Garage green house

Updated: Mar 15, 2019

(updated March 15, 2019)

After reading Hal Borland this morning, I was inspired to get started on our new adventure, even though there were piles of snow 6 feet deep outside . I became overwhelmed just thinking about the number of seeds I have to plant, what I would do if the wild flowers I planted in the fall didn't appear, and should I plant all flowers or set aside some of our garden boxes for fruits and vegetables. I am using the garden planner offered by Old Farmer's Almanac, but I keep changing what I plan to grow. I follow several flower growers and each one grows something that excites me so I order more flower seeds and change my garden planner. Then when they arrive, I wonder where am I going to start the seeds. I already grow microgreens in my kitchen using the grow light bought for the flower seeds which I will start 6 weeks before our last frost. I decided I need to turn my garage into a green house.

When I was in the hardware store yesterday, they had a 4x4x7 foot green house for a reasonable price. This could be my solution. I don't use my garage because it is easier to park outside then trying to get out of the garage with 4 or 5 inches of snow piled up behind my garage door. Sometimes I can't even get the garage door open because it is frozen shut. It is also quite cold in my garage. But this did not deter me. I got on line and saw the similar green house I had seen at the hardware store. I am now the owner of a green house to put in my garage.

The green house was so easy to put together that my grandchildren (ages 8 and 14)put it together in less than 2 hours. It is light but sturdy. (Excuse the messy garage.)

The first thing I did was put a heater in the green house to see if it could bring up the temperature to at least 60 degrees. It passed the test and can get to 70 degrees. The heater goes off at the designated temperature.` But unfortunately it has continued to run all the time. Anxious to see my heating bill next month.

Since I was moving the marigold and cosmos seedlings into the green house, I thought it was time I transplanted the good ones into bigger pots filled with Happy Frog potting soil.

The germination rate was better in the marigold seeds than the cosmos seeds

I filled the 3 inch pots a little over half full of Happy Frog Potting Soil.

Using a dinner knife, I removed the best seedling. I was careful not to damage the roots.

I think it would have been easier if the soil was damp. The soil would cling to the roots better.

I tamped down the soil to remove any air pockets, and then I made a hole for the roots. I added more soil and tamped down the soil to make sure the seedling was upright.

It seemed like the comos seedlings that were slightly leggy were not as strong as the marigold seedlings. So it was importnt to add enough soil to give the seedling support.

Tamping down the soil to make the seedling stay upright.

I had bought a lighting system with a single T5 bulb to use for my light source.

One of the single bulb standing systems that I used for grow lights. (The plants here are lavender plants that I propagated from lavender stems.--More about that later in another blog.)

I soon realized that a single bulb didn't illuminate the number of plants under the lamp. So I decided that I would get a 4 bulb lamp for the green house, but I wasn't sure how to hang it in the green house. I decided to use the top bar of the single bulb system with the adjustment rope.

The top bar was easy to remove.

There is a bar that transgresses the top of the green house, and it was strong enough to hold the 4 bulb light fixture. So I hung it up by a chain. I could now raise it as the plants grew taller.

These connectors came with the lamp. This attached to the rope that was on the bar and used to raise and lower the lamp.

This is how the lamp sits above the board that sits between two of the shelves of the green house.

One disadvantage of the green house is that it doesn't really accommodate smaller plants that need to sit under a low grow light.

I put the newly potted seedlings on a large drip tray I had.

To the left is a small fan for circulation.

It has been a few days now and the temperature in the green house seems to stay between 65 and 70. I can even notice a growth in all the seedlings, so I think they like their new home. Hopefully the seedlings will grow into nice flowering plants by the time I need to plant seeds for the garden and I can move them out of the greenhouse to a sunny location near a window.

So a week has passed, the marigolds are growing well, the cosmos are struggling and the microgreens are ready for lights. I hung (by bungee cords) the single bulb light fixture that came with the stand (which no longer has the top bar) on the bars of a shelf. I can now put my microgreens on a shelf under the light source.

Single bulb grow light for microgreens which is attached to a shelf.

March 15, 2019

Marigold plants out grew their 3 1/2 inch pots and replanted them into 5 1/2 inch pots. However, the cosmos are not growing as quickly. I am not sure whether it is because I used terra cotta pots and paper pots and not plastic pots or that they are slower growers.

These are the marigolds that were started by seed 2/09. They are now in 5 1/2 inch pots. They seem a little leggy. I probably didn't have them close enough to the light as they were growing.

These are the cosmos I have left. Several died because they didn't get enough water because of the containers they were in.. I watered by putting water in the tray so it could be absorbed through the bottom of the containers and terra cotta containers just didn't absorb much through one hole.. The plants in the front black containers are the lavender I planted from seed.

I bought a two light grow light to see how they worked.

I put two plants under these new lights to see how they do. The other container has 3 romaine stumps in about an inch of water to see if they grow romaine lettuce.

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