Tiny Bugs In My Pots

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I have these tiny bugs (the “grown” versions are 1 mm max. in length) in my pots. Thanks to my macro objective for my smart phone, you get to see them really well.

They’re quite transparent when they’re young, and get more white when older. I’d prefer not to have them, though.

Recycling Coffee Dregs

As I wrote yesterday, I used coffee dregs in a mixture with soil for my pine seeds. I’ve read a bit about recycling coffee dregs and coffee grounds and there are an amazing number of things you can do with that “aromatic waste”.

Using Coffee Grounds and Coffee Dregs As A Fertilizer

First of all, you can use it as a fertilizer. Apparently, it will mainly effect the leaves and help them grow. Unfortunately, I cannot find the source any longer.

You can also use coffee as an organic pest control. Even in Parks and Recreations, they featured coffee as a slug-repellent! I read that it also works for (or rather against) moles … and cats. But who would want to repel cats?! I had some tiny insects in some of my pots which had come with the soil. I added some ground coffee on top of the soil. They’re not dead yet, but I’m hopeful. And it smelled sooo nice when I watered the plants!

Recycling Coffee Dregs Into Pots

During my research, I came across that company that recycles coffee dregs into plant pots. Just google it, I don’t want to help them with their SEO to much. That sounds like a beautiful idea for bonsai pots! You only need some casts, but I have plenty of LEGO to work with.

coffee + resin and tea + resin
(c) davidneat

I guess, one would make a silicone mold first and pour a mixture of coffee and resin into it, like this guy (picture by him) did.

Then I came across a related matter: Animal coffins made of recycled coffee and other organic material. I guess one could use that material for bio-degradable pots. I found some “recipes” for organic glue, which in combination with coffee grounds and other stuff could be used. I’ve used up all my coffee dregs already, so I cannot try today. But there is plenty of supply at the office!

Using Coffee for Dyeing

Then, you can use coffee for dyeing fibers and other things like eggs for Easter. Somewhere I read that someone used it as a henna substitute for making tattoos. I won’t go into more detail, because this is not my area of expertise – not that the above areas were….

You can also use it as a peeling for cleaning your skin. And for odor control…

Germinating Stone Pine: Next Attempt

I ordered 10 stone pine seeds on Ebay about two weeks ago, because my last attempt to get them to germinate was a complete failure.

Stratification, Soaking and Sowing

stone pine seeds

Stone Pine Seeds

It said on the label to put them in the fridge for 10 days. As I was away over the weekend, I let them in the fridge for 12 days. Then it said to put them in lukewarm water for 1 to 2 days. So I put them in a jar with water and put that on the heating. Today, the two days were over and I sowed them into three pots. I used a mixture of coffee dregs and soil, because mostly because it said on the label to use nutrient-rich soil.

I used plastic pots again this time, because I realized that the bio-degradable pots suck the water from the soil and I have to water those pots more often.

I read somewhere that they might only take 10 days to germinate. Wouldn’t that be great? Fingers crossed.

Close-Ups of Leaves

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Last week, I got the macro lense I had ordered primarily for my RaspberryPi Camera Module, but it is actually a lense to use with your smart phone. I will have to create some kind of an adapter to use it with the RPi.

So, today I took some amazing (at least I think so) pictures of some of my seedlings:

New Seeds: Blood Orange

Some days ago, I discovered blood oranges at the supermarket and wanted to make my favourite Sicilian Blood Oranges Salad. I got the recipe from my Sicilian co-worker. They only had a net of them, although I only needed about four, so I took six to work and made juice. Of course they had to have pips and I was tempted and couldn’t resist. So into my mouth they went while I squeezed all the yummy juice from them. It took me a while to squeeze them all, but when I was finished, I put the seeds into a glass of water. Don’t try to answer to anyone with a mouth full of orange pips! It’s really difficult. Back at home after work, I sowed those 12 blood orange pips into the previously mentioned egg carton nursery pots, where I had 4 patches left over after sowing the ginkgo seeds. However, I will just take down their germination period, keep one of them and dump the rest, because I really don’t have the space anymore.

By accident, I deleted the pictures I took of that, so pictures of the salad will have to suffice.

sicilian blood orange salad

Sicilian Blood Orange Salad

Sicilian Blood Oranges Salad

It is a very nice winter salad with loads of vitamins.

You need: blood oranges, chicory, olives, onions, olive oil, pepper, salt and actually parsley, which I tend to forget to buy. Molto delicioso! I often prepare it with normal oranges or grapefruits, but those little pieces of sunset just make it look so much better. Also, after I had pealed the oranges, my kitchen looked like a tiny pig had been slaughtered in there.

New Seeds: Ginkgo – Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo Seeds

Last weekend, I wanted to order some pine seeds from Ebay, because my last attempt to get them to germinate failed epically. To make the shipping costs more worthwhile, I checked out this guy’s shop and found Ginkgo seeds. I didn’t have Ginkgo biloba on my wishlist, but this is such a cool tree and I think the oldest species around. So why not? I was curious what the seeds would look like, but didn’t really have a mental image or something. This living fossil was declared Tree of the Millenium in Germany, but I couldn’t find which millenium. Too bad.

I had ordered 10, but there were 11 in the bag, probably because one of the shells was already broken so much that the seed almost fell out.

Ginkgo Seeds

Ginkgo Seeds

Sowing Ginkgo Seeds

It said on the instruction that came with the seeds to put them in the fridge for 4 weeks at 4-5°C (39-41°F). I think I measured once that my fridge has 8°C. Anyway, I cracked the quite soft and thin shells a bit with the back-end of a knife and put half of them into a wet paper towel and into a plastic box with a lid and into the fridge. (I will read my fridge manual tomorrow, if I can find it.) The other half I put into warm water and will let it soak for 24 hours. That was also suggested in the instruction, but for after the 4 week period of stratification.

That was the day before yesterday. Today I put the six seeds having been soaked overnight into soil. Yesterday, I put them into the egg carton nursery pots I had come up with yesterday. The minute I had put them in, I remembered that I had just 5 minutes earlier thought it a stupid idea to put them into a bio-degradable pot because of their long germination period. Well, too late. I will be more considerate with the ones in stratification. The instruction doesn’t say anything about the germination period and temperature, but I read in another blog that the ideal temperature is 21-24°C (70-75°F). It suggested sand, so I will hopefully remember to use a mixture of sand and potting compost. (I forgot about that yesterday…)