My little pods of dirt didn't see much action this week. I am supposed to keep them warmish (70-80 degrees) so I stuck them on a heating pad in the kitchen window. We had a few days that topped out at 80ish, so I put them outside on those days.
(Can I take a minute to say this is THE BEST WINTER EVER? Seriously, it's like I'm living in California except with a dramatically lower cost of living! It's 60 or 80 almost every day, it hasn't snowed even ONCE, I have worn my winter coat ONE MORNING and right now I am wearing shorts and a t-shirt. THIS IS AMAZING.)
The lids got very condensation-y, which was satisfying and made me feel as if science-like things were going on. To my great surprise, they actually sprouted this week, on day 4! Not all of them, but SOME of them.
Just look at that! I grew something! And now that they're alive I find I am consumed with panicky thoughts about how I'll probably manage to kill every single one before I plant them in the yard. (This is why I planted 72 seedlings. A few should survive, right? RIGHT?)
This was all very good news but it is very boring to spend time looking at dirt and fretting about toothpick-sized plants dying. What I tried to spend my time on last week was figuring out where the garden is going to live in the yard. We have two trees and a large Maple next door that shade most of the space. The house faces SE/NW, so we do get some decent sun, but these three trees combine to make sure that no patch gets full sun, all day long.
Here, I drew you a picture, because writing that was super boring and I am pretty sure that even if you READ it, you still have no idea what my yard looks like.
See? There's not really a good spot to put the garden. If I were to get rid of that Bradford Pear (a totally crappy tree if there ever was one: they split easily, rarely live longer than 30 years [ours is about 20 years] and have a shallow root system) the whole left THIRD of the yard becomes a prime garden area. Plenty of space and sunshine for all of my vegetable dreams.
I called a tree dude and he said he'd remove BOTH trees, grind stumps and haul it all away for $550, which sounds pretty freaking cheap to me. I would like to just ditch the Bradford Pear for now, since Charlotte's swing is in the Magnolia tree and this is a nice baby-containment-device for when Claire and I play outside. (Which is every single day, as winter never really arrived to this part of Texas.)
Once it gets hot and/or Charlotte starts to walk (imminent!) the Magnolia will have outlived its usefulness to me and then it can go. (I've mentioned before about how it was planted too close to the patio and the leaves ohmygod THE BOAT-LIKE LEAVES I hate this tree.)
Now that I had imagined myself a sunny area of yard, I was trying to decide if I should dig up a section of yard to put the tomatoes in or if I should do one of those fancy raised beds, like this:
But, that looks like a lot of work and it also means I have to figure out where to buy quality dirt and then have the dirt delivered and something tells me that even though it's just DIRT it is probably kind of expensive. Digging up the yard sounds....simpler, somehow.
THEN I went down a rabbit hole about the Mittleider Gardening Method and I was all, "Chris! WE SHOULD DO THIS! HIGH YIELD HYDROPONIC WHOOZITS!" but after reading I think it's a lot more work than I am willing to put forth. I am already wondering how to build cages for the tomatoes and keep our flock of neighborhood bunnies away from my tasty vegetables. While the Mittleider Method provides very specific instructions (which I am a HUGE fan of) I think it's too many instructions, even for me.
After that, I decided I had not spent enough time worrying about my seedlings for the day, so I bought a clamp light and a grow light bulb. Seedlings inside are supposed to get 14-16 hours of sunlight/day because (I think?) the quality of light isn't as good as the actual sun so they need more of it. I'm not sure if these were The Best or The Right things to buy, but I bought them because the only window that gets direct sun only gets it for about 2 hours a day and I figured something is better than nothing.