Video of the Week:
Palms, Indoor Care
How Much can a Vegetable Garden Save in Food Costs
Gail looked at 8 studies and summarized the results. Values were adjusted to 2012 values. Overall, gardens had an average value of $0.74 per square foot of garden and a median value of $0.62 per square foot. That would equal $148 for a modest 200 square foot garden using the average value. Most of these studies included the cost of establishing the garden the first year. These costs would certainly be less in the years following.
Also, interesting were the crops that provided the greatest return per square foot. Those crops were tomatoes, salad greens, beets, broccoli and potatoes. However, be sure to plant crops that will actually be eaten. Vegetables that will not be used are a waste of time and money. To see much more detail, go to Gail’s blog post at http://tinyurl.com/ajrnebb (Ward Upham)
Sources for Tomato Seed
* No sources were found for Sun Leaper or Sunmaster
Note that we have also requested local sources of seed and/or transplants in an accompanying article. That information will be shared in a later newsletter. (Ward Upham)
Call for Local Sources of Vegetable Seed
Name of Business:
E-mail (if applicable):
Web site (if applicable):
Will you ship or in-store sales only:
Prepackaged seed only or will you custom-package:
Do you also sell transplants:
Send the info to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will link to a list of those businesses that respond in a future newsletter. (Ward Upham)
Newer Fluorescent Lights Available for Indoor Gardeners
Traditionally, we have used fixtures with T-12 lamps suspended a few inches above the tops of the plants. However, T-12 lamps are fading away due to newer lamps that are a better choice for indoor gardens. These are known as T-8 and T-5 lamps. The number after the “T” refers to the diameter of the lamp in eighths of an inch. Therefore, a T-12 lamp is 12/8 or 1.5 inches in diameter and are what most people are familiar with. A T-8 is 8/8 or 1 inch in diameter, and a T-5 is 5/8 of an inch in diameter.
So, does a smaller diameter mean less light? Not at all. In fact, the T-5 can be the brightest of the three. Another advantage for these newer lamps is they use less electricity per lumen. Our traditional 48-inch T-12 is rated at 40 watts. However, there are newer styles of T-12's that are 34 watts. The T-8 is rated at 32 watts and the T-5 at 28 watts.
This sounds too good to be true. Are there drawbacks? Maybe so or maybe not. First is cost if you have to replace T-12 fixtures to convert to a T-8 system. However, newer fixtures may be able to handle either T-12's or T-8's. Therefore, if you purchased fluorescent fixtures in the last few years, check to see if they are rated for T-8's before replacing them. Note that lamp costs are comparable between T-12's and T-8's. The T-5 lamps are significantly more expensive and cost over twice as much as either a T-12 or T-8.
The question becomes, is it worth it? If you have a T-12 fixture that is rated for T-12's only and are satisfied with your results, then maybe not. However, if you are investing in new fixtures or have fixtures that can use either T-12's or T-8's, then go with the T-8's. They will use less energy, last longer and provide more light. (Ward Upham)
Conservation Trees from the Kansas Forest Service
Orders are shipped from the second week of March through May 5. Approved uses for these plants include windbreaks, wood lots, riparian plantings, wildlife habitat and Christmas trees. They may not be used for landscape (ornamental) plantings or grown for resale.
All items are sold in units. Each single species unit consists of 25 plants. For example, a unit of Eastern red cedar has 25 trees per unit. Though a single species unit is most commonly purchased, four special bundles are also available including a songbird bundle, quail bundle,pheasant bundle and wildlife mast bundle.
Tree planting accessories are also available including marking flags, root protective slurry, rabbit protective tubes, weed barrier fabric and tree tubes. If there have been problems with deer browsing on young trees, the tree tubes are a must.
For details and an order form, go to: https://www.kansasforests.org/public_saps/Welcome.aspx
Order forms are also available from local K-State Research and Extension offices. (Ward Upham)