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Second Year SFG in Canada

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/10/2016, 3:57 pm

Hmmmmm, I likey. Clever, prop open with a couple bricks to vent the heat maybe?

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/10/2016, 4:11 pm

SR ... I have to come clean and admit that the upside down tote is not my own idea. I remember seeing it somewhere on the Interweb. Your brick solution is worth a try. I prefer not to make holes in the tote since I can use it for other things. My ideal solution would be to put a small fan in the wall of one side of the tote with a another "hole" opposite it to get cross ventilation. Of course the fan would need to be solar powered.
thinking thinking thinking thinking

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  sanderson on 4/11/2016, 6:14 am

TD,  Or, you could set the seedlings in the tote and cover with the lid at night.  Heat rises so just propping open the bottom may still be too hot.  It can really heat up inside a clear tote (or 4 mil plastic, so remember to take the lid off, or partially remove it, or you can bake the seedlings! Embarassed   2013 seedlings


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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/11/2016, 7:52 am

sanderson ... very true what you say about the heat rising and being trapped inside the reversed bottom even if it is propped up. I think there are two reasons for using the tote upside down. The first is the the top is opaque and will not allow light through. The second is that it makes it easier to tend to the seedlings when the reversed bottom is removed.  BTW I like your mini greenhouse setup.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/11/2016, 4:30 pm

I finally got around to starting some seeds indoors that I probably should have started last week.

1. Pepper

  • Early California (sweet bell)
  • Large Red Cayenne
  • Jalapeno Mild


2. Tomato

  • Super Sweet 100
  • Big Beef
  • Roma VF


3. PakChoi - Cantong White

4. Marigold - Sparky Mixed

I used a wide variety of containers from my "vast" collection. I mostly used Starting Mix but some of the Marigold seeds are sown in MM.

On the left, tomatoes in a plastic clam shell container. The seedlings will be separated out and potted up. On the right, peppers in peat pellets and plastic containers. I expect these will be potted up later as well.


Pakchoi in 2 inch peat pots with starting mix.


The Marigolds are sown in 9 cell plastic tray (no photo).

Overall view with plastic covers in place. I need more grow lights!

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  sanderson on 4/11/2016, 11:49 pm

Nice. And yes, I would say you need another light in parallel.

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Nice Set Up

Post  Mimi2 on 4/12/2016, 8:39 am

Thanks for sharing your seedling work. I like your set up, and also your use of recycled containers. Do you put holes in the bottom and water from the bottom up?  I put my grow lights on in the evening, since evening electricity is relatively cheap here, but seems to work fine.  Have you tried that too?

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/12/2016, 8:55 am

sanderson ... I have authorization from Mrs TD to use her dual tube hobby light to expand my system. It clamps onto the bench and can be moved up and down to different heights. It's not ideal but will allow me some expansion. If this seed starting indoors is a success then for next year I will consider a better setup. I'm not sure if it is best to go with another light in parallel (side by side) with the existing light or perhaps go with a multiple layer setup like Mimi's. The former would be easier but the latter would be a more flexible arrangement.

Mimi ... Yes I do put holes in the bottom of the containers if they are not already there. For example, I put holes in the bottom of the plastic clam shell container and then placed it inside the bottom of another container. My aim is to water from the bottom if possible. My lights are on during the day but you have a good idea to use them when the electricity rates are lower during the night.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  Kelejan on 4/12/2016, 1:21 pm

I am admiring all your work, TD.  For this year I am too busy with my wood chips to do anything else right now,  but perhaps another time.

How is the weather there in Ottawa? Is it still keeping you prisioner?


Last edited by Kelejan on 4/12/2016, 8:18 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/12/2016, 1:27 pm

KJ ... When I looked out this morning it was nice to see that almost all of the snow has gone. Looking great for the rest of the week with lots of sun and high temps going from +7 C (45 F) tomorrow all the way up to +20 C (68 F) on Sunday. It's going to be great! I need to set up my "poor man's cold frame". I would like to have it on the front porch which is sunny and shetered but that will take some careful negotiation with Mrs TD.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/12/2016, 6:09 pm

Checked the compost bins today. The black plastic bin is still frozen solid in the centre. The bin I made last year out of plastic hardware cloth has thawed out and is good to go. I was able to clear a hole in the centre and stuff it with brand new kitchen scraps, used teabags, and torn up cardboard.
happy turtle

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/13/2016, 8:29 am

When I closed down my SFG beds lats Fall, I charged each square with a trowel full of compost. I'm wondering if I should do that again before I plant the squares this year. Suggestions please.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  Kelejan on 4/13/2016, 8:43 am

@trolleydriver wrote:When I closed down my SFG beds lats Fall, I charged each square with a trowel full of compost. I'm wondering if I should do that again before I plant the squares this year. Suggestions please.

I would put in another trowel full as it couldn't hurt. Also, some of the nutrients may have leached out if you did not use any mulch.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  sanderson on 4/13/2016, 4:50 pm

After winter, you may want a bucket or wheel barrow full on the beds. I think the spade full is for replanting right a way. ?? Bring the squares up to their original height. ??

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/14/2016, 9:58 am

As of this morning, April 14, some of the Pakchoi seeds sown indoors on the afternoon of April 11 have started to sprout. Time to get them under the lights.

I have moved some onion transplants from under the lights and put them outside in a mini (and I mean mini) greenhouse that I bought last year at Ikea.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/14/2016, 3:14 pm

Mrs TD and I dropped in at a local Tim Horton's this afternoon. For the non-Canadians allow me to explain that Tim Horton's is a Canadian fast food restaurant known here primarily for its coffee. It seems that many Canadians are hooked on Tim Horton's coffee.

Anyway, the point of all this is that after ordering our coffee, I asked what they do with their used coffee grounds. The answer was "throw them away". My next question was whether or not I could have some for my compost.  The answer was "yes and we will give them to you for free" (free! I hope so 'cause I'm not paying for them). I went back with a large plastic bucket that they put under the counter at the coffee machines. I was told to come back tomorrow and it will be filled by then.

bounce bounce bounce

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/14/2016, 4:38 pm

Bring another empty bucket with you and swap them out.  That's what I do when collecting from Starbucks.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/14/2016, 6:14 pm

I'm on it CC. Thanks.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/15/2016, 2:34 pm

Picked up bucket #1 of coffee grounds today and left another bucket for them to fill. So far they seem happy to do it. I assume the filters are OK to compost.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  sanderson on 4/15/2016, 5:20 pm

Score! cheers That's really nice of them to do this.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/15/2016, 5:41 pm

SFG related activities today, April 15:

1. Started peas indoors in cardboard toilet rolls cut in half.

2. Took down the Christmas lights that were on the SFG trellis.

3. Removed the leaves (winter mulch) from both SFG boxes.

4. After removing the leaves I found that the tulips are growing nicely in the front corners of each box. There are 9 tulip bulbs per square and all are doing well. Also, box #1 has about 12 garlic plants peaking out of the MM. Sadly, the Leeks in box #1 did not do well over the winter.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  p14shooter on 4/15/2016, 6:06 pm

Hey TD,

Tulips in the SFG.  I was thinking that due to my deer troubles, but I did not want to waste a food square.  Is that square a complete loss or were you able to plant something else in that square once the green dies off in AUG?

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 4/15/2016, 6:16 pm

p14 ... Last year I had marigolds in two corner squares and dusty miller in two other corner squares. These plants add some colour and variety to the SFG beds. As well, I believe the marigolds discourage some insects. This year I plan to follow up the tulips with marigolds and/or other flowers. I don't mind losing a few squares to the flowers even though we have a lot of flower beds elsewhere in the gardens.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  sanderson on 4/16/2016, 1:33 am

@trolleydriver wrote:SFG related activities today, April 15:
. . .
2. Took down the Christmas lights that were on the SFG trellis.
. . .
The neighbors were probably saying, "About time!"  [I just took mine down in March   Embarassed ]

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  yolos on 4/16/2016, 10:03 am

@sanderson wrote:
@trolleydriver wrote:SFG related activities today, April 15:
. . .
2. Took down the Christmas lights that were on the SFG trellis.
. . .
The neighbors were probably saying, "About time!"  [I just took mine down in March    ]

Mine are still up.  I have been using them as a heat source at night so the tomatoes stay a little warmer. Looks like two more nights below 50*F and then I will take them down.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

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