Saturday, February 14, 2009

Getting an early start.

Although winter is very much in evidence in this part New York, the sun is getting higher in the sky. Our December ice storm destroyed a tree on my neighbor's property that shaded my greenhouse until almost noon. At least one good thing resulted from the damn storm!

There is a remote thermometer in the greenhouse, and I could see the temperature is reaching the mid-sixties shortly after noon. Some of the snow had melted in front of the door, and I went in this afternoon to get some trays for seed starting. The greenhouse came through the winter in fine shape. There was not a drop of water to be seen anywhere inside, and the sun sure felt good! In a week or so I should be able to put a lawn chair in there, read a book, and soak up some sun.

Last year, because I was building the greenhouse, I got a late start with my plants. I am just guessing about starting seeds this year, as I don't have a full year's experience with greenhouse growing. I decided to start early and see if I can have tomatoes by June, and there is a small heater in the greenhouse that I can use for a few weeks if the temperatures are too cold in late April or early May.

This year I am only growing determinate tomatoes in the greenhouse, and I will grow indeterminate plants in the soil garden. Tomatoes for the greenhouse will be Best Boy and Bush Beefsteak, with Glory Hybrid being planted for the soil garden.

In addition to the tomatoes I planted Florida Highbush Eggplant and Marconi peppers. I plan on growing the tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant in the AutoPots, and the peppers in the drip ring system. Swiss chard seed was planted last week, and I will grow that in the deep water culture system. Lettuce and flowers will be grown in the ebb and flow systems as soon as the weather permits moving them outside.

The above photo shows the tray containing the rockwool cubes with the tomato seeds. I place a damp cloth under the dome to increase humidity during the germination period. The damp cloth also lessens the need to water the cubes.

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