We use our office mostly for bill paying, storing books and keeping important papers filed away. But! When you have a south-ish-facing office with a bank of four windows, it also becomes the perfect location for starting plants. The windows help supplement the artificial light and warm the room to a lazy temperature. Last year we used a rectangular folding table to set our seeds on but this year, that table is our school table. Jamey found an old (and very cool) table top in one of the barns. He used saw horses for legs. I think the paint splashes on the sides of the saw horses really adds to the decor. I'm being sarcastic, but in all honesty, I don't care. Grow me some food or add to my office decor? I'll choose the food.
Jamey started the process of filling pots and planting seeds about a week ago. He will plant more in a couple days and more yet in about two weeks. He's following his planting schedule like a good (albeit, small-scale) farmer. Here are some of the pots and trays getting filled outside. He'll use many more newspaper pots (tutorial) than what are shown here. We use commercial potting soil to start our seeds.
The lights above our plants are standard florescent lights- not special grow ones. The lights hang from heavy string that is looped around hooks in the ceiling. This is ideal because they can be raised up and out of the way completely when not in use. They can also be raised as the plants grow so they are not butting their tender little heads into their light source and lowered so they are not straining toward the light and becoming lanky in the meantime.
We're trying something new this year when it comes to starting plants (see below). Jamey rigged up a warming box to help warm the soil from below. In the bottom of the box lies a heat trace line. Yeah. I didn't know what it was at first either. This line looks like wide tape. It's used for wrapping pipes to keep them from freezing. Plugged in, it conducts heat and warms whatever it touches. Jamey put it on a dimmer switch so we can regulate the warmth it emits. (He used a very similar set-up to keep the chicken water from freezing during the winter- brilliant, if I do say so myself.) On top of this heat trace line is sand. Starter plants sit directly on top of the sand. We are trying bell peppers, stevia, and basil in the warming box this year. The idea is that the heat will warm the soil and encourage healthy root growth- warming the plants from the bottom as the sun and the lights warm the plants from the top.
You have to walk through our office to get to our bedroom. Every night Sam reads on our bed for awhile before going to sleep so he won't disturb Sadie (they share a room). The other night Jamey went upstairs and found Sam standing at the table just staring at the little plants and dirt. Jamey asked him what he was doing. He said that every night before bed he stands and looks at the plants. He said he talks to them, too, because he heard that helps them grow. Now, that's not something the companion planting book that I read talked about, but I'll let you know if we have unexplained stellar results this year. If so, it might be due to a seven year old's seed-starting contributions.
Newspaper pots holding seeds and sprouting leeks.Pin It