Hanging baskets from scratch

This is one of my most satisfying gardening projects. I start petunias in January the transplant them into hanging baskets in March. They spend the next six weeks growing in the cool greenhouse before moving to their hanging location at the front of our home.

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I start with clean, reused plastic hanging basket. A coffee filter helps contain the potting mix but allows drainage.

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I put in a layer of mix the some pre moistened water saving crystals. Pre moistened is the key word here. If you forget this step, you could see an erupting soil volcano when they finally absorb water!

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Then I gently transplanted the petunias into the pots. The following is an example of a pot by the end of June.

Blooming by the end of June.

Blooming by the end of June.

Greenhouse Action

Assorted lettuce seedings transplanted to greenhouse bed.

Assorted lettuce seedings transplanted to greenhouse bed.

It’s Spring inside my greenhouse. Starting February 15th we get ten hours of sunlight and that is my daily minimum to support growth. I always start out with lettuce. The seeds were started indoors under lights with a heat mat around January 21 and were transplanted into the greenhouse bed this weekend.

I also have flower seedlings that are hardening off now and will be potted up soon.
Flower seedlings

New Year, New Beginnings

I started my first trays of seeds yesterday. Slow germinating petunias, delphinium and a few others. Plus a wide variety of lettuce plants that will grow in my cool greenhouse for crunchy salads in March and April. My light system is totally laughable. I repurposed my SAD light and propped it over the seed trays. Instead of having the lights move up and down, I vary the distance from the lights with different sized plastic boxes. It works for me. I like to think it was a creative use of things on hand. I enjoy viewing the Rusted Gardener videos and hope you will also.

My goal is to use a heat mat and light to germinate the seeds then move them out to the greenhouse where it has been 50 to 60* F in recent days.
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Record keeping has been a learning component for this transplanted gardener. This is my second full season in this climate and my notes from seed starting in 2013 are paying off now. What I do is not fancy or professional, just enough so I do not feel like I have to guess every year or repeat mistakes!
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Exploring the world of Fuchsias

I tend to read a lot of gardening books during the (North American) Winter because my library has a good selection checked in :) Does anyone else do this? Right now I am fascinated with Fuchsias and found a really straight forward book written for a beginner to the topic.

 

 

Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc. Copyright 2000

Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc. Copyright 2000


I have acquired a few of these plants with a long flowering period and have been focusing on those hardy in my zone 8 garden.
Fuchsia flower types

Fuchsia flower types


According to this book they are easy to propagate so that may be one of my winter greenhouse activities.
Plant propagation.

Plant propagation.

Greenhouse blooms to make you smile :)

It’s nice to be able to see garden blooms in late November. Anybody can go to the flower market and buy seasonal blooms, but growing flowers has always been more appealing to me. I want to learn more about varieties I can grow in a cool greenhouse and enjoy over the winter. Do you have any suggestions or experience with this?

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Greenhouse problem solving

I keep what is referred to as a “”cool greenhouse,” meaning no winter heating. That works and is common in this maritime climate of the Pacific Northwest, but is not without potential problems. Last winter I had some stored, potted plants and a few winter vegetables slowly growing, for winter harvest. I also had a fungal attack within the greenhouse, probably something that came in with the potted plants and bloomed in the humid air of our rainy season. This is where the book I referred to yesterday became enormously helpful. Since the greenhouse is such a small in closed space, there is generally no air movement, making a prime environment for insects and fungi. One of the early chapters in “Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion” showed a simple fan set up to provide circulation needed for two reasons: first to foil insects and dry out the area and second to move around CO2 and O2 for improved plant health. Last summer as part of purchasing supplies to repair the greenhouse roof, I did a trip to Charlie’s Greenhouse in Mount Vernon, WA and saw a small fan for $37.00 for greenhouse use. I have been running it for a few hours during the day.

Fan.

Fan.

Intoxicating

Every time I enter my little greenhouse my nose goes directly to the Meyer Lemon tree. The fragrance alone is worth the effort to keep it healthy. I think this would also be a successful plant in a sunroom within your home.

The little greenhouse is my refuge.I think I need more flowers to get me through the fall and winter. By midday the oxygen level inside that space must increase and makes it a very pleasant stop.

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