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Showing posts from February, 2015

Trial begins on whether melon crop can be advanced for earlier harvest

Yesterday I transplanted melon starts that I began in Oasis cubes.The transplantation to Dutch buckets took its toll on watermelon seedling especially. I think the problem was that I did not wet the perlite before I transplanted them and it dehydrated the seedlings.The mixture in the Dutch bucket is about 20% coconut coir an 80% percent perlite. My hope is to advance a melon harvest by about 2 months so that I can have melons ready by May instead of July.

Oasis Cubes better than seed starting mix

In my comparison of using a seed starting mix and Oasis cubes for germinating seeds, I have found that the Oasis cubes far outperform the seed starting mix.Not only is damping off not an issue with the cubes, but there has been a greater success of germinating pepper and tomato seeds with the cubes.It remains to be seen if the advantage of the cubes continues on to transplantation.
It may turn out that the cubes simply do not measure up to a root ball of seed starting mix when it comes to putting them out either in the garden or into hydroponic media.

Genovese basil in progress

My trial of growing basil for commercial production has been very rewarding and shows promise.I have seen that I need to rearrange my trays as basil apparently needs full sunlight. Trays at the top that receive more sunlight grow faster and trays at the bottom have been sluggish and are taking too long to grow.Altoghether though I see how growing basil for commercial production year-round is within reach.

Temps plunge

Colder winter weather has moved in after a weekend in the 60s and 70s.

The high today was 28 degrees, and the lows are in the mid 20s.
The greenhouse ran out of propane last night, and the temperature inside was about 54 when I discovered the heater was out at 3:34 A.M. 
Even with the Mr. Heater Big Buddy propane heater on its high setting, the temperature inside only reaches 60 when it's 28 outside. At night, the heater keeps the greenhouse in the 50s.
A tray for sprouting peppers is near the heater so that it can stay in the 70s to aid germination. The rest of the plants and germinated seed should fare well in the 50s.
Elsewhere, rain barrels have frozen over, and icey precipitation has accumulated on the ground.

Microgreens reseeded and making progress

It's been a week now since I reseeded my tial microgreens trays. Last week, I placed the trial trays in a greenhouse to green the seedlings up a little, but by the time I was back from an errand one day, the trays had dried out, and the greens died.

I reseeded them immediately, with new growing pads, and kept them out of the greenhouse.

Before they were killed off by the heat and dryness, I saw that I had not sowed the seed densely enough. In this second attempt, I have placed 4 - 5 tablespoons of seed into each 10/20 tray.

Now a week old, the greens are about two inches tall and dark green. In another week, they should be ready to harvest.

In order to keep the supply of them from running out, I will start new trays this week, and they will be ready a week after the current trays are harvested. Staggering them in this way will allow for weekly harvests.

Microgreens sprouted, steamed

My six trial microgreens trays have now sprouted. I have left the clear tops in place for two days in a row now that they're in the greenhouse, and this has been a mistake. Temps inside the trays rise high enough to steam the greens.

So far, they have all survived. I will need to leave the tops off a little from the trays so that heat does not build up in them.

I hope that their flavor has not been altered by the excessive heat, as heat makes greens taste bitter.

Melon seeds have sprouted

Last week, I planted an Oasis Cube platt with melon seeds, some variation but mostly Israeli Old Original. These will be an experiment to see if I can start Dutch buckets of melons early in the ear and set them outside when the temps allow in March.

My goal is to have a melon Harvest that begins at the end of spring and the beginning of summer rather than only at the end of summer as happens when I plant seed outdoors after the last average frost date.

The seeds have sprouted by this week.

Microgreens started

I am now testing microgreen production to see if it's a viable option for sales in the winter. Today, I started six 10/20 trays, three with a mild mix and three with a spicy mix.

I expect them to be ready by February 13.