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RE: XXXX rated hosta (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: moccasinlanding on 06.21.2014 at 02:20 am in Hosta Forum

I'm sitting here with my JAW dropped....BOTH of them.
What is in that soil? Good HOLY MOLE!

And the gunnera leaves were what Little And Lewis (near Seattle) made objects from....hypertufa or cement, they did great work. Still have a website up. They used to visit the GWeb Hypertufa forum. I have their book which has had its share of drooling on many pages.

Wanna see some fantastically painted gunnera leaves? their website....and some ancient ruins too....hypertufa ones. The first picture you'll see will make you want to look at them all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Little & Lewis made objects and gardens

NOTES:

little & lewis stuff
clipped on: 06.21.2014 at 07:04 am    last updated on: 06.21.2014 at 07:04 am

New Challenge: It's an About FACE!

posted by: Hostanista on 02.18.2014 at 10:14 am in Hosta Forum

Name a hosta and most people on this forum can picture exactly what it looks like.

Name a MEMBER of this forum however and well...... aren't you curious to put a FACE to the NAME?! Let's FACE it, I can't even tell if some of you are boys or girls!

Now that the Hosta Alphabet is over, and before the 2014 Hosta season gets into full swing, how about some FACE-to-FACE time? Take a selfie right now!

NOTES:

hosta folks
clipped on: 06.07.2014 at 02:09 am    last updated on: 06.07.2014 at 02:10 am

RE: Found Pine Bark Fines South Florida (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: love_the_yard on 06.02.2014 at 09:58 am in Florida Gardening Forum

Walmart purple bag - $2.68 - it's all I use:

 photo IMG_2874Large.jpg

Carol in Jacksonville

NOTES:

pine bark fines find
clipped on: 06.03.2014 at 01:01 am    last updated on: 06.03.2014 at 01:01 am

found pine bark mini nuggets - does this look right?

posted by: paula_b_gardener on 05.27.2014 at 02:48 pm in Hosta Forum

I finally found pine bark mini nuggets but they don't look very 'mini' to me. Here is the mix that I made today - does it look right? It was very 'barky' is that normal?
The mix is 3.5 buckets of pine bark, 1 bucket of BM1 potting mix, and about half a bucket of compost. I added a little compost because I wanted to get BM8 and it has compost in it but I all I could get was BM1 and it doesn't have any compost.

When I pot the plants and water them, it seems that all is left is the bark; that is okay for hostas to grow in? Should I add some BM1 on the top?

Confused, Potheads -
please help!
pot mix photo IMG_4272.jpg

NOTES:

the mix ... for paula
clipped on: 05.28.2014 at 06:45 am    last updated on: 05.28.2014 at 06:45 am

1000's Gold Standard in one hillside bed for impact

posted by: brucebanyaihsta on 01.13.2009 at 10:07 pm in Hosta Forum

This is Doris and Wayne Guymon's home in Chadds Ford PA, 2006, AHS National Convention garden tour.

Great story on this bed of 'Gold Standard'

I believe these plants have been in place since early 1980's - and yes it has stayed practically all true to Gold Standard with very few revisions to fortunei Hyacynthina

Wayne Guymon 'Gold Standard' bed 2006

Most clumps were 2-3 feet across

Bruce

NOTES:

hillside hosta gold standard mass plantings
clipped on: 05.19.2014 at 11:27 pm    last updated on: 05.19.2014 at 11:28 pm

RE: Starting organic lawn care (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: kimmsr on 01.11.2014 at 06:43 am in Organic Lawn Care Forum

Compost is one source of organic matter that soils need and there are many alternatives to compost.
Start with a good reliable soil test that will tell you that soils pH and major nutrient levels so you can plan on what you need to do to make a good healthy soil that will grow a strong and healthy turf. Talk with the people at your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office about soil testing.
You may also want to use these simple soil tests to learn more about that soil,
1) Soil test for organic matter. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. For example, a good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains’ too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.

Once you have adequate information you can determine what needs to be done to the soil and what is the best way to get the soil a lawn needs. Cover crops? A lot of shredded leaves? Other forms of organic matter that might be available?

Here is a link that might be useful: Virginia Cooperative Extension

NOTES:

lawn care
clipped on: 05.11.2014 at 12:06 am    last updated on: 05.11.2014 at 12:06 am

RE: update: obf april 2014 swap: buried treasure (2) (Follow-Up #22)

posted by: toomanyanimals on 05.04.2014 at 08:40 am in Round Robin Exchange Forum

Susan and Anne, nice boxes.

Laura, I enjoyed the paintings, I liked the paper one the best, would really add a sense of fun to a room.

Anne, you asked if any of us do anything with gourds.
Well, I think I have posted these pics before, so it is good they are at the end of this swaps post.
But I did the black cat and my hubby, daughter and son the 'head' for Halloween. LOL

Halloween Bird House Gourd photo birdhousegourd_zps0d8c86f7.jpg
Halloween Black cat from gourds. photo IMGP0099_zpsaf013646.jpg

NOTES:

Gourds: splitting headache
clipped on: 05.04.2014 at 02:12 pm    last updated on: 05.04.2014 at 02:12 pm

RE: My order arrived, sooooo happy! (Follow-Up #26)

posted by: mountainy_man on 04.08.2014 at 10:59 pm in Hosta Forum

Ken, ok I understand, thanks.

I don't know, does it? will check. Yes I'm in north west Ireland.

I could suggest some Irishisms but you couldn't use them in polite conversation, the Irish are a very sweary people lol!

Here are a few.

Feck- the word is used as a polite version of the other F-word. A true Irish person uses this or the other one at least once per sentance, also used as a word for throw.Used for strenghtening an adjective.

Amadan- Irish for idiot.

Jaysus- used by people (inc religious) to take the lords name in vain without really doing it, very common.

Gobshite- an idiot. Gob meaning mouth and the other part means what come out of it.

Fanny- A lady's front bottom not the back bottom as you use it, We fall about with great hillarity when on a US comedy some one says they fell on their fanny, also fanny pack is a bum bag here.

Muff- same meaning as above, also a small costal village in County Donegal which is famous for its "welcome to Muff" sign and for "Muff Diving Centre" which I understand is a scuba school.

Arse- Bum,bottom or rear end, also used as a stand alone expletive.

Grand- great, also used in place of ok.

Polluted- drunk.

Ossified- very drunk.

Plastic Paddy - people who feel strongly connected with Ireland even though they were not born there and may have never been there, perhaps those who have Irish ancestors. It's mostly used when talking about Irish-Americans in a slightly-negative way.

Fag- Cigarette.

Janey Mack- gosh!

Savage- very good, as in "thats a savage cup of tea".

I think thats enough to give a flavour!

I will leave you with a clip from an Irish comedy.

Denis
(If any of this disturbs your sensibilities I will remove it)

Here is a link that might be useful: Father Ted, an Irish sitcom.

NOTES:

isms
clipped on: 04.18.2014 at 09:55 pm    last updated on: 04.18.2014 at 09:55 pm

RE: "Aden" hosta (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: steve_mass on 04.17.2014 at 09:03 pm in Hosta Forum

bk,

I can't answer this question with perhaps the specificity that you require. I know much about it, but Bill Meyer, Kevin Vaughn, Mark Zillis and Don Dean know much more than I.

In some cases plants were seen as unnamed seedlings in Florences' garden. This is true of Sum and Substance. In fact Kevin Vaughn is sure he knows that the parents of this were Nigrescens x Bengee.

We also know through correspondence or interviews, what different hybridizers were working on at the time. Almost all of the work with variegation was being done by Florence or Kevin using Beatrice and another gold streaked plant. Kevin was the only one forcing plantaginea early. Florence was doing a lot of work with Gold plants and a number of different gold streaked plants were seen at Birchwood. In 1970 a plant like Elatior was extremely rare. It only existed in a handful of gardens, if that. So when seedlings showed up with Elatior characteristics in 1978, we know they came from Birchwood.

In some cases it's process of elimination. We know that Aden was not the originator of the plants that he registered. This was widely known among the Hosta congnescenti for years. No one ever saw any seedlings he created or evidence that he did any hybridizing at all. This despite many who visited "The Garden of Aden", which by all accounts was chock full of beautiful plants. There were only a few places that Aden could have acquired these plants from. Each of these possible sources were eliminated, or not, through records or face to face interviews.

In most cases we can say with about 90% certainty where the plants originated. There is always the possibility of a chance seedling or sport arising from a stolen plant. But frankly, I don't lose any sleep over that. The plants were stolen to begin with. The progeny weren't Aden's origination either, in my estimation. There will be plants about which we will never be able to prove the originator with 100% certainty. These may remain with an unknown registration.

In the case of Blue Angel, Blue Cadet and Golden Waffles, clumps of these plants were already established, in gardens other than Birchwood prior to Aden stealing them and registering them as his own.

But there are facts which are unassailable. 1. Florence died in June of 1975. During her illness in 1974 Aden had been accused of stealing plants from Birchwood by Florence's daughter. 2. Alex Summers reported in an early AHS newsletter that Paul Aden went to Birchwood shortly after Florence's death to help "sort things out." 3. The property of Birchwood was empty during the Spring of 1976 before it was sold in the summer to its current owner. 4. Several visitors to Aden's garden report the sudden appearance of numerous plants including mature clumps during the time that plants were going missing from Birchwood and Kevin Vaughn's garden. 5. The registrations by Aden begin in 1978 and they are voluminous. After registering all these plants as they mature over the next 5 to 6 years, Aden registers very few plants later on.

As for the Peanut/Lakeside Dot Com controversy, you should read the First Look essay on this situation.

Steve

Here is a link that might be useful: LDC vs Peanut

NOTES:

aden hosta
clipped on: 04.17.2014 at 11:45 pm    last updated on: 04.17.2014 at 11:45 pm

"Aden" hosta

posted by: bkay2000 on 04.17.2014 at 07:23 pm in Hosta Forum

How are "they" coming to the conclusion that "X" hosta that Aden registered was actually bred by "John Doe"? I understand that Kevin Vaughn is alive and well and can say that, "I had that plant in 1973 and it disappeared from my house". Florence Shaw is dead and apparently no hybridizing records remain. How do they know she first hybridized Blue Angel? How do they know he didn't steal it in England?

Then, along the same lines, how do they know that Jim of Jim's hosta registered Mary Chastain's plant? There are many very similar plants.

bk

NOTES:

the notorious paul aden
clipped on: 04.17.2014 at 11:43 pm    last updated on: 04.17.2014 at 11:44 pm

RE: Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: bcskye on 12.24.2013 at 07:51 pm in Cooking Forum

Here is the recipe from Allrecipes, Linda:

IRISH CREAM TRUFFLE FUDGE
3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. white chocolate chips
1/4 c. butter
3 c. confectioners' sugar
1 c. Irish Cream liqueur
1 1/2 c. chopped nuts
TOPPING:
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. white chocolate chips
4 T. Irish Cream liqueur
2 T. butter
In the top half of a double boiler melt the 3 c. semisweet chocolate chips, 1 c. white chocolate chips and 1/4 c. butter until soft enough to stir.
Stir in the confectioners' sugar and Irish Cream until mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts. Place mixture in a prepared 8 x 8 inch buttered pan and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the top; press and smooth top down.
In the top half of a double boiler, melt remaining chocolate chips until soft. Remove from heat and with a fork beat in the butter and Irish Cream until smooth. Spread topping over cooled fudge with a knife. If a smooth top is important, place plastic wrap over the top. Refrigerate until firm, 1 to 2 hours at least. This fudge can be easily frozen.

I didn't use a double boiler. I melted the chips in the Microwave 45 seconds at a time until they were melting. I also didn't put a top layer on it and the main layer turned out with a nice wavy look.. I put foil in a rectangular pan larger than an 8 x 8 inch one. Figured it would be easier to get out of the pan and cut.

Haven't cut it yet, but licked the bowl clean and it really tasted very, very good. Only have two kids coming over to keep away from the fudge, but will make rolo candies on top of pretzels for them.

So now make something sinful!!!

Madonna

NOTES:

Irish Cream Fudge
clipped on: 12.27.2013 at 02:35 pm    last updated on: 12.27.2013 at 02:37 pm

RE: Christmas Eve Heavy Hors D'oevres Critique (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: caliloo on 12.20.2013 at 11:35 am in Cooking Forum

I would think 7 men who are heavy eaters will plow through that tenderloin easily. Can you add a side of crashed/smashed little tiny roasting potatoes? That may give them something else to focus on. The potatoes can be made ahead of time and reheated...

Alexa

Crashed potatoes

Ingredients
◾12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
◾3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
◾ Kosher Salt To Taste
◾ Black Pepper To Taste
◾ Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Here is a link that might be useful: Crashed Potatoes

NOTES:

smashed tators
clipped on: 12.21.2013 at 12:14 am    last updated on: 12.21.2013 at 12:20 am

RE: Cookalong Extra! ****Holiday Cookies**** (Follow-Up #24)

posted by: ann_t on 11.27.2010 at 09:54 am in Cooking Forum

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Chocolate Chip Crescents
========================

Source: Patty

1-3/4 cups pastry flour
3/4 cup pecans chopped
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup icing sugar
3/4 teaspoon rum
2 tablespoons cold water

Cream Butter and Sugar and rum. Add flour, salt, chopped pecans, chocolate chips. Add water if needed.

Shape into small crescents and bake at 325° For 23 minutes.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Truffles - Crisp Chocolate Truffles
===================================

1 jar 7 oz marshmallow cream

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

2 cups Rice Krispies

14 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

White chocolate chips.
.

In heavy saucepan combine marshmallow creme, butter and chocolate
chips. Cook over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is
smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Stir rice Krispies into hot mixture, mixing until thoroughly combined.
Drop mixture by rounded measuring teaspoons onto waxed paper lined
cookie sheet. Shape into round balls and Refrigerate about 1 hour or
until firm.

Melt bittersweet chocolate with shortening and dip each chocolate ball
in melted chocolate and place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Melt
white chocolate and place in zip lock bag. Cut tiny hole in corner of
bag and drizzle white chocolate over truffles. Refrigerate until firm.

Place in small candy paper cups.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Magic Chocolate Balls
=====================

3 (175G) packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract (or rum)

Finely chopped nuts,
Flaked Coconut
Chocolate Sprinkles,
Unsweetened Cocoa
Or Icing Sugar
. In heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chocolate chips with condensed
milk. Remove from hat, stir in vanilla. Chill for 2 hours or until
firm. Shape into 3/4 inch balls; roll in one of the optional coatings.

Chill until firm.

These can also be frozen.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Shortbreads
===========

Patty's Recipe


300 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes

1/2 cup butter
Pinch salt
Pinch baking soda
1/4 cup fruit sugar, (Same as Berry sugar or very fine granulated sugar)
1 cup flour
Sugar to dredge
. Mix together Flour, salt and baking soda.

Cream butter and fruit sugar. Add flour mixture and mix well.

Pat firmly into round cake pan. Use tines of fork to make a decorate
edge around the outside of the dough. Now use fork to poke holes all
over surface. (This stops the shortbread from rising up during
baking.. Bake in low oven until just starting to colour. Should not
brown.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with fine sugar. Let sit 5 minutes and
then Cut into wedges while still warm. Do not remove shortbread
wedges from pan until cool.

Note:

This recipe can be doubled and baked in a rectangle pan, and cut into
fingers rather than wedges.


Cream Cheese Brandy Cherry Balls.
=================================


Source: 1983 Oct/Nov. Entertainment and Recipe Booklet

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, quartered
2 tablespoons Brandy
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups flaked coconut
. Marinate cherries at least 4 hours or overnite in brandy Melt Chocolate
chips and butterscotch chips and add cream cheese. Stir in cherries,
marshmallows and walnuts and refrigerate until cold enough to roll into
balls. Roll in coconut. Refrigerate. The longer the better. The
flavours intensify.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
=================================

1 cup butter
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips
. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, flour,
salt, and chocolate chips.
Roll into 1 inch balls. Dip fork in to white sugar and flatten cookie.

Bake at 325° until golden. Approximately 14 to 16 minutes. Do not let
brown.

NOTES:

various tasty cookies
clipped on: 12.15.2013 at 11:54 pm    last updated on: 12.16.2013 at 12:10 am

RE: Cookalong Extra! ****Holiday Cookies**** (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: plantmaven on 11.26.2010 at 08:06 pm in Cooking Forum

I bake these cookies and they are wonderful.
My DIL baked them for a cookie exchange. As they are pretty nondiscript, the ladies did not want them. Finally one tasted them. She said OMG these are wonderful.

Amish Sugar Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Directions

1.Combine butter or margarine, oil and sugars in large mixing bowl; mix well. Add eggs; beat 1 minute until well blended. Add vanilla; beat well. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Drop by small teaspoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.

The recipe came from my SIL's mother to my mother and then to me.

NOTES:

amish sugar cookies
clipped on: 12.15.2013 at 11:48 pm    last updated on: 12.15.2013 at 11:48 pm

RE: lou's pizza dough question (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: hawk307 on 05.26.2008 at 08:34 pm in Cooking Forum

Hi Iris:
Here is the recipe and " how to."

: An alterative to baking on a stone is to use pans. A 12 inch round pizza will take from 8 to 12 ounces of dough. According to thickness you want. After the dough is made weigh it out and roll into balls. Oil the pans and place a dough ball in the pan and flatten slightly, working the dough towards the side of the pan, with the palms.
Then let it rest a few minutes. Repeat this every so often until the dough reaches the side and up, enough for a crust about � inch. Let it raise slightly , pinch the dough all over, with a fork and put into the oven to bake at 400 deg. If it bubbles while baking pinch it with a fork again. When light tan specks show ,take them out onto a rack to cool fast. Then you can use them right away or freeze , to use later.
When cooking the Pizza, place the Pre Baked dough back in the oiled pan ,
Or cook on your Stone.
put a latel of sauce on the dough and swish it around, sprinkle some Parmesan or Romano , put it in the oven for a few minutes. Take it out and spread the topping of your choice and the Cheese Topping. A good topping cheese is a mixture of Mozzarella and Provolone chopped and mixed. The provolone gives it a good flavor and doesn't get like rubber when it cools.
I use all Provolone. A little trick for baking. Keep a cup of water and brush handy, to baste parts that are cooking too fast. If you can get new pans, they have to be cured in the oven, so they won't stick. Coat them with oil and bake them for at least 6 hours. Never clean them with soap and water. Just rinse with water & wipe with a paper towel.

Dough recipe:
1 cup of warm water (not hot)
1 Package of rapid rise yeast 1 tablesps sugar ,in a half cup of warm water
1/4 Cup of Veg. Oil
1 teasp.Salt
About 3 1/2 cups Flour
� cup of Whole wheat flour

Place in a mixing bowl, the Water, 1 cup of flour, wheat flour , yeast if risen
Add the oil and salt and more flour.
Add enough flour to make a soft ball of dough, that doesn't stick to your hands.
Knead until smooth. Put it back in the bowl , Smooth side up and Rub on some Veg. Oil
Cover and set in a warm place to rise until it doubles in bulk.
I put it in a warm oven, Covered with a damp towel. It rises in about 1 hour.

When doubled, punch it down and knead it well.
Divide into Balls , about 11 to 12 ounces and place in oiled pans. 12" round
Dough should be about 3/16 " thick on the bottom and about �" around the edge.
For Sicilian Pizza , I used most of the dough in a 11" X 16" pan
Follow the previous instructions.
Good luck, Lou


I made one tonight using the Prebaked Dough, from the freezer.
I put it in What's For Dinner , Post.

As for thickness, that is a Personal choice. I don't like a Paper Thin Crust.

But I do like a thick end Crust that you can bite through and it's Crispy and Tender.

You don't really need a mixer to make good Dough.

Hope this helps. If you have any more questions, ask away.
Let me know how you make out.

LOU

NOTES:

pizza dough
clipped on: 12.15.2013 at 08:38 pm    last updated on: 12.15.2013 at 08:39 pm

RE: Cookalong Extra! ****Holiday Cookies**** (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: wizardnm on 11.26.2010 at 11:52 am in Cooking Forum

Here's my long time favorite cut out cookie dough. If I remember correctly it was originally in a BH+G magazine in the late 70's. I usually double it in my KA mixer and usually make at least three bowls of the dough. I have a very large tree shape cookie cutter (about 9") and love to make and decorate special cookies for those that love cutouts.
This dough is one that you can roll thick, if you like a softer cutout, yet still holds up.

CREAM CHEESE COOKIES

1½ C sugar
1 C unsalted butter
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
3½ C flour (I like unbleached)
1 tsp baking powder

In a mixing bowl cream sugar, butter and cream cheese until fluffy.
Add egg and flavorings, beat smooth'
Stir together the flour and baking powder, add to creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.

FOR CUT-OUT COOKIES
Chill dough. Roll out on surface dusted with a mixture of ½ powered sugar and ½ flour, ¼ to ½ inch thick depending on your preference. Cut into desired shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheet ( I line with parchment paper) and bake in a 375° oven 8-10 minutes. Watch for the edges to just barely begin to brown if you like a moist cookie. Cool and frost.

COOKIE PRESS COOKIES

Divide dough into portions and add desired colors. Force through cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 375° oven 8-10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack. Before baking brush with slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with colored sprinkles if desired.
Note...I have added about 4 oz of almond paste to the dough when making the cookie press cookies.....yum!

FAVORITE ICING FOR CUTOUT COOKIES

2 c powered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp softened butter
¼ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp almond extract
1 egg white
¼ C milk or cream

Combine egg white and milk, set aside.
Beat together powered sugar, butter and flavorings.
Add small amounts of the milk mixture until icing is spreading consistency.
Tint with desired colors.
Using the egg white will give you a nice finish on the icing, the butter will keep it soft on the inside.

Nancy

NOTES:

CREAM CHEESE COOKIES
clipped on: 12.15.2013 at 05:07 pm    last updated on: 12.15.2013 at 05:07 pm

RE: Cookalong Extra! ****Holiday Cookies**** (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: donna_loomis on 11.26.2010 at 11:22 am in Cooking Forum

I cannot imagine making any other chocolate chip cookie than the one I m posting below. It is my family's absolute favorite and a given when we do our Christmas baking. It is a soft CC cookie. I got the recipe from a Woman's Day magazine sometime in the 70's. There is also a recipe for Oatmeal Pudding cookies from the same magazine that I sometimes make. But these CCC's are by far the most requested cookie when the subject comes up.

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUDDING COOKIES

2-1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (4 serving size) pkg. vanilla* instant pudding
2 eggs
1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecan (optional)

*Can use other flavored instant pudding for variation.

Mix flour with baking soda. Combine butter, sugar, vanilla and pudding; mix in large mixer bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture, then stir in chips and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonful about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Makes 7 dozen.

NOTES:

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUDDING COOKIES
clipped on: 12.15.2013 at 12:33 am    last updated on: 12.15.2013 at 12:33 am

RE: Cookalong Extra! ****Holiday Cookies**** (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: booberry85 on 11.26.2010 at 10:25 am in Cooking Forum

Butterhorns

This came from Penzeys One Magazine, issue one 2005. This is “sleeper.” They don’t seem like very much when you first make them, but you find yourself craving them. The recipe makes 72 cookies.

Ingredients

Dough
1 (2 ½ teaspoons) package yeast
1 ¾ cups milk, divided
½ cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 cup butter
5-5 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar

Filling
½ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat ½ cup milk to lukewarm (warm to touch). Pour into a small bowl with yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.

In a large mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs with ½ cup sugar until blended. Melt 1 cup butter. Mix with 1 ½ cup warm milk. Pour milk, butter, yeast mixture and 2 ½ cups flour into the mixing bowl. Blend until just mixed. The dough will be very wet. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (1 to 1 ½ hours).

After the first rise, mix in 2 ½ cups flour. If the dough is still sticky, mix in another ¼ cup to ½ cup flour.

Grab a hunk of dough the size of a tennis ball and roll it in a circular shape on a lightly floured surface. Use as little flour as possible. In a small bowl, combine filling ingredients. Spread the filling, about a tablespoon, on the dough circle. Don’t spread too much filling or butterhorns will unroll during baking. Cut the circle into 8 triangles (like a pizza), and roll the butterhorns up, starting at the outside edge. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and place on a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes until golden. Remove from baking sheet and let cool. Drizzle with icing before serving. For icing, beat together butter, milk, sugar and vanilla until creamy.

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 12.15.2013 at 12:23 am    last updated on: 12.15.2013 at 12:23 am

RE: Hosta Seed Growing? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: berndnyz5 on 12.10.2013 at 06:27 pm in Hosta Forum

I found the articles written by Josh Spece about growing hostas from seeds very interesting, see the link. Please note that seedlings will mostly not look like the parent plant, will mostly be green. There is a larger chance that you would get a streaked plant from a streaked parent, but seeds from other variegated plants will mostly produce single color kids. Bernd

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Grow Hosta Seedlings

NOTES:

growing hosta seeds
clipped on: 12.11.2013 at 01:18 am    last updated on: 12.11.2013 at 01:19 am

AHS Online Journal

posted by: steve_mass on 11.28.2013 at 08:28 am in Hosta Forum

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. That means that the AHS On Line Journal for 2013 is live and online as I type. This alone would be reason enough for you to be an AHS member, if you aren't already.

What's in it? I'm glad you asked. Here's a few hightlights.

Standout Hostas - by Josh Spece
Hot Hostas - by Rob Mortko
Tobacco Streak Virus - by John Fisher and Rob Mortko

Great Gardens - featuring Land of the Giants Hosta Farm and Randy Goodwin's garden.

Hostas of Korea - Glen Herold
The Origin of the Paul Aden Registrations

Hostaholism, the 12 stages described - RA Smith
Nematode Research Update
And, of course, lots and lots of gorgeous pictures including a cover shot of H. Nutty Professor.

Savor the reading along with the turkey!

Steve

AHS Online Journal

NOTES:

AHS
clipped on: 11.30.2013 at 12:54 am    last updated on: 11.30.2013 at 12:55 am

RE: Hosta with Yellow Flowers Coming in 2015? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: KUMAKICHI on 11.15.2013 at 09:21 am in Hosta Forum

By the way, such as "Kokuryu" Hosta red flower is not the only "Akane".
This is a variation of H.longipes. HYB

NOTES:

hosta red flowers
clipped on: 11.16.2013 at 12:31 am    last updated on: 11.16.2013 at 12:32 am

Very cool window shelving for orchids, etc.

posted by: pricem11 on 11.24.2008 at 10:16 am in Orchids Forum

Hi there,

I just wanted to share info about this very nice product I've recently come across to make the most of window space for my little collection of Neofinetas, Sedireas, Sophronitis, C. goeringii, D. moniliforme, etc.

These are plexiglass shelves suspended on a steel wire framwork that require only a small finishing nail in the top of a window moulding to mount and stabilize. The creator makes them to order in any number of ways and is a really nice guy to deal with. I'm attaching the link to his site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Window plant hanger

NOTES:

shelving
clipped on: 11.14.2013 at 01:29 am    last updated on: 11.14.2013 at 01:30 am

RE: Suspicious Phal from Trader Joe's (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: bradarmi on 02.05.2008 at 11:07 am in Orchids Forum

I agree with mehitabel, I always by phals from big box stores, and my collection grows exponenetially (which is why I usually have to sneak there when my girlfriend or mom isn't paying attention). Anyway, they always seem to be potted in compacted sphagnum moss, and never seem to dry out. I have found that a mixture of large chunks of wood, old wine corks (I ma a wino), and 70% sphag in a clay pot works best for my water routines. I like to put a few corks on the bottom of the pot, and a few in the center, and set the phal on top. Then I use loosely placed sphagnum around the edge of the pot. I think phals like constant moisture around the roots, but they also like air, which is kind of counter-intuitive, but orchid people understand that.

NOTES:

wine corks as spacers for potting orchids
clipped on: 10.25.2013 at 07:17 am    last updated on: 10.25.2013 at 07:17 am

Nasty Tospovirus Killing AVs

posted by: lathyrus_odoratus on 04.10.2010 at 02:39 am in African Violets Forum

Two long-time hobby AV growers/hybridzers and one grower new to AVs have recently lost their entire collections because of INSV - impatiens necrotic spot virus. This virus infects over 600 plant species, including African violets and other gesneriads. These growers live across the US in varying places: west coast, east coast, Michigan.

There isn't a lot of research regarding AVs and INSV. Please follow the link below for pictures of how it devastated one grower's collection.

For more information about INSV, an article will be coming out in the next AVSA magazine written by the grower whose pictures are shown.

Regarding diagnosis: http://www.onhort.com/Improving-INSV-diagnosis-article2586
General information: http://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/spfiles/sp370a.pdf

This is what seems most important to know:
1. The virus can be "silent" in some plants, yet can be spread to other plants through thrips or propagation.
2. The virus is only spread by one insect: thrips. It is possible, but not likely because of how the virus works, to spread it to another plant through infected tools (get sap of infected plant in cutting blade and use it on another plant). If you have one silent infected plant and you get thrips, they can infect every plant you have.
3. The virus is systemic; it lives in varying concentrations in all parts of infected plants, whether there are symptoms or not. If you plant a leaf from the infected plant, all resulting plantets will have it. If you crown the plant, the new plant will have it. If you take off suckers, the resulting plantlets will all have it.
4. Monitoring for thrips with blue sticky cards is essential. As soon as you see a thrip, take fast action. Please follow the guidelines in the article above.
5. Testing is not 100% sure. There needs to be enough virus in the part you test, so a plant with a low level could be positive and test negative.
6. No one knows how long it takes symptoms to show in AVs, so isolation may not be effective (some plants display symptoms in days, others in months). Also, if you have some silent carriers, you might think they were fine.
7. Tests are available at about $5 a test. For a large collection, it would simply be less expensive to buy new plants than to test them all. Also, since the plants might test negative when they were positive, some growers feel that throwing out everything is the best thing to do.

Here is a link that might be useful: CLICK here for pictures of INVS on AVs

NOTES:

INVS virus info
clipped on: 10.16.2013 at 09:32 pm    last updated on: 10.16.2013 at 09:33 pm

RE: Plant stands? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: bragu on 10.12.2013 at 10:12 pm in African Violets Forum

one such

http://www.lowes.com/pd_101933-1281-CR4824_0__?productId=1000527&Ntt=shelves&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dshelves&facetInfo=

dave

NOTES:

http://www.lowes.com/pd_101933-1281-CR4824_0__?productId=1000527&Ntt=shelves&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dshelves&facetInfo=

plant stands

clipped on: 10.12.2013 at 10:14 pm    last updated on: 10.12.2013 at 10:15 pm

RE: Phal re-pot (pics) (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: LunRTwilight on 10.07.2013 at 08:43 am in Orchids Forum

I bought it at Home Depot. It's endorsed by the American Orchid Society on the bag. It has good sized bits of charcoal in it also. Here's a pictue of the bag.

NOTES:

phal mix from HD
clipped on: 10.09.2013 at 04:54 am    last updated on: 10.09.2013 at 04:55 am

RE: Speaking of Behemoth (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: Ludisia on 06.12.2013 at 06:38 pm in Hosta Forum

Gesila,

I would recommend Mikado as a look-a-like for Behemoth.

Here is the link to a REALLY old post showing a very mature Mikado.

H. ‘Mikado’

This post is the reason I bought mine. I got it last year from Chick @ Bridegwood.

It seems to be a slow grower thus far, not putting on too much growth from last year when compared to some of my other first years. Then again, it also had some rotted roots this spring I noticed when I repotted it out of the topsoil mess I created. I imagine that set this year’s growth back a bit.

There are also hostas King Michael and King James, but I’m not sure you will be able to find those ones since they are such old cultivars.

There is some ongoing dispute that hostas: King Michael, King James, and Mikado are all really the same plant. Is this true ? I have no idea.

It’s the montana heritage you are after with the long languid leaves. So, if none of these I’ve mentioned come up on a vendor search, look for montana in the lineage.


Good luck in your search and let us know what you end up deciding on. :)

Ludi

My youngling ‘Mikado’ on 05/30/2013

P5300044

And a very old King Michael I saw while up in Michigan

P6030155

NOTES:

mikado link
clipped on: 10.09.2013 at 04:30 am    last updated on: 10.09.2013 at 04:30 am

Annie's Salsa Recipe and Notes 2012

posted by: malna on 07.21.2012 at 02:36 pm in Harvest Forum

Since it's salsa season, I thought I would post some additional notes I've made since the 2009 thread.

As far as I can tell, the NCHFP hasn't done any additional testing, so I am "assuming" this is the most current recipe and acidity requirements.

Please feel free to add any other notes - I've tried to address most of the other commonly asked questions.

Annie's Salsa Recipe

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
2-1/2 cups onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups green pepper, chopped
3 - 5 jalapenos, chopped
6 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/8 cup canning salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup 5% apple cider vinegar
2 cups (16 oz.) tomato sauce
2 cups (16 oz.) tomato paste

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Pour into hot pint jars, seal and process in a boiling water canning bath for 15 minutes.

Makes about 6 pints.

Additional Notes for Ingredients and Processing:

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
*Any type or color of tomato may be used (paste, canning, beefsteak, a combination of different types, etc.) The paste types will be meatier, the canners such as Rutgers are somewhat juicier than paste types and the beefsteaks the juiciest of all.
*Some prefer, as Annie does, to remove the tomato seeds and gel sacks. Some don't remove the seeds - this is personal preference.
*Measure after peeling, chopping and draining.

2-1/2 cups onion, chopped
*Roughly a 1/4" chopped size (this is the size used in the NCHFP testing - a little larger won't matter, but try not to have the pieces larger than 1/2" maximum).

1-1/2 cups green pepper, chopped
*Roughly a 1/4" chopped size.

3 - 5 jalapenos, chopped

**Pepper Notes: Any combination of green, red, whatever color peppers is fine. 3-5 jalapenos equates to roughly 1/4 cup, so total peppers cannot exceed 1-3/4 cups. For a spicier salsa, you can decrease the sweet peppers and increase the hot peppers by the same amount. Or you can use hotter peppers (such as habaneros or serranos) but the TOTAL amount of peppers cannot exceed 1-3/4 cups.

6 cloves garlic, minced or finely diced
*Do not increase. Small differences in size of cloves should not matter.

2 teaspoons cumin
*For taste only. Can be reduced or left out entirely.

2 teaspoons ground black pepper
*For taste only. Can be reduced or left out entirely. Any dried ground pepper such as cayenne may be substituted for a portion of or all of the black pepper.

2 tablespoons (same measurement as 1/8 cup) canning salt
*For taste only. Can be reduced or left out entirely.

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
*Can be reduced or left out entirely. Do not increase. Dried cilantro or other dried herbs may be added, but not more fresh herbs (fresh herbs change the pH - dried herbs do not). Add additional fresh herbs only after you open the jar.

1/3 cup sugar
*For taste only. Can be reduced or left out entirely.

1 cup 5% apple cider vinegar
*Can use any flavor vinegar (white, cider, etc.) as long as acidity is at least 5%.
*However, you can substitute bottled lemon or lime juice in any proportions according to taste (for example, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup lime juice) as long as the total equals one cup.

2 cups (16 oz.) tomato sauce
*Can be reduced slightly. See "Density" notes below.

2 cups (16 oz.) tomato paste
*For texture only. Can be reduced or left out entirely.

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Pour into hot pint jars leaving 1/2" headspace, seal and process in a boiling water canning bath for 15 minutes. Adjust for your altitude (see below).

Makes about 6-7 pints (I always seem to get 7 pints).

JAR SIZES:
You may:
Process in pint jars (either regular or wide mouth) or smaller (12 oz., 8 oz. half pints, or 4 oz. quarter pints). Process all smaller sizes at the same processing time for pints.
You may NOT:
Process in larger jars (24 oz., 32 oz. quarts or 1/2 gallon jars). Testing was done only in pint jars.

PRESSURE CANNING PROCESSING:
The recipe for pressure canning originally specified 1/3 cup vinegar and copies of that recipe are still available on the Internet. Pressure canning salsa has not been tested, therefore it is not officially recommended.

If you wish to pressure can the salsa, you must include full 1 cup of vinegar. Processing time that is currently used by some is 10 lbs. pressure for 30 minutes. Adjust for your altitude (see below).

DENSITY:
Because salsa is eaten out of the jar without heating and includes low acid vegetables such as garlic, onions and peppers, it is one of the riskier products to can at home due to two factors: the pH or acidity level (the normal cutoff point for boiling water bath vs. pressure canning is a pH of 4.6 and salsa can edge very close to that) and the density of the product.

The salsa should be thin enough for the liquid portion to thoroughly suspend the chopped vegetables so the very center of the jar heats up to the same temperature as the outer portion next to the glass during processing.

If you want it thicker, puree it AFTER you open the jar. DO NOT puree before processing - this would affect the density. Or add a thickener such as Clear Jel or cornstarch AFTER you open the jar.
DO NOT add other low acid vegetables before processing, such as corn or black beans. Only add them after you open the jar.

ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENTS:

If you live above 1000' in elevation, you need to calculate your altitude adjustments for both boiling water bath (BWB) and pressure canning (PC). As your altitude goes above 1000 feet the atmospheric pressure is reduced. This causes water to boil at temperatures lower than 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

For safety in water bath canning, you must bring the contents of your jar to at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit. To compensate for the lower boiling temperature at altitude, you must increase processing time.

For this salsa recipe, BWB times at altitudes of (per the Ball Blue Book):

Up to 1000 ft. Processing time is 15 minutes.
1001 - 3000 ft. Increase processing time an extra 5 minutes to 20 minutes total.
3001 - 6000 ft. Increase processing time an extra 10 minutes to 25 minutes total.
6001 - 8000 ft. Increase processing time an extra 15 minutes to 30 minutes total.
8001 - 10,000 ft. Increase processing time an extra 20 minutes to 35 minutes total.

Adjustments for pressure canning can be found in the Ball Blue Book or on their website.

Do make sure you know the altitude where you do your canning. People that live in Denver know they are in the Mile High City and have to make adjustments, but portions of cities like Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Oklahoma City are all above 1000' and it may be something you're not aware of and need to be compensating for.

WHY DO I HAVE TO USE BOTTLED LEMON JUICE????

The pH scale runs from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline).

Each increment from 0 to 14 is 10 times more acidic/alkaline (remember the "magic" number of pH 4.6 for BWB vs. pressure canning). pH testing on fresh lemons ranged from 2.20 to 3.20, so one variety of lemon or even an individual lemon grown in a different orchard might be 10 times LESS acidic than another. Bottled lemon juice, which is processed to a standard acidity, is used for testing in recipes and is also pasteurized, therefore it also will not create any further enzyme reactions in your canned goods (per the folks at ReaLemon a couple of years ago).

Note: Bottled lemon or lime juices are only called for when canning borderline pH foods (tomatoes and salsa usually). If you are making jams and jellies with high acid fruits (any fruit excluding Asian pears, bananas, mangoes, figs and melons), feel free to use fresh lemon or lime juice.

Do I personally like using bottled lemon juice? Not particularly, but when a canning procedure SPECIFICALLY CALLS FOR IT, I use it without questioning it.

A very good explanation is in this publication from North Dakota State University - "Why add lemon juice to tomatoes and salsa before canning?"

Especially note the different pH values of individual varieties of tomatoes (and there are thousands more varieties).

and for the more science oriented, this 2004 paper from the NCHFP:

Studies on safe acidification of salsa for home boiling water canning

Hope this helps :-)

NOTES:

salsa ... needs more onion/pepper
clipped on: 10.06.2013 at 11:45 pm    last updated on: 10.06.2013 at 11:46 pm

RE: Jerry Baker's recipes (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: Hummingangel on 08.26.2004 at 10:53 am in Tips & Techniques Forum

My fiance' bought me one of Jerry Baker's books. There were 2 different Transplanting Tonics in them.

Transplant Tonic

When dividing perennials, soak the best rooted pieces in this Tonic for about 10 minutes just before replanting them.
1 can of beer
1/4 cup of instant tea granules
2 tbsp. of liquid dish soap
2 gal. of water
When you're finished transplanting, use a small pail to scoop up any leftover Tonic and dribble it around the new transplants.


Tree Transplanting Tonic

1/3 cup of hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup of instant tea granules
1/4 cup of whiskey
1/4 cup of baby shampoo
2 tbsp. of fish fertilizer
Mix all of these ingredients with 1 gallon of warm water in a bucket, and pour it into the hole when you transplant a tree or a shrub.

Hope this helps you out, Arina!

Dianna

NOTES:

tonix
clipped on: 10.02.2013 at 11:32 pm    last updated on: 10.02.2013 at 11:32 pm

RE: Need help getting more sophisticated with the lights (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: whitelacey on 10.01.2013 at 11:14 pm in African Violets Forum

Begonia,

The seventh one on this page is your cool white:

http://www.homedepot.com/s/webapp/catalog/servlet/Search?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&keyword=florescent+bulbs 2 pack cool white&Ns=None&Ntpr=1&Ntpc=1&selectedCatgry=SearchAll

The second one on this page is your warm white:

http://www.homedepot.com/s/webapp/catalog/servlet/Search?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&keyword=florescent+bulbs 2 pack daylight&Ns=None&Ntpr=1&Ntpc=1&selectedCatgry=SearchAll

Linda

NOTES:

lighting tips
clipped on: 10.02.2013 at 08:35 pm    last updated on: 10.02.2013 at 08:35 pm

RE: Advice for starting not-quite-so-healthy leaves? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: bttrflii on 09.18.2013 at 08:36 am in African Violets Forum

debbya said in another thread:

"Soak dehydrated leaves in 1/4 cup water, pinch of sugar. Even overnight if needed, make sure you freshly cut stem too, so there is no callous preventing the leaf from soaking the solution. Rinse before planting. If leaf rots at all, cut off rotten parts with a razor, exacto knife- dust cuts with cinnamon. Cinnamon is a natural fungicide. Leaves need to be misted once per day for two weeks, up until roots form. I've read in various articles they are only able to soak up water through the leaf up until rooted.
I've received Silverglade leaves directly from Sylvia Harrison in South Africa, the leaves were in transit 2 1/2 weeks, they looked so dry and limp when they arrived, with the sugar soak I was able to save all of them. Some soaked overnight! As long as leaves are shipped dry they have a chance, if shipped wet- rot sets in and if its not cut out, stopped- you lose the variety."

thanks tim and deb. i emailed the ladies with both of your advice. :)

NOTES:

HOW TO START: for dried out AV leaves
clipped on: 09.18.2013 at 09:29 pm    last updated on: 09.18.2013 at 09:29 pm

Blooming its little head off!!

posted by: biologyteacher60 on 03.18.2010 at 03:09 pm in African Violets Forum

I just had to post a picture of my "Rob's Love Bite." It is blooming its little head off. I also posted some pictures of my set up and other violets.

Rob's Love Bite

My violets

My set-up

NOTES:

nice setup
clipped on: 09.12.2013 at 11:07 pm    last updated on: 09.12.2013 at 11:08 pm

RE: Tiger!! (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: irina_co on 10.18.2011 at 12:58 pm in African Violets Forum

You can order leaves for both Tiger and Tiger 's Son at Cedar Creek Violets - and they carry lots of interesting oldies - plus David Rollins is a hybridizer himself.

Irina

Here is a link that might be useful: cedar creek violets

NOTES:

cedar creek av link
clipped on: 09.08.2013 at 05:44 pm    last updated on: 09.08.2013 at 05:45 pm

RE: New to African Violets and multiple plants/suckers? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: JonBoyNY on 09.05.2013 at 11:46 am in African Violets Forum



I think suckers are new plants. I think it's a way for your main plant to reproduce vegetatively. 

Maybe this YouTube video can help you?



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avAKA9CQy1c



NOTES:

video link
clipped on: 09.07.2013 at 10:47 am    last updated on: 09.07.2013 at 10:48 am

RE: Should I transplant these Violets? More Books!!! (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: irina_co on 02.16.2010 at 06:10 pm in African Violets Forum

Guys - I just got a best book - a thick volume by Melvin Robey "African Violets - Gifts from Nature"- from Amazon.com. Paid $49 - instead of $214 i saw before...

And his beginner book - African Violets - back to Basics - is available for $12 something.

i.

NOTES:

find this book
clipped on: 09.06.2013 at 12:45 pm    last updated on: 09.06.2013 at 12:45 pm

RE: Should I transplant these Violets? (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: donna_c on 02.15.2010 at 02:11 pm in African Violets Forum

Oakleyok, your plants are probably already growing new leaves and should be noticeably bigger in just a month or two. Look in the center crown area and you'll likely see tiny new leaves growing. How fast leaves emerge depends on many factors. Temperature (75� - 77� is optimal according to some studies) and amount and length of light are main ones.

I grow some AVs in windowsills and many of the plants do get a certain amount of direct light each day. You're right that a lot of sites advise against direct light because depending on season, window direction, and even the particular hybrid, the plants could get burnt to a crisp! I don't know what direction your window faces so I've attached a link below with good information about windowsill growing. Since you can control the light with your shutters, that might be a perfect spot for your babies. One thing I can add to what the article says about south-facing windows is that my plants do very well all year in one with obscured glass (a bathroom window).

Here is a link that might be useful: Cultivation of African Violets

NOTES:

informational AV link
clipped on: 09.06.2013 at 12:40 pm    last updated on: 09.06.2013 at 12:41 pm

Metro Mix Planting Results

posted by: stonesriver on 07.23.2007 at 05:31 pm in African Violets Forum

I posted a couple of months ago asking about Metro Mix. It is available at most co-ops and, at least here, is less than $20 for a four cubic foot bag.

Anyhow, my Streps, Chiritas, Columnea and AV trailers are doing astounding things!

They are growing well, no yellowing leaves (it's been three months), lots of blooms. Very healthy plants.

From web site: "Formulation with Canadian Sphagnum peat moss, horticultural grade Vermiculite, processed Bark Ash, Bark, starter nutrient charge, Dolomitic Limestone and our long-lasting wetting agent."

I used Metro Mix 360 and coarse perlite with a 1-2 ratio of mix to perlite. I may use a bit more perlite the next time just because I want an even lighter mix.

I still have some of my gessies in 1-1-1 peat, perlite, vermiculite and the ones in the Metro mix + perlite (sitting right next to the others) are growing better and carrying more blooms and reblooming sooner.

I reservoir water and use 1/4 tsb Dyna-Grow to a gallon of water on all of my gessies.

Regards,
Linda

Here is a link that might be useful: Sun Gro Site with Metro Mix

NOTES:

metro mix 360
clipped on: 09.06.2013 at 01:03 am    last updated on: 09.06.2013 at 01:03 am

RE: Questions re: Plantlets & Leaves (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: kaslkaos on 12.15.2009 at 11:01 am in African Violets Forum

You won't want to leave them alone forever; they'll get ugly if they are crowded, but you can take your time.
I find they transplant best when I add a bit of a plastic cover (like saran wrap draped over toothpicks) for the first few days after transplant so that they get a chance to acclimatize to a new environment.

NOTES:

toothpick n saran wrap
clipped on: 09.02.2013 at 12:54 am    last updated on: 09.02.2013 at 12:54 am

RE: New Gritty Mix User Questions (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: tapla on 03.04.2012 at 10:42 pm in Container Gardening Forum

I'm unfamiliar with how they grade that particular brand of granite for size, but the cherrystone I use is graded #2, so it's possible it's a bit large. About 1/8" is ideal for the granite.

If 1 of the ingredients is larger than the other two, the soil will retain the drainage/aeration characteristics of the two smaller ingredients, but if 2 of the ingredients are larger, the soil will retain the characteristics of the two larger ingredients. So, if your granite and bark are larger than ideal, it means you'll be watering more than if the components were closer to the ideal size.

I don't think you'll have any pH of deficiency issues, so let's cross that bridge if we come to it. ;-)

You can use the Turface fines in small pots if you use a wick and you watch your watering. You want a large plant for the volume of soil so it uses water quickly. You can also double-pot until the plant is well rooted, then remove it from the larger pot.

Yous succulents & cacti will LOVE the gritty mix - even if you want to grow them in very shallow pots. All of your woody material will love it, too. It really makes things very easy - almost foolproof for you.

I can't tell you when to repot. On one hand, it makes no sense to wait if you think the plants are circling the drain. On the other hand, if you think they'll be ok til Father's Day, I'd wait. I realize there's a BIG gray area there, and all I can tell you is 'use your best judgment'.

Use sphagnum peat. It's the decomposing fine stuff that comes in bales by the cu ft and has pieces of sticks & stuff in it - not sphagnum moss, which is the whole, undecomposed material from the top of the bog.

Disregard the older post. It's from when I was transitioning over to the 9-3-6 and wasn't yet sure if you could eliminate the gypsum & Epsom salts.

Al

NOTES:

more gritty
clipped on: 08.29.2013 at 11:33 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2013 at 11:33 pm

Picture of current mix (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: mizbrendab on 03.04.2012 at 10:44 pm in Container Gardening Forum

Here's my current mix:

NOTES:

gritty look
clipped on: 08.29.2013 at 11:31 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2013 at 11:31 pm

RE: New Gritty Mix User Questions (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: tapla on 03.04.2012 at 02:45 pm in Container Gardening Forum

Welcome to the forum, Brenda! I'm excited for your plants and can't wait to see how you do with the new soil! ;-)

1) What are you using for granite? What did it say on the bag that might better give us an idea of it's size?

2) Rinsing isn't required (I don't), but it does help to remove dust. No need to allow anything you rinsed to dry before storing - just don't put a lid on it until everything is dry. Composting bark in the absence of O2 creates a lot of acidity.

3) You should be able to find bark (cheap) where you live. Call the mill at Shasta Forest Products (530) 842-2787 or email them [ info@shastabark.com ] to see who distributes the product near you. I'm guessing you should be able to get fir bark in 1/8-1/4 for under $15/3 cu ft.

4) Only in water purification systems that are throwbacks to the 50s & 60s will you find a volatile form of chlorination. This is because of it's short half life. Newer forms of chlorination use chloramine, which doesn't gas off like the previously used compounds of chlorine. The fluoridation process (of drinking water) has always used a compound that is nonvolatile, so it too, remains in any water left out to rest for any length of time.

In fact, since some evaporation will occur while water is resting (especially if it is in a container that has a lot of air exposure at its opening - like a pan or bucket) the level of chlorine, fluorine, and other solutes becomes more concentrated as water rests and a fraction of its volume evaporates, leaving the solutes behind.

Don't worry about pH. Trying to maintain a 'certain pH' is an exercise in futility. If a hobby grower tells you (s)he maintains a certain pH for certain plants, be extremely skeptical. It takes regular and very frequent testing and adjusting with a variety of chemicals that depend on regular soil analyses. If you're using FP and your pH is close, your plants will have access to everything they need.

Your other concern with tap water would be an accumulation of dissolved solids therein contained, but your use of the gritty mix should render that issue moot, so long as you take advantage of being able to water copiously when You DO water.

5) I use Turface fines in hypertufa projects, raised beds, for plants in VERY small containers,
Photobucket
and I recently started mixing it into the 5:1:1 mix in small volumes when I think I might need some extra water retention.

6) Where do you live, and what (specifically) are you wanting to repot?

Is the woody material @ 12:00 in the picture above redwood/redwood bark?

Al

NOTES:

<none>
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RE: Favorite Violet (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: irina_co on 10.31.2009 at 09:59 pm in African Violets Forum

Oops - wanted to post all chimeras - got The Alps only

Here is a link that might be useful: more chimeras

NOTES:

coolio linkio
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RE: Reach for the sky! (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: donna_c on 12.10.2009 at 01:27 pm in African Violets Forum

Hi Meg,

I've found that extremely bright sunlight will cause brittle leaves on my plants. I have to rotate AVs that grow on my dining room windowsill to other places from time to time or the leaves will eventually get brittle.

There are other causes of brittle leaves too. The link below describes them and what to do about the problems.

Donna

Here is a link that might be useful: Possible Causes of Brittle Leaves

NOTES:

brittle leave RXx by Dr. O
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RE: Cajun auctions (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: irina_co on 01.02.2013 at 12:38 pm in African Violets Forum

Allen -

to my regret I cannot find Fresh-N-Grow anymore. Before Lynn Lombard ("The Velvet Leaf") was selling it.

If It take fresh leaves - I just stick them in a soil and they root and produce with vengeance. If the leaves are not fresh - I will soak them in a weak solution of ST for 15 min - or more is necessary - then pot them.

Good Luck

Irina

NOTES:

using SUPER THRIVE for leaves
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Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention XIV

posted by: tapla on 06.05.2011 at 10:17 pm in Container Gardening Forum

I first posted this thread back in March of '05. Thirteen times it has reached the maximum number of posts GW allows to a single thread, which is much more attention than I ever imagined it would garner. I have reposted it, in no small part because it has been great fun, and a wonderful catalyst in the forging of new friendships and in increasing my list of acquaintances with similar growing interests. The forum and email exchanges that stem so often from the subject are, in themselves, enough to make me hope the subject continues to pique interest, and the exchanges provide helpful information. Most of the motivation for posting this thread another time comes from the reinforcement of hundreds of participants over the years that the idea some of the information provided in good-spirited collective exchange has made a significant difference in the quality of their growing experience.
I'll provide links to some of the more recent of the previous dozen threads and nearly 2,000 posts at the end of what I have written - just in case you have interest in reviewing them. Thank you for taking the time to examine this topic - I hope that any/all who read it take at least something interesting and helpful from it. I know it's long; my hope is that you find it worth the read.

Container Soils - Water Movement and Retention

A Discussion About Container Soils

As container gardeners, our first priority should be to ensure the soils we use are adequately aerated for the life of the planting, or in the case of perennial material (trees, shrubs, garden perennials), from repot to repot. Soil aeration/drainage is the most important consideration in any container planting. Soils are the foundation that all container plantings are built on, and aeration is the very cornerstone of that foundation. Since aeration and drainage are inversely linked to soil particle size, it makes good sense to try to find and use soils or primary components with particles larger than peat/compost/coir. Durability and stability of soil components so they contribute to the retention of soil structure for extended periods is also extremely important. Pine and some other types of conifer bark fit the bill nicely, but I'll talk more about various components later.

What I will write also hits pretty hard against the futility in using a drainage layer of coarse materials in attempt to improve drainage. It just doesn't work. All it does is reduce the total volume of soil available for root colonization. A wick can be employed to remove water from the saturated layer of soil at the container bottom, but a drainage layer is not effective. A wick can be made to work in reverse of the self-watering pots widely being discussed on this forum now.

Since there are many questions about soils appropriate for use in containers, I'll post basic mix recipes later, in case any would like to try the soil. It will follow the Water Movement information.

Consider this if you will:

Container soils are all about structure, and particle size plays the primary role in determining whether a soil is suited or unsuited to the application. Soil fills only a few needs in container culture. Among them are: Anchorage - a place for roots to extend, securing the plant and preventing it from toppling. Nutrient Retention - it must retain a nutrient supply in available form sufficient to sustain plant systems. Gas Exchange - it must be amply porous to allow air to move through the root system and gasses that are the by-product of decomposition to escape. Water - it must retain water enough in liquid and/or vapor form to sustain plants between waterings. Air - it must contain a volume of air sufficient to ensure that root function/metabolism/growth is not impaired. This is extremely important and the primary reason that heavy, water-retentive soils are so limiting in their affect. Most plants can be grown without soil as long as we can provide air, nutrients, and water, (witness hydroponics). Here, I will concentrate primarily on the movement and retention of water in container soil(s).

There are two forces that cause water to move through soil - one is gravity, the other capillary action. Gravity needs little explanation, but for this writing I would like to note: Gravitational flow potential (GFP) is greater for water at the top of the container than it is for water at the bottom. I'll return to that later.

Capillarity is a function of the natural forces of adhesion and cohesion. Adhesion is water's tendency to stick to solid objects like soil particles and the sides of the pot. Cohesion is the tendency for water to stick to itself. Cohesion is why we often find water in droplet form - because cohesion is at times stronger than adhesion; in other words, water's bond to itself can be stronger than the bond to the object it might be in contact with; cohesion is what makes water form drops. Capillary action is in evidence when we dip a paper towel in water. The water will soak into the towel and rise several inches above the surface of the water. It will not drain back into the source, and it will stop rising when the GFP equals the capillary attraction of the fibers in the paper.

There will be a naturally occurring "perched water table" (PWT) in containers when soil particulate size is under about .100 (just under 1/8) inch. Perched water is water that occupies a layer of soil at the bottom of containers or above coarse drainage layers that tends to remain saturated & will not drain from the portion of the pot it occupies. It can evaporate or be used by the plant, but physical forces will not allow it to drain. It is there because the capillary pull of the soil at some point will surpass the GFP; therefore, the water does not drain, it is said to be 'perched'. The smaller the size of the particles in a soil, the greater the height of the PWT. Perched water can be tightly held in heavy (comprised of small particles) soils where it perches (think of a bird on a perch) just above the container bottom where it will not drain; or, it can perch in a layer of heavy soil on top of a coarse drainage layer, where it will not drain.

Imagine that we have five cylinders of varying heights, shapes, and diameters, each with drain holes. If we fill them all with the same soil mix, then saturate the soil, the PWT will be exactly the same height in each container. This saturated area of the container is where roots initially seldom penetrate & where root problems frequently begin due to a lack of aeration and the production of noxious gasses. Water and nutrient uptake are also compromised by lack of air in the root zone. Keeping in mind the fact that the PWT height is dependent on soil particle size and has nothing to do with height or shape of the container, we can draw the conclusion that: If using a soil that supports perched water, tall growing containers will always have a higher percentage of unsaturated soil than squat containers when using the same soil mix. The reason: The level of the PWT will be the same in each container, with the taller container providing more usable, air holding soil above the PWT. From this, we could make a good case that taller containers are easier to grow in.

A given volume of large soil particles has less overall surface area when compared to the same volume of small particles and therefore less overall adhesive attraction to water. So, in soils with large particles, GFP more readily overcomes capillary attraction. They simply drain better and hold more air. We all know this, but the reason, often unclear, is that the height of the PWT is lower in coarse soils than in fine soils. The key to good drainage is size and uniformity of soil particles. Mixing large particles with small is often very ineffective because the smaller particles fit between the large, increasing surface area which increases the capillary attraction and thus the water holding potential. An illustrative question: How much perlite do we need to add to pudding to make it drain well?

I already stated I hold as true that the grower's soil choice when establishing a planting for the long term is the most important decision he/she will make. There is no question that the roots are the heart of the plant, and plant vitality is inextricably linked in a hard lock-up with root vitality. In order to get the best from your plants, you absolutely must have happy roots.

If you start with a water-retentive medium, you cannot improve it's aeration or drainage characteristics by adding larger particulates. Sand, perlite, Turface, calcined DE ...... none of them will work. To visualize why sand and perlite can't change drainage/aeration, think of how well a pot full of BBs would drain (perlite), then think of how poorly a pot full of pudding would drain (bagged soil). Even mixing the pudding and perlite/BBs together 1:1 in a third pot yields a mix that retains the drainage characteristics and PWT height of the pudding. It's only after the perlite become the largest fraction of the mix (60-75%) that drainage & PWT height begins to improve. At that point, you're growing in perlite amended with a little potting soil.

You cannot add coarse material to fine material and improve drainage or the ht of the PWT. Use the same example as above & replace the pudding with play sand or peat moss or a peat-based potting soil - same results. The benefit in adding perlite to heavy soils doesn't come from the fact that they drain better. The fine peat or pudding particles simply 'fill in' around the perlite, so drainage & the ht of the PWT remains the same. All perlite does in heavy soils is occupy space that would otherwise be full of water. Perlite simply reduces the amount of water a soil is capable of holding because it is not internally porous. IOW - all it does is take up space. That can be a considerable benefit, but it makes more sense to approach the problem from an angle that also allows us to increase the aeration AND durability of the soil. That is where Pine bark comes in, and I will get to that soon.

If you want to profit from a soil that offers superior drainage and aeration, you need to start with an ingredient as the basis for your soils that already HAVE those properties, by ensuring that the soil is primarily comprised of particles much larger than those in peat/compost/coir.sand/topsoil, which is why the recipes I suggest as starting points all direct readers to START with the foremost fraction of the soil being large particles, to ensure excellent aeration. From there, if you choose, you can add an appropriate volume of finer particles to increase water retention. You do not have that option with a soil that is already extremely water-retentive right out of the bag.

I fully understand that many are happy with the results they get when using commercially prepared soils, and I'm not trying to get anyone to change anything. My intent is to make sure that those who are having trouble with issues related to soil, understand why the issues occur, that there are options, and what they are.

We have seen that adding a coarse drainage layer at the container bottom does not improve drainage. It does though, reduce the volume of soil required to fill a container, making the container lighter. When we employ a drainage layer in an attempt to improve drainage, what we are actually doing is moving the level of the PWT higher in the pot. This simply reduces the volume of soil available for roots to colonize. Containers with uniform soil particle size from top of container to bottom will yield better and more uniform drainage and have a lower PWT than containers using the same soil with added drainage layers.

The coarser the drainage layer, the more detrimental to drainage it is because water is more (for lack of a better scientific word) reluctant to make the downward transition because the capillary pull of the soil above the drainage layer is stronger than the GFP. The reason for this is there is far more surface area on soil particles for water to be attracted to in the soil above the drainage layer than there is in the drainage layer, so the water perches. I know this goes against what most have thought to be true, but the principle is scientifically sound, and experiments have shown it as so. Many nurserymen employ the pot-in-pot or the pot-in-trench method of growing to capitalize on the science.

If you discover you need to increase drainage, you can simply insert an absorbent wick into a drainage hole & allow it to extend from the saturated soil in the container to a few inches below the bottom of the pot, or allow it to contact soil below the container where the earth acts as a giant wick and will absorb all or most of the perched water in the container, in most cases. Eliminating the PWT has much the same effect as providing your plants much more soil to grow in, as well as allowing more, much needed air in the root zone.

In simple terms: Plants that expire because of drainage problems either die of thirst because the roots have rotted and can no longer take up water, or they suffer/die because there is insufficient air at the root zone to insure normal root function, so water/nutrient uptake and root metabolism become seriously impaired.

To confirm the existence of the PWT and how effective a wick is at removing it, try this experiment: Fill a soft drink cup nearly full of garden soil. Add enough water to fill to the top, being sure all soil is saturated. Punch a drain hole in the bottom of the cup and allow the water to drain. When drainage has stopped, insert a wick into the drain hole . Take note of how much additional water drains. Even touching the soil with a toothpick through the drain hole will cause substantial additional water to drain. The water that drains is water that occupied the PWT. A greatly simplified explanation of what occurs is: The wick or toothpick "fools" the water into thinking the pot is deeper than it is, so water begins to move downward seeking the "new" bottom of the pot, pulling the rest of the water in the PWT along with it. If there is interest, there are other simple and interesting experiments you can perform to confirm the existence of a PWT in container soils. I can expand later in the thread.

I always remain cognizant of these physical principles whenever I build a soil. I have not used a commercially prepared soil in many years, preferring to build a soil or amend one of my 2 basic mixes to suit individual plantings. I keep many ingredients at the ready for building soils, but the basic building process usually starts with conifer bark and perlite. Sphagnum peat plays a secondary role in my container soils because it breaks down too quickly to suit me, and when it does, it impedes drainage and reduces aeration. Size matters. Partially composted conifer bark fines (pine is easiest to find and least expensive) works best in the following recipes, followed by uncomposted bark in the <3/8" range.

Bark fines of pine, fir or hemlock, are excellent as the primary component of your soils. The lignin contained in bark keeps it rigid and the rigidity provides air-holding pockets in the root zone far longer than peat or compost mixes that too quickly break down to a soup-like consistency. Conifer bark also contains suberin, a lipid sometimes referred to as nature's preservative. Suberin, more scarce as a presence in sapwood products and hardwood bark, dramatically slows the decomposition of conifer bark-based soils. It contains highly varied hydrocarbon chains and the microorganisms that turn peat to soup have great difficulty cleaving these chains - it retains its structure.

Note that there is no sand or compost in the soils I use. Sand, as most of you think of it, can improve drainage in some cases, but it reduces aeration by filling valuable macro-pores in soils. Unless sand particle size is fairly uniform and/or larger than about BB size, I leave it out of soils. Compost is too fine and unstable for me to consider using in soils in any significant volume as well. The small amount of micro-nutrients it supplies can easily be delivered by one or more of a number of chemical or organic sources that do not detract from drainage/aeration.

My Basic Soils ....

5 parts pine bark fines (partially composted fines are best)
1 part sphagnum peat (not reed or sedge peat please)
1-2 parts perlite
garden lime (or gypsum in some cases)
controlled release fertilizer (if preferred)

Big batch:
2-3 cu ft pine bark fines
5 gallons peat
5 gallons perlite
2 cups dolomitic (garden) lime (or gypsum in some cases)
2 cups CRF (if preferred)

Small batch:
3 gallons pine bark
1/2 gallon peat
1/2 gallon perlite
4 tbsp lime (or gypsum in some cases)
1/4 cup CRF (if preferred)

I have seen advice that some highly organic (practically speaking - almost all container soils are highly organic) container soils are productive for up to 5 years or more. I disagree and will explain why if there is interest. Even if you were to substitute fir bark for pine bark in this recipe (and this recipe will long outlast any peat based soil) you should only expect a maximum of two to three years life before a repot is in order. Usually perennials, including trees (they're perennials too) should be repotted more frequently to insure they can grow at as close to their genetic potential within the limits of other cultural factors as possible. If a soil is desired that will retain structure for long periods, we need to look more to inorganic components. Some examples are crushed granite, fine stone, VERY coarse sand (see above - usually no smaller than BB size in containers, please), Haydite, lava rock (pumice), Turface, calcined DE, and others.

For long term (especially woody) plantings and houseplants, I use a superb soil that is extremely durable and structurally sound. The basic mix is equal parts of pine bark, Turface, and crushed granite.

1 part uncomposted screened pine or fir bark (1/8-1/4")
1 part screened Turface
1 part crushed Gran-I-Grit (grower size) or #2 cherrystone
1 Tbsp gypsum per gallon of soil
CRF (if desired)

I use 1/8 -1/4 tsp Epsom salts (MgSO4) per gallon of fertilizer solution when I fertilize if the fertilizer does not contain Mg (check your fertilizer - if it is soluble, it is probable it does not contain Ca or Mg. If I am using my currently favored fertilizer (I use it on everything), Dyna-Gro's Foliage-Pro in the 9-3-6 formulation, and I don't use gypsum or Epsom salts in the fertilizer solution.

If there is interest, you'll find some of the more recent continuations of the thread at the links below:

Post XIII

Post XII

Post XI

Post X

Post IX

PostVIII

Post VII

If you feel you were benefited by having read this offering, you might also find this thread about Fertilizing Containerized Plants helpful, as well.

If you do find yourself using soils you feel are too water-retentive, You'll find some Help Dealing with Water-retentive Soils by following this embedded link.

If you happen to be at all curious about How Plant Gowth is Limited, just click the embedded link.

As always - best luck. Good growing!! Let me know if you think there is anything I might be able to help you with.

Al

NOTES:

Perhaps one of the most important posts you will ever read. AL's GRITTY MIX
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RE: Questions about Ficus Elastica (Rubber Plant) (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: tapla on 07.10.2013 at 05:41 pm in Container Gardening Forum

Is the plant's capacity to support its unpruned upper compromised at all by any root pruning that takes place first? Yes, it is. To some degree that can be offset by siting the plant in the shade and keeping it out of the wind. Also, if you're repotting from a water-retentive soil to a well-aerated soil, the improvement in root function and the number of fine roots usually becomes quickly evident & additionally helps the recovery. If, for instance, you have a healthy 3 gallon tree and you reduce the roots by say 75%, you might need to remove a substantial volume of foliage to prevent the tree from seemingly indiscriminately shedding what it can't support. It's better to select the branches that don't compliment your vision for the tree's design than to let the tree decide. Also, you can partially defoliate if you remove a LOT of roots and the tree will quickly replace lost leaves as soon as the roots' ability to keep up with the canopy is back in balance. Everything revolves around the roots - the roots have to be able to support new growth before it can occur.

>> Best time to do extensive root work (repot) is between Father's Day - 4th of July.<<
Al, is this applicable to other trees or to other plants in general? I grow tropicals indoors with no direct light all year round. Does someone's zone affect this best repotting window?

Plants have internal clocks (search "endogenous rhythm" and/or "circadian rhythm") that tell them when they are supposed to grow. I keep all my tropical trees (about 75 of them) under lights in a basement grow area. There is only one window at the far end of the basement, so it supplies no usable light. Somehow, the trees know when the vernal equinox is eminent and begin to exhibit more vigorous growth, despite the only usable light they get is artificial and on a 16/8 schedule.

I don't think the Father's Day - July 4th rule of thumb is nearly as important if your trees were outdoors or living on sunlight, but I'd still say that even if there were no changes in artificial light intensity/duration throughout the year, that the time frame I suggested would still be the best time. If your trees grow actively all year and they're healthy under artificial light, repot any time you have a mind to. The most significant effect of that sort of 'out of season' repotting would probably be a little longer recovery before active growth can resume. For trees that AREN'T healthy, the timing is a more significant consideration.

I don't think a growers zone affects the best window much, but I would say that the closer to the equator you get, the wider the window becomes. In consideration of the best timing, I have a much narrower window than someone who lives in south FL or TX. Growers in those locales can repot with fast recovery anytime in Jun or July, and the effects of repotting in May or Aug - mid-Sep are much easier on the plant than they would be closer to the 40-45th parallels.

Al

NOTES:

Original gritty mix and planting
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RE: Ut oh I've been bit! (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: lathyrus_odoratus on 10.16.2009 at 03:29 pm in African Violets Forum

Welcome to your new addiction! As Fred noted, many of us have it, too.

I'll second Fred's admonishment over isolation. To each of us this may mean something different. Because I am a bit paranoid AND I have a small house, I choose to isolate in plastic baggies - but that also means that I have to VERY carefully watch my watering or I'll kill them with too much moisture. Some people use another room, but I worry that I could easily transfer the pests on my person that way. At the least, get some covered clear containers that you can use to separate them from each other and your new plants.

It's especially hard when you first get started because you have some many new purchases from different places. I chose to buy a lot of leaves, hoping that I'd limit my exposure to some of the pests. Even with leaves, I still isolate them for at least two months.

Enjoy your new beauties. We'll look forward to hearing more from you in the near future.

NOTES:

isolate ... isolate ... ISOLATE
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RE: Potting Up (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: minimac on 10.18.2009 at 11:37 pm in African Violets Forum

Meyermike,

Those are wicks. I use acrylic baby yarn 4 ply for standards that I split into 2 strands for minis and semis - cut about 8 ins. poke into hole in bottom of pot. I use solo cups. Melt holes in bottom of cup with soldering iron. Wrap yarn once around bottom let the rest hang below pot. Cut small piece of paper towel lay on top of yarn inside pot - this prevents soil from falling out of holes. Fill with wicking soil mix and plant. Submerge bottom of pot into water to get yarn and paper towel wet (wick must be wet before it can work)Then put it on reservoir. Reservoir - I use plastic container with a hole in top of lid (which I also melt with soldering iron) Put end of yarn though hole. End of yarn should touch bottom of reservoir which has water, fert. in it. Set solo cup on top making sure yarn is straight down hole and cup is not sitting on yarn. This is something to go by. There are also other ways to try. This so far is working for me. When you have several violets it saves a lot of time. Try it on a few at first. If your reservoir ever goes dry remember you must submerge the bottom of pot to get wick wet again, or top water making sure wick is wet. Good luck.

NOTES:

wicking plants
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RE: Perfect potting station (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: nwgatreasures on 10.27.2009 at 01:53 pm in African Violets Forum

I think I'd value any of the following:

-comfy chair that supports my back so the long hours of play/potting would be comfortable
- good music source (I prefer an iPod)
- a place to store the various tools that I use and have them within arm's reach and visible so I don't have to go looking for them
- a place for my AV buddy to join me if we want
- a container that holds soil to get me through a few weeks/months of repotting so I don't have to continually make my "mix"
- separate tray to hold my chemicals for prevention/treatment and the measuring devices for those chemicals
- place to store pots/supplies that I use
- place to hold the water (or at least a gallon or two)
- in the surface, I'd prefer a 'hole' so that I could sweep the used soil, trash, clippings, groomed parts, etc right off into the trash.
- a roll of freezer paper or blank newsprint so that when I'm needing a new/un-infected surface, I could just reach up/over and pull new paper to cover my planting surface
- a place to post inspirational pictures of various flowers, ribbons, etc...things that could keep me going

those are a few ideas off the top of my head. How wonderful to be able to have a dedicated "space" for a potting area. When we add our addition within the next 4-5 years, I'll have an entire upstairs room section that will house my plant stands and a potting area. Hopefully, by then, you'll have all the kinks worked out and I can copy yours, LOL

Be sure to share pictures, ok?
Dora

NOTES:

more potting ideas
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RE: Perfect potting station (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: irina_co on 10.25.2009 at 05:02 pm in African Violets Forum

Barbara -

I have a small growing room in a basement - where I have a regular metal office desk - they were throwing the old ones at work - a narrow metal shelving on the top - and a potting tray. I swear by potting tray. I put some newspapers on the bottom - and just roll the top layer off every so often.
The main thing - you need to have a lot of shelves around - for clean pots, whatnots etc. You need to have a bucket for trash, a bucket for dirty pots and a low bench or box for the tray with repotted plants. I would say that if you can get a roll of linoleum to cover the area around your table -it helps too.

Do not forget a radio/clock.

irina

Here is a link that might be useful: potting tray

NOTES:

potting area
clipped on: 08.28.2013 at 01:07 am    last updated on: 08.28.2013 at 01:07 am

Perfect potting station

posted by: bspofford on 10.24.2009 at 09:52 pm in African Violets Forum

I'm looking for some ideas for the new potting area I am going to have.

I currently do all my potting at the kitchen table. It has been great because there is lots of room, but it's the first thing you see when you come in the ell door. (Most New Englanders seem to have no use for a front door other than to hang a Christmas wreath on it.) Because I work with my plants a lot, it is usually somewhat messy looking, but I really don't want to pick up and stow everything every time I use it.

I have ample space in an extra bedroom used for an office, with an existing full wall of shelving where I have more plants. I am going to move the potting area to this room.

I will have a table that is 34"x34" and it will take a leaf if I want to expand it. The available space is 57" wide and I plan to put the table up aginst the wall. To my right is the wall of shelves with the plants on them, and to my left is the peninsula of a u-shaped desk. Hopefully you can visualize the space now.

If you were making your perfect potting area, what would you be sure to include?

Thanks.

Barbara

NOTES:

potting station idea
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RE: Ut oh I've been bit! (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: okie_deb on 10.16.2009 at 07:13 pm in African Violets Forum

To cover isolation this is what I'm doing (and will do in the future). For awhile now I have been collecting beef jerky containers and other such containers from my near by quick shop. I started looking around while waiting in line and noticed all the possible terrarium possibilities. I asked the owner if she would start saving them for me and she did. I have all sizes. From plastic big pickle jars down to short beef jerky containers. If a violet won't fit in one of the containers I have the trusty gallon zip locks.
I have 5 mini's in a big round banana bite container with a lid. 2 more are in their separate gallon zip lock bags.
It's been years since I tried my hand at AV leaves but I think after soaking them in VF-11 for any stress I will try a dunk in the Bayer Rose and systemic to kill anything on the leaf. I wouldn't dunk the cut end just the leaf and stem. I'll let ya'll know how it does once I have leaves to dunk and try it on. haha. But it would kill anything crawly and alive.
The Russian Cosmic Legend 2 came and in bloom to boot. The flowers are actually as bright and beautifully colored as in pictures on the net! It's one to look into if you like the fantasy type. Alliance is very striking as well! It came also today.
Still have more coming and will let you know my thoughts when they get here.,,,,,Debbie

NOTES:

jerky 'tainers as iso wards
clipped on: 08.27.2013 at 06:11 am    last updated on: 08.27.2013 at 06:12 am

RE: Ut oh I've been bit! (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: okie_deb on 10.16.2009 at 03:24 pm in African Violets Forum

Barbara - My mix for my Hoya's consist of potting soil, orchid bark and perlite so way different than for AVs. My Hoya's in the PB pots stay fairly damp but the orchid bark helps with that. I really yet don't know how the AVs will do but if you think of it the PB pots are no different than a self watering pot. So as long as you never water from the top and only into the reservoir these should stay evenly moist. The water will be draw up as needed by having the bottle spout right against the bottom of the reservoir.
I have made the PB pots with the holes burned in around the spout and without. I see no difference. The spout seems to do well enough if the soil is packed hard into the spout. I use my thumb and really pack it hard. The packed soil acts as a wick would to draw the water as needed. I think it would be best to use a potting mix with less perlite in the spout area for drawing reasons. You could use your regular more perlite mix above the spout in the growing area.
The problem is going to be finding small bottles for the mini and semi mini's. The 2 empty bottles my friend sent from Sweden are 2 inches across the bottom so perfect size for these. A mature standard could go into the 2 liter I am guessing. Ok all you constant drink bottle in hand people do you know of any perfectly straight small plastic bottles with no bulge around the rim before the spout we could use for the mini's??
Now that I think of it if a person could use a tiny drill bit in the lid you could thread a wick through the lid up into the soil planting area! That would be no different than how your most likely growing now! Duh me for not thinking of that before! haha.
Just imagine a mini or semi mini trailer in a small PB pot cascading down the side of the bottle! No need for a stand for awhile since the bottle sits up higher than a pot! I think it would be a very nice sight in bloom!
I am just getting into the AVs again so have no extra's yet to play with this all. But I guarantee you when I do from propagation I will.
Think of when you go on trips! No worries how the AVs are doing or if Hanna Neighbor is over watering them!

Dognapper2 - Thanks for the link! No telling what I will come up with after reading it! haha. I do have 2 young grandkids so will save the link for when they are older. They are 19 months and almost 2 months now!

Let me know what ya'll think of all this!,,,,Debbie

NOTES:

more pop bottle 'gainer thots
clipped on: 08.27.2013 at 06:09 am    last updated on: 08.27.2013 at 06:09 am

'Confessions Of A Plant Geek' Blog

posted by: Don_in_Colorado on 08.26.2013 at 08:13 pm in Hosta Forum

Just stumbled across this blogspot. Some of you may already know of it. A little info and some pics from the 2013 National convention, among a lot of other nice stuff.

Cheers,
Don B.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to the blogspot

NOTES:

cool link
clipped on: 08.27.2013 at 12:09 am    last updated on: 08.27.2013 at 12:10 am

RE: When to water a violet, is this true? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: fred_hill on 09.23.2009 at 09:00 pm in African Violets Forum

You ahould water an AV when thne soil is dry down about an inch from the top. Waiting for the leaves to will will put undue stress on the plant and cause it to go into shock. ITs then that a plant will start to sucker more.
Fred in NJ

NOTES:

watering
wilting
and suckering
clipped on: 08.26.2013 at 11:17 pm    last updated on: 08.26.2013 at 11:17 pm

Bottle Biology (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: dognapper2 on 10.16.2009 at 01:39 pm in African Violets Forum

My daughter used the Bottle Biology design for growing Tomato plants for her 6th grade Science Fair project (she's 26 now ;).
You could use the same 1:1:1 mix as it is simply a wicking process using several cuts from recycled bottles.

You probably would not want to add all the sugar, salt, vinegar, oil, etc to the water as her experiment did.
But you'll be happy to know the one with Miracle Grow did the best. Big surprise!

There is a book with lots of ideas as well if you have a kid in need of a Science project; compost, worm farm, ecotat, fish bowl - okay maybe not the fish! Seems cruel.
Highly recommend otherwise!
http://www.kendallhunt.com/index.cfm?PID=219&CID=219&CEL=992&PRD=3593

Here is a link that might be useful: Bottle Biology

NOTES:

bottle biology link
clipped on: 08.26.2013 at 09:40 pm    last updated on: 08.26.2013 at 09:40 pm

RE: Ut oh I've been bit! (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: okie_deb on 10.15.2009 at 10:24 pm in African Violets Forum

Nice to meet you Fred! I've seen your posts while reading old threads. Thank you for your offer of help when needed!
I have these all in a terrarium by themselves for the time being.
I need to get my husband eating some yogurt so I can use the containers as reservoirs for my new babies. I also have a friend in Sweden that sent me some small empty water bottles so I can make self watering pots from them. The small bottles in the USA tend to bow out so the spout won't fit right into the bottom of the bottle. I use PB pots (pop bottle) for a bunch of my Hoya's. They are in 2 litter bottles. They are a recycle way to make self watering pots. I posted a link below in case anyone is interested. I think standard violets might do well in these.
I grew violets some 12 years ago and they did well and bloomed for me. I managed a greenhouse at that time and we had an older gentleman that came in and donated time now and then. He was into AVs and gave some leaves to the nursery so while propagating for the nursery I started a couple myself from leaves. I did so enjoy them then and am sure I will now also.
The violets came in a very perlite type potting mixture. Very light and airy. They were dry from the trip so I gave them a bit of VF-11 water. VF-11 helps with stress in plants. My Hoya's love it! It's not a fertilizer but nutrients and vitamins.
I take Bayer Rose and put it a tablespoon in a 2 liter pop bottle and let it sit and start dissolving and water my Hoya's and houseplants with this. It has a systemic in it. Will this be ok for the new violets too? It's very diluted. I use it to keep mealies and such off the Hoya's.
Thanks for the welcome!,,,,Debbie

Here is a link that might be useful: Pop Bottle Pots (PB pots) link

NOTES:

pop bottle pots
clipped on: 08.26.2013 at 09:35 pm    last updated on: 08.26.2013 at 09:35 pm

RE: AV health appears to be headed south (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: irina_co on 06.10.2013 at 05:56 pm in African Violets Forum

Shadonar - hello -

First - I think your wife is very lucky to have you - you are both - a romantic person and a handyman. ( I do not know what are your skills in fixing the plumbing - but your desire to figure out what makes the plant grow right - tells me about the logical approach to the issue).

Second - you already got 5 replies with bunch of useful information. There are also Q&A on Gardenweb on a main page of AV forum you can read - and there is a site I am going to give a link below.

Third - the recipe

soil - peat perlite vermiculite 1:1:1, repot every 6 months
air - soil should be light - 50% of the soil is air.
PH 6.3-6.8
Temperature 65-80F
Light - 400-800 foot candles for 12 hours a day
Water with AV fertilizer 1/4 of a teaspoon per gallon all the time, water temperature=room temperature, good water - like the drinking water you can get in a store.
Watering - should be barely moist - not dry - never wet.

Fourth - how are you going to achieve it - or close to it - read the material.

Six - your issues - you already got them explained by other members - but in a short -
your pot is way too large - your plant is overwatered -
your soil is not light enough -your plant needs repotting.to a better lighter soil

Provided you work the kinks out - your wife will have a supply of blooming plants all the time - and you will develop your own routine - that will work in your conditions.

Keep the Good Works!

irina

Here is a link that might be useful: violet newbie 101

NOTES:

irina's ABCs of AV
clipped on: 08.25.2013 at 11:29 pm    last updated on: 08.25.2013 at 11:29 pm

RE: Greetings... my journey thus far. (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: nwgatreasures on 11.22.2009 at 11:37 am in African Violets Forum

Raven,
I don't know about your local club, but ours carries almost all of the treatments/preventatives that we have spoken about on this board. That may be a more practical way for you to get your hands on this stuff.

When I bring things in, I put them in the isolation area for about a week (untouched) and give them time to acclamate to my growing environment. If they came with blooms, I take a picture of the plant and save it on my computer with the name/date and then remove ALL blooms and any buds/beginnings of buds.

After a week-10 days, If they are looking like they are ok, then I will repot them into my soiless mix and dr them with preventative stuff. I try to remove as much of the original soil as possible and really take a good look at the root ball, plant and leaves. If any more buds are coming up, I will remove them at that time again. i still keep them in the isolation area.

I have become a real stickler about planting only on fruitful days (and admit that sometimes things get neglected because of my schedule and not being able to play in the dirt on those days).

I will try to check the plant about another month after the repotting and if all appears well (visibly and growth wise) then I will usually put it on my shelf upstairs (the less valuable/non blooming things are up there). Once it begins to bloom, I try to move it to my downstairs stand in my kitchen so I can enjoy it every day.

My AV dirt buddy fusses at me for not planting when things need it but sometimes I am not home for longer periods of time and when it comes to choosing between sleep and planting - I will most often always choose sleep. Besides, then there would be nothign for me and her to do when we get together, LOL.

Check your local group. I bet Bob would be able to answer the question about which supplies that club has to offer.

Dora

NOTES:

how dora does it
clipped on: 08.25.2013 at 05:51 pm    last updated on: 08.25.2013 at 05:52 pm

RE: Taking on Gritty Mix (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: Sugi_C on 03.01.2013 at 07:15 pm in Container Gardening Forum

Hi R -

It's not obvious AT ALL, haha. I've been reading and reading on this forum for a month and finally felt like I (might) know what to do and attempted it. I'd have felt better if someone who uses it confirmed that I have the right pieces -- but alas, it was time to make the jump. :-)

So, to explain -- and if I am mistaken, I am sure someone will correct me....

You can see the differently sized pieces of Turface below:
turfacebits
All of the little pieces should be removed, and all the larger pieces -- you will keep.

And then as part of the mix I put together after sifting:
Kumquat Tree in Al's Gritty Mix

All three components used in the mix shown have a lot of dust, and "smaller than desired" particles. For example, when the bark was sifted, out came a mountain of "bark powder" and tiny bits of bark that were in the bag from, I assume, the shredding process. Planted in the ground, it's less of an issue, but for Al's gritty mix -- the concept is to provide air (and thereby "space") within the soil/medium so roots can freely and healthily grow.

So if you imagine a clear cup and you throw in some small rocks, small pieces of bark and small pebbles of Turface (shown at 9:00 in the original photo -- ridiculously small) -- then you can push it down, shake it down and still you will have space where the rocks are up against the bark, which is surrounded by Turface pieces, right? That's what you want with this mix -- room for roots to cleanly and swiftly grow within the mix.

If these smaller particles and powder are NOT sifted out appropriately (and by no means do I kid myself thinking I got it all out) and are just used in this mix -- then they (the small bits and massive amounts of dust/powder) will settle into those spaces, creating a more typical soil-like environment eventually -- and thereby defeating the entire purpose of this gritty mix. I think Al consistently notes that if this (or mixing in compost, soil or what have you) is what you will do, you might as well use potting soil as this mix will end up "perching water" at the bottom of the pot due to the density of the "soil" down there -- and not having perched water in this mix is the very objective of this mix.

So, while it was a step I had hoped to skip due to not wanting the mess (my place looked like a meth lab yesterday and I'm still cleaning), it quickly became clear that I could not. Also, with bark -- you sift and then you should also remove the oddly large pieces to keep it pretty uniform.

After half a day of it and transplanting/repotting a bunch of plants, I caved and invested in bonsai sieves to make this process easier and hopefully cleaner. I started with a kitchen colander, then ran to OSH and while looking at screens, I had this brilliant idea to use these extendable window screens that were really cheap as a rectangular sieve. It works -- but my GOD, it's messy. So by nightfall, I bought the sieves and hope to make plenty more mix next week when it arrives. God bless Amazon.

Anyway -- here are some images of what got planted yesterday and this morning. The Dracaena and pitiful Azalea are planted in Al's 5:1:1 mix, and the remainder are in the gritty mix -- I just chose based on my own discretion.

The azalea shown below (in 5:1:1) is the only one that I pruned pretty hard on top as my friend was on the verge of throwing it out last week when I took it. It's coming back okay but it did need better soil than what it was in.
So far -- nothing is suffering, nobody has drooped or croaked on me and after a massive watering yesterday, all are still nicely moist today! It's really quite beautiful -- much more so than soil -- and I love that it won't harbor fungus gnats no matter how wet.

I should have probably waited to repot the ficus but that soil was definitely a little too wet. As you can see, I tied it together a little bit because it's too top heavy to stand securely right now, but hopefully, when it begins to root, it'll become more secure.

I would be having a blast if I had (1) a yard and (2) storage to premake this concoction, but oh well.

mar1_e

mar1_d

mar1_c

mar1_b

mar1_a

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 08.25.2013 at 05:13 am    last updated on: 08.25.2013 at 05:13 am

Taking on Gritty Mix

posted by: Sugi_C on 02.28.2013 at 02:15 pm in Container Gardening Forum

These are the times when the less you read, the better off you probably are. But I can't unread what I've read, so for the last few days, I've felt compelled to attempt this gritty mix.

I have mixed feelings about Al right now, haha. I love his brain and knowledge but I'm pondering not reading his posts anymore lest this kill all of my otherwise perfectly fine plants because I tinker with them again and again due to learning something new! :-D (Kidding, Al. About me not reading -- not about me potentially killing my plants, which I very well may do at this rate.)

Mind you, I live in a 2 bedroom condo. I have two small balconies, no hose, and slight and non-diagnosed OCD issue with keeping the house clean, and sifting or watering over the railing is not quite as easy to do with two layers of plants hanging off the railing.

But I'm nothing if not a glutton for punishment, so I spent 4.5 hours yesterday driving around the Bay Area to procure the components needed. It was quite a sight to see me, who friends normally label with "princess syndrome" or "prissy", at best, shoveling up ROCKS from piles high as buildings at a landscape supply company. Quite a sight. And, after two scoops, I'd also have to google something else about Al's Gritty Mix, unsure if I was really buying the right thing or not.

Anyway, below is what I did buy.

Does the sizing look okay to all who are familiar with this?

In the photo to the left, at 12:00 is the fir bark (1/4").
At 3:00, is the 1/4" quartz.
At 6:00 is a significantly more pricey but pretty La Paz 1/4".
And at 9:00 is the ever elusive Turface which I finally found at Ewing Irrigation after driving to TWO John Deere locations that didn't have them in stock.

My intent, for purely aesthetic reasons, is to mix the La Paz and Quartz for the gritty portion of this mix. I'm presuming this is not a problem, and I liked that these two had CONSIDERABLY less dust and "bits" than the crushed granite that was also available.

As mentioned, sifting the way you guys do is really not a viable option for me right now. I will wash everything and manually remove what I can that's too small. But otherwise, this attempt will be made without the exorbitant sifting portion. I did what I could to pick the most equally-sized bits I could.

I just repotted a huge majority of my plants in a variation of the 5:1:1 mix and I'll have to hold myself back from redoing those for the moment until I can see I made this mix properly. (Then, all bets are off and I will probably repot those, too. You see what I mean? I am killing my plants!) I do have some succulents, a young kumquat tree and a Croton that need repotting. Washing the soil out of these will be an adventure....

Wish me luck!!

-Grace.

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 08.25.2013 at 05:12 am    last updated on: 08.25.2013 at 05:12 am

RE: Question re: watering Al's gritty mix (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: loveplants2 on 07.07.2013 at 12:35 am in Container Gardening Forum

Hi EB!!!

Sounds like you have done your search and have found a wonderful mix that will make your plants very happy but most of all very healthy!!!

When you water with the Gritty mix, it will take some time to get comfortable on when and how to water. This is the best time to learn to water in the summer, since the water can drain outside without the worry of collecting the extra water inside during the winter. So, once you get the feel, it will be easier to water in the winter.

I will offer my 2 cents as far as how I water using the Gritty Mix. When I water, I use a watering can that has a small water spout that allows a small amount of water to come from the container. This will allow a small amount to be added to your containers instead of a large spray or just a huge amount at one time to pour on the surface. This will be easier to water over the entire surface of the container so you can get all of the mix moist. You don't have to add huge amounts of water all at once. Just use a controlled nozzle and add water to the entire area and let it drain from the bottom. Sometimes it will drain pretty quickly and seem to just run through.. that is why I water slowly.. i usually will water this way and move on to others containers and continue to water in the same manner. It is best to come back through and give it one more pass to make sure the particles get the proper moisture... I usually will add the foliage pro after the first watering. Then I know the mix is moist and then when I go back and add the next batch.. it is with fertilizer. I stop when I see it starting to come from the drainage holes.

It isn't a good idea to reuse the water coming from the bottom of the collected drainage.. since you are trying to flush out any build up of salts that are in your container..Think of it as "used" water and that you don't want to give your trees water that is used and full of things that you re trying to get rid of. You can always add it to the garden if you feel like you don't want to waste it, but I wouldn't add it back to the container.. Nope.. I wouldn't!!! ;-)

If you are worried about the deck and stains or the drainage issue.. you can always use the collection tray , but make sure you raise your container so it doesn't sit in the water. You could use blocks to raise your continer.. or large bottle caps.. I know Al uses some type of inch high aluminum to rise his trays in the winter to keep them out of the water. You could be creative to find things to lift the container.. In the winter, I use water bottle caps under the containers 4-6 per container. I then let the water evaporate and not worry.

When you are concerned about when to water, use the wooden dowel method.. If it is moist or wet, don't water.. if dry water. In the summer, I don't worry about over watering in the Gritty Mix.. I just know when my trees and plants want water and I give it to them. I personally use the hose with a special nozzle to give a gentle spray. Then I will fill watering cans with water and FP and fertilize once a week..when the mix is moist.

I hope this helps..

Please ask questions.. We have all been here and we all like to help!!! ;-)

Mahalo!!!

Laura

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 08.25.2013 at 04:32 am    last updated on: 08.25.2013 at 04:32 am

My first Gritty Mix and screening (how-to pics)

posted by: tcleigh on 08.25.2011 at 10:27 pm in Container Gardening Forum

Hello all--

Well, I finally did it. After reading about Al's Gritty Mix for the last two years, today I finally got up the motivation to track down the supplies and make some for myself.

Some other posters have previously expressed intimidation at the prospect of beginning the Gritty Mix process. Let me say that I shared this initial intimidation, which is probably why I waited so long to make Gritty Mix of my own. In the end, however, I'm glad I undertook this task and I look forward to it paying off with my plants.

In this thread I want to detail my personal experience with obtaining the Gritty Mix supplies and actually making the mix. I hope that some of the more experienced forum members will be able to identify any mistakes I made or supply helpful hints as to how to go about the process more efficiently in the future. I also want this thread to serve as somewhat of a how-to for those that are toying with the idea of making their own Gritty Mix, in effect de-mystifying the whole process. I wholeheartedly invite commentary and suggestions from anyone interested in this subject.

::

I began by locating the mix materials (see pic): crushed granite, turface, and fir bark. I'm happy to say that I was able to find all the materials in my vicinity. That is not always that case, however, and there are other threads that discuss different substitutes for these materials if they are not available in your area. I myself just moved to RI from GA, so finding these materials was a good exercise in getting my bearings in RI/MA.
Photobucket

Crushed granite -- I found this at a local feed store for use with poultry. It's called Gran-i-grit as you can see from the pictures. I made sure to examine the particle size before buying (see pic). I looked for Manna Pro brand, but only found Mount Airy. I don't think the brand matters at all. I got a 50 lb. bag for $10.
Photobucket

Turface -- I found this, like many other forum members, at a local John Deere Landscaping store. A 50 lb. bag sold for $17.
Photobucket

Fir bark -- Al discusses pine bark fines in his post "Container Soils: Water Retention and Movement", but many have used fir bark with good results and it was really easy to find fir bark at a local Petsmart. It's called Reptibark and it comes pre-screened in 24 qt. bags which sell for $12, if I remember correctly.

After I had gathered these materials, I went to Lowe's to buy the supplies to make a screening basket. The idea here is to wash your mix materials to eliminate dust and small particles which will retain too much water, defeating the whole purpose of the Gritty Mix. Here's what I bought at Lowe's:

--1 pine board (2x4x10) cut into 4 equal pieces (30 in. each)
*In retrospect, I probably only needed a 2x4x8 board
--8 three-inch wood screws
--Aluminum screening (found in the door/window section)

All of this cost me $14. I already had a staple gun and drill at home, but if you don't, you'll need some way of connecting the boards and screen.

Then I went home and assembled the screening box (see pics). This was a very simple process and anyone could do it.

First I assembled my materials:
Photobucket
I then used the wood screws to secure the planks to each other, making a perfect square:
Photobucket

I then laid out my aluminum screening and cut off the right amount. The screening basket will be stronger if you wrap the screening around the sides of the basket:
Photobucket

This shows the gauge size of the screening:
Photobucket

I then used my staple gun to secure the screening to the wooden box. Be sure to make the screen as taut as you can:
Photobucket

When you're finished, you're left with a screening basket:
Photobucket

As I currently have very little outside space, I chose to do the screening in my bathroom. I somehow convinced my fiancee that this was necessary, but, in the end, I probably won't do it that way again. It wasn't overly messy, but there is certainly that potential and if you can do it outside or in a utility sink, that would definitely be preferable.

I used a 2-qt. pitcher to keep my ratios (1:1:1) correct:
Photobucket

I set my screening box upside-down across my tub. I turned it upside down because it can hold more weight that way and because it made it easier to transfer the screened material to a plastic tub that I had placed underneath:
Photobucket

I then laid out 2 qts. of Turface and 2 qts. of crushed granite on top of the screening basket. I chose not to screen the bark because Reptibark comes pre-washed but other barks might need to be screened:
Photobucket
Photobucket
The basket easily handled the weight of these materials combined.

Then, using my movable shower head, I began rinsing the materials and working my hands through them to aid the screening process.

Here is a pic of the dust and fine particles you're trying to get rid of during screening:
Photobucket
*Note: Don't let these particles go down your drain! I used some surplus aluminum screen to cover my drain.

When I was done screening one round, I was too impatient to let it dry, so I transferred it damp into a plastic container.
Photobucket

I'll be using this mix in the next couple of days, but if you plan on storing for long periods, the mix should be allowed to dry.

I then added equal parts of the fir bark and my mix was complete! I was left with a decision to make: which plant to re-pot first. I sought out the Gritty Mix materials specifically for a ficus b. that desperately needs repotting, but it was getting late and I thought I'd save that for tomorrow. I settled on a strange little bald cypress tree. This tree was trunk cut for bonsai-ing 2 years ago, but I haven't had the time to devote to bonsai so I just let it grow out and I now like its unusual appearance. I need to do some pruning around the trunk base, but I'll take care of that tomorrow.

Anyway, the only ceramic pot I had available was a little too small for this specimen, but I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to practice root pruning, another thing I have long feared. I took the cypress out of its nursery pot and gently began working away the soil. When I had worked most of it away, I got the hose and washed the rest off. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the root ball before pruning but this is what I was left with:
Photobucket
Photobucket
I'd say I removed about 40% of the total root structure.

I then proceeded to pot it in the Gritty Mix and this is how it turned out:
Photobucket
Photobucket

The only thing I'm concerned about is the root coverage. As I said, the pot I transferred the cypress into was a bit too small, so I'm considering taking it out again in the next few days and do some more root pruning. I think this cypress wants to extend its roots, so a more severe root prune might be in order if I'm going to keep it in this pot.

Is it okay to leave a main root hanging out like that? It king of looks cool, but I certainly don't want to keep it that way if it's not healthy for the plant. Suggestions?

I have a lot of fig trees, succulents, and other houseplants that I can't wait to transfer to the Gritty Mix in the next few days!

Questions:

--I know gypsum was in the original Gritty Mix recipe. Is this something I can add later?

--Is it advisable to use a generic water-soluble fertilizer with plants in the Gritty Mix? Any other suggestions regarding supplements?

So far this has been a rewarding and promising endeavor and I encourage those of you considering Gritty Mix to go for it! It's really not that hard and it's all a learning experience.

Feel free to respond with comments, suggestions, alternative techniques, or feeding tips.

Buena suerte!

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 08.25.2013 at 04:10 am    last updated on: 08.25.2013 at 04:10 am

RE: Pine Bark Fines (Follow-Up #55)

posted by: serge94501 on 07.20.2013 at 08:33 pm in Container Gardening Forum

I just want to verify that this stuff is good for the "5" in the 5-1-1 mix.

...walked right by it at HD. DOH!

NOTES:

for al's gritty mix HD product
clipped on: 08.25.2013 at 03:48 am    last updated on: 08.25.2013 at 03:49 am

RE: Pine Bark Fines (Follow-Up #34)

posted by: rnewste on 03.28.2010 at 01:31 am in Container Gardening Forum

lath,

After 31 different conbination trials of Turface, Cactus Mix, Redwood Compost, Potting Mix, Bark Fines, Perlite, etc, for a SWC application (and this may be totally different than your needs) but for what it is worth, I have determined that a 3:2:1 ratio of Potting Mix, Bark Fines and Perlite work best for me.

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This is a Cherokee Purple tomato plant that is green from top to bottom. Again, your specific plant and watering technique may be different from this, but I simply post this as a point of reference.

Raybo

NOTES:

3-2-1 ratio
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RE: Pine Bark Fines (Follow-Up #26)

posted by: jojosplants on 03.25.2010 at 10:24 am in Container Gardening Forum

mainegrower,
Some people use it, but it is very unpredictable. Most of the time it breaks down as you say. Al suggests you freeze it over night, then see how stable it is by rubbing it between your fingers. If it is crumbly or a grey film comes off on your finger its no good.

I tried this, and the oil-dry just wasn't going to work.

Alot do use the Nappa Auto Parts brand floor dry. part # 8822.


JoJo

NOTES:

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clipped on: 08.25.2013 at 03:28 am    last updated on: 08.25.2013 at 03:28 am

RE: Pine Bark Fines (Follow-Up #23)

posted by: lathyrus_odoratus on 03.24.2010 at 03:50 am in Container Gardening Forum

Since this is about pine bark fines, I wanted to share and experience and see what the community knows that can help me.

I bought pine bark fines at a local nursery, I don't recall the brand. I made 5-1-1 and gritty mix. I instantly killed the first African violet I placed in the gritty. I decided it was because I hadn't sifted everything, so I sifted.

The next plant died.

Since then, I've tested at least 15 AVs varying in size from just removed from the propagating leaf to ones with at least 19 leaves, and I've not had much success. The plant starts out fine. It grows initially. Within about 3-4 weeks, it's stopped growing. By 4-5 weeks, the outer leaves are soft and floppy. By 5-6 weeks, the inner leaves are soft and floppy.

If I take them out before they die I see the same thing each time: dead roots. They are soft, brown and easily pull off. When I repot these plants into a 70/30 perlite/peat mix, they start to respond in about 3 weeks and by about 8-12 weeks they are back to normal. I can see root growth in about 3-5 weeks - nice, white roots.

I use a wick for drainage and to verify the soil mix is dry before I water, so I am not over watering. I'm not under watering because I check them daily and these are small plants with small root systems, so they rarely need water more than every other day. I've sifted the ingredients, used exactly what was recommended here, the bark is the size as shown in the pictures, I have added what I'm supposed to such as gypsum, etc.

At one point I thought I'd figured it out. I thought the pH was too low as at 5.5 (testing the water after letting the water sit in the mix for about 10 minutes). I added lime to move the pH about 6.3 and tried again. Unfortunately, I just took those plants out of the mix about 1-2 weeks ago. Same problem. (And to those to whom I've promised young plants, please know that these are now a month behind because they didn't grow at all for the last month and will now take a month to start growing again.)

I still wonder if it's a pH issue. The bark tests 3.8 pH or thereabouts. That seems awfully low to me. I'm clutching at straws, but if the bark was resting against the roots, could it be so acidic that it harms them?

I created a mix tonight of screened oil-dri, perlite, granite and Growrocks. I thought I'd try a barkless mix just to see if the bark is somehow implicated. I won't know for at least 4 weeks after I plant something in it, however, if it's made any difference.

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clipped on: 08.25.2013 at 03:26 am    last updated on: 08.25.2013 at 03:26 am

RE: Can you recommend any large African violets? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: irina_co on 06.30.2008 at 03:07 pm in African Violets Forum

Snasxs

Do not even put cyclamen and AV in one sentence. Cyclamens carry cyclamen mites - which are death to AV violets.

Usually large flowers come with a large plant. They can be single or double. Single I can think of right now - Rainman- blue star with white edge, Opera Romeo blue-white edge - fantasy, Super-Duper - huge very double pink, Beachcomber - semi-double white with blue shades.... these what I grow - there are many more of them - but the varieties I mentioned- the plants themselves can be easily grown to 20 inches in diameter and the leaves will cover most of the palm.

Good luck -

and do not mention cyclamens!

Irina

NOTES:

Large AVs
clipped on: 08.24.2013 at 12:42 pm    last updated on: 08.24.2013 at 12:42 pm

RE: RO water and repotting (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: lucille on 07.11.2008 at 07:11 pm in African Violets Forum

Reverse osmosis
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Reverse osmosis (RO) is a separation process that uses pressure to force a solution through a membrane that retains the solute on one side and allows the pure solvent to pass to the other side. More formally, it is the process of forcing a solvent from a region of high solute concentration through a membrane to a region of low solute concentration by applying a pressure in excess of the osmotic pressure. This is the reverse of the normal osmosis process, which is the natural movement of solvent from an area of low solute concentration, through a membrane, to an area of high solute concentration when no external pressure is applied. The membrane here is semipermeable, meaning it allows the passage of solvent but not of solute.

The membranes used for reverse osmosis have a dense barrier layer in the polymer matrix where most separation occurs. In most cases the membrane is designed to allow only water to pass through this dense layer while preventing the passage of solutes (such as salt ions). This process requires that a high pressure be exerted on the high concentration side of the membrane, usually 2�17 bar (30�250 psi) for fresh and brackish water, and 40�70 bar (600�1000 psi) for seawater, which has around 24 bar (350 psi) natural osmotic pressure which must be overcome.

This process is best known for its use in desalination (removing the salt from sea water to get fresh water), but it has also been used to purify fresh water for medical, industrial and domestic applications since the early 1970s.

When two solutions with different concentrations of a solute are mixed, the total amount of solutes in the two solutions will be equally distributed in the total amount of solvent from the two solution.

Instead of mixing the two solutions together, they can be put in two compartments where they are separated from each other by a semipermeable membrane. The semipermeable membrane does not allow the solutes to move from one compartment to the other, but allows the solvent to move. Since equilibrium cannot be achieved by the movement of solutes from the compartment with high solute concentration to the one with low solute concentration, it is instead achieved by the movement of the solvent from areas of low solute concentration to areas of high solute concentration. When the solvent moves away from low concentration areas, it causes these areas to become more concentrated. On the other side, when the solvent moves into areas of high concentration, solute concentration will decrease. This process is termed osmosis. The tendency for solvent to flow through the membrane can be expressed as "osmotic pressure", since it is analogous to flow caused by a pressure differential.

In reverse osmosis, in a similar setup as that in osmosis, pressure is applied to the compartment with high concentration. In this case, there are two forces influencing the movement of water: the pressure caused by the difference in solute concentration between the two compartments (the osmotic pressure) and the externally applied pressure.

NOTES:

Reverse Osmosis [RO] 'splained
clipped on: 08.24.2013 at 12:38 pm    last updated on: 08.24.2013 at 12:38 pm

RE: gritty mix questions (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: loveplants2 on 01.09.2012 at 09:59 am in Plumeria Forum

Hi Brian!!!

I use the Gran-i-grit crushed granite (chicken grit some call it) in the "grower size". I found mine at a local feed and seed store. Farmers use this with the poulty industry in the aid of digestion for poulty.

Others use Cherrystone #2 and they like that as well.

I would like to find another source of Pine Bark Fines myself, but i do use the Repti bark by Zoo Med for my Fir bark. I have heard of other growers use it straight from the bag, but i do like to screen mine using the 1/4 screen. I do lose about 1/3 of the bag with the larger parts. But i do use these leftover pieces and sprinkle them on the top of the containers just to use all of the product.

I have enclosed some picstures of my Screens that my DH made from pics that i found on line from what AL had made. My DH made them a little large... : ) But they work very well. I really only use the 1/4 inch screen more than the other screens and use a strainer that i picked up at the kitchen store to screen the dust from my Turface and the Gran-i-grit.

Here are some pics that i hope will help you!!!

Good luck!!

Im sure you will enjoy this mix. I know that i really like it and my DR's have grown like crazy and my Plumies really like it too!

Let me know if you need help!!!

Take care,

Laura

Screens
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Gran-i-grit
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Turface
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Mix in portions
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Mixed together
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I also do use the 1-1-1 ratio when making my mix

1 part turface
1 part granigrit
1 part fir bark

But in the spring when i make more mix ...i am going to change to this ... 4-3-2

4 parts turface
3 parts fir bark
2 parts granigrit

This gritty mix works well...you can change to this ratio for the hot climate here. I will keep the DR in the 1-1-1 and the Plumiera in the 4-3-2

Tip.... i also like to spritz the mix before i pot up. This gets some moisture in the bark and keeps it all seperated when im using the mix... : )

Here is a picture just to keep us thinking spring!!!
One of my favorites.. Lani

Photobucket

Hope this help Brian!!!

Laura

NOTES:

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clipped on: 08.24.2013 at 12:47 am    last updated on: 08.24.2013 at 12:47 am

RE: Zip Lock Bags and covering (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: irina_co on 03.14.2008 at 01:41 pm in African Violets Forum

Kathy -

there are 2 different issues. If you repotted your plant, rerooted the crown or put leaves down - it will help to put your plant or plants under the dome or in a plasic baggie - usually 2 weeks is enough- then you can start opening your ziplock bag or dome gradually adjusting the plant to outside air - in a week. Leaves - you can keep them covered until the babies show up.

Isolation - the best is to keep the new plant isolated for 3 months. Another room works OK. You can use a tray and a tall dome - if you need to keep new plants on the same shelf. I do not think that a ziplock bag will be convenient for such a long period of time.

Good luck

Irina

NOTES:

Zip bags for isolation, ICU
clipped on: 08.23.2013 at 01:31 pm    last updated on: 08.23.2013 at 01:32 pm

RE: wasp AF (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: seattlemarigene on 03.28.2008 at 09:42 pm in African Violets Forum

I have several wasp violets.If you want I can send you some leaves.I just had a Senk fantasy wasp bloom and Im totally in love with the spoon/bustle back leaves.I have several other wasp violets too....My email is Marigenecole@aol.com if you want to send me your address...:0)...marigene

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clipped on: 08.23.2013 at 01:04 pm    last updated on: 08.23.2013 at 01:05 pm

RE: mixing perlite uniformly in blends (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: bspofford on 03.12.2008 at 07:05 pm in African Violets Forum

When I mix up a batch, I use the gray tubs that are used for bussing tables. I wet the perlite (with the kitchen sink sprayer)AFTER I measure it and put it gently in the tub. This keeps the dust down. I then add the peat and vermiculite, add some warm water, and mix with my hands. Add more warm water as necessary, just until the whole mix feels damp. I then put it into a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. I add water as I use it and it dries out.

I like the results of wet mixing much better, the perlite doesn't float, and no perlite dust. And, I can get as dirty as I want!

Barbara

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clipped on: 08.23.2013 at 12:19 pm    last updated on: 08.23.2013 at 12:19 pm

Question about media

posted by: funnthsun on 08.21.2013 at 09:31 am in Hosta Forum

I have been searching through the forum trying to decide what potting media mixture that I want to go with. I want to go with the 5-1-1 (pine bark, peat, perlite), but noticed that one of the threads that this mixture was mentioned in led back to a thread on the container forum with the following mixture as the main suggestion:

The basic soils I use ....

The 5:1:1 mix:

5 parts pine bark fines, dust - 3/8 (size is important
1 part sphagnum peat (not reed or sedge peat please)
1-2 parts perlite (coarse, if you can get it)
garden lime (or gypsum in some cases)
controlled release fertilizer (if preferred)

My question is, would Hostas benefit from the added lime or gypsum in this recipe, or would it be better to forego that ingredient for Hostas in particular? Thanks so much!

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clipped on: 08.23.2013 at 10:49 am    last updated on: 08.23.2013 at 10:49 am

RE: IGS shelving (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: irina_co on 09.29.2008 at 08:50 pm in African Violets Forum

Kathy -

If you want to accommodate many plants and have space and you are not worried about an industrial appearance - you can get about 3 times cheaper Metro shelving (Sams' club, Costco - $75, reduce to 3 usable shelves - 4 shelves including the very top, 3 48' shoplights with 2 tubes, timer and the extention strip with outlets - for about 1/3 of the price.

The only good application for 4 shelf would be if you grow minis and semi-minis. (I understand you want Sunlighter shelf with 4 24 inches lights.) They would really look good and grow well.

Standard violets - you even wouldn't be able to see them well. They will be hiding under the shelves - and you want to see and enjoy them all the time.

Thing is - the standards grow 12 inches wide, large - can be twice as large - so how many plants you can place on this shelf without squashing them together?

To answer your question - yes, you can adjust the light time so they will be OK.

I made the same mistake already. Just doesn't look right.

So - 3 shelves for standards, 4 shelves - for minis.

Good luck
Irina

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clipped on: 08.23.2013 at 07:26 am    last updated on: 08.23.2013 at 07:26 am

RE: Using an aquarium (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: irina_co on 02.07.2008 at 09:54 pm in African Violets Forum

Golden =

it will work - if you put a very light soil - 1:1:1 plus even more perlite, wicks, and a mat on a bottom. You water the mat - just to keep it slightly wet. if you have a piece of acrilic blankie -it will work - but if you do not - you can use several paper towels or several sheets of a newspaper - at the time it will fall apart - your babies will be already going. The secret - is to keep them humid, but never sitting in water. You can put a layer of perlite on the bottom of solo cups with leaves.

I use plastic domes on the trays -with the same treatment- and when they are growing strong - I can gradually lift the domes.

Even when your babies are grown - your aquarium can host episcias - especially the variegated ones, miniature sinningias - and whatever likes terrarium culture.

Irina

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clipped on: 08.22.2013 at 11:37 pm    last updated on: 08.22.2013 at 11:37 pm

RE: Size differences (standard, semi, mini, and micro) (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: fred_hill on 09.14.2009 at 09:09 pm in African Violets Forum

Hi Megan,
Most AV's are given a size by the hybridizer when they register them. According to AVSA minis are up to 6 inches, semis to 8 inches standards are over 8. The national does not as yet recognize a micro mini so they fall into the category of minis. The sizes are determined by the hybridizer when the plant reaches its optimum growth. Trailers are designated semi, mini and standard usually by leaf size. This is also another way to tell what size a plant is. However, many hybrids in the mini and semi classes are not always correct. Some hybridizers give a designation to a mini and just keep it small by removing leaves. Also there are many semis that should have been designated as small standards. So the true test of a mini is to grow the plant to its optimum size and then determine it's class. As for micros, many people call them micros and keep them in tiny pots to keep it small, it's sort of like what the Japanese do to bonzai a plant. But there are a few that are really tiny and could fit into a micro class if there was one.
Sorry to be so ambiguous about it but thats about the way it goes.
Fred in NJ

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clipped on: 08.22.2013 at 11:22 pm    last updated on: 08.22.2013 at 11:22 pm