Integration of PVC Irrigation System and Rain Barrels

Today I worked outside from 9 am until about 6 pm.  Very busy day – and it all was getting the PVC irrigation system tied into the rain barrels and checking everything.  Well, I also had to make the PVC fence structure so the deer stay out of the front garden.

It takes a lot of PVC pipe, let me tell ya.  But, when it was all done, I was extremely impressed at how well it works!  My neighbor is a plumber and was telling me that I wouldn't have enough pressure to run the system, but it turned out to be just perfect.

The trouble with the front garden beds is that the front yard slopes downards toward the road.  Within the 20 foot length, the drop was about two feet.

So I needed to find a way to level this out – otherwise if I just put the PVC irrigation pipe right on top, the pressure through the 1/16-inch holes in the pipe would be more at the lowest point – starving the holes at the highest point of the pipe of anything.  I ran into this last year – and the watering was not very consistent amongst the gardening area.

I started at the top of the "hill" and used a level – and made vertical PVC pieces down the beds.  After doing this, I got some more PVC pipe and some T-connectors and connected the pipe together on either side of the bed – then I put the actual irrigation pipe right over the top.  Worked perfect – and the tests were successful.

There are a total of 120 holes in the pipes – there is 120 feet of PVC pipe with a hole every foot (because corn will be planted a foot apart).  After I turned on the automatic water timer, it took about a minute but every single hole was allowing water out.  Very pleased with the result!

I did have to make a minor adjustment to the main pipe.  From the rain barrels, I decided to make one main PVC line that went from the barrels all the way to the front yard.  This length was a total of 110 feet.  I also put in a T-connector in the main line to hook the automatic water timer in for the garden beside the house and the garden behind the garage.  Because this was such a long distance, I used 3/4-inch PVC pipe.  This way there is less restriction in the main line.  Originally I used 1/2-inch PVC pipe and the pressure up front was horrible.  After the change, it seemed like the pressure at least doubled!

The below video was made after everything was done.  It goes over the rain barrel system, the PVC irrigation system, and gives a few glances at the strawberry pyramid and grape arbor.  It also shows three of the gardening areas I just spoke about – the one behind the garage, the one next to the house, and the one in the front yard.

New Garden Beds Filled And Other Updates

I took the day off on the 25th to get the new bed filled in.  We finally got all of the Zoysia grass removed from the location where the new 4 x 20 garden bed was to go in – and then made the structure.

I used some clear plastic around the perimeter of the bed and dug down an additional 4-6 inches.  This is a barrier to hopefully prevent the Zoysia grass from moving into the bed like it did last year.

New Gardening Box

You can see some of the plastic in the bottom of the picture.  I left some extra because I plan to also dig a trench by the wood of the old bed and do the same.  The space between the two beds is two feet wide and this will allow us to walk between and harvest both beds.  I'm not sure how to fill this area yet; I thought about pea gravel – but that is more expense and will then make this more permanent – which I'm wanting to prevent since this is in the front yard!  Overall, it doesn't look too bad in the front yard – but it most likely will when this is filled with corn, peppers, broccoli, celery, and onions!

The wife and I made two trips to the compost facility with our buckets and large containers that would fit in the cars.  The guy at the compost place said that they now charge $20 a square yard!  Well, this is because there are two compost facilities right next to each other.  The main compost facility receives all of the yard waste from the city and residents – this is where we got the compost for free last year.

Now, this facility trucks all of the half-composted material just 100 feet down to the next compost facility.  This compost facility has large screening equipment and screens all the compost when it is done.  They then sell the screened compost.

The screened compost is nice since it doesn't have any big pieces of wood or other stuff in it – but $20 a square yard!

After the two trips, we were already wore out since we're out of shape.  Filling buckets, taking home and unloading, and coming back for more was tedious and took about 30 minutes per trip.  However, the owner of the compost place said that he delivers for $30.  So, he gave us a bit of a break and only charged us $60 for delivering two square-yards of compost right onto our driveway.  After this, we were able to fill both areas in about two hours!  Much less time than it would have taken if we went back and forth.

Garden Beds Filled

It was a perfect day for working outside; it was partly cloudy and about 62 degrees.  It is now raining today so that is why I took the day off work to get this done.

Getting The Irrigation System Ready

Since the rain barrels will be the primary method of delivering water to the beds, this year I had to run PVC pipe from the front yard all the way behind the garage.  Overall, this was about 120 feet and took 12 10-foot sections of 1/2-inch PVC pipe.  I didn't want this just lying out in the front yard, so I dug a trench in our landscaping rock and buried the pipe.  Here you can see the long run (partially covered) and while it is very hard to see, there are two outlets on the bricks.  One of them has a ball valve and a 3/4-inch male adapter so we can hook a hose to it and turn the ball valve on.  This will help with watering the tree and the strawberries – or any other manual watering we need to do in the front yard using the rain barrels. Further off in the distance is another outlet that just has a 3/4-inch male threaded adapter on the end.  This is where we'll hook one of the automatic timers to water the bed.  This oneyou can't really see at all in the photo below as it blends in with the rock.

PVC Irrigation Pipe

The PVC pipe then turns at a 90-degree angle (as seen just at the bottom of the picture).  Unfortunately, this part has to be in the grass and I just hope I don't run over it with the mower!  This piece goes straight back to the rain barrels which is about 60 feet from this point.

New Water Timer

I had been complaining to a work buddy about how I was a little fed up with water timers.  With one of my previous posts, I went over the gallons per minute that the two water timers I have – and how the flow was restricted by quite a bit.  I was telling him that someone just needs to invent a timer that has a straight-through pipe with a ball valve – and then a motor that would turn the ball valve open and closed when it was time.

Welp, Gilmour has made such a device!  When I went to Menards to pick up the treated lumber to make the new bed in the front yard, they had this timer for $25 – and they also had the Nelson water timer that I already have for $30.  So based on price alone, I chose the Gilmour timer.  I hope it lasts quite a long time as I've read reviews about leaking problems.  The Gilmour timer takes 4 AA batteries – unlike the Nelson timer that only takes 2 AA batteries.  The Nelson timer has had the same two batteries in it for two years now – and is going on its third year!  I wonder how the Gilmour timer will do on batteries.

Gilmour Automatic Water Timer

Gilmour Automatic Water Timer

Since this has a ball valve (as seen above) with the pipe going straight through, this means that the flow is not restricted.  Since it is raining today, I plan to test this thing out and see what the flow rate is per minute on this one!  I guess you can consider this a low pressure automatic water timer – which is what I've been searching for.

 Seedling Update

Veggie Seedlings

It is now seven weeks until our last frost date of May 11th for zone 5.  Well, the average last frost date is April 27th, but the date that only has a 10% chance of frost for our area is May 11th – so I base our date off this.

I planted some Black Seeded Simpson, Buttercrunch, and Red Salad Bowl lettuce yesterday – three seeds per square.  Each week for the next four weeks I'll be planting three seeds per square and then thinning to one of each.  This way I'll have one plant of each of the three varieties over four weeks; this will give us 12 total salad plants.  After the four weeks, I'll then begin to space them out to sowing three seeds of each every two weeks.  This will give us (hopefully) a summer-long supply of lettuce.  Last year the Black Seeded Simpson lettuce turned bitter after supplying us for about two months.  Because home-grown lettuce is outstanding, we want to have lettuce throughout the season!  The lettuce is being put in a location this year where it will begin to receive sunlight after about 1 pm until 8 pm – so it will be shaded for the first part of the day.  Hopefully this will help keep the lettuce from turning bad.

In other seedling notes, the Green Goliath broccoli is doing well.  I store all the seeds in a ziplock bag in the freezer.  I planted two seeds of broccoli in eight 16-ounce cups.  Of those 16 planted total, 12 of them have come up!  I only need eight broccoli plants, so maybe I can find a home for the other four.

Green Goliath Broccoli Seedlings

The tomatoes are a different story.  I planted two seeds of Best Boy tomatoes in six 16-ounce cups.  Only five of those 12 planted came up.  The seed is a year old and last year every single seed sprouted.  So I just had to plant two more seeds yesterday.  I only need four plants so I have enough, but would like to have a few to give away.

Tomato Seedling

The Roma tomato and Cherry Tomatoes – I planted five seeds each in a 16-ounce container.  I've had two Roma tomatoes come up and only one Cherry Tomato.  Last year I had about half the Cherry Tomatoes come up and only about 25% of the Romas.

The peppers are doing fantastic!  I planted two seeds in each of three four-packs – so a total of 12 squares and a total of 24 seeds.  One four-pack I planted with seed saved from the pepper plants last year.  Five of eight of those have sprouted.  The other 16 were from year-old seed in a packet.  Out of those 16, 12 have sprouted.  So that just shows that saving seed and storing it properly works well!  I only need eight pepper plants and since I have two peppers growing in many of the squares, I'll have to pull one of them.  But, since there is at least one pepper growing in each square, I'll have four pepper plants to give away.

California Wonder Pepper Seedlings

The onions are doing alright.  I condensed all of them a few days ago.  I used black 9-packs for growing these, and some of the squares didn't have an onion grow.  So I dumped out the soil in those squares and replaced them with an onion from another 9-pack to fully fill them in.  When it was all done, I had three 9-packs I fully emptied – which allowed me space under the growing area for the lettuce!  Last I counted, I had about 110 onions that were still living.

The Ventura celery is doing well.  There were a lot of new seeds coming up from the previous experiment – but I had to dump most of those as well.  I have 18 celery plants – and I only need 16, but want to keep two extra for insurance.

Ventura Celery


Work Outside

Lots of work going outside – taking advantage of the nice weather.

In preparation for the new 4 x 20 foot box in the front yard, I have been removing sod from the front yard.  I'm removing a row one foot wide by 20 feet long everyday – and I started Monday.  So I just completed my fourth row today.  The goal is to have two feet between the two boxes and then the new box of four feet wide – so this is why it is six feet wide total.

Front Garden Work

The rain barrels have some water in them – and there are no leaks!  So the rain barrel project is done.  Soon I'll need to start laying the PVC pipe through the garden to get this prepared.

The grape vines are budding very nicely – along with the Granny Smith apple tree.  Last week I put some deer netting around the tree to keep the deer away.  But, I need to prune some of the grape vines and remove some canes that will not be used.

As I was walking in the house today after removing sod, I looked down at the bed beside the house – and oh my – weeds are growing all over!  It looks like this will be another thing to add on my list – de-weeding!


Some kind of animal is on the carrot bed that sits on the back driveway.  There are all kinds of tracks all over it.

Animal Tracks

So there are quite a few things to do.  I will have the two more rows of sod removed on Saturday and hopefully get the box built on Saturday.  The weather on Saturday is to plummet down into the 40's and temperatures overnight will return to being under freezing. 

After the box is made, I'll then have to decide what to put down for the walkway between the two boxes.  Pea gravel would be nice, but since it is in the front yard, this would be very hard to remove if the house is sold and new owners don't want it.

I'll then need to start hauling dirt from the local compost facility to fill the box – and also fill the area behind the garage where the new retaining wall is!

As an update for the seedlings – I have nine out of 16 broccoli that have sprouted so far – and I only need eight so I'm in good shape.  None of the tomatoes or peppers have come up as of yet.  The peppers are on a heat mat but the tomatoes are just under the fluorescent lights.

About 15 of the 26 onions I planted have also germinated from this patch batch.  Unfortunately, I am continuing to lose onions on a weekly basis.  I attribute this to damping off disease; the top of the squares has a lot of white coloring and several places have fuzz growing.  I guess this is a very good reason NOT to use garden soil to plant seedlings.  Last year I used garden soil and didn't have any problems.  This year it is a different story.


Upgraded to 330 Gallon Rain Barrel System

The past week has been quite rainy.  Since the night temperatures have only been getting down to 36 degrees or higher, I decided to hook the rain barrel system up.

I went to work on Thursday and it started raining mid-day.  By the time I got home, I checked on the barrels and they were already completely full!  That was approximately 220 gallons of water already stored and ready for use.  The funny thing is – we only had about a quarter of an inch of rain during that time period – and I managed to get 220 gallons from that off of a 24 x 24 garage roof (about 576 square feet).

Friday I went out to harvest some of that rain water to fill up some gallon jugs.  I've been using rain water to water the seedlings inside instead of using tap water from the house.  When I went out there, I decided to test the water timers to see how well they do in a low pressure situation.  While I don't know how much water pressure I have, there is a decent amount since the barrels are all hooked up with 2" PVC pipe about five feet in the air.

Without the water timers hooked up, I was able to fill a gallon milk jug in about 10 seconds or less – pretty amazing.  That is coming out of a 1/2-inch PVC pipe.

Then I hooked each of the timers up.  I don't have statistics right now for how quickly they would fill up a gallon jug, but I will do that at another time.

The first one I bought is a timer that does everything for you.  You set the time and then there are several options.  It is a Nelson automatic water timer.  You can set it to water everyday for 15, 30, or 60 minutes.  You can also set it to water every other day for 15, 30, or 60 minutes.  Lastly, it then allows you to twice every day for 15, 30, or 60 minutes.  I've always used the every other day for 15 minute setting.

Nelson Water Timer

I hooked the timer to the male threaded PVC adapter (where I can hook a hose too) and turned this thing to the On position.  Within a few seconds, water started trickling out – not very good.  This timer requires a decent amount of pressure to get water through.  I estimate that the throughput on the timer was about 1/4 what the throughput was without the timer hooked up.

The next water timer is a manual water timer – a Gilmour timer.  You have to set this one yourself whenever you want to water – but it will just automatically turn off when the time is up.  You can set it anywhere from just a few minutes to 120 minutes.

Gilmour Water Timer

I hooked this one to the PVC adapter and turned this one to the Manual On position.  Same thing as the Nelson timer.  The flow was maybe 1/4 of the flow that the 1/2-inch PVC pipe would push out without obstructions.

So, I'm not sure what to do yet about the watering situation with the garden.  I have heard of low pressure water timers, but I'm reluctant to buy one online and find out that it has the same problem.

What I don't understand about these timers is this – why can't someone just invent a timer that turns a ball valve to open the flow of water?  It seems all of these timers have obstructions or something that cause them to seriously slow down the water flow – but why not make a timer that allows a full-flow of water to go through?  Standard PVC ball valves work just fine – which is what I use on the spigot connection to turn on and off the water flow.

Anyways – moving on.

So today I got some motivation and decided that it was time to upgrade the water system since it fills quickly.  I figured that when I first made the system I would upgrade in the future.  I want to ensure that I have enough water stored if we have a few weeks without much rain.

I made a trip to the place where I get the barrels and picked two up.  I got home and drilled a hole in the bottom (well, it really will be the top of the barrel – but the opposite side of where the two bung holes are).  I then put some patio screening over it and used some super glue to put it in place.  This will allow air pressure to leave the barrels as they fill up – and the screening will keep the mosquitoes out.

I then had to go and get two 2" PVC unions, two 2" PVC T connectors, two 2" PVC male threaded connectors, and another section of 5-feet of 2" PVC pipe.  The PVC unions were about $7.68 each, the T connectors $2.09 each, and the male threaded connectors $1.02 each.  The 5-feet of PVC pipe was then $3.17 for it.  So, everything I needed to make two more rain barrels for $24.75.  Not bad – basically $12.38 per rain barrel.  However, I had another dilemma – since these are in the air, I needed building material.  Woops – there was another $20.  I had to get two 12-foot length 2×6 treated boards and two 8-foot 2×4 treated boards.  The 2×4 were the posts and the 12-foot length of 2×6 was used so all the rain barrels will sit on them.  Previously I had a 8-foot length 2×8 – but a 2×8 was a bit overengineered for this.  Each barrel takes up about two feet of space – so plan accordingly.  I then have the vertical posts placed four feet away from each other.

Just my luck – it started raining during the process.  I got the two holes dug for the posts and started drilling the holes in the 2×6 boards to put the lug screws through.  It got muddy quickly since this is build on a hill beside the garage.  But, I managed to get it all done.

So, now it is an approximately 330 gallon rain barrel system – up from the 220 gallon rain barrel system.  I think I'm satisfied with this and I'm done building it.

While there is the advantage of additional storage capacity, I also tweaked the downspout a bit.  Previously, I had a 90-degree gutter elbow and then a straight piece of downspout attached to it that was about six inches long.  Well, where the elbow and the straight piece come together, there was a leak and it made ruts in the ground.  So, I moved the whole rain barrel system over closer to the downspout by about eight inches – so I no longer needed the straight piece; the 90-degree elbow attaches directly to the hole in the gutters and diverts it right into the barrel now. 

In the picture below, you can see on the upper left side of the white rain barrel, there is a 90-degree elbow that was cut down to size connected to the gutters.

330 Gallon Rain Barrel System

Below is the under side of all the barrels.  Again, they are all hooked in series using 2" PVC pipe with a PVC union between them so I can disconnect the barrels individually.

Rain Barrel System

And lastly, you can see the main downspout attached to the garage.  It is not attached to the gutters though (hard to tell in the picture below).  Then there is another downspout coming from the top of the white barrel – this is the overflow downspout.  When all the barrels get full, water will overflow into this and go down this to the ground.

Rain Barrel System

March 14 Update – More Concrete Timer Trials

This afternoon I got out and did some better testing of the water timers.

After I got the new system hooked up, the barrels collected just about 28 gallons of water amongst all six of them.  On the white barrel, there are lines every 10 gallons of capacity.  Of course, since the barrels turned upside down, the numbers also go backwards – so 50 gallons shows at the bottom.  Anyways, the white barrel was filled up to almost 3/4 to the line of the 50 gallon mark.  Also note that the white barrel is also approximately two inches higher than the rest of the barrels – so I estimate that all five barrels have 4.75 gallons of water and the white barrel has about 4 gallons of water (total of 27.75 gallons).

Since the barrels are not completely full, this means there will be less pressure as well.  When the barrels get full, I will take measurements again.

Using just the ball valve to open the flow of water to a gallon jug, the time it took to fill was just under 8 seconds.  This yields about 7.5 gallons per minute.  While I can't be certain as of yet, I don't expect this to decrease with the barrels completely filled – maybe by one second at the most.  The flow was fully unobstructed so this is what the 1/2-inch PVC pipe is capable of.

I then dumped the gallon of water back into the top of the barrel – just to ensure that the numbers would be fully the same.

Next up – the Gilmour water time.  I was very unimpressed and know that this clearly will not work in a situation where the barrels are at this level.  The Gilmour manual water timer took 68 seconds to fill a gallon jug – that is 8.5 times slower than just using the unobstructed ball valve on the PVC pipe.  Therefore, the Gilmour manual water timer puts out about 0.88 gallons per minute.

Water was them dumped back into the top of the barrel.

Lastly, the Nelson automatic water timer.  The Nelson water timer was quicker than the Gilmour – with it taking 40 seconds to fill up the gallon jug.  The Nelson timer effectively worked at 1.5 gallons per minute in a low pressure situation.  Therefore, my original estimate of the timer output of 1/4 compared to the unobstructed flow was almost correct – the actual output was 5 times slower, or 1/5 the output of the unobstructed flow.

The Nelson water timer may work fine for the garden – but that means I need to buy three more timers!  I need four total – because I'll have behind the garage, next to the house, and two 4 x 20 areas up front – and they will all have to be setup so that one waters an area and shuts off – then the next one would water the area and shut off, etc.  With the timer being on for 15 minutes, this would put out 22.5 gallons of water for each water space – multiplied by four watering spaces is 90 gallons of water.  Wow – good thing I upgraded the system to 330 gallons – because it would only take 3 2/3 waterings to fully drain the barrels!  That means I have a capacity of just about one week of water if I water every other day – provided there is no rainfall in the week.


Planting Celery

So far I have discovered that celery is clearly a very picky seed to get started.

I started six Ventura Celery seeds approximately 12 weeks before our last frost.  I then planted another 12 at 11 weeks before the last frost.  Lastly, just last week (10 weeks before the last frost), I planted another 24.  The first two plantings were all done with only one seed in each square of the standard black six-packs

Finally after 18 days, only two of the six celery seed from the first planting (12 weeks before the last frost) sprouted and came up.  Originally, this seed was just directly planted right in the containers with about 1/4 inch of soil over the top of them.  So, this is about 33% seed germination.

The same was done with the celery planted 11 weeks before the last frost – one seed per square and directly seeded 1/4 inch under some soil.  Unfortunately, zero of these have sprouted.

Now, here comes the interesting part.  I read several places that by soaking seed overnight, this helps to break the hard casing of seeds.  I gave it a try and then I planted two seeds per square in 12 squares (between two black six-packs) for the seeds planted 10 weeks before the last frost.  The seed was also placed right on top of the soil (although by watering, the seed may have been covered by a very thin layer).  Some folks said that celery needs sunlight to grow – so I opted to place them on the surface.

The growing area ranges from about 57 degrees at night with the fluorescent lights off – to about 68 degrees during the day after the lights are on and warmed up.

Amazingly enough, so far 11 of the 24 celery seeds have sprouted!  That is almost a 50% germination rate.  And the interesting thing to note is that these have all germinated in 7 to 8 days.  That is a big difference compared to the 18 days it took the first two seeds.

So by experimenting with the Ventura Celery seed, it paid off.  I now know that one of two things caused the better germination rates and faster germination:

  1. Soaking the seed overnight
  2. Sowing the seed on the surface of the soil

To further experiment and to provide some insurance against seedlings dying, I am planting another 24 seeds tonight because I need a total of 16 celery plants to go into the garden this year.  So, I am going to plant two seeds per square in 12 squares.  However, I'm going to further experiment by planting one six-pack with the seeds about 1/4-inch under the soil.  The other six-pack will have the seed placed right on the surface – just like this previous bunch.

By doing so, this will tell me which is true – whether it is the soaking of the seeds that makes the difference – or if it is the fact that they must be sowed on top of the soil.  If the seed that is planted 1/4-inch under the soil germinates just as good as those planted directly on top, this will tell me that it was the soaking of the seeds alone that allowed for the better germination.  But, if those seeds sowed 1/4-inch under the soil do not come up as well, this says that you need both to place the seed right on top of the growing medium – and to soak the seeds overnight.

Here is a photo of the two celery seedlings that are doing well.  These are the first two that sprouted out of those planted 12 weeks before the last frost.  You can also see on the right right-hand side, there are two little celery seedlings that just emerged and are coming out.

Ventura Celery Seedlings

Here is a closer look of one of the seedlings.  My camera just does not do a good job of getting close-up pictures so I'm not impressed with how some of these turn out.  But, there is a dark spot at the end of the seedling – and that is the actual seed itself.

Ventura Celery Seedlings

Update – March 22

It seems that the Ventura celery needs to have a combination of being soaked overnight and also placed right on top of the growing medium to grow.  So it very well may be true that celery seed needs light to germinate.  I did mist the containers about every other day, but there have been four new celery that have sprouted from those squares where the Ventura celery was placed right on the surface.

None of the seed that was planted 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch deep have sprouted as of yet.


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Several Changes In A Week

There has been a lot of changes in the past week around the seedlings and the garden.

We had a nice Saturday where it got up to about 52 degrees and was even over 70 degrees in the sun.  So I used the time to work outside.

The retaining wall is almost finally completed!  I have a few more blocks to add, rebar to put in, and the fence to put up, but most of the work has been finished.  I asked a question on the GardenWeb forums about rebar and any problems it may cause with leaching iron oxide into the soil.  A piece of rebar will be placed in each square (two squres per foundation block) to help strenghten the wall.  The squares will then be filled with soil and one onion placed in each.  So, i was concerned that as the rebar gets wet, it would leach iron into the soil around the onions.  But, all is well and no problems with this setup.

Foundation Block Retaining Wall

Foundation Block Retaining Wall

Foundation Block Retaining Wall

This year I will be building another 4 x 20 foot box in the front yard.  It will be placed about two feet away from the current box and this two-foot area will undergo changes.  The plan is to put down pea gravel between the two beds and get rid of the underlying Zoysia grass.  The same will have to be done for the new box as well – so that is a large 6 x 20 area of sod that has to be removed.  In order to allow for this box to be built, I had to move the Granny Smith apple tree.

I dug another hole about 8 – 10 feet away from the current location and moved the tree.  The roots of the tree are still very small and didn't seem like they grew much in a year.  I think some of this is attributed to the damage the deer continue to cause.  Over the winter, it seems they have chewed off three or four more limbs at the ends.  That is not good because the branch will not grow from that point any longer – but more buds will come from it.  The tree already has several buds on it – so I'm hoping the tree can make a come-back.  We got some edging blocks and then put down some landscape fabric and rock around the tree so the Zoysia grass doesn't take over (like it did at the other spot it was sitting at).

Granny Smith Apple Tree

Lastly – for the seedling update.  So far about 14 Copra Onion seeds have died leaving exactly 100 left.  Last Thursday I planted about 28 additional Copra Onion seed just as extra insurance.  The onions are also well on their way to having their second set of "leaves" – but some of them are bending over at a 45-degree angle.  Hopefully they will come out of it, but I'm not sure what they are doing.

Copra Onion Seedlings

As for the Ventura celery – I finally had one seedling come up last night!  It took 19 days from the time it was seeded to the time it came up.  The container it is in gets to about 58 degrees at night and up to about 68 degrees during the day with the fluorescent lights on.  The celery was planted in regular garden soil about 1/8 – to – 1/4 inch deep.  Folks on GardenWeb indicated that celery needs light to sprout so last Thursday I planted 24 additional seeds in two six-packs (two seeds in each square).  They were just put right on top of the soil and watered in.  So far none of them have sprouted.

Ventura Celery Seedling

Thinking maybe the celery needs to have a more constant and higher temperature, I took a six-pack of celery planted last week and a six-pack of celery planted the week before and placed them in the "greenhouse".  The greenhouse is just a container that has a veggie heating mat under it and a clear cover over the top to help keep in the moisture.  The heating mat seems to keep the temperature at a higher 75 – 80 degrees.  Once they sprout, i will then put them back under the lights with the regular temperature.  This will help to me to determine whether celery needs to be heated to germinate quicker.

That is all for now.  The weather has been in the lower 50's and continues to be in the lower 50's this week but up to possibly 62 on Wednesday!  The daily low temperature has not been below freezing in a few days either.  I hope that we still have nights below freezing because I'm not anywhere near ready to plant outside!  The average last frost date is April 27th – but I base the last frost date on May 11th – because there is only a 10% chance of frost after this date.

This week I will be starting the broccoli, tomatoes, and peppers.  This week is 9 weeks out from May 11th.