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Seed stratification

 Winter is the time when most of the plants in the Northern hemisphere are dormant. The plants stop growing, some lose foliage, and others disappear completely. The seeds that were dropped during the summer, are also dormant, and once the spring temperatures rise, they will start waking up. Most of the gardeners like to help their gardens with seed-starting during the winter period. We try to ensure the plants will get enough boost for a nice growth during summer, but sowing in the pots and waiting for the plants to grow doesn't always work. Some refuse to grow no matter the heat, sun, or the type of compost and moisture. A gardener comes to the conclusion that the seeds were bad, throws the pot contain to the compost and a year later gets a bunch of small plants in the compost bin. Why is that? Some seeds contain germination blocking chemicals that dissolve during the winter, protecting the seeds from early germination. This way plants ensure their propagation. They make sure the
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Starting tomatoes

 It's been a very cold week, temperatures have dropped well below zero again and are keeping us indoors most of the time. Soil is completely frozen for days now, so there is no way to do any gardening work.  This year I decided to start my tomatoes earlier, so the middle of January seemed like a good time to start sowing. Last week I had a nasty cartoon-like fall down the outdoor stairs. I landed on my lower back, which is now completely bruised and black, so I'm having some trouble standing and bending. That's why I ended up sowing my seedlings inside the house again. I can't stand for hours in the basement sowing, also even if I weren't injured I'd probably still sow indoors due to the cold. That's why I used the living room as a sowing place, an old chair was the table, so that I could sit on the soft sofa, and a very heavy blanket was keeping me extra warm(I'm always cold). The only problem with this "portable seedling station" was that I c

Time to check the house plants

 Growing house plants in a place with no sun is a very difficult task. Even the ones that are usually considered "easy to grow" and don't require any special conditions refuse to grow in my home.  Four years ago, my hubby and I decided to renovate the second floor of my family home and make our own flat there. We did everything ourselves. Plumbing, wiring, insulation, tiling, drywall, and floors, everything was done by us and with little money. The only things we bought were materials and appliances. When it came to windows shopping, we decided to buy small windows since it was easier for us to install them, and also it was the only way to avoid custom-made windows. The flat is in the roof space, and if we wanted bigger windows we'd need specially made ones and that wasn't an option. We couldn't afford them, and also we had no time to wait for them. Our plan was to move to the flat in just a couple of months, which we actually managed. We finished our whole fl

Seedling progress

 It has been 18 days since I've sown my seedlings and they are making nice progress. The heating wire and the lights are warming up the shelf without any problems. Until 3 days ago, they were both turned down during the night, but due to the very low temperatures we've been having lately, I'm leaving the heating wires on during the night. I keep the temperature between 19°C and 22°C (66°F-71°F) and up to 25°C (77°F) during the day. Most of the seedlings are out, except for the flowers that need a really long time to germinate. Peppers have started growing past couple of days, and it seems the conditions we've set up for them are enough. In the next couple of days, I'll sow the rest of the pepper seeds.  Some of the flowers, leeks, and onions are already getting fairly big, so I'll be moving them to my unheated shelf. The unheated shelf has lights but without a heating wire. Still, the house temperature is never under 15°C (59°F) so the seedlings will be warm eno

Sedums everywhere

 While the weather was still warm, on Wednesday, I used the morning to have my cup of coffee on the balcony, in the company of my sedums and houseleeks.  For months now, I have been planning to turn the garage roof into a sedum/houseleek garden. The garage is in the front yard, with a flat rooftop, and it seems like a perfect place for a small garden. Even the height is perfect and the angle of the roof is positioned perfectly so that the whole roof is visible from the road, so covering the grey roof with a bunch of small colored carpets should look nice.  I'm also thinking of making small gutters and screwing them to the walls of the garage so that I could grow some more sedums there and cover the whole garage in plants. I was planning to start the roof this year, but I gave up on the idea since I didn't have enough sedums or access to the roof. The wood scraps that were left from the demolition of the workshed covered the terrace completely, and I had no way to get to the roo