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Bold Badger 2020 Grow Log

Greetings again.  As you may recall, my harvest last year was pretty terrible.  I wound up with three carboys of mash, which has been fermenting since October.  I'm planning to bottle that within the next month or so.  I'll probably just be doing Dragonfire and Smokehouse, although one of the 3 carboys is all jalapenos, so I'm really curious to see how that one turns out.  I also pickled about 30 half pint jars, which turned out amazing.  I definitely want to start selling those this year.  On that front, I sold about 1000 bottles online and at various farmers markets and events.  I'm now down to 8 cases of the plum sauce (which won 2nd place in the fruit-based category in the THP awards).
Partly because last year was so disappointing, I decided to scale up this year.  I found another spot to grow a bunch of plants, on top of my other spots, so I should have more like 500 plants total.  The most I've done in the past is half that, so it's a big step up.  Here's the list:

ID qty variety
1. 250 Yellow 7 Pot
2. 50 Original Ghost (from Sawyer)
3. 25 Red Chinense Seasoning Pepper (I forget exactly what variety these are)
4. 25 P. Dreddie Bonnets (from Sawyer)
5. 30 7 Pot Primo
6. 100 Chocolate Hab
7. 20 Gigantic Ghost
8. 4 Trinidad Perfume
9. 7 Tobago
10. 25 Duane's Reapers 2019 (from my friend Duane)

My old seed-starting rack maxes out at 250 plants, so I needed a bigger rack, and more lights.  I did some research and decided I could build my own fixtures much cheaper than buying grow lights.  If you ever get the same idea, I have a word of advice, don't.  It was way more work than I anticipated (as are most things in life).  I wound up spending about $600 on a 20 bulb T5 HO setup, all said and done.  That included the ballasts, sockets, bulbs, wood and aluminum flashing for the reflectors, switches and junction boxes, hardware, etc.  After I got deep into it I started looking around on craigslist and facebook marketplace and found tons of used fixtures that would have worked fine, for way cheap.  So lesson learned  I have two more shelves on the rack, so that's probably the way I'll go if I decide to add more lights to it in the future.



Shelf, so fresh and clean and ready to be defiled by a bunch of dirty plant trays:



I got the seeds started on 3/9, way later than I should have, mostly because it took so long to finish building the lights.  I also finished drywalling in the room where the lights are, which made a big difference in the temps.  It stays 80+ degrees in there now, which should definitely be better for the plants.  I also used regular miracle grow potting soil instead of the pro-mix I used last year.  By the time I realized the pro-mix had no fertilizer in it, it's just peat and perlite, the plants were already suffering from malnutrition.  So that should also help.



I also got the hookup on manure from a local dairy.  This is the first of 8 loads I got free free:


Here's the dairy:

The whole thing is slightly slanted.  The cows poop all day, then they flush a bunch of water from one end to the other, which pushes the poop into a big trench.  There's a conveyer belt setup on one end that separates the solids into a pile.  The liquid then gets pumped into a retention pond.  The solids are a mix of manure, sawdust, and straw.  That's the stuff I was getting for free.  It's not as rich as 100% manure but it should help nonetheless.
I also just finished adding a DIY range hood to the kitchen.


It's just a big storage tote bolted to the wall, with an in-line blower fan behind it.  I'm going to run some dryer hose from the outlet to the nearest window when I'm actually cooking sauce.  This should keep down the painful steam whilst bottling, and keep my precious mucus membranes happy.
Here's a little video:
Bye for now!
I'll definitely get back to discworld at some point.  Currently listening to the Chronicles of Narnia, which I've somehow never read.  I wish I had read it before The Magicians, by Lev Grossman, because there's a lot of stuff I didn't get at the time.  I never really have much of a plan when I finish an audio book, I just randomly pick another one that sounds good.  I've found I can only really listen when I'm doing something totally mindless, working out, mowing grass, chopping peppers, etc.  Anything that requires more actual thought I get distracted.  Even just sitting in a chair doing nothing I get distracted.  I usually go walking around the block in the evenings, about 2 miles, which gets me about 40 minutes of audio book time every day.  I use it as incentive to exercise.
Actual book-wise, I'm in the middle of Wheel of Time, so I still have a long road ahead of me there.  I'm loving it btw.  The first book was frankly terrible, the pacing was horrible, lots of groanworthy moments of bad writing, and it's a blatant LOTR ripoff.  I tried to start it several times before I finally powered through it, and I'm glad I did because they just get better and better from there.