Seedlings away!

This post is Part 21 of 24 in Stories: Starting seeds

Ferrying seedlings to the greenhouse

Things can change suddenly on the tiny farm. I picked today to move the majority of seedlings to the greenhouse. Although this was MUCH later than hoped for earlier this year, it’s all about the (recently COLD) weather, and I didn’t want to spend much on heat. But you can’t wait forever. There’ll probably be at least a couple of freezing nights in the next two weeks, but it IS getting to mid-May, and these guys will be out in the field, one way or another, before the end of the month. So, it’s out of the Milkhouse and onto the trailer behind the little John Deere riding mower for a little trip…

Seedlng tables nearly full

The greenhouse tables are now just about full, and that’s with a fourth one added a week or so ago. Plus, there are a few more trays of plug sheets on the ground off to the right. Lots more seedlings than ever before… On the closest table, there’s the (excellent) digital min-max thermometer/hygrometer, recording critical highs and lows, right after the fact! New this year are those red and green plastic pots (with cukes, squash, pumpkins, melons)—I decided to stop using the 3″ peat pots and try soil blocks, BUT, I didn’t feel like learning about block making right in the rush, so I used the last of the peat and then dipped into the collection of plastic pots I’ve been given over the years. (I’ll get the soil block maker in the summer, so I can play around with it first…)

Grow racks empty

It’s always a little…sad when bright, cheerful gear goes dark and empty… There are still a few trays of really young tomatoes, brassicas, and a couple of other late-started things, but the grow rack days are just about over for the year. We’ll soon be stowing the lights and chains, and presto, instant rolling racks for harvest bins. Transplants for late spring and summer will get started in the greenhouse…

Seedlings under row cover

And so, the seedling greenhouse gets tucked in for its first full-house night of the season. Boy, imagine if something WENT WRONG in there… :)

6 thoughts on “Seedlings away!”

  1. Mike,
    I would love to hear more description of how you do your harvest washing.  How do you use the laundry tubs?  Do you leave the washing machine out all summer?  Do you have a mesh bag to put the lettuce in while spinning it?
    I really have no idea how I’m going to do all that.  Oh, one more question:  How do you pack your CSA shares?  Do you use a standard bin?  And do customers take it home with them and return it the next week?

  2. Love the pictures and updates! I just decided to start my first planting (albeit much tinier than your efforts – apartment container gardening), and your pics of all the plants, green grasses, and rich-looking soil are great motivators!

  3. Chris, Deborah: Well, I have a really simple set-up and routine, but I’ll be sure to post all the details as soon as there’s a decent harvest. The laundry tubs, filled with nice, icy well water, are for cooling and rinsing. The biggest use is probably dunking greens like mesclun and spinach to cool them down immediately after cutting. The washing machine stays outside, unsheltered, right through. I unplug it whenever it’s not being used and that’s about it. The agitator has been removed. There’s a bit of a trick in finding the right amount to put in at a time so you don’t crush lettuce and shred some of the spinach. I don’t use mesh bags, I have in the past, but until I find big enough ones, I don’t bother. CSA packing is a work in progress, with changes planned for this year, but until now, it’s been in plastic grocery bags. When we delivered to the city (Toronto) for the first two years, the bags went into lidded home storage bins, with ice packs. Shareholders could take the whole bin, or remove the bags. It took some prompting via newsletter to get everything back, especially ice packs. Locally, they just take the bags. This year, I’m going to use the reusable shopping bags that the supermarket chains have, probably get a cost-of deposit on 4 per share, enough for two weeks, and they can return the last week’s to me, if not, I’ll just charge again if bags aren’t brought back. That’s the bag part of the rough new plan…

    Melanie J: That sounds great! I read the post on your blog. I agree: just do it. One thing always leads to another, and you may not know where things are headed exactly, but at least with growing stuff, it really can’t hurt or be a waste to START! :)

  4. I wish my seedlings looked this big and healthy when I put them out!  They seem to be holding their own in my first year experiment of starting seeds indoors.  We’ll see if they produce any vegetables later in the season though. lol!  Love seeing your greenhouse and I am thoroughly entranced by your operation

  5. Hi. This year I became a pumpkin grower. It has been fascinating to watch and probably one of the most fulfilling things that I have ever undertaken. Out of 9 “jack-o-lantern” seeds and 9 Lumina seeds I managed to get 3 Lumina vines and only one not so successful J-O-Lantern vine. I planted these on June 1st during a fairly warm southern afternoon. From then on I watered them lightly in the morning and afternoon and a heavy soak at night. Long story short, the vines took off. I’m sure I have made a few amateur mistakes along the way, some that I quickly learned from. Basically, the point of this comment is to inquire about when to harvest the said Luminas. I have 4 rather large,hearty ones and about 5-6 softball sized ones. I have been told by some to just leave them on the vine until I am ready and some have said that I need to harvest them when THEY are ready. Sorry about the lengthy comment but I am excited about my vines. That is my only question, when do I need to harvest these?


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