Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Beginnings

Welcome to 2013! Of course it has been WAY too long since I have updated, and I am truly sorry for that. I couldn't believe the last post I wrote was right after I began the Fall 2012 semester. Now I am already 1 month into the Spring 2013 semester. Crazy!

To quickly recap the last few months (okay... the last 5 months!). I successfully made it through my calculus, biology, and chemistry classes with all A's! We ate like royalty with all of my pre-prepared freezer meals. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the rest of the holidays were a blast. I started a new semester at school with Human Anatomy and Physiology, World Civilization, and Spanish. 

Over the holiday break I spent a lot of time reflecting on what I want this new year to look like. Goals and plans for 2013 including better planning and maintenance in my garden, memorizing 3 chapters of the Bible (The Sermon on the Mount, Mathew 5, 6, and 7), joining a small group, working towards a higher level of physical fitness, getting accepted into the University of Georgia for their Bachelor's of Nutrition Science, and maintaining good grades at school.

Okay, now that we are all caught up... 

Today's post is really about plants. A major goal for my 2013 garden was to have a better plan. Last year I waited till the last minute and had to buy plants at a local nursery. This year I am saving money and starting all my own seeds. 

We expanded our seed starting setup (from nothing) and have grow lights this year!! Chris went to Home Depot 2 weeks ago and bought supplies to make 2 of them. We already owned the light fixtures, and the seed trays were a gift. So, the total cost for 2 grow light stands came to $15 (for 2 cool white fluorescent bulbs and PVC).

I planted my first batch of seeds last Wednesday. I planted kale, collards, lettuce, swiss chard, and beets (all cool season crops that will hopefully be in the ground in 4 weeks). 

4 days later we were greeted by these beauties. There is nothing quite like starting your own seeds. I am thankful for each little miracle that bravely emerges from the soil. 

The following picture was taken today. It is crazy how fast they are growing for being planted only a week ago! I think that having them under light is making a big difference. 

Today it was time to transplant them into bigger pots before their roots got too tangled together. I am trying to be as frugal as possible, so I picked up a free newspaper at school and made newspaper pots. 

 You cut a newspaper into strips.

Take 1 strip, and roll it around a glass (a lot of people do 2 layers thick for durability, but I only did one so I can plant the whole pot in the ground).

Then put a piece of tape to hold it together. I will have to cut off the tape before I plant these, so I need to find a more biodegradable approach. 

 I might try using glue or cornstarch mixed in water as an adhesive for my next batch.

Voila! Free and biodegradable planting pots.

Ready to be filled with potting soil.

Ready for the plants.

When transplanting little seedlings, do NOT to touch the stems. Only touch the leaves. I used a chopstick to lift the whole clump of dirt out of the seed tray, and then gently loosen the clump of plants that had already started growing together.  I lifted by the top leaves and was careful not to damage the roots. I also used the chopstick to push the soil around the plant instead of my fingers to have better control. 

Crazy how much it has grown in a week!

Happy in their new home with lots of room to expand.

I couldn't bear to waste any seedlings, and I was running out of room, so some pots got 2 - 3 plants instead of one. 

Soaking up the rays :).

These are very hopeful beginnings for my 2013 garden. I look forward to many delicious salads and greens in my near future!