My Sanctum

As I have mentioned before, one of the things that saves me from severe winter blahs (aka Seasonal Affective Disorder) is my planning for the spring garden. 

I should explain that my garden has rules: everything I plant in it should be, at least in part, edible*. This means that I landscape with edible flowers, herbs, and plants that have been gathered and eaten in American or other cultures. Most of these can’t be found in nurseries or are rather expensive if bought as plants, so I grow them from seed myself in my grow room.**

 Here is a view of my grow room, which is a small basement room that used to be the coal room back when my 100-year-old house was a youngster: 

Not very impressive, is it?

The wires are for all the fluorescent fixtures and the heat pads — and the ancient iPad repurposed for record keeping that you see at your left.  The wall that you can’t see is lined with reflective material that was meant to insulate a garage door. Peel and stick — excellent for increasing the light in this room.

The flats you see are for two sets of items I’m growing — the edible nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant) and a handful of herbs (celery, lovage, yarrow, calamint, perilla, hyssop, alpine basil herb).

Closeup of my first herb flat

I have more to plant — I’m waiting on seeds for my moon garden and more herbs and for some flowers (and for lots of things that will get planted directly in the garden. By the time I’m done, I will have six to eight flats of seedlings to nurture.

Not all of them will survive. Past seedlings have succumbed to damping off disease (which I fight heroically with cinnamon water spray) and watering malfunctions. Some seeds never come up. On the other hand, sometimes they grow faster than I expected, which is why I’m setting the top shelf (that you don’t see) for taller seedlings to reside. I will save the best of the plants that come up for planting come spring.***

Spring comes to me sooner than to most because of my grow room, with its ugly cement floor and worn shelves. Today I sat with my seedlings, thinning them out so that they could grow strong, and feeling, if not happy, a bit less out-of-sorts.

* This year’s exception is the moon garden, which is comprised of white, night-scented flowers, most of which are toxic to deadly if eaten.

** When I say “grow room”, people think I’ve got one of these high-tech setups advertised on eBay where people grow — well, plants that are illegal to possess or use in this state. Mine is not nearly so exciting.

*** This doesn’t count the direct-seeded vegetables. I have to admit that I’m not as good with these because it gets too hot to weed and there are so many weeds. I’m working on using more mulching and earlier morning weeding.

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