Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Journal May 22, 2018 - Phalaenopsis seed starting, continued

It has only been six days since I transferred some of the forming protocorms into the experimental media that I prepared using the M&S nutrients but already I can see a difference.

The transferred protocorms are now a much lighter shade of green and are growing more quickly than those remaining in the original media.

Also, the ends of some of them are developing points that may mean that they are forming leaves.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Journal May 16. 2018 - Phalaenopsis seed starting progress

Today I noticed a tiny spot of what I thought was mold in one of the flasks.  Already I had discarded one flask because of mold, and both flasks contained the seeds from the dry pod.  That appears to confirm that the chance of contamination is greater with the dry pod seeds.

The seeds from green pod are really making progress now, beginning to form protocorms, which will form tiny orchid plants, thousands of tiny orchid plants.

Not wanting to give up on the flask with the mold I decided to attempt to rescue the forming protocorms.   An experimental batch of media was prepared using 1/4 Murashige and Skoog with vitamins, distilled water, coconut water, agar, and sugar.  

Under sterile conditions, small clumps containing the protocorms were transferred to the prepared media.  Now, it is a matter of waiting to see if mold begins to form in these vessels. 


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Journal May 12, 2018 - Getting into hydroponics for literally peanuts.

My wife has this thing for fresh basil, she loves basil on pretty much anything.  She has been buying hydroponic basil, spending about five dollars for a few stems growing from a horticube.  The problem is, that in a day or so the basil begins to turn black and wilt.

Well, if you want hydroponic basil, why not grow it?  It is not rocket science.  

 Deciding to go with the "deep water" method for this grow I selected a container that would accommodate a 3" net pot, and that container just happened to be a plastic peanut container that fit the net pot like it was designed for it.

Expanded clay pellets are being used to support the seedlings and the nutrient mixture is just below the brim of the container.  The mixture has a PPM of about 700 and a pH of 6.7. 

As it is only one container, and to keep it simple, I am using a small red/blue 10 watt LED grow bulb for lighting.

The grow bulb is a spotlight configuration and even though it is only 10 watts the concentrated light level on the plant is a not too shabby 1500 foot candles from 18" above the plants.



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Journal May 9, 2018 - Vanilla planfolia arrived.

A new orchid arrived today, Vanilla planfolia, which is the plant that we get vanilla flavoring from.  Well, artificial vanilla comes from chemicals, I mean the real stuff.

It is a climbing vine so I scouted around the yard and found a clean dead branch to place in the pot for the plant to climb.

Bright light is a requirement so I placed it in a sunny spot in the greenhouse where it can live pretty much undisturbed for quite some time.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Journal May 7, 2018 - Phalaenopsis seed starting dry vs. green pod

The first Phalaenopsis seeds started were from a pod that had split.  When the pod has split the seeds are referred to as dry.  As the seeds must be sterilized there is more chance of damage, or contamination, when germinating dry seeds.  The above photo shows the progress to date of the dry pod seeds that were started on April 17, 2018.

On the following day, the remaining pod was removed from the plant and sterilized with the seeds intact.  The premise is that the seeds are sterile as long as the pod is intact, so there is less chance of contamination or damaging the seeds by having to sterilize them.  

The difference in the two methods is amazing, considering that the dry seeds were started one day before the green pod seeds.  I have no idea of why there is such a huge difference in germination.

 As always this time of year the greenhouse is overcrowded with plants, as it is too soon to plant the garden.  Dealing with the garden plants in the small containers is a major pain but I will have to deal with it for at least ten more days.

The tomato plants are starting to flower so today I installed the cords to support them during the growing season.

For the peppers, I elected to use small baskets rather than bamboo canes.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Journal May 5, 2018 - Orchids to the greenhouse.

Today I turned off the indoor grow lights and moved the orchids to the greenhouse for the season. If I have to turn the heat on for a few nights it will be less costly than running the lights 16 hours a day. 

Somehow the orchids just know it is spring and have been straining to produce new growth, now if they would only produce flower spikes all would be great.

They must have an "internal clock" because they seem to know the season is changing even if I don't change the indoor lighting cycle.

Mother Nature knows best.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Journal May 3, 2018 - Orchids from seeds day 16

Well, here it is more than two weeks since the Phalaenopsis seeds were placed in vitro and all is going along really well, as far as I know.

If I had it to do over I would have preferred a lot fewer seeds in the flask.  That said, however, given the size of the seeds it is very difficult to control how many are in each drop in the syringe. 

It is hard to imagine what the future holds in store as the protocorms develop and enlarge as there are just so many of them. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Journal May 2, 2018 - Greenhouse setup complete

The Autobots are planted and operational, the feed lines and valves have been tested so now I can just relax and let automation do its thing.  

Tomatoes are on the south side of the greenhouse, peppers on the right side of the greenhouse and the orchids will be in the center, with additional shading of course.

Also in the greenhouse are the potted plants intended for the garden, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant.  I have strict orders from the wife to cut back on the eggplant, as we had a huge surplus last season. 

One tomato variety intended for the garden is New Yorker.  Someone gave me the seeds to try because I live in New York.  It should be interesting to see how it stands up to its name with our crazy weather.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Journal May 1, 2018 - Springing into spring

The upcoming weather forecast looks pretty good so I decided to open the greenhouse for the season.  Checking my log I found that I am only three days later than last year, so that is not so bad considering the terrible weather we have been having.

After gathering all of the ingredients I mixed the media for the Autopots and began planting the tomatoes.  Again this year I am going with Tropic tomatoes, as usual, however, someone gave me seeds for a variety called Redorta, so I have included one of those just to try it.

"Named for a mountain, Pizzo Redorta in Bergamo, Italy. TomatoFest preferred Italian paste tomato. A much larger tomato (8 oz., 4-inch) with much better taste than its cousin, San Marzano. Meaty, delicious enough to eat off the vine with the bonus of ending up with more tomato paste per plant. An excellent choice for a wonderful complex and flavorful choice for tomato sauce, canning or salsa." 

 On the north side of the greenhouse this year I will be growing sweet frying peppers.  Another variety I am looking forward to trying is a Hungarian sweet pepper, giant Kapia.  It is said to be fantastic and if it lives up to its reputation I will save the seeds as I only received a few as a gift.