Yikes! There’s Veggies Growing in the Basement!

Our Tomato Harvest

It is every gardeners dream to grow their own veggies.  The pride that comes from walking out to your garden and picking a fresh veggie is so rewarding.  We started about half of our garden from seeds and have probably more than 40 plants in the basement under the warmth of grow lights.  They are ready to head outside, but we are just waiting for our last frost date in our zone.  Since we had frost over the weekend, we feel that the end is near for cold temps here and gardening season will soon be full speed ahead!  We will also be planting cucumbers, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, and celery too!

I am amazed on how well our plants have been doing and just had to share with you some of our progression photographs.  What’s amazing is that in just a few days, the plants get bigger and I have to move the grow lights up again on the chains they are attached to.  Progression.  Growth.  Smiles.

3-29-13

3-29-13

4-28-13

4-28-13

5-12-13

5-12-13

But what is more amazing is that we noticed a few days ago that we already have small peppers growing on a few of our pepper plants!  Amazing is what I call that!  What I would love to try over the winter, is to start some plants and see if we can produce fresh veggies during the winter.  Now that would be amazing!

Small peppers are already growing on our plants!

Small peppers are already growing on our plants!

Awhile ago, when I was transplanting the seedlings out of the seed tray and into bigger pots, there was one Big Boy Tomato plant that kinda did not make it.  All of its leaves fell off, and all that was left was a “little stick”.  When I say little stick, it was about an inch high and looked like nothing could save this little tomato plant.  But…. I decided to try to nurture this “stick” back to health.  I carefully transplanted it into a bigger pot with a spoon as not to disturb any roots (if there were any at that point).  I watered it, and gave it a nice spot under the grow light.  To my amazement, after all of my love and affection for this little stick, it has now grown into a beautiful tomato plant!  I am going to tie something onto this tomato plant when it heads out to the garden, and will cherish each and every tomato I pick from my little stick as I have grown quite attached to it!  (NOTE:  My little stick is the tomato plant below with the binder clip on it)

I almost threw this "stick" out, but saved it!  Now, look at it!

I almost threw this “stick” out, but saved it! Now, look at it!

Our new rain barrel is filling up nicely with rain water and getting well stocked with what we need to keep our plants well watered this season.  This will surely keep the water bill to a minimum this summer!  Keep checking back for more progression photographs, and soon we will be taking all of our plants outside and into the garden.  It’s time to grow up and move out of the house!

Reaching For The Sky: Progression Of Our Garden

Watching your plants grow is exhilarating and an experience.  Our plants have been in the garden for almost a month now, some are struggling, while others are thriving.  Our weather has been up and down, had some rain, and daily up keep in the garden from weeds & bugs keeps us really busy. 

We thought that we would share with you some “Progression Photographs” of our plants to see them when they first peeked out of the seed cell tray, to how they are currently doing in the garden.  It is amazing, thrilling, and quite frankly a little nerve-racking trying to do all you can for these little plants to keep them going, while you hear of other people’s  gardens are thriving and you wonder “that are they doing differently than us”, but you trudge on and do your best. 

We started our thought of a garden earlier in the year and said “let’s do it, let’s plant a garden“!  We got tired of paying $2.99/lb for red peppers and thought that it is time to start growing our own!   So, we did the research on how to build a raised garden bed, figured out exactly how much rich garden soil we needed, and started our seeds indoors under a grow light.  Then the waiting began.  Every day we stared at the soil in the seed cells, hoping to see a glimpse of green ….nothing, then about three days later, we saw our first sprout, a cucumber!  Holy cow, we thought, man those things germinated fast! 

Now that the plants are in the garden and have got themselves acclimated to being outdoors and the weather, we feel that we should start seeing some leaps and bounds and some major growth.   We take photographs of the plants every day so we can see how they are coming along (kinda like what we did last year to our pumpkin plants) not to mention their progression in growth.  It is amazing to look back on the photographs to see how small they actually were back then, and can hardly imagine picking fresh vegetables from them one day.  The whole process is amazing to us, but we are so glad that we have started this journey in home gardening, and we’re ready to do it again next year. 

For next year, there will be a few things that we won’t do & some things that we’ll change, for instance:

  • First, we found out after the fact, but we will not leave our grow light on 24/7.  We found out that plants need to learn to sleep and need the night/day difference when growing up.
  • We will not start our cucumbers indoors.  We started them indoors waaaay to early and by the time we got them in the garden, they were getting stringy and out of control.  So, if we do plant them indoors next year, we will start them closer to the actual date of taking them outdoors.  They grew well indoors, but we just started them too early.
  • For our tomato plants, we will start them indoors next year (just like we did this year, but we lost all of our little sprouts & they died).  What we did wrong this year is, we planted a few seeds in each little seed cell and never clipped them down to only one plant per seed cell.  We think this killed the plants.  We could not bring ourselves to clip any of them, and thought we could separate them when we transplanted them into peat pots – – wrong!  Their roots were inter-twined and could not be separated.  So for next year, we will plant only one tomato seed per pot and we should not have the growth problem, not to mention that we will have to probably start these indoors around February/March.
  • While shopping for bags of potting soil, we happened to pick up a bag here and there and found that only the Burpee Potting Soil worked best for planting seeds indoors.  We had picked up a bag of soil from Marcs that we used for my flower seeds, and almost all of the seeds that we planted – died.  This soil was so horrible and if you breathed on it too hard, you could blow it away.  So, buying the better and more expensive potting soil is your best bet, don’t buy the cheap stuff!

Home gardening is truly an experience, one that we have enjoyed and the knowledge that we have learned along the way is priceless. 

PROGRESSION PHOTO’S OF OUR COPENHAGEN CABBAGE:

 

 

PROGRESSION PHOTO’S OF OUR LETTUCE: