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Sunday, November 11, 2018

How to Easily and Cheaply Build A Vegetable Garden Grow-Light Closet: Part One - What Kind of Lights Do I Need (Kelving and Lumens)?

The Rusted Garden Seed and Garden Shop

How to Easily and Cheaply Build A Vegetable Garden Grow-Light Closet:
Part One : What Kind of Lights Do I Need (Kelvin and Lumens)?


I will be doing a series on my YouTube Channel, through the beginning of 2019, that takes you through all the steps of building your own vegetable garden grow-light closet. Follow my blog and channel for the next entries!

The first question to ask is: What Kind of Lighting Do I Need to Grow My Own Vegetable Seed Starts and Transplants?  The answer is expressed in Kelvin and Lumens. I will explain those terms in detail but they are basically light color and light intensity. Once you understand these terms and ratings, you can buy bulbs and receptacles/fixtures yourself and save a lot of money. There is no need to buy specialized grow-lights for seed starting and transplants. They just cost more.


Basic Grow-Light Bulbs and Fixtures: The Rusted Garden

Let me talk briefly about the importance of the right amount of light which I will detail more in future entries. The bottom line is you need 12-16 hours of direct light on your seed starts and transplants for healthy growth. Most windows do not provide this as they provide indirect light. Direct light means the sunlight is coming from the sun to the plants in a direct line. You can see the sun from the window.

Windows rarely provide enough light and you end up with tall, spindly, weak looking plants. This problem is called ‘leggy’ plants or plant ‘legginess.’ That’s too much stem (or leg) and not enough bushy leafy top growth. This can  also happen with the wrong indoor lighting. Therefore, you really need indoor grow lights with a specific Kelvin and Lumens ratings to have success.

The goal is to grow healthy seed starts and transplants. You don’t need specialized expensive grow lights. You don’t need red, blue and white lights. You just need to address two factors associated with your lights/bulbs. That is the Kelvin rating and Lumens rating on the lights. It is the same for LED lights and fluorescent lights. If you were growing indoors plants to flower and fruit, you would need specialized lighting systems. My video not only explains the details needed for building your grow-lights, I also take you shopping to find the products you will need.




The Kelvin and Lumens ratings can be found on the bulb packaging. If you can’t find it, don’t use those bulbs. The Kelvin scale represents the color or type of light. You want a Kelvin (K) rating of 4000K to 6500k as that represents the color of light when the sun is at its highest point, which is more white. I recommend a minimum of 5000K. 6500k is the best (as it is full daylight). I have been successful (years ago) using 4100K bulbs if that is all you can find. However, 6500K LED and fluorescent bulbs are now easier to find and less expensive in today’s markets. You want the whitest light possible, the lower the Kelvin rating, the more yellow the light. The top lights in the picture below are rated at 6500K. Notice how white that light is compared to the yellow light of the 4100K rated bulbs in the lower part of the picture.


Kelvin Rating Grow-Light Color Differences - The Rusted Garden


Lumens represent the intensity of the light. It makes sense that you want intense light as that is what helps your seed starts mature. You will need 2000 to 5000 lumen bulbs for your grow lights. I have used bulbs over the years that have been rated between 2000-3000 lumens and they have worked effectively. That is the most common range you will find.

Over the last several years higher lumen LED and fluorescent lights have become more common and less expensive. I now recommend a minimum of 3000 lumens when possible. I have not used bulbs beyond 5000 lumens. They work extremely well. The more lumens you have the greater the distance the lights can be from the seed starts. In future blog entries I will talk about how close the lights need to be to your seed starts and transplants.


Basic Fluorescent Bulbs and Fixture - The Rusted Garden

LED System - The Rusted Garden


You can use LED lights or fluorescent lights. They key to success is the right Kelvin and Lumen rating ranges. You can buy lights based on your budget. LED's are more expensive but use less power. I recommend 4 foot fluorescent bulbs or 4 foot LED systems. This length provides the coverage of light needed for healthy seed starts. Check out the above video for more information and a visit to a couple of stores where you can buy bulbs and fixtures. Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel: The Rusted Garden and follow my blog!

Good Luck In Your Gardens,
Gary (The Rusted Garden)

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

11 Tips for Successfully Planting Garlic in Your Vegetable Gardens


11 Tips for Successfully Planting Garlic in Your Vegetable Gardens

Garlic is really easy to grow once you figure out the basics. Here are 11 tips to get you started growing garlic in your vegetable gardens. The video covers and demonstrates all 11 tips.

11 Tips for Planting Garlic: The Rusted Garden

Tip 1:  Garlic does not like to sit in water or prolonged wet soil. Make sure your garden soil drains well and water doesn't sit in or pool to that area of your garden. I plant my garlic in 12 inch raised beds. This is probably the most important tip to successfully growing garlic in your garden.

Tip 2:  Rotate garlic to a new planting area every 3-4 years. Garlic can be susceptible to rot. Even if you are growing in well drain soil to minimize issues, rot can come to your garlic cloves. Rotation is the best way to practice good garlic garden hygiene.

Tip 3:  Garlic cloves will form garlic bulbs. Make sure your garden soil is really loose to a depth of 6-12 inches. You want garlic roots to easily penetrate into the soil and you want the plant to be able to easily push through the soil as the bulbs forms and expands. You may need to add sand, coco coir, compost or peat moss to loosen heavier soils.

Tip 4:  Garlic prefers a pH of 6-7. Most garden soils sit between 5.5 and 6.5. If you use compost regularly, your garden beds are most likely in that 6-7 range. You can raise the pH of soil by adding lime to the planting area. If you are having problems growing garlic, it would be a good idea to test the pH of your soil.

Tip 5:  There are basically two categories of garlic called hardneck and softneck garlic. The are many different garlic varieties that fall into these two categories. The best way to see what your zone is best suited for is to do a quick search on garlic zones.  Here in Maryland Zone 7, I can growth both types but have found hardneck garlic seems to do the best out of the two. There are hundreds of different varieties you can grow.

Garlic Spacing and Planting Depth: The Rusted Garden


Tip 6:  Don't over fertilize you garlic beds. It most cases there is plenty of fertilizer already in your soil from the season. A basic organic granular 5-5-5  NPK fertilizer is best. Garlic is a bulb and therefore people often think you need more phosphorous. However, garlic also likes nitrogen. A 5-5-5. will cover all the needs of garlic. I lightly fertilize at planting and come early spring, I give them a big drink of a balanced water soluble fertilizer.

Tip 7:  Garlic needs a cold period or a stratification period. Planting garlic in the fall provides the cold period it needs. I plant my bulbs between October 15th and November 15th. This will vary somewhat based on your Zone. The key is to get them in the ground before it freezes but not so early that they stay warm and begin over growing.

Tip 8: Mature garlic bulbs will form to different sizes based on the variety you purchase.  A general rule of thumb that works is to plant them 3-4 inches deep and space them 4-6 inches apart. You can experiment with this and see what works best in your Zone for any specific variety.



Tip 9:  You can plant garlic deeper as you get into colder zones. The key is to plant them below the freeze depth of your soil. You don't want a clove to freeze solid.  But you don't have to always go deeper. You can add several inches of mulch to your planting beds. You can use straw, hay, leaves or shredded hardwood. As spring approaches, remove the mulch.

Tip 10:  Nature is amazing. There is a top and bottom  to garlic cloves. If you can't figure it out, just plant the clove on its side and it will take care of itself.

Tip 11:  Don't water your garlic in. Just leave it alone until the spring. If it stays warm, you might get several inches of green shoots that will yellow and die when the freeze of winter arrives. Don't worry about it. Just let the garlic chill for the fall and winter. The root system will be growing in the ground. That is all that matters.


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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

How to Manage Fungal Diseases on Your Tomato Plants with Hydrogen Peroxide: 'Leaf Spot', 'Early Blight', Routine & Recipe


How to Manage Fungal Diseases on Your Tomato Plants with Hydrogen Peroxide:
'Leaf Spot', 'Early Blight', Routine and Recipe


Hydrogen Peroxide actually kills the fungi and bacteria. This is a great tool to have in your fight against tomato fungal diseases. I have been experimenting with hydrogen peroxide and tomatoes for several months. The end results have been spectacular. I still have 8 foot tomato plants as of 8/21/18 that are in full production. This is the best my plants have done in 5-10 years. It works on other plants too, I just finished a video on Hydrogen Peroxide and Zucchini/Squash Plants. I'll put that video at the end of the post.

Hydrogen Peroxide is H2O2, two hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms bonded together. It has one more oxygen atom than water, which is H2O. Studies have shown that plants create H2O2 and similar molecules in response to fungal and bacterial attacks. You can keyword search: The Oxidative Burst in Plant Disease Resistance for detailed information.



This an extremely simplified explanation of how Hydrogen Peroxide or H2O2 works to kill fungi and bacteria on your tomato plants. The bonds that form a molecule of hydrogen peroxide are very unstable. When we spray H2O2 onto tomato leaves, the fungi like 'Leaf Spot' and 'Early Blight' or contacted and covered. The bond between the two hydrogen peroxide oxygen atoms change, electrons move and energy is released.This process is called oxidation. The chemical reaction or process that changes H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) to H2O (water) and O (oxygen) kills the contacted fungi. The bottom line is... that is good for vegetable gardeners.

You can't spray Hydrogen Peroxide directly onto your vegetable plant leaves unless it is extremely diluted. If H2O2 is not diluted in water, the above process will also damage the plant's leaves as well as kill the targeted bacteria or fungus.


I use 3% hydrogen peroxide for creating my garden spray. You can find that in your pharmacies and grocery stores. There is a lot of information on mix ratios and some of them are straight up wrong. I dilute 3% hydrogen peroxide down to 12 Tablespoons or 6 Ounces of H2O2 per gallon of water. I use a pump sprayer for application. Always spray the tops and bottoms of the leaves as well as the stems.

I worked this ratio up from 6 Tablespoons to 8 Tablespoons to 10 Tablespoons and arrived at 12 Tablespoons for an effective spray. I suggest starting the same way and I recommend test spraying several leaves and waiting 48 hours to look for spray damage before you try this spray or any new sprays. If there is no damage to your tomato plant leaves, spray the plants. You may find lower ratios are effective in your gardening zone as diseases vary. Here is the video that shows my hydrogen peroxide experiment.


Unlike baking soda spray, wettable sulfur spray, Serenade and Daconil which prevent diseases from from establishing and multiplying on your tomato leaves, hydrogen peroxide actually kills the fungi and bacteria. You have a new tool in your defense against fungal attacks. Hydrogen Peroxide does not stay on the leaves of the tomato plants. It is gone in about 24 hours after spraying. Sunlight, in short, also activates the oxidation process. That is why H202 is kept in brown bottles.

This is the general spraying routine that I use for managing fungal diseases with hydrogen peroxide. Again, 12 Tablespoons per gallon of water. Spray with H2O2 for 3 days. You can skip a day in between if you want. For larger outbreaks you probably want to spray every day on days 1,2 and 3. If the outbreak is smaller you can spray over 5 days on day 1, 3 and 5. You can experiment and see which routine works best for the different fungal and bacteria attacks. They vary in different garden zones. Here is the video that explains my general routine:



Once you spray for 3 days wait 1 day and put down the preventative spray of your choice like baking soda, wettable sulfur, Serenade or Daconil. They would be used as a prophylactic to prevent the diseases from establishing. You can reapply these sprays every 7 to 14 days based on rain and your zone. You can spray your plants with the hydrogen peroxide the day before you reapply the preventative sprays.

The bottom line is to pick a spray routine for your garden's needs and stick to it the best you can. If you get an fungal outbreak like 'Leaf Spot' or 'Early Blight' use hydrogen peroxide to get the diseases under control. My goal with diseases is to manage them down as to still get get great production from my tomato plants.

Good Luck in Your Gardens!

Gary

Bonus Video: How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Treat Powdery Mildew on Squash and Zucchini Plants



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Amazon Line for Slugs & Snails Iron Phosphate: https://amzn.to/2KK8uXx
Amazon Link for Daconil Fungicide https://amzn.to/2AA7cyt
Amazon Link for Serenade Disease Control https://amzn.to/2OHw62g
Amazon Link for Wettable Sulfur and Dust https://amzn.to/2MjsIsv
Amazon Link for 2 Gallon Sprayer https://amzn.to/2O618Qa
Amazon Link for Captain Jack's Dead Bug Concentrate https://amzn.to/2ObpJDf
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Please Visit The Rusted Garden Seed and Garden Shop: https://www.therustedgarden.com/
Please support The Rusted Garden - Thanks!

By using these Amazon links, any purchase you make returns a % of sales back to TRG. I turn most of that back into the garden and videos. Greatly Appreciated! - Gary (TRG)

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Introducing Episode 1 of Gardening 101: Indoor Vegetable Seed Starting Basics: Seeds, Starting Supplies & Lighting

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Over 800 Garden Videos Designed to Quickly Present Information!


Introducing Episode 1 of Gardening 101:
Indoor Vegetable Seed Starting Basics: Seeds, Starting Supplies & Lighting


I will be doing a long format video series with a digital table of contents so you can jump to the most relevant parts of the video. Gardening 101 will take you through my entire gardening season from beginning to end. On the way I will explain and show just about everything I am doing. It is a great way to learn and refresh your vegetable gardening skills.


The first episode of Gardening 101 is all about indoor seed starting. I cover the seed types, starting supplies and really explain the kind of lighting you need. This episode will get you started in the really fun and relaxing world of starting seeds indoors. The video is best watched through my 2nd YT Channel My First Vegetable Garden as the video links will be active. Here is what you will find in the video description

I will be doing a longer video series called Gardening 101 exclusively on my 2nd YT Channel: My First Vegetable Garden. It can be searched with a digital table of contents. The series is geared to the first time vegetable gardener. Today's episode is all about the basics of indoor seed starting.  I cover seeds and what GMO, Heirloom, Hybrids and Organic means, basic seed starting supplies, seed starting mix and out of the box grow-lights. Enjoy!

0:00 Series Introduction
1:30 What are GMO's Seeds
2:33 What are Heirloom Seeds
3:30 What are Organic Seeds
4:56 What are Hybrid Seeds
6:44 Pressed Peat Moss Seed Starting Cells - 'I don't like them'
7:47 Basic Plastic Seed Starting Cells
9:30 Basic Seed Starting Mix Tips
10:50 Boiling Water to Stop Fungus Gnats
11:22 Water Trays and Bottom Watering
14:17 Basics on Cool Weather and Warm Weather Crops
15:30 Grow Light Basics - Lumens & Kelvin Ratings



Please support The Rusted Garden - Thanks!

By using these Amazon links, any purchase you make returns a % of sales back to TRG. I turn most of that back into the garden and videos. Greatly Appreciated! - Gary (TRG)

Seed Starting Supplies:
Garden Fertilizers:
Amazon General Search Page:

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Gardeners Wanted for the 2018 All-America Selections Growing Group! - A Seed Give-Away

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Gardeners Wanted for the 2018 All-America Selections Growing Group!
..........................................A Seed Give-Away..........................................


We are randomly selecting 50 'Flower and Vegetable Winners' FB group members to receive 3-5 free seed packs of different AAS Winning varieties and starting our new Growing Group. We want to share our passion with your passion for growing a garden. We'd love for you to join our new FB group and share your gardens with us! Every 3-4 months we are going to have seed give-aways and growing groups. Here is how you enter... our first give-away and planting group!

All-America Selections is an 85-year-old non-profit, plant trialing organization that tests new vegetable, fruit, ornamental and flower varieties for garden performance. Only the top performers are deemed AAS Winners. We want to spread the word about who we are and what we do. We don't sell the seeds. We only declare the winners. You are probably already growing some declared #AASWinners. Anyone growing the 'Sweet Banana' pepper this year?



We are going to give seeds away regularly so please join our FB group. Oh and we will be giving out other prizes too. The 50 random winners will form our first AAS Growing Group. We hope you will share pictures of the growing seeds you win.

Pictures of them as baby seed starts, adolescent garden plants and mature harvests. All the stages of their growth. It should be a lot of fun! The more you share the greater your chances for the... grand prize! Just use the hashtags #aasgrowinggroup #aaswinners #aasrooters We also hope you will share your experience and help others seed start and grow their gardens.

We hope this group becomes a place for you to share, teach and learn. We hope the winning 50 members share some seeds with other members and the growing group grows from kindness. The best way to learn is from each other.

You can gain chances for randomly winning in three ways:

Use Mail Chimp to sign up through this link http://eepurl.com/djpYG5. That helps us easily collect your address to mail out the seeds (40 random winners)

Some random winners will be selected from group members that share a post or picture about their garden here in our FB group. Please use these hastags #aasplantingroup #aaswinners #aasrooters
Other random winners will be selected from subscribers to our All America Selections news letter.

You can sign up at our website at https://all-americaselections.org/. Check out the AAS Winners database for all the winning varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers and ornamentals. You probably are already growing some of them. The ‘Sweet Banana’ pepper was an 1941 winner!

Thanks for Being Part of Our Group!
#AASgrowinggroup
#AASWinners
#AASRooters


Diane Blazek
Gail Pabst


Please support The Rusted Garden - Thanks!

By using these Amazon links, any purchase you make returns a % of sales back to TRG. I turn most of that back into the garden and videos. Greatly Appreciated! - Gary (TRG)

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