We were really organized this year – made a spreadsheet that tells us what’s up for planting when. We got grow lights, because last year the plants went super stringy – probably because of insufficient light.
But last year we were pretty successful – despite getting plants into the ground late, things still grew well. In fact we gave away a ton of food last year. This year… things have not got gone so well. I’m now wondering if the grow lights were too close to the plants, apparently that can lead to bleaching. This round of plantings does seem to be doing better and we’ve just been turning the lights on briefly in the morning and evening.
But it’s been dispiriting, our plants going out having barely grown, then plunking them in the soil only for them to die. The weather also, has been somewhat weird – burningly summer hot one day, and ordinary spring cool with a ton of rain the next. I’m not sure the plants really know what to make of it.
Anyhow, all of that combined means that yesterday we headed out to the urban farm store – we needed to get some straw to go around our potatoes, but we also used the opportunity to get some plant starts. We had got some at the market the day before, but having already got out ‘extra’ money to pay for a chopping board (we have finally got ourselves a wooden chopping board to protect our knives. They have been being destroyed by our glass boards for a couple of decades), we felt we’d spent enough. Which obviously we hadn’t because we just spent a bunch more in the urban farm store. ;-)
So today is going to be spent prepping and getting these in the ground in the hopes that they’ll take better than the ones we grew. We’ve also had *something* eat the squash we planted, upsettingly. I don’t know what – maybe slugs? But they’ve taken some of them down to just nubs, which is also… dispiriting.
Anyhow, so the garden is not quite where we were hoping this year, but it’s all about learning.
In other news, I’ve realised we could get solar for probably around 1.5k, sufficient to maybe generate around 40% of our power. Indeed, it would probably meet the majority of our day-time use, and might make switching to time-of-use worthwhile (so we’d charge the cars at night most of the time). Anyhow, I was nudging at this problem (because I need more projects, totally); and came across a company that specializes in used solar panels. That would get us 2.8kW for about $1k plus a not super expensive inverter and mountings – we’re probably in for about 1.5k (less tax subsidy on the new components). That should put us at about 2-3 years for a ROI.
Which, if we stay here (in this house) after we adopt for a bit (current plan)…makes sense. Irritatingly, we could have put these in right at the beginning… anyhow.
I need to replace the duff breaker in the panel (never buy a second hand breaker, even if it’s warrantied, if you work as slowly as we do. Because the only second hand breaker in the panel trips all the time when it’s wet, but I only discovered it after it was well out of warranty — and I know it’s the breaker, not the wiring, because if I switch it for the 40A breaker (used on the other EV charger) it still trips, but the swapped breaker works fine. So I have to open the panel up at some point…
It bears thinking about.