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Spring Gardening & Greenhouse Update

These Indian Springs Hollyhock seedlings are just about ready to go in the ground.

I promised to keep you guys updated on how the growing process is going for us this year so here I am! Last year we had a lot of failures, even though everything ended up looking beautiful, and I REALLY wanted to do better this year mostly because I really hate wasting resources (and failure is just discouraging).

I had intended to start all of our seedlings in our basement using fluorescent lights, but we have a problem with mice in our basement (it is open to the outside in some places) and I was really worried they would eat all of my sprouts. Turns out, the one thing I tried to start in the basement (larkspur) actually did get destroyed by mice so I'm really glad that I changed plans at the last minute.

Amelia and I went in together on an inexpensive 5'x5' pop-up greenhouse we found on Ebay and it has worked so well for us! I did have to reinforce the seam near the zipper opening/door with duct tape because we open that zipper all day long going in and out of the greenhouse and it started to tear. So far that has been a perfect fix and I really didn't expect this little hothouse to be very impressive given the price. We plan to have a permanent greenhouse eventually but for now this has worked quite nicely for us. The only problem is I want ALL the seeds and I am running out of room to start more.

To give myself more room, I've propped an old paned window against the side of the greenhouse and moved some of the more frost-hardy plants outside where they are hardening off.

As you can see, we've about run out of space! I love that the greenhouse has built in shelves. Since the nights are still cool, I have a heat lamp hung down the middle of the greenhouse to keep it warmer at night. It's not the right way to do it, but it has worked great in this small space.

A have a half tray of perfect Wild Thyme seedlings. Supposedly these can handle some foot traffic once established and I plan to grow them along the path up to the chicken coop. I hope they creep into the walkway!

I had mixed success trying to germinate seeds in the greenhouse. I think for some cool weather plants it is just too warm in there for the seeds to sprout. Everything seems to do wonderfully once they are started though. A fellow flower enthusiast on Instagram is always demonstrating how she starts her seeds in wet paper towels inside plastic bags taped to her windows (inside), and I tried her method for the seeds I was having trouble starting in the greenhouse (mostly poppies and asters). It worked BEAUTIFULLY and the seeds sprout so much faster than they do in soil. Have you ever tried this method?

Shown here: Artichokes, Yarrow, Sweet Peas and Ranunculus plants.

It's far too early to have started sunflowers for our zone, but I couldn't help myself. It's been so fun to watch them shoot up tall and healthy in the greenhouse. I will keep potting them up in larger pots until I can put them in the ground. Yay for early summer flowers!

I am starting to take cuttings from my dahlia tubers that are sprouting. I've never tried rooting dahlia cuttings before so this is a new attempt for me. We'll see how it goes!

More hollyhock seedlings. I adore these cottage garden flowers!

One of two asters that successfully germinated in the greenhouse. These ones are growing quite well but I wasted a lot of seed trying to start these in the greenhouse. I won't do that again.

The rest of these aster seedlings I started with the paper towel method in the house. Then I carefully moved them to the peat pellets in the greenhouse. Success!

Things I had perfect success starting in the greenhouse are:


Wild Thyme






Things I had mixed success with:




Foxglove (this had a better germination rate in the house in a covered tray, but did so so in the greenhouse)


Things that failed to germinate in the greenhouse but did amazing with the wet paper towel method:




Poppies (these actually did germinate in the greenhouse but all died mid-germination, I assume from heat)


We planted three new varieties of rose near the Flock Cottage (chicken coop). A Jubilee Celebration, Honey Dijon and Carding Mill.

The tulips I planted in the early winter are not blooming properly (maybe next year) but these crocus popped right up and look adorable!

We planted a couple varieties of white Narcissus too and those look like they will bloom beautifully.

It's so lovely to be able to watching things grow and get my hands in the soil even though it's too early to plant much outside (our last frost date is May 15). I hope you enjoyed this little update! If you have any questions let me know, and please share in the comments what you're growing this spring!

xx, Loran

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