On December seeds


I started some seeds yesterday.  It felt pretty good, considering how big and burdensome my digging jones gets when the snow comes and stays.

img_8307Best table found ever in a gardening book (in my opinion):  p. 33 of Nancy Bubel’s The New Seed-Starters Handbook (Emmaus, PA:  Rodale Press, 1988). I hope you can read it but it clearly shows that a wide temperature range is acceptable to most seeds.

The greenhouse is a funny place.  The double coverage on most of the beds means that, technically, seeds can start to germinate.  (The big secret of seeds is that they don’t need 68* soil to get started.  They’ll start if it’s colder than that, but they will do it ever so much more sloooowly.)  Of course, I am in a bit of a hurry (as ever) so I am starting a few lettuces indoors now too to be transplanted around the first of the year.  They’ll live on the front porch (heated during the day, unheated at night).  Because of the porch’s wild shift in temperatures, the seedlings will get well acclimated to the cold of the greenhouse.

img_8289Remember these babies? Look how big they’ve gotten in less than 2 months!

I have very small seedlings going in the old greenhouse now, destined to be eaten in January.  I also have lots of seeds I threw in the ground in mid-November.  These seeds (spinach, orach, minutina, mizuna, lettuce) will come up and start getting big in February.   The ones I will plant in January will be ready for March.  And so it goes.

My goal is that the new greenhouse’s lettuces will be eaten or spent come mid-February.


eat me!!

6 responses to “On December seeds

  1. We found the New Seed-Starters Handbook at a thrift store a few weeks ago for 75 cents. My teenage daughter got it for me for a Christmas gift. Hmm, I wonder who could have made that suggestion 😉 Now I’m even more excited to get to read it. I want to peek early but she won’t let me.

  2. I love The New Seed-Starters Handbook! And I’m very impressed that you are growing this much over the winter in Michigan. By “double coverage” do you mean floating row cover inside the hoop house?

  3. I love the looks of that lettuce. As for seeding, I bet you could bury orach seeds outside in the snow covered soil and you’d get plants. Orach has been living ‘wild’ and ‘large’ in my yard for a couple years now. Your greenhouse is an inspiration to what I hope mine will be one day.

  4. Judy, you will like the book a lot. It will teach you to think like a seed! I think she came up with a fine gift, don’t you?

    Milkweed, (bowing deeply) well, yep. Double coverage means the raised beds are covered with a layer of Reemay or row cover. It’s actually quite amazing how low-tech the greenhouse is but how well it works. We are Michigan, surely, but we’re also in a warm bubble here next to a big lake so we’re actually Zone 6a, probably similar to you.

    Thanks, Linda! I (heart) lettuce!

    OG, well, I have had crap luck with orach, so maybe if I cared less I might get more: that seems to work with most of my veggies, frankly! I seem to only be able to get a fair crop of orach ever and it’s too bad because I like its texture. But knowing how dedicated you are to gardening, in no time at all you’ll be a greenhouse guru too.

  5. Well done you! Ugh, it is going to take me a couple of seasons of owning a greenhouse to learn how to plan for it and use it properly. As always, food provisioning has a steep and endless learning curve, not to mention, tests your (my) time management skills!

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