Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Mini Greenhouse from Deli Trash! Woooooo!!!!

I've been very diligent about watering my Anaheim chile seeds.  

Even so, I was having problems keeping them properly moist.  I'm not sure why, but I've always had this problem with seeds.  What should thrive ends up looking like a dessicated husk, instead.

It's quite tragic.

Fortunately, I've discovered the answer to seed starting for those of us that end up causing the premature deaths of countless pepper seeds... or whatever your most common victim is.

It's called:

Deli Trash.

No.  Seriously.  It really is.

Ok, well... more specifically, it's the plastic packaging for deli and bakery goods.  You know - the transparent, hard packaging that carries salads, sandwiches, cookies, etc.  The good stuff.

When I noticed that my Anaheim peppers were in a pretty sorry state due to a lack of moisture, I knew I had to do something fast.  Watering the jiffy pellets every day wasn't enough.  I needed to retain the moisture.

I had hopped that the egg carton surrounding the pellets would add some sort of water retention, since not as much air was circulating around them, but...

I appeared to be mistaken.

Fortunately, cookies and donuts came to my rescue, as well they should.

No, I didn't eat them to relieve myself of stress through mastication of sucrose enriched grain products... although that is a rather spectacular Plan B, I think.

I used the clear plastic packaging that the donuts and cookies came in, and turned them into a couple of mini greenhouses.

...after eating the sucrose enriched goodness, of course.  I mean, come on.  I am human, after all!

Mini greenhouses are actually pretty easy.  All you need is plastic deli packaging with a clear, raised top.    Take that package and pierce holes on the top and sides, in order to allow air to circulate.  Place your seed pellets (or tiny trays) inside, and close the top.

Voila!  Instant greenhouse.

See, the mini greenhouse does two things for your seeds:

  1. Reduces evaporation of water.  Hooray!  No more dried out husks!
  2. Creates a warm environment.  This helps jump start seed germination.  Indeed, some seeds, like my Anaheim chiles, actually need warm temperatures to germinate.

For my pepper problem, I used a nice rectangular plastic container that once housed chocolate chip cookies.  I removed the stickers, poked a bunch of holes, and placed my Anaheim peppers inside, as well as some multicolored bell peppers.

Rectangular clear plastic container holding 8 pellets within portions egg carton.  Seed packages on bottom: Organic purple, yellow, white, red, and orange bell peppers, and heirloom Anaheim chile peppers.

The additional moisture and heat is only needed for germination, so I'm not particularly worried about adequate space for seedling growth.  Once I have sprouts I can remove the pellets from the mini greenhouse without fear.

And since I had doughnut packaging that needed to be used...

Doughnut container pierced with holes, and holding 10 pellets.  Seed packages from top, going clockwise: organic peas, organic tomatoes, heirloom tomatillos, and local jalapenos.

I took the opportunity to plant three pellets each of tomato, tomatillo, and jalapeno, as well as a single pellet in which I dropped a pea.  Why just one pea?

Well... I only had one pellet remaining.

Don't worry... I'll plant another later.

But look at just how much I've been able to get done, all because of two pieces of what would normally be considered deli trash!  Mini greenhouses are easy to create, and...

They give you a great excuse to eat doughnuts.


Now go eat some doughnuts.  Not because you want a really good excuse to do so, but because you actually need the deli container in order to make a mini greenhouse.  Your seeds are counting on you to make this sacrifice.

Repeat of the first drawing on this post
You don't really want to let them down, do you?

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