Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday is Shipping Day!

I was up early this morning preparing eBay orders for shipping. It's the first shipping this year and I find that I have to relearn many of my shipping shortcuts. Fortunately the boxes from USPS arrived so I have plenty of shipping boxes.

Back to the basement...there be orders to ship!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What's Blooming in the Plant Room? Jolly Mars!

This beautiful miniature variety from Hortense Pittman is simply stunning. It's the closest thing to a true red I've seen so far. The description, as described in First Class 2, is:

Jolly Mars (9718) 01/15/2007 (H. Pittman) Single red sticktite pansy. Medium green, plain. Miniature

It's a new favorite of mine and I'm sure it will be a new favorite for you too!

Drier Than a Popcorn's Fart...or...Premoisten Your Potting Mix!

Over the years I've met some wonderful and interesting people who always seem to put their mark on the world. So is the case with Shirley Sanders who owned and operated Shirley's House of Violets until her passing a few years ago.

When I was living in San Antonio, where she was, I'd visit her almost every Saturday to help with whatever violet chores were in need of getting done. Almost without fail when I entered the violet house Shirley would say from across the way, "Darryl, this plant is drier than a popcorn's fart!" And I'd always reply, "Shirley, that's pretty dry!" Hence the inspiration for the title of this blog entry!

African Violet potting mixes generally have peat moss as their base component which is great when it's hydrated and can absorb and retain's not so great when it's been allowed to dry out.

Peat moss that has been allowed to dry out (in a pot or a bag) is very difficult to hydrate with room temperature water and makes re-wetting the mix a bit of a challenge.

What happens if you use a dry potting mix when you transplant? You will probably notice, particularly if you use room temperature water, that the peat moss does not hydrate and the water simply runs through the pot. The result? Your plants will not get the moisture they need to thrive...or even survive for that matter.

I recommend pre-moistening your potting mix with warm/hot water before you start your potting session. It just takes a few minutes and you'll find that when you transplant your plants a premoisten mix is much easier to work with then one that isn't.

I transfer about 12 quarts of my potting mix (for me it's Premier Pro-Mix BX) into a container that has a secure lid. I pour approximately 2 cups of hot water into the mix, secure the lid and let stand (covered) for about 30 minutes. Shake the container well (ensuring the lid is on secure). The result? A nicely moistened (not WET) potting mix that is perfect for potting up your violets.

So get busy potting!