Osma Acres Farm

  (Houghton, Michigan)
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Seeds Starting

  Osma Acres Farm is located on Lake Superior where we have a very short outdoor growing season (about 75 days, June to early September). Many of our plants require 90 to 110 days to mature after planting (Gourds, Pumpkins and Winter Squash varieties).  This environment requires getting shoots started in late winter in order to harvest in Early September before our first killing frost. The seed sprouting process enables us to have a growing season of 120+ days.

    The process we use involves getting seeds to sprout using small clear plastic containers with seal-able lids, paper towels and seeds. A white paper towel is fitted into the bottom of the plastic box, the seeds are placed separated on the paper towel, the paper towel is slowly moistened with tap water, the box is sealed and placed in a warm (70-75 degrees) area that is well light; a sunny spot is best when available. The seeded boxes need to be checked every 2-3 days to insure that the paper and seeds are maintained in a moist (NOT WET) condition.

    Some seeds (like hard shell gourds) can take up to three weeks to sprout; so be patient.The end result is shown in the photo below where the seeds have started to sprout. When the sprouts present 2-3 leaves the sprouts (with attached seed/s) are ready to be taken from the plastic boxes and placed in peat pots containing about 1 inch of potting soil on the bottom of the peat pot with the sprout sitting on top of the soil. Thus begins our Potting season which will have the peat pots in a green house area until mid April and then in a heated cold frame area until the second week of June when the plants are moved into the gardening area.



Potting Season Again ... Yeah !!!




   When March 15 passes again…We will have completed our Potting and Seeding for 2011. I pot my pumpkins, Winter Squash varieties, and gourds. The plastic boxes keep the moisture in and act like small green houses.



   It will sure feel good to get the hands back into the soil again; after nearly six months of cold…snowy weather. A lot of that cold may be back by mid September. I need to give my plants a good head start. The outside field trans planting must start around 5 June to have a harvest before frost hits on the pumpkins…again.

  When the plants have started popping up from the soil I will  then start the process of building up the root structure… a matter of turning the plant stems in circles down toward the soil and then covering everything except the top two leaves with soil. The process gets repeated every two weeks until the peat pots are filled with soil.

   I have installed electrically heated Plastic Covered Cold Frames; I will relocate the potted plants to the cold frames at the end of April where they will be sheltered from the cold nights through the end of May..Cold Frames area shown below.


    Along about 5 June we relocate the plants into the gardening areas; we should have plants about 12 inches tall then with a root mass of 3-4 inches high by 4 inches in diameter.

  I hope everyone is getting as excited as I am about Getting Growing.












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