Monday, February 23, 2009

Seedling Experiment #2 - Closet Conversion

If gardening is a matter of trial and error, I've been erring on the side of error. I'm new at all of this, so I very much appreciate the tips from the more experienced gardeners who offered them when I posted awhile ago about my ailing seedlings.

Looks like there isn’t enough light to sustain the seedlings on my windowsill, so I’m looking at other options. I may eventually get a coldframe but I’ve already used up most of my small gardening budget on seeds and new raised beds, so I’m reluctant to shell out any money for new lightbulbs, trays or other systems or kits. However, I do have a closet with a flourescent light already mounted.

The closet is being used as my “present” closet. It’s where I keep wrapping paper and anything that might one day become a present. Since I love to give books as presents, there is a big accumulation in there on the shelf underneath the flourescent light. These books are moving out to the garage where we're keeping stuff headed for a garage sale that we’re planning in May.

Here's my new set-up.

I've run out of blind slats, so I'm using a sharpie on some tabs cut from an old plastic cup.

Believe me. You don't want to see what the floor of this closet looks like now. That's a project for another day. I sure hope that “out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t apply here and I forget to water the plants! As always, tips, suggestions and even scoldings are welcome. I've heard conflicting things about whether I should turn off the light at night.


tina said...

I hope it works well for you. Good luck!

tut-tut said...

That's a nice collection of books . ..

I have my own seedling issues (well, none so far) because of the cats. So lots of seeds; no seedlings.

I got a call (did I tell you this?) from the local community garden. I was 7th on the list for a plot, and out of the blue I got one! 25 x 3, so I'm eager for the cold weather to disappear.

Let me know how the closet situation works out. I may be using your idea.

Joanne said...

What a happy closet! I'm by no means a gardener, but had a thought on your lights off at night issue. It would seem that just logically, in the natural rhythm of earth and life and sunlight, the light should be off at night, as it would be naturally? I'm interested in hearing what gardeners say to your question!

Gretchen Rubin said...

I saw the nice mention of my blog, The Happiness Project, here. I so much appreciate the link and you shining a spotlight on my blog! Best wishes to you, Gretchen Rubin

Maritza said...

If you already have seedlings, they probably need 14-16 hours of light a day, depending on what you are planting and what your light situation is. So turn the light on first thing in the morning and turn it off last thing at night. Also, if you could get that shelf up closer to the light it would be better. Too far away and your seedling will get very long and leggy trying to reach the light.

Be careful about starting your seeds too early as well. If they are indoors too long, even with good lighting, they get very leggy and weak. I usually start too early, so this year I am waiting until the second week in March.

There's a great gardening blog I just discovered (though it's been around awhile):
Check it out for some great tips!

Good luck!

JGH said...

Thanks Tina! I'm glad one of us has some veggies in full swing already :-)

Tut - that is so exciting that you have a plot! I can 't wait to hear what you plant.

Joanne - I think I will turn the light off at night just to be safe, but I get up early, so at least I will be maximizing the hours of "daylight"

Gretchen, I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Your blog is such an inspiration to me. Everyone should read it.

Maritza, thanks for visiting and for all the great tips. I will definitely check out that blog. Is that the one who used to be at Martha Stewart?

Pam J. said...

I agree with others: the plants will need some dark time. I hope you write about your cold frame experience; I've been thinking about making or buying one for months but can't decide what to do. You can lead by example. Speaking of which--thanks to an earlier post of yours I've got a pile of cardboard toilet paper rolls ready to start seeds in. I'll wait a few weeks. (Loved the before/after closet pictures, esp the shot with books. Reminds me of closets in my house.)

Anonymous said...

Smart! very smart! You'll need air circulation when you uncover the seedlings. A fan blowing indirectly will help strengthen the stems and keep fungus at bay.