((Serious Gardening))


Crossing the Road
Premium member
11 Years
Feb 28, 2009
Meeker, Ok 20+chicken years
Quote:Gardener's Black Gold or Compost is easy or you can make it really hard. I prefer easy. It's mixing "green" and "brown" materials and mixing them to make a pile that heats up to kill bad seeds and stuff. Provide moisture to keep the pile working.

Green stuff provides the nitrogen: grass clippings withour herbicides, kitchen veggie scraps - no meat or fats, manures - not dog, cat or human
Brown stuff provides the carbon: dry crushed leaves, old hay, dry plant residue from the garden, add garden soil to innoculate your pile with good microbes and bacteria.

A simple ring of wire panel or even three wood shipping panels wired together make a simple container.
Layer your green and brown stuff until you container is full.
"Fluff you pile or turn it with a fork for oxygen.
The pile should be moist like a sponge. If it seems dry, then add water.
You know it's working when you dig into it and get an earthy smell. If it stinks, it's too wet.
When it'd done to your like, you can sift out the big particles using a wire mesh screen in a fram over a wheelbarrow. The big stuff becomes the bottom of your next compost pile.

We make a good compost by throwing bags of dry leaves on the floor of the hen house and letting the hens crumble them as they search through for goodies. They also add their manure into the mix as they are scratching through the leaves.
Then periodically we shovel out wheelbarrows of this good stuff and add it to a pile of hay and cow manure that has been worked (turned several times over the summer) with a tractor in the lot. We allow the pile to heat up to kill bad organisms and to allow the compost to cure.
I moved a huge pile to the garden last fall and it has cured over the winter....It goes in the garden this spring.

Olive Hill

10 Years
Apr 19, 2009
For some reason I didn't see the picture of your closet last night. Just a little advice -- if your seeds haven't sprouted yet they don't need the light, save your electricity. If they have sprouted then you need to take the top off the 1020 tray, they need air circulation and they do need the light, but at the distance you have it placed they're not getting anything from it. They should be within 1-2 inches of the light at maximum. Your bulbs should be cool burn, so the leaves of the seedlings literally can be touching the light bulbs themselves. If they're not close to the light they're not able to get what they need from it. You'll end up with weak, leggy plants that'll die on you.


9 Years
Jan 11, 2011
Colorado Plains
We added lots of rabbit poo last year (doesn't need to break down) but don't have the rabbit any more. We do, however, have LOTS of chicken and goat poo. I'm actually thinking about moving the goat pen to somewhere else just so I can plant the corn in there this year!

Sunflowers don't do transplants incredibly well, unless you keep putting them in bigger and bigger peat pots then planting those directly. Still, if I started sunflowers today, the roots would be way too long by the time I can get them into the ground (May 31).

Just went through my seeds this week. Need to restock on tomato and corn so hope to place my seed order today. I need to get the tomato and peppers started! My tomato plants (in containers, brought in last Fall) just gave up the ghost so I still have the grow light still set up in the front room. Have the heating pad and flats ready. Now just need the seeds!


9 Years
May 12, 2010
Erie PA
I picked up an old water bed heating mat at a yard sale and use that for my bottom heat seeds. It even has a thermostat. I was seriously wondering about using it for the chickens in the winter. Any thoughts?


8 Years
Jan 31, 2011
North East Texas
lol thanks for the advice olive, I think the light will be fine. They are all starting to sprout now and are fine and dandy. Thats no ordinary light, im putting out about 91000 lumens out of that baby. Plenty of red spectrum light for maximum growth. If I put the plants right on a MH light it would scorch them in 2 seconds
If I was using a CFL I would put it directly on them!

"I picked up an old water bed heating mat at a yard sale and use that for my bottom heat seeds. It even has a thermostat. I was seriously wondering about using it for the chickens in the winter. Any thoughts?"

Ive never used one of those cheri, sounds like a good idea tho if you live in a cold climate. You could use it for your chickens if it wasn't too slippery and if it was peck proof.

Thank you for the great information NanaKat
I have hay as my bedding in the coop so I was thinking about just throwing that in there. Seems like it would work out nicely.

Yea MyKidLuvsGreenEgz the sunflowers are growing pretty fast. Ill probably end up transplanting them into the biggest pot I have, probably my 5 gallons. Hopefully they wont become rootbound before this cold breaks. I dont think they will because that SHOULD be the last freeze down here in south eastern Texas. But if they do become rootbound, oh well, Ill still transplant them outside, I hear they are very hardy plants once you get them in tho. So my assumption is if they dont do awesome this year, theres always next year.​

Olive Hill

10 Years
Apr 19, 2009
Wow. Metal Halide for a couple of tomato and pepper seedlings? Do you grow exotics?
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In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 3, 2010
Fraser valley Abbotsford
Hi, this is my first year doing my garden from seeds. I got overly excited and started my seeds last week. I put them in trays and covered the tray in seranwrap after i watered them for the humididty. Then put them near the fireplace to keep the warm.
In 5 days my tomatoes were sprouting, by day 7 my tomatoes, sunflowers and cucumbers were a couple inches and lots of the rest is sprouting.
I was excited to find some t5 grow lights that fit in my saltwater aquarium balast at the hydroponic store. Cheap. Only $10 for a 4 foot bulb. All my sprouted plants are going into my 4 foot aquarium and the t5 with the grow lights going on tonight to.
My kids were so excited, they helped me plant the seeds and couldnt beleive how fast they have grown. I was pritty excited to.
We get such cold weather here that i probably started to early, but mabe ill have really hardy plants, to go in my raised beds. Live and Learn i figure.
Great thread, lol, nice to see someone else starting in their closet :O)


Staff PhD
Premium member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
I'm not that serious, just recreational gardener who starts a few hundred plants and drives them back up to Washington to plant. Only so much space on a concrete box balcony at school.

Talk about starting early... my grow rack has been on for a month... I don't plant tomatoes outside till may....
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