Homestead Rookie Mistakes

Hi, folks. Shelby here.  No, this is not a “grocery spending update.” That will be for another time.

Nope. This is me coming clean about the rookie mistakes we’ve made thus far. The great news? It hasn’t hurt us, yet! Hey! It is an experiment, after all. Would it really be fair if we read up on everything and became homesteading experts BEFORE we started? Not really. I want equal opportunity at success or failure, here!

Our key faux pas thus far surrounds our seedlings.

In a recent issue of Urban Farm, there was a very informative article by Jessica Walliser. In “Seed Starting 101,” she gives five steps for starting a garden from seeds. I’m proud as a peacock to confess that we went four-for-five on exactly what NOT to do.

1. Light source…Nope! Our wonderful trays of dirt are just having to rely on good old sunlight! (1 for 1 on getting it wrong)

2. Containers…Yes, we got this one right. I absolutely refused to build a box garden in our rental’s living room! (1 for 2)

3. Potting soil…Special potting soil, that is, so…Nope! I think it was just about the cheapest and most generic, all-purpose stuff we could find.(2 for 3)

4. Heat mat… Nope! You can check out Anna’s post for a bit more information. (3 for 4)

5. Labels…We got this one right, too. Probably a bit of my OCD-ness involved, more than conventional seedling wisdom. (3 for 5)

In the end, we got more wrong than right. But the amazing thing is that EVERYTHING is growing. And some of it’s going crazy. Chief among these is our laundry basket potatoes.

Right now, I’m more worried about what’s going to happen to our seedlings later this week. While the fam travels back to the midwest for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, our little green babies will have to fend for themselves. We had originally thought about placing them in our raised garden boxes and letting them connect with nature for the week.

Problem: There’s already one freeze warning for the coming week, and it looks like there might be another.

It’s one thing to drop the mutt off with friends. After all, their kids already had a schedule of who he gets to sleep with each night, along with a Wanna Go for a Walk game plan. But it just doesn’t seem right to hope that someone will want to snuggle with our re-planted celery pots!

I guess we’re just going to have to water them well for a couple of days and pray for the best. Kind of bummed that our “rookie-ness” may have done no harm, but the end result may be the same. Frown.

 

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The Experiment

http://thehomesteadexperiment.com/2012/01/19/the-experiment/

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6 thoughts on “Homestead Rookie Mistakes

  1. Get a few pop bottles and fill them with water. Poke a tiny pin hole in the bottom of each bottle and place them among the plants. It will slowly drip out water while you’re gone.

    DON’T put them outside! They are very tender and pampered from being in the house, without being hardened off they would all die during the first night. They are used to the constant temperature inside your house, even a 15 degree drop can kill them.

    P.S If you can find a full spectrum light bulb (I found them at whole foods) they work amazing for growing plants….

    • Soda bottle drip system…shoulda thought of that! But we didn’t. Drats! They seem to have survived, tho. Thank goodness!

  2. Love it! That maybe a start for a business! Ha! Instead of house sitters, or pet sitters, you could hire a PLANT sitter!! Hopefully your little seedlings will be fine! They may need some extra TLC when you get back though ;)!

  3. Mistakes are how I learn best 🙂

    Glad to hear your laundry potato basket is working!

    And good to hear your seedlings survived your absence. We’ll be doing the same thing later this month for a week and I’m hoping I can convince a friend to come over once or twice to water.

    • Well…today a few look like they’re dying. So maybe they didn’t all survive like we hoped. Did you read the comment from a reader that suggested putting bottles of some sort – soda or milk – with holes punched in the bottom in your pots? It will slowly water them. I wish I’d seen that before we left. It would have probably saved my few that are croaking. The potatoes are going like gangbusters, though. Crazy!

      • Oh no. Hopefully most of them will have survived. I will have to give the water bottle a try when we leave in a few weeks. I started my seeds on Monday (later growing season here) and am looking forward to seeing them pop up.

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