Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Starting Our Plants From Seed

It's that time of year again--time to start our vegetable and herb seedlings in the greenhouse. Regarding our greenhouse, while we were still living in Massachusetts, we purchased an inexpensive one. Fortunately, we procrastinated about putting it together there, so it was still in its original box when we moved here. Once erected, it appeared to be a bit on the flimsy side, and we were concerned it would not withstand the high winds we typically get here. Rather than investing in something sturdier, as crazy as it may sound, we decided to try reinforcing every seam on the greenhouse with heavy duty, all weather duct tape.  We applied it on both the inside and outside seams,  It took us three days to complete, but it definitely did the trick!

We arranged two folding tables against the walls inside the greenhouse and covered them with plastic sheeting. Next it was time to arrange the seed containers on the tables.  To save money, we purchased some inexpensive plastic containers, rather than using disposable ones we would have to replace yearly.  My husband drilled holes in the bottom of each container for drainage. We also had several flower planter boxes in one of the sheds  To save money and also to minimize any transplant shock, he mixed some composted soil from the garden with some organic potting soil (1:1) and filled each container. He then drew a diagram of each tabletop and labeled each container in the diagram with what was to be planted in it.

Using my husband's diagram, we labeled each container and began the process of planting the seeds,. Before planting, we carefully moistened the soil a bit.  Using my husband's sharp instrument of choice (a letter opener), we made holes for each seed, adhering to the depth recommendation on the seed packets. After covering the seeds with soil, we watered each planter well after planting the seeds.

We typically buy organic heirloom seeds, so we can save seeds from the vegetables to plant the following growing season.

This year, we planted three varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, carrots, celery, romaine lettuce, zucchini squash, crooked neck squash, Waltham squash, pumpkins, onions, peas, and green beans.  Sweet potatoes, corn and red potatoes will be direct-sown in the garden.  We will also plant a variety of medicinal herbs in a second garden.

We always make sure to save the seed packets, as they contain  plant spacing information for transplanting in the garden.

Every morning, my husband waters each container in the greenhouse.  In the evening he turns on a space heater in the greenhouse, which he turns off in the morning.

It's so exciting to see the plants peeping through the soil in the containers!

We're definitely looking forward to planting season, which is usually around the second week of May here in the mountains.

Jane