Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to Build a Cardboard Greenhouse for $2 or Less

Click on Diagram to EnlargeThis little Greenhouse is meant to be carried outside in the sunlight of nice weather and later in the evening to be brought inside for the night. If it is kept in a cool garage, basement, be sure the temperature never gets close to freezing. I have seen tomato seedlings withstand temperatures as low as 33 degrees Fahrenheit but they definitely weren't happy! This is where the hot water bottles come in. Also you should keep the box snuggled under a cover of closely wrapped blankets on very cold nights. There will be days when the sunlight is poor. Keep them under wraps inside. A few days without sun once in a while will not effect them to much. On very cold days, but bright sunlight, you will need the hot water bottles to supplement the solar heat from the sun. Also, on good days with bright sun, no wind and near freezing air temperatures outside
I have seen little plants actually burn up in the solar heat. This is where the venting comes in and everything should be carefully monitored throughout the length of the sunlight. As soon as the box falls into the shadows and out of the warming sun, bring it inside for the night. The box temperatures will fall very quickly although the water bottles will have collected some of the heat and will slow the process a bit. You will learn a lot about going solar and greenhouse growing
with this Cardboard Greenhouse. You will also have a lot of fun showing it working to your amazed fellow gardeners. A little labor intensive. True. But it comes at a very low price.
Have Fun!
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009


High Folks!

Tonight is the 3rd of February and as I checked the weather, it's predicted to get down to 12 degrees in the wee hours of the morning. Although, my tomato seedlings seem to be warm enough in the Plant Incubator on my Patio, I decided to turn on the extra bottom heat so they won't get too cold. A month ago i started this experiment with 126 plants total. All the same batch at about the same stage of growth. Just getting their first real leafs. So I had 63 Tomato Seedlings being fed only plain tap water. And 63 Tomato Seedlings being fed a diet consisting of 97-1/2% tap water and 2-1/2% Alcohol. [102 proof Gin to be exact]. Some people suggested using Rubbing Alcohol, but I Know it can kill People and Humans. If it's not fit for human or animal consumption, then would it also kill plants? It is my understanding that the University of Cornell has run this experiment before. Since they have the knowledge and equipment to do "Real Science", then I wanted to see what my "tinkering" would show up against their results. It is my understanding that they got similar results as I - So Far! The Alcohol Has slowed down growth - and I still have 121 Plants left. Surprisingly, one more in the Alcohol set, than in the regular tap water set. What can we conclude from that? That a little bit of alcohol does a body good - even if it stunts your growth! Admittedly, as you shall see, the plain watered plants are clearly taller and stronger looking as well as being well filled out with foliage.

After measuring the height of all 121 plants yesterday, and doing the numbers I found that the Median Height for the Alcohol Fed Plants was 56mm or 2-3/16 inches.
The Median Height for Regular Tap water Fed Plants was 72mm or 2-14/16 inches. A difference of 11/16 or nearly 3/4 inch. This represents a growth slowdown of the Alcohol Treated Tomato Seedlings of nearly 25%.
Regular Tap Water Fed Tomato Seedlings
2-1/2% Alcohol Solution Fed
Tomato Seedlings

This is definitely a significant amount of difference in growth. At this point, It is time for me to be adding a little food to their diet so I will be adding a diluted solution of Miracle Grow 50% of recommended feeding to each set of Tomato Seedlings along with their regular treatment or Plain Tap Water and Alcohol. I still have at least 6 weeks until regular Tomato Seedling Starting time here in Zone 7 (or zone 6a depending on which map you reference. I use the Arbor Day map. The question is, will the Alcohol Treated Tomato Seedlings survive this treatment for another 6 weeks of more of the same? So at this point, I will be Discontinue the treatment of 30 of the Alcohol Treated Seedlings, and Continue the Alcohol Treatment on the other 31 plants. The other Tap Water Only Tomato Seedlings will continue to be treated with only Tap Water. All will receive the Miracle Grow additive. Any guesses as to how they will all turnout in the end?

Alcohol Fed Tomato Seedlings


Regular Tap Water Fed Tomato Seedlings!

Until Next Time,


Have some fun!

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