Greenhouse Gardening in Winter

We used an eye dropper to water at first
so the seedlings wouldn't float away

We're so lucky to have two large hoop houses at our new house. Right now I'm mainly using them to over-winter some perennials that didn't make it into the ground, but back in December I thought a little experimentation with  growing vegetables in the winter would be fun.

I was unable to find a lot of information geared towards the home gardener about growing vegetables in unheated hoop houses. In fact, most everything I read said plants would continue to grow if established, but that starting seedlings was near impossible. The previous homeowners left us an abundance of styrofoam coolers and I figured if I nested a few of them together and covered them with bubble wrap, we might be able to get some seeds going, even (fingers-crossed) in the winter.

So far, everything we've planted has sprouted! I went with all cool season veggies (carrots, peas, lettuce, radish, chard, beets) and Claire's been gently watering them every other week. Everything is growing, but slowly. The plants sown on December 19 and the plants sown on Jan 15 are about the same size.

Claire made a great observation that ALL the seedlings look alike at this point in their growth. Of course it was phrased more like, "Mooooommmmy, you mixed the seeds up. They're all the same <pout pout pout>." 


Batik on Paper Revisited for Valentine's Day

My daughter informed me this morning that since it's Valentine's Day, M&Ms were in order for breakfast. As cute as she was (especially with her pronouncing them m-E-m's) we settled on a few red ones to celebrate and had our usual egg breakfast.

I've received many emails about the batik on paper technique featured here. I guess Pinterest has really taken off, hundreds and hundreds of people seem to be arriving to check out our creation and in my first post on the method, I did a rather poor job describing how we achieved the effect. In case you were wondering, here is the product of our last experiment:

Batik on Paper. Wherever the glue was used, the paint still appears wet and glossy!

SO -- Batik on Paper for Valentine's Day it is!

A good quality watercolor paper is in order for this project, things are going to get really wet.

Using Elmer's Blue Gel school glue, create a pattern or write some words (that's me who did "love" in case you were wondering, heeehee!)

We always seem to do artwork in jammies around here!

Allow to dry over night. This is probably the hardest part for Claire, the gel will feel dry in about an hour, but you're going to be painting over it so make sure it's really, really dry.

Go nuts with liquid watercolors (try an eyedropper, what a great lesson in color mixing!)
 I've referenced them all over the blog, and these are my favorites. They're super concentrated so diluting them to get more mileage is fine.

Unlike fabric batik, we're leaving the glue in place. My original goal back when I first attempted this was to peel off the glue (like a non-stinky rubber cement to make kid friendly watercolor resist paintings). Leave the glue alone to dry it will remain raised and intensely shiny.


Lastly, sprinkle some table salt around the picture to chase some of the colors away. Claire used a liberal amount on a few of these hearts and the crystals look like snow on the paper now! And for those of you who'd like a visual aid (I'm still figuring out this pinterest thing, bear with me) for your digital pin ya go!

Pin It

Here are the exact products I've used. I think the watercolor paper in a pack of 100 is the most affordable option in terms of paper. You want something really thick and the 15 sheet pads are really pricy at my local crafts store.