Saturday, February 13, 2010

Planting Seeds Without a Greenhouse

I fianlly got my seeds planted for my early garden.  I wanted to show you the process of making do with what you have when what you really want is a REAL greenhouse.  The Bible says confession is good for the soul so now you know that I drool over REAL greenhouses.  I have dreams about them, and I desire to have one in my own backyard very much.  Alas, it isn't to be in my life.  The wind blows  way to hard for a greenhouse to survive so I have learned to operate with these conditions in my life.  What do we have?  We have a two car garage that is attached to our home.  It is my husband's workshop, mechanic shop, extra freezer storage, and our makeshift greenhouse.  It isn't the ideal situation especially for a woodworker who loves having his shop clean and orderly, but it is what it is and it will have to do for now. 

When I start seeds, I first decide what needs to be planted.  If you live in our area, now is the time to plant: Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage, and Lettuce seeds.  These are the early garden plants for your spring garden.  I start with a floating tobacco seed tray.  If you look at the upper picture, you will seeds that it is a large tray with cells that have holes in the bottom.  This way I can float my seeds in water so I don't have to water them by hand until I have transplanted them. 

Since we don't have a lot of extra room in the shop, I used the back of the 4 wheeler as a table to hold my tray while I was planting.  It was already dirty so it didn't matter that I got a little more dirt on it.  See, I try to keep my husband's clean and orderly desires in my thoughts when I work in his area!  This tray held all the seeds that I planted.  I marked where each seed group ended and another group started.  Marking is very important when planting seeds.  (Ask me how I know)!  In the past, I have used popsicle sticks as markers.  These work well and they are cheap.  I didn't have any so I just marked on the side of my tray.

The next stop for my tray of seeds is in our upstairs bathroom.  Yes, Ladies, you heard me correctly.  During planting weather our bathtub is out of commission.  I float my trays of seeds in the bathtub.  I so wish our shop area would work for this, but it isn't heated so it is too cold to germinate seeds.  Remember, when you want to grow plants from seeds you need moisture and warmth.  The soil should remain damp, and it should also be warm.  You can buy seed mats to help keep your darling seeds warm, but I have never wanted to spend the extra money.  Don't worry we do have an extra shower so at least my family will stay clean.  We just have to give up our bubble bath time in order to grow seeds.  It is a hard life that I have chosen, but it must be done!
After the seeds have grown into little tiny plants, they are removed from the bathtub and brought back down to the shop.  In the above picture, you can see our new growing center.  It's a bad picture I know, but you can use your imagination.  It is a large shelf with 4 shelves.  Michael has put full spectrum grow lights on the upper two shelves.  We still have to purchase the grow lights for the bottom two shelves.  They are expensive so we will wait to purchase them until we need them later in the season.  The shelf was purchased a little over a year ago for Michael's shop.  He had all of his auto mechanic stuff nice and organized there.  He sacrificed for my grow cart and donated the cart for our seeds.  He was nice about it, but I don't think he wanted to give it up.  If you look at the picture, you can see tinfoil trays.  I have a plan for these.  I wanted plant trays to sit my plants in so that they could be watered from the bottom.  Those trays were expensive.  There was no way I could justify spending over $100 for plastic trays.  I bought these disposable cookie sheets.  They aren't as deep so I will have to water more often, but they were under $1 a piece.  I can do a little extra watering to save money!

And our shop comes complete with a wonderful shop dog.  Missy loves being out in the shop as long as we are out there with her.  She hates being out there when we are locking her away from house guests!
She helps herself to the scrap wood pile and chews until the chore at hand is completed.  Apparently, I decided to do my planting during nap time because she was having a hard time staying awake to chew her new found toy. Lucky for her, it doesn't take very long to plant 200 seeds.  It takes way longer to transplant them all into their own little containers, but that will be another day!
grace and peace,


Carmen S. said...

How exciting to think spring is truly coming soon!!! We still have a foot of snow on the ground here, but I love the sight of your progress with the seeds already and I love your shop helper too ;)

Paige said...

Yay! I'm so glad that the cookie tray idea worked for you! :) I can't wait to see more pictures with the shelves full of their little seedlings!

Boysaplenty!! said...

Hi Julie,
I have a question for you about the little plastic seed starting trays with the clear lid. The bottom of the box actually comes in two sections, one section is to plant the seeds with little slits in the bottom for watering and the outer piece is the holding tray with no holes. I am using this type and I wonder if I could water my sprouting plants from the bottom instead of hand watering from the top. Wouldn't that be the same idea as floating in the tub? Ever tried that after germination?

Sarah R said...

Hi Julie. Just wanted you to know how much I love reading your blog. I really did sit down with a cup of coffee and read until my eyes crossed!

TnFullQuiver said...

Yes, spring is on the way even though it is snowing here right now. Our shop helper is always a constant companian no matter what we are working on!

You know more pictures will be coming soon!

Yes, that is the same idea. I love watering seeds or plants from the bottom any chance I can. It saves time and it also allows them to drink what they need. Just be careful not to keep them too moist. I will fill my trays up and then watch the plants to see if the soil looks wet or dry. If it is starting to look dry, then I refill the tray. If it looks overly wet, I just let my trays run out of water to let the little plants dry out a bit. Hope this helps!

Sarah R,
Thank you so much for letting me know. You made me smile today!! I am glad you enjoy it, and i hope to keep bringing things your way to keep you reading! Have a great day.

grace and peace,