1 This week has been a busy one for moving all my tropical plants into the hoop house near the chicken coops. Most of my large tropical plants from Maine, East Hampton and my Bedford farm winter in this structure.
2 I have a lot of beautiful cycads, agaves, succulents, ferns, and other warm weather specimens in my collection. I am very fortunate these plants do so well here at the farm.
3 Before each plant gets placed into the hoop house, it is examined, and if necessary, repotted. Here, Wilmer and Ang were matching the proper sized pots with plants that needed rehoming. There were a lot of plants in line to repot.
4 Wilmer prepared the soil mix for repotting.
5 In a trug bucket, he mixed soil, and compost made right here at my farm. He combined them in layers, mixing each one in thoroughly.
6 The soil is a rich combination of composted peanut hulls, bark and sphagnum peat moss. Soil is basically the top layer of earth with added amounts of organic matter, minerals and nutrients to give it texture. Compost is the recycling of plant and kitchen waste as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost improves soil and plant growth.
7 Perlite was added to the mix. Perlite in potting soil is an additive used to aerate the media and allow water to drain. It is actually volcanic glass that is heated to 1600-degrees Fahrenheit. It expands and becomes a very lightweight material.
8 Wilmer mixed everything and then repeated the layering process again until the trug bucket was completely full.
9 The mix was now ready to be used.
10 Here, Wilmer prepared to repot one of my many bird's nest ferns.
11 It was a healthy specimen, but was definitely ready for repotting.
12 Ferns are an interesting group of plants to grow because of the various types of fronds they display. Bird's nest ferns, Asplenium nidus, have spear like shaped leaves rather than feather or palm like fronds. Wilmer cut the outer roots to stimulate new growth.
13 He also trimmed any dead leaves. These plants love its soil to remain moist, but not soggy.
14 And, gave the bottom a fresh cut as well.
15 Wilmer then repotted it into a slightly larger container than what it was previously using.
16 The leaves can grow quite long, and are shiny light green in color. The reproduction sacs, or sporangia which produce spores, are formed along the veins on the underside of mature leaves. If you look closely, you can see these - the reddish-brown lines on the backsides of the leaves. Wilmer added the soil mix to the container.
17 Wilmer also added some Osmocote fertilizer to the soil. This is a slow-release fertilizer.
18 It looks like small, round peppercorns with a creamy tan color. Osmocote particles are called prills. As soil warms, and rain or irrigation reaches the Osmocote, the nutrients in the prills trickle out into the soil via osmosis for plant roots to absorb.
19 Wilmer packed the soil mix firmly.
20 And it was as good as new and now ready to be placed inside the hoop house.
21 Inside the head house of my main greenhouse, Ryan was also busy repotting. This is a Crassula ovata, commonly known as jade plant, lucky plant, and friendship tree. It's a common houseplant world wide. Do you have one?
22 Ryan also cut away the old, outer roots, to stimulate new growth, and cut about an inch off the bottom of the plant. Native to South Africa, these jade plants are easy to care for succulents.
23 The jade plant is an evergreen with thick trunks. It has thick, shiny smooth leaves that grow in opposing pairs along the branches. The leaves are a rich, jade green, although some may appear more yellow-green.
24 Ryan selected a terra-cotta container that was just slightly larger than the plant's previous home.
25 Ryan quickly placed the plant into the pot to make sure it was a good fit.
26 I save shards of terra-cotta to put on the bottom of pots to cover the drain holes.
27 It keeps dirt from falling through while making sure there is still room for proper drainage.
28 Ryan used a good basic potting mix and added some sand, perlite, vermiculite for better drainage, and Osmocote plant food. He scooped a good layer of the mixture into the bottom of the pot.
29 He placed the jade plant into the container and made sure it was centered and level from all sides. Jade plants need full to partial shade. They also prefer to be on the dry side. It requires little water in summer and even less in winter - it's crucial not to overwater the jade.
30 With too much water, the jade plant will begin to rot.
31 Jade plants prefer porous clay pots because the clay helps to wick the water out of the soil, allowing it to dry out faster.
32 Always check before watering and water only when the soil feels completely dry.
33 To give the plant a finished look, I like to add a thin layer of gravel to the top of the pot.
34 Gravel or a thin layer of pebbles also prevents some insects from invading the plant. Fungus gnats lay eggs in the top layer of soil, but they can't do this on gravel.
35 This jade plant is all repotted and cleaned up.
36 Moving on...