As much as I wish otherwise, I admit I am really no gardener. That being said, every year when the snow is piled high and I can’t stand another morning of scraping frost off the windows of my car, I still make my annual escape into the dream zone of planning my vegetable garden. I just can’t help hoping that I will eventually grow a green thumb.
For years I won’t number, I have started anywhere from the end of January to sometime mid April, to plant my tomato seedlings and zucchinis and cucumbers. There’s just something so therapeutic, particularly late in the winter months, about playing in the dirt and anticipating the emergence of those tiny green leaves. It gets me through those last hard months of cold weather.
The sprouts always come up within a week or so. Then over the next few weeks it’s the same old thing. They grow tall and spindly with nothing more than that first pair of tiny green leaves, only slightly larger than at first sight. They sprawl all over and tangle up with each other. I know what the problem is. The lighting doesn’t include enough of the color spectrum to encourage leaf growth. When they have died of neglect (because I can’t bear to look at them) I usually try it for a second time. (After all, I am persistent.) Then, on a sunny weekend about the first of June I toss the parched jiffy pots into the garden, till them under, and head for the garden store for seedlings.
This year I bit the bullet and bought a shop light for about $13 at Walmart. One plant and aquarium bulb (about $10) and a two-pack of cool white (another $10) and we were in business! My son helped me install a shelf high on the wall in my bedroom. By then my husband wanted to get involved inserting hooks in the ceiling to hang the light above it. No kidding, the most difficult part of it was getting the light bulbs in just right. For the first time ever I am going to plant seedlings in my garden that I actually planted indoors! I am elated and it was inexpensive and so easy! (Not to mention quality happy and helpful teenage son time!)