New Seeds: Pistachio

Finally, I could convince myself to get some pistachio seeds on Ebay. One might ask – why don’t you just buy them at the supermarket? – Easy: because those are always roasted and half of them even salted, so they won’t germinate. They were offered as “Persian Pistachios”, which basically means that they’re from Iran. Iran is the largest exporter of pistachios, as far as I know.

So, those are not actually Mediterranean, but pistachios are grown in Sicily, and that’s my excuse.

So I ordered 10, but actually got 12, which is always nice. I read about how to get them to germinate and just followed the instruction: Soak them in water of room temperature for 16 hours. I might have soaked them for 20 hours and the colour of their shell did actually change, as you might be able to see in the pictures:

As you can see, I used an empty ice cream container. They are very useful and it gives me yet another reason to buy ice cream.

After they had soaked, I put them in the remaining vermiculite and covered them up. I only used five of the seeds so far, in case they all germinate (they probably won’t), I won’t get too many.

There’s only as much water in the box as the pistachios had on them.

I also got new plant labels, of which I taped one to the box. Because I have other projects in other ice cream boxes and I will have forgotten which is which after a couple of weeks.

In the article about pistachio germination, I found the information that soaking the seeds in solution of 1 percent potassium nitrate might help the germination rate. I want to try that with cheaper seeds first. I still have seven pistachio seeds left for later trials.

Watering Can From Recycled Plastic Bottle

Bottle caps

Some days ago, I saw these bottle caps that turn an ordinary water bottle into a watering can – on amazon. What a great idea, I thought and almost ordered them, but then the shipping cost was higher than the actual cost of those thingies (2,95 €) and I thought better of it. If I would see them in a shop, I would buy them at once.

But then I thought that I could just drill some holes in the ordinary cap of the water bottle I already use for watering my plants. I tried that and it works just fine. The water might not go 100 % precisely where it is supposed to go, but I haven’t made a complete mess.

So here is how I did it:

If you consider yourself a bit clumsy and are afraid you will knock the bottle over and you happen to have a second cap, you can drill a hole in the side of the watering cap, attach a string, attach the string to the neck of the bottle and use the other cap to close it properly.

Attach a string to both caps, actually, so you won’t lose either.

New Source for Net Pot Planters

Firstly, I might have to mention that I work for an on-line shop that sells Italian delicatessen, wine and food stuff in general to people in Germany and Austria.

Today, we tasted new cheese products (ricotta, provolone, caciocavallo) and the fresh ricotta came in a pot that I immediately called, because it looked like a net pot planter and it was rather small (6 cm in diameter, as you can see in the photograph).

Net pot planter from recycled cheese pot

Net pot planter from recycled cheese pot

I’m happy to announce that we will sell this ricotta soon, because this means that the supply is quite secured. Everybody loved the fresh ricotta, so I can ask my co-workers to save the pots for me, if they buy it. I will buy some too, especially now that I know I can recycle the pots. Net pot planters in that size are difficult to come by and they’re supposedly helpful for bonsais to get their roots growing.

I had to re-pot my sad looking olive tree into it:

olive bonsai

Olive Tree Bonsai

Maybe I could post a recipe for some ricotta stuff soon… 😉

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.

Recycling: Nursery Pots from Egg Carton

Recycling Idea for Egg Cartons

When I singled my lemon seedlings into the bio-degradable pots yesterday, I struck me that the material was not unlikely to the material of egg cartons. So when my co-workers cooked Eggs in Mustard Sauce today, I asked them to keep the egg cartons for me. Back at home, I used one of them and turned it into a nursery pot battery.

Egg Carton Turned Nursery Pots

Egg Carton Turned into Nursery Pots

You don’t need to cut the spikes, I just felt they were superfluous. I will write later what I used them for.