Seed Starting in greenhouses

March 8 2011 this is another installment

of edible acres we're at a set of

greenhouses out here in Truman's burg

New York that will be another video to

give a proper introduction to them what

I wanted to show today was first round a

seed starting it's the first week of

March second week of March I guess and

in here it's starting to get upwards to

60 70 80 x 90 degrees during the day

when it's sunny out depending how cold

it is even if it's like 20 25 degrees

outside on a sunny day it's getting

really warm in here so I thought it's

time to start some seeds let's see so

these are all salvaged seed starts or

seed starting trays I should say these

greenhouses were abandoned a couple

years ago and what was left was all over

the place there were pots and things

related to a seed starting business that

was here before so we've accumulated and

built some shelves to store them inside

and are using them again for starting

our own seeds and let's see novel idea

here you can see the the tags or the

markers for each of these are actually

made out of split bamboo so variety I

found down them along the Delaware River

in New Jersey I cut up a bunch and

brought back here and I cut them to

length and split them with a little buck

knife and so these are biodegradable and

should be pretty sturdy just use a

graphite pencil on them so if it breaks

down the soil it's not a big deal you

can see I got the date and here's a flat

of anise hyssop there's some right next

to it as well you can see the two look

different because this is a normal seed

starting mix on the right and same on

the left here but a friend of mine runs

a flower mill right next to here called

farmer ground flower you should look

them up online if you're in the if ethic

our Finger Lakes area anyway he has a

hmm whole bunch of buckwheat hulls and

so he's got this huge bag of them they

dropped off here and I'm trialing them

as a mulch for seed starting so that's

what's happening here you can see along

all through here and here's an example

of arugula and arugula but the one on

the left has all that buckwheat hull

just to see if that improves germination

or improves water retention and all that

speaking of water you can see at the

very back the northwest corner of the

greenhouse is a 1500 gallon cistern

which is a huge benefit to us to have

here and there's a black tube that goes

into the top of it you can see right

there and that runs all the way along

here back along hits a tee in the corner

sorry it's a mess over there goes

outside we have a segment that's out

right now that goes all the way down

connects up in series down to that pond

over there in which there is a sump pump

that's submerged in a five-gallon bucket

with holes punched in it so silt doesn't

clog it we plug in that sump pump you

can see there's an extension line here

obviously it's not in service in the

winter but that sump pump goes on slowly

but surely fills this half inch diameter

black inflexible tubing up through here

and all along this are tiny tiny

pinprick holes that have been drilled so

as its as its filling it's shooting

little arcs of water to water all these

other garden beds which we'll look at it

another time goes in there fills that up

and then from there there's a delivery

at the bottom I can open up that brings

to a hose all along the south edge right

now I'm using the hose to kind of define

the edge of the pathway off to the left

here is direct seeded cilantro and mush

and kale and kohlrabi and all the like

and some raspberries being propagated so

the hose keeps us in line so we know to

stay out to the right of it anyway use

the hose fill these little guys up and

then use that to fill the watering can

and then start watering seems cumbersome

but this way we don't actually have to

have a well here and we just use a

standard half horsepower sump pump you

know once a month

once every other week something like

that to keep this whole area watered and

also in the theme of keeping things

watered I just hung these huge sheets

there's an off roll of Egyptian cotton

that was donated to some friends of mine

and so I cut these lengths hung them on

really heavy gauge electric wire

stainless steel electric fencing wire in

between these trellises and then just

stapled them along the top with a

standard staple do to do it right down

the line

so these huge sheets are hanging here

facing or just south of all these flats

so and they're kind of aligned right now

so that midday Sun is blocked from

hitting these flats until these things

germinate I really don't want them to

get overwhelmed with Sun heat and the

drying power of the Sun so these sheets

kind of help that and then once they

germinate they can slide back kind of

like curtains to let more light into

here once these guys are established

enough they'll get transplanted into

these garden beds and then out into the

field as appropriate and in here we've

got showed the anise hyssop

there's arugula a couple varieties of

red Russian kale and red boar kale whole

bunch of flats of giant thick leaf

spinach there's a couple flats of dill a

bunch of flats of leeks down there on

the far end some phenols that we're

trying out just to see what they do and

then you can see down here is a

continuation these are more leeks into a

lot of weeks this year they're stinging

nettle and a couple of time and this is

actually almost raw kind of a middle

unfinished compost in here a bunch of

hay Belle's coffee grinds and then

mulched with straw so hopefully these

will create a like vague sense of

radiative heat moisture into the bottom

of the trays that sit on here you can

see we can actually load this up so

there's two here repeat that all the way

down this whole line

to that far compost bin should be able

get 400 200 maybe even 300 flats of

seedlings in here going at once the

beauty part is all this snow load a huge

snowstorm the other night is up against

the plastic as that melts it hits the

soil right underneath here so it keeps

all these beds really moist so to be

warm moist stuff coming up through the

flats and then I can tap water them as

needed so this is the first round of

seed starting in here hoping to do many

thousands of seedlings this year ideally

ten thousand plants come out of these

greenhouses this year so we'll see what

comes to that and we'll keep you abreast

as we go along thanks for watching this

whole thing