Root Tower……

I have recently become friends with a guy named Andy Finch…….. nothing amazing about that, happens to people all the time. However, not only is Andy an amiable guy, he is also one of the top Hydroponic experts in the country, as well as the guy pulling the strings and levers at hanginggardenuk.com an established company in the West midlands, that has developed a revolutionary Hydroponic system, that allows you to grow food plants literally on the wall anywhere !

Along the way, he has also spent a lot of time and money developing a stand that allows plants to be grown from seed to fully mature plant, without any growing medium, except a One inch Rockwool cube….. no more clay balls, Perlite or Coco Fibre. The Root Tower, is made from laser cut Correx, and slots together to make a stand.There is a space on top, where the Rockwool cube sits on top of capillary ribbon and the space can also be used for a 3 inch cube, for those that want transplant the one inch. the design allows the roots to trail down as they grow, being separated by a couple of small shelves.

Root tower - 2 root tower 1

Of course, the benefits of this are huge, no more damage to tender roots, which can easily happen when they are growing through Clay balls, or the holes in net pots…..any damage, however minor, can lead to unwanted pathogens which can damage plants irreversibly.The Root Tower also separates the roots as they grow, allowing for full absorption of nutrients and oxygen.

Here is an extract from a scientific journal, and can also be read on his website:

“Any lowering of Oxygen concentration to below the normal, whether in root or soil, is detrimental to many plant processes, disturbing growth, nutrient & water uptake & hormonal balances.

Water is the major impedance to the flow of Oxygen, there are two reasons for this, firstly it slows the diffusion of Oxygen to 1/10,000 of that in the air, and secondly it reduces the Oxygen concentration to about 1/32 of that in the air. Giving a net result that means plant roots can utilise Oxygen at a rate of 320,000 times greater in air than in water, quite a difference.”

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why the Root Tower delivers fantastic results. Trials have been so successful, that highly respected Hydroponic company, Growthtechnology.com are on board, and have sole sales rights, with the towers being on sale in shops very soon.

Andy has very kindly given me some Root Towers to try, and I’m going to be doing my own trials throughout next season, using the Root Towers in as many different ways I can think of, publishing the results here regularly with photos. I believe I can get some excellent results, using the towers in an Autopot system for instance, and will be trying some different ways of doing this.

Andy has also developed a fantastic propagation stand, again made from Correx, which comfortably holds  One inch Rockwell cubes, allowing you to germinate your seeds in it, and just lift the cube onto the Root Tower, once sufficient roots have grown. Again the use of thin capillary ribbon aides this. I have already started using the propagation stands, and can honestly say they are the best thing I’ve used for germination in a long time. A purpose-built propagator for the propagation stands, is being developed, and should be available soon.

I will write a separate article on the propagation stands, when I do my major sowing, probably some time in December.

Andy can be contacted via his website, or you can contact me here, and I’ll pass him your details.

iggy 



Crossing/Breeding chillis

There are 1000’s of varieties of chillis available, and a great portion of these, are Hybrids,…. which means Two varieties have cross pollinated.
This happens quite naturally most of the time, through natural movement of the plants, or via insect pollination. However, a lot of the time, it is done on purpose by the grower, who will take Two varieties of chilli……. with qualities they would like to have in One chilli, and cross-pollinate them by hand, before they get chance to pollinate naturally.
Here I am going to show you how to create your own crosses (Hybrids).

Now my photography skills are not very good, especially for close-ups ! Therefore, I’m very grateful to Fatalii.net for kindly allowing me to use some of his photographs.

Before we begin, here is the anatomy of a flower:

Photo’s courtesy of Fatalii.net

split_flower

 

a. petals
b. stigma
c. pistil
d. stamens
e. blossom end
f. calyx

 

 

The first thing to do, is obviously choose the varieties you want to attempt to cross.Always choose strong healthy plants, and try to pick varieties where the pods are very different to each other. This will make it easier to see if the cross has been succesful.The flower you choose to take pollen from, will be the male, and the flower you pollinate…. ( emasculate is the correct term ), will be the female.The female flower must be closed, to ensure it hasn’t already been pollinated.

Next, using a pair of tweezers, very carefully remove the petals from the female flower:

01_flower_bud1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02_removing_corallas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You should then be left withsomething like this:

04_corollas_removed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next thing to carefully do, again using tweezers, is to remove all the stamens.

05_demasculating1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s time to collect some pollen from the male plant, one of the best way’s to do this, is using a cotton bud.

07_pollen_from_stamens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then transfer the pollen carefully to the stigma of the pistil, on the female flower…..Warning !! this must be done very gently, as the pistil is easy to break.

It’s a good idea to do this on a number of flowers on the plant, in case the cross doesn’t take.

08_pollen2pistil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last thing to do, is to clearly label them, with type1 being the male, and Type 2 being the female.

labelled (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the cross has failed, then the flower will drop off. However, if it goes on to produce a pod, then you know the cross has worked.

Save the seeds from any succesful pods, and when these are germinated and grown, you will be able to see the result of your cross !!
So have a go yourself…… it is fun and exciting to see the resulting pods !!

Once again, I would like to say a huge thanks to Fatalii.net for allowing me to use his photo’s. Pop over to his site, for more information, and have a look at his range of projects, and seeds.

Next weekend I’ll be at  The upton Cheyney Chilli & Cider Festival, along with the CGUK crew, and I’ll be doing a write up on the event shortly after……… stop and say hello if you see us.

iggy :-)



Crossing/Breeding chillis

There are 1000’s of varieties of chillis available, and a great portion of these, are Hybrids,…. which means Two varieties have cross pollinated.
This happens quite naturally most of the time, through natural movement of the plants, or via insect pollination. However, a lot of the time, it is done on purpose by the grower, who will take Two varieties of chilli……. with qualities they would like to have in One chilli, and cross-pollinate them by hand, before they get chance to pollinate naturally.
Here I am going to show you how to create your own crosses (Hybrids).

Now my photography skills are not very good, especially for close-ups ! Therefore, I’m very grateful to Fatalii.net for kindly allowing me to use some of his photographs.

Before we begin, here is the anatomy of a flower:

Photo’s courtesy of Fatalii.net

split_flower

 

a. petals
b. stigma
c. pistil
d. stamens
e. blossom end
f. calyx

 

 

The first thing to do, is obviously choose the varieties you want to attempt to cross.Always choose strong healthy plants, and try to pick varieties where the pods are very different to each other. This will make it easier to see if the cross has been succesful.The flower you choose to take pollen from, will be the male, and the flower you pollinate…. ( emasculate is the correct term ), will be the female.The female flower must be closed, to ensure it hasn’t already been pollinated.

Next, using a pair of tweezers, very carefully remove the petals from the female flower:

01_flower_bud1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02_removing_corallas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You should then be left withsomething like this:

04_corollas_removed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next thing to carefully do, again using tweezers, is to remove all the stamens.

05_demasculating1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s time to collect some pollen from the male plant, one of the best way’s to do this, is using a cotton bud.

07_pollen_from_stamens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then transfer the pollen carefully to the stigma of the pistil, on the female flower…..Warning !! this must be done very gently, as the pistil is easy to break.

It’s a good idea to do this on a number of flowers on the plant, in case the cross doesn’t take.

08_pollen2pistil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last thing to do, is to clearly label them, with type1 being the male, and Type 2 being the female.

labelled (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the cross has failed, then the flower will drop off. However, if it goes on to produce a pod, then you know the cross has worked.

Save the seeds from any succesful pods, and when these are germinated and grown, you will be able to see the result of your cross !!
So have a go yourself…… it is fun and exciting to see the resulting pods !!

Once again, I would like to say a huge thanks to Fatalii.net for allowing me to use his photo’s. Pop over to his site, for more information, and have a look at his range of projects, and seeds.

Next weekend I’ll be at  The upton Cheyney Chilli & Cider Festival, along with the CGUK crew, and I’ll be doing a write up on the event shortly after……… stop and say hello if you see us.

iggy :-)



Crossing/Breeding chillis

There are 1000’s of varieties of chillis available, and a great portion of these, are Hybrids,…. which means Two varieties have cross pollinated.
This happens quite naturally most of the time, through natural movement of the plants, or via insect pollination. However, a lot of the time, it is done on purpose by the grower, who will take Two varieties of chilli……. with qualities they would like to have in One chilli, and cross-pollinate them by hand, before they get chance to pollinate naturally.
Here I am going to show you how to create your own crosses (Hybrids).

Now my photography skills are not very good, especially for close-ups ! Therefore, I’m very grateful to Fatalii.net for kindly allowing me to use some of his photographs.

Before we begin, here is the anatomy of a flower:

Photo’s courtesy of Fatalii.net

split_flower

 

a. petals
b. stigma
c. pistil
d. stamens
e. blossom end
f. calyx

 

 

The first thing to do, is obviously choose the varieties you want to attempt to cross.Always choose strong healthy plants, and try to pick varieties where the pods are very different to each other. This will make it easier to see if the cross has been succesful.The flower you choose to take pollen from, will be the male, and the flower you pollinate…. ( emasculate is the correct term ), will be the female.The female flower must be closed, to ensure it hasn’t already been pollinated.

Next, using a pair of tweezers, very carefully remove the petals from the female flower:

01_flower_bud1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02_removing_corallas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You should then be left withsomething like this:

04_corollas_removed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next thing to carefully do, again using tweezers, is to remove all the stamens.

05_demasculating1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s time to collect some pollen from the male plant, one of the best way’s to do this, is using a cotton bud.

07_pollen_from_stamens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then transfer the pollen carefully to the stigma of the pistil, on the female flower…..Warning !! this must be done very gently, as the pistil is easy to break.

It’s a good idea to do this on a number of flowers on the plant, in case the cross doesn’t take.

08_pollen2pistil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last thing to do, is to clearly label them, with type1 being the male, and Type 2 being the female.

labelled (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the cross has failed, then the flower will drop off. However, if it goes on to produce a pod, then you know the cross has worked.

Save the seeds from any succesful pods, and when these are germinated and grown, you will be able to see the result of your cross !!
So have a go yourself…… it is fun and exciting to see the resulting pods !!

Once again, I would like to say a huge thanks to Fatalii.net for allowing me to use his photo’s. Pop over to his site, for more information, and have a look at his range of projects, and seeds.

Next weekend I’ll be at  The upton Cheyney Chilli & Cider Festival, along with the CGUK crew, and I’ll be doing a write up on the event shortly after……… stop and say hello if you see us.

iggy :-)



Crossing/Breeding chillis

There are 1000’s of varieties of chillis available, and a great portion of these, are Hybrids,…. which means Two varieties have cross pollinated.
This happens quite naturally most of the time, through natural movement of the plants, or via insect pollination. However, a lot of the time, it is done on purpose by the grower, who will take Two varieties of chilli……. with qualities they would like to have in One chilli, and cross-pollinate them by hand, before they get chance to pollinate naturally.
Here I am going to show you how to create your own crosses (Hybrids).

Now my photography skills are not very good, especially for close-ups ! Therefore, I’m very grateful to Fatalii.net for kindly allowing me to use some of his photographs.

Before we begin, here is the anatomy of a flower:

Photo’s courtesy of Fatalii.net

split_flower

 

a. petals
b. stigma
c. pistil
d. stamens
e. blossom end
f. calyx

 

 

The first thing to do, is obviously choose the varieties you want to attempt to cross.Always choose strong healthy plants, and try to pick varieties where the pods are very different to each other. This will make it easier to see if the cross has been succesful.The flower you choose to take pollen from, will be the male, and the flower you pollinate…. ( emasculate is the correct term ), will be the female.The female flower must be closed, to ensure it hasn’t already been pollinated.

Next, using a pair of tweezers, very carefully remove the petals from the female flower:

01_flower_bud1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02_removing_corallas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You should then be left withsomething like this:

04_corollas_removed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next thing to carefully do, again using tweezers, is to remove all the stamens.

05_demasculating1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s time to collect some pollen from the male plant, one of the best way’s to do this, is using a cotton bud.

07_pollen_from_stamens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then transfer the pollen carefully to the stigma of the pistil, on the female flower…..Warning !! this must be done very gently, as the pistil is easy to break.

It’s a good idea to do this on a number of flowers on the plant, in case the cross doesn’t take.

08_pollen2pistil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last thing to do, is to clearly label them, with type1 being the male, and Type 2 being the female.

labelled (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the cross has failed, then the flower will drop off. However, if it goes on to produce a pod, then you know the cross has worked.

Save the seeds from any succesful pods, and when these are germinated and grown, you will be able to see the result of your cross !!
So have a go yourself…… it is fun and exciting to see the resulting pods !!

Once again, I would like to say a huge thanks to Fatalii.net for allowing me to use his photo’s. Pop over to his site, for more information, and have a look at his range of projects, and seeds.

Next weekend I’ll be at  The upton Cheyney Chilli & Cider Festival, along with the CGUK crew, and I’ll be doing a write up on the event shortly after……… stop and say hello if you see us.

iggy :-)