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Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

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Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  happyfrog on 12/10/2010, 6:43 am

In the next couple of weeks, my family is going to be 'rebuilding' our indoor seed starting station. (we use household items (shelving units, rolling carts, etc) that have a different purpose in summer than they do in winter).

So we're making a list of the items we want (additional light boxes, etc) in order to expand that indoor set up.

Also, my children and I are going to be making a plant list of what we want to plant outside come february/march. (we use gallon sized milk jugs wtih bottoms cut off as individual greenhouses - (4 1/2 gallon ones of these will fit in each SFG square - i asked the neighbors to save those sizes for me)- so lettuce, etc can be protected during early early spring frost/cold temps.) - will do an inventory soon to make sure we have enough saved - we save them all summer so we'll have them for spring use)

typically we plant lettuces, spinaches, brassicas, from seed started indoors and plant outside direct sow peas and carrots.

but first week in january is the big week for us to seed start the spring crops - as germination sometimes takes longer than other times - the seed packets aren't always right.

so, anyone else getting excited about seed starting inside and preparing for spring?

share your tips, experiences, and what you'll be growing! my plan is to share what we're doing as we do it. we also use this as a homeschooling educational supplement. Smile

edited to add: i'm zone 5ish. somewhere between zone 5 and zone 6 depending on the weather patterns sent down from the great lakes and other environmental 'stuff'. last year i had my spring crops in the ground in february sometime. about a month sooner than most folks in my area - but the milk jug greenhouses worked pheonomenally well to protect my tender starts.


Last edited by happyfrog on 12/10/2010, 6:48 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added in more stuff 'cause i forgot to put it in the first time 'round.)

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  staf74 on 12/10/2010, 8:03 am

but the milk jug greenhouses worked pheonomenally well to protect my tender starts.

OOhhhhh....I LIKE that idea. Will investigate further. Thanks so much for sharing !!!!

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  happyfrog on 12/10/2010, 8:45 am

staf74 - here is more info about the greenhouses.

i am pulling from an old blog post of mine and copying it here - i am sure i posted similarly about this a long while ago here but not sure where exactly as i post all over the place. *gentle smile*

Mini Greenhouses!
I am looking forward to spring and my garden - nothing like being able to walk outside, pick some vegetables and use them in that meal - there's nothing quite like the taste and excitement of growing your own produce.

I live in Ohio and right now, we have quite a bit of snow around us - and more snow is expected.

But before I know it, it'll be planting time! And a way that I protect my seeds and keep them warm during the fluctuating temperatures in early spring and late autumn is to use mini greenhouses!

And you probably have these greenhouses in your own fridge right now and never thought twice about them!

That's right - your gallon milk jugs! Smile I have young children and we go thru several gallons weekly. Most of the time, we save them for greenhouses! Smile



and a link to click if pic doesn't work: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_4fY0R0_4Rw4/S3lf5FykPLI/AAAAAAAAAHo/d9j2WNJJ3Ig/s1600-h/blog+001_1.jpg


It's really simple to convert a milk jug into a greenhouse! Simply follow the bottom ridge of the jug (I marked it with a black sharpie for your benefit):



and a link to click in case image doesn't show up: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_4fY0R0_4Rw4/S3lf7Je2cqI/AAAAAAAAAHw/ZL1eCIfc8BU/s1600-h/blog+002_2.jpg

And then carefully, with a sharp pair of scissors, cut off the bottom of the jug!



link to click if no image is seen: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_4fY0R0_4Rw4/S3lf8aRg1dI/AAAAAAAAAH4/cdxzJYew6dQ/s1600-h/blog+003_3.jpg

You now have yourself a portable, individual sized greenhouse! Simply put on the garden after you plant your seed. Remove the lid to vent, replace the lid at dusk to keep the warmth in all night long. Remove as the plant grows and the season is warm consistently.

Here's a pic of the mini greenhouse in operation:



and a link to click if image isn't showing up

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_4fY0R0_4Rw4/S5UWj20JJMI/AAAAAAAAAQ4/4pKEkq9iAMk/s1600-h/8mar2010+032_19.jpg


Last edited by happyfrog on 12/10/2010, 8:56 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : can't figure out why last pic won't post properly ???? did a bunch of edits and fingers crossed now!)

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  quiltbea on 12/10/2010, 11:16 am

I, too, use the milk jugs as mini-greenhouses. Make sure you save the cap. You'll need it on cold nites to keep in the accumulated heat. These worked so well over many of my crops. I'll be repeating them next spring.

I also love my A-frame made simply from 1x2s and clear vinyl plastic. It got many things off to a good start for me last year. Mine was built over an existing 4x4 bed 12" deep.

I direct-sowed seeds for carrots, spinach, scallions, meslcun mix on one side and on the other I started lettuces throughout the early season to transplant into my raised beds. I planted 2 cherry tomato plants inside at either end where it was tallest and had cherry tomatoes coming into late fall this year.


For those that may want to build one, I have the tutorial in my garden blog listed below. If an older lady in her late 60s can build this herself, anyone can do it.
Unfortunately, my A-frame was damaged by a wind storm last month so I had to take it down til next spring when I'll replace the broken pole. But I sure plan on doing this again. Those early crops were well worth it.

Anyone have any other early staring tips? I can use all I can find.

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  Lavender Debs on 12/11/2010, 9:25 am

QB you need to put a drill on your Christmas wish list. Between you and your eldest granddaughter I bet you could bolt that A Frame together and have it survive a storm.

You girls! I am trying hard to not think about my garden until after the winter holidays.

I'm trying to not think about the new 2x8 bed with a pvc hoop house that Ray isn't encouraged to talk about (yet) to extend the start and end dates of the toy box.

I've been banishing thoughts of what broccoli to try. The two I had last year will not be invited back this year. I'm trying to not dream about fresh Maestro peas or the pretty Chinese peas I "discovered" last year. Alaska Snap peas? Yummy! If Frog grew them than they are many kid approved.

I'm trying to stay out of the garden section of Fred Meyer in order to not see when they set out the new garden supplies so I can bring home more of the Pot-pots that the herb growers prefer in Western Washington. Those big black tubs are inexpensive and great for my tomatoes. Unfortunately, growers of illegal herb love them too and snatch them up as fast as they hit store shelves.

Fun thread Frog, but you are messing with my mellow. Love ya girl!
(and thanks Bea!)

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  quiltbea on 12/11/2010, 10:46 am

LavenderDebs.....In the wind storm, one of the poles snapped in the middle. Nothing happened with the wiring. I doubt a drill would have helped. It would have been better for me to cover my crops with blankets and open the vinyl plastic sides so the wind could blow thru instead of against. I learned something for next year.

Broccoli.....I tried DiCicco this year and for some reason it didn't do well. The year before I planted Packman and they were great. I think I'll get more Packman seed this year.

I know what you mean about dreaming about your next garden. I doze off dreaming of what I'll plant where or the new cold frame I want to build. I also ordered more seed catalogs from the seed listing site so that should keep me happy next year.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  happyfrog on 12/14/2010, 10:09 am

packman worked well for me, too.

as did calabrese.

i'm considering going with a purple broccoli this year. and doing 16 squares. we love broccoli. and perhaps will have extra to freeze for later usage.

(saw the prettiest broccoli in the baker catalog!)

and want to try so many varieties of melons. . .but i know we don't have enough space to grow as many as i want.

so will be sitting down with pen and pencil to figure out for sure what i have space for.

my peas took longer to 'finish' than expected, so had to plant my tomatoes in a different location - so figuring that in for this year. i was just happy to have peas this year - many folks didn't get them as the season changed faster than expected. (i planted crazy early and it worked for me).

debating on seed starting tomatoes - i have limited seed starting space - so might buy those already done and grow green pepper plants instead - esp since they have to be transplanted so much later than everything else d/t the fragility of htem - they don't like cold at all. . . (leaning towards 16 squares of those - 4 diff varieties in mind)

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  Lavender Debs on 12/14/2010, 10:31 am

Was it QB or Dixie who posted pictures of the most beautiful purple broccoli (or maybe it was cauliflower? I am starting to despise getting old). Whichever it was I think the seed came from JSS (but then again, me and thinking are not a good match)

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  middlemamma on 12/14/2010, 1:00 pm

@quiltbea wrote:
I know what you mean about dreaming about your next garden. I doze off dreaming of what I'll plant where or the new cold frame I want to build.

I have nightmares too....the other day I woke up nearly in tears cause I had a dream that we were being forced to move and I had JUST planted all our spring seedlings. affraid It was awful. My husband asked me what had me all upset and when I told him I thought he was going to fall off the bed laughing at me. Rolling Eyes

Jen

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  CarolynPhillips on 12/14/2010, 2:11 pm

That is a nightmare, and sadly lived it several times.


My head is swimming and unorganized. With tomato greenhouse ripening, and planning a germination chamber and seed schedule for the greenhouse business and my own personal garden the brain can get tangled. I grow plants for my own garden that I do not supply for the business. And I grow my own earlier than I do for the business so there are many schedules. If i put my thoughts in the forums it would be a jumbled mess.

I am trying a few new plants this spring. Brandymaster Tomatoes, yellow, red, pink. Curious.
And of course there is the new trellis arch for melons... Trying out the yard long green bean. I like fresh stir fried green beans. (olive oil and fresh garlic with sea salt) Could eat them everyday. I could go on forever about what I want to grow. There is not enough time in a day for all the thoughts.

I have a problem with mini greenhouses in the garden. They're not big enough. I start my plants extra early and the plants are too big for gallon jug mini houses. LOL they're even too big for Walls of Water. I have 60 Walls of Water and never use them. I have to make big mini houses using wire cages in different sizes and shapes covered with poly. Sometimes they end up being mini hoop houses covered with poly so the whole grow bed is a mini greenhouse. Just easier that way for me. And if we had a really deep freeze front coming from the north, all I have to do is run a very small electric heater under the whole mini house and cover it with a comforter or simular.

Thinking about gardening is like a ping pong ball bouncing off the inner skull.

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  quiltbea on 12/14/2010, 3:23 pm

LavenderDebs....Its was me with a purple cauliflower, Violet Queen.

I don't eat cauliflower but my family tells me it was better tasting than the white Fremont cauliflower so I'll be planting more of those this spring.

The Violet Queen grew faster than the white Fremont as you can see in this photo.

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  Furbalsmom on 12/14/2010, 4:02 pm

QB, how beautiful they are. Mine are awful.

The fall/winter rains and sleet are upon us and they have hit hard again today. We have had two light frosts this season, but I am afraid for my poor purple cauliflower and broccoli that are still in the garden with teensy tiny heads (less than the size of a pingpong ball). They did not get planted until late Sept I think, and they probably needed to be out quite a bit earlier. This was my first attempt at a fall garden.

Since I am going to WA in another week, I guess i will try to harvest whatever is there in a day or two. Maybe I can dump them all together,along with some yellow squash and zucchini and add a little color to one meal. (There are just two of us so it doesn't take much for one meal, thank goodness.)

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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  quiltbea on 12/14/2010, 4:28 pm

Furbals.....
Its too cold right now in Maine for anything to grow that I planned.
I started my fall seeds too late as well. Didn't get anything for my fall crops. The way-to-late lettuce just wouldn't grow when it got too cold.

Here were my lettuces in the A-frame on Nov 11th. Soon after that we had a terrible windstorm than broke one of my A-frame poles. The lettuce just never grew to any size after that.

I put in the garlic and some carrots seeds which should come up again next spring. The parsnips are in the ground and are fine for harvesting as long as the ground isn't frozen. The parsnips are the only winter crop I've got still going.

Next year I will plan better for a fall crop and for an early winter harvest of greens like arugula, claytonia, etc. under glass or hoops or something. I'd like to stretch my gardening as long as possible. New plans in the works for next fall, yessirree.


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Re: Seed Starting - prep and planting - share your tips/experiences/plans!

Post  sfg4uKim on 12/14/2010, 8:51 pm

I ordered seeds last night!

During the last wind storm I lost a panel on my greenhouse. I don't think it's warm enough to caulk it back in, so I guess I'll try some duct tape until it warms up. But that's the least of my concerns. The door also snapped off so I'm trying to figure out what I can do.

Anyway I'm excited about the coming season and looking forward to all the suggestions.

Kim

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