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Ruby, pass on to John that I planted the daylilly today that I got at the Berkley Springs Master Gardener sale and set aside a division for you guys. I was talking to him about it at the swap. The cultivar is 'When My Sweetheart Returns' http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/71504/ I think this one is going to be a beauty.
Chantell, I don't know which one Jill is using, but I assume Jill is talking about a preemergent seed germination inhibitor. There are both chemical versions, and an organic one (corn gluten -- see http://www.enviroperfectsolutions.com/2011/06/the-truth-about-corn-gluten/). They don't kill weeds, but they stop seeds from germinating. So if you are troubled by annual weeds, they are a fix to consider. (I don't personally use them. I thought about using corn gluten on our grass, but because we overseed decided that wouldn't work for us.)
Gita, I too love getting goodies in the mail. Always lots of fun.
Terry, I will tell John about the Day Lily. Thank you so very much. I hope that you know that you are always more than welcome to some of whatever we have plenty of too, so please never be shy in asking. Most of the Day Lilies here have been planted some years now and are at the point where they are going to soon need to be divided. We will be over run with extras whenever that occurs.
Holly, that is the first picture I have seen of the greenhouse. I didn't take the official tour with John and Ric the day of the swap, but John was very impressed with it and there is talk of possibly doing one here in the future. Yippie!!!!! I would truly love to have one also.
Gosh Happy, I didn't realize until now what we had been missing, education wise with you not being active. You are blowing my mind with all the knowledge that seems to just roll off your tongue. Thank you so much for all that you have taught me in just a week or so. Wowee!!!
The weekend is here and I want to wish an enjoyable and productive one to all.
Oh Ruby, So sorry I didn't get you around the yard. After the swap I kept thinking of all the things I didn't get to do. The day was just a blur of wonderful memories. I wanted to thank everyone that talked to my parents they had such a good time.
I spent sometime today getting some of my swap plants in the ground. What wonderful plants.
Holly, brugs do grow very fast, which is something that I am still getting used to with mine. I got 3 little cuttings from Gita last October. I first rooted them in plastic cups, and then potted them up after they had rooted. Since then, I have potted them up 3 more times and they are huge now. Because the cuttings were taken above the 'Y', they are all blooming this year.
Pic 1 - the rooted cuttings in February of this year. They were sitting by the window in my work apartment in Baltimore. They got sun in the afternoon.
Pic 2 - taken today. All three plants have flower buds, but this one bloomed first. This plant is actually the smallest of the 3. The pot is a probably about 24" in diameter.
Pic 3 - taken today.
Jill, I got this plant from you and the pot was marked as 'trumpet vine'. It looks more like a vibernum of some sort. If you have rooted vibernums, can you tell me what variety this might be? I sure can use a vibernum :-).
I use corn gluten a good bit. It can be very effective in gardens and perennial beds. It's natural and breaks down to a mild nitrogen rather quickly. Doc told me about it about 3 years ago, Bless his wisdom!
The price is right, I get 50#s for about $20 at Agway. It's the active ingredient in Garden Preen and the only drawback is perennial beds reseeding themselves. When we want seedlings, we simply don't use it. I use it at Holly's parents all the time since we only get to garden there maybe once in 2 weeks. I'm not totally sure of it's action, I did lose 3 Asparagus crowns this year, but they were easily 10 years old. The crowns I received at the swap are already throwing up new shoots and filled the bed quite nicely. Ric
Happiness IS seeing your first Brug bloom!
Your bloomer is the Dr. Seuss. See the serrated leaf edges? That is a giveaway.
Are you inhaling deeply as you walk past it in the evening?
Looking out your office window--what is "The Greenhouse" Building you can see?
What is an Agway? Don't think we have it here...Is it like a Southern States?
I simply have to find out where my nearest S. States is here.
I KNOW where there is a Tractor Supply. Half hour drive away, though. N. on I-95 to the Aberdeen Exit. Rt. 22 (?)
Would they have the gluten?
Lookie what is blooming for me!!! The first Red Epi! The fronds are ALL covered with buds!!!!
#3--my Wintersweet shrub is regrowing SOOO full it is crazy! Remember I pruned it back
last fall by a good third?
Wow, some really gorgeous blooms shared here. Same as Holly, I have spent the last two days working on Swap plants. So much fun recalling the fun day and the fantastic folks who shared all their lovelies.
Pat gifted me with a Bromeliad a few months ago and it too is getting ready to set bloom. I was super excited upon seeing it earlier this week because I had very little faith in my ability to get it to bloom. I also noticed some tiny yellow blooms on the Valley Sunset Oxalis that I got from Coleup. That was exciting and I got it potted in a larger and more decorative pot yesterday in honor of it sprouting its first two blooms.
I too am especially loving the pale violet color of the Purple Oxalis from Gita. Gita, the pot you have me last fall and which completely went dormant during the winter has really put on a beautiful show the past couple of weeks. Gosh, so many things are at their best currently, that I don't know where to start naming them all.
Needless to say...I thank each and every one of you for all that you shared with me. You have certainly added to my pleasure and joy of gardening.
Nope, not Trumpet Vine. Critter I do remember looking at something and saying that, maybe a big to hasty. Could have been the leaves weren't fully open but looking at those leaves in the picture I wouldn't say that now.
Gooseberry was my first guess too. I have a Gooseberry bush, but it does nor bear fruit much.
It lives 3' away from the Maple next to my :YUK" bed.
This is a separate, raised bed that used to hold my N. Sea Oats. Trying to kill it...it keeps coming up.
Originally, it was where 2 Whiskey Barrels sat. In ONE season--the Maple roots invaded them
through the bottom hole and made digging in there impossible. In a couple more years--it was no use.
So--we peeled away the pieces of the Wh. barrels and then I asked my then DH to just build a bed around them
At one end of this bed is my Gooseberry bush. How it survives--I do not know!
Want to, somehow, dig it up and pot it in a lg. planter to grow free of all the choking tree roots.
I "inherited" this G. bush from an old Estonian man who is long, long deceased. It makes tasty Gooseberries...
I need to remove all the rotten landscape ties supporting this pile of junk (somehow...) and then de-construct this bed.
Then level it out a bit--put some paver blocks on top and it will give me a place to put some pots on.
Sally and Gita, you were right. The plant does look like a gooseberry bush.
Gita, I do not know what that Greenhouse sign was for. I think the building is an apartment build. I should take a closer look when I get back tomorrow. With the brugs in my garden now, I very rarely open the window blinds now :-).
Gita: I'm really sorry to hear about the fence. Usually neighbors talk about such things before erecting them, but thety might have thought it a gift to you if they are paying for it themselves. Have you asked them to reconsider, if only the height, and explained that it will interfere with your garden?
ROFL! Sorry, Donner, I sure thought it was trumpet vine that I had for you. Tom (Theresa's brother, who has also attended a couple of our seed swaps) did bring some gooseberries last fall, but I'd forgotten what they look like. I'm sure you can find a spot to try it... it will for sure take up less room than a trumpet vine!
Gita, so sorry about that fence.. solid panel 6 footer?!? wow. Sometimes I don't mind so much having a homeowner's association.
Sorry Gita, There is quite often some cross over between neighbors yards. How changes in one affects the other. I remember a few people talking about neighbors cutting down huge shade trees that provided the shade for their gardens. Some with established shade gardens left with nothing but bright sun light. I just hated the way the neighbors cleaned out the hedge row along the other side of the lane. It did open up a beautiful view that I didn't have before, so maybe there will be a silver lining to the fence for you, too.
Gita, sorry about your neighbors fencing. I personally hate big fences, but you can't really do anything about it. My cousins neighbor put up a bright white vinyl fence, that was horrible, directly along where he planted his dahlias. That row of dahlias did suffer from the new shade. Their fence later got holes poked in it from falling tree limbs in a storm, cheap quality, not as durable as wood or chain links I guess. On a personal note, even though it is just first names, you may want to edit the names and workplace identity of your neighbors out of your post. Confidentiality and personal rights laws and such...anyhow, good luck.
I've been slowly, but surely, planting our swap plants. Have most of Critter's tomatoes in (thanks again!). Today, I'll try and get more plants in. The cuttings we got seem to be surviving. The Mexican lily's from John are sprouting now too!
aspen--it is possible that I did have some potted, just not sure . Meanwhile, today I remembere that 'tose' lilies about to bloom in my bed came from YOU. Do you recall sharing some small lilies with me last year?
I was thinking how different the garden is looking since we held the swap. Those empty mulched beds are filling up with annuals, the empty black trough on the patio is planted as well as many planters are starting to fill up the patio and corners. The caladuim pots are finally starting to bloom. And the biggest difference is the new fence that Ric just finished, gone is that old patched together mess in the dog yard. Can't get over the difference not just because it looks nicer but how much more open the wire is compared to the wood lattice we replaced.
Wind, please tell Harry thank you for taking the photos and allowing you to share them. He is a real trooper to attend some of these activities along with this crazy bunch. He seems to take it all in stride though.
Yep, Sharon confirmed it - you were spot on with the chickweed! It was fun to have some laughs about it though. Chickweed... go figure LOL. Now we'll all be trying out its uses and looking at those crazy weeds in a whole new light.
...awwwwww...I'll tell Harry. He also has a few short videos taken at the swap. I'm not sure what happened to them or how I could share them. I'll ask him and track them down. Maybe I can put them on YouTube (private need the link to view) and I can post the link on here (not exactly private if I put the link on here though!!).
Still planting swap plants.
Ruby, tell John the Mexican Lily bulbs are happily sprouting in a cup! I have to get them in dirt asap. I didn't expect them to sprout and grow so fast. I put their roots in a little moisture to keep them alive until I could get to them and voilą!
Well, consider yourself as very special if you are one of the very few to get some of the Mexican Lilies from John. They were difficult to come by and required some bartering on our parts. Sounds good so far as for the sprouting. I hope they will turn out to be something that will bring you much joy.
Ugh, Gita, the lovely brug I got from you at the swap was trampled on today by a neighbor's dog that had jumped the fence. :'(
I really hope it's salvageable. I was too freaked out from the dog attack to go outside until just now, and when I checked, about 1/3 of the leaves had been torn off and the brug was leaning about 45 degrees. It seems to be the only plant in the entire yard that was damaged. :-/
Is there anything I should do to try to repair it?
Oh, too bad! Dumb dog... or more precisely, dumb neighbor. I'd say straighten it out , maybe give it a little drink to re-settle the soil around its roots. Not sure about whether to prune it back or not -- maybe not unless it seems shocked/stressed from the damage (remaining leaves yellowing or wilting, that sort of thing).
Brugs lose leaves all the time--especially the bottom ones that yellow and you can just pick them off.
If all that happened to your brug is that it lost some leaves--I think it will be OK.
You had the older one--the cuttings from October--right?
Do not cut it back--unless there is some serious damage to the plant.
The "leaning" can be corrected by a small stake.
Did you re-pot it into a bigger pot? Did it go into a growth spurt? I know they were root bound...
as they all had stopped growing.
Diana, I'm so glad you and Harry both got to swap and had a good time.
ssgardener- agreed with above ,that brug will be growing again before you know it. Plenty of water and food and it'll love this tropical heat we are starting. Remember the heat last summer? Mine got huge.
I was given a Lychnis Alpina by.Jill???? Not sure! I woud have to go back to th Swap chat Thread...
I just checked this plant out on PF--and it seems to be a low-growing, cool season perennial.
I was under the impression that it was a taller plant--and planted it in a location with "background" in mind.
Now I have to reconsider-------It seems to be a 6"-8" tall growing plant that spreads easily.
While I love the blooms, etc...I was not wanting a low-growing plant. Like--for a border...
The Lychnis alpina shoots up when it blooms... sometimes just to 8 inches, but Joyanna has one blooming now in her fairy garden planter that's at least 30" tall. I don't worry about putting them front or back... the blooms are bright enough to show even further back in the garden, and if they end up near the front they won't really block the view of whatever is behind them, either. They self-sow pretty readily, and the foliage rosette is easy to identify if you want to pull it or move it. They're a cousin to the Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria, I think?) that a lot of us have popping up around our gardens, and their growth habit is pretty similar -- low rosette of foliage the first year, shooting up when they bloom. They don't seem quite as floppy in bloom as Rose Campions, at least not in my garden.. bloom stem is a little more wiry.
Joyanna helped me gather seeds from several plants today, so we have plenty to share for winter sowing next year!
Gita, the lychnis alpina was from me. I wintersowed the seeds I got from Jill and didn't know how big they would get.
In my garden, the ones that were transplanted early are about 3 feet tall. The ones that were transplanted late are very short, about 1 foot tall. I don't know if transplantation time made a difference. The taller ones are also in 50% shade, whereas the shorter ones are in about 80% sun.
Jill, how do you collect these seeds? They're such fun plants. Also, I had one single volunteer from a thyme I got from you last fall. It actually bloomed very early in the spring, around March, when we had that warm spell. That single bloom was so cute in my little hanging basket! I'm going to broadcast the seeds in the fall when I'm taking down the summer annuals.
Just to let Jill know that a couple of weeks ago I also planted some seeds from she and Joyanna from the Seed Swap. I have a Pink Cosmos and some sort of Zinnia which are a bit over an inch tall. I hope they weren't planted too late to have good showing this summer. I still have a few packages of bulbs that I received recently sitting on my kitchen counter with a note to plant soon. Maybe this coffee will perk me up a bit and I can get out and stick them somewhere later today. I suppose I should try planting the several things I want in close vicinity so that the watering that will be required for the next week or so will be easier to do.
Many of our Day Lilies are in beautiful bloom now. So pretty to look out the back window and see a very large area covered with them. I suppose I better be enjoying them now because I have heard rumor of a possible green house being built on that spot at some future point.
My Gladiolus are all very tall at the moment though I haven't seen sign of them blooming soon. One thing I have noticed though is that nature can work over night at times. It was a couple of days ago when I looked at the Glads and wouldn't be surprised when I visit that bed later, if they are not showing buds, just a few days later. I have thoroughly enjoyed vases full of different colored Glads in years past, so hope that they will do as well again this year. My very favorite flower of the beauties there are. Only aggravation is their tendency to fall over due to top heaviness. Just an excuse to cut them for vase when that happens though...so no worries.
We winter sowed a few of those Zinnias (Zahara Starlight Rose... white with a magenta "star," sometimes not on the earlier blooms), and they are blooming now along the front of the veggie bed. I've heard reports that this variety comes pretty much "true" from collected seed (F2 generation, at any rate).
Collecting seeds from the Lychnis alpina reminds me of getting seeds from columbine... when the bloom clusters look old & crispy brown, tip them upside down over a bowl or other container... the tiny seeds pour right out. The "rose campion" Lychnis is very similar, but the seed pods are much larger, like little vases.
Holly, I'm glad you like the cactus mix! It's so much fun to make. :-)
The recipe is Al/tapla's "gritty mix": 1/3 Turface, 1/3 chicken grit ("grower's size"), and 1/3 pine bark fines that have been screened to between 1/8 and 1/2 inch.
I get the Turface and chicken grit from a farm supply store in Ellicott City, MD. When I asked for these products, they said, "Oh, are they for your bonsai?" I guess they get a lot of gritty mix seekers there! The pine fines are from Behnkes, but Homestead Garden Centers (in MD and VA) also carry them. The bark sizes are uneven, though, and need to be screened. I use a 1/2 inch chicken wire to screen out the big pieces, then a mesh drawer from the Container Store (that happens to have holes that are about 1/8 big) to screen out the small bits. I think the hardcore bonsai growers actually use a 3/8 screen and an 1/8 screen, but this works fine for me. :)
There's also some Osmocote and a bit of lime in the mix.
I'm so thankful that Al came up with this recipe! Store-bought cactus mixes are so expensive.
Thanks, SSG -- both for the mix and for its recipe. I mixed a larger amount of stuff recently for a bunch of semps I'm trying and did like Holly, pro mix plus sand plus extra perlite... but I agree, I like yours better. If I can get these semps going for a little rock garden border I have in mind, I'm going to have to mix a big batch of "gritty mix" to backfill behind the rocks for my planting area.
Jill..."finally" got the rest of your tomatoes in their own spot in the garden today...thanks to Mom!! She didn't note which was which though...sigh... hopefully when they yield, I'll be able to figure it out.
Also, Chantell's PB shrub cutting perked up and is alive and well. Can't wait to plant that somewhere =)
I got my tomatoes in just before we left for NC, about 2 weeks ago... they look puny compared to everybody else's around here! I really should have put in an early set and figured I had replacements if they froze. Ah, well... next year I'm getting out those WOWs and planting on April Fool's Day, and we'll see who is a fool then. You should be able to tell most of them apart, although the "Friendship" red noid and Wisconsin 55 are pretty similar.
Chantell, your PB toddler is doing fine here, too... even putting on some new growth, as is that Popcorn Cassia. Both were eagerly investigated by a visiting 4 year old this afternoon.
If anybody is "on the fence" about coming to the hypertufa party next Saturday, please post on the thread to let me know you're a "maybe" attendee... I want to be certain of having enough "stuff!"
Because of my Tomato fungus problems last year--I did plant a couple of "Bonnie" Hybrids.
Two hybrids bought at HD (Parks Whoppers)--one Cherokee Purple--one Aunt ??? from Sally and one Sun Gold.
Jills Sweet banana peppers are doing great! I have 4 of them.
Also--4 Bush beans.
Also have 4 plantings (3-4 each) of Picking Cukes.
Al doing good--so far.
1--Here are my Tomatoes. The "Whoppers" are to the right. Then Ch. Purple.--and then Aunt??? from Sally.
2--Jill's sweet banana peppers
3--My Pickling Cukes. Hope they do better than last year--all of my veggies...
Just so you're not surprised when they don't get bigger... the pepper variety is 'Sweet Pickles', and they're little conical peppers 2-3 inches long. I like them best when they're red-ripe, and the plants are so pretty with peppers at all stages -- orange, green, yellow and red! You can certainly pickle them whole if you're inclined (just make a slit in each side so the pickle juice gets inside), but they're also delicious cooked or fresh in salads. The seeds don't have that bitterness that seems common with peppers, so you can eat them out-of hand, seeds and all, just munch them right down to the stem.
SS: You mentioned that you got the turface at a farm supply store in Ellicott City, MD. What store was that? I bought Turface a few years ago and had a hard time finding it -- I think I finally got it at a sports store of some sort, but I can't find any notes as to where. (American Plant Food in Maryland also has pine bark fines -- it is in bags labeled as Soil Conditioner (so if you asked for pine bark fines you might get a blank look). I've never screened it... though I have an old screen my mom built for screening compost (I've never bothered to do that either).
Apologies for my long post, but i was summarizing Tapla's postings for my own purposes, and thought you might find it helpful:
Here is his recipe from that first post (I think this is what he calls his 5:1:1 mix):
"My Basic Soils
5 parts pine bark fines [screened -- "use everything that passes through 3/8 mesh" -- but then he later wrote "nickle size pine bark is fine for the 5:1:1 mix - no problem - as long as there are lots of finer particles, too"]
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)
micro-nutrient powder, other continued source of micro-nutrients, or fertilizer with all nutrients - including minors
Big batch [of the Basic Soil]:
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)
1/2 cup micro-nutrient powder (or other source of the minors)
Small batch [of the Basic Soil]:
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)
micro-nutrient powder (or other source of the minors)
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 vigor closer to their genetic potential. 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, pea stone, coarse sand (see above - usually no smaller than ½ BB size in containers, please), Haydite, lava rock (pumice), Turface or Schultz soil conditioner, and others.
For long term (especially woody) plantings and houseplants, I use a soil that is extremely durable and structurally sound. The basic mix is equal parts of pine bark, Turface, and crushed granite.
[Note from Happy_Macomb: I think this is what he calls his "gritty mix" - I think this is what ssgardener followed. Tapla screens out dust.]
1 part uncomposted pine or fir bark [Note from Happy_Macomb: I think Tapla said fir bark last longer -- it is just hard to find. Orchid grower supply places have it. Ask for fir bark in 1/8-1/4" size. He also says the size only matters if you want to improve water retention: "The problem with large chunks isn't related directly to texture; rather, it's related to water retention. You can grow perfectly healthy plants in a bucket of those 'boulder' size marbles, the ones about as big as a Tootsie Pop sucker, if you want to stand over it and water every 20 minutes." On the other hand, he recommends screening out the "fines" -- the smaller pieces: "If you're screening the bark, save what passes through 1/4 but what doesn't pass through 1/8 for the gritty mix. The fines that pass through 1/8 can be added to the 5:1:1 mix, which is what I use for all my veggies and the pretty display containers I have scattered through the gardens & on the decks." If you want fir bark: "http://oakhillgardens.com/htm/supplies_growingmedia.htm. I buy the fine fir bark on the page I linked to for use in my bonsai soils/the gritty mix. I see the price just went up to $20 for 3 cu ft bag, prescreened 1/8-1/4". It's actually NW of CHI in Dundee. I was getting it for $15 if I bought 20 bags."]
1 part Turface [Note from Happy_Macomb: Elsewhere Tapla wrote: "Turface is calcined (fired at a high temperature) clay. The special clay is heated until the tiny particles fuse, so they are like hard little ceramic sponges. After screening, their large size allows water to flow through the particles, leaving large air pores between the particles, with water trapped INSIDE the particles for plants to use. The result is lots of aeration, no perched water, and good water retention." Tapla also wrote: "You can get Turface at Harrell's Inc. in Whitestown (800) 966-1987, Cisco in Indy (800) 888-2986, Tenbarge Seed Company in Haubstadt (812) 768-6157, John Deere Landscapes on Castlegate Dr. in Indy (317) 576-1888 ... that should be enough to get you on the right track. Ask for Turface MVP or Allsport."
1 part grower grit (crushed granite) or #2 cherrystone (quartzite) (of which RickCorey wrote: "I see from Google that "#2 traction grit" is called 3/16", or almost 5 mm. Pretty coarse! ... I've found crushed rock in semi-random sizes, and "#2 chicken grit - crushed granite". I would have said the #2 chicken grit was closer to 1/8" or 3 mm." And Tapla wrote, http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=8049299: " I use #2 cherrystone, which tends to run a little larger than grower size in the Gran-I-Grit. I'd say it's about 3/32 - 3/16." So he really means the larger size. ]
1 Tbsp gypsum per gallon of soil
CRF (if desired) [CRF = controlled release fertilizer] [Tapla doesn't use them -- prefers a particular liquid fertilizer -- see below.]
Source of micro-nutrients or use a fertilizer that contains all essentials [he likes Foliage Pro, http://www.amazon.com/Dyna-Gro-Foliage-Pro-9-3-6-Fl/dp/B003SUT6VS, "The Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 has ALL 12 essential nutrients (including Ca & Mg, commonly missing from soluble fertilizers) plants get from the soil, in the right NPK % AND in a favorable ratio to each other (the same ratio in which plants actually USE the nutrients). It doesn't get any more foolproof than that. You can use the CRFs if you choose, but you pretty much give up control over your fertilizing program. I rarely use them. ... I fertilize with every watering in the winter, because I over-winter only about 100 plants indoors. In the summer with 300+ containers to attend to and no fertilizer injection system, it's not practical for me to fertilize at every watering, so I try to fertilize every week or two, depending on how robustly everything is growing. I pretty much use leaf color as my guide to when plants actually NEED fertilizer, but after a while, you get pretty good at anticipating your plants nutrient needs and supplying them before they show a need. Fortunately, you have a much wider margin for error in both fertilizing AND watering when using fast (draining) soils that allow you to flush the soil when you water. I think the 'recommended' dose on the 9-3-6 label is too light in most cases. I'm able to fertilize at 4-5 teaspoons in 2-1/2 gallons of water weekly when plants are growing well and it seems to be just right. If it's cool or hot, I'll either increase the interval between fertilizing or decrease the dose."]
I use 1/8 -1/4 tsp Epsom salts per gallon of fertilizer solution when I fertilize (check your fertilizer - if it is soluble, it is probable it does not contain Ca or Mg.
This is how he mixes his stuff:
"I dump a bag (2 cu ft) of bark and about 3-4 gallons each of peat & perlite on a tarp, along with the lime & anything else I might be adding. I then mix with the flat side of a garden rake (so I don't tear the tarp) before I pull on the corners of the corners of the tarp so the ingredients are all thoroughly folded/mixed together. If you don't count the 5 minutes it takes to screen the peat to break up any clumps & get the big sticks out, I can have a 3-4 cu ft batch made in 15 minutes. Clean-up is easy because everything stays on the tarp. I use a plastic dust pan to scoop the soil back into sturdy bags I keep (like 50 lb dog food bags) for that purpose, or scoop it back into the pine bark bags for future use... I put the bark down first & moisten, then pour the peat on top, then the perlite and moisten the perlite. After it's folded together & sits for a few minutes, the hydrophobic tendency of the peat is eliminated as moisture from the bark & perlite diffuses into the peat particles."
He uses hardware cloth to screen.
Re the bark, he write: "Pine bark is appropriate because it's rich in a lipid called suberin, which is nature's waterproofing for plants. Most hardwood bark lacks the amount of suberin found in conifer bark. As a result, it breaks down much faster. This makes soils made from hardwood bark less structurally stable and makes nitrogen immobilization (tie-up) a significant issue. Because of the rapid decomposition, heat-build up is also a frequent issue when using materials that break down quickly (think 'hot compost pile'). Finally, there is usually a high pH spike associated with the use of hardwood bark/sapwood/heartwood at some stage of the composting process that causes many of the micronutrients to precipitate and become unavailable. For the gritty mix, uncomposted pine or fir bark is ideal. For the 5:1:1 mix, either partially (that's slightly) composted pine bark or uncomposted bark are suitable with the slightly composted getting the nod. What you see at 3, 6, and 9 in the picture below are all good for the 5:1:1 mix."
If I'm remembering correctly, fir bark should be screened 1/4 to 1/8 inch, but pine bark can be screened slightly larger because of their shape. I've never seen fir bark anywhere around here.
I know Al uses the gritty mix for his houseplants, too, but this mix isn't very forgiving when you don't water on schedule. I'm not always good about watering houseplants, so I've used this mix almost exclusively for succulents. His 5/1/1 general mix seems to be much more forgiving when I forget to water.
Thanks for reposting all that, It's good information. I'm a believer in tapla!
You can almost make the mix by using five parts fine pine bark to two parts standard potting mix.
I bought the pricier Fafard mix once and that was my first experience with lovely chunky stuff.
There was one guy who posted, very unhappy at tapla's mix. THe guy had changed over many plants and lost many, possibly by not adjusting his care to account for the less moist mix.
My Aunt tomato, I called Aunt Jewel's. It cam from North Carolina, with a reputation of being some kind of German tomato.
I bet you could add moisture crystals without interfering with the drainage & aeration of the gritty mix...
But you know me, I add them to everything. LOL
The hens & chicks I got last fall that did well for me were actually in a little planter box under the "drip" of the faucet on the deck... put their pots partly down into the damp mix in the box, so they got good moisture but also really good drainage, and they just took off.
So my semp mix for my new little babies (not really chicks, any more, most of them... pullets, maybe?) is unorthodox... pro mix, extra perlite, sand, and moisture crystals! I mulched most of them with a quarter inch to half an inch of coarse sand, too, and so far so good. One has lost a ring of lowest leaves -- rot, maybe, we had a lot of rain last week -- but the centers still look lively
OK I 'm officially nuts.
I got bit by a potting bug and was out in the heat (in the shade) potting. I put coleup's red/ maroon leafed tropical hibiscus in cream colored pot with a ring of small mini winged begonias. THen I put coleups Black EE in a black pot, joined by two ornamental pepper plants (third generation from Jill, very dark leaves- Purple Flash?") with two good bunches of golden creeping Jenny from Ruby. I think it'll all be great! And the Mexican lilies got a new bigger pot too (from John)
coleup- the root section that broke off the EE is sprouting a bud!
ooh, I like the sound of that black/purple & gold pot!
If it's a small (almost a miniature) plant with dark leaves and little round peppers like purple gumballs, then it's 'Pretty Purple Pepper' -- only the one I grow seems smaller & darker than the one in PF. I did share some other ornamental peppers a few years back, though, so if the peppers aren't round, it's something else LOL
'Pretty Purple Pepper' near the end of the season... leaves are greener, peppers are ripening to red
Sally, I was out potting up a few things today, too. I have been slowly getting things arranged around the yard. I must say that I sure did get a lot of really wonderful plants at the swap. I re-potted the big Hardy Musa and the Red Abyssinian Bananas. The Gloriosa Lilies you gave me are really going to town they are up about a foot high now.
Coleup, I think I'm doing something wrong with one of the EE you gave me.
The green one that's planted with the root above the surface (is that an alocacia?) is doing fantastic and there are a lot of pups. Btw, what should I do with the pups? Just leave them in the pot?
The small one with the root below the surface -- the one with small, dark, shiny leaves -- hasn't done much. I have it in a lot of compost and I'm feeding it regularly, but it hasn't put on much growth at all. Should I be concerned? Or is this a dwarf? I have it in the same pot as a sun caladium and a sweet potato vine, which are both doing great. Btw, it's in full sun. Does this EE prefer part shade?
SS gardener -- back to Tapla's gritty mix -- You said you use a mesh drawer from the Container Store (that happens to have holes that are about 1/8 big). Would you please post a link to that? Is it sturdy enough to last?
Also -- do you measure the "parts" by volume or weight?
Actually onewish you intuitively selected a tropical environment for these tropical plants! None of them grow out in the middle of a field, they grow in jungles! So there is never hours and hours of direct sun, but always shifting bright light and shadow interplay and rain and moisture and incredible profusion of greens. fragrance and exotic blooming surrounding. and almost eliminating any reference to horizontal/ vertical axis with multilayers of verdant exuberance in all directions.
If we know where a plant comes from we have so many clues as to how we can make it most comfortable in our environs.
SSgardener, the pups I keep in same pot til next spring when I may or may not pot up on their own. If the stem of the one you are calling the green one is green, then it is an alocacia 'Caladora'. if it has a very dark stem, then it is a colocasia escalante 'fontenessii' Black Stem. You also received a 'Freydek' from me ( which is a slower grower and as
Sallyg said has white lines on its leaves) and a baby hardy banana. My same size baby banana didn't make it. hope yours does.
All of these are great in containers, too. Just keep them well watered as they love the heat and humidity of mid atlantic summers (which are getting longer and hotter if last week was any indication)
Judy, you gave me a green one, light stem, and its first leaf is HUGE -- Joyanna loves to tell people (in that way kids do when they know something important or interesting) that it is an Elephant's Ear plant. It's getting another leaf that's growing pretty rapidly. I sunk its pot on one of my "pocket ponds" (22" water garden pot), with the soil in the pot about equal with the surface of the water, give or take an inch. It seems pretty happy, and it's really a very sturdy leaf, twice the "substance" as the caladiums I've grown!
dingadingading! memory bell went off... I grew a 'Flourescent Purple' pepper a few years ago, saved some seeds to share around. I've seen a very successful planting (in an upscale strip mall) of these peppers with Tropicana and a dark-leafed canna whose name escapes me at the moment.
For me, pepper plants are something I tuck in here and there, adn they work OK as garden accents... but they really do deserve to play a more prominent and deliberate role in my landscaping scheme.
That's just the way I "imagine" Joyana to be! You have an alocasia'Calidora". It does get giant leaves of substance, and unlike most of its relatives, calidoras leaves tend to grow straight up and down. I had one last year that was like a wonderful fan backdrop/ screen almost 4 feet high plus container and many grow much larger!
The 'Black Stem" I gave you really loves wet feet, so if it is not happy hangin with the amaryllis you can plop it in another water feature. It spreads by runners at the surface as well as by 'pups' and mine are mostly old enough now to bloom (yellow spathe) so seeds, too. They do like to eat and I have usually applied osmacote 2tbs per pot/plant.
I have more assorted EEs to share, say at the Fall Swap at Sallygs? Save some overwintering/greenhouse space and maybe next year you and Ric can win the ribbon for "First EE Up"while you are waiting for that elusive First Tomato!
My calidoras usually lived beneathe that mama banana I gave you and they miss her shelter. I'm sure she is incredibly happy to have some new soil and two parents to dote over her. Is Ric making plans to grill in those wind tattered leaves? I did once and it was good (fish).
I love the ensete (Red Absynian) bananas. Have you grown them before? Well worth raising for two or more years but the do die after they flower. Sigh.
A "tropicals" thread sounds like fun! EEs, bananas, water lilies, plumerias... there are a lot of tropicals that we MAGpyes are growing!
Thanks for the names, now I can label them. (As folks noticed yesterday, I've got a real labeling fetish. Joyanna occasionally foils my attempts by moving the labels around to where she thinks they would look prettier, but she's getting better about that. LOL)
The 'Black Stem' is right on top of the soaker hose, and it looks pretty content. If it starts looking unhappy at all, I'll plop it into the bubbler bog.
My Freydek from you just got put into the shade after I looked up the info on it, Coleup. It now has a prestigious spot on the FRONT porch that gets only some morning sun. Can't wait to see it grow with those beautifully shaped and colored leaves!
LOL Coleup, you are a wealth of info on plants. Someone gave me a (Red Absynian) at the swap and for the life of me I can't remember who, I was wondering if it came from you as well as the big one. I haven't had time to look thru the swap lists to see if I could figure out who gave it to me. I just love Tropical plants I will be glad to take a few of your extra EE's you have come fall.