Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No really, I want to grow tomatoes

The flat of lettuce that turkey tipped over isn't doing very well. It's kinda scraggly and spotty, so i might have to plant another plug tray.

The other plants are in riotous good health. In the center is the "green towers" romain lettuce starts; they're maybe 5" tall, and they're surrounded by 700 tomato plants of various sorts. I do the starts under a grow light. It's really nice to have the green lush growing plants, but it's kinda risky to have grow lights in Seattle.

When I started growing stuff I wanted to be able to stretch the season, so I've got a small greenhouse, and will probably set up a big greenhouse this year. Plastic greenhouses are considered temporary buildings, so I think i can put up a limited amount of them without county problems.

"No, really, I want to grow tomatoes"

I'm about as straight a guy as you're going to run across. I don't smoke, i don't really drink, I'm pretty boring. I have a couple of vices, soda pop being one, but nothing that is illegal or even frowned upon. I'm pretty straight. So when I started to think about farming, I wanted to buy a set of grow lights so that I could do stuff like this. Start tomato plants and grow peppers and so on. My house isn't really able to get any sunshine because of the huge apartment buildings on all sides (it's a little like living in the bottom of a well) and so off I went to a local grow light vendor.

So I walk in, and I say that I want to buy a grow light. "How many plants are you going to grow?" um, maybe 20 or 30 tomato plants. "hmm... you'll need 3 lights then". No, I'm just doing tomato plants, I think one will do. "No, when they bud you'll have to have at least 3 lights for that many plants" But these are tomato plants, and I'll probably start them indoors and then move them outside to grow... "oh, you don't want to do that. Airplane patrols will spot them..." no, really, it's tomato plants. Seriously. Vegetables. "I know what you want. You'll need 3 lights and a carousel so that you can put the plants right up to the lights for best production". tomato plants? "yes, so that you'll get the most buds" Look. this is tomato plants. I'm not growing anything else but veges. "why do you need a light then? "


Ok, look, I need a 1,000 watt bulb and a ballast, how much? "$300". Fine. you take credit cards? "um... no. cash only. if we keep credit card numbers it creates a honeypot and it's too tempting to be seized. " ok, how about a check? "no. cash. you need a loan?"

Look, I'm growing tomato plants. RED TOMATO PLANTS. "sure buddy. Thanks for the money, here's your light -- you want a CO2 release system with an odor scrubbing system and an electrical panel bypass? " NO. Thank you. Goodbye.


Anonymous said...

What a fun world we live in! As an electrician in real life I can't tell you how many homes I have been in that were without a doubt "growing tomatoes" at some point in their history.... Crazy stuff. Good luck with the tomatoes!

Anonymous said...

LOL, that's a good one! But, not doing anything illegal?? Nearly everything a small, independent farmer wants to do is now considered illegal in most western countries! You're walking on the wild side my friend...not so boring after all.