Wednesday, February 4, 2009

2009 Roof Farm Seed Selection

That title doesn't begin to relay the excitement around here. Say you love what you do for a living, the ability to concentrate rarely escaping you as you sit at your computer.

Now add a tin filled with last year's leftover seed packets to the mix, along with e-mails from the Green Roof Growers Seed Starting Club. Never underestimate the power of the coming growing season to divert you from your labors.

I moved the seed tin out of my line of vision...

...but moments later, Scotty from UPS delivered these!

New SIP buckets, which Mr H2 ordered from US Plastics.

The 6-gal bucket slips into the 7-gal bucket to create a monster reservoir,
visible in this photo. Now we'll need a taller wicking chamber.

Hmmm. Wonder what we'll make it out of.

I propel myself back to the desk...

But I'd rather be here.


Jenna said...

I use cheap landscape fabric to make my wicking chambers. They're flexible, inexpensive, easy to cut to size, and they prevent soil from falling through the aeration holes.

H2 said...

That's a great idea, Jenna. Haven't tried the landscaping fabric, but have read about it. Do you have pictures? Also, how do you secure the fabric?

dkistner said...

I'm about to order some buckets and wonder if there's an advantage to getting the yellow ones over the white ones. (I'm in Florida, so I definitely don't want to get black ones! Too hot!)

I mean, is the yellow helpful or not in terms of deterring bugs? I know they sell those yellow card things to supposedly attract and trap bugs to sticky stuff. Have you thought about this?

H2 said...

Hi dk:
We only used the yellow buckets because they came to us free. If they deter bugs better than the white ones, we haven't seen any evidence of it.

Our advice: take any light-colored, food-grade buckets free if you can get 'em. Otherwise go with white to reflect that hot Florida sun. Le us know how it goes...

mary lynn said...

We're getting ready to make a bunch of SIPs and I'm interested to know if there is an advantage of the buckets over the tubs?

Also, you might want to check out Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

I'm not affiliated in anyway, but find them user-friendly and they have a catalog to die for.

H2 said...

Hi Mary Lynn:
Excellent that you're starting some SIPs. One advantage to buckets is you can often find them free to recycle. A single tomato or eggplant does just fine in a bucket SIP, though at summer's peak you might have to water a bit more.

Baker Creek has a great site. We'll check it out for next year's seeds (this year's are already purchased and sprouting).

Stay in touch...

Michael said...

What did you end up using for the wicking chambers with these buckets?

Bruce said...

Hi Michael,

We used plastic drinking cups, bought at Target, in the 2-bucket SIPs and old 32 oz yogurt cups in the larger 18 gal Rubbermaid tub SIPs.

Any safe (not #3,6,or 7) plastic cup/container that's tall enough to cover the distance between the bottom of the water reservoir and the top of the soil screen will do.

H2 said...

Hi Michael:
I think you may have been asking what we used in the larger 6-gal into 7-gal buckets for wicking.

We finally settled on 2-liter pop bottles, seated on the bottom of the reservoir bucket and cut off about an inch above the hole in the top bucket.

Carpet knife to slit the sides and let water in.

They look good!

Michael said...

When you are making the slits are you just stiking the knife in or are you enlarging the holes at all. Also with these and the 1/4" holes on the bottom of the bucket doesn't the potting mix seep out, or does the wet mix keep it from leaving?

H2 said...

With the pop bottle cut to size, I leave the top rim intact and start about an inch down, sticking in the carpet knife and cutting all the way down to the bottom. Important to cut all the way to the base, since if there's just a 1/4" of water down there it will continue wicking.

I make 5 slits in the wicking cup--no holes.

You're right about the damp soil--in the cup it pretty much stays inside, not seeping out. Same with the holes. Once the wicking cup is filled with very damp soil and seated, I lightly dampen the soil mix that will fill the bucket, putting in about 4 inches to start and pressing down a bit as I fill it up. A little soil gets into the reservoir through the holes, but not much.