Thursday, February 17, 2011

Snowy Day Seed Starting!

Well, the predicted snow has hit and it is coming down fast and furious as we speak. Yesterday morning  I shoveled a good 8 inches from our front walkway and steps (my shovel master hubby is gone on a business trip) and this morning I tackled another foot of the powdery white stuff.  It is a good workout and by the time I was done, I was hunting down some ice tea, despite it still being a mere 8:30 am.   I made my way to the chicken house, got them ladies fed and collected the eggs.  Love them fresh eggs!
I spent my morning yesterday in here...
In my handy dandy little greenhouse.
  Have you heard of winter sowing?  Do you want a bazillion flowers to put in your garden on the cheap?? Here is a great link to an article with the lowdown.  And it really does work!
I plan on doing some of that type soon, I am running late on it but I was more interested in getting my light racks set up with the bottom heat for the more tender stuff.  I normally start seeds inside my house on racks but I thought I would give it a try out in my greenhouse, which is not insulated or heated.  I am always experimenting. 
I start my seeds in these plastic tubs that once held lunchmeat.  I have had little success in using the little six pack plastic containers recycled from the garden centers, my seeds do better when I plant them all together in one tub then transplant when they get their second set of leaves.   I wash and sanitize them before using. (of course) I drill drainage holes in the bottom with my DeWalt screw gun and a drill bit.  Works great.  
I first put down an inch or so of perlite, the seeds only need an inch of seed starting mix and it aids in good drainage.

Next is the seed starting mix.  I bought this mix as it has worked well for me in the past, there is several recipes online for making your own and I have made my own in the past, I went with convenience this year and bought a premade seed mix.  I use so little with the perlite taking up a good part of the pot that the cost is minimal. I wet the mix and perlite well with a weak chamomile tea.   

 Sprinkle on your seed, then cover lightly with some chick grit.  This helps deter the fungus that can cause damping off. (the weak chamomile tea is also supposed to help)
 My planting racks (metal industrial racks from Costco) are laced with rope lights tied down with wire twist ties (like off bread wrappers ).

 The rope lights make great bottom heat, the heat mats are so expensive, I do have one and used it last year and it did a tremendous job of getting my seeds off to a great start as can be seen in my last photo.

I place the freshly planted tubs into the plant trays, cover with the clear lids and place on the rope lights and under the grow lights.  I use regular shop lights and I try to find the OTT plant light bulbs but Home Depot stopped carrying them.  There was another brand plant bulb but I cannot remember the name. 
So we shall see if these will do as well out in my little greenhouse as they did inside my house.    I started a bit later as I normally start seeds in my house in January but this has been a crazy few months. 
I started all the seedlings along the window wall, including the tomatoes in the foreground.  I loved this greenhouse but no longer live there.    My little one here will have to do, it just does not get the winter sun like this one.

Now off to paint more signs, I have to keep stocking my website.

  Enjoy your day!!
Transformation ThursdaygiveawaysIt's a Keeper


  1. Very interesting. I never used perlite before as I always used seed raising mix on it's own. I will definately try it your way. I love your greenhouse, but I'm sure I already told you that! You definately have a green thumb! take care, Maryann

  2. I love your little greenhouse! Oh- maybe someday I will have one. I am not sure that I have the knack that you have for growing beautiful plants though. Fun to read your blog anyway!

  3. How fun that you have your own little green house! I would love that! I hope you have lots of luck with your seeds. Thanks for linking my Flaunt it Friday party... come back soon! :)


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