Monday, February 20, 2017

Herb Seeds in the Habitat

I still can't believe we actually have a greenhouse!  It's such a big space, I get carried away with my day dreams, but slightly intimidated by the actual use of the space.  I ordered seeds, and salvaged what was left from the mouse chewed box of seeds I accidentally stored in the barn over the winter, but when I spread out my bounty of seed packets with ideas of getting started, I can't seem to take the next step.  What is the next step?  And when do I take it?  

I decided to narrow my focus to starting some herbs in little pots, which has helped me take some action toward making plants in the greenhouse.  I have the brooder box full of baby chickens to keep me company, and this weekend, I spent a few nice hours working at a folding table, planting herb seeds.  During the day, it's bright and open inside the plastic, but it's also way too hot!  I've started propping the door open during the day, so the chicks don't get overheated.  This meant I had to scrounge up a fence panel to block the door so the big chickens and the dogs can't wreak havoc while I'm away.     


In years past, I've started seeds in newspaper cups, but this time, I opted for some paper egg cartons filled with seed starting mix and placed in plastic salad boxes.  If I can get any of the seeds to sprout, I might have to re-pot them into something bigger.  

Herb seeds are super tiny.  I planted sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, marjoram, basil and even some cilantro and parsley.  Some of these can take up to two weeks to germinate, so I'll have to be patient.  Last year I bought potted thyme plants, but planted them in an area with too much foot traffic and none of them survived.  At around four dollars a pot, it was an expensive mistake.  If I can get even a few plants from some of these seeds, I'll be saving money by starting with seeds - or at least not wasting as much if I kill them.  Hopefully I'll get enough that I can share.  

I struggle to get the soil to absorb water.  Do you have this problem?  I remember this from the last time I tried this.  After carefully arranging all the little seeds, I add the water and the soil repels it, so instead of soaking the soil it washes around and makes me worry that the seeds are getting displaced.  I finally decided to just put an inch or so of water in the bottom of the plastic box and let it slowly absorb through the egg carton.  

Now that we have the greenhouse, I feel like our little homestead looks like a planetary settlement.  It's a habitat structure, right?  To control the planetary atmosphere and manipulate it for our survival.   Cool.  I feel like Matt Damon on Mars.   


Joseph said...

We completed our walapini several months ago, We love it. Hoop houses are tough to regulate. You can get a wifi sensor that will send you temp and humidity telemetry to a smart phone. That way you want be wondering about it all the time.

rain said...

I've been wondering if there was technology that could tell me what's going on in the greenhouse. I'll have to look into that wifi sensor. Thanks. What is a walapini?

Joseph said...

Walipini, (also sometimes spelled Walapini) where developed for Peru. They are earth sheltered, and cost a lot less to heat. This is a link to a vid of our's on my youtube channel. I got construction vids photos also.

rain said...

Nice! That's my kind of project! I can see how being underground would really stabilize the temperature. It's like a giant cold frame. I'm envious of all the plants you have started.

Joseph said...

One of our next projects is to dig a trench from Walipini to the house. Instead of venting extra heat from the walipini during the day, we can push it under the house and have free heated floors. Of all the low tech things I have tried to heat or maintain heat in a greenhouse. The night time cover may be the most cost effectiveness. I believe our current plant count is around 4,000.

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