In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of gardening.

sprout

With apologies to Lord Tennyson!  Spring is almost here so that means time to start the seeds!  This year the tomato list will be relatively short at only 40 varieties or so. 🙂  Of course, there will also be beans, squash, peppers (sweet, hot and holy $%#* hot!), okra (not for us…yuck) eggplant, and maybe a few other things.  But, it’s really all about the ‘maters!

Target plant out date in Raleigh is April 15 so seeds have to be sown 6-8 weeks prior.  This year I bought some metal racks from Sam’s Club to serve as the light racks.  Not too expensive and much better than the plywood and saw horses I’ve used previously.  I have three more levels I can use as the plants get large and need more room. I’m keeping an eye on Craigslist for more fluorescent fixtures.

rack2

A few holes drilled in the shelves for screw-eyes to hang the shop-lights and I’m set.  16 hours of light and 8 hours of dark.  The lights are suspended a few inches above the plants and raised as they grow.  This keeps the plants from getting too “leggy”. The racks are tucked back in the garage which stays in the mid 60’s during the winter since it’s below grade.

Right now I’ve got just about 125 plants started for myself, neighbors and colleagues.

rack1

rack3

dwfs

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2 thoughts on “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of gardening.

  1. What a great setup! We bought some wire shelves on the cheap from Lowe’s last year and have ziptied our lights to a couple of levels. It’s amazing what one can do with a container full of zip ties. 🙂

    I’m waiting on some plant fabric to get here so I can move our peas, spinach, and lettuces out into the makeshift hoop house. Then the real fun begins – more room for squash and tomato seedlings in the basement!

  2. I’ve thought about doing a hoophouse over the beds to get the plants out earlier. What I really want is a greenhouse like I built when I was a kid. Have to convince the wife, who is not a fan of ad hoc backyard building placement and landscape design, though! I fully believe one can build anything with PVC and zip ties!

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