stem plants

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I finally set up my microrasbora tank! Microrasbora kubotai and Emerald Dwarf Rasboras. Might add scarlet badis later. I love it ad it’s everything I dreamed 😊 I will fill out the space with more stem plants as they grow, but I like it for now too.

I didn’t quarantine the fish seperately since I bought them all together and they’re the only thing in my tank, but now I’m kind of regretting it because I’ve lost 3 out of 8 of the EDRs, and I only bought them late Wednesday ☹

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Recently, I came across a post warning against storing your herbs in glass jars. “They will mold,” it claimed. I reblogged it, with my owns comments on the subject, explaining to others that simply is not the case.

If you have done the homework on the plants you are gathering, learned how each plant needs to be dried, and followed the proper steps, storing your herbs in glass jars will not make them mold. 

*Herbs in the store can be purchased in glass jars.* 

*Herbs have been stored in glass jars for hundreds of years.*

This is a small sample of my larder, all my herbs are carefully air-dried, and stored in glass jars. (Some are in plastic bags, as I ran out of jars!) None have ever molded.

My point is, don’t believe every post you come across, but read up on the subject, and educate yourself well. It’s disappointing to see misinformation being passed around as fact, when in truth, it is not. 

  • Some leaves and flowers will need to be air-dried for 3-5 days.
  • Some leaves and plants need to be dried for 7-14 days.
  • Some flowers, (like lilacs) along with any member of the pine/evergreen family will require 3 weeks or more to dry.
  • Some plants with stems attached may need to be dried for 14-21 days, maybe even longer.
  • Air-drying maintains the colour, as well as essential oils/benefits of the plants the best, where oven drying can reduce them, and turns the plants brown.
  • Oven dry fruits like berries, at a very low setting (150°C-200°C) for anywhere from 2-4 hours, checking in between to see if they have completely dried yet. Since oven temps vary, you may have to tweek your drying times.

Do extensive reading on plants and drying/storing. You’ll have a far more rewarding and successful results!

I have fallen down the "humans are space orcs/earth is space Australia" hole

I see a lot about humans being scary durable and cute and they bond readily to other creatures type of posts. But like what if the aliens don’t understand that we can bond with other creatures sometimes MORE than other humans….

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Zůrłtg is “best friends” with human-trixie, their crew first got their human 7 cycles ago and it has been a fast friendship, humans are infamous for their bonding ability, but Zůrłtg didn’t know that they sometime bond more with one person then others. Zůrłtg was honored when human-trixie bestowed upon zem the title “best-friend”. Human-trixie joined the crew as there botanist, which might be part of there friendship as Zůrłtg is made mostly out of cellulose. She has been a true asset to the crew, as she has saved many a fellow crew member from harm with her bravery and courage.
Zůrłtg remembers unwillingly the time she pushed Captain Cul out the way of a carnivorous plant only to be devoured herself, and when all thought she had perished bust out of the bloom with the plants brain stem in hand.
Human-trixie is also adorable, she is small and kind and smart. So if this is what humans are like it no wonder everyone was so excited to be meeting with Space Crew Valen as they also has a human aboard. Maybe they will be lucky and their humans will mate and they can have baby humans!
Unfortunately for Zůrłtg the Valen crew human was not like human-trixie. He was not as small as human-trixie or having pleasing brown “hair” from his head, in fact he seemed to always be making the face human-trixie makes when she is displeased, though not nearly as adorable.
But ze tried not to judge a book by its cover as human-trixie would say and was extatic to meet him.
Even more unfortunate, the human did not choose to bond with zem as human-trixie did, in fact quite the opposite, this human, human-dave, did not like zem at all, calling zem a (swear word) jolly green giant and that he should (swear word) off.
OH NO this is terrible!!! Human-Dave will tell human-trixie not to like zem anymore and he will lose his “best-friend”. If ze had tearducts he would be crying like human-trixie when her pet-hamster-walnut died. Human-trixie must never know this or she will surely not like zem anymore!
To zes dismay human-trixie knew something was wrong the second that she saw his drooping mumds. Zůrłtg ended up telling her everything as ze is not as adept at the act of deception as her.
Zůrłtg watched with horor as human-trixie got really really still, “he said what?” she spoke with a stone voice so unlike her normal happy squeaky tones.
She got up.
This is it.
She is abandoning zem. She told zem to follow him as she walked calmly to the common room where the visiting crew was.
There must be a ceremony to leave a “best-friend” that another human must witness Zůrłtg thought. Or maybe she wanted say hurtful things with human-dave at him. Zůrłtgs mumds were dragging on the floor at this point.
Much to Zůrłtgs surprised as he watched human-trixie mall human-dave screaming swears words with a violence that none of either crews thought possible for such a small adorable being.
Zůrłtg was still disappointed about not getting any human babies but ze was releaved that ze was the “best-friend” of such a fierce creature.

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!

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etsyfindoftheday 3 | 5.4.17

theme thursday: california knows how to party

california poppy specimen set by daythreecreations

speaking of SWOON, i can’t take my eyes off this california poppy specimen print set. the vibrant ombré of the poppy’s petals stand out against the variegated stems and leaves. so pretty, so bohemian and botanical. love love.

Elsie Maud Wakefield

(1886–1972) Mycologist and plant pathologist

Elsie Wakefield earned a first-class degree in botany from Somerville College, Oxford. Her study of fungi included British and tropical species. In 1929 she was elected president of the British Mycological Society. She published many papers and two popular field guides to large fungi. She was awarded the OBE for her work.

Number 217 in an ongoing series celebrating remarkable women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The Domestic Garden Witch: Bonsai!

So maybe you’re a college witch with limited space and money, limited to the one window in your dorm. Or, maybe you’re a witch without extensive backyard space who wants to start up a magical garden. Perhaps you’re a kitchen witch who wants the freshest herbs right at her fingertips.

For many witches, having a garden seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. After all, plants and magic go hand-in-hand. Plus, when thinking of a witch, it’s hard not to think of a cottage in the woods with a little vegetable garden out front. Unfortunately for the majority of us, our cottage in the woods is a tiny flat, and our garden out front is a windowsill with limited space.

This is when it comes time to embrace your craftiness and bring your garden indoors! Not only does it place your garden in a convenient location, it also allows you to freshen the air, recycle what would otherwise harm the earth, and embrace your witchy green thumb!

Mini Trees, Patience and Meditation

When it comes to container gardening, we often jump straight to pots with flowers, herbs, maybe even little shrubs. Or even to terrariums and the like. But rarely do we consider incorporating bonsai into our lives. This could be because these miniature trees, as beautiful as they are, seem fairly daunting to cultivate, or possibly because many view them as expensive ornamental plants.

The truth is, however, that the art of bonsai is one which is not only very DIY but also a very helpful exercise in patience and meditation. And it is currently undergoing a bit of a revolution. Traditionally, bonsai has a lot of fairly strict rules regarding the shape and type of pot used, what plants can be used, and the proper ways to shape and trim the plant. However, in more recent movements, various pot shapes and types are being used, as well as varying plants (especially native species) so as to embrace a more personalized view.

You could either acquire traditional materials, or you can create your own container using a ceramic bowl or other type of dish. Select plants that suit your view and personality. And be aware that bonsai is still an art that requires some effort in order to grow a successful plant.

You’ll need a container with a drainage hole, gravel or volcanic rocks for drainage, plants, metal wire, and bonsai soil (either premixed or you can make your own by mixing peat clay, potting soil, and fine volcanic gravel). Place a gravel layer in the bottom of your container, and fill the rest with your potting mix.

Remove the starter plant from its container and gently remove the soil from its roots, and rinse them so that most of the soil is removed. Trim the roots, leaving the larger roots. Starting from the top of the plant and traveling down to the roots, wrap the wire around the stems of the plant. Run the remaining wire down through the mix and gravel and out of the drainage hole. This will anchor the plant and provide a training frame - alter the shape of the wire to shape and train the plant’s growth. Plant it in your container and provide ground cover on the soil either in the form of moss or gravel. Water and mist daily.

Training your plant is part of what makes this a meditative experience. Avoid over-trimming, but remember to prune large leaves and extraneous branches. As the plant gets a bit stronger and naturally grows to the shape you’ve established, you can carefully remove the wire. Keep in mind that it can take decades to get a bonsai to look like the stereotypical gnarled trees that we typically see in the media.

How Can I Witch This?

The possibilities for incorporating bonsai into your practice are nearly endless, both from the standpoint of container material and decoration and from the standpoint of tree choice. But the kind of magick I want to focus on here is “slow burn” spells.

Slow burn magic centers around working a spell that is low-energy, but takes effect over a long period of time and in much more subtle ways. Great examples of this are spells that are geared toward helping keep a house cleansed and protected over extended periods of time, nurturing a spell for health or self-confidence, et cetera.

So in addition to adding decorations or crystals, and choosing plants which correspond to your intent, shape your tree with intent, love, and compassion. These trees invite care and nurturing, while adding an appealing and cleansing atmosphere to any room. When grooming and shaping the tree, hold your intent in your mind, and also request help for realizing that intent from the plant as you care for it.

In addition, bonsai can be a great way of inviting faeries or other nature spirits into the home, much like a faerie garden. This is a form of aesthetic spellwork that can help encourage long lasting and positive effects in your home!

May all your harvests be bountiful! )O(