Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Good Garden club meeting, next one in two weeks! Friday June 21st at 7:00.

Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2013, at 8:30 AM
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  • I'm in the market for aloe.

    -- Posted by jbillswms on Wed, Jun 5, 2013, at 10:50 AM
  • Then the market will be open at the meeting. :-)

    I put most of the plants from the greenhouse outside in between showers today and they have been cleaned nicely. One dracaena is over 7 feet tall and the birds are inquisitive. "It wasn't here yesterday"

    I had to cut one of my schefflera back this past fall because it was getting over 10' and we could not enjoy it that tall. Since then, new sprouts are coming out so the operation was a success.

    How about an avocado plant (about 18")? Any takers?

    Maybe we need to organize a little African violet swap? I just noticed that I am down to two dark purple with white fringed edges and two solid lavender.

    I used to have about 5 different ones, but must have given them away without paying attention. We don't need to necessarily give plants away, just leaves with stems. We can then propagate ourselves.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jun 5, 2013, at 11:47 AM
  • You gave me a medium purple with light edges.... Do you think it is different than what you have?

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Wed, Jun 5, 2013, at 12:19 PM
  • Hmmm, I thought I put an answer on here last night Palindrome but here we go again. The one you have was a from a cutting, so it is the same. Good to hear from you!

    Where I lost some cultivars is when I gave away established plants without blooms and had not kept track of them. All we need folks are a leaf and stem.

    The cutting will often not be noticed by you or your plant. What we do from there is root them in several ways. I've tried just water but got the lowest return from that.http://www.theplantexpert.com/africanviolets/Rooting.html

    What worked best for me is putting the stem in vermiculite, a potting material available at most garden shops. It is a silicate mineral mined from the earth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermiculite

    Some folks use perlite which is a product of volcanic action. It is sterile and is used mainly in gardening to aerate the soil. I do not have as much success with this but I know others who swear by it.

    The rooting mixture does not need to be deep, nor the stem long. Two inches is the maximum I want my stems and the shortest depends on if I am trying to make rootings from just the stem or slits cut in the leaves as well. Some also use rooting power or water that has had willow bark soaking in it.

    There are numerous instructions on how to do this on the internet. Some just stick the cutting unceremoniously in neighboring pot with another plant and water. Some will use mini-hothouses to insure high humidity and moisture control, some the water method.

    The point is, cuttings will usually produce a baby plant without too much fuss. The primary key to success is to choose a healthy, firm leaf, not one that is already softening or an old outside leaf that may have problem regenerating.

    Harvesting the leaf should be no big thing either, but if you want to be extra careful for mother and baby plant, use a sharp knife that you have dipped in alcohol or sterilized. I would also dip it before you go to the next plant to avoid transmitting anything.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 6, 2013, at 7:43 AM
  • These wood chips have really been a blessing this year. While it takes a little bit of work to spread them, I can take as little on a shovel as I want to avoid over-lifting.

    They also take some time to compost down as compared to grass clippings or straw which seems to disappear in our Tennessee heat. The beds have a nice population of worms, they've softened the soil so hand weeding is no problem and they conserve moisture. Oh, and by the way, did I say they last longer too?

    Of course, this is not something new to our garden club members. Barbara is always extolling the virtues of wood chips and we all know her plants seem to grow by themselves.

    About 12 new squash plants just broke surface today. I need to protect them from the cutworm tomorrow.

    For some reason I was dreaming about that last night. I think I might try cutting aluminum drink cans then making small tubes around a pencil to slip on. It will do double service against slugs as well any other worms that want to crawl of the stem. I think the sharp edge of the can will probably kill most.

    No, I don't have a slug or snail problem but a gardener can never be too prepared. :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 6, 2013, at 7:08 PM
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