Caffeine: the most potent artificial intelligence drink!

Caffeine: the most potent artificial intelligence drink!
Deep in the Lair of the Perpetually Curious Fox

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Lithops optica var rubra and Evil Plot update

I got the biggest surprise last night when I was inspecting the lithops nursery. There's a couple of Lithops optica rubra (I must learnt the flipping Cole numbering system!) poking out to meet the sunlight!

Here's the teeny lil ones. I name them Smeagol and Gollum -- they're the small pink-ish blobs in the middle of the photos.


A little bit of update on the Evil Plot. Bill and Ted looks really nice and healthy - I should transplant them into bigger pots today:
Bill and Ted, about a month old now. They're speeding up growth!
Peter the Black Oil sunflower will also need to be planted in the ground soon! Otherwise it will be stunted .... maybe I can dwarfivy it?

Peter is now twice in height to when I first potted him. 

Triffids are starting to show inflorescence development! I'm starting to think that it's probably a poppy?

Unidentified Triffid with budding flower
The Hummingbird Sage is also inflorescing! To be honest, I'm actually not too sure it's S. coccinea now... the leaves looked wrong ... but the inflorescence looks salvia-ish

Only about 1 cm across ....

The Radish is getting ready to bloom ...
I wonder if it'll look cauliflower-ish? Had some radish leaves with noodles the other day. YUM
The healthiest growers of the potted clan so far is the Amaranth! Might have to separate them out, or at least repot them.

Larry, Curly and Moe are doing well. Moe is a bit slow in catching up with his older cousins
They're about 15 cm tall now. Larry and Curly are competing. Moe is runt-ish
The basil I transplanted into the ground seems to take off too! Won't be long before I can have my own homemade pesto!

My little rainbow pepper is thriving in the hot sun

Some of the leaves looked really gnarly ... not enough nutrients?

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Transplanting Lithops seedlings for transport to a new home

First of all, I wouldn't recommend transplanting seedlings as they are pretty fragile, but if you're really careful and have a steady hand it shouldn't hurt them too much!

1- Prepare your transport carrier and growing medium. For temporary pots I'm using a couple of egg carton nests; reason being that they are packaging for food so not likely to contain any chemicals that could hurt the roots. Plus it's kinda fun *banjo*-ing some creative solutions.

The carry case itself is a recycled cherry tomato plastic packaging. It already has ventilation holes in the bottom (which will be the top as I use it upside down)

2-I use a teaspoon of cacti & succulent soil mix

3- And two teaspoons of perlite. I don't want to use potsherds as I don't have any sterilised ones anymore ... don't want any fungi contamination now, do we?

4- Mix them together with the spoon handle, and press a dimple in the middle of each egg carton cell, I used the end of a sharpie pen.

5- Make sure you transplant when it's nice and cool. I did it after sundown today - it's been pretty hot today! My little nursery of lithops is currently a recycled *Subway takeaway cookie case* Laughing

6- Before I pick out any seedlings, I used the mister and thoroughly soak growing medium and the egg carton cells, as well as some extra water in the carry case as well. The idea is to make the little air pocket in the carry case as humid as possible so that the seedlings' roots don't have to work over time to get water.

7- Now.... which ones of you lot are going to have an adventure? They're about 3 weeks after sowing. I can't believe how quick they grow in size! The seeds are about the size of the fullstop at the end of this sentence, and now the biggest ones are about 3mm across their faces.

Decision time... chose a couple of big 'uns and a smaller one. They're christened Tom, Dick and Harry Laughing a tweezer comes in handy. Thank the Great Pumpkin for Swiss Army Knives; they have everything but the kitchen sink built in Wink

8- Tommy nestling in the dimple I made earlier. Don't know if you can see the tap root ... it's pretty fine and threadlike. Its VERY long compared to the lithop itself - Tom is about 6mm long, but his taproot is over 1cm!

9- *Dicky* was easier to move as he has decided to sink his taproot into a small clump of soil. I just had to lift the clump and place it in the second cell.

10- Harry had a little accident Shocked I sneezed as I was moving him so one side is ever so slightly bruised. Ooooops Embarassed he looks ok though. Will keep a close eye on him for the next few days to make sure he makes it.

After placing them in the dimple, I used the tweezers to gently collapse the surrounding medium onto Tom, Dick and Harry; burying all of the root and about half of their body-length. A couple more spritz of water from the mister to help the medium settle around the roots.

11- Tom, Dick and Harry chilling out in their cherry tomato case, under my full spectrum lamp, ready for pickup! Very Happy

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Triffids are here!

Well, an update on the state of the Triffids! The weather has been uncommonly wet this past month, which is well appreciated by the plants! For Calgary, I think the garden actually don't look half bad! First off, the stars of the show so far, Bill and Ted Romanesco Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var Romanesco)

Bill and Ted

Zoom in on Bill

Sunflowers (Helianthus anuus) germinate readily. It's really hard to FAIL with sunflowers. Sown more than necessary as bunnies and squirrels kept raiding at night!
Peter the Black Oil Sunflower (Yellow var)

Larry, Curly and Moe. Red Sun var
Salvia coccinea (Blood Sage)

Celosia argentea var plumosa (Cockscomb)
Capsicum annuus var Red Bell

Borago officinialis (Starflower/Borage) at the top left, with fenugreek in my Evil Plot

Fragaria vesca var alpina (Alpine strawberry)

Lavandula angustifolia var English Munstead (Munstead Lavender)
Notoriously hard to start from seed in Calgary supposedly!

Capsicum annuus var boliviae (Bolivian Rainbow Pepper)

Amaranthus cruentus (Tassel flower)

Trigonella-feonum graecum (Fenugreek)
Coriandrum (Coriander/Cilantro)

What it said
Monarda fistulosa (Bee Balm)

Medicago sativa (Alfalfa)

Nicotiana alata var jasmine (Jasmine Aztec Tobacco)

Ocimum basilicum var Genovese (Genovese Basil... and yes they look over crowded.
Repotted and shared with friends)

Papaver nudicaule

Brassica rapa var rapa (Turnip. I cheated with this one, it was a forgotten turnip from the
vegetable bin whose already sprouting leaves - last time I checked today, it has started to flower!)