I'm starting 11 types of perennial seeds, most of which have a stratification period. I think I confused myself by doing too much research, finding that germination success varies depending on variables such as temperature, how long at that temp, pregerminating, etc. So, I decided to make it REALLY complicated and use 2 or 3 method per seed type. : ) The spreadsheet I made is confusing me, but I have little pots in the fridge, in an area of the basement that's 40F, another at 50F, etc. I should have just thrown 'em all on the ground and see what comes up in the spring!! Will report as progress is made . . .
They have a self-watering mat with a tray that you add water to about once a week, just to keep it topped off. The seedlings never stand in water, they just get a moisture supply what wicks up from the mat. I've had zero problems with damping off. I've noticed a few customer comments on the Burpee site about difficulty getting seedlings out, which renders the flat unusable. I've had no such problems. I use either a butter knife or a fork to gently lift the seedlings out of each cell. Works like a charm. (I should add that re-potting the seedling while it's still lying on the fork tines makes things super simple for me. The fork makes it so that I never touch the seedling or tug on any stems, leaves or roots.)
I suppose a $20 kit isn't for everyone, but I've got two of them and I'm going on my second year using them and, although I also use cheap flats, I like the Burpee ones the best. I'll probably pick up another two this year. I find them at Stein's Garden Center here in WI.
Kayley, your seedlings are beautiful and the flat sounds great! Your right about some customer complaints - I think lots of folks are new and just don't know how to handle seedlings yet. (Actually, tomatoes like their roots to be roughed up a bit!)
I did something different this year with containers: I noticed that plugs do really well and I think it's the long root system they develop. So, I scoped out same size containers (about 2" X 5"). They have red plastic caps on either end. On one end, I punch holes for drainage. Then I got little green baskets at the Dollar Store with webbing in the bottom. Now, all I have to do is bottom water by putting the basket with "plugs" in a tray of water. I think it will work but not sure!
Here's what I'm starting with a short version of the various sowing methods for each (I've got seeds all over at various temps - poor DH)
Agastache rupestris (Sunset Hyssop) 1) Direct sow May 2) Start inside March
Amsonia tabernaemontana Eastern Bluestar 1) Direct sow Jan 2) 35F stratification in fridge Jan
Aquilegia vulgaris 'Leprechaun Gold' 1) Direct sow Jan 2) 40F stratification basement Jan
Heuchera americana 'Marvelous Marbles' 1) Direct sow Jan 2) 50F stratification basement Jan
Hyssopus officinalis (Blue hyssop) 1) Direct sow May 2) Start inside March
Penstemon heterophyllus Electric Blue 1) Direct sow Jan 2) 40F stratification basement Jan
Platycodon grandiflorus 'Mother of Pearl' 1) Direct sow May 2) start inside March
Polemonium caeruleum 'Blue Pearl' 1) 70F strat 4 wks, then outside for cold strat 2) Start inside March
Polemonium pauc. (Yellow Jacobs Ladder) 1) Direct sow Jan 2) Start inside March
Thalictrum dasycarpum (Purple meadowrue) 1) Direct sow Jan 2) 35F stratification in fridge Jan
Thalictrum flavum glauc. (Yellow meadowrue) 1) Direct sow Jan 2) 35F stratification in fridge Jan
Yikes! Thank God I'm between jobs - would never have time for all this otherwise!
sherri - where'd you get those neat little tubes? I think you've got a winner there.
I did get some stuff started yesterday.
Stratifying in the fridge -
Aquilegia 'Yellow Star'
Aquilegia 'Sunlight White'
Consolida ambigua (larkspur)
Echinacea 'Summer Sky' - not sure about these since they were collected
Aquilegia atrata (trying this one both ways)
Asclepias (not sure what species - collected from the wild in TN)
Poppy 'White Cloud'
Poppy 'Mother of Pearl'
Primula 'Millers Crimson' (hopefully seeds are still viable)
Tradescantia - species unknown - collected from our local bike trail
Still have one more poppy to sow but waiting for a container.
Wanting to sow more but I'm going to TN at the end of the month and don't want to leave DH with too much to take care of.
Hi, Cindy - the place is called American Science and Surplus. Link: http://www.sciplus.com./index.cfm. If you're ever in the Chicago area, stop by one of the stores. Plan on being in there for at least an hour because they have so much interesting stuff! Lots of science kits plus military surplus (a 1970 army field guide to survival in 'Nam - seriously!), widgets, whatnots. Pretty cool! What does "WS" stand for? Your seeds sound great - looks like you're into the columbines like me!
Sherri, that looks like a pretty ingenious setup you've got there! Like you, I've also noticed that plugs do well--I think you're right about the long roots. That's one of the things I like about the Burpee seed starting system--each cell is relatively deep. By the time my seedlings have their first set of true leaves they've got root systems root systems about 3" long already and I can just pop them out of the cells and transplant them. From there, they really take off. :)
@TCS - thanks! : )
@ Kayly - Right on about the roots! Hey, I just went back and saw one of your herbs is catnip for tea . . . I love tea, but never thought of catnip. Is it good? (Must be, if you're drinking it.) I may try that. We have some stray kitties, though, that we feed. I wonder if cats would go after it before I could harvest? Worth a try . . .
Sherri - Catnip is in the mint family and has a sort of minty-citrus taste. I like it in tea. It's actually (despite its affect on cats) a mild sedative, so it's good for a bedtime tea. I usually add honey and lemon to my tea, otherwise I find it has a little bit of bitterness to it.
sherri - your store kinda sounds like Army/Navy Surplus in a way. Haven't been into one of those stores since I stopped wearing sailor bellbottoms years ago. :) Will have to mention your store to DD - she's home schooling and might find some interesting stuff there.
Never though about catnip for tea. Interesting. I'm a caffeine addict and find it difficult to switch over to herbal teas. I am taking a step beyond Lipton's with oolong and green tea. :)
Everybody ready for blizzards???
Kayley - thanks, I think I'll try it! Cindy - really, only a small corner of the store is military surplus, the rest is science stuff and just a variety of widgets, wires, and whatnot. It is very cool!
I'm ready for the storm! Already rescheduled an interview with a recruiter that was tomorrow so I could take the folks out to stock up before the snow hits. Times like this, I'm actually glad I'm not working!
As long as we don't lose power, I'm fine with a blizzard (especially if DH stays home from work to run the snow blower instead of me shoveling!). I am also glad I'm not currently employed although I have to start looking again after my TN trip at the end of the month. The thought of driving the expressways in a blizzard again are scarey - I was much younger and braver during the last one.
So far in the "storm", yes the same one headed for Illinois, we have 12" of snow & still snowing. That was at 5 PM. Don't want to look no more! The stuff is nice & fluffy. Wind tomorrow to hit 30MPH, so should really be a mess. We have most of the 60"+ that we've had this winter still on the ground.
Just done bidding on an online auction. Stupid computer couldn't keep up, so I missed a few things. It was all brand new doors, Oak, Maple, Cherry & Steel. We need some for the antique shop & a bunch for DD house. Not sure what I got yet. When they sell 497 lots in about 45 minutes it gets wild.
it has just really started here. we got a bit of a 'dusting' but it is just picking up. Bud is outside covered in snow. we are supposed to get 1-3" before it tapers around midnight... we shall see.
the BIG stuff should be hitting us Tues afternoon into Wed. again -- we shall see.
they are talking anywhere 12-26"
We got maybe an inch or two of snow last night so that wasn't bad. Funny how we were just "talking" about the '67 blizzard in another thread last week. Should have kept my mouth shut.
Ready to start my third poppy variety today for WS now that I have my container. It's going to be interesting to see what sprouts come spring.
I don't think I'll be using the gardening tools on my front porch for a while. :(
I'm guessing we got around 12" total here, more or less. The wind was really howling last night and watching the snow come down out by the streetlights was certainly an impressive sight. I think we were actually in a dry pocket, though, because other areas got it far worse than we did. We were on the northern edge of the blizzard warning area.
My husband's work (in a western Milwaukee suburb) sent an email last night saying that everyone needed to report to work today if they "felt comfortable" making the attempt, otherwise they had to use one of their vacation days. There was such an employee uprising that about a half hour later another email came through saying, "We've revised our decision and decided to trust the weather forecasters as to the magnitude of this storm." Idiots. *rolls her eyes*
Take a vacation day? DH was advised yesterday not to come into the office but to take whatever work he could do from home. That's not so bad because he'd do that anyway.
My reward for clearing snow this morning is to make up some paper pots and pot up some parsley seedlings. And WS my third poppy variety. I did have to remove the snow from the roof of my little GH this morning. I was afraid it might start sagging under the weight of 12". Thank goodness it's sheltered from the N and NW winds on the south side of the garage.
Congrats to your nephew. Have been to Great Lakes but it is quite a drive from here. Oh - and Navy pea coats were very fashionable as well as the blue chambray work shirts. I still love work shirts to this day.
Oh, Cindy...I think this thread went astray looonnngg ago. Thanks for the reminder! If only I had my paycheck. I get paid monthly on the 1st and have to wait for the check to arrive in the mail (I telecommute.) Given the storms, it may not get here until Saturday, or maybe Monday. :(
Kayly - I'm sorry about the paycheck timing. For some reason, I kept thinking the deadline was the 6th or 7th until I looked at a reminder postcard yesterday.
OK - back on topic - I WS'd poppy 'Pizzicato' today. For the moment, I shoved it outside into a snow drift until I can get to the boxes with the rest of the WS containers.
When they aren't out of stock, I hope to try "1801 Deep" - 18 cells in 3 rows of 6
606Jumbo (6 6 paks = 36 cells, said to be 3.5 to 4" deep (maybe).
What do you use to improve drainage in seed-starting mixes? Mine always seem mostly-peat moss, dense and soggy. I've started adding lots of shredded pine bark and Perlite. I used to add coarse sand until some authority dumped on that as not sterile enough.
I recently read about 'chik grit' and now I'm looking around for it.
Rick, I can't see how pine bark (unless itself is pasteurized) could be more "sterile" than sand. However it may tend to be naturally be devoid of harmful fungi.
If you don't want to use sand for your aforementioned reasoning, than chic grit might not be different in this respect. I am not sure what your grit would be made of in your part of the country. Here in the upper midwest, it is usually crushed granites. Other places may have crushed limestone or marble grit. None will ever come prepackaged as sterilized or pasteurized, as its intended use is not horticultural, and there is no need.
All that said, I do use sand and perlite not only to increase drainage, but also to control the expansion/shrinking quality of mostly peat based mixes. As many seed species I deal with require specific treatments that may take a year or more, the longevity of the mix is important.
Have you had fungal problems with your mixes amended with sand? And more so than without sand? As for myself, I have not.
I've been using the non-organic seed starting mix from Gardener's Supply for years. It seems to be just the right consistency without having to add other things. It is a sterile blend of peat and vermiculite. I did try their organic stuff but it was too dense. Pre-wetting is a must (I usually do this by mixing with water in a big plastic bowl) and being careful not to pack the mix too tightly into cells is also important.
>> I can't see how pine bark (unless itself is pasteurized) could be more "sterile" than sand
I agree, unless the guy I heard that from (Tom Clothier?) was thinking of dirty piles of builder's sand.
>> chic grit might not be different
That may be true, and yet if they intend it to be fed to livestock, I hope it is a little bit clean, at least compared to something destined for concrete. "Crushed granite" sounds right, although there is supposed to be another category, some kind of crushed shells. I need to find time and budget to go shopping!
>> None will ever come prepackaged as sterilized or pasteurized,
I'm sure you're right.
>> Have you had fungal problems with your mixes amended with sand? And more so than without sand? As for myself, I have not.
I can't say "more so". I think I am primarily drowning or suffocating roots with too-heavy mix and/or too much water. After that, I may have some damping off, but I think that "not enough light" and "too long in the trays" are bigger problems for me than fungus, mold, bacteria, etc.
And, lately, I accepted that i will have to buy heating mats and thermostats ... or keep that whole room a lot warmer!
I'm trying to overcome my most obvious problems (including making a better-draining mix) and learning each year what NOT to do. Sand, bark and even perlite are steps towards that. Probably, once I get to a point of "usually fairly successfull", I'll be abole to try out smaller, single changes and see what matters a lot and what doesn't (like sterile-vs-clean and bark-vs-sand).
For example, if something works well with "easy, fast" seeds, I'll try it again with variations on small, slow, difficult seeds.
[quote="CindyMzone5"]I've been using the non-organic seed starting mix from Gardener's Supply for years. It seems to be just the right consistency without having to add other things. It is a sterile blend of peat and vermiculite. [/quote]
Cindy, this sounds like the mix I use (although mine's from Stein Garden Center). It works well for me--light and fluffy. It sounds like you and I do a similar pre-wetting routine, too. I wet my mix in a plastic storage container using a squirt bottle to mist it and a big metal spoon to stir it up. The misting takes longer, but I don't want the mix too wet so I take the time. Plus, I like the earthy smell--it reminds me of spring. ;)
Using this process I haven't had any damping off problems. This year I did have a bit of mold growth on the top of the soil when I started my coleus seeds, but it hasn't affected germination or growth at all.
Heck, I just pour warm water into the middle of the mix and work it with my hands, breaking up clumps as I go along. I agree with you Kayly about the aroma - heavenly in Jan and Feb! And warm water works better for pre-wetting than cold water. Don't add so much water though that it's really soggy. This mix is a good match for the APS trays that I use since the water is wicked up into the mix as needed. I also use it in other containers (those plastic containers for lunch meats - poke several holes in the bottoms and water from the bottom and I just set the lids on top to keep moisture in until the seeds germinate). I learned to not pack the mix into the APS cells too firmly because they will get over-wet (could develop a bit of algae if covered for extended germination) but the mix does have to make good contact with the wicking mat. I haven't had any issues with damping off with this mix. Since it's been so reliable for me compared to other mixes I've tried, I don't even experiment with others anymore.
Corey - your link is correct. I've tried their organic seed starting mix but it's too heavy and stays too wet. I usually get a couple of bags every year. You could possibly extend it a little by adding some more vermiculite.
Those little sprouts in the photo at the beginning of this thread have become what you see on the top shelf here (along with a couple of hostas I picked up at the garden expo last weekend). Isn't nature marvelous?
I have some coleus that I potted up in bigger pots on the 2nd and 3rd shelf. Impatiens on the lower shelf in the flat. (I planted them too early. I'M the impatienT one. :P) There are petunias and pansies just planted on the 3rd shelf.
Loving the green stuff, Kayly. What Hostas did you pick up at the Expo?
I did Coleus cuttings and have about 30 of them now potted up. Just a few more and then moving onto sowing some seeds indoors towards the end of the week. Yippee!
The hostas are 'Chain Lightning' (in the front) and 'London Fog' (the nearly white one in back that you can barely see). It's fun having hostas indoors. I'm starting a tradition of picking up one or two at the Expo. Last year it was 'Praying Hands.' :)
30 coleus! I should've rooted cuttings from mine last year and kept them indoors. The coleus I started from seed are, if you're curious, are 'Kong Red,' 'Versa Green' and 'Palisandra.' All of them are doing well, although the 'Palisandra' didn't germinate quite as well as the others (which were 100%!) I just counted and I have 24 little baby coleuses.
I found a couple of Coleus that I really liked so I keep them going from year to year (saving minimum of $3.50 ea) until I find another one that catches my fancy. I started 'Palisandra' from seed in the past (one of the very few) and I remember that germination wasn't spectacular. Congrats on the babies! I did order a few new Hostas as well - 'Fireworks', 'Rainforest Sunrise' and 'Frosted Mouse Ears'. I was tempted by some of the whiter ones as well but will have some new white Caladiums to play with this year so I might wait until a spontaneous covetous urge hits me.
'London Fog' is VERY white, actually. At least the little one I have is, and I'm told it emerges white then gets light green and heavily streaky/misted. But I keep seeing photos of 'Loyalist' everywhere I look lately and it's popping out at me in all it's mostly-white glory, too. So many hostas, so little space/money/time. :P
Enjoy 'Rainforest Sunrise!' It's one of my favorites. And 'Fireworks' is on my wish list. :)
I started seeds just this weekend but not quite to the extent of your out there.
These are Abutilon and Hyacinth beans. Have since sown but not photo'd Castor bean, some basil and some rosemary. Am trying one more time to do this seed starting bit. If it fails THIS year I am done. Never more to sow.
Nice light stand, cece! Did you get that at Stein Garden Center? I saw them there this week when I was shopping for containers and seed starting mix. The gentleman there kept trying to sell me one and I kept having to explain to him that I'd made my own light stand. He kept going on about how he'd looked into making his own but this was cheaper. I said, "Maybe so, but mine's already built..." hehe
Watch out for that basil--it grows fast! You can see my basil in the upper left corner of my last photo. :)
Hey Shari -
Cheap light stand - 2-bulb fluorescent light fixture - they come in 24" or 48" lengths and two fluorescent tubes (one warm and one cool is great). You can either prop the fixture up on two piles of books or flower pots or hang by chains to get the correct height. You only want the lights a couple of inches above the plants. You may want to check out the Beginners forums for more ideas for the lights and heat mats. If you're starting seeds in a warm house, you may not need the heat mats if you're really trying to cut costs.
Just got back from Menards - they have 72-cell plant trays for $3.49 each. Comes with the clear dome, the big tray and the little 6-pack cells. Don't fall for the fiber pots or pellets - not so good. I noticed they also had soil-less seed starting mixes (don't get any with fertilizers - Miracle Grow or Schultz) but it's not sterilized so not too sure about the Planters Pride brand.
Shari -- there is a place where the old lumber yard was... Irving Park west, just before the tracks at the airport... the place is called Brew and Grow. I've been there a few times. They have neat "stuff'.
they dont have the shelving units... I got these nice humidity domes there, and some trays... it's a place you need to walk around just once, at least, to see what you dont need... plus you live so close.
I've also gotten fertilizer and stuff... liquid seaweed and superThrive amongst other things.
Glad you found this thread... these gals are great.
Ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh...I'm so excited!!!! :-) Can't Wait! :-) Thanks for the great tips! Keep them coming! I WILL check the beginner's board. Thanks.
Terese - I "found" this board because of you! LOL
I saw some posts about building a stand from PVC pipe. Any thoughts on that?
I'm thinking about starting stuff in my garage...it never gets below 40 in there...thus my thought for the heat thing-y. But maybe I should do it inside? I'm having company for the next few weekends and thought it might be nice not to have the mess inside, but maybe my planting urges will take precedent over my company...
Menards also has that 11% rebate thing going on as well. That's probably why your DH went, Cece. The rebate is in the form of a store coupon/credit thing. Since it's only about 1/2 mile from my house, we're there at least once a week. Almost as good as getting those paper bags with 20% off anything you can fit in them.
Shari - One of my old Rodale books had plans for building a plant stand (3-tier, 4 ft long) out of 2 x 4 lumber and plywood. I know there must be plans out there though for the PVC one that would much easier to move around. The nice thing about my wooden one is that I can take out the screws and disassemble it for storage. Almost like a flat pack. And if you want to start seeds in the garage, it sounds like a heat mat is a must. It would be too cool otherwise except for a few perennials to start that need cold treatment.
I'm having a heck of a time finding seaweed extract around here. Alsip doesn't have their spring inventory in yet (I'm not buying a gallon of the stuff for $40!). I did come home from Menards with some oregano and spinach seeds, hoping to tuck a few in with my perennials. The seed sowing starts tomorrow!
We're at Menards at least once a week ourselves. He came home with a 5lb bag of peanuts in the shell for the squirrel feeder. He just didn't want ME to start going through the seed starter stuff...Told him you best sleep with one eye open tonight...
My setup (pictured above) was cheap...relatively speaking. It cost me about $120 total and it holds 8 large flats. I bought a wire shelving unit from Walmart ($40, but I think it was on sale), 4 shop lights, 2 sets of warm bulbs, 2 sets of cool bulbs (then mix and match 1 warm and 1 cool bulb in each fixture) and a length of chain and toggle hooks to hang my top light from the ceiling. (You could skip that part if you only want three shelves.)
If you want a simpler setup,a simple shoplight propped up on stacks of books will work just fine. The first year I started seeds I tried starting them in a southeast facing window with no extra light...and all I got for my efforts were spindly seedlings. So, get a light and rig it up and have some fun. :)
As for Stein Garden Center, it's a chain of stores but I think it might be just a Wisconsin thing.
Why do I never consider Wal-Mart? Hmmmmm...I will definitely visit there on my way home tonight and see what I can find for shelving. The shelving units seem to just get more and more pricey. :-( Hate it! :-)
I'm a TRUE beginner when it comes to this, so I will ask really DUMB questions! Sorry in advance!
By one "cool" and one "warm", I "assume" you mean a normal fluroscent bulb and a grow light? I see people talking about T8 or something and that they get hot and burn plants...what IS that?
I have to buy lights too, so plan to search for some shop lights...and, OF COURSE, have questions about that as well...do I want the ones with the reflector/wing things or any old shop light will do?
I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited! I can't wait! :-)
"Warm" and "cool" applied to these bulbs means the color of light. "Warm" might also be called "daylight" and means a little redder or pinker. "Cool" means a slightly bluer light. Mixing tubes gives plants a broader spectrum.
T5 and T8 bulbs are a more modern design, like the pretzel-shaped CFL "compact florescent lights" but straight. They are more efficent (more lumens of light per Watt of electricity). They're also smaller in diameter.
I hadn't heard that CFL bulbs ran hotter than the old-style, but that could be. Might that only apply to tubes that are "overdriven" by re-wiring the starters? Some people re-wire fixtures so that, instead of one starter driving two tubes, it only drives one tube, but drives it twice as hard, for a little more light per tube. That has to be inefficient and void any warranties! The diagrams I've seen for such re-wiring seemed to involve some guessing and trail and error, reminding me of the British Columbian police policy for catching people who grow pot under lights: "We catch them when they burn their house down."
I THINK that the old-style bulbs usually consumed more watts of electricity per foot (like a 4-foot tube used 40 watts). I think I've seen T5s or T8s that were 32 or 38 watts per four feet. (However, being more efficient, they may put out as many lumens as the old tubes, or more, just use less elecrreacal power to do it
I like that you're showing FOUR tubes per fixture. I think a lot of people use only TWO tubes per fixture to start seedlings. I'm no expert, but believe that more light is better, if you can afford the electric bill. (And the plants that are more than a few inches below the tubes will still get enough light.)
The lights that Walmart carries (at least my local one) are actually labeled "COOLER" (daylight) and "WARMER" (kitchen & bath), if that helps. With these particularly lights, I find that the cooler ones have a bluer cast, like Corey mentioned, and the warm ones are actually sort of amber. I've also found pinkish/purple tinted lights, but I stopped using them because my plants didn't respond as well. As I understand it, though, if you want your plants to flower indoors at all you need the pinkish/purple warm light.
You guys have totally LOST me. *sigh* I will stick to buying plant lights with the T5's and pray for the best.
Went to steins and bought their 4 foot one like the two 2 foot ones I have. I'll use the smaller ones for the germinating of the seeds and the larger one till (i can't no more) for the transplants after they are put in their spring homes.
but NOW I lost my room again. DD#2 came home for a few days? Today I find she isn't leaving again. No where to go. So...my room I set up all for MY private use is now going to have to be taken apart for her to move back into. Was a nice 5 months though.
Wow! Thanks for all the GREAT information! I'm going to be armed and ready I think! (I HOPE!) Love the great explanation of warm and cool. Helps me so much.
Will the newer T5/T8 bulbs work in the same fixtures as the older lights?
I DO want the lights with four bulbs rather than two; thanks for mentioning that. I've looked at as many posts as possible where pictures were posted and have seen mostly 2 bulb lights, but had already decided that more would be better...what do you think about the wing/awning/sidecover deal on the fixtures (some have it; some don't)...do you think that is a good thing or unimportant? Think I need that or no? And how much can the electric bill BE? I will start small (maybe 3 fixtures, so 12 bulbs...) I won't be rewiring ANYTHING; trust me!!!! Don't want to burn the house down and have someone think I was growing pot! LOL
That is a pretty funny thing though...the townhouse I live in came with a "story"...there is a closet that is under the stairway. When I looked at the house, the owner had it full of stuff, so couldn't really see beyone the stuff. When I moved-in and it was empty, there was a chain-pull for the ceiling fixture and then there was a switch on the wall. When I flipped the switch, all these grow lights came on under the stairs...and there was an vaguely familiar, odd smell...later found some leftover leaves when I was cleaning that closet out! :-) She had a little pot factory going on in that closet...Oh! Forgot to mention the closet is lined with mirrors... :-)
>> Will the newer T5/T8 bulbs work in the same fixtures as the older lights?
I strongly think NOT. The newer T5 or T8 (or T12) CFL style bulbs have their own kind of starter or "ballast" ... in fact I see them advertised as a "T8 Ballast" or "T5 ballast" .. though a few claim to be "multi-purpose" up to a certain number of watts, which sounds like a combination of T5 and T8 tubes.
>> what do you think about the wing/awning/sidecover deal on the fixtures
I think reflectors like that are very desirable. If the room lights up when you turn on the lights, those are photons that the plants are losing. I think the right measure is brightness or light intensity right in the leaf zone, and if you can reflect light back onto the plants, those are free photons. One way to see how much light you're losing is to hang a sheet of translucent paper where the side-reflector would go. If that paper lights up, that is light intensity you could give back to the plants. (Flat white is best. Glossy white is less reflective, but easier to wash or dust. Aluminium foil is actually a poorer reflector than white.)
I love the grow-room under the stairs. I wonder how many readers checked your addresss to see if they forgot to clean before they moved out? Are you going to put in a fan and use it for (legal) seedlings?
Shari, the pot closet story is so funny! But you probably could make use of that room for starting some legal seedlings. ;)
There seems to be a really broad school of thought where seed starting is concerned. You'll see people saying you have to have specific lights, and that you need reflectors, etc. I'm sure there's merit to the things people say about lighting, and some of it is very scientific. And yet...my little makeshift setup has worked perfectly for me. My germination rate is high and my seedlings fare well right up until they're planted out. I say this only to show that there are inexpensive solutions that seem to (from my limited experience) work just as well as the expensive ones.
I've used both aluminum foil and poster board (cut into strips) as reflectors when necessary. I like the poster board best. I just clip it to my light hoods with clothespins.
Yes, the room under the stairs has been a good laugh for my friends and I. When I move, you can bet your bippy that it will be the FIRST thing I point out to the buyer...perhaps had the previous owner been "innocent", she might have done the same! :-) Or had she been smart (whether innocent or not so much), I would have totally believed her had she told me the place was like that when she bought it and that she had no idea what the room was for! LOL
Thank you for all the light info! I will definitely be finding ways to reflect those photons back to my plants and not waste them (I'm hoping to start things in the garage).
Clearly, I need to do a bit more light research before I purchase!!!! Lots of prep before the "fun" part! :-)
I agree about the "lots of schools of thought" part! I do know that while my garage never freezes, it does get down in the 40's...and I think SOME heat might help...otherwise, I'll need to set-up in the house and I really don't want to do that with loads of company coming my way!!!!
Maybe I'll be learning the hard way this year, but I'll keep reading and listening and see where it goes...if I'm able to start even SOME of the plants I would normally buy, I'll be a happy camper for now! :-) I'll be REALLY excited if I have more success than that! :-)
Kayly, I am certain that you're right: there must be a million ways to start seeds. nature seems to have worked something out that doesn't involve any technology at all!
In choosing between flat white titanium oxide spray paint, aluminium foil or white cardboard, the difference might only be a few %. The tilt of the reflector would count for much more! And perhaps a majority of people use none, preferring to see the little green things and have convenient access. (But they could back one side up to a white wall, and get 50% of the benefit.)
"Enough light" is all that's needed. I like to obsess and fiddle, but not to spend money.
I've been trying to squeak by with what I have on hand: three spiral CFL bulbs screwed into a floor lamp with swivel hoods, and one clip-on-the-desk lamp. Allegedly the equivalent of 400 watts of incandescent fixtures, but still NOT ENOUGH for 3-4 trays.
[quote="KaylyRed"]The lights that Walmart carries (at least my local one) are actually labeled "COOLER" (daylight) and "WARMER" (kitchen & bath), if that helps. With these particularly lights, I find that the cooler ones have a bluer cast, like Corey mentioned, and the warm ones are actually sort of amber[/quote]
Cooler and warmer do not refer to temperature. They are generic terms that correspond to cool colors (those tending to red and infrared range) and warm colors (those tending to blue and ultraviolet range). So KaylyRed is correct in her observations. Realize also, that the color of the glowing tube itself will change depending on what color wavelengths the accompanying tube is emitting. For instance, two warm white tubes in a fixture will have a different color to them (as seen with our eyes) than a warm white accompanied with a cool white.
There are no light fixtures that can take both T12 and T8(or T5). The distance between the pins at each end of the tube is different, so there cannot be a universal fit. This is a necessary design, as a T8 are to narrow to accommodate the same pin configuration as a wider, old style T12. And a good thing too, as ballasts created for T12s would not support T8s, and vice versa.
>> There are no light fixtures that can take both T12 and T8(or T5).
I think you're right about FIXTURES, though I don't know if the pin spacing differs from T5 to T8.
I saw BALLASTS advertised as accomodating mixtures of tubes ... possibly wired differently when builkt into a fixture. It never clarified what mixtures were possible, and in my mind, the least-likely combination would be an old-style tube with any new-style-CFL ballast.
Last fall I purchased a T5 equipped seedling cart in anticipation of seed starting for this year. According to Murpy's Law this wasn't going to happen as planned since I ended up with a killer cold for 4 weeks that didn't want to let go. Then on my first good day I threw out my back moving around some snow and was laid up for a week. Then I got another cold for two more weeks.
I finaly did start some seeds on March 1st in an effort to at least get a little of my money back out of this stand.
I still need to start 3 types of zinnias as well as blue morning glories.
Since I still have about 4 to 5 weeks until the last frost I brought some young tissue cultured hostas in pots indoors to give them an early start. Fifty-two 3" pots and six 1 gallon pots. 58 varieties. I have about forty more varieties outside in 1 gallon pots. I'll have to set up some additional lights for the hostas that I brought in once I need to start transplanting the annuals into seperate pots. I also have a dozen varieties of Elephant Ears on the stand that I let go dormant while I was sick.
Sorry you've been sick and or laid up. I know exactly what it's like to have big plans and then suddenly be sick and have no ambition. I caught a virus a few weeks ago that took me 3 weeks to get rid of (and I'm still coughing a bit.) The first couple of days saw me glowing like a coal with a fever over 103. Not fun. So I completely sympathize.
Anyhow, I'm sure you'll have time to get your seedlings off to a good start. :)
I sowed my Marigold seeds on the 1st and they were already coming up on the 3rd. I am kind of getting carried away now as I usually do. I went to Lowes to buy parts for my kitchen remodel and ended up buying a few seed packets. I can be an impulse shopper at times.
Amaranthus, Summer Poinsettia Mix
Poppy, Oriental Red
Celosia, Pampas Plume, mixed colors
Tomato, Tasty Treat cherry
Poppy, Carneum pink
Moonflower, Giant White
Cypress Vine, White Feather
Black Eyed Susan vine
Coleus, Rainbow mixed colors
Cardinal Climber vine
Lupine, Russels Hybrid mixed colors
Gourd, Small Fancy mix
Corn, Orna Mental, Rainbow mix
Morning Glory, Crimson Rambler
Verbena, Florist Mixed colors
Tomato, Big Boy
About half can be started early indoors. I am almost finished getting all of those started but I had to go back to Lowes to get a few more parts and ended up picking up a few more packets of seeds.
Tomato, Early Girl
Poppy, Double Tangerine Gem
Snapdragon, First Ladies
Impatiens, Dwarf Pink Baby
Delphinium, Magic Fountain Dwarf
Pepper, Sweet Cayenne
Pepper, Hot Portugal
I also picked up four 2 light four foot flourescent fixtures to add to the two that I had since I will be needing more room for more seedlings. I have mainly been using 9 cell packs and anywhere from two to five of them for each type of plant depending on full grown size. The smaller the plant the more seedlings I am starting of it. I probably have about 40 hanging baskets to fill so many of the things will go into them. One third of them are moss lined wire baskets that I found on cleaance at a large local nursery last year. They range from 2’ wide to 12” spheres plus a couple of 10” cones. This year should look interesting.
A good deal of what I am starting from seed will go to Pet Haven plus I have tons of things in pots out on my driveway that will go there. I do a lot of propagating and always end up with way too many plants. Anytime I find a rogue seedling growing anywhere out of place, I throw it in a pot. I found a 3/4" tall cedar seedling once, it has been sitting in a pot on the driveway for years now and is almost 3' tall.
Did you get a lot of work done there in the Fall? is your ground thawing yet, enough to work now?
you are a bit south of me, and there is light frost now, but i think the ground is almost ready to - at least pull weeds.
Oh you lucky people. Our ground here in Waukesha is still covered in snow. and dirty snow banks, :( Ground is way too frozen to even pull a weed. Can't even find the bases of most of the shrubs that need to be cut back in late winter early spring.
I do have hyacinth beans up and transplanted already to their new container home with trellis.
I just came in from outside [trash day, but i scan the beds when I'm out there]
and had to check the weather... 42 today and 49 tomorrow... YAY, i will get at least the south bed cleaned. The hollyhocks have waken up, as has some of the parsley... so i have to trim those back, and maybe a few agastaches, and the Peony... that will be sprouting soon too.
also lots of pulling of weeds and grass that is in the beds.
Because we received the deed to the property in late fall I didn't have much time other than to get about 600 tulips in the ground plus buy a new riding mower and trailer to have for this year. I went there yesterday to put out a couple types of animal repellant and discovered big animal tunnels everywhere throughout the tulip beds. I know it had a heyday eating many but I doubt it ate them all. I am pretty sure it is a groundhog. I saw it peek out from under the bridge last fall. The ground here is pretty much thawed but too early for me to be pulling weeds yet. It will take a brushmower to knock down some of the weeds at the pet cemetery in the section that had never been used.
On topic I set up my 4 additional lights this AM and am busy filling cell packs and peat pots like a madman!
So far this past week I went from having six 48" flourescent tubes running to 18 of them. I still have one 4' wide shelf to fill up but will probably set up just one more shelf with two more double fixtures. I am going to cheat a little on one thing and order a flat of 100 rooted starts of varigated Vinca major vine.
Yep, cece...stupid snow. Just yesterday I was touring a greenhouse looking at spring plants and today I'm looking at a few inches of slushy white stuff. (Funny thing happened just now. I started typing "slushy white stuff," and even said "stuff" in my head as I was typing, but when I looked down my screen said "slushy white sh--." How Freudian is that?)
LOL, cece! Poor Vince Condella. (I like him, actually. He came to my son's school when he was little and he's very knowledgeable.) As much as meteorologists "predict" the weather...it's still pretty unpredictable.
Actually it was Rob Haswell I messaged. He's a hoot and sent me an email saying if he did that he would have about ½ of Milwaukee standing line waiting for their turns.
I have to give them the business. You know I haven't followed any weather other than Vince Condella, Bart Adrian(before he left) for 30 years. Of them all THEY get the closest. Channel 12 pfft and channel 4? Nope always Fox 6.,
I'm the same way, cece. I always follow Fox 6 weather and pay no attention to the rest, including The Weather Channel (which is almost always at least somewhat wrong.) I like Vince Condella and Rob Haswell...but not so much the other two. I've emailed back and forth with Vince a few times and had a photo featured once a few years ago. I'm kind of a weather buff and I've taken a few classes to become an amateur storm spotter. It's fun. :)
Last fall when we had that wind storm that blew down my pergola and turned over all the brugmansia pots, Rob Haswell had it on the am news of the picture I went in. Told him the damage wasn't much compared to what others had but damage enough for me and my Brugs. thought it was nice he mentioned that and showed the pic.
I have been able to feel drastic weather changes since I was a kid. I never put faith in weather predictions. I can often be seen watering the garden in the rain. The temps are finally beginning to look up and stay up in the 50's and 60's during the days here.
franknjim, I'm like that somewhat, too. Well, I can definitely feel low pressure systems. When we had the wind storm cece was talking about, and actually days before it, I had some very strange experiences and so did my brother, his dog, and a handful of my son's friends. We all thought we saw weird "shadow people"...ghostly things, I suppose. (Actually, who knows what the dog saw? He was just plain freaked out and wouldn't go into my brother and sister-in-law's bedroom...not even when bribed with ice cream.)
I'm a person who believes that what we call ghosts are actually some sort of as-yet-unexplained natural phenomena. I finally put two and two together and attributed the weird experiences (and so many of them, all at the same time) to the extreme low pressure system. When the pressure is low I'm always uneasy and can't sleep. I sometimes hear odd things, too...vaguely like talking or singing, but without any source I can figure out. I really think it has something to do with the low pressure somehow and my being a little more sensitive to the atmospheric changes. Just a theory, but I think it makes sense.
i think you and I get the "warmth" from the lake [yea right] and he's farther inland, but south... so he wouldnt get that winter lake protection from the cold, but heats up faster being farther south. [maybe 2+ hrs from me. ] funny how that works, huh?
I am far away from that little Lake Michigan and down in the Illinois River valley which does help make it warmer here unless living right on the banks of the river. The first week of April is normaly when we get the last frost here. Last year was a bit wanky and I had to keep covering and uncovering about 100 hostas with upside down pots, buckets, tupperware and anything else I could find. I had to do this about three times.
cece, we're 5a but barely--zone 4 is just a little to our west as well as north. I suppose you could say we're on the fringes. Maybe that's why it's colder. It sure feels like a cooler than average March, though.
Zones actually have nothing to do with when spring shows up. They are for hardiness of plants. It goes by how cold your area gets in the winter.
Here in Minnesota, every 10 miles north & south is a one day difference in warming, etc. I used to live 200 miles north of where I do now. Our lilacs & other perennials are always 2 weeks or more ahead of up north.
Logically, spring shows up in the areas that stay warmer in the winter sooner than it does in the ones that stay colder, so thinking that way makes at least some degree of sense (even if it's not literally less springlike on the edge of the next zone.) But yes, I'm with cece...frustrated with a lack of spring. :)
Bernie... that's just not fair. we are windy, and just about 40 right now. not sure though what it's supposed to do today.
warmer next week.
did a bit of flower bed clean-up yesterday... i try to do a lil bit every day - otherwise it's a bit over whelming. BUT i dont want to clean up too much, in case we get another cold snap that leaves small plants unprotected.
My seed starting is keeping me pretty occupied like a mother hen. I am trying to force myself to stop starting more things and have done pretty good with that even though I am placing an order online today for 3 types of giant kettle gourds and an extra long handled dipper gourd today to add to the other three types I already bought. I tested my resolve yesterday and must do it again today by going into Lowes without buying more things related to seed starting. I will however have to set up just one more set of lights. I have 24' of shelf space now. I don't have a lot of self control when it comes to gardening. :^)
Most of my beds still have two feet of snow in them. The couple that don't are in the center of the yard and the grass is way too soggy to be walking on. I swear I saw a squirrel sink right down in the ground to his tummy... Shooed him off he doesn't need to be walking around on soggy ground and wrecking havoc on that brown lawn...
My list of seeds that I have started has been growing fast. A few things will have to be direct sown outdoors. I have a fan going in the seed starting room and try to keep the door open all day to try and keep the humidity level in there from getting too high. I have two cats so I have to close the door at night. I received my giant gourd seeds in the mail and am trying the wet paper towel in a ziplock baggy method. I don't have a regular heat mat for seed starting but I did have a large heated mat for a large breed dog that is 90 degrees on one side and 102 degrees on the other side. I am using the 90 degree side for the gourd seeds. I checked recommended seed germinating temps at a couple universities but they don't list gourds. Melons, pumpkins and similar vegatables like the higher temps for germinating so I think I will be ok.
Ditto Kayly on your setup, hugger.
I started some seeds a month ago and most are up but have a few stragglers. Have another big batch to start hopefully this weekend, including my tomatoes. Have been away and need to catch up.
I started a few things too early last year,so Im waiting to start tomatoes and zinnias this year..Live an Learn..Hoping my petunias start popping,have a few !! so Impaitent with those slow germinators...
quite the list frank,you must have a nice sized area for your sprouts.
I am quickly outgrowing the small room I am using especially now that I received my vinca vine bare root starts yesterday and have them all potted up already. I ordered 75 and received 106. I can't really complain but now I have to go buy some kind of shelving unit and more light fixtures today. Pretty soon I am going to have to start potting up seedlings which is going to take considerable room.
i dont start potting on till Ive moved my flats outside,I try to time things so I dont have to do much of that anymore..
frank ,what are you doing with all that vinca ??? Do you know Its an Invasive ?? just wanted you to know that before you plant it,the Major is worse than the minor. I know its pretty,ive gotten rid of mine,and purple loosestrife,and english ivy
Just dont want you to regret it,but if you know what it is good luck.
I bought the Vinca Major for hanging baskets and pots only. I have a lot of them. It doesn't survive the winters here very well. Once in a blue moon a piece of it can be found growing in the compost heap but that is rare. My Creeping Jenny grows like a weed but I just rip it out by the handfuls when needed. I started a bunch of cuttings indoors a couple of weeks ago to also use in the pots and baskets.
I just counted my seedlings that are up. 467 with another hundred or two that I am still waiting on to come up plus about 30 giant gourd seeds that are on a heat mat right now. Only about 50 are tomatoes, hot peppers and herbs. I will probably end up giving qute a few things away since I don't have the space outdoors for all of it once mature. I will have to perfect my seed collecting abilities this year so I won't have to buy as many next year and I will also be able to give lots of seed away. One lesson learned this year is to never use peat pots again. About 1/3 of my stuff is in them and even though I have a fan going in there a white mold has developed on the sides of them. I have started using hydrogen peroxide in my water to try and knock the mold down. The mold hasn't affected the seedlings.
I don't sell anything and this is the first time in decades that I have grown tomatoes. I can pretty much grow anything but it is usually hostas and other perennials. I prefer to give plants away. I also have about fifty 2nd year tissue cultured hostas and a dozen or so varities of Elephant Ears bulbs growing in the seedling room.
Pam(Woodthrush) and Brenda's co-op on yahoo. BnPCo-opBuying. I got about 100 new varieties last fall. I got over 600 tulip bulbs through the co-op last fall in about 18 varieties. The co-ops for this year have already started and will go on until it gets too cold to ship.
I think that next winter I will set up a larger, new and improved seed starting area down in the basement. I definately have to come up with an automatic watering system because hand watering the 500 something seedlings is not fun.
An automatic watering system would be sweet. Technically, my shelf setup could grow 576 seedlings (2 units of 72 per shelf) but I never grow that many because I have to leave room for when they outgrow their cells and I have to put them into 4" pots. And because I always plant to early and have things spilling out of my office by the time spring comes. :P
I should probably make another shelf setup next year to handle the overflow, and then vow to put NOTHING on it but the 4" pots when I'm out of room. (Yeah, like that would happen.)
I have a blog now with seed starting info. Not that anyone here really needs to hear my silly methods, but...I'll share just because I like visitors and comments. hehe
boy I hear you Kayly,I filled mine up I will be sorry ,when I need to start potting up... I have 1 set of shelves empty no lights though.Hoping it warms up enough by the time I need to potup..hoping for warmth soon for all. Tamara
I just wish it would warm up enough for me to put my seedlings out into the little portable greenhouse my husband bought me last year. I put a min/max thermometer out there and yesterday the max temp was 71 degrees (all closed up, although the bottom is open to the air because it's on wheels) and the min temp was 24. Still not exactly conducive to putting seedlings outdoors.
The temperatures here have been erratic, too. All week it's been in the 30s whereas just a week ago we were in the 50s. This fickle spring weather is enough to drive a gardener nuts.
Just when I thought spring had finally arrived, I'm back to the winter mantra "one more week" but it's maddening, especially after being teased with that warm spell.
Kayly, I used to have a portable plastic greenhouse (since passed on to DD) and I'd stick a small electric heater in there at night. I'd shut if off during the day since it would really warm up fast in there.
im too cheap too..its $8 bucks this year it was $6 last year,didnt buy one...LOL
At least the ground is thawed..Had to Bury my cat last evening..Unexpectedly had to have her put to sleep, she was 15,had been in failing health,out of the blue she was sick again,soo glad i was home yesterday..Her name was Sydney
Yea I heard flurries in our forcast too..I just knew Spring this year was not going to be,we can Blame that stupid groundhog...shadow no shadow phooey...when they said early spring I said ha...just had a feeling...Didnt read the alamac either...I was too cheap to buy it !!! Sun is shinning right now Ill take that.. = )
looks like tomorrow should be a nice day...
our "landscape refuse" pick up starts monday... so i'm gonna try to get some things cleaned up.
I've got this thorny tree, i think it's Buckthorn, and i hate leaving the limbs laying around due to the huge thorns on them... dont want any bunnies or critters getting poked... so i cut them and bag them up, plus my rose clippings.
but lots of stuff to get rid of... so this weekend should be busy... as long as it's not raining - i'll be out there.
This morning started out sunny but then the clouds moved in with rain to follow. Actually, the soil is on the dry side so I'm fine if it rains today. The spring clean up has officially begun so that means clearing the beds and the lawn of last fall's leaves - my least favorite chore. I vow every year to get an early start in hope of uncovering the crocus before they bloom but I never win.
Most of my seeds are up but I do have some no-shows. Plus I didn't plan well with cell packs to get bottom heat and those that don't and will have to try to remedy that. All of my WS poppies have sprouted now but no sign of Aquilegia atrata and a wild Tradescantia. Maybe they need a warmer temp to sprout.
Hubby and I managed to get the backyard manually thatched last week but ended up paying the neighbors lawn service a couple of bucks to do the front lawn. What took us all day in the back only took 5 min. with a machine. Tommorow I have to turn the soil in my little veggie garden; that should bring on a week's worth of backache and Tylenol!
Sounds like back-breaking work! I'm trying to get my back in shape by cleaning up leaves but the older I get, the more my back takes revenge. We don't have thatch since our lawn is thin due to shade but we do have to have it aerated which I would never tackle on my own.
I haven't even started my cleanup. I generally follow the rule - one full week of temperatures over 35 then clean up That is night time temps. We haven't had over 28º the entire month of March. One morning last week it was 16º at 4 am. I do need to get out and cut back this weekend., just leave'em lay where they fall. I can rake up when the temps are more reliable.. Last year by this time I was all DONE. We did our pond it will be one year on Sunday...with fish and all.
Snow/rain mix tonight. I say on another thread there is snowing falling in Monroe WI. :(
Well, it was supposed to be 50 here today and I think it's made it to 42 with rain. When it's this chilly, I'd much rather be raking to keep warm than grubbing about on my hands and knees. I'm hoping for better weather tomorrow since we're planning on lawn clean up (means more leaves and raking) and putting down some grub control and fertilizer. I keep thinking I'm behind schedule on the cleanup but I'm really not. Hope to have it completed by mid April.
looks like the weather is gonna snap after tonight. Cece -- that one week above 35... we had that, i cleaned 80% of my beds... then it got back into the 20s at night... some of my Agastaches suffered a lil bit ...but i think all else was OK.
K-- most of what i'm watching on the auction did not go up today while i was away... Whoot, i'm hoping to get at least 1 pretty one, maybe 2.
we are crystal clear blue at the moment. mid 30's i think. and with the rain yesterday - the weeds should pull out nicely today.
according to weather.com gonna be 50 , sunny and breezy. we usually get a few degrees warmer than what the weather liars state. so... should be a good cleaning day.
Bernie -- did you get any new snow with that last 'front' ?? I'm so done with snow, it's not even funny.
34º here but there sure ain't no sun. I'm not seeing it any where. This is the first morning in over two weeks where there wasn't any frost on the ground in the a.m. so I am not going to complain.
Did I tell you all I'm acquiring yet another area for a garden? So excited. DH has decided he wants a walk around the sun room from one walk to the patio. Then he says well may as well go from that other side walk to the garden shed, then said oh and from the patio to the garden shed. Leaving a triangular shaped are in between all three walks. When my BIL (who will be doing the walks) pointed it out to me, DH tried the shush him. Said she'll figure it out on her own eventually. Now she'll be impossible to live with, and buying more plants before it is even done!
I've things that have to get moved anyway so what a perfect place to move them to. There's a bit more sun there, a bit more room to grow and I didn't even have to dig it up on the sly while he was at work one day. BIL will come in with a mini grater or what ever it is called he uses to dig for me. No shovels, no nothing. Till after the walks are done. Then the triangle shape will be my shovel, digging, tilling, lawn removal... oh ick...no not ick. Yeay
Breezy, 43 degrees at the moment, and not looking all that inviting outdoors. My poor coleus have outgrown their shelves under the lights. (They're the Kong variety--big. And I started them early because I wanted them to be big for spring. Well, they ARE.)
cece, take heart--I see that NOAA (where I get all my weather info) is saying 58 and sunny on Wednesday. I could definitely go for that! And congratulations on your new garden area. I'm putting in a new bed this year, too. At least one, maybe two. I hate the digging work, too. I don't till, just remove the grass and use a garden fork to work in compost. Back-breaking stuff. A couple years ago I hired a "garden lady" to come and help me clean up my backyard when I couldn't. She charged $15 an hour. Best $60 I EVER spent. I should call her this year to make my new beds...
Decent weather today. Sunny, upper 50's but some clouds did roll through. Spent the entire day outdoors with DH. Raked and fertilized the lawn and cleared some of the beds that contain some small blooming bulbs. Gonna feel this tomorrow.
One seed-sowing success - 2 year old Cleome seeds. Thought they might be dead according to Deno but they've sprouted in 10 days. And I thought they liked varying temps to germinate and I was able to give them that in the little GH.
Congrats on the Kong Coleus, Kayly. but where are you going to put them for 6 more weeks?
Cindy, I did some raking and clearing today, too. Got the one small front bed raked out and all the creeping charlie pulled (why the hell does creeping charlie grow like gangbusters when everything else thinks it's too cold?) I don't think I accomplished as much as you did, but it felt good to be out there working.
Right now I have my coleus in my little plastic greenhouse. I'll cover them with a tarp for extra warmth before the sun sets. Today is my first day trying them in outdoors, so I hope the cooler weather tonight won't kill them. I keep checking the min/max thermometer to make sure they're not getting too hot or cold. Hopefully they won't mind hanging out there until it's warm enough for them to go in containers. (Hey, at least I'm putting them in containers--I can always pull those into the garage or onto the porch if it gets too cold.)
I don't have wild bergamot, but if I get the area along my fence cleared out for a bed I could definitely use some. I plan to plant thuggish plants there that spread all over because I just want to keep the area wild-looking. (The dogs will trample it, anyhow, so I need a sturdy garden.) So, yep! Pending getting that area cleaned out, I would love some!
Congrats again on 'Mouse Tracks!' I have BME and 'Mighty Mouse' so far. Gotta love the meeces. :)
I may have some hosta seedlings I can bring to the RU. Probably just greenies (or chartreuse--I have a few of those) because I'm keeping the two streakers this small batch of seeds produced, but if anyone wants a no-name hosta I'll have a few to give away.
I ordered my first mouse this year - 'Frosted Mouse Ears'. Other than 'Kabitan' and 'Chartreause Wriggles', I don't have any other small hostas. The 'mouse' is cute but what's the best way to highlight it in a garden bed? I generally keep the small stature plants up close to the patio but wondering if there's a good combo for these little guys.
aside from smaller / liners [hostas that have a long way to go til maturity]
I think I only have one really small one. It's a NoID for me, but has to be in the Tiara family. cute as a button, grows quickly, but i'm sure it's a small/mini -- maybe only 4" high.
I still have to find a good location for my "mice".
I'm heading up in a week... so i'll have plenty of time to play in the yard before i start getting new plants.
>> Tommorow I have to turn the soil in my little veggie garden; that should bring on a week's worth of backache and Tylenol!
Tiki, I may be crazy, but sometimes I do this to spare my back, if the soil is fairly loose already. I push in a pitchfork, either with my foot or by leaning on it.
Then I lever the tips of the forks up a little by pushing down on the handle - withOUT doing any heavy lifting. The uppermost part of the tines that are in contact with the soil act as a fulcrum, the long handle as the long part of the lever, and the tines as the short part. This way, you still get the mechanical advantage of the pitchfork's handle to do the hardest part: breaking up tough, compacted soil.
But you don;t have to lift a heavy weight at the end of a long handle - which, if you think about it, is the OPPOSITE of mechanical advantage. Kind of mechanical DIS-advantage.
That breaks up the soil enough that I cantwist the fork using my wrists, or both hands on the handle, flipping one "bite" of soil over on its side and up onto the surface. I still haven't lifted anything with my back.
I'll go along in a line or an arc, flipping bites over (let's say to the right of the line I'm following). The "flip" brings soil up from one fork's-depth to the top of the soil.
If the soil is tough, I might slip the fork in at a shallow angle, so it doesn't go very deep. Then I probably need to go back for a second pass, to turn deeper.
Now i have a row of clods to the right of a "furrow". I'll either use a steel rake to break them up, or slap them with the flat of the fork, and then rub the fork back and forth over the broken clods, as if I was smoothing soil down with the back of a shovel, but the tines of the fork tumble and break remaining clods down to small pieces.
This uses arm and wrist strength instead of back strength. The main back strain this way is just standing up while you work.
And sometimes I set a chair at the edge of a rasied bed, and work the soil I can reach sitting down ... down the chair a few feet, and repeat.
This would be a good discussion for the "Acessible Gardening" forum!
[quote="toni5735"]Tommorow I have to turn the soil in my little veggie garden; that should bring on a week's worth of backache and Tylenol!
People seem to go to either extreme - work 'til your back aches, or wimp out and claim they can't do anything at all.
The more you pamper, the more your muscles atrophy (especially as you get older) and the worse it will get.
The right thing to do is keep (or make) your back strong. Do work, but stop before your back tires. Give it a rest, and repeat in another half hour or so. Working until your back aches not only hurts, it's a bad thing because it can have long term detrimental effects!
Thought I'd show a couple of my plants that seem to do well in my 2"X5" containers . . . the Jacobs Ladder is going crazy!! Think I need to put those 2 (only two of 6 pots germinated) in bigger pots, 'cause I can't keep them in these cells 'till May - they're over a foot high! But, check out this guy's rootstock! Whoa!!
And this is a Heuchera 'Marvelous Marbles' (in the front), I started cold stratifying in January, and brought out into warmth in, hmm, mid March? Anyway, he's a sloooooowwww grower! The rest, off to the left, I just started this past weekend.
sherri - You could try cooling down the Jacob's Ladder - give it a cooler growing environment - to keep the size a little more manageable. Since it's a perennial, you could start acclimatizing it to the outdoors for a few hours a day. With daytime temps in the 50's or 60's, it should be fine. Still too cold to leave it outdoors overnight.
Are those the neat containers you got from the science surplus store?
Cece, look waaaay at the top of this thread, 1/29 and 1/30 - there's a linke to where I got the tube containers. It's American Science and Surplus store and the bricks and mortar place is about 5 mi. from me. A VERY interesting place you could spend hours in!! The website's pretty cool, too.
Corey, stop being such a GUY!!!! (Kidding!) : ) : )
Hugger, you've probably got the most beautiful garden on Earth - no worries, dear!
Cindy, OMG, I've thought and thought how to slow these guys down and didn't think of that! GREAT suggestion - thanks! (Just goes to show how we don't always apply principles we already know to our problems - and, that we always need the help of others!)
Isn't that AWESOME????? I love it. But then did you see Monday? 46. We're not in the clear yet, I'm afraid. But Sunday all my sun room plants go outside for the day... I can clean in there and move them all back in again., according to heights this time.
LOL LOL,Im way behind >>>Yes we are all loving the rollercoaster ride of spring arent we??Geez..I keep looking for the light,as a matter of fact its coming out now,a little sun for a little while.I will take it..
I did move a few things outdoors yesterday to make more room in the little GH. A hydrangea I received for Mother's Day several years ago - never knew the exact variety but since it came from a florist I doubted it to be very hardy - and some new parsley plants (since one that wintered over in the ground is already showing new leaves). The hydrangea already has flower buds on it since it's been resting above 50 degrees all winter. Both can still be moved indoors though if it gets cold again. Not moving the tropicals out yet and the other seedlings are a little too young to put outside yet. I did officially turn off the heat mats and grow lights and took down some of the bubble wrap to let in more light. All of my shelves are loaded though but seed starting is done for the season. Anything started too late will be doomed to neglect once May comes.
sherri - are you going to wash and re-use your containers? I was wondering if they would hold up to that in which case I'd definitely look into getting some of those. I have a similar system - one unit only though - 3" long cavities in a grid with open bottoms that sit up on base. Fill up the base with water and it wicks into the soil from below. I use it for my foxglove seeds. The cavities don't seem to be as roomy those as your containers and I might be able to get away with no "potting up" on seedlings.
I need to look into differnt trays too,needing to water from the bottom,an making it easier.I have no tropicals ,coulnt get rid of bugs ,I tried everything,trew out a flowering maple a mandaville..arrggg no more... just made me sad .LOL threw them all out in the dead of winter...LOL no more bugs. I used Bayer, i used seven,I gave them baths.Im potting up coleus today.
I bought a square yard of "rayon batting" from wal-mart for $6. I cut it into 6 rectangles and laid them on the bottoms of trays, and set inserts & pots on top. It seems to make bottom-watering more uniform.
Or you can buy "capillary watering mats" for 2-3 times the price. Maybe they last longer?
Years back, someone suggested using old flannel shirts for wicking water for bottom watering. I've never tried it but maybe an old insulated flannel shirt (DH always has an old one or two stashed back in the closet) with more "wicking" material might work better. Good suggestion with the batting, Corey. Along those lines, maybe a thinner trashed comforter would work too or an old blanket. What can I say - I'm cheap.
hugger - I was plagued by bugs in my little GH for two previous winters but none this past winter. I stopped trying to overwinter ornamental peppers (a big host to aphids) as well as flowering maples (also a big attractor) and haven't found a single aphid this past winter. I did dose my tropicals (a mandevilla and blue sky vine) once with Bayer last winter and it did help protect them. Spraying with insecticidal soap did not work at all. I was literally washing the stupid aphids off with my fingers (ugh!). Seems like certain plants just harbor the little critters like crazy. I haven't even had fungus gnats this year - a miracle. I do get spider mites in the summer in the GH - I experimented growing tomatoes in there last summer - so I don't plan on growing anything in there this summer.
Cheap is good! They've even invented laudatory words for it, like "frugal", "re-purposing", "sustainable" and "Green".
From the photos, that must be half the charm of Winter Sowing (from your trash barrel to my front yard).
And all praise to the Dumpster-Diving Divas! Those were the best threads ever posted to DG. Maybe we haven't heard from them since 2004 because they're all in jail, or the dumpster-compactor turned on by mistake during their Round-Up.
Cheap is very good.
Now I'm looking for Rayon yarn or felt - if it's cheap enough.
Cindy - I actually put those containers through the washer and they're fine! Yes - getting away from repotting was part of the plan for using those long tubes. I just never get around to repotting even my houseplants, let alone seedlings!
LOL,I like this lively Bunch LOL...
Favorite words,repourpose,recycle.Frugal is what I call the DH...squeek..squeek..LOL
Great Idea on the batting ,really great.I was looking at those trays ACCKKK and light carts..oUCH 460.00 it will hold 8 flats.Ive spent in 3 years on my set up 300.00 I can grow 20 flats.I used to spend that much on Annuals alone every year,not any more.
Gotta love this place for all the great ideas that are shared .
Corey - How funny! Your observations are hilarious. I do try to grab stuff though before it gets to the dumpster.
Wow, hugger - you've got quite the plant production setup! Wish I had a basement to propagate more stuff. DH didn't like it much when my grow light setup was in the family room. Made watching tv quite an ordeal with lights shining everywhere. I got kidded that the local cops would eventually get suspicious.
cindy,my set up is in the living room,not in the way tho..LOL...We joke about the light too.. no cash crop here..our Xsil is our local Chief of Police!!!!Although I could sell my annuals,Nahh id rather plant them in my Gardens. Its a very easy set up, 3 plastic shelving units,2 for plants an lights 1 for fans, shop lights, zip ties,chain,s hooks,fans,used a cordless drill to drill holes,then the shelves can be broken down. Im wanting to buy 2 more shop lights,for the 3rd shelf...if it would just get warm...
This group is so much fun! Can you imagine us Midwest gardeners being raided under suspicion of growing . . . ahem . . . (serious sounding voice) . . . "PLANT MATERIAL WITH HALUCINOGENIC PROPERTIES!!" I can see it now . . . "No, really, officer - the morning glories are for my trellis! They're only 'bad' when you bake brownies with the seeds!" and "The papaver somniferum isn't opium! Well, it kinda is, but . . . AAARGGH! Help, DH!"
I get teased ALL the time about growing "weed" in my office. My brother is the worst offender. In fact, last year when I pointed out a few of my favorite hostas to him (he could care less, which is precisely why I torment him with my plant nerd information) he asked me why I was wasting my time growing 'Maui Buttercups' when a green thumb would be much more profitable if put to use growing Maui Wowie.
I happen to think 'Maui Buttercups' is prettier. (I just typed 'Maui ButterCOPS.' Freudian slip?) O.o
hakf the time, when I pursue some unusual gardening gadget online, I'm embarassed to wind up on web sites about ... YOU know! "Grow Rooms" and all like that. Softwood cloning and I don't mean brugs or coleus.
I like "ButterCOPS". Friends don't let friends eat saturated fats. Come along quietly, we saw you buttering that toast!
Those naughty gardeners over in the Container Gardening forum keep talking about this or that great pot they just bought ... as if they were fooling the rest of us!
I happen to be making up some labels for castor beans right this second - I'm using a photo from Toxicodendron showing a flourescent pink seed pod or bloom that might be mistaken for a punk-rock hairdo, but not any ahem-substance.
(accidently wandering back on-topic)
Which would you agree with more, about castor beans?
1. Seed does not store well, sow as soon as possible.
2. You can store them 1-2 years if sealed and in a fridge. Just soak 2-3 hours before planting.
3. Direct sow after frost
4. Start 3 weeks early in individual pots
we;;... The seed I have, had I received way back last spring, but amongst the havoc of spring, misplaced them. Found them in February. Sowed them and now have about 4 pots, 2 of them containing 2 plants. So I have 6 plants, AFTER giving my son 3 pots of 2 in each.
I was told to sow them either indoors 3 weeks prior to planting outside, or to plant after all danger of frost. Which I was going to do last spring till I misplaced them. Sowed them when I found them.
Oh heck Corey I don't even know what I'm talking about. I forgot. I am going to bed. I are tired. See all in the a.m. Hopefully a little more wide eyed and bushy tailed.
Thanks everyone for the chuckles to start the day off right! Kayly - love the whole Maui thing. My kids still refer to my Japanese maple as red grass.
For a couple of years when I still had my lights in the family room, I covered the whole thing in weed barrier cloth at night so that it wouldn't interfere with tv watching. I'm talking 6 ft tall, 4 ft long and 2 ft wide.
There was a movie (not the TV series), "Saving Grace". She was a very good gardener with a big greenhouse, and needed money fast to save her mansion and estate.
She thought she was being discrete with all the kilowatt lights she installed in her greenhouse, for the "cash crop", but the entire town lined up folding chairs in the main street each twilight, and counted down to the time her lights switched on. A huge, dazzling beam went up and the whole sky lit up brighter than day, as they all cheered and hooted.
One of my favorite movie images. And it reeminds me of how the police in Canada catch people who grow "it" indoors.
"We catch them when they burn their house down."
To get back on topic, those have to be the easiest seeds ever to start. Deno method on paper towels, direct sow after frost, in well-drained cups ... anything works.
Saw a program on "Holmes on Homes" once where they were called in to refurbish a former pot house in Canada. Had to gut a lot due to mold and rewire the electric because it had been butchered so badly to fire up all of the lights. And the kilowatts that the house was pulling was astronomical.
You're talking about castor bean seeds, right???
I just saw the 4 week forcast,it is not pretty,,Farmers are going to be Screaming..I soo hope it changes..Give Us A Break..spose to warm up here today an tomorrow,Im still waiting its 48,70s spose to be the high ?? oh at dark ...LOL Im going out no matter what...
Well, it's 53 and sort of sunny and I'm hot because I just came in from setting some stones in the garden! I'm doing it the quick and dirty way - just dig to about the depth of the stone, pour a little sand in to scootch the stones down (they're flat - about 2" high and 18" or so wide) and set them till they're about 1/2" above grade. Easy!
53 here. Cloudy. I was out working in the yard some today. The hellebores are showing signs of life! I've got foliage growing and some buds. I dead-leafed them and they're ready to grow and bloom once the warm weather hits next week.
Pulmonaria are small but putting on new growth and showing buds.
Malva and delphs are putting on new growth and looking good.
Heuchs are just barely starting to show growth, but looking fine so far.
Rudbeckia look to be preparing to make a nice large patch this year.
Found barely protruding pips on Hosta 'Francee' (which is close to the sidewalk, so the ground is probably warmer). Just one astilbe showing pips. (I always lose them, so I'm happy to see at least one alive!)
Time to go rake the back garden before we get severe storms tonight and tomorrow. I'm a spotter, and we spotters are being warned that our area will probably be upgraded to "high risk." That doesn't happen very often, and usually means a pretty nasty severe weather outbreak. Time to keep eyes to the skies!
I got quite a bit done yesterday, and even got a 'bit of sun' -- i noticed my shoulders were pink.
yesterday morning... i did my workout - shorts and a tank... then proceeded to head out to get some work done.. .never changing into gardening clothes. thankfully i wore a visor, or my face would have gotten too much sun too.
checked the forecast... what goofy weather we have coming...
I also worked outside yesterday. Got all the beds in the front yard cut back and cleaned out. Surprised to see the things popping. My iris are all looking good. Lady's Mantle has new growth the allium is coming up tulips all over, bleeding heart on the side is up about 2 inches. I saw peony nubbies, daylily, lots more crocus in bloom hellebores are going to be blooming soon, fish are out in their cleaned out pond. Went out to make sure none were sleeping at the top as my DGD says. They are all swimming around happy little campers. Bet they thought they died and went to heaven to be out of that plastic trash can and in "bigger" waters. My pond plants had come in and said plant asap so hubby cleaned the pond out, put the water he took out back in,(it was just melted snow and rain water) then emptied out the rain barrels which didn't have all that much) Still needs a bit more water but its all good. There are 10 nice size fish and 5 babies. They must think they are on vacation when in the garage. They don't need to be reproducing in my garage.
My lilacs are budding out, viburnum, one other shrub, the name was right on the tip of my tongue and when I went to type headed for the hills. I'll remember it eventually
I feel so good now. I need yesterdays weather so bad. gonna like todays temps too, but not the storm that is to come with it. Was hoping Mother Nature would have pity on this poor soul and just stay like yesterday till Nov. Not according to the weather liars, though.
I hurt this morning, so need to get outside and work all the soreness right out again. Got to find a different pruner though. The one I used yesterday was a little rough on the wrist and the hand. Whole right hand was swollen this morning and the wrist hurt like a. *&)&^. Swelling is going done now and the wrist doesn't hurt except when I do this "nk" and this "di" so i just won't do it. All is good, here in Waukesha.
Oh I got a Spring Hill Catalog in with a coupon 25 off 50. I fell in love with the Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry. 59.99 plus shipping and handling. Was thinking about it UNTIL I went to Steins yesterday. They have 5 foot tall Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry, in full bloom, for 49.99 no shipping and handling. Now to get my son's truck for it won't fit in the Mountaineer even laying down. I had the employees measure it. The guy asked me your kidding right? I said no, I am NOT kidding, the manager came out the kid told him and he said its a reasonable request and HE went out to measure. He's been really nice to me since I had that interview for a job there in 2008. He asked me if I knew the difference between a pansy and a petunia and I said Yes, do you I didn't get the job but I'm there often enough April through September I'm thinking he's feeling guilty and I get special help. I don't know, that is just what I tell myself.
Nice to finally get some stuff done in the yard! Seems like all over you were very productive. I did some cleanup and then showered and went out to dinner with my husband. All in all, a good day. :)
cece, how is Spring Hill these days? I used them years back and they were good, but I've heard lots of reports that their quality has gone downhill. The last time I used them they shipped my plants so late that they arrived half dead and most of them didn't survive. I complained, and they said they would do something to address the problem (send new plants, whatever) but...I never heard from them again. Isolated incident? I don't know. But the Watchdog doesn't seem to hold a very high opinion of them, either. Too bad. :(
And you show those people from Stein's! There's one guy at the Oconomowoc Stein's who cracks me up. He's incredibly friendly and the minute I start looking at seed starting supplies he's over my shoulder telling me that I need to make sure I have lights and trying to sell me a $50 light setup. I said, "Well, I spent about $140 for a setup with 4 lights that handles 8 large flats. Yours covers just one. So, I think I'll stick with my system." And yet every time I come in there he starts talking to me about starting seeds. And clearly he's just learning how to do it and doesn't entirely know what he's talking about (he even admits that). But still...he tries to give me advice. Follows me (and anyone else looking at seed supplies) around like a puppy. It's cute...and vaguely annoying.
Weather-wise, it looks like our chance of bad storms here in WI is going to be for Madison and west. Less of a chance for severe weather here in Watertown and in Waukesha (although it's still a possibility). And it seems we're no longer being looked at as High Risk. That's good news. :)
That is VERY good news. With Ed going on 3rd shift, and me being a big baby with severe storms let alone tornadoes, I'll be a little easier with him not here. He's going to be on 3rd shift until at least June 1st. Not too wish my spring away but I wish June 1st was tomorrow.
I happen to love storms, and I love being a spotter. Of course I don't like the damage the severe storms cause and, although tornadoes are awe-inspiring to me, I hope I never see one hit a populated area. (They're impressive when they go through empty fields.)
My husband can be very alarmist when there are storms. (He's a trained spotter, too, but he's more, "The sky is falling!" where I'm more like, "Chill, it's going to miss us." :p) He'd be no comfort to me during a storm simply because he's always in a tizzy and I'm the calm one. hehe
If you ever want someone to talk to when you have severe weather looming, let me know. We can swap phone numbers in a d-mail or something. *hug*
85, sunny and windy today. Did a little more leaf cleanup around the patio and worked up a sweat. Couldn't spend the whole day outdoors as we had granddaughter's Montessori school recital to go to today. But the clouds are starting to roll in. Wouldn't mind a little rain since we put down some milky spore granules today. And the temp can cool off a bit as well since I'm still doing my cleanup and stuff is popping up everywhere. Hellebores, scilla, daffodils, forsythia, Hepatica, bloodroot. At this rate, the garden will be in bloom before I finish getting leaves cleaned up.
umm I said I was going to learn how to do a few things this winter,1 was to learn how to link. LOL I didnt ...Busy Bees we were yesterday..I got to ride again sunday too.Yea..So far behind ..Oh well..
Cece ,you are so right about being sore and getting right back at it, to work all the sorness out ..I sooo Agree.Try to tell my whimpy SIL that..!!! LOL...I think she thinks I Really Dont Have problems,degen disks 2 spots ,tendonitis elbow ,wrist,arth in my thumbs..Ill stop there !!! LOL...I feel Great today...it is amazing how some nice weather and working in the gardens makes you feel so Great..Happy Happy Day...
We had the wind all day & nite,right after we got home we could hear creaking in the woods,we have lots of dead wood standing ARGG,anyway 1 very large dead tree fell,we got to see it.All the dead wood is away from the house TG.Now we have ash borer in the few Ash Trees we have = (
Kayly ,cute ,but slightly annoying story ,to you... LOL Those light carts are soo $$$ Nice but no way,I can do 19 1/2 flats under 9 2 bulb lights 3 sets of plastic shelves for 300.00 that was spent over 3 years.Had used shop lights and shelves to start with.Growlux bulbs are way to $$ for me,warm an cool work just as well.
Daffs blooming now ,tulips getting ready,phlox too,Rudbeckias popping hope all new ones made it. WS rudbeckia TigerEye germination...YEA lots of others.Better go ck on them that wind last nite w/Tstorms.getting excited now .Im off to work have a great day.
My daffs have buds but I think it'll be a week or so before I see a bloom. I see plenty of daffs blooming in the yards of neighbors with more sun than I have, though.That's an encouraging sight! Hyacinths are pushing through and have big fat buds, too. Those will follow the daffs.
My mom has a few of those cute little dwarf irises blooming. (I've never really played around much with irises, so I'm not sure what they are. My silly Siberians refuse to bloom every year, although the foliage grows like crazy. *grumble*)
Every year I wish I'd planted some scilla and grape hyacinths in the fall. But by fall I'm always sort of out of steam and so I forget to plant fall bulbs. I need to keep reminding myself of the rewards I would reap in spring if only I remembered to plant in the fall.
I wonder...if I threw the grape hyacinths I bought last fall into the ground...would they grow? They've been sitting in a paper bag here in my office since last September. They must think I suck as a gardener. :P
Nothing to lose,they will grow..MIL had a bag for over a year I brought them home and planted them,ive divided them several times now.do you want some ?? I really have lots.R U going to the round up? I could bring some .
I think I'd be missing part of spring if I lost my Chionodoxa and various squills. They multiply quite readily and I now have drifts of them. I don't do tulips since they don't naturalize well and I'm way too lazy to do much for them to keep them blooming every year.
I have grape hyacinths as well. Those stinkers will come out in fall, not bloom but I get really tall and thick leaves. They stay green pretty near the whole winter too. I should go take a pic of them even after all the snow that was on top of them. My sun room bed just doesn't seem to do well for me, but they make it there no problem. Can't wait to see blooms. My Abelia (remembered the name) is budding out. and by them I have crocus blooms. I did NOT plant any there. I know I didn't I would have wrote it down somewhere and I can't find any where I did write therefore I DID NOT plant those. lol
I need to get a picture of those too. I tell you I took the camera out yesterday. Took a few shots and the battery went I tired, and closed the camera up. Its fully charged now.
My it is windy today. But the sun is shining bright so I forgive the wind.