Too Much of Good Thing
Too Much Moisture in “White-House”
“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can” are the words that grace the letter board of one of our local churches. These were the words of tennis legend Arthur Ashe. His words exactly were “To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” This phrase has resonated in my mind lately and applies to many aspects of my life; however, walking through the “white-house” last night during a “Q & A” session with my neighbor, it stuck out like my hot pink long-johns in the white snow.
It too often is so easy to overlook the things that are right in front of you. This was very well said by Jeff Foxworthy, “Here’s your sign!” However, there are those times when you just need someone else to look at the picture through a different pair of snow goggles (It’s March 5th and still snowing so I find the snow analogies still appropriate:)). Our new neighbors are great! I know I keep mentioning how great our neighbors are but it really is the truth. God has seriously blessed us. The couple is doing some fun new farming projects and I was very pleased to find out she has experience working in a greenhouse, because my knowledge of greenhouse work started out at zilch.
The fun new neighbors came over last night for a Q & A swap. They had questions about our solar energy project and I had “white-house” questions. I wanted to discuss the mold problem with her. Right away when she looked at the radish microgreens she said they are “really wet”. I already knew this but sometimes you just need someone else to confirm. The quote on the tea I brewed for Mr. Martian today was…”Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t”…so true).
With her knowledge in tow, she advised that we use our set-up to our advantage. At the west end of our microgreen grow lane is where the diesel heater and the fan is located. This grow bed has lot less moisture in it. We had the radish microgreens in the east end of the grow lane with has a lot more moisture. She suggested I move the seeds to the bed that has more moisture and the delicate microgreens to the dryer bed…I know this seems like a "no-brainer" but honestly, I didn’t even think of it. What a great idea! Use what you have, do what you can!” She stated that when she worked in a greenhouse she would move her squash to the south side with the sun and her broccoli near the door with more wind to help prevent fungal disease. In our set-up you would think all of the growing conditions would be the same throughout but that’s just not the case.
Too much humidity has been long standing fight. We had to enclose the lanes with plastic to keep warm during the crazy winter we’ve had and this just added to the moisture problem. Mr. Martian installed a dehumidifier with a duct system in the lanes for circular movement (for more info on this check out his youtube video at www.therealmartian.com Habitat Systems-“Low cost DIY HVAC” series). However, it just doesn’t seem to be enough. The dehumidifier reads that the humidity is about 71 in the “white-house” between the grow lanes (not in the lane tents); however, due to the way the system is set up there is definitely a lot more humidity at the east end (away from the heater and fan) than at the west end. Humidity should be around 50% for microgreens. We are hoping and believing that once the warmer temperatures hit (any day now Lord, please!!) and we get to remove the tents of shame (j/k) this issue will no longer be.
This wasn’t the only bright idea she had! She suggested more fans closer to the east end and to have it timed so they are turn on right after the “flooding” of the grow bed to quickly dry them out before the next “flood”. There are also some issues with the timing of the “flooding and draining”, making sure we don’t have water sitting in the grow beds for the roots to soak in. In aquaponics they recommend “flooding and draining” once per hour. Getting this worked out should make a difference.
We also discussed possible supplements to aid with mold prevention; however, with our closed-loop system we have to very careful what we add. She stated that a lot of the products she used to use to help with mold could not be used for immediate consumption (i.e, she would use it on her greenhouse starts and then move them outside to grow to maturity. There was a required time lapse between use of product and consumption). One supplement we discussed, as I have previously mentioned, is Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE). She stated what I had read and was curious about, that the process they use to make GSE is not the best. Read more about this at https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/not-natural-not-safe-grapefruit-seed-extract/. Plus, my experiment did not work as well as I had hoped and it appeared there may have still been a little mold where I sprayed the radish seeds with the extract. She also explained we may want to be careful when using it with the fish due to the fish being a little on the sensitive side (like mother like fishy:)) I think GFE is going to the curb for now. It sure seemed like a great idea though.
As of this morning I moved the newly planted seeds in the clay to the east end (more moisture) and will move them back to their warm and dry home when start to grow and become more delicate. Thank you new neighbor:)! Unfortunately, I think it’s a little too late for the radish microgreens that we had fully grown on the grow mats (such a shame…they really do look beautiful from afar, but take a closer look and the evidence unfolds…see pic below). The good news is we have more planted in the clay and are praying for a glorious comeback! We just need to believe! “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24).
Scripture for thought: Romans 12:12.
Too Wet Radish Microgreens
Soaked Grow Mat
Brown, Soggy Roots