To keep with the organic theme, we needed a biodegradable cup. First we thought of peet cups. These are actually not very biodegradable. We then thought of making our own from newspaper. Newspaper is biodegradable and the inks used today are mostly soy based. We asked around on a couple of forums and received mixed reviews on them. We did learn that the tool sold to make these cups recommends one 10" by 3" piece of paper. The complaint about them was they did not hold up from most of the people we asked. So we increased the sheets to three. We also increased the size to 10" by 4", this allowed for more of a tuck on the bottom. To fasten the cups (nothing is called for in the instructions of the paper cup making tool) we used paper masking tape to keep it biodegradable. With a helpful tip from a seed-starter, we are using a can of peas to make the seeds. Perfect sized for what we want. So next comes the making of all those cups.
The basement with the heat of the wood stove being almost constant is the next option we could find for the set up. There is a large window for natural light. We are going to hang two florescent lights for constant light to encourage growth. But wood heat is a dry heat, we need moisture, even in a basement. A frame of 2x2s with a window insulating kit as panes came next. Now to prevent mold and fungus. A small fan to circulate the air inside the 'greenhouse' to keep the mold at bay.
Next is the growing material. We don't have access to compost or soil. So purchasing it is the only option. We are using an organic topsoil mixed 75/25 with an organic compost. We are misting instead of watering the cups to keep from over watering.
We gave our garden area a break last year as it had been planted many years before by us and the farmer hubby's parents and grandparents. We have been dumping organic material to it to help 'sweeten' it. We have added corn shucks, silk and cobs. Poultry house cleanings and rabbit droppings from under the cages. We used rabbit droppings when we had a larger rabbit herd and the garden was excellent that year. The sweet pepper plants were so big took two hands and alot of tugging to get the massive root systems up. We got numerous pickings from them and they were some of the best we had tasted in a long time. The rabbit droppings don't burn the plants or ground like the chicken manure can. The pellets are like a capsulized extended release fertilizer pellet. Adding lime and stove ashes is helping the ground as well without chemicals.
So, we are dusting off our thumbs and rolling up our sleeves to get started on our first attempt at starting our own plants.
Today we set out Black Beauty Zucchini, Early Prolific Straightneck Squash, Luffa Gourd, Connecticut Field Pumpkin, Boston Pickling Cucumber, Blacktail Mountain Watermelon, Honey Rock Melon, Ailsa Craig Onion and Southport Red Globe Onion. Praying and fingers crossed this works.
Now we have more to grow!
We set Golden Jubilee, Jujube Cherry and Bonny Best Tomatoes
California Wonder, Golden California Wonder, King of the North and Orange Bell Peppers
Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers
Florida Market Eggplant
Herbs - Common Chives, Marjoram, Giant of Italy Parsley, Vulgare Oregano, Broad Leaf Sage, Summer Savory
Flowers - Grandpa Ott's Morning Glory, Salmon Sunset Four O'Clocks, Pink Senorita Zinna, Malope Mix, Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Fence, Rose Ball English Daisy, Orange Hawaii Marigold, Spun Gold Marigold, Zebrina Hollyhock
The last of the indoor starts are in.
Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage
Snowball Self-Blanching Cauliflower
Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli
Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts