Tips And Tricks

This page will be devoted to any tips and tricks that I have come across or that other growers has passed on to me. So if you have any that you would like to pass on and maybe have posted here you email me here.

Capillary Pad

This first one is for a capillary mat pad that can be used on top of a reservoir or inside a particular brand of leaf support. This is not an original idea of mine but one that was passed on to me from a fellow club member. The idea behind this is that the tab or tongue goes down in the reservoir and draws moisture to the main pad that a pot can be set on. I have included photos of the finished pad and how it is used, I have also included a diagram of the pattern This is what your pattern should look like. I usually make mine with a 4 inch diameter and a 4 inch tab which is the measurements that I find that I use more often than any other, just change the measurements to suit your own individual needs (diameter and depth of container. The ones that I have I have cut out of an acrylic blanket but another material that may be used is the fleece interfacing material from a fabric department. Just before putting this pad to use I like soak it in the same water that will be used to water the plant and gently squeeze the excess moisture out of it.

Another Reservoir Idea

I must admit that I hate to wash out dirty algae ridden wick watering reservoirs as much as the next person. While attending a seminar that Dale Martens presented she had this nice little tip that I could not wait to try. She calls this reservoir diapers. What she is taking about is lining the reservoir before putting the lid on and filling it with water you line it with a plastic bag, the cheaper the better. Dale used a Baggies brand bag. I have tried several bags and have found for the standard water reservoir that a bag that measures 7 inches wide is just about right. Once the water reservoir has gotten unsightly you simply open it up and throw away the dirty bag and replace it with a new clean bag. Has to be one of the greatest ideas I have heard of for violets in a long time. Thanks Dale Martens for the great idea.

Still Another Reservoir Idea

Here is a neat idea for you butter tub users. The next time you empty a butter tub and want to use it for a reservoir how about cutting one large hole rather than two smaller holes. Yes, cut one larger hole centered in the top of the tub lid, just set your pot on the tub lid and trace around the bottom of the pot. Now comes the important part when you cut out your hole cut it just outside the traced line allowing the pot to set down in the tub lid just a little. This really works great for the smaller unstable pots. Here is a photo of this finished tip in use.

Favorite Tools

This one really is a tip or trick, it is a suggestion to try a couple of the tools that I have found very useful and indispensable in my plant room. The first is a ceramic cleaning tool.These tools are available at most ceramic supply firms, be sure and get the one that has a hooked end. Now what do you do with this handy little tool, the hooked end is fantastic for removing those nasty little suckers and removing anything else down near the base of the plant that we do not want. The other end makes a nice cutting tool to cut stems and the like. The second more or less tool that I find I use a lot is a very wide paint brush at least 4 inches or more wide. This wide paint brush acts a mini broom to sweep plant stand shelves, work area, and etc.

Chiritas

This one comes from an email list that I am on, try adding one tablespoon of oyster shell (the kind used for chickens) to one gallon of potting soil containing peat moss to raise your chiritas in. The oyster shell can usually be bought by the pound at a feed store. It seems that they do not like to much acidity and the oyster shell will lower the ph. Any powdered form of lime will wash out of the soil if you top water your chiritas. Give it a try and see if it does any good. You better believe that I am going to try it.

Another Reservoir Idea

from Barbara M.
Her's a wicking tip that works great for me and it's cheap. You may already know about it but here goes. I use solo cups and set inside "stage 2" Beechnut baby food jars. I thought they looked plain so now I paint some flowers on them all around with plain ole acrylic paint. Nicer to look at and I get to eat the fruit. My grandkids love it and think it's funny to be eating baby food. I spray the jar with acrylic sealer so the paint won't come off and I can rinse them from time to time. Also you can see what the water level is. I'm not an artist but some color on the jars made a big difference. Hope this is useful to someone. Doesn't take up a lot of room like those unsightly tubs. Keep giving us info.

For Those Who Grow To Show

Don't put all your eggs in one basket, in other words don't put all your show plants on one plant stand. I know it looks so nice to have all those show plants on one stand but what if something happens to that one stand? The plant stand could get bumped causing it to tip, or a wheel could come off, you get the picture. Spread them around to all your plant stands and be safe.

Your Tip Goes Here

Just drop me some email with a description and if possible a photo or two of your tip and I will take it from there.

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