Starting a Propogating area.

General tips / questions on seeding & planting

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Andrew Parker
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Starting a Propogating area.

Postby Andrew Parker » Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:00 pm

I have a very small garden, I took on an allotment plot about a year ago. What I would like to do now is establish a propogating area in my garage. Some thing that gives me flexability.

I have a big garage with space at the one end (approx 14' by 3') this end has a small north facing window and room to build a platform for growing.

I am pondering on building a bottom heated bench using soil warming cables with ligthing above or just a bench with heating pad's.

In my small garden I have decking area which I could use for hardening off (as in time I hope to establish cold frames on my plot), I can then transfer the plants over to the allotment.

I not sure where to start?, I would be grateful of any advice on how to make a propogating area.

Thanks Andrew.
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Johnboy
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Propagating

Postby Johnboy » Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:23 pm

Hi Andrew,
The equipment you will require is totally dependent on what you actually want to grow on your allotment.
If you could post more details perhaps we can all chip in and help you.
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Andrew Parker
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Starting a Propogating area.

Postby Andrew Parker » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:25 pm

Thanks,

I would like to get an early start on some crops like brassica's, sweetcorn, beans,lettuce etc and also give a good start to tomato's and cucumbers.
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KG Steve
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Postby KG Steve » Tue Dec 06, 2005 5:30 pm

HI Andrew
The worry with using your garage is a lack of light and while you can use growing lights, they are quite expensive to buy and to run.
Unless you are growing lots of plants I wonder if you would be better with some heated propagtors on a bright windowsill indoors or in a cool room and then moving the plants out into a mini greenhouse or cold frame in the garden to grow on. As I say, depends how many plants you wnat to produce.
The other option is to sow a little later and to use the same cold frame/minigreenhouse outdoors as most veg don't need masses of heat.
I had a little lean-to mini greenhouse once and was always surprised how much I could grow in it. I used a small paraffin anti-frost heater and sowed a little later than friends with 'proper' heated greenhouses, but things did very well.
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Postby tony s » Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:15 pm

Hi Andrew.

Cost of lights can be quite high, but to me it is worth paying, because growing to me is more of a hobby, which I love, rather than about saving money.

I have a system, which I set up in my spare bedroom from mid March to mid May. It consists of a 600W sodium growlamp and a pedestal fan set up on a timer for 14 hours of light per day. The whole set up cost about £200, but should last many years. The bulbs last 9 months and cost about £30 to replace, but as I am only using it for 3 months at a time each year, that means 3 years per bulb. You can work out the costs of running this depending on the unit price for your electricity, but I estimate mine costs about 55p per day, so it does add up over time.

Is all this expensive? Yes compared to using a windowsill, but not really compared with joining a gym or playing golf - it just depends on what is right for you. You do save some money by getting earlier crops, that you might otherwise buy in the shops. Will you save enough to justify it? Probably not, but the satisfaction and enjoyment are hard to put a price on.

The main thing for me is that this grows the most fantastic starter plants - sturdy and super healthy. They are at least as good as you could hope to buy mail order or from your garden centre.

Sodium light is close enough to sunlight to give great plants and the fan keeps them sturdy, by simulating wind to some extent (they can get a bit soft without this). The light gives out a fair bit of heat too. If you could section off part of your garage for your growing area, perhaps with a plastic sheet or tarpaulin, it should be enough to trap enough of this heat to keep the frost off. But it would be safer to put a basic thermostat heater in as a precaution.

I bought my lamp from GroWell Hydroponics, who offer a very good range and you can get some much cheaper options that I chose. The link is http://www.growell.co.uk/c/21/Indoor_Grow_Lights.html

And before you ask - No I don't grow cannabis.

Hope this is some help.

tony
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Postby jane E » Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:54 pm

Tony has given you a very comprehensive answer on a bench and lights. You won't get away without lights because of the north facing window and the low light levels.If you had a suitable wall for a lean to greenhouse, the cost would be the same. I spent over £200 on a glass lean to greenhouse from 2 Wests, which is about 6ft long and 2 ft. wide, so you use it from outside. I heat it with a paraffin heater, which is cheap.The shelves carry about the same number of trays etc as a 6x8 with benches. However the lower shelves suffer from light deprivation and I could really do with a lamp over them. I use heated propagators inside and move the pricked out seedlings out to the greenhouse.I then use cold frames and wish I had more! We all have our own different ways and because we're most of us not doing it commercially and we want to grow a few of this and a few of that, it's all a bit of a compromise with the best overall set up and with cost.
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Mel
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Propagation area

Postby Mel » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:44 pm

I have been using half the garage as a potting shed and have all my propergaters near the window. Not much light but when the seedlings come up they go onto a ledge near the window and I keep turning them.I've done bedding plants, vege seeds for the last few years now. A small plastic greenhouse is outside near a warm wall so this is where they grow on. If the weather is really bad I just dash outside and put the greenhouse into the potting shed - with help of course.

Lights sound good though. Happy gardening.
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Andrew Parker
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Postby Andrew Parker » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:07 pm

Thanks everyone for your replies,

May I ask Mel do you provide any heat at all in your garage?

Thanks

Andrew
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Wellie
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Postby Wellie » Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:53 pm

Hi Andrew,

Very good luck with it all, and just to add to what Tony is saying - the best bit about picking your own tomatoes that early, however much extra it costs in electricity or labour... is the TASTE.
Not only that, Aubergines, Peppers, Chillis, Cape Goosegogs etc. can be given an extra-early start, which enables them a fair crack at ripening in the summer sunshine before things cool down in the autumn.
A Gro-Lite will be on my Santa list.....
Wellie
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Andrew Parker
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Postby Andrew Parker » Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:27 am

Thanks every one for your tips , I will start to plan the area in the garage and give it a go.
Looking forward to the spring

Thanks Andrew.

P.S The photo on the left shows my plot before I dug it over by hand, I am going to change the photo when I finally dig the whole plot!
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Geoff
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Postby Geoff » Wed Dec 21, 2005 7:00 pm

Has anybody tried using a fish tank light, or even a complete fish tank, for a propagator?
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indigo
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Postby indigo » Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:24 am

Hello Andrew, did you ever get this project of the ground?

"I have a big garage with space at the one end (approx 14' by 3') this end has a small north facing window and room to build a platform for growing.

I am pondering on building a bottom heated bench using soil warming cables with ligthing above or just a bench with heating pad's."

I read it at the time and would like to set one up.
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Andrew Parker
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Postby Andrew Parker » Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:46 pm

I have got to the planning stage and managed a rough costing now I have run out of money, so the plan is to slip hints around the home and slide ideas onto families christmas lists.

I am still digging over my plot (by hand) and I have an area 30' by 26' to go. The rest has been covered with green manures and straw.

Thanks Andrew.
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Tigger
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Postby Tigger » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:14 pm

Sounds good!
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Compo
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Postby Compo » Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:05 pm

Hi Andrew,

I did not read this post first time around, probably cos I wasn't a member back then....do you have an option to put a rooflight in your garage or even another window on the east or west side?

Compo
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If I am not on the plot, I am not happy.........

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