Aaaand it has begun.
fter buying the indoor garden kit, (mostly) organic seeds, organic soil and fertilizer, I finally found a solid table to house my wee plot. A table from Denmark from the Thrift Store for $9.99.
So far the total cost has been $248.36. I haven't crunched the numbers but I'm sure in the long run I'll be in the black with all the 'free' herbs and veg I'll grow. Plus I'll have something green growing in my house. <3
Despite of a lot of the online research I did - in the rush to just start I went to Lowe's and purchased what they had available. In the end it was the right decision. I'm just too busy.
I bought a bag of Pro-Mix Premium Organic for Tomatoes and Fine Herbs. It touts something called MYCOACTIVE which it supposed to be a technology of natural plant stimulation to ensure healthy growth. From what I understand this is based on microscopic fungi that attach to the roots and help the plant absorb the nutrients and moisture in the soil.
I originally wanted to get a liquid, organic fertilizer to add to the water but again - convenience won out and I bought the smallest bag of organic fertilizer they had - Jobe's Organics Vegetable & Tomato. This is a granular fertilizer that you add to the soil.
After looking into the special ingredients in the soil I debated even using the fertilizer because I wanted to avoid any burn of the seeds. In the end I chose to use it because the
soil mentioned that it aids in growth by helping the plant to absorb the nutrients - which in this case would be from the fertilizer.
The bag was meant for a whole garden but did have a smaller measurement of 1.5 tablespoons per gallon. Based on some sloppy, quick math I determined about .6 of a gallon per planting tray and added about one tablespoon per tray directly into the soil.
I bought sweet basil, garlic chives and a mesclun mix as I thought I would most likely use those as they grew inside. I bought tomato seeds with the hope of planting them outside. I realize that with their 85-90 day gestation I may be a little late. Maybe they'll stay inside - who knows?
For the herbs and lettuce I bought McKenzie's Organic. (Also Canadian - w00t!) They were about $3 a piece - but the amount of tiny seeds inside was fare more than I'll need for an indoor garden - so great value there. They didn't have Roma tomatoes available - and I didn't want big old fat beefsteak tomatoes so I purchased McKenzie's non-organic 'Sow Easy' type. They are coated with a natural seed coating that makes them easy to handle and gives a bit of nutrients for the seedlings.
Let me tell you - those tiny seeds are slippery little suckers. The lettuce seeds were the worst to handle and because of the mix I had no clue what I was planting. I tried to match the seeds per row because I'm anal retentive. We'll see what happens.
The instructions on the Garland Products Grow Light Garden had some starter tips on making sure the soil broke through the holes in the bottoms of the trays and that both the soil and the mat must be wet before placing the trays on. Surprisingly - no instructions on where the lights should be or how long to keep the light on.
Back to Google.
The general consensus for seedlings is that they need constant light and heat to sprout. Ongoing - the light should be as close as possible to prevent the plants from being 'leggy' (a long, stringy stem caused by lack of sunlight.) If you are keeping the plant inside permanently, it seems you can leave the lights on all the time. I'm assuming this will speed things up. If you plan on transplanting, a schedule of 12 to 16 hours on and 6 or 8 off seems to be the norm.
I'm leaving my lights on 24/7 for 4 days until they sprout and then I may use my timer to control the lights. I realized after purchase that the time is only an on/off type by hour of the day - so at max I can do 12 on and 12 off. I think this will be OK.