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.


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

Future forest

I wasn’t feeling well and ended up lying down this afternoon, but before I did, I asked my daughters to start the paw paw and tulip tree seeds.

These are already cold stratified, so we had two options in the instructions. They could be planted directly into pots, or first put into slide lock bags with moist soil until roots emerge, then get potted.

What I want to do it first pot them in the degradable pots, so that when they need to be potted up, we won’t be disturbing their long tap roots. From what I’ve read, the paw paws are especially sensitive to damage to their tap root.

We got a dozen paw paw seeds and 20 tulip tree seeds. There is no way we have the space for 32 pots anyhow, but I don’t expect a 100% germination rate. Also, especially with the paw paws, the roots develop long before they start sending leaves up, so it will be a long time before we even know if they’ve germinated. So I figure if we start them in the slidelock bags first, we can then plant only the ones that successfully germinate into individual pots. Then, even if they take a while before we see anything, we at least know there are roots growing, out of sight.

My daughters don’t take progress photos, so I just have photos of the finished job.

They misunderstood my comment about wanting them in individual pots, so the seeds all went into individual baggies!

Which is fine, too. We’ll need to buy more baggies now, though. 😉

They don’t need light right now; just warmth. So the labelled bags all got pile onto an empty shelf in the mini-greenhouse. We’ll keep an eye on them, both for roots and to make sure they stay moist. The instructions said to make sure the soil isn’t too wet, or the seeds will rot, so it’s a bit of a balancing act.

Once I pick up more trays that will fit in the mini-greenhouse, we’ll arrange them so they’re not all piled on top of each other like this, but for now, they’ll be fine.

Our future forest has been started!

Looking at the needs for the two different types of trees, I am thinking we could actually plant the paw paws – or at least some of them – with the tulip trees. Paw paws are an undergrowth tree, and need to be shaded their first few years, though they fruit better in full sunlight. When the time comes, the pots with their seedlings will be kept in a sheltered area outside. They need to go dormant in the winter, and we could probably overwinter the pots in the sun room, at least for their first winter. Properly protected the pots could also stay outdoors, but I’d rather not do that until the seedlings were bigger and stronger.

First, we’ll see how many germinate. Then we’ll see how many survive being potted. Then we’ll see how many survive their first season in pots outdoors. Then we’ll see how many survive until ready for transplanting in 2 years. Then we’ll see how many survive being transplanted.

It’s a lot riskier starting trees from seed like this, but it does show just why buying seedlings from a nursery can cost so much. A lot of resources, time and effort went into them!

The Re-Farmer

Our van is home, the car is not… and the tree seeds are in!

We have transportation again!! Yay!!

While waiting for a call from the tow truck driver, we had gotten the automated call from CAA assuring us that they hadn’t forgotten about us; they were just really busy. The tracker on the website did change to “dispatched”, noting that a driver had been found, but never got to “en route”.

Instead, I got a phone call from the driver, telling me, “I’m in your driveway right now, looking at your car.” !!!

I’m glad I opened the door this morning. 🙂

I’m also glad we had moved my mother’s car to where we normally park the van, because the driver would have been hooped.

What he ended up doing was backing his truck up until he could hook up and raise the rear wheels, then set up a dolly under the front wheels. We didn’t even need to put my mother’s car in neutral.

One of the things involved in hooking up the front wheels was to use a long bar as a lever to lift the dolly – and the car – in place. He could do it on once side, but on the other, there wasn’t quite enough room.

If the car had been in its usual spot, he could not have done it at all. There just isn’t enough space in that area.

He did have to very carefully pull the car out of the garage far enough to use the bar – a touchy thing, with it not properly put together, yet!

Once it was pulled back, it revealed this.

This dark spot in the dirt floor looks new and fresh.

Not good.

What was good is that I was able to ride into town with the driver.

We saw SO many deer along the way! He mentioned scaring some away from our yard when he came in, too.

When we got to the garage, there was no parking spot for my mother’s car. I quickly ran in and let them know. He gave me the key to our van and I moved it, and the tow truck driver very deftly maneuvered my mother’s car into the spot I’d just emptied.

While he was doing that, I went back in to pay for the work on the van. After taxes, it ended up costing $600.30 Then we talked a bit about my mother’s car, and I told him no hurry on that, because we can’t pay for work until next month – the van took up the budget for this month!

Once I was done there, I drove across the street to the grocery store and picked up some deli pizzas for supper.

Because I wanted to. 😀

Plus a bit of groceries. My husband’s main disability payment comes in on the last business day of the month, which would be the expected day to go into the city and do our big shop. However, the last business day is a Monday, and sometimes it comes in on the Saturday instead. Which would be nice. I’m not a fan of shopping in the city on the weekend, but I’d rather get it over with if I can. We’ll see, tomorrow.

Meanwhile, on the way home, I was able to stop at the post office just before it closed, and pick up the mail. Along with a package for my husband, we got these.

Our tree seeds are in!

Mind you, they probably came in days ago, but we haven’t been able to go to the mail since before my mother’s car died.

These are already cold stratified, so we should be able to start them right away. We’ll go over the instructions again, first. Until we can work on them, I put them back in the bubble pack envelope and tucked them into a fridge drawer, until we can get started.

There was another nice surprise in the mail.

We got a rebate check from our vehicle insurance company. We’ve gotten one for the past 2 years, and for two vehicles, they were a little more than $100. When it was announced that we’d be getting rebate checks again, that’s what I was expecting.

Instead, it was more than $500.

I have sent a message to the garage, letting him know we got our rebates in, so as long as a fix is under $500, we can do it right away and not have to wait until the end of March. He said he’ll check it tomorrow and let me know.

Here’s hoping!

Now I think I’m going to spend some time reading instructions on how to start paw paw and tulip tree seeds!

The Re-Farmer