Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Build Your Own Greenhouse

If you have the desire to start your seedlings early and store your plants in a warm, safe place until transplanting in your garden, you may want to build your own greenhouse. Check out the slide show of the greenhouse my DH built last the right hand side of this page. The beautiful thing about this structure is that it is portable and it can be taken down and stored when you need it no longer. Ours is stored in the garage waiting for the moment when we can put it up again for this spring. If you would like more information on materials, etc, please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

A cold frame and a tent house are smaller projects and allow the opportunity to get your plants growing. For information on cold frames check my previous post. For information on tent houses and step-by-step instructions on how to build one, check out the March 19 post at quiltbeagardens for great images and explanation.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Build Your Own Cold Frames

Cold frames are easy and affordable structures to kickstart your seedlings and plants. The minute the warm weather arrives, the frost date passes, you will be ready to get a jump on the growing season by planting strong plants in your vegetable garden.

Location, location, location. Choose a sunny area with good drainage. Placing the cold frame near a building or wind break will shelter the plants from cold spring winds. Oh yes, I know how those lovely spring breezes can change into strong cold, injuring/killing winds. A water source should be close enough that you can easily run a hose to the frames for watering the plants.
Go to your Habitat for Humanity warehouse, Good Will, your uncle's garage, or wherever you can pick up some used windows. These make excellent tops for cold frames. You can set the glass panes on top of cement blocks making sure you have a way to weight them down to weather the winds. You can also build a "frame" of wood to set the window on. The wood frame allows you to add hinges to the window and attach it to the frame so you can prop open the window allowing air to circulate through the plants.

My DH suggested using 4-6 mm vinyl stapled to a frame if you cannot locate windows. Check the nurseries and lumber companies for the vinyl.

CAUTION: On a sunny day, you must take the cover off the plants or they will bake in the cold frame box. Prop the window up with a stick, but CAUTION that the wind doesn't blow the window over and break it.

Cold frames are an inexpensive way to get a head start on your garden by hardening off the plants--acclimating them for outdoor planting. After the weather turns warm, the cold frame can be taken apart and put away until you need it next year. Best of all, when you get that itch to play in the dirt and start those seeds, you can get to it earlier by protecting the tender seedlings and plants in the cold frame.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sprouting Seeds--Awesome!

I love this photo of the tiny sprouted seeds in the container. My DH needs tweezers to handle the delicate miracles. Some day these seeds will mature into Christa tomato plants and Red Derby bibb lettuce plants, then develop the fruit that we can eat and enjoy.

It takes patience and care from you, the gardener, and rains and sunshine from Heaven. I am beginning to understand the gardeners who do this year after year. The awe and wonder of this mysterious seed producing food is always thrilling and satisfying for the body and the soul.

For more information on starting seeds for your garden, check out my post on planting seeds for your garden.

Friday, March 12, 2010

More Lettuce!

Lettuce varieties pictured here are Deer's Tongue, Speckled, and Victoria. The cool (I should say cold) temperatures this winter in Florida produced tasty salads for us.
My DH has already started the seed for planting these same varieties in our Michigan garden. To the right is the FL garden with the lettuce growing in it. Before we leave, we will fill the garden with horse manure and topsoil for a raised garden next year.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Waiting for Spring is Difficult

I know the waiting for decent weather is almost unbearable. The winter has been long and hard. You are ready for some warm sunshine to warm up those spring bulbs, to melt the snow off the garden, to brighten your day. You are ready to dig in that dirt preparing it for those baby plants you are so lovingly nurturing these dark winter days. You realize that the day will come when you will actually plant the seed in straight (?) rows and get the fence up around the plot to keep out the varmints.

Don't fret about it. Read those seed catalogs and check out some gardening books from the library or research on the Internet. There are some great blogs about gardening and information on vegetable gardening at Enjoy them while you have time to dig around, not in the dirt, but in the pages and websites.

I know this year you will truly appreciate the signs that spring is just around the corner. Take it all in, perhaps photograph some of them. Crocus breaking through the snow or a robin looking for worms in your yard.

I know the waiting is difficult. But, oh the celebration, when spring gets here! Woot Woot!!