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Friday, February 20, 2009

Please "Tail" Me...Just the answers !



"Please "Tail" Me ...." What Kinda Bird do you think I am. (HUH)?
Ok...No more quizzes ! Just the answers.
Here's the last 3 that were planned.(post changed)














Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Please "Tail" Me (#2)....A Quiz.




....What Kinda Bird do you think I am ?


More of those tossable photos.
"Please "Tail" Me ...." What Kinda Bird do you think I am. (HUH)?






I like getting "behind" my backyard friends whenever possible !


Answer is below...but DON'T look yet !





Are you sure?
Butt then again, could be ...
Give up?
Open the envelope for correct answer !


ANSWER




Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Starting Plants Under Lights



Just wanted to share this process we go through every year
starting around March 15th.
If I can make space in our small house and be successful starting plants under lights...ANYONE CAN !
I hope this info below is helpful if you've never tried it.


My husband and I have been starting seeds under fluorescent lights for about 6 years now. There are factors to take into consideration like...number of weeks under the lights,whether to germinate in dark or light, that some need to be nicked and soaked before sowing, and there's also some that need stratification.
It's a must to read the seed packet first!
Our set-up consist of a $50. five shelf metal rack plus some other found space.
Two fluorescent fixtures above each shelf. Special over priced bulbs are not necessary, we use "40 watt t-12 fluorescent natural" bulbs. One Fixture and two bulbs cost about $20 at places like Home Depot/Lowe's. Three trays will fit on each shelf. I get two shelves and with my method (mentioned at bottom of page)this means 192 PLANTS !!


INFO IS FOR MOST SEEDS THAT WE GROW



To get started there are some materials needed first.

1-Your seeds
2-Greenhouse seed starter trays
3-Transfer pots or garden seeding cells
4-Potting soil
5-One or more shelves
6-One or more Fluorescent lamps and thin chains
7-Timer

FIND YOUR SEEDS



GET YOUR GREENHOUSE SEED STARTER TRAY



EXPAND THE PELLETS
Leave all pellets in tray and add warm water as recommended.




MAKE HOLE IN EACH PELLET AND ADD SEEDS
With a fingernail file, add seeds then cover with soil as recommended on back of seed pkg. (With tomatoes and peppers, husband goes no more than 1/4" deep).




COVER WITH CLEAR PLASTIC TOP TO GERMINATE
Try and keep in 80 degree location away from light until the majority germinate.
Or to speed things up...put on top of a heating pad and just keep turning it on when you think of it(don't let them dry out).A household heating pad is good for seeds like cannas. Never used special pads.

Once most germinate remove plastic lid.

sorry no pic of newly sprouted plants

NOW THAT THEY SPROUTED-FILL POTS WITH HEAVILY MOISTENED POTTING SOIL AND TRANSFER TO POTS

Place pellets (with or without mesh)into pots.
Use Same Tray provided to germinate as support tray for pots.
We also use flat trays bought separately. You can't fit 72 potted plants in just one tray.
Husband uses 3 1/2 inch Pots to transfer into after germination.
(Kord Pots-durable)



PUT UNDER LIGHTS
Get cheap fluorescent lights (NOT GROW LIGHTS)and chains that you'll need to attach to the light fixture, so it can hang from the shelf above.
Adjust the height of the lights as needed.
Keep lights within 2 inches over the plants and just raise the lights as plants get taller. If lights are too high above plant, they'll get leggy. Set with a timer for 16 hours/day (8 hours off in evening) and keep moist.Don't go more than 2 days without checking the moisture and the height of the lights. Also try and keep temperature where plants are growing at 60-70 degrees. A fan helps for circulation and can keep the temperature down.


NOW WAIT 5 TO 8 WEEKS (most plants)




HARDEN OFF
After the plants have served their time under lights,
put outside when temperatures will no longer drop below freezing.
Find or make a table to keep off ground.
Keep in shade the first few days then gradually introduce to the sun, a touch more each day......this period should last 1-2 weeks to get them ready. Check moisture every other day
Once they go outside they DON"T COME BACK IN THE HOUSE.(unless an unexpected frost threathens).


DIG A HOLE
Once the transaction of adjusting to the outside has been accomplished dig a hole and put them in the ground.



I never initially fertilize,because it was in the potting mix.
But do after a few weeks in the ground, and then every 2 weeks thereafter.


MY METHOD


I skip the step of transferring germinated plants into pots like my husband does. Once the pellets are expanded with water, I take them out of the trays they came in and put directly into Plastic Seeding Cells with potting mix already in them. Add seeds. (In other words, the germination AND the 5-8 week indoor startup take place in the same unit for my stuff. Husband moves to a somewhat larger pot because his veggies have early need to accomodate fast growing roots).
The seed cells can go back into the trays you expanded the pellets in, place plastic lid on, and now germinate !! Once most of the green pops up, take lid off and just put under the lights with no transfering . Less moves !

This is what they look like empty.


Remember to save the Garden Seed Cells from flats of flowers that you buy.
This method saves time, a big mess, and most importantly I can grow more plants.
Other than the pellets(fine mix),potting mix and seeds needed every year...
EVERYTHING ELSE IS REUSABLE !!
Wow ! It took longer to do this post than I thought. Whew.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Summer 2008 Inspiration-February




"Summer 2008 Inspiration" Hosted by Shady at
Does Everything Grow Better in my Neighbors Yard


"February - Did you add and/or create any decorative, whimsical items for your gardens in 2008?
Please share! Can you give credit to anyone?"


This meme is a easy post for anyone !
Who doesn't have some decorations in their garden ?



Love my new garden items and can't seem to part with any of the old.

The New

This child is a artsy item pick up at a garden accent shop and it's now
temporary location guards my house.
I saw him a few times at the garden mart before the final decision was made to take him home.



Kept looking at this metal table at Pier One...just had to have it!
One thing nice about garden decorations you can move them around
'till you find just the RIGHT spot for them.
Just don't know where that's at yet!!!!


Got a couple of urns this past summer.
Do hope they survive for years to come.


This sun god holds some fond memories of our vacation in Texas.
I believe he'll last forever.


The Old

Poor little duck is sooo weathered and old but I can't part with him.
I picked him up at Big Lots years ago and he has watched the backyard garden
go through so many changes. I know this duck is silly looking but he's a good reminder that I shouldn't take everything so seriously.


Love this hummingbird wind chime which was a gift from my sister to my mother.
It's hung over some of Mom's favorite spring bulbs.
I think of it as her personal part of the garden.


I wonder how long this heart will last outside...it has it's own personal memories.



Can you tell me what THESE items are ?
I remember , but you may be too young !
I treasure them both and will never part with them.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More Birds and Relaxing...




There's a few things nice about winter.
First- you have no choice but to relax, sit back and catch up on your reading or watch TV.
Second- you can keep your nails looking good since you're not spending any time in the dirt.
Third - you get to gain weight and get stiff muscles because...well we're just not as active. Ok that's NOT a good thing but it's true!
Forth-there's less material for posting...well that applies to me and some others. Anyway this means less people are posting frequently sooo...less time reading and working on the computer.
Have to admit I love gardening and blogging but this little break of only getting online a few times a week is, in a way, kinda relaxing !



Now, here come the BIRDS !


Not sure why but now we have Grackles and Starlings galore.
Been making my own suet and this seems to attract more big birds NOT too desirable, as opposed to beautiful woodpeckers.
We used to get these two varieties of woodpecker everyday......not now :(
Red-bellied Woodpecker Male




Red-bellied Woodpecker Female


Downy Woodpecker Male



Downy Woodpecker Female




Grackle





White-throated Sparrow




Same Sparrow as above but more mature...different light,angle and temperature outside. I remember Kim saying it was hard for her to ID some birds...these elements play a part in the difficulty to ID them.
Plus your bird guide book often only has one picture of each species and you really need more pics to ID easily.
This page from E.J. Peiker might be helpful.