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Greenhouse goings – transplanting

Once upon a time, back in June, I did a post on rooting succulents and I cut up and planted some orchid cacti cuttings that I’d gotten out west when the DH and I did a trip and visited an arboretum. Rooting Succulents And, at this point in the season, I always figure that I may as well transplant cuttings into something bigger and most hospitable before it really gets cold, so I rooted (heh) around the greenhouse to find these again (your Aunty is really quite negligent and we grow and root so many things out there that sometimes things get pushed to the side, out of the way, under something else and so on). Now, just looking at this photo at the top (and this is only one of the big cuttings I cut up and rooted), you can see that one of the cuttings did really really well and the other two look sort of ‘meh’. But, you never know with succulents. The other two big leaves that I cut up and planted actually looked much worse and when I dug them out of their little pots, they had all sorts of little roots on them, even there there was no top growth and the cuttings themselves looked pretty ‘peely-wally’ (as my deal old Mum used to say). But in this case, if you guessed that the other two cuttings did not root, you would be correct. Too much water? Not enough water at the right time? No way to tell. But I’ve got one rooted cutting out of it, which is a very good thing and when it gets bigger, I can root other parts of it. For the moment, to let them settle in, I have just put them into potting mix and will let them sit there for a day or two before I water them a little bit. Again, with succulents, too much water is actually worse than not enough.

On to the next bit of negligence:

One of the members of the plant kingdom that I really adore are ferns, which are, from a plant perspective, one of our connections with the ancient world of the dinosaurs since they have been around since literally that time and have not changed one iota since then. The major difference between ferns and gymnosperms (that is, plants that make actual seeds) is that they don’t make seeds per se – they develop structures on the undersides of their leaves which create spore structures underneath a membrane on the leaf called an indusium, which basically lifts up when the spores are fully developed and ripe. Then, through wind and rain action, the spores get out on the wind or fall to the ground, where a gametophyte forms and the sperm and eggs do their reproductive thing, forms a zygote and grows into what we think of a typical ‘fern’.

Earlier this summer, I found some fern fronds with brown sori (spore bodies) on the backs and just for the heck of it, I put one of the fronds on a piece of dry paper, waited a few days and gathered up the spores that had fallen on the paper. I then scattered them on top of some potting medium that I had in one of the many former salad mix containers that come with a lid and put it aside in a not very sunny spot in the greenhouse. When a green haze formed (and I can’t describe it in any other terms but that), I gave it a good spray with a spray bottle. This gives the sperms a medium to travel to the eggs so that they can get together.

Today, in rooting around, I found that salad container again and I dug it out and look what I found:
The surface was covered with structures that looked like this. How exciting!!! So I dug out a few to transplant into other little containers and I’ll give them a good spritz so that they can continue to develop into more ferns.

This really is not too difficult. And the structures are very interesting to look at.

If you want to grow ferns yourself, you can use fronds that you find in your own garden, or even fronds from flower arrangements. Also fern societies offer ‘spore exchanges’ and so on that you can participate in. Lots of fun. And you can see what’s going on close up.

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