Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Updates from el Presidente and Co.

Here are some key updates for the week in our Horticulture Society:

Last Meeting:
We went up to our own on-campus Eco-roof to do some weeding in preparation for our replanting project. It turns out it's going to be a much bigger job than anticipated. As of last meeting, we now have a treasurer! And a photographer! (please always feel free to take pictures of your own volition)
We did not get around to posting fliers, so we need two or three people to come out tomorrow, Wednesday Feb 1st at 11:00am, and help us post them around the dorms and other spots on campus. Email us back at this address if you want to help out, or just meet up in the greenhouse tomorrow at 11.

This Friday:

  • Our general meeting will be held at its new official time of FRIDAY, at NOON in the GREENHOUSE. If your schedule does not allow you to make these meetings, please try to attend whatever extra events we have, and we will do our best to keep you updated via email.
  • This Friday our very own Yosef Kerzner will be giving a short talk to help our newbies (and our oldies who still need to learn) get started with the growing season. Make sure to come in and get some great growing tips.
  • We will also discuss plans for continuing the de-weeding of the eco-roof, and just what is being grown for the plant sale.
  • Soon, we'll need to assign someone to plan out how we can grow the UH logo on the eco-roof.
  • Those who are most involved will get their say in what goes in the seven beds on the roof this semester.

Up Coming Events:

  • As always, please let us know if you come across an opportunity or an idea for an event or field trip.
  • We are having a flier Posting Day this Wednesday, February 1st, at 11:00am. Come meet up in the greenhouse at that time to help us plaster our name on all the public posting boards.
  • Dues are $10 and are due to Rachel Gamblin by February 10th.
  • Sometime as February comes to a close, we'll be going on field trip to HCC's World Famous Greenhouse to find out what they're up to and what we can learn from them. This will likely be happening February 24th. Once we know for sure, we'll be asking people about car pooling. Go green, people!
  • Our first Plant Sale for the semester will be in the PGH Breezeway on Thursday, March 22nd.
  • Check out our Google Calendar ! If you have a gmail account and would like access to our calendar, please respond to this email saying so.

In other news, nearly all the seeds that were planted last Monday have sprouted, except for pepper seeds. This includes tomatoes, most basils, parsley, and french sorrel. Soaking seeds overnight really does help, reducing germination times by at least half. Next time though, we'll have to experiment with gibberellic acid solutions to really hot-rod the germination and growth of plants.

From here

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Seeds for plant sales

Hi again.

Seeds have been ordered for the plant sales in (tentatively) March and (definitely) April. Here's a list, with explanations.

Red Robin Tomato - This is a small tomato plant that produces 1.25" fruits on plants a foot tall. It does well in 1-2 gallon containers, and even fruits indoors. Its contender was Tiny Tim, which is 15" tall and requires larger containers.

Mini Bell Series (Yellow) - 16" Tall plants stuffed with 2" mini-peppers. As pepper plants go that's quite small.

Sweet Pickle Pepper - A great sweet ornamental pepper that we sold last year. Amazing production of 2"-long peppers, even in one-gallon containers. See this photo:

Thai Hot Pepper - An ornamental hot pepper whose plants grow no larger than 8".

Sweet'n'Neat Tomato (Yellow) - Last year's best cherry tomato variety, producing best when in a 2-gallon container.

Decent flavor for its size.

Redskin pepper - Similar in growth to Mini Bell pepper.


Aristotle Basil - A compact basil.

Medinette Basil - Another compact basil that is slow to bolt in the summer. Since people may not know that it is best to pinch out the flowers to promote leaf growth, this attribute of Medinette will be helpful.

Lemon Basil - 2-3 feet tall. Wonderful lemony smell and flavor. Pesto made with even 5% lemon basil (and 95% Genovese) is fantastic.

Spicy Globe Basil - Another compact basil. Great taste. Choosing this one was a bit like rolling dice - there were seven varieties to choose from.

Curled Parsley - We'll see how this goes. Forms small plants suitable mostly for garnishes (and also for ritual uses).


Ultra Crimson Star Petunia (How's that for school spirit?):

Promise Phlox - Mix of colors.
The vegetables and flowers will be planted as soon as the seed arrives, hopefully this week. The herbs won't be planted until the end of January or the first few days of February, since they were ordered late. Drop by the greenhouse to see how progress goes with them. 

Until next time.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Insulating the plant cart

Hello again.

The plant cart has now been insulated with solar pool cover. After some deliberation, and a desire to retain the extremely well-made table seen to the left of the picture (with the watering can on top), I decided to simply attach the pool cover in pieces to the metal framework of the cart.

The table has lasted for 40 years because it is solidly made, with large bolts securing braces near each leg. The original plan called for cutting it down the middle and reconnecting two much-shortened pieces to retain at least some storage and provide more space for the PVC framework.

Six pieces were cut out (and re-cut because of mistakes) from the roll of pool cover and plastic ties were used to secure them to the framework in certain spots. Once all the pieces had been initially attached they were secured more fully, and to each other, to provide better insulation.

One side became the door by leaving slack space and sticking on strips of velcro so that two halves could overlap.

A power strip with an extra-long cord was purchased for electrical equipment, and placed inside the enclosed cart, on the bottom level. It is on a power outlet separate from the heater, which is plugged into a 14-gauge, outdoor power cord (1875W) on its own outlet. The heater is also on the bottom level, and two fans blow air around inside.

The completed set-up has wheels, so it can be rolled out of this "crawl"-space for maintenance. However, it remains crowded, and I wonder how it will be to have a full rack of plants sitting on the top of a fluorescent light fixture. Perhaps they will go to the bottom. Much fun awaits.