Despite my initial success and update to you all on the great growth I was discovering from my seedlings in my mini greenhouse, I have found that their growth has become much slower lately. I have put this down to a few possible reasons.
- Autumn, and the coming of winter equals less daylight hours. Plants rely on the amount of daylight vs. night-time to determine when to grow.
- Lack of warmth, while the mini greenhouse is warm enough to produce condensation on the inside, perhaps they are not coping well with the night time. The translucent cover would radiate a large amount of heat outwards during the cold nights.
- Lack of Water… perhaps I am not watering them enough.
- Soil quality may be impeding their long term growth.
As with every problem that I need to work through, I find it easier to eliminate the unlikely and therefore find the most likely.
There is not much that I can do about the lack of light, short of installing artificial sources. I won’t do this, due to lack of funds and I think it is a waste of time so early in the process (I might do it one day, just not now).
Lack of water… I don’t think that this is a possible reason for the reduction on growth. I check the pots regularly and they soil is usually moist. I have been intending to set up a sprinkler system within the mini greenhouse, so that I can set up an automatic watering system. I have nearly everything I need for this, but I will purchase the outstanding pieces and put together a rudimentary system (without the automated part).
I can do something about the possible loss of heat within the structure. I have placed it near a stone wall, which will radiate some heat back into the greenhouse during the night, so that will help in part. I will place a few bottles of water on each shelf, to soak up some of the heat in the day and send it back out at night. I will also throw an old blanket over the top of it during the evenings, and remove it in the morning. This will prevent some of the heat escape.
Soil quality can be remedied when I plant some new seeds out. I can try to buy some bags of high quality soil mix, to try to ensure that the seeds have the best start. On a recent Gardening Australia show, I learned that seedling growth can be impeded by sticks and other objects being within the soil. I have never really bothered about this previously, figuring that the plant can just cope with it (as it would in nature), yet if I want better results I will have to improve the resources that I am using.
The segment I watched on the Gardening Australia showed a great little device that someone built to remove the unbroken down objects from compost before use. They had created a rolling wire barrel that would sift the pieces of compost, allowing the finer parts to fall into a barrow. The larger pieces would be tipping into the next pile of compost to break down further.
I will have to continue looking into the reasons for this outcome.