Monday, January 19, 2009

The Greenhouse

Based on just a brief thought to consolidate my basement gardening mess tossed out by Brett earlier this fall, we're now working on some basement reorganizing. This will also include moving our shelving over to one area of the basement for storing holiday, party, project, etc stuff, and then having a dedicated area run with electricity for grow lights, heat mats, etc near the water that comes into the house.

Unfortunately 1) the place didn't come with a wash basin in the basement, and 2) the incoming water is on the opposite side of the house as the drain in the basement (WTH!?). If they were closer, I'd totally rig up some sort of seed starting work area that included running water in a basin or sink. Who knows - maybe sometime we'll figure out a way to drain the water from one end of the basement to the other?! (Brett doesn't like my suggestion of having a big tub to collect water under a basin, and I just get to monitor it to make sure it never overflows. What!? There's no risk there! ;-)

Here's Brett just before we clear out the last shelf in what will be the new "greenhouse" (I think that's what I'm calling this area!)

As we work on cleaning up the basement, we come across things like stacks of broken down (or still intact) boxes, collected newspapers and packing paper (hey, I can use that for the garden!), etc... Brett's declared my garden area ends at a certain spot in the basement - I get the "nook" you see him in in these pictures, and I keep everything within that area. And here he is with the bag of newspapers and packing papers I've said we should save in case I can use them.

Annnnnnd here's where they better stay - IN MY AREA! Ok, ok, fine...I can do that.

Here's a view looking down the basement in a different direction. If you look closely, you'll see I have grow lights hanging on both the left AND right sides of the basement (the back and front of the house) - dad showed me the technique for hanging them on cords so they can be raised and lowered - very cool! We have plenty of storage space in the basement - I just have a knack for filling space!

Part of this project is that I need to get more comfortable with electrical work. I remembered what dad showed me last year, I took apart some of what he did so I could make sure I was doing it right this time, asked dad a number of questions to make sure I was on the right track, and then have made several trips to Lowes in the last week (hey, the plans kinda changed, so I need more/different parts!). Here's the first of four duplex outlets being run for the light ballasts, heat mats, etc...

And here's some progress on the "greenhouse" - I've moved over one of the tables, run the lights, and moved over the plants that I brought indoors this past fall. Most have survived and are doing well. I've got a ton of aloe vera now. Some are getting a bit leggy, but let's be honest, this isn't the idea situation for them...

I'm not yet sure what's going to happen with all of these guys once it's time to start seed planting!! Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, etc all take up quite a bit of space real quick... Sure, I'll have at least one more grow-table going (when I finish the electrical work and move it over from it's old location)...but I really enjoy starting up all this stuff!

Here's a mess of aloe vera, begonia, amaryllis, fig trees (that aren't doing great), rosemary (yay!), ivy and geraniums... Just think - there are some plants that are just considered annuals in this part of Ohio, but what if I could bring in some of those plants, such as the geraniums and aloe vera, and keep 'em growing in the basement over the winter, and put them out again in the spring! How wonderful would that be? Especially if I can propogate them, getting more plants off of the ones I'm saving each year...

Oh, and you'll see NO marijuana here! I just want to clarify that. It seems like anytime someone finds you've got stuff growing in the basement, the assumptions go straight to marijuana. Hell, even the kid at Lowe's got this look in his eye and asked what it was I was setting up grow lights for... Seriously. No. None of that. The only herbs here are for cooking!

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