Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mini greenhouse and winter germination

As some of you already know, for me gardening ranks right up there with baking.  This time of year finds me plotting and scheming my flower, herb, and veggie adventures.  I happened upon an article about winter germination that I found to be quite interesting.  After telling Mr. Enchanted all about it, he built me my own mini greenhouse.  How sweet is that?
Using scrap lumber and plastic from Lowes, he came up with this little beauty!

After putting the wood pieces together and stapling 6 mil plastic on it, he moved it to a small secondary deck behind the house.  This deck gets good sun and isn't used very often.

It was then my turn to go to work planting seeds in a variety of containers.  Some went in peat pots and some went in containers that were fished out of recycling (spinach container and apple cider jugs).  For the recycled containers, I punched a few holes in the bottom for drainage.

For the jugs, I cut around the centers leaving a small part attached, so they could hinge open and closed.  

All of my seeds got a gentle misting of water, and then into the greenhouse they went.

The idea behind winter germination, is that the seeds experience the thaw/freeze cycle but still have some protection.  After they germinate, you open the lid on warm days and then close it at night.  For perennials, you can start the seeds in December or January, and for tender annuals you plant in February or March.  

The winter germinated plants are supposed to be stronger and sturdier than seeds started indoors under grow lights.  I know I have killed more than my fair share of seedlings in the hardening off process. 
Total bummer when that happens.

I also think this would be great to use a cold frame next fall!

I am quite excited to see how well the process works!  

I am checking my garden every day to see if my Lenten rose (Hellebore) is coming up, but nothing so far.  For right now I have to be content with planning my veggie garden and misting my greenhouse babies.  

Oh yes, and whilst tramping around my yard I snapped a picture of one of my favorite shrubs, Dwarf Firepower Nandina.

The leaves turn red/orange/coral in the late summer, and stay that way all winter in my zone 6 a-b garden.  The fiery fall color really helps to bring interest to a winter landscape.  They also have bright red berries in fall and winter as well as white flowers in early summer.  

AND, they are deer resistant and low maintenance -

I live in south central Pennsylvania and took these pictures today, Feb. 21, and you can see their color is still going strong. 
For all of their wonderful characteristics, I think they are under utilized.  If you are looking for a small shrub with great fall/winter beauty, this is the one for you! 

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  1. I don't start seedlings anymore. I buy bedding plants. I used to so I could get a few uncommon plants. I wish I could make faux sugar cookies like yours to keep from year to year. I don't like that much putzing.

  2. Thanks for stopping over! I'm excited to see how your plants do too! That Nandina is gorgeous! I'm going to have to check that out!!! I need some color for my winter garden.

  3. I'm looking forward to starting my pumpkin plants in a few more months! I love Nandina and my son got me a Firepower one a few years ago! You are looks gorgeous all winter long!

  4. Thanks for coming by my blog now I have found you. I am a new follower. Have a great week end.

  5. Thanks for the invitation to stop by. You are incredible with all of those cookies. I bet you're a wiz at cakes too. Thanks for the visit.

  6. Hi Lisa. Thank you for visiting the Cottage and by the looks of your header pictures, your baking is so much more than just baking! I bake but you BAKE. I'm anxious to see how your plants progress. I just buy mine from the nursery. I will visit again..Happy Friday..Judy

  7. How wonderful of your husband to put that together for you! Aren't hubby's great :) I've just started gathering my seeds for this years garden. Hoping to get them going this next week.

    I'm popping in from Feathered Nest Friday.

    Hugs ...

  8. That's a great little hothouse. We love our veggie garden too, there is nothing better than fresh veggies and our kids love eating what they've grown.

  9. How creative you are with the little green house. Can't wait to see how that works out. I have some fire power nandina in my Florida garden but it doesn't get nearly so bright as yours. I guess it just isn't cold enough. Thanks for stopping by my neglected little blog. One day ill get back to it.

  10. I know how much you love your plants, whatever the size & color! You taught me a lot :)

  11. Your greenhouse is pretty nifty! I'm not much of a gardener so I just look at everyone's online! I am planning a small veggie container garden this year though. (Here from A Favorite Thing)

  12. I love Zinnias..they are my fave..but I have to plant mine in a cage because we have a bazzillion bunnies here and they fell them like lumberjacks fell trees...they don't even eat the flowers just chop down the base of the long stems..
    Love your greenhouse!

  13. Anything that is deer resistant goes on my list of things to buy! We have so many deer here. I love your greenhouse - what a neat idea! And how great of your husband to build it for you.

    Thanks so much for joining in this week!


  14. Very cool greenhouse! I bought a little one from Big Lots a few years ago that I have on my screened porch and I do the same thing. I start my seeds out there. It did come with two solar lights so the seeds get some light at night (although I don't thing they're half as strong as grow lights would be).

  15. Good Afternoon Lisa, Like you, I adore gardening almost as much as I love cooking. What a fabulous little greenhouse your husband designed for you. It is so exciting planting tiny seeds, then seeing a little head pop through the soil, to then watch it grow into a wonderful plant.....and planting your own seeds makes gardening much cheaper.
    Thank you for visiting me at Ivy, Phyllis and Me, it was very kind of you. I have become your newest follower, how could I not, when we have so much in common.
    Best Wishes

  16. Such a great idea! I love gardening but haven't branched out to growing from seeds...maybe one day!
    Thanks so much for visiting, hope your weekend is wonderful!

  17. I so admire people who grow things from seeds. I've only done it once in my life, but I do love gardening with seedlings and such.

  18. Always good to learn something new. I am not a gardener but I do plant tomatoes, beans and dahlias which I love. I always admire gardeners. Glad I got to read this post. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Have a wonderful week.

  19. I bought some seeds just yesterday and wanted to plant them today. I have an unheated greenhouse and thought I'd put them out there. Not sure where you live, but I'm in Ohio and it may be a little too soon, but I just got spinach and snow peas. I think I'll save the spinach for starting outside directly since I don't think they'd do well transplanting, unless I just harvest them directly out of the green house. I'll have to think about how I want to do this a little more.

  20. Hello, How wonderful to have a place to be able to work with your seeds and watch your plants germinate. This is a wonderful little greenhouse built for you by your husband, all the more special. About the only time I plant seeds are what I plant in the garden. I so love this idea. Thanks for sharing.
    I'll be your newest follower.

    The French Hutch

  21. Love your little mini greenhouse ! I would love to have my husband build me one ! Thanks for the great idea !

  22. Oh, how I wish I loved to garden - I would definitely want one of those. However, I am a cookie monster and I am wild about the ones you have on your header. Wow - they are amazing! Thanks for stopping by Confessions of the Obsessed - I would not have found you otherwise!

  23. What a great idea! I love your little greenhouse. You've got a good jump on your little plantings! Thank you for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  24. What a wonderful project. The greenhouse is wonderful for germination.
    Lots of blessings
    De Oude Huize

  25. I love your new greenhouse! Hope it works very well for you-Happy Gardening:@)

  26. Love your mini, I'm wanting one, but I've never had much luck with starting things from seeds. Maybe it's because I tried germinating them in the house. I really like your Firepower Nandina. Their great color really perks up the landscape. Have a great Sunday and happy gardening.

  27. Happy Sunday! What a phenomenal idea, I love your greenhouse. I'm looking forward to spring and can't wait to try my hand at planting some veggies. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us. XO ~Liz

    P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog and for the nice comment! :)

  28. Very cool mini greenhouse (or should I say warm - haha)
    Thanks for sharing!

  29. I'm not sure which is cooler, the greenhouse or that your husband built it for you. So cool. It's fun to see everyone's gardening ideas getting underway.

  30. Your husband did a great job on your greenhouse. You have to be so patient to plant seeds. I know it is a joy when they come up and flourish but they are so tiny as you plant so I know you are a patient person. Gardening is a love of mine and I am glad to meet a fellow gardener. I will say ten years ago I worked days on end doing hard labor but I don't do much now. Because I over did it I have to hire some help now because I must save my hands and back. I love it all though and dream and dream about so many things I would like to do in my garden.

    I look forward to seeing the fruit of your labor. Checked out your last post on the cookies too. You are so good and industrious. Your upcoming posts sound very interesting. Thanks for planting seeds in my head on some things I should do.

  31. What a nice and pretty handy husband you have. Good luck on your plants.....Christine

  32. I love gardening!! And cooking!! I just know we could be buddies:) Except you have me on that cake decorating!! Your hand painted shamrock cookies are the bomb! I am on my way to check out some of your other posts:)

    Just returning the visit and the follow (via GFC)\
    Have an awesome day!!

    PS If you get a chance hop over for Freedom Fridays and Let's Get Social Sundays!