28 March 2015


I had given up on my baby aloes. All brown. Pulling them up to toss in the compost, but this one actually had some roots growing. So I tucked it back in, just in case it has a slim chance of making it.
Looks awful, doesn't it?

27 March 2015


My pepper seems happy with the increasing sun in the window.
It keeps putting out more buds and flowers, but it's far too early to set it outside again.

26 March 2015

a few more

The herbs were not all. I didn't want to stop there. I mixed the rest of my saved vermicompost with tired dry soil and moved some more plants up to new, bigger pots. First to get a boost were the parlor palms. I'd found this tiny seedling in one pot. My youngest insisted I save the baby plant, to see what it grows into.
The biggest parlor palm was very crowded- its roots all growing round in a tight circle. I started loosening them out,
then kept going, worked all the soil out of the root ball because I kept finding these guys!
They were in the last bit of vermicompost saved in the bag, too. I thought surely they would have died out by now- the compost has been stored in that bag for four months, with just the moisture it retained and some holes punched for air. Seems the worms survive- every time I get the compost out to mix into some soil, I find a few baby worms, and many that have full girth but are short in body length, stunted perhaps. I'm also continuing to find worms in the soil of my potted plants- I'd read that a pot is not good habitat for a worm and eventually they will just die. But mine aren't. Maybe I don't let my pots dry out enough between watering. I have to figure out how to get the worms better separated from the compost, before I use it on the plants!

Back to them. The second palm got leaner soil mix, as I was nearly out of vermicompost when I started working on it. It wasn't quite as rootbound, but I spread its rootball (both got a slight trim to the roots too) and moved it up as well.
Here they are together, in their new pots.
The other plant that got refreshed was coleus. Not looking so good lately. I tipped it out, cut its head off, repotted the base
and put the cuttings in water to grow new roots.
I would have done more- my schefflera could use a bigger pot too, but I'm out of fresh soil until I harvest from the bin again...

herbs new and old

Few days ago I helped my boyfriend's sister plant some hosta, herbs and roses in her yard. It wasn't a big job, but I wanted to enjoy having my hands in the dirt again (sans gloves). She gave me some cuttings off her rosemary
and thyme. I'm glad to have a new start with these favorite herbs!
Usual method, I stripped the lower leaves off the stems and dipped them in a bit of rooting hormone powder.
Then cut the tops off, to encourage branching and keep the top foliage minimal while it grows new roots.
And just to see if more would grow, I stuck the cut tops back in the soil too.
I also cleaned up this pot of lemon balm. It's been looking poorly all winter, edges crisped and brown.
But I saw that at the base of the plant, new growth looked healthy. So cut back to that.
And while I was at it, gave my parsley plant a reboost. It has been looking so lovely, but just noticed there are signs of ill health again- leaves mottled pale. This one I upended entirely- loosened the roots and threw away all the old soil. Cut out all the sickly looking stems, gave it new soil, new clean pot, and new shards. If that doesn't clear out the pathogen I don't know what else to do.
Its roots look healthy enough.
In the new pot:

25 March 2015

still going

I thought the poinsettia was done with its modest show, as it is beginning to drop lower leaves. But a few of the bracts are still red- more than I expected.

24 March 2015

spider plant

the stem is growing and growing!

pink nutmeg

So happy with the blooming cyclamen,
and its lovely scent

23 March 2015

baby veggies

Got a picture of the seedlings. Lettuce:
Swiss chard:
and a few broccoli:
Of all the jugs, only four have germinated- and not much earlier than when they'd grow if sown direct into the soil outside. I am not sure if I will use this method next year. I might go back to germinating seed trays on top of the fridge and growing seedlings in cardboard tubes in the windowsill...

the tenner

is not looking so good anymore. I think it's getting too much light. Anubias leaves don't appear as curled, but suddenly I noticed there's small grainy white specks everywhere- on the upper surface of leaves, on the driftwood, on the heater housing.  I'm trying to figure out what this is- it could be what's called biogenic decalcification- basically the plants pulling calcium carbonate out of the water because high light drives them to need it and I'm not supplying C02. But then why would it form on the driftwood and other surfaces, not just plants? I don't really understand it. Anyway, I'd been wondering for a while if my switch to a different light source was too much, just like the error I made with that on the 20gal.

Plus it's too easy to shift, current setup. The happy spider plant pot atop the tank that shades the anubias probably doesn't get put back in exactly the same spot after every tank cleaning, and the desklamp gets nudged around sometimes too- maybe it just got bumped into a different position last week.

The java ferns seem okay though. At least, they are all putting out new little shoots- but they also look peaky and some pinholes again. So this also indicates to me, they might need more now because the light is higher than what other nutrients I'm providing support.

Hm. Time to readjust perhaps. And because I can't get a good picture of the white specks or the tiny green java nubbins, here's a few quick pics of Oliver my beauty instead:

21 March 2015

brief look

at my main tank. I took this photo casually, not careful with the lights and focus and angle as usual. Just for a general impression. What stands out to me now is the reach of rotala stems across the back- most have hit surface and are trailing across. Almost ready to cut them back by half and root their tops, to fill in the background. I've also removed the smaller of rooted watersprite, there's only four plants growing center now. It gave the aponos more root space, and doesn't feel like its taking spotlight quite so much anymore.