Thursday, April 19, 2012

It May Be Time To Boot Up the Greenhouse!

The potting up of little seedlings continues unabated.  And there are more seeds to start!  The tomatoes and peppers are pretty much all started; there are herbs to finish, and then it's broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, celery and some of our winter squash that require a hundred days or more to mature!  It's getting hard to move around in the sun room: it is stuffed with folding tables with grow light stands on top, grow lights or fluorescent lights strung beneath.  Watering requires crawling around on the floor, inevitably bumping our heads on tables!  Some of our vegetable crates are holding the trays of seedlings closer to the lights - we're constantly stubbing our toes on those!

Looking around this morning, it seems obvious that it's time to move to the greenhouse.  Nights have been chilly here this week, dropping to below freezing!  Our concern is that the greenhouse, built by Farmer Man's Father from mostly found materials, is not very energy efficient.  It is south facing, so the lighting will be excellent (the sun room is east facing, hence all the lights!), but it's not very air tight, and it's heated electrically so our concern is a large electricity bill!  But, you've-got-to-do-what-you've-got-to-do, right?

Seedlings need to be 'hardened off' - meaning they have to get used to outdoor temperatures gradually after being somewhat coddled in sun rooms and greenhouses.  We're looking to move into our hoop house (or high tunnel) shortly - as soon as we re-cover it!  The poly covering has been damaged beyond repair this winter, so first it must be stripped, a new roll purchased and then, on a calm day, the poly must be re-floated and attached.  That's a big chore (and a calm day can be hard to find in Manitoba)!  Then we can seed some greens directly and we'll move out some of our seedlings.  We have 'water walls', plastic 'teepees' whose walls can be filled with water.  These absorb heat during the day which they release at night, protecting the plants within.  This can also be done by using a group of plastic milk containers filled with water, surrounding each plant!  We're a little uneasy about planting out seedlings into our straw bale cold frame quite yet, because the temperature fluctuations are a little more extreme!  I think we will put some onion sets out there soon, though!  Busy, busy, busy - how about you?


  1. A lot of work but oh such fun seeing the seeds germinate and new plant life makes it's way into the world.

    I am building Peterson Blue Bird houses as it is just to cool to do much outside.

    1. It's soooo true - we still get quite a thrill when something sprouts! It's addicting!

  2. oh my goodness your sun room looks fantastic with all those seedlings. I can imagine it's all a little hard to access though. I thought my room was getting a bit stuffed with seedlings but this is quite something. Good thing you have bigger digs to move the plants to.