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need recommendation

Posted by paulsm z5 (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 28, 10 at 2:01

Last year we planted most everything from seed with limited success. Mostly we tried to use the window for the light source.

We need a lighting stand with a lower and upper tray and light. As we live in a condo we need to keep it as much in a finished(less messy) state as possible. Gardner's Supply has one but it is about 585 which seems to be a bit pricey.

Can someone point me in the right direction to find a better product. Also, I assume we will need some trays and I guess a better soil or seed starter perhaps. Last year we just used the miracle grow soil product.

Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: need recommendation

Do you have an outside porch, or terrace?? Are you growing these plants for inside or outside plants??


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RE: need recommendation

Carolyn Hi,

We have a small deck which is about 15 by 25. We will have to start the plants indoors under lights. We will have to use a table in the living room for potting etc... so the less messy the better. We do have some room available for a small two tier light stand.

The plants will be flowers, tomatoes, tobacco and some other misc plants. Generally we are able to take them outdoors around May 15th so I will need to double check my potting start times pretty closely.

Thanks


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RE: need recommendation

"We will have to start the plants indoors under lights."

Why do you "HAVE" to start the plants indoors??

I ask this cause I also have a very limited growing area. If I had to start things inside it just would not be done, for many reasons.

Since you have a deck why not grow your seeds on your deck. All of the plants you mentioned can all be winter sown. Winter sowing is so cost efficient. No expensive lights that you would only use for 3 months out of a year for 1 purpose only. No mess inside!! I am a total clutz I know in my place if I had a shelf of potting soil and seeds in a corner some how some way they would end up on the floor. Have you ever tried to get potting soil much less wet potting soil out of carpet, UGH. Growing outdoors also has the benefit of not having to harden off your plants. Also less chances of damp off, which both the last two reasons are the main reasons people do NOT succeed at growing indoors.

Winter sowing consist of this, recyclable containers outside. Letting mother nature do the work. Plant it and forget about it, for the most part. Veggies could be planted in febuary or march along with the tobacco. The plants would be strong enough by your may 15th date to plant in a more permanent area.

What I encourage you to do is check out the winter sowing forum, check out faq's and also check out wintersown.org. Winter sowing forum has a great group of people willing to help especially for those new to winter sowing.


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RE: need recommendation

Paulsm,
We also live in an apartment. I do winter sow some things, but since our growing season is short, I start certain things early inside, like tomatoes, peppers, cukes, zukes and a few flowers and herbs. Here is my set-up from 2009. The chicken wire is to keep curious cats out. This last season, my DH built a shelf in an upstairs bedroom, with a slightly smaller surface area, but it helps that it is not in the livingroom. My light is custom, but you can use cheap shop lights from any store. Regular fluorescent bulbs can be used to start your plants. I use compact flo bulbs in my light hood...nothing special, no grow lights. I usually use Jiffy starting mix in cell packs, then pot up to 8oz cups, then 16oz cups, then it's usually time to harden things off. Keeping a small fan blowing gently on your seedlings for part of the day will cut down on damping off and make them sturdier. Seems like a lot of trouble, but it's nice to be in "garden mode" when there's still snow on the ground.HTH
2009
Photobucket
2010
Photobucket


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RE: need recommendation

For starting seeds and growing small plants, it works just fine to purchase a florescent shop light (about $12-$16), hang it on chains so the height is adjustable, and use florescent bulbs rated "cool day light".

The cool daylight bulbs are noticeably more expensive than regular florescent bulbs, which means they are about $6-$8 for a 2 pack.

Make the light fixture adjustable so that you can keep the bulbs set just at the top of the plants.

I've got a sturdy shelf where the lights are permanently fixed over the bottom shelf and the light for the top shelf is hung from the ceiling on light chains so I can move the light up and down.

Planting outside probably works just fine in zone 7 TN. In most zone 5's the growing season is shorter and you'll want a couple months growth on your plants before you put them out after the last frost. Otherwise, you might not have time for things to ripen before the first killing frost in the fall.

Seeds need moisture, but you'll want to run your seedlings on the drier side. If you use Miracle Grow, it will work, but it stays too wet, so be careful not to over water or your seedlings will damp off.


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RE: need recommendation

Well on the contrary if you check out the winter sowing forum oregon wood smoke you will find there is even a canadian winter sowing forum. If I am not mistaken canada consist of zones much colder than 5. Majority of the people that winter sow are in zone 5.

Check it out and get your facts before insulting others input!!!!


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RE: germination record

Here is a germination record for all zones via winter sowing. All the way up to zone 3!!

Enjoy!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Germination Record for Winter Sowing


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RE: need recommendation

I do believe Zone 5 has won the winter sowing Container Count Zone Wars title the past two years in a row. Winter sowing works, but it isn't for everyone so each person must decide for him or herself if it's right for their unique situation.

paulsm - if you have a deck where you can set some containers of seeds sown via the winter sowing method, you'll have the benefit of healthy plants that don't need hardening off and without the expense of using lights. It certainly can't hurt to explore the possibility that many of the things you want to grow don't necessarily require an elaborate/expensive light array. If the deck is a high traffic area where the containers would impede the flow of traffic, perhaps there's another spot where you could set them. They WILL sprout and produce healthy seedlings. This was my first year to winter sow. Imagine my surprise when March rolled in and I saw these:

Foxglove

Lychnis chalcedonica/Maltese cross

Penstemon/beardtongue

Achillea/yarrow

Rudbeckia hirta/gloriosa daisy 'Irish Eyes'

These containers were all winter sowed & set outside during January & February here in north central CT. Of those I winter sowed, peony poppy, dwarf double pink hollyhock, Rudbeckia hirta 'Autumn Colors,' wandflower, lupine, mallow 'Vulcan,' foxglove, coreopsis, hardy hibiscus & blackberry lily bloomed the first year from seed. I also grew lettuce & tomatoes via winter sowing. One of my tomato plants grew 9 ft. tall. I ended up using a ladder to climb up & pick the tomatoes at the top.

Other than growing medium + whatever you spend on seeds, winter sowing is relatively cost free since the containers are recycled milk jugs, 2-liter soda bottles and various other things you might otherwise toss in the recycle bin. I invite you to give it a try, and please don't be shy about asking questions.


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RE: need recommendation

Countrycarolyn, I don't believe Oregonwoodsmoke 'insulted' anyone or any input here. Winter sowing is great, there's no doubt about it, but some people like to get an early start inside and there's nothing wrong with that. We're just sharing information and opinions here and addressing the OP's questions, not attacking anyone's methods.


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RE: need recommendation

"Planting outside probably works just fine in zone 7 TN"

As if I didn't know what I was saying because I am in a different zone. You take it as you want, and so shall I.


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RE: need recommendation

CC,

Quite snarky today, aren't you!

Yes, winter sowing in Zone 5 for many plants is doable and beneficial. We raised tobacco and tomatoes, though calling it winter sowing sort of gives the wrong impression. It was the very, very end of winter in Z5 - the earliest I can ever remember was Feb. 29 - I was bit by a mosquito when sowing a tobacco bed. Usually, it was the Ides of March or so. Plus, we covered the beds with a cotton canvas or Reemay.

OTOH, if one wants to grow super-hot peppers such as Bhuts, 7-pods, Scorpions and they winter sow them, they may get a pod or two before the killing frost hits. I can sow them outside on December 26 or sow them inside on the same date. The difference is the former will not sprout until early April or so, the latter will be up just after the new year.

Mike


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RE: need recommendation

I am not trying to be rude, I seriously have an extremely low tolerance for anyone trying to insinuate I do not know what I am talking about. There are a lot of those types of people around these forums and the nicer you are about a situation when they are the "clueless" one, the more they follow you around and insult you when you respond to a post. So I have found that standing my ground and being "snarky" as you put it, usually at least gets the oi (original insulter) off my back.

I do agree calling it winter sowing when you plant in march is a littlle off.


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RE: need recommendation

Gee, CC, so sorry I have been making a habit of following you around and insulting you. I'll try to stop doing that.


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RE: need recommendation

I wasn't saying you did that, sorry if I gave that impression.

I have someone else doing it!!! I guess I took my fustration out that I have for them out on you.

I got real smart with the person and they left me alone, then a few weeks went by and I agreed with something they said or posted something using what they said in reference (being nice letting by gones be by gone). I be dern the next day if they didn't start back. Ughhh!!! I could keep going on here but I won't.


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RE: need recommendation

I will try to respond to each of your posts...

Winter sowing looks really interesting but I need to learn something basic about it before trying it. For now, I think I am best off trying to build on what I learned the last two years. cc... I will check out the two links you posted.

Noinwi... you have a nice stand but I simply cannot be hanging hooks in the ceiling with chains. I just don't have the room. I agree that having something going on inside during the winter months, especially the dark days of Jan & Feb will brighten things up a bit.

I am not sure what "damping off" is.

Gardenweed... I have about 20 3 gallon containers filled with soil sitting out on the deck right now under a tarp just waiting out the winter. It generally is difficult to open my door to get out on the deck due to the heavy snowfall. We got our first snowflakes today so winter is on its way.

I think that a 2 Tier light stand would be sufficient for what I want to grow right now. Here is a link to the one that I found (if the link works).

http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Link-Keywordsearch?DefaultButton=findSimple&ViewAll=1&q=grow+light+stand&x=0&y=0

I am going to see if I can find something a little less expensive.

Thanks


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RE: need recommendation

Damp off is simply fungal attacks that kill seedlings. Good air circulation is a must for growing inside. Hardening off is a slow acclimation of your plants to outside. House plants or plants grown inside are more tender, if you just take them outside they will fry.


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RE: need recommendation

Paulsm,
I understand your lack of room as our apartment is quite small. I had to hang my light because of the way it's made and it's too heavy to attach to a stand(but it was free, so I'm going with it,LOL). I think you will do fine with inexpensive shop lights and a tiered shelf unit. The more elaborate set-ups are usually for indoor growing, not just starting plants.
Damping off(or damp off)as CC mentioned is a fungal disease that kills seedlings at or just below the soil line. If you have healthy looking sprouts one day and suddenly they are keeling over at the soil level, it's more than likely damping off. The stem of the seedling will shrivel at the soil line and it will look like it has been bitten off by a pest. Keeping your soil or starting mix just moist but not wet will help prevent this, as will having a fan gently blowing on your seedlings. I know it has helped cut down the occurrence for me(but I'm still occasionally a little too generous when watering).
Good luck with your set-up and let us know how it turns out.


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RE:RE: need recommendation

Oh, and I looked at your link for the shelf/light units. That ready-made-for-gardening stuff still seems way over-priced to me. I'd go with an inexpensive(but sturdy)shelf unit and separate lights(using regular flo bulbs)that you can attach yourself. I tried to find shop lights at Walmart's site, but none showed up. I know they have them though. Here's a link from a big box store...

Here is a link that might be useful: shop lights


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RE: need recommendation

FWIW - you can sprinkle ground cinnamon over the surface of your growing medium to retard the damping off fungus. It won't hurt the seedlings but will neutralize the fungus. I grew things indoors before I discovered winter sowing and even with a fan to circulate the air the damping off fungus developed. The cinnamon really worked. Dollar store brand works just as well as the named ones.


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