Monday, May 18, 2020

Transitioning from indoor to outdoor gardening

I'm somewhat dissatisfied with my indoor LED gardening this time around. Great for lettuce and kale, not bad for smaller, compact cherry tomato species. But the other regular tomatoes just grow HUGE, but don't produce as much as I'd like. My two bell pepper plants popped off a few blooms, growing very large... but zero peppers.
I have had a few  tomato and mayo sandwiches, guessing their value at around $50 each.....HA.!!

I started a couple of outdoor, raised bed box garden areas in the back yard. So far everything is coming along nicely. I've been studying various YouTube videos, trying to learn the best tips for soil prep, fertilizers, pruning, and pest control. The difference with outdoor and indoor gardening is....pests, weather issues, birds, and heat stress in the Texas summers. I did learn online that tomatoes stop producing above 94 degrees. They can be kept green and healthy...but they stop flowering until it cools off, usually late September around here. I had already experienced that with previous gardening, but didn't know the magic temperature maximum. (Never have that issue in an air conditioned indoor grow room).



And....I've been gradually putting a window film on my old church bus. I was considering, initially, putting standard dark window tint on the several windows around this van... but I couldn't envision my 320 lbs fatass, long-legged, non-flexible self doing all the contortions required to properly clean all the glass interior sides, then meticulously measure, then carefully cut, and squeegee down this window film. I've done it on a few vehicles in years past. 

I did get some estimates from a few auto tint shops.....anywhere from $450 to $1,200.!!!  For a $3,500 van?? Nope.!!

(I distinctly recall putting dark film on the glass of my white 1975 Caddy Coupe de Ville in 1980, at night, sitting in a carwash bay, using their lights to allow this work, with a 20 mph gusty wind blowing in from Galveston, 10 miles south of Houston).  I had tinting loooong before anyone else was sporting tinted glass in their vehicle. I was just trying to hide the abhorrent pumpkin-orange dashboard and plaid factory seat covers from view.... the low mileage Caddy was a steal at $3,900....Doctor's wife's car...during the first oil shortage.'s the Wino-Bago van.

 But first my Caddy from 1980 when I was working in Clear Lake City, south of Houston, helping build an apartment project.

Dual exhaust, perfect paint, tuned for optimum fuel mileage... 11-12 mpg.  But what a ride!!!

Van film used was a vinyl, micro-perforated adhesive film. It adheres to the OUTSIDE of the glass.  A little tricky to install, but I got better the more windows I did. Amazingly good vision from inside looking out during daylight.

This is looking through the perforated film.


Looks good from 20 feet away. We'll see how well it holds up.

And I installed a Queen sized bed and frame in it a couple weeks ago. Had to shorten one leg that was over one wheel well. 

Little by little..... progress is being made.

It's truly amazing how I'm more able to DO THINGS, since I quit boozing.

Monday, March 23, 2020

We are in epically, strange, rapidly changing times.

A week ago, after a cabin trip...I went to Wal-Mart and saw several areas cleaned out. Ravaged. Luckily, I have been a tin foil hat wearing, gloomer-doomer for 15 years. Unfortunately, the falsely propped up economic house of cards is truly crash-cading rapidly now. Globally.

The corona virus just tipped the financial bubble over the edge. It's not the absolute reason. IMHO.

Trump is likely losing his position, as he's going to be blamed for everything. Biden will go into hibernation and his radical VP will take the wheel soon after inauguration.

The Fed (private bank club...not a US Federal Agency)...has been pumping huge $$ into the system (into the fragile big banks) since September 2019.  They used to call it QE (money printing)'s called a new name now, but is the same thing.  This started long, but not very long, before the Covid breakout in China in December. Again, this virus just pushed the collapse over that was already teetering.

My son is working from home. My daughter found out today, she will drop to half-time pay and work. My wife's a high school teacher in a very small rural TX school...I have very strong feeling classes will be cancelled until September...maybe beyond.

Gasoline is down to $1.62 per gallon....That's awesome, but with nowhere to drive to...and millions out of work. What good does it do? Oil patch jobs are disappearing by the day.

All the above is merely my opinion.

Okay.... here's a few pics.

I've harvested several salads...probably need to start some fresh seedlings now.
No tomatoes yet, but some are coming along.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Hydroponics update.....steady progress

It's been about 30 days since I planted seeds in the seedling cubes. Gradually moving seedlings from the incubation tray on a low heat warmer mat a 3" net cup with clay pellets in the "teenager tubbies"....finally, once they start showing some roots hanging down under the netpot.....They get moved into the Perma-tubbies with full nutrients mix.

I began using some Cal-Mag additive to the regular Masterblend nutrient mix and that seems to help. But I'm seeing some really surprising growth with this one particular light I'm using on some tomatoes. This light has some COB LEDs that put out a very bright white light, not much of the typical purplish light the other grow lights do.  Grow lights have really come down in price, I guess since there are so many different manufacturers competing for biz.
I'm running out of lights (nine)....still have two to unbox and hang.  And no more places to grow plants. I'm already running extension cords (heavy duty) from other rooms in this old double wide man-cave so I don't overload the breakers.
I reckon I just need to sit back and wait now. Maybe go shopping for some Blue Cheese salad dressing.

That's all I got....-!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Slow start in my grow room

Seedlings up and stretching for the light.
At first I was concerned about the LED light being too bright for seedlings. Most folks use florescent tubes for starting seedlings. I ordered a thick book on hydroponics, but seems it was written in the early 1980s... LEDs aren't even mentioned.

Two weeks ago
Today shows some progress

The light was about 24" above the seed cubes...but once they started quickly sprouting and getting "leggy",  I realized my light needed to be much closer. More like 10 inches. Luckily, they appear to be okay now. Stalks are beefing up a tad. Placing a low speed fan blowing across them is supposed to help. So did that as well.

And I'm running lights on timer...15 hours on - 9 hours off.

Today I transferred the lettuce and kale to the "perma-tubby". Mixed up the proper nutrients, placed a bubbler stone inside, and adjusted the light. Once everything gets bigger I'll change to a 14/10 timing for lights.

Seems slow going... but what else am I gonna do? Nap?

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Hydroponic gardening.....second attempt

I know, it's been a looong dang time since I posted a blog. But if your lifestyle is basically as exciting as watching mud dry...there's just not much worthwhile to report.

Just re-commenced my indoor gardening efforts.  LED grow lights have come down in price, with a decent medium sized light costing around $50-70 on Amazon. This size should provide adequate light for an approximate 3' x 3' grow surface platform. The air pumps aren't actually necessary, but I've got two, so I'm using them to keep the nutrients churning in the water in each tubby tank.

I get my seeds from an outfit in Missouri. It's also where I get the 3 ingredients for my grow nutrient mix. Rainwater is what I try to use, because the PH is typically perfect.

Starting with grow cubes and a warming mat beneath a cheap plastic seedling sprouter tray (with lid)...and proper mix diluted to half strength...after 4-5 days you'll have some infant seedlings rearing their pretty little heads. Dont forget the light.!! But a simple florescent tube light is enough to grow most any lettuce or kale. Veggy producers need proper grow lights to make blooms then fruits, after the seedling stage.

I noticed a few seed packets had been nibbled I prepared a delicacy of peanut butter attached to a simple mouse neck brace. 

I added about 20 more seedlings yesterday, so I need to get busy setting up my tubbies. And I'm using a couple of extension cords to power some of the grow lights to avoid popping breakers in my grow room. The grow room is located in a bedroom in my man cave, which happens to be an old 1983 double wide mobile home located at the rear of my 2 acre tract.
Had to type up an Excel chart to keep my seedlings straight until transplanting into the tubbies.
And I have a few large net pots that fit over a 5 gallon black bucket (black to keep light out... algae will flourish in there otherwise)

The small grow cubes are held in place inside each net cup with clay pellets. I bought a HUGE amount of these clay pellets about 10 years ago from a guy in Dallas on craigslist. Waaaay more than I'll EVER need.        (3 each 55 gallon steel drums full!)

I've gotta go lay down awhile now...all this blogging has me worn out.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Hydroponics update

I had to take out a few non-performers. Buttercrunch did not work, probably due to me using tomato nutrient mix, when I should've used "lettuce mix". (  I'll get it right next time).
Certain tomato breeds started out good, but later all the leaves kinda curled up, but were still green. No idea why. They are clipped off at the base now. Gone.

The one tomato "breed" that exploded was the Red Robin. It's a giant, finally showing a few blooms. This plant is shading over the remaining plants in this tub.

Bok Choy (various spellings of this plant)... has been doing great (even on the tomato mix).  We've harvested leaves twice for meals, but these plants are still thriving.

Cukes are blooming like crazy, but I nearly let the nutrient level get too low. Refilled all three tubs today with about 8 gallons of nutrients mix.

I really need to get a few new seedlings started.

Okay, that's all folks.