Monday, July 28, 2014

Propagation of Plumaria Trees

Plumaria trees can be propagated from cuttings, normally 1-2 feet long. This method preserves the characteristics of the selected cultivar. Before placing the cutting in the ground, they need to “cure” in a dry place for at least two weeks.

After curing, it is important to plant the cuttings in a well-drained soil; they may also be planted in a pot. Although not required, treating the base of the cutting with a rooting compound (0.3% indolebutyric acid) will enhance rooting.  

Plumeria can also be propagated from seed collected from the tree. It is interesting to note that seeds from trees with white flowers produce mostly white-flowered seedlings; dark red will produce red, and yellow will produce yellow. On the other hand, pinks and multicolored plants will produce a range of colors in their seedlings. 

Photo by Forest and Kim Starr

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Planting Carrot Seeds

Carrots seeds are small and slow to germinate, and the seedlings are fragile. Because of this, problems can arise. 

1) When heavy rains occur, the seeds can easily wash away. Placing some type of cover over the seed bed will help, but it is needed only until the seeds have emerged.

2) Few seedlings will be able to emerge through a crusty soil. Careful soil preparation is important.

3) Follow proper planting directions: 

    a) plant carrot seeds 1/4 inch deep in heavy soils, and 1/2 inch deep in light soils. 

    b) Thin out dense seedlings carefully in order to give roots enough room to expand normally. Space plants 2 to 4 inches apart.

    c) Make sure to check the date on the seed packet to be certain the seeds are current.  

Monday, July 14, 2014


What is this? When touched or sprayed with water, a cloud of fine brown powder will disperse.

This is a puffball. It is a fungus, and a type of mushroom. The name is in reference to the way the spores are disseminated. When pressure is exerted from the outside, as from raindrops or a small animal passing by, the multitude of spores inside burst like a puff of dark smoke. Most puffballs are small like a marble or golf ball. But there is one, the giant puffball (Calvatia) which measures one foot in diameter.

Puffballs feed on organic matter, often times living in the soil on the remains of trees that have been cut down. The puffball as pictured, is the fruiting body of the organism;  as mushrooms are.  The rest of the organism is thread like, growing in the soil.

They are not plant pathogens, and therefore, no treatment is necessary. Most puffballs are edible. Some larger ones are sold in various markets.  

Caution: some puffballs, however, are poisonous. Do not eat any puffballs or other mushrooms that come up in the garden! 

Photo:  Puffball dispersing it's spores. Wikipedia