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The Botanist Files V1.0


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#21 JanSteen

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 01:17 PM

This is becoming one hell of a monologue. I started posting here because I wanted to share ideas, start discussions, end discussions, solve problems and what not. You know, being some kind of guide for some and a nuisance for others. But it really feels like talking against a wall like this. Let's do it like this: whenever you're interested in something, ask for it. I'm not going to spend time any more on posting stuff that doesn't get the response I expected. . That's my own problem, entirely! Of course. But it's also my way of a solution. ;-) No hard feelings, but I'm kind of narcissistic; I want effort and time to be rewarded with a comment or at least a response of some sort. If that doesn't happen, I'm just going to stop investing time and effort.

#22 Aminrcraoftm

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 02:59 PM

Alright. I'll bite. Got any tips on growing Kratom? I've got a small Rifat plant that I accidentally left out in cold (-60 F) weather, and it's growth has sort of stalled out. It's in a warm greenhouse right now, and has been for a couple of weeks, but no change still. Also, the soil is kind of basic (or at least more than it should be). Should this be fixed immediately?

 

I would help with providing an exchange of knowledge, but I'm pretty new to growing stuff, no less to ethnobotany.



#23 JanSteen

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 07:29 AM

Being new and short on knowledge doesn't matter. I just want a give and take relationship on forums. You give me stuff to think about, I'll advise you on how to tackle your problems. That's something I like doing. It's basically the reason why I signed up here. So right, this plant has stalled. That doesn't seem to be an issue, since it's a defence mechanism. In the first place that means you're dealing with a healthy plant. The poor thing is probably recovering, but slowly. The wrong soil pH could help delay that process. If there are no infected parts on your plant, than you can proceed by keeping it in that stable warm environment. To address the soil issue, there's a few things you could do. Either repot it into something with peat (since it has a low pH, it's pretty acidic) or cover the top soil with peat. If you water from the top, the low-pH water will drip down until everything has stabilized at a certain acidity level. Another thing you could do is to flush with rain water. But since your plant is having a hard time, flushing doesn't seem to be a wise option; damaged plants get infected fast in wet soils. You can gradually adjust the pH by giving rain water instead of tap water during normal watering cycles. After watering 6 to 7 times, you should notice the drop in pH. Different nutrients become available and the plant will restore to it's former healthy state. Adjusting tap water by adding vinegar or lemon juice or stuff like that, doesn't seem to work well on the long term. The salts in tapwater will stay in the soil, which will alkalize the soil again whenever it dries out through salt buildup. Boiling tap water before you manually lower the pH has some effect, but it's still less effective than using plain rain water (pH of rain is about 5.6-6.4). People tend to think that lowering pH by adding something very acidic will have good effects, since alkaline substances can be neutralized by adding the equal amount of acids. In the plant world, that's a no go. Plants secrete either alkalines or acids in their rhizosphere (root area), depending on the acidity of the soil. If the soil changes too rapidly, the plant will be 'pushing out' the wrong substances. If that happens, they can't take up nutrients to survive. They don't need much, but taking up nothing at all seems to cause certain death in most plants. Excuse me for the lack of enters and the poor readability. My browser doesn't seem to work well with this website. It crams all my text into a small single sentence, even though I divided my text into paragraphs.
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#24 Aminrcraoftm

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 10:49 PM

An update on the Kratom, sadly adding some closure (at least I'm fairly sure). A little background, the plant appeared recently rooted, and didn't have a whole lot un the underground department. There was about a week ago a huge fungus gnat hatching. I had repotted the kratom in some soil that had been exposed to the area for a while.

 

Now the Kratom is more obviously hurting (whereas before it's growth was just stalled). The sides of the leaves are dried out, and closer to the main vein it isn't perfect either.

 

My guess is that the larvae feasted on the young (and few) roots, doing more damage than the plant can take and still be able to collect enough water. At least it isn't root rot. 

 

Have you ever heard of or seen a plant come back from this kind of damage? It seems possible but unlikely. 



#25 JanSteen

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 02:01 PM

I've seen plants do amazing things. But recovery from root damage is tough. Gnats love the end caps of the roots, which is practically the only place where roots grow. It's possible though, that plants survive it. But only the vital ones will. But then again, I've seen plants recover from nearly everything. I think you should still try to save it. Some yellow sticky tape will catch at least some of the gnats. A UV-light-zapping-thingy for common house flies could help as well too. To catch the adult gnats. Gnats thrive in wet, airless conditions, and most roots do not. I've found that decreasing watering increases root growth and revival to some extent. Even for tropical plants that like their soils on the wet side. There's not a lot more you can do, except for ordering nematodes or something, but my guess is that those will be just as expensive as a new kratom plant. Drowning the soil, could.. nah.. Don't do that. I'm not sure it would help, and if it would, it's no guarantee that the plant will survive. Too much of a risk. I did read that some people use beach-sand or sand with a same structure (Without the salt) to make a layer on top of the soil, and place their pots in that same sand - so the gnat flies can't get in there from below - causing the insects to leave, or at least making the soil unavailable to lay eggs in. Waiting and sitting it out, is the best option. Let the soil dry slowly and keep it on the dry side for a while. This will prevent rot and it will decrease the amount of gnats drastically. If you put a plastic bag around the plant (but not the pot) it should be able to go without water for some weeks. If you mist inside that bag, maybe even for months. But too long of a dry spell is bad for everybody, especially for plants. But the only one who can see how balanced this DIY system is, is you. So I recommend you check daily if you plan on doing anything I mentioned above. Good luck!
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#26 JanSteen

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 03:27 PM

Aminrcraoftm.. Why the hell are we going through so much trouble anyways? Get yourself some clean soil, throw out the old soil, and just make some cuttings! That would do the trick! Sometimes, things can be pretty easy. Or pretty hard, if you look at it the wrong way.

#27 Aminrcraoftm

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 12:46 AM

It was basically a cutting to begin with. I'm pretty sure petiole cuttings don't work with kratom. As for the new soil, I could try that, but I worry about damaging root hairs, since the roots are obviously the problem here. 

 

I would get a new one, but I'm in the US and don't know of anyone near me growing it.

 

For now, the plant is alive. The browning on the sides of the leaves has pretty much stopped spreading, so I'm hopeful that there has been some recovery.



#28 Aminrcraoftm

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 05:22 PM

I have hope. I just pulled it up, and there are definitely new roots growing. They look healthy. I snipped about three with brown/mushy tips, but there's a sizable amount coming in. This is after I powdered the top of the soil with a dry rooting hormone and saturated the soil. It has no leaves now, so I'm sort of treating it like a woody cutting (it's just sitting there :P). 



#29 JanSteen

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 01:43 PM

Rooting hormone should never be applied 'just like that'. I mean, if the roots are growing, they are making auxins and sending them up the plant. Adding more hormones could send the hormone balance towards complete degradation of auxins. Usually the sun or lights do that for plants (breaking down auxins) but if you over stimulate auxin-response-systems in plants, they could come to a grinding halt. Plants are pretty well balanced, and regulate their hormones pretty thoroughly by creating more or of the hormones that are needed, if they are needed, or they create inhibitors if a hormone is over-expressed or added in excess. - The general rule of thumb is always "add as much auxins as you add cytokinins" when it comes to restoration of plants. My best advice is still to wait it out. Don't go experimental on this plant, since it's too much of a risk if they are so hard to come by. - Also, the pesky thing about plants is that if you give them too much hormones in a short period of time, it could result in them being desensitized to those hormones for a looooong time. That translates in a practical sense: that future cuttings (up to 2 years from the moment of application in some plants!!) could root very, very poorly. - People in general tend to look at plants as if they're animals: just add some steroids to get some more meat on those bones, give it more nutrients and it'll grow faster and bigger. That's not how plants work unfortunately, they're not pigs or chickens. Plants take what they need and make the rest themselves. I have learned that the hard way, time after time again. Most of the times, doing nothing at all except for general care, gives the best results. But because we people are result driven, things get out of hand fast. We want to see something happen, we want to see them thrive. And the more we look, the slower they seem to grow (ask any cannabis grower about that, they all have the impatience-by-looking-too-much-virus). Cannabis nutrient sellers have made good use of our impatience, they sell every kind of additive there is with promise of golden mountains of buds and shorter flowering periods. More density, more yield, by adding something like amino acids and hormones that have already degraded by the time the bottle reaches the sellers store. That impatience, is big business. At one time in my life, I wanted to make use of it too; selling shit people don't need for their plants, by implying they needed it. I calculated I would make around 3k a month just by some sketchy "I'm not making promises but it works for some" advertisements and sponsoring a few grow logs, but at the same time I would be selling nothing more than fermented lime juice with overcooked corn, beans and willow root and some fertilizer. I see professional and unprofessional cannabists spend hundreds of dollars on nutrients, while my 50 bucks per year budget yields the same quality bud. The difference is: they trust advertisement, I trust my knowledge and my biology books. -
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#30 Aminrcraoftm

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 09:53 AM

Thanks. :)



#31 JanSteen

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 04:26 PM

You're welcome!

We, as poorly informed consumers, have to stay sharp. Or at least some of us have to. I'm helping a dude grow some cannabis in his back yard, and the lad spent over 200 bucks on extra stuff that doesn't do anything. His harvest failed because he overdid.. Well, he overdid everything.. Blinded by the promises of the mount zion of bud. Now he has to spend another 200 bucks to smoke himself through the winter. A good vital soil and some compost are worth more than any kind of nutrient.


Everybody interested in plants, for whatever reason, should at least own/rent a copy of 'Plants from test tubes'. Whether you pirate it or not, is none of my concern. I don't know if it's out there, but I guess it is. It's a great book for the beginner in the plant world, and it has very comprehensive information about media but most of all: what that media does, how nutrients work, how hormones work, and how to recognize common issues.
Yes, it's expensive (like 50 bucks!). But it teaches people how to turn one plant, into a few hundred plants within a few months. For the price of.. well.. some petris, agar and a bottle of plant nutrients.. And 20 bucks worth of hormones from Ebay.


I don't know how kratom works, but if the actives are inside the entire plant, the fore mentioned book also gives hints and insights about how to make and manage plant bioreactors for.. "Research purposes"? ;-)
It should yield a lot more plant material in less time than a normal plant would. But sometimes, those actives disappear because they need external stimuli to form. It might even work on those slow growing penis shaped plants they call cacti. But I'm not sure about how they behave in aqueous conditions. I'm sure somebody has tried it and reported it somewhere.
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#32 JanSteen

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 09:51 AM

A bit about coca berries.
Since there's no information on the web about the seeds, the berries and how they ripen and develop, I am posting this for reference purposes.


I figured it out myself, but it would be a shame not to share that information.
Coca seeds time from hand-pollination to ripe // ready for picking: 2,5-4 months (even if they're not completely red, they germinate just fine). Some yellowy orange berries were picked as well, since they did not change color and size over the course of 3 weeks. This is an important variable; if they are still growing, or changing color, they're not done yet. Some seeds stall early, some very late, it seems to depend on both temperature, light and watering with no clear causality in either of those points. Just keep going the way you did, and they'll develop. The berries can stay on the plant for quite some time, and stay viable that way. After picking however, literature states that germination rates drop around 5%-10% per day(!!). When opening the berries, they seemed 'complete' or finished. About a centimeter in length and about 0.5cm diameter. Ready to be planted.

The germination and preparation procedure of these coca berries/seeds that followed was actually more simple than most pages on the web describe.

Berries were picked, I chewed off the pulp down to the bare seed (watch it, if you have damaged gums, it will hurt. The berries are caustic as crazy. Don't swallow the pulp, just spit it out and wash your mouth with tap water. There is no active stuff in the berries, as I would have noticed it).
What was left, was a seed with a kind of jelly-like coating. I chewed the pulp off, because in nature, these seeds pass through a digestive system. I believe the salivary enzymes did help, but that's open to discussion. However, I got a 100% germination rate. Some things just work and don't need questioning..
Seeds were placed in moist (NOT WET!) sphagnum moss at 28 degrees C during the day and 15 at night in a ziplock bag. After 2-3 weeks, germination occurred as follows: The seeds started to degrade at the pointy end, where the root emerged not long after. Degradation happened enzymatically, since there is no visual stuff breaking it down (like fungus or something). The pointy end just seems to be dissolved, as some pieces of wood that have been in water for years. The seed husk/coat changes color from whitish to slightly brown, they somehow looked as if they have been rotting, but no fungal stuff was reported. Fungal stuff would mean a bad thing. The texture of the coat changed from the jelly-like coating after chewing to solid but moisty seed. If after the two weeks you feel soft, slurry stuff, they have been rotting. The seeds have either died/lost viability, or have been too wet. Throw those out or germinate them separately, since they could infect the entire batch.

The seeds were then - after the root emerged - planted root side up (pointy end) so that the growth later on will make a bend and pull the husk off, leaving it in the soil. After the roots emerged, seeds were planted, along with some moss around the seed and it's fragile root, in a peat soil mixture and watered with rain water until moist. Pots were placed in a propagator (same temperatures) and after 2-3 weeks, little seedlings emerged.

Of course, my berries were picked just minutes before they were placed in the ziplock bag. Experiences may vary a lot, since most people receive the seeds in the mail. Seeds that have been picked who knows how long before they arrived.. Remember that the viability drops fast. So if you're going to order them, do it from a local supplier or somebody who ships fast. Otherwise, just order live plants. I've spent over 50 bucks on new seeds every time, but never had any success. Then I spent around 30 bucks on a live plant, and now I'm reproducing them myself..

As you've read, I did not soak the seeds in anything (some websites claim lemon juice soaking works, for me it didn't). I did not treat them with fungicides. I did not use coco choir, perlite or vermiculite. Watch out with the moist parts. If you decide to go all aqueous about this, you'll fail. Don't use tap water, rainwater only.

If you want to spread this information, please, mention where it comes from.
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#33 JanSteen

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 07:15 AM

Application (single time) of 6mg/L Kinetin caused the coca plants to flower at the same time. The stress induction and hormonal change caused all plants to flower after a period of 3 weeks.

A nice side effect was noted: application of this hormone enabled strain hybridisation between E. Coca var Coca and E. Coca var Novo.
Cross pollination, that's something that just didn't seem to work, up until now.
It has to be noted that hybridisation comes at a cost: lower alkaloid levels are to be expected, since Novo has very low contents. When chewing the leafs it is pretty noticeable; 2 leafs of var Coca/Bolivianum cause a numbing effect, whereas 5-8 leafs are needed for the same effect with Novo. My estimate is that alkaloid contents will meet in the middle, or will be produced at the same levels as the parent plants with a 50/50 chance of being either one.
A plus side on hybridisation is that something called Hybrid Vigor could occur. Which means that hybrid plants - due to their genetic mixing - grow faster and better than parent plants. We see that happening in nearly all F1 (offspring generation 1) in cannabis and other crops.

I'm aiming towards the hybrid vigor effects, as well as the plants being less susceptible to environmental changes (something Novo is better at than Coca). I only have Coca x Coca as controls, but the growth pattern and speed seem to be nearly identical except Novo is a tad slower.

Funky thing about Coca and nutrient issues: Coca does the exact opposite of what most plants do. Deficiencies show in the top half of the plant, instead of the lower half. N-deficiencies for instance, happen in the upper younger leafs fist in coca, whereas in most other plants it shows first in the old lower leafs. This causes for misdiagnosis of common issues, and it's something to take into account when finding a resolution.
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#34 JanSteen

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 07:23 AM

gallery_149763_2_1802379.jpggallery_149763_2_1863178.jpggallery_149763_2_721381.jpggallery_149763_2_983579.jpg

 

Here are some pics, descriptions in the gallery.


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#35 Neptunechild

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 05:24 PM

Amazing pictures Jan, thanks for sharing!



#36 Nosferatu89

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 07:25 PM

Very interesting, I love your stories, when I am in more of a writing mood I will add what I can. But you've got me fascinated.

 

Reading the part about the pests you encounter(god spider mites make me want to cringe.) I noticed you didn't mention Diamectous Earth, 

Have you had any experience with it, I hear the stuff is great for crawling insects as it is like trying to crawl over millions of tiny razor blades to them.

 

I have used Neem Oil, with some success and for Fungus Gnats, I added an Inch layer of fine sand over my topsoil to kind of suffocate them and keeping 

a barrier between them and the roots of my cannabis plants.

 

I also know what you're saying about all of this Pro-cannabis stuff, that alot of it is propaghanda.  I used to be a huge stoner, I no longer smoke but still believe Marijuana is more of a good thing then bad.  I think it does have benefits and beyond that don't believe people should be put in prison(very dangerous) for using or selling something that has killed nobody, and is even found to be moderately healthy if consumed properly. I stay out of all of that stuff, but I agree with what you have to say on the topic.

 

Nice to hear things from someone who is Dutch, I am very curious about how people from other countries think so thank you for your insight.



#37 JanSteen

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:21 PM

Despite my best efforts, I do not get the responses I aimed for.
You're one of a few Nosferatu! Thanks for your comment!

Diamectous earth is a scam. Because, when it gets wet, it loses all insect-repellent properties. At the same time, insects' skin is in fact armor meant to withstand predation. A little rock below their feet doesn't hurt them. At least not at that weight/pressure ratio. It's like throwing a single razor blade onto a car; it might scratch the paint a little, but it will keep driving. Do it times a million, and you're still just throwing a 100kg pack of razorblades onto a car. That's like hitting a dog with 50mph. It might scratch the paint, but if the car is in survival mode (which insects are 100% of the time) then it wouldn't be bothered a lot.

The thing with diamectous earth is the fine dust it creates, it ends up in the trachea (lungs) of the insect and tears them apart. Now these animals are made for harsh conditions in the outdoors with fine dust and all that hits them. Now imagine putting that same dangerous material inside your house, near the plants you intend to smoke later.. Smoke that gets into soft humane lungs that are made for (damp) forest conditions without any of those hard unsolvable particles.
Asbestos is being phased out in construction and industrial ovens for the sole reason that its' fragments tear lungs apart. The only application that's left, is diamectous earth. It's a cheap way for asbestos producers to dump the material for an OK price, while not having to deal with construction or health related laws. When it stays moist, there's nearly no dust and nearly no particles. But when it dries out, it could be a pretty big health hazard.
Personally, I have tried it. And never again will I use it since I found out the composition of those types of earths over here is 100% asbestos.


As for the coca:
I found spider mites even on the berries! I didn't keep the plants healthy though, because usually they withstand spider mites with ease. This time however, the mites seem to have been evolved to withstand cocaine or ecgionine or whatever alkaloids the plants produce to repel insects. Or, it might just be me, keeping the plants in poor conditions, where they cannot accumulate enough alkaloids. No harm done: A good ol' neem oil treatment did the trick! After just 2 treatments, the plants were mite free and they have been that way since the past 10 days. The leafs are rendered useless, they taste like soap and old onions. But that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

I increased the feeding schedule, ending up around an EC of 2.0 and I aim to keep the pH around 5. For adult plants, this works great. It caused a nice little boost. New leaves however, seem burned and drop right after they've formed. I think I'm going to tone it down a little. For young plants, a single watering with that EC caused serious nute burn and killed a seedling (1 out of 8). I snapped the neck of another, trying to remove the pesky seed husk. I decided on doing that from now on, I know I don't recommend it in other topics, and I still don't, but it speeds up my own growing schedule by 3 weeks. I have noticed though, that it takes some practice and a precision scalpel and a lot of patience. Spending 15 minutes per husk isn't something extraordinary.
Some failures happened other than that; I've let my peat moss dry out, with fresh seeds in there. 12 hours @ 30 degrees C. They seem to be germinating, but I really can't tell. It might just be normal breakdown.
Another 5 berries will ripen this week, and the hybrids seem to be forming nicely. I can't wait to see if there's any hybrid vigour in these new crosses, or if it's just a dud.
I mean, both Novo and Coca come from the same source, I don't know if he's been inbreeding them, or if he kept them separate. I know there's a huge phenotypical difference, but I don't know if that dude is aware of that fact.
I can only make these hybrids based on what I see, feel and taste: one has more eliptical leafs, a lower alkaloid content, a different growth pattern and a different response to climate. It seems to be a pure Novo. The others are Coca, I've let a few Bolivians check it out for me.
Ah well, we'll see whatever happens.

Fun fact: coca can grow for over 3 months without roots. I took some dirty cuttings, and just placed them in the soil along with some seedlings. They have been developing leafs and entire plant-like structures. But no roots. Never roots.
I'm trying some new techniques right now, that seem to be more promising, but still, no guarantees.

The literature seems to be dead wrong when it comes to micropropagation, that's for sure. Not a single protocol has yielded the same results as in the studies I've read. I'm reproducing those studies to the letter, to the picogram, but to no avail.
I'm getting the idea that there's something missing. If you repeat a successful experiment 50 times, it would have worked out the same at least once, don't you think? I mean, it would have been successful at least once, instead of 50 failures. It smells fishy.
I can't believe somebody managed to make those plants 'in vitro culture proof'. But I can imagine somebody had to scratch some of their findings from a research paper because the world would be in deep shit if he didn't. No hard feelings about that, I've been spending a lot of meditation and discussions on the subject of 'free drugs for everybody' and in no way the outcome is what we love to romanticize about.. There's always that one dude who can't handle it, and takes down everybody in the vicinity with him. And when drugs are publicly available for everybody, for free or low prices, those things happen more often than one would assume. Right now it's happening more often than we ask for! So yeah, I wouldn't be bothered if somebody would have to meddle with alternative facts on those subjects. Well, I'm a little bothered of course, because it gets me nowhere but running in circles in my home-research.

What else is there to mention?
Not a lot. Cannabis have revegged, everything is doing OK.
That's it for now!

Cheerio!

Edited by JanSteen, 13 February 2017 - 04:21 PM.

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#38 JanSteen

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:27 AM

Another one for the books about coca: Pinching off floral clusters when they form keeps leaf production stable and prevents a drop in growth pattern.
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#39 JanSteen

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 08:39 AM

I'm not saying people should do this, but IF you're going to trim a coca plant for whatever reason..

Coca cuttings from adult plants

- Get yourself a bag of peat moss (sphagnum) and remove all debris that's not moss. Also, get yourself some ziplock bags and some water, preferably clean water (tap water, boiled rain water).
- Take/cut a branch with woody stem (length around 10-15cm)
- Remove all leaves by tearing them off (leave no leftovers at the stem)
- Cut the cambium layer at the bottom of the branch, make sure it's just 2mm at most, longer strips of exposed cambium will rot.
- Place the cutting with the stem facing down, in a ziplock bag with live(!) peat moss. Dead peat moss will rot. Live peat moss doesn't, and it contains the right amount of moisture straight away, also the pH is perfect.
- Fill the ziplock bag with a big breath, close it. It should look like a balloon.
- Place in shady area (temp around 20C and up, maximum 33C)
- Wait for 1 week, remove sick cuttings (place them in another bag or dispose them)
- Repeat the control process weekly for about a month.
- Forget about your cuttings for a while..
- Remember about your cuttings, check up on them. Some have formed callous tissue that will grow into roots. Place these guys in a freshly prepared bag, the underdeveloped cuttings can be kept in the same bag.
- Wait some more until you see at least 5-10 roots developing (3cm and up in length).
- Place in soil, with a ziplock bag around the cutting, make a slash in the plastic every day to harden the plant to your preferred air humidity.
- Success!

Why the many bags? Because you don't want your bad cuttings contaminating your good ones.
Is the shade really necessary? Yes. Put them in full sun and they will bake within an hour. Coca doesn't need a lot of nutrients or light in this stage, so peat moss, moisture, and a dash of smellybreath are more than enough.
The cuttings will keep developing leaves in all stages. Don't remove those, don't touch them too much, but keep an eye out for fungus formation; remove affected leaves asap. or place entire affected cuttings in separate bags.
How long will this take? That's a tough one.. It could take as much as 3 months.
How is the success rate? As far as I've found: 5 out of 17 cuttings developed callous tissue after a 2 month period. That's about 30%.
Does this techinque work for Novo as well? It seems this method works for both E. Novo and E. Coca, with E. coca having a higher chance of developing. It seems to be storing more energy to work with than Novo.
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#40 JanSteen

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 12:43 PM

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Any questions?


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