Gardening Resources

PowerPAR 4′ LED Grow Lights

The PowerPAR 4′ LED grow lights are by far the best light we have ever come across for starting our plant seedlings indoors! For many years we have started our little seedlings indoors but with little success until we found these light!

One of the rooms in our house has a lot of large windows with window sills. But every time we put our planter boxes on the window sill to start our seedling indoors they would always get leggy. Always! We tried everything to no avail.

But with the PowerPAR 4′ LED grow lights we don’t get that problem anymore! PowerPAR LED lights are 4′ shop light style lights with 4000 lumen and 4000K color temperature range which is great for seed and vegetable growth.

The PowerPAR light only takes 40 watts of electricity each so these lights are even great for those who are on solar power. They cost around $60 so are not expensive.

When starting your seedlings indoors it’s good to be able to keep the lights about 2 inches above your plants as they grow. With these lights that is definitely possible as they come with a complete mounting kits which consists of “J” hooks, “S” hooks and a chain for hanging the lights. This allows you to raise and lower the lights a your plants grow.

When starting seedlings to later transplant into your hoop house, greenhouse or outdoor garden, the PowerPar LED grow lights (link to Amazon) do an excellent job! We are also using these lights during the winter months for growing our greens using the Kratky hydroponic method. It’s absolutely wonderful to be able to have luscious tasty salad greens and herbs during our cold winter months.

We absolutely could not be any happier than we are with the PowerPAR 4′ LED lights! (link to Amazon). We highly recommend these wonderful lights.

To learn more about how we use the PowerPAR lights you can read our article titled, “Bright Idea For Indoor Growing⎜Simple DIY Grow Frame Plans.”

Products for Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are one of the most precious little birds to have in the garden or around your home. The most common way that people attract these little darlings is by using low-cost brightly colored plastic hummingbird feeders.

Not only do we love to see these spectacular birds fluttering around in our garden, we have found them to be a valuable asset to our garden as pollinators while also chasing off the unwanted stinging variety of insects and other larger birds that like to eat the fruits hanging on trees for instance.

To encourage these little jewels to hang around in our homesteading space we like to always make sure to have several hummingbird feeders hanging around our house as well as in our garden.

The First Nature 3090 32-ounce Hummingbird Flower Feeder (link to Amazon) is the hummingbird feeder we have several of as we’ve found them to be the easiest to fill and clean of all other ones we have used.

And believe me, we used to have the ones with small openings for pouring the hummingbird nectar into the feeders. Boy were they a beast to clean. That’s simply not the case with these First Nature Feeders because of their nice wide openings, making them very easy to clean.

To find the best specifically formulated nectar for the nutritional needs of these little birds, I researched and found that Homestead makes an organic nutritional nectar (link to Amazon) that hummingbirds love and it isn’t harmful for them.

Many feed supply stores do sell hummingbird nectar but you need to be aware that some contain red dyes and preservatives that can be dangerous to the little birds.

Hummingbirds need to be provided with water and one of the best ways to do this is by using this Birds Choice AAM430P Avian Mister with Pebble Base garden mister. It’s so fun to watch these hummingbirds as they dart through the fine mist that these garden misters give. It’s another way to invite these darling little gems to our garden and yards.

Mycorrhizal Inoculants

According to Wikipedia, “A mycorrhiza is a symbiotic association between a green plant and a fungus. The plant makes organic molecules such as sugars by photosynthesis and supplies them to the fungus, and the fungus supplies to the plant water and mineral nutrients, such as phosphorus, taken from the soil.”

Also quoted is, “The term mycorrhiza refers to the role of the fungus in the plant’s rhizosphere, its root system. Mycorrhizae play important roles in plant nutrition, soil biology and soil chemistry.”

In our quest to improve our garden produce we learned the above quotes to be completely true! We started implementing mycorrhizae in our garden beds a few years ago. We found that by adding Root Magic Mycorrhizae + Microbes by Blue Planet Nutrients (link to Amazon) to our garden soil as we planted, we started seeing fabulous results. Root Magic Mycorrhizae is a Beneficial Fungi for plants and we really did see the benefits.

Our plants love it and grow better, more vibrant and healthy where as before implementing mycorrhizae into our garden beds, our plants were just not doing as well. You can be sure that we keep mycorrhizae in our arsenal of gardening supplies.

Unsulfured Molasses and Sea-90 by SeaAgri

Ever planted your new seedling plants into your garden only to find they did not survive being transplanted? It definitely does happen, it’s happened to us more times than we want to remember! All that work to grow beautiful seedlings for the garden, only to see them not survive…makes us very sad.

But now we have most of our transplanted plants survive since we started using a transplant solution when transplanting our little seedlings into the garden. This has really helped to reduce the chance of transplant shock. This stuff really does work. We never transplant our plants anymore without mixing up a batch of this solution first.

To make the transplant solution, to one gallon of water you need to add one tablespoon of unsulfured molasses such as Earth Juice Hi-Brix Molasses for plants (link to Amazon). We love this Earth Juice Hi-Brix molasses, it’s the one we always purchase. We also add this to our foliar sprays to feed the plants which also helps keep the nasty insects from devouring your plants.

Also add one teaspoon of 100% natural sea salt. The natural sea salt that we use is a Foliar Minerals and Trace Elements Organic Fertilizer for Hydroponics, Soil and Plant Food called Sea-90 by SeaAgri (link to Amazon).

Sea-90 is a water soluble organic sea mineral fertilizer that will help to re-mineralize your soil. Sea-90 is a natural sea mineral that is harvested from pure ocean water using solar dehydration. It contains over 90 minerals and trace elements that are missing from today’s depleted soils. Minerals are essential for healthy plants. Sea-90 is OMRI listed and is great for commercial agriculture as well as the home gardener.

We have been using Sea-90 for many years and we can definitely tell the difference in our plants when we use Sea-90 on them. We’ve even shared Sea-90 with friends who rave about the results they get when they use it.

Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is another one of those items your garden should not do without in our opinion.We use it in our foliar sprays about once or twice a month on our plants. Epsom salt is not actually salt but a natural mineral compound often referred to as magnesium-sulfate.

Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) can increase seed germination and nutrient uptake. It can make foliage more green and lush while preventing nutrient deficiencies and increase plant yields. Epsom salt is pH neutral, so it won’t affect the pH in your soil or system.

A good choice to use is this Epsom Salt Agricultural Grade by PowerGrow Systems (link to Amazon). You will find this Epsom salt is packed by PowerGrow Systems in visible clear bags – Made in USA.

By mixing one tablespoon of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and applying it to your plants as a foliar spray it will help tomato and other plants grow and produce larger, tastier yields. We are sure to keep this on hand for our garden use all the time because it really does work that well.

FoxFarms Grow Big

The best fertilizer we have found for feeding our tomato plants about two weeks after planting them is FoxFarms Grow Big is an organic based concentrate (link to Amazon). We have found Grow Big helps them to grow big and healthy, truly living up to its name.

Grow Big is a comprehensive blend of major, minor, and micro nutrients. It’s great for roses, tomatoes, vegetables, flowers, fruits, herbs and even lawns. Grow Big contains 6-percent nitrogen, 4-percent phosphorus and 4-percent potassium. This stuff will definitely give you fabulous results in your pepper and tomato plants!

The foliage of our plants is nice and dark, fruits set much more consistently. This is definitely one of the best plant foods that I have tried for my indoor and outdoor garden. Since we started using Grow Big plant food, our plants grow faster and healthier whether out in the garden or indoors on my grow shelf for hydroponic growing during the winter season under my PowerPAR grow lights.

Sometimes we find it difficult to keep up with our fast growing greens by using Grow Big. Even the taste of our garden or indoor produce is superior to those grown without this plant food. Everything just seems to grow bigger and better when we use FoxFarm Grow Big.

FoxFarms Tiger Bloom

Once your plants start to bloom, its good to switch to a fertilizer with less nitrogen and higher phosphorus like Fox Farm Tiger Bloom Fertilizer 2-8-4 (link to Amazon) to produce blooms instead of more green growth.

Tiger Bloom is especially designed for both soil and hydroponic applications. It’s an ultra potent, fast acting, high phosphorous fertilizer that stimulates growth and vigor. Promoting abundant fruit, flower and multiple bud set, Tiger Bloom contains 2-percent nitrogen, 8-percent phosphorus and 4-percent potassium.

We absolutely love this fertilizer, we’ve been using Tiger Bloom for several years now with wonderful results!

Drip Irrigation Hose

How would you like to have more consistent growth, better vegetable yields and also resistance to disease for your garden? Drip irrigation can do this for your gardening experience. It eliminates the need for hand watering, saves time and also money.

Drip irrigation allows for ultimate watering efficiency for all plants, shrubs and trees saying up to 80% water savings. Rain Bird Drip Irrigation Landscape & Garden Watering Kit with Drippers, Micro-Bubblers and Micro-Sprays (link to Amazon). This comprehensive 108-piece Drip irrigation starter kit contains everything you’ll need to water flower beds, your gardens or landscaped areas. It can be customized it to fit your specific landscape or garden design.

This starter kit provides you with all the pieces and parts that you need for an average sized area or garden and you can easily add more at any time. The process is easy with simple 3 step installation; connect directly to your outdoor faucet or garden hose, insert the fittings into the tubing and attach the watering devices. This kit includes 3 different types of watering devices; drippers, micro-bubblers and micro sprays.

The Rain Bird Drip Irrigation Watering Kit has pressure-compensating technology that ensures all plants receive the same amount of water.

Add a timer such as a Rain Bird ESP-TM2 Irrigation Controller (link to Amazon) and you have an automatic irrigation system. This controller is quick to install and suitable for indoor or outdoor installations. It had a factory installed 6′ outdoor rated power cord for your convenience. With its simple program, you can quickly program a schedule in just 3 steps.

It has a large back-lit LCD display for improved visibility in low lighting or direct sunlight conditions. It has advanced features such as Contractor Default that allows you to easily save and restore your custom schedule. You can even delay watering up to 14 days and then automatically resume watering after the set delay has elapsed.

You can access, operate and monitor your irrigation system from anywhere since it can connect with WiFi by simply plugging in a Rain Bird LNK WiFi Module (sold separately). Internet-based weather information is used to make daily adjustments to the irrigation schedule, saving up to 30% in water.

Soaker Irrigation Hose

One of the best ways to water is by using a soaker irrigation hose. Watering the traditional way using sprinklers or by hand allows the water to run away from plants. This only wastes your water and takes time out of your day if watering it by hand.

Nutrients can also be washed away from the plants when watering this traditional way of watering. You will save money and time by using a 50′ Gilmour Flat Weeper/Soaker Garden Watering Hose (link to Amazon) instead. It is made to water plants and gardens with a constant gentle water stream.

Weeping/soaker hoses are great for watering small new plants as well as larger plants. These types of hoses help to conserve water. These weeping/soaker hoses are so light weight and easy to handle compared to a heavy garden hose.

You can cover them with mulch in order to protect them from the sun light which dries out the water and the hose. They work perfectly in a greenhouse for all your vegetable and other plants. Watering with weeping/soaker hoses, you don’t have to worry about weeds in your gardens or flower beds since you can soak just the planting beds.

Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis)

Pests of the insect variety in our gardens are not something we like to see but it does happen. If you end up with a large damaging pest infestation such as large hornworms on your tomato plants that seems too large to handle in the usual way of hand picking them, try using an organic pesticide called Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT), Concentrate by Bonide (link to Amazon).

It’s a liquid formulation of bacteria, a bacterium that acts as a stomach poison on some insects such as hornworms, caterpillars, loopers, cabbage worms, leaf rollers and leaf folders but doesn’t harm beneficial insects or animals.

We’ve had wonderful success using BT in our garden for controlling an out of control insect invasion. No matter how hard you try to keep a neat tidy garden free of the bad bugs, they do happen. It’s best to be prepared for when that happens. That’s why we keep Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) by Bonide in our gardening arsenal.