A Garden Intermission

I said I would  not post about the living room again until I could offer a completed room, so I won’t (although there have been developments!)

In the meantime, this blog – in my mind – is about the whole homestead so instead today I’ll write about progress on another front….

Today was a rainy day and the mist crept in in the in the afternoon – it was lovely to see.

Misty lovely rainy day

Misty lovely rainy day

Even though its only the middle of January, I’m already thinking about the garden. The earth here is dense and clay-ey and full of earthworms, which we discovered while planting the first homestead tree – a Japanese maple which came from the home depot super discount section in November when they were closing out the stock from the summer.

Regarding the garden.. I *may* have gone a bit overboard with seed purchasing. (There’s a gardener’s joke about the mid winter blues phenomenon called ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ – SAD, that its actually ‘Seed Acquisition Disorder’).

I discovered this web site – MySeeds.co. Worth a look, most seed packs are only $1.00, they have an amazing selection, and they send you a gift seed pack with your order. Seeds arrived quickly – they are packaged ‘by hand’, so cute.


Seeds from MySeeds.co

Aw Yiss, seeds in January!











I also ordered my chiles from Sandia Seed Company in New Mexico because I was not going to miss my chance – after years! of getting some actual New Mexico green chile in the ground.

IMG_5232 IMG_5231






Are you wondering if I have a plan? If I have thought at all about the sheer amount of work this is going to take?

In fact, I have a two-year plan… Year one involves carefully cultivating peppers (of all sorts!) and just sort of throwing other stuff in….. according to my carefully drawn plans 😉

(Year 1 plans also Pam & Tom coming for an extended visit, and potentially me taking a few weeks off work in the spring to get everything up and running).


Homestead plan


Garden Plan

So, this weekend’s job (while finishing the living room, actually) was to build a heated germination stand for the chiles (and for the other plant babies, too).  Mostly for the chiles though – many varieties are happiest germinating in 82-89 degree soil, and some take many weeks (up to 6) to germinate even at that temp. Yes, I know heat mats are available, but they are generally pretty expensive. I even bought a cheap-ish heating pad, thinking I could somehow use that instead. While I may still try that, it turns out that is much nicer for sitting on the sofa with!

So I used this idea for inspiration. You build a stand and use incandescent rope lights for heat.  I cut down a piece of plywood to about 3′ x 5′, and am using strips of wood I already had: some leftover pieces of the flooring, some left-over molding, and some about .5″ furring strips. I am trying to get the part which actually supports the seedling trays at different heights to control the temp better. Here are pics of the assembly, although I suspect you might want to follow the instructions on the website rather than mine!IMG_5210 IMG_5211 IMG_5212 IMG_5215













Homemade heat mat for seed germination yields at least 10 degrees above room temp

Before completing it all the way, I did a temperature check…. I finished a couple of rows, laid in the lighting, and waited about an hour.

Even though the garage is just below 40 degrees in this pic, the soil temp is already above 50! And that was at highest board height so it seems like it’s gonna work. Cool.




Next post: completed germination stand and possibly living room – depending on how ambitious I am feeling today!






2 thoughts on “A Garden Intermission

  1. Jeremy

    Hey Rockstar,
    Thank you for letting me know about this lovely blog. You continue to amaze me (even after all these years)! Along with being a gifted writer and all-around-genius, you are, once again, proving that you really can do anything.
    The house looks beautiful! I want to come and help put in the garden! I miss you all a lot and am so happy that you’ve finally found a place to create your very own nest. Get all of your practice on this place, then you can start flipping houses and making mad dollahs, yo!


    1. marnielanoue Post author

      Jeremy to have you here for gardening would be wonderful! I hope you know mi casa es su casa 😉 When you gonna get your butt out here for a visit?



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