Mar 3, 2012

Up with Chris Hayes - Google and Your Privacy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Up with Chris Hayes - Saturday and Sunday Mornings -  is the Best Rational News Program on Commercial TV... Both Liberal and Conservative Guests... Thoughtful Discussion of Issues... Above video is one timely example... Monte Hines

Wood Turning—Country Style, Keepsake Box

Uploaded by BradburyGuy on Mar 3, 2012
A beautiful turned, Country-Style Keepsake Box. A gift for our soon to be, sixteen year old, granddaughter.

FSA Announces Major Changes in Farm Loan Handbook - National Young Farmers' Coalition

Posted by Lindsey Lusher Shute on Thursday, March 1, 2012 · Leave a Comment

Today, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) notified the National Young Farmers’ Coalition of changes in their loan handbook that will make it easier for the nation’s young farmers to qualify for farm loans. This is a major win for the coalition, as we’ve been advocating for more leniency in farm loan rules to accomodate the range of new training opportunities for today’s young farmers. According to NYFC’s 2011 survey, Access to capital is the number one challenge facing beginning farmers.

The new handbook language gives new flexibility to loan officers when deciding if a farmer has sufficient managerial ability to repay a loan, and adds specificity about the types of educational and on-the-job experiences that qualify. Managerial ability is a determining factor in operating loan applications. The handbook also adds a new example under the farm experience requirement for farm ownership loans, that may help young farmers who were previously denied financing.

Here’s the breakdown:

The handbook now says that the managerial requirement for all loans can be met through (1) Education, (2) On-the-job Training or (3) Experience — or one of the three:

“The applicant may satisfy the managerial ability requirement with any combination of education, on-the-job training and farm experience, or by meeting just 1 of these criteria.”

New education requirements:

The handbook now specifies examples of university and non-accredited programs that qualify as farm education.
Successful completion of farm management curriculum offered by the Cooperative Extension Service, a community college, adult vocational agri program culture, or land grant university
The Small Farm Program, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Specialty Crops Program, University of Colorado.
Cultivating Success, University of Idaho Extension, Washington State
University Small Farms and Rural Roots.
successful completion of a community-based, nationally based, non-profit, or similar farm workshop programs
Annie’s Project.
Alcorn State University Small Farm Outreach Training and Technical Assistance Program.
Michigan State University Organic Farmer Program

New “On-the-job training” requirements:

The handbook is now exceptionally clear that apprenticeships ( holla! ) qualify as farm experience and it outlines example programs. The previous handbook had very little detail on what “on-the-job” training meant. Here’s the new language:

(2) On-the-job training. For example, the applicant is currently working on a farm as part of an apprenticeship program.

To meet the managerial ability requirement through on-the-job training alone, the applicant is currently:
*–working, or has recently worked, as hired farm labor with management responsibilities
Example: A hired hand or farm labor team leader who makes independent day-to-day farm management decisions.
completing, or recently completed, a farm mentorship or internship program with an emphasis on management requirements and day-to-day farm decisions, such as those offerings found through:
Rogue Farm Corps
Cultivating Success
Many Hands Farm Corps
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation
Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring Program
Georgia Organics Mentoring Program–*
*–participating, or recently participated, in urban or community-supported agriculture programs which incorporate basic agricultural training, such as:
Agriculture Training Institute
Refugee Agriculture Partnership Programs
Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture
Growing Power, Inc.
Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens
Mary Queen of Vietnam Community Development Corporation, Inc., and the Viet Village Aquaponic Park Project.

Experience Requirement:

FSA added new language to the Farm Experience language that’s inclusive of farm workers and young farmers who have previously received youth loans (new language in boldface):

To meet the managerial ability requirement through farming experience alone, the applicant *–may have:
been an owner of a farm business with management and operator responsibilities for at least 1 entire production and marketing cycle
been employed as a migrant farm worker and has been elevated to a leadership or foreperson position for at least 1 entire production and marketing cycle and whose responsibilities include crop and field management, livestock health, breeding supervision, labor management or hiring, or general farm management
been employed as a farm manager or farm management consultant for at least 1 entire production and marketing cycle
raised on a farm and held significant responsibility for day-to-day management decisions for at least 1 entire production and marketing cycle
obtained and successfully repaid one FSA Youth-OL.

Experience Requirement for farm ownership loans

Unlike operating loans, farm ownership loans require that the applicant has managed a farm for 3 years. In the past, this requirement has been interpreted very narrowly and only farmers who had filed a Schedule-F could qualify. Although the rules were made more flexible before the recent change, the new handbook language is very clear that farm workers can meet the experience requirement for a farm ownership loan.

FSA added a new example of successful applicant “John Smith”, who’s been managing a farm, but was not the principal operator:
John Smith applies for an FO to purchase a farm. He indicates on his application that he has worked as a migrant laborer for the last 10 years. 5 years ago he was placed in a managerial position where in addition to supervising the work crew, he decides what fields are to be worked, planting rates, and the majority of daily management decisions related to the operation. John Smith is eligible for an FO as his work as the crew leader and dailymanager of the operation is sufficient to qualify for FSA assistance.–*

The FSA also puts less emphasis on tax records (the dreaded Schedule F) as proof of farm experience. The new language:

The applicant may document this experience through FSA farm records or similar

The real test of the new rules will be their application at local FSA offices, but we are very encouraged by FSA’s changes. NYFC is still advocating for new small loans and a reduced farm experience requirement (from 3 years to 2 years), as included in the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011.

If you have experiences with FSA that you’d like to share, please consider signing up for NYFC’s new speaker’s bureau.

Illinois Has $630,000 Available For Specialty Crop Growers - Farm Progress

According to 2010 data, more than 101,000 acres of Illinois farmland are devoted to specialty crops.
Compiled by staff
Published: Mar 2, 2012

Illinois has been awarded more than $630,000 in federal funds to strengthen the competitiveness of the state's specialty crop industry.

The funds come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and will support efforts to open new markets for fresh produce grown in Illinois.

"Expanding access to nutritious, homegrown Illinois food is important not only to the health of consumers, but also to the health of our rural economy," Illinois Department of Agriculture Acting Director Bob Flider says. "It's one of my top priorities as I start work at the department."

Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, chair of the Governor's Rural Affairs Council, encourages farmers to apply for the grants and serve residents in food deserts.

"This grant program will help Illinois farmers create markets, reach new customers and unleash the economic potential of a local food system," Simon notes. "Increased access to local foods will mean healthy choices for consumers and more jobs for our economy."

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service defines specialty crops as "fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops (including floriculture)." According to a 2010 Illinois Specialty Crop Survey, more than 101,000 acres of Illinois farmland are devoted to growing specialty crops, producing nearly $392 million in annual sales for Illinois farmers.

Nationally, Illinois ranks first for its pumpkin production and in the top ten in the production of specialty crops such as asparagus, cauliflower, peas and lima beans. Proposed projects should accomplish one or more of the following objectives:

Increase child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops.

Improve efficiency and reduce costs of distribution systems.

Assist in developing "Good Agricultural Practices," "Good Handling Practices," "Good Manufacturing Practices," and in cost-share arrangements for funding audits of such systems for small farmers, packers and processors.

Invest in specialty crop research, including organic research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes.

Enhance food safety.

Develop new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops.

Improve pest and disease control.

Promote organic and sustainable production practices.The IDOA will accept grant proposals until March 15, 2012, at 4 p.m. Request for Proposal Packets can be found online at or by contacting Delayne Reeves. She can be reached by phone at (217) 524-9129 or by e-mail at

Buckminster Fuller Archive : Free Movies : Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

Mar 2, 2012

55-gallon TLUD - Biochar Making - Micro-gasification - Biogas Fracking - Earth Renewal Alliance

Gas Flare early in the 5th TLUD burn

Brad Rush monitors the first burn in a 55-gallon TLUD
Making Biochar in a 55-gallon TLUD
First Burn
Friday January 27, 2012
BURN: 1st - 2nd - 3rd - 4th - 5th - 6th - 7th - 8th - 9th -11th
Photos - Meetings - Micro-gasification - Biogas -Fracking

<-PREV  Four Oaks Community Farm, Topeka, Kansas  NEXT->

At Four Oaks Farm in north Topeka, we take optimum nutrition, climate change and sustainable living seriously. So, we convert local biomass into charcoal ("biochar"), which we add to soils to grow high quality "nutrient-dense" food that is "carbon-negative."

Thus, we sequester carbon out of the air into soil to grow crops with superior health and foods with superior nutrition. Just one of many ways we prepare for our impending shift to a sustainable society. We're exploring farming methods, food production and quality standards that are the foundation of sustainable communities and culture in the 21st Century.    Full Story 

Biochar | North Bay Report

Conference logo

Full Biochar | North Bay Report

Excellent... Audio Files... Monte Hines

Suffering crops in Brazil

Brazilian farmers take stock of drought damage
  • One Year of Drought with Modern Monoculture Crops...!  
  • Pictures tell the story... 
  • When will drought strike US...? 
  • What will the reaction be...?   
Monte Hines

Drought was so severe in the region of Cruz Alta (northern Rio Grande do Sul) that it dried ponds and made center pivot irrigation systems useless (photo by Hugo Harada, Gazeta do Povo).

Link To All Photos and Captions

Google Invests in Biomass Fuel Firm CoolPlanetBiofuels | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World

by Diane Pham, 03/18/11

If you think Google is going to take over the world, you can at least rest assured they’re going to do it in a green way. The internet giant has invested in yet another green initiative, pouring some serious cash into biomass fuel firm CoolPlanetBiofuels. The eco start-up is currently developing technology to produce fuel from inedible biomass such as grass and wood chips. So will Google bio- fueling stations be the next big thing?

The venture capital arm of Google hopes to capitalize on CoolPlanetBiofuels’ process that produces a byproduct that can capture carbon and also be added to soil to improve crop yields, leading to what Google Ventures described as a “negative carbon fuel.”

Mike Cheiky, chief executive of CoolPlanet, said in a statement on Thursday, ”While we have made significant progress over the past couple of years, this new infusion of capital, coupled with the expertise of the Google Ventures team, enables our team to scale even faster.”

Google’s undisclosed amount of Series B funding follows a $42 million investment last month in a weather insurance start-up, and another investment in the power-saving energy conversion technology firm Transphorm.

Via Reuters

Mar 1, 2012

Grow your own Drugs Permaculture Research Institute

Consumerism, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants — by Sunny Soleil March 1, 2012
Pharmaceutical companies have been raiding nature’s larder for years and isolating ingredients to make high cost, patented, chemical drugs to cure our ails. My friend Florence who is 99 tells me that there is a plant for every ailment and James Wong agrees.

An ethno-botanist and gardener, James Wong explains, in the videos below, how many of the ingredients in commercially available drugs can be found in your garden or on a country walk. Cornflowers have been used for hundreds of years for eye ailments while almost every pain killer on the market contains something extracted from the common poppy. In these two videos he shows us how to prepare a marigold skin clearing acne gel, elderflower throat lozenges,eczema cream from wild violets. Wong also demonstrates preparation of Syrup of Figs for Constipation, Goji Berry Chicken Soup for Colds and Flu, Hops Pillow for Insomnia & Kiwi and Papaya Face Masks.

Part I

Uploaded by TasmanianLeatherwood on Feb 10, 2011

Part II

Uploaded by TasmanianLeatherwood on Feb 10, 2011

Finally, the big bonus is the hour long Christmas Special of Grow Your Own Drugs.

Uploaded by enoughalreadyjeez on Dec 8, 2011Grow Your Own Drugs

Mike Cheiky, founder of CoolPlanet Energy Systems, on negative carbon liquid fuels and technology for the mass production of fuels around the world

Uploaded by wesolveforx on Feb 10, 2012

Solve for X is a forum to encourage and amplify technology-based moonshot thinking and teamwork. G+:

The fact is that plants have a carbon-negative phase - a time during which they remove carbon from the atmosphere. But they give it back in another phase, unfortunately. What if there was a way to take plant waste (like corn husks) and turn it into bio fuels? What if this also removed carbon from our atmosphere? What if the same process also produced a substance that would help turn deserts back into productive crop land? What if this process could be done on an industrial scale but also could be made self-contained in a small village so that farmers all over the world could get the economic benefits of producing bio fuels with their agricultural waste and simultaneously help clean our atmosphere? Too good to be true? Mike Cheiky is the President and Founder of CoolPlanet Energy Systems, which is developing carbon negative fuels.
Appears they are doing it in the lab now... 
GOOGLE, BP, GE, NRG, ConocoPhillips, Constellation Energy, Shea Ventures, and North Bridge...  

Giant Miscanthus
November 2011

January 2012
Hines Farm test plot - 3 years - grows to 14'-16' - does not go down in winds.

This process can change the world!!!

We know and grow giant miscanthus on a testing, small scale basis... Can average 20 tons to the acre. It is a perennial and grows with very little input. Nitrogen all goes back in ground in fall. Harvest once a year in winter/spring. Starts growing in late April and stops in November. Has 15'-30' roots. Grows on rough marginal lands. Does not have to interfere with crop land. Grows only by rhizome (problem/ benefit) - controllable but 3 years to populate. 

University of Illinois has and is doing much research ($50 million grant from BP)

Beauty of this is that it has to be implemented locally due to the bulk/weight of crop, requiring short transportation distances to be effective.

Local communities would flourish...

Always was a fan of Biochar and Miscanthus...!!!  Monte and Eileen

From their website:
  • "CoolPlanet Energy Systems is developing revolutionary negative carbon fuels based on plant photosynthesis which absorb carbon from the air. We can make exact replacements for gasoline that will operate in your current cars and, we can make even more advanced superfuels for even higher gas mileage and better performance in future vehicles. Our CoolPlanetBioFuels division will deploy this technology for the mass production of fuels around the world."
  • "CoolPlanet's vision is to provide this revolutionary fuel technology at a cost highly competitive with fossil fuels, thus eliminating dependence on foreign oil and reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide with no added cost to the consumer."
Latest News:
February 14th 2012
CoolPlanet welcomes Constellation Energy as an investor along with Google, GE, BP, ConocoPhillips, NRG. Shea Ventures and North Bridge

Related Links:

Prepping and the Media and Dooms Day Preppers Show - National Geographic

Uploaded by engineer775 on Feb 28, 2012
Southernprepper1 and I have been given a lot of opportunities lately, whether on radio, TV, or conferences to encourage people to prepare. We had a good time with our local News Channel 4 and I turned the camera on them at the end of the shoot. The segment should air This evening @ 6pm EST.

==> Upstate Family Appears On 'Doomsday Preppers' VIDEO

Wood Turning—Valentines Gift Box 2012

Uploaded by BradburyGuy on Feb 23, 2012
A beautiful turned, two-wood, box and lid with a low-profile pedestal and rustic backdrop, and includes a scroll-saw detail.

Great idea, great craftsmanship... Monte

Feb 29, 2012

Biochar in Agriculture

Uploaded by ncfarmcenter on Feb 28, 2012
High Tech Compost: Biochar with John Miedemaby

Some impressive research going on in North Carolina.... Monte

Nick Ritar’s TEDx Canberra Talk: Two Things You Can Do Every Day to Save the World Permaculture Research Institute

Recently Nick gave a talk at TEDx Canberra. He talked about stewarding nutrients, how we can solve the problem of peak phosphorous (See ‘Phosphorous Matters’ Parts I & IIhere and here), and about how to grow the best cumquats ever.

Yes, Nick was talking about why taking responsibility for our poo and our wee — our most basic waste streams — is so crucial to our future. For a long time, a mark of superiority in some cultures has been how far you can get your shit away from you. But now, we need it back.

Full Article - Excellent... Monte

Related Link:

Stabilizing the Climate with “Permanent Agriculture” Permaculture Research Institute

Large Chart

Large Chart

Full Article - EXCELLENT... Monte

"the true modern smart farming" - Permaculture / Polyculture Design In Action...!!! - Andrew Faust - Tour of the Center For Bioregional Living

Uploaded by dreiky on Feb 29, 2012

  • Andrew walks around the eminent permaculture training site in the northeastern US. 
  • Gravity fed water systems, pond construction, off grid biodynamic gardening and more! 

Excellent example of what Permaculture / Polyculture Design can accomplish...
Permaculture / Polyculture Design is "the true modern smart farming" using nature as our partner giving us free inputs...not Monsanto, Oil Companies, and all the other multinational companies brainwashing us with dollars they take from us and destroying our planet...  Monte

Related Links:

Woodworking - Pattern Making with the Router

Uploaded by knecht105 on Feb 28, 2012
Making duplicate parts or components is easy when you can make templates cut them out using a router and router table.

DIY: How to make a backpacking wood gasifier stove - YouTube

Uploaded by BCoutdoorsurvival on Feb 1, 2011

A DIY for a portable high efficiency wood gasifier backpacking stove. It is small light and only needs a handful of twigs to boil a few cups of water. A great alternative for longer hikes where you don't want to carry lots of fuel. As featured on: Treehugger: and Permaculture Magazine:

Feb 28, 2012

High Tunnel Production and Low Cost Tunnel Construction Webinar

Uploaded by eOrganic on Feb 28, 2012
This 2010 webinar, presented by Tim Coolong of the University of Kentucky, was an introduction to season extension using high tunnels. It covered common issues associated with tunnel production, and provided a short overview of how to construct a low cost pvc tunnel. The webinar is for growers who are interested in season extension, but who may not want to invest a large amount of money right away.

Seed Up! Permaculture

Uploaded by peraltatv on Apr 9, 2009

In our continuing tradition of honoring ecological holidays, peraltaTV is proud to present this 3rd installment of SeedUp! in celebration of "Draw a Picture of a Bird Day", April 8. Join instructor Christopher Shein for a look at the Permaculture class at Merritt College. Enjoy!

Related Links:

2,000 Year Old Food Forest in Morocco

Uploaded by flashtoons on Oct 13, 2009

One of the extras featured on Geoff Lawton's DVD "Establishing a Food Forest" the Permaculture Way available from,au More info:

Related Links: 

Feb 27, 2012

There's No Tomorrow

Uploaded by incubatepictures on Feb 11, 2012

Chat about the movie here:

From An animated documentary about resource depletion & the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet.

If you want to help in the on-going translation of the film, please join the Hubberts-arms forum, where you can collaborate with others:,40.0.html

Great video covering all the bases of our present converging dilemmas... it connects all dots... Monte

UMass Permaculture Needs Your Vote to Get to White House! - YouTube

Uploaded by UMassPermaculture on Feb 27, 2012
Vote here!

The UMass Amherst Permaculture Committee, a student group that I am working with, received some incredible news this week! We received a call from The White House and we've been notified that we're selected as 1 of 15 finalists (out of 1000+ applications!) for the Campus Champions of Change Challenge! This means we are in the final round, and the general public is now voting for which teams will get A TRIP TO THE WHITE HOUSE and also be featured on MTV's program "The Deans List" which has over 9 million viewers.

We have only 1 week to tally as many votes as we can - voting ends Saturday, March 3 at midnight est (New York time!) Here's a short description about our student group, and instructions for how to vote:

"UMass Amherst Permaculture is a student group that educates the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus and the local community about ecological permaculture solutions by demonstrating edible perennial landscapes that are highly productive, low maintenance, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible!"

How to vote (it takes 30 seconds and you just need an e-mail address!):

Simply follow this link below and click vote (all 3 of your votes, if you choose!) for "UMASS Amherst Permaculture Initiative"! All you need is an e-mail address!

Please share this with others! Some examples for how to do this are: Post the link on your Facebook wall / Twitter feed so others in your network will also vote! Forward this e-mail / link to your friends, family, listservs, Facebook groups, etc! Ask them to vote and share it with others as well.

Text for a Facebook Post:

Please take 30 seconds and vote (all 3 votes, if you feel inspired!) to help my friends earn a trip to The White House! They are changing the world through permaculture gardens at UMass Amherst.

In summary, we feel that this is such an amazing opportunity to bring huge amounts of positive light to UMass Permaculture on the international stage - to further promote UMass Amherst as a leader in creating the environmentally and socially-just food system and world that we all want to see. Please vote for UMass Amherst Permaculture Initiative and you'll be sending a clear message that this project is something we want to see more support for. Thank you so much, everyone. We could be at the White House on March 15 with your help!

How to Search Google Like a Pro: 11 Tricks You Have to Know

How-To Geek

How to Use an Electric Blanket to Start Plants
By Dawn Gibbs, eHow Contributor

Electric blankets should not get wet.
Starting seeds indoors allows gardeners to get a head start on the approaching growing season. By germinating and growing the seedlings inside for several weeks before the last frost, you can plant strong seedlings as soon as spring comes and enjoy a longer harvest. One of the methods of tricking seeds into thinking spring has sprung in your home is to use an electric blanket to warm them up.

Seed starting trays
Seed starting medium
Electric blanket
Plastic sheeting
Probe thermometer
Fill the cells of the seed starting tray with seed starting medium. Do not use regular potting soil because the bacteria could harm the seeds.
Poke a hole in the medium with a pencil. Make the hole three times as deep as the width of your seed. Drop the seeds into the holes and firm the soil over them.
Water the medium until it settles.
Lay your electric blanket over a flat surface in a warm, sunny spot. Plug the blanket in and set it to "Low."
Cover the blanket with a piece of plastic sheeting so it won't get wet. Set the seed trays on top of the sheet and wait 20 minutes for the blanket to warm up.
Insert a probe thermometer between the plastic sheet and the blanket to measure the temperature. Most plants grow best at temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so either turn the blanket off or increase the setting accordingly. Check your seed package if you are unsure of the best temperature for your plants.
Turn the blanket off every six to eight hours for at least one hour to let it cool down. 

Starting Seeds Indoors Under Lights » The Door Garden

February 8th, 2010 by David LaFerney

Seedlings growing under lights
I started some seeds today in my “plant work room” and I thought you might be interested. I start seeds in regular plastic nursery trays that I get from a local greenhouse – and that I save from store-bought plants. I do recycle my plant containers from year to year - If you reuse containers like this you really should wash them thoroughly in a weak bleach solution and dry them in the sun before storing them away for reuse. Or so I’ve heard – I might try that some day.

just planted flat

This year I’m planting in commercial soil mix, because I just don’t have any compost that is ready right now to make into home made potting soil. Anyway, fill your containers with soil and plant your seeds at the recommended depth. Most of what I planted today is in the cabbage family, and needs to be about 1/2 inch deep. I just use a finger to poke holes about that deep, drop 2-3 seeds into each one and then sprinkle with more soil to cover. I’m using pretty small divisions – 72 plants per tray – because I plan to plant out these cold season plants under row covers or in the greenhouse as soon as they are big enough to handle. If I thought that I would have to hold them for a while I would probably start them in larger divisions to begin with.

BTW, I am also test germinating some seeds that I saved last year – by planting 10 seeds per container to see how many come up. Assuming that some of them germinate I can just multiply the number of seedlings by 10 to get the success rate as a percentage. Other than using 10 seeds per container they are done exactly the same way as everything else.

Using a spray bottle to water the planted trays gives good control.

I’ve found that the least messy way for me to water trays is by misting with a spray bottle – every other method that I’ve used results in muddy water running everywhere and only a little soaking in. Check soil moisture every day until you’re sure that it has stabilized where you want it – moist, but not dripping wet.

Note that you need to label your trays – I use recycled pieces of plastic mini blinds.

A plastic seed starting chamber like this is very handy, but not absolutely required. You will have to remove it soon after your plants emerge, but until then it helps to keep the soil evenly moist and the air warm and humid. If you don't have one of these just lay a sheet of plastic right on top until you see plants starting to emerge.

Then cover with one of these plastic domes if you have one. If you don’t have one of these you can simply drape a piece of saran wrap over the tray, but if you do that you will have to remove it as soon as you see plants emerging from the soil. The cover holds the moisture in so that you shouldn’t have to water again until it’s removed.

My simple grow light setup uses regular 4' shop lights and bulbs - not expensive "grow" lights.

I use plain old 40 watt flourescent shop lights to start my plants indoors and it works great. As you can see the fixtures are just sitting on top of props that I have made out of one by six scraps, but you can use whatever you have. You want the lights to be as close to the plant trays as is practical or your plants will grow tall and leggy. Now that compact florescent lights are widely available you could also use those in any lamp fixture that you have. You can easily get CFLs which are equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent light – should be great for a smaller operation.

Last year I built a very simple bottom heat system which has made a tremendous improvement in my success rate for starting all kinds of seeds. If you don’t have bottom heat, then try to keep the soil as warm as possible 24 hours a day. On top of a refrigerator or an upright freezer is a good place or on a shelf right over your water heater or a heat appliance. The regular average room temperature of your house is probably not warm enough for best results. The lights also won’t really work to keep the soil warm because they won’t be on 24 hours a day. If you look at this planting soil temperature chart you will see that most plants want the soil temp to be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit for best germination. If at all possible use some form of bottom heat.

A simple analog light timer is all y0u need for starting your own plants, but you need one that is big enough to handle the load of all of the lights that you are going to plug into it.

For good results you must have a timer to control your lights. Erratic lighting or 24 hour day lengths will be bad for many plants. Be sure that you use a timer which is rated high enough for the total wattage of lights that you will be using. Set the on period to correspond with or extend the actual daylight hours – in other words don’t try to have your plants day and night be opposite of the real day and night otherwise ambient light will interrupt their sleep just like it would yours. I set mine to go on at sunrise and off at about 8 PM. I currently have the day length set for about 13 1/2 hours, but when I start planting tomatoes and peppers in a few weeks I will increase that to about 16 hours of light per day.

Once I start this process every winter I love to get out in the plant room to visit and check on my plants. The warm moist air and the smell of clean soil and growing things along with the sun light coming through the windows really takes the edge off of winter for me. That and a cup of coffee is a great way to start the day. Round up some seeds and soil, and see if it doesn’t lift your spirits as well.

My humble plant work room. Really just a small well insulated room on the side of my garage with 4 windows, and a concrete floor that I don't have to worry about getting dirty. The light bench is sitting on top of 5 steel barrels full of water for thermal mass which help to moderate the temperature. You can see the rope light that powers my bottom heat there at the lower right. On the far end of the bench I have just enough counter space to pot things up. I love it.

Feb 26, 2012

Carl Bass - The New Rules of Innovation

Uploaded by TEDxTalks on Feb 25, 2012

Carl Bass is president and chief executive officer of Autodesk, Inc. Autodesk is the leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Formerly he was Autodesk's chief operating officer, responsible for worldwide sales, marketing, and product development. Earlier roles included CTO and EVP of product development.

My takeaway:
  • Innovation comes from individuals...
  • Computing is almost free... which allows us to do a lot more in less time...
  • Innovation is "THE BREAKING OF RULES"
  • There is reason for optimistic about the future... 

Seed Treatment-Seed Stratification

Uploaded by HomeGrownVideos1 on Feb 25, 2012

Many seeds that have hard seed coats require some type of seed stratification. This treatment consists of roughing up the seed coat so that water can enter the seed. This treatment mimics what happens in the wild. Seeds that need this treatment include those in the gourd family.

How It's Made: Lynx crosscut saws - Video

Uploaded by scalabration on Jan 21, 2012

This type of crosscut saw is intended for logging work, not for the woodworking shop or garage. Both one-person and two-person saws are shown being manufactured, mostly by hand. Not much automation here. Lynx brand saws are manufactured in Sheffield, England by E. Garlick & Son, which is now owned by Thomas Flinn & Co.

Related Links: