Stuff and viruses

John Lonsdale
Mon, 07 Nov 2005 17:48:56 PST
Alberto said:

"it is also true that a hygiene program and the continuing production of
plants from seed minimizes virus incidence to very low rates."

I couldn't agree more.  There are two main skills in growing good plants -
being very observant and learning how to water.  Manage these and the rest
is simple!  I strive to keep everything well organized and clean and also
use insecticides prophylactically to minimize any build up of vectors.  This
would be in direct contrast to those politically correct organizations that
need to keep a constant supply of pests on the plants to feed the biological
control organisms!  Each fall I use permethrin vaporizers in my greenhouses
to get things off to a good start, and then include a dose of imidacloprid
in my in-line watering in late spring.  I find this gives complete
protection against a variety of beasties that might otherwise take a fancy
to my bulbs when dormant.  I also use imidacloprid twice a year on beds
outside that house my precious oncocyclus and other rare irises.  Its
systemic and prolonged activity is a marvel.  The only virused plants I've
ever seen here were those imported from a UK nursery that had maintained
them for years in an environment riddled with aphids.

I also sow hundreds of pots of bulb seed every year, for the reasons
outlined by Alberto and also because I get lots of variation and plenty of
seedlings to try in a number of microhabitats outside.  Inevitably many of
these die or don't thrive, but without the large numbers of seedlings at
minimal cost I'd never be able to establish those plants outside that are
not supposed to grow here.

Regarding feeding, I give a weak in-line feed with every watering.  There is
considerable evidence that this is far better than a bolus overdosed
infrequently, and works well for me.  I use MiracleGro (15:30:15) as soon as
a good proportion of leaves are established (about now for fall crocuses,
narcissus, cyclamen) and switch over to a 'blossom-booster' version for the
last few waterings in the spring if I remember.  The cyclamen don't seem to
care about the feeding as I get equivalent results with the pots I don't
feed nearly as often.  The other bulbs definitely benefit.

I think muriate of potash actually is potassium chloride (KCl).



John T Lonsdale PhD
407 Edgewood Drive,
Exton, Pennsylvania 19341, USA

Home: 610 594 9232
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