Sunday, July 25, 2010

around the homestead-starting fall seedlings

It is hard to imagine starting seeds for fall gardens when it is 100 or more degrees out but now is the time to be getting them going.Yesterday I started our fall transplants. I should have actually gotten them going about a week ago in order to give them the proper amount of time before transplanting but I was busy with other things and lost track of time. Hopefully the babies will be ready to go in the ground at the proper time or I will have one overly full greenhouse this fall.

Many of the fall seeds I direct seed just as in late winter or early spring, but the cole crops, onions and various lettuces,I start and transplant. Instead of putting everyone in little individual grow cups this time around I instead planted them all in flats. This saves me time and space since some of the seedlings have to be sprouted in the refrigerator rather than outside or in the greenhouse. This time of year the fridge is full enough with fresh fruits and veggies, trying to find room for a hundred cups is too much work.

Yes, I know starting seeds in the fridge seems a bit odd but to have lettuce in the fall months grown outside it is what needs to be done. Most types of lettuce will not germinate if the soil is above 70 degrees so in order to force them to germinate and grow, their temperature needs to be kept under 70. To do this without having to walk down to the root cellar each day, it is easier to simply throw them in the fridge for 8-10 hours at a time and then take them out for the late afternoon and evening hours. In the fridge I have three flats of 18 eggs with 6 types of lettuces and two bacon flats of the Siamese dragon salad mix and mesclun salad mix.

Down in the greenhouse I have two flats each of onions, cabbage and broccoli or about 70 plants of each.I am also thinking of direct seeding a few of each just to see how they do or if they do. Of course in order to do that it really needs to cool off just a tad because it is just too hot to be out working for more than a few minutes at a time.

In a couple weeks I will direct seed all of our fall and winter greens, some turnips,carrots and a plot of fall peas. I wanted to do a small planting of fall potatoes as well, unfortunately I let the date for planting pass and it is just too dang hot anyway, so what we have stored will have to do.

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