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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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!