Sep 252011

Dramm 1000PL Redhead Water Breakers

The fantastic classic Redhead water breaker has been expanded into a line, with new narrow and wide spray pattern versions available in addition to the standard in red. The Redhead line also has a new color-coded look.

From the Dramm site: “Dramm introduces our new Orange Wide Pattern 1000PL and Green Narrow Pattern 1000PL. The new 1000PLs have the same soft flow of the popular Redhead but with different pattern widths. Growers requested a variety of widths over the years as they found different uses for the standard 1000PL. The Green 1000PL-N is perfect for focused watering where more control is required. The Orange 1000PL-W throws a wider pattern than the standard Redhead, offering the ability to cover more area with a soft, gentle flow.”
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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!

Jan 202008

Gilmour hose menders

These Gilmour hose menders and couplers are absolutely brilliant. I discovered them last season, after messing around for years with regular brass fittings and hose clamps. Made of nylon, with stainless steel screws, they’re light, durable, and feel like precision parts. Inserting and screwing tight are both smooth and straightforward. They’re no more expensive than brass couplers, and they eliminate having to use a separate clamp. I use mainly the couplers, to make up custom pieces of hose (the top row is for 5/8″-3/4″ hose, the bottom for 1/2″), while the menders can be lifesavers if you accidentally slice a hose. I’ve yet to install a full drip irrigation system, so my small-scale irrigation is intimately connected with regular garden hoses. I suspect even with a fully installed irrigation set-up, hoses on the tiny farm will still play a part, and these will come in handy. I have tried one other plastic connector of similar design, but it broke. I’d recommend this particular brand since it’s the one I’ve field-tested with great success.

Dec 312007

Brass quick couplers

If you mess about a lot with hoses, you can save a lot of time with quick couplers. I’ve only used these brass ones with zero problems, and there are plastic versions which may be just durable. In my case, where I’m more or less hand irrigating a couple of acres, dragging around and joining 100′ hoses, and attaching a variety of sprinklers and shut-off valves, they’re a luxury. I do wonder if I’m significantly reducing water flow by having several inline, haven’t figured that part out yet, but there’s no obvious noticeable difference. The couplers also come in handy for changing nozzles on a single hose, like in the greenhouse, where I regularly use a gun-type nozzle, water breaker, fan head and watering wand. In this application, an inline mini shutoff valve placed between the hose and the female fitting completes the convenience. They come in pairs, but you probably need way more male fittings. I get mine at Lee Valley (click the link), where you can get singles. I’ve seen the same ones at hardware stores. Get extra step washers as well!