Friday, May 30, 2014

Journal May 30, 2014 - Trying to grow Gerbera Daisies by micro-propagation

I have wanted to try to grow Gerbera Daisies for sometime, but the seeds are expensive and germination is said to be erratic.  It is also recommended that these should be grown by experienced growers, which I am not.  One seed vendor charges $8.95 for ten seeds and that does not include shipping.

My wife purchased a small plant for our front porch, so I snipped a leaf, cut it into six sections and placed the sections into a protocol prepared for multiplication.

Whether this works, or not, it should be an interesting project.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Journal May 28, 2014 -Olea europaea seed germinating in vitro

The image above is a gemlik olive seed germinating in vitro.

Searching the web I was not able to find many images of olive seeds in vitro, so I thought I would hang this image on my blog in the event someone is wondering if it can be done.

The seed was placed into culture on 4/3/14 and the photo was taken today 5/28/14. 

Now, on the subject of hydroponic gardening; last fall Global Garden Friends sent me a sample of their ultimate plant cage  

I will be using their cage in the greenhouse to support cubanelle pepper plants.  The upright posts actually extend to almost twice the height shown in the photo,  however I doubt I will need to raise them for the pepper plants.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Journal May 18, 2014 - Multiple explants in vitro

The protocol that was designated 427 continues to amaze me, as more varietals are responding to it.  Most of the jars in the front row of the above photo contain explants from different olive varietals, and all are responding to various degrees to this protocol.

The olive varietals responding are: Tosca, Mission, Arbequina, Arbosana, Callitier and Taggiasca.   The center jar contains a Trilye seed that was removed from the drupe and germinated in protocol.   In only six weeks the seed has germinated, formed cotyledon's and has a good sized radicle heading downward. 

 Another surprise is that I have been able to use growing tips in addition to single node explants.  Both of the explants in the above photo are growing tips that have continued to grow, without missing a beat, since being removed from the donor plant.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Journal May 11, 2014 - Olives in vitro

There are now three olive varietals responding to the protocol I mixed on 4/27/14: Tosca, Arbosana and Arbequina.  

It is hard to believe after all the effort I have put into cracking the code for micro-propagating olives that one protocol would work for three different varieties.   The protocol will be known going forward as 427, for the date that it was developed. 

A second batch was prepared last week and an Arbequina explant was placed into culture using the second batch.   Already I can see growth beginning on these new explants, so the results are repeatable. 

Yesterday I decided to try lighting the grow chamber with the multi-band LED that I purchased last fall replacing the 24" fluorescent fixture.  It may be my imagination, but I can swear that in only one day I can see a dramatic increase in the growth rate of everything in the chamber.  

The new LED has  switches selectable for vegetative, bloom, or both, so I am using only the vegetative spectrum.   The light level in the chamber has gone from about 130 foot candles to slightly below 500 foot candles.  

At the explants rely on the sugar in the protocol for growth, rather than light for photosynthesis, I was not sure that using the higher power light was a good idea, or not.  My intent was to test the spectrum, more than the light level.   So far, I am impressed.  

Below are the specs of the light I am using:

  • New 2014 150W Reflector Led Grow Light
  • 1 piece reflector design directs 100% of lumen output toward plants, increasing yields!
  • Glass free design. Glass and extra lenses can diminish lumen output by as much as 20 percent! Our design provides more light for your plants.
  • Growth and Bloom switches provide your plants with the right kind of light for each stage of growth and saves electricity too!
  • Light Spectrum: 430~440nm, 450~475nm, 620~630nm, 650~670nm, White
  • Infrared spectrum: 730nm
  • Lumen: 3200lumens
  • LEDs: 48 x 3watt LEDs
  • Power consumption: 110V: 85W-90W/220V: 83W-88W
  • Dimension: 14*10*2inches
  • Coverage: 2*2ft( Veg), 1.5*1.5ft(Flowering)
  • Amp: 0.87A/110V, 0.42A/220V
  • Worldwide Voltage Capable: AC85~265V
  • View Angle of LEDs: 90/120° Mixed
  • Lifespan: 50000-100000hours
  • N.W.: 2.8KG G.W.: 4KG

Monday, May 5, 2014

Journal May 5, 2014,- cinco de mayo - Tosca in vitro

On the 27th of March explants were placed in culture that were taken from both the Tosca and Arbosana olive trees.  The Arbosana tree had been attempted previously, but without success.  

The above photo shows one of the Tosca explants today, less than two weeks in culture.  The small V shaped growth on the left side of the plant is a node that is now forming two distinct leaves. 

All of the explants taken on that date are showing good progress, including the Arbosana, which I had just about given up on.

For this protocol I decided to go very light on salts and hormones, using one half MS salts, one hormone and slightly more sugar. 

Reading several abstracts on olive micro-propagation I found some were propagated using salts intended  for walnuts and some for almonds.  From what I have read, a protocol that works with one variety may not work with another.  That said,  I guess I was fortunate that both varieties of olive seem to be responding to my test protocol.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Journal May 3, 2014 - Watering carnivorous plants.

Several weeks ago I decided to try carnivorous plants again, so I purchased seeds for sundews, pitcher plants and fly traps from various sellers on eBay.

This time I did some research on growing these plants, so hopefully the results will be much better.   Previously we simply purchased a flytrap and treated it like a normal house plant.   We did not know that plain tap water would be deadly to the plant and it quickly perished.

For this project we began using distilled water and mixed our own soil using equal mix of sphagnum peat and perlite.  Also, I found that light, light, light, is more important to success than humidity.  To date the results have been encouraging, as the seeds are beginning to sprout and some tiny plants have been transplanted to larger containers.

Purchasing and lugging home gallons of distilled water has become a chore, so I decided to collect rain water which is ideal for these plants.

The greenhouse was recently pressure washed and the rain gutter was blasted clean, so I rigged a funnel, hose and container to collect run off.   This should be easy in our area, as we usually get a lot of rainy days.