- Kim and I are sick. Cough, cough.
- It's raining. No, it's pouring.
- It's not snowing.
The rain overnight and through the morning has left the path by the pond flooded, and the chickens are wet and miserable, huddling in the coop or underneath the overhang, trying to keep dry.
But in the greenhouse my little seedlings are warm and dry, thanks to my trusty heat mats, and now they're well lit, too, thanks to my new acquisition: a grow light!
Grow lights are pretty expensive to buy, so I've resisted the temptation until now. February is the month for starting onion seedlings in these parts, but the sun isn't getting high enough in the sky yet to adequately light the greenhouse for the minimum six hours per day. So I decided to bite the bullet, and bought one light to see if it would make a difference.
Kim mounted it to scrap piece of cedar and then hung it on chains so I can adjust the height as the seedlings grow. And that's exactly what they're doing - my leek, shallot, and red, yellow and green onion seedlings are noticeably happier, and the hardy greens I seeded this week (mizuna and pac choi) came up in two days. And I'm happier, too: this grow light, pricey though it was, has made me feel like a grown-up gardener.
In contrast, the other thing that is making me smile in the greenhouse today cost all of $1.95. It's a cap that turns a soda bottle (or in our case, a spring water bottle) into a watering can, gentle enough for the most fragile of plants.
Seedlings need to stay moist, which means daily watering when they're on heat mats. Most gardening manuals suggest misting them, because anything much more forceful than that can break or dislodge a tender new shoot. But have you ever tried misting 8 or 10 trays of pots and soil blocks? It's a good way to invoke carpal tunnel syndrome. So the last time I was in the garden supply store I looked at fancy watering cans with special heads designed to shower tender plants like the most gentle of rain showers. The problem? The price tag: over $40. So I gave up that idea, went to the checkout to pay for the package of cream-coloured nasturtium seeds I hadn't been able to resist, and there in a bucket by the cash register were these caps. I bought two.
They work like a charm. If you just hold the bottle upside down the shower of water is so soft you can hardly feel it, and if you need a more substantial stream all you need to do is squeeze the bottle a little.
A product that works better and costs less. Definitely something for the bright side.