Helping beginners

It occurs to me that one thing that proves daunting to beginners
(of which I was one - yes! - not that long ago) is that they lack the
physical set-up which the rest of us develop over the years.  For 
example, when I'm saying that seed-sowing is easy, I'm saying this
from the perspective of someone who has, in her basement, right there
where she can wander down after dinner and play:

1 3-bay stainless-steel sink w/spray attachment and portable shelves
to set over the bays and use as work areas (plastic, drain-thru shelves)

A whole lot of fluorescent lights, mounted on wooden frames for easy
raising/lowering (and a bunch of old tables under them, including
one defunct pingpong table)

Work tables beside the sink

Several large plastic bins which hold germination mix, potting mix,
and pure grit

A couple of bins to hold discarded medium, plants, etc (compost)

Stacks of trays, pots, etc (useful information: Kord 3 1/2" square
pots fit exactly, 18 to the tray, in a standard 1020 tray (which I think
is actually 11 1/2" x 21 1/2") - and I'm a big fan of standardizing pot
and tray sizes rather than using yoghurt containers :-), but that's
a practical viewpoint based on volume, not philosophy)

Plastic labels (again, standard commercial stakes), pencils, Sharpie
pens, watering can, fertilizer, turkey baster (waters little things),
quart sprayers labelled w/contents ("Water only", "Safer's Insecticidal
Soap", "Captan"), fertilizer, fungicide, bleach (for soaking old pots),

A little stainless steel gizmo for pricking out seedlings (forget the
name, but it's great - could look it up)

Smooth-sided plastic cups for soaking seeds

And last but not least, a fantastic poured-concrete c. 1914 basement;
a nasty, spider-infested hole by some accounts, but plant heaven - never
too hot or cold

So to those who are beginning, I would say that you'll help yourselves
considerably by developing a permanent workspace where everything
you need is close at hand, and you can make a mess without getting anyone
else upset.  It doesn't have to be vast in scale, but it just helps
immensely to have everything you need within reach and ready to go.


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