Mar 012008

Seed starting tools

This may come in handy for some, a display of all of the tools I have for indoor seed starting. This is for starting about 2,500 veggie seedlings. I have homebuilt, fluorescent-lit plant racks, and use mostly 38- and 72-cell plug sheets. Most of these tools are used always, some not as much: 1. The Seedmaster, a gadget for trickling out small seed as you rotate the wheel (the yellowSeed starting tools map pieces are click-in filters for different seed sizes); 2. assorted white plastic plant labels; 3. a dibbler or dibber or whatever, for poking little holes in soil; 4. a fine-point black waterproof marker (I like Sharpies) for labeling; 5. the mini-transplanter is essentially a tiny, stainless steel shoehorn for easy liberation of plugs from their cells; 6. a moisture meter, simply stick it in the soil; 7. plant snips for thinning seedlings; 8. Mini-Sim seeder: fill and shake out; 9. suction seeder with three tip sizes: squeeze the bulb, put the tip on a seed, release to hold, squeeze again to drop… ($25…what was I thinking?!); 10. digital timer for keeping track of repetitive tasks like bottom-watering trays one by one; 11. plant light meter, reads in footcandles, with settings for indoor and out; 12. digital indoor/outdoor min/max thermometer/hygrometer, mainly for keeping track of temperature; 13. magnifying glass with light, for examining seedlings (and GREEN MOSS) up close; 14. soil scoop for filling plug sheets and pots with seedling mix; 15. spray bottle with good quality spray head (more water per pull; I’ve used a wand mister like I have in the greenhouse, but the hose kept getting in the way, I may try one again for the seedling room this year); 16. small fibrepak flats, convenient for holding tools and seed packets on the potting table (left lying, the packets can so easily get wet…); 17. small bulldog clips, useful for all kinds of things, like organizing groups of seed packets. And the winners are…all of them, EXCEPT for: #9, which I found to be useless for my purposes; #8 which is great, but mostly for heavier hand seeding in the field, like for flowers; and #6, 11 & 13, which are more educational toys than essential tools, but still cool!

Dec 242007

Weather station

This compact weather station is one handy and entertaining little item. Some may consider it no more than a toy, or even a waste of money, but at under $15US, you really can’t go wrong. You mount it on a pole, set it out in the field, and it measures wind, rainfall and temperature. I use separate rain guages for rainfall, and various analog and digital min/max thermometers in different locations for temperature, so what’s left is wind direction and speed, which is what I like about it. Specifically, I like being able to check wind speed, and watch it fluctuate. You read the speed in miles or kilometers along the curved edge, as the indicator flaps up and down on the wind. For me, being able to attach a reference to what I feel is kinda useful, like, “Oh, that’s about a 20 mph wind!” :) I’m not sure of the particular brand, this one is from Veseys, and I’ve seen very similar or identical ones in the hardware stores.