Saturday, February 6, 2010


Last night it snowed and we dodged a bullet.  We were on the southern edge of the massive storm system that is travelling across the midwest and heading to the east.  It will be dumping lot on the coast.  We had at least 3 inches of rain that was followed by a couple hours of slush...the stuff that fell looked just like a frozen slushy drink.  Then it was capped by 2 inchs of wet snow.  It would have made great snowmen except for the fact the sun came out very strong.  Our green house was 90 degrees by 10:30 AM.

These pictures were not here 2 hours later.

Today Hunny did me a favor.  He took all the pea and bean seed and prepared them for proofing.  to proof seeds you take a piece of paper towel moisten it and take 10 seeds out of the packet.  you fold them up in the toweling and place in a plastic bag and lable the bag so you know which is what.  Then you put them in a propagation chamber.

After three days we will open each package and check to see if any sprouting has started.  Then we will check every day.  Recording what we find.  The seeds will be given two weeks to grow.  The percentage of viability will be how many of the 10 seeds sprout in the 14 days.  We will record on each package the percentage, it will tell me how close together I will need to plant the seeds based on how viable they are.

Today we also washed up planting boxes.  I am using the plastic trays that you get when you buy chocolate covered graham crackers.  They will be filled tomorrow with planting medium and planted with lettuce.  each tray will be labled and covered with plastic wrap.  It will then be place under the dome of a sheet cake tray  (the large rectangle cake tray).  Then we will set it in a sunny window till they start to sprout.  When they sprout the plastic wrap comes off and they live under the dome, until transplanting at about 2 weeks

The following I took from another blog I posted at the beginning of the year. It was part of a seed starting blog.

Our propagation chamber is nothing fancy and it serves a variety of purposes. To build your own you will need the following:
Styrofoam ice chest
Heating Pad or an old working yogurt maker
Easy to read Thermometer
Piece of card board
serrated knife
something like the bottoms of egg cartons or something of that height.

CONSTRUCTION: We have found the same heat source works in a large cooler (ours is 28"x 16" x 17") but we also have those that are 12x12x18. In the bottom corner of the cooler make a hole just large enough for the plug of your heat source to slide through. If you have chosen your old yogurt maker you will only need the bottom half not the lid. Place it in the center of your cooler on the bottom. Now cut the card board (the serrated knife is good for this) to fit on top of the yogurt maker.(it should just barely slip into the cooler and rest on top of the maker.) You want the card board to be a shelf above your heat source. 

Now remove the card board and make a series of one inch holes in the cardboard. make them far enough apart that they will support the weight of the trays you will be sitting on top of it. If you have chosen a heating pad you will need something to support the cardboard about 2 inches above the pad. (I have used egg cartons without their tops for this.). Your chamber is finished.

Put your thermometer in side and turn on your heating source and find out what temp your propagation chamber keeps. We found sometimes we have to crack the lid. Now you need to scrounge for take-out plastic containers with clear raised tops. The 2 inch deep ones are great, allows for starting medium and a little sprouting room (sometimes they sprout in the middle of the rectangle ones are preferable to round can put more in your cooler.  You can also use containers that don't have lids by covering them with plastic wrap. can stack them inside the cooler...but remember everyday twice a day to reverse who is on top and whose on the bottom so they get the same amount of heat. Keep your thermometer inside and check it first thing in the morning to make sure your cooler isn't accumulating too much heat. I didn't say this was a low maintenance project. (If you are adept I imagine you could fix this with a thermostat to turn off and on the heat and keep it at the perfect temp.

We have had 20 years of success with our homemade box, I hope this works as well for you.

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