BlogOur Earth

Seeds in January

We began exploring hydroponic systems years ago after we created a great garden in the spring and everything died over the course of a summer because Midwest sunshine can be brutal. There are many elements that make hydroponics a really fun way to garden, especially since the most important grow medium to always have on hand are these small, round clay pellets that look like cocoa puffs. These cocoa puffs can be reused lots before they begin disintegrating; we bought one huge bag years ago and rinse them.

Another potentially fun element of hydroponics is learning about lights, since you need a ‘fake sun’ if you expect to grow anything indoors {unless you have a sun porch or greenhouse, I suppose}. Many plants will thrive under the same LED lights you put up around your house, which is really awesome because we’ll be needing the space for my winter project this year. The both of us have ambitious ideas for flowers outside, but we’re not the best caretakers because there’s so much STUFF in life that we get distracted. Also, spring has gotten fucked up over the years and it’s hard to know when to plant. After the hard frost is gone, there’s rain for a month and then the average temp is 80 and rising.

Young plants don’t survive that stress unless they’re steadily cared for, which has not been our forte. I figured that by starting seeds during the winter, inside, we’d have ‘teenage’ plants to put in the ground once the frost passes. The fun part is I have no idea how big these plants will be in, what, April? Right now they’re camped out in a closet with a couple of LED bulbs—I’ve got a seed sprouter house sitting on a little bedside table. Our seed starter pellets are made of cocoa coir; once they sprout a bit, they go into 4in cocoa fiber pots.