Singer Hill Gardens

  (Milwaukie, Oregon)
On the Front Lines of the War On Food!
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Doin' The Seedling Shuffle


Well it's that time of year... The greenhouse was damaged last fall in a violent windstorm, and after deciding trying to fix it wasn't worth the trouble we are working on gathering materials for our new and improved wood structure greenhouse.  With real salvaged windows and everything!

But right now, we are doin' the seedling shuffle.  The flats are living in the warm laundry room under florescent lights.  The florescents give the seedlings the light we lack this time of year and are more energy efficient than running a heater in the greenhouse.  So for now, we are doin' the seedling shuffle. 

When the flats are first seeded they are watered in and then placed on a heating mat, which keeps the soil a consistent temperature, promoting fast and accurate germination.  As soon as the seedlings begin to emerge- and push themselves through the top layer of soil, we move them up a shelf and under the lights.  

The flats are rotated twice a day for even light distribution and they must also be watered outside at least once a day.  The small cells can dry out in a heartbeat if close attention is not paid.  Watching the first emergence of life after a cold, wet winter is awakening and inspiring.  So for now I don't mind,

Doin' the seedling shuffle.



"Seeds are earthbound starships that fly or fall through the air, never leaving our planet... If seeds were carried across space to distant planets and the conditions they found were suitable to their internal workings, they would sprout."  ~ Peter Loewer

 I love January.  It's the one time of year were things slow down enough to sit with a hot cup of coffee and a seed catalog and dream about the months to come.  Seeds are all I can think about. 

I think about onion seed.  For they are the first to be planted in the greenhouse.  I love onions!  I don't know if I could live without the allium family.  Because of their importance in our lives I want the CSA box to have an onion item every week.  All the onion seed has been purchased and I couldn't be happier about our selection for this year.  2 varieties of yellow storage onions, 2 varieties of red storage, 2 varieties of cippolini (one of my favorites), 2 varieties of sweet onion including a heirloom variety that grows giant show onions, the farm favorite red long bottle onions, Japanese scallions that grow to be the size of leeks, shallots and so much more!

Artichokes are next.  I love artichoke seeds.  They resemble a sunflower seed, but smaller and smooth all around.  They are beautiful and my favorite plant in the greenhouse.  We will be bordering all of our gardens with artichokes, cardoons, sunflowers, amaranth and pole beans to create a natural and living fence to protect our gardens from the many challenges it may face.  It will be so beautiful and useful! 

 We have also already purchased our early tomato seed!  We will be transplanting them out into the field tunnel at the end of March, and hopefully enjoying juicy, mouthwatering tomatoes in June.


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