So let's just say my re-obsession with succulents (that I mentioned back in December) has kind of exploded into lots of new plants in my house. I also discovered that the window I had my first new batch of succulents in wasn't providing enough natural light and they were beginning to stretch. Even though I wrote about being mindful about lighting and stretching – look what ended up happening. Whoops!

Last night I got creative with an adjustable metal rack with shelving. I was able to adjust it so that I could put all my new succulents under a grow light (ummm….so the addiction is full blown – I'm now the happy plant owner of 26 succulents). The supplemental lighting will help address the stretching issue and will prevent my other newly obtained succulents from stretching at all. You don't need to buy expensive grow lights to provide supplemental lighting – one cool and one warm fluorescent bulb will work just fine. Just remember that supplemental light is not the equivalent of real sunlight so the lights need to be run longer to account for that. For every 1 hour of sun a plant needs, supplemental lighting needs to be run for 2 hours to provide the same benefits. Plants also need a rest period and do need a period of darkness. Make sure to either remember to turn the supplemental lights off manually each night or for ease get a timer.

So in the shelving reorganization I also got creative and was able to set it up so that the bottom half will be the home to my hydroponic set up. I ordered all the supplies and they arrived yesterday – so now that I have the rockwool, I can get seeds started. If you decide to build a DIY hydroponics system – you'll want to start the seeds outside the system. Soak the rockwool in water for at least 30 minutes, plant the seeds, and then keep the rockwool moist in a tray until your seedlings have developed long enough roots and then they can be placed into the net pots in your setup.

With that little update, I have to say I'm grateful for the fact that I have space for plants indoors, but I am truly itching for spring and being able to get outside and garden. I'm ready for fresh grown tomatoes and to be able to say good bye to cold weather. This of course led me to start researching what new varieties of vegetables are coming out this year. I was pleasantly surprised and happy to see a number of vegetable varieties that are good for growing in containers. I grew vegetables in containers for years when I was renting and couldn't dig up the yard and still do even with an in ground garden. Some of the varieties suitable for containers that caught my eye included:

  • 'Sugaretti' (spaghetti squash)
  • 'Patio Pride' (pea – can be eaten as a sugar snap or wait till it's mature for shelling),
  • 'Hansel' and 'Gretel' (eggplant)
  • 'Sunrise Sauce' (tomato that can be used to make sauce)

The first day of spring is March 1 – the gardening season is inching closer and I can't wait to see how this year turns out.