Sunday, February 17, 2013



A method of repotting with the least amount of disturbance to the root system never fails to give me a little satisfaction with that final plop into place. You create the perfect size hole "molded" into the center of the pot with a (CLEAN!) pot the size the plant was just in.

The first step I've taken is to drop some of the largest sized pieces of perlite in the bottom for extra drainage. Then a thin layer of potting mix is added  - enough to level the height to make up for any root ball that has been trimmed from the bottom of the plant. If the old pot was quite root bound I usually remove an inch or so, plus snip the sides in several places.

I like to do a combination of top watering and saucer watering. 
Having a saucer beneath catches drips from top watering, plus feeds more slowly from the bottom if the water seems to be running right out. If the soil has dried out a little too much, it drains before the soil has a chance to absorb fresh water.

Place the temporary mold - in this case a spare solo cup similar to the one the plant had been growing in - into the center, on top of the already prepared layer and fill the space around the cup with potting mix.

Keeping your thumb in the solo cup, both holding it firmly to the bottom and pressing slightly against the sides as you fill, allows the dampened mix to form the size "molded" hole the root ball needs to fit perfectly into.

By filling in around the cup higher than it seems you would need, you are then able to smooth the soil mix into the crease.
(A little thump against the table might help it settle into place.)
The goal is to have the crown of the plant at just the right level above the rim of the pot when you're done. 
This plant is a young Blue Dragon, one of my Grow to Show hopefuls. It may too young as it's only just produced it's 1st three buds. They were removed.
Blue Dragon (9516) 12/17/2005 (Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses/P. Sorano) Double light blue large frilled star/raspberry edge. Dark green, plain/red back. Large.
It's week 12 already!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Potting Soil (with turkey poop?)

Troll in Bottle?

CHAPTER 6 Revisited

African Violets: A Gift from Nature 
by Melvin Robey. (1988) 

Understanding your Potting Mixture
Excerpt from previous blog entry on the topic of soil mix recipes:

"Why does someone suddenly switch from one potting mix to another? There are 5 basic reasons I can think of for this odd behavior in African Violet enthusiasts." 

~Melvin Robey:

1. Change for change's sake. (Possibly worriers, looking for solutions?)
2. Trying a friend's mixture. (It worked for them, so why not try it too?)
3. Trying out new ideas. (The experimenters!)
4. New products introduced. (A new marketing fad?)
5. New Cultural Practices. (Change to wick or matting, for examples.)

I will add:
6. Usual products unavailable because of seasonal retail marketing decisions.

There's no freaking peat moss or potting soil to be found this time of year NOT LACED WITH MIRACLE-GRO. I thought I found a couple of organic potting mix alternatives to peat moss:
Scott's Brand Earthgro Potting Mix was basically clay and sand. Read some really bad reviews after I got it home of course! I think it might make a good ingredient in a final recipe once it's been sifted. And pasteurized. I'm making this a habit now, no matter what source it comes from. 
Mickey Mouse Jar with 1st bloom!
Vigoro 8 qt. Organic Potting Mix has a much more organic texture. Says there's perlite added but damn little. I can deal with that. Of course, I didn't notice the bottom sentence on the bag says "no need to feed for 3 months"...WHEN will I learn to read ALL of the label? Went on an internet search to try and find out just what this product was "amended with". Found a Home Depot video
It's Turkey Litter?

Both had lots of rocks and bark... because if they use the word "organic" that must make it okay?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Virtual African Violet Show!

Countdown begins...

Violet Voice is once again planning an online African Violet Show. Members who wish to participate will spend the next 14 weeks "growing to show" and then will enter the results for display, in categories just as an actual show would be set up.

Instead of delivering our plants to the show location, we try to take the very best photo we can and submit our entries. 

New members are sure to be welcomed, so drop by soon and see what's happening! 

You might find you're in the mood to Grow To Show, too :)

Week 14:
What to do this week - Lesson One online.

Meanwhile, on my shelves . . .  
Things are growing!
Not sure if it's just my imagination or what, but perhaps they know spring is around the corner as I swear things are taking a growth spurt this week.  
I finally found the Jack's Classic 20-20-20 blend of fertilizer and will gladly set aside the Shultz brand so I can see how the plants respond to this more balanced diet.

Darling Blue Trail on the right is the cutting that arrived in September from Montana. The one on the left was started from a leaf from that cutting. 
The littler one that's blooming past it's mother is being allowed do grow pretty much however it chooses.  CUTE!

The larger plant is not being allowed to bloom. Leaves have been removed from the bottom rows and the plant has been lowered into the pot. Repeatedly.
(Leaves are bigger? And I've removed about 3 bloom stalks a week since it arrived!)
It has 2 well formed crowns and tiny little leaves that I'm hoping will become the next crown. (We need 3 Darling if you want to go to the show!)

A few of the plants started from leaves from the Round Robin have started to bloom. Von's Baby Jay, Optimara Little Crystal and Teen Bride are just beginning to brighten my stand with their blooms.
(In order from top, clockwise.)
Teen Bride was the only plant from the wick experiment to thrive. The others are barely surviving and I am about ready to call it quits on the constant wick-watering method.

I've spent two days rearranging my shelving unit so I could add an extra shelf of lights. I've had to give up some storage room but I've gotten my sewing table back! (It had become an overflow shelf, but 3 trays of plants in the middle of my cutting table makes quilting a little difficult.)

I have a quilt project that went on hold while I did some knitting. At the risk of blocking air movement, I found a place to display wall-hangings. 
As seen from the doorway.