Friday, December 01, 2006

Optimara Glossary

Here's a handy link to Optimara's web pages. Some of us were lucky enough to go to the presentation at the 2006 National African Violet Convention in Minnesota given by the Holtkamp Greenhouses of Nashville, Tennessee. We got to hear first hand about the production and history of the Optimara violet. For everyone else this web site will be an enjoyable and educational resource to use not only when considering the Optimara violets, but anytime you're looking for information about your plants.

This link jumps to the middle of their site and gives you the complete glossary of violet terms. I started at the beginning with the letter "A", of course, but scroll to the 10th entry for example: African Violet, and you'll find a whole host of information with just that one entry. Try some more of the letters and there's an entire college course worth of material right at your fingertips.

The rest of their site is interesting and very well done too. After you're done looking at the glossary drop down to the bottom one of their pages and hit "Optimara Home Page" for the rest of your tour!

Cat-astrophic Plant Pathogen?

Catchy title aside, let's look at this catagory of plant pests. Today's Problems and Solutions question: Is a capering cat a catalyst for plant room cataclysm? Or is this calm kitten only considering catching up on a much needed catnap?

What do you do to keep pets away from plant room shelves and show plants? Do your pets cause you any problems? How do you remove pet hair from the delicate leaves of your plants? -No catty comments now... (Many thanks to our most handsome volunteer, Hoover, whose photo was submitted by S.J.)

Does anyone have any interesting links to sites relating to violets and gesneriads that they would like to share? Send us an email with the link information and we'll post it for everyone to take a look at.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wild Streps?

Well this strep "went wild" and decided to grow right out of its own pot! In this photo sent in by Sharon, we see a potentially tricky situation. For today's Problems and Solutions question: What is the best method for getting the "baby streps" off of the wick and separated from the parent plant? Should the grower leave the leaflets grow to a larger size or would that make more of a problem to separate the root systems? Has anyone else had experience with rooting taking place along the wicking system in a strep or other plant that was wick watered? Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What's my problem???

To introduce our "Problems and Solutions" section of the blog, we'll start off with a violet that has a problem (or two!) What fun is it to look at a tiny speck on a single leaf of an otherwise perfect plant and fuss over something that you need a microscope to detect? Let's begin with a plant that has some obvious "issues"!!!

Here's how we play the game. I'll post a photo of some aspect of a plant or its growing conditions and you, the reader, will post your thoughts on the problem and possible solutions to it.

I'd love it if we could get some lively participation! Even the most senior grower will occasionally have a plant that just doesn't grow as expected, or gets an insect problem that's unfamiliar. With many thoughts, we might get many great ideas! There are no right and wrong answers to this game, just a chance for some of us to admit that there are plants like this one even IN our collections!

I welcome contributions to the "Problems and Solutions" picture file. Email the blog with your photo and indicate if you would like your name to be given so that you may get credit for sending in the picture. I'll post different photos as I get them. Maybe at some point we'll even have a contest for the worst problem! We'll all have a chance to vote on it and the winner will get to have their picture up on our Wall of Fame! I'll need lots of pictures before we get to that though. Enjoy.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The field trip to Bachman's growing range.

Our most recent event was held at the Bachman's growing range in Lakeville. We got to tour the nine acres of green houses that featured poinsettias.

Our tour guide, Jason, gave an excellent tour all about the commercial production of the plants, their blooming period, some of the pest problems associated with large-space growing and different watering practices.

The Bachman's range has automated and even more updated, automated watering systems that control the amount of water and fertilizer being delivered to the plants. Some of the crop is watered with an individual water nozzle placed at soil level in each pot which is connected to a main water line. Some of the plants are grown in trays which are sensor controlled to be flooded and then drained at specific times. Even the overhead hanging plants are on moving conveyor lines so that each plant receives exactly the right nutrients and water and is easier to move and process for sale. In the picture above the lines of plants are approximately 150 feet long. Each of the main houses that we were guided through contained nearly two acres under glass.

There were a number of different colors of poinsettias being grown for sale. Some with foliar variegation and some with smaller, double "flower heads" that are called Christmas Roses.

Some of the white poinsettias that you can see in this picture are used for a new "designer" look in holiday decor. The light colored ones are sprayed with a dye solution which dries quickly on the colored bracts (flowers) and then they have a light glue sprayed on them so that the sprinkling of glitter adheres to the plant. The effect is that you can have any colored poinsettia, from blue to burgundy to speckled with the glittering look of fallen snow on them. This rather interesting method of "enhancing" them certainly adds to the variety of product that you can get for your holiday decorating. Bachman's produces all of the poinsettias that their retail outlets sell for the season.

The North Star African Violet Council

Welcome to the NSAVC's new blog!

The North Star African Violet Council would like to welcome its club members and interested others to our new blog! We hope to use this format to share information on upcoming events and shows, answer questions about African Violets and gesneriads, and have articles and links to sites devoted to the growing, showing and hybridization of violets and related plants!

Our blog will have the features of our traditional news letter with all the advantages of being online. We invite appropriate comments and questions and have over twenty years of experience in growing, showing and hybridizing to share with violet and gesneriad enthusiasts of all sorts. Whether you've just purchased your first violet or you're an experienced grower, we welcome you to read our blog, attend club meetings and join with others in the Twin Cities area in enjoying this most excellent hobby.

Happy Growing!