Monday, March 26, 2007

A few random updates and observations

I always think of ideas to post here, but in order to do the thing right, I need pictures and a coherent narrative. Both of those require a bit of time and effort, though, which usually stops me cold. So tonight's post will consist of a few random things, and if there are illustrations (there probably will be), they'll be pictures I've already taken and posted to Flickr. Here we go...

It's finally spring here in Portland! Daffodils are in full bloom, my red flowering currant is gorgeous (sure wish I had a pic handy), and the flowering quinces and hellebores are on the wane. But I do have a hellebore pic from about a month ago to share:


Now that it's spring, I have to get serious about garden chores. Last week I spent an afternoon planting tomatoes and peppers. The challenge for me is where to put them. I have a greenhouse, but it isn't warm enough to germinate warm-season veggies this early in the year. I usually put seed flats on top of my reef tank, where the lights under the lid provide about 85 degrees of bottom heat. I get really fast germination, but then I have another problem... where to move the seedlings? There isn't enough light on top of the aquarium, so I have to find a new location. I have shop lights in my spare bedroom closet, a 20-gal aquarium with fluorescent lights in my bedroom, and a 4-shelf mini greenhouse against a south-facing wall on my deck. The mini greenhouse is perfect for cool season crops (unless we get unseasonably warm weather; then they fry), but it usually doesn't work well for warm season stuff till late April. That leaves the indoor options, in which I can house about 5 flats. That's never enough space.

In the meantime, I decided to clean the dead stuff out of my big greenhouse, so I could eventually move seedlings there. Last fall I had the brilliant idea to dig up my pepper plants and put them in the greenhouse. Peppers are tropical shrubs, so I hoped they'd winter over. They didn't. The bouganvilla and mandevilla bit the dust too during our 20-degree cold spell. Even with 2 heaters running, I couldn't keep the greenhouse above freezing. *Sigh* But now that all the plant corpses have been composted, I have a bit more room. I'm sure I'll fill the space with something, probably very soon. The First Law of Greenhouses is that plant collections expand to fill all available space.
That's a sufficient update for now. Hopefully it won't take me 2 months to post again. And heck, maybe I'll even have pictures next time.