email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Plant Growth And New Seeds

1.  I am so relieved that the new late-planted spring bulbs are coming up.  Counted 110 tulips today, about 100 early daffodils, and the first few late daffodils.  No hyacinths yet.  Because the top of the soil was so hard, I watered the area to soften it.  The Winter rains and melting snow have the ground well-moisted deep, but the surface was very dry and hard.

2.  While trying to water the new spring bulbs with a sprinkler, I discovered it stuck in one position.  Something else to take apart and repair.

3.  And I say "something else to repair" because I had to take apart my submersible pond pump a few days ago to find why it wasn't working.  Good ones cost a few $100.  Turns out there is a simple rod that broke.  The material is uncertain; it's a bit rough to be plastic, a bit smooth to be ceramic; maybe its resin.  Anyway, it's what turns a "impeller" (think "propeller").  I gather that the difference is that the first pushes and the second pulls.

And thereby hangs a tale.  The pump stopped working and I don't know anything about pond pumps.  The pump didn't even have a brand name on it.  But I looked at the specification plate, and saw a UL (Underwriters Laboratory) number.  So, thinking the UL number might provide some information, I searched it.

WOW!  The UL number actually did lead me to the pump!  Not the actual manufacturer like I hoped, but to the generic model.  It turns out that many companies sell the same items under their own name.  But all the parts are the same!!!

And there in one listing was a replacement impeller that looked identical.  Not just the broken rod (which would have been easily and more cheaply replacable) but at least the unit is WAY cheaper than a new pump.  It should arrive in a couple days.

4.  So why did I want the pump working?  To spray liquid corn gluten all around the yard.  Corn gluten stops weed seeds (and any other seeds) from germinating.  Some weeds germinate in Spring, others in Fall.  I try to do it in both Spring and Fall, and I have to admit that I have a LOT fewer weeds in the lawn than my neighbors who use more serious chemicals.

And a benefit is that corn gluten is 9-0-0 fertilizer.  All nitrogen, which is just what your lawn needs.    But back to why I wanted the pump working... 

The liquid corn gluten comes in containers you just hook up to a hose and spray around the yard.  Only they don't work.  THEY JUST DON'T WORK.  I'm not surprised.  The supplier is selling the liquid corn gluten and saying it is easy to apply.  They don't want to spent money on disposable applicators!  So, of course, they don't work. 

The product reviews are constant in the complaints about the sprayer function.  So, I thought, why do it THEIR way?  I poured a bottle of the stuff through a fine mesh sieve (many users complained about corn grit blocker the sprayers) into a barrel filled with water. 

So (brilliant me), I would just use the submersible pond pump to spray a diluted mix all over the yard using a fan nozzle (so that I would see if the output holes where getting clogged).  And then the pump didn't work!

Here's hoping the replacement impeller solves that problem.  The corn gluten really DOES inhibit initial seed roots, but you only have a couple of weeks to apply it (when the forsythia are starting to bloom - the same time the weed seeds germinate). 

5.  Planted 6 more flats of seeds today.  A flat equals 35 cells (cell = 1.5" square x 2" deep) for me - I leave one cut out for watering.  This weekend was bell peppers, zinnias, and marigolds.  I've given up on most perennial flowers.  They don't bloom for long, most die after a few years, and I have time to grow and plant annuals.  THEY bloom all season, and I love seeing all the flowers all season.

6.  Cuttings of the 3' Knockout Rose and the 3' dwarf butterfly bush aren't  sending out new shoots after 3 weeks in pots, but they aren't dying either, so that is encouraging.  The original plants are sending out new branches, so that it good.  At least if the cuttings don't root, the original plants are still doing well.  Planted outside in early May, they should branch out more and I will have another chance to get cuttings to root.

Gardening/rooted shoots is fascinating.  And "something for nothing" is always good.  The azalea cuttings from last Fall are all doing well and are doubled in height and branches from last month. 

1 comment:

Megan said...

Inspiration stories about the plantings, Mark. Can't wait to see the pics.

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