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."