Wednesday, July 30, 2008

LOLCactus / The Great Dampening


It's been a very wet year. I had kind of expected that after the Snowiest Winter Ever (actually, I think the winter only came in second-wettest, but that's still a lot of snow1), and the Five-Hundred-Year Flood, we were probably due for a Worst Drought in Recorded History to finish out the summer. This didn't happen; instead, we've continued to be wet, though not in a record-setting way. Just lots of thunderstorms, lots of wind and rain, lots of mornings where I arrive at work to find all the perennials, shrubs and trees laying on the ground and have to stand them back up.

Why does this pertain to our deflated cactus? Well, because: the roof of the greenhouse has a pair of vents running the length of the greenhouse along the ridge, which can be opened. And during days in the summer, they always are. All the way. At night, these are generally lowered part-way, so that if it should rain, the water will roll off the vent flaps, land on the roof, and roll off harmlessly into the alley. And that would totally work, if rain fell straight down, at a moderate pace.

Perhaps you see where I'm going with this.

But instead there are wind and torrential downpours of rain. So even when the plants are inside, we sometimes wind up overwatering. I'm actually a little surprised that this is the only cactus we've lost.

There have also been a few issues with mildew, particularly on the Gerbera daisies, for the same reason. And a lot of the outdoor plants have plain old root rot, though some of our rot issues could have been avoided had certain people refrained from telling me over and over that I needed to be staying on top of the watering, and ohmigod the plants can dry out like [snaps] that if it gets hot and windy out, and oh noes! I think I see wilting! so be sure and water water water.2

Gerbera with mildew. We have about twenty that look like this, and about twenty that look a lot better than this but still have some mildew here and there.

And then the slugs will speak for generations to come about The Great Dampening of 2008, which is a whole other issue. I want to like the slugs; I sorta think they're cute, how they're all formless and blobby and slimy and stuff. But I've found them on everything. In the greenhouse, out of the greenhouse, everywhere. And they're less adorable in large numbers, I gotta say.

Gather around, children, and let me tell you about how wonderful things used to be, back in aught-eight. The world was full of delicious damp leaves, and we had respect for our elders. . . .

-

1 and it was awesome!
2 (Not that I'm bitter.)


6 comments:

The Succulent Dish said...

so, so, so sorry about your cactus. i'll do a non-rain dance and let me know if it helps. (i do them all the time, so i don't know if they work or not.)

Anonymous said...

I wish that those who notice wilting would also notice plant nursery Oxalis - and pull it out before it gets to go home with an innocent buyer...

sheila said...

Oxalis is evil.

mr_subjunctive said...

Especially when it's planted itself next to something with a million sharp thorns. I do try, but it gets to feeling pointless really quickly.

Actually, the weed on the left-hand side in that pot, whatever it is, is probably the bigger problem in the greenhouse. It's not hard to pull up, but there are apparently an infinite number of seeds down there, ready to sprout at any moment, because we never even come close to getting rid of it entirely. It's horrible. The oxalis is harder to pull up, but it seems to have more specific tastes about where it wants to live, too, so it's a little more contained.

The current plan is to try to encourage baby tears and wandering jew (Soleirolia soleirolii and Tradescantia zebrina, or Helxine soleirolii and Zebrina pendula, or some combination thereof) to colonize the undertable areas in the hopes of starving out the weeds. Oh, and also Saxifraga stolonifera. There are problems with this plan, among them that we'd be providing shelter for pests and that the boss may not be okay with having stuff growing deliberately under the tables, but it's the best I can think of at the moment.

perL said...

's truth about the Oxalis. They absolutely KNOW you can't get them when they are under all those thorns. And I dunno about you, Mr. S, but do you REALLY have time to go around using a forceps to pull them? (I've heard there are better uses of forceps, anyway...)
The use of Soleirolia in the greenhouse is a good thing. Hope you can get it established. Not too many pests can hide under that fine foliage.
Soleirolia is my favorite botanical name, BTW. Easy to sing: Soleirolia soleirolii...lalala....

perL said...

ps, I love seeing your LOLplant photos. Always a good funny. Thank you.