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Saturday, July 3, 2010

What's a Succulent Collector to do? And anti-mold recipes

Collections are the very devil to deal with. The laws of design demand mass effects, repetitions--- but what about those of us who can't resist a succulent we don't have? How to deal with 79 different little darlings?

Mine spent two months sitting under a tree in the backyard looking unloved, as they were displaced when we painted the house. The one place they could possibly find a new home is  a narrow (1.75. feet) strip of dirt, with a west facing exposure, bounded by a sidewalk on one side, and the house wall on the other. Many houses have a strip of dirt like this and most plants don't like it. Decided the only way to proceed was to leave them in pots, as some of them need almost no water (barrel cactus, mammillaria and some agaves), where as others, like the sedums ,need to be watered about once a week if they are not going to look stressed.

This one--a small African Euphorbia--seems to thrive almost anywhere with or without water, and goes on happily producing little rosettes. It's in a 3" pot.

These all want to be watered once a week to look happy. The Blue Elf has turned purple because it needs more water. The bright green Mexican sedum has been getting enough water, but the pink sedum is stressed. The theory is to put the pots with the same water requirements together, then arrange again within that parameter. Sounds like a plan.

To catch up on the local news-the Urbane Farmer has been struggling with mold on his zucchini  (it came over the wall from a neighbor's neglected garden patch.) He first got some sulphur dust but when he read the label he decided it was too toxic. Soooo...he got on the net and found a totally non-toxic recipe: water, a little olive oil and a pinch of baking soda . It worked. It should work on zinnias and dahlias as well as the squash. Spray it on with a spray bottle. Add that to your collection of non-toxic sprays  along with milk to get rid of black spot on roses. 

Another success---we have new  ocean friendly gardens with  parterres for our dwarf citrus. Each terrace covered with a thick layer of compost (free from the city) with paths of decomposed granite which will slow down any water trying to run-off.

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