Sprouting Without Electricity - A Seed Gamble

Playing the hand. Image credits: all images in this post J Laumer originals.

My electricity billing rate went way up this year; and, it had become tiresome to set up fluorescent lights and heat tape in a hot box to raise my vegetables from seed.

This year I decided to try gardening without any electricity. We'll see how it goes. Seed order came in the mail yesterday. Here's the setup. Got this $40, 4-shelf hotbox with a clear vinyl cover (better gardening through chemistry). Set it up against a south-facing wall, as shown below.

Put some bricks on the inside base to keep the wind from tipping it over. Weight of water in bases of the sprouting flats - probably a half gallon in total - also helps keep it in place.

Within an hour of placing the seeded flats on the shelves, interior temperature, measured with an old darkroom thermometer, was hanging at about 90F.

hot box 1.jpg

See the bricks?
hot box 2.jpg

Set a kerosene hurricane lantern on the bottom to use when outside temp dipped, especially at night. There's an upside-down aluminum cookie sheet on second shelf to prevent overheating of the tray above the lamp

By 9:00pm inside temperature had dropped to about 65 degrees F. So I lit the lantern...with wick at a very low setting.

turn on the kerosene lantern.jpg
In a half hour the inside temp had risen to almost 80F.

It might work. The lantern has enough kerosene to burn for 8 to 12 hours.

In a few weeks I'll post some new photos.

Tags: Spring

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