After all, this is northern Minnesota, so we expect snow way into April. But after 60-degree days and no freezing at night, all of our snow had melted and the sun was out. The birds were singing, and I saw a raven with nesting material in its beak, flying to the woods. Will has been planning out our new permanent greenhouse, which will be built next to the house in the House garden, so it will be convenient to the house and water hydrant. On Tuesday, he and I went to Menards and picked up a truck load of (expensive!) railroad ties for the foundation and treated 2x6s for the lower studs. We’re going to be using used patio door windows for the windows all around so at least that won’t have to be bought. Have you noticed how much the price of lumber has shot up lately? Ouch! COVID bit us again.

We were all set to begin building and wham — it snowed six inches! Now it’s melting and everything is sloppy. So, Will is busy changing the leaking water pump on Old Rusty instead of sloshing through the mud in the House garden.

Just when we were going to start the new greenhouse, it snowed 5 inches.

As our little pepper plants are germinating wildly and even setting their second set of leaves, I’m madly planting tomato seeds.

We have flats and containers of peppers in peat pellets everywhere!
Our tomato seeds are being planted in four packs in flats because it’s faster that way. Notice the plastic bags covering the flats to hold in the moisture yet let the soil breathe.

As I’m planting alphabetically to keep some kind of order, I quit last night at the “M” varieties. Some, I’m only planting four seeds. Other popular varieties, up to 24. So boy are there ever flats of seeds everywhere warm. I even set some back from the south-facing windows in the living room so (hopefully) they won’t cook as they’re not against the windows. Hmm… maybe I’ll take some to bed. — Jackie

18 COMMENTS

  1. High there Jackie, received our seed order, thank you so much. I hope to order again next year.
    take care Jackie. Barabara

  2. The greenhouse is a great idea. Too bad the weather is slowing that down. Will it be heated? What do you plan for the roof? I have built in the past a hoop house but the plastic just didn’t hold up with snow load. It is fun to see your seedlings. My little goat buddies are now weaned and follow me around and are just fun. My pepper plants have a purplish tinge to some of the leaves. Do you have any idea why that is? Could it be a nutrient deficiency, light issue, or normal? I’ve never seen this before. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Yes, our greenhouse will be heated via a propane wall heater, which long ago we used in our fish house living room attached to our camping trailer when we first moved to our land. The roof will be polycarbonate panels. We’ve used plastic on our hoop houses with good luck, 6 mil greenhouse plastic from Growers Supply/Farmtek. It was guaranteed for 4 years but we’ve gotten two more than that and will only be replacing it due to deer running headfirst into it during the winter.
      You might give your pepper plants a dose of Miracle Gro liquid fertilizer. That usually corrects that.

  3. Can’t wait to see the new greenhouse!!! I don’t have walls of water like you do so I won’t be starting my maters till 1 April. We can’t plant out here in Maine till 1 June anyway. I am hoping to transition them to my hoop house sometime in May. It’s my first time with a house so instead of taking the plants to bed with me I’ll probably just sleep in there with them!

    • I hear you Sheryl; we can’t safely plant outside before June 15. Some years we push it, like last year, planting June 6 & 7, then had to rush and cover everything as a frosty night approached.
      It does feel SO nice in a hoop house in early spring!!!

  4. I’ve had those “dreams” too – there are times when I seemed to wake up more tired than when I went to bed.
    Question re: planting potatoes. I usually cut then immediately plant. Remember my grandparents cutting and “curing” though I can’t remember how long they “cured”. Your thoughts?

    • It is best to cure the cut seed potatoes as it lessens the chance of rotting and fungal disease. I cut mine and when I have time, I like to lay them out in a shallow box or tray in a sunny window for a week. Not only does this cure the cut spots but lets the sprouts fatten and turn a nice green. This lets them emerge from the soil faster and stronger.

  5. Lumber prices are ridiculous, that’s why hubby and I bought a mill. We got it late last year but still cut enough lumber for a room inside our pole shed so we can work/ craft out there in the winter. He has a wood stove inside the pole shed that he piped into our new room.
    He’s built so many things in a short time, all from our woods. Priceless!

    • I totally agree with you! We have a bandsaw mill and we sure love it. Unfortunately, due to the rain and snow melt, any untreated lumber near or on the soil rots in a year or two. So we have to use treated lumber down there. But we sure will be using some of our own lumber for the rafters and upper material. We just wish we’d bought our mill sooner!

  6. I know about wood prices! We took a trip to Menards (haven’t been in many months because of covid) and YIKES! I feel for the folks that are planning to build a house-how much must have prices gone up for them in the last year?

    • Yep, lumber has about doubled in price; everything from 2″ x 4″s to OSB. Whew!!! We experienced the same thing when we build our log home. Then it was hurricane Katrina that got us. So we just built slower.

  7. Hey Jackie, I know what you mean about taking things to bed with you. I had a box that a washing machine came in and got it full of fresh picked green beans. Then me and granddaughter, almost 5 at the time, snapped beans the rest of the day and late after supper. She hung in there with me until the end. She said that night she dreamed she was snapping beans & I know I did too! LOL Reading your blog is a breath of fresh air in these hard times.

    • I hear you about the beans. Way back when we had a big market garden, we picked a whole heaping truckload of sweet corn to go to market in Duluth, Mn. We just got there and it began to pour rain with no letup in sight. Needless to say, there were only a couple of very hardy buyers. So I ended up taking most of that corn home. The kids and I shucked and canned corn the whole day. They went to bed and I kept at it. All told, it took three days and two nights to can up all that corn. When I finally went to bed the third night I didn’t think I would ever wake up again!!! Then we had company come the next morning. Sigh. I just hope I wasn’t too crabby!

  8. Hey Jackie! we had the same thing here in Northern New Mexico! Had to pull all my pansy pots inside for a couple days but they are going back outside tomorrow! Lows ranging from 27 to 45 in the next week- everything is confused :)

  9. Listening to everything that you planting is making me wish I was able to plant this year .But as we are preparing for a move , it wouldn’t be possible this year ?

    • I know what you mean. We moved to raw land here, with no house or any improvements. And there was no clear land for even a small garden. So that year, my garden was five tomato plants. And the night after I took the Wall’O Waters off them, it froze! On June 27th!!! Oh well, stuff happens.

    • Okay, you’ve got me. I hate Brussel sprouts. But I do love celery. I promise to add both to our catalog next year. (Will loves Brussel sprouts, however.)

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