Thursday, January 23, 2014

My mini greenhouse

This is my dream greenhouse.
(No plastic, all glass!)

And this is my greenhouse.

  In reality, this up-cycled aquarium is very efficient and practical for my gardening needs and the space available to me for a greenhouse.  Still, a girl can dream of a beautiful Victorian era glass house to start her organic, heirloom seeds in.  

I  broke the glass out of the bottom and the top of this no longer used aquarium to provide the air circulation needed.  If the weather turns frosty, I can cover the top to keep in more heat.  The garden mirror behind the greenhouse provides a bonus boost of sunshine and, thus, warmth.   I had some stacking cooling racks that I no longer use, and use those for additional shelving, when I have a lot of trays of starting seeds.

This year our winter has been so warm in Southern California, I didn't think I'd have to use my mini greenhouse for my seeds to sprout.  And that has been true.  However, I am having a difficult time with the slugs this year.  They are devouring the tiniest lettuce seed sprout before they have a chance to get big enough to survive a nibble or two.

And those slugs do not obey signs.

I have brought out my convenient greenhouse and have started my lettuce seeds in it, in order to give them some defense (size) for when I transplant them into the ground.  
When I was cleaning the glass on the aquarium after a year of non-use, I was grateful for its perfect size.  I kept thinking about having to clean all those panes of glass on my dream greenhouse.  Of course, in that dream someone else would be doing that dirty work.

And talking about starting seeds....
a couple years ago I went all natural and started seeds in empty egg shells.  The seeds started well, and the plants did grow.  But my yields were down.  When I pulled my broccoli plants out at the end of their season, the reason for my reduced harvest became clear...

Although I had broken up the egg shells before I set the broccoli seedlings into the ground, the strong shells still held the roots bound.  Now maybe this wouldn't be a problem with store bought eggs, but with the thick shells on eggs from our hens, it was.  I have gone back to recycled pony packs from nursery stock for soil containers for my seed starting investment.

It's off to the greenhouse I go, to check on my wee lettuce plants.

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol

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