Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Indole butyric acid and roses

After several days of rain showers (about 3-4mm daily) and lots of wet washing hanging around the fireplace,  today is lovely outside...  sunshine and, while not warm,  the lack of wind means that it's enjoyable even to be out weeding the vegetables....  and so I have.  This is going to be another potato patch,  the next coriander behind and silver beet in the distance...

Then I went on to tie up the broad beans.  Mine are growing quite tall now and the wind will blow in September.  Like the ides of March,  the equinox in September brings strong winds.  These are tied up with binda-twine from the pea-straw bales...
....notice the tiny red flower near to the string..... and the next broad bean patch....
In front of this second patch, apart from the last of the broccoli  plants that are feeding the chickens, are the new vegetables patches.  On the rhs, onions and running across the patch,  near the broccoli is the next row of carrots,  then spring onions (just through) and beetroot, sugar beet (an experiment), kohlrabi and kale.
Among those onions (rhs, above) I have noticed some brassica seedings (self-sown) and I am sure that they are from the broccoli plants that grew here last summer.  I always let some got to seed and I collected them,  though I'm sure some seeds fell to the ground.
These look healthy and it will be interesting to see how the cabbagge moths like hanging out among the onions.  (These onions were the harvest from last year that were too small to bother with.  I planted them as "sets."  One has to grow onions as sets in the short Canadian growing season where a second year onion is grown and harvested before it goes to seed.  (It has always taken me two years to grow an onion in Canada.)  Is this little bit of serendipity how "companion planting" was invented?

Here is the curry leaf tree that is looking just a little bit yellow (cold?)  surrounded by kale...
... we are eating both of these.  Curry leaves make dhall or curries really good, and the kale goes into everything.

We are still eating cabbages...  fried,  in soup and in any other way I can think of.  The outside big leaves are good for stuffing as cabbage rolls...  and I'm willing to bet that that is how "stuffed cabbage leaves" were invented.... from those large, coarse outer leaves that no self-respecting gardener/housewife would have wasted.


Out around the garden,  the sour sobs are doing well!  The flowers are beautiful,  but it is a good lesson in garden plants that "go feral" when they are able to "naturalise."
Sour sobs (oxalis) were actually sold in Australia when Europeans first settled and gardened.  Plants that are advertised as "good for naturalising"  are always a worry.

The buds are forming on the friut trees... the apricot is always first....

Sour sobs again....
... and behind them the "naturalised" watsonia... mostly red flowers though some here are yellow.....
... honeyeaters like these flowers.

The thrushes were watching me all the time that I was weeding.  Eventually, I realised that they were busy in the aloe plant and the leaves of the "throne" tree....
... the leaves of the sprouting branches of the "throne" are eaten away to nothing.  This is a red gum and is badly eaten by something,  but I did see the thrush take a grub of some sort up into the aloe plant to eat.  There were a pair on thrushes in the aloe,  and I watched for a while...  nesting?  courting?  I'll be out there again to see what is happening.  They are singing constantly in recent days.

Back to the vegetable patch, and here is another calendula flower,  though still not "dark centred" ones.
And among the vegetables,  plenty of flowers...  I don't grow only edible plants...

Now,  another flowering plant....   this is the remains of the rose that I took from the roadside in July.  When the flowers wilted,  I decided to try to grow another plant from it vegetatively.  I cut all of the leaves off,  dipped the stalk of the plant in some hormone powder (indole butyric acid).....
(Though not essential, several compounds may be used to promote the formation of roots through the signaling activity of plant hormone auxins, and is helpful with especially hard plant species. Among the commonly used chemicals is indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) used as a powder, liquid solution or gel. This compound is applied either to the cut tip of the cutting or as a foliar spray. Rooting hormone can be manufactured naturally - one method is to soak the yellow-tipped shoots of a weeping willow tree in water, or to prepare a tea from the bark of a willow tree. When using the shoots or bark, they should be soaked for 24 hours prior to using.[1] Honey, though it does not contain any plant hormones, can also make an effective rooting substance.)  

The honey is not a hormone,   but an anti-bacterial medium, reducing infection rather than accelerating root production.

I dipped the stalk into the powder and stuck it into a pot....
... with a humidity preserver (a plastic bread bag) and put it on the kitchen window sill in the light.

Today I had a look at the stalk very carefully....
... and there are tiny green shoots.  I may have one of these beautiful, sweet smelling roses yet!  This was the original "cutting"  that I found on the side of the road...
... and it perfumed the whole kitchen.

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