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Propagation Chamber

posted by: jbest123 on 08.14.2007 at 03:50 pm in Plant Propagation Forum

Let me start by saying that, I used the propagation box from Freeplants.com with great success. The box filled with wet coarse sand and an aquarium weighed 60 to 70 lb, which was a little to heavy for me to be moving around (I'm almost 70 yrs old). I made 6 boxed and they are still in good use by my Daughter and Son in law. I liked the idea of little_dani's Easy Propagation Chamber but thought it would be a little to small for my use.
I found 2 food storage containers at Walmart one a 20 quart and one a 12 quart with the same dimensions around the perimeter. I drilled six 5/8 in holes for drainage in the 12 quart container, and lade a piece of hardware cloth on the bottom to keep the potting soil from washing out. (photo 1) There is a little gap at both ends of the containers, allowing for ventilation, no need for further holes. ( photo 2) . For the potting soil I use 50/50 peat moss and vermiculite. What I like about the near transparent container for the bottom is you can see root development and water needs. Photo 3 shows root development and beads of condensation which indicates adequate air space and water. Each container will hold 120 to130 cuttings and all seem to be doing well and pass the tug test. (photo 4) When I stick the cuttings, I will leave them outside in the shade for 1 week and then move them to the greenhouse. Six chambers fit on an 8 ft shelf very nicely. (photo 5). I also use a 24 in bungie cord to keep the two containers aligned.

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clipped on: 09.05.2007 at 10:50 pm    last updated on: 09.05.2007 at 10:50 pm

pathway finally done

posted by: DAVISSUE_zone9 on 03.23.2005 at 12:56 am in Garden Accoutrements Forum

Last year I posted pictures of the leaves I'd made in anticipation of making a pathway. I promised then I'd post a picture of the finished path. Finally last month I got those leaves in the ground. Here's how it turned out. The leaves were made using the formula provided in the faq section- white portland cement, white sand, buff liquid coloring. I used several species of leaves to make the steppingstones.

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clipped on: 08.30.2007 at 08:07 pm    last updated on: 08.30.2007 at 08:07 pm

RE: Green house over raised bed (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: organic49 on 04.24.2007 at 06:52 pm in Square Foot Gardening Forum

Leasa, I made a simple greenhouse by getting 1/2 or 3/4 plastic pipe,and bending them over bed and securing with the proper size pipe hanger. I secured one or two per side to bed,spaced about three feet apart. It isn't a real tall coldframe/greenhouse,but it works. Just cover with 3 mil plastic.To hold plastic onto piping,I used cheap plastic spring type wood working clamps. Good Gardening! :)

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clipped on: 04.27.2007 at 12:00 pm    last updated on: 06.08.2007 at 01:13 pm

RE: Any ideas for easy ways to provide vertical supports for vine (Follow-Up #21)

posted by: joanmary_z10 on 02.11.2006 at 03:32 pm in Vines Forum

http://photobucket.com/albums/v707/fragrantgarden/Garden%20Trellises/?sc=1&multi=10

Here are some pics of my 'overhead trellis' used for shade. I had a giant Quadrangularis vine covering it which was very heavy, bearing large, wonderfully fragrant flowers. Used it for hanging lots of pots from it.

The outside framework was of Home Depot Metal garden stakes with the inner framework filled in with the metal as well as large bamboo stakes. I used the gardening wire (wire covered with green vinyl) to hold the individual pieces together. Its incredibly durable, but if nicked, it rusts badly and deteriorates over time.

The 'flat' trellises I have found to be much better than the 'teepee' ones. More sun is able to hit more of the plant, and its 'tidier' to look at. Also good for more privacy if that is what one needs.

Hope this helps

The suspended shade trellis

The 'flat' trellis

Joanmary

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clipped on: 04.27.2007 at 11:18 am    last updated on: 06.08.2007 at 01:13 pm

Here's one great performer!

posted by: esh_ga on 05.13.2007 at 09:34 pm in Georgia Gardener Forum

I am so pleased with this plant, I just have to share. Obviously this plant loves this spot! And you know you gotta feel good as a gardener when that happens.

This is a mountain laurel cultivar (dwarf form): Kalmia latifolia 'Elf'

This first picture is before all the blooms opened so you can see that it does have leaves.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And this is with all the blooms open, it is just covered!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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clipped on: 05.14.2007 at 12:11 pm    last updated on: 06.08.2007 at 01:13 pm

RE: Innovative Privacy Screens (Follow-Up #22)

posted by: little_dani on 06.14.2004 at 08:25 pm in Garden Accoutrements Forum

I prayed to the Gods for them to do something about 'the creeps that live behind us' until I remembered that the Lord helps those who help themselves.

I learned that whatever kind of structure you install, PAINT IT WHITE! The white will effectively block the view. So, if you put up a trellis of white plastic lattice board, set 2-3 feet off the ground on 2x4's (also painted white),and framed out nicely, you have an instant view blocker. Plant vines like Hyacinth bean, silver lace, shell pea vine, potato vine, and Mexican flame vine, along with plants that get big and bloom all spring, summer and fall, like Esperanza, Moy Grande hibiscus, Shrimp plant, Gingers of all description, Bush Morning Glory, and Bougainvilla. For spite, you could plant some trumpet vine real close to the fence- I guarantee that it will wind up on the other side of the fence. It worked for us. We have a real pretty and very private back yard now, and could care less what the creeps do. LOL

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clipped on: 05.15.2007 at 02:45 pm    last updated on: 06.08.2007 at 01:12 pm

Easy Propagation Chamber

posted by: little_dani on 10.05.2005 at 08:34 pm in Plant Propagation Forum

I make a little propagation chamber that is so easy, and so reliable for me that I thought I would share the idea. I have not seen one like it here, and I did look through the FAQ, but didn't find one there either. I hope I did not miss it, and I hope I do not offend anyone by being presumptive in posting this here.

That said....

This is what you will need.
A plastic shoebox, with a lid. They come in various sizes, any will do.


Soil less potting mix, half peat, half perlite, or whatever is your favorite medium.
A little clay pot, with the drain hole plugged with caulking or silicone. If this is a new pot, scrub it with some steel wool to be sure it doesn't have a sealer on it. You want the water to seep through it.
Rooting hormone powder or liquid, or salix solution from the willow tree.
Plant material, snippers. I am going to pot some Plectranthus (a tall swedish ivy) and a Joseph's Coat, 'Red Thread'. I already have some succulents rooted in this box. I will take them out and pot them up later, DH has a new cacti pot he wants to put them in.
You can see here, I hope, that I fill the clay pot to the top with rain water, well water, or distilled water. I just don't use our tap water, too much chlorine and a ph that is out of sight.

I pour a little of the hormone powder out on a paper plate or a piece of paper, so that I don't contaminate the whole package of powder. And these little 'snippers' are the best for taking this kind of cuttings.


This is about right on the amount of hormone to use. I try to get 2 nodes per cutting, if I can. Knock off the excess. It is better to have a little too little than to have too much.
Then, with your finger, or a pencil, or stick, SOMETHING, poke a hole in the potting mix and insert your cutting. Pull the potting mix up around the cutting good and snug.

When your box is full, and I always like to pretty much fill the box, just put the lid on it, and set it in the shade. You don't ever put this box in the sun. You wind up with boiled cuttings. YUK!

Check the cuttings every few days, and refill the reservoire as needed. Don't let it dry out. If you happen to get too wet, just prop the lid open with a pencil for a little while.
This is a very good method of propagation, but I don't do roses in these. The thorns just make it hard for me, with my big fingers, to pack the box full. All kinds of other things can be done in these. Just try it!

Janie

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clipped on: 05.18.2007 at 02:05 pm    last updated on: 06.08.2007 at 01:11 pm

Container soils and water in containers (long post)

posted by: tapla on 03.19.2005 at 03:57 pm in Container Gardening Forum

The following is very long & will be too boring for some to wade through. Two years ago, some of my posts got people curious & they started to e-mail me about soil problems. The "Water Movement" article is an answer I gave in an e-mail. I saved it and adapted it for my bonsai club newsletter & it was subsequently picked up & used by a number of other clubs. I now give talks on container soils and the physics of water movement in containers to area clubs.

I think, as container gardeners, our first priority is to insure aeration for the life of the soil. Since aeration and drainage are inversely linked to soil particle size, it makes good sense to try to find a soil component with particles larger than peat and that will retain its structure for extended periods. Pine bark fits the bill nicely.

The following hits pretty hard against the futility of using a drainage layer in an attempt to improve drainage. It just doesn't work. All it does is reduce the soil available for root colonization. A wick will remove the saturated layer of soil. It works in reverse of the self-watering pots widely being discussed on this forum now. I have no experience with these growing containers, but understand the principle well.

There are potential problems with wick watering that can be alleviated with certain steps. Watch for yellowing leaves with these pots. If they begin to occur, you need to flush the soil well. It is the first sign of chloride damage.

One of the reasons I posted this is because of the number of soil questions I'm getting in my mail. It will be a convenient source for me to link to. I will soon be in the middle of repotting season & my time here will be reduced, unfortunately, for me. I really enjoy all the friends I've made on these forums. ;o)

Since there are many questions about soils appropriate for containers, I'll post by basic mix in case any would like to try it. It will follow the Water Movement info.

Water Movement in Soils

Consider this if you will:

Soil need fill only a few needs in plant culture. Anchorage - A place for roots to extend, securing the plant and preventing it from toppling. Nutrient Sink - It must retain sufficient nutrients to sustain plant systems. Gas Exchange - It must be sufficiently porous to allow air to the root system. And finally, Water - It must retain water enough in liquid and/or vapor form to sustain plants between waterings. Most plants could be grown without soil as long as we can provide air, nutrients, and water, (witness hydroponics). Here, I will concentrate primarily on the movement of water in soil(s).

There are two forces that cause water movement 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 pot than it is for water at the bottom of the pot. 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, waters bond to itself can be stronger than the bond to the object it might be in contact with; in this condition it forms a drop. 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. It will stop rising when the GFP equals the capillary attraction of the fibers in the paper.

There is, in every pot, what is called a "perched water table" (PWT). This is water that occupies a layer of soil that is always saturated & will not drain at the bottom of the pot. 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 equal the GFP; therefore, the water does not drain, it is "perched". If we fill five cylinders of varying heights and diameters with the same soil mix and provide each cylinder with a drainage hole, the PWT will be exactly the same height in each container. This is the area of the pot where roots seldom penetrate & where root problems begin due to a lack of aeration. From this we can draw the conclusion that: Tall growing containers are a superior choice over 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. Physiology dictates that plants must be able to take in air at the roots in order to complete transpiration and photosynthesis.

A given volume of large soil particles have less overall surface area in comparison 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 drain better. We all know this, but the reason, often unclear, is that the PWT is lower in coarse soils than in fine soils. The key to good drainage is size and uniformity of soil particles. Large particles mixed with small particles will not improve drainage because the smaller particles fit between the large, increasing surface area which increases the capillary attraction and thus the water holding potential. Water and air cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Contrary to what some hold to be true, sand does not improve drainage. Pumice (aka lava rock), or one of the hi-fired clay products like Turface are good additives which help promote drainage and porosity because of their irregular shape.

Now to the main point: When we use a coarse drainage layer under our soil, it does not improve drainage. It does conserve on the volume of soil required to fill a pot and it makes the pot lighter. When we employ this exercise in an attempt to improve drainage, what we are actually doing is moving the level of the PWT higher in the pot. This reduces available soil for roots to colonize, reduces total usable pot space, and limits potential for beneficial gas exchange. Containers with uniform soil particle size from top of container to bottom will yield better drainage and have a lower PWT than containers with 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 in the soil for water to be attracted to than there is in the drainage layer.

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 are now employing 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, insert a wick into the pot & allow it to extend from the PWT to several inches below the bottom of the pot. This will successfully eliminate the PWT & give your plants much more soil to grow in as well as allow more, much needed air to the roots.

Uniform size particles of fir, hemlock or pine bark 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 rapidly break down to a soup-like consistency. Bark also contains suberin, a lipid sometimes referred to as natures preservative. Suberin is what slows the decomposition of bark-based soils. It contains highly varied hydrocarbon chains and the microorganisms that turn peat to soup have great difficulty cleaving these chains.

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 starve to death because they cannot obtain sufficient air at the root zone for the respiratory or photosynthetic processes.

To confirm the existence of the PWT and the effectiveness of using a wick to remove 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 & allow to drain. When the drainage stops, insert a wick several inches up into the drain hole . Take note of how much additional water drains. This is water that occupied the PWT before being drained by the wick. A greatly simplified explanation of what occurs is: The wick "fools" the water into thinking the pot is deeper, so water begins to move downward seeking the "new" bottom of the pot, pulling the rest of the PWT along with it.

Having applied these principles in the culture of my containerized plants, both indoors and out, for many years, the methodology I have adopted has shown to be effective and of great benefit to them. I use many amendments when building my soils, but the basic building process starts with screened bark and perlite. Peat usually plays a very minor role in my container soils because it breaks down rapidly and when it does, it impedes drainage.

My Soil

I'll give two recipes. I usually make big batches.

3 parts pine bark fines
1 part sphagnum peat (not reed or sedge peat)
1-2 parts perlite
garden lime
controlled release fertilizer
micro-nutrient powder (substitute: small amount of good, composted manure

Big batch:

3 cu ft pine bark fines (1 big bag)
5 gallons peat
5 gallons perlite
1 cup lime (you can add more to small portion if needed)
2 cups CRF
1/2 cup micro-nutrient powder or 1 gal composted manure

Small batch:

3 gallons pine bark
1/2 gallon peat
1/2 gallon perlite
handful lime (careful)
1/4 cup CRF
1 tsp micro-nutrient powder or a dash of manure ;o)

I have seen advice that some highly organic soils are productive for up to 5 years. I disagree. Even if you were to substitute fir bark for pine bark in this recipe (and this recipe will far outlast any peat based soil) you should only expect a maximum of three years life before a repot is in order. Usually perennials, including trees (they're perennials too, you know ;o)) should be repotted more frequently to insure vigor closer to genetic potential. If a soil is desired that will retain structure for long periods, we need to look to inorganic amendments. Some examples are crushed granite, pea stone, coarse sand (no smaller than BB size in containers, please), Haydite, lava rock, Turface or Schultz soil conditioner.

I hope this starts a good exchange of ideas & opinions so we all can learn.

Al

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clipped on: 06.08.2007 at 01:04 pm    last updated on: 06.08.2007 at 01:10 pm

Easy Propagation Methods 2

posted by: JohnVa on 12.16.2005 at 01:37 pm in Plant Propagation Forum

Inspried by Jamie's "Easy Propagation Chamber" I decided to show you my methods :)

I use wick watering and grow under lights so my process is designed to fit those factors.

First I'll start with the wicking method:

You need the following: a 6 inch pot, a covered plastic bowl, and a nylon cord.

The cord will be pulled through the bottom of the pot and through the top center whole of the bowl lid (when you start using it). This picture is just to illustrate how it all fits together once you start using it. Keep in mind the cord just hangs out the bottom while the seeds and cuttings are getting started.

To start off, the cord is put in place in the pot with about 6-8 inches hanging out the bottom. The pot is then filled half full with potting mix and the wick placed around the other side of the pot as shown. The pot is then filled with soil to near the top. When starting seeds I leave about an inch of space below the top of the pot. With cuttings it doesn't matter.

For starting seed I use a plexiglas cover over the pot until the seedlings hit it. Once they reach the cover I remove it and attach the wick and bowl under it. Here is an example of some new seeds comin gup.

This next pic is an example of some tip cuttngs of Balloon flowers I took when they got too tall under my lights.

These cuttings are 4 days old and are being grown under a plactic 100 CD cover to keep the humidity high.

This last pic is some 10 week old Balloon flower seedlings using this method. They are grossly overcrowded but at the moment I have no place to transplant them to so they will just have to survive :) The above cuttings were taken from them. I do have several buds on them already.

Note the wick in the bottom of the plastic bowl.

One lesson learned is don't put too many seeds in. :)

John

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clipped on: 06.08.2007 at 12:02 pm    last updated on: 06.08.2007 at 12:02 pm

RE: Do You Have A Cool Shed? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: homemaker on 07.25.2006 at 08:27 pm in Garden Accoutrements Forum

Here's one from a magazine. I was charmed by it many years ago and kept it as inspiration, in case I ever live on a lot at the bottom of a hill.

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Lay the shingles upside down (now rightside up)
clipped on: 05.15.2007 at 01:27 pm    last updated on: 05.15.2007 at 01:28 pm