Indoor Seed Starting

seedlings

I’m buying seeds as we speak getting ready for the Spring. Being in Southern California I may be starting a little earlier than you, but with indoor growing you can be planting all year as well.

If you have a window, or glass wall that faces south, you can grow anything indoors.

The reason southern exposure is important is that it gets sun all day. Most of the edible plants you wish to grow will thrive with all day sunlight, and less so with limited amounts. Anything that fruits like tomatoes or peppers will need full sun.

Plants that don’t fruit like lettuce and parsley can get away with less light. Without southern exposure a simple indoor light system can be started with minimal expense.

Basic Indoor Light System

Fluorescent bulbs can be used effectively with non-fruiting plants. A simple 2-bulb shop light fixture can be bought for less than $20 on Amazon or at Home Depot. These fixtures use regular 48” cool-white bulbs. You can start with one fixture, but I recommend two. Fluorescent lights should be placed close to the top of the plants.

A step up would be to buy a fixture that utilizes T5 fluorescent bulbs rather than the T8 bulbs, which is the standard size above. T5 bulbs are little narrower, more expensive, and produce more lumens (light).

Then if you’re really serious you may want to look into LED bulbs and fixtures. LED’s provide even more lumens than T5s. LED fixtures can be had for less than $100.

My indoor setup is a T5 four bulb fixture and a 48” light stand that I can lower and raise as the plants grow. I use this set-up for seed-starting and growing low growing plants such as greens and sprouts.

For more information about seed starting, click on the link.

Let me know what you decide and let’s get growing.

PS – Botanical Interest currently has 30% off seed-starting items. Click on the banner below to participate.

Stages of the Monarch Butterfly

Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle. The four stages are: the egg, the larvae (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly. At Hamilton High School the students have established a habitat for the Monarch butterfly by planting milkweed.

The photo below was taken recently of a caterpillar that has attached itself to a Brussels Sprouts leaf. If all goes well a chrysalis will form and a butterfly will emerge. I’m crossing my fingers that a bird doesn’t get to it first. Nature can be so cruel.

catapillar

Christmas Card From a Gardener

Saving Lettuce Seeds

Various Loose-Leaf Lettuce Varieties Bolting

Lettuce has been around for centuries. According to Wikipedia, the Egyptians first cultivated lettuce as edible leaves as early as 2680BC. It then made its way to Greece and Italy where it flourished.

Today, we see four main varieties of the species, Lactuca sativa, in our backyard or school garden. These include:
Crisphead or Iceberg
Butterhead, Boston or Bibb (which is also a heading lettuce)
Romaine or Cos
and Looseleaf or Leaf Lettuce

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes Fall 2018

 Greystone Demonstration Garden

The University of California Cooperative Extension is organizing workshops in various communities throughout Los Angeles County to teach residents how to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Where: Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills
905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
** Entrance on Doheny Rd.

When: Sunday September 16, September 23, September 30, and October 7

Jr. Master Gardener Classes at Greystone Mansion Summer 2018

New gardening class for children ages 6-12. Everyone knows kids who grow broccoli eat broccoli. You don’t want to miss this.

Where: Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills
905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
** Entrance on Doheny Rd.

When: Sunday, July 15th and July 22nd

Gardening Makes You “Happy”

hand in soil

If you need another reason to get motivated for gardening, consider this, gardening makes you happy. It has now been scientifically proven that certain bacterium in the soil may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier.

Please review this fascinating article, Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy.

We always knew that gardening was beneficial for our our mental well being. Now we have proof!