Clippings by vabyvlue

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RE: How much fertilizer (Follow-Up #25)

posted by: Strawberryhill on 05.10.2014 at 12:05 pm in Organic Rose Growing Forum

Hi vabyvlue: I love the smell of cedar .... I have cedar reddish blocks inside my clothes-drawers. The pine-shavings on Burlington's bands smell really good also.

eHow lists the many advantages of cedar: lasts longer, control ants, and "Chalker-Scott goes on to explain that cedar has a water-soluble chemical called thujaplicin that inhibits fungal and bacterial growth, making cedar wood rot-resistant." The only disadvantage of cedar mulch is it doesn't promote growth with young seedlings.

Princess Alexandra of Kent rose has the reputation of being a weak grower and wimpy. One stated in HMF that it has weak stem, can't support itself. One possibility is its roots are less efficient in getting potassium from the soil.

I would: Feed it with SOLUBLE fertilizer at 20-10-20 at 1/2 teaspoon per gallon, 3 times a week like what U. of Kentucky did. Prune the infected leaves (trash them away from the plant). Then dust the whole plant with whole-grain corn meal, pH 7.3.

Another approach is: make compost-tea with mushroom-compost, then douse the entire plant, including the soil. Mushroom compost has alkaline pH, plus beneficial bacterial to suppress fungal growth.

A drastic measure would be dust the whole plant, including the soil-surface, with a light layer of wood-ash ... its extreme alkalinity would zap any fungi. Wood-ash is high in potassium & calcium, but VERY caustic, if gets into eyes, best with a flour-sifter and eye-goggles. Just a very thin layer would do, anymore would harm the roots with its high pH over 11.

Lowe's sells organic copper-fungicide dust, Bonide brand: "mixture of Copper (Sulphate), copper and sulfur, has been used for more than 150 years to combat fungi and bacteria on a wide variety of garden plants". CAUTION: Do not use this if your soil pH is below 5.5, due to the sulfur content."

I read 20 reviews on Amazon on Bonide ... for its price and the negative reviews ... not sure if it's worth it. Chicken manure is high in copper, zinc, and boron .. plus cheaper at $8 for a big bag, alkaline pH, and NPK of 5 / 3 / 2.5, with 9% calcium. One drawback: the salt-content, best used only twice a year.

With bad case of fungal infestation, drastic pruning helps .. but Princess Alexandra of Kent is a wimpy-grower, drastic pruning might make it too short. My best wishes to you, and please let me know of its future progress.

Below is a link from U. of CA Agriculture that explains the difference between fixed coppers (Bonide fungicide) versus Bordeaux mixture. You can see that Bordeaux mixture has high pH, more effective, but more caustic to plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: ucdavis on organic fungicide: fixed coppers vs. Bordeaux

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, May 11, 14 at 8:58


clipped on: 05.13.2014 at 09:30 pm    last updated on: 05.13.2014 at 09:30 pm

RE: Fertilizing: your success and why organics? (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: Strawberryhill on 05.06.2014 at 10:42 am in Organic Rose Growing Forum

Hi vabyvlue: Thanks for a great question!

Most municipals add quicklime (calcium oxide) to tap water to prevent corrosion of pipes. According to Wikipedia, quicklime is made by heating limestone to above 1, 517 F degree, to produce a VERY UNSTABLE product. Calcium oxide is a key ingredient for making cement.

That's why my roses watered with tap water, have this calcified "concrete" soil on top, which I have to poke holes frequently. My tap water pH is over 8, very alkaline.

Potassium chloride, with salt index of 116.2, is used to soften HARD water. Sulfate of potash NPK 0-0-50 has a lower salt index, at 43, high potassium, plus 23% sulfur. The sulfur part will offset the calcium hydroxide in tap water.

How much to use for 2-gallon, and how frequently? In U. of Kentucky experiment with vegetable seedlings, organic Omega 6-6-6 (blood meal, bone meal, and sulfate of potash) BEAT Fish emulsion performance. The chart for increase in dry weight showed for tomato seedlings: 332 increase with fish emulsion, 502 increase with Omega, and 732 with chemical 20-10-20.

Chemical has the upper edge in pots, due to high nitrogen, with that leaching out of pots. But high chemical nitrogen isn't good for plants in-ground, due to accumulation of salt. Plus the bacteria in soil & compost can fix nitrogen for plants.

Peter's NPK 20-10-20 has sulfate of potash at 20, is used at 1/2 teaspoon per gallon at 3 times a week .. but that's for pots that leach out nutrients. Kelp4Less sulfate of potash NPK is 0-0-50, more than double, I would use only 1 teaspoon per week mixed with 2 gallon of water.

That would offset the calcium hydroxide in tap water. I used sulfate of potash last fall, with IMMEDIATE dark-green & glossy leaves, and tons of buds. See link below for U. of Kentucky experiment, you see how big the seedlings & dark green leaves with chemical 20-10-20 (sulfate of potash at 20) ... next best is package manure (cow manure), then worm casting, and worst is thoroughbred horse manure (tiny yellowish plants).

Here is a link that might be useful: U. of Kentucky organics and vegetable seedlings


clipped on: 05.06.2014 at 12:55 pm    last updated on: 05.06.2014 at 12:55 pm

RE: Fertilizing: your success and why organics? (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: Strawberryhill on 05.03.2014 at 01:27 pm in Organic Rose Growing Forum

Hi vabyvlue: Blackstrap molasses are high in potassium, calcium, and iron ... NPK of molasses is 3-1-5. I feed roses molasses when they develop tiny buds. Here's my rating of liquid molasses (edible for humans, with no preservative):

The molasses I used in my pots experiment was Brer Rabbit, inferior brand with 30 mg sodium, 10% potassium, 2% calcium, and 6% iron. I DON'T RECOMMEND THIS.

Much better-tasting for plants & recipes is Wholesome Organic Molasses, highest at 20% potassium (730 mg), 15% iron, 15% calcium, 0 sodium, and 10% B6. It's thicker than Plantation Molasses (600 mg) of potassium, 20% calcium, and 10 mg of sodium.

Tree of Life brand has 15 mg of sodium, 500 potassium, 20% iron .... That's the one that gave brownish spots on Gina's Rose. Could be from the high iron .. not impressed with the result.

Conclusion: Wholesome Organic Molasses is thickest so you'll get your money's worth. It has zero salt, and highest in potassium (730 mg), plus vitamin B6. It's sold for $6 per 16 fl. oz., one dollar more than Plantation brand at $5.

Health food aisle in local grocery store has both. The rose grower Seaweed in CA doesn't use molasses, but she uses compost (high in potassium & trace elements), plus chicken-manure (has trace elements), and her blooms are deep pink.

But I can't add more compost to my over-flowing ground, so molasses is a cheaper alternative for potassium, calcium, iron and trace elements. How often, and what dose for molasses with NPK 3-1-5 (potassium of 5)?

In U. of Kentucky research on Organic Fertilizers & Composts in tomato and pepper seedlings. Their conclusion: Fish emulsion NPK 5-1-1 and Omega 6-6-6 (blood meal, bone meal, sulfate of potash) are effective fertilizers, coming second to chemical fertilizer with higher nutrients NPK 20-10-20. High nitrogen was used due to leaching out from pots.

The best growth was achieved by using Peter's 20-10-20 at 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water, 3 times a week. This was done in pots & greenhouse environment.

Since it's best to water roses in-ground only once a week, I would use 1 Tablespoon of molasses per 2-gallon of water, once the tiny buds are seen. Keep doing that until the blooms are done. Then start again when the buds are really tiny.

Below is a link that lists the vitamins and trace elements in blackstrap molasses.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blackstrap molasses nutritional profile

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sat, May 3, 14 at 13:39


clipped on: 05.03.2014 at 10:53 pm    last updated on: 05.03.2014 at 10:53 pm

RE: Update #2 - Re: Using cornmeal as a plant fungicide (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: nandina on 09.24.2013 at 10:06 am in Garden Experiments Forum

To wild acres: First, it has been interesting to review the sudden reappearance of the discussions re using 'cornmeal as a plant fungicide'. Thanks for your Liriope report and your desire "to really know how this (cornmeal) works"? To answer this question is to refer back to the original university studies with peanuts for a possible answer. They reported that cornmeal encourages the growth of Trichoderma fungus which feed on mycelium and sclerotia of Sclerotina minor, Sclerotina rolfsii and all Rhizactina species. Since that report we have received enough information to add Pyricularia grisea (gray leaf spot) to the list and now, thanks to your report, possibly Phytophthora palmivora (Liriope crown rot) to be trialed and tested.

The bottom line to all this is:
If cornmeal does control this or that fungus, we have to test for and identify the responding fungus using scientific methods. To date academia is sputtering around this subject mostly in a negative manner. Those of us who have been testing know that cornmeal does control certain types of fungus. This would be an interesting and badly needed doctoral project.

My final thoughts...Got a plant fungus? Try tossing some cornmeal on and around the problem, misting it lightly with water. It may control the fungus, repeated monthly, or it may not. If it does try to figure out the name of the controlled fungus and if it fits into any of the varieties listed above.

It is always interesting to read the comments of others on this subject as they use the 'trial method' experimenting in their own backyards.


clipped on: 04.30.2014 at 10:36 pm    last updated on: 04.30.2014 at 10:37 pm

RE: No spray, disease-resistant roses that you love (Follow-Up #22)

posted by: Strawberryhill on 11.01.2013 at 02:43 pm in Organic Rose Growing Forum

Hi Prairiemoon: I got my Marie Pavie as a band-size, own-root, from Burlington Roses in CA, which is among the top 5 highly-rated nurseries (Dave's Garden Rating). Burlington has 160 mini-roses for $7.50 each, and 389 big-roses for $10.95 each. Google "the scoop on Burlington Roses" and you'll see the reviews of that nursery.

The shipping cost is cheap, one year I ordered 12 roses from Burling, and it was under $20 shipping cost .... compare that to $20 shipping & handling cost for 3 roses from Roses Unlimited.

The thornless and fragrant roses she carry are: Marie Pavie, Marie Daly (scent is even better than Marie Pavie), Gruss an Aachen, Pink Gruss, Annie L. McDowell, Sophie's Perpetual, Reines de Violettes, Veilchenbleu, Zep. Drouhin, Excellenz von Schubert, Norwich Sweetheart (mini). Plus low-thorn like Darlow's Enigma & and a good selection of fragrant polyanthas like yellow "Sunshine".

She has many fragrant Old Garden Roses such as: La Reine, Comte de Chambord, Duchess de Rohan, Grandmother's Hat, SdlM. Also a good selection of fragrant hybrid teas: Stephen Big Purple, Jadis (Fragrant memory), Alec's Red, Oklahoma, Crimson Glory, Mirandy .... plus Rugosas for acidic soil.

People e-mail her, then she'll mail them her lists of roses. I e-mail her for my selection, and pay by charge card or paypal. She's professional & honest. She used to allow many changes in my order, now she allows only 2 changes.

Burlington Rose Nursery 24865 Rd 164, Visalia, CA 93292 Phone:(559) 747-3624 Office/Fax. Below is the link to Burlington Nursery in HMF, with info. to e-mail her, plus a listing of roses that she sells.

LongAgoRoses in North Carolina, run by Linda Loe, also have 344 roses for sale, mostly Austin and Old Garden roses. She has low-thorn Pretty Jessica rose, plus thornless roses Marie Pavie, Marie Daly, Annie L. McDowell. Plus very fragrant musk Felicia. She sells them $10 per bare-root & own-root, low shipping cost, with a few dollars more for Austin roses. Linda is very nice & honest.

Google, "LongAgoRoses and HMF" and you'll see her selection in North Carolina.

Here is a link that might be useful: Burlington Roses Nursery in HMF

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Fri, Nov 1, 13 at 15:06


clipped on: 04.30.2014 at 06:52 pm    last updated on: 04.30.2014 at 06:52 pm

RE: How much fertilizer (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: Strawberryhill on 03.16.2014 at 03:17 pm in Organic Rose Growing Forum

Here's the link to U. of Kentucky research on Organic Fertilizers & Composts in tomato and pepper seedlings. Their conclusion: Fish emulsion NPK 5-1-1 and Omega 6-6-6 (blood meal, bone meal, sulfate of potash) are effective fertilizers, coming second to chemical fertilizer with higher nutrients NPK 20-10-20. The best growth was achieved by using Peter's 20-10-20 at 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water, 3 times a week. This was done in greenhouse environment.

The second best growth was with Organic Omega 6-6-6 (blood meal, bone meal, sulfate of potash) at a rate of 1 teaspoon per gallon of water, 3 times a week. Third best growth is fish emulsion. Organics most likely fare better in outdoor soil, where there're microbes, rain, and sun to break-down materials for plants.

Cow manure, worm casting, and horse manure came last in performance. They concluded that perhaps these are not fully composted, and the pH of cow manure is too acidic, below 5, and the pH of horse manure is too alkaline, above 8.

Here is a link that might be useful: U. of Kentucky on organic fertilizers and composts

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Tue, Mar 18, 14 at 10:46


clipped on: 04.30.2014 at 05:47 pm    last updated on: 04.30.2014 at 05:48 pm

RE: How much fertilizer (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: Strawberryhill on 03.16.2014 at 10:29 am in Organic Rose Growing Forum

Hi NickRose: One can tell the composition of the soil by shifting it between your fingers: clay like mine will stick like glue. Loamy will be moist .. ideal for plants. Sandy will be dry and flow off your fingers.

If your soil is clay, use less fertilizer, since clay is already fertile and holds salt well. My sister lived 1/2 hour east of Fremont, CA with clay. Gypsum loosened up her clay very well.

If your soil is sandy, more fertilizer is needed, since nutrients leach out easily. NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) for Kelp is 1-0-1.2. Kelp is known for trace elements, but has salt ... thus less is best.

The NPK of alfalfa-meal ranges from 2.5-1-1, to 2-1-2. It has 2 as nitrogen, but the growth hormone is potent. I got 5 feet tall tomato plant when I overdosed on alfalfa meal. Alfalfa meal needs water to break down, not recommended during drought & heat. Organic materials heat up the soil .. good for my cold zone 5a with spring flood, but I almost killed my geraniums with alfalfa meal during summer heat.

Fish-bone meal NPK ranges from 3-15-0 to 4-20-0. Very high in phosphorus (15 to 20), zero potassium. That stuff stinks mighty. A review in Amazon: someone applied that stuff, and the neighbor's girl could not sleep since it reeks. Phosphorus mobility is a 1, it stays put where applied .. best at the bottom of the hole, or mixed thoroughly INSIDE the planting hole so the roots can access it (less stinky that way). One study showed that phosphorus only moved 1" down per year, if applied at the surface.

Blood meal NPK is 12-1-0, high in nitrogen at 12. One year I threw blood meal around marigolds to discourage bunnies. The marigolds shot up to 3 feet tall, zero flowers for the entire year. My alkaline clay soil has plenty of bacteria to fix nitrogen, I use a tiny amount of blood meal for tiny & wimpy roses, or bare-root roses with no leaves. Nitrogen mobility is a 10, moves easily down with water.

What's lacking is potassium: essential for tomatoes & peppers, and disease-prevention for roses. Potassium is most needed during drought, since it regulates osmotic pressure in plants. Sulfate of potash NPK 0-0-50, salt index of 43 (not bad). Potassium mobility is a 3, less movement, so I use sulfate of potash AS A POWDER, and dilute with water so it can travels down to the root-zone.

Potassium is recommended to use TOGETHER with nitrogen in equal ratio for best result. So whatever amount of nitrogen you use, the same amount of potassium should also be used. Nitrogen and potassium are 2 nutrients most needed by plants.

Calcium and phosphorus are utilized at much less ratio than potassium and nitrogen. The advantage of fish bone meal is: it's a slow-released phosphorus, lasting for up to 3 years.

Below is a link to Kelp4Less potassium sulfate (sulfate of potash) sold 1 lb. for $8, free shipping. NPK is 0-0-50, you'll get 50 for potassium, so only a tiny amount diluted in water is sufficient. Last year I was amazed at the result: immediate green-up of leaves, more blooms, and bigger blooms. From that time on, I lowered my high pH water with potassium sulfate, rather than powder gypsum.

Most Soil tests do not test for nitrogen, since nitrogen is mobile, and bacteria in soil can fix nitrogen for plants. From Buzzle: "The nitrogen fixing bacteria and other micro organisms that fix nitrogen are collectively called 'Diazotrophs'. There are many strains of these bacteria in soil which do this task. They are important agents in the 'Nitrogen Cycle'.""

What's nice about using organics, rather than harsh chemicals is: organics do not harm the beneficial bacteria that fix nitrogen for plants. However, organics in high dose like gypsum (calcium sulfate) can zap out soil bacteria that fix nitrogen for plants. That's why I mix gypsum at the bottom of the hole to loosen up clay, rather than dumping it on top ... it becomes caustic to beneficial bacteria when it gunks up.

Below is a picture of my zone 5a alkaline clay garden. I put blood meal on the trees for the first few years when they were tiny babies, but stopped when became tall. The trees lose their leaves every year, and get nitrogen from the air (with the help of soil bacteria). I fertilizer my lawn twice a year (spring & fall), since the lawn is mown down weekly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kelp4less sulfate of potash 1 lb. for $8

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 15:38


clipped on: 04.29.2014 at 11:45 pm    last updated on: 04.29.2014 at 11:45 pm

RE: Bouquets of no-spray roses (Follow-Up #42)

posted by: Strawberryhill on 04.20.2014 at 12:12 pm in Organic Rose Growing Forum

Hi aztcqn: Thank you for your kind words, supporting balance in nature. It helps me a lot, since for the past years Bayer and chemical-promoters have been posting in this forum ... totally inappropriate for the guidelines established by Gardenweb.

Seaweed, a coastline Southern CA with heavy fog, grows the most disease-free & organic roses. Her HMF profile (Myrosetime) is absolutely stunning with 160+ clean roses.

Blood meal is reported as acidic, bone meal is alkaline (the calcium in bone meal increases pH) ... those 2 would balance each other. What's needed is potassium, best through banana peels (NPK 0-3-42, high potassium of 42).

I use tomato-fertilizer since it's higher in potassium .. helps with disease-prevention in roses. Espoma Tomato-Tone has NPK 3-4-6 (potassium at 6), low-odor.

Also less stinky is "Pennington Alaska 4-6-6 Vegetable and Tomato Dry Fertilizer", at Menards $7 for a 3 lb. bag (phosphorus & potassium at 6) with alfalfa meal, fish meal, cottonseed meal, and kelp meal. Menards also sells VERY STINKY chicken manure (Chikity-do-do), 25 lbs. for $8.99, with NPK 5-3-2.5 (potassium at 2.5). It's cheaper than Amazon prices.

For beneficial bacteria, HomeDepot sells "Niu 0.75 cu. ft. Chicken Manure". This is composted so it's less stinky. Lowe's also sells chicken manure for $3.99 for a smaller bag.

I got bullied and ridiculed for the info. I researched in the regular Rose forum, that's why I posted them here. People don't want to hear the truth, such as:

Many of the pesticides (includes fungicides) have health risks that are not known until later. May 13, 2013 was the news on Parkinson's disease "Researchers found exposure to pesticides increased the risk of developing the disease by 33 percent to 80 percent. Some pesticides were considered to be of higher risk than others, with weed killers like paraquat and FUNGICIDES MANEB AND MANCOZEB causing twice the risk for development of Parkinson’s disease ... Another recent publication found that rural residents who drank contaminated well water had an increased risk��"up to 90 percent��"of developing Parkinson’s."

Here is a link that might be useful: Pesticides and Parkinson Disease


clipped on: 04.29.2014 at 11:25 pm    last updated on: 04.29.2014 at 11:25 pm

Marechal Niel in Indiana

posted by: hoosierbob on 04.25.2014 at 01:50 pm in Antique Roses Forum

Rose Lovers,

I always enjoy everyone's posts on this site, though I only have a couple of roses, the remnants of a larger collection before we had kids and before we moved. This is one of my favorite oldies....Marechal Niel. It was looking pretty good today, so I thought I'd share.

Thanks for all the pictures you post on this forum....the large climbers and shrubs in warmer climates are unbelievably lush and beautiful. Bob


clipped on: 04.29.2014 at 07:01 pm    last updated on: 04.29.2014 at 07:02 pm

RE: Molasses for soil improvement and nematode management (Follow-Up #19)

posted by: Strawberryhill on 03.14.2014 at 09:38 am in Organic Rose Growing Forum

Thank you, seaweed, for your experience. Seaweed has decades of experience growing over 160 roses in Southern CA. In areas like CA which don't have much rain like my Chicagoland, gypsum (at 17% sulfur) is widely recommended by University Extensions. The pH of rain is 5.6, more optimal for roses than the alkaline irrigation water of CA.

University of Colorado stated, "Although rock phosphate is useful in many farming applications, it is NOT available for plant use in soils with pH above neutral (pH 7). In order for rock phosphate to become plant available, the acidity of the soil solution must dissolve the P into a plant-available inorganic P ..... Bone meal also should be applied to soils that have a pH below 7 to provide the necessary acidic soil solution for the P to convert to plant-available P. " See link:

Different crops have different nutrients needs. My lawn fertilizer is high in nitrogen, for lawn's foliage, which is mown down weekly. Roses are grown for blooms. To produce 140 perfect petals like Charles Darwin bloom, a high amount of potassium is needed for maximum osmotic pressure to draw water up the stem.

Roses' demand for potassium and water is MUCH MORE than lawn. The calcium requirement of roses is also high to form rigid petals that can stand many days in the vase without wilting. Gypsum provides 22% calcium, can be utilized at pH above 7 ... versus 19% of calcium in colloidal rock phosphate, which requires pH below 7. (Data taken from EarthCo.'s soil-testing booklet).

I already tested high-phosphorus on roses, NOT impressed with the result. University of Alabama's research of agriculture yields in cotton, and wheat, plus Purdue University research on alfalfa showed that the ratio of potassium should be double or triple that of phosphorus for MAXIMUM CROP YIELD.

I already put tons of FREE bark-mulch on my soil for the past 14 years. My village has a big pile of free bark chips nearby, but that glued right into my pH 7.7 clay, plus provide zero nutrients. The only mulch that stayed fluffy longer is acidic pine mulch, at pH 4.5, but I have to pay at least $3 per bag for that.

Potassium is also essential for disease-prevention in roses: rust and black spots. There's a U. of Nebraska research on rust, with the title, "Medium pH and Leaf Nutrient Concentration Influence Rust Pustule diameter on leaves." Their conclusion: Plants grown in pH 5.8 medium show significantly larger rust pustules than plants grown in pH 6.5 or pH 7.9. Concentrations of Cl (chloride) and Mn (manganese) were more in high rust. In contrast, concentration of K (potassium) were less in high rust. Alabama Agriculture Cotton Research also recommended potassium fertilizer to reduce rust.

In my dolomitic limestone clay in Chicagoland, I prefer sulfate of potash to lower my pH 7.7, for nutrients to be released. At my high pH, iron and manganese are tied-up, resulting in yellowing (chlorosis) and failure to bloom. However, sulfate of potash (21 % sulfur) has salt-index of 43, and more expensive than gypsum (17% sulfur) with LOW salt-index of 8.

For acidic & high-rain regions like East Coast, muriate of potash (potassium chloride) is used, with a high salt index of over 110, but NOT ACIDIC. Epsoma's potash is made of potassium chloride, that's the stuff that we use to de-ice slippery sidewalk in my zone 5a winter.

Last year I spent time researching on Green Sand for potassium. But a Huge amount of Green Sand, at an outrageous cost, is needed to supply the large amount of potassium required by roses.

One University Extension did a field-research on Green Sand, control, and regular sand. The result? Both the green sand and coarse sand improved agriculture yield, but the coarse sand is much cheaper. Their conclusion: the improvement is due to the mechanical benefit of fluffier & more loamy soil with sand, rather than the chemical benefit, which is low in potassium compared to sulfate of potash at NPK 0-0-50. Espoma green sand has NPK of 0-0-0.1, only 0.1 potassium at $25.12 for 10 lbs.

To prevent pipes from corroding and to deodorize tap water, hydrated lime is added by municipals. Hydrated lime is unstable and binds with iron, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and ESPECIALLY potassium in the soil, making it less available to plants, resulting in chlorosis (pale blooms & foliage). Potassium chloride is used to soften hard water.

Below is a bouquet of Paul Neyron (pink), Sweet Promise (orange), and Fire Fighter (red). The many complex and firm petals of roses demand tremendous amount of water and potassium, in addition to phosphorus and trace elements for deep and vivid colors.

EarthCo. is the soil-testing company that provides soil-test & recommendations specific for the crop being grown, plus providing a booklet that explains the basis of soil science, for $21.95. See link below:

Here is a link that might be useful: EarthCo, or drgoodearth soil test for $21.95

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Fri, Mar 14, 14 at 12:35


clipped on: 04.28.2014 at 10:58 pm    last updated on: 04.28.2014 at 10:58 pm

RE: Molasses for soil improvement and nematode management (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: Strawberryhill on 12.14.2013 at 02:18 pm in Organic Rose Growing Forum

Molasses has an acidic pH, and sulfate of potash is quite acidic (23% of sulfur, compared to 17% sulfur in gypsum). A nursery once recommended making the soil more acidic by pouring a can of Coke into the soil.

Here's how to change the colors of booms from red range to blue range, from Robert Griesbach, a research plant geneticist at the ARS Floral and Nursery Plants Unit, located in Beltsville, Maryland. Here's an excerpt from the link below:

"Color-producing pigments include the following:
The first, Flavonoids, are quite common in roses. They produce red through blue colors.

Carotenoids, found in sunflowers and marigolds, produce yellow and orange coloring.

Chlorophyll, the third pigment, gives plants their green color.

"By mixing and matching these three pigments," says Griesbach, "an endless array of colors can be created." His lab also discovered that you can change the color of a flower, for example, by changing the acidity level (or pH) of the flower's cells.

So, with a change in pH in the rose flower cell - interacting with the rose flower cell flavonoids - instead of being blood-red, the rose's petals will turn blue."

Jim from PA already posted how he changed Mr. Lincoln from Red to Purple by putting sugar in the vase.

Here is a link that might be useful: Research on changing flower color


clipped on: 04.28.2014 at 10:50 pm    last updated on: 04.28.2014 at 10:50 pm

RE: Worm castings - miracle cure for diseases and pests? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: ashkebird on 06.06.2003 at 06:09 am in Organic Rose Growing Forum

I agree with the above poster: Make your own worm compost.

Its not hard, its excellent for the environment, its non toxic, it reduces waste in the landfill (unless you already compost, in which case thank you!) and this moist black stuff really does an amazing job of retaining moisture. Free extra worms for fishing!

My tubs are made of rubbermaid plastic tubs. I use the smaller sizes, and have several of them. Sometimes a bin can go bad, especially when you are starting out, and I just think several smaller ones (10 gal size? Its a rectangular shape. Maybe 15 gal?) are better than one big one.

I used a dremel tool to drill lots of small holes in the top for air circulation (tops of the sides, not in the lid,) Also some larger holes are drilled in the bottom to allow for drainage.

For bedding I use shredded newspaper (office paper line shredder, not confetti,) and 1 bag of starbucks used coffeegrounds. They usually give them out free in silver 5lb bags, (or will save them if you ask,) and its the perfect amout for a smaller rubbermaid bin. I add no water to the paper, I mix those two together, put the lid on and by the next day, the moisture level is perfect. The ground are moist. I also mix in some leftover horse vitamins (not sure what else to do with them,) a handful of real soil ("for grit" its recommended,) a little bone meal, and little alfalfa meal for boosted nutrition, then I pile in all my old tea bags, pieces of leftover fruits and veggies and kitchen scraps, no meat.

Then in a few months, you'll have the richest darkest moistest worm castings. Have fun seperating them from the worms. :) (That's the hard part.)

But that book recommended above is excellent. There are a million websites and there is a whole forum here about it called "Vermicomposting" where they'll answer all your questions.

Aerated compost tea made from worm castings is just fantastic. But to me, especially for tropical plants or houseplants, there is no better product. Its not the fertilizer "rating", its the incredible biological activity in the castings which make them priceless. This breaks down nutrients already in the soil much faster and makes them more available to plants. It absolutely holds moisture better and yet has great drainage.

An example: Last year I went nuts and grew 15 different tomatoes in big 15 gal pots. I decided that I would use 3/4 potting soil, 1/4 chicken manure and worm compost mix (which had worm eggs in it, and some worms.) Plus about two cups of a mixed organic fertilizer.

Plants grew great and died and I put them aside without dumping. I need soil now and am going through them. Of course the roots of the plants died when I chopped them off and have been degrading. The soil inside these pots is like BLACK GOLD. It is FULL of worms, its RICH, when I pick up a handful, I really have to fight myself not to just lick it or something, it looks that good. :) I planted bulbs only in that and they were amazing. The "quality" of the soil, the feel of worm compost is just so perfect. Its about "the big picture" of available micronutrients, quality and biological life, rather than just NPK.

So spend the 10 bucks on the book and some worms, read the vermicomposting forum and get ready to really spoil your roses. Oh, also, I think what they were trying to say with "stronger roses" claim, is that a plant which is getting all the nutrition it needs is less likely to be attacked by insects (which its now being shown prefer weak new high N growth, often created when people really pour on those liquid fertilizers...) more drought hardy, more winter hardy, stronger and overall a healthier plant. The healthier you are (us too,) and less stressed, the better you can fight off disease and pests, period.

Definitely check out worm composting. Its super easy, its not smelly (it shouldn't be,) and the product is worth any trouble, for me at least. Good luck!


home made worm castings
clipped on: 04.17.2014 at 10:43 pm    last updated on: 04.17.2014 at 10:43 pm

RE: rose midge control (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: carolro on 05.30.2010 at 03:09 pm in Roses Forum

I have battling Rose midge for the 3rd year now. Last year I called the Bayer rep. Here's what he said:
Spray with 3 in 1 weekly until you get control. Then every 14 days. He said granules wouldn't be effective so I didn't go that route.

I just discovered some RM today. So I am going to spray every 5 days until I see some improvement. I have read a lot of research on RM, from what I read the better product to fight it is called Doom and cames from Canada. Can't get it here.
Carol R


clipped on: 04.10.2013 at 08:19 am    last updated on: 04.10.2013 at 08:19 am

RE: rose midge control (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: henryinct on 05.02.2009 at 11:18 am in Roses Forum

Gardenmanya, None of the granular lawn products specifically mentions midge but they all seem to work. I have never used any Bayer product and never will and I control midge very well. Get it down early and a second time and maybe a third time and you will control midge. I have not used the delayed release products and I can tell you that spraying for midge once you have it will have no effect whatsoever. You must kill the larvae after they have dropped into the soil. I also believe that heavy mulching is beneficial but I don't know this as a fact.

Also one more thing to consider. I have had separate smaller rose plantings on the property where there has never been an instance of midge. I also grew roses for over 15 years before I saw midge for the first time. This suggests that midge needs to get established before it becomes an ongoing problem. What happens is that you get it the first time ever in a huge rush after which it takes time to get it under control. When you do it is generally no longer a problem.



clipped on: 04.10.2013 at 08:18 am    last updated on: 04.10.2013 at 08:18 am

RE: climbing iceberg (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: wanda on 06.26.2006 at 01:43 am in California Gardening Forum

Diana, it's trained on a ladder trellis.

Davissue, it reblooms quite nicely, sort of like Don Juan...Bloom, rest, bloom, rest, etc., although if I would deadhead it more often instead of waiting to do it all at once, I'm sure it would be continually blooming.
It's just now budded for it's 3rd blooming having been cut back and fertilized a couple of weeks ago.



clipped on: 04.04.2013 at 09:23 pm    last updated on: 04.04.2013 at 09:23 pm

climbing iceberg

posted by: wanda on 09.06.2005 at 11:31 pm in California Gardening Forum

This was my climbing iceberg rose back in May.

Image link: climbing iceberg (55 k)


clipped on: 04.04.2013 at 09:21 pm    last updated on: 04.04.2013 at 09:22 pm

RE: Alfalfa tea recipe (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: madcitymike on 02.17.2008 at 12:08 am in Roses Forum

You'll find 12 cups of alfalfa pellets to be just about right for 32 gallons of water. They really swell when wet. I usually add a cup of epsom salts and a couple ounces of chelated iron as well. Any leftover solids can be spread on the garden or added to your compost pile.



clipped on: 03.15.2013 at 11:46 pm    last updated on: 03.15.2013 at 11:46 pm

RE: anyone use comfrey as a fertilizer? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: moringaplace on 02.01.2013 at 09:50 pm in Florida Gardening Forum

Dear friends:We are specialist in Comfrey (and Moringa Oleifera too) and every Comfrey are invasive, everyone,in special here in Florida.
The comfrey tea is amazing and very easy to make.In a 5 gallon bucket put 18 to 20 leaves where this ones have between 12 inches(in large) and more and hold in the bottom with some weight (a rock) and fill the bucket with water,cover and let rest for about 4 to 5 weeks and after this period of time,for each gallon of comfrey tea,you must add 8 gallon of water and is ready for use around the plants or spry.NOTE:Remember the potatoes,sweet potatoes and the corn don`t like this tea and the same happen with the red ants and snails.


clipped on: 03.15.2013 at 11:26 pm    last updated on: 03.15.2013 at 11:27 pm

Clematis 'H.F. Young'

posted by: Towery on 02.22.2011 at 11:42 pm in Clematis Forum

Anyone tried Clematis 'H.F. Young' or similar as a rambling ground cover?


clipped on: 03.11.2013 at 10:41 am    last updated on: 03.11.2013 at 10:41 am

Magnolia x wieseneri

posted by: leslie6ri on 06.07.2011 at 02:06 pm in New England Gardening Forum

This is my beloved Magnolia x wieseneri that I searched for for years. It seems to be available in the U.S. now, but was only available in great Britain and Holland back then. (When I die, I hope to spend eternity in the Netherlands...) I so desperately wanted this small tree because I wanted to know what it smelled like. Some past garden writer mentioned what a wonderful scent it had, and I just had to know myself. --And now I do. If anyone out there remembers those Pepto-Bismol pink Canada mints that tasted like wintergreen (do they still make them?)... That's exactly what the M. x wieseneri flowers smell like to me.








clipped on: 03.08.2013 at 08:45 pm    last updated on: 03.08.2013 at 08:46 pm

Are there any camellias hardy in zone 5?

posted by: pegzhere on 06.22.2006 at 12:03 pm in Camellia Forum

New gardener here trying to find out what flowers will work for me here in Iowa in a somewhat shady with spots of sun garden. I thought Camellias were zone 6 and up but seems from some of the posts here there might be some I can use. TIA


clipped on: 03.07.2013 at 09:20 pm    last updated on: 03.07.2013 at 09:35 pm

RE: Planting z6 roses in 5b? (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: Nippstress on 04.23.2012 at 07:59 pm in Roses Forum

Hi JessicaBe

For what it's worth, I've grown some of the teas you list in a zone 6 pocket in my zone 5b garden for about 4-5 years. I'll post another thread sometime about these when they bloom, but my bottom line reaction is - it depends. Like Seil I enjoy zone pushing and don't spend a lot of money on my tea experiments (all from Chamblees, own root gallons). The results are decidedly "OK", but as expected none of them are as spectacular as they'd be in a warmer zone. Most of them have survived - so far the only ones that died were Safrano and Monsieur Tillier, though Duchesse de Brabant got planted later than I'd have liked last year and isn't doing so well yet.

The following tea roses have survived and bloom reasonably well for me: Mrs. B.R. Cant, Madame Antoine Mari, Maman Cochet, Mrs. Dudley Cross, and the best of the bunch has been Georgetown tea (thanks to Olga for the recommendation). Remember that I do winter protect everything in my yard, and the teas get protected first with a full-sized bag of leaves next to them rather than a chopped down third of the bag. I doubt they'd bloom much without protection even if they survived, since teas want to build up structure over the years from existing old wood.

So I agree with what has been suggested - feel free to try it but plan to winter protect them and don't expect the results you get in warmer climates.



clipped on: 03.06.2013 at 04:03 pm    last updated on: 03.06.2013 at 04:04 pm

Central Indiana Plant Swap 2010

posted by: katielovesdogs on 03.07.2010 at 07:28 pm in Get-Togethers Forum

Central Indiana Plant Swap 2010

PLEASE tell all your gardening friends, family, and colleagues! Were having the annual Central Indiana Plant Swap on May 16th.

Over the past few years, the numbers have started to grow. I got some terrific plants the last couple of years and got rid of a bunch of extras. I have a ton of stuff this year to share, and Im sure that many of you do, too. If you dont have many plants to share, come anyway. The people I have met at this event in the past have had very generous spirits. Most of us would be delighted to help out a new gardener with some of our extras.


Date: Sunday, May 16, 2010 

Time: 2:00 P.M. 

Location: Holliday Park, 6363 Spring Mill Road, Indianapolis, IN 46260 

Directions inside the park: Once you enter the park take an immediate left. Then pull into the first parking lot on the right. We will be under the giant sycamore tree. 
Bring yourself, plants & trades, family, friends, tables, chairs, beverages and snacks to share. Ill bring some lemonade and cookies. It would be nice, but not necessary, if others would brings some treats.

plants, well rooted cuttings potted up, bulbs, shrubs, happy seedlings, garden ornaments, extra gardening implements, gardening magazines, etc. 

PLEASE MARK ALL PLANT MATERIALS WITH THE PLANT NAME AND CARE REQUIRED!!! Also, mark any plants as invasive or poisonous, if known. I just go to an online nursery that sells the plants that Im giving away and cut and paste the care instructions into a document. I print out the directions and staple them to the plant, a piece of window blind, or container.
Since it worked fairly well last year, we're trying the Round Robin swap again: 
Round One - pick one plant 
Next Round - pick one plant 
Next Round - pick two plants 
Next Round - pick two plants 
Next Round - pick three plants 
Next Round - pick four plants 
And so on, and so on....
This way everyone gets a chance to get some of the plants they really have on eye on. This works well and other swaps have had great success with it in the past. Everyone should be able to take home as many plants as they bring. 
For folks who only bring a few plants, many of the folks who have LOTS of extra plants can usually be convinced to part with some of their extras AFTER the official Round Robin is finished.
Additionally, you can pre-arrange individual trades through other GardenWebber's trade lists. (PSSST! Everyone should update their trade lists!) These trades will happen before (or after) the big Round Robin trade.
Some tips for the day: 
Bring a box or container labeled with your name to put your new plants in after swapping. 
If you have room in the car...bring an extra table to arrange your plants on. 
Print out pictures of your plants in bloom, so folks will know what they look like in all their glory! 
If it looks like rain, bring those rain coats, umbrellas, etc. We plan to meet even if it rains.
**Post here if you are attending so that we can all see who is coming and can check trade lists. Or email me, so we can get an approximate head count for the swap. 
E-mail me if you wish to be put on the plant-swap e-mail list or if you have any questions. 
I can't wait to see you all there! Hopefully we will have a great crowd with all the new gardening friends you may bring along! 



clipped on: 04.26.2010 at 11:22 am    last updated on: 04.26.2010 at 11:23 am

RE: Overwintered Geraniums (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: goren on 03.03.2010 at 12:49 pm in Geranium Forum

Annie, they're spindly and less than ideal green color because they are not receiving adequate light.
Its at this time you remove them from the pots--with that old soil that is no good any more, at least, no good for growing young plants. Throw the old stuff into the compost or on your lawn and buy fresh potting soil.

Cut the geraniums back to about 4" < o >; remove all the old flowers, old leaves and cut back any damaged or weak stems. Look at the roots, see any damage, remove any that are also weak. Tweak them.
Do this with lots of newspaper under them to catch all that mess. Then into clean pots. I recommend clay that have been pre-soaked overnight so they don't steal the water you give the new starts.
Fresh potting soil and something in between it and the drainage holes. Make sure your potted plants drain well after each and every watering.
Take your plants to the best sunniest window --south, west or east will do nicely. Now water to drainage, and dump the excess that fills the saucer. Never leave water in the saucer below much past 5 minutes or so.
Now don't water again until new leaves form which will be in a week or so. Water then as the soil requires and always to drainage, dump the excess.
Turn the plant 1/4 turn every other day to ensure all parts of the plant receive the same amount of light.
In about 4 to 5 weeks the plant will have gotten a major amount of foliage. Keep giving it as much sunlight as the window will give; geraniums are full sun plants.
No need for artificial light; the days are getting longer every day; that's all they need.
Fertilize only when the plant shows adequate foliage that needs feeding and only at 1/2 rate until full measure of foliage shows up. That'd be into April/May.
AS the plant grows you can weather them by putting them outside during the warm part of the day and back indoors at night, giving them longer periods as the days go by.
Put them outside then when all danger of frost is past.

Soon, your geraniums will be as good as they were last summer. They will bloom when the light levels prod them to do so.


clipped on: 04.24.2010 at 12:16 am    last updated on: 04.24.2010 at 12:16 am

RE: Comfrey Question (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: habitat_gardener on 02.28.2007 at 10:39 pm in Soil Forum

I love growing comfrey! Mine doesn't spread because we don't have rain in the summer, and it wilts if left unwatered. I planted the first one under the hose bib to catch stray drops of water, and it's very happy. It gets 2.5 ft. high and 3 ft. wide in the summer, with many flowering stalks. When it starts encroaching on the path and getting in the way (it's at a community garden), I cut off the ratty leaves and whatever's in the paths to make comfrey tea for my plants, or to put directly in the compost bins.

To make comfrey tea for the garden, I fill a bucket with comfrey, cover it with water, and let it ferment for a few days. I think the key to controlling it is to use it. In northern Calif., at least, it can be cut back 3 or 4 times a year. I have been growing it for 2-3 years at the edges of my garden and last year I added 3 more plants next to the compost bins, and it has not spread, but I do cut it back often and use it either for garden tea or directly on the compost pile. It has been so well behaved that I'm always looking for more places to add it. Maybe under the raspberries? Maybe a whole row of it along the compost bins, instead of a few separate plants?

Comfrey mines the soil and brings up minerals, so it's not so effective in containers.
I did keep one plant alive in a container for a year or so, but it wilted sooner than any of the others and was not nearly as robust -- it hardly ever had enough (or big enough) leaves to harvest. I planted all of mine from small pieces of root -- a three-inch section is all you need. But if you want to dig it up, you will never get all the root pieces. I dug up one plant last year so I could send off some root pieces, and then I potted up the tiny rootlets that were left over. They all became plants! (And the original plant recovered quickly, too.) I've heard it can be eradicated by deep, persistent mulching in this climate.

In late fall or winter, the foliage dies back. A couple days ago I saw tiny green nubs coming up, which I will have to check on tomorrow morning because we are supposed to have another freeze tomorrow night.

An easier to manage compost crop is borage. It's a self-seeding annual with edible blue flowers and makes a wonderful border, though it does get mangy after a while. Even in my mulched garden, I get borage seedlings, and if I want more I can always find some growing as "weeds" in other parts of the garden. It gets up to 3 feet high. The bees love it -- it's a great plant to draw pollinators to the garden. I love eating the flowers (check for ants first, they also like the drop of sweet liquid inside the flower).

Finally, I have a big cardoon growing as a compost crop. I'm not sure I like it, mostly because it gets farmed by ants and it's quite vigorous, almost weedy. I let the foliage die off in the fall, and now it's already 3-4 ft. high and wide! Certainly it's a pest in the wild lands, where it thrives and spreads with no irrigation. In my garden, it's useful mainly because it thrives on neglect and produces greens for the bin when most other plants are dormant. Also, it's a big green presence, and I like the flowers (purple thistles).

I also use yarrows to encourage pollinators and beneficial insects. The yellow yarrow (Moonlight) spreads even with little water, but it is easy to dig up. I divided one clump into 24 plants a year or so ago, then I gave away a bunch of those after they had grown big, and I still have a wealth of yarrow. This year I'm removing some of the Moonlight and adding more of the species (Achillea millefolium), which is supposed to be more invasive but less drought tolerant, so I will see how it does.


clipped on: 08.23.2007 at 12:33 am    last updated on: 08.23.2007 at 12:37 am