What’s in the Greenhouse? Planting Seeds

At the end of last year, I was blessed with a greenhouse for my garden.  It was something I hoped for but didn’t think I would ever own.   Close friends of ours were moving from the outskirts of  a nearby city to a ten acre farm near our home.  They did not plan on moving this beautiful greenhouse to the farm because they were going to build a larger one.  I was so excited and blessed that they helped make this dream a reality.  With my husband’s labor of love, he made a spot in my garden by leveling the ground and laying pavers.  Then he disassembled the greenhouse, hauled it to our property and reassembled it in our garden. Now it is time to put the greenhouse to use.

Here in south central Louisiana we are blessed to have the possibility to garden year-round.  Most of the crops grown here have spring and fall planting dates. This means that I can plant seeds in fall, harvest the crop in winter, and then plant seeds again and harvest a second crop.  In my post What’s in the garden? Cauliflower, I said I wished I had planted more cauliflower.  This year for the first time, I am going to do more than wish.  I am planting a second crop.  This crop will be planted in winter and harvested early spring.   You might be wondering why this is the first time that I do this.  Previously, I didn’t plant a second crop because I had limited space in my raised beds.  If there were still winter crops in the garden, I would have had to wait to plant my tomatoes and I like getting my tomatoes in the garden as early as possible.

What makes this year different?  Do I have more raised beds?  No, I don’t have more raised beds, but I do have the greenhouse.  I am planting seeds of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. I will transplant these into the garden in a few weeks and hope to harvest these at the end of March.  Not only am I planting seeds for this winter crop, but I am also planting seeds of tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplants for my Spring/Summer garden.  I will continue growing these in the greenhouse until I harvest the cauliflower and broccoli.  At this time I should be past the average date of the last frost.

Here are the basics of what I used to get my garden seeds started:

*162 Cell Plug Trays for Starting Seeds
I chose to use these so that I can maximize the number of plants without taking up a lot of room in the greenhouse.  It also means that I need less potting soil.  After the seedlings grow a set or two of true leaves, I will transplant them.  I hope to transplant the cauliflower, broccoli, and carrot plugs straight into the garden.  The tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplants will be transplanted into larger cells or small pots, as needed.  You can choose to use plug trays, pots, or containers you have around your home such as paper cups or egg cartons.  Just remember to make sure that your containers are clean and disinfected.

*Organic Potting Mix
I purchased an organic potting mix from  a local store.  You can use your choice of potting mix.

*100% Heirloom/Non-Hybrid/Non-GMO Seeds
This is just a personal preference of mine.  I want to begin saving the seeds from my garden and have read that if it is a hybrid the plants you grow from saved seeds carry the genetics from both ‘parents’ and may be different from what you planted the first year.  Use whatever seeds you prefer.

Sitting at my potting bench in the greenhouse, I felt like a little child with a new toy.  Before planting, I wrote the date and name of each plant on a wood craft stick.  I opened the bag of potting soil and filled each cell of my tray.  I used my fingers to push little indentations into the soil.  Next I placed the labeled stick into the end of each row. Gently I placed one to two seeds in each cell and covered them with more potting soil.  When all the cells were planted, I watered them with rain water from my rain barrel and placed the tray on the top shelf in my greenhouse.  Now all I need to do is keep them moist.  Oh and the hardest part….wait.

–Penny

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