Wednesday, October 9, 2013

2013-2014 winter growing season is underway

I have been working in the greenhouse getting ready for the winter season.  It is kind of hard to be thinking about winter when it is 100+ degrees in the greenhouse.  I started out working on the tunnel that will be formed under the tables.  In this picture you can see Bob's handiwork--the duct workbox  that houses the fan that takes the hot air from the top of the greenhouse and redistributes it under the tables.  It is just barely visible on the left side of the picture.
Next to the metal box is a two sided wood structure that fills the gap between the metal box and the first of the tables. In the next picture you can see the two tables that go to the corner along the east wall and then turn and start down the south wall.
Along the south wall the tables are set with a small gap between them to allow the warm air to sneak out and circulate around the plant containers.  Under the tables are containers of water.  The system is planned that the warm air will be collected at the peak where it naturally rises and be moved via the fan under the table.  The warm air will circulate around the water containers allowing them to store more heat.  We also plan to put smallish rocks under there in an effort to capture even more heat. We are  hoping that the stored heat will allow us to rely less on supplemental heating during the nights.

Also pictured in the above photo is the corner wall that is standing in place to create the tunnel.  This is an L shape built from two pieces of plywood fastened to a 3x3 post.  It is set in place allowing for easy removal if there is a need to access the heat sink (water containers and rocks) below the tables.  

On top of the table you can see the first seeds that have germinated.  Actually you can see the tray and the cells and the yellow plastic labels.  The seedlings are very tiny yet, maybe only a quarter to half inch tall.  These first seeds were sown on 10/3/2013.  

Here are the rest of the seedlings sitting on the germination mats.  I have a large mat and a small mat so I have room for five trays easily on the mats.
While I am still working on setting up the tables and placing the heat sink under the tables I have the rest of the greenhouse pretty much in disarray.  This is a temporary germination station along the north wall.  

Here you can see the tables starting to make their way along the south wall.  I hope to have the rest of the tables in place within the next day or two.  Mornings have been a great time to work in the greenhouse as it is cool from the overnight but warming up as the sun hits the glazing.  

 This weeks goals are to keep planting seeds like crazy.  I hope to finish placing the tables so that decisions can be made about the rest of the growing space.  Will we keep the blue 55 gallon barrels and if so where will they be placed?  The cat litter and mushroom boxes will need to be returned to the greenhouse and probably stacked along the north wall again.  this year I plan to be more aggressive about getting the seedlings up-potted into bigger containers more timely.  I am considering not direct seeding into the gutter planters but transplanting seedlings into them.  I discovered last year that the plants in the gutters did not get as big as the  same varieties that went into pots.  The same thing happened with the summer seeds that were started in the greenhouse, those that were planted sooner into larger pots grew bigger quicker.  So this year I am going to try to get the seeds off the mats as soon as they have germinated and not wait as long before transplanting them to larger pots.  I am excited to get started.  

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