Sunday, January 25, 2009

germinating setup

I decided to set up a seed-growing station in the basement. Many seed require higher temperatures than I will achieve in the greenhouse in order to germinate. Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants are notorious for liking soil temperatures of 75-80 degrees for germination. So Joel and I went to Lowe's and purchased this shop light. I hung it from the ceiling in the basement and the seed trays sit on the basement shelf.

The soil blocks were accomplished using a tool purchased for this purpose. It packs seeding soil (mixture from Eliot Coleman) into 2" blocks, four at a time. I have another block maker that makes tiny 3/4" square blocks, but haven't used it yet. This first round is artichokes, rosemary, and leeks. When these germinate, some will be moved to the greenhouse, some will stay under lights, and I'll germinate more using the 3/4" blocks, allowing more blocks to be done at once.You'll notice in the picture above that in the far seed tray, there is a gray mat under the tray. This is a warming pad, purchased initially for Anna's bed outside. Sadly, she passed away a couple of weeks ago after being hit by a car in front of our house. So now I use the heating mat for warming seeds. Anna is buried on the far side of the greenhouse next to the pear tree.

The warmer and the lights are attached to a timer, set to be on for twelve hours and off for twelve hours. This makes it possible to simulate day and night cycles for both temperature and lighting.

the garden is growing

The snow had mostly melted off by Saturday, and I was able to check in on the garlic. I planted this back in October or early November, and haven't seen it in a while. Here is one of the cloves that worked its way up to the surface, and has now sent down little tendrils into the soil.

But other things are growing, too. Unwanted things. Weeds.


After a two week setback due to a nasty cold, I've pretty much finished the greenhouse. 2x4 pine framing covered in greenhouse plastic, which has the texture of visquene but has been specially treated to withstand damage from UV rays, so it lasts longer and is a lot more expensive.
I ran battens down the rafters and studs to hold the plastic in place to increase strength - it's snowing right now so it will have its first test tonight.
The clerestory (the vertical portion at the peak of the roof) will eventually have windows, but I have just tacked the plastic over it for now. The windows will allow me to adjust the temperature and ventilation.
I haven't quite figured out how to organize the inside, yet. A place for tools, a workbench, and shelving for the seedlings will all be needed. It's waterproofed now, and I have one thermometer inside and one out to monitor the difference in temperature. I may also run electrical and water (when I re-do the sprinkler system) for added convenience.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

announcement: SLC seed swap

The picture above is taken from the website, from the 2008 seed swap. This is exactly what I've been hoping to find in the SLC area, and looks like it will be a great opportunity to meet more garden enthusiasts from the area. I will be there for sure - even though I won't have any seeds to contribute.

January 31, 2009
5-7 pm
Sorensen Unity Center
1383 S. 900 W.
SLC, UT 84104

Here's the link the website:
SLC People's Market