Post 1 - First Three Weeks
by, 05-01-2010 at 02:03 AM (627 Views)
The Beginning - Weeks 1-3(4/11-5/1)
I am a first time grower. Bought feminized Jock Horror beans from Nirvana after failing to get some old bag seed to germinate. These seeds from Nirvana arrived in less than 1 week and looked fantastic, far better than my bagseed.
I started my girls on April 11 by putting them in dixie cups which I poked several holes in and then filled with a mix of Jiffy starting soil and my garden soil which I bought from a local nursery. My garden soil seems to have a lot of sand which becomes a little dense when wet and crusty when dry; the Jiffy made the soil lighter. The cups were then placed on a cable box to act as a heating pad. They broke the surface on April 14.
I had planted one seed a week earlier than the others and lost it due to a fluffy white mold forming on the cotyledons. The next day the entire seedling was shriveled up beyond repair. I read up on Uncle Ben's germinating technique and haven't had a problem with the other 4. I realized from my failed seed that covering with saran wrap is not necessary and the lack of fresh air makes it very easy for mold or fungus to develop.
Immediately upon breaking ground, I took them outside. I was a little apprehensive to do this since I've read so much about how it is necessary to harden plants off. Uncle Ben posted about how he exposes seedlings to direct sunlight as long as they are placed outside right as they are beginning to break ground, so this is what I did. For the first two weeks I would still bring them in at night as I was unsure if they could withstand the colder nights. This probably wasn't necessary in hindsight but gave me peace of mind.
After two weeks they have been left outside. Night time temps have been around 50F. I have a recycling bin I placed my youngins in to shield them a bit from the wind, it works great. We have had 20+mph winds lately and they have been standing strong. I have woken up some nights in panic seeing how crazy the wind is, but when I get up and check on my girls they are always just fine. They are troopers.
The day after first night out. Look just fine. Received first watering with Jack's at 1/8 tsp per gallon shortly after these pics.
Watering and Nutrients
I have been watering every other day as that is when they dry out. I have been letting them get VERY dry before watering. I may not let them get as dry from now on. For the first two weeks I was watering from the bottom by dropping the cups in water and letting the water seep in through the drainage holes until I could see water coming up through the soil. I was noticing something that seemed strange to me. My plants were experiencing their biggest growth spurts at night and when they were beginning to dry out. Due to this observation, I think submerging them in water wasn't the best thing to do. I am now watering from the top until I get about 5% runoff coming out the bottom. Growth seems to be picking up now but I can't assume this is due to watering. Even now though, while I can tell they are growing, they don't seem to be growing as fast as I think they should be.
I began giving them nutrients at 2 weeks. I've learned from Uncle Ben that you should read your plants so I am trying to do just that. I am using Jack's Classic 30-10-10 for vegging. My first waterings were at 1/8 tsp per gallon; Jack's recommends regular feedings at 1/4 tsp per gallon. I just mixed a new batch at about 1/6 tsp per gallon and will work my way up from there. My leaves haven't been as green as I want but they still look healthy (to a first time grower at least) so I have been taking it easy on the ferts. Growth still isn't spectacular but I'm in no hurry.
Two days after first watering with nutrients. Just had a little bath with Jack's at 1/8 tsp per gallon. Do they look a little greener already?
I am now waiting to put them into their final home in my raised bed I built from 2x12's. I am not sure when would be a good time to transplant. I want the roots to be nicely developed but I'm not sure how long that takes. Any suggestions?
I'm also not sure how long to run my drip system. I was thinking 15 minutes every two days. I just planted some herbs, peppers, and artichokes in my raised bed and have them set to be watered every morning for 10 minutes. I guess I'm just going to have to experiment. I am also going to try placing my ferts in my hose-end filter to run through the drip system.
Tomorrow is picture day. I will update soon.
Any comments or suggestions are welcome. Thanks for looking.