The actual greenhouse may still be waiting on the weather, but we are able to continue planting seeds, in the basement for now, remaining optimistic about having enough space for seedlings over the next few weeks. Why the basement? Here's our setup:
I became familiar with fridges as germination chambers working at Poughkeepsie Farm Project, where they were used to keep seeds and soil warm, in a space where the air temperature in the spring could easily hover around zero degrees all evening (now they use chambers that were constructed in spring 2016). One fridge is perfect for us now, though we will definitely try to acquire a second for next year. I got it for free from a dairy farm not far from here, and it just required a good spraying down and light sanitizing before use.
The refrigerator isn't running. A gentle heat source is powered through a temperature controller that we've set at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Our heat source is a simple 15-foot long strand of white lights that is switched on and off by the controller based on the temperature in the fridge.
The lights are loosely wrapped around the metal dish at the bottom, and water in the dish helps keep the humidity in the fridge right around 100%, which ensures that seeds remain moist for germination. In this photo are 50 parsley seeds, 50 bluestem grass seeds, 660 scallion seeds, 280 leek seeds, 280 onion seeds, and 13 little tomato seeds that have just begun to germinate. Already germinated and living in the house and cold frame are: 2,400 onion seedlings, 100 leek seedlings, and 6 kale seedlings :-)
A few people have mentioned the possibility of before-and-after photos of various things around here, and while I think it's a great idea for a lot of things (dairy barn and house, namely), we haven't done it at all. We will begin this sort of thing once we start working on the dairy barn, but for now I will start taking a weekly photo of the vegetable field to hopefully track, visually, a stark transformation from winter expanse to summer abundance. Here it begins:
(also here's evidence of even more snow that fell last night)
THANK YOU for reading.
Hexagon Projects & Farm