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Solar Eclipse August 21 2017

Today I wore a welders face shield to cover my eyes and face so I could stare at the solar eclipse and not damage my eyes. These are the photos I took with my Iphone.

I took these photos in Longwood Florida.

 

 

Community garden makeover

I love gardening and growing my own fruit, vegetables and herbs. I learned that it is very difficult to grow fruits and vegetables indoors because these plants grow best under natural sunlight and nothing will pollinate plants better than bumble bees.

I joined a community garden and my garden bed was just a pile of dirt that had nothing. My first project consisted of building a frame to accommodate my hanging plant pots which worked very well. A few days after I set my garden up squirrels ate all my strawberries and destroyed a few plants and birds ate most of the budding blueberries on my blueberry bushes.

Naturally this was frustrating and from previous experiences with animals being destructive I decided I am not going to let these animals ruin my hobby, so I decided to build a frame out of wood and chicken wire to keep the animals out of my garden.

I went home and sketched out a crude drawing, made a shopping list then went to my local home improvement store and bought some wood, hardware and chicken wire to complete my project.

After I had everything I needed I spent an entire morning, afternoon and evening constructing my wood and chicken wire covered garden frame. Knowing I would need to have access to my plants, I built a door and covered it with wire mesh fencing material.

This was a challenging project for me that I took great pride in building and I am very happy with the results of my labor.

Indoor herb garden

Here is how I built an indoor herb garden using artificial sunlight and supplies found in any home improvement store and garden center.

The first thing I did was read about this topic on many different websites and from there I put together a parts list of what I would need to build my own indoor herb garden. From my experience I made some mistakes and have learned from them.

Here is a list of the items I purchased along with photos to show you what they look like.

1 Steel shelf rack measuring 75 inches high x 48 inches wide x 18 inches deep.
6 /4ft hanging florescent shop light fixtures.
12 / 48 inch daylight florescentĀ  light bulbs.
1 standard electric timer.
1 power strip.
2 small clip on fans.
1 Thermal blanket.
1 Package or bag of small S hooks.
Extra chains for the light fixtures.

Depending on where you live and what stores are available in your local area the prices for these items will vary. If you want to build exactly what I have I suggest you print this out and bring it to your local hardware store or home improvement store and ask somebody in the store to help you pick out the items.

The reason I chose florescent lights instead of other lights is because they consume very little electricity, put out enough light for the plants to grow, generate no heat and are very affordable. For growing herbs indoors these lights work great. Now if you want to grow fruits or vegetables then you are going to need different lights such as metal halide and high pressure sodium lights which I do not recommend because they are expensive, generate enough heat to start a fire and consume a ton of electricity making them impractical. I say if you want to grow fruits and vegetables that you should do so outside using the natural sun. I did try growing peppers indoors with my indoor garden and yes the plants grew a little but it just wasn’t practical and my lights were not powerful enough not to mention you really need bumble bees to visit your fruit and vegetable plants to pollinate them. These are some facts I learned from readingĀ  along the way.

I purchased the following herb plants at my local home improvement garden center which came from a plant company called Bonnie Plants.

Thyme
Oregano
Basil
Chives – I grew these from seeds.
Rosemary
Sage

I was able to successfully grow mint indoors but they grew big fast and I wound up moving those pots outside to grow under the natural sunlight.

From experimenting, learning and making my own mistakes I learned that I have to water my indoor plants often as in 1-2 times a week otherwise the soil dries up rapidly making the plants wilt up.

For the lighting I set the timer to keep the lights on for 16 hours per day and keep the lights off for 8 hours per day. For me this works good.

Here are some photos of the items used to give you a visual aid.

 

steel rack shelf

Steel rack shelf

 

48 inch shoplight fixture

6 / 48 inch shop light fixtures

 

general electric daylight fluorescent bulbs

General electric daylight fluorescent bulbs

 

electric timer

Electric timer

 

power strip

Power strip

 

thermal blanket

Thermal blanket

Here are some photos of how I use my fresh thyme to season chicken breasts.

Fresh thyme tastes better than any precut thyme you will find in a supermarket.

I use scissors to cut my thyme fresh from the plant and immediately use.

I also dry some of my herbs, grind them up and use as them as a sprinkle seasoning for seasoning other foods.

thyme plant

Thyme plant

thyme and chicken breasts

Thyme and chicken breasts

seasoned-chicken

Seasoned-chicken

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