It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon in February and like many of you out there, the only thing I can think about today is getting my garden ready for summer!!! Oh I think there is a sporting event on the television today too, but that is at least 3rd on the list of things running through my mind today.....GO PACKERS!!
Yesterday I finished my seed sprouting shelf. For this I used a wire shelving unit that I picked up at Target. These will hold around 350 lbs of weight and you can have from 2 to 5 tiers on them. They are a quite versatile unit to have on the homestead. I think we have 5 of them! The artificial lighting will be provided by a florescent lighting unit that I found in my garage and a small grow light I purchased at a local hardware store. I picked up some plastic trays and peat pots at my local big box farm retailer also. The total $$ I have invested in my sprouting shelf is around $100, and other than replacing the light bulbs this should last me the rest of my life.
Having a unit like this is a necessity in a zone 4 garden climate, unless you plan on buying started plants at your local nursery. This I would highly recommend for a novice as all the hard work is taken care of for you. Supporting local business is always a plus too!
I'm going through the extra work as I plan on seed saving. I have not studied this too much since grade school but how hard can it be? I hope to develop my own strains of seeds that are most suited for my growing area. I think if I plant enough varieties of things and keep crossing them, eventually I will have varieties that will be completely adapted to my area. This seems to be the most sustainable way of gardening to me as I will never have to rely on seed companies every spring. I am however quite lazy and will be letting the bees and wind do my pollenation for me. This could backfire a bit depending on the crop that is planted around my house. If I plan on planting corn this year to save seed from, I will have to get an airtight greenhouse. Last year the farmer bordering my lot planted soybeans so since we only rotate two crops in this state, I imagine there will be corn this year. Unless I can be absolutely sure he is not planting some kind of genetically modified Franken-corn(this is a reference to Frankenstein not Minnesota's illustrious senator), I should not even try to save seed. This does give me another reason to buy a greenhouse though! When I talk about GMO crops, I do not mean merely hybrids. These types of plants will only grow one year, and are not succeptible to Roundup. Usually they do this by merging fish or insect genes in with the corn. Don't ask me how this works, ask Monsanto. Also, if I was a commercial farmer and saved seeds for the nest year like my ancestors did, and they had crossed with my neighbors GMO corn, I could be sued by the seed company as they have the patent on that gene. Some call that capitalism, I'd call it something else.....
Anyway, I'll climb down off my detergent box for now. I have been searching through seed catalogs and WOW. I can't believe I can grow peaches and apricots in this zone! There will be so much diversity in my yard, I may never have to rely on a grocery store again!!
Well, that's all for now. I have 4 hours of pre-game show to watch........or COPS. I think COPS!