Homemade Soil Cubes for Germination

Homemade soil cubes
Homemade soil cubes
These starting cubes are made with potting mix and a cube press.
These soil cubes are made with potting mix and a cube press.
A cube press, spatula, potting mix, water and a tray.
A cube press, spatula, potting mix, water and a tray.
This metal soil cube press wasn't cheap, but has made many starter cubes and is still in good condition.
This metal soil cube press wasn’t cheap, but has made many starter cubes and is still in good condition.
This is 1 part Just Right Xtra to 1 part Just Right Lite.
This is 1 part Just Right Xtra to 1 part Just Right Lite.

The mixture should be light, seedling mixes are a good choice. My current favorite is a 50-50 mix of Just Right Xtra and Just Right Lite. Add enough water to make a doughlike consistancy, and let set for 1-2 hours. The mix should be able to be pressed into balls and somewhat hold their shape.

The press is well filled with potting mix. The form is set into place, and the piston holds the cube in place while the form is removed.
The press is well filled with potting mix. The form is set into place, and the piston holds the cube in place while the form is removed.

Allow the cubes to dry and they will firm up. However, they will always be a bit fragile, and are much easier to break than commercially made cubes.

These homemade seed starting cubes can be used to well, start seeds of course.,
These homemade seed starting cubes can be used to well, start seeds of course.,
Soil Cube
Soil Cube

Soil cubes

Blumat Bucket Watering System

Water is held in the bucket, and released as the clay spike becomes dry.
Water is held in the bucket, and released as the clay spike becomes dry.

This Smart Pot has sprouted sunflowers.

Blumat bucket fitting
Blumat bucket fitting

To attach the fitting to the bucket, a hole needs to be made.

A hot soldering iron can make holes in plastic buckets easily and without splitting.
A hot soldering iron can make holes in plastic buckets easily and without splitting.
Here the Blumat bucket fitting is installed
Here the Blumat bucket fitting is installed
The Blumat spike should be filled with water and soaked for an hour before use.
The Blumat spike should be filled with water and soaked for an hour before use. The cap on top adjusts the watering level, so should be set to shut when wet, and open when dry.

I haven’t had the pleasure of trying these before, but the concept seems very cool. If they work well, it could be very useful in areas where water has to be carried and left.

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Setting up an UNO Grow Tent.

UNO Grow tents still in the boxes.
UNO grow tents still in the boxes.

Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! The fine folks over at UNO Horticultural Lighting were kind enough to send me a pair of very nice 4’x 4’x 6.5′ garden tents.

UNO garden tent with instructions
UNO garden tent with instructions

I really appreciated that they included instructions. Putting a tent together is one of those activities where thinking before acting comes in handy. I have put together “brand X” tents that came without instructions, and while it is simple enough once you get the idea, at least glancing at the directions can help.

The directions were clear enough to follow, although I found that since I was assembling it without help, it was easier to assemble from the bottom up, rather than in two assemblies.
The directions were clear enough to follow, although I found that since I was assembling it without help, it was easier to assemble from the bottom up, rather than in two assemblies.
One nice thing about these brackets, is that the poles just slide in, and there is no "right side up" to worry about.
One nice thing about these brackets, is that the poles just slide in, and there is no “right side up” to worry about.
Although it was pretty apparent which piece was which, I appreciated that the poles were labeled (and came with directions).
Although it was pretty apparent which piece was which, I appreciated that the poles were labeled (and came with directions).
The top and bottom frame are identical. Two poles that fit end to end form the upright supports.
The top and bottom frame are identical. Two poles that fit end to end form the upright supports.
The two assemblies fit together, one on top of the other.
The two assemblies fit together, one on top of the other.

UNO garden tent frame (complete)

This is the completed frame (above). Once you have the frame completed, it is time to cover it with the tent shell.

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Relax. Start with the bottom. Unzip the door opening fully. Find the bottom section on the shell, and fit it to the frame. Then carefully work the rest of the shell over the frame. Don’t rush it, and don’t get frustrated. It fit easily and without trouble for me, but it is the sort of thing where if you fight it, it will fight you back.

There are duct openings on each of the three walls, and one on the top.
There are duct openings on each of the three walls, and one on the top.

This is one thing I’d look at when shopping for tents. This tent has lots of options for ventilation and cords. Other things to look closely at are the stitching, and quality of the zippers. I found these tents to be much better made than some of the “Brand X” tents on the market.

View of three of the passive vents (can be opened or closed), the three cord tunnels, and the two side panel openings.
View of three of the passive vents (can be opened or closed), the three cord tunnels, and the two side panel openings.
I really like the UNO Grow Tent. They are better made than many I've seen, with several vent openings that can be opened or closed as needed.
I really like these tents.

I was pleased with how easily they went together, and the quality of the materials used. I’m really looking forward to trying them out. With two tents, either one can be set to growth and the other flower, or tests can be run “head to head”.

Peace, love, and puka shells,
Grubbycup

A special thanks to my Gentle Readers.

Kiva finances microloans with local banks across the globe so folks can do things like get a loan to buy pig feed for the family farm.

A fund was set up from the sales of my two books, Grubbycup’s Simple Hydroponics (the simple one), and Grubbycup’s Garden Notes (the more advanced book). Thanks to Gentle Readers (like you), that fund is now one of the top 1% of lenders on Kiva. For that I thank you, and I’m pretty sure some folks who neither of us is ever going to meet thanks you as well.

I admit, I dislike the way the donation to Kiva is checked by default, but overall they seem to be doing good in places that can use some help.

Peace, love, and puka shells,
Grubbycup