Thursday, February 26, 2009

Seed Starting Extravaganza!

Today is a special day, because the seedlings have started to emerge! I'm so grateful for the Heirloom Gardens members, who have already stepped in to help create our wonderful urban farm.

On Sunday Heirloom Gardens had its second seed starting meetup event. We had a great team of 5 people, and were able to start over 2,000 seeds!

Getting the seed trays ready for filling.

The whole crew - Sundari, Tom, Lee, Paula and Anne.

Tom filling the trays with our custom seed starting mixture (actually, it's the recipe from Square Foot Gardening).

Paula fills a tray while Tom does some watering.

Anne is holding down the fort in the greenhouse.

Our organizational chart set up on top of the recycling bin. The calculator came in handy --- 216 seeds need to be planted, we can do 72 seeds to a tray....

Sundari filling a tray while Lee works with the seeds.

Our photographer (my husband, Brian) peering through the greenhouse window at Anne, Tom and Lee as they work.

Sundari modeling the farm-chic wardrobe, complete with knee patches!

Some of the afternoon's work.

Happy times.

Lee takes a minute to play catch with Lucy.

Our HG members left with lots of energy, but Lucy was pooped!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Building the Greenhouse

Building a greenhouse is an essential part of our urban, multi-plot gardening plan. It allows us to give seedlings a headstart and make more efficient use of the available garden space.

Our starting supplies. We're doing our part to support Lowe's and Home Depot!

The footprint. There's a concrete RV parking space on the south side of our house - a perfect spot for the greenhouse!

The long view.

Next we built the door and window.

Our own custom (aka improvised) peak roof design. Our original plan called for a hoophouse, but we couldn't get pipe that was long enough. So, we adapted and asked for Dad's help (the high school math teacher) to try and get the angles and lengths correct. Thanks, Dad!

It was a cold day!

Wrapping everything in 6mm plastic.

My favorite part of the back is the window, which flips down. A big help when the greenhouse gets cookin' mid-day!

And now for the tables. We decided that stacking tables were our best shelving option.... we made a LOT of them. 4' x 2', and both 4' and 2' high versions. The shorter tables are a little less wide, so they can slide under the taller tables.


During the day the short tables can be pulled into the aisles to get more sun. The greenhouse is 11' long and 12' deep, and it can hold 61 planting trays with the current setup.
Artie is checking it out.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

How Veggies Have Changed

I came across an interesting article that details the changes in veggies over the last few decades. Not only are the store-bought vegetables that most of us consume less tasty than what our grandparents ate, but they also contain fewer nutrients. This is due to a number of factors, including the pesticides and chemicals used in industrial agriculture, breeding produce for easy shipping and large size rather than taste, and the 1,500 miles (on average) that our jet-lagged veggies travel in order to reach us.

You can click here to check out the article and read more!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What We're Growing!

Much of the fun of heirloom vegetables comes from the wonderful variety of colors and shapes from these old plants ---- tomatoes that are red, pink, orange, yellow, green, purple, white, and even striped! There are also plants with great names, and great stories. Like the Mortgage Lifter tomato, which got its name back in the 1930's when it was developed by a radiator repairman who sold the seedlings for $1 each and managed to pay off his $6,000 mortgage in just 6 years!

I've posted a list of the seeds we'll be starting in 2009 on my website. You can check it out by going to: