This article also appears on the ACF Greenhome website.
There are a number of vegetables that, when grown from seed, need (or very much appreciate) a bit of a helping hand when germinating. The most recommended method is to plant your seeds into a seed bed until the plant sprouts, and then to transfer the seedling into your veggie patch.
A great advantage of doing this is that it enables a gardener to begin growing the next crop of veggies before harvesting the current crop, giving you a good head start for the next season.
The trouble with planting seeds earlier in the season is that it is usually too cold for the seeds to germinate. This is where a greenhouse comes into its own. By trapping the infrared heat produced when sunlight bounces back off the earth, the greenhouse creates the warmer climate (the greenhouse effect) to help these seeds germinate earlier.
If you’re stuck for room to build a full size greenhouse, or want to use the greenhouse only for seeds and not for growing any other plants, there are a number of alternatives that can be found both on the internet and in gardening books.
Like my other projects on this site, I’ve looked to build something using only materials that I’ve found or bought second hand. To this end, I found an old window, a wooden gate and a piece of discarded 4×2.
It took a bit of time to remove the palings from the gate (and remove a litany of nails) but once done, it didn’t take long to cut the pieces to size and fix the window to it. And the result is this:
As you can see, the window is mounted to the box on hinges so that the seed trays can be easily accessed for watering. The seed box isn’t too big or too heavy, so it can be moved from place to place or put away when not in use.
The window is on an angle when closed so that it can face north (depending on where you are located) and let in as much light as possible.
The only thing left to add is a handle for ease of use!
This is just an example of a really simple design, built with common tools and something that doesn’t take long to build, that you can use or adapt given the materials you find to help your practical, green action.
Please feel free to comment on this design or with any of your own thoughts or designs.