Indoor Gardening: Round N+1

The 99th Not-Success

It’s a good thing I’m stubborn. Like, a really good thing.

Thomas Edison has never been one of my role models, but lately he’s been on my mind a lot. Particularly, his famous quote, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

For whatever reason, my mind re-works the quote to, “I have not failed 99 times, I’ve just found 99 ways not to succeed.” Either way it means the same thing.

The lettuce seedlings I planted a few weeks ago are going leggy. The marigolds I was so proud of growing and repotting aren’t doing so well. In fact, one of the pots has gone moldy.


The good news is that the mold, at least, is fixable. But I don’t think I’ll be using these pots again. Bad drainage, can’t be watered the way I like, now this… yes, I’ve probably been overwatering, but if the pots weren’t trapping water it would be less of an issue. I think. Probably.

That’s what I’m telling myself, damn it!

What Next

Unfortunately, this time of year it’s nearly impossible to find flower pots. In fact, the way I ended up with these pots in the first place is they were all that was left at Walmart in late August, right before they cleared out their ‘Garden Center’ for the year.

Lowe’s is much the same.

Somewhere around here they has to be an actual garden store, but I haven’t found it yet. Country Junction does farm and construction supplies, so might be worth checking. Not likely, but worth swinging by when I have a chance.

I’m going to give the lettuce another week. I might get lucky… but I think the seedlings are just too far from the grow light. My current set up is just too limited — I can have a higher grow light that’s good for established plants, or a low grow light that’s close enough to be good for seedlings. I need a new set up.

The good news is that all these not-failures really have been an education. 6 months ago when I tried to picture what kind of set up I’d need or where I’d put it, I really didn’t know. Now I’ve got a much more solid idea.

There’s a corner next to my desk where, if I move things around a bit, I can put a small-medium shelving unit. One of those wire mesh ones, I think. It’ll be right by a south facing window, so ventilation and sunlight for at least part of the year. I can put established low-growing plants on the bottom shelf(s), where the weight will help anchor the unit. Seedlings in trays on one self either in the middle along with small plants that have been repotted but aren’t near to full size yet. And tall growing plants on the top shelf, where they’ll have room to grow.

A floor lamp with a grow light will provide light for the tall plants, then on the self with the seedlings put a small light or two to give the seedlings the intense and close-in light they need to not get leggy. Between the floor lamp, the seedling lights, and the sunlight, to plants on the bottom shelves should have enough light (one reason to get for mesh shelves instead of solid shelves). If not, it will be easy enough to add another light.

My one concern with this set up is that it really will be rather energy intensive. I’d rather not be using all that electricity, for a number of reasons. But ultimately I think the cost (to me and the environment) of this setup will be less than the cost of buying from the grocery store.

Okay, But What Now

Well, yeah, that’s long-termish planning. All of it requires buying stuff which requires money, which I don’t have right now. At least not to spare for this. Probably in January I can start getting a few things…

I’ve got a rectangle ceramic pot I meant to put the lettuce in. I’ll give the marigolds a few days-a week to dry out after I remove as much as I can of the mold. Then I’ll re-pot them into that pot. They’ll hopefully do better there than these plastic monstrosities.

For the lettuce, I’ll probably try to give a box or something that raises the seedlings up closer to the light. If that works, well, I’ve got a lot of lettuce seeds, because that’s the way seed packs are. Until I can get more pots, I’ll do a micro-green thing. Plant lettuce seeds, grow until they are a couple inches high and have a couple real leaves out. Have a lettuce snack. Repeat. It’ll give me a lot of practice with seedlings in a short time, I’ll be eating more vegetables, another win-win.

So… that’s the plan. We’ll see what happens, right?

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