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Seed starting station..

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Seed starting station..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/23/2011, 2:32 pm

As promised, here are some pics of the indoor station my dad built for my mom in the early 80's. He slapped this together over a Saturday morning he told me this past weekend when we went down to visit him. It's pretty simple in it's design, but I couldn't do this over a weekend, much less half a Saturday.

Anyway, the pics aren't the best, and I modified it to become a seed starter. I bought the chain to lower the lighting down closer to the plant trays. This was originally used to hold hanging baskets over the winter...never for seed starting. But, I think it will work well with the lighting so close to the seedlings now.







The unit is about 10 feet long and about 7 feet high to give you an idea of it's size.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  miinva on 1/23/2011, 3:04 pm

That's really cool! Very Happy I hope it works well for you and I'd love to see some pictures as things progress.

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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  kimbertangleknot on 1/23/2011, 7:05 pm

That. Is. Awesome.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/23/2011, 7:19 pm

I moved it to another wall today to make room for all the Cmas decorations we took down....finally. And, I am itching so bad to get it up and running that I think I'm starting to chafe... Embarassed
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Inventory taken and seed station moved to permanent home..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/25/2011, 11:17 am

Finally moved things off the wall behind the seed station to give it it's place by an outlet.



And laid out my inventory of seeds. Today, I think my first broccolli and celery goes in. Granted, it's a little behind, but I don't care.....I am finally ready to start seeds inside!



Thanks for following along.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  kimbertangleknot on 1/25/2011, 11:49 am

Rock on! Looks awesome, I wish you much success. Just wish you lived closer, I'd give you my seeds to start =)
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/25/2011, 1:46 pm

@kimbertangleknot wrote:Rock on! Looks awesome, I wish you much success. Just wish you lived closer, I'd give you my seeds to start =)

That made me laugh. I definitely have the room now.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  camprn on 1/25/2011, 5:01 pm

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:
Today, I think my first broccolli and celery goes in. Granted, it's a little behind, but I don't care.....I am finally ready to start seeds inside!
Congrats on the seed starting station. I believe that you are not late at all, in fact, you probably have another few weeks if you need them. Don't want to plant things too early or they may get leggy or putter out before you can get them to the garden. pale
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/25/2011, 6:15 pm

I agree. And, with this being my first time starting indoors, I am both a bit jumpy and hesitant. (There is a tv episode coming to mind and I cant think of it.....got it.......Its a scene from A League of Their Own where Marla Hooch is up to bat and Tom Hanks and Gina Davis are both giving "swing" and "bunt" signs. She dances in and out of that batter's box on her tippy toes because she doesn't quite know what to do...lol)

Maybe you can help me through this, though...

Broccolli and celery mature in, roughly, 16 weeks from what I've read. Mel's chart starts broccolli indoors 12 weeks before frost date and transplants 5 weeks before. (Assuming celery is about the same, which is a big assumption right now.)

My frost date is listed as April 30 for zone 6a, in which St. Louis resides. However, it is also widely accepted that "tax day" is our frost date....and I have found other maps that suggest so, too. So, I am assuming April 15th.

Next step is that I am putting hoop houses on my garden. That buys me either more 2 weeks, or about a full zone, depending on how you look at it. That gets my frost date (with hoop house) back to April 1st-ish.

Using the calendar, going back 12 weeks, I should plant my first run of broccolli on January 7th?? I should be transplanting it on February 25th?? If my counting is correct, that's by the books. It sounds crazy, but it's all I have to go by. Granted, I plan to stagger a lot of things to account for the potential of late frosts, as I may lose crops no matter how hard I try to prevent things.

Did I at least do the math right? And, if so, I am kind of behind right now, but don't mind because a few extra weeks only makes things a bit safer.....unless summer sets in early (as it's prone to in STL). Wink

edit: Another thing to mention that I don't know how to account for yet... My basement temperature is a very steady 61F in that room. Crazy, but true. That should also slow things down when it comes to germinating peppers and tomatoes a bit and their growth. But, I wonder how much it will affect my cool season things because 60F is probably down right tropical for them.
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Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  cautery on 2/27/2011, 10:26 pm

Finally got a "functional" grow station setup... Still a lot to do, and I'm waiting for my commercial weight 1020 trays, but it's starting to take shape. Here are a few images...

Making room in our garage is no small feat...



Empty space, but I don't like bending over if I don't have too...



Now, let's move that shelf down... a real pain...



"Plenty" of space... Now, let's add the Mylar Reflectors...



Here are the tools I used to hang the Mylar: Mylar duct tape, stick pins, and several NEW razor blades.... they dull quickly.



Curtains are hung! Now we need light!



I cut down a couple of 1/4" x 1/4" x 36" steel rods to act as anchor points.



Here are the hooks and chain I chose... I crimped one end around the bar just enough to keep it from lifting off, but still allowing free movement.



Here is a shot of the light at full elevation... I can adjust the light side to side by sliding the rods, fore and aft by sliding the hooks along the rod, and height of course by varying the length of the chain.



I really dig this light.... It's made by HydroFarm and is 4 feet long, and takes 6 each T5 bulbs. It comes standard with 6500K T5 High Output bulbs. I have a Titan Apollo 7 timer/controller to run it.



Setup for testing... with HydroFarm seedling mat with controller. The light is OFF.



The lights are ON... It was so bright that the little point-n-shoot camera I was using couldn't handle it... Looks like the room is dark.... It's not... there's a good 250 Watts of additional fluorescent light coming from two ceiling fixtures...



As soon as I have some spare change, I will add another light w/ controller, heat mat(s) with controller(s), and get the power distribution/control stuff mounted and wiring hidden. But, I can start seeds as soon as the trays come in... Smile
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  camprn on 2/27/2011, 10:41 pm

Wow, lots of work but it looks really nice. :!: How are you going to raise and lower the lights? Is there a length of chain hiding?
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  cautery on 2/27/2011, 10:47 pm

@camprn wrote:Wow, lots of work but it looks really nice. :!: How are you going to raise and lower the lights? Is there a length of chain hiding?

Yep.... All the extra chain is on top of the fixture.... I can lower it all the way down to kiss a 1020 tray top.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  ashort on 2/27/2011, 10:54 pm

Nice, although the local po-po might get curious about what you are growning there....
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  cautery on 2/28/2011, 8:28 am

LOL.... I doubt it... But if they do, they are welcome to try and convince a judge to give them a warrant to come see my tomatoes et al. starts... Laughing

Nah... we have several Sheriff's deputies living within 2 block of us... It'll be OK...

@ashort wrote:Nice, although the local po-po might get curious about what you are growning there....
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/28/2011, 8:44 am

Beautiful! I am simply impressed with getting the garage organized. I have shelves like that.... wait, I mean my husband has shelves like that (He gives me everything I ask for EXCEPT for his garage). The really kewl thing is it looks like hope grows in that space.....and mary jane. How is it that illegal farmers are able to do this (indoor gardening) so well? Certainly we must under estimate them.

Debs....who put her back out filling the water dish for the dogs....your clean garage makes me feel uber weak!
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  cautery on 2/28/2011, 9:12 am

LOL!!! You're funny... Smile

Well, we live in a pretty small house, and only have a one-car garage... (DREAM 234: to build a 2-story garage/shop/office out back and turn attached garage into a sally-port access to the back yard.) ...so I have to manage space pretty efficiently. Should have seen it when I met my wife 5 years ago! Wink

Indoor gardening - Not really all that tough I don't think... If you pay attention to detail and/or have a serious profit potential... the "growers" have both typically.

I believe that my current Oregon-based supplier probably is the supplier of choice for many of the growers out that way...

Just to make it perfectly clear to anyone reading this... I ONLY grow legal crops! Wink

@Lavender Debs wrote:Beautiful! I am simply impressed with getting the garage organized. I have shelves like that.... wait, I mean my husband has shelves like that (He gives me everything I ask for EXCEPT for his garage). The really kewl thing is it looks like hope grows in that space.....and mary jane. How is it that illegal farmers are able to do this (indoor gardening) so well? Certainly we must under estimate them.

Debs....who put her back out filling the water dish for the dogs....your clean garage makes me feel uber weak!
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  Megan on 2/28/2011, 5:31 pm

SWEET set-up... I likey! Smile
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  middlemamma on 2/28/2011, 5:33 pm

Where would one find Mylar and Mylar duct tape? Id that something the big box stores would carry?

Jen
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Where to get Grow Station stuff!!!

Post  cautery on 2/28/2011, 8:08 pm

Hey Jen...

The Mylar duct tape was purchased locally... I believe I got it at Home Depot. When I bought it, I was actually looking for aluminum duct tape, but couldn't find it... Now, I don't think I'd use anything else for ducts OR Mylar curtains. Smile

The Mylar film... I picked this up at the supplier that I used for my light, et al... I suspect you can get it any number of places... especially hydroponics guys et al... but specifically, I got it at:

Horticulture Source

They seem to have the overall best prices on just about everything I needed... and their selection seemed to be second-to-none... And, I don't have a local supplier... (Typically, I buy local if at all possible.... unless it's just crazy expensive.)

Specifically, I bought a 50' roll x 54" wide x 1 mil thick and I have plenty left over for my next couple of shelves. If I was doing it again, I MIGHT consider using the thicker 2 mil product for $6.00 more as it should be a bit easier to handle AND harder to wrinkle/crease.

Hope this helps!

PS: To anyone who goes there to shop, please tell them that Clay Autery sent you! Smile

@middlemamma wrote:Where would one find Mylar and Mylar duct tape? Id that something the big box stores would carry?

Jen
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  NHGardener on 2/28/2011, 8:25 pm

Have you ever thought about an outdoor greenhouse? Just wondered if it's as doable as an indoor space.
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Outdoor Greenhouse?

Post  cautery on 2/28/2011, 8:43 pm

I'm absolutely planning an outdoor "greenhouse". Just to clarify... The 8' long x 2' wide shelf I am setting up in my garage is simply to use "for now" to do seed starts, etc. when it is too cold or too hot or when I don't have free squares to sow. It's to extend the growing season and to leverage space/time during the main season.

At some point, I plan to put together some type of outdoor structure so that I can grow crops year round... at a minimum, I want to be able to supply our own requirements year-round, but I am also considering the possibility of a small commercial venture to supplement income and/or replace income (if/when necessary). Needless to say, that will require a fairly sizable capital outlay that I am not prepared to make at the moment.... I have other things ahead of it on "the list"...

1) Deep Water Well (spudding Friday)
2) 1.5 year supply of food stores for 5 on the shelf
3) Grid-tied, battery-backed, generator supplemented solar electric system capable of supplying 100% of household year-round energy use.
4) Geo-thermal heating/cooling system capable of supplying both the main house and providing a base temp for the outdoor growing facility.
5) Roof-mounted solar water pre-heater designed to reduce the demand on the on-demand gas fired water heating system currently installed.
... and a "few" others.

Basically, I need to get the utility capabilities established first... Smile

Sorry... I know that is more than you wanted/needed.... but that's my plan.

@NHGardener wrote:Have you ever thought about an outdoor greenhouse? Just wondered if it's as doable as an indoor space.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  NHGardener on 2/28/2011, 8:54 pm

WOW! You think big. A solar generated power system capable of providing year round electrical needs? Is that doable?

I assume to do the geothermal you have to live in a spot where geothermal is available.

And year round growing? Wow. That would be really neat.

I'm tired just thinking about all that. I'm still planning how to build my first 4x4 boxes.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  cautery on 2/28/2011, 10:06 pm

Absolutely! It is not only doable, the design is already done. The system is actually designed to provide 100% of needs and a margin and storage capacity to provide 5 days supply with zero sun without having to turn the generator on to top the batteries.

Geothermal is definitely available here... It's actually "available" almost everywhere... (Don't confuse geothermal heating/cooling with geothermal power generation.)

Year round is not as hard here as it could be... It'd be easier down south, but it's doable here... The economics work a lot better when you can keep the base temp well above freezing and don't have to spend a bunch of money on supplemental heating...

I NEVER have enough time... Wink

@NHGardener wrote:WOW! You think big. A solar generated power system capable of providing year round electrical needs? Is that doable?

I assume to do the geothermal you have to live in a spot where geothermal is available.

And year round growing? Wow. That would be really neat.

I'm tired just thinking about all that. I'm still planning how to build my first 4x4 boxes.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  NHGardener on 2/28/2011, 10:26 pm

I have a feeling there are a LOT of people who would be interested in the types of systems/planning you're implementing. Great job, and I hope the word spreads.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  madnicmom on 3/1/2011, 10:12 am

I would LOVE to get solar panels on my house also but it too is a nice upfront investment that I don't have at the moment. Best of Luck with your "list"
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