We’re looking forward to good fresh veggies this spring and summer—as local as they get!

We’ll update tomorrow on how we constructed the beds and managed to fit all the materials into the Jetta. I’ll also fill you in on our new additions to our edible landscaping.

I’d love to hear what you’re doing in your garden this spring, so leave some love in the comments!

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