Growing Lettuce In A Floating Hydroponics System

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Growing Lettuce In A Floating Hydroponics System

Linda from South Carolina sent me a really cool email last night about her efforts to grow lettuce during the winter months. It’s floating! How cool is that?!

Linda says lettuce can be grown in a floating system inside your house or outside in a greenhouse depending on your winter temperatures.  One of Linda’s goals is to eat something at each meal that she grew or canned herself, and so far she has been very successful at it.

I’ve never grown ANYTHING in water before but this is how she does it:

hydroponics lettuce

She starts with metal shelves and hangs two sets of regular shop lights on top of each shelf.

For each shelf you would need a plastic container that fits under the {garden} bed. Typically about 48 inches long. You’ll also need a 4′ x 8′ by 1″ inch styrofoam board and some small plastic bathroom cups.

styroforam boards

First cut your styrofoam board in half so it’s 2′ by 4′ and glue the pieces together. Then using a 2″ hole drill, cut holes about 4″ apart. Fill the plastic container with water mixed with liquid fertilizer. {For about three gallons of total liquid}.

If you do leaf lettuce varieties, you can put the holes twice as close or 4 across and 10 down so they are 2″ apart for about 40 holes.

growing lettuce in water

Linda starts her lettuce in small 1 1/2″ paper pots that she makes. Then once the lettuce begins to grow she places them into little bathroom cups. (What you see in the picture are some greenhouse hydroponic net pots, but she uses bathroom cups as well.)

Then she punches holes in the bottom and sides of the bathroom cups so the roots can grow out and into the water. She also has a small air pump, air tubing and an air rock she puts in the bottom of the container for aerating the water. (One small pump can do two containers.)

how to grow floating lettuce

Here is a picture of some lettuce she grew. Linda started seeds on January 5 and then put them into the little pots January 20, then placed them in the floating beds on February 1st.

The lettuce will probably be ready to start harvesting in another week. Some of the leafy ones on the far right are ready now but the green is a soft head iceberg type lettuce so it needs a little longer.

Linda says this is super simple to do and she has four of these floating beds growing right now.

Way to go Linda!!! :)

~Mavis

cool chicken coop photos{Shelly’s Chicken Coop}

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all glean some ideas from each other.

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Mavis Garden Blog – Seedling Updates and Pictures

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basil seedlings

This year we are growing almost all of our garden vegetables {and flowers} from seed. I thought it would be fun show you how a few of the seedlings are doing.

If you’ve never started your seeds indoors before, not only is it easy to do, but it’s kind of nice to be able to grow something indoors when the weather is so stinkin’ chilly outside.

I like to plant seedlings in flats, to save space under the grow lights. This year I am growing 3 different kinds of basil.  Last year was my first successful year growing it and I think it may have been because I grew the basil in the greenhouse.

pepper seedlings

Peppers seedlings. The first true leaves should start to appear soon.

tomato plants 6 weeks

Check out these tomato plants I started back on February 1st.  Don’t you think the stems look nice and plump? Since the Handsome Husband killed off my heirloom tomato plants last year when I was out of town, this year I planted a second batch of seeds last week for back up. Hopefully we will have a ton of tomato plants to set out and extras to donate if all goes well. We shall see.

zinnia seedlings

Zinnias. The leaves look so happy I want to squeeze them!

grow lights

This is what the set up looks like. I have 2 tables set up next to my desk so I can keep an eye on the plants and talk to them.

As soon as the weather warms up a bit I think I’ll try and figure out a way to camouflage an extension cord and bring the whole grow light set up out to the greenhouse though.

Having a bunch of grow lights on in the front room when it’s dark outside and having the neighbors drive by and then call you to find out why there is a glowing light peering through your blinds at 10 pm is a little awkward.

Ahhhh Ha Ha!

Living in the suburbs is awesome.

~Mavis

P.S. Are you using grow lights this year? If so, what are you starting from seed?

grow lights

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

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How To Create a Terrarium

The Girl and I decided to make a terrarium the other day after having spotted 2 large shelves filled with mini cactus and succulents at the Home Depot. I don’t know about you, but I just can’t seem to stay away from that place no matter how hard I try.

We couldn’t resist the fat little succulent plants, and it’s nothing sort of a miracle we didn’t bring every single one of them home with us.

If you have never built a succulent terrarium before they are super easy to make, and really are a lot of fun if you enjoy indoor gardening. Oh, and did I mention terrariums are extremely low maintenance too?

Terrarium

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

Select a container that has a wide opening. Your container can be virtually anything that has glass sides to view your plants. We wanted a specific look, so we decided to spend a little more on a container rather than use a glass vase. The Girl found this mini greenhouse at Target in the Smith and Hawkin Section.

Terrarium rocks

To get started, place about  a 2-inch layer of gravel on the bottom of your container to allow for drainage. Keep in mind you’ll probably want to use decorative rocks for a more finished look. We found these at Ikea for $0.89 a bag.

Terrarium plants

Next place a thin layer of activated charcoal where your plants will be. This will act as an air purifier since we are using a closed top container. Next add a bit of cactus soil {found at Home Depot} around the base of where you will be setting your plants. You’ll probably want to spread the soil over all of the rocks, but we chose not to, because our plants are tiny and had rather shallow roots. Remove the plants from their pots and place them in the soil.

How To Create a Terrarium plants

Next, add a small layer of sand, and then some small pebbles to cover the sand {but only if you have OCD like me and don’t want the sand to be visible}.

glass chicken

Finally, add an accent item like a figurine, a small vintage toy or a tiny glass chicken ornament your mother gave you for Christmas that you named Glenda.

How To Create a Terrarium

The #1 reason terrariums fail is because people over water them, so only water your plants every two weeks or so. Also, make sure you place your succulent terrarium someplace that will receive at least 5 or 6 hours a day.

Keep Calm and Carry On.

~Mavis

Tiny World Terrariums

For more ideas on building your own terrariums, check out out the highly rated book Tiny World Terrariums: A Step-by-Step Guide to Easily Contained Life.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Garden Blog – Seedlings Update

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onion seedlings

Granex Yellow Onions – Planted January 1st, 2013

One of the things I want to be better at this year is documenting my garden in real time, from start to finish. A sort of photographic journey as I plant, sow, and harvest my backyard bounty.

I think so many times when we read books and magazines on how to garden, it seems so overwhelming. All we really want is someone to reach out from behind the pages and give us a helping hand. To show us HOW TO DO IT, and not just tell us how. And that my friends, is what I hope to accomplish this year with all these silly little garden updates and pictures of mine.

artichoke seedlings

Green Globe Improved & Purple Romagna Artichoke – Planted January 4th, 2013

Like I’ve said many times before, I am not an expert, just some crazy lady who really enjoys gardening and has the space to do it. So if you find yourself in the comment section, and you know the answer, please, jump in and help us out if you can.

lettuce seedlings

Valentine Mesclun Lettuce - January 8th, 2013

Because with each others help, I think we can all have a successful garden, no matter what the size this year. I don’t know about you, but I am counting down the days until the heirloom tomatoes start to roll in.

Homemade salsa here we come!

In it to win it baby!  This year is going to be awesome!

~Mavis


For those of you who have wondered how I am able to start my seeds so early, I have been using the  Hydrofarm 4-Foot Jump Start T5 Grow Light System. I purchased 2 sets off Amazon.com at the beginning of the 2012 growing season, and my ability to start healthy seedlings has forever changed. I used to start my seedlings in the family room next to the window, and I had some success with it, but from here on out, I am totally sold on grow lights. I love them, and totally recommend them.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Garden Blog – Growing Daffodils Indoors

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daffodil bulb

The Handsome Husband was cleaning out the garage last weekend and came across a sack of 50 daffodil bulbs. I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow I misplaced them.

glass jars

The weather here has been in the 30′s all week, and since I currently have the flu, I had absolutely no interest in going outside to dig up the frozen tundra to plant flower bulbs. So I did the next best thing. I decided to plant them indoors.

glass jars with rocks

I gathered up all the glass containers I could find, placed a few rocks in the bottom of the containers, and grabbed a bag of potting mix from the garage.

glass jars with dirt

I don’t think I have ever forced daffodils indoors before, so I’m hoping it will work.

forcing bulbs

Every spring Costco sells giant sized glass containers with tulips and daffodil bulbs in them so I figured if they can do it, so can I. Right? Have you ever tried this before? Have you ever planted your spring bulbs indoors? I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

forcing bulbs indoors

After all  if we can plant paperwhites and amaryllis bulbs indoors, we should be able to plant daffodils, wouldn’t you think?

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Indoor Gardening – How to Grow Your Own Sprouts

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how to grow your own sprouts

Last week I got a craving for an egg salad sandwich. But in my book, no egg sandwich would be complete without a thick slice of onion and some sprouts. So I decided to pull my Victorio 4-Tray Kitchen Seed Sprouter out of the cupboard, and get growing.

If you have never tried to grow your own sprouts before, you should give it a try.  Not only are sprouts SUPER easy to grow, but growing your own sprouts are ridiculously inexpensive as well.

how to sprout seedsDay 1

Before you can actually start your sprouts you’ll need to disinfect the seeds by placing them in a mixture of 2% bleach solution {1 cup water to 1tsp. bleach} for 15 minutes. From there you simply rinse the seeds thoroughly, and you are ready to go.

After placing about a 1/2 tablespoon of seeds on each tray, I stacked up the trays, added 2 cups of water to the top of the tray, and placed the tower out of direct sunlight. Then, I simply waited for the water to drain through the seed trays into the collection tray below.

I disposed of the water once it had drained, then repeated to “water” the seeds with fresh water every 12 hours until it was time to harvest them.

how to sprout seeds

Day 2

On the second day you can really see the seeds start to bust open.

how to grow sprouts

Day 4

By the fourth day the sprouts were ready to eat, but we were all out of eggs, so I let them grow a little longer.

botanical interests sandwich mix seed sprouts

Day 5

On harvest day I weighed the sprouts and was surprised to learn that I could grow 5 ounces of fresh, organic sandwich sprouts with just under 2 tablespoons of seeds. I’m not sure how much they sell sprouts in the stores for, but growing your own is totally worth it! Plus, if you have kiddos in the house, it’s a fun “learning” project on these cold, rainy, winter days.

Have YOU ever grown your own sprouts before?

If so, what are your favorite kind to grow?

~Mavis

how to grow your own sandwich sprouts

Victorio 4-Tray Kitchen Seed Sprouter {I LOVE mine!}
Sprouts – Sandwich Mix

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Indoor Garden Blog – Lettuce and Basil

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Just because the weather outside stinks, doesn’t mean you have to stop gardening all together.  I started this flat of Italian basil back on October 30th, and all the sudden it’s gone gangbusters. Right now the basil is about 5-inches high, and we have been using basil leaves here and there in a few dinner dishes.  Not to shabby for gardening in December if you ask me.

2 weeks ago I started some butterhead lettuce indoors.  I guess I didn’t think the whole thing through because now I’m not sure what I’m suppose to do with it.  Should I re-pot the lettuce and move it out to the greenhouse, or just leave it in the flat and pick the leaves off a little at a time?

The temps are suppose to dip into the 30′s this weekend so I’m not too sure if I should be moving it outside or not.  What do you think? Should I just thin it out and grow a few heads under the grow lights, or move the lettuce outside to the greenhouse?

I could you your advise.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Garden Blog – Indoor Gardening

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It has been raining like cats and dogs all day long. I heard a huge tree fall behind our house this afternoon, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the power goes out at some point too. In fact according to the forecast, there is suppose to be rain the next 7 days.  Yikes!

So instead of heading outside today, I stayed inside and baked a pie, washed laundry and watered my indoor plants. The basil I planted 3 weeks ago under grow lights are doing great, and so is the amaryllis bulb I planted for my mother.

Besides watering the plants today, I also planted a flat of Buttercrunch lettuce.  I plan on gifting some of it to Mrs. Hillbilly for Christmas because it’s her favorite.  I hope she likes it.

I’m not sure what’s going on with the paperwhites though.  The bulbs on the right side of both glass vases, appear to be a bit stunted.  What’s up with that?  Does anyone know why this is happening?  At first I thought it was because the bulbs on the right were planted a bit higher than the ones on the left.  But if you look at vase on the left, the bulb really isn’t much higher.

So what do you think?  Why are the bulbs not the same height?

~Mavis

 

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Mavis Indoor Garden Blog – Paperwhites and Basil

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Last week I planted paperwhites, and according to the package, the paperwhites should be blooming here in about 3 more weeks. I wanted to share a picture I took today with those of you who have never planted them before.

Paperwhites are SUPER easy to grow, look great, and make great {inexpensive} gifts too.  I love planting paperwhites in clear glass containers because the roots get pretty leggy and sort of take on a life of their own.

9 days ago I planted basil seeds. I placed them under grow lights in the office so I wouldn’t forget to water them.  By this weekend they should be ready to be thinned out.  I think a giant bowl of fresh pesto would be a great way to start off the new year, don’t you?

I’m also getting the itch to start more seeds indoors.  But I know if I start to early, the Handsome Husband will flip out.  After all, trays and trays of transplants in the family room during the holidays probably wouldn’t go over to well if we had people over.

How about YOU?  Are you growing anything indoors this winter?  Have you grown anything in the past?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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