Showing posts from March, 2013
Root Zone Heating? in Florida ?

 Root zone heat can dramatically improve rooting and seed germination, yet few people use the technique very much these days. It is a tried-and-true technique, but I believe most growers in Florida feel it is unnecessary, given our abundant heat most of the year. It is the temperature difference from day to night which makes such a difference in rooting plants or germinating seeds. Even though we might have a 90 F day, sometimes the temperatures go down to 75F at night, even cooler in the Spring and Fall weather changeover. If we can stabilize the temperature difference from day to night to just a few degrees, seeds sprout faster and cuttings root stronger.

Victorian-era greenhouse gardeners often used paraffin oil burners underneath metal clad seed beds to boost root zone temperatures, and many temperate-zone gardeners have long used root heating mats to keep plants healthy. There are many ways to stabilize and boost root zone heating, many…
Irrigation and Sprinkler Systems- part 2: Controllers

If you have need to irrigate or water your lawn or landscape more than occasionally, it is wise to use some sort of controller to manage the watering schedule. Controllers can range from a manual type that is a simple count-down ,non-repeating timer which shuts off the water; to mini-computers which can handle dozens of variables and can keep track of seasonal changes. 

For residential landscapes, a simple battery-operated controller will handle one or two sprinklers, connected to hoses and used for small areas. For a more permanent system, an electronic plug-in controller will handle most needs. Most of these devices can be purchased at large home improvement stores, along with all the needed wiring and connectors. 

One of the primary decisions to make is what type of controller to use. If your irrigation system is run by electric irrigation valves, use an electronic controller, preferably one that is rated for outdoor use. Ma…