Monday, May 7, 2012

Tender Starts~ Beginners luck in the Greenhouse

As with most new beginnings there are always some nerves, a little nail biting, and small worries in hopes that all your hard work and sweat will pay off... I've been holding my breath as I waited for the seeds I planted on April 28th and 29th to sprout in the greenhouse. After a week of gray skies, off and on rain and cooler temps the Zinnias, Cosmos and Sunflowers have sprouted! WHEW! I'll admit I was obsessing about whether I should have started them on a heat mat instead, but, so far the seeds have sprouted within the proper germination time for each variety.  Thank goodness! I'm a newbie at growing from seed and my flower farm dreams hinge on those tender starts growing strong and tall!

The average temp inside the greenhouse last week was 50 degrees during the day but the prior week when it was quite a bit warmer it was as high as 90 one day.The greenhouse has two windows that can be opened ( plus a door ) to let out heat and allow fresh air to circulate.

Yesterday, I planted all of my tomatoes... It's a little late as we New Englanders go by Memorial Weekend as our last frost date but a few extra weeks won't hurt in the greenhouse and it'll allow me more time to figure out where I'm planting all of them! I chose two large varieties, Beefsteak and Brandywine Red and Yellow, as well as Ace for canning. I have to have cherry tomatoes too so I selected Gardner's delight. Don't you love to just pop'm in your mouth on a hot summer day for a tasty sweet and juicy fix?

Just for fun I also planted Pumpkin on a Stick. An ornamental cut flower for fall arrangements! I thought it would be cute mixed in with sunflowers and other late summer bloomers!

I also discovered Seed Savors Exchange . They are an organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds.  If you don't already know about them click on the link and enjoy learning more!
 I have a few more flower varieties on order from Seed Savors. The soil is warm enough outside to plant cool weather loving plants such as bush beans, pole beans, sweet peas, lettuce, onions and Swiss chard.

Supplies List:
Greenhouse ( Shelter Logic ) 10x10x8
Two tall plastic shelving units for holding seeds
Seeds ( Botanical Interest )
Organic Seed Starter ( 8 bags)
Seed trays and inserts
Watering Can with a wide sprinkle tip
Plastic Wrap for covering seed trays ( you can also use plastic bags from the grocery store or bubble wrap )
Garden Gloves  ~ One waterproof and two all purpose garden gloves for doing light work in the yard.
One seed planter

I would love any tips for greenhouse growing from any of you experienced growers out there!

Do you heat your greenhouse or use heating mats?
What month do you begin planting seeds in your unheated greenhouse? 

One kind reader suggested I leave the watering can inside the greenhouse filled with water so it would stay warm for soaking dry potting soil. This has worked out great so thanks for that tip! 

That's all for today friends! The sun is out and I've got plenty to keep me busy outside today!
Thanks so much for stopping by.  I'm hopping over to the Homestead Barn Hop with this post and Heidi's Country Garden Showcase! Maybe I'll see ya there!


Country Gal said...

Everything looks great ! I am yet to start my flowers from seed , I just need to plan what type of growing opp I am going to go with in the house with heat lamp shelf unit or get Papa to build me a green house in the back ! My mum was good at growing from seed when on our hobby farm I just hope that when I decide to go for it I do just as well . Good luck with your growing . Looking forward to seeing how they all come along . Awesome post and photos ! Have a good day !

Unknown said...

Hi Country Gal!
Well, thanks... I'm really enjoying the whole process ( even the beginners nerves mixed with excitement part )! I've read that starting seeds inside with growers lights in a basement or spare room works wonderfully! Good luck with your growing adventures too! Enjoy this day!

Greg and Donna said...

I want to get a green house this year. I think it would be fun to start really early and watch the seedlings grow. Here in Miss. we planted over a month ago outside, so I'm seeing some tiny vegies and tomatoes now. By July, most everything here will be over the growing/harvest time, cause it'll be too hot! Thanks for the link for the seeds, I ordered from Baker Creek Seeds this year, I am loving the heartiness of the heirloom seeds! And I love the seed packets you pictured, very old fashioned looking!

Unknown said...

Dear Greg and Donna,
Thanks so much for your note... I love Baker Creek Seeds too...I enjoyed thumbing through their catalog over the late winter! The seeds I pictured are from Botanical Interest... they carry quite few heirloom/organic seeds as well and their artists who draw for them are fantastic! Happy Growing and harvesting you two!

Linda Stubbs said...

Hello Deborah........I was given a few of the pumpkin on a stick seeds. They fell out the envelope. Could you please tell me where you bought your seeds? I would so love to try those!!!!!!!!!! If you could just steer me in the right direction I would be so grateful.

You are doing a great job on your little baby plants........when I am doing mine...I wake up every mourning to check to see if I have little green really is a wonderful thing to experience. We were given materials to build a greenhouse we will be moving an old building on our farm. I will look back on your blog to see if you have pic's.

Hugs to you from my farm, Linda

Clint Baker said...

It looks like we have a pro on our hands here! I started some of the same seeds from the same seed company and have already planted outside! A couple are already over a foot tall. You are doing a great job!

Unknown said...

Hi Linda! Great to hear from you! All of the seeds pictured above are by Botanical Interest seed company...I should go back and include the link! You are so right... it's so fun to look in on the little sprouts each day to see who has poked their noses out of the soil and who has stretched taller! Enjoy growing on your farm and thanks so much for the visit!

Unknown said...

Oh, lucky you Clint... I've got to come by and check out your raised beds!
I bet they are flourishing! Thanks so much for the visit!
hugs to you and Dana!

Bonnie K said...

I was amazed because I started my seeds indoors and moved them to the greenhouse in April. I brought them in a few nights. I put raised beds on the floor and heirloom tomatoes are going crazy. I will have to look for your pumpkin on a stick. So interesting. I agree with leaving the watering can inside. I also put my seedlings close to the ground on colder days. You will not regret the greenhouse. I love mine.

Farmgirl Heidi said...

Hi Deborah! Your seedlings look so tiny and cute. I can hardly wait until they grow up to be big flowers. This year is the first year that I had heat (an electric space heater) and I can tell you it really helped things survive 3 big snow storms and several freezing nights. I started my seeds on March 3rd indoors. I transplant as soon as they have their first true leaves into 4" pots and send them outdoors into the greenhouse. They're still there waiting for Mother's Day. That's when we plant here in Tehachapi. You are going to love having the greenhouse. Mine now has an orange tree, lemon tree, and three big tomato plants that I plan to keep through winter. I started the same tomato varieties as you except the Ace. I didn't get any Ace seeds this year. Maybe next time. I look forward to your next greenhouse update.

Unknown said...

Hi B,B,B,B! thank you for the greenhouse tips...I have space reserved for a raised bed on one side on my greenhouse... I just need to decide if I want it for sure or if I want more shelving for seedlings! I am having fun with it and learning as I go!

Unknown said...

Howdy Heidi! I can hardly wait too! Perhaps next year I will start some indoors too and then move them to the greenhouse. I wondered if you had heat with all the snow you had...I will grow tomatoes in the greenhouse through the winter as well...Having the greenhouse adds a whole new dimension to gardening that I love! Thanks for sharing your greenhouse tips with me! I just might have to look into a space heater for next year if I start earlier inside!

Kanelstrand said...

Oh, wow, I don't have any experience with greenhouses but I love them! There is one nearby that I love to frequent. I love all the sorts of tomatoes you have photographed. Have you grown them before? Which do you think has the best taste?

Jessica said...

We just lost half our healthy little seedlings out in the greenhouse to damping off. I'm so sad! A newbie at this greenhouse thing I had to google all over the place for information on why half my little seedlings dropped dead :( Hopefully the rest make it!

Unknown said...

Hi Sonya! I have grown the cherry tomatoes before.. they are delish... sweet and juicy.. perfect alone or in salads...
I'm looking forward to the canning tomatoes ( I want to make my own marinara sauce this year ) and the beefsteak for sliced tomatoes and sea-salt this summer...

Unknown said...

Oh Jessica, I am so sorry!!! I know just how you feel... Thank you for sharing the info on damping off... I went and looked it up right away... Gosh... wish me luck!!! Good luck with the rest of you seedlings too!

Anonymous said...

Deborah, Thanks for stopping by my blog (Fieldwork, linked at GirlGab). It was nice to hear from you! I read Mary Jane's blog most days, and hop around at GirlGab. Sometimes I read the farmgirl blogs. I am more of a forest ranger than a farmgirl. I'm single, so the house, garden and work keep me busy, but I would be lost without my little patch of dirt. I don't have a greenhouse, but start seeds on the porch using a heat mat, grow light and small enclosed propagator. Once the tomatoes, peppers and basil have their second set of leaves, I transplant into 4" pots and set them by the sunny window. I have raised beds with plastic tunnels over them, and the tomatoes have just gone out there to hang out in the greenhouse-like atmosphere. Putting tomatoes in the ground without protection before Memorial Day is risky around here.

The great thing about gardening is that it gives us a chance to keep learning. Every year is different, and we will never have it all figured out.

Seed Savers Exchange is a great resource. I get a lot of seeds from Territorial Seeds in Oregon. Regional varieties and heirlooms can't be beat.

Wishing you a beautiful, bountiful garden!


Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I love those little pumpkins on a stick! What a cute plant.

Unknown said...

Hi Kathy! I fell in love with them too! Won't it be fun to see how they look at full maturity!

Maery Rose said...

I started flower, herb, tomato, and green pepper seedlings inside my house last year. Many of them grew too tall and thin and didn't do well for all the time and work I put into them. I'm not sure what caused that but thinking maybe my heat pad might have been too warm. Too busy this year to try again so I'm going to buy already started plants beside the seeds that can be started outdoors. I just filled some new raised beds with dirt last weekend and can't wait to buy and plant! Good luck with your greenhouse. I've always wanted one but am now lusting for a hydroponics setup.

Unknown said...

We love tomatoes and garden plants of any variety. It seems like the pink and yellow tomatoes are the least likely to cause stomach acid upsets. I love the Heirlooms and cherry red's too though. We got so much rainfall in Tennessee that our cabbage plants and lettuce withered. However, our tomatoes and okra are doing fine. Its always best when you plant tomatoes in a garden to make a small ridge so the water can drain. We will most definitely do this with our veggies next year. A lesson learned.


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