Ah, Spring-- I love it! It means I get to stoke up the barbecue, tinker outside, go to the range, wear my camo cargo shorts on weekends. The wife loves it 'cause she can get me to shovel bull manure (I wish that was a metaphor, folks).
Seriously, she loves her gardening, so that's why I'm getting her a One Stop Gardens 10' x 12' Greenhouse for her birthday. At first I didn't see the point of a greenhouse. I mean, we live in California, right? Swimming pools, movie stars, oranges the size of heads. But then she (kinda) patiently explained it to me, and I, of course (kinda) patiently listened... the greenhouse is an awesome addition to the home for a number of reasons:
- Germination - The greenhouse absorbs the sun and has a warmer environment. You can control the temperature during cold weather months and start seeding herbs, veggies, fruit, etc., much earlier. And, when it gets hot outside, put a tarp over it to keep the temp down.
- Control bugs, birds, etc. - The bugs start coming out in March, and they go right for the seeds. So do the birds. Greenfly, whitefly and red spider mites are particularly pesty. With a greenhouse, you can keep them out.
- Extending your growing season - Whatever part of the country you're in, you can squeeze out at least a few more months of gardening with your greenhouse-- and in some parts (like California) you can do it year-round! Also, during mild and warmer months, your plant life will grow faster in the controlled environment.
- Grow plants and foods you otherwise can't - With your own greenhouse, growing bananas or other tropical plants and fruits is suddenly an option!
- Hours of additional "green thumb therapy" - For those who find joy and peace dwelling in the dirt.
So, I guess having a greenhouse makes sense. And if I get it before the end of March, I can have it for the low price of $549.99 online with this coupon! Just click on the image and, at the checkout, punch in code "40956090" for this great price!
The wife also told me to pick up the...
You ask me, she's pushing it. Oh, OK... I'm turning it over to the missus now 'cause she has some Spring gardening tips to add and apparently I'm incapable of doing it myself:
Hello, everyone, and Happy Spring! March is the beginning of spring gardening, so this is the perfect time to get moving. Most bedding and potted plants grow pretty well in the One Stop Gardens 10' x 12' Greenhouse. Some seeds like tomato, melon, and cucumber need extra warmth, while others such as antirrhinum, lobelia, and petunia don't. If you have seedlings from last year, now is the time to transplant them into to bigger pots, and established plants will start growing faster, so watering's going to be needed on a more regular basis. Start feeding the growing plants liquid fertilizer (don't overfeed young plants), preferably with a higher percentage of nitrogen to phosphate, and potash for leaf growth. Flowering plants also need a fertilizer that's high in potash. This will increase flowering as opposed to leaf growth.
STARTING YOUR SEEDS
1. Do not open the seed packet until you are ready to plant.
2. Use a container with drainage. Avoid wooden trays as they accommodate disease organisms. Plastic is your best option.
3. Fill your container with compost or place directly in growing medium. The surface should be about 1" below the top of the container. The surface should be moist but not wet; sprinkle it with water the day before sowing. Scatter the seeds thinly over the surface (or larger seeds can be planted in rows).
4. Seeds should be covered with planting material according to the directions on your seed packet (usually you will leave the finer seeds uncovered). Gently firm the soil surface. Most, but not all, seeds need darkness to germinate. Cover your seeds with either a black plastic bag or a brown paper bag and place in your greenhouse for warmth. This excludes the seeds that need light to germinate such as Begonia, Mimulus and Alyssum.
5. Most seeds need to maintain a temperature between 65-70F degrees, but you should germinate the seed at a temperature 10 degrees higher than the recommended temperature for growing the plant.
6. Once the seedlings break through the surface, remove the brown paper bag or black plastic, but then you may want to cover it with a piece of clear plastic for extra warmth and moisture. Never let the compost or planting medium dry out; use a fine mist to keep it watered.
7. Once the first set of true leaves has opened, transplant the seedlings to trays or small pots with multipurpose compost (set the seedlings so the leaves are just above the soil surface). Handle the plants by the leaves, never the stems. Set the seedlings 1-1 1/2" apart and water as necessary, keeping the temperatures between 50-55F degrees.
8. Seedlings that will be going outside must be hardened off to prepare them for the garden. You should move them to the coldest part of the greenhouse and then to a cold frame. Also, set the plants outside during the day for a few days before planting them in the garden.