Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 1/20/14

It’s definitely winter here on my homestead now. Well, sort of. We have bouts of cold weather, then a day or two during the week where the high reaches into the 60’s. However, I can say that most of the week is now in the 40s and 50s with lows in the 30s at night. That’s proper. I sowed my winter crops a week ago, but nothing has come up yet. (I’m expecting to see seedlings any day now.) However, I do have a few pictures for you because I set up my germination station this week.

I always get excited this time of year. The “dead season” is over. (Okay, my Northern friends, I know I shouldn’t complain. My “dead season” – where harvests are over and planting time is not yet – lasts only a couple months here.) I’ve planted my winter crops, and I’m starting my indoor seed sowing.

GERMINATION STATION:

My “Garden Wilson” designed a seed germination station for me last year. (For plans, see my post Operation Seed Germination.) Last week, I pulled the parts out of the shed and garage to set it up.

Seed germination station parts ready SG

Germination station parts ready to set up

Last year, I had set up two tables in my spare bedroom. Well, my son came home to attend college, so this year I have room for one table – in my study. (Tough call – plants?…son? Hmm…. Obviously, my son won. LOL)

Germination station in my study

Germination station in my study

Although it’s not quite time yet to sow my spring plants, I am trying to grow my own onion sets for transplanting, as well baby lettuces and micro greens for winter eating. I sowed them directly in seedling flats. The micro greens and lettuce are under a germination mat to keep the soil warm (the two trays on the left in the above photo), but the red and white onions need cooler soil so they aren’t under a germination mat (the two trays on the right in the above photo).

I will be sowing my spring plants indoors the first weekend in February. That should be perfect timing. Here in Zone 8, the onion sets should be transplanted in February; and the micro greens and lettuce trays will be moved to my sunny kitchen. So, my one table will be clear in time for my six trays of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash.

I may not have any seedlings yet outside, but I had seeds germinate within three to five days inside!

Beet seedlings 3 days post planting

Beet seedlings ~ 3 days post planting

Baby bok choy seedlings (for micro greens) 3 days post planting

Baby bok choy seedlings (for micro greens) ~ 3 days post planting

Baby lettuce seedlings ~ 3 days post planting

Baby lettuce seedlings ~ 3 days post planting

OUT IN THE GARDEN:

I went out of town for this long weekend, but my beau, my “Garden Wilson,” was kind enough to take a couple of pictures in my garden for me. (Thanks, honey.)

It seems my watercress is trying to grow back after dying back in the long, hard frost of the Polar Vortex. I love surprises in my garden!

Watercress coming back ~ 8 days after Polar Vortex

Watercress coming back ~ 8 days after Polar Vortex

I thought my tulips would stop growing once their tops poked out into the cold winter air. It seems the occasional days in the 60s are enough to keep them growing. I have no idea how they’re going to fare through the cold when they get bigger. Hopefully, I’ll still have blooms – even if they’re weeks early.

Tulips coming up early ~ 6 days after poking through ground

Tulips coming up early ~ 6 days after poking through the ground

Next week, I should have more pictures as my winter crops start germinating.

What’s going on in your garden and grow room this week?

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