Saturday, September 24, 2016

Seedling SIP Update

Lychee, left and Jackfruit, right

Seedling SIP Update

The SIPs are working really well.  This post is going to mostly be images to show the root development of a Jackfruit and Lychee seed.

These two have particularly visible fine mycelium development for some reason.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. It could actually be very good for the seeds.

Lychee, left and Jackfruit, right
In mycorrhizal associations, plants provide fungi with food in the form of carbohydrates. In exchange, the fungi help the plants suck up water, and provide nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, via their mycelia. Since the 1960s, it has been clear that mycorrhizae help individual plants to grow. ~ BBC Earth

The lychee mycelium seem to be on the surface for the most part. Perhaps we need to keep it a bit dryer.

The jackfruit, on the other hand, has thick roots visible at the bottom of the SIP and a mess of mycelium coming out from the seed.

Jackfruit Mycelium
Jackfruit and mycelium development at the side of the SIP.

Fungal networks also boost their host plants' immune systems. That's because, when a fungus colonises the roots of a plant, it triggers the production of defense-related chemicals. These make later immune system responses quicker and more efficient, a phenomenon called "priming". Simply plugging in to mycelial networks makes plants more resistant to disease. ~ BBC Earth

Jackfruit Sprout and Mycelium
The jackfruit sprout is forming, along with the web of mycelium going all over the place.

While that argument rages on, other researchers have found evidence that plants can go one better, and communicate through the mycelia. In 2010, Ren Sen Zeng of South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou found that when plants are attached by harmful fungi, they release chemical signals into the mycelia that warn their neighbours.  ~ BBC Earth

Top Soil Mycelium Growth
The Lychee Mycelium are growing across the surface of the soil.

"These fungal networks make communication between plants, including those of different species, faster, and more effective," says Morris. "We don't think about it because we can usually only see what is above ground. But most of the plants you can see are connected below ground, not directly through their roots but via their mycelial connections."  ~ BBC Earth

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Saffron Crocus II

25 Silky Cherubic Crocus Sativas Bulbs 

Saffron Crocus II

Saffron crocus part deux. I think the last set of bulbs, once interplanted with other plants ended up rotting.

I wanted to have a successful saffron growing experience, so I ordered more of these fine looking bulbs.

These are some really nice fat bulbs that will do really well, I believe.  I need to find a nice sized pot, and found a couple of drum shaped clay planters that are fairly deep and wide to spread out the corms a bit.  This is the right time of year to plant them, and indoor planting will result in a great little saffron harvest some day.  If not this year, then next year for sure.
Saffron Crocus In Planter

2016-09-25 Update

The low round planters arrived today, so we get the saffron crocus set up for the growing season!  Soooo excited.  I want to try this home grown spice version out.

We have some aggregate hanging around, so we put some of that
Aggregate In Planters
at the bottom of the planters to allow for some really good drainage. These planters came with a pre-cut drainage hole. Saffron does not like being overly wet.

Garden Fabric Layer
Once the aggregate is added, we then add the weed fabric, which will prevent soils and matter from getting in between the rocks and creating a blockage that will make the saffron crocus really wet and rotted.

After the garden fabric is added, we can then add the potting mix
Saffron Crocus In Soil
- well draining, of course, leaving about four more inches above. Then the round little crocus bulbs were put in with the pointed side up.

Finished Saffron Crocus Planters
Then, finally, the final layer of soil, to about an inch from the top. We trimmed off the fabric around the edges and then added the top layer of mulch to keep a little moisture in.

Now, we just wait for the saffron crocus to appear. It is possible we will only see leaf blades this year.  When we get the flowers, we can harvest the stigmas.

The calculation is: "...for a family of 4 you will need to grow 16 saffron bulbs, in order to have available a sufficient amount of spice to the preparation of 4 dishes seasoned with saffron for each within a year." ~ OffGridOrganicFarm  In general, that breaks down to about 10 stigmas per recipe.