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PostPosted: Feb 5th, '18, 22:12 
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That is a really nice stand!


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PostPosted: Feb 7th, '18, 09:42 
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A few gems to enlighten you today... Check out seedsnow.com, I found them today and they have a nice calendar that tells you when to plant what plants for your garden based on your zone.. Best one I've found so far.

Second, I discovered MIgardener on YouTube today. He has a lot of nice gardening videos talking about a bunch of useful stuff. Plus he sells seed packs for 0.99 a pack which is cheaper than anything I've came across so far. Plus I made the connection that he is a distant relative of mine through marriage... My wife had told me about him before that he made a living selling seeds but I didn't find his YouTube channel until today. My wife's cousins are his cousins so quite a distant connection, but pretty good stuff on his YouTube so it's cool.

Finally I'll leave you with some pictures..
They may not be the prettiest thing you ever saw but I left a couple tomato plants in the greenhouse even though they looked horrible and dead from a couple close to freezing nights, but now that my greenhouse is back over 50f consistently I have new growth and green cherry tomatoes on the vine. Hopefully I get enough new green growth I can cut all the old dead stuff out soon.


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PostPosted: Feb 8th, '18, 00:24 
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I started an experiment last night after I posted pictures from the greenhouse.

I had three lettuce plants that were in small pots that I hadn't moved into the AP system yet. They are all about fist sized. I decided to use them to test if I really can grow in my hoop house and low tunnels this time of year. Everything I've read says lettuce will continue to grow, it's ok if it freezes at night as long as it thaws during the day. So I am testing it out.

These are the plants in the nice warm 50F greenhouse.
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Here are the two I put in the hoop house. They are still potted up, I don't have dirt in the beds yet so I just put their pots down under the leaves in the bed. It was 20F in the hoop house when I put them in there (after dark). One is black seeded Simpson, I think the other is a cos/romaine
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Another black seeded Simpson in a low tunnels in the garden. I did sink the pot down into the dirt in this bed but it also has leaves around it too.
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I will check them this weekend when I have time in the daylight and if they are still alive I'll pull them out of the pots and get them planted properly.

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PostPosted: Feb 9th, '18, 02:54 
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Sounds like we're going to be hit by snowmageddon tonight. 2000+ miles of winter weather advisory stretching from parts of western Canada all the way past Maine. It's been nice knowing you all if we don't survive this snowpocalypse! Hopefully I can dig a tunnel through the snow to reach our greenhouse for food supply.

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PostPosted: Feb 9th, '18, 22:49 
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Good luck, I hope there's no damage! Be safe.

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PostPosted: Feb 9th, '18, 22:55 
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So far it's looking like a wimpy storm but it's supposed to keep snowing all day so we're supposed to get 6-10" today. Had to take the kid for his 18 month checkup this morning, roads weren't great but 4 wheel drive truck I'm not too worried.

They talked about this storm for 3 days before it hit so I'm pretty unimpressed so far.

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PostPosted: Feb 10th, '18, 00:08 
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Haha same thing here they were talking about warnings and such stuff and in the end it wasn't much and it was just a light regular snowfall


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PostPosted: Feb 10th, '18, 06:30 
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We might be around 10 to 12 inches total now including the accumulation from the past two weeks. Nothing a true northerner would fret about. Unfortunately we do have a lot of idiots on our roads... My wife came home early to work from home so she wouldn't have to deal with it tonight which was a good thing because it sounds like every major road around Lansing is shut down due to accidents. We haven't had real bad winters the past several years, but this is still the north. The north remembers, and winter is here!

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '18, 08:41 
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I'm thinking about building a propagation table in my fish room. I have seen where they put a liner in a bed then sand down with a heat cable and more sand, keep the sand wet and it helps spread the heat to germinate the seeds. I have a single 10x20 mat but it's not doing that great. I might build a table then put a low tunnel over it to hold the heat in better.

I'm debating about instead of running the heat cable if I run PVC through it and pump from one of my fish tanks through it. The fish tanks are heated at 80 degrees so if that heated the propagation table to 70-80 degrees would be great.

The alternative I'm debating about would be to heat the room to 80 degrees and see if running a heater in the room would use less electric than using all of the aquarium heaters...

Hmm..

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '18, 09:45 
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rininger85 wrote:
I'm thinking about building a propagation table in my fish room. I have seen where they put a liner in a bed then sand down with a heat cable and more sand, keep the sand wet and it helps spread the heat to germinate the seeds. I have a single 10x20 mat but it's not doing that great. I might build a table then put a low tunnel over it to hold the heat in better.

I'm debating about instead of running the heat cable if I run PVC through it and pump from one of my fish tanks through it. The fish tanks are heated at 80 degrees so if that heated the propagation table to 70-80 degrees would be great.

The alternative I'm debating about would be to heat the room to 80 degrees and see if running a heater in the room would use less electric than using all of the aquarium heaters...

Hmm..


Or germinate under lights,if you used T5 or T8 fluorescents they will supply heat for germination, maybe a tunnel as you suggest to keep the light in and the warmth. I have been experimenting with seed starting under lights but for me it’s the other way around,I want the light but without the heat, those are T8 LEDs in my light bench, this is the first time using these but I had the first germination in two days, this is the fourth so today the move in to the seedling bench.


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PostPosted: Feb 18th, '18, 06:45 
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Potting up tomato plants today. I have about 21 Roma tomato plants I repotted today, next step is to take some of them to the greenhouse in a few weeks (let them get bigger first now that I repotted them a little deeper)

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The plants in back are early girl tomatoes, I potted them up last week, they are a couple weeks older than the Roma's, getting close to moving to the greenhouse.

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PostPosted: Feb 18th, '18, 21:40 
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Wow nice, you've been busy. Those Venetian blinds do make good labels. I am so behind in planting seeds. I've got a couple seed tray heaters that should be here Monday. That's my start date. This is quite encouraging.

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PostPosted: Feb 19th, '18, 19:53 
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We've done such a terrible job of keeping things labeled the last couple of years so we never know what we truly end up planting in the garden... last year we started with several kinds of tomatoes and peppers and ended up with only two or three different kinds of each because we didn't keep things labeled when we potted up... cutting up this blind was an excellent investment! I have so many labels available and more room to write so I can put more info on them which should help with record keeping too as I wrote down the day I seeded them and the day I potted them up, will write down the day I transplant them to help us keep track of what works best and be able to plan better moving forward.

I ordered some more planting containers. I'm still planning on starting everything in dirt then once they are potted up and get slightly root bound I will clean the dirt off the best I can for planting into the AP system because my dirt seems to be the most reliable way of starting seeds. I have taken some suggestions from JM Fortier's market gardening book in response to what size trays to start everything in, but we're not going for his scale by any means so I've adjusted tray sizes slightly to accommodate what we want to do. For example he starts tomatoes in 6x6 pots and peppers in 4x4 pots and does not pot them up they stay in the original pots until they are ready for planting. I don't have the room or will for handling the large pots all the time so I will start tomatoes and peppers in size 50 trays then choose the best plants to pot up when they are ready for a larger container. He recommends starting onions in an open tray with 500 seeds per tray. I tried this and haven't had much success, so I started some in a 128 tray that I had available but long term I ordered 288 size trays which will get one or two seeds per cell. Onions or leeks are the only thing I plan to use these trays for. I have 128 size trays for starting lettuce, kale, swiss chard, bok choi etc. and 72 size trays for a few others... ordered more 50's for field crops pumpkins, melons, squash etc.

I should have took a picture, my wife came down to my fish room while the boy was sleeping yesterday so we filled and planted a dozen or so trays of flowers that she wants ready for mothers day, she will give them to her mom and aunts as mothers day gifts this year. pretty much all of the free space I have to set seed trays is consumed in the fish room now. I will take a picture tonight, but hopefully in the next week to 10 days it will begin to look a lot more like spring at my house. The weather is already starting to look like spring, above freezing the past two days so the snow is melting off. Supposed to be above 50 today and above 60 tomorrow. 40's the rest of the week and even looking like 40's for the rest of the 15 day forecast. Hopefully I can get some dirt in the next week or two if it is above freezing for the next couple of weeks. I need to get beds filled in the hoop house so I can plant in there as soon as the weather breaks (soon! even if I need to add low tunnels inside the high tunnel... should be planting soon!)

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PostPosted: Feb 23rd, '18, 23:08 
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I was looking back through the first few pages of this thread to try and find some pictures of how I built my beds... looking back on the greenhouse build brought back fond memories of the fun times building it even though it's only been not quite 2 years since I broke ground on the project. I got that tingly feeling just like I did when I was actually working on building it... the fun of building something new is absolutely the best part, far better than just running the system for me... probably why I bounce around from project to project so much because I get a little high from the early quick progress stage of seeing things go together.

Now let's talk about the next project... a 30'x96' high tunnel... hah... I've been looking at them. If you haven't heard there are grants available for farmers to pay for building high tunnels. The USDA has an EQIP program combined with the NRCS High tunnel program that if you are approved you sign a contract that you will sell or donate 1/2 of the produce grown in the high tunnel for a 3 year length of time and they will pay for your high tunnel. You have to buy it up front but once it is completed they will send you payment within 3 days of inspecting that it is done. They also have USDA loans that you can use to buy the initial tunnel that you can then pay off when you receive the funds after finishing the assembly and having it inspected. I think it does have to have irrigation installed in the high tunnel, and you do have to be growing in the ground... but it sounds like an awesome program if you can get approved. I think you have to have 3 years of records of farming the ground you are going to put it on though (although there are also some programs for 'new farmers' that might negate the 3 years of records) so I am planning on clearing more land this summer and get beds put together so maybe if the program doesn't get killed when the farm bill expires this year (and hopefully remains in the new farm bill assuming a new farm bill gets passed) I'll be able to get the hook up in a few years. This might be something for you to look in to Brian since you have lots of land and can't grow outdoors due to your grasshopper issues... might make you more likely to get approved if it were something you were interested in doing... I'm a member of a facebook group 'high tunnels for beginners' that has a lot of info on there, the guy who started the group did just to help spread the word that this program is out there... he's built two 30x96 tunnels already and is working on a third that have all been paid for by the USDA / NRCS.

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PostPosted: Feb 24th, '18, 21:28 
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I got the heater installed several weeks ago. I ran it off and on for the first week or two until I ran out of propane in the partial tank I had. Then I refilled one and bought a second to test how long a tank would last running all the time. On low a 15# tank lasted about 3-4 days. I ran out both tanks so I could compare the two and make sure it was similar timing. The heater shuts down to pilot when it gets above 50 in the greenhouse and I was seeing up to about 60 in there. That was enough to get my tomatoes and strawberries to start setting fruit and my peppers started ripening that survived the winter. Then I refilled both tanks and have been running the heater just on pilot and it has kept the greenhouse in the mid to upper 50s with no problem, and as of right now I'm at about 10 days on a 15# tank running on pilot. We are getting warmer weather now so it's not the best test but I'm sure we will get another cold spell before winter is over.

I planted a few more tomato plants, an early girl variety that is supposed to be 49 days, so hopefully we will have tomatoes again soon. I also have a bunch of Roma's started that I will transplant out there in the next week or so.

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