Thursday, 21 March 2013

Germinating Baby Hawaiian Woodrose seeds.

Nice simple TEK this one!

I have been asked a few times this week how to germinate these little blighters. So i thought this would be the best way to explain,

 As you can see, they are not tiny, but small enough to be a bit fiddly, especially if you have big hands!

The seed has a round and a pointed end.

Snip the point off the pointed end to help the seed germ break free, as the shell is quite a tough one!

Then plant in damp vermiculite, about 1/2 inch deep. It dosen't matter what way up you plant it.
Cover with cling film (saran wrap) or a clear plastic food bag and keep at about 75 Degrees F.
Seed will take about 5-10 days to pop.
When the seedling is about 2" tall, re-pot into compost/vermiculite/perlite (1:1:1) mix and put in a sunny spot. (Try and avoid direct sun until the plant is established)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

My salvia arrived in the post. What do I do now?

This is a question i get asked quite a bit.

When your salvia arrives it will be in a plant-pak to protect it from the post and to keep it humid.

Unpack it gentely and pot it into a mix of compost, perlite and vermiculite (1:1:1) I have used a small pot here just for demonstration purposes, but as long as the pot you use fits inside the bottle, all will be well.

Snip the bottom off a clear plastic bottle, place the pot on a tray or saucer and gentely lower the bottle over the salvia. mind those rough bottle edges on the leaves now!
Mist the plant and leave at room temperature in the light. Not direct sun as this will cause the bottle over-heat and kill your new plant.

 Every now and then (I usually do it when I walk past the bottle) lift the bottle for a minute or two to let some fresh air in, otherwise the air will stagnate and mildew will start.
After a couple of days remove the lid. This will lower the humidity and help to acclimatize your plant to your home. Still remembering to lift the bottle as you think about it. A couple of times a day should be fine for now.

After about a week of no lid and lifting the bottle, remove the bottle completely and mist.
If your salvia starts to wilt within an hour or so, put the bottle back on and carry on with the acclimatizing process for a few more days. Soon she will be happy to live out of the bottle in the lower humidity of your home.

She likes damp (but not soggy) roots and an occasional misting. Direct sun will cause her to wilt and frost will kill her. During the winter, in the UK especially, she will slow her growth and some of the leaves will develop brown tips. This is perfectly normal and she will pick up again in spring.

Monday, 22 October 2012

germinating mimosa hostilis seeds

With a little practice and fresh seeds you should be able to get a 99% success rate!

Gently make a nick or a scratch in the end of the seed. This is to help the seedling escape from its hard shelled seed-prison! We have a nice clean, sharp pair of nail scissors we use!

Boil a cup of water and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Just enough to be able to dip your finger in.

It should still be very hot tho. Put the seeds in the water, they should sink. If they float, try making the nick on your seeds a little deeper. (not too deep though as this could harm the seed germ.) Leave them in to soak in the hot water for about 45 minutes. You will notice that they have swelled up slightly.

Place the swollen seeds in a pot of damp vermiculite (we use plant pods because they are so easy and germination friendly). Just place the seeds on top of the vermiculite, they need light to germinate. Lightly mist and cover with cling film or put the plant pod lid on.

Within two weeks the seeds will have started to germinate, but they are too small just yet, to replant. Instead, leave them in their vermiculite until they have pushed out their first set of leaves.

After another week, or when the first set of leaves have opened, the seedlings can be re-potted into a mix of compost, perlite and vermiculite (1:1:1) and placed in a propagator in a warm place (about 70 degrees F) and exposed to light, but not direct sun. (This can damage the seedlings at this size)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Rooting Psychotria viridis (and alba) leaf cuttings.

 Psychotria viridis, or chacruna is from the same family of plants as coffee. It is often used as an admixture in ayahuasca. The leaves contain DMT. Seeds from both these bushes are difficult to procure and have a short viability, therefore making cuttings from the leaves is the best way of propagation. Here is a quick TEK to show you how.

 Like i said, its just a quick TEK, because rooting psychotria isnt too difficult. Snap the leaf upto 6 times across its spine (horizontally) but leave the leaf intact. Each snap point will push out new roots, so you can make plenty of cuttings per leaf.

Wrap your snapped leaf in kitchen towel, leaving about 1" of leaf sticking out of the top. Dampen the paper with a water mister.

Put the damp, wrapped, snapped leaf in a clear food bag and tie up with a wire tie or similar. Make sure the bag is full of air. Mist and fan once or twice a week.

Leave in a warm sunny place, like a windowsill, for 2-3 weeks, remembering to mist and fan.

By now, small roots will have appeared from the bottom of the leaf and also from the snap points.

The leaf can now be seperated into its sections and planted in moist but quite well draining compost/perlite/vermiculite mix.

Keep the cuttings in a propagator or humidity dome as psychotria loves humidity. Water and mist as necessary and soon shoots will appear from the base of the planted leaf section.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Sea bean (entada rheedii) germination TEK

 Sea beans have a hard shell to allow them to survive being washed up on beaches where they can germinate. Germinating them can be difficult, but hopefully, using this TEK you might enjoy the same success as we have.

 Drill into the bean at the point where it was attached to the pod (its belly button), using a flat tipped 5-6mm drill and a hand brace & bit. If you use a mechanical drill you may cause damage to the germ in the shell. We held the seeds in a vice, but took care not to tighten it too much as they can crack. Only drill as far in, until you can see the white pulp in the seed. (maybe 3-4mm deep, depending on the size of the seed).

 Take an OLD flask and fill it with boiling water. (it will have to be smashed to get the swollen beans out again, so dont bother using a new one!)

 Make sure that the beans fit through the neck of the flask! If they dont, you will need a bigger flask. (We use a flask because it keeps the water hotter overnight.)

 Our beans nearly got stuck on the way in! Once they have soaked for upto 12 hours in the flask, you will have to smash the flask to remove them, as they will have swelled up considerably. Do this carefully as a vacuum flask will often explode sneding shards of glass everywhere (as we found to our dismay!)

 The next step is to try to recreate the beach they will germinate upon. We used perlite, but washed sand will work fine. Make sure it is nice and wet and warm and mist regularly. Cover with Cling-film (Saran-wrap) to keep the humidity high. Make sure they are in a bright place, as they need the light to help them pop!

After about 20-30 days they will have cracked open, like a clam shell, from the hole you drilled. The root will start to find its way down and the shoot will head toward the light. Put them back in their 'faux beach' pot for another few weeks and then pot in a mix of compost/perlite/vermiculite (1:1:0.5). They need reasonable humidity, lots of light and plenty of fresh air as they can be susceptable to rot.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Growing mushrooms using the Bag-o-Mush kit.

This is an instructional page for growing goumet mushrooms using the Bag 'o' Mush kit available from us.

The kit comprises of.

*Injectable, sterilized, rye substrate bag,
*Bag of casing mix,
*Humidity tent with perlite,
*Alcohol wipe,
*Full instructions.
(we had to stop including the Golden oyster mushroom culture syringe, as we wanted to keep the cost of the kit down to a minimum. Gourmet edible live cultures are available from us though.)

All the information in the world wont help you if you dont keep youe gourmet mushroom growing project CLEAN!

Wipe surfaces, use anti-bacterial soap, wear surgical gloves even a mask. Take every precaution you can to keep contaminants away!
 Why waste all this time and effort if you are going to cut corners on the preparation?

#1. Wipe the injection site with the alcohol wipe provided.
(The wiping action is almost as important as the alcohol on the wipe.
 Remember clean is good!

 #2. Inject the silicone injection site on the bag.
(Try not to puncture the needle right through to the other side of the bag!)
 Incubate at 25-30C in the dark or with ambient light.
 (the airing cupboard is often a good place, or build a tub in tub incubator.)

#3. The mycelium grows on the grain.
 After a week gently break up the grain through the bag.
This will speed up colonisation.
Colonisation should take 25-30 days, assuming the temperature is right.

 #4. When the grain is completely white
 (colonised) its time to case. Add about
  300ml of very hot water to to the bag
 of casing mix and leave it to cool.

Casing is added to the top of the bag to keep moisture levels up and help prevent contaminants getting in. The casing layer also provides good conditions for baby mushrooms (primordea) to develop in.

Wrap the cased bag in tin foil and put it back to incubate (25-30C) for a further 3-5 days.

During the days since you put the foil wrapped bag back in to incubate, the mycelium will have started to grow through the casing layer, although this may not be immediately obvious.

#5. Fruiting. Roll down the remaining sides of the grain bag, leaving the tin foil on.
Dampen the perlite in the large humidity bag with about 350ml of cold tap water.
(this will provide humidity in the bag). Place the now open grain bag into the humidity bag on top of the wet perlite. Close the top of the humidity bag with a bulldog clip or clothes peg.
Place the bags in a warm, light place (20-24C), but not in direct sunlight. Open the bag and mist occasionally with clean water.
After 1-2 weeks you should start to notice the formation of pinheads (baby mushrooms).
Bag in fruiting conditions Pinheads developing

#6. The mushrooms usually take about a week to develop and can then be removed with a gentle twist and lift. You can expect several flushes (crops) of mushrooms per grow, with about a week in between them. After harvesting a flush, mist well for a few days to replace lost moisture. Good luck and enjoy!


Growing Khat TEK

This is how we grow catha edulis (khat) from seed.

It works well for us, so we thought we'd share it!

Catha edulis is an African flowering plant. It has been used by the indiginous peoples for many thousands of years as a stimulant.
The plant is legal in the UK and in some parts of Africa. It seems to be illegal just about everywhere else though.
(note, seeds are legal everywhere as far as i can tell)

The TEK.

Khat seeds are very small (about1-2mm) with a small wing on them.
Sometimes the wing falls of in transit but the seed is still good.

They are reasonably easy to germinate, as long as you get good, fresh seed. They seem to be viable for upto 6 months but after that their viability drops off sharply.

Its quite possible to germinate them in damp tissue in a baggie, but I prefer the following method.
Fill a pot or plant-pod (below) with vermiculite. No compost needed at this point.
Make sure that the vermiculite is moist, but NOT soggy.
Sow about 5 seeds per pot, anymore than this and they get overcrowded and some of the weaker ones will suffer.
They need to be surface sowed. That is, placed on the surface of the medium and not covered.
Give them a little misting with water and put the lid on (if its in a pot, cover with cling-film)
Place in a light warm place (not in direct sunlight as this can overheat them).
Germination will take between 10 and 20 days depending on the conditions they are in.

About 2 weeks after germination, seperate them into their own little pots, using compost, perlite and vermiculite mix (1:1:1)
Keep them warm and light, however now they can go into full sun. Make sure the roots dont dry out totally, but dont allow them to become soggy either. After a while you will find a suitable balance between wet and dry.

Keep re-potting up until they are fully mature. The one below is about 2 years old now. They are slow growers! New rooted shoots are produced at the base of an older plant, these can be snipped off and planted!