So I stayed up late last night planning my garden. Just when I thought I wouldn't bother, I changed my mind. We don't know how long we'll be here and maybe someone else will reap the fruits of my labor, literally. But I can still continue to learn and gain experience. I can plant varieties that I would like to plant in Pennsylvania and I'll be that much farther ahead on the learning curve. Especially the plant-starting aspect of things. Since I want to use only non-hybrid and preferrably heirloom seeds, I need to start my own plants to keep this a cost effective venture. In the past I have had the chickens get into things and eat my seedlings. I have also started my plants only to have them perform poorly and need supplemented with local greenhouse plants. I need to get skilled at the starting/hardening/transplanting.
I had considered using waterbed heaters in the greenhouse but I still have lighting issues so I am going to go with shop lights hung directly over the seed trays indoors. I will then harden them off to the greenhouse later.
Another factor that I believe has created problems in past attempts is the sunlight in the greenhouse. I am going to design shades that I can use as needed to create a buffer for tender plants and help keep out some of the heat on the brightest days. I'll plant cucumbers again but this time I will do it in the raised bed nearest the mesh door, so that they have cooler temperatures.
I am also looking at Wall-O-Waters or Kozy Coats for the plants to help them get a warmer start. And I am wondering about soaker hoses to water the beds. I know that our water, from 100+feet down is super chilled and I have to believe that shocks the poor things every time I water. That is why I'm theorizing that if I don't hit them with a drenching cold blast everytime, maybe they would fare better.
I made my seed purchases through Amishland Heirloom Seeds and Grannys Heirloom Seeds. I was especially pleased with what I found at Amishland, a very prolific seed company run entirely by a single woman. She didn't have the squash seeds I needed, though so I used a second source for some of my seed. She also has great tips and gardening information on her site, so I am once again excited by the potential these little seeds have. I guess I'm an eternal optimist that something might actually grow well at 9,500 feet in the Rocky Mountains. I will have lots of leftover seed (I'll probably only need one successful plant each of the tomatoes, 3-4 each of squash, 2-3 cucumbers and 6-8 bush beans) but I will research the best way to store it and then next year maybe I'll be planting my garden in Pennsylvania starting in March and April! Woohoo!
Here's the list of my hopeful little grains:
Chalk's Early Jewel Red Tomato
Bloody Butcher Tomato
Bloody Butcher Tomato
Amish Mayberry Tomato
Cherokee Purple Tomato
Brown Berry Tomato
Red Zebra Tomato
Masai Snap Beans
Anellino Bush Bean
Contender Bush Bean
Early Cluster Russion Cucumber
Gold Summer Crookneck Squash
And here's links to the great seed sources: