Hoop house first planting

January 28, 2012

1/28/12 first hoop house planting

2pm, 39 degrees out, 75 degrees inside the hoop house, 70 degrees under the row cover

After using Eliot Coleman’s books for reference and researching the particular growing requirements of selected cold hardy seeds, I selected today, January 28th as the first planting date in the hoop house.

Equipped with a hand cultivator and a basket of seeds, mostly from Johnny’s Select Seeds, I began the day I had finally been waiting for, (minus the spring-like mud, ha), since late December.

Seeds to plant...arugula, spinach, radishes, carrots, mache, claytonia, tatsoi

I pulled back the row cover on the first raised bed and cultivated the soil, removing stones and root fragments.

While using the tines of the hand cultivator, I made shallow furrows about an inch apart. When growing greens for early harvest (think baby leaf lettuce), the seeds can be seeded closely in wide bands.

shallow furrows for the seeds

The first seeds to be planted are Space, spinach. Normally, it matures in 40 days, but I expect that it will take twice as long due to the low levels of sunlight this time of year.

small spinach seeds

With the use of Johnny’s hand-seeder, spinach seeds were dropped into the furrow every 3/4 -1 inch. Using the seeder is much easier than trying to pick up one seed at a time out of your palm and dropping it right where you want it.

The trick is to not tilt the seeder down too far or the seeds will come out in bunches. By holding it at a slight slant and tapping the cover with your pointer finger, you can get one seed to fall out at a time as you move slow down the row. That’s the idea anyway. It doesn’t always work.

To load the seeds, remove the plastic insert, added the seed and replace the cover. The seeder’s clear insert has small holes at the bottom edge to selected the seed size that you want to dispense. Notice the numbers 0-5. The 0 is in the closed position. Each numbered hole, 1-5, is a little bit bigger then the one before. Twist the edge of the insert to the size hole that allows the seeds to just barely fit through.

Johnny's Select Seed-hand seeder

After seeding 9 narrow rows of spinach, I seeded, Rover radishes, claytonia (salad-mix green), Nelson carrots, Rocket arugula, mache (another salad-mix green), tatsoi (similar to bok-choy), and scallions. This filled three-quarters of the first row.There was a sense of satisfaction with the first planting complete but also a strangeness of not knowing if and when any of the seeds would germinate and grow. Research says it can be done, but I need the proof to believe.

75 degrees in the hoop house, too warm for a jacket

I replaced the row cover and collected my basket of seeds. It was 4pm,  outside temperature was 34 degrees, inside temperature was 56.2, and under the row cover 52.7. Now we wait.


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