Full 2009 Garden Journal

Below is the full 2009 garden journal that I kept in a notebook.  I’m also placing it online in an electronic form for ease of access and to share with others.

 March 5 – 7 – Approximately 10 weeks before the 10% chance of frost date – May 11

  • Construction of 2 x 16 foot raised bed on driveway and 4 x 20 foot bed along the front driveway
  • Filled the front bed 2/5 full with a compost/manure mix from the local compost facility
  • Temperatures in the 60’s during the day
  • Planted three plantings of the following (to ensure they would grow in the mix from the compost facility)
    • Carrot (Burpee A#1 Hybrid)
    • Broccoli (Green Goliath)
    • Radish (Crimson Giant)
    • Lettuce (Simpson Elite)
    • Pepper (California Wonder)
    • Cauliflower (Snowball X)
    • Bush Bean (Tendergreen Improved)
  • Took a soil test of the manure mix
    • pH of around 7.7 – 7.9 (seems way too high)
    • Nitrogen – medium to high
    • Phosphorous – medium to high
    • Potassium – medium to low

March 9 (Exactly 9 weeks before 10% chance of last frost on May 11th)

  • Dug out strawberry beds and removed underlying Zoysia sod
  • Placed landscape fabric under the beds and black plastic around the sides of the bed
  • Put existing soil (regular topsoil that was purchased in bags last year) in the front driveway garden

March 10

  • 3 lettuce sprouted overnight (3 days – 100% germination)
  • 1 radish sprouted overnight (3 days – 33% germination so far) 
  • 2 radish srpouted during the day (3 days – 100% germination)
  • Fluorescent lights were turned on from 7 am to 7 pm daily
    • Consisted of two 4-foot standard shop lights
    • One GRO-LUX bulb was placed in each light (40 watts)
    • One Cool White Plus bulb was placed in each light (40 watts)

March 11

  • Removed all rock from the bed beside the house and moved it to the new rock bed right next to the garage to make an additional gardening space
  • Removed the clear plastic covers over the seedlings

March 12

  • 1 cauliflower sprouted overnight (5 days – 33% germination so far)
  • 2 broccoli sprouted during the day (5 days – 66% germination so far)

March 14

  • Planted 10 Green Goliath broccoli in 16 ounce cups
  • Planted 10 Snowball X cauliflower in 16 ounce cups 

March 15

  • Planted 10 California Wonder peppers in the self-watering tray
  • Planted 12  Simpson Elite lettuce in the deeper six-packs

March 16 (Exactly 8 weeks before 10% chance of last frost on May 11th)

  • 2 carrots sprouted overnight (9 days – 66% germination so far)
  • Planted the radishes in the front garden (experimental – frost/cold hardiness)
  • 1 cauliflower sprouted overnight (9 days – 66% germination so far)
  • Transplanted the two broccoli that were seeded on March 10th into 16 ounce cups
    • Soil fell apart around the roots causing them to be exposed.  This was because the manure/compost mix that was used to create the potting mix was finely filtered through patio screening mesh

March 17

  • 1 carrot sprouted overnight (10 days – 100% germination)

March 19

  • 2 Simpson Elite lettuce sprouted overnight (4 days – 16% germination so far)
  • Professional soil test results received from KSI Lab
    • pH – 7.2
    • Phosphorous – 310 lbs/acre (optimal is 50 lbs/acre)
    • Potassium – 800 lbs/acre (optimal is 300 lbs/acre)
  • Added 1/2 pound of sulfur to the front garden where the soil test was taken
    • Lab said to add 5 pounds per 1000 square foot (front garden is 80 square feet)
  • 2 Snowball X cauliflower sprouted during the day (5 days – 20% germination so far)
  • 3 Green Goliath broccoli sprouted during the day (5 days – 30% germination so far)

March 20

  • 1 Snowball X cauliflower sprouted during the day (6 days – 30% germination so far)

March 21

  • 1 Green Goliath broccoli sprouted overnight (7 days – 40% germination so far)
  • Purchased a heated growing container and placed California Wonder pepper seeds within it (none have sprouted yet)
  • 1 Green Goliath broccoli sprouted during the day (7 days – 50% germination so far)

March 22

  • 1 Snowball X cauliflower sprouted overnight (8 days – 40% germination so far)
  • 3 California Wonder peppers planted on March 10 sprouted in the day (15 days – 100% germination)
  • Planted five each in the self-watering trays
    • Best Boy Tomato
    • Roma Tomato (seed already a year old)
    • Red Cheerry Tomato (seed already a year old)
  • 1 Snowball X cauliflower sprouted during the day (8 days – 50% germination so far)

March 23 (Exactly 7 weeks before 10% chance of last frost on May 11th)

March 24

  • 1 Green Goliath broccoli sprouted during the day (10 days – 60% germination so far)
  • Replanted 10 Simpson Elite lettuce in place of the other 10 that did not sprout (only 16% germination rate on the previous batch)

March 26

  • Garden behind the garage was mixed in with manure/compost mix from the compost facility and was tilled up

 

March 27

  • 4 California Wonder peppers sprouted overnight (11 days – 40% germination so far; 6 days in heated container)
  • 3 Simpson Elite lettuce sprouted during the day (3 days – 30% germination so far)

March 28

  • 4 Simpson Elite lettuce sprouted overnight (4 days – 70% germination so far)
  • 3 California Wonder peppers sprouted overnight (12 days – 70% germination so far; 7 days in heated container)
  • 1 Best Boy tomato sprouted overnight (7 days – 20% germination so far)

March 29

  • 1 Simpson Elite lettuce sprouted overnight (5 days – 80% germination so far)
  • 2 Red Cherry tomatoes sprouted overnight (8 days – 40% germination so far)
  • 2 Best Boy tomatoes sprouted in the day (8 days – 60% germination so far)

March 30 (Exactly 6 weeks before 10% chance of last frost on May 11th)

  • 1 Best Boy tomato sprouted overnight (9 days – 80% germination so far)
  • 1 Best Boy tomato sprouted during the day (9 days – 100% germination)
  • 4-foot high green plastic fencing was placed around the back of the garage
  • 41 Dwarf Gray Sugar peas were planted five inches apart next to house
  • 65 Dwarf Gray Sugar peas were planted five inches apart behind garage

March 31

  • Re-planted 5 Roma tomato seeds; so far there has been 0% germination of them
  • Re-planted 4 Green Goliath broccoli
  • Re-planted 5 Snowball X cauliflower
  • Watered all seedlings very well
  • Three of the original Simpson Elite lettuce planted on March 10 are turning light green and shriveling up

April 1

  • Simpson Elite lettuce that was shriveling up recovered well after a healthy watering

April 4 – Date of a 90% chance of frost after this date

April 5

  • 2 Roma tomatoes sprouted overnight (5 days – 40% germination so far)
  • 1 California Wonder pepper sprouted overnight (20 days – 80% germination so far)

April 6 (Exactly 5 weeks before 10% chance of last frost on May 11th)

  • 2 Green Goliath broccoli sprouted overnight (6 days – 50% germination so far)
  • 1 Snowball X cauliflower sprouted overnight (6 days – 20% germination so far)
  • Received 1 inch of snow; overnight temps 28 – 30 degrees

April 7

  • 1 Green Goliath broccoli sprouted overnight (7 days – 75% germination so far)
  • Overnight freezing – 28 – 30 degrees

April 9

  • 1 Snowball X cauliflower sprouted overnight (9 days – 40% germination so far)
  • Continued cold freezing temperatures overnight
  • Approximately 4 Dwarf Gray Sugar peas have sprouted (10 days – 4% germination so far)
  • Planted 3 of each in the front driveway garden
    • Simpson Elite lettuce
    • Green Goliath broccoli
    • Snowball X cauliflower

April 10

  • 3 Snowball X cauliflower sprouted in the day (10 days – 100% germination)
  • Approximately 3 – 6 Dwarf Gray Sugar peas sprouted in the beds (11 days – 8% germination so far)

April 11

  • Put deer netting over the front garden
  • Planted about 30 – 40 yellow onion sets next to the house
  • Planted about 30 – 40 white onion sets next to the house

April 12/13 (Exactly 4 weeks before 10% chance of last frost on May 11th)

  • All but one Dwarf Gray Sugar peas in the bed next to the house has sprouted (total of 41 planted – 98% germination in 13-14 days)
  • Planted approximately 400 Burpee A#1 carrots in the 2 x 16 raised bed on the driveway

April 15

  • All Dwarf Gray Sugar peas in the bed next to the house has sprouted (total of 41 planted – 100% germination in 16 days)
  • No Dwarf Gray Sugar peas have sprouted behind the garage (total of 65 were planted – most likely due to the warmth of the house allowing for quicker germination for the bed next to the house)
  • 3 Green Goliath broccoli were planted in the front driveway garden (total of 6 now planted)
  • 3 Snowball X cauliflower were planted in the front driveway garden (total of 6 now planted)
  • 9 Simpson Elite lettuce were planted in the front driveway garden (total of 12 now planted)

April 17

  • Approximately 11 Dwarf Gray Sugar peas behind the garage have sprouted recently (out of 65 planted 18 days ago – 17% germination so far)
  • Temperature got to around 74 degrees with full sun today

April 18

  • Transplanted all California Wonder peppers and the three varieties of tomatoes to 16 ounce cups
  • Approximately 21 additional Dwarf Gray Sugar peas have sprouted behind the garage (19 days – 50% germination so far)
  • Temperature high was 70 degrees, fully cloudy and light sprinkles

April 19

  • Approximately 11 Dwarf Gray Sugar peas sprouted behind the garage (20 days – 66% germination so far)

April 20 (Exactly 3 weeks before 10% chance of last frost on May 11th)

  • Approximately 12 Dwarf Gray Sugar peas sprouted behind the garage (21 days – 85% germination so far)

April 22

  • 1 Dwarf Gray Sugar pea sprouted behind the garage (23 days – 86% germination so far)

April 23 (Average last frost date with a 50% chance of frost after this date)

  • 2 Dwarf Gray Sugar peas sprouted behind the garage (24 days – 89% germination so far)
  • 2 Green Goliath broccoli were planted in the front driveway garden (total of 8)
  • 2 Snowball X cauliflower were planted in the front driveway garden (total of 8)

April 24

  • 1 Dwarf Gray Sugar pea sprouted behind the garage (25 days – 91% germination so far)
  • Very warm day – about 82 – 84 degrees

April 25

  • A few Burpee A#1 carrots are sprouting (13 – 14 days)
  • 25 Crimson Giant radishes were planted between the onions and peas in the bed next to the house

April 27 (Exactly 2 weeks before 10% chance of last frost on May 11th)

  • Several (majority) of the Burpee A#1 carrots have sprouted (15 – 16 days)

April 29

  • Planted 252 Sugar Dots corn seed; mixture of seed of a year old and brand new seed
  • Approximately 313 Burpee A#1 carrots have sprouted (About 78% germination in 13 – 18 days)
  • 23 Crimson Giant radishes have sprouted in the bed next to the house (4 days – 92% germination)

May 2

  • Planted 8 California Wonder peppers in the front driveway garden
  • Seeded approximately 83 Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans in the front driveway garden – spaced 6 inches apart
  • Planted two each of the three types of tomatoes behind the garage at approximately two feet apart for the Roma and Best Boy and three feet apart for the Red Cherry tomatoes (Roma and Best Boy are determinate and will only grow so far – Red Cherry tomatoes are indeterminate and can continue to grow)

May 3

  • Planted 24 additional radishes between the onions and peas in the bed next to the house

May 4 (Exactly 1 week before 10% chance of last frost on May 11th)

May 6

  • Approximately 10 Sugar Dots corn have sprouted (8 days – 4% germination so far)

May 9 (First Harvest of lettuce and green onions)

  • Approximately 27 Sugar Dots corn have sprouted (11 days – 15% germination so far)
  • All 24 Crimson Giant radishes planted have sprouted (6 days – 100% germination)
  • Harvested one leaf of lettuce from each of 11 Simpson Elite lettuce plants (3 ounces)
  • Cut a few green onions that were bent over (1/4 ounce)

May 10

  • Approximately 5 Sugar Dots corn have sprouted; most that has sprouted is the new corn and not the seed that was a year old (12 days – 17% germination so far) 
  • Planted 3 Marketmore 76 and 3 Burpee Pickler cucumbers behind the garage
  • Planted 24 Crimson Giant radishes

May 11 (date of 10% chance of last frost)

  • Approximately 48 of 83 Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans have sprouted in the front driveway garden (9 days – 58% germination so far)
  • 1 Sugar Dots corn sprouted (13 days – 17% germination)

May 12

  • Approximately 3 Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans sprouted in the front driveway garden (10 days – 61% germination)
  • Harvested one leaf of lettuce from 11 Simpson Elite lettuce plants (3.75 ounces)

May 15

  • Most of the third set of Crimson Giant radishes have sprouted (5 days)
  • Planted the 42 Sugar Dots corn and seeded about 128 new Sugar Dots corn seed at the garden at the in-laws house 

May 16

  • Harvested 11 7/8 ounces of Simpson Elite lettuce

May 18

  • A healthy lettuce plant died – not sure of the cause as it was located in close proximity to all of the other lettuce.

May 21

  • Harvested 1 pound, 6 7/8 ounces of Simpson Elite lettuce

May 23

  • Planted 24 Crimson Giant radishes between the onions and peas in the bed next to the house

May 25

  • Most of the third set of Crimson Giant radishes have died (were planted on May 10th) – possibly due to sunlight problems or that they were planted too closely to the Dwarf Gray Sugar peas

May 26

  • Harvested 2 pounds, 6.75 ounces of Simpson Elite lettuce
  • Several Dwarf Gray Sugar peas have sprouted purple/white flowers
  • Harvested 7 Crimson Giant radishes from the first batch planted – 31 days
    • 9.75 ounces including foliage; 1 7/8 ounces without foliage (very poor)

May 29

  • One Tri-Star strawberry was picked

May 30

  • Harvested 1 pound, 8.25 ounces of Simpson Elite lettuce 

May 31

  • Harvested 6.75 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries 

June 5

  • Harvested a few Dwarf Gray Sugar peas (approximately 67 days from seeding)

June 7

  • Harvested 1 pound, 1 ounce of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 2 pounds, 2.5 ounces of Simpson Elite lettuce
  • Harvested 5.5 ounches (14) Crimson Giant radishes 
  • Three of the four potatoes in the potato bin have died
    • One that survived was growing faster than the other three
    • Most likely died because the potato plants were almost fully covered with soil
  • Only about 22 Sugar Dots corn (of the 128 seeded) have grown at the in-laws garden
  • Only about 11 Yukon Gold potatoes have grown at the in-laws garden

June 8

  • Harvested 5 1/8 ounces of Dwarf Gray Sugar Peas

June 9

  • Harvested 6.75 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Tied up the outer leaves of 1 Snowball X cauliflower plant as the curd is forming
  • A head on each of the 8 Green Goliath broccoli plants is forming
  • Tied up posts on each side of the Dwarf Gray Sugar peas and put string across
    • Peas are well over three feet tall (2-foot high chicken wire fencing was used to support the peas – and was placed about six inches from the ground)

June 10

  • Harvested 6 7/8 ounces of Dwarf Gray Sugar peas 

June 12

  • Harvested 5 1/4 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries

June 13

  • Created the PVC irrigation system and set for 30 minutes at 7 am every other day
    • While there are not further notes on this, 30 minutes was too long and was reduced to 15 minutes
    • Automatic timer was used on the bed beside the house and the bed behind the garage
    • A manual timer was used for the front driveway garden
  • Harvested 1 pound of Dwarf Gray Sugar peas

June 14

  • Harvested 2 pounds, 2 1/8 ounces of Simpson Elite lettuce
  • Harvested 2 pounds, 5 5/8 ounces (3) Green Goliath broccoli
    • 12 3/8 ounces
    • 13 5/8 ounces
    • 12 5/8 ounces

June 15

  • Harvested 1 pound (1) Snowball X cauliflower 

June 16

  •  Harvested 1 pound, 7 3/4 ounces (2) Green Goliath broccoli
    • 12 7/8 ounces
    • 10 7/8 ounces
  • Harvested 1 pound, 12 1/2 ounces of Dwarf Gray Sugar Peas

June 18

  • Harvested 2 pounds, 8 3/8 ounces of Dwarf Gray Sugar peas

June 19

  • Harvested 14 ounces of Dwarf Gray Sugar peas 
  • Harvested 3 1/2 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries

June 21

  • Harvested 1 pound, 5 7/8 ounces (2) Green Goliath broccoli
    • 11 1/8 ounces
    • 10 7/8 ounces
  • Harvested 1 pound, 9 5/8 ounces of Dwarf Gray Sugar peas

June 22

  • Harvested 4 7/8 ounces of Tri-Star straberres 

June 23

  • Harvested 7 1/2 ounces (1) Green Goliath broccoli (finished all broccoli)
  • Harvested 1 pound, 4 3/4 ounces of Snowball X cauliflower finished all cauliflower – only one good curd)
    • 1 ounce
    • 2 3/4 ounce
    • 3 3/8 ounce
    • 6 3/8 ounce
    • 7 3/8 ounce
  • Harvested 1 pound, 12 1/4 ounces of Dwarf Gray Sugar peas
  • All Snowball X cauliflower was pulled up and put on the compost pile
  • All Simpson Elite lettuce was pulled up and put on the compost pile (lettuce was very bitter)
  • The last week has been extremely hot – 90+ degrees\

June 26

  • Harvested 4 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 14 3/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans (first harvest since planting 55 days ago)
  • Harvested 12 7/8 ounces of Dwarf Gray Sugar peas

June 27

  • Planted about 70 green beans in the front driveway garden where the broccoli/cauliflower/lettuce was (not sure if it was Bush Blue Lake 274 or Bush Blue Lake 74)

June 28

  • Harvested 15 7/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Harvested 5 3/4 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Planted 96 Sugar Dots Corn in plastic six-pack containers (all new seed this year) 

June 29

  • Harvested 1 7/8 ounces of Dwarf Gray Sugar peas
  • Weather has cooled back down into the lower 80’s for the past few days and will for the rest of the week.  Was in the 90’s with heat indexes over 105 degrees for a week

June 30

  • Harvested 6 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries

July 1

  • Harvested 2 pounds, 1/8 ounce of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Approximately 5 -7 green beans have sprouted (4 days – 9% germination so far)

July 2

  • Approximately 30 Sugar Dots Corn have sprouted (4 days – 31% germination so far) 
  • Approximately 30 green beans have sprouted so far (5 days – 43% germination so far)
  • Harvested 7 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries

July 3

  • Approximately 54 Sugar Dots Corn have sprouted (5 days – 88% germination so far) 
  • Planted 65 Peaches and Cream Corn in plastic six-pack containers
  • Planted approximatley 29 green beans where the others have not sprouted in the front driveway bed (not sure if it was Bush Blue Lake 274 or Bush Blue Lake 74)

July 4

  • Approximately 5 Sugar Dots Corn have sprouted (6 days – 93% germination so far)

July 5

  • Harvested 1 pound, 1 3/8 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 2 pounds, 2 3/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Approximately 4 green beans have sprouted (8 days – 49% germination so far)

July 7

  • Harvested 14 1/8 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • 28 Peaches and Cream Corn have sprouted (4 days – 43% germination so far)
  • Harvested 6 3/4 ounces of Dwarf Gray Sugar peas from behind the garage
    • Pea production has mostly stopped and therefore the Dwarf Gray Sugar peas behind the garage were tore down (also getting in the way of the growing tomato and plants)

July 8

  • 25 Peaches and Cream Corn have sprouted (5 days – 82% germination so far)

July 9

  • Harvested 11 5/8 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 1 pound, 10 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Picked 10 3/8 ounces of Dwarf Gray Sugar peas beside the house (last harvest of peas for the year)
    • Pulled all of the Dwarf Gray Sugar peas out
  • 10 Peaches and Cream Corn have sprouted (6 days – 97% germination so far)

July 10

  • Planted approximately 37 green beans in the bed beside the house
    • 20 Bush Blue Lake 47
    • 17 Bush Blue Lake 274

July 13

  • Harvested 1 pound, 5 3/4 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 2 California Wonder peppers (first harvest of peppers this season)
    • 6 5/8 ounces
    • 2 ounces
  • Harvested 9 3/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Harvested 1 7/8 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes (7 total – first tomato to ripen)
  • Harvested approximately 18 pounds of the Burpee A#1 carrots (100% harvested – took about 106 days from seedling emergence to harvest)
  • Planted approximately 70 Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans in the 2 x 16 raised bed on the driveway (where the carrots were)

July 15

  •  Approximately 10 green beans sprouted in the garden next to the house – mostly all Bush Blue Lake 274 but no other data (5 days – 27% germination so far)

July 17

  • Harvested 11 7/8 ounces Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  •  Harvested 14 3/4 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Approximately 16 green beans have sprouted in the garden next to the house – mostly all Bush Blue Lake 274 but no other data (6 days – 43% germination so far)
  • Plans to plant the Sugar Dots and Peaches and Cream Corn fell through at the in-laws house after it was found to be a total loss.  The corn was root-bound in the six-packs and needed to be planted, so room was made
    • About 39 Sugar Dots corn was planted in the 2 x 16 raised bed on the driveway
    • About 24 Sugar Dots corn was planted in the front driveway garden
    • About 48 Peaces and Cream corn was planted in the garden next to the house
  • All yellow and white onions were harvested
    • 36 white onions – 5 pounds, 12 3/8 ounces
    • 28 yellow onions – 5 pounds, 11 1/4 ounces

July 19

  • Built a new 8 x 4 raised bed on the driveway next to the patio.  This will be used to transplant all of the green beans that were planted in the side garden and the 2 x 16 raised bed on the driveway where the corn had to be located
  • Approximately 25 Bush Blue Lake 274 beans sprouted in the 2 x 16 raised bed (6 days – 36% germination so far)

July 20

  • Harvested 1 pound, 1 7/8 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 4 5/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Harvested 10 3/8 ounces (1) Best Boy Tomato (first harvest of Best Boy and seems to have ripened quicker than Roma)
  • Harvested 6 5/8 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes

July 22

  • Harvested 13 1/2 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries

July 23

  • Harvested 3 pounds, 3 7/8 ounces (6) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Harvested 10 3/8 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes
  • Harvested 10 1/2 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Harvested 8 1/2 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries

July 24

  • Harvested 7 1/2 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries

July 26

  • Harvested 7 ounces (3) Roma tomatoes (first harvest of Roma – but last to ripen of the varieties of tomatoes) 
  • Harvested 7 3/8 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 pound, 3 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries

July 28

  • Harvested 2 pounds, 12 1/4 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Harvested 9 1/2 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries

July 29

  • Harvested 4 3/4 ounces (2) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 3 3/4 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes
  • Harvested 5 3/4 ounces (1) Best Boy tomato

July 30

  • Harvested 1 pound, 7 1/8 ounces (2) of cucumbers (first cucumber harvest of the year – not sure but most likely was Marketmore 76 cucumbers)
  • Harvested 1 pound, 1/8 ounces (3) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Harvested 3 1/4 ounces (2) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 4 pounds, 11 1/4 ounces (15) California Wonder peppers

July 31

  • Harvested 1 pound, 1 ounce of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 1 pound, 1 1/4 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans

August 2

  • Harvested 2 pounds, 3/4 ounce (3) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Harvested 7 ounces (3) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 5/8 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes
  • Harvested 6 7/8 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Made 7 quarts of salsa
    • 12 pounds tomatoes
    • couple of shakes of oregano
    • 7 or 8 green peppers
    • food processor full of onions
    • 2 tablespoonds of salt
    • 1 tablespoon and 3 teaspoons of minced garlic
    • 3 tablespoons of chili powder
    • 2 teaspoons of pepper
    • 2 cups lemon juice
    • 4 – 6 ounce cans of tomato paste
  • Planted 21 Simpson Elite lettuce in the self-watering tray

August 3

  • Harvested 14 1/4 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans

August 4

  • Harvested 11 7/8 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 2 pounds, 1 5/8 ounces (5) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 pound, 9 1/8 ounces (11) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 4 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes

August 5

  • Harvested 3 pounds, 3/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • 13 Simpson Elite lettuce has sprouted (3 days – 62% germination so far)

August 6

  • Harvested 14 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 1 pound, 6 1/8 ounces (3) cucumbers 
  • Harvested 3 pounds, 8 ounces (6) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 pound, 13 1/2 ounces (13) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 3 7/8 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes
  • 6 Simpson Elite leettuce has sprouted (4 days – 90% germination so far)

August 7

  • Harvested 1 pound, 7 7/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans

August 8

  • Harvested 9 7/8 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 2 pounds, 3 5/8 ounces (4) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 pound, 2 3/8 ounces (10) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 3 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes

August 10

  • Harvested 4 7/8 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 5 pounds, 7 7/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Harvested 1 pound, 1 3/8 ounces (3) California Wonder peppers

August 11

  • Harvested 2 pounds, 8 3/4 ounces (4) cucumbers
  • Harvested 2 pounds, 11 5/8 ounces (21) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 5 1/8 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes

August 12

  • Harvested 4 1/8 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 2 pounds, 11 1/2 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans

August 13

  • Harvested 2 pounds, 15 3/8 ounces (10) California Wonder peppers 
  • Harvested 1 pound, 1 1/4 ounces (2) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 pound, 7 5/8 ounces (12) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 3 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes

August 14

  • Harvested 2 pounds, 3 5/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans

August 15

  • Harvested 1 pound, 6 1/4 ounces (3) Burpee Pickler cucumbers
  • Harvested 1 pound, 14 3/8 ounces (5) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 pound, 12 7/8 ounces (16) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 2 1/2 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes

August 17

  • Harvested 5 pounds, 9 1/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans (At this point, it has been about 50 days since the sowing of the second batch of green beans in the front garden and the second batch of green beans should start to produce)
  • Harvested 7 3/8 ounces (1) Burpee Pickler cucumber
  • Harvested 6 1/4 ounces (2) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 pound, 14 3/4 ounces (17) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 7/8 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes

 

August 19

  • Harvested 1 pound, 1 3/8 ounces (3) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 pound, 10 7/8 ounces (14) Roma tomatoes

August 20

  • Harvested 7 7/8 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Harvested 3 pounds, 15 1/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans

August 21

  • Harvested 1 pound, 2 3/4 ounces (2) Burpee Pickler cucumbers
  • Harvested 7 3/8 ounces (2) Marketmore 76 cucumbers
  • Harvested 1 pound, 1 ounce (9) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 9 3/8 ounces (2) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Canned 3 quarts of pickles using the Ball pickle mix
  • Canned 6 quarts of tomatoes

August 22

  • Harvested 11 3/8 ounces (3) California Wonder peppers (green/red picked; all peppers before this date were all picked as green peppers)
  • Harvested 2 7/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Pulled up some of the original Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans at the northwest side of the front driveway garden and planted 12 Simpson Elite lettuce
  • Approximately 8 Sugar Dots Corn have begun pollination
    • Tassels were cut off for pollen to collect in a bucket
  • Pollinated 4 Sugar Dots Corn

August 23

  • Pollinated 2 Sugar Dots Corn
  • Harvested 14 ounces (4) Marketmore 76 cucumbers
  • Harvested 6 3/4 ounces (2) Best Boy tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 pound, 15 1/4 ounces (23) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 7/8 ounce of Red Cherry tomatoes
    • The second and last Red Cherry tomato plant was pulled up (not sure of the date of when the first was pulled)
  • Harvested 1 pound, 12 3/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans

August 24

  • Pollinated 13 Sugar Dots Corn

August 25

  • Pollinated 17 Sugar Dots Corn

August 26

  • Harvested 4 1/2 ounces (1) California Wonder pepper
  • Harvested 1 pound, 7 7/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Harvested 5 1/4 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries
  • Pollinated 8 Sugar Dots Corn
  • Harvested 1 pound, 11 7/8 ounces (20) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 4 7/8 ounces (2) Best Boy tomatoes

August 28

  • Pollinated 3 Sugar Dots Corn
  • Pollinated 4 Peaches and Cream Corn

August 29

  • Pollinated 6 Peaches and Cream Corn
  • Harvested 5 3/8 ounces (1) California Wonder pepper
  • Harvested 1 pound, 9 3/4 ounces Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Harvested 9 7/8 ounces (2) Burpee Pickler cucumbers
  • Harvested 1 pound, 1 3/4 ounces (12) Roma tomatoes
  • Pollinated a second ear on a Sugar Dots corn
  • Peaches and Cream corn is over 7 feet tall in the garden next to the house
    • Most of all the pollen has been released by the tassels and very few ears have put on silk to catch the pollen
  • Harvested 4 1/4 ounces (1) California Wonder pepper

August 30

  • Harvested 3 ounces (1) California Wonder pepper
  • Re-pollinated 12 Peaches and Cream Corn
  • Pollinated 2 Peaches and Cream Corn

August 31

  • Pollinated 1 Peachss and Cream Corn

September 2

  • Harvested 15 3/4 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans
  • Pollinated 7 Peaches and Cream Corn
  • Harvested 5 3/8 ounces (2) Burpee Pickler cucumbers
  • Harvested 1 pound, 8 ounces (22) Roma tomatoes

September 3

  • Harvested 4 3/8 ounces (1) California Wonder pepper
  • Pollinated 2 Sugar Dots Corn
  • Pollinated 6 Peaches and Cream Corn

September 6

  • Rained yesterday and wet today – no corn pollination but about 15 need pollinated
  • Harvested 3 pounds, 8 ounces of green beans that were mostly in the new bed (combination of Bush Blue Lake 274 and Bush Blue Lake 74)
  • Harvested 11 /8 ounces (9) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 3 5/8 ounces (1) Burpee Pickler cucumber
  • Pollinated 10 Sugar Dots Corn

September 7

  • Marked 7 Peaches and Cream corn with the date – no pollen was available for pollination

September 8

  • Harvested 8 7/8 ounces (2) California Wonder peppers
  • Marked 3 Peaches and Cream corn with the date – no pollen was available for pollination

September 9

  • Harvested 2 pounds, 10 ounces of green beans
  • Harvested 3 7/8 ounces (1) California Wonder pepper
  • Harvested 4 3/4 ounces (1) Best Boy tomato
  • Harvested 15 ounces (14) Roma tomatoes
  • Harvested 1 ounce (1) Burpee Pickler cucumber

September 10

  • Harvested 4 3/8 ounces (1) California Wonder pepper

September 12

  • Harvested 8 7/8 ounces (2) California Wonder peppers
  • Harvested 2 pounds, 3/4 ounces of green beans

September 14

  • Harvested 1 pound, 1 3/4 ounces (4) California Wonder peppers
  • Picked Sugar Dots Corn
    • 4 that were pollinated on August 22
    • 2 that were pollinated on August 23
    • 13 that were pollinated on August 24
    • 1 that was pollinated on August 29 (Not good)
  • Overall, 3 pounds, 10 ounces (18) Sugar Dots corn were kept (out of 20)
    • Very bad, small ears
    • Corn was planted approximately 12 inches apart in rows and between rows
  • Tore down all Sugar Dots Corn stalks that did not produce a single ear
  • Picked 1 Peaches and Cream Corn that was pollinated on September 6 (Deer ate it)
  • Pulled down the two cucumber plants
  • Pulled down the Roma tomato plants
  • Pulled up one Kennebec potato plant that was planted right next to a Roma tomato plant
    • Yielded 2 pounds, 13 3/8 ounces of potatoes

September 15

  • Harvested 3 pounds, 1 1/4 ounces of green beans

September 16

  • Harvested 1 pound, 4 5/8 ounces (6) California Wonder peppers

September 17

  • Harvested 1 pound, 5 7/8 (4) California Wonder peppers
  • Picked Sugar Dots Corn
    • 17 that were pollinated on August 25
    • 7 that were pollinated on August 26
    • 1 that was pollinated on August 28
  • Only 13 out of 25 picked were productive and had kernels; 2 pounds, 4 7/8 ounces

September 19

  • Harvested 3 pounds of green beans

September 20

  • Picked Peaches & Cream Corn – 2 pounds, 4 3/8 ounces – total of 9 out of 12 picked were productive
    • 1 that was pollinated on August 26
    • 5 that were pollinated on August 28
    • 6 that were pollinated on August 29

 

September 21

  •  Harvested 1 pound, 11 7/8 ounces (6) California Wonder peppers

September 22

  • Harvested 1 pound, 14 1/2 ounces of Peaches and Cream Corn – all 9 were productive
    • 1 that was pollinated on August 28
    • 2 that were pollinated on August 30
    • 1 that was pollinated on August 31
    • 5 that were pollinated on September 1

September 23

  • Harvested 1 pound, 15 5/8 ounces of green beans

September 24

  • Harvested 1 pound, 15 ounces (8) California Wonder peppers

September 26

  • Harvested 2 pounds, 8 3/8 ounces of Peaches and Cream Corn – all 13 were productive
    • 7 that were pollinated on September 2
    • 6 that were pollinated on September 3
  • Harvested 11 5/8 ounces (3) California Wonder peppers
  • Harvested 2 pounds, 8 3/8 ounces of green beans
  • Pulled out all of the Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans from the front driveway garden 

September 28

  • Harvested all remaining corn – 1 pound, 8 7/8 ounces – total of 12 “good” ears
    • 8 that were pollinated on September 6
    • 7 that were pollinated on September 7
    • 2 that were polinated on September 8

September 30

  • Harvested 3 1/8 ounces of green beans
  • Harvested 10 3/8 ounces (4) California Wonder peppers

October 5

  • Harvested 11 1/8 ounces (2) Best Boy tomatoes

October 7

  • Harvested 1 pound, 8 3/4 ounces (7) California Wonder peppers
  • Harvested 4 3/4 ounces of Simpson Elite lettuce (first batch of lettuce for the fall crop – very bad production and the lettuce plants did not grow as vigorous as they did in the spring)

October 11

  • Harvested California Wonder peppers (no note on the weight)
  • Night temperatures are very close to freezing over the past few nights

October 12

  • Harvested 11 pounds, 10 ounces of Kennbec potatoes in the potato bed next to the house 
  • Harvested 2 pounds, 2 3/8 ounces of potatoes from the potato bin (only one plant survived and all of the potatoes produced were in the very top portion of the bin.  Bin was about 2.5 feet tall and the potato stemp was fully rotted about a foot down)

October 20

  • Harvested 9 pounds, 3/4 ounce (42) California Wonder peppers (last harvest of the year)

October 25

  • Harvested 4 7/8 ounces of Simpson Elite lettuce 

November 8

  • Found one Kennebec potato in the potato bed beside the house – 15 3/8 ounces
  • Harvested 3 1/2 ounces of Simpson Elite lettuce

November 26

  • Harvested 4 3/8 ounces of Simpson Elite lettuce
    • The lettuce has sustained several nights below freezing and hard frosts 

2009 Journal Notes

  • Last frost date was earlier than typical; about a 75% chance of frost after the April 7th week
  • Extremely hot temperatures early June.  August and September were cooler than typical
  • Began storing seed in the refrigerator this year; seed that was a year old was not stored in these conditions and therefore was hampered
  • Putting out seeds extra early (such as the peas) did not gain any additional benefit because the soil needed to warm up before germination occurred
  • Using the heat mat to start some seedlings (was used for only peppers this year) is beneficial and helps germination by around 4 days.  House temperature ranged from 60 to 64 degrees typically
  • The radishes do not grow well at all unless they have direct sunlight. They were in the garden next to the house where they didn’t get very much sunlight and there was an extremely poor harvest from them
  • The garden at the in-laws house was abandoned.  Germination rates and growth quality suffered severely
    • Most likely because the soil is very hard and full of clay – was very hard to even till a small area to plant potatoes
  • Even though you can buy “dwarf” varieties of peas, don’t plan on them staying small.  Dwarf Gray Sugar peas grew to at least four feet tall – and even taller if there was additional support.
  • Blanching (boiling) of vegetables before placing in freezer storage was a complete waste.
    • The peas became very hard and frozen together, were flimsy, and lost their color and flavor.  Peas that were not blanched were crisp, had better flavor, and were not frozen together
    • Broccoli and cauliflower that were not blanched before freezing was fine.  However, the broccoli and cauliflower needed to be immediately cooked and used – if it was put in the refrigerator to thaw, they had a very foul smell and tasted bad
  • While not noted in the above log, only one each of the Marketmore 76 and Burpee Pickler cucumbers germinated out of the three each that were planted 12 inches apart from each other.
  • Germination for Bush Blue Lake 274 was superior to the more expensive Bush Blue Lake 74 seed that was purchased.  The Bush Blue Lake 74 seed was more expensive because it was noted as a “customer favorite” from Burpee.
  • Although there were 6 more white onions over yellow onions harvested, the weight was within 2 ounces and therefore it seems that the yellow onions produced better.
  • The Red Cherry tomatoes succumed to a disease (most likely fusarium wilt) very early in the season and produced horrendously.  One of the two plants was pulled up mid-way through the season because it was almost fully dead – and the other plant was pulled up a few weeks after.
  • The Best Boy and Roma tomatoes also suffered from wilt.  It did not affect the fruit, but the leaves from the bottom-up were turning yellow and then brown.  The Roma plants held up better than the Best Boy plants, however.

How to Get Page Title in Joomla 1.0.x

Search terms:
How to get the page title in Joomla 1.0.x
How to get the content title in Joomla 1.0.x
How to get the article title in Joomla 1.0.x
How to show the page title in Joomla 1.0.x
How to show the content title in Joomla 1.0.x
How to show the article title in Joomla 1.0.x

After several long hours of trying many methods of obtaining the page title of a content item, I finally stumbled across the solution.

 In my blogs, I wanted to have the pagination and the results of additional blog entries at the bottom of the page (as you can see on this page where it allows you to click next/previous/etc).  If I turned off pagination, the actual title of the content item would appear in the title.  However, if I turn on pagination, it does not do so IF you follow the links using the pagination below.  You can try this yourself – if you click on “next” below, you will see the title of the page at the top of your browser say “BsnTech Networks – BsnTech Blog – Computers” instead of the actual name of the content item.

Why do I want the content item title so bad?  Well, I use a tracker on my site to see what pages visitors are viewing.  If I can’t get the correct title, every Computer blog entry (or any other Blog I have) will show as the very same page – because the actual title never changes!

So I FINALLY found a solution that will allow me to keep the pagination feature on and to log the REAL content item title that each visitor views.

I tried many methods and none worked.  I tried to get the Itemid, id, Contentid, and many other options.  With the pagination feature on, none of the IDs returned were the actual ID of the content item in question – it was some other ID.  I was going to couple this with a database query to pull the title from the content table where the id equaled the page’s ID.  No-Go.

I then tried to use the mosMainBody() feature and store it to a PHP variable – where I would then get the string after the “contentheading” TD Class.  When I tried this, the whole mosMainBody actually appeared on the webpage and this wasn’t succesful either!

So, alas, I have the solution to finally allow you to get your page title in Joomla 1.0.x and store it to a PHP variable.  Here’s the trick:

You need to open up the content.html.php file in the components/com_content directory.  You then need to go down to around line 624 – I cannot tell exactly what line yours may say because I’ve done other tweaking to this file, but the line will look like this:

function Title( &$row,  &$params, &$access ) {

Just under this line, I added the following lines.  The following lines will basically take the page title and store it in a GLOBAL PHP variable called “myTitle”.  It has to be a GLOBAL variable so that it can be accessed in your template.

//below are two lines added to get the page title and store it in myTitle
global $myTitle;
$myTitle = $row->title;

Now, go into your template index.php file and you can use the $myTitle variable anywhere that you want the actual title of the content item to show up.

So now I have the both of best worlds on my blogging sites – I can allow my visitors to use the pagination features at the bottom of the blog pages to follow my blog entries in order, list the blog entries on the right-hand side so visitors can click specifically on an entry that interests them (this was other PHP code I wrote to pull the data from the database and construct the link – which actually does show the correct title in the browser’s title bar), and also see what pages visitors view on my statistics information pages.

 

220 Gallon Rain Catchment System – Done!

This week I am using some vacation time away from work.  I have a lot of time that needs to be used so I figured around Christmas week, this was the time to do it!

Therefore, I used the time today to go pickup two more rain barrels to fully complete the 220 gallon rain catchment system.

Here are some pictures of the system.  Below shows the full system – the four barrels at the top will hold approximately 220 gallons of rain water.  The barrel below is one of the composters (still need one more barrel to complete that).

220 Gallon Rain Catchment System

The below photo shows the side view of the system – with the gutters, the overflow, and the 1/2" PVC pipe that comes off from under the barrel.  So far I have attached two ball knobs down that 1/2" PVC pipe – the first one by the 4×4 post will allow me to turn the water on to fill a bucket or attach a hose (I attached a 1/2" to 3/4" male adapter to the end to allow a hose connection).  The next ball knob at the bottom of the picture and close to the ground will connect to the irrigation system that will be on that side of the garage.  Later on, I will add another ball knob where I have a "T" connector by the corner of the garage – this line will go to the garden beside the house and the one in the front yard.  By using individual ball knobs, I can open/close the water flow to each garden around the house.

220 Gallon Rain Catchment System

In the next photo – this is underneath the barrels where you can see the 2" PVC pipe connecting all of the barrels together.  All of the fittings have been glued together using PVC cement.  Between each barrel, there is a 2" PVC Union coupler that allows me to unscrew the piping.  This was done so that I can take down the barrels for maintenance or cleaning in the future.  Without these, I would have to cut the main PVC pipe between each barrel to free them – and then couple them back up.  Eventually this would use all of the PVC pipe and I wouldn't have any more space to make couples!

220 Gallon Rain Catchment System

And lastly, this is the top of one of the barrels.  There was a 3/4" hole that was cut out and some screening put over the hole.  Then I used some caulk to adhere the screening to the barrel.  This is to release the air pressure in each barrel when the water fills them up.  The screening keeps any bugs out so they cannot get into the barrels.

Rain Catchment System

Here is the Part 2 of the water cachment system video:

Experiment 2 – Growing Lettuce Under Lights

So it has been a week since I planted the original lettuce in the rubbermaid container (previous blog post).  Not one of them has sprouted.

I am thinking that it is because I planted them too deep.  Lettuce should only be planted about 1/4 inch deep because of the very tiny seeds and they need to get to the surface quickly.  When planting them in the rubbermaid box, they probably were planted at least 1/2 inch to 3/4 inches deep by the time I put peat moss over the top of them.  I have been religiously spraying the container twice daily to keep it moist – but nothing has happened.

Therefore, it is time for experiment number 2 – growing lettuce under lights.  I had been looking over the GardenWeb “Growing Under Lights” forum and was asking questions about what fluorescent bulbs would be best to grow lettuce.  One individual told me that warm white was best – but others had their own opinions as well.  Previously I used the standard Gro-Lux bulbs coiupled with a Cool White Plus bulb by Sylvania.  The Cool White Plus bulbs are 40 watts each with about 2950 lumens.  I can’t recall the rest of the information on that bulb right now.  I used one Gro-Lux bulb and a Cool White Plus bulb in each of the two fixtures I used for the seedlings earlier this year.

But, I purchased some organic soil mix today along with four Cool White Premium bulbs.  I was primarily looking at higher lumens – which typically means brighter light output.  The Cool White Premium bulbs are 3300 lumens, 40 watt, 80 CRI, and 4100K.

I then made a box out of some old paneling and some of the treated wood that was used around the potato bin.  The pieces from the potato bin were six inches high by 2 feet long – so I had to put two of the boards together to make them four feet long total.  I just didn’t have any perfect planting box that would make use of all of the fluorescent lights to maximize space – so building a box was best.

So the box was 4 foot long by 6 inches tall.  I then used the paneling on the bottom and on the sides – the box was about 14 inches wide (well, about 12 inches after the sides were attached).  I then just used a staple gun to staple all of the pieces together.  As you can see in the pictures below, I then used plastic to surround the box – the bottom and the sides – so that water will not leak out anywhere.

I then planted Simpson Elite lettuce every four inches in hopes that at least half of them will sprout.  I put all of my seeds in a butter container and put them in the refrigerator – hoping to increase the life of them.  Therefore, I’m hoping with the first indoor container that I just planted them too deep – but this time we will see how viable the seeds are.  They were all planted at 1/4 inch with light soil placed over the top and then sprayed down well.

Growing Lettuce Under Lights

Growing Lettuce Under Lights

The toothpicks above show approximately where the seeds were sowed – so I have an idea if there was any weed seed in the organic soil mix that was purchased.

And here is the full ensemble with the two light fixtures over the top.  I turned the fixtures on just for the photo – but they will not be turned on until the first seedling emerges.  The lights on plugged into a surge protector power strip – and then plugged into a timer that will turn the lights on daily at 7 am and off at 7 pm.

Growing Lettuce Under Lights

Growing Lettuce Under Lights


December 25

The Growing Lettuce Under Lights experiment is working very well – unlike the Shady Lettuce Experiment which is pretty much a bust.

I placed toothpicks next to each of the seeds sowed – and there are already 50% of them that have sprouted – in just five days!  I didn’t have the lights on for the first three days because there weren’t any sprouts.  The first sprouts occurred yesterday – and there were about three or four of them.  Today, there are now eleven of them.  I have removed the toothpicks from the spots where the spouts have occurred.

Growing Lettuce Under Lights

You can just barely see on small sprout in the picture above – underneath the bottom-most toothpick by about two inches.

Here is a closer look at one of the sprouts.  The leaves have already unfolded to receive the light from the fluorescent bulbs.

Growing Lettuce Under Lights


December 31

Out of 22 Simpson Elite lettuce that were planted,  13 seedlings have emerged and are doing quite well.  The seeds were purchased back in March/April of this year and have been kept in the fridge.  Lettuce seeds are known to only last maybe two seasons – and this shows it by only having a 59% germination rate.  At any rate, the little seedlings are doing very well.  I moved the seeds so they are all eight inches apart now and four inches between the rows.  I have one extra plant that I am keeping just in case something happens to one of the other ones.

Growing Lettuce Under Lights

Growing Lettuce Under Lights


January 7

At this point, I’ve pretty much thrown in the towel on the shady lettuce experiment.  This week though, two more lettuce seedlings sprouted in that container.  The lettuce is just too stalky and when I water them, they just fall over.  But, I’m still keeping it going although I don’t expect anything.

However, the growing lettuce under the fluorescent lights experiment is still going very well.  All of the plants now have three or more leaves.

Lettuce Under Lights

Lettuce Under Lights


January 14

The lettuce plants have doubled in size in the past seven days (one week)  The Simpson Elite lettuce is now 21 days old.  The package says that they will be mature and ready for harvest in about 60 days.  Somehow I don’t beleive this will be the case with growing them under lights.  Here pretty soon I’m going to be required to make a decision on how to start the seeds for the real garden.  The Copra Onion seeds will be started around the beginning of February.  This means I’ll have to buckle and probably purchase more fluorescent fixtures for them – which isn’t what I would like to do.

In addition, I have removed two of the four fluorescent bulbs from the lettuce growing experiment.  The two rows of lettuce is directly underneath one of the bulbs on each fixture.  So, this will reduce power usage down to 80 watts from 160 watts.

Lettuce Under Lights
Lettuce Under Lights


January 31

The lettuce has really grown yet again!  One of the lettuce plants really needs to be “thinned” because there are three of them that are four inches apart from one another – and all the others are eight inches apart.  I just cannot get myself to do it because it is one of the better-looking plants!

Something I did a couple of weeks ago was to remove a fluorescent bulb from each of the two fixtures – as noted in the last post.  So far this doesn’t appear to have made any kind of difference in the growing of the lettuce.

Growing Letetuce Under Lights


February 20

Curtis – who commented below – motivated me to make an update to this experiment.

It has been a good 20 days since my last update on this.  Sine then, the lettuce has doubled or tripled in size again.  However, the lettuce is now about 60 days old, and according to the package, I should be able to start harvesting the lettuce by now.

Nope!  The lettuce just is not big enough yet.  I still am running only one 4-foot Premium Cool White fluorescent bulb (3300 Lumens, standard Cool White bulbs have 3000 lumens) in each of the two fixtures.

At this point, I am about ready to scrap the project.  The amount of electric required to grow the lettuce almost is not worth the effort.  The lights are on for 12 hours a day and consume 80 watts of power between the two bulbs.

One thing I have noticed is a direct relationship between the distance of the fluorescent bulbs and the size of the plants.  In the picture below, you can see how the left row of lettuce is larger than the right row of lettuce.  Well, this is because the light over the left row was about an inch closer to the lettuce than the light on the right side.

Today I moved the fluorescent lights down to be just about one inch from the top of the lettuce.  I’m not sure how much longer I will keep this experiment going since it doesn’t have great results.  On top of that, I may need the box that the lettuce is growing in to start more seeds for the main garden outside before long!

Growing Lettuce Under Lights


March 11

Today the lettuce was all harvested and the lights taken down.  At this point, it is safe to say that growing lettuce indoors does not do as well as growing outside.  This may be due to several factors – availability of real sunlight, availability of carbon dioxide, and possibly fertilization.  I did not fertilize the lettuce at all because I purchased brand new soil mix that already had fertilizer added.

The lettuce was always watered with rain water that I had in gallon jugs.

Overall, we got two nice salads out of it last night plus there is still enough left for maybe two more salds tonight.  But, considering that 80 watts of power is used for 12 hours a day, there was a lot of electric usage for this.  The lights were on 12 hours daily from December 20th until today – so quite a long time.  The lettuce started off with four fluorescent bulbs and then I removed two bulbs on January 14th (which meant from December 20th to January 14th, there was 160 watts of power used daily for 12 hours) .

The lettuce was quite good and was not bitter.  It was interesting to see that the lettuce had a very small root system – nothing like what it is if planted out in the garden.  Then again, each lettuce plant in the garden yielded about a pound of lettuce – whereas these plants in this experiment yielded less than a pound for all 13 plants.

Lettuce Under Lights

Lettuce Under Lights

As you can see, the lettuce really did grow well in the past 30 days, but the amount of electric and effort to grow lettuce indoors is not worthwhile from what I have found out.

 

 

A Shady Lettuce Experiment

I like to watch a lot of PBS shows on gardening – such as Victory Garden, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, Cultivating Life, and Illinois Gardener.  The other night I was watching an episode where right in front of San Francisco’s Convention Center, they made a huge garden right in the parking lot.  It was pretty neat to see – and the garden areas were circular with burlap bags filled with straw around the perimeter to hold the soil in.

Well, this post doesn’t have much to do with that, but I was feeling antsy after seeing these that I just wanted to plant something!

So, I got out in the garage and looked around for some kind of container that was at leas six inches deep.  I found a green rubbermaid container that fit the bill.  I then filled it with soil from the garden and brought it into the house.

I am going to see if lettuce will grow well in a shady area.  We do not get any direct sunlight in our house because the garage is on the south side of the house – plus the forrest behind the house keeps it shaded.  Right now there is maybe 30 minutes to an hour of direct sunlight that comes in our bedroom window since the leaves of the trees in the forrest are gone and the sun is a little lower in the sky.

So, I set this container in our room by the windows and put about 17 lettuce seeds in it.  While I can’t keep all of them in there, I hope to at least keep six in this container.  The container is probably about 10 inches wide by 15 inches long – so that is pushing it with planting the lettuce that close.

But darn it!  I just can’t wait through all of this cold winter without doing something.  So, why not try to see if lettuce grows in a shady spot!  If this actually works out very well, I have a whole row behind the garage that I could use strictly for lettuce plantings and use the space in the main full-sun gardens for something else.

I haven’t known any veggies to grow well in full shade – but I read something online about folks growing lettuce in full shade and it working out.  So, why not – I have nothing to lose except 17 lettuce seeds and a little bit of time watering them.

Shady Lettuce


December 25

Update for today –  Approximately seven of the 17 lettuce seedlings have finally sprouted.  It took nine days to get to this point.  The lettuce sure didn’t sprout very well – but I blame that on the fact they were planted 1/2-inch or more under soil.  For lettuce, they should only be planted about 1/4-inch deep.

The lettuce is extremely “leggy” and is trying to reach for sunlight – which just isn’t readily available in this room.  I think it is pretty safe to say that growing lettuce in shade is a complete bust – at least for the idea that once they emerge from seedlings, they are putting all of their energy in making the main stem.  Compare this to the Experiment 2 – Growing Lettuce Under Lights .

Shady Lettuce Experiment


December 31

Nothing much has changed for these little seedlings.  They are still very long and stalky but the leaves have finally begun to try and open up.  The below picture doesn’t do much good because it was pretty dark in the room already when taken.

Shaded Lettuce Experiment

 

 

My First YouTube Video Upload

Today I created my first YouTube video upload.

I've been employed at my job for over six years now, and they reward their employees at the six-year level with a special "gift".  They give you a catalog and you can choose out of the catalot what you'd like.  For some time now, I've been wanting a new digital camera – one that would allow me to record movies with audio.  The Olympus Stylus 300 digital camera we currently have allows you to record movies – but only up to 30 seconds long and with no sound.

So, a Samsung SL30 was what was available in the gift catalog.  While not a full review of the Samsung SL30 camera, it is a very nice looking camera with many features and functions.  It also has the digital image stabilization feature as well.  Unfortunately, one of the down sides is that it uses two AA batteries – and boy does this camera drink batteries!  I've had the camera for a little over a week and since then, I've maybe taken 10 test pictures and a total of around 15 – 20 minutes of videos (including the one below).  That is where I really liked the Olympus camera – it had one of those black rechargable batteries so I didn't have to go buy AA batteries all the time!

Anyways, the first video I made was in regards to the Rain Water Tower & Compost Tumbler system that I created a week ago.  I wanted to post it out there so others can see what I've done and maybe provide some insight on how to create one of these systems.

 

New Program Creation – The Wootamator

Introducing a new program that was just created by BsnTech Networks – “The Wootamator”.

The Wootamator is a Woot Bot that will automatically pull the item name, item price, and a picture of the item and display it on your desktop.  This automatic Woot program will also display pop-up boxes during a Woot-Off that will indicate when the item has sold out and when a new item is posted to the site.

The program will not buy you a Bag of Crap – or “Random Crap” as it is listed on the Woot! site.  However, it will alert you when the Bag of Crap appears and the button in the main page will allow you to go to Woot! quickly.

Here is a screen shot of the main program showing a 1 GB Sansa Clip:

Wootamator

A version was made for Windows and a version was also made for Linux OS systems.

You can download the Wootamator here.

 

Why I Prefer Linux…

Today I discovered yet another reason why I prefer running Linux servers instead of Windows servers…

Hardware Failures

I noticed over the course of the past week, the Decatur server seemed to have been rebooting for no reason at least once and sometimes twice a day.  My first thought was the power supply.

I changed out the power supply with a new one – and the server rebooted again for no reason.

Next I checked the memory using the memtest86+ Linux utility.  The server has 2 pieces of GSkill 2 GB DDR2-800 memory and the motherboard has two banks.  I ran the test and it got to about 2% (took about five minutes) and the server rebooted again!

So I thought it was possibly the memory.  I took out one of the memory modules, ran memtest86+ again, and the test fully completed an hour later.

The server was shut down again and the other memory was added back to bank 2.  I re-ran the test – just thinking maybe it was a fluke of chance the server rebooted during the process, and again – about 2% it restarted again.

This time I took the memory out of bank 1 – the one that previously tested just fine.  So only the previously untested memory was in bank 2.  Turned the server on – and it wouldn't even post.

Oh boy I thought – I've got some bad memory.  So I turned the server off and put the memory in bank 2 into bank 1 – this time figuring I would check the memory controller on the motherboard.  Turned the server on – and again, wouldn't even post.

I put the original tested memory back into bank 1 and took the other memory out of bank 1 and put it off to the side.  This previously worked – and again, the server wouldn't post yet again.

Luckily a few months back, I upgraded our home computer and had a full motherboard/processor/memory combo in storage.  I took it out, got it all setup, hooked in the server's hard drive and CD-ROM and poof.. off and running.  Before I booted onto the server hard drive, I booted off the CD and did a full image of the server hard drive – just in case the new motherboard/processor/memory combo caused problems.

Rebooted after making the image – and viola!  The Linux server kicked right off – and needing no additional drivers or loading anything!  I did have to go in and change the MAC address for the network card – otherwise it was showing up as eth1 with no configuration.  Easily done – I just opened up the /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules and removed the line for the old network card – then changed the "eth1" to "eth0" on the end of the new card.

Much easier than a Windows server where you would have possibly had re-activation, new drivers to download and configure, and who knows what other potential problems.

The Decatur server's motherboard is only about 1.5 years old – I am appalled that the memory controller has gone bad.  I did notice there was one capacitor that was raised and looked like it was just beginning to leak – so I wonder if it is the culprit.  The original board was an ECS AMD69GM-M2.  I just ordered a new JetWay JM26GT4-LF motherboard today.  I got it for a steal of $35 including shipping.  Otherwise, I was contemplating leaving the system as-is with the AMD XP3200+ 64-bit processor and 1 GB of memory.  The other processor/memory was an ADM 64 X2 2.2 GHz and 4 GB of memory.

Project Almost Completed…

Last time I just updated the "A new project" post with the update.  However, this time, I opted to make a new blog entry for this update.

The project is almost fully completed.  Unfortunately, it has turned off very cold for almost the past week and I am unable to pour the concrete for the last of the six posts for the project.

In addition, I have some other "goods" that I am awaiting to fully finish off the project as well – but everything has been setup from what I am able to do right now with the weather and the materials I have.

So, what is the project?

Rain Barrel Tower & Compost Roller

I call it the Rain Water Tower & Compost Tumbler.  Well, you can surely see at the top – those two barrels that I previously tested for water next to the house.  I didn't like the fact they were in plain view and they looked very ugly.  Plus, I was going to be limited to one more rain barrel in that spot.

In the new spot behind the garage, it is out of sight – and this will allow expansion of up to two additional rain barrels – a total of four all together to hold approximately 220 gallons of water.

What is very nice about this Rain Water Tower is that it gets it off the ground by five feet so it will help the water pressure.  In addition, there are only two downspouts on the back of the garage – one of them is visible on the left side of the picture – and the other one is all the way on the other side of the garage (not shown).  Because of this, I am going to close off the other downspout so that 100% of the water from a 24 x 24 foot garage is diverted into the barrels.  This should provide more than enough water coverage to fill the barrels up.

The basic structure consists of six 4" x 4" x 8-foot long poles and two 2" x 8" x 8-foot long boards that are under the barrels.  It is treated wood to make it last longer as well – no way would I make this out of untreated wood as it wouldn't last with all this water!  I then used some 6-inch by 1/2-inch lug nuts and put two in each post.

Underneath the rain barrels is the first compost tumbler I made a few weeks ago.  I just cut the original 1/2" galvanized pipe and placed a small piece on one side of the barrel and then a piece twice as long on the other side.  This way when I receive the next barrel, I can just cut a hole in both the top/bottom of the barrel and stick it on the one piece of galvanized rod and then cut a smaller piece to place in the other post.  There is plenty of room under the compost tumblers to get a wheel-barrow – so I can just pull a wheel barrow up, open the compost bin, and let it dump out!

Here is a side-view of the Rain Water Tower and Compost Tumbler:

Rain Water Tower & Compost Tumbler

You can see the main downspout that comes off the roof of the garage.  It is currently tied into drain to the ground and not through the collection system.  Then, you can see the overflow downspout I made that ties into the first rain barrel that is used when all of the barrels are full.

I'm pretty happy with the results and how it turned out.  It doesn't take up too much room either – the whole structure is 8 foot long by about 2 feet wide.  I placed the two posts 16.5 inches away from one another – and then I placed the 2×8 boards inside the posts – so the two boards are only about one foot from one another.  I opted to put it this close to give the rain barrels more "bite" in the wood – helps to spread the weight over more of the barrel's area and the board's area to manage the load.

I did have to put the first barrel about 2 inches higher than the second and any other consecutive barrels – I just placed a 2×2 piece of wood under both sides of the first barrel.  This was done so I can try to maximize the amount of water in the barrels.  With the 2" cut-out for the overflow line, this would effectively remove at least 10 – 15 gallons of water amongst the full four-barrel system.  By pushing the first barrel higher, it will allow the other three barrels to fill almost fully to the top before the water begins out the overflow pipe.

So, there you have it.  I think I am about done on this project until it warms up sometime next year (except for adding the two additional rain barrels and the one composter).

If there was one thing I would have done differently – it would have been to use a 3/4" PVC pipe that stems out from the 2" PVC pipe underneath the barrels.  This is because I would use 3/4" PVC pipe to the ground – where it would then split off into two 1/2" PVC pipes for the garden – one would go all the way to the front yard and the other would do the garden against the house and the garden against the garage.  By making the main feed line 3/4" instead of 1/2", it would have allowed greater water throughput if I had both lines going at the same time.

Rain Barrel Testing Accomplished

Wow, here it is the first of December and the garden is dead.  However, I am still finding out that I'm blogging just as much as I did during the gardening season!  I blame it on all of the extra projects that is keeping me busy.  Between the project that I'm currently working on on the side of the garage and the making of the wine, there are a few things to write about.

This weekend I opted to get the 55 gallon drums out of the garage and get them tested.  One of the drums had a hole that was larger than 2" in the top – so my PVC fittings would not work with this drum.  Therefore, that one was used for the compost tumbler.

The other two were put to use.  I got all of the 2" PVC fittings fitted into the 2" hole on each of the two drums.  I then purchased eight foundation blocks at the local home improvement store so they could be raised 16" in the air – 8" was needed as a minimum since the PVC pipe runs under the barrels.

The setup went fairly quickly and I got them setup next to a downspout by the back patio.  Although it is cold and now is into the freezing weather, they didn't get anything from the downspouts.

 I got the top hole cut out of the main barrel that will take a downspout and then drilled a small 1/8" hole in the other blue barrel so that as the water comes in the white barrel, the air pressure will be released from the blue barrel as the water equalizes out amongst the two.

Rain Barrel Testing

In the picture above, you can see the PVC pipe up near the top and then it goes straight down – this is the runoff pipe that drains out when the barrels are full.  In addition, underneath you can see a small 1/2" PVC pipe connected to a black-looking thing – which is a water timer.  The water timer won't work for the rain barrels (unfortunately) because there just isn't enough pressure to get out of the timer.  it is just a very slow trickle of water.

You can see that both barrels are propped up on four blocks each – and the white barrel has some additional 2×2 boards underneath.  This was done to so that the other barrel will be almost completely full before water begins to run out of the runoff pipe – so it was elevated an additional 2" for that purpose.

I then just had a standard garden hose going in to the top of the white rain barrel – this was done to test the barrels by filling them up.

Rain Barrel Testing

Here is a side-view of the rain barrel setup.  Again, you can see the black-looking thing between the blocks (again, the water timer).   Although it is hard to see, the 1/2" pipe is going into a 2" PVC elbow that is under the barrel.  I had to actually drill a 1/2" hole into the 90-degree elbow, then use a male-threaded 1/2" PVC connector to screw into the hole.  I then had to use a lot of PVC cement to ensure that it was very water-tight (hey, they don't make a 2" to 1/2" PVC converter so I had to make one myself!).  That 90-degree elbow then connects to a 2" PVC pipe that goes straight back to connect to the other rain barrel – very hard to see but you can sorta see the outline of the pipe underneath.

Well, notice how wet it is under the barrels? Yep, I had quite a few leaks to work out.  There are two 2" bung holes on each barrel.  One of them on each is used to connect the PVC pipes between the barrels.  But, the other one just has a cap over them.  Unfortunately, they were not tight enough and were leaking, so I had to drain the barrels, take the system apart, and then really tighten the caps down quite well.  I turned the barrels back over, put everything back together, and poof, no more leaks around those two holes!

Oh no – still more leaks!  Now there were leaks where the two 90-degree elbows connect the pipe to each barrel.  Afterall, that 2" pipe has all the force of 110 gallons of water on them.  So, I took the system apart again and used some PVC cement on one of the 90-degree elbow connectors.  Unfortunately, I can't use cement on both – otherwise I won't be able to get the barrels apart.

So, there still is the leak in the one 90-degree elbow connector to the horizontal 2" PVC pipe that connects the two barrels together.  Once I get a more permanent setup going, I'll be able to cement all of the pipes together – which will take care of all of the leaks.

Right now the barrel system was just setup with two barrels – but I will have a four-barrel system to hold 220 gallons of water when the rain barrel system is all setup and completed.  But, I only have two barrels available at this time.  The guy I'm getting the barrels from says he will get me three more – two in order to make the four rain-barrel system and one more for another compost tumbler.

Even with the two-barrel system, here is the pressure that it pushes through my 1/2" PVC irrigation system.  Again, I have 1/16" holes every six inches along this 20-foot section of irrigation.

Rain Barrel Water Pressure

 

The barrels are about 4 feeet above the lowest point of this irrigation pipe (lowest point is at the end of the driveway – or the top of the photo).  The barrels are then about 1.5 feet above the pipe at the top of the photo (since the driveway slopes downward).  This is why the water is shooting out higher towards the end of the driveway then the top.

Overall, I think the rain barrel idea was a pretty big success – although there is one leak that needs taken care of.  Again, that will be fixed when the permanent solution is created.

Lastly, a picture taken after the barrels were taken down and the water removed.  You can see here the 2" PVC pipe connected.  This is what runs under the barrels – but they are flipped upside down so the pipe isn't harmed.

Rain Barrel PVC Pipe