Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fast Plants: Day 5

The plants look a lot like they did yesterday. I suspect that they were putting most of their energy in to recovering from being poked, prodded, and moved around yesterday. They are a little bit taller and each kid has at least one plant getting a third leaf.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Fast Plants: Day 4

We have cotyledons! Bunches of 'em. When we started today, Bug had 11 and Bean had 9.



You can see their planting "styles" here, too. Bug is big enough to be able to listen to me tell him to spread out the seeds and follow the direction, while Bean is a bit short in either the listening or the coordination needed for sprinkling and wound up with all the seed in (mostly) one spot.

After counting and drawing pictures of what the cotyledons looked like, we thinned and transplanted to get six seedlings with decent spacing. I did most of the thinning and moving work and I tried for a balance between picking the largest and healthiest looking seedlings and picking ones that could stay where they started.



Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fast Plants: Day 3

We have seedlings! A total of five to be exact. Bug has four and Bean has one. The leaves are just barely peeping up through the soil, so the view should be better tomorrow and I expect these five will probably have friends by then too!


You can click and go to Flickr to see the full sized picture, but the view isn't really that much better. You'll just have to take my work for the arrows pointing to the seedlings for now!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fast Plants: Day 2

Nothing too exciting today! We checked them and there weren't any coming up, but you could see a couple of cracked seeds with a new rootlet snaking out, so we will get at least a few seedling! We watered them and found some books to put in the bottom of the light box as I had forgotten that they recommend having the top of the plants 5-10 cm below the light. I'm not sure if it counts if there aren't any actual plants, but it can't hurt, right?

Since checking the planters this morning, I have been monitoring the temperature and it dropped down to about 69°F shortly after we had the door open and then has been up closer to 75°F the rest of the day after I got the door flap shut properly. Ideal growing condition is 72-82°F, so I think we will be just fine if we can keep the door closed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fast Plants: Day 1

This morning we planted our Fast Plants. Obviously very exciting, seeing as everyone is still in their jammies! Since we will be thinning to six plants per pot, we started with 15 seeds apiece. I'm not sure what the germination rate will be, so we went close to 3 times as many for insurance. I got the planters and soil ready yesterday and today the little farmers put in the seeds and added enough potting mix to cover the seeds:


Then we watered them and put them in the light box. For now, I put our outdoor digital thermometer in with the plants. That way, I can get an idea whether we have enough ventilation and whether they will stay warm enough in the basement!


Finally, we plugged in the light...and we're off!

Bottle Growing System

The second step in getting our FastPlants going was making pots to grow them in. The web resources suggest pots that can wick water from a reservoir to keep the growing medium moist at all time. Fortunately, the provide an on-the-cheap solution for this, too!

2-L soda bottles: swiped from recycling at Daddy's work
Hand Drill: from garage
Wicking Material: Dishcloth cotton yarn from stash
Planting Medium and Fertilizer: $4.19 (plus tax) with plenty left-over for gardening
Water: from the tap

Total Price (for containers and a bunch of extra potting mix): $4.19 plus tax


The only other thing we needed to get started was the seeds:

FastPlant seeds: $10.75 (for 50 seeds) + $6.95 (s/h, highway robbery if you ask me! The seeds would fit in a first class envelope. Harumph.) + tax

Clearly, the seeds were the biggest ticket item of all, but when we are done growing our plants, the last thing we will do is harvest seeds (if all goes well), so we should be able to get lots more plants!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fast Plants Light Box

The first step in getting ready to grow our FastPlants has been to make a light box for the plants to grow in. We used the on-the-cheap instructions on their website to make ours.

  • Plastic Crate: mouldering in garage
  • Aluminum Foil: stolen from kitchen supply
  • Light Socket: $2.09 (plus tax)
  • Extension Cord: from garage
  • 26W CFL: $6.49 (plus tax, for two bulbs)
  • Tape, Glue, Scissors: from craft supplies
  • Dremel for making a hole: from the garage
Total Price (for light box and six years (or so) of lightbulbs): $8.58 plus tax

The finished product: