Growing from Seed-PBS TOW

Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 20 Nov 2002 20:59:20 PST
Dear All,

Now that I have posted what I do, as the moderator this week I would like to comment about some of the things others have said. When I went to Australia a number of years ago Gary Buckley, Malcolm Thomas, and Will Ashburner were all kind enough to let us visit and to tell about their methods. Gary grows a lot of things from seed with great success and I was amazed that he sowed directly into the ground. He did not have a collection of pots, but a small garden packed with amazing and unusual plants. But he is right to correct me that he dug out all the soil and replaced it with his own mix. Have you done that in Tasmania too Gary?

Malcolm grows a lot of Australian geophytic orchids. We saw them and they were gorgeous. I believe you told us that your method for starting them is a bit different than your other seeds. For the sake of those on this list who may not know, would you share how you get these seeds to come up?

Jane, what is the wives tale about snow? Do you think it works?

Uli what is Seramis? Since obviously some of the things you grow you are subjecting to the elements and I know you grow some things that are not that hardy, are you starting the others in a green house or inside?

Are their others who are starting under lights in a basement or in the house and willing to share how that works?

It is interesting to reread Jim's comments about Cyrtanthus and Rhoda's about soaking the seed for a few days and then planting them which makes it sound like she has discovered soaking helps. Paul Chapman, are you out there? What method do you use for Cyrtanthus?

Finally Andrew Wilson is telling me he is very happy with diatomite as a covering for his pots in Southern California. I don't know if he is using it to cover seeds however. He writes, "Diatomite is a material that was formed millions of years ago by the petrification of diatoms, small sea and lake creatures. It is fairly hard, does not decompose and, unlike, chips of rock, can take up and store water. Like pumice it opens up a soil and maintains plenty of available surface area and air. Unlike pumice it stores water, is heavier so it does not float out of a mixture and is an attractive, light brown looking substance. It comes in sizes ranging from small chips to chunks an inch across. Orchid people seem to like the latter, I use the former." He also didn't say where he gets it or if it is really expensive.

Mary Sue

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