What to do?
Stratification seemed like the most obvious activity, so after the potting mix thawed I started planting natives in deep cells and bulk item containers. These will go in the frozen greenhouse.
I also decided to try planting other seeds in flats for the greenhouse. My hope with this is for them to germinate much as they would outdoors, when the conditions were ideal for the seed. Their soil is frozen now. If this works I'll get a slight jump on the season and have plants with little hardening off to face. A few annuals that seemed to be ideal for this method include: Larkspur, Cleome and Bachelor Buttons. This could be a game changer for me if it works.
For those seeds that need more heat, like peppers, eggplant and tomatoes I'll still begin inside. Speaking of game changing, I've had pepper seeds germinate in 5 days, which is record for me. I learned why I had poor success with the seed starting mats. They work by raising the ambient air temperature by about 10-15 degrees. Well, when your basement is 50F who cares! That's not warm enough for pepper seeds to germinate. So, I found using my human heat pad, set at level 5 brought the soil top of a roasting pan with lid to 76F. Now that's what I need! Here's proof, planted on 12/31/17:
I brought in 3 pots of carrots and 1 of beets (didn't survive) from the greenhouse. The carrots are small, but sweet.
I decided to collect data on the greenhouse vs outdoor temperature for comparison. That info is here:
I don't fully trust some of the daily readings, but I would generally agree that
the average difference in high temperatures between inside and out is between 20-30 degrees, depending on the amount of sunlight.
My paper journal of seed starting and garden plans/ideas.
What's Up: Lettuces, Frilly Mustard, first signs of broccoli and red chard seedlings, my entire flat of various brassicas. It took a one day warm up to spark their germination. The basement has been colder than normal.
Last night was another ridiculously cold night (0F) with wind chills -17F and all the local schools called off due to cold. I'm really tired of this and my chilblains and painful hip skin are flaring up. It looks like we have to put up with this for at least one more day. Thursday is suppose to be near 39 and possibly 60 this weekend. This has been my least productive winter break that I can remember. Tomorrow is back to school. I think I'm ready, because I'm bored with this crap.