This week's 'dig'
Kate at High Altitude Gardening reports a neat thing happening in SLC, UT

You know you're a gardener when...
Blunders with Shoots, Blossoms 'n Roots
Where things either live or die!

Jan 9, 2009

A Wonderful Surprise: greenhouse happenings

Just the other day I was visiting Jan over at Thank for 2 day, viewing a beautiful pansy from her spring garden last year- she was experimenting with making a photo larger on her blog, and she did wonderfully!
Looking at that pansy made me wish for spring to hurry up! Well, today I went out to the greenhouse to have a look around, check for watering, etc. and what do you know? A pansy just about ready to open up! Funny how something so seemingly insignificant can make your day :)

I was just thrilled!

There is a little going on in the greenhouse, as I have mentioned about in previous posts, and I’m really glad I decided to try to have some winter color this year. I started these pansies  in mid Sept. last year, and I remember promising myself not to forget to start some more when they start blooming. Time to get sowing!
I’ve managed to figure out how to start pansies, they can be a little difficult to start- at least that has been my experience. I sow them in the micro soil blocks because they take some time to germinate and sowing them in that size takes up a lot less room :). They require darkness to germinate too, so I make sure to cover them with cardboard and them a humidity dome- I usually put a towel over that as well. After sowing, and making sure that the blocks are damp, I put the flat on top of my freezer in the garage, because I’ve found that if I give them a good cold treatment for about 2 weeks, I end up with 100% germination- at the end of that 2 weeks, they go to a heat mat and after they germinate they are moved to the lights- no heat. As soon as they have grow a little it’s time to move them up to the 2” soil blocks.
Other things are doing pretty well in the greenhouse. The Dwarf Snapdragon and Argeratum I started at the end of Sept. last year are growing...slow, but sure!

The lettuce is good sized and ready to harvest...did you hear that Karin?

I just grew a few and have more in the cold frame to do some winter trials- these two varieties have done really well. Unfortunately, my favorite ‘Red Star’ is no longer being offered at Johnny’s! Very sad!

The hyacinth bulbs are doing well. I was thinking of trying to water these with a little alcohol in the water- to stunt growth, and it doesn’t seem to affect the flower. I’ve read people have been successful doing this with Paperwhites, so they don’t get leggy and flop over, especially with lower winter light conditions. Anyone ever try this? It’s usually done when they’re grown in rocks and water, I’m wondering if it matters. I’ve noticed that my hyacinth do get a little leggy this time of year- any suggestions would be appreciated ;)

Everything seems to be happy in the greenhouse. I’m a little surprised that they’ve made it because of all the weird winter weather we’ve been having.

The other night, I thought for sure that greenhouse was going to end up down the street! The wind was at least 40mph! The next morning, I did see a few things that needed to be fixed up a bit, but all in all, that little greenhouse has managed to make it through some harsh conditions! I’m grateful I have it :) If you pop on over to my post ‘Winter Update’ you can see how much they’ve grown since the 24th of December.

I hope you all are enjoying your New Year so far.

Note: Testing WLW (Windows Live Writer).

Happy Gardening!



  • Anonymous

    How wonderful that you have a greenhouse so you can enjoy blooms year round. I've never grown pansies from seed so thanks for the info. Thanks for stopping by my blog today too. :)

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)


    Yes, I am very thankful for that little greenhouse- especially with our overcast winters here in OR. This is the first year I've tried to grow a little for some winter color, and I'm just thrilled it worked out. See you next time, on your blog! :)

  • Rob (ourfrenchgarden)

    Hi Tessa

    The best thing about gardening has to be propogation n'est ce pas? Lucky Hyacinths. Goodness me, many a Friday night has improved with a little alcohol water.


  • Jan (Thanks For 2 Day)

    I'm in awe of your horticultural expertise, interests, and patience! I've never done anything like this, and not sure if I ever will (!) but it sure is fun to read what you have done. Having a greenhouse is certainly helpful )I wish I had one) but I can see how, in OR, it would be even that much more appreciated.
    I liked how you listed the steps you went through with the you keep them cold first, then under light, when to put them in 2" soil, etc. And, it's great that you have a pansy in winter! yay!
    Lastly, thanks for the 'love link', as I've heard it called:) I did a double-take when I saw that. Have a good weekend! Jan

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)


    Thanks for visiting! Yes, lucky Hyacinths- I'm in agreement with the occasional Friday nights :).


    Interests? Yes, expertise and patience- questionable :) Your welcome and thanks for writing a post that inspired me! :) I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  • inadvertent farmer

    I think overcast sw washington would also be a perfect place for a greenhouse! Hmmm not how to convince hubby to build one!!! Kim

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)


    Go for it Kim- use your powers of persuasion! You can do it- tell him you'll grow all his favorites :). If do decide to build one- Mark Freeman has a great book. And Yes, where you live a greenhouse would be a great addition! Thanks, for visiting :)


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