Computerized grow box update

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Haven’t mentioned the computerized grow box for a while, so think it is a good time for an update.  The moisture sensor corroded away, but have plans to make a much more beefier one.  With the exception of the hard drive failure, the basic functionality of the computerized grow box has been excellent and the plants have been thriving.  The only physical improvement I have made is adding some particle board to the top and side (salvaged from packaging material from some furniture we ordered) of the grow box.  This helps retain heat and allows the access panel to stay put without requiring tape and/or bags of coffee grounds propped against it.  I also mounted the LCD panel securely to the top of the box.

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They say as your paycheck increases, somehow your expenses follow suit.  I have a feeling same concept applies for grow boxes.  As the computerized grow box is about four times bigger than my PC grow box it has quickly getting pretty crowded waiting for the time I can move my summer vegetables outside.  I am planning on doing some reorganization this weekend to clean things up a little bit but still going to be pretty tight quarters. 

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The current inventory in the grow box are 12 tomato plants (was 18 but gave six away at a recent gardening talk), 2 cucumber plants (had one fatality from Peat/WonderSoil experiment, looks like Peat lost), 6 pepper plants (need transplanting), and a cilantro plant which was the source of my first harvest of the year.

Now just hoping Punxsutawney Phil is wrong and we really don’t have six more weeks of winter, though with the snow we got two days ago and the current temperature outside, I think he might be right.

First/Last? trip to the NW Home and Garden Show

IMG_0250My daughter and I made our first trip to the NW Home and Garden show yesterday.  It was a great experience which if you want to know more you can check out my guest post on Flora’s Blog.  Apparently there is a March 31st deadline to find a new owner, so keeping my fingers crossed since I would love to go next year with both my daughters.

Grocery store Vegetables are not as nutritious as they used to be?

“University of Texas, Austin. Davis claims the average vegetable found in today’s supermarket is anywhere from 5% to 40% lower in minerals (including magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc) than those harvested just 50 years ago.”

Not only are those vegetables you been eating at the grocery store less tasty, but may be getting marginal nutritional value.  They discuss some of the potential factors in this including use for synthetic fertilizer and the desire to achieve higher yield during a shorter timetable, unfortunately the poor plants do not have time to absorb the beneficial minerals (as do we)

This article is timely with my Chemistry of Gardening — What nutrients do plants need? post.  If you have sufficient primary macronutrients (NPK) which is the primary contents on synthetic fertilizer you can still have great yields and fast growing plants but quality of plants are reduced.  What the problem appears to me, is the secondary macronutrients are not being supplemented (magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc) which is causing the nutrient/taste deficiency.  Organic methods natural provide these nutrients by the addition of organic matter to the soil. 

I am cheap and organic vegetables are expensive, this is definitely a case of you get what you pay for.  Hope is still here you can easily grow your own organic vegetables at home.  If you still think growing your own vegetables is a bad idea here are a list of benefits from buying at the grocery store:

  • Continue to rise in cost so you won’t have to worry what to do with your extra money
  • No confusion with the small variety available (transport well)
  • They don’t taste as good, so no guilt in enjoying eating your veggies
  • Less of those pesky minerals for your body to absorb
  • Opportunity of getting a trip to the ER after picking up salmonella

In all seriousness this is a scary development where people could be malnourished even with a decent supply of fruits and vegetables.