MidWest Gardening forum: How do you start your seeds when it is still snowing in April?

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Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Jun 24, 2016 10:43 AM CST
What is your solution to seed starting in the cold north?
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Jun 24, 2016 10:44 AM CST
Seems obvious to me, indoors. Under lights, bottom heat, etc. Gene
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Jun 24, 2016 11:09 AM CST
I'm sorry if it is obvious. I don't have a lot of space inside to set up a lot of plants. I have heard of other people using cold frames or garage space so that would be ideal but I don't know how that works when it is 5 degrees outside. I was just hoping to hear what everyone else is doing in the event that it gave me an idea on how to fit everything in a smaller space, or how to use outside/garage space without freezing everything. Maybe it is a silly question. I guess I'll just have to figure out how to rig it all up inside.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
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Shadegardener
Jun 24, 2016 11:26 AM CST
Robyn - I don't do a lot of winter sowing - have never quite developed the knack - but I know some folks do most of their seed-starting that way. There is a forum for winter sowing. I've always been an indoor sower - that way I can be OCD ( Smiling ) about what's needed to get seeds to sprout. Finding room for 4 foot long shop lights is tough but there are 2 foot long models in the big box stores as well. Prop the 2" shop light fixture on stacks of books or hang from the ceiling or whatever works for you. Anyway, I generally get things started in the house under 2 ft lights and then move them out my little heat hobby greenhouse where I have 4 ft long high output lights. Before the little GH, I did start all of my seeds indoors for years.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Jun 24, 2016 12:46 PM CST
I have a feeling that you will not like this next solution. Only grow things that are meant for your zone. No need to start them when there is snow on the ground. And, snow in April is not normal anyways. But, with global warming who knows what's next? Gene
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Jun 24, 2016 1:59 PM CST
gasrocks said:I have a feeling that you will not like this next solution. Only grow things that are meant for your zone. No need to start them when there is snow on the ground. And, snow in April is not normal anyways. But, with global warming who knows what's next? Gene


That would mean I couldn't grow tomatoes. Or anything really. Being MN and all. And snow is 100% normal in April. In MN. March is the snowiest month overall, but we still expect snow in April.
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
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robynanne
Jun 24, 2016 2:15 PM CST
Cindy, thanks for the tip about the winter sowing forum here! I found this, it is awesome!
http://garden.org/ideas/view/valleylynn/223/Time-to-Winter-S...
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Jun 24, 2016 2:35 PM CST
No Tomatoes grow in Zone 4A? Wow. Gene
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Jun 24, 2016 3:25 PM CST
Well, if you are telling me that the solution to how to start things inside is that I simply shouldn't try to grow anything that needs to be started before it is warm enough to start outside directly.. that would include tomatoes. Though, I could start them at the end of May outside here, but I'd just have to be content with a lot of green ones. Anyway, it doesn't matter. I was just curious what everyone was doing since I'm assuming here in the midwest, there are lots of other people looking to get plants like tomatoes and peppers growing in time for a nice summer harvest. The milk jug was an excellent idea and I'm excited to try that out! I've also looked around a little at shelving/tables/lights set ups to see if there might be something compact and cost effective - that's the beauty of a site like this, right? Lots of people with brains to pick on what they've decided to do. It is fun to hear other ideas.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jun 24, 2016 4:01 PM CST
With things like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant it is either start your own under lights or buy plants in the spring. I used to buy it all but this year started my own tomatoes from seed. I used a very simple set up. A double window let in light and I simply had them on a shelf under the window. I used clamp on light fixtures with daylight bulbs to give me extra light.
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Jul 2, 2016 2:13 AM CST
I winter sow with totes & milk jugs. They get set up after solstice, and sleep through the snow and ice till spring.

My only exceptions are frost sensitive tree seed that are sheltered in my fridge, till March-April. Peppers are grown under lights indoors. They need 70+° in order to germinate.
Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4a)
God made dirt! Dirt don't hurt!
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mnmat
Jul 25, 2016 12:00 PM CST
When I lived in Brainerd, MN I found a nice solution for my seed starting. I found a you tube video that showed how to make a light stand using pvc pipe. Very easy, cheap, no glue needed and it comes apart when not needed. If you can find room for a shop light either 2 or 4' this might be your solution. Use 2" pipe minimum or it will sag from the weight of the light. You need: 2 elbows, 2 T's, 4 pieces of pipe 6" long for feet, 2 pieces of pipe 2' hi for legs, and the piece of pipe the length of the light itself. Here's the finished project. You can see how easy it is!
Thumb of 2016-07-25/mnmat/399246
This is not my pic, I found it on the net so you'd get an idea of what I'm talking about. Smiling

I use this in addition to winter sowing. Not every thing will work with winter sow.

I had to use this on the floor of a bedroom as I didn't have room for a table. I did not like constantly getting up n down from the floor! Angry Sighing!

Good luck!

Meri

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