Spring in the greenhouse

Thank God it’s finally Springtime! I’m so over winter. I’m sure I’m not alone with that way of thinking. I’ve been getting out and weeding already these last few days and even planting! My body is telling me, whoa… listen witch, what the hell are you thinking?! Apparently gone are the days where I can go all winter holed up in the house and then jump right into physical labor such as digging with a heavy compost turner and trudging up and down a hill with oh say 20 trash can loads of raked leaves and garden debris. Pfffttt. Getting older is for the birds. My body let me know it too. For about 3 days to be exact, yeah… me and my buddy ibuprofen are as thick as thieves. I’m hurting now as I write this. Oh well, part of it right?

So… What’s growing in the greenhouse? Well, let me tell you it is a busy place right now.

red geranium growing in the spring greenhouse

Geraniums are starting to bloom!

And outside the greenhouse, in Studio Gardens, I’ve got a new forsythia bush blooming that I started last fall from a cutting. I’ll be doing that again to get more as soon as things slow down (yeah right! haha) Oh and two white crocus flowers are blooming from the bulbs I planted last fall. I love it when things pop up that I forgot I had planted!

white crocus

glistening white petals of the crocus

yellow flowers of forsythia

Happy yellow forsythia flowers greet me outside my greenhouse door.

That’s all great, but what’s growing in the greenhouse right now?? Seedlings!! and lots of them, too.

the first tomato to sprout this year, Red Rose

Red Rose, the first tomato to sprout

meat trays used as seed starting trays

In a past life, I was a meat tray. Not me, those white things!

I use just about anything I can get my hands on that makes sense for starting seeds. Long gone are the days of plopping in a seed per cell. Pffft. Now I do 3 or so and sometimes like above, I use a styrofoam meat tray (poke holes in the bottom for drainage) to gang plant, not to be confused with gang bang. Well maybe it is, I’m trying to grow as many as I can in one spot! Who knew there would be plant porn in this post?

Once my seedlings pop up and get their first set of true leaves, I transplant those suckers! Okay, I jumped the gun on this little Black Krim heirloom tomato but he’s doing okay, promise!

Black Krim tomato plant seedling

Note: these two leaves are not true leaves, they are the cotyledons.

 

heirloom tomato plant seedling transplants

Here’s what I do: I do usually plant 2 seeds per cell or 3 or more if the seed is really old. Instead of snipping off one of the plants like they (seed companies) would have you do, I transplant the extra into a styrofoam cup. I actually keep every styrofoam cup my son brings home and wash it and take it downstairs to add to my stash of “pots”.

This method of using the cups came out of necessity when I was selling lots of heirloom tomato plants by order. The cups are cheap, re-useable and they help the planet by re-cycling and they last forever it seems. When I was selling 4 and 500 hundred plants, I had to buy them. But now, I mostly use what I save up all year from Asher’s to-go cups. Just remember to poke holes in them. They are a great depth to promote a large healthy root system. Plus, I think they keep the soil warmer – great for seedlings (most that I grow at least). It always feels warm to the touch.

My work table in my greenhouse

Behold! My magic work table! *angels singing*

Here’s the proper way to grab a seedling to transplant: First gently loosen the roots by sticking something down into the soil (seed starting mix). I use a pencil or a rat tail comb. Then carefully and oh so gently pull the seedling up by its leaves NOT ITS STEM! Have a cup (or whatever) ready with soil in it and a nice little deep hole made with a pencil. Tomatoes do best planted deep, make them strong and have good root systems.

transplanting tomato plant seedlingsYou gotta catch them early, too. I have transplanted them late but they go into shock much easier, (but almost always come out of it) so I try to transplant as soon as they get their first set of true leaves, not the seed leaves (cotyledon). I rarely have a casualty. The soil I buy is ProMix and doesn’t have any fertilizer in it (which I prefer) so when they get transplanted, a week later or so I feed them a week solution of organic fertilizer (like fish emulsion) + Sea Magic (a seaweed product)

Sea Magic

I just love this packaging – I collect mermaids if you didn’t know 🙂

I bought the Sea Magic from Parks Seeds online.

Marizol Purple heirloom tomato plant seedling

Above is an example of a happy little transplantee. See the plant behind it? Looks like Siamese twins, huh? There are two in that cell and I divided them without a hitch.

teensy tiny seeds in a packet

Would you look at these teensy tiny seeds?!

heirloom tomato plant seedlings growing under lights in my greenhouse

Happy seedlings.

See those lights? Yes, I keep the plants that close to them all the time. You may be able to see the boxes I have the trays propped up on. They need a lot of light, and I keep the lights on for 16 hours a day. They are all on timers. As soon as they start to touch the light, I remove the boxes and lower them. These are from It Works! Yeah it works alright, works good as a box to prop up tomato plants but I’m thinking that’s just about it. Which reminds me, I really need to cancel that ongoing shipment.

Below is my legendary seed condo, as I call it, my husband built for me years ago. I’ve dragged it around all over the place with me. I love it. If I could change only one thing though I would make it to where the lights moved up and down instead of me having to find the right box or telephone book to lift the trays up to the lights. But I’m not complaining. Have you seen how much these things costs in magazines? The cheapest I saw was almost $400 and it only had 4 shelves, mine has 5 (with lights, 6 if you use the top). Build your own if you’re able.

The legendary Seed Condo

The Legendary Seed Condo – *more angles singing this time with trumpets!!*

Me, pretty happy with my progress this year.

Me in front of my seed condo

Ta da!

I actually have two, and one does have the lights that move up and down. I think I probably asked my husband for more shelves for the seed condo when he built it. I used to have these in my basement, which if you don’t have a greenhouse like I do, works perfectly fine.lighted seed shelf

You can imagine, I’m spending a lot of time out there and I let my fur babies out with me. It’s been getting really hot in the greenhouse, so I’ve started opening the door. Mocee thinks it’s an invitation to run out and away (from experience – she doesn’t come back on her own free will) so I had to devise a plan.

Man am I glad I didn’t get rid of my baby gates! My inner hoarder hits it out of the park again! They work perfect and they let her get a breath of fresh air. I’m already thinking of adding a third to the top, as I think she’ll turn all Houdini on me and try to either climb out or jump. She’s been eyein’ it. Can you believe how big JuJu (the black kitty) is getting?! She’s not even a year old yet, not til July!two cats at greenhouse doorWhile these two want out, one wants in. Zoey, the studio dog, can’t stand it that I’m on the inside and she’s out there. I went outside for something and she followed me, but didn’t make it back in for the baby gate ceremony.

dog behind baby gate

Let me in!

She’ll stand there until I let her in, which of course I did.

I’m so happy you’ve stopped by to see what’s growing in the greenhouse. Check back often, it’s plant season and I kinda go bat shit crazy for plants and sharing pics of them. Really, it’s kinda a sickness. So til next time, peace!

Jaime Haney, artist, in her greenhouse

Come back soon!

If you’re new to my blog and website have a look at my ‘About’ page in the menu at the top. Besides being an avid gardener, I’m an artist – a painter mostly. I paint a variety of subjects including cranes, ravens and crows, flowers as well as anything having to do with nature especially trees and tropical scenes. If you’re interested in my art, I have a newsletter mailed about once a month that gives you special status for invitations, birthday greeting and more. Sign up here for it.

paintings by New Harmony, Indiana artist Jaime Haney

some of my paintings

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