Friday, October 24, 2014

The Blue Meyham Project #AB

I had wanted to wait until all the equipment arrived
for growing plants indoors had come ...
but this is getting way to long.

Frosted Mouse Ears
  • Plant A:    Three leaves    Estimated 1 inch above planter edge.
  • Plant B:    Five Leaves    Not above planter edge.

  • Three leaves    Not above planter edge.

October 19
The last of the faded leaves is finally drying.  It may take another 3 days to finish the process.  I have removed dry leaves when they are fully faded to reduce the stress on the plant.  When a plant is ready to give up a leaf it will gently detach.  When this is removed I would say that the transport shock of being sent to me will be over for these three.  The plants will then need to make other decisions from there: To grow, or To send new leaves out, or To just sit there, resettle, and to be pretty.

According to the real pros in indoor growing the Blue/White light frequency promotes foliage growth, while Yellow, Orange, and Red frequencies of light promote blooms and flowers.  The goal with the Blue Mayhem Project is to work towards foliage growth for spring planting.

At this time I think … these plants seem to be growing taller rather than wanting to grow more leaves.  I suspect that it has a lot with the florescent lamp I am using,  While the bulb is white/blue it only has about 10 watts to it.  Its not very strong for indoor plant growing.  The frequency of light may be the more important factor.  This might suggest that the leaf growth will come later. and after these three hosta have grown as tall as they want to.  I am exposing them to about 18 hours of light.  Although, I highly doubt it has any direct effect, I also have a clock radio that has a blue digital face and below the level of the planters.  At night I am setting this on its brightest setting to at least offer them some pure blue light.

The two that have not risen above the planters edge are very close to that milestone height,   It may not take long.

October 20
06:00 AM: I am supposed to water plants today, but I am feeling to much moisture in the soil.

10:00 PM: The growing tent is ordered!  I have chosen the Secret Jardin Cristal Room 2' x 2' x 2' (CR60) as offered by  This tent is fully enclosed.  To be honest the only reason why I am getting it is to prevent the interference of our house cat.  Two things to take note about this tent.  1) It is Swiss made hence the names spelling.  2) The shipping on this will double the cost of purchase; the price but it is still under $100.00 (USF).

The next issue on my list is the interior, grow light, lighting.  The small space will limit my options for this; and when the tent it arrives I will be able to see what limitations it has for lighting.  I want to go with LED technology for the lighting as it is cooler, and it has no dangers that fluorescents have.  This technology can also hold light longer, and more stably than previous versions of light emitters.  Light frequencies can also better controlled by LED technology.  The one thing they are not is cheep so I am trying to work on a solution that is from 'outside of the box'.  LED's have come a long way from just being indicator lights, lights on digital radios, or on calculators.  These lights can be as versatile as any other incandescent or halogen light out there - and they are even being used for flood lights and security lights.  The world is truly on the edge of a revolution in lighting!

October 21
03:00 AM: As mentioned in post #AA The Blue Mayhem project is intended to give me plants in the event that the 2014 Blue Mammoths do not return from winter in 2015.  The task is to try to grow 6 to 7 plants for that purpose.  To do that however I will need grow many others.  To reach that total I will be trying to grow 32 seedlings.  I expect failure along the way.  IF in the event I succeed there might be a few extras.  One of the extras has already been spoken for!  That for me is exciting in its own small way.

I have done some reading about plants and light spectrums.  Early on I read that green light had negligible effect on plants.  That statement bothered me as my suspicion said that green frequencies MUST have some effect on plants.  So I dug a little deeper and found some interesting stuff.  It is true that plants reflect much of the green spectrum of the sun as that is the color we see!

Green light acts as a breaking system for the effects of Blue (plant growth) and Red (blossoming) frequencies of light.  It also has one other effect that fully caught my attention … It seems to have an effect on germination of seed!  Both of these little known effects have been understood better in the last 50 years, and an even more interesting trivia tidbit out of this is that it all of this understanding started with an elementary school student's simple science fair's project which occurred in the early 1900's.

Children today can recreate the same experiment with 7 growing containers and plastic bottles (1 gallon or 1 liter pop bottles).  The experiment is simple.  The child colors the plastic containers, red. orange, yellow, green, blue. and violet; they leave the last one clear.  Cut the bottom of the bottle back so it can be put into the growing container like a cover using the opening as a air and water exchange point.  Plant each container with seed that is easy to grow. They must plant the same type of seed in each one.  They grow them in sunlight for 6 weeks under each colored bottle, and watch the differences in how they grow.  Taking notes, leaf counts, and measurements helps.  Remember to water the plants when the ground is dry.

October 22
06:00 AM: The last of the dried leaves has come off.  I have to assume that these three plants have finished their transport shock process.  The Peat Moss continues to be moist.

The leaves on Popcorn seem to be dimpling to try to change themselves to concave bowls.  This is one of the classic characteristics that make this plant known.  While nature has a remarkable ways of correcting itself I think one of these leaves has lost its way to being folded back on to itself.  This will be watched.

Popcorn and the shorter Frosted Mouse Ears are still below the edge of their containers.  One of Popcorn's leaves seem to be moving up and down but it still not quite tall enough to 'see' over the planters edge.  My standard here is if it STAYS above the planter's edge continuously.

October 23
10:00 AM
: What do the following symbols have in common?
B, C, Ca, Cl, Cu, Fe, H, K, Mg, Mn, Mo, N, O, P, S, and Zn

Some of you who are observant might say they represent 16 elements from the Periodic Table; and you would be correct.  Let's take the same question to a harder level: What do these 16 elements really have in common? … Give up?  They represent the nutritional basis for plants!  I bet some of you are reading this and saying, "I thought N-P-K was the nutritional basis."  Well … that's true but not true. In 1840 when German chemist Count Julius Von Liebig did research into plant nutrition and discovered what we know today as the N-P-K philosophy of horticulture, fertilizer companies of the time ate the concept up and ran with it.  By the time the Count had been politely correct for his methodology and evaluation errors by fellow chemists it was to late to get the fertilizer industry to stop and consider what the error was. (if your an eager learner you'll look that one up!)  The Count, after the correction had been put into account, found many of the elements above were necessary for plant health.  But that evidence would sit for 160 years before fertilizer companies would take serious notice to the narrow-mindedness of the N-P-K philosophy.

You are what you eat!  Humans need several dozen elements, and compounds, to remain healthy.  If a human is only given half of those they won't be feeling their best.  The same is true for plants.  N-P-K represents a small number of the elements plants need to be healthy. The list of elements for plants are the 16 elements seen above.  So … why only 16 for plants?  Why are not all elements important for plants and humans?

For that I need to defer to someone who knows MUCH more about plants and their nutritional requirements than I do.  It is not often I cite other web pages but in this case I will need to as the following person (and others on that page) know 1000 times more about plants and the elements that they need to grow than I do.  Now before looking at this page I need the reader to focus on the subject of the nutritional requirements of plants, and put to one side the product being debated on this page.  The product ironically, however, puts this whole subject into focus.  The person is: Daniel Fernandez and his blog is: Science in Hydroponics. To expand this discussion I direct you to his web page:

Mr. Fernandez, and others, make some legitimate observations about nutrients needed by plants.  He cites the fact that plants need these 16 elements to survive.  Before we move on readers must also recognize that a significant number of the known elements are in fact lethal to humans in their PURE forms.  The same I must presume is true for plants. Many but not all of these lethal elements become more palatable in diluted or impure forms.

If you have not noticed I have taken the long way around to talk abut good fertilization practices for plants.

So the question comes down to what will I be using for these hosta as they go form seedling to young plant.  The fertilizer that I have chose is from General Hydroponics and known as FloraNova (product label here).  General Hydroponics moves away from the N-P-K philosophy of fertilization and embraces that '16 element philosophy' of agricultural nutrition.  This new philosophy says give the plant the elements it needs and IT will sort things out on its own.  It is a pretty straight forward way of thinking about fertilization.  Just be mindful of what Mr. Fernandez, and his allies, say about the subject.  If you keep both ends of the subject in balance you'll be heading in the right direction!

04:00 PM:  Funny of the week.  A delivery person comes to the door and hands off a package.  It's a box about 8in x 8in x 2 ft.  I make sure that it's for me.  I begin in to move it to a place where I can open it.  As I do I say to myself. "Oh dear what have I gotten myself into?  Did T.C. and team send me TWO mature divisions of Liberty?  I am In trouble, I am In trouble, I am In trouble …"  I open the box to find it is the grow tent that I had expected NEXT week!

The tent is assembled.  Took a few tries but finally got it.  It looks promising; now to find a light to go with it.

Frosted Mouse Ears
  • Plant A:    Three leaves    No change.
  • Plant B:    Five Leaves    No change

Liberty    Plants arrived with dead leaves. Surrounding paper towel nearly dry.
  • Plant A:    None Survived; 4 dried leaves.
  • Plant B:    None Survived; 1 dried leaves.

Popcorn   Three leaves    No change.

October 23 (continued)
09:00 PM:  So where did Hosta Liberty come from?  Earlier this summer I had the chance to see this stunning variety in another persons garden.  In short it screamed, "Give me attention!"  So for the rest of the season I kept my eyes open for this one.  Two weeks ago, to this date, I spotted it for sale and put my hands on two.  Now readers need to remember that by October in Minnesota hosta look more than just a little ratty - they can look down right hopeless and near death.  In realty that's not the case.  What these plants are doing are entering Winter hibernation.  Earlier this summer these Liberty must of stood 3 to 4 inches tall / 7.62 to  10.16cm. in height.  IF these become full grown they will stand 30in./76.20cm. tall and grow in diameter to 48in./121.92cm.

Because these three varieties will be grown inside over the winter I am pushing them through winter without a winter freeze.  This will be ok and the only harm that will come to them is that they WILL NOT BLOOM next year. Considering the condition of Liberty I have started a regiment of fertilizer the promote new growth to all these plants.  This in turn I hope will bring leaves back to the two Liberty hosta.

The real wait begins now as to what these five plants do.  In the next edition (#AC) I will look at the lighting more closely.

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