Cultivating Knowledge in Mommy's Garden

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Seed / Tuber Starting

I get a lot of questions about where we start our seeds. 
Two years ago I had my husband nail up a shelf in our unfinished basement, and we hung a fluorescent light above it.  This worked, but I wanted more space.
Last year we enclosed a little "seed propagation room" in the basement.  The space is under the stairs above, so it's out of the way.  We insulated and sheetrocked the walls.  The floor is bare concrete, we were going to put some insulation foam/pad thing down, but decided it wasn't too cold.  I just put a floor mat down and it is just fine. 

We put in a little 4 shelf indoor/outdoor greenhouse in the room and a radiant heat panel.  My husband wired the outlet for the heat panel to a thermostat, and it comes on and goes off according to temperature.  I up the temp in the morning (to between 70 and 75) and drop it at night (between 60 and 65).
Instead of the traditional fluorescent grow lights, we had read a bit about using LED lights and decided to try them out.  They are really something.  They really work (and they make the room look so pretty!).  The combination of red and blue LED's make a full spectrum light source.  The lights are on a regular wall timer and set to come on at 6 am and go off at 9 pm. 
After starting all my seeds and getting my dahlias potted up, we realized we needed more shelves, so I moved in this wooden shelf that we weren't using other than for storage.

Then we figured out that there still wasn't space for all the dahlias, and now there is a large greenhouse outside for the dahlias...

And next year, we will probably decide that it isn't big enough, and need to upgrade again... :)

Measuring the Seeds ~ HSV

Today we got all our seed trays out of the green room and measured how tall they've gotten.  We planted all our seeds on April 1st.
 Herb tray and Vegetable tray
 Corn and Zinnia tray
One of the trays of dahlia tubers

We've been excited to watch the seeds growing, and the corn has gotten really  tall!  Our tallest corn is 13 inches tall already.

 Measuring the growth
 Charting the growth

 The "Rainbow Seeds" aren't doing well :(
 "I'm a Seed!"  Great book!

No picture, but this week it RAINED a lot every day, broke each days record rainfall (by about double!)
 Last week....  It snowed EVERY DAY!
 The week before...  Had one nice sunny DRY day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 23rd Update

Seeds are growing out of control!  :)

 Chamomile, Echinacea, Echinacea, Lavender, Lavender, Thyme
The Chamomile is looking nice, there are a few Echinaceas popping up, the lavender and thyme look good!

Red Peppers, Green Pepper, Cucumber
Spinach, Cherry Tomato, Beefsteak Tomato

These are looking good, except for the spinach and red peppers... I don't know what their problem is.  The tomatoes are looking really good.

Corn, Zinnia
Some of the corn are getting huge!  and some didn't even sprout.  I'm going to replace the ones that didn't sprout and get them growing.  The zinnias look nice.

 The rainbow seeds aren't looking so hot.  I moved them down to be under the brighter lights today, I hope that helps.

April 21st Update


Even with the snow, there are signs of growth in the greenhouse!

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 13th Update

Observations of seeds:  Thyme, lavender and chamomile are up on the herb tray.  No echinacea yet. 

S~"Pull the pesky weeds out so they can grow." 
Me~"Those aren't weeds, they are the seedlings."

"They are getting taller and taller."  (While gesturing bigger and bigger with her hands)
"We need to measure how tall they got!"  Yes we do!  Thanks for the reminder, and we'll get on that this weekend.

April 12th Update

The weather was AMAZING today, we were outside from 9 till 1130 (we didn't even take a break for breakfast).  The girls played in their playhouse and the sandbox, and helped me do a little garden clean-up.  They also carried pots of dahlias from the house to the greenhouse.  It was chilly, but not a cloud in the sky, so we had a great morning!

The greenhouse, before and after (Pony helped us)
 Left and Right sides inside the greenhouse

 Garden helper :)
 "I see worms!"       "Let me see, let me see!"
 Iris bed, still needs work, but the asparagus box is doing okay, there are 4 or 5 stalks.  This is the second year for the box, so the plants still need time to establish.
 Perennial bed before
Perennial bed after the clean-up, birdbath was moved back to it's regular location (we put it on the patio closer for the winter so it can be heated).  Kelly the Cat, found the catnip! 

April 11 Update

We potted up our dahlia tubers today!  Well, most of them anyways :)

I have a couple dozen or so more... I was thinking I had enough, and now I'm thinking I don't... We are going to plant about 80 here at the house, and St. Joseph's asked us to about double what we did last year, so that will be about 75 there.. plus I need to get some started for my mom's garden...

April 9th Update

~We spent spring break out out of town, so this is all catch up work :)

Observations:  Chamomile and Merigolds are peeking out.  Tomato, spinach are up too, no peppers yet.

Comments:  All comments today are by Selena, Abby was also there, but didn't have much to say.
"Look, leaves!"  about the cucumber seedlings
"We might have to take them outside"
"Let's check our rainbow!"  when we were checking our "rainbow" seeds
"This one is almost as tall as Daddy!"  referring to the Morning Glory seedling

April 5th Update

~We spent spring break out out of town, so this is all catch up work :)

Observations:  Cucumbers, tomatoes, and zinnia showing.  Can see corn kernals, recovered with soil.
Selena "I can smell their smell!"  in reference to the damp soil smell in the growing room

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Monday, April 4th

We have corn sprouts!  They were nearly 1/2 an inch tall already!  Lots of other sprouts too, chamomile and cucumbers, morning glory's are all up, bachelor buttons, zinnias too.  I'll have to check my list when I get back to town, but there were a lot.  I turned the heater down and the lights off for our trip so they slow down a bit till we get back.

Weekend Update

Starting Friday night, we got working on the dahlia tubers.  We started with 8 boxes, and by the end of Friday, we had 7 and a half boxes to go... Ugh!  I called in for reinforcements for Sunday and wanted to get through them a little faster.  When we checked our seeds on Saturday, we had sprouts!  {I will update this with my specific notes when I get back to town, for now I think that the sprouts were cucumbers, bachelor buttons, and morning glory's}
Sunday we had a few more sprouts! 
When the dahlia helper came over on Sunday, we had gotten through the rest of the first box and had brought in 3 more.  We were on our way to cruise through them.  By the end of the day, we had gotten through two more boxes with sorting.  That night, I went through and individually wrapped the ones that were ready for sale.  I had to give up at 10, because I was tired and had other lessons to get ready for on Monday.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1, 2011, Gardening Journal

We are going to be notebooking or journaling our gardening adventures this year.  This is what we've done so far.  (Selena has done her part, I'm the one that needs to do my entries!)
 Selena picked out the scrapbooking paper to cover a wide-ruled spiral bound notebook.
 She wrote "Our Garden Journal"
 Page 2-3, with a foldout map of our seed starts.  I'll add my journal entry for Day 1 on the page to the left.
 Detail of the foldout.
List of seeds we planted, with a little packet of seeds of each type.  
They are written in the color we expect them to be. 

We are already having so much fun!  We can't wait for some little green sprouts!

April 1, 2011, Seed Planting

Today we got nearly everything we wanted to accomplished! 
We started the day by planting our rainbow seeds.

 They sure love to get them all poked in there!

All planted!                 The seeds happily under their UV lights.

After sorting one of the eight boxes of stored tubers, I realized that I'm in need of help, and called our great friend Heidi.  She is going to come help Sunday!

In the evening, I thatched the yard.  Greg wasn't here, and I took lawnmower apart and put the appropriate blade on it, and started it up and thatched the yard!  It was on my to do list so we can get the greenhouse staked down, and I didn't know if there would be any other time this weekend.  I got done after 8, and it was full dark.  But the girls enjoyed playing outside in the dark while I raked :). 
Then, finally, I got the herbs, vegetables, and a few flower seeds planted.  They are also under the UV lights in our little basement propagation room.