Friday, March 2, 2012

Post-cleaning and 2012 first seedlings

I really wish I cleaned up the mess from last year's garden at the end of the season. Cleaning is so tedious and exhausting.  Pulling out the old plants is messy and difficult. My forearm was all scratched up, the balcony was full of dirt and leaves.  I wanted to do a thorough job, but I got tired at the end and called it good after pulling the plants. After sweeping, reshuffling the containers and restringing the wind barrier, the balcony is looking pretty good.
Balcony cleaned and organized
I still need to clean the containers that are in front and back of the house. I will have to wait for another sunny day to work on that. In the meantime, I've been anxiously waiting for the first seedlings to pop out. I must admit that I am pretty impatient, but fortunately on day 4 the pak choi showed its pretty little head. Exciting!
Pak Choi seedlings on Day 4
I have the seedlings set up on the windowsill. Last year when I started the seeds, I did not use any light and I ended up getting very leggy seedlings.  So now I am using a desk lamp as a source of light.
Seedlings with desk lamp
Pak choi seedlings up close
I plan to get a heating pad eventually - especially when I start sowing the tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. On Thursday, I also sowed spinach, kale, and beets directly into 3 and 5 gallon containers. I can't wait to have all these vegetables in my garden!


  1. A rope light is much less expensive than a heat mat, and works great. I have two 6-foot rope lights that I can use separately or connect into one 12-foot light. I just coil them underneath the container or flat, and they keep the seeds comfy and cozy and really speed up germination.

    This is one 6' light inside an asparagus crate, but I also have them just laying on a shelf.

    Price runs about $7 for the 6' or $13 for the 12' at Home depot. I've been using mine for three years now, so the per year cost is quite low. They make nice patio lights when you aren't using them as plant warmers :-)

    1. Thanks! That is a really great idea. I'll have to look into this - sounds like a great alternative to the expensive kits.

  2. You can grow very stocky seedlings under your desk lamp, just try and keep the seedlings as close to the light as possible (this would be for flourescent lights). I have mine so they are just about touching the flourescent lights. If you can't lower the lights, get a few old books, magazines etc and raise your containers. Good luck and remember seed starting is very addicting!

    1. Yes, seed starting is very addicting. I know I'll end up with more plants that I know what to do with. Thanks for the tip about the lamp.