Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday February 25

Nothing to show at this point.  I’m itching to get some of the overwintered spinach on the plate but the weather hasn’t been cooperating.  There’s been some real winter weather around here this February, by which I mean days when the temperature never gets above freezing (I think people have their own criteria for winter weather depending on location).  So the spinach is biding its time for some dependable mild weather, something I expect any day now.

The first batch of seeds germinated and are growing well.  Onions were seeded about Feb 14.  I seeded 136 cells with Ruby Ring onions from Johnny’s.  I like red onions, and most red varieties have a longer growing season than the yellows.  According to Johnny’s some of the reds are very long day and not suited for this mid latitude of 39 degrees.  The range of this red onion included my latitude and that’s why I chose it.  At two seeds per cell the seed packet did not seed all 144 cells in two trays.  I bought a packet of Burpee’s Northern Gold onions from the big box lumber store to seed the remaining 12 cells.  Maybe that was pointless but I like to try more than one variety if the price is right.  I have a lot of confidence in Johnny’s seeds but the Burpee seeds are a little more of a gamble.   It may be a fine variety but the problem is there just isn’t much information on the seed packet.  
Anyway the onion seedlings had a very high germination rate and are now going gangbusters.  I’m sure that having four bulbs instead of two helps a lot, as well as the reflectix drape on one side of the shelf.  The first set of brassicas germinated this weekend and joined the onions under the lights.  Sunday I set one tray of onions into the mobile greenhouse and left the other tray under the lights along with the tray of brassicas.  I think the weather is mild enough now to set onions out in the greenhouse.  This will give me a chance to compare how the seedlings grow indoors and in a coldframe.     
The lettuce that was seeded in the mobile greenhouse finally germinated about two weeks ago but the seedlings have been growing very slowly.  This is likely due to the colder than normal February weather lately.  The greenhouse has some insulation value and it has a number of limestone blocks inside for thermal mass.  After a sunny day the greenhouse will maintain a higher temperature inside for a night but if there are consecutive days of cold overcast days then the temperature inside falls to the outside temperature. 
On a really clear cloudless day the greenhouse may work too well.  A few days ago it was cold and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  When the outside temperature reached 22 degrees in the early afternoon the inside of the greenhouse was 76 degrees, a 54 degree temperature difference.  At that point I propped open the lid since the temperature was climbing rapidly.          


Charmcitybalconygarden said...

I also can't wait for the weather to get warmer! The onions seedlings are looking great!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

What an impressive seed starting set-up! Nicely done!

kitsapFG said...

Your onions are looking marvelously healthy. I think your light set up with the reflection curtain is a winner. I know I can really tell the difference between starts in my best light set up versus starts I put under my overflow light set up (which is not as good a light setup). Big difference in the sturdiness of the plants.

Bee Girl said...

That mobile greenhouse is quite fantastic!

I'm a little behind on my seed starting this year...I might have devote a whole day to it this coming's a good thing I enjoy putting seeds in dirt ;-)

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