Friday, January 6, 2012

Feel Good Friday

So it was exceptionally cold for a day or two this week, but that didn't stop me from thinking like a farmer.  UPS is my enabler.

I've seen heat mats that you use to start your seedlings and I always thought they were for mambsy pambsy gardeners who can't start seeds the natural way.  Sadly, I too cannot start seeds in an unheated greenhouse in January, even though I can get the actual plants (the hardy types) to grow.

So, I bought myself a Germination Station.  You might be surprised to learn that it is simply a plastic mat with heating coils in it that sits under a little plastic greenhouse.  In my greenhouse.  Gee how clever. 

I theorize that during the daylight, it gets warm enough to encourage the seeds to start growing, but because it gets so cold at night, they freeze. 

Enter my brilliant idea to plug the Germination Station into a timer so that when the sun goes down, the heat comes on. 
I worried I might melt the whole place down, but it's not hot, not by any means.  It's supposed to be 10-20 degrees above the room temperature.  So when it's 10 degrees out, it might be a whopping 30 degrees on that little heat mat.
I have no major results so far, but I'm willing to believe my greenhouse in a greenhouse trick is going to work as we get into early spring.
As I was looking online for a Germination Station, I also realized I needed to get some of those peat pellets to start my seedlings.  Except I want them to be 100% free of anything that will start my seedlings with a boost of nutrients or fertilizers.  And I don't care if they are peat.  Since "they" have decided that peat bogs aren't a renewable fast enough, peat is now considered a terrible thing to use.  I don't know how much I believe that, but I do see that most peat pellets I find have something added to them for growing.
Last year, I used some coconut husk ones that people claimed were terrible but I found them to be 100% excellent.  Except for big seeds like beans and squash, I start every seed in a little pellet and I find that it really works.  But I lost track of how many I used last year.
So I bought 301 and this year.  Why 301?  Because I had to buy one more so I was over the minimum amount to get free seeds!  I know that sounds like a ridiculous number of pellets, but I don't think it is.  Remember, I start every seed this way and I try to plant successively all summer and into the fall, so something is always starting.

I usually buy my seeds from an actual store here, but for some reason, I thought I'd give these free seeds a whirl.  There isn't a lot of variety for organic seeds here.  These packets say they are organic and they are some new types that intrigue me.

Some pumpkin mix, an heirloom mix of tomatoes (where the hell am I going to grow MORE tomatoes???), some long cucumbers that are "armenian" and some giant Swiss chard.  I grow chard well, so this giant kind intrigues me. It will  be one of the first seeds I try when I start my new batch of seedlings in the germination station.

The greenhouse is really just laughing at me.  It and the Germination Station are just sitting back, having a grand old laugh at my foolishness.  This is New England.  We have cold winters here.  If you're not going to heat a greenhouse, you can't grow anything.

We'll see.

Inside, I have my amaryllis collection.   The one you see on the right is full of huge leaves, but no flower.  This was the one I had last year that was so spectacular that I didn't put pictures up.  (??)  It was gorgeous with red blooms, all 4 at once.  I let it die off like it said, and then I put it out in the greenhouse for the summer.

In November, I planted it again, gave it water and it shot up instantly.  But sadly, no bloom.  I didn't fertilize because I don't do that, so now I am left to wonder if it will ever bloom again.

This is the new one I got for Christmas this year. I was excited about the color. I had no idea it would bloom so quickly or remain so short! It's like 8 inches tall!


Here is an experiment gone wrong.  My sister a-ster knows I love these jars from IKEA, so she got me another one and thought it would be fun to put in some paperwhite bulbs that she got last year.  She never let them grow last year and thought maybe we could toss them in here and make them grow.

Sadly, they are doing nothing but stinking up the joint because the water is starting to smell bad.  I will give it a few more days and then it's sayonara because I can't stand the smell anymore!

1 comment:

  1. We've had unseasonably warm weather and it's making me itchy to get in the garden!


I love comments almost as much as I love summer. I reply to all comments except those ridiculous anonymous comments offering me dirty deeds and real estate. When you leave your comment, please make sure your own settings will allow me to reply to you. Nothing makes me sadder than replying to your comments and then realizing it’s going to the no-reply@blogger address!