Mistakes and surprises in your garden?

strawchicago(zone 5a)September 30, 2013

If I can save one person from making the same mistakes like I did, then it's worth it. In college my major was Computer Science, minor in chemistry. I made plenty of mistakes with my experiments for the past years.

1) Mix 1/2 fresh horse manure with 1/2 clay. Brown-spots salt-burns on leaves. Spent the day replacing dirt of the entire rose bed.

2) Saw mushrooms in the new horse manure. Mulched a few roses with that. They broke out in black spots and rust. Test the pH of the new manure/bedding to be acidic, rather than very alkaline like last year. The stable stops liming their stall, uses wet straw rather than wood chips (with mold-retardant).

3) Got lazy in fixing my pH 8 tap water with a bit of gypsum via buckets. So I dumped 1/2 cup gypsum around a few bushes. Too much calcium sulfate (gypsum) zapped soil bacteria, fried the leaves with 17% sulfur in gypsum ... roses came down with BS and rust. Also too much calcium drives down potassium. Potassium is essential for disease-prevention.

4) Got lazy in mixing high-phosphorus NPK 0-52-34 with water. Dumped that on top of W.S. 2000 rose. It crystallized and made my hard clay into concrete. Leaves and blooms got smaller with high Phosphorus.

Checked with U. of Extensions and found high phosphorus binds up with soil elements, little is available. I had to add vinegar to dissolve P in a bucket, and still found crystals stuck at the bucket's bottom. Chemical phosphorus can crystallize roots, and prevent mycorrhiza fungi from extracting phosphorus from soil.

Neither bone meal nor rock phosphate can be used at pH above 7, according to U. of Colorado. I tested bone meal by dumping on top of geraniums. Leaves turned brown, then they died.

5) Biggest surprise was how many blooms I got on Evelyn with soluble whole-grain corn meal, and how shiny the leaves are.

6) Potassium chloride, or muriate of potash is used to soften hard-water, salt index of 116.2. I tested it by dumping potassium chloride on top ... browning of petals, made pale blooms ugly. I re-test again, but at the end of flowering, along with gypsum. Fast repeat with Pink Peace rose, many big blooms. See picture below:

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 10:42

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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Cocoa mulch at pH 5.8 was perfect to induce rust on Evelyn. The roses which I don't mulch, don't have rust either with my pH 7.7 clay. There's a U. of Nebraska research on rust, with the title, "Medium pH and Leaf Nutrient Concentration Influence Rust Pustule diameter on leaves of dry beans."

Their conclusion: Plants grown in pH 5.8 medium show significantly larger rust pustules than plants grown in pH 6.5 or pH 7.9. Concentrations of Cl (chloride) and Mn (manganese) were more in high rust. In contrast, concentration of K (potassium) were less in high rust. Alabama Agriculture Cotton Research also recommended potassium fertilizer to reduce rust.

Two factors that gave rise to rust in my Evelyn rose: My mulching with cocoa mulch at pH 5.8, and my dumping gypsum (calcium sulfate) around the bush. Too much calcium drives down potassium, necessary for disease-prevention.

Cocoa mulch was great for tomatoes: larger & firmer fruits, and tasty, with its NPK 3-1-4, plus trace elements. No tomato worms either like previous years with chemical fertilizers.

Here is a link that might be useful: University of Nebraska on soil pH and rust

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Strawberryhill, thanks for the nice advice. Your roses look great. Whole grain corn meal, I'll have to try that out.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 7:29PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

I checked on black spots. The baking soda doesn't seem to be effective, like Ingrid reported. Folks report better luck with Neem oil (also insecticides), and commercial Bordeaux mixture (hydrated lime and copper sulfate).

The Nebraska study of higher potassium in leaves being less susceptible to rust: That makes me wonder if copper content of leaves could be a factor for BS-prevention, considering copper sulfate and lime are in Bordeaux fungicide?

The cheapest foods highest in copper are: sunflower seeds and basil. My next experiment would be to fertilize roses with ground-up raw sunflower seed NPK 2.25, 1.25, 0.79 .... or chopped up Basil, which are plentiful in summer. Chicken manure is also high in copper, zinc, and boron.

There's the #1 potting soil, Professional Ball, with 45% Composted pine fines, peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, lime, and gypsum. As the organics break down, they supply humic acid and nutrients. The tannin in decomposed pine bark, and the lime also serve as fungicide. My Paul Neyron rose was very healthy in that medium.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lime sprays for disease control

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, Nov 25, 13 at 11:20

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 9:39AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

I check on tannin as fungicide, and found this in Yahoo!Answers: "Plant Tannins: Tannins are natural substances found in Black Walnut and a vast array of plants. Tannins are what give red wines such as merlots and cabernets their sharp, biting taste. They are also found in the bark of trees that are particularly resistant to fungus such as the redwood tree."

Herbs like Oregano is known for anti-fungal properties. Someone posted a no-manure way to fertilize roses: mulch with mint leaves, high in iron & other nutrients. Mint also keeps deer away.

I didn't realize that the Sage which invades my garden has anti-fungal properties, see excerpt from below link:

"This organic, natural fungicide is quiet simple to make. First, add two thirds of a cup of sage leaves to 1/2 gallon of water and boil it down to 1/3 gallon of water. After this has been done, add 2/3 gallon of red wine. The solution has been proven to prevent and even cure fungus diseases in a variety of crops (as stated in the patent)."

Here is a link that might be useful: Fungicide and science in hydroponics

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Fri, Oct 4, 13 at 10:24

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 10:12AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

I'm not the only one who use sugar via molasses to deepen blooms' color. Jim1961 changed the color of his Mr. Lincoln from red to purple by putting sugar in the vase water. See Jim's purple Mr. Lincoln posted in Rose Gallery:

Here's an excerpt from previous thread:
RE: This is for Carol, or PortlandMysteryrose

â¢Posted by Strawberryhill 5a IL (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 9, 13 at 14:44

On page 248 of Science book, see link below, in 1908 the Rhode Island Rose society did experiments of cut roses, and they found a 7 to 10% sugar solution improved the appearance of cut roses, plus deepened the colors of the pink varieties.

Which explains why Gardenville Sea Tea with molass deepened the colors of Serena's roses in KS, listed under Organic Honey-bees Garden profile in HMF.

Here is a link that might be useful: 1908 Rhode Island experiment with cut roses."

â¢Posted by PortlandMysteryRose 8 (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 9, 13 at 15:03

"Thank you, Strawberry. My grandmom and mom taught me to use a little sugar and a tiny bit of lemon juice in cut flower vases." Carol.

Here is a link that might be useful: 1908 Rhode Island experiment with cut roses

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 10:50AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

One of the biggest surprise in my 40 years of gardening is red lava rock, buried into the soil, that released nutrients.

Years ago I tried to stop the pink yarrow root from taking over my center garden. so I dug a trench, and pour bags of red lava rock, then covered it up. It backfired: the pink yarrow bloomed like mad, so did other flowers next to the red-lava rock trench.

Lava rock is used to grow bonsai, and have many nutrients lacking in alkaline clay, such as boron, iron, zinc, copper, sulfate, plus very high in potassium. See the below link on nutrients in red lava rock:

Nitrate Nitrogen.................................4.0 p.p.m.
Phosphorus........................................6.0 p.p.m.
Potassium.........................................59.0 p.p.m.
Zinc.........................................................6 p.p.m.
Iron..................................................10.0+ p.p.m.
Copper...............................................5.5+ p.p.m.
Magnesium.......................................2.0+ p.p.m.
Boron.................................................10.0 p.p.m.
Sulfate.................................................7.0 p.p.m.
Organic Material...........................................5%
PH.........................................................8.2 Units
Calcium..................................1.3 Meq/100 gm*
Manganese...........................0.6 Meq/100 gm*
Sodium...................................0.1 Meq/100 gm*
Cation Exchange Capacity..3.2 Meq/100 gm*

Below is a picture of my garden, when fertilized with lava rock:

Here is a link that might be useful: Nutrients composition of lava rock

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, Nov 25, 13 at 10:21

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 2:19PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Henry_Kuska (Ph.D. in chemistry) posted several links on benefits of silica for plants ... so do folks in Cannabis forum. Silica strengthen cell walls against fungal invasion, helps with drought resistance, and counter-act salt-damage.

I locate the chemical composition of red lava rocks: high in iron, according to Wikipedia.

Info. on pumice: " Rhyolite is light-coloured or white ��" this is a clue that the rock contains a lot of silica (more than 70%) and not much iron or magnesium.

Silica, as in NAPA floor-dry (diatomaceous earth), or Pumice, strengthen cell walls. Cannabis growers testified that NAPA floor-dry is superior to perlite, in producing thicker stems and healthier plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: Types of vocalno rocks

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 10:25

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 2:25PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Finally figured out why Peter Schneider in his book "Right rose, Right place" wrote that horse manure induced rose midge. Peter Schneider grows over 1,000 in Ohio sandy & acidic soil.

I could not find much info. on rose midge, so I researched on agricultural midge, or swede midge. Experiments at Cornell University stated, " Laboratory results indicated that extremely dry and extremely wet soil hinders swede midge emergence. Optimal moisture content for swede midge emergence was from 25 ��" 75 %, and varied in different soils." Cornell University recommends crop rotation, but that's not possible with roses.

That explains why I don't have rose midge in my rock-hard clay. My heavy clay is sticky-wet when it's rained, and rock-hard when dry. 15 minutes from me is Cantigny rose park, with 1,200 roses. They use zero mulch, just bare dirt. But when people mulch with bark, or horse manure on a fluffy bedding ... that retains optimal moisture level longer for midge germination.

More from Cornell University: "These results suggest that cultural practices, such as flooding fields during non-cropping periods to achieve 100% soil moisture level or even drying the soil, may be viable methods to reduce swede midge emergence. Similarily, swede midge populations and damage are expected to be REDUCED when saturated soil or drought conditions occur."

eHow recommended that for rose midge, removing the top soil, and putting new soil in late season will stop midge from germinating next year. That's what I do in zone 5a for winter-protection: I dump new soil in late fall, to protect my roses. The bagged soils here are alkaline clay, pH near 8.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell University on midge

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:40AM
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Thank you for let me upload your thread, to share these 4 roses with you all, fresh cut Neptune, Top Notch, Irish Crème and Oklahoma.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 1:10PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Hi Seaweed: Those 4 colors are great together. Top Notch is a nice orange, and your Neptune has a nice blue color. I love that bouquet !!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 5:31PM
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Thanks for the valuable experience and info, once again.

seaweedo212, Lovely sample of your beauties.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:41AM
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Hi Straw,

Is the little girl in the photo your baby? She is precious!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:38PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Hi Mas: One kind word can make my day .. Thank you !! There are 2 types of people: the giver, versus the taker in life. You, Seaweed, and aczqtn gave your time in posting pictures, which I appreciate very much.

I'm the giver: I share info. to save folks time & money, or making the same mistakes like I did. You are the giver in the same way, but much more with your cheerfulness, honesty, and passion for gardening.

There are also takers in forum: Those who give no input .. I don't mind. But some are takers by nit-picking and criticizing, although they have zero info. to share. They take by destroying others to feed their own ego or the need to control.

Mas, you are a blessing to this forum, without you and Seaweed, I wouldn't be here with the negative folks with a hidden agenda of their own.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:10PM
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Thank you so much for your kind words! I enjoy sharing time and gardening thoughts and wisdom/mistakes through this forum. As you said before, gardening can be a lone ranger journey.

You are a very insightful person who is always willing to share her knowledge/findings. :)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 5:53PM
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