Seed starting and the working girl

southofsaDecember 28, 2013

No not THAT kind of working girl!

Here's my dilemma- you all may or may not recall that last spring was the first year I had a seed starting set up that worked out pretty well. Good germination rates and plenty of plants for the garden and giveaways.

Life changes, I got a new job (a good thing), with long hours M-F (not such a good thing). So as I sit here perusing the seed catalogs I have to wonder, how in the heck am I going to be able to harden anything off when I get to that point?

The other beings around here probably won't be much help. The dogs don't have opposable thumbs to open the doors and the wood dude doesn't remember to eat most days - unlikely he'll notice if a plant is frying.

I direct sow as much as I can which works for some things, but won't work for everything. I've looked into winter sowing, but I think I'd run into the same problem - a freak warm day and everything would be cooked if I wasn't around to either move the container or vent the top.

Does anyone start seeds that doesn't work from home or have enough control over your schedule to get home when you need to move things in? Or do you know anyone that does?

I'll probably give it a shot and just accept up front that I'm going to lose a lot more plants during the transition, but if anyone has any thoughts, tips, suggestions please let me know.

Thanks -
Lisa

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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Wish I could help answer your question, Lisa, but I am so NOT a seed person (unless I can sow it outside, that is).
I have just never seemed to get the hang of it, though I keep trying...............LOL>

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 10:57AM
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southofsa

Thanks Carrie- probably a little bit of beginner's luck :-) I think the lights and heat underneath helped a lot (especially in my house). I was REALLY excited when things started germinating.

I think I can get through the first part since I'd just have to mist a couple times a day, but the transition to outside is going to be the tough part.

Lisa

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 8:14AM
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PKponder TX(7b)

Maybe once you move them outside you can use frost cloth or row cover to protect from the cold without creating the greenhouse effect during the day because it can breathe. Maybe create a small hoophouse covered with the row cover and tuck your flats or pots inside?

I don't want to tell you how many times I fried seedlings because it was too cold and dark when I left for work to vent anything and then it warmed up. I don't do seeds much anymore.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 10:49AM
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southofsa

Thanks Pam- I'll give that a try. Maybe set something up on the North side of the house and keep my fingers crossed.

Lisa

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 8:10AM
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ruthz

I try to do some winter sowing every year. I used to use recycled milk jugs, but that doesn't work with our dog. They are just toys to her.
Now I use the small 4" pots to sow my seeds and put them in the big semi-clear plastic storage containers from Walmart. The lid and bottom of the container needs to have holes for air flow and water drainage.
I do water when needed and take the lid off on really warm days, but otherwise they stay on the patio until I'm ready to plant.
Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 11:01AM
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southofsa

Thanks Ruth - when you mentioned "take the lid off on really warm days" that's what I'd worry about. Knowing my luck I'd leave the house early and things would warm up more than I'd have expected =Fried plants when I got home.

Can I ask what side of your house your patio is on? Is it shaded or not? Maybe I'll hedge my bets and try both ways.

Lisa

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 6:17AM
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ruthz

The patio is on the South side and where I put the containers is partially shaded. I think you'd be fine with it. The lid has holes in it, and it's much easier to push a lid to the side or take it off, then having to move pots around.
I started 20 - 4 inch and 1 - gallon size pot on the 1st. Hoping to have enough cold weather for the things that need cold stratification.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 10:24AM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Looks as if MN is going to oblige you, Ruth !!!!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 10:58AM
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PKponder TX(7b)

My big issue was not being at home to push the lid to the side :-)

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 3:22PM
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southofsa

Thanks for the info Ruth- sounds like you have a good system working for you. I think you're going to get the cold snap you need.

Pam - I think that would be my issue too.

Thanks for all you all's help - Lisa

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 2:35PM
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