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Getting Seeds Started for Spring

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by vinny11950, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    I decided this year to start them early so that they have a bigger root base when I transfer them to the garden in the Spring.

    I got most of my seeds from Park Seed. From previous experience, usually half of what I plan survives the whole process from seed to flower. This includes the squirrels who just love to dig the spots where I plant looking for bulbs. I want to kill them but they were there before I bought the house so they have as much right to live as I do.

    This year I am trying:

    Snapdragons
    Rose Campions
    Petunias
    Celosias
    Geraniums
    Begonias
    Foxgloves
    Delphinium

    and, the most interesting,

    cockscomb of different colors.

    I am starting them indoors, in waves. Here are some pics of my scrappy and small indoor setup.

    DSCN0411.jpg


    DSCN0412.jpg


    DSCN0414.jpg

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  2. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Wow- this is REALLY early. I wish that I had a big picture window- I don't get enough light to do it, and my starts get way too leggy if I let them go too long
  3. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    good point, Pantalones. but last year I waited to the advised start dates and it took forever for the plants to develop.

    The window spot is not perfect as it sits on top of the radiator so keeping the humidity high in the dome is constant work. I haves some Azelea cuttings that I have been cloning since November. Again, half died but the survivors seem to be doing well.
    Adios Pantalones likes this.
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Off topic . . . Vinny -- is that Pilot from FarScape?
  5. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    Wow, Jake, I didn't think any one would notice the Farscape homage. You must be fan also.

    One of my favorite sci-fi shows ever.
  6. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Starting the garden plants this weekend...'maters and peppers. In late March/early April we'll transplant them into plastic cups (think red beer keg cups with a hole drilled in the bottom) and let them get big. They usually go in the ground late April early May.

    I'm getting to the point where I'm ready to let the fire go out and start getting the garden going.
    Butcher likes this.
  7. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Most definitely . . . like many of the quality sci-fi shows out there it met its end too soon . . .

    You can also include Firefly, ST-OS and Dresden Files -- but especially Firefly.
  8. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I've got lettuce started last weekend.

    I had some arugula growing in a little 8x10 greenhouse in gutter sections that just froze last week or so. Made it through the first cold snap along with a couple plants under a storm window teepee in the garden. Was getting a bit tough though.
  9. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    We started our seeds this weekend too. Feb 2nd is Imbolc to me which is the time to perform to the blessing of the seeds for spring planting.

    We don't have anything fancy, since we don't have good windows to use, we put a 15" fluorescent light fixture under the shelf in my laundry room and use that as light. I have those little plastic top "green houses" I put on top of the dryer and they work well. I grow lettuce year round outside in pots. in fact, my arugula JUST froze over last week because I forgot to cover it, got wet and became popsicles. There are a lot of cold weather greens that even in zone 6 do well.

    I harden our plants as weather permits but don't put anything in the ground until Mother's Day. We had a late frost one year and we lost everything, now I wait, fighting the urge even when it gets warmer ;)

    We also do square foot gardening so we get a lot of plants in our few raised beds. As the planting season progresses, I look forward to hearing everyone's techniques!
    vinny11950 likes this.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We're behind this year. Son is going in for surgery and everything else has taken the back burner. I admire the early preps. Looking forward to seeing your early sprouts.
  11. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    All the best to your son, Begreen.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Thanks. Tomorrow is the big day.
  13. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    Just finishing up the Greenhouse, Thinking it will be passive, but it I get a hankering Ill build a little rocket stove to heat water as a storage medium to keep overnight temp a little higher. Hopefully Ill have lettuce, Kale, Spinach and carrots in 6 weeks or so, Tomatoes get started soon as well
  14. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    Hope all is well with your son!
  15. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    would love to see pictures as i would like to build one.
  16. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    I use a cheap hoop house to cheat the frost from getting my seedlings. Fill plastic milk jugs (spray pained black) filled with water line the inside edge with them and any unused floor space. The bottles will heat up during the day and give back heat during the night. The plastic on the hoop house can be opened on the ends and rolled up as needed. Mine cost e about $50 in materials but I think it can be done cheaper. I put the hoops close together so it can take some snow load. Lots of fun to use. Can be in most any part of your garden space. Use youtube to get some plans. image.jpg
  17. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    That's a great idea. I will try it.

    How early in the late winter / early spring do you start using it? how much cold can it take before the frost gets in?
  18. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    We use the square foot method also and love it. Our beds are only slightly raised.
  19. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    I have something Like this set up behind my house, An Old Swingset A Frame, 4mil plastic sheeting. Today it is Sunny out , about 35degrees, the green house is already at 80. I am growing lettuce, kale, spinach, and carrots right now, tomatoes will be put out in 3-4 weeks for a memorial day harvest. All Passive heating, I use old 55gal drums I spray painted black filled with water. Takes them a few days to get to temp but once there the overnight temps rarely get below 55.
  20. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    It will keep frost out in this area April on. Just remember it isn't just keeping frost out that is important. Tomatoes don't like cold, nothing below 50 F. If you want to do those, you might want to put a couple of light bulbs in on those very cold nights or put a little portable space heater. Most nights won't need it, but some do. It is those little surprises that alway manage to sneak in and reck your plans. I even line the ground with the black ground cloth to warm the soil. Warm soil is key. Cold roots won't fix nitrogen. But cold crops like swiss chard, ect. can be put in anytime you can work the soil and no real need to worry about adding heat. I even use some of that white cover stuff that gives another 10 F.
    I'll send a pic of my tomatoes grown in this hoop house on June 4th last year.

    Attached Files:

  21. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    Save$, thanks for the advice. Your setup look great. By the way, is that T1-11 siding I see behind the greenhouse?

    I ask because that's what I have on my house. It is the original siding. Was supposed to be covered by more siding but they never did. Now some lower sections are rotting out and I have to change some of those sheets. Not looking forward to that.
  22. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    I started mine TOO early last year. they became root-bound and stopped growing 3 weeks before the ground outside was warm enough. I had a pretty bad crop as a result of it. keep that i mind.
  23. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    any thing that slows down the growth of young seedlings will have a negative outcome in the the amount of crop you get. Heat loving plants can't take up nitrogen. Often their leaves turn dark or red like.

    Prevention is to keep the soil warm with a dark ground cover. spray plants with a liquid fertilizer so nutrients can be absorbs through the leaves. Cover plants at night, or put black colored bottles filled with water around the plants. I "harden off" young seedlings that have been grown inside. this means taking them in and out during the day and night. Another way is to put them in a cold frame, or hoop house. Very cheap, but grows fantastic vegetables. My grandfather told of digging 4 feet down, then wide and long enough for a cold frame. Fill the hole with horse manure an covert that with a foot of soil. The manure would decay and give off heat keeping the soil warm in the cold frame in some of the coldest nights. Don't let the seedlings get root bound. repot as often as needed.

    If you can't keep your seedlings in good condition until it is safe to plant, better off to just pick up some seedlings or wait until later to get them started. Often it is a crap shoot trying to outsmart Nature.

  24. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    Well, the snapdragons and geraniums are doing nicely. Just started the Cockscombs and Celosias. But the spires are not starting. And if they do, they don't last too long. I think they don't like the grow lights. Will try again in the shade.

    The Azelea cuttings from the neighbors front yard are doing fine too :cool:

    I was running out of space under the grow lights, so I transferred the geraniums to the other window where the sun shines in the morning at a limited angle. To gather more light, I took an old box and lined it with aluminum. The geranium's like it, the snapdragons did not, so I had to rotate them back to the grow lights.

    With this cold spring, I am not sure when I will be able to take them outside.

    Still working on the hoop house.



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  25. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    I started my 8-10 week out peppers and broccoli last week. 2 more weeks, i'll start the tomatoes.

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