Silly questions about plants

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  • #13314

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I bought some more swan plants at Kings yesterday – 3 to the pot.

    Transplanting to bigger pots – should I leave these in their group or are they OK to separate when they are rooted so close together?

    Also, how tall should they be before I nip the centres to make them bush up?

    Can I try this on some of some of my of my 10-15 seedlings?

    Best

    Patz (just learning)

Viewing 17 replies - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
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  • #18826

    Swansong
    Participant

    “Picked the first, ripened cherry ones today.”

    WOW! Lovely! Yeah well I see youre Auckland. Mmmm Im not within a bulls roar of seeing anything more than marble size…much less pick anything. Ours are always laaaaate down here, unless of course one have a green house or something.

    Ive read some pretty grim stuff about sprays and what not that are on pretty much all bought tomatoes, and you CANT GET THE SPRAY OUT! it is embedded right into the flesh apparantly. That freaked me out and I have to be very desperate to buy a tomato. What we dont eat fresh we freeze.

    “I had forgotten they poop!!!”

    Ive discovered the best way to keep them contained (the poops that is) is I get a nice big sturdy box for the new season. I put my pot plants in the box and its just a matter of not letting any leaves hang outside the perimeter. Thats it and its all good. The hi-light of my season is when a pillar “escapes” across the carpet. :-D. Havent had that yet this season. Cant wait.

    Hehehe and dont forget you ARE allowed to ‘finger pat’ the bigger ‘pillars. Especially the fatties! I most certainly do despite what the ‘whitecoats’ (politically correct) tell you :-). Anywayz me thinx they quite like it coz they seem to just carry on eating regardless. :-)))).

    Hope you enjoy your season
    Swansong

    #18824

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Swansong, you did very, very well to grow a great tomato crop with NO feeding. I just give mine a wee dose of Phostragen tomato feed each week and they are doing well. Picked the first, ripened cherry ones today.
    The search is very good – I can usually find relevant things easily.
    The floral foam works great for keeping plant bits alive. The green one. So easy to keep it moist.
    And I read all the info about moving the caterpillars before I moved two big fatties yesterday. Popped them onto a smaller plant yesterday morning and they are happily chomping away indoors – I had forgotten they poop!!!
    Thanks for all your help.
    Best
    Trisha

    #18814

    Swansong
    Participant

    Well just a wee update on my comments on the search thing. It works far better than I 1st thought. See Jacqui’s thread …

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/forum/topic/591?replies=2

    Ive just found this thread for something I wrote about transferring pillars…4th post down. This is pretty much the safest way I can think of, of moving a pillar without plucking the leaf off. Excellent for wee pillars who are damaged so very easily. The big dudes as can be expected are MUCH easier to handle.

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/forum/topic/355?replies=10

    Swansong

    #18812

    Swansong
    Participant

    Last year with my tomatoes I didnt even “feed” them at all…. but I started with pure compost about a foot deep. I got a bumper crop off of my 6 plants. It was exceptional in anyones terms and more so for a non greenfingers like me. I like that tip about feeding them with a bottle. I’ve heard that B4 but clean forgot about it.

    You could put your pillarz on your tips that youve cut out. In any event those tips should keep for days if not weeks in water. Your pillars could certainly utilize them. Wanna be careful about when and how you move pillars though, or they can “do a dark on you”. There has been much said on these forums about all sorts of handling tips. We need a good search feature here, so these things are easy to find, not only for noobs but for others who want to find info to refer others to, and so, building a link. I suppose I should have used tags when Ive posted but it’s just something I never think of using till too late.

    ANywayz it sounds like youre all set and well organized for your season. I hope all goes well for you. I like to err on the side of caution too, and better to be understocked than overstocked.

    Swansong

    #18810

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Ah, Stu – flower vials would be pefect. Will pay my local florist a visit tomorrow. I had thought floral foam kept moist in a small container could work too – no danger of caterpillars falli8ng in the water.

    Swansong – Yep, the trusty drill makes great holes in all manner of things. Of course any bottle with a hole in the top would work. I do the weekly feeding of my tomatos with 2lt milk bottles with little holes drilled in the lid and around the neck – fill them up in the kitchen with their measure of food and water and then upside down on the soil at the base of the plants. It works well and saves water – no waste like when hose watering.
    Olive oil bottles come with a hole in the inner cap – could make4 a good swan “vase”.
    I think I read on here somewhere about freezing bits of swan plants – obviously let them thaw before feeding to pillarz. No harm in trying all suggestions. I just don’t want to waste what I clip out of the centres of my big plants.
    I am grateful for what I learn here. It is my first year and I’m not going too crazy – have most plants covered now, lots of seedlings in various stages (10 – 20cm tall) and seeds hopefully germinating. I couldn’t stand to watch caterpillars starve. Rather get rid of some eggs and have too few rather than too many while I get a good handle on it all.

    #18809

    macmonkey
    Participant

    HI all,
    just reeading the bit about the bottles. One suggestion Mary from Tauranga showed me was Florist flower vials. If you have a friendly florist or flower grower they use them as some flowers come with them on so the florists do not reuse them. Have got some from my local florist and they are fantastic for keeping cuttings hydrated while the cats chomp away

    cheers Stu

    #18808

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Patz,

    Well theres always something I can learn and certainly off newbies! Its great to share our experiences I say, and I certainly dont think of everything thats for sure.

    As far as the bottle goes, I wouldnt go for a shallow dish but more a wee bottle if I could. Just more cumbersome I suppose, unless youve thought of something I havent, heehe which is always a possibility : ). Even like a plastic cream bottle woiuld be OK with the lid screwed on, and see, I didnt even think of your good idea of punching a hole in the center (duh) : ). My hole was “ready made” off of a eye drop bottle, where the little tube went through.

    Freezing the leaves…mmm Im not sure a pillar would be impressed! however beggars cant be choosers and you never know. What I did hear last season was Jacqui I think it was mentioned about soaking pumpkin in a solution of crushed leaves and stalks (???) off a swan plant if one got desperate for feed. Im not an advocate of pumpkin but desperate situations call for desperate measures.

    This typically happens later on a bit. I always try and tell newbies at least in their 1st year to just start a bit smaller with less plants until they figure out how much they ccan cope with, because I see some people get discouraged coz they dont realize whats involved. The most important thing I would say is cover your plants and only let Mrs Monarch in according to how much food youve got. Then we dont get the scenario of the starving ‘Pillars which is VERY upsetting to a lot of people.

    I dont like squishing eggs but I will if I have to. The key is, though, prevention is better than cure.

    Obviously in different parts of the country we have different problems to face. My aphids have FINALLY given over for the meantime. Ive had quite a squishing ceremony all winter long :-X. However I havent had to put up with wasps or a lot of shield beetles, or mantids. I live rurally in quite a set apart setting so I guess thats why. However I DO have to bring my pillarz in coz if I dont I just simply lose the majority of chrysalis’.

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #18807

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Ah, Swansong, you are mine of useful of useful tips.
    Perhaps I could pick off some of the half leaves and freeze them for the later drought? Peg back onto the plant if we get desperate?
    Later today I am going to pinch the tops out of some taller plants and freeze that for later.
    Small pillarz on a single leaf sounds like a good idea. I’m thinking a milk botte lid with a wee hole for the stem sitting in a shallow dish of water would work? No harm in trying – what else are window sills for?
    I will take the name of the blue pellets to the garden shop and hopefully they will be there.
    My previous butterfly attempts were a couple of swan plants each summer for the children and a few butterflies would emerge with carnage of plants and pillarz along the way – wasps, ants amd aphids, I image. This time I’m going for it, for me, and trying to do it as properly as I can.

    Best
    Patz

    #18803

    Swansong
    Participant

    “I guess they can’t be trained though – ha.”

    Hehehe U could try 🙂 but generally pillarz will be pillarz and thats means naughty :-)….. however U can get quite good at tricking (some of) them with a bit of practice, like I clip together any decent sized remnants of leaves the little wasters can mow off and hence fall to the ground :-|. I then clip them to a stem on the swan plant and hopefully someone will come along and eat it. They generally do, and especially if the tucker is dwindling. Also I will put smaller ‘pillarz on a single leaf which is poked into a wee bottle I have with a neat little jacked up lid with a hole in the center of it….just big enuff to fit the stem of a leaf. They stay fresh for ages poked in abit of water.

    I should think youd be able to get the blue pellets at any gardening center, but Im not sure as I scored mine from my mum.

    Im sure you will really enjoy your Monarchs and it is so neat and rewarding to see the 4 stages they go through, and then to release the butterfly at the end of it all.

    Hope all goes well for you !

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #18799

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks so much for all the info Jacqui and Swansong.
    So far so good – little pillars doing well and growing. Messy eaters though, no manners at all. They eat bits off leaves and move on and chomp a new one!!! Quite unneccessary, I think. I guess they can’t be trained though – ha.
    Yep, I do compost and my worm farm has produced some vericast, but not much yet. That could be too rich for swans?
    Jacqui – I’m only growing herbs and vege in the raised beds. All the swans are in pots or plastic (size 8) bags for ease of moving around. I wrapped bags loosely in hessian so they look quite “gardeny” and the plants in them are doing well.I am still trying to find the best spots around the yard – it gets quite windy here and I’m experimenting with the best sun/shade spots. Have not seen one ladybird in the yard in the two years I have been here – darn it. And I will go to the Warehouse tomorrow to see if they still have those green houses – they sound good if you don’t have a a handy hubby like Flyyerbys!!!
    Swansong – can I get the magic blue pellets from Kings or Palmers, do you know?
    When I watered the plants (not the foliage) with the Aquilus Super Natural seaweed stuff at the weekend I didn’t use a strong mix and so far so good. It says it can be used as a foliar spray if diluted a lot, but I am reluctant to spray anything on the leaves. It also says watering into the soil needs only to done every three to four months.
    So much to learn – I’m trying. I am aslo trying to be as organic as I can be – I’m thinking the roses will not like this a lot (only a couple). No toxic rose spray for them.
    Very grateful for the info here. You are great.
    Best
    Trisha

    #18788

    Swansong
    Participant

    HI Patz, sounds like your 8 inchers are fine candidates for back-ups later on, and its good that youve got your plants covered with nets. I would encourage you to keep this up for a good while yet as there is yet plenty of time for the season at hand and it will certainly give your plants time to give you better benefits later on.

    The trick is to only let M.Monarch in and lay eggs according to how much food youve got. Now I might be wrong about this, but going from memory I think that a max of 30 eggs in a day was typical in my observations. Thats not to say they do this every day either coz they dont. Ive noticed they have “days off”. If anyone can correct me on that number please do so!

    As a very general guideline, it is assumed that a pillar in its life time eats about 12 to 18 leaves. I would take this to mean as an average sized leaf. We’ve been recently talking about this on another thread…. So… I would calculate a rough estimate of how many leaves youve got, err on the side of caution by dividing that by 18, and taking into account (as much as poss) new growth. That should give you a ballpark figure to work with.

    Yes I agree, home made composting is really great. I would encourage all to do it and its pretty easy. Just household scraps, lawnclippings, sheep/cow poo if you can get it, ash from naturally burnt material (not plastics or tanalized wood) and general garden waste. The only caveat I can think of offhand is dont put any hardy weed seeds in your compost like sorrell and the like, or indeed any part of couch. It then becomes quite a technical issue of killing the seeds with a buildup of heat / the size of the heap/ and turning the mix etc. Fortunately I can burn the undesirables but I understand for some, that is simply not an option because they live in towns/cities.

    I prefer natural things if poss, but sometimes as is the case with pots, things can happen very quickly like a developing deficiency with the yellowing of leaves for example. As such, if its not dealt with quickly youre in trouble. Ive found those blue pellets work real fast.

    Heres some info… its called a compound fertilizer..

    Nitrophoska Blue Extra Fertilzer. Its a Tui Product supplied by Ravensdown. Mine is an 8 KG bag.

    Seaweed is great! Certainly I would utilize that too.

    All in all though dont over fertilize or there could likewise be adverse effects.

    Hope all goes well for you and you enjoy your season!

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #18783

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Trisha

    Are you adding compost (home-made) to the soil?

    Raised beds and pots work fine, pots are better in some ways because you can move them away from wasps when the wasps find your plant. Also, if there’s some really bad weather coming, you can move the plant to a sheltered position.

    I know of one man overseas who grows his seed in seed trays, and lets his caterpillars “graze” it, then lets it regerminate. That way he says the caterpillars are always getting the new, fresh leaves. So that’s something else you can try.

    Cheers

    Jacqui

    #18782

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Swansong, that’s very heartening.
    I have sizes from about three inches to eight or so. I staggered the planting – had seeds from different places I bought on TradeMe. The strike rate was great – I’ve the noted the sellers with the best ones. In all I have about 60 small plants, I guess.
    I am watering daily, in the evening, and they are looking good. I have them covered with net for now.
    Maybe I’ll keep planting more seed all through summer and see what happens? Even tiny plants would do for hungry caterpillars, I guess – like feeding out to hungry stock on the farm.
    I have some pillars on the big plants I bought weeks ago and not too much damage yet.
    What are the blue pellets?
    I bought some seaweed feeder at the the weekend.
    The soil is dreadful where I am – rock hard and hasn’t been cultivated for many years, I think. Raised beds and pots are it for me, I’m afraid.
    Best
    Trisha

    #18778

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Patz, how big exactly are your “seedlings that have germinated into healthy Plants”? Like are they just wee tots a coupla inches or are they say 8 inches. If the latter, well dont you believe it! By March /April under the right situation they should be VERY good backup plants at the very least. Everyones always CRYING OUT at that time coz the pillars have munched the living daylights outta all the tucker and its a good policy to keep enough aside for not only you, but the odd desperate neighbour or someone who runs out. Course one cant be responsible for everybody.

    If you have them potted KEEP them watered especially through dry periods, and feed the pot soil from time to time. This is what Im doing with 1/2 my food stock so’ze I can transfer them to where its expedient at the time…like inside. Im still on a learning curve with my pots, and at one time I thought, at best, pots were little better than hopeless for swan plants as far as more than a season goes… but Ive found if I water them everyday in warmer weather (I prefer night watering so theres more efficient use of water and less evapouration) and keep an eye out for yellowing leaves, then its no so bad afterall. In the case of yellowing leaves I put some little blue pelletts in which works wonders. As it stands in this point in time Im keeping 2nd year plants still in pots and theyre doing pretty well!! The pots are not huge ones either. Ranging between say 15 to 25cm in diameter and equally as deep. Granted, they may not be doing as well as what they would if they were in the ground but, ah well, the trade-offs more than worth it.

    Cheers Swansong

    #18773

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Big help Jacqui and Stu – thanks so much. I will get this sorted.
    I have done very well with seeds germinating into healthy plants, but started too late for decent sized plants for this season. I’ll use some (many) for extra feed if I run short and nurture the rest for next summer – and plant seeds earlier.

    #18771

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Patz

    I had three to a pot last year. What I did with some of mine was I nipped one off quite short (say about 300mm), did another about 400mm, and the last I let grow quite taller before I encouraged it to bush out. This gave me one really neat lot of food in one pot. They were fine in a pot, about 200mm tall, diameter the same.

    Experiment, experiment, experiment, it’s fun! What works for some doesn’t work for others – that’s the good thing about this forum, we get the ideas from many people.

    Hope that helps!

    Jacqui

    #18770

    macmonkey
    Participant

    HI Patz,
    I normally let mine grow to about 400mm tall for a short bushy plant or 600 to 700mm for a taller plant.
    With regards to the grouped plants if you try to pull the roots apart to transplant the into seperate pots you may damage them and the resulting shock will limit the growth of you plants. They may take a while to recover. I would get a larger pot to transplant them in a group and make sure you keep at least one lot as a spare away from Mrs Monarch.
    cheers Stu

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