Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22, 2010

Yesterday I spent a lovely Sunday evening with my family to celebrate my wife's and my birthdays (belatedly) It was a great time all around, but I especially enjoyed taking a stroll with my brother.  Not only did I get to see his garden, but we walked down the street to the chicken house.   It appears that Mountlake Terrace has no rules on owning chickens in the city.  These neighbors of my brother's have 5 hens that live in a fenced-in front yard.  I love thier chicken coop.  I should have taken pictures, but I didn't want to pry.  Safe to say the hens looked fat and healthy.

While we were out, I took a few pictures of my brother's garden and seedlings.  He's planting is similar to mine, though with some major differences.

He's got TONS of tomatoes going, many of the same variety.   Like me last year, he'll give away what he doesn't use.   This year however, his seedlings are well beyond mine in the tomato front, though I've got him beat in the cole crop department (see below).  Oh, and the red pots are hot peppers.  He'll hoop house them in the summer to kick the heat up a notch.  Apparently it works here.  Neither of us has tried it, but a friend of his has great luck locally.  They'll be great for salasa making this year. 

Also, he just planted 88 pea plants in a 4 SF bed.  He did something similar to KitsapFG, and went horizontal and vertical.  Here's his setup.

Apparently the slats are made from recycled plastic bottles, so they'll never rot.  Oh, and the bamboo poles used to tie them together came from my folks place across the street.  They've got bamboo growing.  Very cool.

Lastly, an update on my germination efforts.  If you recall, many of my tomatoes didn't germinate the first time, so I replanted.  Further, I planted another 5 each of broccoli and cauliflower plants.  We love those veggies and I plan on getting succession crops out of them.  Hasn't worked out perfectly in year's past, but I'm hoping for the best this year. 

Anyway, I noticed that out of the 10 cole crops I planted in a Jiffy-Peat egg carton thingy, 3 seeds germinated fast and were bending over toward the south-facing kitchen window.  I didn't want to move the whole egg carton thingy upstairs to the light system because it's too cold up there for good germination.  What was I to do?  I had 7 seeds that weren't germinating and 3 seedlings going leggy.  I needed a compromise.  Well, they say necessity is the mother of invention.  It was here.  I found an old funky clip bowl lamp that we used 10 years ago with a black light bulb to find cat stains.  I replaced the bulb with a CFL and clipped it to the spice cubboard door handle.  Tada, an impromptu light system in the Kitchen.

Before you comment, I realize the light is WAY too high over the tray.  It was the best I could do to secure the lamp, and it's only temporary.  Especially since the lamp throws of a decent amount of heat to warm the seeds a bit.

We shall see what happens in the next day or so.  If the plants get too leggy I'll break apart the egg carton and move the seedlings upstairs.

Enjoy your garden and the first days of Spring!


  1. You know what they say about necessity and invention. It looks like a reasonable set up to me.
    I LOVE your brother's approach. I'm going to have to do something like that with peas next year, I think. I'm not happy about mine.

  2. Happy Birthday Sinfonian! Your brother's starts and pea patch look good. Nice improv on the seedling problem - it's amazing how creative we are when it comes to saving our precious seedlings! LOL!

  3. Well Happy Birthday to both you and your wife!

    My light set up was kinda like yours - tilted up on one end LOL But, hey, it works out pretty good to accomodate both short and tall seedlings and that's all that counts :-)

  4. I smoked for quite a long time. I recognize it hurts my overall health therefore I want to give up smoking however this has been literally impossible. None of the quit smoking techniques helped. Then I found the electric cigarette. It's practically saved my life. No more inhaling and exhaling smelly smoke feels marvelous!