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Thread: When do you start your seeds? Indoors/outdoors with or without lights?

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    Default When do you start your seeds? Indoors/outdoors with or without lights?

    I started some seeds very early this year. Pansies, petunias, calendulas, snapdragon, linaria and stock in small quantities on feb 2. My best friend had a daughter that day and I planted cold hardy plants for her thinking I would hand them out (hopefully in full bloom) on mothers day to mom and grandmother(s). I have a 4 ft hydrofarm jump start light w 2 four ft t5 bulbs up right now. Normally I wouldn't start these cold hardy, slow growing plants until march 17 or April 1 depending on the variety. When do you plant your seeds and how do you do it? Lights? Heat mats? Also, what is your last frost date (aprox-mine would be may 15-21 most years but it snowed heavily mothers day last year so who knows) and when do you start to harden off your seedlings? What sort of plants do you grow and how? Any information would be appreciated. I live in a zone 4 type climate and this is my first year with a greenhouse. I am really looking forward to this growing season and don't want to start too early but I think a greenhouse might change everything. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    Default

    The problems I have had starting plants too early is they get big and it can be difficult to provide enough light for them in doors. I don't really know about your plants because I only plant veggies, but if they don't get big and you have a good light or get good light through a window then it shouln't be a problem.

  3. #3

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    Go Steelers!
    I do have access to a lot of hydrofarm t5 lights. I only use them in the spring for seed starting. I can get 8 full size flats under good light and another 3 to 4 under marginally good light plus what I can put in windows. I have a greenhouse as well, but this is my first year with a real greenhouse. I THINK I can put cold hardy veggies and flowers in the greenhouse in May but tomatoes and peppers would go into the greenhouse more like June 1 unless we have a warm spring. I am prepared to lose plants and plan on starting a lot. If it all lives I can probably give starts away. This is a learning year for me. I can even heat the greenhouse with propane if I need to on super cold nights but I don't want to get too crazy. It doesn't seem like people are starting much yet but it is getting close I think!

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    Default cold frame tomato

    I would usually try and get my tomatoes in the greenhouse by mid May. They will grow slow, and do not like the cold, but their roots will be more established than they would be if you waited until June. Anyway... I used an unheated greenhouse since 94 and thats my take, now I enjoy a heated greenhouse which changeds the whole situation. You will also (almost) never have survivors into October unless you have heat. I live near Wasilla, so other areas are different, even areas close by as far as that goes.

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    What do you use to heat your greenhouse? Do heat mats help any past germination, or are they only helpful in the early stages? Thanks!

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    Default greenhouse

    I have natural gas backing up wood heat, but the natural gas is the safety net. I bought a wood furnace that you can run duct off of and branched the duct in four sections, which evenly spreads the heat before it rises to the ceiling and will have to be forced back down with fans.
    A heat pad will help your seeds to germinate faster, or any warm place. My tomatoes sprout in about 5 days, peppers 8-9, but it will take longer in cooler temperatures.
    At this point it is better to have plants under a light, the low hours of light in combination with our share of cloudy days does not warrant greenhouse action quit yet.
    I will have several two foot plants, early producing varieties, in the GH by March 10 for early tomatoes. The favs. will be much later. With the spud supply dwindling, the carrot bin looking bare, I am ready for some fresh goodies.

  7. #7

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    That is a great idea! We have a wood stove in our house and love it. We talked about a small wood stove for the greenhouse but for now I have a propane heater with several drawbacks, the first of which is that it cannot be connected to a propane tank larger than 20lbs so we will need 2 tanks if we are to use it continuously and the integrated fan runs on d cell batteries. I bought rechargeable batteries but I am not in love with amount of money it would take to use this for anything but unexpected cold snaps late in spring. I am looking for a long term solution and wood is easy to get here. Thanks for the advice

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