A couple of days after transplant, and no signs of shock. She is shooting out leaves, as soon as the first seven-leaf popped up, she started putting them out at the bases of the three-leaf and five-leaf. We thought they were sex organs at first and were rejoicing that they were long and thin, but alas, only leaves. The leaves themselves are getting quite large, but the original round leaves and the first serrated leaves on the bottom aren’t increasing in size, as if the plant knows that they will be shaded and not of much use soon. Amazing adaptation.
Looked into aloe and yucca. Aloe contains “aloein” which tastes bad but is good topically (think sunburn cream). The taste applies to bugs that might think your plant is food, thus your plant tastes like aolein and is inedible. I’m not sure about smoking micro-milligrams of aloe, but I like it on my skin, and I don’t yet know if this will be a long term solution or not. Yucca has some qualities which improve water “wetness” and help with heat and pest resistance, but we decided not to go out in the desert and harvest a living plant to get a couple of grams of material, so we are thinking of other ways to get some without spending money. Our budget, which I have miraculously managed to stay under, is still zero. Has anyone else harvested or otherwise acquired yucca root?
Aloe was easy. I cut some, harvested the goo from our landscaping, smashed it into water (think mortar and pestle), making a very thin mixture, and applied it to my tomato plant. The tomato gets everything first in case it damages it. I poured the mixture on the leaves, letting it drip off them onto the soil below, then around the pot a couple of inches from the edge. I then added a pint of RO on top of the stripe of aloe mixture, very gently watering it in.
The tomato responded by shooting out new leaves (I took pictures to verify growth) so I did the same with our girl, who responded the same as the tomato.
I also added coffee grounds to her diet. The N is long release, and they add acidity and mulch to the soil. Again, first the tomato plant, then our girl. I used the grounds from my morning K-cup (there’s a lot of grounds in there) and mixed it into the top inch of soil. Water will gradually percolate the nutrients down to the roots.
Fertilizer application, at least for the moment, is around the rim or near the rim of the pot. I do this to promote root growth outwards and also maybe help prevent burns if I screw up. The water will carry it throughout the pot so the plant gets food, but the roots will want to seek the better nutrients and will expand, reaching further more quickly. At least that’s my theory. It certainly works for orchard trees, and very well.
Her light schedule is like so: 7 until 7:15 artificial light from the “box” I made, at 7:15 until about 8 she has partial sun, then full sun until about 6:45PM, dimming to partial and then sundown (I let her see sundown daily, the time lapse shows her reacting to the sundown event much more than the sunrise event). We aren’t sure if it is important to the plant or not, but based upon her reactions we are going to let her continue to watch the sundown. At sundown she goes back in the box for artificial light until 1 AM.
She lives in one of three places, the light box at night or when there are visitors; then during the day the garden window, as she has for the past two days; or the back patio. We had several days in the seventies and eighties (yes it’s February, this is Arizona) so she stayed outside with us on the patio until the weather turned cool at night, then back to her garden window for the evening, but now it barely gets into the high sixties so she just gets the window. The sun comes in the top of the window hitting her with uninterrupted light, albeit filtered through the glass. There are sidelights that I use to control the temperature, adjusting them several times a day to cool her off without getting too cold.
I’ve run into something of a dilemma on watering and feeding. The fertilizer needs to be watered in, but the plant doesn’t need water, the soil is still damp two inches down (one inch of mulch on top) as it is at the drain holes. I compromised and used a measured amount while feeding, one pint. She seems to like it, so I’m going to just let her dry to the next feeding. Maybe😂.
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