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Mid-Atl - Aug - Trying Something New

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Mid-Atl - Aug - Trying Something New

Post  sfg4uKim on 7/29/2016, 1:05 pm

What's the CRAZIEST garden experiment you've ever done?

I love to "push the envelop", and this year I'm going to try something REALLY crazy.

After the disaster of my tomatoes this season, although I'm getting an "okay" crop and have been able to collect seed, I'm going to take cuttings, root them in water and when the roots develop add a tablespoon of Mel's Mix to the water each week until the cup is filled with MM.

Then I'll pot each one that survives and move them where I can give them some good grow light love for the winter.

SOOOO please share YOUR crazy experiments. Did they work or not?

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Relocating a Paper Wasp Nest

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/24/2016, 11:24 pm

Craziest thing I've tried (as opposed to experiment in the sense of hypothesis/control etc.) was  relocating a paper wasp nest.

Last year I noticed a paper wasp had built a nest in the eave of the front door frame.  
I wanted paper wasps visiting the garden as pest-control ... but above the front door wasn't an option for a nest.  Paper wasps, are in my experience, not aggressive, and the least defensive of the wasps I've interacted with. (Bald-faced hornets and yellow jacket wasps are the other end of my spectrum.)

I caught the queen in a glass(young nest, so she's the only wasp there), used tweezers to rip down the little nest, used a needle to sew a loop of thread through the stalk, taped the thread to cardboard, tied the cardboard into a pot (with the holes sealed), and transferred the queen into the upside-down pot, and left it overnight in the kitchen. I had hoped she'd find her nest and I could move the pot, and when she did an orientation flight on leaving the nest in the morning so she could find it in the new location/wouldn't abandon it. Didn't work. She wasn't on the nest when I moved it, and flew straight back to the front door from the backyard.

I then hung the pot using twine going over the top of the door to the inside doorknob, and slowly lowered the pot each evening after dark, then started moving it horizontally using a pair of shepherds hooks. This worked. I eventually got the nest where I wanted it, though I stopped sticking my face and a flashlight underneath to check for the queen about halfway through. The nest was bigger when I finally investigated at the end of the year, but I don't think it lasted the whole season. Not sure if it was abandoned part way through the move, or something else went wrong.
Photos of the nest when I moved it, and the plastic pot set up at the start of the move.
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Re: Mid-Atl - Aug - Trying Something New

Post  sanderson on 8/25/2016, 3:14 am

Well, it was worth a try. Clever that you moved it a bit each day. Only a gardener would try it Very Happy

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Re: Mid-Atl - Aug - Trying Something New

Post  sfg4uKim on 8/25/2016, 7:59 am

Wow that was an interesting thing to try.

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Re: Mid-Atl - Aug - Trying Something New

Post  sfg4uKim on 8/27/2016, 8:47 am

UPDATE: (yeah, I know, I need to get some pictures)

Some of the tomato plants seem to be taking and some just rotting. Possibly the super stressed tomatoes are the ones not making it, but I didn't take notes.

Of the 16 varieties I've tried, only 8 have survived. But hey, that's 8 more plants than I had previously.

I'll see which varieties have died and see if the outdoor plants have any suckers on them so that I can try again.

Of those that are still alive, the addition of the Mel's Mix seems to have spurred new growth. They're about 1/4 MM and 3/4 water right now.

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I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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Re: Mid-Atl - Aug - Trying Something New

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/27/2016, 11:18 am

I've had surprising success rooting tomato cuttings straight into moist potting mix (indoors, where I can keep an eye on the moisture level.)
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Re: Mid-Atl - Aug - Trying Something New

Post  sfg4uKim on 8/27/2016, 6:21 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:I've had surprising success rooting tomato cuttings straight into moist potting mix (indoors, where I can keep an eye on the moisture level.)

I have never had success and neither has my neighbor. She also tried straight water until roots form and then planted them in moist Mel's Mix -- all of them died.

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Re: Mid-Atl - Aug - Trying Something New

Post  Kelejan on 8/27/2016, 6:33 pm

@sfg4uKim wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:I've had surprising success rooting tomato cuttings straight into moist potting mix (indoors, where I can keep an eye on the moisture level.)

I have never had success and neither has my neighbor. She also tried straight water until roots form and then planted them in moist Mel's Mix -- all of them died.
It looks as though you have hit on a good way to propagate tomato cuttings, ffg4uKim. To me 50% is good.  Adding the MM in small stages must lessen the shock to the new plants. I adds the nutrients gradually along with the water retaining vermiculite.
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Re: Mid-Atl - Aug - Trying Something New

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/27/2016, 8:04 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
@sfg4uKim wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:I've had surprising success rooting tomato cuttings straight into moist potting mix (indoors, where I can keep an eye on the moisture level.)

I have never had success and neither has my neighbor. She also tried straight water until roots form and then planted them in moist Mel's Mix -- all of them died.
It looks as though you have hit on a good way to propagate tomato cuttings, ffg4uKim. To me 50% is good.  Adding the MM in small stages must lessen the shock to the new plants. I adds the nutrients gradually along with the water retaining vermiculite.
Huh. I just looked back, and sure enough, Mel has an intermediate water rooting step listed.  thinking When I just stuck the cuttings straight into moist potting mix, I thought I was following the directions, but I guess not. So it might have been one of those things that worked for me just because I didn't know it shouldn't. Rolling Eyes

Both this and last years successful attempts were cherry tomato varieties, which may be relevant. I'd be curious to know whether roma/paste types are the ones giving you difficulty - and/or whether indeterminate types are giving better success.

I haven't tried this yet, but you could try aspirin water, or willow water, for the types that are being stubborn:
https://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-instructions/home-made-plant-rooting-hormone-willow-water/
It should help against stress and rotting.
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