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Hello Guest!
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Second Year SFG in Canada

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Post  trolleydriver 1/2/2016, 3:37 pm

January 2, 2016 and here we go with a second year of Square Foot Gardening in Ottawa, Canada. 

Many ideas are swirling in my ahead about new SFG projects for this year.

This is what the two SFG beds currently look like. The snow is about 8 inches deep. Somewhere in the bed on the left there is garlic that was planted in the Fall and that is waiting patiently for warmer weather. The trellis on the bed on the right is decorated with Christmas lights.
Second Year SFG in Canada DSCN9669_zpsureh9df9
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Post  sanderson 1/2/2016, 5:25 pm

Great start for the year. Are you going to convert another bed to SFG? Or is it too soon to decide?

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Post  trolleydriver 1/2/2016, 6:11 pm

I would like to convert my two soil based beds (behind the existing SFG boxes) to SFG and also have a raised SFG bed (maybe on wheels) near the back door for herbs and lettuce. There are so many ideas and things I would like to try but it may all be wishful thinking.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/2/2016, 6:16 pm

I too am dreaming. Thinking about a 4x4 traditional SFG, and if that goes easily, a 4x4 of asparagus! And a cold frame for next fall!
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Post  trolleydriver 1/5/2016, 3:18 pm

At this time of the year there is not much to report on concerning the second year SFG. My brain is swirling with ideas. I'm reading Mel's books and others on veggie gardening. I'm waiting for seed catalogues (catalogs) to arrive. Maybe I am a little late on ordering them and so could just look at the online catalogues. The portable plastic pipe grow light has been built. It is being used to grow microgreens and I was able to harvest some arugula for lunch today. I'm collecting miscellaneous recyclable items (e.g., plastic containers, cardboard tubes) that can be used for seed starting and cloches. This afternoon I will scrounge through our recycle bins (blue box for plastics and metal; black box for paper products) before they go to the curb for city pickup and pull out anything that can be reused in the future. I love to read the forum to see what everybody is doing and I know I post too often all over the forum (just can't help myself).

Off topic: I am also continuing my virtual flying and most importantly preparing messages from the Word to share with others.
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Post  trolleydriver 1/6/2016, 1:33 pm

My first seed catalogue arrived today from Veseys Seeds in Canada. The nice touch was that they included my hardiness zone on the mailing label. Turns out I am in Canadian hardiness zone 5A. Now I will drool over the contents of the catalogue. And I am waiitng for another one from Stokes Seeds in the Niagara region. Years ago my wife worked for Stokes.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/6/2016, 6:30 pm

That is what all of us are doing from up North, planning, reading, dreaming, watching the 4 seasoners' gardening adventures! I ordered seeds from Pinetree and Baker Creek. Pinetrees came today! Plus a couple "gratis" from littlesapphire in the mail! Yay!
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Post  trolleydriver 1/13/2016, 1:26 pm

As planning continues for the upcoming season I am accumulating miscellaneous items for reuse including:

- paper rolls to be cut to length and used for seed starting
- yogurt containers for seed starting
- plastic cups for transplants and collars around transplanted tomatoes to protect against cut worms
- plastic soda and juice containers to be turned into cloches
- plastic veggie containers for seed starting trays and mini-greenhouses

All items were previously used for other purposes, purchased at the dollar store or found among my old gardening stuff. I'm going to need a lot more of these things.

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Post  trolleydriver 1/14/2016, 11:19 pm

Experiment: Seed starting

Purpose: To determine if using the heat from the metal heating duct near the furnace will improve germination.

Materials:
- 2 plastic containers with lids
- paper towels
- water spray bottle
- spinach seeds
- swiss chard seeds
- NOTE: It may be better to use tomato or pepper seeds but I have to use what I have available

Approach:
- place a folded layer of paper towel in the bottom of each container and spray with water
- place 12 spinach and 12 swiss chard seeds on the paper towels in each container
- add another single layer of paper towel over the seeds and spray with water
- place the lids on the containers
- place one container on the work bench
- place the other container on top of the metal heating duct near the furnace
- use metal spacers between the duct and the container so that the container does not sit directly on the heating duct

Timing:
- Experiment was started at 11 pm on Thursday January 14, 2016
- Check each container about every 8 hours for moisture requirements and germination rate
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Post  sanderson 1/15/2016, 1:31 am

Controlled experiment! Very Happy

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Post  trolleydriver 1/16/2016, 9:09 am

Update on the seed starting experiment as of 8:00 am Saturday January 16, 2016.

Elapsed time: 33 hours

Container not on heating duct:
- No germination of any seeds

Container on the heating duct:
- 6 of the 12 Swiss Chard seeds have sprouted
- A couple of the Spinach seeds are showing signs of sprouting

Normal days to sprout: 
- Swiss Chard seed packet states 7 to 10 days (I have a 50% germination rate after only 33 hours with the bottom heated container)
- Spinach seed packet states 7 to 21 days

Early conclusion:
- Heating duct can provide sufficient bottom heating of seed tray to speed up germination

Seed germination inside the container on the heating duct:
Second Year SFG in Canada DSCN9688_zpsh9tl8kap
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Post  sanderson 1/16/2016, 3:29 pm

This is probably the dumbest question I have asked on the Forum. When sprouting seeds on paper towels, are those roots or stems sprouting? I have a feeling I potted the sprouted citrus seeds up-side-down! Embarassed Embarassed

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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/16/2016, 3:59 pm

I know for sunflowers & tomatoes, it's the roots.
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Post  trolleydriver 1/16/2016, 4:25 pm

sanderson ... It's the roots first. If left on the paper towel the sprout roots will dig in and the stems will start to push the seed up off the towel. Your citrus seeds may be OK. I expect the roots will know that they have to curve back down.


Last edited by trolleydriver on 1/16/2016, 4:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  littlesapphire 1/16/2016, 4:27 pm

Love the experiment, TD!  I'm a big data nerd, and also a garden nerd, so it's fun to combine the two things Smile  I do my own garden experiments, too.  Last year I did an experiment to see if pouring boiling water on carrots seeds makes them germinate faster (sounds crazy, right?).  Turns out it does!

And Sanderson, yep, those are roots!  Roots are always first.
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Post  sanderson 1/16/2016, 5:01 pm

Embarassed Thanks folks Embarassed

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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/16/2016, 9:57 pm

Science! Love it!
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Post  trolleydriver 1/17/2016, 12:03 pm

As of 9 am on Sunday January 17, 2016 (i.e., 57 hours into the experiment) the situation has become very interesting.

In the unheated container there are now 11 Swiss Chard seeds and 1 Spinach seed that have sprouted. 

In the heated container there are only 8 (just 2 more than the previous day) Swiss Chard sprouted and no Spinach seeds. 

So the germination rate in the unheated container is better than that in the heated container. 

The sprouts on the seeds in the heated tray are much longer than those on the unheated tray.

I may transplant the sprouted seeds into MM.

Unheated container
Second Year SFG in Canada DSCN9692_zpsnvwemlq3

Heated container
Second Year SFG in Canada DSCN9694_zps1jmftng4

Close up of heated container
Second Year SFG in Canada DSCN9698_zpsm0qj8tq3
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Post  trolleydriver 1/18/2016, 10:20 am

As of 10 am on Monday January 18, 2016 (elapsed time 84 hours) ...

Disaster in the heated container ... the Spinach seeds are going moldy and are not germinating. The Swiss Chard sprouts do not look as healthy as those in the unheated container. I've destroyed the contents of the heated container.

Some more of the Spinach seeds have sprouted in the unheated container. As well the Swiss Chard sprouts look healthier than those in the heated container. I've uncovered the container and moved it under the grow light.

I need to retry this experiment with seeds that usually benefit from bottom heat when sprouting. If I do retry I will use a seed starting mix instead of paper towel.
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Post  littlesapphire 1/19/2016, 7:31 pm

Oh, interesting results, TD.  I wonder if the spinach didn't sprout in the heated container because they like the cold?  I'm not a spinach person, so I don't really know.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/19/2016, 7:51 pm

Very interesting indeed....the heat speeds up the initial chard appearance but kinda burns it, and might completely stunt the cold loving spinach's germination....

It would be interesting with heat loving plants....might be completely different results!
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Post  trolleydriver 1/19/2016, 8:54 pm

LS and SR ... yes I think spinach was the wrong type of seed to use for this experiment since it is a cool weather crop. As well, the heat from the heating duct may have been too much and that is what "burned" the chard.  My next attempt will be with tomato and/or pepper seeds.
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Post  sanderson 1/20/2016, 2:00 am

I was thinking that the ends of the roots dried out/burned.

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Post  trolleydriver 1/23/2016, 4:32 pm

Experimental Swiss Chard seedling started and growing under the grow light in a cut down toilet roll filled with Mel's Mix. The grow light is kept about 1 inch above but was moved out the way for the photo. I want to see how big I can grow this plant.

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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/23/2016, 7:58 pm

Go, baby! Second Year SFG in Canada 370856013
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