Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Digger's Diary, Entry #3: Let the Questions Begin

First, an update: lettuce seedlings still look strong, if a bit leggy. After some research, I've learned they look like that because they haven't been getting enough light, so today everybody's going outside for some natural rays. I removed the lettuce pots from the rest of the seeds since they've already sprouted, and put the tray with the ungerminated seeds inside a loosely closed plastic bag. This creates the warm, humid, greenhouse-like environment that the seedlings must have to germinate. As each one begins poking its head up, however, they are to be removed from the greenhouse and put under 16 hours of light, with the light source positioned very close to the leaves. So I'm thinking I'm going to have to rethink my lighting situation, or at least buy another light like the one I have so that the plants don't have to reach for it.

I also found a wonderful blog that helped me sort out my seedling issues. Here she is: Northwest Edible Life: Seedstarting 101

Now, my questions. The compost bin is going, and the seeds are starting, so it's time to really get to work on my bed. I originally thought I would put all the plants in-ground, because it seems to me that you undo all the financial benefit of growing your own food when you have to shell out a ton of money for raised bed materials. But the general consensus seems to be that in-ground beds aren't even worth the trouble, while raised beds solve everything. I'm fine with the idea that raised beds make better quality plants, but I just can't get past the expense. Are they really that much better? The material to make the raised bed (cheaply bought or re-purposed boards or cinder blocks are ideal) isn't that off-putting, it's the material that goes in the bed. My own in-ground dirt is free, and I don't shy from the idea of the labor it will take to cultivate it. But garden soil from the sto' is not cheap, y'all, and to have a garden of any real size you need a ton of it. Maybe literally. So you see, I am at an impasse.

Ponder, ponder.

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