Friday, December 26, 2014

Journal December 26, 2014 - Thinking Spring

With the winter solstice having passed,  I am beginning to add time to the lighting cycle of the plants in the indoor greenhouses.   One half hour has been added to the photoperiod, and the spectrum of the lighting has been altered to include both vegetative and floweringMy plan is to add a half hour every two weeks, until the photoperiod is sixteen hours. 

Additionally, watering and feeding will gradually be returned what I use during the growing season.  At this point, I can see no indication that any of the plants are going to flower, however, I would be pleasantly surprised if a few did flower.  Last year, the Koroneiki, Arbosana and Arbequina trees produced a few flowers, so there is a slight possibility of seeing some flowers in February or March.

 The Canina olive seed has been planted in soil, and I will keep a dome over the seedling for a few weeks until it is acclimated.  It is absolutely amazing that this seed has germinated, progressing to this stage in only twenty days!

Having gotten off to a rough start in propagating my own trees, this tree will be my fourth tree successfully propagated, with eight more still in the works.  It has been a difficult, but interesting experience. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Journal December 22, 2014 - Tiny Tomatoes

I want to try a homemade soil mix that I developed for my olive plants on tomatoes, but I do not want to grow a full size plant. In my cold seed storage I found seeds for Florida Petite tomatoes that were there for several years. It is said that these can be grown in a four inch pot, so they seem ideal for what I want to try. Out of the four seeds I tried, only one germinated.

At one time this was supposed to be the smallest tomatoe variety in the world, however, seeds for this variety are now really hard to find.

Florida Petite, the culmination of 10 years of breeding by three Florida geneticists, was the first truly dwarf tomato to appear. Its parent species were two extremely determinate(bush-type) plants, one with yellow, pear-shaped fruit and the other with cherrylike fruit.

The little plant grows four to eight inches tall and spreads almost as wide. Its foliage is dark green and the fruit is the size of cherries. The first taste can be expected about two months after seed is planted. Over the course of the ripening period the yield will be about 25 tomatoes a plant.

I don't think this is a hybrid, so I will probably save some seeds for future use.

The seedling in the photo is a Canino olive, which was only started a few weeks ago.  It was started in sheet of moist paper towel and began to germinate in less than a week.  That is amazing for an olive seed, as they can take months to germinate, if at all.

Having noticed that olive seeds sometimes have a difficult time getting out of the seed coat, I removed the seed from the coat placing it in a horticube.  At first I thought I had killed it, as it did absolutely nothing for several days.  Now, however, I can see that it is beginning to grow.

The horticube is moistened with the same nutrients that I have been using for all of my other seeds under a 24 watt T5 6500K fluorescent light for fourteen hours a day.  As this point I think I am going to place a few more recalcitrant seeds in horticubes and see if it speeds their development.

This is what I found regarding Canino olives:


Area of origin: LATIUM

TREE: Very wide spread in the regions of Latium and Umbria, a tree of great size and of a tall upright shape with a compact crown. The leaves are medium-large size, narrow and gray green in color.

FRUIT: A typical oil variety. It has small fruit (1-2 grams), spherical in shape. At harvest, the olives are never all black because the maturation is late (December) but spread out. The yield in oil is moderate (15-16%) but the quality of the product is good.

AGRONOMY: Self sterile with a low ovarian abortion rate (15-20%). This variety is endowed with good productivity even in different climatic environments. Pollinators: Olivone, Frantoio, Pendolino, Leccino. Especially resistant to olive knot, the cold, to the olive fly and to the wind."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Journal December 14, 2014 - Indoor gardening growing conditions

The beets and lettuce were harvested today, with replacement plantings already underway.  While I was harvesting the plants, I got to thinking about how predictable this process really is.  With the growing conditions: temperature, lighting and nutrients, pretty much constant, I can accurately predict the actual date the next planting will be harvested.  

Beets, as opposed to chard and lettuce, are sort of a multiple purpose crop.  We take a few leaves when the plants are young to include in a salad, the greens are boiled and served as a side dish, while the beets are roasted and served separately.

The entire lettuce crop was picked, as every lettuce variety will sooner or later begin to go to seed, so it is best to pick it before that process begins.  During its growing cycle we picked some leaves to be included in sandwiches and also had several salads with out meals.  

A few weeks ago I decided to do a viability check on some lettuce seeds that have been in cold storage for a few years, some going back to 09.  To my surprise, each of the varieties had an acceptable level of successful germination.  Not to waste the vigorous seedlings, they were planted as a mixed batch in one of the systems.  They include two types of romaine and red leaf lettuce, so they should make a good combination for a tossed salad.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Journal December 5, 2014 - Harvesting hydroponic Swiss chard

A very nice batch of Swiss chard was harvested today for our evening meal.  There is not a single leaf with a blemish in the entire batch.  Chard is easy to grow hydroponically, as a matter of fact, I would say it is one of the easiest crops to grow hydroponically.  Growing chard is truly worth the effort.

Immediately after removing the chard from the system the system was replanted with Cimmaron lettuce.  Below is what the Burpee site has to say about this variety:

"A red romaine with terrific flavor—and an American favorite since the 1700s.
This red romaine heirloom variety has been an American favorite since the 1700s. A profound, beautiful, deep-red-going-on bronze, the 10-12" tall heads, packed with broad, flat leaves, take on a lighter green tone inside. Impervious to bolting."
Beet greens and salad bowl lettuce are also ready for harvest, so I had best get in gear and start some more seeds.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Journal November 30, 2014 - Callitier clone

It has been six weeks since I started the first batch of cuttings, so I decided to check their progress today; each cutting was gently removed from the media to determine if it had developed roots. 

One cutting, the Callitier, had two large white roots growing from the very bottom, it has now been placed with the other small trees to grow indoors.

The Manzanillo, Tosca and Picholine cuttings are apparently still alive, but are showing little progress so far.  Fresh rooting hormone has been applied to these cuttings and they have been replanted.  The Chemlali cutting was discarded, as the leaves were falling off when touched; there is little chance a cutting will root if leaves fall off.

As there is room for eight cuttings under the LED grow light, I took a cutting each from an Arbequina and Manzanillo olive tree to replace the Callitier and Chemlali cuttings.

 In late spring I was about to discard a Mission olive tree, that I thought was lost from being over watered.  Instead of discarding the tree, I cut the top completely off, leaving only the large root system.  The root system was planted in new media in a large pot, which was left outdoors on the deck all summer.  In early fall the roots began putting out new growth, so I moved the plant indoors for wintering.  

If this plant continues to grow like it is now, it will be a magnificent specimen, so I am really glad I attempted a rescue mission on this Mission.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Journal November 26, 2014 - Bella Di Cerignola in vitro

Several weeks ago I came across an ad offering five seeds of a rare olive called Bella Di Cerignola.  The photo that accompanied the ad was of a huge red olive, so naturally I had to have the seeds. Since then, I have found that the olives are not red, but are turned red by some secret process, which I would rather not know anyway.   The olives can also be left green and processed like any other olive, which I would prefer.

Having only five seeds to work with, I decided to germinate some in vitro, and some in moist coffee filters, after having first removed the seeds from the drupe. 

The seeds in the moist coffee filters are turning black and have a white fungus of some sort growing on the seed coat.  Today, I decided to take a blade and scrape off the fungus and black coating from one seed.  In doing so, the seed coat came off also, which left a sort of white long cylindrically shaped seed.

Using the tip of the blade, I  carefully cut into the outside layer to a depth of about 1/64" to examine the very heart of the seed.  Inside I found the complete embryo, shown above.  The radicle can be seen on the right, attached to the undeveloped cotyledons.

Well, noting ventured, nothing gained, so I placed the embryo in a weak solution of sterile water and hydrogen peroxide to sterilize it.  

The embryo is now in vitro, and tomorrow I intend to do the same to the remaining seeds in coffee filters.  I may not remove the outside layers, as that may serve as a carbon source for the embryo, however, the media contains sugar, which is a carbon source.

In any event, it will be a learning experience,  which is what this is all about.
Obtaining plant material from seeds is a frustrating time consuming process, however, in some instances it is the only way to obtain an unusual varietal.  The rare variety shown above, was grown from seed started this year, it was well worth the effort.  Once you have a single plant, you can then clone as many as you wish. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Journal November 24, 2014 - Indoor hydroponic garden

Nutrients in the ebb and flow systems were changed today, so I  turned off the grow lights to take a photo to post on the blog.   Seen from left to right: salad bowl lettuce, beet greens and Swiss chard, or silver beet.

Only three systems are in use, with the fourth system in reserve for a dozen romaine lettuce seedlings that are in process.  

My plan is to start seeds for more beet greens and chard a few days before I harvest the plants in the photo so the systems remain active.

 Salad bowl lettuce, shown above, is one of our favorites, as it is very tender and sweet.  It is another variety that seldom makes its way to produce markets.  That may be that it is so tender it is difficult to ship and store for any period of time.  It is a good selection for indoor hydroponics, as it likes cool conditions and does not require a lot of nutrients to produce a good crop.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Journal November 17, 2014 - Closing the greenhouse for the season

The weather has really turned cold, with the forecast calling for the cold temperatures to hang around for the next ten days, so I decided that the olives have had enough chill time.

It was really miserable today, with cold drizzle and a little snow on the ground, which really inspired me to get the job done and close the greenhouse for the season.

Instead of growing warm season vegetables in the tents this winter, I decided it would be better to use the tents to overwinter the olive trees.  Six plants have been placed in each tent, with the left over plants in  seldom used space in the basement.  This arrangement is much better than keeping the plants all together; this way the plants do not take up anywhere near as much space as they did last year.

The LED grow lights in both tents are only running on the vegetative stage, which is very energy efficient.  For the plants in the basement, I am using the low power LEDs used for supplemental lighting in the greenhouse.  Their total wattage is probably about 100 watts, so they are also super energy efficient.  If that was not enough, I have set the photoperiod to local sunrise, sunset, or about ten hours.

It is best to let olives almost dry completely during the winter, with very infrequent fertilizing, so I should have plenty of time on my hands to catch up on some reading till spring. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Journal Nobember 1, 2013 - Donkey olive ex vitro

The donkey olive seed that was in culture has now been planted in soil, so it is now ex virto. It is my intention to leave it covered with a dome until true leaves begin to form, though that may take a while, as olives do everything at their own pace.

The transfer was made early, even before the radicle, or tap root, had emerged from the seed.  My feeling was that the tap roots are very long and delicate, so I did not want to take the chance of breaking it off during transfer, which would have been the end of the seedling.

There is another donkey olive seed germinating, though this one is not in culture.  The seed was soaked in a mixture of nutrients and other ingredients for several hours.  Following the soak the seed was placed in a coffee filter moistened with the mixture.  At that point, the seed was placed in a sealed container, with the container then placed on a heating mat under the LED grow light.  That seed began to germinate in only eight days, rather than the four months the first seed spent in vitro before germinating.  This should be another interesting experiment.

The Ascolano clone is making great progress now that it is on its own.  There are a few yellow leaves that I expect to fall off soon; the yellow may be a nutrient deficiency, or senescence.  The yellow leaves are not a concern, as there is a lot of new growth at the very tips of the laterals. 

 One nice aspect of cloning your own trees, is that you get to determine their shape early on, so that you don't end up with a buggy whip.  This plant will have the ideal martini glass shape so desirable in olive trees.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Journal October 31, 2014 - Hydroponic chard and beet greens planted.

With the end of the outdoor gardening season it is time to return my attention indoor gardening.  Two of my favorite indoor crops were planted today: beet greens and Swiss chard.  

To better control algae I have filled the spaces between the pots with the expanded clay pellets.  Not that a little algae is harmful, but it does take nutrients from the plants, is unsightly, and is difficult to clean once established.  The pellets dry completely between watering cycles, so they will eliminate algae buildup. 

 For chard and beet greens a slightly different approach is used; the seeds are started in coffee filters moistened with dilute nutrients, then placed in horticubes as soon as roots appear.  As both of these plants have long slender stalks, I pot the seedling and cube deep in the container, even before true leaves appear.   Being placed deep in the container gives the seedling much better support during the growing period.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Journal October 24, 2014 - Ascolano olive cutting

Today the first cloned olive cutting was removed from the protective dome to begin its adjustment to normal growing conditions.  On sunny days the plant will join its parent plant in the greenhouse, however, for the first year I will treat it as I would a tropical houseplant.

When the plant was removed from under the red/blue LED grow light I noticed that the upper leaves had lost their bright green coloring and are starting to fade to yellow.  That may be due being too moist, or lack of nutrients, possibly iron.  As soon as the soil begins to dry I will start the plant on a normal feeding and watering schedule, which should correct the discoloration problem.

As this is my first successful conventional cutting, I named the plant Il Primo, which is Italian for the first.

The variety is: Ascolano (Ah-sko-lah-noh) This large light green olive is native to the Marche region of Italy. The Ascolano is famous for its huge size, soft texture and delicate taste. Often served as an hors d’oeuvre, the Ascolano can also be the perfect complement to pastas and salads.
Another unusual variety should, hopefully, be joining my arborium very soon.  The photo above shows a Donkey olive seed just breaking dormancy in vitro.  I seriously doubt that I could have gotten this seed to germinate using conventional methods.

The Halkidiki olive, also known as Chalkidiki, is grown exclusively in Greece in a region that is adjacent to Mount Athos. They are also known as “donkey olives” because of their large size and make excellent table olives.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Journal October 23, 2014 - Manzanillo explant in vitro

At times I wonder if the explants in tissue culture are doing anything at all.  One way I use to tell if an explant is making any progress is by using time lapse photography, which is what the above video is about.

The vessel was placed in my video box with the camera set to take a photo every five minutes.  After several days the photos were compiled into video to determine what, if any, progress the explant has made.

This one is unusual, in so far as the "arms" droop, then callus begins to form at the shoulders and then the top.  There is also new growth forming on the callus on the top of the stem.

These may be the last olives I place in culture, as my last batch of conventional cuttings have been a total success.  Six out of six cuttings have rooted, and, they are from six different varieties.  

Tissue culture will be used going forward for starting difficult seeds and for more difficult or exotic plants.

For olives I intend to use the method described in my last post, as I am not looking to produce thousands of plants, just one of each variety, which I have now begun to accomplish.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Journal October 16, 2014 - Olive cuttings

Since I switched to the new media for the olive trees there has been a spurt of new growth on all of the trees; that said,  it is not unusual for olives to put out new growth at the end of summer.  And, in the greenhouse, conditions are still summer like.

With all of the new growth I thought I would give traditional cloning another try, except this time I have made some major changes.

Instead of using sterile media, like coir and perlite, I used the same media that I am using for the mature trees.   Six semi-hardwood cuttings were taken, with the bottom leaves removed, leaving about six leaves and in some cases the growing tip.  Half of the remaining leaf sections were cut off to reduce moisture loss but still allow the plant to collect light.

Using a sterile scalpel I cut a one inch wound into the bark at the very bottom of the cutting just above the node.  The cuttings were sprayed with anti-wilt and dipped into Vita Grow rooting hormone for thirty sections before being placed into the media.

The top was cut from a clear plastic bottle to form a dome for the plant.  Several small holes were drilled in the bottle for ventilation and several vertical cuts at the base of the bottle allow it to compress to fit the container.

After watering the cutting the insides of the container were sprayed with water to increase humidity; when condensation is not visible on the inside of the plastic it it time to spray again. 

The cuttings are receiving sixteen hours of light per day and have been in process for exactly one month.   To date, not a single leaf has fallen or discolored, and, it has been only necessary to water the cuttings a few times.

On the first of November it will be 45 days since the cuttings were taken,  I expect to see new growth begin soon thereafter.  

Of all of my previous attempts at rooting olive cuttings without a misting system this approach appears to be the most promising.

One nice aspect of doing it this way, is that there will be no need to transplant the cuttings when they root,  they can be grown on in the containers they were started in.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Journal September 12, 2014 - Using an Ultrasonic Cleaner On Explants

My post of August 7, 2014 concerned an attempt to micro-propagate single node cuttings from a Chemlali olive tree.  It was my intention to use protocols with slightly different components and compare the results.  

The Chemlali was part of an order of four varieties that I had recently received from a grower in Florida.   All of the trees were covered in a film of debris that looked like it may have been fine dust that had gotten wet and dried on the plants.  That said, I cleaned the trees as best I could before I took the cuttings, sterilized and placed them in vitro.

To my dismay, all of the explants developed contamination within a few days.  Several attempts to rescue the cuttings failed, except for one.

Another trial was started today with a different variety, Empeltre, that came from the same grower  in the same shipment.  However,  I am taking a different approach in processing the cuttings prior to placing them in vitro.

 As you can see by the photo of the cutting above, this plant also has a film on the leaves that has resisted cleaning.

The leaves were  first wiped using a Q-tip with water and a mild detergent, then processed in an ultrasonic cleaner.   Using 500 ml of water, 25 ml of H2O2 and 2 drops of Dawn detergent to act as a surfactant, I processed the cutting for eight minutes at the unit's highest setting.

The liquid and cutting were then transferred to a Mason jar with a screen top and processed normally for one hour.  

After rinsing in sterile water the cutting was cut into single node sections, which were then placed in vitro.  

It should be interesting to see if the ultrasonic unit makes any difference in the outcome.
Last, but not least, the Bougainvillea seed shown in the time lapse video is making progress.  Although the upper portion of the plantlet is growing very slowly,  the tap root is an altogether different matter.  It is the most unusual looking root system I have seen to date.  The two dark circles resemble eyes, giving the root a most sinister appearance.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Journal Septermber 6, 2014 - My Arborium

This week I received  three more trees:  Kalamata, Sevellano and Boutillian. Finally, at long last, my Olive Arborium is complete.  

The trees are being fed on a regular schedule and the results have been fantastic.  Trees that have recently arrived from nurseries, as well as all of the other trees, have added thick new growth.  

I would like to have them in the best possible condition to cope with the long winter ahead, so hopefully next spring they will produce some fruit.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Journal September 3, 2014 Bouganvillia Seed Germinating In Vitro

While visiting a plant nursery in Vermont late in July I came across a Bouganvillea plant.  The plant was beautiful, but rather expensive, so I thought why not grow one from seed and place it in the greenhouse with the olives.

Finding Bouganvillea seeds turned out to be a challenge, but I finally managed to purchase some seeds for a plant with garnet colored flowers.

Some seeds were placed on moist paper towels to germinate and some were placed in vitro.  I finally gave up on the seeds in paper towels after a few weeks.  The seeds in vitro began swelling and produced radicles within about two weeks.  Then, they seemed to grind to a halt.

Knowing that the seeds "need to see light" to germinate, I decided to give one vessel light 24/7 for several days to see what the effect would be.

The above video is a record of the experiment and this seed is far ahead of seeds started on the same day.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Journal August 21, 2014 - Supplemental lighting time again

About this time of year I start thinking about providing supplemental light for the olive trees, which are more or less tropical.  

This year I have taken a different approach, in that the lights are not on a timer, but are being turned on and off remotely.

As the temperature cools, our mornings tend to be cloudy, with little sun until just before noon.  The lights are turned when I arise and they are turned off when the sun appears.  If the day is completely cloudy, or rainy, I leave them on all day.   If it was clear, I turn them on again for a few hours before civil sunset locally.

The lights in the photo may appear to be heavy on electrical consumption, however, as they are all LED grow lights, the total wattage is probably around 100 watts.  In essence, the cost to operate the lights is really pennies a day.

The new soil mix has been a blessing, as the plants are responding nicely with new growth, and, they require much much less maintenance than the coir and perlite mix.  If a stretch of nice weather is forecast,  I move several of the trees outdoors and let Mother Nature care for them.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Journal August 7, 2014 - Chemlali in vitro

The Chemlali olive that arrived recently had a long lateral branch with developing nodes that were ideal for micro-propagation.  I cut an eight inch length from the branch, which yielded five single node sections that were surface sterilized with bleach and alcohol prior to being placed in vitro.

For sometime I have wanted to try to tweak the olive protocol, so this should allow me to do so.  The protocol in each vessel is slightly different in composition; in terms of more nutrients, or the addition of rooting hormones.  The second vessel from the left contains woody plant media, which I have intended to try, but never quite got around to it.

Today I moved the olives back into the greenhouse from the deck, as we have had two major thunder storms this week that unloaded quite a lot of rain on the plants.  The soil in the containers drains well, and I have drilled holes in the bottom of each container to allow excess water to flow through, however, I was just not comfortable with the plants being so wet.  I tried to rationalize that several of the plants came from Florida, where it rains pretty much every day in some areas, but I was still not comfortable.  As a test I am leaving two small olive plants on the deck to see if they survive all summer long with no intervention.

The weird looking plant above is a Drosera sessilifolia grown in vitro.  It started from a single seed planted about five months ago.  This plant should be flat, like a pizza, and consist of a single layer of traps; instead it is layer upon layer of traps, which are now beginning to flower. 

It makes me think of the old margarine commercial that stated:"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Journal July 31, 2014 Empeltre olive in vitro

This week I have added several new varieties to my olive orchard; sticking with my criteria they have all been dual purpose olives, suitable for table or oil.  The photo above shows three Empeltre cuttings placed in virto today.  The Empeltre is a Spanish variety, the majority of which are planted in Aragon southwest of the Ebro river.   The Ebro river was known to the Romans as Oleum Flumen, which would  translated as Oil River.
Also, I got buy on a very nice Manzanillo tree from a guy on eBay at a very reasonable price.  In addition to the Manzanillo, I purchased a Chamlali and a  Oueslati, both of which are grown in Tunisia.  Soon I expect to have cuttings from those trees in vitro also.

The trees have been struggling in the greenhouse with the summer heat, so I decided to give them the summer outdoors, moving most of them to small deck behind the greenhouse.
 In addition to moving them outdoors, I repotted each tree into a new soil mixture consisting of equal parts of builder's sand, perlite, peat moss and compost.  Both changes have brought about a tremendous change in the health of the trees.

At this point I am regretting that I did not make the changes before I moved them into the greenhouse in the spring.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Journal July 5, 2014 - Miniature rose in vitro

On June 7, 2014 I cut a single leaf from a miniature rose plant that Ava had given her grandmother last Mother's Day.  The leaf was cut into several sections, which were then placed  in vitro.  

This is the very first time I have attempted a leaf cutting, so I really don't know what to expect.  That said, one month later callus cells are beginning to form on the leaf sections, so I am hoping that soon new plants will begin to grow from the callus.

Above is one of the Picholine olive explants placed in vitro on June 13, 2014.  At that time I had placed three explants in the same vessel, however, they began to grow so quickly that I have decided to separate them so each can have enough room, and media, to grow.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Journal July 4, 2014 - Taggiasca olive in vitro

This is a photo taken on 7/4/14 of a single node Taggiasca olive explant that was placed in vitro on 6/15/14.   I am finding that different varietals seem to respond differently.  Then again, it could also be what the plant was doing at the time the explant was taken.  It seems that the larger the immature nodes is, the faster the explant responds.

As a test, an explant was taken from a Manzanillo olive and placed in vitro.   When the explant was taken, the node was very immature; it has been at least two weeks since the test began and the explant is still alive, however no growth is evident.

Contrary to what one might expect, the olives in the greenhouse are hardly growing at all with all of the summer sun and heat.  They seem to put on spurts of growth in the late winter, early spring and fall.  They certainly are a challenge to grow.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Journal June 24, 2014 - Arbequina olive in vitro

Several of the Arbequina explants are responding to the 427 protocol, however, the response has been taken considerably longer than the Tosca varietal.    This explant was placed in new clear media today, and I can just make out adventitious roots developing on the stem.

Also today I started two additional Arbequina explants in an experiment to see if I can speed up the response.  One explant is in the 427 protocol, while the other is in a protocol I will call 623.  The 623 protocol contains more nutrients and an additional rooting hormone.  This should be an interesting experiment indeed.

Two of the Tosca explants have been moved to stage 4 acclimatization.  The plants may not have been fully developed and the move may have been premature, as some of the tiny leaves appear to be dying, however the stems are a healthy green and it may resolve itself.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Journal June 15, 2014 -Gardenia veitchii goes to stage 4 acclimation.

One of the Gardenia vetchii explants had a nicely developed root system, so it moved it to stage 4, acclimation.   

Using a sterilized mixture of peat and perlite, the plantlet was potted and placed into a domed container, to gradually get used to living in a normal environment.

Also today, explants were taken from Taggiasca and Koroneiki olive trees to be micro-propagated.   So far, all of the olive explants in culture are responding to various degrees, but responding none the less.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Journal June 13, 2014 - Picholine in vitro

A small section of branch was removed from the Picholine olive for cloning.  After it was cleaned and rinsed the section was cut into three single node pieces that were then placed into culture media.

Rather than placing each explant in an individual jar, I have elected to use a single jar to save space and media.  When, and if, the plants begin to respond they will be placed in individual jars for rooting.

The Tirilye seedling is almost entirely acclimated to a normal environment, at this point it is spending about 75% of its time in the greenhouse.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Journal June 12, 2014 - Tosca olive explant

Today was transfer day for all of the olive cuttings taken on 4/27/14.  A new batch of my #427 protocol was prepared, without any coloring this time.  I have learned that coloring works for visually identifying the protocol, however, it makes it difficult to see what is going on beneath the surface.   If coloring is added, it should be very light, just enough to distinguish the color.

Above is photo of a Tosca olive cutting that has now been in vitro for about seven weeks.  At this point I regret that I did learn micro-propagation techniques much sooner and did not waste time, or resources, on traditional cloning.  As is clear in the photo, the explant is developing a very nice root system.  

Two ounces of protocol were added to each jar to give the plantlets plenty of room to develop a root system during this phase of the process.  

The next phase of the process will be to transfer the plantlets to a sterile mixture of coir and perlite and begin the acclimatization process.

As of today I have several varieties responding to tissue culture, some better than others, however, I am certain at this point that all will be successful.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Journal June 10, 2014 - New Plant

Since I began collecting olive trees I have been trying to locate a Picholine olive and I have finally found one.  For whatever reason this variety is hard to find in this country.

Picholine Olive Trees are native to France, they have large, flat, light green leaves, and medium sized fruit, which can weigh about 3-5 grams. The olives are harvested green, for eating, and black, for oil. They ripen in late November to December. Picholine Olives are self-fertile and are known to be resistant to both drought and cold, and can adapt to a variety of temperatures and soils.  

The tree I received had two trunks, one of which was removed, as I do not want any twin trunked trees.

The trunk that was removed was dipped in Vita-Grow rooting hormone and planted in Ava's garden with her corn.  I thought I would give it a chance to root, and I did not want to root it using conventional cloning methods.  My thinking is that the Roman army planted millions of trees, and they must have pretty much just stuck them in the ground as I have.

My previous attempts at cloning olives using traditional cloning have met with dismal results, which is another reason I just stuck the branch in the ground.   Using traditional methods requires misting several times a day, without misting equipment the success rate is pretty near nil.  I much prefer my present method of cloning using tissue culture. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Journal June 2, 2014 Gemlik - in vitro to ex vitro

The Gemlik seed was growing so quickly I had to make a decision concerning whether to move it to a larger vessel, or try potting it and acclimating it to life in a normal environment.

Obviously I chose the latter, as seen in the photo.   Going forward I will use a larger vessel and more media when germinating olive seeds, as I did not realize that olives have enormous tap roots.  The tap root had reached to bottom of the jar and began to push the entire plant well out of the media, so action was required.

A media of half perlite and half coir was prepared and a small amount of  nutrient solution was added to the media.  After placing the media into the pot, I sterilized both the media and pot at 121 degrees C and 15 psi.

 The seedling was gently removed from its vessel and run under cool water for several minutes to remove all of the culture media.  When the seedling was potted, the pot was placed in a plastic zip bag and the inside of the bag was sprayed with sterile water.

In the high humidity growing in vitro, the stoma on the leaves did not have to open to control humidity and turgidity, so it is necessary to slowly acclimate the plant to a normal environment.  To do this, I will open the plastic bag for a short amount of time each day, and slowly increase the amount of time the bag is open for a period of about a month.   At that point, the plant should be fully acclimated.  During the acclimatization period I will light the plant with a 12 watt LED grow light using a photoperiod of 16 hours.

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.