I did a lot of digging in between episodes this time, which really helped me to move many of the bigger seedlings out of the greenhouse. The tomatoes (except for two) and the peppers were all planted out, along with two of the basil plants. All of the Tiny Tim tomatoes were planted in bigger pots and have taken off since.
I also planted the last of the seedlings that I will be doing this season. I planted zucchini in a medium-sized pot which is likely going to be a little small for a plant of its size, but we don’t have plans to eat a lot of it, so hopefully it will only produce a few fruits.
Believe it or not, I finally moved the goji berries out of the greenhouse so that I could plant some vegetables in the raised bed. The goji berry bed measures approximately 8 feet by 8 feet if you measure from the end of each section to the middle edge. Once I get the leaves in, and some more strawberry plants, I am going to plant strawberries in between all of the goji plants. Along with the leaf mulch, this will help to hold in a bit of water by shading the soil (and leaves) as well as helping me to maximize my space.
I also had to remove what was left of the radishes and turnips that were in the raised bed. Almost all of them were starting to bolt, as the hot weather has made it very hard to keep the greenhouse at a good temperature for cooler weather crops. At least we got a few of each early in the season since I won’t be planting any until the fall because of the root maggots we had last year. I had forgotten to mention about these in the video.
As always, keep on gardening, and thanks for watching (the video is below).
It’s time for another look at how the seedlings are doing in the greenhouse with nothing but a heat mat and some hope. So far, so good with this method for me this year, but things are about to change.
It has been three weeks since the first video in the series, and since then we have had weather as low as -10°C (14°F) and as high as 34°C (approximately 93°F). Luckily that 34 didn’t last long, it was on a weird day when I had to keep opening and closing the door, and at some point I didn’t open it fast enough to keep the temperature down. Once the door was opened, though, the temperature dropped to somewhere reasonable quite quickly.
In the last week or so, we only had a couple of nights below freezing, and both ended up being around -8°C (about -18°F). The rest of the nights have been near freezing, but not quite making it down far enough, at least not according to my thermometer inside the greenhouse.
No matter how cold it has been, since the last video, I have changed the heat mats to turn off at 9 AM, and turn back on at 7 PM. After this video, I will be changing the evening time to 8 PM, and for now, I will leave them on until 9, but might drop that down to 8 PM if the temperatures allow it.
As for the plants themselves, the only seeds that never germinated were from the Lemon Balm and the Habanero Peppers, the rest all did great. One of the two Meyer Lemon trees even sprouted, which I wasn’t sure would happen since it took most of a month to happen, but I’m glad it did. I don’t think the ones I overwintered made it.
These seedlings might be the strongest that I have ever produced also, I haven’t had any problems with the plants being leggy, or looking unhealthy, and I have lost only one seedling out of everything I planted. That was my fault as well, I missed covering the tray up completely one night and a jalapeno pepper paid the price for it… Phew, say that three times fast. Everything else has nice thick stems and is growing a lot faster than they ever had when I’ve had them under the grow light in the house.
On April 2nd, I planted eight cells each of Kale and Spinach, eighteen of three different lettuces (more on that in a moment), six cells of Broccoli, and six each of red and green Cabbage. Out of all of the cells, everything sprouted except for one cell of broccoli, and none of the lettuce.
The problem with the lettuce might be one of two things; either my seeds are too old, or I planted them too deep.
The seeds I have for each type of lettuce are about three to four years old, and knowing this, I didn’t bother to over-seed each cell like I should have to guarantee something came up, I just planted two or three seeds in each and walked away.
The other possibility is that I planted them too deep. I’ve had some bad luck with lettuce in recent years, and I am starting to think it might be because I have been planting the seeds at 1/2 an inch deep. I have noticed that most gardeners that I follow on YouTube, or even on gardening shows on T.V. mention that they plant their lettuce seeds at a 1/4 of an inch deep, and they seem to have fantastic results.
When I plant some more later in the season here, I will make sure not only to plant it at 1/4 inch but also over seed it a bit… Unless I buy some new seed, which I just might do.
The transplanting went really well, I didn’t mash any baby seedlings with my big, stupid hands like I usually do, and the only thing that didn’t get planted were the White Alpine Strawberries. I’m going to let them get a little bigger before I put them into a bigger pot, or right out into the planter box they will have soon.
Now only the heat loving plants (tomatoes, basil, and peppers) will be on the heat mats at night. Everything else will just be left on their own with only the greenhouse for cover. I know the spinach, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and strawberries will be fine, but I am slightly worried about the mint, chives, and goji berries being left as is if it manages to get down to -5 or below. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.
On April 10th I planted four peas (I forgot to mention them in the video), a half row of Early Snowball Turnips, a half row of Round Scarlet White Radishes, a half row of German Giant Radishes, and I used seed tape to make a half row of Scarlet Nantes Carrots in the raised bed. The peas are situated in the back corner, with two across the back, two down the side, and the turnips and radishes are spread out in the middle with rows that are really too far apart. I couldn’t find my line making stick that I usually use, so that’s part of why the other part is I’m just really not good at eyeballing a line and making it straight for planting. Oh, and the carrots are across the front, and they will get another half row once the Goji Berries are out of the other part of the planter.
Which reminds me, a bunch of the Goji Berries from last year are coming back! I thought I had lost them since I never planted them until October in the greenhouse and by then they were so root-bound that it was hard to know when the roots ended and the soil began. So far I have five or six plants that are leafing out, so hopefully soon I’ll plant them in their spot in the yard.
I was going to talk more about the starting schedule that I have modified from Patrick Dolan’s own seed starting methods, but this post is getting really, really long, so I will save that for another time.
Thanks for reading if you did, and if you’re only here for the video, thanks for watching!
There isn’t too much to talk about today in the greenhouse update. There haven’t been any disasters that required me to fix the plastic; there haven’t been any falling fans to break off my watermelon vines, or anything of that nature. What there has been however is a tremendous amount of growth.
As you can see in the video, everything has double (or tripled, or more) in size since the last video from June 21. This is in large part to a spike in temperature for almost a week that kept it near (sometimes above) 32°C (89.6°f) which a lot of the plants in there just loved. On those days the smaller containers and the flats needed to be watered at least twice, the medium containers only needed extra water a few of the hottest days since they do a good job of shading their soil with their leaves. I only had to water the raised bed and the large pepper an extra time once through the hot weather, and that was on the day when I couldn’t get the temperature down below about 36°C (about 97°f).
I tried something new to shade the greenhouse on those hot days which seemed to work better than the tarp I had been using before. I used clothes pins to pin up strips of landscape fabric to the cattle panels in the upper south side of the greenhouse. It worked alright, but eventually I think I will have to get something that shades from the outside, but doesn’t touch the plastic so that there is a zone where the air in the shade can cool before it ever touches the greenhouse. I think this is the best option, and should help keep the greenhouse the coolest on those hot days.
Another idea I have been toying with is to grow beans up the front of the greenhouse, either on the inside, or on the outside to provide a natural shade on the structure. The only thing that worries me about that is how it would affect the plants inside, since there will always be some shade thrown on them during the summer instead of just when they need it like a shade cloth would provide. I will keep an eye on the beans that I already have in there this year to see if the idea is even plausible to try.
That’s all for this update, until next time, keep on gardening and look for a guide to how I sprout my lemon seeds faster that is coming soon.
Hello everyone! First off I would like to apologize for my recent absence from the site, some things have changed in my life and I have been finding it harder and harder to find the time to sit down and write. Some things have changed around the gardens even with how busy I have been. Part of the reason I haven’t had time to sit and write, is because many of my evenings are filled with either extra work, or fiddling with things around the gardens and greenhouse.
The Greenhouse Floor
Those things include finally putting in a good looking floor for the greenhouse, and adding in the raised bed on the North side. I will do a complete write-up on it soon, but let me just say that it was a real pain in the back lifting that greenhouse while we leveled the sides. Most people would have just propped it up instead of holding the whole damned thing off of the ground while their friend shoveled… Apparently we are not most people, because neither of us thought to do it until much later!
The new floor and the raised bed are great new improvements to the greenhouse.
Peppers, Tomatoes, and Herbs Oh My!
On February 15 I started my peppers, tomatoes, basil, and lemon balm. This year I am trying two types of tomatoes, the Better Boy that I have been growing for the past three years, and a Roma as well, since I would like to try making some homemade sauces. For peppers I planted bell, habanero, jalapeno, and Chile peppers. I think my bell pepper seeds must have been too old though, as I had no germination from them, while the rest of the seeds showed nearly 100% germination.
The Tomatoes have suffered a bit from over-watering as per usual, but everything else is going pretty well, all of those plants are loving the extra heat during the day in the greenhouse.
After I transplanted them on March 15, I have a lemon balm, basil, 2 Jalapeno, a habenero, a Chile pepper, a roma, a better boy, and a mystery tomato that I lost the tag to and tried a little experiment with it in the greenhouse. The experiment was basically to see if I could keep the tomato (and some others) warm enough at night in the greenhouse through slightly freezing temperatures with just a heating mat. It seems to have worked great, except for the day that I forgot to shut it off, and uncover the plants… I lost all of my extras except for one tomato, and two basils which are still just barely hanging on.
Two Basil and either a Roma or Better Boy Tomato plant that are the only survivors of having the heat mat left on in an already hot day in the greenhouse.
Ready, Set, Onions!
Next, for the first time I bought and planted onion sets instead of buying the already growing plants from a garden centre. I planted 70 sets (35 white and 35 red) with 66 of those going into one of the new 4’x 4’ garden areas I put in last June, and 2 of each going into the greenhouse. The ones in the greenhouse are just to see how well they would grow in there, I probably could have used the space for something else, but I tucked them into the corner of the raised bed, so they shouldn’t be too much in the way.
66 Onion sets ready to be planted outside, and I planted another 4 inside the greenhouse. That should be enough.
Those were all planted on April 11, not many have come up in the raised bed yet, but the ones that were already growing slightly when I planted them are getting bigger, and the ones in the greenhouse just sprouted yesterday, so I am not too worried.
Berries, Melons, and the Cabbage Family
On April 14, I planted six each of sugar baby watermelon, Minnesota midget variety cantaloupe, red cabbage, green cabbage, and broccoli. I also planted 42 white alpine strawberries. In the ten days since, all of the watermelon, cabbage, and broccoli have sprouted, as well as a cantaloupe, but none of the strawberries have. I have just been setting the tray out in the greenhouse in the mornings and then setting them under the lights inside for the night. It seems to be working well, and it not only lets me shut off the grow light during the day, but it also gives me more room to start more plants. The next batch of plants will be planted any day now, and will be in the greenhouse full time, with a heat mat under them in the evenings.
Pretty good growth for only 10 days. I already have to transplant the watermelons soon. From left to right are strawberries (haven’t sprouted yet), broccoli, green cabbage, watermelon, red cabbage, and cantaloupe.
Yesterday, and if you follow me on Instagram you already know, I put out my newly made strawberry planter and planted some bare root strawberries in it and spread wood chips around it. What you might not know is that I also bought four blueberry plants to replace the ones I lost last winter because I never found a place to plant them and left them in the pots on the deck.
The strawberry planter turned out pretty well for saying I didn’t have an actual plan, and it was made from an old pallet. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I had some extra spray paint laying around though.
I bought 2 Chippewan and 2 Polaris Blueberry plants at Canadian Tire on April 23rd. This year I have a spot picked out for them already so they won’t end up dying on the deck again.
Speaking of plants left out on the deck… I bought a rhubarb plant last spring, with hopes of eating some strawberry rhubarb pie once it, and the strawberries I planted last year (none of which survived the winter again) were ready. Just like with the blueberries, I could not find a place to plant it, and before I could it was absolutely destroyed by hail and died.
Or so I thought. Early April sometime, the little leaves started poking out of the soil in the pot again, and I already have a spot all picked out for it this time. I will be putting it in the ground within the next week, where it can thrive without me worrying about it. I mean if it can last all winter in that little pot on the deck, it can survive anything where I’m going to put it.
Back from the dead. Lucky for it (and for me), I was too lazy to empty the pot after I thought it had died last summer.
That’s all for this update, I am hoping they come quicker now that I have things figured out a little better, but I make no promises to that end. As always, you can follow along with my on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or Google Plus, all of which have links in my author profile box below or up in the sidebar to the right.
I know this is a few days late, but I had a busy week last week and could only find time to take a few pictures with everything else that was going on. This week looks to have slowed down already though, so hopefully I can post a few times so that you guys can see what I’m busy doing.
As I write this, the weather outside is only about 4 degrees Celsius (about 39 Fahrenheit) and it snowed each day over the weekend, and again last night. Not much has stuck around, but I found myself having to brush the snow off of the little plastic tent I have the radishes planted under a few times when I went to change the cold water jugs for warm ones, but the extra moisture really greened everything else up. Speaking of the radishes…
Early Red Radish Planting
If you look closely you can see the little radishes poking up under the protection of the tent.
We had some great weather before the weekend and the radishes I planted on April 23 started to sprout on April 30. The sunny weather made for a lot of heat inside the tent, and we had to be vigilant in opening up during the day so it didn’t get too hot and everything looks healthy. I will do a proper update on them soon.
I wasn’t sure these would come back since they never grew well last year, but they came up before the tulips did.
There isn’t much to say about the chives, they have come back strong after being planted last year and not doing much. I can’t wait to make some baked potatoes and try them out once they’re big enough to harvest.
“Pikan” Strawberries sitting in the sun just before they to be moved back under the lights.
These are a hybrid strawberry called Pikan, an ever-bearing type with showy pink flowers and incredible tasting berries. It is one of only a few types that I have read about that have showy flowers and fruit that taste great. They were planted on March 29th, sprouted around the 8th of April, and have been getting some sun in our only south facing window in our unheated porch during sunny days when the temperature out there warrants it.
I planted these ones originally to plant in a future raised bed, but the ones from last season don’t look like they made it, even though we brought the pots into the porch over the winter. I will give the already potted ones a few more weeks to see if they come around, if they don’t I will need to find a hardier type of strawberry to plant next year for the raised bed.
The New Seedlings
A new set of seedlings emerges for planting out later in the spring.
Planted on April 27, none of them took long to germinate. In that photo there are 2 cells of butternut squash (mark with S), 3 broccoli (marked with B), 5 cucumber in the three cells behind the S cell on the right, and 2 behind the other S cell, 2 cells of “Minnesota” Melon which looks like a cantaloupe on the package, and the rest is all marigolds because we have a couple of neighbourhood cats that like to dig, so we put some in each bed. Look for an update on these soon.
The light makes this one a bit hard to see, but there are peppers, watermelon, two types of cabbage and tomatoes there.
I know, it’s not a very good picture, but in there I have 3 red and 3 green cabbage seedlings, a watermelon (far left), 3 chili peppers, 3 green peppers, and 2 tomatoes. The tomato at the back, and the two peppers in the blue pots (one is chili one is green) were transplanted just before the photo was taken. I had also started to harden all of those plants off by placing them in the shade outside for a bit the day the photo was taken.
The spinach doesn’t get a picture because it hasn’t germinated yet. Hopefully it will soon, but the package said it could take anywhere from 7 to 23 days for it to happen and it was only planted on April 28th, so I won’t worry about it until closer to the end of the month.
There you have it, a quick little “tour” of what has been going on in my garden this spring. I sometimes post little random pictures on Google Plus for what’s going on as well, so make sure to follow me to get those if you’re interested.