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Gardening 101 and Permaculture

January 10, 2010

My 2 text books for this gardening thing are The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible (that I mentioned before) and Gaia’s Garden:  A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture.  I’ve read through the Gardener’s Bible once and continue to use the back section as reference- where the author provides details on seeding, sowing, and growing for a fairly comprehensive list of commonly grown vegetables.  I would consider this my daily reference book.

Gaia’s Garden is my “I have 1 hour to read something every few days” book.  I’m only 1/3 of the way through, but it’s an interesting supplement or companion to the Gardener’s Bible.  While the first book emphasizes the growing system of wide, deep plant rows, Gaia’s Garden is more of a discussion about permaculture and it’s benefits.  One feels more step by step, while the other is partly a theoretical discussion of permaculture and how you can use nature to help you do less work in the garden.  BOTH agree that by planting the right veggies, herbs, fruits, etc…. near each other, you can help your plants fight off pests, stay warm from cold weather, and stay cool when the so cal sun is beating down relentlessly.

So with these resources in hand, I started seeding my first set of plants 2 weeks ago. I used Jiffy peat pods filled with a seeding combo to plant heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, basil, parsely, and chives.  I moistened the seeding mix with warm water and filled each pod 2/3 to 3/4 deep, depending on how far down I was supposed to plant each seed.  I dropped 2-3 seeds per pod, considering germination rates, and sprinkled a light layer of seeding mix over everything.  I covered the whole thing with a plastic lid and set it on top of the fridge.  3 days later, the basil started sprouting. ALREADY?! The next day, the tomatoes started sprouting.  I was beyond excited to see my little babies peaking out.

But, this meant that I needed to get some serious light started.  I have one window which receives a few hours of direct sunlight, but that’s it.  Amazon to the rescue.  I ordered the Hydrofarm 2ft Grow Light system.  It’s a pretty easy setup of a metal frame that holds a F5 broad spectrum light.  I liked it because it was smallish and the light height was easily adjustable.  So now I have the plants that have sprouted under this light in a separate room on a 12 hour timer.  One more thing, I also bought a heating pad to put under the pods of the plants that need warm soil.  Am I overdoing it?  I feel like I just got a new pet and I’m crazily buying all of the toys and treats for it.  Here’s a look at the tomatoes and peppers under the new light.  They did perk right up after I put them under there.  Good sign, right?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. gregordog permalink
    January 18, 2010 4:28 PM

    those seedlings are stretching. dump them, start over, and place the light waaaay closer next time. good luck!

  2. January 18, 2010 7:30 PM

    what happens if i let them continue to grow? this is what they look like now

  3. gregordog permalink
    January 19, 2010 7:51 AM

    i believe that the basic thought is that a stretching plant is just off to a bad start. you want to give you plants the best shot at developing a healthy base and root system. where are you located? it might be too early to start seedlings anyways.

    • January 19, 2010 12:03 PM

      I’m in so cal. as far as i can tell we don’t really have much of a frost. I was hoping to start outside within 3 weeks with a hardening off period. it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start new seeds for those tomatoes anyway. the more the merrier!


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