Self Watering Seed Starting Kits


I found something interesting today related to seed starting.  The older I get, the more I think I should simplify.

I was looking around on line for some cool indoor containers that would be fun to grow basil seeds and found this cute little kit.  It seems a bit pricey, but it looks sleek and contained.

This unit is self contained and includes:

  • a grow light
  • a self watering system with water reservoir
  • cartridges of special soil with seeds already embedded in them (evidently these are re-usable)

 

How it works:

According to the video, you pop in a pre-planted seed thingy that has the perfect amount of nutrients, special soil, etc. all in a cartridge of sorts.

  1. pop in a cartridge,
  2. fill a reservoir with water,
  3. and plug it in.
  4. Self watering seeds are a go.

 

Who Could Benefit from a Product Like This:

It could potentially be awesome if you are one of those crazy busy people who wants fresh basil, but can’t handle one more thing to remember to take care of.  Or if you are going to be gone for a few days, and don’t want to have your seedlings dry out, this might be something worth checking out.

The company claims you can grow your own cherry tomatoes in it, but I am highly skeptical about that.  Do they have a clue as to how huge a cherry tomato plant gets?  Even if it’s a super dwarf variety meant for containers, I would still not plant a cherry tomato in it, unless you plan to just start the plant and then plant it outside once it gets about 5 inches tall or so.

Plants that I think you would have the most success with using this unit:

  • basil,
  • cilantro,
  • arugula,
  • mizuna (Japanese mustard greens),
  • radishes(if using for microgreens),
  • beets(for microgreens),
  • basically, any kind of plant that you would like to eat regularly for microgreens.

Why I think small leafy greens would work best:

The reason I think it could work well for herbs that you eat regularly, is because you can maintain a small enough size plant that is compatible with the size of the unit because you will be eating your greens regularly.

I would love to test this product out and give a review!  I think it would be great for a city dweller with a small apartment or condo who doesn’t want to mess with a huge garden, but enjoys being able to pick a few tasty herbs to garnish meals, or simply to scratch and sniff!

What do you guys think of the look?

I found this little gizmo intriguing.  What do you think of it?  It’s a self-watering seed starting kit. There is a short video description of how it works with a time-lapse growing video to see it in action.  Click the pic if you want to learn more from the manufacturer.

 

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Houseplants: 8 Things to Remember When Bringing Them Indoors For the Winter


 

8 Things to Remember When Bringing Houseplants Inside for Winter

One of my followers asked me for some tips on how to make her patio tropicals stay happy after she brings them indoors for the winter.  My recommendation would be to:

1.  Slowly reaclimate your plant to your indoor environment at least 2 weeks prior to bringing them in.  2.  Start bringing them in at night to begin with.
3.  Also, you should plan not to leave it outside at night if temps drop below 60 degrees F.
4.  Avoiding the stress of cold temps is the best way to give your patio tropical a head start for happy house living for the winter.
5.  Be sure to remove any bugs or pests by cleaning or spraying the plant, or physically pruning away leaves and stems with bugs on them.
6.  Lastly, be sure to repot the plant to give it a fresh start with some new soil full of nutrients for the long winter ahead.
7. Once it’s in and acclimated to your house, be sure to feed it at least once or twice a month,
8. and when you water, be sure that you water until the water has drained out of the bottom of the pot and the plant feels heavy like the soil is completely saturated.

In this article, I will give you some simple guidelines that will help you turn that brown thumb into a green thumb.  This one’s for you CourtneeCC :

How often should I water?
Here is the rule of thumb I use: plants with thick,tough, juicy leaves and a waxy covering don’t need as much water…allow them to dry out completely between waterings. For example, an Aloe Vera plant really only needs to be watered about once or twice a month, depending on how hot and dry the room is that you keep it in.  Plants with very thin, non juicy, non waxy leaves, need to be watered about once a week.

How often should I fertilize?

For most houseplants, if using a liquid fertilizer, you should fertilize at least once a month.  If you are not one who remembers these sorts of things, you can incorporate a slow release fertilizer into your potting mix, or put some slow release fertilizer sticks into the soil, and then you will be good for about 3 months!

How often should I repot my houseplants?
Once a year is a good rule of thumb.

It’s always a good idea for house plants is to have a light, soil that has good drainage.  Good ingredients to find in it would be fir bark, perlite, milled peat moss, a little charcoal, and possibly a slow release fertilizer, so you can get by without having to remember to fertilize for a few months.  Of course, you can get really specific on your potting mix recipe depending on the type of plant you are growing.  Just remember, the less water a plant needs, the lighter the potting soil(lighter meaning increased drainage and dries out quickly)

Repotting

Always just repot into the next size up which is usually an increase in 1 or 2 inches in diameter. Repotting is a good thing to do if you had your plant outside all summer, to get rid of any bugs that might have made a nest in the pot.

How deep do I plant my houseplants when repotting?
Always make sure that the new soil does not bury the top of the old soil of the rootball, to avoid rotting out the main stem of the plant.

What kind of soil or growing media should I use?
This is a toughy, but to simplify, you can go to your local garden center, and find a bag of potting mix specific to what you are repotting…for example, you can buy cacti and succulent potting mix, african violet potting mix, orchid bark, general tropical plant potting mix, and so on.

What are some unique, but easy to grow houseplants?
My favorites are the ones that look cool, don’t need lots of light, and don’t need lots of water.  Yes, they do exist!  I love pepperomias, sanseverias, aglaeonemas, and hoyas for tropical house plants.

How do I prune my houseplants?
This depends on the type of plant.  I think this might have to be a separate article.

One thing I do recommend before you do before you prune your houseplants, would be to invest in a decent pair of pruners.  I have been using Felco pruners for more than 20 years, in fact, I still have some that are at least 15 years old!  I like them because they are well made, the springs and blades are replaceable, and they even make a pair for lefties like me!  Pictured here are the Felco# 9 for left handers.  If you are a righty, you would go with the Felco#2 pruner.

These are the Felco #2 pruners for right handed gardeners.  My husband is also a professional horticulturist and has used this model for more than 20 years!

How do I winterize my patio tropicals?
Before bringing them in for the season, ideally, you should repot and spray them with a mild insecticidal soap.

If you can, try to use an organic spray to kill those little buggers after you repot your plants and before bringing them indoors.  

If you don’t want to mess with spraying, you could just grab an old pair of panty hose, wadd them up into a ball, and dunk them into some warm soapy water.  Gently scrub the upper and undersides of the leaves to physically remove any little mites or other critters and their eggs.  Trouble with this is, that you might not get them off the stems.   Give them a good shower with your water wand.  If your plant does show any signs of a bug problem prior to bringing it in, you could spray it once or twice at intervals recommended on the instructions of the spray bottle, to be sure you got rid of all the life stages of the bugs.  Pruning the plant back is another way to physically remove those problem bugs.