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Author Topic: My Bit of Heaven - by Kristl Walek  (Read 219670 times)

Katherine J

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #150 on: June 28, 2008, 10:19:48 AM »
Kristl, I love your "lessons"!  :)
A question: I can't find vermiculite here.  :'( What could I use instead? Is perlite good for this purpose?
Kata Jozsa - Budapest, Hungary
Zone 6

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Paul T

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #151 on: June 28, 2008, 01:08:19 PM »
Kristl,

Out of interest, how does vermiculite go with quarantine restraints?  I would have expected, perhaps incorrectly, that Australia for example would reject anything with vermiculite in it?  They tend to dislike anything other than pure seeds, or seed in damp paper etc.  Have you successfully sent vermiculite and seed into Aus? ???
Cheers.

Paul T.
Canberra, Australia.
Min winter temp -8 or -9C. Max summer temp 40C. Thankfully, maybe once or twice a year only.

David Nicholson

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #152 on: June 28, 2008, 07:06:59 PM »
I hope the Oz 'powers that be' don't read this!  http://www.cbc.ca/national/news/deadly_dust/
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
"Victims of satire who are overly defensive, who cry "foul" or just winge to high heaven, might take pause and consider what exactly it is that leaves them so sensitive, when they were happy with satire when they were on the side dishing it out"

afw

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #153 on: June 28, 2008, 08:41:58 PM »
RE: Vermiculite & Perlite.

Instructions given with these items say that they must be damped down before use.
Alan Whybrow, late of mighty Sawbo, now in Belper, Derbyshire

Lvandelft

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #154 on: June 28, 2008, 09:55:23 PM »
Kristl, I love your "lessons"!  :)
A question: I can't find vermiculite here.  :'( What could I use instead? Is perlite good for this purpose?
Kathrine, vermiculite is used for covering of the internal fireplace in stoves.
I don't know if (wood)stoves are built in Hungary, but if so, you might find it in your country.
I hope this is helpful for you?
Luit van Delft, right in the heart of the beautiful flowerbulb district, Noordwijkerhout, Holland.

Sadly Luit died on 14th October 2016 - happily we can still enjoy his posts to the Forum

Kristl Walek

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #155 on: June 29, 2008, 12:00:44 AM »
Kathrine and Everyone,

I experimented with *many* non-soil materials for moist-packing and found nothing that works as well as vermiculite (and causes no problems). It is a mineral, in essence--a limited expansion clay---with a shrink-swell capacity, so one can moisten it almost perfectly, and it will still keep an aerated environment (presence of oxygen is important to the health of seed), even when stored. It is light weight, and easy to use.

There is also the benefit of the light colour, making it easy to see the seed that is moist packed in it.

And lastly, for me there was a great benefit finding a material that was also acceptable to ALL THE POWERS THAT BE in every country I do business in (including you folks down under). My moist-packed commercial packages always state clearly that this is "x genus and species moist packed in vermiculite to preserve viability." Not a single package has been rejected anywhere in 18 years!!!!

If you ever find it, and if you have any choice, it is best to avoid the really large-sized type; I use a medium, I have received very fine type (usually from Scandinavia), which is ok too, but I think it is not as easy to get the moisture levels correct.

It does collapse somewhat over time, but this is the only (very insignificant) drawback I have found.

I would avoid all soils, sand, soil-less mixes and peat for various reasons.

I did do a test run with perlite (a volcanic glass in essence)---but I could not manage the proper moisture very well, and it seemed very prone to drying out. It has a more open structure, which is not what you want for moist packing. You want the seed to be IN CONTACT with the moist-packing material (or else the seed is not being kept moist).

The trick with moist packing is to BARELY moisten the vermiculite. Close your eyes and touch it. Make sure it does not feel WET---or else the seed will rot. I also regularly open and inspect the contents, to make sure the moisture levels are still ok--add water if necessary---add vermiculite if too moist. The opening of the bags and re-distribution of the contents also ensures continued aeration inside the plastic bags, and seed being in contact with the moist vermiculite. The amount of vermiculite added depends entirely on the size of the seed (larger seed needs more). 
« Last Edit: June 29, 2008, 12:17:51 PM by Kristl Walek »
so many species....so little time

Kristl Walek
Gardens North Seed


www.gardensnorth.com

Lesley Cox

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #156 on: June 29, 2008, 02:59:40 AM »
Kristl,

Out of interest, how does vermiculite go with quarantine restraints?  I would have expected, perhaps incorrectly, that Australia for example would reject anything with vermiculite in it?  They tend to dislike anything other than pure seeds, or seed in damp paper etc.  Have you successfully sent vermiculite and seed into Aus? ???

As a guide to that Paul, Vermiculite and Perlite are acceptable to MAF here as a packing material for seeds/bulbs, on the grounds that they are non-organic and so sterile. Peat for instance, sand and spaghnum are not permitted.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2008, 03:02:25 AM by Lesley Cox »
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

fermi de Sousa

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #157 on: June 29, 2008, 05:59:32 AM »
Paul, the vermiculite might pass Quarantine, but unfortunately the Polygala won't! It's not on ICON - yet! Someone needs to do a WRA (weed risk assessment) for it!
cheer
fermi
Mr Fermi de Sousa, Redesdale,
Victoria, Australia

Paul T

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #158 on: June 29, 2008, 07:01:00 AM »
Fermi,

The vermiculite question was more out of interest.... I haven't actually checked out Kristl's listing as yet, because I knew it would be rather dangerous given all the wonderful plants she posts pictures of.  At least now when I do so I don't have to be worried that moist packed seed won't get through.  Was better to be safe than sorry by asking.

Shame about the Polygala.  An absolute cutie!!  ::)
Cheers.

Paul T.
Canberra, Australia.
Min winter temp -8 or -9C. Max summer temp 40C. Thankfully, maybe once or twice a year only.

Katherine J

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #159 on: June 30, 2008, 08:35:35 AM »
Thank you very much Kristl, and Luit.
Hungary had to buy vermiculite from abroad, because here does not exist. Some agricultural webshops had in the past, but now it's over. As they say, it's rather expensive, and "very dangerous for people health". ;D Perlite is available and used. As I know it's also unhealthy to imbibe, but this does not matter. ::)  ;D
Well, I don't want to store seeds moist packed at the moment, I wanted to know, just in case... :)
Kata Jozsa - Budapest, Hungary
Zone 6

http://gardenonbalcony.blogspot.com

Paul T

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #160 on: July 01, 2008, 12:42:47 PM »
I finally succumbed and had a look at Kristl's website.....

OMG  :o :o :o :o

Just looking at the "new" section of the retail catalogue I am blown away.  So many Clematis I want (amongst other things).  I think I'm having palpitations now!!!!  ;)  If you haven't had a look then you definitely should, although it could seriously affect those of you who are trying to convince yourselves that you aren't plant addicts (I gave up and just plain embraced it years ago.... I most definitely am!!  ;D), because you'll be in trouble once you have a wander through there.  Well worth a look.

Cheers.

Paul T.
Canberra, Australia.
Min winter temp -8 or -9C. Max summer temp 40C. Thankfully, maybe once or twice a year only.

Carlo

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #161 on: July 01, 2008, 03:15:35 PM »
Interesting, Kristl, your recent discovery of Asclepias exaltata...I've JUST seen it for the first time in the wild--right here on the property...

Like yourself, I photographed it (I'm a fan of the genus...as well as its cousin: hoya) and will be watching for seed to develop.
Carlo A. Balistrieri
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Kristl Walek

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #162 on: July 01, 2008, 03:47:41 PM »
Before leaving the topic of moist-packing ephemeral seed, there is another significant benefit to the process of moist-packing----it determines the presence of sound, well-developed seed (or the opposite).

All seeds, as we know, react to the presence of moisture by doing something---usually we hope it is to germinate (assuming the correct time and temperature regimes are met).

Moisture determines whether a seed is sound. This is, after all, what seed testing is all about. If the seed is dead, has no embryo, or an inadequately developed embryo it will do two things on contacting moisture: it will rot, and/or it will get attacked by fungi. This is irrespective of its germination requirements.

Provide moisture to a seed- and it will show you its true colours.

If there is chaff in the seed, or the seed has a seed coat that requires breaking down, there might well be some fungi attack---but the fungi that attack and break down these "extraneous materials" are not pathogenic (they will not attack healthy live seed) that is in among the chaff, or inside the seed receptacle.

In the best of scenarios, a batch of seemingly well-developed seed is collected. But, trust me in this, one cannot ultimately trust the naked eye when it comes to seed, even with years of experience. One can look at the normal signs: plump seed, apparently the correct color, collected at the right time, and yet the seed can fool you. There can be immature embryos, or insect damage not visible to the naked eye, or a multitude of other issues.

Testing the seed is the only way to ultimate know what is what.

The ephemeral Anemone nemorosa was received from Finland this spring, wild collected---shipped dry, but reasonably soon after collection. As is usually the case, the batch contained both developed and a high persentage of undeveloped seed (as determined by the inadequate naked eye at my end) and there was the presence of the usual amount of extraneous material (chaff).

After a run-through with the sieves to get rid of the worst of the chaff, the batch was moist-packed---and I expected---and got--- lots of action in the bag. There was molding and fungi on a daily basis. The bag was opened and redistributed regularly, to get rid of the molding and aerate the contents. What broke down inside the bag was any remaining chaff, and then, most importantly any "bad seeds" (dead, immature, etc), leaving behind the sound seeds.

This process can take a few weeks before one can finally determine what is left in the zip lock. If the remaining seed looks healthy and is still firm to the touch after the process, it is sound and germiable. Sometimes all the seed rots, sometimes none, usually a proportion (as a certain proportion of all seed in any batch is unsound as a general rule).

The level of moulding inside the bag shown in the picture has slowed down considerably now, and one can begin to see the presence of the firm, brown seeds. I will not officially list the seed until no more "adverse activity" is happening inside the zip locks, and I have a good percentage of sound seeds inside.

I recall an experience where dry Trillium seed that was sent to me ALL rotted on moist-packing. When the sender inquired as to why I had not listed the seed, I had to tell him the truth and he took it rather personally, suggesting that the moist-packing had killed the seed, which of course could not be further from the truth. That seed was either DOA, or was inadequately developed for a multitude of reasons, usually environmental (weather, pollination), or collected at the wrong time.

In fact, I had a problem with the Hepatica seed that many of you received from me recently---the first time, in fact, in 18 years, I have had an issue with this genus. And that is the reason why it was sent out in a delayed fashion. A good percentage of the seed rotted in moist packing---and I had to wait to see what would ultimately happen. In the end I lost about 50% of the viable seed---which is a very high percentage ---but this was not a normal spring with July weather in April, and then frost around the time of flowering, I rather expected to have seed problems with the species that flowered early. The sugar maples reacted to this,  in fact, by not flowering at all.





« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 04:24:51 PM by Kristl Walek »
so many species....so little time

Kristl Walek
Gardens North Seed


www.gardensnorth.com

Kristl Walek

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #163 on: July 01, 2008, 04:23:24 PM »
Interesting, Kristl, your recent discovery of Asclepias exaltata...I've JUST seen it for the first time in the wild--right here on the property...

Like yourself, I photographed it (I'm a fan of the genus...as well as its cousin: hoya) and will be watching for seed to develop.

I was actually trying hard not to suggest that I had anything to do with the "discovery" of this species. It was in fact, Graham Page, my seed-collecting partner and co-author of "The Book" who made the discovery. He (and Gardens North, by extension) were credited for it by David White (Flora of Lanark County), the county where it was found. He believes this is the first known occurence of it this far north (it is present in southern Ontario). It blooms well in the garden, but hardly (to ever) produces seed.
so many species....so little time

Kristl Walek
Gardens North Seed


www.gardensnorth.com

Carlo

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Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
« Reply #164 on: July 01, 2008, 06:00:29 PM »
It (Asclepias exaltata) doesn't look like it's going to seed here either. It is particularly interesting to me as the earliest milkweed to flower. A. syriacus is just beginning to open as exaltata closes (speciosa is not even in bud).

You mentioned Ellen Hornig at Seneca Hill (also a good friend of mine)--and she's got probably the best selection of Asclepias that I'm aware of in a commercial source. She used to list about 18 species (don't know what the current count is).
Carlo A. Balistrieri
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