Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grow Shelf and Seedlings

So I built myself a "grow shelf" over the weekend,transplanted some of the seedlings that were doing really well and set them under the grow light, and planted some new seeds.  Lets have a look, shall we?

I used 9oz. Solo cups (since they were the next size available from the teeny tiny Dixie's) and cut  some drain holes in the bottom.

I planted them in a 50/50 mix of regular top soil and compost.

They were getting pretty spindly under the full spectrum light. I may have to get back in there and add a little soil to them, but they're under a grow light now, so that should help too. [fingers grossed]

I'm really excited for these.  I love these tomatoes.

I have a few...

Under the grow light.

I had no idea what to get, so I purchased what I could find in the size that I needed.
I bought a 22" florescent fixture at Home Depot for about $20, which at the time, I thought would be ok, but the bulb was hard to find.  Also, it needed to be wired for electricity, so instead of adding an on/off switch I opted to just leave it on the plug (if that makes sense), since I intend on setting them on a timer anyways.  This is the fixture on my second shelf.  The top shelf, however, is set up with a fixture I bought at Menards, already wired (with an on/off switch) and came with a grow light, all for the super awesome price of $12.99.  I tried to stay as low cost as possible with this venture - wish I had done more research on the fixtures before pulling the trigger, but aw well.  The clamp light on the bottom was $6 at Menards and the full spectrum light was also purchased there, for around $4.  The heat pad I have on the second shelf was about $20, and I bought the shelf at Walmart for $15.  As this operation grows, I intend on moving everything into the garage on some wire shelving, but for now, this works.  I probably spent about $130 on all this, but could have saved myself $50 if I bought both fixtures  at Menards.  Also, I saved $20 on the heat pad, but I plan on purchasing a real one so you can probably do this for $100, shelf, fixtures, bulbs, trays, seeds, etc.  If you want a list, just let me know

The top two are grow lights, but different sizes.  The top is a T8 and the middle is a T5.  The very bottom is just a full spectrum (6500K) bulb on the very newest seedlings.  The very top shelf are the oldest of the bunch.

I'm actually just using a normal heating pad on these guys since I happened to have one that I wasn't using.

The grow lights give off a pinkish hue, so that's why the pictures look tinted.  Here are my Coleus (top), Pumpkin on a Stick (left), and Sweet Peppers (right).

Coleus seem like slow growers, but goin' strong.

Big Moon Pumpkin!  I didn't expect this must action already.  I planted these guys  4 days ago.

Super Sweet 100 Hybrid Tomato

Asian Radish

Envy Zinnia (my last go didn't make it)
As always, I love feedback, so please feel free to leave comments or email me.  Happy gardening!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

After some much needed rain...

We've had some RAIN over the past week or so.  YAY!  My garden was very grateful.

Spartan Blueberry
Bluecrop Blueberry

My Bluerays are still in the ground near my vegetable garden.  I will dig them up and pot them, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.  For now, they're find where they're at.

Oriental Lily

Strawberries - look at those crowns!!!
I'm most surprised about these gladiolus, because I bought the bulbs on some super clearance sale at the tale end of last summer, and they grew but didn't really bloom.  I just stuck the pots in the garage over winter and to my surprise, a majority of the bulbs were still in tact so I planted 'em.  Here they are! The Green Star variety blooms a really pretty lime colored flower.  I can't wait!
Green Star Gladiolus

Because I posted a picture before, I figured I would post this update.  Now you can really see the ferns coming up, and the small bells on the Lily of the Valley.  
Ferns and Lily of the Valley
I transplanted about 8-10 ferns out of there into an awkward area under my deck (pictured below).

It's probably difficult to tell where I planted them, but I staggered them throughout this area.  Some are opening already but this spot gets zero direct sunlight, so we'll see.  They make take a while.

I bought a squirrel feeder in hopes of deterring them from digging up my bulbs, along with the rest of my yard.  Looks like it needs to be refilled, but it's worked so far and I think it looks kinda cute.

Squirrel Feeder
EW!  Here is my first dump of green into my new compost bin.  I have been putting off emptying the tumbler but I think this weekend it's going to have to be done.  I really don't want to!

I received some ground cover from my neighbor, as well as purchasing some English ivy.  Here's the ivy lookin' pretty.

English Ivy
Creeping Myrtle

Rose Suckers

Roses - I'm not a good pruner, but I'm learning.

I don't know what this bush is, but it's attracting butterflies like crazy.

Dusty Millers - again, thinking they had died off.

Iris - One of my favorites and I cannot wait until they bloom.

One of the Red Buds I was talking about before.

The younger of the 2 Red Buds 
I think these are some kind of Sedum?  They look nice though.

There's my Sand Cherry, along with my "staging area."  Ha!
When I was prepping the area I started my garden in I dug up a ton of Iris, Hostas, and Cone flowers to make space.  I transplanted the Cone flowers around my mailbox, and these are the Iris and Hosta, which I planted beneath my Birch tree.  

Blue Angel Plantain Lily (aka Hosta)

 I planted about 9 Astilbe bulbs in these pots about... 2 weeks ago, and haven't really seen any growth.  6 are pink and 3 are red.  They're going to be transplanted directly in front of where the pots are now (provided they GROW).
You can see the 2 black pots and a black pot (below center) - those are my Astilbe.

Bleeding Heart, Caladium and Alyssum
I LOVE Caladium.  They're one of my favorite annuals. This year I've planted approximately 30 bulbs.  Some are bordering a walk near my patio and the rest are in these pots.  I haven't seen any growth yet, but it's been pretty cold.  They probably just need to warm up a bit.  Fingers crossed!  

This is just a random shot from my walk-out.  Now, the compost is near my garden, but quite an eye sore from this angle.  I am going to plant some stuff around it to try and hide it a bit, preferably something highly fragrant, but I haven't decided yet.  This only gets partial sun throughout the day.  Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Just a random shot
Onto the vegetables!!!

Garden Beans (the stalky guys, not the small leafy things)

Swiss Chard


Butterhead Mix Lettuce

The ONE Vivian Lettuce that survived.  I started this guy inside.  Next time, direct sow. 
Red Onion sets

Red Onion

Still not a lot of action on the Rhubarb

Radish - pretty impressive so far.  I have to thin them, but rather than cut them back I'm transplanting the smaller guys into the raised beds.


Yellow Pear Tomato - very pleased with all the rain and sunshine.




Mammoth Sunflowers

Mammoth Sunflowers - so excited to see how tall these guys get.

So there you have it.  Everything seems to be doing very well so far, and I plan on placing, filling, and planting the raised beds this weekend so I should have some other stuff planted/transplanted by then.  This is by far the coolest project I have ever taken on, and it's so rewarding.  I absolutely love gardening and I hope you're enjoying the blog.  As always, I'd love some feedback, so any comments, suggestions, questions, etc., are welcome.  As a matter of fact, I double dog dare you!  Ha!  Have a great weekend, guys.

P.S.  Please try and ignore all the maple seed pods.  As soon as I clear 'em, they're back again.  UGH!