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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Everything You Need to Know About Starting Peas Indoors: It Can Be Done!

Everything You Need to Know About Starting Peas Indoors: It Can Be Done!


Peas are cool weather crops and need to be planted fairly early here in Maryland Zone 7. They prefer well drained soil and soil temperature that is 40 degrees or more. They do best when day temperatures don't get past 70ish degrees. So... I try and get mine outdoors in March. As of today, tomorrow will be March 1st and the ground is covered in snow and frozen. Losing most of March by waiting to plant peas directly in the ground, when the soil is ready, will really reduce my crop.


You can easily start peas indoors in peat pots or styro-foam cups. This will give you a 2-4 week jump on the season depending on the variety of peas you start. The video shows you how I seed start them and when they are ready to be moved into larger containers or outdoors. Remember plants that are started inside, need to be gradually introduced to the sun and temperatures. This is called hardening-off.


Peat pots work really well because you can plant the whole pot and not disturb the root systems. Peas will have strong long roots. If grown in the plastic cells, the will grow out the holes in the cell bottom. They have to be pulled back through that hole and often the roots get damaged. An eight ounce styro-foam cup provides enough room for the roots to grow. Just pop out the dirt plug from the cup and plant.

With the peat pots, the pot and plant go straight into containers or ground. I show you how to put them in a 5 gallon container. The process is essentially the same for putting them in the ground. You can plant them in a row if they are going into earth beds.




Good Luck with Your Garden,

Gary (The Rusted Garden)


Join My New YouTube Channel Just for NEW Gardeners: My First Vegetable Garden

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Understanding the Difference Between Pea Types: Snow or Sugar, Snap and English or Shelling

Understanding the Difference Between Pea Types: 
Snow or Sugar, Snap and English or Shelling

There are many variations of the three categories or types. You can get variations that give you white or purple flowers, purple pods, wrinkled peas or dwarf varieties.  Maturity time can also vary by a few weeks.



However, many gardeners want to know: Did I get the flat peas for stir-fry? Are these edible pods? Why do some say Snow Sugar or Sugar Snap? What are shelling peas?

This video will explain the main types you would want to plant and grow in the garden. I hope this video helps you when you select your seeds.



Remembers peas like to planted when it is cool, the ground is about 40 degrees and they hate soggy soil!


Good Luck with Your Garden,
Gary (The Rusted Garden)


Join My New YouTube Channel Just for NEW Gardeners: My First Vegetable Garden

Join My Google+ Community Our Tomato and Vegetable Gardens (5000+ Members!)
400+ HD Short and to Point Garden Videos: My YouTube Video Gardening Channel
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Purchase Calcium Nitrate to Help Manage Tomato Blossom End-Rot



About 350 grams of Calcium Nitrate 15.5-0-0
19% Calcium and water soluble
Cost $10.00 plus shipping 
 
Calcium Nitrate can be used to manage Blossom End-Rot

Calcium Nitrate is a water soluble form of Calcium (Ca) that you can make a spray with and spray on your plants to get them calcium, to help stop or prevent blossom end-rot. You should always make sure your soil has lime/calcium, but additional spraying can give your tomatoes the Ca they need if Blossom End-Rot appears.

Always test spray your plants before covering a plant with any new spray.
Wait 48 hours after testing a few leaves and if there is no damage, spray the plant.

A general recipe is 1 tablespoon of calcium nitrate per gallon of water
or 1 teaspoon per quart of water.

 
Click the picture to goto PURCHASING link.
http://therustedgarden.blogspot.com/p/100-cold-pressed-neem-oil-for-sale.html
About 350 grams of calcium nitrate.


 
The recipe is on the label and can be found on-line.
Always test spray this product on your plants.
 
This package of 350 grams will make about
19 gallons or 76 quarts of calcium nitrate solution
 
1 quart will cost about $8-$9 in a store when you by pre-made spray,
You can save over $600 by making your own as needed
 
I am only shipping in United States right now.
You can purchase my Calcium Nitrate Package through Paypal.


Good Luck with Your Garden,
Gary (The Rusted Garden)


Join My New YouTube Channel Just for NEW Gardeners: My First Vegetable Garden

Join My Google+ Community Our Tomato and Vegetable Gardens (5000+ Members!)
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

How to Build A Hot-House Tomato Cage: Create a Micro-Climate for Early Tomato Transplants

How to Build A Hot-House Tomato Cage: Create a Micro-Climate for Early Tomato Transplants
(Revised for 2015)

These cages can be built in 15 minutes. They will allow you to get your tomatoes into the garden a lot earlier. It works. I use a few every year and am the first in the area with red tomatoes. It creates a nice micro-climate that warms the soil for great root growth and it protects the tomato transplant.




Benefits

Wind Break
They act as a wind break and keep the plant from cooling from winds. They also allow transplants time to get used to the elements without becoming over-stressed. It makes a mini shelter for them.

Root Warmth
The plant is better protected but what is equally as important is the soil warms and stay in the 50+ degree range. The warm roots translates into plant growth. Cold roots keep a plant from growing.

Heats During the Day
They will collect the solar heat of the day. A sunny day in the 40's can easily heat the cage into the 80's. At night I recommend putting a plate on top, a few hours before the sun sets, so it stores up some heat. It is also important to remove it on sunny days in the morning. The inside of the cages can over heat on sunny days.

Water Container Heat Storage
I will be doing a new video that adds in a black painted milk jug at the bottom like in the picture. The milk jug is filled with water and it will radiate heat at night to help maintain a bit more warmth. They day time heat is quickly loss when the sun goes down. Maintaining warmer night temperatures helps prevent the tomato from going dormant so to speak.

Frost Protection
In the event of a light frost a cage with a sealed top will give your tomato a few degrees of frost protection. The milk jug with it will help out even more!

Plenty of Room and Light
The tomato can grow and get plenty of light. Some early systems filter out light and plants can get spindly or the aren't high enough and plants out grow them before the right temperatures arrive. They grow out of their protection.

Black Plastic (Another trick)
You can also lay a piece of black plastic on the ground with a hole in the middle for the tomato. The cage can go on the plastic and it will warm the soil. A tomato also needs warm roots to start growing or it will sit and wait for the right temperature.





Good Luck with Your Garden,
Gary (The Rusted Garden)


Join My New YouTube Channel Just for NEW Gardeners: My First Vegetable Garden

Join My Google+ Community Our Tomato and Vegetable Gardens (5000+ Members!)
400+ HD Short and to Point Garden Videos: My YouTube Video Gardening Channel
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Cool Weather Vegetables: Seed Starting Kohlrabi, Kale, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbages: Planting, Feeding, Transplanting

Cool Weather Vegetables: 
Seed Starting Kohlrabi, Kale, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbages: 
Planting, Feeding, Transplanting 


This video shows you how to plant and start the seeds, talks about germination, feeding, when to thin them and how to transplant them into larger cups. It covers everything you need to know for starting the seeds of the Brassica Family.

A Mature Kohlrabi

In this case, kohlrabi, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbages. The process is the same for all of them. These vegetables love the cool weather and can be some of the first plants into your garden, especially as transplants. They can take light frost and even freeze. The cool weather makes them sweeter!

They are very easy to grow and vary in maturity dates. Kales will grow all season long. I live in Maryland zone 7, my kale survives the winter. On the 2nd year it returns it forms small buds and flowers. The buds and flowers are delicious!






Good Luck with Your Garden,
Gary (The Rusted Garden)

Join My New YouTube Channel Just for NEW Gardeners: My First Vegetable Garden

Join My Google+ Community Our Tomato and Vegetable Gardens (5000+ Members!)
400+ HD Short and to Point Garden Videos: My YouTube Video Gardening Channel
Follow and Organize The Rusted Garden on Pinterest

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Building an Indoor Grow Light Closet for Vegetable Seed Starting: Revised from 2012



Years ago Google had KNOLs. It was were you could write articles. I did that for a while until Google closed it. I kept the old articles here and will be updating them for 2015. This was how I set up my current grow light closet back in 2012. This was before all the videos. I used to just write articles with pictures.


Building an Indoor Grow Light Closet for Vegetable Seed Starting: Revised from 2012

Growing vegetables and flowers indoors is not difficult. You need space and light. You can create your own growing station by using standard fluorescent fixtures purchased at any home improvement store. You can use the fluorescent bulbs sold in these stores. There is no need to pay top dollar for grow lights systems or special grow light bulbs. For under $75 (in lights and fixtures), you can get a station set up in a closet or even on a shelf.

Every gardener desires more space. I recently had my basement finished, did the drywall myself, and had a grow-light closet built. It was under my stairs before construction and I had quite a bit of room. Though demoted to a closet, I love it. I needed to build a third level of lights. This article (an old KNOL) shows you how to build a basic and highly functional grow station. It is very easy to build.

Step One: Select A Space

This is how my closet looked before I started the third level of lights. There are two levels below it.  I use foil to reflect light back into the seed trays. The third level of lights is going into that empty space.

You need to select a space and build a shelf like I did, buy shelf  or put in an old table. Once you identify the location of you grow station you need a place where your seed trays will sit. Anything works. People even buy the plastic shelving units at home improvement centers for their grow stations. They provide plenty of shelves for hanging lights and a nice surface to hold your seed flats.



Step Two: Secure Boards For the Fluorescent Light Fixtures

I added four boards as seen below. The two boards in the middle will support lights and the others will support the drywall surface top. Now drywall isn't the best choice because it can get water damaged if there is a whole lot of excess water. Why did I use it? I have a lot left over from finishing my basement. The timbers are left over too. How you space the levels is up to you. You want enough space to work. If you use a shelving unit, most of the shelves have holes in them. You can hang the light using those holes.

In this space I will need two fluorescent fixtures to light the whole area. If you are building your station on a shelving unit or on a table that is 1/2 the size of the space I am using, you will only need to hang one fluorescent fixture. If you use a shelving unit, you will attach your lights to the shelf above it.


Step Three: Buying the Fluorescent Light Fixtures

That is the basic fixture I use. It is from a home improvement center. The fixture does not come with light tubes and it is inexpensive. I purchased the brightest basic fluorescent tubes in the same store. They also weren't expensive and I DON'T recommend buying tubes that are for growing plants. You know why? You just get charged double or triple for the same tubes. Just buy the brightest Lumen and Kelvin outputs on the fluorescent tube out there. I've done it that way for years. I have only replaced two tubes so far.




Step Four: Hanging the Fluorescent Lights

One fixture goes on the back middle timber. It is supported by tomato jute/string. I put loops on the end of the jute and can easily adjust the light height by attaching different loop levels to the hook in the fixture. Most of the lights come with chains and hooks. I seemed to have misplaced mine. You will be able to move your fixture up and down as the plants grow. Here is a basic distance for the light to the plants.

(These numbers were updated for 2015)
1-2 inches before the seeds germinate
2-4 inches after a 3-4 weeks of plant growth

You typically want about 2 inches between the plant and the bulb based on my experience if you can continually manage it. But this does vary, based on the type of bulb you use. You can get away with more distance from bulb to plant as the plant gets larger and stronger.




The next light goes in the front middle timber. This space requires two lights. The variance in brightness is due some to the bulbs but mostly to me using or not using the flash on my camera. I am a gardener, not a photographer.




Step Five: Use Foil to Reflect Light Back In

I put foil down with the reflective side up. My seed trays will get pushed back and the area in foil won't be fully covered by the trays. I want the light to be bounced up and around. You can also see a foil flap way in the back and on the right side. Anywhere the light goes, redirect it back to the plants with foil. Please use the reflective side. There are two fixtures in the picture below. You just can't see the one behind it.




I also have a front flap of foil attached. The growing area is now nicely wrapped in foil, mostly for maximizing light but it does help with warmth a bit too. You can see how bright the seed growing station is. It provides plenty of light without the expensive cost of grow stations.



Step Six: Various Levels of Growing Lights/Timers

The upgraded closet. I put a new shelf on the top too, to store my supplies. You can see different stages of plant growth. The bottom has seedlings in cups. The 2nd level has trays with seedling up and about and the third level is holding my tomatoes I just started a few days ago. You can start all your vegetable and flowers seeds indoors by building a basic system like this. It works. You don't need anything fancy.

I also recommend getting some light timers. It saves you the hassle of having to turn the station on and off. I typically set my timers for 14-16  hours (I used to say 10-12 hours). You can set it and forget it. You will also need some extension cords. The fluorescent lights come with 3 prongs on their plugs. You need adapters or cords the accommodate the plugs. Good Luck!



  


A video that explains lighting and why Lumens and Kelvin are important.




Good Luck with Your Garden, Gary (The Rusted Garden)
Join My New YouTube Channel Just for NEW Gardeners: My First Vegetable Garden

Join My Google+ Community Our Tomato and Vegetable Gardens (5000+ Members!)
400+ HD Short and to Point Garden Videos: My YouTube Video Gardening Channel
Follow and Organize The Rusted Garden on Pinterest