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Monday, January 18, 2010

Window treatment

Last year we threw a couple of eight foot one by sixes across three stacks of cinder blocks in the west window, and raised flats of vegetable starts here, including four kinds of tomatoes, three of peppers, and with a little less success, eggplants. We used sunlight almost exclusively, and somewhat prevented a "twiggy" epidemic by turning the flats regularly, and adding more planting soil as things grew.

This activity, plus the fact that twelve cinder blocks were required to get things to the best height, wore on us a bit and so we are modifying our procedures somewhat. Utilizing a leftover slice from a 3/8 utility plyboard stiffened by two-by twos, and mounting above it a long, old-fashioned wooden curtain rod for clamp-lamp "grow" lights with daylight bulbs, we are able to span the entire width of the window, bearing the weight on a mere four cinder blocks.

Currently in the window are some extra-early-early-early things: lettuce, chard, fava beans and yellow-podded peas.

The favas were such a huge success last year that we assured ourselves of a place in fava heaven forever, only to have a complete crop failure from those we put in last fall. So we have two flats of them in the window as a combined germination test and, perhaps, replacement crop. They can be transplanted, albeit with much care in lifting.

We make up the flats in the potting shed (this afternoon to the tune of Chopin's Preludes on KWAX), bring them in to the window, and if all goes well, will carry the full-sized starts first to the grow tunnel, then to partial shade, then to the garden. The lettuce and chard (this being the dead of winter) are wishfully destined for the grow tunnel itself. We shall see.

This morning I marched with NAACP in town, but returned home earlier than last year, drawn by the quiet weather to putz about in the reorganized potting shed. Beloved, who has a day off courtesy of the holiday, and having very few vacation days for the next while, as she is re-starting her library career, is also relishing the interlude. She has walked to the river and back, and now is meditatively spreading barn litter over garden beds.

Later, perhaps, tea by the west window.
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