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Thread: Gardening & Botany Thread

  1. #21
    Homo siderius Sistamatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sappho View Post
    On an entirely different note, I recently came across this futuristic-looking flower (Osteospermum 'Pink Whirls') and it immediately reminded me of you:
    The petals look nearly identical to the lila löffel in the milchcreme ei you sent.
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

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  2. #22
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    More 'gardening'!

    Greenhouse update:



    Front from left to right, all treated with rooting hormone:
    1) Apple tree cutting, 2) Radermachera sinica cutting, 3) Basil cuttings (from supermarket plant)

    The self-sowed basil is sprouting nicely after only a week:



    The Bellis perennis, not so much (soil looks wetter than it is):



    Also cleared my kitchen windowsill, which had previously been occupied by two ugly pots (not pictured, thankfully) of Pelargonium citrodorum withering about. An acquaintance once gave it to me as a gift, so I couldn't just throw it away. Again, I just took two healthy-looking cuttings and planted them into new soil, without even bothering with the rooting hormone, as Pelargonia tend to root like weeds, anyway. The new situation:



    From left to right:
    1) Avocado seed (treated with rooting hormone to see whether that concoction actually does anything at all)
    2) Repotted basil stalks from a supermarket plant
    3) Strawberry bulb Fragaria x ananassa 'Maxim', also from the supermarket. It came in a pack of four but two of those bulbs were definitely dead.
    4) Strawberry seed Fragaria vesca var. semperflorens, or wild white strawberry.
    5) Pelargonium cutting.

    Close-up of the second 'rescue' strawberry:



    It remains to be seen whether any of the two will survive. According to the omniscient internet, they should not bear much fruit due to a lack of pollination indoors, unless one gets cracking with a small paint brush. But that shall be thought about when/if they flower.

  3. #23
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    I did gardening this spring for the first time in forever. Some of my seeds have sprouted (cucumbers, okra, lettuce - yes; cilantro - barely; basil - bust) so I moved the survivors into what is probably going to be an extremely over-crowded vegetable garden. I also planted potatoes and the beginning of a three sisters garden (corn, then beans, then squash). Plus we dug up and moved around a couple of bushes, put in a camellia and a jasmine...

    I have to say, seedlings give me anxiety. Are they going to sprout? Are the conditions right? *gets finicky and adjusts things* When should I plant them? Where should I plant them? *plants them* Are there too many of them? Are they going to die? Are they going to choke the other plants? *frustration* *worry* *angst*

    I'm much happier just digging a hole in the dirt and putting in a plant. If it lives, great. If it dies, it was never meant to be.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    I did gardening this spring for the first time in forever. Some of my seeds have sprouted (cucumbers, okra, lettuce - yes; cilantro - barely; basil - bust) so I moved the survivors into what is probably going to be an extremely over-crowded vegetable garden. I also planted potatoes and the beginning of a three sisters garden (corn, then beans, then squash). Plus we dug up and moved around a couple of bushes, put in a camellia and a jasmine...
    Basil and cilantro both need a reasonably warm environment (20°C/70°F) to germinate – depending on which climate zone you live in, it might have been to early to sow them outside?

    I have to say, seedlings give me anxiety. Are they going to sprout? Are the conditions right? *gets finicky and adjusts things* When should I plant them? Where should I plant them? *plants them* Are there too many of them? Are they going to die? Are they going to choke the other plants? *frustration* *worry* *angst*

    I'm much happier just digging a hole in the dirt and putting in a plant. If it lives, great. If it dies, it was never meant to be.
    If the following is obvious, I beg your pardon, but it was quite a revelation to me at the time. I used to have problems with seedlings until I started using a special, nutrient-poor potting soil which is kept moist but not wet (either by covering pots with cling film or by keeping them in a little greenhouse). Once the seedlings are past the cotyledon stage, they can be transferred into a richer soil. Putting seeds/cuttings into regular potting soil often doesn't work (or produces weak plants) because the soil's fertilisation causes the tender roots to 'burn'.

    – Growing from seed strikes me as rewarding for the sheer mind-bender of how much plant material can grow from a minuscule grain.

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    The nutrient-rich soil I've been using recently is mildly infested with Sciaridae, or fungus gnats. Just put up small adhesive traps to catch the imagines, going to order a mixture containing Bacillus thuringiensis, which is supposed to kill the larvae organically without pesticides or damage to the plants.

    The bird will eat those gnats if I hand them to him, but he's too lazy/not skilled enough to catch them himself. Lazy bugger

  6. #26
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    The kale and mixed braising greens have tiny sprouts now. The tomato plants have put on a couple inches. No sprouts from anything else yet.
    Tally: Tomatoes, kale, mixed greens, rainbow chard, jalapeños, poblanos, Bell peppers, black beans, pinto beans, garlic, potatoes, ginger, coriander, oregano, dill, cumin

  7. #27
    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sappho View Post
    The nutrient-rich soil I've been using recently is mildly infested with Sciaridae, or fungus gnats. Just put up small adhesive traps to catch the imagines, going to order a mixture containing Bacillus thuringiensis, which is supposed to kill the larvae organically without pesticides or damage to the plants.

    The bird will eat those gnats if I hand them to him, but he's too lazy/not skilled enough to catch them himself. Lazy bugger
    They're in my terrarium! (not the ones we're putting together and delivering next week, although one has to assume they'll be in there too).

    I admit, i'm wondering whether/what I can do with them. Should I be trying to eliminate them? The terrarium is literally a closed, essentially tropical eco-system, so they're not going to spread around the house or anything and I'm not sure the environment out here would even be conducive for them if they did. I can't really dry out the soil or get rid of their food source, but are they going to destroy their own environment or is the closed system going to establish an equilibrium?

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACow View Post
    They're in my terrarium! (not the ones we're putting together and delivering next week, although one has to assume they'll be in there too).

    I admit, i'm wondering whether/what I can do with them. Should I be trying to eliminate them? The terrarium is literally a closed, essentially tropical eco-system, so they're not going to spread around the house or anything and I'm not sure the environment out here would even be conducive for them if they did. I can't really dry out the soil or get rid of their food source, but are they going to destroy their own environment or is the closed system going to establish an equilibrium?
    As far as I understand, the adult form is harmless and a mere eyesore; plus, the imago has a lifespan of only five days, so that's not really a problem. The females (which make up 90% of the population), however, can lay several hundred eggs each, from which larvae will hatch quickly. Once the population explodes, the larvae will begin to feast on tender roots of the plants, which of course is not beneficial to overall plant health (and may even kill some younger or weaker plants). Your ecosystem will only curb reproduction and regulate the population if you add predators, such as nematodes (which many people do, actually, but which can literally take on a life of their own).

    Much commercially-sold potting soil is already infested with fungus gnat eggs. Apparently an outbreak can be prevented by sterilising soil in the oven or the microwave before using it. If you already have a fungus gnat population, it may make sense to water your plant with a Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) preparation, such as one of those:



    Obviously, if you're only going to treat a terrarium, you'll want to get a small package, unless you wish to treat all water reserves of NSW Today I ordered 20ml of Bti solution from a European provider, as one apparently only needs one drop (!) or two to render ten litres of water effective as a fungus gnat killer.

    I'll report back on the actual results

  9. #29
    Homo siderius Sistamatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACow View Post
    They're in my terrarium! (not the ones we're putting together and delivering next week, although one has to assume they'll be in there too).

    I admit, i'm wondering whether/what I can do with them. Should I be trying to eliminate them? The terrarium is literally a closed, essentially tropical eco-system, so they're not going to spread around the house or anything and I'm not sure the environment out here would even be conducive for them if they did. I can't really dry out the soil or get rid of their food source, but are they going to destroy their own environment or is the closed system going to establish an equilibrium?
    The smaller the closed ecosystem is, the more vulnerable it is to imbalances. The same wisdom applies to aquariums as to closed terrariums. Bigger=easier to keep going.
    If your water level in your 1000 gallon saltwater aquarium drops a few inches, the fish survive, but if it drops even one inch in a ten gallon aquarium, the solute concentrations are drastically altered -- often to the point of lethality.

    In a closed system, the biggest issue is O2/CO2 exchange. If you get a population explosion on the gigantic mostly closed terrarium known as Earth that causes more CO2 to be created and less to be absorbed, and at the same time consumes more O2 than is created, it takes a very long time for the effects to be noted because the percent change from one measured instant to the next is very small...but in geologic time scales can be quite dramatic. In a little globe in your livingroom, the shift in O2 and CO2 levels caused by a swarm of flies can be rapid has the potential to cause extirpation of any sensitive genetic lineage within, however if your terrarium survives the initial shift, and if there is stuff in the terrarium that the flies need to survive multiple generations, equilibrium may be reached with your flies as part of the ecosystem.
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

    I'm not avoiding socializing I'm helping socializing avoid me! --MoneyJungle

  10. #30
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sappho View Post
    Basil and cilantro both need a reasonably warm environment (20°C/70°F) to germinate – depending on which climate zone you live in, it might have been to early to sow them outside?



    If the following is obvious, I beg your pardon, but it was quite a revelation to me at the time. I used to have problems with seedlings until I started using a special, nutrient-poor potting soil which is kept moist but not wet (either by covering pots with cling film or by keeping them in a little greenhouse). Once the seedlings are past the cotyledon stage, they can be transferred into a richer soil. Putting seeds/cuttings into regular potting soil often doesn't work (or produces weak plants) because the soil's fertilisation causes the tender roots to 'burn'.

    – Growing from seed strikes me as rewarding for the sheer mind-bender of how much plant material can grow from a minuscule grain.
    I actually started most of them inside in a little plastic greenhouse, but I knew I was doing something wrong. ...I feel like I know just enough about gardening to know that I'm screwing it up, but not enough to do it right.

    As least some of my plants are growing, heavy duty potting soil and all. Maybe next year I'll try again and change it up a bit. ...Or not.

    *irrational plant-induced anxiety*

    At least they're not indoor plants. Indoor plants are the worst. They die so slowly and fill the house with accusation and guilt.

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