2013年4月8日 星期一

A beginner in the garden

Around this time of year, I become obsessed with vegetable gardening. After I feel adequately informed about whats going on in the world, I search for obscure gardening blogs, articles and videos to learn as much as I possibly can. The funny thing is,Online shopping for solarpanelcells. Ive never grown a garden.

Since I left home for college, Ive been living in apartments with balconies large enough to grow only a few varieties of herbs. This will be the first summer I have a yard to plant a real vegetable garden.Find a great selection of customkeychain deals.

But I was stalling, sitting at the kitchen table reading article after article and watching video after video, asking myself: Is this going to take too much time? Will I lose interest? Will it be an epic failure, and Ill end up spending too much money trying to make it work?

A couple Saturdays ago, I started some herbs from seed. They were sitting on the kitchen table, practically staring me down 72 little pods like cool, dark, accusing eyes, saying, Come on, you can do better.

Im the kind of person who needs to saturate myself with information before I make a decision, but this time I cut myself off. Five years of reading is enough, right? It was time to act. I shut my laptop with a loud clap, grabbed my keys and headed to Menards.

I knew that seeds need three things to germinate: nutrient-rich, well draining soil; light; and heat. I was already worried about my herb seeds, because it didnt look like they were germinating. They needed more light.Cheap logo engraved luggagetag at wholesale bulk prices. My house has long eves great for keeping the interior cool during the summer, but my little seedlings by the window werent getting direct sunlight.

I remembered a few videos over the years about building a grow light set with PVC pipe, chain and florescent shop lights. Supposedly, I would save a lot of money if I built it myself, and it looked simple enough. A quick circle around the store and it was all in the cart.

I stopped by the garden center and picked up some more seeds, little containers, and seed starting soil. Soil from the garden should never be used to start seeds indoors, unless you sterilize it by baking it in the oven, and then amend it with perlite and peat moss, so it will drain well. But when the stuff is about $4 a bag, theres no sense in going to all that trouble of making your own.

Six, five-foot PVC pipes; four tee fittings and four elbow fittings; two shop lights and four florescent bulbs; some chain; broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, zucchini and yellow squash seeds; and 14 small disposable pots came to a total of about $105. I thought this was going to be cheap! I swallowed hard as I slid my debit card. You better follow through with this, I said to myself.

Back at the kitchen table I gathered my materials for planting. Luckily, each seed pack comes with instructions on the back. But planting seeds at a depth double that of their diameter is usually good rule of thumb. The seed starting soil should be moist. I added just enough water so that when I squeezed a fist-full of soil, it held together in my palm. Then its as simple as filling up the pots, planting the seeds at the correct depth and labeling them.

Some seed starting kits come with a clear plastic tent, to help the plants retain heat and moisture while they germinate, kind of like a mini greenhouse. I placed my little pots in a shallow cardboard box and sealed the top with plastic wrap. A friend of mine covers hers with a clear plastic tub,You Can Find Comprehensive and in-Depth carparkmanagementsystem truck Descriptions. and it works just as well.

I expected to run into some problems building the grow light, because Ive never built anything in my life. And usually when I try to fix something, I end of making matters worse. But to my surprise, it couldnt have been easier.

Basically, I made two racks out of PVC pipe on which to hang the shop lights. The shop lights are about four feet long and the PVC pipes are five feet long, so the lights needed to hang on a full five-foot length of pipe. Using a handsaw, I cut the other pipes in equal parts. I made the legs two-and-a-half feet long and the feet one-and-three-quarters feet long. Using T-fittings, I joined the feet to the legs; and I joined the legs to the top shaft with elbow fittings.

The shop lights come with hanging chains, but they arent nearly long enough. While the plants are still small, the lights need to be two to four inches from them, so they dont reach for the light and develop long, unproductive stems. Attaching the longer chains to the lights allows you to raise the light fixture as the plants grow.

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