Matthew Steffen

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since Feb 10, 2013
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Recent posts by Matthew Steffen

David Spohn wrote:I've been using LED grow lights of various kinds for over 5 years now, and they are revolutionizing artificial light for plants. One reason for this is that LEDs can focus specifically on the colours of light the plants need, and not waste power on other colours.

Colour temperature (measured in Kelvin) is less relevant to the discussion in the case of grow LEDs, because it applies mostly to hues of white light, akin to the sun. But photosynthesis doesn't use the whole spectrum (at least, not equally). It uses mostly red light, and some blue, and not much if any of the other colours, although I don't doubt that there's still some debate about the perfect combination, and that may also vary from one type of plant to the next. So, most LED grow lights appear red when you turn them on, and the vast majority use both red and blue LEDs, usually at a ratio of about 4 or 5 red for each blue. A light for vegetative growth typically has a higher ratio of blue than a flowering light, but it will still be mostly red. You can buy pure red and pure blue lamps, but they're intended to be used as supplementary lighting. Some companies are now putting a small amount of infra red, ultraviolet, or white into the mix, but I don't know if there's any science to justify it or whether it's just a gimmick.

What I've found is that lights with fewer, higher-powered LEDs are better than lights with more, lower-powered LEDs. That is, one 3W LED will serve you better than three 1W LEDs. This is especially true when it comes to lights made with individual LEDs that are less than 1W each, which, although they "work," seem to have relatively poor penetration.

I've never tried an LED replacement bulb in a T5 fixture, but I'd start by comparing the price of 6 LED bulbs with that of a new fixture. I've had pretty good luck ordering the stuff from China through eBay, as it all seems to come from there anyway, and there's very little available locally.




David, What ratio do you suggest for seed starting?
2 years ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:

Matthew Steffen wrote:
We have had NUMEROUS Grizzly attacks here the last few years. While pepper spray will likely get you out of a situation i am NOT willing to take that chance and i carry both a Semi-Auto handgun and pepper spray. If the wind is coming at me my ONLY choice is the gun...............



Only Black Bears and Cougars where I hiked. Never worried me for one minute.

Statistically, chances of being attacked by a non-human critter are so low, I don't worry about it, personally.



We had 7 attacks last year in Montana, 3 people attacked but got away, 4 attacked, One killed and eaten, The other 3 injured, One severely mauled but lived, Another charged, hunter used bear spray in hopes to scare the bear away, but had to shoot the bear in self-defense, Another exact same situation a week later and finally one a few miles from me mauled in her home and died later in the hospital. These where the bad ones, There where also at least 30 other run in's per Fish and Game that DIDN't escalate. My advice, Don't come to Northwest Montana to hike without bear spray AND a backup weapon.....
2 years ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:I lived in Los Angeles as a young woman, and would go backpacking alone into the mountains a week at a time. I never needed a gun in the city, or in the mountains. I don't think a gun is necessary, personally. I have never needed one, and if I had one, statistically I would most likely kill myself with it.




We have had NUMEROUS Grizzly attacks here the last few years. While pepper spray will likely get you out of a situation i am NOT willing to take that chance and i carry both a Semi-Auto handgun and pepper spray. If the wind is coming at me my ONLY choice is the gun...............
2 years ago

Mark Lipscomb wrote:It breaks my heart to hear / read about women who are afraid of guns. I just don't understand why women who, benefit the most from firearms, have accepted the notion that its better to be powerless and subservient to anyone who wishes to do them harm. Its madness. I have a low opinion of those in positions of authority who propagate this myth.

Women; its OK to want to protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your live stock. There is no shame in it. Get educated, get trained, and stop living in the dark ages of personal empowerment and protection. Embrace that beautiful motherly instinct. Do you think mama bear dials woodland 911 while the wolves maul her cubs? no. She protects them. So can you.



Mark, Well said. My good friend teaches a womans concealed carry class and he has been busier than ever. Many realtors are also carrying now due to numerous realtors being raped or killed in the last few years around the country. Our crime is very low here but the majority of the population is armed with an estimated 30% conceal carrying. A gun is NOTHING to fear when properly trained. (except for the thug that planned on hurting you before he saw your gun.) I have carried a firearm on my person or in my vehicle for 20 years. If i go into the back country i carry bear spray AND a 10MM Semi-Auto. In 20 years i have only had to pull my gun 1 time and never fired it. The guy backed down when he saw i was armed. That said i stay out of the big cities and the only time i had to pull my gun was in a city which at the time had VERY strict gun control but after being robbed once the previous year i didn't care about their ignorant laws because if the thug had a gun i was going to as well. Here is a good video about guns in my state. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK9KuIiugT4
2 years ago
In my potting shed where i grow all my starts i have been using 6 bulb T5 florescent fixures in 4100K rating and i am thinking about switching to LED's. Anyone know what K rating i should go with in an LED or better yet a spacific bulb to use? I realize i will have to take the ballasts out which is no big deal. Any help would be appreciated.....
2 years ago

Leila Rich wrote:Matthew, can I get you to describe what kind of relish you're making?
I ask as 'relish' is used to describe all sorts of things,
and (over here anyway) it's often pretty much interchangeable with 'chutney'.
Also, what sort of quantities are you making?



We did 30 1/2 pints of Jalapeno Pickle sweet relish last night. It turned out reasonably well but it would be nice if it was chunkier..............
4 years ago
Has anyone used their Kitchenaid stand mixer food grinder attachment for relish? I did tonight with the largest plate it came with but it seemed to turn the pickles and peppers almost to mush.I'm thinking i need to order these plates and try them instead. Any input? http://www.amazon.com/Grinding-plate-discs-Kitchenaid-Chopper/dp/B00CG47SX0
4 years ago
I believe in colder climates, starting indoors is the only way to go. The 1st set of pics in my LAST post are the day i transplanted. I buried 74% of the tomato under the ground. Here is what i produce by EARLY august now. The hoop house also keeps the wicked spring winds off my plants.....
4 years ago
Here in Northwest Montana even using Milk Jugs direct seeded maters don't make it to maturity. After 5 years of hauling green tomatoes into the basement in early September i put up a hoop house. I am in the Kalispell valley at 3,200 feet and the ONLY way i have had tomatoes is seeded indoors in late march and transplanted to the hoop house mid to late may. Last year we had a nippy morning in the teens the 3rd week of May and some of the mater i had JUST transplanted in the hoop house (and also covered inside the hoophouse) got bit pretty bad. My heater quit that night. Now i have a temp alarm run to a ringer in the house. If temp hits 35* the ringer goes off.
4 years ago
I am at my wits end and ready to buy some Glyphosphate for what i am calling Crab Grass. I really don't like to spray but i'm totally lost at what else to do. It sends runners throughout the garden and the blades have come up through 6" of mulch!!! I CAN'T GET RID OF THIS CRAP!!! HELP!!! I roto-till the edges 6" deep every week and by the time the next week comes along the crap has come back. The only natural thing i have found that kills it is straight vinegar and salt but that has spread and killed some of my turf grass. I've even burned it with my torch and it comes back more vigorous than ever!!
5 years ago