The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Indoor seedling setup lessons

Seedlings under lights

I'm still in the learning stages with my new high-tech, indoor seed-starting setup. But so far, I've been very pleased with my results. In fact, seedlings that usually wouldn't be ready to set out for another two weeks are begging to be transplanted. Here's hoping that after this current cold snap, I'll feel comfortable putting cabbages, broccoli, and onions in the ground.

Onion seedlings

Speaking of onions, I'm beginning to see why this has always been my hardest crop. While other seedlings have been doing a little better in the store-bought potting soil than in the stump dirt, the difference in growth among the onions is like night and day. I'm guessing onions are particularly sensitive to salts and I'd been putting majorly subpar specimens in the ground in years past.

Of course, there are still growing pains. I set the fan too close to the seedlings at first and nipped back some of those onion seedlings. Now I've settled on 18 inches away as a good distance to keep air circulating and harden off the baby plants a bit without desiccating tender leaves. Live and learn!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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