ON VARIOUS TOPICS OF INTEREST
- Natural Disease Control: Grow cool - even with your heat mat or cables ,
by isolating seeds and cuttings with poly tarp. Use supports
over your table or bench to support the poly, but allowing some
air circulation and access to maintain and water.
- Watch the seeding or cutting container
for high/low temps. Keep air moving. Purchase a remote or indoor/outdoor
thermometer with digital readout. It will have 6-8' of wire as
the 'button' or probe.
are organic molecules that some plants give off through the roots
to establish territory. These enzymes can alter their surroundings
but not themselves. Enzymes are also manufactured in the plant
to break down organic matter on the plant or in the flower to
use as food.
- The deciding factor in the plant, that
designates whether plants thrive and ripen in various lengths
of light exposure are hormones.
- Growing Ivy Geraniums - Pelargonium peltatum - Native to, and first
discovered in South Africa and introduced into commercial horticulture
in 1700. The interaction of environmental container have a direct
effect upon the plant. Light, temperature, relative humidity
and cultural factors of irrigation, fertilization, and pest management
are extremely important for sustained growth from greenhouse
to your house. This time of year - know your species for the
right light conditions.
High Light: 3000 to 3500 F.C.
Pascal, Cornell, Galilee, Amethyst, Gale,
King of Balcon, Balcon Princess
Medium Light: 2500 to 3000 F.C
Beauty of East Bourne , Double Lilac ??
, Balcon Imperial, Balcon Royal
Lowest Light: 2000 to 2500 F.C.
Sybil Holmes, Sugar Baby.
- Fuchsia and light - most fuchsia will thrive with sheltered light
- 1000 to 2000 F. C.
Remember to check the labels for named varieties and ask advice
from the staff or grower.
- Watch for oedema on undersides
of ivy leaves: caused by the aforementioned end conditions ie:
cold soil, hot air, high humidity.
- Cordons are
single stemmed fruiting trees, apples being our most common. The tree
is purchased as grafted on hardy root stock and planted, or kept
as a container specimen, at a 45 degree angle pointing
northward, to gain the maximum direct sun light.
- Mixing varieties of rooted plants in the home will present an interesting show,
but unless all your plants require the same light/temperature/and
moisture, some of the plants may begin to show stress by dropping
excessive amounts of leaves, have a constant wilt, lose leaf
and flower color, begin to vegetate showing long weak apical
- Plants for high humidity: caladium/bromiliad
- Plants for bright light: /begonias/herbs/euphorbias/fuchsias
- Plants for bright light/low humidity: Geraniums/Pelargoniums/Dracaena
- Nitrogen Depletion of the soil is not likely when using shredded
bark, sawdust, or shavings as a mulch over the soil and under
- Indoor Combination Planting: 'Wandering Jew' (from the botanic name - tradescantia
- was carried for good luck along the spice routes against outlaw
thieving gangs), is a plant favored by indoor growers to add
interest when potted in combination with: coleus, geraniums,
maranta, and plumosa (asparagus ferns)
- Prepare your basic potting or transplant
mix now. Store in inexpensive poly
bins with snap lids. Hint: start with an amount of pre-mix
ie: 5 parts 'Pro-mix' which will include a minimum of fertilizer
and wetting agent. Then add: 2 parts perlite and 1 part vermiculite.
(Pro-mix can be purchased at garden centers and some greenhouses.)
- Orchids will
be featured in some of the plant departments of box stores, greenhouses,
and nursery gift shops. Grow orchids away or in some manner of
isolation from your other house plants!! Some common orchids
grown for consumers, will have a common soil fungi growing in
with the orchid only. Orchid growers know that this pathogen
is a good thing, as the rhizoctonia associates or becomes
a synergic to aid both the rhizoctonia, by protecting its potential
and the orchid, by facilitating a condition for the orchid to
take up trace minerals and carbohydrates.
- The Narcissus Family includes: amaryllis, jonquil, daffodils, and paper
whites. The leaf and flower stem contains an alkaloid that is
quite toxic! To humans, the toxin in the fluid (of leaves &
stems) can severely burn by raising welts on the skin. If ingested,
this toxin will cause tissue burning resulting in a caustic reaction.
Do not induce up-chucking, but take milk or chalk dust
in water to neutralize the acid.
- Know your product: Seeds - a self contained mixture of potential
growth. Whether annual, perennial, bi-annual, tree or shrub seed
- special conditions are necessary to promote the growth. Seeds
are pre-programmed to germinate under various conditions and
time periods. Seeds are protected by an outer seed coat called
an endocarp. Depending on the variety of plant that produces
seed, the outer covering is impervious to environmental conditions
that may influence germination before the plants pre-programmed
time of natural germination. Defense against early germination
may include oil-bath double walled endocarp/extremely dense seed
husk/waxy coating to inhibit moisture into the seed, or a coating
of chemicals that neutralize external efforts to break dormancy.
- Coniferous Cone Combustion for Colourful
1 quart hot water
2 lbs. bluestone
2 gallons water
2 lbs. sulphate of iron
4 lbs. coarse salt
1 cup washing soda
Dissolve bluestone (ground if obtainable)
in 1 quart hot water in a 4 gallon crock or plastic bucket. Add
2 gallons of water and other ingredients. Stir until dissolved.
NB: Put a small quantity of soda in at a time as it causes foaming.
Soak pine/spruce cones for one week. Remove and air dry.
- Potted bulbs and a 10 week bloom date: Keep bulbs in the crisper until potting date
to flower at desired time: midwinter, Easter, prime season, Mothers
Day. Program: Pot bulbs into clay pots using garden soil. Note:
If garden soil is not available to you, use purchased potting
soil. Do not use soilless mix as it will not hold sufficient
moisture. Place in dark cold room or spare fridge and keep moist
for 5 weeks at -2 to 3 degrees. When 3" high and growth
showing, move to cool light with temperatures of +5 to +8 degrees
for 3 weeks. Then bring into room temperature and light.
- Update on wood ash and garden use: Depending on variety of wood burned, the average
pH when finely powdered: 1-5% phosphorus, 7% potassium, no nitrogen.
Also contains calcium carbonate -known as lime and usually about
21%. Be cautious with use; not to raise pH beyond the bio-rate
suitable for the cross section of the numerous plants available
which is 6.5 pH.
- Fungii found
growing in infertile soil or soilless mixes, is not harmful.
This particular fungii: Pezizae 'ae' meaning 'the ear'.
- Storing seeds for posterity or just
until next year:
- Collect mature seeds (berries should be onacerated to obtain
- Dry seeds at room temperature or outdoors at a temperature
from +5 to +10 degrees (45 to 70 degrees). Note: Do not dry seeds
with artificial heat.
- If seeds are not dry, they will be host to bacterial growth.
- Most flower and veggie seeds will be viable for one to 5 and
even 10 years if stored in air tight containers and cooled to
fridge temps with no light.
- For one year storage: paper envelopes labeled for variety and
harvest date. Note: Also add seeding date for the coming season.
- Store where moisture will not interfere with storage.
- Hint: Freezing for perennials and cool for annuals.
- Mandevilla Update: (Ne dipladenia) from Bolivia
- maintain as Bouganvillea ie: under high light and at room temperatures.
- florescence are fine during the early dark days of winter.
- Water only when necessary.
- More up-date to wood ash use: the down side
- white ash will leach potassium into soil if ground water is
- if soil does not drain readily, adding ash will clog and impede
air and moisture circulation.
- be careful with seeded areas, as wood ash will halt or alter
- acid-loving plants should not be in same location as the spreading
of white wood ash. Coal ash has little or no benefit to soils.
- Slow-down time for plants both indoor
- do not over water or add fertilizers unless plants show signs
- Micro organisms
found in well tended and applied composts, depend on carbon for
energy and nitrogen for growth. An equal amount of green and
brown compostables will balance these important nutrients.
- Ground Cover: Wormwood/absinthe/artemesia - (from the Greek Goddess Artemis) species 'Brocade'
and/or Dustymiller species 'Cirrus' - good rain & frost tollerant.
Large heavy glistening gray 4" x 8"
- the process of dormancy and the leaf fall - but Abscisic acid
is retained in the buds keeping them dormant until spring.
- Avens [Geum]:
perennial herb of the rose family; white, purple or yellow flowers
- considered a weed, and plentiful in poorly drained soils.
- Poisonous Plants to Pets: Caladium; Oleander [Nerium from High Shaperals];
Philadendron; English Ivy; Azalea; Rhododendron; Jeruselem Cherry.
NB: All parts of these plants are toxic.
- Getting the most out of your potatoes
means retaining the skins. In 5
oz. of potato skins you receive dietary fiber, potassium, iron,
vitamin B6, niacin and copper. Source of vitamin C & magnesium,
low calories @ 125 and low sodium and fat AND No Cholesterol!!
- Elements included in the soil: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus,
potash, calcium, sulfur, magnesium. - Soilless Mix has few elements,
so will have to add using packaged fertilizers.
- Fall Use of Chicken Manure:
Using chicken manure during the growing season is not particularly
effective and may damage the plants and soil. However - by applying
now, to your 'winter ready' soil, you can boost quantity, quality
and taste of your 2001 crops.
1 pound of chicken manure per square foot of soil
1/2 cup bonemeal
1/2 cup dolomite limestone
After spreading, work in by deep digging and leave soil course
ready for spring planting.
- Hint: For perennials or berry producing
shrubs that require acidic soils,
that you may want to containerize, this combination can be mixed
and stored for potting. This same mix can be used on existing
plants that require acidic conditions by side dressing in rows
or around individual plants.
- Poultry Litter tests out at:
4 % Nitrogen; 1.25%, Phosphorus; 2% Potash; 1/2% Magnesium
- Gopher treatment and Garden plants
as a barrier: The following plants
will help to deter gophers from being a nuisance in your yard.
Colts Foot (petasties); Rhubarb; Double Flowered Datura; Mirrabelis
(four o'clock); and Companulas.
Common mineral additives...vermiculite - a mined flaky mica
that when heated by a manufacturing process, expands and becomes
segmented or 'worm-like' (vermicular).
- a granite, volcanic material that explodes under high heat,
- ground rock chips, and even pea gravel with clay-pot grindings
are used for the mineral content of a soilless mix.
- DESIGNER SOILLESS MIX: For the home grower...a recipe basic for all plants.
Blend together : 2 icecream pails of medium
1 pail each of vermiculite and perlite
then add: 1 cup dolomite lime
Add amendments to customize your mix.
Store as a dry mix and when ready to use,
dampen enough for potting etc.
Fertilize using 5-10-10, with each 5th watering.
Keep remaining mix closed tightly in cool dry location.
- A Mexican jungle tree sap has been used for years for chewing.
The name of the tree? 'The Chicle'
Could this be the origin of the 'Chiclet'?
is any material placed over the soil to reduce evaporation:
- to reduce or prevent weeds
- to maintain soil temperatures
- to save water, and saves time watering
- to prevent splashing of soil onto leaves
- to prevent bacterial growth splashing on leaves
Mulching improves the organic content of
soil, when turned-in each fall or spring.
Organic Mulches - grass clippings, straw, leaves (cut
into bits with mower)
Mulching cuts weeding by 90% and is particularly effective with
multi stem plants.
- Bone Meal: high phosphorus [P]
The element is mostly concentrated in the
seed and roots. Phosphorus is water soluble and quite mobile
in the plants. The usual concentration of phosphorus in our soil
is from 50 to100 parts per million (p.p.m.). There is a relationship
between nitrogen and phosphorus. Nitrogen tends to stall or inhibit
plants - from using phosphates especially when over using winterizer
- Some houseplants require acidic mixes
to stay healthy [4.3 to 5.5 ph]
Remedy: a cup of tea per 6" pot, once
Acid-loving plants: African Violets, Aloe, Amaryllis, Azalea,
Begonias, Cycleman, Dieffenbachia, Hydrangea, Impatiens, Norfolk
Pine, Maranta, Zygocactus.
is only in the first 2 or 3 inches of soil. Remember that when
taking soil samples for nitrogen.
- Business Opportunity: Grow Tequila - from the Agave/Lily Family. It's
the Blue Agave that produces the best tequila. Tequila from the
Town of Tequila! The USA goes through 6.5 million bottles per
- Huckleberry [vacinnium]. -thrive in heavily mulched damp areas. Combine
with assortment of Evergreens, Pine, Cedar, Hemlock, and native
- A mature enough earth worm will bear
2000 progeny in one season.
- Longevity of a seed refers to the length of time that seed will retain
their vitality or viability. We know that light has an effect
on seed. It has been shown that related growth responses work
through a light absorbing pigment in plant leaves. Red light
makes lettuce sprout, but infra-red rays rearrange atoms in the
pigment molecule. Red light shifts the molecule to its growth-controlling
form, while infra-red rays push it back to the inactive form.
A long dark period has the same effect as infra-red rays.
is the active ingredient included in weed killer sprays, and
will control thistle, clover, and chickweed.
- Water is never more important, than when it is not available. When plants wilt
for lack of water, they have but minutes, to perhaps an hour
of suspended animation before irreparable damage to the leaf
and stem cell occur. Saving and using your grass clippings as
a 2" mulch under your plants upon the soil will guarantee
your plants a longer and healthier life by limiting the loss
of moisture during our hot summer days.
- A foliar drench or the spraying of
fertilizer over leaves and stems, should be applied on over
cast days early in the morning or after the peak day heat.
- Leaving garden hoses laying in the
sun with the discharge end closed
off, will allow heated water in the hose, to a significant and
damaging temperature to plants unless hand tested when the hose
bib is turned on.
- 'Dead soil' can be identified quite
readily after sand, limestone or peat moss has been added.
The treated soil easily becomes compacted and will form solid
lumps when a handful is squeezed. To encourage the missing micro-life,
rake to cover the soil with an inch of compost (commercial or
your own) and add packaged blood and bone meal. Rototil or dig
this combo to a depth of six inches.
- The building and care of compost systems, that when successfully underway, is an awesome
responsibility. Management of this system by feeding, watering
and allowing the very necessary air to circulate permitting oxygen
to enter the compost, is crucial to a well-balanced organic additive
for your soil or soilless growing media. There is, however, a
retro process that is seldom considered or acknowledged, and
that bi-product is fermentation that causes heating. With this
energetic and final activity of compost, there is a combination
of non-toxic and toxic gasses and other oddments like water,
hydrogen, methane, ammonia, nitrogen, and sulphuretted hydrogen.
The natural generation of these products may cause concern but
a safety factor will minimize the harmful effect on the plants
while in the compost. While in the last stages of composting,
bacteriums have the ability to neutralize dire consequences to
the world of phyto organisms.