Thursday, January 15, 2009

Under Shaded Light - Miniature Rose

by Richard Chew

In this posting, I wish to share some experiences of growing miniature rose under shaded light.

I purchased this miniature rose in beginning Dec 2008 and placed it at my window sill since then.

As I have mentioned in 'Photosynthesis - How many hours of sunlight does your rose need? ' posting, that a rose plant would require a minimum of 160,000 lux hours of light to survive.

Assuming indirect sunlight produces about 30,000 lux (light intensity) in an hour, easily this rose will get about 270,000 lux hours each day (about 9 hours indirect light per day), which is sufficient to fuel growth.

New flower bulbs started to emerge after about a month since I last pruned off the spent flower. However this time, the size of bloom is noticeably smaller and the new leaves texture is lighter than the earliers ones. I believe if the fertilizing is enhanced, the bloom quality may improve.

Though it may not produce the same bloom size when it was grown at more direct sun light, the important thing to note is there is no ill effect or any serious detrimental effect when its grown under shaded light. Despite lacking direct sunlight for more than a month, the bush looks healthy.

And to add on, this miniature rose was never been treated with any insecticide nor pesticide. This goes to show that miniature rose can aclimitised with minimal human intervention and without chemicals. Based on this observation, I can safely conclude that roses have the capability to adapt to its surroundings. The only difference is that the quality of bloom shall varied due to different environment conditions. The important point to note is that growing miniature rose under shaded light do not cause any detrimental effect.

At this point of time, I am inclining to the idea that miniature rose can be grown under shaded light.

Some questions to be considered as these findings are pursued further ...

1. Why are the blooms noticeably smaller? Was it caused purely by lack of direct sunlight?

2. Or the fertilizing dosage was weak therefore contributed to smaller bloom development?

3. Or perhaps both?

In my next prune, I shall increase the fertilizing dosage and examine the size of next bloom in February.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Home-Made Compost Tea

by Richard Chew

I like to share how I make compost tea for my roses. At this time of writing, I have already made 3 attempts to fine tune the compost tea to suit my roses. It was successful for some, but for majority cases not so successful.

This posting is just to give you an idea. I suggest you wait for my later postings if you decide to to make your own. My caution to you is that, if its not done correctly it may infect your roses with unfavourable diseases.

Let me share with you my purpose and goal for making this compost tea. It is my dream to grow roses in Malaysia with 'zero' fungicide and pesticide. If I may elaborate further, no chemicals, meaning fully organic; fully natural. In order to achieve this goal, it is critical to identify the right soil organism for growing roses.

The purpose of this experiment is to find the correct ingredients to innoculate the right soil organism that favours roses.

It is quite simple. The following were the tools that I used.

1. Air Pump (similar those used for fish aquarium)

2. Air Stone

3. Pail (5 to 8 litre)

4. Air Tube

5. Air Stone Holder (with rubber suction)

I purchased a battery operated Air Pump but battery failed after running for 12 hours or so. I suggest that you purchase electrical powered ones and with a silencer feature, so that it can run quietly for at 48 hours continously without interuption. This is the amount of time required to complete the brewing process.

I half filled the plastic pail with water. And placed the air stone to the bottom of the pail. I used the rubber suction holder to hold the air stone so that it was locked firmly at the bottom.

Found an odd stocking at my wife's cabinet.

Filled the small pot with soil. The details of the soil is described at the end of this posting.

Poured the soil into the stocking. And inserted the soil to the center of the stocking.

Placed the stocking (with the soil) and tied both ends at the ear of the pail. Adjusted it so that the soil stayed submerged at the surface of the water.

Ensured the air stone was positioned correctly so that the air bubbles worked the entire compost tea.

Added some seaweed solution into the compost tea, to feed the soil organism.

Left it to brew for 48 hours.

After 2 days, removed the 'compost tea bag' (stocking with soil).

The compost tea was ready.

Filled the sprayer with the compost tea.

Sprayed the tea on the soil to innoculate the soil with new soil organism.

After about a week, some of my roses got infected with black spots on the stem. However for the more established ones there were no effect at all.

The positive result is that my chlorotic rose responded well. Initially the leaves turned lighter green (with dark green veins) quite rapidly. Then gradually the leaves turned darker.

Below were the ingredients that I used for my compost tea bag.

At this point of time, my conclusion is that compost tea works better for established roses (healthy ones). If the roses are young or not so healthy, feeding compost tea may weakened the roses. I believe the main reason is due to inability to deal with more variety of soil organism introduced into the soil, thus weakened the rose. If its sprayed on established roses, it seemed to respond better for example my chlorotic rose and my French Lace rose.
Based on my obeservation, AACT compost tea (Active Aerated Compost Teat) provides a noticeable reaction on my roses. However I suspect the soil type used to brew the compost tea wasn't suited for my roses. I believed I may have innoculated the wrong type of soil organism that caused the infection on some of the roses.
The next step is to source the right kind of soil medium to brew the compost tea.