Our 2022 garden: moving into the sun room

You know how it gets, when you start one thing, then end up doing more, or go to check on something only to find yourself doing a bunch of other things, just because you’re there, anyway?

Yeah. That was most of my day. 😀

One of those things happened while preparing to write my previous post, and I noticed some deer on the security camera, running up the driveway. I went to check on where they were going and, sure enough, one headed for the kibble house.

The sun was blinding me while trying to take the photo, so it wasn’t until I went out to chase off the deer from eating the kibble, that I finally saw the skunk!

The skunk quickly ran off and, within moments, the cats were back in the kibble house, eating.

Then Potato Beetle politely asked for cuddles, so I stayed in the sun room holding him, which is why I was there to see the deer try and return, several times!

This deer was going for the kibble house because it had been chased away from the feeding station by the three deer I’d seen running up the driveway!

Then, since I was in the sun room anyhow, I started working on the shelf we’ll be moving seedlings onto. With Potato Beetle still being kept in there, I moved the warming lamp to the bottom shelf, which we will leave clear for him, then emptied and set up a higher shelf. That shelf doesn’t get as much light, so the little bins with the tulip tree and paw paw seeds in them got moved up (still no idea if those will ever germinate).

Once that was ready, it was time to go through the big aquarium greenhouse and the mini-greenhouse to collect the largest seedlings and transfer them to the sun room, using some of the bins I picked up.

The two Wonderberries turned out to be too tall for the shelf!! so they got put into buckets and joined the first one on the shelf. They are in biodegradable pots, and I didn’t feel like fussing with aluminum foil, like we did for the first one.

I also had to prune flower buds off the little Wonderberry plants!

It’s not in the photo, but while clearing the extra shelf, I brought down the pot that my daughter buried the cucamelon tubers in. I set it up in the window with the Wonderberry and watered it. Who knows. We might have some cucamelons this year, after all!

Here, the Canteen gourds, two of the Crespo squash, and three of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes got set up next to the trays with the onion seedlings.

A bin with all Cup of Moldova tomatoes got set up on the next shelf down. If they look all bent over, that’s because they were starting to get crowded in their shelves in the mini-greenhouse! A piece of rigid insulation that had been laying on the shelf next to where the bin was placed, got set up to create a wall.

Just in case Potato Beetle manages to get onto the other half of the shelf and decides to do a Susan on the seedlings, and try to eat them.

Hopefully, Potato Beetle won’t be in the sun room for much longer, and we’ll be able to use that bottom shelf, too.

This afternoon, however, he was quite content to watch the activity from the comfort of my husband’s walker!

Once everything was set up, the bins and trays got watered, the reflector was put back in position, and I turned on the shop light that’s hanging on the inside of the shelf, where things are in shadow. It was 20C/68F in there, so I left the warming lamp off. It’ll get turned on again when things start cooling down.

Hopefully, the seedlings will do well in the sun room. I’m still concerned about those overnight temperatures. There’s only so much that little light we’re using for its warmth (as is Potato Beetle!) can do, and there’s no safe way to set up the ceramic heat bulb without some sort of metal frame, since the frame of the mini-greenhouse we used before is being actively used as… you know… a greenhouse.

The mini-greenhouse now has two completely empty shelves and, after re-arranging things, there’s even room in one of the trays for more pots. There will be room for the next seeds we will be starting this week, though I think the Kulli corn, which will be in bins, will be going straight into the sun room. We’ll see how whether the bins can fit in the big aquarium greenhouse or not. There is also still the small aquarium greenhouse. Seedlings don’t thrive in it, but it should still be suitable to keep pots until their seeds germinate and, hopefully, we’ll be able to move any seedlings out to a better spot soon after.

It feels like we’re juggling pots and seedlings! Which I guess we are.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: potting up

Today, I went through the mini-greenhouse to see what might need to be potted up.

It turned out that there wasn’t anything that wasn’t already potted up. However, almost all the Cup of Moldova tomatoes are getting too big for the shelves! They are certainly doing well, after the thinning and addition of more soil along their stems. Over the next day or two, these need to be moved into the sun room, just for the space.

At the furthest end of the large aquarium greenhouse, you can see the two, out of three, Crespo squash that got potted up. The third smaller one in between the bigger ones had actually been thinned out of another pot, and is going quite well. In the foreground are a pair of Canteen gourds that had shared a small pot. For some reason, when I moved these out of the mini-greenhouse, because a tendril had started to wrap itself around the shelf above, I thought they were luffa. The writing on the labels had started to fade, so I fixed that.

It took some juggling to get the bigger pots to fit into the space. They definitely need to go into the sun room soon, too!

Meanwhile, on the heat mat…

The Red Baron bunching onions are coming up nicely. I’m looking forward to these. Still nothing among the ground cherry, though.

As I write this, we are at -2C/28F, which is warmer than forecast. Warm enough that any expose ground or concrete is thawing out and melting the snow around it in the sun. We’re still supposed to reach a low of -13C/9F overnight tonight, and tomorrow we’re supposed to warm up to -2C/28F, but get more snow. Depending on what app I look at, we’re either going to get isolated flurries, or snow all day for a total of 2-4cm, or about 1/2 – 1 1/2 inches. Either way, it won’t be enough to cause problems with driving my mother to my brother’s, to meet her new great grandson. 🙂

After that, we’re supposed to had daytime highs hovering a few degrees above freezing for the next while. One of my apps has a 28 day long range forecast and, according to that, we won’t start hitting 10C/50F until May. Our last frost date is June 2, so that fits. Last year, May was an incredibly warm month. May long weekend is when a lot of people put their gardens in, only for many of them to lose almost everything to one cold night, just days later. Hopefully, we will not have anything like that again!

I am really looking forward to getting to work on the garden!

The Re-Farmer

It’s a Wonder

Before coming back inside, I remembered to check out the flower I spotted on the Wonderberry.

Such a pretty, tiny little thing!

Then I killed it. 😦

I pinched off all the flower buds that I could find, so the plant will put more energy into growing foliage. With no insects to pollinate them this early anyhow, blooming is just wasted energy for the plant. Hopefully, it will continue to do just fine until we can plant it outside.

The sunroom was about 16C/61F at the time I did this! That’s over 20 degrees Celsius warmer than outside! If the temperatures didn’t drop down to about 3C/37F overnight in there, all our seedlings would be set up in the sun room right now. I’m hoping, as things warm up over the next few days, we’ll finally be able to start doing that. After Easter, we’ll be starting the seeds that need to be started at 6 weeks before last frost. That will be the Kulli corn and the remaining tomato varieties; yellow pear and Chocolate Cherry. We have a very few Spoon tomato seeds left. Maybe we’ll finish those off, too.

It’s the four week seed starts that are going to need the most space. These include:
– the remaining gourds we’ll be doing this year (Yakteen and Apple)
– all the summer squash (Endeavor green zucchini, Goldy yellow zucchini, Madga, Sunburst yellow pattypan and G Star green pattypan)
– and pumpkin, including three types of hulless seed pumpkins (Styrian, Kakai and Lady Godiva), the Baby Pam from last year that didn’t germinate at all, but I hope will work if we scarify the seeds first, plus some giant pumpkin seeds that were given away for free that I’d like to try.
– all the winter squash (Little Gem/Kuri and Teddy from last year, Georgia Candy Roaster, Winter Sweet and Boston Marrow)
– all the melons (Halona and Pixie, from saved seeds, Kaho watermelon and Zucca, plus some seeds saved from grocery store melons we liked)
– cucumber (Eureka)

These are all things we do want to plant quite a bit of each type, since they are being grown more for preserving than for fresh eating. Except the melon. We might freeze or pickle some, but mostly, we’ll be eating those fresh, and I can hardly wait!

We’re also going to be using many of the squash in particular to reclaim portions of the old garden area. Anything that is doesn’t need to be trellised, or their fruit is too big to trellis, we’ll take advantage of their spreading habits and large leaves to shade out the weeds beyond the hills and mulch we’ll be planting them in.

After that, we’ve got the stuff we’ll be direct sowing, some of which can be started before last frost. We’ve got 4 types of turnip (I ordered 2, but got 2 more as freebies), 2 types of bread poppies, strawberry spinach, I think 2 types of beets this year, 3 types of pole beans, including 1 shelling type, 2 types of bush beans left over from last year, 2 types of peas, 4 types of carrots, 2 more types of corn, including a popcorn, 3 types of radishes, which I still want to grow for their pods, not their roots, 3 types of spinach from last year, 4 types of lettuce from last year, and 2 types of chard from last year. Then there’s the stuff that will be shipped when it’s time to plant, including 3 types of potatoes, sunchokes and sweet potato slips.

I don’t know where we’re going to plant a lot of this. We do have a general sort of map set out. Quite a few things will be planted in temporary beds to help prepare the soil for future plans, and some things will be interplanted with others, so they’ll be sharing beds. We will likely need to build more temporary trellises, too. In the end, though, we’re still figuring things out, so we have no fixed plans. Almost everything is going to have to be flexible.

Getting this all in is going to be a wonder in itself!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: survived so far, and just in case

Well, I’m happy to say that the Wonderberry that got moved to the sun room did survive it’s first night.

It had been on a plant stand that was being stored on that shelf anyhow, but I had to take that out and place the pot lower, as the height put it under the shadow of the eaves. From what I could tell, the temperature did stay a few degrees above freezing in there, even without the “grow” lights on, and what little warmth they provide.

The true test will be at the end of the week, when a blizzard is supposed to hit, and daytime highs are supposed to be below freezing.

Today, I went into town to pick up the last few things we need for our Easter basket – though how much we’ll be doing on Easter is going to depend on how accurate the forecasts turn out to be!

Walking into the grocery store, I immediately spotted the back of a new display near the door. Even from behind, I knew exactly what it was and headed right over.

Yup. I bought sets! Just in case the onions and shallots we are growing from seed are not very successful, though they do seem to be doing better now that they’re in the sun room.

The boxes are by weight rather than quantity, so I took a look in the boxes of yellow onions and shallots to see, more or less, how many sets were in there, then decided to get two boxes of each. I stuck to just one box of red onions, because we don’t use those as much as yellow onions. Plus, we have two other varieties of red onions from seed. I remember from last year that, even though the seedlings were quite small, the surviving onions we grew from seed ended up being just as big as the ones we grew from sets, so we’ll see how it goes.

Yes, we want lots and lots of onions. Depending on how things go, I wouldn’t mind having enough to not only store in the root cellar, but to dehydrate, use in various preserves and so on. Of the ones we bought seeds for, I would like to save seed, as some are rarer varieties. Onions produce seed in their second year, so we’ll have to plant those somewhere where they can be overwintered.

We are going to have a much larger garden this year, but for things like the onions and a few other things, we will be interplanting them with other things, for efficiency of space and – hopefully! – to help protect them from any critters, should the temporary fencing we’re planning to put up, fail.

Though we have three varieties of potatoes on the way, I was sorely tempted by the bags of seed potatoes that were also new on display. In the end, I decided against it. At least for this trip! As with onions, it would be really hard to grow too many potatoes! I think if we do pick up more seed potatoes, it will be different varieties I’ve seen elsewhere, though. The ones I saw today where the same basic varieties we normally see in the grocery store that are still pretty inexpensive, even with the increases in prices.

For all that the soil is in pretty bad shape and we’re breaking new ground for a number of things, I am thankful that we do have the luxury of space for gardening. Planting in less than ideal conditions is better than not being able to plant at all!

We have much to be thankful for.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: it’s a wonder!

One of the first things I do in the morning is check on the seedlings, turn on the lights, and do any tending they might need.

The newly transplanted and potted up plants seem to be doing very well – with one possible exception.

The Wonderberry we have left from the first planting is just too big for the top of the mini greenhouse.

I mean, look at this beast! It’s getting huge!

And what’s that I see???

Yup. Those are flower buds!!

I planted these really early, after doing some online research, but it seems it was too early.

So what do I do with the poor thing? We can’t leave it out, or the cats will destroy it.

The only safe place for it is in the sun room.

Except…

Yeah. It’s too big for the shelve space, too.

There was only one thing left to do.

I now have it sitting in the window on the other side of the door, which is a pair of smaller windows with a shelf in between. It’s actually a great spot for a plant like this. The problem is mostly the temperature, though it also gets less light. In the other shelf, there is at least the lights provide a bit of warmth. This spot is too far away for that to be any help.

I don’t think the sun room dipped below freezing last night. When I first looked in, in the morning, it was at about 8C/46F, but I expect it to get above 20C/68F in there as the day warms up. However, we’re supposed to start cooking down again, with a high of -5C/23F by Thursday – and more snow on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Southern parts of the province are even getting weather alerts, as a Colorado Low swoops in, potentially bringing as much as 20cm/8in of snow. That, in turn, is leading to flooding alerts in regions to the North.

None of which is anywhere near us, but we’ll still be affected by the system with cooler temperatures and more snow.

At least the current warm weather is reducing the amount of snow we have now, so if we do end up with more, it’s not going to be as much of an issue.

The receding snow is starting to reveal that we are going to be picking up quite a lot of fairly large branches, once we’re able to do the spring yard cleanup.

The new beds along the chain link fence are now clear of snow, including the asparagus bed. Which, unfortunately, has a lot of grass and weeds already starting to grow. There’s less than half an inch of thawed soil on the top, but that’s enough for the weeds.

There was a surprise, though.

There are onions growing!

We had transplanted the tiniest of seedlings around the asparagus bed last year, mostly because I didn’t want to toss them. They established themselves, but hardly grew at all, and we just left them. Even when cleaning up in the fall, we just let them be.

I found about 8 or 10 of them, starting to grow!

It should be interesting to see how they do. As this would be their second year, if we leave them, they should go to seed.

Speaking of onions and seeds, the seedlings we moved to the sun room seem to be doing rather well.

In fact, I think they’re actually perking up and getting stronger. Well. Maybe not the shallots. It’s really hard to tell with what’s left of those! But the red and yellow onions seem to be getting bigger and stronger.

We might have something to transplant, after all!

I might still get sets, though. In this household, we just can’t really have too many onions! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: starting seeds and potting up

With our average last frost date of June 2, today works out to be 8 weeks for seed starts. In addition to starting new seeds, our replanted Cup of Moldova seedlings were ready to be thinned and potted up.

We also needed to make space.

While the sun room’s daytime temperature neared 20C/68F, while the outside temperature reached a high of 4C/39F, the overnight temperatures dropped to just above freezing.

We decided to take the chance, and move the onions and shallots to the sun room. I’m not very encouraged by how they seem to be doing, and I figure we’re going to need to buy sets later on, anyhow. More on that, later.

We also had to pot up the Wonderberry. The only one that survived from the first planting is large enough that it can only fit into the top of the mini-greenhouse, where the frame comes to a peak. The second planting had two that were getting pretty big, so they got separated and repotted, too. There was also a whole lot of removing of pots where the seedlings did not survive, and re-arranging the big aquarium greenhouse so that the new seed starts could go on over the heat mat.

Eventually, we were able to start the new seeds!

There were only two things that needed to be started, as the others on the list were for 8-10 weeks, and we’d already started them at 10 weeks.

One was Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry. The seeds are so small and few, they came in a separate envelope in the packet. Still, my daughter divided them up, and planted 6 pots with them.

While she worked on those, I started on the Red Baron bunching onions.

They have such pretty seeds!

These were densely planted in a repurposed grocery store salad container.

These are now on the heat mat.

The pots that had been on the heat mat got shifted over, but are still in the big aquarium.

Here we have our squash and gourds, and the second planting of eggplants and purple peppers. There are a few survivors of the first planting, but the way things are going, I figure extras will always be a good idea!

This tray had the second planting of the Cup of Moldova paste tomatoes, planted in Red Solo cups. A couple of them had only one seedling in them. For the rest, I gently removed all but one from each cup. The cups were only half full of seed starting soil, so my daughter potted them up by simply adding more to fill the cup. While she worked on that, I filled more cups and transplanted the tomatoes that had been removed, burying the stems until they were much like the others. I ended up doing a dozen cups, on top of what my daughter filled.

Hopefully, most of these will survive to be transplanted!

We were able to fit them all into the mini-greenhouse, though a bit more re-arranging needed to be done. The Sophie’s Choice tomatoes are much smaller, and not ready to be thinned or potted up, yet.

The largest Wonderberry is now in one of those Jiffy pots that can be buried directly into the ground, as are the two smaller Wonderberry. The smaller ones are in the tray, where they can be watered from below, but the big one was on its own. To allow for watering and not making a mess, my daughter wrapped the pot with aluminum foil.

Since we have to keep the mini-greenhouse enclosed, I have the mini fan set up to blow are up one side, so it can circulate under the cover without blowing directly onto any plants. A salvaged window screen gets set across the bottom, then the flap is brought down, its bottom tucked under the screen, and the zippers pulled down as far as the screen, so hold it in place. It’s the best we can do to keep it from getting too hot in there and to allow fresh air in. For seedlings this big, the cover would be removed completely, but certain cats would simply destroy everything.

It will be good when all the plants can finally go into the sun room! These are, however, much more fragile than the onions.

I had a couple of spare oven liner trays that I picked up for inside the small aquarium greenhouse. We’re not using that right now, as anything that goes into it seems to struggle. That’s where these onions had started out. They should be quite a bit bigger, and there should be more of them.

That one tray that looks the sparsest is the shallots. The soil even looks dug into. I suspect one of the cats actually managed to reach through a gap in the cover flap over the screen we put in front of the mini-greenhouse.

Concerned for the overnight temperature drop, I remembered a small light that we’ve used in the sun room before. It has an incandescent, full spectrum bulb in it.

It also gets quite warm, and we’ve made use of that heat for everything from keeping plants warm, to keeping recovering cats warm!

So that got set up on the empty shelf under the onions. The shelves all have scrap pieces of rigid insulation on them. Most of the inside of the shelf is covered by the reflector we made using a larger piece of rigid insulation. So the space should hold warmth a fair bit. The light fixture would help, plus even the LED shop light does warm up, just a bit. Between all that, I’m hoping the shelf itself will hold a pocket of warm compared to the rest of the room.

We’ll see what difference it makes.

So this is where we are at, 8 weeks before last frost. We have a few more seeds to start at the 6 week mark, but it’s the 4 week mark that is going to be a doozy. The fast majority of our seeds, both in variety and in quantity, are supposed to be started by 4 weeks. This includes the winter and summer squash, pumpkins, remaining gourds, melons, watermelons, and the last of the tomato varieties. We don’t plan to start many of the tomatoes, but we do intend to plant quite a lot of the various squash and melons.

Finding the space for everything is going to be quite the challenge. It’ll be May by then, though, which means the overnight temperatures in the sun room should be warm enough that we could even start some seeds in there, and not just in the large aquarium greenhouse. Some of what we’ve started will be ready for hardening off, too.

Looking at the long range forecast, we’re going to have a rather chilly Easter weekend, and things aren’t going to warm up very much after, either. I’ve been looking at the 30 year averages, though, and these temperatures are pretty much bang on for the average.

It just feels like winter keeps dragging on.

And on and on and on.

The Re-Farmer

Setting up the sun room, and those are probably a total loss

Well, I hope this works.

The girls and I had to do a fair bit of clean up and pick up from what the cats and skunks knocked about while we had the run room doors propped open. Then one of them stayed out to tend the burn barrel. I’d gotten it going this morning, then covered it to smolder, but the cat litter sawdust just can’t dry out enough for that to work very well.

It’s just too wet out there for anything to dry, even in the burn barrel!

We got the shelf in the corner of the sun room ready to hold seedlings. Only the bottom three shelves will get used, because the eaves shade the top shelves too much. We’re going to see how using the scrap pieces of insulation on the shelves will help.

I cut another piece of rigid insulation to cover the three shelves we’ll be using, then covered one side with heavy duty aluminum foil. The foil is adhered with ordinary white glue, watered down enough that I could apply it with a cheap, dollar store paint brush. It took two overlapping lengths of foil to cover it and, just to be on the safe side, the overlap has a strip of aluminum tape over it as well. Much to my surprise, I found that at the dollar store, too! The back just has strips of duct tape holding the foil edges.

I found a way to hang up the new shop light I picked up at Costco. If we needed to, we could set up the second one on the other side of the foil covered sheet as well. These lights are designed to be hooked together, too, so one can be plugged into the other.

The problem is, we don’t have any way to safely set up the ceramic heater bulb overnight. When we used it before, we used the frame of the mini-greenhouse to hold it securely away from any potential fire hazards, but that’s being used for seedlings in the living room right now.

The aluminum foil will help reflect light from the window, but we will have to be careful during the day, to makes sure it doesn’t reflect too much heat, too. We want a solar reflector, not a solar oven. I’m hoping, however, that it will help keep the shelves warmer than the rest of the room during the night.

We’ll be testing it tonight, with the tree seeds.

Which I am sure are a total loss.

After transferring the seeds from the slide lock baggies into the toilet tube pots, they went into the mini-greenhouse. There is a little fan in there to keep air circulating but, because of the cats, we can’t open it up like it really should be.

Which is probably why this happened.

*sigh*

It’s a good thing these are a total experiment. It is possible the seeds are still viable and may actually germinate, but my goodness!

Now that they’re in the sun room, and not enclosed in the mini-greenhouse, the mold might dry up and die off. The seeds themselves are supposed to develop a tap root long before the leaves break ground, so I was still not expecting anything to be sprouted. Who knows? Some might still survive. There is that one slender bit of green growth in the tulip tree bin, after all. No idea if that’s a tree seedling, or some weed that managed to get into the seed starting mix.

We’ll monitor things for a day or two, then will probably move the onion and shallot starts into here, as they can handle cooler temperatures better than anything else we’ve got sprouting right now. Even just moving these two little bins has freed up a fair bit of space. After that, we’ll have room to move things out of the big aquarium greenhouse, and use that for the next batch of seed starts.

Little by little, it’ll get done.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: squash and gourd seedlings

It always amazing me just how fast some seedlings grow!

It’s like they’re bigger, every time I look in the tank. Just look at those Crespo squash!

These two pots each have 3 seeds in them. Two that were scarified, and one that was not. I think the scarification made the difference!

To the left is the Ozark Nest Egg gourd, and…

… you can see a Tennessee Dancing Gourd emerging, too. In the background, the luffa are starting to develop their true leaves.

What is interesting is that, while these squash and gourds are germinating, there is no sign of germination in the pots with eggplant and peppers seeded into them.

Last year, it took forever for the squash and gourds to germinate, and many pots never did. This is a huge improvement. I think there is a combination of reasons. One being the scarification of the seeds – except the dancing gourds, which were too small – and the other being the use of a heat mat.

I know we’re supposed to thin the seedlings down, but I’m thinking we’ll thin them by transplanting the extras. When it’s time to transplant outside, I want to have extra, just in case some don’t survive transplanting, or in case critters get to them. The more we plant, the better the chances of having at least one survive!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 Garden: latest seedling status

This morning, while tending our seedlings, I spotted a newcomer!

That is a Crespo squash seedling!

This tray, on the heat pad, needs to be watered about twice as often as the tray next to it.

Where the Cup of Moldova tomatoes are doing quite well! The big aquarium greenhouse has been working out the best among our three set ups.

The Sophie’s Choice tomatoes got moved from the small aquarium greenhouse to the mini-greenhouse, in hopes that they will start doing better. I’m not sure why things are not doing as well in that little greenhouse. I suspect it has to do with lack of air circulation. The mini-fan we had on the aquarium greenhouses, moving it back and forth between the two, is now set up in the mini-greenhouse. We can’t open up the cover because of the cats, so the fan is needed more in there, than with the aquariums. I hope we can figure it out, though, because that’s little tank is currently wasted space that could be growing things! We do have a pedestal fan, but it’s not tall enough to provide air circulation in through the screen covers on the tanks. We’ve looked at different ways to set it up, but so far, we haven’t been able to come up with anything suitably cat proof.

It’s become such an issue, that we’re coming up with plans to build a “door” between the living and dining rooms, so that we can turn the living room into a safe zone for plants – all our plants – and not have to have all these barricades and shields around them. My older daughter has diagrammed a plan for a removeable frame to fit into the opening between the two sets of shelves between the living room and dining room, which would support a “door”. It would be made using hardware cloth, for maximum light and air to pass through. One of the shelves has an opening through it that we’ll have to frame a screen on, as well. We’ve really got to come up with something, because all the stuff we’re doing to try and protect the plants from the cats isn’t all that good for the plants! Especially since we are starting so many seeds indoors and, next year, will likely be starting even more. That will be a summer project, if we can get the materials we need to build it.

Last night was the first night we had the outside doors to the sunroom closed, so no cats – or skunks – could come in. It had reached temperatures of 20C/68F in there yesterday, yet this morning, it was just barely above 0C/32F, which means it was even colder, overnight. There is no way we can move any of our seedlings into there, without having to bring them back into the house overnight, which we won’t be able to do. Our overnight temperatures are going to be warming up, though, so we’ll have to keep monitoring the room. I might set the ceramic heater bulb up overnight, just to see what a difference it makes.

Some things will be started right in the sun room, but not for a while, yet. We’re still preparing, though, including getting the toilet paper tube “pots” set up in a bin.

This will be for the black Kulli corn. I’m not going to bother folding bottoms onto the tubes, so as to give the roots more depth. We have a total of 100 Kulli seeds (unless there are extras in the packets, which sometimes happens), and I thought I’d be able to put 100 tubes in this bin. If it had been square, it would have worked but, alas, it is a rectangle. Instead of the 10 rows of 10 I thought would fit, we could only fit 8 rows of 10. We do have more of the smaller bins we used to start the tulip tree and paw paw seeds in (still no signs of anything in those, but I’m not expecting it, yet). They can fit 4 rows of 8, so we’ll be able to work it out. The corn won’t be started until early May, though. The sun room’s overnight temperatures should be just fine by then.

I picked up more bins in this size; there was only 2 left in the store I found them in, so I now have 3 “spares”. I also got more of the smaller bins, and we now have 4 available to use for new starts. With their transparent lids, they can be used as little greenhouses, and they will make things much easier to move around when it’s time to harden off the seedlings. The toilet tube pots fit really well in these, so we’re going to continue collecting the tubes to use to start seeds in the bins.

Little by little, it’ll get done.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: luffa – finally!

It took a long time, but the second planting of luffa seeds has finally germinated, just this evening.

There was nothing, when I checked them this morning.

I’m glad to see them, because it looks like the one surviving luffa isn’t going to make it. Another casualty of the Great Cat Crush. 😦 At just under 10 weeks before our last frost date, I’m hoping it’s enough time for them, still.

Some of the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes that got moved out of the big aquarium greenhouse and into the little one, to make room for the newly planted seeds now with these luffa, have suddenly withered. After a bit of rearranging and squeezing things closer together, I moved them into the mini-greenhouse. It has the brighter light, plus the little fan to maintain air circulation. Hopefully, that will help them recover and grow stronger again. There are still lots of others, though, so for now, I’m not too concern. We only need a couple of plants from this variety, along with the two or three other tomato varieties we’ll be starting in a week or two, that are being grown mostly for fresh eating.

Things are supposed to start warming up tomorrow, and keep warming up from now on. At least for daytime temperatures. It’s time to prep the sun room and start keeping the outside cats out again, so we can be ready to move things over as soon as the overnight temperatures in there get, and stay, warm enough.

The Re-Farmer