Sunday, March 2, 2014

first seeds at Full Cellar Farm

With the rain falling steadily and temperatures hovering just a few degrees above freezing, Jake and I went over to Headwaters today to start the first seeds of the season in the greenhouse.

Headwaters Farm's brand new greenhouse and barn

It hardly feels like tomato and pepper season, but that's what we were there to plant in anticipation of sunnier days. Since tomatoes and peppers are so cold-sensitive, they can't be planted outside in Oregon until sometime in May. But they're also pretty slow-growing, so they need to get started now. That's where greenhouses come in! These guys got seeded in small cells, but in a month or so I'll transplant them into bigger pots to give them more space to grow before they are planted out in the field.

It's a chile winter!
Our greenhouse isn't heated, so it can be hard to convince tropical plants like tomatoes and peppers to germinate this time of year. Luckily, we have a germination chamber to help nudge them along. A germ chamber is basically a set of shelves, covered with plastic and heated with a bucket of warm water that provides gentle heat and humidity. We're tricking those little seeds into thinking it's time to grow. They'll only stay in the germ chamber for a few days, just long enough to break the seeds' dormancy--i.e. wake them up. They might not even be poking out of the soil yet when we move them to the regular greenhouse tables, but they'll already be energized and moving towards growth.

Jake fills flats with potting soil
I drop seeds into the cells
Tomatoes and peppers, safely tucked into the germ chamber
The germ chamber, viewed from the cold side of the plastic

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