The Farm in the Basement

Ok, maybe farm is the wrong word…the only livestock down here is of the eight-legged variety. You get the idea.

Everyone seems to be overwintering well under the lights. The scented geraniums have just gotten a second haircut. A myrtle seedling that I thought was a goner has some strong regrowth on it.

And, look at this:

Not only is the Rosemary Not Dead, it has new growth…

I’m going to take this as a good omen. If I can manage to keep one of these alive all winter, then the gardening season to come is going to be a breeze!

(No need to poke holes in my fantasy…February is brutal enough.)

I also decided it was time to put a few seeds in some dirt.

I’ve used these self-watering starters off and on for a few years. They’re really good for shallow-rooted things, like bedding plants and basil. The seedling tray sits on top of a reservoir, and a fabric mat wicks the water up to the soil. There’s a water level indicator to tell you when to fill it up again. The seedlings stay perfectly moist, all the time. (As long as someone doesn’t get too complacent and forget to check them for a week…)

They’re a bit expensive to start, but they last for years. My oldest ones are going into their sixth spring, and showing no signs of wearing out. These came from Lee Valley Tools, but most suppliers have a version of them now.

So, what are we growing?

Pansies and basil. The pansies will be ready to go outside in April – by Easter, with any luck. The basil might not ever make it past the kitchen, but the sheer delight of smelling it will help lift the pall of late winter.

I’ll just hang out here with Rosemary until they sprout.


27 thoughts on “The Farm in the Basement

  1. I bought the same planter from the same company a few weeks ago. I won’t be starting it up for a few more weeks, though. Still, I can’t wait. Our Winter may have been milder than most but it’s still Winter and I’m ready to see some buds and greenery. I see you didn’t take my advice with your rosemary plant. Good thing, too! 🙂

    • Great Garden Minds think alike! I don’t use these for my tomatoes, because I don’t “bump them up” to a larger pot before setting them out, but I love them for smaller things…Let us all know how they work for you!
      As for the rosemary…it’s just a freak thing, I’m sure. And, it’s so small that using your method wouldn’t have netted me much, anyway!

  2. The basement is beautiful!! Anything green this time of the year is wonderful. Have a good day and thanks for the “garden” photos.

    • That used to be me too, Bonnie… My daughter usually chimes-in on posts like this to tell everyone how bad I am at houseplants. But, the only way to get the varieties of veggies or particular colors of bedding plants that I want is to start them myself. So, I’m learning!

  3. Oh it’s wonderful to see your plants and your plans. Seeing all the fresh growth is a breath of fresh air.
    I’ve heard about these starter kits, so thank you for showing me how they work and the fact that they last for years, I try and limit my garden spending, so something like this makes a lot of sense. My own home made version are plastic of paper pots sitting on a bed of gravel, which I keep damp and the plants take up what they want. It’s worked well in the greenhouse last year and I’m going to do this at home for the tomatoes and peppers. And you have reminded me to sow some basil – Thank you 🙂

    • Hubby gave me my first batch of these seed-starters when he bought me the grow-lights for Christmas six (or so) years ago. They’re great when I’m distracted (Is there a time when I’m NOT distracted?) because of the water-level indicator….nothing like a bright red mark that says FILL to get my attention!
      You’re the second person to say that about the basil…Happy to be of service! 😉

  4. I’m a late starter on this seedling thing, but my first Babies are sprouting in the kitchen window now, so there’s hope. Yours all look beautiful and I’m delighted Rosemary is behaving well for you. I’ve no doubt at all that she’ll behave this summer now that she’s got a good toehold. Three cheers for spring, whenever and *wherever* it’s sprung!!! 🙂

  5. It is an interesting idea turning your basement into a nursery. Would happen here, no nursery. Everything looks like it is doing really well. I like those seedling boxes, I have never seen anything like that here.

    • Hubby had his offices in the basement years ago, before he put the addition on the house (all LONG before we were together!), and all that space was going to waste down there. I hate wasted space!
      The boxes are from a mail-order company. My guess is that Amazon AU could find something similar for you, if you’re interested…

  6. It’s wonderful to have the pleasure of stopping by ur blog. I’m delighted to now have the idea of planting my seedlings. I house reptiles in my dining room and sometimes, it gets really hot due to the heaters installed in every snake cage in my home; so my plants take the beating. I found out one day when one of my greens was dying. Quickly I placed her in my bathroom, hours later shr came back to life. Eversince that day, I never took her out of the bathroom. I even brought another room mate for her. There are now three pots 🙂


    now three

      • I so apologize for the delay of my response. It’s been hectic lately, kids were sick and then some of our snakes were also getting the respiratory infection…so we’re all making double trips to see doctors for kids and reptiles 🙂
        Well, my den isn’t really that hot..since it’s winter afterall. Last summer wasn’t that bad either, we maintained a room temp for reptiles at least 75-80 degrees- we then turn off their heating lights- it worked just fine 🙂

  7. When I get home from our road trip to Florida, I have to start planting seeds. Even though it seems like a long time until Memorial Day when we can safely plant in our Maine garden…I have to be prepared.

    • It’s looking more and more like we’re going to have a genuine early spring around here, Karen. The soil temp is up to 45 as of yesterday. I’m cautiously optomistic…it would be nice to get the tomatoes in before the end of May!

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