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Lesson 21: Plant Care 101

By: Chief Moderator Bee

Live Lesson: 2/24/17 @ 7:00PM

Summary: This lesson provides a basic overview of the knowledge a beginner will need to successfully grow plants. It is not intended to be a class on green witchcraft specifically, though there may be elements of witchcraft incorporated.

ANATOMY OF A PLANT

  • Shoot system: portion of plant above ground
  • Root system: portion of plant below ground
  • Flower: the reproductive organs of a plant, consists of modified leaves
  • Bud: site of new growth
  • Node: point where leaf diverges from stem
  • Leaf: photosynthetic organ, consists of blade and petiole
  • Root: anchors plant and provides water and nutrients from soil

PLANT NEEDS

  • Sunlight
    • Plants require sunlight for photosynthesis. The amount required per plant is variable, but most prefer medium or indirect light. In the Northern Hemisphere, a southern or southwest window provides the most light, followed by east windows or bright spots in sunny rooms, followed by a north window (not preferred).
  • Water
    • Plants also require water. Again, this varies widely, but the most common watering frequency is 1-2 times per week. I personally prefer the finger test, which is simply sticking your finger about 1” into the soil and checking for dryness. If the soil is totally dry, water the plant thoroughly. Thorough watering should allow water to drip from the bottom of the plant, in order to ensure sufficient saturation. In addition, many plants will benefit from a humid environment.
  • Soil
    • There are many different types of soil, but a few are more common than others. Potting soil, topsoil, garden soil, succulent/cactus soil, seed starter mix, compost, and orchid soil are the most common. Potting soil is soil that has been mixed to provide the best environment for potted plants. Garden soil is usually topsoil with compost or manure added, and should NOT be used in pots, as it is very dense. Topsoil is simply the first layer of soil. Succulent/cactus soil has sand added, seed starter mix is used to grow seedlings, compost is almost entirely decaying organic matter, and orchid soil is formulated with bark and moss to ensure healthy orchid growth.
  • Space/Container
    • Proper spacing of plants is most important in outdoor gardens, to ensure room to grow and proper air circulation. With potted plants, the container itself is most important. A container should be large enough for the plant, with room to grow, and have at least one drainage hole in the bottom. Clay readily absorbs water, and is preferred for many plants to prevent them from sitting in water. Plastic and metal are also very common, as is glass jars and bottles. I frequently re-purpose containers as plant pots (and it gives me an excuse to have ice cream).
  • Circulation
    • In order to prevent mold and other fungi, proper air circulation is necessary. It will also help strengthen a young plant. Keep in mind, strong winds can harm plants.
  • Warmth
    • Plants enjoy warmth. Many will be fine at room temperature, but some prefer more or less – research accordingly. Warmth is most important for seeds and seedlings, because they use the heat to tell when it’s time to germinate. I typically wrap my seedling in a heating pad to encourage germination.

PLANTING SEEDS

When planting seeds, not only should you read the seed packet for information, but do your own research! Google is your new best friend, if it wasn’t already. Seeds vary in preferred depth, soil type, soil density, spacing, warmth, and water, so keep this in mind. Knowing where the plant is from and the general climate there can be very helpful! For example, rosemary is Mediterranean, so it likes lots of sun, somewhat sandy soils, warm temperature, and little water. You don’t have to go memorize average daily rainfall in that region, but it helps to have a general idea.

MAINTENANCE

Maintenance is fairly simple. Outside of the basic needs of a plant, there are a few more to look for. As a plant grows, the root system will grow too. A plant can become “root bound” if it outgrows a pot, which can be very unhealthy, though some plants are more tolerant than others.

To repot, gently lift the plant up by pinching the base and wiggling the plant carefully to help the roots loosen from the soil. You can use your fingers to work the dirt clumps out of the roots, if necessary. If the plant is really stuck, press your hand flat against the soil, with the stem of the plant between your thumb and first finger. Flip the pot upside down (expect a small rain of loose earth) and give the bottom of the pot a sharp smack. Be ready for the weight of the plant to suddenly shift when it comes out! Then you can proceed to loosen the roots and repot. After you’ve gotten the plant itself out, replant it in a larger pot and bury to cover the roots. Most plants won’t mind having part of their stem buried as well, but some get fussy, so keep that in mind.

The other main maintenance that should be done is pruning. Pruning encourages the axillary buds to grow, creating a new branch where the leaf was cut. Many plants require pruning to be fully healthy. For non-woody plants, simply use a sharp knife, scissors, or your nails (wash your hands!) to cut the leaf away as close to the stem as possible. Wait a bit, and you will likely see a new branch! You can also cut the stem above a node to encourage growth. Depending on the growth pattern, you may get one, two, or even more new branches. In addition, some plants benefit from flower pruning (to encourage growth rather than fruiting) or deadheading (removing dead flower heads to encourage new ones). For example, it is recommended that the flowers immediately be plucked from strawberries in their first year, to encourage them to grow “daughter” plants and result in a larger crop next year.

PROPAGATING

Propagating is the means of producing new plants. There are various methods, but seeds, cuttings, and offshoots are the most common.

Seeds are easy, but require time or money. It takes time for a mature plant to produce seed, plus they need to be pollinated either by hand or by bees or other pollinators, so this may not be ideal.

Cuttings are popular as an “instant gratification” method (my favorite!). Simply take a cutting of a plant by slicing above the node of the stem. The chosen cutting should have several sets of leaves for best results, and it should be a segment of new growth (especially important in woody plants) with no flowers. Pinch or cut off all but a few pairs of leaves near the top, leaving 2-3 bare nodes. Place in water or soil. For water, replace every few days to replenish dissolved oxygen. For soil, keep moist, but not wet. I personally prefer water because I can easily track development, but some claim better success with soil. If using soil, sometimes a rooting hormone may be applied to encourage root growth.

Offshoots are new baby plants that have grown from the root system, stem, or rhizome of an adult plant. To propagate using them, wait until they have several sets of leaves, then use the methods described in the segment about repotting (Maintenance) to expose the roots. With a clean knife, carefully cut the baby plant away from the parent, making sure that it receives a portion of the roots. If the plant has a rhizome, cut so that the baby plant gets a small portion of the rhizome. Repot using previously discussed methods. If the rhizome is large, you can allow it to heal for a few days by setting it in a cool, dry place. This can help prevent infection or rot, but is not a requirement.

Propagating succulents is quite similar to propagating cuttings, though some, like aloe, produce offshoots called pups. In the case of propagating succulents from leaves, only some are fit for this. Use succulents whose leaves pop off easily. Select a healthy, whole leaf and pop it off, then let it sit on soil (not in!). Ignore it for a while and eventually it will produce new roots! For pups, treat them like offshoots (they are a type of offshoot), but do not water for at least a week after repotting. This encourages healthy root development.

TROUBLESHOOTING

Diagnosing plants can be tricky. Below are some common symptoms and potential causes. Be sure to research the plant in question, as some plants are more susceptible to certain illnesses, pests, or conditions.

  • YELLOWING LEAVES – too much/not enough light, high temperature, root bound
    • YOUNG LEAVES – not enough light, overfertilization, mineral deficiency
    • OLD LEAVES – overwatering, natural aging, root bound, root rot, major element deficiency
  • DEAD OR YELLOW SPOTS ON LEAVES – fungal, bacterial, or viral infection, fluoride toxicity, pesticide damage
    • IRREGULAR – pesticide damage, cold water damage, thrips, air pollution
  • MOSAIC PATTERN ON LEAVES – viral infection, high temperature, pesticide damage, major element deficiency
  • VERY DARK, LIMP LEAVES – cold/frostbite injuries, crushing, bacterial infection
  • SMALL LEAVES – low light (in conjunction with spindly stem), too much/not enough fertilizer, low humidity, root rot
  • LEAVES FALLING OFF – overfertilization, overwatering, cold injuries, low light, root rot, natural cycle
  • WILTED/DROOPING LEAVESoverwatering, underwatering (soil pulling away from side of pot), overfertilization, root rot, stem rot, root bound
  • ABNORMAL SUBSTANCE ON LEAF
    • WHITE, POWDERY – powdery mildew
    • BLACK, PATCHY – sooty mold
    • STICKY – insect activity, natural secretion by plant
  • STEM ROTTED – fungal or bacterial disease
    • AT SOIL LINE – overwatering
    • ABOVE SOIL LINE – sunburn
  • TALL, THIN STEM – not enough light
  • SLOW GROWTH – not enough light, compacted soil, too much/not enough fertilization, too much/not enough water, root rot
  • NO ROOTS – unsuccessful cutting
  • ROOTS CLOSE TO SURFACE – hot surface, overwatering, compacted soil, erosion
  • DARK, LIMP ROOTS – overwatering, overfertilization, root rot


PLANTS FOR BEGINNERS

BASILOcimum basilicum, 6-8 hours full sun, frost sensitive, likes warm conditions, easy to grow from seed or cuttings, likes moist (not wet!) soil


SNAKE PLANTSanseveria trifasciata, indestructible, rhizomatous, drought tolerant, neglect tolerant, medium indirect light (perfect indoor/bathroom plant!), propagate through offshoots or leaf cuttings


ALOEAloe vera, 6-8 hours indirect sunlight, sunburn sensitive, frost sensitive, prone to root rot, needs cactus/succulent soil, picky about water (water when dry to 1.5”-2”/3.5-5 cm), propagate through pups


WANDERING JEWTradescantia zebrina, I DIDN’T NAME THIS, 4-6 hours full/indirect sun, likes warm conditions, overwatering tolerant (avoid watering directly on leaves), propagates easily through cuttings


ROSEMARYRosmarinus officinalis, 6-8 hours full sun, likes warm conditions, frost sensitive, somewhat drought tolerant, prone to root rot, prone to powdery mildew, difficult to grow from seed, grows somewhat readily from cuttings


LAVENDER – Lavandula angustifolia, 6-8 hours full/indirect sunlight, prefer warm conditions, frost sensitive, overwatering sensitive, prefer drier conditions, somewhat difficult to grow from seed, grows somewhat readily from cuttings


MINTSMentha spp.(piperita –peppermint,spicata– spearmint),MUST BE POTTED, WILL TAKE OVER GARDEN, prune regularly, full sun/partial shade, likes somewhat moist soil, grows extremely rapidly, somewhat difficult to propagate from seed, propagates easily through cuttings


SAGESalvia officinalis, prefers warm conditions, 6-8 hours full/indirect sun, likes pruning, somewhat drought tolerant, somewhat difficult to grow from seed, propagates readily from cuttings


Thank you!

League of Legends Asks

(Made a league ask, feel free to use it at your leisure!)

Send me a number in my inbox, anon or otherwise!

1- First champ played?
2- First main?
3- Season when you started?
4- What got you into league in the first place?
5- Current rank?
6- Highest rank?
7- Current main?
8- Odd pick fave?
9- If you could date a champ irl who would it be?
10- Best odd combo?
11- Worst league experience?
12- Best league experience?
13- Ever got stuck in a rank?
14- Met anyone you met on league irl?
15- Last league game score?
16- Last champ played?
17- Most champ played?
18- How many mastery 7s?
19- Ever cosplayed a league champ?
20- Ever had a penta kill?
21- Favorite champ?
22- Favorite skin?
23- If you could perma delete a champ, who would it be?
24- Current instant ban?
25- Least favorite champion?
26- Aram, twisted tree line, or Summoners Rift?
27- Favorite special game mode?
28- Ever gotten so tilted you broke something?
29- Ever been reported?
30- Ever been banned?
31- How many summoner names have you had?
32- Ignite or heal (adc)?
33- Most expensive skin owned?
34- Longest game?
35- Longest amount of time playing consecutively?
36- Too many chests or too many keys?
37- Favorite midlaner?
38- Favorite adc?
39- Favorite support?
40- Favorite top?
41- Favorite jungle?
42- You’re worst champ?
43- Favorite lore champion?
44- If you have a champions abilities irl who would it be?
45- If you could be a league champ what would your kit/role be?
46- Your favorite male champ?
47- Your favorite female champ?
48- What’s your favorite league ship?
49- What’s your favorite LCS team?
50- Ever used RP to buy a champ?

beginner’s guide to horror movies

Okay, so you’ve seen a few scary movies and enjoyed them, and now you’re looking to expand your horror prowess. Maybe you’ve been reading/listening to a lot of creepypasta, and you feel like you’re ready to take the plunge. Or maybe you just have a feeling that you’d like horror, but have no idea where to start. 

I’ve been a huge fan of all things creepy and scary for years. I was just reading an article called, “Horror Gems You Haven’t Seen Yet” and realized that I actually had seen almost every film on the list, so I guess that makes me an expert. So, my new baby horror fans, allow me to introduce you to the genre.


Keep reading

The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday, that’s guaranteed. And I can’t begin to explain that. Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else but guess what? Sunday is my favorite day again.
—  Silver Linings Playbook

After watching Logan yesterday my top 5 superhero movie list as definitely changed!


1 - The Dark Knight (i think this will always be mu favourite)
2 - Logan (becaue fucking wow)
3 - Wonder Woman (do i need to explain anymore why i loved this fucking movie??)
4 - Batman v Superman (UE) (Yes i love this movie. Yes it is in my top 5). The Ultimate Edition is a gift)
5 - Captain America TWS ( In my opinion the best MCU movie. GOTG is a very close second though)

Please respect my list guys

ew.com
'Rogue One' Faves Return in New 'Star Wars' Novel
Read an excerpt from Greg Rucka’s Guardians of the Whills.


Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus were audience favorites the instant they made their first appearance in Rogue One. Unfortunately, viewers’ time with both characters (played by Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen respectively) was short-lived… until now.

Thanks to Greg Rucka’s new middle-grade adventure, aptly titled Guardians of the Whills, eager readers can follow Baze and Chirrut’s adventures before the events of the Star Wars stand alone film. And as you can read in the excerpt below, the blind former guardian of the Kyber Temple and his friend (who has since shrugged off their former role) are working to resist the Empire’s forces that have taken over Jedha, and protect the residents of the Holy City.

However, their plans change with the arrival of Saw Gerrera, a rebel looking to take down the Empire. But while this gives both men a chance to actually help the people of their city, the price it requires might be too high to pay.

Guardians of the Whills is currently available for purchase. Order it here.

[ KEEP READING ]

Cupcake (Ignis x Reader)

Hey Nif! I have some pure Iggy fluff for you if you’re interested lol 

“Are you sure I can’t help you?” You asked, leaning over the kitchen counter. You let your elbow rest on the cool granite service and supported your head in your hands. You stared longingly at the rows of finished cupcakes already lined up on a serving plate. The icing flavors ranged from vanilla to chocolate. You were just dying to taste one. 

Anything Ignis cooked or baked was an instant favorite of yours. No matter what the ingredient, you loved his meals wholeheartedly. Since you two started dating the range of food you enjoyed to eat expanded immensely.  You even found yourself enjoy stranger foods that you usually stayed away from; like escargot… but only if Ignis made it for you. 

His deserts were to die for. He knew you had no resistance when it came to his pastries. When Prompto left the responsibility of deserts up to Ignis for Noctis’s birthday party, you knew there was going to be trouble in your future. Of course, you were correct. 

“I am quite sure,” Ignis confirmed, busying himself by stirring ingredients into a mixing bowl. 
The leather gloves he usually wore were still stowed away in his drawer. The sleeves of his white button up shirt were pushed past his elbows so he could work in the kitchen more efficiently without worrying about dirtying himself with ingredients.
“Can I just have one?” You pleaded. 

“You will be able to eat one at the party tonight,” he said firmly. 
“Ugh,” you groaned, pushing yourself from your position at the counter to slyly situate yourself behind your boyfrined. You wrapped your arms around him and gently pressed your right cheek against his back. “Please,” you begged, raising your voice’s pitch to bring out the sweetest voice you could muster. 

Your heard his chest rumble as he chuckled at your persistence. 
“If you insist that you cannot wait only a few more hours until the party…” He sighed but you could hear the smile in his voice. 

You nuzzled your cheek against his back. “So I can have one?”
He discarded his bowl and spoon back onto the counter. He used his pale, slender fingers to remove your hands from his waist. He turned to face you and allowed you to lock your arms around him once more. 

He stared down at you with his enchanting seafoam green eyes. “I find my self no longer able to tell you ‘no.’”
You grinned triumphantly up at him. “Yes!” You cheered at your own success. You stood up on your tip toes to place a sweet peck onto his soft lips. Excitedly, you escaped his embrace to hurry over to the plate that displayed the numerous cupcakes. You studied each cupcake carefully, deciding on which one to pick. 

Your eyes locked onto a vanilla cupcake elegantly topped with fluffy, pink, strawberry icing. A bright red cherry rested atop the frosting.  Perfect, you thought. You picked up the cupcake, careful not to drop it. There is no way you were going to ruin your only chance at a sneak peak of tonight’s deserts. 

You brought the treat to your lips and inhaled the scent of sugary strawberries before you allowed yourself to bight into the soft sponge of the cake. “Mmm,” you hummed, shutting your eyes. “Another great kitchen success, Iggy,” you complimented. You slowly opened your eyes and turned to look at the chef. He leaned his back agains the counter, watching you with a smirk as he crossed his arms over his lean chest. 

You glanced back down at your cupcake and quickly plucked the cherry from the top. “Compliments to the chef,” you smiled proudly at him. You practically skipped to his side and held out the cherry to him.

He leaned his head down to your hand and place the cherry in his mouth while you still held onto the stem. He pulled fruit from the stem and you giggled. He sat up once he swallow and inched closer to you. You quickly discarded the stem on the kitchen counter behind you.
“Darling, you have frosting on your lip,” he informed once he was only a mere centimeters from your face. 

“I was saving that for later,” you teased. 
He smirked before gently grazing his thumb over the edge of your lip, removing the frosting and popped his thumb into his mouth, tasting the frosting for himself. 
With the cupcake still in hand, you leaned onto his side resting your head on his shoulder. 
“When did I get so lucky?” You smiled, allowing yourself another bite of the cupcake.
“I was just wondering that myself.”


I LOVE IGGY FLUFF

Bless you this is SO CUTE