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wruk53 2021 spring crop

wruk53

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In the last few days, I've planted 40 seedlings outside in 2 gallon buckets using cypress mulch as my grow medium. This is a passive hydroponic method. I planted 29 prilep 66-9/7 and 11 Ahus. I have used this method for over 30 years for other crops such as peppers, okra, tomatoes and various other herbs and vegetables. I grew my first crop of tobacco last fall and it turned out fine. (Ahus and rustica). The first thumbnail is prilep, the second is Ahus, third and fourth is prilep about 2 days after planting outdoors, fifth is the last of my winter crop of Ahus and the last one is some Ahus sun curing.
 

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Oldfella

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In the last few days, I've planted 40 seedlings outside in 2 gallon buckets using cypress mulch as my grow medium. This is a passive hydroponic method. I planted 29 prilep 66-9/7 and 11 Ahus. I have used this method for over 30 years for other crops such as peppers, okra, tomatoes and various other herbs and vegetables. I grew my first crop of tobacco last fall and it turned out fine. (Ahus and rustica). The first thumbnail is prilep, the second is Ahus, third and fourth is prilep about 2 days after planting outdoors, fifth is the last of my winter crop of Ahus and the last one is some Ahus sun curing.
Nice plants
Cheers Oldfella
 

wruk53

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Would it be too much trouble to explain that a bit more? Mechanics of it? fertilizing principles?
You take your 2 gallon bucket and drill a series of more or less evenly spaced 1/4 inch holes about 2 inches up from the bottom. Four to six holes is enough. This provides drainage and root aeration and a little bit of a reservoir. For feeding, I use a mix of miracle grow for tomatoes and epsom salts, (four parts Miracle Grow to one part epsom salts). For new starts I only use about a quarter tsp of this mix to a gallon of water and increase as the plant grows up to a max of about one tsp per gallon. You just pour enough of it into the bucket until it starts running out of the drainage holes. The plants don't necessarily need to be fed every day, I feed mine every other day and just use well water on the other days. When you fill the buckets with mulch, go ahead and wet the mulch down with the fertilizer solution a few weeks before you plan on planting in order for the mulch to become moist through capillary action. Note that I chose smaller varieties because I wanted to use two gallon containers, but you could use five gallon containers if you wish, for larger plants, just drill the holes higher up on the bucket so that you have about 6 or 7 inches from the holes to the top of the bucket. I know this all sounds pretty fiddly, but once you have your buckets set up and filled with mulch it's just a matter of watering/feeding a few minutes a day. The reason I use this method is that the soil in SW Florida is very poor and is infested with nematodes. It is almost impossible to grow any kind of vegetable crop in the soil without fumigating the soil and using all kind of chemicals that can only be purchased with a pesticide license. Note: Try to buy pure cypress mulch if you can, if not you can use the blended stuff, but I don't think it is quite as good. Another plus to this method is that you won't be having to weed as the mulch is free of weed seeds.
 

Knucklehead

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Prilep/Ahus update, 2 weeks after transplant. The prilep are looking pretty good and the ahus are starting to take off. The ahus was planted a few days after the prilep.
The plants look great and I like the weed barrier. Are the plants identified by bucket color?
 

wruk53

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Prilep/Ahus 4 week update. The larger prilep were transplanted 4 weeks ago, the smaller ones 3 days later. A few of them are kind of runty looking, but overall I'm happy so far. The ahus began blooming after about 4-6 leaves, I don't think I'll grow it again. I' thinking maybe I'll plant a bright leaf type and just top it early so it won't get too tall for my buckets. We very seldom have a freeze or even frost here. We only had 2 nights this winter that even got down to the mid 30's. So, I plan on growing a fall and winter crop also. The plants just won't get as large in the winter due to the shorter days and less intense sunlight. If anyone has a suggestion about a bright leaf type that doesn't get too large, I would appreciate it.
 

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Oldfella

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Prilep/Ahus 4 week update. The larger prilep were transplanted 4 weeks ago, the smaller ones 3 days later. A few of them are kind of runty looking, but overall I'm happy so far. The ahus began blooming after about 4-6 leaves, I don't think I'll grow it again. I' thinking maybe I'll plant a bright leaf type and just top it early so it won't get too tall for my buckets. We very seldom have a freeze or even frost here. We only had 2 nights this winter that even got down to the mid 30's. So, I plan on growing a fall and winter crop also. The plants just won't get as large in the winter due to the shorter days and less intense sunlight. If anyone has a suggestion about a bright leaf type that doesn't get too large, I would appreciate it.
Looks fantastic. I can't wait to see the pictures of the finished product.
Oldfella
 

wruk53

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You take your 2 gallon bucket and drill a series of more or less evenly spaced 1/4 inch holes about 2 inches up from the bottom. Four to six holes is enough. This provides drainage and root aeration and a little bit of a reservoir. For feeding, I use a mix of miracle grow for tomatoes and epsom salts, (four parts Miracle Grow to one part epsom salts). For new starts I only use about a quarter tsp of this mix to a gallon of water and increase as the plant grows up to a max of about one tsp per gallon. You just pour enough of it into the bucket until it starts running out of the drainage holes. The plants don't necessarily need to be fed every day, I feed mine every other day and just use well water on the other days. When you fill the buckets with mulch, go ahead and wet the mulch down with the fertilizer solution a few weeks before you plan on planting in order for the mulch to become moist through capillary action. Note that I chose smaller varieties because I wanted to use two gallon containers, but you could use five gallon containers if you wish, for larger plants, just drill the holes higher up on the bucket so that you have about 6 or 7 inches from the holes to the top of the bucket. I know this all sounds pretty fiddly, but once you have your buckets set up and filled with mulch it's just a matter of watering/feeding a few minutes a day. The reason I use this method is that the soil in SW Florida is very poor and is infested with nematodes. It is almost impossible to grow any kind of vegetable crop in the soil without fumigating the soil and using all kind of chemicals that can only be purchased with a pesticide license. Note: Try to buy pure cypress mulch if you can, if not you can use the blended stuff, but I don't think it is quite as good. Another plus to this method is that you won't be having to weed as the mulch is free of weed seeds.
Note that sometimes, if my plants are looking a little yellow, I'll add one part calcium nitrate to the mixture to give them a boost. ( 4 parts miracle grow for tomatoes. 1 part epsom salts and 1 part calcium nitrate). Also it is very important that you use MIRACLE GROW FOR TOMATOES AND NOT the other types of miracle grow, the reason being, MG for tomatoes is the only mix that contains nitrate nitrogen. Hydroponic systems MUST contain nutrients that are readily available for plant uptake, nitrate nitrogen is immediately available to the plants, the other forms of nitrogen must be broken down in the soil by enzymes, etc.
 

wruk53

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Almost at the 6 week mark. I decided to move my plants out back so they would get a few more hours of sunlight per day. When they were in the front of the house, it was almost 11AM before they got direct sunlight because it takes that long for the sun to clear the garage. This way, they should get 9-10 hours of sun instead of 6. I included a picture of my bat house and the guano below it. Judging from the amount of guano, there is probably a few hundred bats in there.
 

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ChinaVoodoo

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The bat house is a good idea ! Since I have tons of mosquitoes, I should build one !
A friend of mine's father got 200 free bat houses from the government and her job for the summer was to go into town with a ladder and gather bats and bring them to the acreage and release them, and to hang the houses in the forest around their place. She didn't think it made much of an impact on the number of mosquitos.
 

wruk53

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The bat house is a good idea ! Since I have tons of mosquitoes, I should build one !
When the mosquitoes are really bad here, they will normally drive you indoors around dusk, but if you go back out an hour or so after the bats start foraging, there is a noticeable decline in the number of bites you receive. I imagine that the bats also eat a lot of the night flying moths that lay eggs on plants that hatch into caterpillars and feed on your plants. I believe it's worth doing, even if only for the fun of watching them swarm out of the house at dusk.
 

deluxestogie

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Total mosquitoes naturally peak at dusk, and decline noticeably with full darkness. Peak period of activity varies from one mosquito species to another, with some most active in full dark, and others in full daylight. Since dusk is an overlapping time, it tends to be the most annoying time for bites. Your bats might be hoodwinking you.

Bob
 

wruk53

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Primed my prilep today. Just a few leaves from each plant. They look green in the picture, but they are definitely lighter than the leaves just above them. Will yellow them in a box for several days, then hang them in the garage. The very bottom leaves are most likely junk, but the larger ones are thicker, sticky and somewhat aromatic. May have been just a tad early, but we'll see.
 

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