The Growing Space of Daniel – Tucson, AZ
Q Where in the world do you grow your plants?
~ Tucson, AZ
Q How Large is your collection?
~ Three years ago I had 150 show size plants and about 2000 stater plants, but I got sick and went into the hospital. I lost my whole collection & I started rebuilding last fall This spring I put down almost 200 leaves down, right now I have about 300 stater plants in 3 oz solo cups, about 80 plants that have just been transplanted up to #3 pots and about 45 show ready plants.
~ Falling Raindrops (P. Sorano) Single violet-blue sticktite pansy/light blue inner petal edges. Medium green. Semiminiature trailer ( PAULI’S-Best AVS)
Q How long have you been growing African Violets?
~ Only for 6 years, but I grew Orchids for 25 years while living in Hawaii until I moved back to Tucson AZ. When I moved home to the desert, I was given a poor sick African Violet and I was hooked. Three years later I had a 6 plant-stands full. I was on Linda Rowe’s Bloomin’ Jungle mailing list and every 6 months I would order 10–20 plants at $3.50 before she down sized and went to eBay.
Q Where do you grow your African Violets?
~ I have 2 rooms set aside in my home in Tucson Az for my African Violets.
Q What type of light do your African Violets receive?
~ I use florescent light 48” fixtures I have T-8 fixtures with two tubes, 6500K full spectrum tube I also have single tube high output T-5 fixtures 6500K full spectrum tubes I am in the process of switch my traditional T-tubes over to T- LED Tubes. So far I have been very happy and I love how they run cooler.
Q How many hour a day do your plants receive light?
~ My lights come on at 5:00pm and stay on until 3:00am in the morning for total of 10 hours. By running my lights through the evening I keep the heat down which is problem here in the Sonoran dessert. My light fixtures are 48” and my plants stands shelves are 60”. The end of the shelves give me a place to move plants that I find like less light, but it also means I have to turn my plants faithfully or they will grow toward the light.
Q What type of water do you use?
~ I use water that is run through a boogiebrew filter that I picked up about 3 years and have changed ever year. It removes chlorine & chloramine compounds, it also reduces the levels of heavy-metals.
Q What type of fertilizer do you use?
~ I started using Hunter’s 15-26-27 about 4 month ago and I have been very pleased with it . I use the lowest amount 1/8 tsp per gal of water.
Q What watering methods do you use?
~ Mat, Modified Texan, Wicked, Top Watering. Most of my seedlings and baby plants are mat watered and under humidity domes for better humidity control. Even though everything is on wicks or on mats I still like to top water everything. I live in the dessert, my biggest problem is fertilizer salts building up and damaging my plants. If I pick up ever plant, wipe away any build-up and give it a good top watering the problem is solved.
Q What are the temperatures like where you grow?
~ My grow room is climate controlled to the best of my ability, it stays around 80-83 degrees year round.
Q What is the humidity of your plant area?
~ My plants generally grow in 55-75% I do supplement humidity with a evaporative swamp cooler.
~ I am firm believer in using Predatory mite and Beneficial nematodes to prevent most pests. That is not that I will not use sprays, but I would rather prevent a problem before having to deal with it. I am also a firm believer in isolating anything that comes in to my collection and for the most part I only bring leaves in to it. My final line of defense is my trash can, anything that looks wrong it goes into the trash can. I was once told that a great grower realizes his trash can is his most important tool. A good grower focuses time and energy on health plants and not on sick plants.
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