In some areas of the country you can realistically work on your garden all year - the Midwest is not one of those places. Sure you can always do things like reading, planning, purchasing supplies, and saving your scraps for composting, but we can’t go out and tend to an outdoor garden in the winter. Luckily it seems the frosty weather is gone for good (that is until later this year :/) and that means you can start planting and getting seeds started indoors. Or in a greenhouse, if you’re lucky!
Sofia and I thought we were practicing due diligence and saved seeds from some of our favorite varieties of squash, peppers, and tomatoes we bought from the farmer's market last fall but unfortunately when we unwrapped them a few weeks ago, many were found to have mold. Oh well, it was our first attempt and after some reading we'll try a better storage method next season. Anyhow we were able to salvage a few, plus we bought some new seeds.
We built a "grow tower" in our living room to give the seeds a good start. It's pretty easy to put together and is well worth the investment if you don't have a greenhouse and want to garden on a regular basis.
How we saved some $$$ (in the order that I completed the activities to build the grow tower):
- I bought a shelving rack on Craigslist for $40.
- We used some Home Depot gift cards I received for Christmas to purchase shop lights and accompanying bulbs. We took our thriftiness to the next level for step 3 and...
- Sofia's dad, an electrician, helped wire two fixtures he had laying around and I returned to Home Depot for some linked chains and S hooks to suspend the fixtures in a similar fashion to the shop lights
We are using fluorescent light bulbs and experimenting with the intensity of the bulbs to see if we note any differences. So far we have 32 and 25 watt bulbs, and two types of the 32 watt bulbs: "natural light" and "daylight deluxe".
We are also fortunate enough to access the greenhouse that belongs to the community garden we belong to but the space is quite limited, hence we decided to build our grow tower. We will keep everyone posted as to any trends we notice in regards to which lighting is best, etc.
Our hypotheses is that the seeds planted in the greenhouse will fare the best but who knows at this point?