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Thread: What have you got in the dirt?

  1. #1
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Default What have you got in the dirt?

    Inspired by green onion in the "time to think spring" thread, I started a few seeds in the kitchen last week. I think for now I just have tomato, cucumber, pumpkin, brussel sprout and a little corn. I hope everything is not overly root bound by the time it's warm enough to put stuff out in the greenhouse.

    Anyone else started anything?

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    Member Alaska Grandma's Avatar
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    Am going to start a few seeds today...mostly tomato and peppers. Once they sprout up I will open the bay window that was sealed off for the winter, so they can get some daytime top sunlight. I'll have to take them out of the window at night until we get a little warmer (was -20 the other night here).

    Grandma Lori
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    He wouldn't have given us grandmothers. ~Linda Henley

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    I don't think I am going to start anything inside this year. Last year, I didn't have much success with the seeds I stared inside. I had more luck with the seeds I started right in the garden and the plants I bought at the greenhouse.
    That's what she said...

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    Last year my plants did well by starting April 10. This year I plan on starting tomatoes, artichokes, cardoons, cress, cabbage, kohlrabi, squash and cantaloupe indoors. Perhaps a mite bit sooner for the tomatoes,cantaloupe and artichokes. Very anxious for spring.

    www.aknovicegarden.blogspot.com

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    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    The wife and are are getting ready to start tomatoes. we will start pumpkins and squash but I think it's is still a bit early.

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    I'll be starting peppers, tomatoes and various melons (one or two canteloupe hybrids and a couple of watermelon hybrids) in about 2-3 weeks; probably after I return from my annual lake trout ice fishing trip.

    Last year my wife started some mammoth sunflowers indoors in mid-March; they were approaching 5-6 ft. when we finally moved them outside.. I don't think we'll do -that- again any time soon!

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    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies everyone. I've got some starts going inside right now, mostly stuff that will go in the greenhouse. Most of the seed packets say there are about 90 days to harvest - so I guess it's a little early. That warm weather last week was a little deceptive

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    Many of the more persnickety plants/packets that reference 'X' number of days untuil harvest are often to be interpretted as 'X' number of days from final transplant. Some are more orless immune to that shock, but where melons, some peppers and tomatoes, etc. are concerned, I'd count that 90 (or what ever number of) days from the time I transplant into the outdoor ground/greenhouse.

    The advantage of earlier planting for -those- plants is the more developed root system, stalks, and blossom points, leading to more or larger fruit, depending on how the rest of their lives go.

    For that reason, and the added fact that I live in a shorter growing season than coastal or near-coastal (more moderate or temperate) parts of Alaska, I tend to stick with short-season hybrids that have been proven to produce larger amounts of high-quality fruit in shorter periods of time; typically 55-75 days, and especially for those seasons that end up less than ideal for the garden (too many of those in recent past, btw..).

    Finding northern-friendly/short-season hybrids that haven't compromised the quality of the fruit/produce in the breeding process is the remaining challenge, imho.

    Of course, plants that are afforded a comfy stay in a hot house don't have to be selected thus, as they're in another climate altogether, so to speak..

    Just my (additional) .02 cents

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    Does everyone have to wait and transplant to the gardens until June 1st or is that just the norm for the Fairbanks/North Pole area? I will try to get some of my greenhouse stuff out around middle of May, but then wait until the beginning of June for the garden. Being from the lower 48 where I'm used to planting Easter weekend or so, I get very anxious to get stuff out here and have to reign myself in every year to not put plants out too early still.

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    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matjpow View Post
    I don't think I am going to start anything inside this year. Last year, I didn't have much success with the seeds I stared inside. I had more luck with the seeds I started right in the garden and the plants I bought at the greenhouse.
    You should really consider getting a warmer for underneath the plants. This helped our garden tremendously last year.

    Quote Originally Posted by big_dog60 View Post
    The wife and are are getting ready to start tomatoes. we will start pumpkins and squash but I think it's is still a bit early.
    If you are in Fairbanks, Holm Town Garden has a gardening schedule. If you aren't in Fairbanks, do you need me to scan you a copy or fax it to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by AKHuntressNP View Post
    Does everyone have to wait and transplant to the gardens until June 1st or is that just the norm for the Fairbanks/North Pole area? I will try to get some of my greenhouse stuff out around middle of May, but then wait until the beginning of June for the garden. Being from the lower 48 where I'm used to planting Easter weekend or so, I get very anxious to get stuff out here and have to reign myself in every year to not put plants out too early still.
    Here is what we should do. We should get together for coffee, go and shop at Holm Town Garden and Risse's Greenhouse. You can see the schedule and this is the week to start tomatoes, corn, and a few other misc vegetables.
    I usually transplant June 1st, but the corn I am going to have to work with this year. Let me know if you are interested in going.
    Lurker.

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    Hey there. COtoAK. I have the schedule from Holme Town and I just started my tomatoes and peppers yesterday. I will be starting my melons here shortly, as they seem to take a bit longer even once put outdoors. I will also start the corn a little earlier this year as my plants seem to get big, but the corn is still too small at the end of the year if I put them in the garden when they are still really small.

    We should get together and do the greenhouses. I really like Risse's. Not to mention they are pretty close to me and I get a discount there that I don't get at Holme Town Nursery. Not sure when they will start letting you into the greenhouses though. I was just there a couple of weeks ago, and they still didn't have them open. Let me know when you would like to go take a look.

    Arlene

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    AKHuntressNP,

    No, you don't have to wait until the first of June, though for outdoor transplanting (outside of the greenhouse) it's advisable if you can wait that long.

    Some springs I've gambled and planted outdoors in raised beds by the third week of May (or even earlier once or twice, depensding on how the thaw had gone). But I've also lost on that gamble a time or two.

    Of course, other years, such as a couple in recent history for example, I've waited 'til the end of May or the beginning of June, only to have it frost in mid-June or even early July. (I'm sure folks here remember the year not too long ago that Cantwell received 5 or more inches of snow in July??).

    There are no guarantees in this latitude where weather's concerned.

    On the other hand, if a person has any number of heating methods (including solar-heated reservoirs, using black-painted copper or other tubing that's been run through the greenhouse in various possible manners), you might be able to put stuff in a greenhouse much earlier than mid-May.

    You can use similar methods to heat raised beds early, but would need to cover them with pvc tubing and visqueen or (?????)...

    Anymore, lethergy often takes care of my not having to worry about planting too early.

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    I do have a greenhouse that isn't heated...of course. How do you get one stay warm enough at night to plant in May? Actually, I guess it isn't so bad in the mornings in there when I would go in it in May. Just always worry about loosing my plants in there also if I don't wait until right at the end of May/beginning of June. May try to plant some stuff in there a little earlier and see what happens though. It's been a fairly warm winter here, so I may start extra seeds just to try it out. Thanks for any advice here as this will only be my 4th season growing here. I seem to do pretty well, but can always learn more from people who have lived here longer.

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    You can recycle old plastic milk jugs, filling them with water, and putting dark or black food color or other substantially darker (safe) dye into them, lining the perimeter inside the greenhouse, within direct contact of the sun's rays, making sure to get them out there first thing in the morning when you put them in there so that they'll heat up nicely and immediately. Leave them in there during the spring, and they'll absorb heat during the day, retaining it through much of the night, and generating heat that way inside the greenhouse.

    Similarly, but in more of a production mode, you can take a larger reservoir such as a polymer 55 gallon druim (or series of them), (or perhaps even a series of 15 gallon polymer drums), and paint them black, placing them against the north wall so as not to block light for the plants, but in full contact with the sun's rays. You can run black or black-painted tubing (soft copper or plastic works), from the reservoir(s) throughout the base of the greenhouse walls, or even at the edges of your lexan, poly, or visqueen panels (depending on your material).

    Double-walled lexan may allow you to run black tube inside the panels at the edges, depending on the thickness of the double-walled lexan panels.

    Remember that the equivalent of ~25% of your floor area should be available in passive venting during the heat of the day, during which the tubing and reservoir are absorbing LOTS of radiation from the sun.

    Close the venting locations in the evening, and the reservoirs and tubing will generate some amount of heat.

    Old hot-water baseboard sections can be placed in the run of tubing, and the fins will generate more heat than the tubing by itself. The reservoir, having been heated by the sun during the day, becomes a notable source of btu's available by virtue of sheer mass..
    -------

    In a more expensive line of problem-solving, the old stand-by, (depending on the size of your greenhouse), you can modify your wall or roof in the greenhouse to -safely- accept a stack of one sort or another, and place either an old beater wood stove in there, or the old style of tall and narrow drip-pot, carbeurated oil stove. Less guess-work, but more money invested in your veggies.

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    Default Wall-O-Waters

    The last couple of years I put my tomatoes in the greenhouse underneath Wall-O-Waters (1st week of May) an got a good jump start on things. Also, planted zuc seeds under W-O-W around the same time. The package insert states they will protect plants from freezing down to around 16 degrees.

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I will try some out and see what happens.

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