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Invite Spring Early - Grow in Your Basement
Now's the time to get ready to grow your own seedlings! It's not really difficult, and can extend your growing season by many weeks. For example, by planting brassica's (cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower) in February in your basement under grow-lights, you can put large, sturdy transplants into your garden by the end of March or early April, and be eating them when others are just seeing them come up! However, remembering that photosynthesis, using light, heat and moisture causes plant growth, you must follow a few key natural principles very carefully, or you will be disappointed.
First, seeds must have moisture to germinate and grow. And the soil mix must be moist, but not soggy, or you'll drown the new plant, since it must also have oxygen!
Second, while heat is essential, temperatures must be maintained in a narrow range for ideal germination to occur. Most vegetable seeds germinate quickly between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. After plants are up, many of them will grow in cooler temperatures, but most all will become dormant (stop growing) at temperatures below 50 degrees.
Third, light is not necessary for seed germination, but as soon as your seedlings begin to emerge from the soil, maximum light is required immediately for proper development. Therefore, to grow in your house, make sure your plants have a strong (but not hot!) light source directly on the plants, for up to 16 hours per day. Pictures of two grow-light shelves can be seen in the Photos section of the free gardening group at MittleiderMethodGardening@yahoogroups.com. The metal one is 6-shelf Commercial Chrome Shelving, from Sam's Club costing only $70, and will hold 20 flats of plants. Suspend shop lights with 2 cool and 2 warm 40-watt tubes 2 to 4" above the plants.
The fourth principle relates to feeding. A balanced nutrient mix of 13 minerals is essential to plants immediately after germination. Those nutrients are mineral salts and must be very dilute in the soil moisture, otherwise osmosis will cause the salt to draw the life-giving moisture out of the plants, and they will die. To ensure you never burn your plants, water seedlings daily using the "Constant Feed Solution" of one ounce (2 level tablespoons) of Weekly Feed dissolved in 3 gallons of water. For the free Weekly Feed formula, go to the Gardening Techniques section at www.foodforeveryone.org, and look on the Fertilizer page.
Next, it is important to separate your small plants before their leaves begin to overlap with others', or the tiny stems will become very weak and spindly as the plants all stretch - looking for more light. By the time the plants have their first or second true leaf, this step should be completed. Failure to wait even a few hours can result in spindly, weak plants, which never recover. Transplanting seedlings into 2" 6-paks or pots will provide adequate space for them to grow an additional 2-3 weeks, depending on variety. If it's still too early to put them out into the garden by the time plant leaves are again beginning to overlap, prune the leaves, transplant again into larger pots, or separate pots, so the plant leaves always have maximum light.
Before transplanting into the garden, "harden-off" your plants outside, off the ground for 2 to 3 days, to acclimate them to direct sunlight, temperature, wind, etc. This is important so the plant doesn't have the shock of a new environment added to the shock to its root system caused by transplanting. If the weather turns cold at night, bring the plants back in the house. The temperature adjustment needs to be gradual.
For many of your plants, the pruning process does double duty. In addition to assuring maximum light, it shocks the plant mildly, causing it to pause in its growth and produce a thicker, sturdier stem. This process makes the plant much better able to endure the vicissitudes of the outside environment, such as cutworms, ants, etc. that often quickly decimate plants with weak, spindly stems.
For tall-growing plants, like tomatoes, by the time they are 12" tall, provide small stakes tied to the plant stem to prevent them from falling over. And with tomatoes, begin immediately to remove all sucker stems as soon as they appear, to assure a single, strong stem and maximum production from your plant.
Jim Kennard, President Food For Everyone Foundation "Teaching the world to grow food one family at a time." www.foodforeveryone.org,
Jim Kennard is the President of Food For Everyone Foundation. He teaches gardening classes and trains people throughout the world in family-based food production.
The Foundation provides free materials on its website including a gardening ebook, greenhouse plans, automated watering plans, garden calendar, and a valuable free chapter from every one of the world-renowned Dr. Jacob Mittleider's vegetable gardening books. All of Dr. Mittleider's gardening books, software, and CD's are also available to purchase. And you can share knowledge with others and be taught personally by Jim Kennard in the free MittleiderMethodGardening@yahoogroups.com.
Visit the website at http://www.foodforeveryone.org
A Couple of Good Places to Buy Lawnmowers
After much searching and deliberation, I finally bought a lawnmower of the Internet. This is not the sort of item that I would normally buy on the web, but am happy that I did so.
Fountains of Refreshment
When hot, sticky days hit, try to use all your senses to keep cool. Sight and sound have amazing psychological effects, even when the thermometer soars.
Why are Adirondack Chairs & Adirondack Furniture a Cottage Favorite?
With summer right around the corner, it's time to sit back and enjoy a cool beverage in an Adirondack chair.
All About Hybrid Tea Roses
Hybrid tea roses and the original tea rose are the worldâ??s favourite roses and are available in many gorgeous colors.
Adirondack Chairs - How to Choose One
In Blue Mountain Lake, New York, you will find a unique museum called the Adirondack Museum. According to the experts that run this museum, the Adirondack chair was originally called the Westport chair, named after a small town located nearby Adirondack Mountains. The design of the chair was first created back in 1900 by Thomas Lee. On a mission of designing a chair that could be used indoors or outdoors and one that was overly comfortable, he began his work, using standard boards and nails.
Koi Pond Aeration
To achieve Koi pond aeration, there are some things you can do. One, you can go to your local hobby store or pet supply store and purchase one of those small air pumps, hook some tubing to it, along with an air diffuser or sometimes called an air stone, and place it in your pond. I still have the original one I bought about eight years ago, and it's still working. This has run for almost eight years non-stop, they are very durable. It works two fold, one, to supply air to the pond water and, two, it helps to keep a hole open in the ice during the winter.
Sleeping Beauties: Porches For Dreaming
There's something magical about sleeping outside, drinking in the night sounds of crickets, frogs and wind chimes, watching fireflies and stars, and feeling the cool night breeze. You'll find children giggling long past their bedtime from sheer excitement.
5 Simple Steps to Care For Your Push Reel Mower
Though most Push Reel Mowers made today are durable, they do require some basic care and simple maintenance in order to keep them running smoothly. Taking the following steps will ensure you have years of use on your push reel mower. Wipe the blades clean after each use. This helps prevent moisture from the grass from staying on the blades and causing (over time) rust, or dulling the blades. You can use a cloth, brush, or small towel. Periodically oil the moving parts. Do this before your first cutting of the season, then periodically throughout the season if it looks as though the mower needs it. This helps the moving parts to continue to work smoothly. Clean the yard of debris before each use. This helps the blades maintain their sharpness by not having to "chew" on small sticks. Check for, and tighten any loose parts. Do this at the beginning and end of the mowing season. This helps ensure you don't lose any loose parts in the lawn while cutting. This is a rare occurrence but an inspection of the mower is simple, fast, and could be worth it in the long run. Watch what you're doing! Don't bang the mower into fence posts, rocks, or other immovable objects while cutting since this may damage the mower and/or the blades. It's better to either move the object, or, use an edger after you've finished mowing. If you follow these 5 simple steps, you will ensure a long and productive life for your push reel mower.
Grow the BEST Tasting Tomatoes
Tired of tomatoes that are rock hard and taste like cardboard? Stupid question! Use these tips to grow your own tomatoes bursting with flavour.
Garden Statuary - Time for a Fresh New Look
Spring is coming, and now is the time to get out and whip those outdoor spaces into shape. With new growth appearing on trees, bulbs popping up and birds and butterflies coming out of hiding, your patio, garden or backyard is ripe for a fresh new look with decorative accents that put a delightful finishing touch on your own little corner of nature.
Blue Wild Flowers for Your Garden
Planting wild flowers in your garden, or simply scattering wild flower seeds around an area of your yard are both ways to take advantage of Mother Nature's treasured gifts. Wild flowers are carefree, colorful, and tend to attract bees, butterflys and birds. So planting wild flowers not only gives you an easy maintenance flower garden... it also promises to be a constant source of interesting activity throughout the year.
How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden
The flittering of the butterfly through your garden is no accident if you planned your garden carefully. The adult butterfly flitters from flower to flower - sipping nectar from many flowers in your gardens, while other adult butterflies search for areas to lay their larvae. It is good to take note that the butterfly garden is going to differ from other areas of your garden. Your natural instincts will be to kill off pests, larvae and creatures in the garden, but in the butterfly garden your best results are noticed when you use organic gardening: Which means no chemicals at all.
How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard Paradise For Less Than $100
Like many Americans, you may find bird watching to be a fascinating hobby. At the same time, perhaps you wonder how you can attract regular visitors to your yard without busting the bank by purchasing expensive foliage, feeders, and food. Here are some tips toward helping you establish a backyard paradise that is certain to welcome birds without draining your wallet.
How To Build A Waterfall
The number one, most asked question that I receive about water features is "How do I build a waterfall?"
A Kids Tree
During my youth kids were required to pass through a tree climbing phase as part of the transition from being a kid to becoming a teenager. Not just any old tree would do of course. The majestic oak was always a tower of strength but the limbs were too high up for it to be a good climbing tree. Likewise, the tall pecan trees that grew in our yard would have required a chain of ladders just to make it to the first limb.
Secrets of Growing Killer Tomatoes
Tomatoes have always been my favorite garden vegetable to grow and to eat. I have had success with the other standard garden vegetables, such as cucumbers, bell peppers, cauliflower etc. but tomatoes became my specialty over the years.
Hummingbirds ? Attracting Those Little Flying Powerhouses
It's early in May a beautiful fairly warm day so I've decided to enjoy it and sit on the front porch.
Everyone Loves Flowers
Flowers Truly Reach Your Soul.
Home for a Gnome?
Kitsch is defined by several dictionaries as relating to poor quality or gaudy art objects that appeal to "low-brow" taste. But in the garden, kitsch categorizes folksy or commercial art that's viewed condescendingly by some, and with irony by others. It's this irony (this stuff is so bad it's good) that has made items such as pink flamingos and garden gnomes more widely popular in recent years.
How To Prune Your Roses For Stunning Results
Pruning and deadheading are essential to proper rose care. Alas, there are nearly as many opinions about how and when to prune as there are roses in need of pruning.
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