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Biodome, another gardening innovation

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

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Many of us may have heard about wick watering, where there is a wick coming out from the bottom of the pot to a reservoir of water. The water is then drawn up to the pot when the soil is dry. It was a hit within my gardeners specifically in growing African violets. We improved the design quite a bit to make the entire system last longer and better. Check out my previous entries for that!

  As I am also a carnivorous plant enthusiast, I was quite amazed that our long time dealer, Borneo Exotics, made wick watering system for tropical pitcher plants! It was named Biodome, after its dome shaped lid with an opening at the top. The pitcher plant is sitting in a small pot with a sponge collar around it, which absorb the excess water and provide humidity. The dome actually helps to contain and maintain the relative humidity in the dome, which is extremely helpful since providing humidity is always a challenge in gardening.

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There is a also a wick that leads to the water reservoir, this will mean that you need not worry about watering it everyday! All you need to do is to top up the reservoir by pouring it into the sponge through the dome opening. This actually reduces the chances of the plant dying from root rot, fairly common cause of death in growing pitcher plants.

The only downside about this is that there is too much plastic around the plant. It does not look natural, and it resembles kind of take away lunch boxes! Well, you can easily decorate it with some stuff, but I will be trying out something else.. Stay tuned, I will share it in the next post!

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Sundew seeds

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I harvested another batch of sundew seeds from my few pots of Sundews ( Drosera burmannii) Now with better photographing equipment, I am able to show you how the seeds will look like:

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They are black elongated seeds with tapered ends, usually 20-40 seeds are developed in a seed pod. Unripe seeds are pale green in colour and not viable to germinate. However, seeds that are ripe have a long lifespan, I have germinated seeds which I harvest a year ago! Sundew seeds can stay viable for around 2 years, and of course chances of germination will be lower than those freshly harvested.

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They are extremely small, a gust of strong wind or brushing the seed pods will send the seeds away, which is their way of propagation. They will take 2-4 weeks to germinate and you can expect them to be almost microscopic for the first leaves! In fact, they look like tiny green specks in the pot!

Seeds of this size make sowing fairly difficult. Unlike other seeds, we can organise and space them equally in the pot. However for sundew seeds, they are just too small for our fingers to space them out neatly. I can only arrange them properly when they had germinated and had a few leaves, which I use a tweezer to move them around before their roots had established into the media. It is no easy feat at all! You may just squished them into pulp if you applied too much pressure!

Successful Herb Propagation

January 4, 2010 2 comments

Recently I started propagating three different herbs. Two of them being the easier ones, Oregano and Marjoram had successfully developed roots! These cuttings are bought off the supermarket’s refrigerated shelves which these herbs are used for culinary purposes. Marjoram was the first to root, all four cuttings survived the two week long rooting process in the potting mix of 1:1 perlite and vermiculite. The mix was kept wet all the time.

postxmas007 My propagating dish with Sage and Marjoram

At the initial stage when the cuttings were placed in the mix, they all went limp within the next hour and I admit they gave almost gave me a fright! Luckily they started to perk up and stay green and strong. No rooting powder was added to this method, which is different from the earlier post on propagating sage. In fact, I had some sage cuttings in this method too and they do better than the others in soil with rooting powder. However, they have yet to develop roots.

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Roots developing using the perlite : Vermiculite potting mix 

My marjoram cuttings are now potted in the standard potting mix, 1:1 burnt earth and compost. They will be in under bright light for a day or two before I introduce them to their permanent spot with some direct sunlight.  

Growing Culinary Herbs

December 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Many had approached me on how to grow culinary herbs at home, which can be a tricky task as such plants can be quite fussy if the conditions are not right. However in my opinion, these herbs such as rosemary, thyme, tarragon or mint, are easy to grow. The trick lies in the choice of potting media and watering.

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Most of these herbs are grown in Mediterranean conditions, which basically means dry soil conditions. Potting media used should be water draining and well aerated, not forgetting to contain good amount of organic matter for nutrients. These plants do not like their roots to be immersed in water for long periods and if so, they will suffer from root rot and start to die down. Water them only when the potting media feels dry and resist the urge to water them too often. I had gardeners who feel “guilty” for not watering the plants!

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They are preferred to be grown in 4-6 hours of  direct sunlight. Healthy herbs tend to have stronger fragrance and greener leaves. They can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. This will also mean that the fresh cut herbs available in supermarkets can be used for propagation! Many of my friends had successfully propagated from these sources and had excellent results!

Herbs are not only interesting plants to grow, but also useful in your kitchen. Anytime you feel you need to “spice up” your food, head over to your garden!

Potting up new seedlings

November 28, 2009 6 comments

Some of the recent seeds I sowed last month have sprouted. They were sowed in a large pot and now ready to be transferred into their permanent pot. I chose a 6-inch pot and have many numerous drainage holes at the bottom. It is very important to have good water drainage which most plants will prefer.

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But with bigger and more drainage holes can also mean the potting media will also leak out of the pot! Here’s a useful tip to prevent this from happening. I have placed a thin layer of coco chips or coconut husks to cover the holes. They are larger chunks and fibrous enough to prevent the potting media to leak out.

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    A  layer of coco chips at the bottom                     Top up with potting media          

Next, I added the potting media to the pot. The potting media I used for this pot is one of the best mix around. It is mixed with good amount of compost as well as draining media such as charcoal chips. It is also not very lumpy and even smells good! For me, my choice of good garden is good drainage, not lumpy and darker in colour.

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The seedlings are then removed from the soil and potted into the new media. Try to use your finger to “dig” a hole deep enough to cover the entire root ball or root system of the seedling. This will ensure that the seedling is stable and increase its chances of survival. After that, water the pot till water leaks out from the bottom of the pot. Only then, the entire pot is thoroughly watered. You may notice that the soil level will sink down by a centimetre and you can add more media if you want to.

Video Blog #3: Wick Watering System

September 25, 2009 1 comment

Many members from the Green Culture Singapore forum use the wick watering system for their plants. It is a hassle free, easy to make system which eliminates the need for regular watering, which is very suitable for busy gardeners in the office or home.

In this video, I will share with you the steps of building your own wick watering system.

 

Video Blog #2: Propagating your Rosemary Plant

September 19, 2009 1 comment

In this 2nd episode, I will share how to propagate rosemary plant by stem cuttings. There are various ways to do stem cuttings and the way I shown here has been very successful for me.

 

Rosemary plant is an easy to grow herb. As long as the soil is draining and fertile, it will grow very well in various growing environments. Hope you enjoy this video blogs. More to come!!