I started this blog to get to know other gardeners and track my own garden's progrss. It is a wonderful way to honor the stewardship I have over my plot of ground I have been blessed with. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Winter Greenhouse Gardening Research

This is a page with information gathered while researching Winter Greenhouse information:
Heating Options

Nightime Heat:
Depending upon what you are intending to grow, your greenhouse can be either heated or unheated. If you live in a northern climate, then an unheated greenhouse can be used to extend your growing season but will not allow you to grow plants and vegetables year-round. If you want year-round produce or wish to grow tropical plants, citrus fruits, or orchids, then you will need to plan on heating your greenhouse. On average, in an unheated greenhouse the temperature remains about 10 degrees higher at night than the outside temperature. So, you would be able to grow plants about one hardiness zone warmer than you live in. On a sunny day temperatures inside the greenhouse are much warmer than outside, perhaps up to 50 degrees warmer. Heating costs can vary widely depending upon the location, size of greenhouse, and materials used to construct.

Heating Bricks at Night
How to Heat Bricks for Small Greenhouses

Greenhouses extend the growing season into the months on either side of the growing season. Insulated greenhouses with a heating source allow plant cultivation in the dead of winter. Small greenhouses don't need as much heat as larger greenhouses because they have less space to heat. Heating a greenhouse is done by mechanical heaters, passive heating or heating an element of the greenhouse, like bricks, and letting them give off ambient heat throughout the cold nights. Heating several bricks may be all you need to keep your small greenhouse warm.

1 Turn on your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2  Place bricks inside the oven. How many bricks depends on the size of the greenhouse and how low the temperature is expected to get.
3 Remove bricks with hot pads.
4 Place the heated bricks in the center of the greenhouse away from plants, as 350 degrees will burn any leaves that touch the bricks. Bricks will stay warm to hot for up to a day.

Passive Heating
1 Cover the bricks with black plastic. A garbage bag will work.
2 Set the bricks in the greenhouse where they will be in direct sunlight all day.
3 Move the bricks to the center of the greenhouse on the floor, so they can radiate heat to the plants.
Read more: How to Heat Bricks for Small Greenhouses

Ideas to keep the heat at night (including barrels, milk jugs, etc)
Over Wintering in Unheated Greenhouse Article

Forum about lowest temps plant can handle

Temps for Germination
Here's a link showing the optimum soil temperatures for seed germination. http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1061/ANR-1061.pdf
If it still a bit too cold outside for most of those seeds to germinate. I would recommend bringing them inside until they germinate and then putting them back out into your greenhouse once they have.
Article about Temp's

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Post For Seed Storing

As I run across seed storage ideas - I will add them to this post.  I will be looking for more of these in the coming weeks as I get my seeds ready to be stored.

This one is a great one:  http://chiotsrun.com/2011/01/15/my-seed-organizing-stash/  There is a complete tutorial on organizing her seeds on this blog.
This one is from Martha Stewart:
To ensure that seeds wake up refreshed from their long winter naps, take the time to tuck them in properly. Moisture, heat, and fluctuating temperatures are a seed's worst enemy, so don't simply abandon your leftover packets to the elements by leaving them in a garden shed. By the next spring they will have lost much of their vigor -- the ability to germinate quickly and healthily -- and many may have died. Instead, place packets in an airtight container, such as a canning jar with a new lid. Then make a few moisture-absorbing sachets to store with them by wrapping 2 tablespoons of untreated cat litter (avoid colored or scented litters) or powdered milk in a double layer of tulle. Close the lid tightly, and put the jar in a cool, dark place.

This is a similiar method to Chiots Run above - a little differnt - great ideas!

Here are some templates for making smaller envelopes:
burgon and ball seed pouches

burgon and ball seed box

Monday, October 17, 2011

Winterizing My (Vegetable) Garden

Linking Up with Seasonal Sunday's - be sure and check out all the fun ideas here!
I haven't posted for a while - we have been harvesting and canning like crazy people! This week is supposed to be another mild week and probably my last week in the garden. So I am getting everything ready to go to bed for the winter.
My plans for the week which will make for a better garden next spring:

1 - I am cleaning out all our raised beds.
That means  pulling up all the old plants.  I am adding them to the compost boxes.  I am also adding a scoop of manure to each box to brew all winter.
2 - Gathering Seeds
I have all heirloom plants so there are still a few seeds that need to be gathered.  I put them all in large boxes to make sure they are dry. Then I bring them in one box at a time during a movie and extract all the seeds - store in marked containers and ready for next season planting.  Also some carrot  and beet plants covered with a bale of straw  for seeds next year (biennial seed throwers)
3 - Overwintering plants
I am planting pea seeds in one of my boxes....next spring when the snow melts there are little pea plants all over and we get a nice early harvest of veggies!  (I am in zone 4). I also leave the onions in the ground and by May they are 3 feet high!
4 -  Weeds
Getting rid of all the weed plants in the garden
5 -  Records
Making sure my gardening journal is up todate with what we planted - how much we harvested etc so I know better what we need next year.   I find if I do this in the fall - I have a much better record, rather than waiting till next spring to make sure it is up todate.
6 - Plowing
Half of our garden gets plowed and half is in boxes.  I will cut the corn stalks and that half will get plowed this week.
7 - Flower Beds
All of the flower beds are cut back - I need to put all the plants into the compost bins.
8 - Compost bins
When everything is added - I need to add some coffee grounds, some dirt and some water and they are ready for winter too.

A little sad that the season is ending outdoors.  I have loved this fall and being out everyday.  This year I have a greenhouse that will significantly add time to gardening for me and our family.  Next post will be about greenhouse progress.
Thanks for stopping by!
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