Archive | February 2011

Recipe of the Week: Irish Colcannon Potatoes and Cabbage


It’s almost March, and that means time to get ready for Irish Cuisine!  This week’s entree is enough Irish to make my best friend, ‘Zoochica’, want to kiss the cook that makes this!  (FYI, that’s a lot of Irish!)

Ingredients:

  • water for boiling
  • 5 large potatoes
  • 1 head green cabbage, chopped
  • 3 leeks, sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Place potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for at least 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.In a separate pot, boil the cabbage in water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.In another pot or skillet, cook leeks in cream until tender, about 15 minutes.

When potatoes are done cooking, mash them together with leeks, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add cabbage and stir to combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rhubarb Insect Control: Rhubarb Curculio


“Hi Edelweiss,

I get bugs eating on my rhubarb stems each year.  It looks like eggs under the leaves, but I’ve never seen any bugs to identify.  What are they and what can I do? Colorado potato beetles?  Sevin?

Thanks,

Ben”

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Hi Ben,

Thanks for contacting Horticulture Talk through our Facebook page.  To be honest, there are not a lot of insect pests that affect rhubarb — because it is acidic and because of the oxalate crystals in the leaves.  However, based on your description, it sounds like you have Rhubarb Curculio (Lixus concavus).

The leaf stalks of the rhubarb may show exuding sap and partial decay from late-May through early summer, due to the feeding and egg laying punctures of the rhubarb curculio.  Feeding injury appears as notches in the stem and on the leaf edges. Sap exudes from wounds of either type and collects as glistening drops of gum when fresh. Fortunately, the eggs of this insect do not hatch when deposited in rhubarb.

The rhubarb curculio (or rhubarb weevil) is a large snout beetle, about 1/2 inch long. It is dark colored, with a yellow powdery material dusted on its back. The yellowish covering easily rubs off when the insect is handled.  The head has a downwardly curved snout, at the end of which are the mandibles (the chewing mouth parts). The eggs are oblong and yellow- white in color (similar to Colorado Potato Beetles). The mature larva is a legless grub about 3/4 inch in length, with a brown head.

The curculio overwinters as an adult, in piles of debris or in other protected places near the rhubarb planting. In about mid-May the adults appear, and are seen resting on the stalks and leaves of rhubarb, dock, thistle or sunflower. They soon begin laying eggs. Eggs are deposited singly in cavities about 1/8 inch deep in the stalks of host plants, and hatching occurs in a week to ten days, in all plants but the rhubarb. The rhubarb curculio survives in weeds in or near the garden. Eggs deposited in rhubarb do not hatch, but are killed by the actively growing plant tissue, which crushes them. In other hosts the newly hatched larva begins burrowing its way down through the stalk, so that when it reaches maturity in eight to nine weeks, it has reached the bottom of the stalk just below the soil surface. Usually one grub reaches maturity in a host plant. Pupation occurs in a cavity at the base of the host plant, and within a few weeks the adult beetles emerge. The adults feed for a short time, and then seek out protected places to spend the winter. There is only one generation of this insect a year.

The only direct method of control is to hand pick the beetles from the plants during early summer and destroy them. When the beetles first emerge they are easily picked from the vegetation on which they are resting. Their large size aids in finding them and helps make them easy to handle. The removal of all wild plants in which the beetles breed (dock, thistle, and sunflower) growing in or near the planting during July, while the curculio larvae are still in them, will also be helpful.

 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Growing Mountain Ash


“Dear HorticultureTalk,

I’m having problems growing Mountain Ash trees.  What do I need to do to make them grow right?

THanks,

Phil”

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The Mountain Ash tree can grows well in a variety of soils and is popular with gardeners. However, you may make mistakes if you do not properly understand the conditions under which the ash tree thrives.

–Planting Mountain Ash

Dig out an area for the tree that is about 3 or 4 times the diameter of the container or root ball and the same depth as the container or rootball. Use a pitchfork or shovel to scarify the sides of the hole.  Once the tree is placed, fill the hole with soil the same way it was taken out so soil from different depths are not mixed. Never amend with less than half original soil. Recent studies show that if your soil is loose enough, you are better off adding little or no soil amendments.

Create a water ring around the outer edge of the hole. Not only will this conserve water, but will direct moisture to perimeter roots, encouraging outer growth. Once tree is established, water ring may be leveled. Studies show that mulched trees grow faster than those unmulched, so add a 3″” layer of pinestraw, compost, or pulverized bark over backfilled area. Remove any damaged limbs.

–Light Conditions: Full sun for at least 6 hours, dappled light the rest of the day.

–Types of Pruning:  pinching, thinning, shearing and rejuvenating.  It is critical to prune trees correctly from the beginning to assure proper growth and development. Young trees can be transplanted in a number of forms: bare root, balled & burlap and in containers. The more stress the plant undergoes in the transplant process, the more pruning that is required to compensate.

–Watering Conditions:  Plants are almost completely made up of water so it is important to supply them with adequate water to maintain good plant health. Not enough water and roots will wither and the plant will wilt and die. Too much water applied too frequently deprives roots of oxygen leading to plantdiseases such as root and stem rots. The type of plant, plant age, light level, soil type and container size all will impact when a plant needs to be watered. Follow these tips to ensure successful watering:

–The key to watering Mountain Ash is water deeply and less frequently. When watering, water well, i.e. provide enough water to thoroughly saturate the root ball. With in-ground plants, this means thoroughly soaking the soil until water has penetrated to a depth of 6 to 7 inches (1′ being better). With container grown plants, apply enough water to allow water to flow through the drainage holes.
–Try to water plants early in the day or later in the afternoon to conserve water and cut down on plant stress. Do water early enough so that water has had a chance to dry from plant leaves prior to night fall. This is paramount if you have had fungus problems.
–Don’t wait to water until plants wilt. Although some plants will recover from this, all plants will die if they wilt too much (when they reach the permanent wilting point).
–Consider water conservation methods such as drip irrigation, mulching, and xeriscaping. Drip systems which slowly drip moisture directly on the root system can be purchased at your local home and garden center. Mulches can significantly cool the root zone and conserve moisture.

–Consider adding water-saving gels to the root zone which will hold a reserve of water for the plant. These can make a world of difference especially under stressful conditions. Be certain to follow label directions for their use. Most plants like 1 inch of water a week during the growing season, but take care not to over water. The first two years after a plant is installed, regular watering is important for establishment. The first year is critical. It is better to water once a week and water deeply, than to water frequently for a few minutes.  It is critical to prune trees correctly from the beginning to assure proper growth and development. Young trees can be transplanted in a number of forms: bare root, balled & burlap and in containers. The more stress the plant undergoes in the transplant process, the more pruning that is required to compensate.

Disease and Insect Problems
–Sawfly Larvae: Sawflies look similar to wasps, but do not have stingers or waists. Sawflies were named for the way the females “”sawed”” openings into hosts, where eggs were laid. The larvae of the sawfly is the actual villain, causing damage to fruit or foliage as it matures. The small, green larvae of the sawflies are caterpillar-like or slug-like in appearance.
Prevention and Control: No prevention available. Control by handpicking or spraying with a recommended insecticide. Birds, beetles and viruses usually keep the sawfly under control.

–Aphids: Aphids are small, soft-bodied, slow-moving insects that suck fluids from plants. Aphids come in many colors, ranging from green to brown to black, and they may have wings. They attack a wide range of plant species causing stunting, deformed leaves and buds. They can transmit harmful plant viruses with their piercing/sucking mouthparts. Aphids, generally, are merely a nuisance, since it takes many of them to cause serious plant damage. However aphids do produce a sweet substance called honeydew (coveted by ants) which can lead to an unattractive black surface growth called sooty mold.
Aphids can increase quickly in numbers and each female can produce up to 250 live nymphs in the course of a month without mating. Aphids often appear when the environment changes – spring & fall. They’re often massed at the tips of branches feeding on succulent tissue. Aphids are attracted to the color yellow and will often hitchhike on yellow clothing. Prevention and Control: Keep weeds to an absolute minimum, especially around desirable plants. On edibles, wash off infected area of plant. Lady bugs and lacewings will feed on aphids in the garden. There are various products – organic and inorganic – that can be used to control aphids. Seek the recommendation of a professional and follow all label procedures to a tee.

–Powdery Mildew: Powdery Mildew is usually found on plants that do not have enough air circulation or adequate light. Problems are worse where nights are cool and days are warm and humid. The powdery white or gray fungus is
usually found on the upper surface of leaves or fruit. Leaves will often turn yellow or brown, curl up, and drop off. New foliage emerges crinkled and distorted. Fruit will be dwarfed and often drops early.  Prevention and Control: Plant resistant varieties and space plants properly so they receive adequate light and air circulation. Always water from below, keeping water off the foliage. This is paramount for roses. Go easy on the nitrogen fertilizer. Apply fungicides according to label directions before problem becomes severe and follow directions exactly, not missing any
required treatments. Sanitation is a must – clean up and remove all leaves, flowers, or debris in the fall and destroy.

–Anthracnose:  Anthracnose is the result of a plant infection, caused by a fungus, and may cause severe defoliation, especially in trees, but rarely results in death. Sunken patches on stems, fruit, leaves, or twigs, appear grayish brown, may appear watery, and have pinkish-tan spore masses that appear slime-like. On vegetables, spots may enlarge as fruit matures. Prevention and Control: Try not to over water. If your climate is naturally rainy, grow resistant varieties. In the vegetable garden, stake and trellis plants to provide good air circulation so that plants may dry. Increase sunlight to plants by trimming limbs. Prune, remove, or destroy infected plants and remove all leaf debris. Select a fungicide that is labeled for anthracnose and the plant you are treating. Follow the label strictly.

–Scale Insects:  Scales are insects, related to mealybugs, that can be a problem on a wide variety of plants – indoor and outdoor. Young scales crawl until they find a good feeding site. The adult females then lose their legs and remain on a spot protected by its hard shell layer. They appear as bumps, often on the lower sides of leaves. They have piercing mouth parts that suck the sap out of plant tissue. Scales can weaken a plant leading to yellow foliage and leaf drop. They also produce a sweet substance called honeydew (coveted by ants) which can lead to an unattractive black surface
fungal growth called sooty mold. Prevention and Control: Once established they are hard to control. Isolate infested plants away from those that are not infested. Cosnult your local garden center professional or Cooperative Extension office in your county for a legal recommendation regarding their control. Encourage natural enemies such as parasitic wasps in the garden.

–Blight: Blights are cause by fungi or bacteria that kill plant tissue.  Symptoms often show up as the rapid spotting or wilting of foliage. There are many different blights, specific to various plants, each requiring a varied method of control.

 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Missing in Action: Jupiter Pepper


“Horticulturist, where can I find Jupiter Pepper?  I’ve tried to order it from four different companies and all are substituting it.  Why?  Was it a crop failure? ~J.”

______________________________________________________________

I’m sorry to have to tell you, but the Jupiter Pepper has been discontinued from production by it’s distributor, Rogers Seeds.  From what I have learned from my sources, many seed companies were supplied with some seed, but not enough to fill their 2011 orders.  I’m not sure what companies do have inventory, but I’m sure there are many that are out of inventory and are substituting for Jupiter if they were given short orders.

If Jupiter Pepper becomes available on the market again, it will be because the rights to it have been purchased by another company.  As always, if you find just one company carrying it in the years to come, you know that they are selling you carried over seed or are packaging and selling something that is not Jupiter Pepper.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Finding the Perfect Tomato to Store


“Horticulturist, Could you please advise the name of the variety you recommend that best stores as green tomatoes that gradually ripen during the winter. We are presently using Burpee Long Keep, but can no longer obtain seed of this variety from Burpee. Thank you. ~J.”

___________________________________________________________________________
Here are the ones I was able to find:

–Peters Seed and Research / Tomato Seeds…
These varieties are generally very firm, especially in the early
stages of ripeness. The flavor of most storage tomatoes is decidedly
acidic in early storage; the longer the tomatoes are stored the less
acidic they become. Harvest all fruit, green and red, before frost
damages them. For the longest storage, place the tomatoes in a single
layer in boxes (like strawberry boxes), stack in a cool place that
isn’t so damp that moisture condenses on the fruit and isn’t so dry
that the fruit dehydrates. Best long-term storage is at temperatures
of 40-50F and a relative humidity of over 70%. Check the fruits every
1-2 weeks removing any beginning to spoil. The fruits must be blemish-
free if they are intended to store very long. Don’t waste your time
on fruits with bug pecks, tiny rot specks, cuts, bruises, and the
like. Remove all stems. Soaking the fruit in a light Clorox bath will
often greatly decrease rotting. Your garden soil can dramatically
affect the storage life of a tomato. Certain types of very sandy or
gravely soils, when supplied with adequate nutrients, especially
phosphorous and calcium and sulfur have proven to produce
exceptionally rot resistant tomatoes. We know that hydrogen peroxide
can form when some soils are watered during sunlight hours, but don’t
know if that is a factor. High silicon levels may have some but
unknown ability to impart rot resistance when other factors are
right. Certain clay soils and fertilizing schemes can dramatically
reduce storability of tomato fruits. Eliminating the water to the
plants 2-4 weeks before harvest of storage tomatoes has often proven
to extend storage life and increase flavor. Your garden soil can
dramatically affect a tomatoes’ storage life.

Golden Treasure UR
Larger, nearly uniform-ripening Golden Treasure type. Similar to our
original Golden Treasure, except the fruits average 20-30% larger and
are virtually uniform ripening (free of green shoulder). Good very
tangy flavor. Crisp textured and very long-keeping. Indeterminate
Origin: PSR Breeding Program
Pkt $1.50

Ruby Treasure
A very firm, smooth and beautiful 6-8oz slicer for red, ripe harvest.
Excellent flavor and color in our storage trials. Tenderness and
aroma increase as it becomes riper. Can store for 2-3 months, if
harvested green. (85 days) Determinate
Origin PSR Breeding Program
Pkt $1.50
http://www.pioneer-net.com/psr/page17.htm

–TOMATO — Long KEEPING — STORAGE TOMATOES
Keep the fruits off of the ground and harvest prior to frost. Fruits
have kept until February from an October picking.
Packets for any STUFFING tomatoes are $2.50 each. Packets will
contain at least 25 seeds.
Ruby Treasure- 85 days – A Tim Peters development. Nice, bright
scarlet red fruits. Hard skinned so they keep well.
Winterkeeper- 91 days – Indeterminant, normal leaf, 10 oz. fruits,
solid green until storage then turn a pale yellow outside and red
inside.
Yellow Out Red In- 99 days- Semi-determinant, solid 6 oz. globe,
tart.
http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/Seeds.htm

–LongKeeper
78 days. (Semi-determinate) Due to the slow ripening characteristic
of this variety, fruits become ripe 1-1/2 to 3 months after harvest,
ensuring a supply of fresh tomatoes into the winter. Some customers
report storing Long Keeper 4 to 6 months. Though the quality
doesn’t
match that of a fresh garden tomato, flavor and texture is superior
to most winter supermarket tomatoes. Unblemished tomatoes are
harvested before frost and allowed to ripen at room temperature.
Store at room temperature so fruits are not touching and check for
ripeness and rotting weekly. Used apple boxes with their fruit
seperators are convienient for this. Fruits are mature for harvest
when they have a pale, pink blush. The 4 to 7 oz. fruits ripen in
storage to a satiny, red-orange color. Flesh ripens to medium-red.
Best planted in late spring or early summer for fall harvest, start
seeds in early May. Long Keeper is often grown as a supplement to the
main crop.
http://www.southernexposure.com/productlist/prods/49125.html

–Tomato, Long Keeper Sold in Canada
According to our records, the following varieties were offered by
Canadian seed and plant companies in 2004-2005.

This information is provided as is, to further our knowledge of
garden biodiversity and the conservation of heritage plants. Seeds of
Diversity takes no responsibility for errors or omissions, but we
appreciate any updates that you can provide.
http://www.seeds.ca/hpd/catCSCI_cvlist.php?species=Tomato%
2C+Long+Keeper

Burpee Long Keeper Tomato seeds
Origin: USA
Item #: 0127
The Long Keeper Tomato was introduced by the W. Atlee Burpee Company
in 1979 and has remained popular since. Burpee’s Long Keeper Tomato
has amazing storage properties if the fruits are harvested when they
are unblemished and a light golden-orange color. The tomatoes should
be stored, unwrapped, without touching one another and in a cool,
dry, dark place at 60 to 70 degrees. Tomatoes of the Burpee Long
Keeper thus stored, will keep for 6 to 12 weeks. Reports of tomatoes
of this variety keeping up to 5 months have been reported in the
past. This tomato variety’s amazing storage ability is not a result
of genetic modification, but due to a natural gene that appears in a
few tomatoes called “Alcobaca”. Burpee Long Keeper is not a great
tasting tomato variety, but is a good tomato variety to grow a few
plants of to insure that you have a source of tomatoes when they are
out of season! It’s taste is comparable or superior to those
expensive tomatoes you buy in the stores during the winter.

The tomato fruits are harvested at a golden-orange color, but turn to
a medium red when stored properly. The flesh is a typical medium-red
color.
Semi-determinate.

–Felix
A 1995 home garden long keeper from Seminis (Petoseed)
http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/31130/

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wet Soil and Crop Rotation


“What do you recommend for planting in the wet area’s of our
garden?

We have planted tomato’s in the same area for the last 8 years; should we
rotate crops?

Pat”

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Growing vegetables in wet soil invariably is not possible because wet soil causes root rot. However, you can do soil amendment to ensure that the wet soil is more conducive to vegetable gardening. One way of finding out whether the soil is too wet is by taking a handful and squeezing it. If the soil sticks together in ball, it means that the soil is too wet.

You can rectify the problem of wet soil by adding organic matter. Not only will the organic matter help to release nutrients like nitrogen and minerals, it will also help to reduce the wetness. You can also think about adding partially rotting straw or compost to ensure that the surface soil attains good condition. Remember this option is only for soil that is mildly wet and not soaking wet.

Wet soil delays the start of the growing season for vegetables in spring and then plays a big role in ending the growing season in autumn. So, look for vegetables that have short growing cycles like tomatoes, peas, radishes, potatoes, beans, carrots and the likes.

Another option for growing vegetables in wet soil is to go for raised vegetable beds. This way the beds will not have anything to do with the wet soil and you can grow whatever vegetables you like.  Generally a raised vegetable bed is around 3 to 4 feet wide and the length can be as long as you want. The width is fixed so that the person can tend to the center of the bed from both sides. A raised vegetable bed can be a square or a rectangle.

As for the tomatoes, yes, I definitely recommend that you rotate them with your other vegetables.  A good rule of thumb is grow tomatoes and crops in the same family (potatoes, peppers, ground cherries, huckleberries, eggplants, and petunias) in the same area every 3 to 4 years.  There are number blight, wilt, and viral diseases that are associated with these plants.  Rotating them to other areas will allow the pathogens in the soil to die back before the same crop is planted in again.  This concept applies not only to tomatoes and related family members, but to all vegetable crops — squashes and borers, cole crops and moths, legumes and nitrogen fixation, etc.  If you are interested in having a little help with figuring out a crop rotation plan, our company now offers an online garden planning tool that can be used to aid in rotation.  You can find the garden planner here: http://gardenplanner.jungseed.com/

 

 

 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Care for Indoor Ferns


“I live in the city and am trying to cultivate a fern on my kitchen window sill. I’m pretty impressed that I’ve not managed to kill it just yet, exactly.. but it’s not really thriving either. Are there special needs for fern care?
Thanks!
kate”

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Ferns are excellent plants for low light conditions. The foliage can range in appearance from delicate and airy to dense and dramatic. There are ferns with furry rhizomes that reach out of the pot like little feet, appropriately named squirrel foot and rabbit’s foot ferns. Staghorn and Bird’s Nest ferns also make a strong visual impact on a room. While green may be the only color choice, the texture and variation of leaf shape make ferns an elegant addition to rooms with little light. Ferns can be hardy and low-maintenance indoor plants.

Culture:

Most ferns require similar care–low light, high humidity, and a light feeding of a balanced fertilizer. Variations occur in the amount of water a particular fern requires and the temperatures it can tolerate. A soil-less potting mix containing peat moss is an excellent choice for potting ferns, as they prefer potting soil with good drainage and high organic content.

Indirect light is a necessity. Ferns need a north-facing window. South or west-facing windows are to be avoided, unless they are curtained. The foliage will burn if put into direct sunlight. Ferns will not survive a total lack of light. Like all green plants ferns need sunlight to photosynthesize nutrients.

High humidity is a requirement for all types of ferns, but it is especially important for Maidenhair, Staghorn, and Boston Fern. In order to raise the humidity around the fern, place their pots on a tray containing pebbles and a small amount of water. Never let the bottom of the pot touch the water in the tray. A pot that constantly sits in water will encourage fungus diseases and root rot. Misting on a regular basis will help increase humidity. Ferns that need especially high humidity can be grown in bathrooms and terrariums. Browning or die back on the tips of the fronds is evidence of low humidity. While most ferns enjoy a moist atmosphere some varieties like to dry out slightly between watering. Rabbit’s Foot Fern, Brake Ferns and Holly fern should not be watered until the surface of the soil is dry.

Most ferns do well in average room temperature–68 to 72 degrees F during the day and 62 to 65 degrees F at night. Some varieites, such as Brake Ferns and Staghorns, need cooler night temperatures.

Ferns are not heavy feeders. They only need to be fertilized once a month with a liquid fertilizer at one-half strength.

Propagation:

Ferns can be propagated by division. Early spring is the best time to repot or divide a plant. Remove the plant from the pot and carefully cut between the rhizomes. You want to keep as many leaves as possible on each division. Repot in a good sterile potting soil. Do not feed a newly repotted plant for at least 4-6 months.

Ferns may also be propagated by spores. During the warm months of summer, ferns produce dot-like structures called spores on the underside of the leaves. When the spores ripen and turn dark remove the leaf and place in a dark container like a paper bag. Let the plant dry out. Once dry you can shake the leaf and thousands of spores will fall free. Place the spores in pot containing a peat based seed-starting mix. Work carefully as the spores can blow away with the slightest breeze. Water the container from the bottom up. When the soil surface is damp, place the pot in a plastic bag. Place the bag in the sun and keep it warm, at a constant 65 to 70 degrees F. You will first see a layer of green goo on the surface of the pot. This is the primordial soup that will become new ferns. This can take a few days or several months. Next, small fern like structures will appear, when these fronds are about 1 inch tall remove the plastic bag. As the ferns are very closely packed they will have to be transplanted in clumps to small pots. Once they are two to three inches in height they can be transplanted to individual pots. Fertilize lightly at this time.

Problems:

Scales, mealybugs and mites are the most common insect problems. Avoid pesticide use as it may damage the plant. A hard spray with warm water will dislodge most insects. Hand picking can also remove these pests. If infestation is extensive and you must use a pesticide, carefully read the label for warnings about using the product on ferns.

Plant Selection:

When first growing ferns you may want to start with some of less demanding varieties such as Bird’s Nest fern (Asplenium nidus), Japanese Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum), Rabbit’s Food Fern (Polypodium aureum) or Brake Ferns (Pteris cretica). Boston ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) are a good choice if you can maintain the high humidity they require. If you want a challenge, try growing, Maidenhair (Adiantum), Staghorn (Platycerium sp.) or one of the potentially huge tree ferns (Dicksonia antartica).

 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.