Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Preparing for shoots, roots, and cheeps

After days of dreaming about warm, leafy green weather during these chilly rainy days, over 100 varieties of wonderful vegetables have finally materialized in our lives. We don't actually have plants yet, but several small boxes, of the shoe box size, have arrived in the mail! The thousands of seeds that we will plant throughout the next 9 months really don't take up much space right now. That is soon to change, as soon as we finish the baby plant room a.k.a. "The Greenhouse." This nursery will be the focus of our attention as the rest of the winter into early spring.

While we were preparing the greenhouse for vegetable seeding, I realized that we were about to forget the photo opt moment.

But seriously, the greenhouse needed a little TLC. We are improvising this year by stapling up 2 mil clear plastic over the windows and roof to create an air pocket around the room. The idea is that the we will reduce the amount of heat leakage and keep everything toasty, while shop lights with special grow lights provide adequate light on the seedling shelves. This way we can pack in hundreds of healthy baby plants on 10 x 3 foot shelving that William is building for the greenhouse. Next week, our 120 tiny chicks will help keep the greenhouse nice and warm. Their brooder heat lights will give a cheerful glow to the room, while the two radiators will knock the chill off. The real heat source for the greenhouse is pure design. The room is a projection of the Southeastern side of the house, and the heat of the sun is trapped very quickly. During cloudy weather, the house's heat mass helps moderate the temperature of the greenhouse.

In the meantime, the excessive chilly rainy weather has created a great time for indoor planning. I have been researching organic methods of preventing and treating fungus problems in tomatoes. I dream in tomato-color. Stripes of orange/yellow, deep burnished purple, brilliant red all swirl through my mind during my dreams. And the eggplant...ahh tender Asian fingerlings, sweet and mild and beautifully colored. So since these two vegetables have a distinctive deep summer feel, I tend to think about Mediterranean food and grilling. Bright and lemony Tomato Harissa, a Mediterranean salsa, and Grilled Asian Eggplants with Sesame Oil are two of the recipes I have compiled for the CSA summer newsletters.

I know summer is a ways off, so when it comes down to it, I think spring!

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