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Get A Head Start With Indoor Seed Starting Tips

Starting seeds indoors can be a futile effort for some, however, with some indoor seed starting tips revealed in this post, I hope to show you how you may save the lives of hundreds of seedlings.

I have been there and done that. Because of much trial and error, I’ve improved my success rate dramatically by finding the right formulas.

Choose Your Seeds

The perfect place to start. Decide here and now what you want to grow and when is the right time to start growing.

There is a wealth of information on the back of every seed packet. The first thing you should look at is the garden zone you are in and what is the recommended growing ‘window’ you should be shooting for.

Also, you should determine if what you are growing will ‘work’ in your zone.

Most packets will give you information on how long it will take the seeds to germinate, and even if they are expected to survive transplanting. Some plants do not like that part, preferring to go straight into the ground they are going to spend their lives in.

Follow instructions and keep that packet for as long as you keep the plant. You never know when you might have to refer back to it.

The Indoor Lighting Effect

First and foremost it is important to understand that if seedlings do not get enough light, you will doom them to failure. And if you are starting seeds indoors, even that south facing window sill will not get it done.

They need much more. Plus some. Without it, you may see germination, however, you will not be seeing anything that resembles a healthy plant going forward.

There are very simple and inexpensive remedies for this roadblock.

With proper lighting, all you need to start is a predetermined space in your house or garage. You will need some shelving and the all-important nearby electrical outlet.

The shelving may be fixed while the lighting should be adjustable so as to be raised as your seedlings start maturing. A simple 4-foot fluorescent fixture hung by S hooks and chains will do the job nicely. Start by hanging the fixture close to the seedlings and raise as needed.

Controlled by a timer, you should have the lighting set for at least 15-17 hours per day. Some recommend using different bulbs such as one cool and one warm fluorescent bulb in the same fixture, however, try to find growers bulbs specifically for growing plants. They will give the proper light spectrum for better growth.

Growing Medium For Seed Starting

Despite the fact that they tend to dry out rather quickly, I like using peat pots to hold a good quality seed starting soil.

Transplanting seedlings to the ground is a potential nightmare if you have to remove the seedling from a pot before you insert them into the ground. There is less of a chance to damage the fragile seedling and the shock of transplanting is non-existent.

Place the peat pots in a shallow tray each one filled with a good sterile potting mix that is available from your favorite big box store or nursery.

Having water in the tray will keep those pots from drying out.

The Jiffy Company makes not only peat pots but also a fine seed starting medium that I have found quite reliable and inexpensive.I am also in love with their peat pellets.

Food For The Seedlings

For this part, I prefer an organic fertilizer. It is so easy to burn seedling up by the use of harsh chemical fertilizers, and the mistake of overdoing such as ‘if one teaspoon is good, two is better’.

it is really difficult to burn up a plant with an organic fertilizer such as a fish emulsion.

Apply some food after the seedlings start showing some maturity. And do not over-do-it.

Fooling Mother Nature

You are already tricking nature with that artificial light, however, there is more to the outside elements than just light. And that stagnant air in your basement is not fooling anyone especially those new plants you are trying to grow.

Try setting up a small fan to blow some fake wind across those young leaves. Set at low speed, you will not only help strengthen the seedlings, you will also blow some of the dust off the young leaves.

Just remember not to over-do-it and keep a watchful eye out in the moisture department. Moving air will dry out the soil a little more quickly.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to indoor seed starting tips there is always more than one or two ways to get growing.

Some gardeners are old school DIY make do with what they have approach. The homemade setups that involve old yogurt cups, old shop lights and some leftover shelving from another project.

Some go all out high tech with sophisticated grow lights, heating cables, hydroponic starters, and all kinds of other equipment you can find online or in your favorite big box store or nursery.

Me? I fall into both camps.I like the challenge of finding what I may reuse in the garage, and what kind of new gadget is out there to maybe cheat the system (mother nature) a little bit.

Just remember to have fun. It is not rocket science. Although some of the things out there for seed starting sure looks like its been over-engineered to the ‘9th degree’.

And one last indoor seed starting tip, and one important one. Eventually, those seedlings are going to go outside. They should be hardened off if you live in a cold climate so as to acclimate the seedling to the outside environment.

So, another DIY project for you would be a cold frame. Check that project out right here.

The post Indoor Seed Starting Tips appeared first on Organic Gardening Blog.

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Easy Home Composting

Are you interested in some of the home composting systems available to you for the purpose of recycling your trash for organic fertilizer?

Are you concerned about how your trash impacts the environment?

Do you have a clue as to how your trash effects the environment?

Most of us on average will produce about a little over four pounds of trash each and every day.

The good news I am about to reveal to you is that a lot of that trash may be recycled and put back into the earth to help provide you with better plants and vegetables rather than having that trash thrown into the county landfill.

Landfills that add to the pollution of groundwater, and takes up a tremendous amount of real estate. They also emit methane gas that contributes to global warming, and do I have to tell you about the smell?

Just by doing the simple process of recycling and doing some easy home composting you will be doing your part in your little corner of the world to help the environment.

It is not a hard or difficult habit to get into.

Let us get started.

Home Composting Systems To Check Out

Some municipalities may help you obtain a composting bin at no charge.

Most big box home improvement stores will also provide some sort of composting device for you to purchase if one is not available from your municipality.

Or for very little or no cost, you may construct one for yourself.

The three most important things a compost project needs is an area to build one, air, and a little moisture.

Find a place in the yard where you have at least a square yard to commit to this project. Do not have this area so far away that it will become a ‘chore’ to bring out those food scraps. Make it easy for yourself. 

There are also countertop devices for the apartment dwellers.

Do not worry, if done correctly, there will be no offensive odors coming from your composting project.

Regardless in-house or outside.

Home composting systems may be made out of anything, such as an old garbage can, a square area of built-up cinder blocks, a circular area of chicken fencing.

Once you have your space, you may start filling it up.

It is best to start with a good base such as grass clippings, leaves and small branches. Then follow with kitchen scraps such as coffee grounds, eggshells, leftover leafy greens, and peelings. Leftover rice, bread, etc.

You get the idea.

Do not add proteins such as dairy and meat.

If there is no rain, or you have an enclosed device, you should add a little water to it to get the process going.

And remember I mentioned air? It must be turned time to time to add the all-important air to infiltrate the goods. Organisms that will be breaking down the scraps need to breathe.

You will need to do the turning at least once a month.

In no time you will be amazed how all those scraps become a dark, rich, nutrient-laden additive that you may use to fertilize your plants and improve the quality of your soil around the house.

Beyond Composting for the Environment

Helping the environment goes beyond just home composting systems. In addition to providing compost for your garden, you can also help out and possibly save some money by the ways you fix and repair rather than just toss out to the street in a general garbage can.

Start by making sure you have recycling bins from the local pickup company. Almost all municipalities and companies provide these for you at no cost. And as mentioned before, maybe even a free composting bin.

Old car batteries should be traded in when buying a new one. This will save you some cash. Aluminum cans and replaced construction material can be recycled and turned into cash by bringing it to a metal recycler if one is close by.

The hardest thing about recycling is that it needs to be something that becomes a habit
that becomes a part of your life.

Every time you throw a soda can into the trash, pick it back up, rinse it out, and put it in the recycling bin instead.

Make this habit a part of your daily life.

Your garden and the environment will be very grateful!

The post Best Home Composting Systems appeared first on Organic Gardening Blog.

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Easy DIY Hydroponic Growing Systems

If you want to try a really simple DIY hydroponic growing system, this is definitely just the system for you.

Even if you do not possess a green thumb.

Even if you do not have what you think is the required space.

Even if you feel mechanically challenged

For the convenience of having fresh herbs and vegetables at your fingertips right inside your own home, you should check this out.

Absolutely no experience needed.

Allow me to show the AeroGarden by Miracle-Gro

This is what the starter system looks like when you receive it.

Easy Setup for a True Hydroponic System

Main Unit-3 pieces

This system goes together quite easily. No tools are required.

The 3 pieces go together very easily without any tools.

With this model, I received 6 herb pods and the correct fertilizer for the hydroponic system.

Seed pods ready to go with the proper fertilizer.

All you need to bring to the table is your own water.

After you add the water to the base of the unit, you will add the included fertilizer. For my unit that would be 2 cap fulls.

An important note here.

Many people feel that if 2 cap fulls are good, 3 are better

Very bad mistake. Over-fertilizing will impede the proper growth of your plants and will eventually kill them.

Follow instructions.

The pods go into their respective spots with included ‘caps’

All the pods are labeled so you may identify the plants while they are growing.

Plug-In Your DIY Growing System

LED lights go on and also a small air pump. You are a hydroponic gardener!

The pump is a very small device used to push air through an airstone located in the water well. This is needed so your plants do not ‘drown’.

It is quite quiet. Quieter than a fish tank pump.

The LED lights are programmed to go on and off as needed so your plants get all the necessary light they need.

LED lights are long lasting, very efficient, and do not get hot at all.

You may place this almost anywhere in the house and even outside during warmer months as long as there is access to an electrical supply.

Lifting the back round, you may see I have mine in my garage.

I live in South Florida which means I can get away with growing in the garage during winter months. However, for those of you up north, your basement, laundry, utility room will work.

For a thought, there are some colorful models that would look good even in your kitchen.

It will not require much of a shelf if you do not have tabletop space.

I planted this garden on 11-26-17

I will come back every 2 weeks with updates!

The post DIY Hydroponic Growing Systems appeared first on Organic Gardening Blog.

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