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applestar
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Wah! I'm itching to plant something!

I can't stand it! Reading about all you folks in the warmer parts talking about your growing seedlings, direct seeding, or even PUTTING transplants IN THE GROUND!!!

Hereabouts, it was 18ºF outside this morning !

REPEATING 50 TIMES TO MYSELF:
"I DON'T want to start my seeds too early"
"I DON'T want to start my seeds too early"
"I DON'T want to start my seeds too early" ... 8)

My gardening schedule, carefully planned out, calls for earliest spring seeds to be started March 1. :D I still have to set up the seed starting area. :roll:
In the mean time, I couldn't help myself. I planted a test flat of 6 cells of Yellow Granex and 6 cells of Red Robin onions, 1 seed block each of Romanesco Cauliflower, a broccoli, a cabbage, and a paste tomato seed that I found had sprouted in the fruit last night. JUST to appease myself, you know? :lol: The flats have been squeezed in among my winter indoor garden where the lettuce I planted 2-1/2 wks ago (when I ABSOLUTELY couldn't take it anymore) is coming along nicely (I think):

Last Week.................................................This Week
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3689.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3717.jpg[/img]
What do you think, would they be better off with a bit MORE light?

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Grey
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You know, I have found a simple Amaryllis bulb has helped me resist the "plant too early" itch. It has been SUCH a joy watching it grow literally nearly an inch in height every day, and then watching those buds develop. Any day now, the flowers will open. The anticipation has been wonderful.

Your starts look OK so far - not spindly or yellow...

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Kisal
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Not only is it still a bit too chilly to plant where I am, at the moment my yard is under about 3 inches of water. :lol: :lol:

This is not all that unusual of an occurrence for a couple of weeks during the winter monsoon season, so from experience, I know that the water will drain away as soon as there is a 24 hour period without rain. :)

Nice looking seedlings! [img]https://www.smileyhut.com/thumb/thumbsupup.gif[/img]

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rainbowgardener
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itching to plant

There's always something to plant! :D I'm in zone 6 in southern Ohio and our 50% last frost date is around April 15. But I start the first seeds indoors in Jan. Not only the cold tolerant stuff like cabbage and broccoli. But you can start perennials from seed. Anything winter hardy can be started early. This year I did coreopsis. Perennials are also slower growing than annuals. Some things are very slow growing, for e.g. rosemary. Also I have noticed that purple & red basil are for some reason much more slow growing than green basil, so I start it two weeks sooner. So right now I have 9 trays under lights, soon to be more, and my tomatoes, started mid Feb have their first true leaves.... Feel free to plant!

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hendi_alex
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Yep, the earlier the better IMO, for things that transplant well. It is important to keep the plants warm enough however. I try to keep them with bottom heat or in the warmer places in our greenhouse. I've noticed for pepper plants and to less extent tomatoes, that are repeatedly exposed to prolonged temperatures in the 50's may take weeks to recover from that shock. So if those kinds of temperature sensitive plants can't at least have their roots kept warm, in the upper sixties or warmer, except for relatively brief drops below, then a person is better to wait until later to plant the seeds.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

2cents
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Tractor Supply has seeds on display. :P
Couldn't resist.....the.....urge... :lol:
I'm too weak. :oops:
Red and White Onions were set deep. :P

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applestar
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The one cabbage and one broccoli have emerged! In only 3 days! I can't WAIT to start the full production tomorrow!! :D :roll: :wink:

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applestar
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:clap: :clap: !!! I DID IT !!! :clap: :clap:

Spent the PM setting up the lights, making seedblocks and planting seeds.
I WAS going to go buy some shoplights, but, when I found out my Dad isn't using the grow lights I gave him, I couldn't load it in my car fast enough! :lol: I'll expand later if necessary. 8) :roll: :wink:
:idea:) I have an 80's black lacker-with-brass-trim drawers/mirror in the garage for which, FORTUNATELY, I couldn't find any Freecycle takers. A nice height surface AND the big mirror is the added bonus for reflecting the light and warmth. Looked around the garage and spotted a couple of promo windshield sunshield -- PERFECT! -- to protect the drawer top AND to boost the light even more!! Then, I couldn't find the heating pad, BUT there were yards of Christmas lights handy. GREAT -- gentle bottom heat PLUS extra light PLUS keep in the heat a little more. Need all I can get since my garage has no windows, and it's pretty cold -- 44ºF vs. 36ºF outside. (Tonights forecasted low is 12ºF! and it snowed last night and more to come -- brr!) I think it was jbest's LED light link that led me to use the RED Christmas lights. I'll add a string of BLUE's when I find it. :mrgreen:

[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3736.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3733.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3735.jpg[/img]

The sprouted cabbage, broccoli, and romanesco cauliflower have been moved under the lights, these lettuce are getting repotted later on, and the onions will stay here to sprout. The big tray of more cabbages, broccoli, romanesco, and heading lettuces have been squeezed into the Winter indoor garden upstairs since the test seeds sprouted so well up there. They can come downstairs after they sprout.

Today's mantra has been "DON'T FILL UP THE GROW LIGHT AREA" :wink:
Last edited by applestar on Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Kisal
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There just isn't enough sun here this time of year for seedlings to do well without supplemental light. I haven't been able to locate a decent lighting setup that I liked. I have a couple of different sets of plans that describe how to build one, but I haven't done any woodworking/metalworking for eons. I'm not even sure I have enough strength in my arms anymore to control my power saws safely. :p

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applestar
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I got nervous about the impending 12ºF low tonight and completely draped the Grow Light Area with heavy plastic sheeting. :|

FYI - the temp (WITH plastic sheeting in place) on top of the Xmas lights was 68ºF and under the lights (thermometer balanced on top edge of the lettuce pack) was 64ºF. I think that's pretty good. The air temp could even be a bit cooler. Hopefully, with the X-lights on 24/7, the temp won't go below 50's even when the tube lights turn off for the night. I've the timer set for 16 hrs. Now if I can just remember where I put that max/min thermometer... 8)

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applestar
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As predicted, it got REALLY cold. The bucket of water I left in the garage had 1/4" ice on it and the left over seed starting mix was lumpy and frozen. :shock:

HOWEVER, the thermometer on the X-lights towards the front of the tray read 55ºF, and the lettuce starts were looking a little chilly (not as perky as when they were in the balmy 60's Winter Garden) but fine (not frozen).

So the Seed Starting/Grow Light Area is performing as designed and expected. :clap:
At the moment, we are talking cruciferous veggies, head lettuces, and onions so they should be OK. I've always had more probs from things being TOO warm for them inside the house in the past. I'm just letting the crucifers sprout upstairs first so they'll have a bit more warmth to start with, then they can go out in the GLA. Later on, for toms/peppers/eggplants, I may have to up the heat with more X-lights, but the ambient temp in the garage will be above freezing by then. :cool:

!! BUT !! To my annoyance, SOMETHING ate the wee cabbage, broccoli and romanesco cauliflower sprouts !!! :evil: Not sure what it was, but I guess it woke up in the compost and ate the first tender green morsel it found. :x
I'm not that upset since these were just test sprouts (in fact, you might say even in death, they've performed a valuable service.... :wink:), but I'll have to keep an eye on the main tray. :roll:

I made more soil blocks after thawing the seed starting mix inside in a patch of sun. :mrgreen:

cynthia_h
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Congratulations on maintaining a nice, safe temp for your seedlings. :D Unfortunately, it also seems to have been comfortable for Something Else. :evil:

Little monsters...

Cynthia

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applestar
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Thanks Cynthia :D

I added another string of X-lights and now the thermometer on the lights reads 75ºF and on the top edge of pots read 68ºF during the day. Just about right since most of the sprouted trays are raised above the lights. In the mean time, overnight low was 9.5ºF outside! :shock: One more cold night, then things are supposed to warm up.

The inexpensive windshield sunshield (accordion folded, mylar covered foam) is working great as a light reflector/insulation, and with the double layer of heavy plastic tent to keep out the cold, things are staying nice and cozy in the Grow Light Area.

A new tray of sprouted cabbage seeds went out to the the Grow Light Area. It's a small pointy variety called Caraflex that seems to germinate in just 1 day! ... a bunch of heading lettuces sprouted both inside and out in the GLA ... also a smattering of onions ... and a seed block of English thyme. We're off to a good start. :wink:

Keep your fingers crossed for me that nothing happens to the li'l seedlings tonight. :bouncey:

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applestar
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Those lettuce were planted out in the raised bed, fenced sides surrounded with heavy plastic sheeting and clear egg cartons (I'll post a photo when I can) and covered with spun-bonded poly. They are doing extremely well so far.

Now the Grow Light Area is being used for --
Tomatoes in the prime center section of the light tubes:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3921.jpg[/img]
Slow-growing cabbage (their faster growing sibs are already planted out):
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3922.jpg[/img]
Head lettuce:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3923.jpg[/img]

The temp over the soil heating lights in the tomato section this morning was a balmy 70ºF:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3924.jpg[/img]
During the day yesterday, the temp climbed to 75ºF when it was in the 50's outside. The unheated lettuce and cabbage sections were 60ºF this morning, which is probably about the right night time air temp for the tomatoes.

Peppers are starting to sprout in the warm upstairs Seed Starting Area:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3925.jpg[/img]
I won't move them out to the garage until the air temp steadies above 65ºF.

Seed Starting Area:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3928.jpg[/img]

The resident orchids are grumbling about being squeezed aside :lol: :
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3929.jpg[/img]

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applestar
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I've been planting... and planting....

So, how are your seedling's doing? I'm fast running out of room under the lights! All the cool weather crops have been moved out, willy nilly! (They seem to be doing fine though, despite the daily lows in the 30's all week -- though the broccoli and cauliflower may get the "buttons"... we'll see -- I've kept them under row covers.)

In the Grow Light Area, it's a perpetual puzzle trying to maintain the same foliage height across the table, shuffling the taller growing ones down to lower levels, tucking one paper pot here, another one there.... :roll: And they all have to be shuffled around again every time a community pot gets uppotted! :lol:

I'm supposed to start the watermelons this weekend and melons and cukes next weekend. I'm eyeballing the weather forecasts, hoping that the tomatoes can be shuffled outside to be hardened off very soon.... :wink:

[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image3998.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image4005.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image4004.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image4001.jpg[/img]

(I drape long pieces of aluminum foil over the light hood so the outside plants get extra reflected light, and pull the mylar windshield sunshield across the front for reflection and insulation. It's still in the 50's in the garage, though the holiday lights keep the temp in the 60~80ºF range.)

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gixxerific
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Very nice! :D I'm impressed your spread is looking superb.

I gave up on my starters and just planted straight in the garden. My seedlings were weak and powerless.

But really You got it going on there, one of these day's I'll set up something like that. We just moved her I have yet to dismantle everything yet.

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Ruffsta
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Re: Wah! I'm itching to plant something!

applestar wrote:I can't stand it! Reading about all you folks in the warmer parts talking about your growing seedlings, direct seeding, or even PUTTING transplants IN THE GROUND!!!

...

REPEATING 50 TIMES TO MYSELF:
"I DON'T want to start my seeds too early"
"I DON'T want to start my seeds too early"
"I DON'T want to start my seeds too early" ... 8)
lol, i feel the same exact way - i can't wait for the weather to get warmer already... almost there though.. so just to kill off some of the edge i started planting a few seeds indoors... hopefully they make it for the next 12 weeks so they can go outside :D
I am proudly CROWDFUNDING to open my own bistro: Devil's Cut Bistro

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hendi_alex
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Started my cucumber transplants extra early this year. Due to unusually cold winter held off on first tomato seeds until early February. Usually start a few tomato seeds in mid December and baby them through the winter. Will likely be a little later on my early harvest of tomatoes this year. Am trying to make up for lost time by giving the seedlings brighter light with longer on cycle than usual. Here is a photo of my cucumber seedlings taken February 20th. The plants have been outside during the past few days and are 10-20% bigger than in this photo. Next week I'll move them into 1 gallon nursery pots.

[img]https://farm6.static.flickr.com/5093/5462483645_6a9a1b8ff0_o.jpg[/img]
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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