Plus the final lettuce update which you're not going to want to miss, especially if you recently bought the Aerogarden.
Listen, I'm sorry if you're bored with lettuce updates but this will probably be the last one because, at a little more than a month after planting it my lettuce has grown up.
That's a single leaf of lettuce on the homemade hamburger (done my way)in the above photo.
Here is a single leaf of the lettuce on my homemade pub style chicken burger 3 weeks ago.
Let's look back at some of her baby pictures.
And now, at week 5.
I'm spending more time admiring it than eating it but tonight I'll be making a salad out of it with goat cheese, balsamic dressing, roast chicken and roasted red peppers.
The red peppers are from my garden, in the fall I roasted and froze about 20 red peppers.
GET OUR GROWING AREAS READY
Speaking of growing red peppers, it's officially seed starting season, so the first thing on my weekend list is to finish setting up my lights and grow area. If you're planning on growing as well you can do the same.
- Make sure your lights work.
- Wash your pots.
- Buy or make your potting soil.
- Organize your seeds by the date they need to be planted by. Seed packets specify how early you need to start your seeds based on how many weeks before you can plant them out. You'll be planting any seeds that need a 10-12 week start first, followed by seeds that need 8-10 weeks, and finally the most common 4-6 week plants.
- Completely plan out your area - where to place your pots, your soil, your seeds, your table, your water ... ALL of it. The more organized you are to begin with the better success you'll have.
If you missed it last week when I posted about how to start your own seeds, you should read the tutorial.
What I'm Doing Specifically
I'm completely redoing my seed starting area this weekend so it's a bit more user friendly which isn't easy in my dungeon of a basement.
- Installing these new LED T5 lights on my grow stand.
- Adding a new grow area (where????) which is where I'll use the older bulbs from my grow stand.
- Washing and bleaching all of my pots. (I'm trying a new thing this year so I'm using plastic pots instead of making my own soil blocks)
- Cleaning and rejigging my capillary mat watering system (if you want to make watering easy capillary mats are the way to go)
- Making a 4 month agreement with the basement centipedes.
Instead of using pots to start and grow your plants, you can make and use soil blocks.
Capillary matting is watering technique using a type of wool felt.
You fill a bucket or container with water. Cut a "wick" from the capillary mat and let it hang in the water. The wick carries the water to the capillary mat where it consistently and constantly waters your plants the perfect amount.
My lights are old so I got new ones - I have a whole post on seed starting lighting coming up next week. Grow lights dim as years go by so it's a good idea to change them.
That doesn't mean you're have to throw them out what it does mean is you can INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF PLANTS YOU GROW.
The used lights won't be as strong as your new ones but you can use them as supplemental lighting.
Plus there's an overdue bath and blow dry that needs to get done.
THE STAND MIXER DECAL
I already have the design and have done most of the work, but I still need to make some changes and do some fine tuning on the decal. So that'll get done while I'm on the couch at night.
A NEW BOOK
I finished Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and gave it 5 stars.
Tonight I'll start my new book, The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware because Betty just finished it and liked it. I should be able to finish it in a week.
But it will take me 3 months.
So if you want to join me in a weekend of doing stuff you're going to get your seed starting area cleaned up, your dog spit polished, and sit around waiting for me to present you with a downloadable stand mixer decal next week.
It doesn't sound like a ton to get done but I know it's going to be a lot.
At least I don't have to do my nails.
P.S. See you tomorrow with the puzzles.
You need to stay out of those kinds of pubs.
I am right with you on starting my seeds. I now have an entire wire rack filled with seedlings in different growth stages and just waiting for breaks in the weather to be planted out.
I have purchased one new grow light each year now for 3 years. Probably will buy at least 1 more next spring. I bought a soil blocker this year and after a learning curve have finally gotten pretty good at making them. I do still need to work on incorporating a wicking system for watering. Now what I do is spray water the tops of the soil blocks until I see at least one rootling come out the bottom of the soil block. Then I water carefully from the bottom with a watering can with a small diameter spout...This is about the time, I move the newly germinated blocks to another bin anyway and that bin goes under a different light that has more coverage.
I live far enough south, that I already have 3 beds out in the garden planted with the seedlings that were far enough advanced in their growth. Last night we got to 24 degrees so those beds were well covered with frost blankets and a layer of clear plastic. Underneath I had cheap candles lit that stayed going all night and that provided just enough heat that under those covers, the temperature stayed above freezing. Enough that cool season crops did just fine. Today is going to get to the lower 50's so once it gets above freezing I will take off the outer layer and blow out the candles. Tonight will stay just above freezing and the frost blankets alone will be enough protection..
O.K. well you don't have anything to do this weekend. You're all caught up. Just kidding. We both know there's no such thing as all caught up. 😆 karen!
Heh - I had already planned on getting my little plot in the community garden prepped this weekend, glad to see I'm not alone! Nearly everything I'm growing this year is direct-sow, as well, so I won't need to do too much seed starting either.
Movies instead of books down here - I have a movie blog and that means I'm pretty much contractually obligated to watch the Best Picture Oscar nominees (my blog is mainly about classic films, but also do the Best Pictures every year as a bonus), so I'm knocking WOMEN TALKING out this afternoon.
Ah! I might be watching All Quiet on the Western Front tonight. This of course depends on how the rest of today goes in terms of accomplishment. :) Hopefully it'll warm up enough that I can get some real work done in the garden cleanup department soon. ~ karen
Have you ever tried transplanting from the aerogarden to an outdoor garden? I have a couple tomato plants that I started late that might be good candidates but I'm not sure how well they would transition.
I've wondered the same thing but never done it. I'm sure they'd be fine. They'll go into a bit of shock and slow down growing but that's normal for a lot of transplants. ~ karen!
Loved Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow! If you haven’t already read it, try Remarkably Bright Creatures - one of the narrators is a giant Pacific octopus named Marcellus who is being held prisoner (his opinion) at a small aquarium in Washington state.
That does sound good! I'll add it to my list before I forget. Thanks! ~ karen!
Hey, thanks - adding to my list too - while waiting for Big Swiss by Jen Beagin, because ready books about crazy chicks in love is the best spring-time read.
OMG! Those nails! LOL
When I grow up, I want to be JUST LIKE YOU, Karen!
I know. I'm like a peacock showing the splendour of its tail in that photo. So proud. ~ karen!
Trays are filled and sitting on my kitchen table. Seeds are set out for planting. Why have I not progress further for over a week? My grow light came in and has screws (I think) rolling around inside and I don't know beans about how to take it apart. I found one screw loose on top. I am an obstacle ignorer instead of jumper. Wish I was more competitive (less lazy).
"The Woman Cabin 10" and you want to plan your garden! Come on! When you get started on that book there will be no hope for garden planning. And those nails, they look worse than mine. :)
I used the watering mat last for the first time and was so impressed. Consistent moisture for each little plant. This year I will include an oscillating fan to the grow-op. Do you follow moon phases for sowing seeds and transplanting?
Hi Jody! I don't but my gardening neighbour does and his plot is always fantastic. I get tsk, tsked when he notices I'm planting my root vegetables 3 days too late. ~ karen!
I am not tired of lettuce updates! I did get an Aerogarden and planted lettuce and some of the herbs that came with it. I can't wait! You reminded me I wanted to try out capillary mats this year. Gotta get on that!
That's why I reminded you! :). And I just said to myself about an hour ago while making my dinner that I don't think I'll ever buy lettuce again. To go to these HUGE heads of lettuce tonight to make my salad with chicken and grab huge handfuls ... it was kind of live changing! Up until now I'd really only used it for tomatoes for the most part. ~ karen!
Just wondering why you're moving from soil blocks to plastic pots?
"At least I don't have to do my nails" - I laughed so hard, that is what mine look like (without the polish, that was gone long ago) I just LOVE your sense of humor!
🤣🤣🤣 As I began reading, I wondered how your basement residents would take to your il-lumen-ating their party digs. (There's no way I'd even open the door to your basement stairway, btw.) Happy sowing!
Stephen King wouldn't open the door to my basement. ~ karen!
LOVE your "stuff"!!!! But KAREN, KAREN, KAREN!!
Telling kids that they have to eat goat cheese borders on child abuse! I grew up a farm girl & goat cheese smells AND tastes like goat POOP!
Not that I've ever actually TASTED goat poop!
Lisa. Poop? LIKE POOP? I'm afraid I'm going to have to shun you now. Not forever, just for like - I don't know, let's say an hour or two. ~ karen!
The cherry tomato in my aerogarden is up to the light and it's as high as it can go. Now what?! Did you pinch out suckers? I started hibiscus seeds, the kind you use for tea, and a cabbage in one of the pods you recommended and both are doing great. No shock whatsoever when I transplanted to a pot. Right now I have seeds sprouting for tomatoes, catnip, cauliflower, columbine and lacy phacelia. All in my countertop garden...which is actually a Mufga brand. I am so excited!!