Hayley Stewart wrote:This will be my third year starting my own seeds (it's addictive), and I've come to realize that most of the information I can find about seed-starting (even from permaculturists) involve using shop lights to get their seedlings established. The question is, I can't seem to find out the why of doing things this way. Does anyone have any info/tips on getting good germination and happy plants without blasting them with fluorescent lights? Or can you tell me why that's the most popular way?
William Bronson wrote: I'm struggling to get into this this myself.
A low impact way of starting warm season crops is winter sowing.
Winter sowing is basically sowing into plastic bottles of soil.
The bottles are left outside and act as tiny greenhouses/cold frames.
The plant growth self regulates according to what the microclimate of the bottle dictates.
The bottle is basically a harden cloche with a bottom, important for protecting against rodents and slugs.
Cold season plants can be started in the dead of winter this way, others like tomatoes and peppers need to be started in April or so, but its not clear this method will give enough of a head start for those with short growing seasons.
Corn doesn't seem to work with winter sowing.
William Bronson wrote:I think they could do great under bottle cloches alliums are pretty darn hardy anyway, and the bottles could soften the soil.
Its is often said that each layer of cover shifts the growing conditions one zone warmer, so consider using bottles, under a layer of plastic, inside the green house!
The Canadian YouTube channel One Yard Revolution does this to good effect.
I also wonder if you could use a propane lantern or heater, but you may want to avoid that cost and environmental impact.
I am a compulsive tinkerer, so I just finished making some portable cold frames for seed starting.
Each is built to fit the glass from a refrigerator shelf, so they are not very big.
They are made of pallet wood, so they are not very deep, but I'm building them to stack, to accommodate seedling growth.
They actually look pretty nice, so I took a set to my mom and she's gonna start greens under the glass.
I may switch up and do mine like the Maritime Gardening guy does in this video:
The use of plastic film is suboptimal, but it would let me standardize my frame size.
I'm also wondering if bottles of muck could be good things to add to these spaces.
Well, thermal mass and dark color for light adsorption.
Also, if we leave the top off, would the evaporation and condensation process prolong times between watering?
I think old beer tinted with biochar could be the ideal muck, if there is such a thing.
Hayley Stewart wrote:
Anita, I love your setup! For the tomatoes in milk cartons, did you just plant them in the cartons to begin with, or size them up one or more times before they got to go in the cartons?