Today was the start of seed starting at our house. We woke up at our usual time and after a delicious breks whipped up by K, we got right to business. We had cleared most of this area the other day, but we finished the last few things, including un-hooking that shelf thingie from the ceiling (it used to hold our router, but now that we have Uverse the router is included in an all-in-one unit that lives behind the TV) and re-homing the inflatable Ultraman who was living up there.
You can see here that we have a lot of stuff in the basement, including the patio furniture (draped in plastic), a ton of DVDs, CDs, and paperbacks, and some store shelving K brought home when his former place of work went out of business.
I was happy to have K’s help putting this shelf together – it was definitely much easier with two people than if I’d tried it by myself, and it was easy for him to lift the shelves up to the 72″ height of the poles as we assembled it (the shelves slide down the poles).
We ran into one snafu as we got started – the chains included with the shop lights were of course really short, which wouldn’t work for the very beginning stages when the lights need to be close to the pots. Not sure why it didn’t occur to me to check that before. So we ran to the Home Despot and got $10 worth of chain, and we were back in business. We used a level to make sure we had both lights on each shelf even with each other.
Voila! The trays are still empty here, but you can see what the setup will look like when it’s in business. It was really pretty easy!
This is the power strip with timer that I bought. It wasn’t clear from the packaging that the timer only controls four of the eight outlets, though. Boo, hiss. So it will probably go back and I’ll replace it with something else, or perhaps get something in addition to this for the other two lights. As it is, I’m only using two of the shelves right now so it’s actually okay for the moment.
Now that it’s all set up, we turned it all off and went upstairs to watch DVR’d Fringe and make a bunch of newspaper pots. I looked at a bunch of YouTube videos and then did my own combination of the possible ways to do it. First, I divided the newspaper into half-sheets.
Then, fold the half-sheet in half length-wise.
Then roll the newspaper up around a soup can. I found that it worked best when the top of the can was facing inside the newspaper.
Then turn the can up so that it’s right-side up inside the newspaper, and pinch the paper together where it flaps over.
Then fold down the paper, starting with the flappy bit.
Fold down all the paper at this end. For me, three folds worked well.
Then turn the can over, and squish down the end with the folds onto the table so it compresses.
Slide the pot off the can. Note: if you wrap it really, really tightly around the can, it will not want to come off. Don’t do that.
Hey, look! It’s a pot! Ignore the fact that it’s listing a bit – that will stop being an issue when you put the seed-starting mix in. The bonus here is that when you go to plant outside, you can just plant the entire newspaper pot – open up the bottom flaps and it’ll compost nicely in the ground as the roots grow.
Important note: your hands may be ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING when you’re done folding over 100 newspaper pots.
After some lunch, I made a plan for what I want to plant where in the veg beds this year (more on that later), looked up what needed to be started by now, and headed downstairs to actually start some seeds. You’ll notice that I had to compromise – I could not find the necessary ingredients for making my own seed starting mix in my local stores, so I had to cave and buy pre-made commercial mix. Bah. Also, this gross pillow is an old dog pillow that happened to be nearby. Concrete floors are hard, yo!
One episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour later, I had two and three-quarters seed trays filled! Hooray!
I wrote on each pot the date and the name of the seed that is planted in it. Hopefully this, along with Folia, will help me keep track of what’s what and whether it’s germinating when it’s supposed to.