Sunday, April 29, 2012

No sprouts and still mites

An update.  It looks like I have a lot of green algae colored perlite, maybe some moss growing. No African violet sprouts.  Oh well. The next pod in waiting is Gecko's Vespa Vino (seed parent) x Butterfly Blue Eye. Dated 1-8-12, It's still developing on the plant. Even if it dries up in May, it should hopefully have crossed that 4 month viability limit.  The previous pod may have only had 3 months. I forgot if I am supposed to count the first month or not. I may have mistakenly counted it when I said I had 4 months.  The Vespa Vino pod is at least 4 months now even if I don't count January.

This cross should be interesting because the plants are like polar opposites. Butterfly Blue eye grows very flat. Vespa Vino is anything but flat. Butterfly Blue Eye is neat and follows its own symmetry.  Vespa Vino is anything but neat.  It's a wasp.  Blue eyed wasp flowers should be cool. I'll get to see if Vespa Vino carries the star flower gene.

Drawbacks:  Vespa vino is a semi-double dropper. Jeff Smith and others have stated wasp violets can't be droppers. The same is said about semi's and doubles. I've seen Marrie Lorraine and even Ness' Fantasy Gold drop a bloom or two. My particular African violets must be freaks. They defy all tried and true logic.

Butterfly Blue Eye is also a dropper. If both have the dropper gene, being recessive 100% of the offspring will drop their flowers before they fade.  Some people like this trait and some do not.  I'm not a fan of it, but I won't throw away a good plant just because of it. But then again if part of what Jeff smith said about semis and wasps holds true, I may still see sticktites or occasional droppers.  Time will tell.  To be honest I'm more excited about this crossing than the previous. Even if that means no variegation.



Still can't get rid of the buggers...  I tried a product called Mite x which seemed promising. I didn't even mind the garlic and clove smell. Apparently it's not the best for African violets. It burned out the crowns on just about any violet that got touched by sunlight.  Losing the crown isn't the end of the world, but heck, it's going to take a while for the plant to recover. It will assure that if I want a decent symmetrical plant, I'll have to start over from one of the crown suckers. This is bad news if I wanted to have those particular violets show worthy by August.  But enough of that. Survival is top priority. Show worthy later.

I changed over from a regular family dollar spray bottle to a pump sprayer.  That seems to give better coverage and soak a lot more with forbid than the regular spray bottle did.

On a side note, I may lose my Butterfly Blue eye father parent. I think I still have leaves.  I forgot to check on it this week and left it in with the plants under my grandma's care. The plant ended up (drying out first) soaking wet and drowning in the pot.  I salvaged it, but I can see the mites or something sure took a toll on it's upper leaves. The lower leaves are wilted. The Mite x killed the crown. No healthy leaves = failed plant or harder than heck chance for recovery.

I'm planning and gathering up plants to send over for diagnosis. Anyone know where I go to get that done?  I looked up the University of Minnesota extension website but couldn't see a link to where I send or bring over plant material for diagnosis.  I'll keep posted if they can give a diagnosis.

Monday, April 23, 2012

...Or maybe not

I cannot say enough kind things about the members on this forum. Seriously.  I owe them.  Someone gave me a small bottle of Forbid to treat my plants.

So the process begins. A new challenge.  Spraying or dipping. Every. Damn. Plant. In. The. House.  Not just the african violets, but everything.  Well just about everything. I can't spray vegetables or edible plants. Something just doesn't seem very appetizing about eating something made for mass mite destruction. Those will go outside as soon as April quits trying to make up for the summer March we had. Okay I am paranoid.  Maybe it's a bit overkill. Not all of the violets look as bad as the Menards ones.  In fact many of them are blooming. No one would even suspect anything wrong.  But I am treating them anyway. Paranoid? Over cautious? Maybe.

But in this situation I doubt it is a bad thing.

So far I've gotten a little over half way, maybe further. I lost count at about 80 plants.  So many more and so many more to go.  This may be a good time for me to take inventory to see just how many plants I do have. Total. Total african violets. Total for each variety. Total for my surviving hybrids.

Bathroom floor is ugly. I know....  Yeah submersing an Ivy = Messy. Perlite all over. Everything. Including the floor. And my feet. And the floors around it.

Hoyas aren't much better.

So I resorted to spraying. Even if that means having to do it all over again. it goes much quicker that way. I can treat many plants in a short amount of time. And best of all, no perlite crumblings falling on the floor under my feet. A poor Family Dollar spray bottle is about to become a sacrifice. It's a small price to pay.

Temporary holding place for the treated violets to dry off. These came from the basement. My upstairs plants are being treated separately.

For those who bought any plants from me at the show, they come with a guarantee. If you notice any problems with them or think they have mites, please let me know. Send them back and I'll treat them. I'll keep them for a little while to make sure they grow normal before sending back.  I doubt they were affected, but I just want to make sure everything is okay. Especially any of my hybrids.

Oh and looks like my seedpod Namely Nancy (seed parent) x Butterfly Bombshell is sprouting.  It's super hard to tell. The shoots can easily be confused with algae on tiny perlite granules. Maybe they are. They are that tiny.   I'm obsessively checking them daily. So far they seem to be growing. Too small to photograph yet. I don't want to smush them with my camera lens.

Timing couldn't have been better.  The pod planted the 6th of the month, seemed to be taking longer than I am used to.  My room can get really warm if it is sunny outside. Like close to 80 degrees if it is over 65 outside and full sun. Seeds that have warnings of taking 20+ days to sprout (Lobelia) take only a couple weeks.  Not seeing anything in my african violet container (deli dish) made me concerned enough to ask about how long I should wait.  Sure enough a few hours after posting, I saw my first tiny specks of green.

If I am looking at true african violet sprouts (and not just algae covered perlite grains) I have about 3-4 coming up right now.  There may be more.  I'm excited. Very excited. And this is coming from a premature seedpod. It ripened and shriveled up within 4 months from pollination. (12-19-11 - 4-6-12, wilted at about 3-20-12 - 3-25-12) 5-6 months are considered better for ripe seeds.  My last two seedpods took about that time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The end I guess.

The dreaded M word. Mites.  They  don't appear to be the typical c. or broad mites. But they are mites.  And the cure to get rid of them is priced way too high for me to get.  Just when I am about to succeed at something, there's always something to get in the way. It's life I guess. 

Why must it be so damn expensive?  Unless anyone would be foolishly kind enough to give me a product worth $98, then I guess that is the end of my African violet growing.  I just can't bring myself to toss everything right now.

My First African Violet Show

I was waiting to post until I had every (well just about every) photo I took of the show, and write up a really fancy long thing. Well this is as close as I got.  As the date got farther from the show, life added more stuff on my plate, as well as a listing of more stuff to do (and put off doing). So today, I realized a short post just to get it done is far better than nothing at all.

When I first called the AVASM (African Violet Society of Minnesota), I mentioned about wanting to show. I was warned that competition would be tough. I decided just to get into the show would be enough to make me happy.

I brought 14 plants to the show. Many of them were my own hybrids. The club members were impressed. Once the show got started I found 13 of 14 got blue ribbons.  2nd best standard (the photo above).  Best Novice. With my own hybrid. I also pretty much dominated the hybridizer class.

I hope to grow some more to sell next time in the spring or fall. All of the ones I brought sold quickly.  I don't know what will happen for my next show, but I'm really looking forward to entering again. Maybe for the State Fair. I'm sure it will be tougher and a lot more plants to compete against, but hey if I can just get in that will be awesome enough.  I guess I can't compete in Novice anymore. ;)