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Opuntia
mystery method

Image by HitOfFreshAir
Dec. 05, 2010

Took a long time to realize that these are pretty much like regular plants. These are not like most cacti, bound to share some similarities. Better drainage than the everyday regular type of plants may be the most important. Sun? Heat? Well, drainage seems to be the most immediate problem with these here.

Must experience cold for them to flower.. 3 years for them to flower and put-out fruit. Three years about the same for other cacti and other succulents for flowering, cacti are succulents. Or, some say 3 levels of the pads (nopals) high.

These can be shaped at practically any size, cut at the joints, just wouldn’t want to go below 3 levels of the pads (nopals).

All cacti flower.. the rule is, if they’re happy.

"Cold Hardy Cacti"
www.getnet.net/~richarde/cactusstore/Cold%20Hardy%20Cacti…
..
note(s): the trick word "natural"

A "natural" product label\stamp\name is not to be confused as an "organic" product. One of those misleading deceptive government definitions. Companies have the tendacy to intertwine the two.. which makes it difficult to distinguish the exact nature of the term "natural".

Dated: 06, 20, 2012 "Vermont Law Firms Sue Log Cabin, Birds Eye Over "Fraudulent" All-Natural Labels"
www.7dvt.com/2012vermont-law-firms-sue-log-cabin-birds-ey…

"the federal government has no legal definition for the word “natural” as it pertains to food or cosmetics packaging."
..
"Labeling Genetically Modified Foods: Our Right to Know

Labeling of genetically modified foods is required in about 50 countries, but not the United States. It is our right to know which foods are genetically modified so we can make more informed decisions about what we eat."
www.motherearthnews.com/sustainable-farming/labeling-gene…
……
Not all organic products have been tested by the OMRI (organic materials review institute).. it cost $ big $ bucks is understood here. A company can have some of their products tested and not others. So, are these others: organic? 100% organic? or, what? As in, electronics: its not so much the company that matters but the exact product model\component.

How come my little cactus fruit sample tasted better than organic foods from the grocery store?
www.flickr.com/photos/43624007@N08/6919420395/in/set-7215…
Might start here, may not be the best of info, but: "Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture"
blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/07/18/myt…
Counter argument to the "Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture" article:
"Scientific American fact-checkers on holiday"
www.panna.org/blog/scientific-american-fact-checkers-holiday
……
Very unfortunate: organic names may not be actual organic products *have to update this, nothing like confusion to make things.. confusing.
……
*foliar feeding: would love for this to work, unfortunately, Big Failure. But, you don’t need for me to tell ya what to do, or not.. this actually might work, if they were covered-up during the winter, or would that defeat the purpose.. or, if a very very minute amount was used.. still not sure it would serve a good purpose. The foliar feeding reduces there resistance to the cold, suspectingly like a feeding too deep into the season.
……
Note: about any of these products could be used with growing tomatoes, etc.

Note: not promoting any of these products over others necessarily but these are locally available. Many many products. Personally, I lean towards the OMRI Listed Products as a reference until when and if they’re proven to be a unreliable source.
……
Mainstream places, Mainstream products.. Exceptions:

Home Depot: OMRI peat moss (Premier 3.0 Cu. Ft.) and a couple of other items.. OMRI tomato fertilizer, forgot the name.. update: "Mater Magic" (8-5-5), OMRI Alaska Fish Fertilizer (5-1-1)

Lowes: OMRI Alaska Fish Fertilizer (5-1-1)

Sears: "OMRI" – only on the internet and a Sears Outlet, not the regular stores, is what I was informed : – )
www.sears.com/shc/s/search_10153_12605?keyword=OMRI&i…

Walmart: don’t go there but rarely, no hurry
……
*the guessing-game method explained at the bottom
……
Have used: no strict regimen, lower or eliminate the nitrogen for flower\fruiting
……
*Sunleaves Peruvian Seabird Guano (12-11-2): *use to be OMRI Listed, not sure at the moment, guessing that a license fee is applicable in order to use the OMRI label, either that or its been banned, which is doubtful
www.wormsway.com/results.aspx?search=sunleaves+seabird
-first choice for now (dry pellet form), with other stuff, being: molasses, seaweed, one or both in a tea-type of solution that has say, fermented in the sun for 1 or 2 weeks, with or without the molasses but prior to adding the seaweed.. or, just thrown-out onto the ground dry using the *guessing-game method
-not sure if fermenting the molasses is a good idea
-am referring to the seaweed listed below, other seaweed products and\or kelp meal might be good, will have to look into it if going that route
-the smell of the guano goes through odor phases as it ferments in the sun :- )
-will stop this for awhile, doubt that it needs it: *guessing-game method. Testing the greensand
……
*Sunleaves Indonesian Bat Guano (0.5-13-0.2), was OMRI Listed once, not for foodstuff though.. even though folks use this for their tomatoes, which I have, if over-used it causes a burning taste, its a kick-butt product, but it won’t be used for food. The burning taste cleared-up after a relatively short period, after some fiddlin’ with the soil.. edit: the fruits were inedible.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4HjuL0_VNw&feature=related
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxo-Sm9VrT4&feature=related

edit: got a "certified organic" cucumber from the grocery store, which had a very similar burning-type-taste (same sensation), almost certain it was bat guano, so : -\.

-suppose that all products if over-used can cause a burning taste of some-sort, but haven’t found any as nasty as the bat guano here

Lots of different companies put certain amounts of bat guano into their products, the choice is optional of course whether to use it. Lots ‘n lots of different products, for food, can live without it here.

Bat Guano search: lots of places have it, lots of companies
www.wormsway.com/results.aspx?search=bat+guano&pg=1
……
Greensand: A few products are available, this one is local here located in Northern Kentucky.
www.wormsway.com/detail.aspx?t=prod&sku=GS436

*Organic Traditions Greensand: "6% total potash, with 0.1% available immediately, and it’s rich in trace elements"

"Also known as glauconite. A mineral mined from natural deposits of glauconite located in the southern part of New Jersey. These deposits are of marine origin and are composed primarily of iron potassium silicate, which gives it its bluish green color"

"Texas greensand is different than the glauconite from the New Jersey area."
www.dirtdoctor.com/Glauconite_vq790.htm

"Greensand often has the consistency of sand but is able to absorb 10 times more moisture which makes it a good amendment for use in agriculture and horticulture for many soils types. Greensand does not burn plants and helps for beneficial microbes to grow in the soil. It also has been found to be a good conditioner to help loosen heavy and tight soils and help bind loose soils."
docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:egfeu2c7jWMJ:www.n…

*supposedly, loosens heavy clay soil (which lowers the ph.. clay is high in calcium: "a high ph"), strengthens plant roots.. prepares plant for cold weather. Reports might say, last 10 years or so. Non-renewable resource.

*am hoping that the greensand may be faster, more efficient, than say:
-saw dust, manure, guano, table-kitchen scrapes, and whatever
en.allexperts.com/q/Organic-Gardens-728/2009/2/soil-pH.htm

-update: started in 2011, throwing it onto the ground using the, *guessing-game method

-update: Mar. 08, 2012 – used this year already: preliminary – seemingly, the scars regressing, a boost of color.. a shine emerges.. its raining, looks like a glass-coating. The section, from above: "able to absorb 10 times more moisture", might become a nuisance of sort sort.

-update: May. 15, 2012 – "Greensand Fertilizer and Soil Conditioner for Gardens"

-supposedly, "it buffers the soil pH to around 6.5", which is real good generally
howtogardenguide.com/2008/03/07/greensand-for-gardening/

update, May 26, 2012: greensand test continued here..
www.flickr.com/photos/43624007@N08/7195987550/in/set-7215…
……
*Neptune’s Harvest Seaweed (0-0-1) (Ascophyllum Nodosum) (extract) – "over 60 natural nutrients and amino acids to boost plant development, growth and overall health": the plant likes it and wants more, laugh, what can I say : – ) Not sure which of the "natural nutrients" specifically are the most beneficial, at this time, haven’t been using it for very long. The contents list of this product is hard to get a hold of, had it once, poof..

Auxims, Cytokinins, Gibberellins, how can your plant live without these?
westernplainsseeds.com/productlines/pdf2011/Neptunes_Harv…
……
*Ringer Lawn Restore (10-2-6): OMRI Listed.. The exact ingredients changed from what was used here, haven’t used it enough for the cactus to give any sort of intriguing enlightenment.. but, not bad for tomatoes, the middle needs to be filled in
……
*Organic Traditions Bone Meal (4-12-0): very limited experience
……
*a few brands are available, this one is local, Health Food Store: Wholesome (brand) Organic Molasses, Blackstrap (unsulphured): "Potassium: 730mg, Calcium: 115mg, Iron: 15% RDV", and other stuff.. good for drinkin’
-can be used and is used, as a foliar feeding wetting agent, and by itself, i.e. "soil drench", ‘they’ are calling it : – ).
-used in compost teas, also the dry molasses

"Blackstrap Molasses and Wheatgerm Bread"
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq0MBxGfmMU
……
*table-kitchen scrapes: applied 2010, throughout the year.. yeah, applied.. thrown on top of the ground. Worked good, was interesting.
……
*Epsom Salts (fun, interesting product), magnesium and sulfur: standard store-bought stuff

There are arguments regarding the use of Epsom salts, some flat-out saying that it does nothing, others wishy-washy about its use.. yet others, swear by it. This is from my experience, and small amounts were not the norm (not afraid of it, want results). Have used it in large amounts, amounts larger than the so-called norm of: 1-3 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water, mixed with other fertilizer if being used this way, but mostly.. just slap some undetermined amount on the ground from time to time. These results are from an extended period, proven to me to be accurate from my own completely independent test. Of course, you can take it ‘er leave it. : – )

–the magnesium moves the phosphorous throughout the plant pads (nopals), as a carrier.. (true, knowledge from experience, no not mistaken), appears to be short-lived, giving a reason to go another route.. or, has only the appearance of being short-lived because the ground is unstable (can’t get a good reading)
–magnesium strengthens some plant innards, supposedly (cell walls): appears to have some sort of effect of the outside, have to update this..
–magnesium: has a healing effect (true), how much of an effect? appears to be a lot but somewhat deceptive, unclear
–magnesium: stimulates new growth (nothing new about this actually, so the story goes), and it may very well, and\or it helps in moving other nutrients that causes the good growth
–sulfur: has a healing effect.. was hoping that it might heal a few things.. like, dry up excessive moisture around the roots, bad fungi (fungus).. sulfur I believe stays pretty much in the ground.. doesn’t move around like magnesium & phosphorus does.. have to update
–the sulfur: sterilizes the soil (not sure if this is good) – does it kill the micro-life?
– sulfur lowers the ph: might be bad, might be good, depends on the ground that’s being worked.. (true, proven by experience, can stabilize the soil by reducing the clay content (the calcium thats in the clay), doesn’t seem as if it last long though), sulfur is known to lower the ph anyway, not a big mystery
–and the sulfur, possible kills the microorganisms (bad), stopped using it until more info in known..
–was hoping that the sulfur would help dry-out the plant, roots ‘n all, for better health, maybe use a sulfur only product (still working on the poor drainage problem) Using greensand now for the clay problem. Epsom salts wasn’t originally being used for a clay cure, just happened out that way, it stabilized the ground, but doesn’t appear to have any lasting value

-organic Epsom salts is expensive, would have been in the amount that it was used here, anyway.
www.planetnatural.com/site/epsom-salts.html
……
Would consider: a multitude of fun stuff a person can try, ‘n lots of other fun stuff not being listed
……
*Wiggle Worm Earthworm Castings: lots of different wormy-poo companies available, or make yer own: "Building Soil Fertility with the Worm Factory 360 Compost Bin"
www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bFeXTLmCTg&feature=plcp

-edit, update, July 21, 2012: OMRI label (i.e.- stuck on the bag, not sure what that means : – \) Wiggle Worm Earthworm Castings
……
*Neptune’s Harvest Crab Shell (2-3-0)
*Neptune’s Harvest Fish (2-4-1): OMRI Listed, OMRI List: page 97
*Neptune’s Harvest Fish and Seaweed (2-3-1): OMRI Listed, OMRI List: page 97
www.omri.org/sites/default/files/opl_pdf/complete_company…
*local here:
www.wormsway.com/results.aspx?search=neptune%27s
……
*Black Kow manure: Lowes is suppose to have this, not sure
……
-note: any greensand is 100% organic, unless they add something stupid to it
……
*home-brewed compost tea mixes\wide variety
……
*raw organic milk\used for pastures\site around here somewhere
-for tomatoes
……
*biochar: "terra preta"

video – "Making Biochar"
www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXMUmby8PpU

Or, "Make Biochar — This Ancient Technique Will Improve Your Soil"
www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/Make-Biochar-To…
……
*Hydrogen peroxide: 35% food grade peroxide: interesting, do research first, can be dangerous to yourself and the plants, must be diluted, at 10% it kills plants, some use 8%. The cheap store-bought stuff (3%) probably kills the microorganisms (i.e., the added inorganic stabilizers), not exactly sure at this moment about the food-grade stuff. Food-grade is used in farming operations for crops and animals.. said to improve animal health when used in the drinking water.
……
*kelp meal: source of trace minerals including calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and chlorine, as well as vitamins, amino acids and plant hormones *70 or so minerals, etc.
……
*Ancient Forest: "More than 35,000 species of bacteria and 5,000-plus species of fungi can be found in this soil amendment"
-also used as a compost-tea or in a tea
www.ncwgs.com/product_info.php?cPath=23&products_id=155
……
*mycorrhiza
-popular nowadays
……
*Cornmeal: The Dirt Doctor – Cornmeal 101
www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBG6wac4lss
……
*rock dust: Azomite – "over 70 metabolically active minerals and trace elements"
……
*Insect Frass (2-2-2): the newest rage@ $ bucks@pound (small bag\worse deal)
onfrass.com/insect-frass/

"week 8 of outdoor garden grown with Insect Frass"
www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LIzvevxz-4&feature=plcp

A Frass tid-bit: starting at 8:00 min. to 9:10
www.youtube.com/watch?v=qomI2X13Fs0&feature=plcp

"chitin" *kahy-tin* comes from the French word chitine, anyway, that’s the main point in this segment, "chitin".

So, this "chitin" can be found in "crab shell" also, which might be a better route, if its going to be used for an insect repellant\pest control? Not according to them : – /.

"Q: What makes insect Chitin better than crustacean Chitin?"
www.onfrass.com/faq.html
……
*chalk: real chalk is\was made from lime, said to be of high purity
-might be hard to find nowadays
……
?forgot : – ) oop
……
ramblin’..
www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNdPxm4M5Ls&feature=related
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr_9yt4hsHg&feature=related
www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gDhR1R3S0s&feature=related
www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7vPjic5sRE
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O6x_m4zvFs
…………….
–echo was added to these, or piss ‘po taken care of\this is beyond the digital stripping process.. someone messed with it
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VN8JFPSmZs
better: but still\off whack\over digitized
www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL3ymLrE0uY
best yet but\digitized\ruined it\basically… edit, update.. this one sucks too
www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq9IhOhQt40&feature=related

"digital stripping process": the bass is generally the first to go, leaving an "emptiness", "a hollow emptiness". Clarity at what price?
………..
www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XWQrt00_NM
……….
will have to update this: *the guessing-game method is actually based on "some" "thing", guessing that this is what most people do huh?

some gardening experience is helpful
read the label
know the ground condition: *guess
know the plant: research or, *guess
know the fertilizer
then, *guess how much is needed and *guess how long is it good for

willing to experiment and knowing that the plant might be killed if you’re one of those who that think a lot might be good (is needed)

give the plant a rest, let it settle down back to a normal comfortable growing rate of some-sort *guess, at which time another different fertilizer *guess, could be added, possibly.. in this method a strict regiment is not being followed, but a *guess reading of what is needed *guess .. *the guessing-game method.

*this method might be wasteful, since no measuring is bein’ done, while a knowledge about the plant and about the fertilizer is collected. With this knowledge a measured fertilizing program of your own could be set-up.

Continued:
www.flickr.com/photos/43624007@N08/7230394566/in/set-7215…

Interview Part 2: Growing Up
mystery method

Image by Chris Fritz
My childhood was not normal by any stretch of ones imagination. Being the child of a detective, I went far out of my way to be a young Holmes. Let’s just say trouble is horrifically easy to encounter when one seeks it out. Add in seeing my father shot and killed, and the never-ending tension between my older brother and myself, and my childhood left a lot to be desired.

The earliest memory I have is seeing all faces light up in a small, crowded room, as my father outlined the details of a murder. It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to be a detective, that I wanted to enlighten others in such a way.

My mother taught me to read when I was still very young, and I had stumbled through some Sherlock Holmes stories, but it wasn’t until after my decision as a young child to become a detective that I read through and fully comprehended them. Anything I failed to understand, I would inquire about, read about, research about. So many long days I spent in the library. When it came time for schooling, my parents sent me off to a public school, a place I quickly came to dread. I started right into the first grade, and had already learned everything taught there. At age seven, I learned to skip out on school and sneak off to the library to actually learn and at my own quick pace. With my father off on cases often, it fell onto my mother to punish me, but somehow she knew I was going to be held back if she forced me back into the classroom. Instead, she arranged for me to be homeschooled–a feat in itself, as homeschooling was illegal at the time. Rather than homeschooling me, however, she allowed me to learn on my own, then fill her in on what I had studied.

In my earlier teen years, I’d passed the GED. I’d been working part-time jobs, but had failed to find anything that held my interest. When I reached age 16, I decided to try out college, but that turned out to be a dead-end of slow-learning, and I eventually dropped out of all classes there. I didn’t leave the campus in the same position I had went in, however, as I’d met some people who’d put a good word in for me when there was a case somewhere to be solved, and that allowed me to begin my own detective business. Following the methods of Sherlock Holmes, my sleuth skills quickly proved to be more than acceptable. I could earn enough of an income to survive comfortably, and I had enough time in my days to continue my learnings.

It’s perhaps without question that Sherlock Holmes existed as my sole role model. No other detective could compare, and with detectives such as Father Brown out there, there was really no competition. Had my father’s life not ended when it did, I may have come to see him as a role model, but with him away on cases all the time, it was Holmes whom I saw in action. It was Holmes, studying past crimes, researching chemicals, applying his vast knowledges to the tiniest of clue, and traveling from one lead to the next.

Looking back on my father, we were never what you could call "close". He gave me his collection of Sherlock Holmes stories after I’d read the simpler books in the house, and wanted something more complex to read. Beyond that, he was mostly just there–except for more often than not when he wasn’t. He felt more like that uncle who visits now and then, but has no real closeness to the family. On the other side, my mother was always protective and supportive of me. These two were often mutually exclusive, and it had to be hard on her. She probably would never have let me read those Sherlock Holmes stories had she known about the murders within them. And then my older brother, Michael… It’s best to say that we never got along, and to leave it at that. My grandparents are faint memories. My grandfather on my father’s side would visit from time to time, and tell me and Michael fantastic stories. My grandparents on my mother’s side visited a few times a year, bringing gifts for me and Michael, random toys showing they knew nothing about either of us as individuals.

When not learning in the library, I could often be found looking for cases as a child. I tried to be as much like Sherlock Holmes in the way I talked to adults and older kids when outside the home, but I was more of a bright-eyed child when in the home. The former overtook the latter by my teen years. This lead to peers looking at me as a pompous, egotistical teen. While they sought dinner dates with the girls in their classes, I sought mysteries and their answers. They looked for short-term gains, and I looked for information that would continuously assist me in life. Save for one person, I wouldn’t have anything even remotely close to what might be considered a "friend" until my college days, and those are more along the lines of acquaintances, to be accurate. As for that one person, she moved before my college days, leaving me with her first kiss and mine.

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