Deep in the dark, damp soil: life begins.
I feel an excitement for the first snow in the early part of the winter season, followed by the holiday cheer. A week or so into January though, I am ready for Spring. Ready for the sun shining on a crisp fresh morning. Ready for tiny bits of green peeking out of the brown of Winter, taking over the gray, bringing the world back to life.
Starting plants inside in January brings hope and light to the dead of winter. Last year we put freshly planted seeds on top of the refrigerator for a little extra warmth. Once they popped up, we put them in the brightest room in the house with South and East facing windows. They got lots of light and grew quite happily. To a point. Then they just seemed to slow way down. I think it was a number of factors like temperature, too few hours of direct sun light, possibly not enough food (though we were using things like azomite and green sand).
This year, we are doing things a little more seriously. There is now an area designated for gardening. We got a nice light and set it on a timer so the little plants get 16 hours of "sun" and 8 hours of dark. So far, salad greens have been planted and are doing quite well. Peppers and strawberries have been planted, and a few sprouts are peeking through. More on that another day. We started the seeds in 2 inch peat pots and transferred them to 4 inch nursery pots when they were still quite small. The starts have been on a regimen of neem oil and sal-suds Castile soap (anti-pest, anti-fungal) and fertilization with Foxfarm Grow BIG.
These starts are very happy little greens! We have kale, a yellow swiss chard, mizuna red streaked mustard greens, deer tongue and a ball lettuce. We will be eating our own salads again in no time! Even with the taste of snowy winter we just got, the sun is out now and we have a small garden on the way, reminding me that Spring is really on it's way back.