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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Grey Griselle French shallot

Top setting onions

Tomato starts with red cellophane.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My seeds have germinated. (But not all)

 As you can see I have had good germination. The chard, scallions, pimiento peppers, tomatoes, and egg plant have done the best. I am running the air temp close to 80 which is causing, so far a failure with the leeks and Cole family plants.  The bed soil temps have run much warmer than I expected. Next year I think I will start about February 15th. That would allow me to run the bed at cooler temps closer to 70. Then later on I could bump things up to 80, or have a separate bed for the night shade heat loving plants. The outdoor soil temperature is 31 and next week we should get a night of 18 . I am still covering it at night with a blanket and it looks like the night temp inside drops to about 65. So far purchased tomato seeds have not sprouted, but the ones I have saved have done great.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hotbed/Hothouse progress

When to plant and why hoop houses might not work well in the winter.

Spring has sprung or is about to spring in some parts of the U.S. and some are wondering about what is the best date to plant plants. Often time seed packets have suggested months and dates or certain vague timing related to frost averages.  The true determining factor is soil temperature. All plants have temperature parameters in which they thrive. 50 degrees F. is a basic benchmark for plant growth. Below 50 degrees and above 32 degrees many plants can survive but will make very little active growth.  To bring a little science into planting equations and less guess work, one needs to buy an inexpensive soil thermometer. You might have a meat thermometer with a probe in the kitchen already. Begin to monitor what is happening with your soil. As they begin to approach 50 your getting close. On the internet you can observe ten day weather forecasts. Begin to combine the highs and lows. When the soil temp hits 50 and the ten day forecast averages 50, put your plants in the ground. If the ten day forecast is "good" except it might show one night with a hard frost, watch out. Some plant varieties require 55 and some 60 degrees before they should be planted. Lima beans need 65 degrees to germinate. Where I live at this moment soil temperature is 26 degrees. Do a little research regarding the various varieties. This concept affects hoop houses as well. Even with auxiliary heat,  surrounding soil temperatures outside can be 20-30 degrees. This cold soil mass surrounding the hoop house will migrate, perhaps three feet into the hoop house rendering the perimeter area unproductive. It probably is recommendable to dig a 2 to 3 foot trench on all 4 sides and put in vertically panels of insulation foam 2-3 inches thick around semi permanent structures to eliminate migration.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My 2013 seed starting hotbed.

I don't like starting seeds indoors, it takes up to much space, all the lighting etc., problems with damping off, and memory's of children filling cribs with plants and dirt during nap time. So I am working on this years hotbed, in a different location and dimensions that last. I made mine 4 feet deep last year which is too deep to reach in safely. So this year it will be 36 inches deep. Also I bought some old screens today for $15 that I will cover with two layers of plastic. Last year I used glass windows. Some broke, and I thought they were dangerous. I only dug 2 feet deep last year, and I have gone 30 inches this year. The length is 12 feet. I plan on using a squirrel cage fan for ventilation, and perhaps a small auxiliary heater connected to a thermostat. I found on the "net" a rather simple design for the frame.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Home Made Hot Sauce

Homegrown Popcorn

Winter Catch Crops

Mammoth Pot Leeks

Top Setting Egyptian Multiplying Onions

Giant Prague Celeriac

Overwintering Peppers

No Till Gardening

Red Janice Garlic

Fildderkraut Cabbage