Squash seeds planted
11/16/2013 ~ Okay, I have no idea if I can grow squash indoors with Solatube for lighting. I do know that full spectrum lamps won’t do the trick.
I’m planting Golden Egg squash seeds today. They are supposed to germinate in 10 – 14 days. If they germinate, that will be the first step. Then, will their leaves appear above the edge of the pot?
12/8/2013 ~ 22 days later, no squash seedlings in sight. When they didn’t come up in the normal two weeks, I ordered a GE Plant Light. It’s arrived, and I’ve put it up, turned it on, and begun to hope anew.
My feeling is that squash wants it to be warmer than it is in here, or has been. (Because the squash hasn’t come up, the Solatube lighting is not affecting it, only the cold room temperature is affecting seed germination. At least that’s my theory.)
I ordered a GE Plant Light because it gets quite warm according to the advertising blurb, as well as the reviews on Amazon. In actual fact the earth in the pot feels quite warm to the touch after it’s been on for a bit.
[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B0002YXGSC[/amazon-product]The GE Plant Light is 65 watts, so it takes a tad more electricity than two of my full spectrum lamps. The fact it adds more heat than they do is a plus.
The lamp has a keyhole on the back, making it easy to hang. I’m using a board that came with one of my chrome shelves. It looks quite nice and is very sturdy since the pot is holding it in place. There’s an on/off switch on the wire, so it’s easy to reach.
After the light was on for five hours, I turned it off because the sun was going down and no longer supported high electricity use. When I shut the light off I put a clear cover over the pot to conserve the heat.
[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B0026SPXRY[/amazon-product]I’m keen to see how long it is till the seeds come up.
And, this is the chrome shelving unit that supplied the slightly decorative wood board I used for my lamp. The first over-sink chrome shelve came with a sealed board, the last one I ordered came with a bare wood board, which is what you see in the colored picture I took, shown above.
It makes quite a nice looking lamp, don’t you think?
[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B002RIJTSC[/amazon-product]As an aside, if you’re looking for an excellent clear sealer for wood, this is what I used on an outside elevated raised bed, with superb results. I found it after days of looking for something that would give the look of wet wood, without altering the color of the wood. I wanted the shine, but no yellowing.
I found this on a site talking about building a guitar. The pictures of finished guitars were beautiful, so I ordered some and gave it a try. Happily!
12/15/2013 ~ I think one of my squash seeds is germinating. I see what looks like a thick, seedling squash stem emerging from the soil. This is 7 days after I added the incandescent plant light, which adds a lot of heat and has made the soil warm.
If it is a baby squash plant, then heat is clearly key, and may well make a difference for the tomatoes I hope to grow.
12/18/2013 ~ Something ate by squash seedling. It wasn’t a very healthy looking seedling, so maybe it was better to go for food immediately, rather than lingering.
My plan now, is to remove the soil at the top of the pot and put it into my kitchen composting container. Whatever was hungry will have a lot to munch on, in there. And, I’ll refill the pot with composted mulch, Mycorrhizae and Azomite, when the Azomite arrives, either later today if it arrives early enough, or tomorrow. Then, I’ll plant more squash seeds. 🙂
7:24 p.m. ~ The Azomite arrived. I mixed it with composted mulch, some previously planted soil, and mycorrhaizae.
While digging out the top layer of soil from the squash pot, which I moved to my compost container hoping the hungry creature that ate my squash seedling was in the soil I moved, I found two more squash seedlings, neither of which looked very healthy. I think the soil was just too cold prior to the GE Plant Light. I cut through one of the seedlings with my trowel before I saw what it was, but the other I carefully saved. It’s now planted in the Azomite soil mixture, along with two additional seeds.
12/22/2013 ~ I found a small light meter that I ordered years ago because the instrument measures pH, among other things. I wanted to grow blueberries at the time, which need a more acidic soil, hence my need for a pH meter.
When I put up the tinfoil in my living room, at the start of trying to get more light for my avocado, the light meter aspect of the insturment showed no improvement in the light, at all. So, I viewed the light meter as not much good. I was putting (or misplacing) my trust in the tinfoil and its supposed ability to increase light to plants.
[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B000HHLJQA[/amazon-product]Now, however, when I don’t have the money to buy a new light meter from Amazon, I thought I’d try the little meter again, today: outside in the somewhat cloudy daylight. Sure enough, the needle sprang to life. So, it works.
I set to work analyzing light in the kitchen with its skylight – 10. Living room, on the side far from the Solatube, about .5, as you see in the picture, but in the morning when sunlight comes in the clerestory, it’s 1. I measured the light from my large T5 over my lettuce, collards and onions, and got 3. My GE Plant Light, over the squash pot registered 6, and spread light out to the collards nearest it, at 3. My Solatube, near the large collards, measured less than 1. Sunlight coming in through the French doors to my deck is 2, even though there’s a portal over the door. So, basically, the Solatube is a bust.
1/3/213 ~ The two additional Golden Egg Squash Seeds that I planted on 12/18/2013 are breaking through the soil, not them so much as the seedlings they gave rise to. So, that’s 16 days. Prior to the improvements, the seeds took 29 days, and the seedling that came up did not look healthy, nor did the seedlings I found when I was improving the soil. Based on the appearance of the new seedlings, clearly the squash seeds like the GE Plant Light, and the Azomite. The thing is, since I added both before I planted the seeds there’s no way of telling if one was more effective than the other.
1/5/2014 ~ It’s lucky I turned on the GE Plant Light as soon as I got up. When I did, I found an armadillo bug gnawing on one of the seedlings. I suspect the rolly-poly escaped being moved to the compost container in the kitchen and is in fact the same bug that ate my earlier seedling. This seedling, however, is much stronger than the other.
I think it was just too cold for the first seedlings, causing them to break through the soil much more slowly, with the result that they looked hard worn by the time they appeared.
1/6/2014 ~ The squash seedling on the left was more seriously munched this morning. But the well fed culprit was not easy to find. There was a very small armadillo bug, that I removed to the floor ~ it was so tiny it was hard to believe it had eaten such a large ragged edge into the seedling.
I’m hoping that a layer of yarrow around the seedlings will deter any armadillo bugs still in the pot. Also, I pull the weed that had been near the rim of the pot, and put it on the soil for the bugs… if any remain. Hoping to draw their attention from my seedlings.
1/9/2014 ~ The squash seedlings don’t seem to be growing. The light meter says they are getting between 3,000 and 6,000 Lux, so in terms of light, they should be growing.
On the other hand, I put a garlic plant next to the Squash pot so that the garlic could benefit from the light that spills over the top of the squash pot. When I took a temperature reading of the Squash pot, it was lower than previously, so of course the garlic pot was soaking up heat coming from the candles next to the garlic, which had previously been sending their heat to the squash pot. I have now moved the garlic to the opposite side of the room where I’ve been getting light readings of close to 1,000 Lux. Hopefully the garlic will be happy, and hopefully the squash will begin to grow now that its pot will be getting some heat..