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  • Good Growing Practices for Beginners

     Gardenia updated 4 months, 2 weeks ago 4 Members · 6 Posts
  • Gardenia

    December 18, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    My hope is that this thread becomes a gathering place for beginners and the experienced alike, a place where reliable information that is rooted in sound science and horticulture can be found.

    The first challenge is to offer information that a beginner can digest, and in such a way that he or she feels it is important enough to act on. I am first going to flesh out the main issues that, if understood, will make anyone a better grower and hope I’ve created enough interest that there will be plenty of questions so I can go into greater detail in the answers.

    The houseplants we grow are perennials nearly all, capable of growing for many, many years and of being passed from generation to generation. With attention to the areas I’ll cover in this post, you will discover you can maintain your plants in good health for as long as you continue to commit to providing favorable cultural conditions. Your plants are all genetically programmed to grow well and look beautiful. It is only our lack of knowledge and skill in the area of providing the cultural conditions they prefer that prevents them from growing to their potential. That sounds harsh, but it’s the truth.

    Soil choice – Growers should realize that the most important choice they will make when establishing a new planting or when repotting is their choice of soil. A poor soil is probably behind more than 90% of the issues that growers come to the forums seeking remedial help for. Collapsed or dead plants, spoiled foliage, insect infestations, disease issues are all symptoms usually traceable directly or indirectly to a poor soil.

  • Peta

    December 18, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    This is really good information for beginners like myself

  • Roseann

    December 19, 2020 at 6:59 am

    I am new to gardening of all kinds. I am using your ‘gritty mix’ for all of my indoor plants. Can I use the ‘gritty mix’ as a seed starting medium or is there an alternative that you could recommend. I want to use a mix that provides high germination rates as well as minimizes, or preferably, prevents damping off. This is my first time starting seeds. Please help!!!

  • Gardenia

    December 19, 2020 at 10:46 am

    HI Roseann when starting most seeds are a steady supply of moisture and a medium that doesn’t support the fungaluglies that cause damping off diseases (phytophthora, pythium, Rhizoctonia solani …..). A ‘steady supply of moisture’ would be enough moisture to keep the medium ‘damp but not wet’ – about as damp as a wrung-out sponge is great.

    Soggy soils that don’t hold enough air become the breeding ground for the listed fungi + others that cause the damping off diseases. Seedlings LOVE air in the root zone – LOTS of it. Ideal, would be a coarse medium like the gritty mix or a bark-based mix that would ensure good aeration – because it is literally built into the soil. I often use either the gritty mix or the 5:1:1 (pine bark:peat:perlite) mix to start seeds.

    Also try using perlite in the soil, Muddy Boots in the Belle have loads of it at a good price.

  • Lisa

    December 19, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    I too enjoyed your messages on beginning houseplants. I did plant kale in the beginning of Sept. with not much success. I am planning on trying again this weekend. I am using seed starter soil It is a challenge to keep the right moisture at all times.

  • Gardenia

    December 19, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Lisa you are on the right path, I do appreciate the kind words, a little effort and a little knowledge can go a long way toward making us better growers. Hopefully this thread ends up being a place folks feel they can come to for help departing from limiting habits, instead of encouragement to change something minor and go on with business as usual.

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