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scottychaos

"Year in the Life" part 2

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Hey everyone,

thought I would share my newly updated webpage:

http://gold.mylargescale.com/Scottychaos/CP/

And my current "project", which is documenting an entire year:

February 15, 2008.

SPRING has arrived again! :tongue:

well not really..its 25 degrees (minus 3 C) and snowing outside as I type this. icon_blue_very_sad.gif

But Mid-February every year marks the official start of Spring for my Carnivorous plants!

they are finished with their 3 and a half months of winter dormancy.

They remain fully dormant every winter for the entire months of November, December, January, and half of February.

I am calling this "year in the life part 2" because I already attempted to document an entire year once before, 3 years ago. But I didnt get to finish it because of some photo hosting problems...you can read the first "year in a life", (which was really only half a year) here:

http://gold.mylargescale.com/Scottychaos/CP/page2.html

This time i'm going to document the entire year! icon_smile_big.gif

From February 2008 to February 2009.

One entire Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter..until the cycle repeats again with next spring.

The year begins today, February 15, with the plants coming out of dormancy.

CP2008-001.jpg

The photo above is the outside door to the basement..the plants spend their winter dormancy in the stairwell..I went out and shoveled off the snow so I could open the doors (from the inside)

because I also had some stuff to bring into the basement today, as well as removing the plants from the stairwell.

CP2008-002.jpg

Heading down to the basement..this is the door to the outside..the plants spend the winter

between this door and the "clam shell doors" out to the yard..it stays a steady 33-37 degrees (1 to 2 degrees C) in the stairwell all winter...even though the temps outside get MUCH colder.

CP2008-003.jpg

Here they are! Three "mini bogs" wrapped tight in plastic. (I just used black plastic trash bags, sealed air-tight with tape)

CP2008-004.jpg

CP2008-005.jpg

CP2008-006.jpg

Above is the spot on the deck where the plants will live for the growing season..but not yet.

Unfortunately, even though my plants think that Spring begins today, the climate of Rochester, NY does not agree with their internal clocks. The VFTs and Sarracenia in my bogs are native to the South East USA, where they go dormant every winter, but they get a cool winter..a winter that is much milder (and much shorter) than the winters of the northern US and Canada. That is why those of us in these northern climates must use techniques like "The fridge method" or my cool stairwell for CP dormancy. Its just too severe to keep the plants outside all winter around here..they will die.

So the plants must stay indoors for several weeks before they can go outside for the season..until Rochester spring catches up with South Carolina spring..usually sometime in April.

CP2008-007.jpg

Open up the plastic and see how things look!

things look GOOD! icon_smile_big.gif

everything looks healthy, green and alive!

there is some very light whispy mold, but nothing of concern at all..nothing that has damaged the plants.

I always say that when using "The Fridge Method" the plants need to stay outdoors all season, straight through summer and into autumn, so that they get all the "dormancy cues" so they go dormant naturally..gradually decreasing temps, gradually decreasing photoperiod, so by the time they are ready for the "fridge" (or whatever dormancy location you choose) in late October or early November, the plants are already naturally dormant..

"The fridge does not cause or create the dormancy, it merely maintains the dormancy that was already created naturally outdoors"..

This is all true.

But what about in the Spring then??

shouldn't the plants come slowly, gradually out of dormancy?

just as they went slowly, gradually, into dormancy?

ideally...yes.

but again, nature in Rochester, NY does not cooperate.

the plants simply cant go outside yet.

So they get a rather abrupt and sudden spring..they go from 35 degrees (1C) in the stairwell to 70 degrees (21 C) indoors pretty much instantly..(although it probably takes a solid 24 hours for the very cold peat in the pots to warm back up to room temperature.)

Its not ideal..but its all I have.

I just consider it a very sudden warm spring!

that sometimes happens naturally outdoors too..

you can go from 40 degrees one day to 70 the next.

I have been bringing my plants out of dormancy this way every spring for 15 years now..

it works fine.

Here is a look at all three bogs!

CP2008-008.jpg

CP2008-009.jpg

CP2008-010.jpg

CP2008-011.jpg

CP2008-012.jpg

CP2008-013.jpg

CP2008-014.jpg

My entire CP collection is in those three "mini bogs" except for three plants.

In the photo above is my D. binata, on the left, and a lone S. flava 'veinless'.

I have left the S. flava in its own pot, because it grows oddly every year, with strangely curved and somewhat deformed pitchers..im not sure if something is wrong with it or not,

so I keep it isolated from the rest of the Sarrs.

the D. binata and the Flava were also in the stairwell with the bogs..I also have a pot of

D. capensis that does not get a winter dormancy.

And thats all for today! icon_smile_big.gif

In a few days I will put the green chicken wire back on, before the plants start growing,

and I will put the drain tubes back on and give the plants some new water.

(I bought a few jugs of distilled..I wont have my rain collector set up again until the plants can go back outside.)

I though it might be cool to have this in two places...here in the forum as a thread,

so that people can respond,discuss, ask questions, etc.. if they feel like it.

and I will also copy this all over to my webpage..(but its hard to reply to a webpage!)

I havent updated the webpage yet, but I will soon..

thanks,

Scot

(this whole documentary project is also repeated on my webpage..I enjoy having the feedback from forum members, so I like to have it in the form of a discussion thread as well...its here on CPUK and on Terraforums)

Edited by scottychaos

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February 17, 2008

Day 3.

I went out to the shed and got the green chicken wire covers for the minibogs.

Up until last spring, the CDs kept birds away..but last Spring I encountered one robin who refused to be scared away..I suspect she was gathering materials for a new nest.

she picked out a lot of the spagnum every day, ripping out plants in the process..

so I had "take it up a notch" and devise some new protection.

So I went to Home Depot and found "green chicken wire"..its regular chicken wire, but coated in a green plastic or vinyl..I cut the wire into circular shapes, and pin them down.

Im not thrilled with the look..I would prefer not to use the wire at all..but the protection of the plants supercedes aesthetics.

Soon the plants grow up through the wire, and by mid-summer you hardly notice it.

CP2008-015.jpg

CP2008-016.jpg

CP2008-017.jpg

I also installed the drain hoses..the drains are located about 3" down from the surface.

so the bogs stay saturated with water 3" from the top..

I didnt devise any method for checking the water level, because I dont consider it terribly

important...I simply add water whenever I feel its needed...every couple days or so.

maybe every day during summer heat waves.

I just fill the pots until water drains out the tubing.

I have created a rain water collection system...I will write more about that when it comes time to set it back up in the spring...

For now im just using store-bought bottles of distilled water.

Scot

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Nice website:D I didnt read all of it but I can tell you move around a lot and it was very interesting. Good Luck :tongue:

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For now im just using store-bought bottles of distilled water.

Interesting post scot, I look forward to the follow ups.

But why are you buying water with all that snow outside :tongue: surely you could just melt some of it.

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Interesting post scot, I look forward to the follow ups.

But why are you buying water with all that snow outside :shock: surely you could just melt some of it.

Because its worth it to pay $1 for a gallon of distilled as opposed to the work involved to melt snow! ;)

and actually we dont have much snow on the ground at the moment...just a dusting.

and the plants dont use much water during this early spring indoors phase..

maybe 5 gallons tops..probably less.

once they can go outside for the season, I will set up the rain collector.

Scot

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Hi Scot,

Thanks for sharing your experiences growing - very interesting.

I have left the S. flava in its own pot, because it grows oddly every year, with strangely curved and somewhat deformed pitchers..im not sure if something is wrong with it or not, so I keep it isolated from the rest of the Sarrs.

Often this indicates some type of pest infestation (aphids, scale, etc)....

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Hi Scot,

Thanks for sharing your experiences growing - very interesting.

Often this indicates some type of pest infestation (aphids, scale, etc)....

yeah I know..thats what I suspected at first..

but its been 5 or 6 years now, and there has never been a undesirable bug on the plant..

or on the rhizome or roots..

its very odd..

I think its just genetic..

Scot

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Guest Sheila

Scot give it a spray with an insecticide. Aphids get deep into the growing point out of sight, feeding on the pitchers as they form. Consequently your pitchers become more and more deformed as they grow, yet there is no sign of insects. If after a good dose of provado or a suitable insecticide the pitchers are still deformed then you can decide it may be genetic, but you really should try to do something about it first.

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Update!

March 1, 2008

2 weeks into the season.

Not a lot happening so far..but thats to be expected.

It takes a week or two for the plants to even realize spring has arrived.

Although the VFTs are putting out new growth already,

and one Sarr is putting up a flower stalk!

I can also tell by now that all plants survived dormancy this year..

no fatalities. (which is normal too..plants rarely die with a dormancy of 35-40 degrees.)

Here are some new pics:

CP2008-018.jpg

CP2008-019.jpg

Thats the D. binata clump..which seriously needs to be repotted.

I will do that this spring.

CP2008-020.jpg

CP2008-021.jpg

CP2008-022.jpg

Unfortunately I have no idea what variety of Sarracenia is sending up that flower stalk.

I can readily ID all my Sarrs when they are in the middle of the growing season..

I know what kinds of Sarrs I have..

but in this state, with just cut stumps, I cant tell them apart! ;)

The only ones I know right now are the big S. 'Leah Wilkerson' clump,

because I just know what that one looks like, it stands out.

And the S. rubra ssp. alabamensis AL-02

(the flower is neither of those)

I always say I want to give them some kind of ID tags..

maybe I will try that this year..

Thats it for now..I will update again in 2 weeks.

still no real signs of spring outside..

Scot

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One Month Update!

The first two weeks, nothing much happened..

but the second two weeks, there has been an explosion of growth!

and one sarracenia flower has opened!

CP2008-023.jpg

Many VFT traps are already open, and some flies have appeared in the house..

my theory is the new flies were "born" from the bogs, because they appeared right after the bogs came out of the the basement..not many flies, 4 or 5.

my wife has been feeding the flies to the VFTs!

No open sarracenia pitchers yet, but lots of pitchers pushing up.

As you can see, there are sadly zero signs of Spring outside yet..

still no snowdrops, no crocus, (the earliest bulbs to appear)

and still snow on the ground.

CP2008-024.jpg

The D. binata clump is well on its way.

CP2008-025.jpg

CP2008-026.jpg

the one big Sarracenia flower has opened!

normally I dont let any of my Sarrs or VFTs flower at all..

I just cut off all the flower buds as soon they appear, because I dont care about growing anything from seed right now, and flowers just sap energy from the plants that could otherwise be put into trap production.

But this year I let this one flower open because my wife has never seen a Sarr flower before! now that she has seen it, it will be snipped off..

(maybe put it in a vase!)

Maybe if my Leah Wilkerson flowers, I will try some cross pollination with something else.

And a friend of mine also has a ICPS alabamensis..we have wanted to cross our two alabamensis, but they never flower at the same time..so thats not happening anytime soon either...

later today I will cut off all remaining Sarr and VFT flower buds.

CP2008-027.jpg

CP2008-028.jpg

And thats the one-month update!

things are coming along nicely..

still anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks before they can go back outside.

Scot

Edited by scottychaos

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This reminds me, I'd better write my new blog. Great pictures, thanks for showing us the timeline, I appreciate them :) .

Edited by venusflytrapman

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Do they get any sun under that canopy outside? Lack of light could be a factor in your flava problems. Also, with them beginning growth in mid March inside on a windowsill, do the pitchers actually get any decent light when they are growing? By the time they get proper light and warmth, it's already been forced to grow its spring pitchers early.

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Do they get any sun under that canopy outside? Lack of light could be a factor in your flava problems.

What canopy?

do you mean this?

CP2008-006.jpg

they dont grow under that roof..they grow on the open deck, with the roof behind them, (to the north)..

it does not shade the plants at all.

They get direct sun nearly all day.

so lack of light is not factor in my S. flava 'veinless' issues..

it gets the same light as all the rest, and it still has the deformed pitchers..no other sarrs do.

its definately not a light problem.

Also, with them beginning growth in mid March inside on a windowsill, do the pitchers actually get any decent light when they are growing?

They get some direct sun..but not much.

a few hours, and its diluted by coming through several layers of glass..

its very inferior light..not nearly intense enough.

I have always known this, but there is nothing I can do about it.

The first pitchers that grow indoors in Feb and March are very weak and floppy,

when I put the bogs outside for the season in April those first weak spindly pitchers burn in the sun..

literal sunburn, on the sides facing the sun, because they are not adapted to the bright direct sun.

after a few weeks or a month, new pitchers have appeared that "grew up outside" and can handle full-sun,

then I simply cut away all the "indoor pitchers" and the plants are off and running for the rest of the season.

By the time they get proper light and warmth, it's already been forced to grow its spring pitchers early.

"forced to grow its spring pitchers early"??

not quite sure what you mean..

the spring pitchers come up exactly when they are supposed to come up..February and March.

(thats when they come up in the wild)

so they arent "early"..they are right on time.

the only issue is that I live far enough north that *my* spring is 6 weeks behind their native spring, in the south-east US.

I bring the plants out of dormancy in mid-February because that is when dormancy is finished for the plants..

that is when the plants expect spring to arrive..

the fact that I need to keep them indoors for 6 or 8 more weeks after that is simply an unfortunate aspect of my latitude! ;)

I cant make the plants conform to my seasons, because they would then be in dormancy for 5 months every winter.

I see no reason to force them to sleep that long..its much longer than they require, and they would probably start growing in the dark anyway..which wouldnt be good..they would waste energy trying to start growing in pitch-darkness with no ability to photosynthesize..that would be bad.

So I bring them out of dormancy when they are ready..

Scot

Edited by scottychaos

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I thought you were experienced enough not to put them under that roof, so I did wonder!

The first pitchers that grow indoors in Feb and March are very weak and floppy,

when I put the bogs outside for the season in April those first weak spindly pitchers burn in the sun..

literal sunburn, on the sides facing the sun, because they are not adapted to the bright direct sun.

after a few weeks or a month, new pitchers have appeared that "grew up outside" and can handle full-sun,

then I simply cut away all the "indoor pitchers" and the plants are off and running for the rest of the season.

Surely the very first flava pitchers are the prime ones, so you've already lost half your potential year's crop if the first ones are spindly and get burnt in the sun. A few years of this is maybe causing the flava's problems?

"forced to grow its spring pitchers early"??

not quite sure what you mean..

the spring pitchers come up exactly when they are supposed to come up..February and March.

February and March in Florida! I'm not sure I agree with the idea of excessive dormancy causing problems. In the UK our plants enter dormancy in early November and start again in early April (apart from a few flower buds appearing in March). They don't expect to wake up in February. Sure, they would do if I put them somewhere warm, but I'm just wondering why you don't think giving them 5 months dormancy is a good idea?

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Surely the very first flava pitchers are the prime ones, so you've already lost half your potential year's crop if the first ones are spindly and get burnt in the sun. A few years of this is maybe causing the flava's problems?

no, I dont think so..

there isnt that much growth before they go outside.

each individual plant only puts out one or two pitchers before the go outside,

then they keep producing MUCH more than that afterwards..

I consider the "feburary-march indoor" growth to be a very tiny fraction of the total years pitcher output.

and people talk about "spring pitchers" and "autumn pitchers" for flava and leukophylla,

that are distinctive seasonal growths,

but I have never noticed any major differences like that.

my plants seem to have the same pitchers all season..

I'm not sure I agree with the idea of excessive dormancy causing problems. In the UK our plants enter dormancy in early November and start again in early April (apart from a few flower buds appearing in March). They don't expect to wake up in February. Sure, they would do if I put them somewhere warm, but I'm just wondering why you don't think giving them 5 months dormancy is a good idea?

you know..I have never actually tried to keep them dormant for 5 months!

I think because early-on in my CP growing experience I noticed the plants putting up flower stalks in February,

even while they were still dark and cold in the fridge..

so I figured they were on a biological clock and were simply ready to "wake up" then..

and I know for a fact that the south-east USA (their native range) gets a much earlier spring than we do,

so, based on that simple logic, I just started doing it this way and it has become my standard procedure..

never really gave any thought to changing that procedure.

but it might be interesting to let them stay dormant longer!

because I really dont like bringing them out this early and forcing to grow indoors for 6 weeks..

I just assumed it would be too long of a wait to make them stay dormant for 5 months..

but maybe not!

hmmm..I will have to consider this!

bring them out of dormancy when my climate is ready for spring..in April.

then put them directly outdoors..

there is still a problem though...because it *does* start to get gradually warmer through March into April..

sometimes..

but this year its mid-march and Spring isnt even pretending to arrive yet..

so far, March has been no different than January..

below freezing every day and still snowing.

the spring bulbs havent even broke the surface yet.

(and thats pretty typical for March around here)

but the end of March is much closer to spring-like weather than is the beginning of MArch..

I consider March the "transitional month" between winter and Spring.

March 1st is 100% winter..but April 1st is 50% spring..(we dont get 100% spring until May)

so im a bit concerned that if I leave them in their dark stairwell until early April, (or even mid-April, depending on how evil winter chooses to be that year) then they really will get some gradual March warmth, come out of dormancy, but still be in pitch-darkness for the first month or so after they "wake up"..

because they really cant go outside until April..

its a problem..

but..I admit I have never tried it!

hmmm..could be a good experiment for next spring..!

thanks,

Scot

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Yep, maybe something to try. I could be completely wrong and you know about your climate, but maybe get hold of another flava in time for next year?

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Happy first day of Spring! :wink:

yay spring. icon_blue_very_sad.gif

CP2008-029.jpg

CP2008-030.jpg

(For those of you in the UK, those night-time lows of 20F are negative 7C.)

Oh well..the sun slipping north of the equator is certainly a good sign!

I will take it..

its better than that other equinox ..of which we do not speak.

Scot

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UK weather not too greaat either :wink:

Friday Sunrise 06:04 (GMT) Sunset 18:31 (GMT) Temp Max 8°C Temp Min 0°C

Saturday Sunrise 06:08 (GMT) Sunset 18:27 (GMT) Temp Max 5°C Temp Min 0°C

Sunday Sunrise 06:06 (GMT) Sunset 18:28 (GMT) Temp Max 6°C Temp Min -2°C

Monday Sunrise 06:04 (GMT) Sunset 18:30 (GMT) Temp Max 6°C Temp Min -2°C

Tuesday Sunrise 06:01 (GMT) Sunset 18:31 (GMT) Temp Max 4°C Temp Min -4°C

Duane

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44F here right now on the east side of N.Y. Past 2 days have been VERY, VERY windy!

The d. adelae are blooming, the sarrs are about to bloom, VFTs are well into their wakeup. Ahhh, spring is really here!

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April 1, 2008.

6-week update.

springicon.gif

Finally its really Spring! icon_smile_big.gif

As I said above, "officially" Spring begins with the Spring Equinox, which was a few weeks ago.

But here in Western, NY, the calendar doesn't hold much sway with the seasons..

the seasons do what they like, and pretty much ignore the calendar.

As a life-long New York stater, I have my own views on when the actual seasons are! ;)

according to my calendar, Spring begins today! April 1st!

because March is the fifth, and last, month of Winter.

check it out:

seasons.gif

Here are some pics for the First day of Spring..

CP2008-037.jpg

First, the "outdoor report"..we have actual signs of Spring outdoors!

The snowdrops popped up about a week ago..the first actual flowers of Spring.

CP2008-038.jpg

And the daffodils and tulips have broke the surface..flowers are still weeks away however,

but its a good sign!

CP2008-031.jpg

Still a bit cold for the CPs to be out though..

CP2008-032.jpg

Notice that bright fluorescent green of the VFTs..thats actually a bad thing..

it shows they arent getting nearly enough light, there should be lots of Red coloration in there! Windowsills might SEEM bright, but they arent..and these are even SOUTH facing windows that get several hours of direct sun a day! its the most possible natural light I can give them indoors! but even with some direct light, its still not nearly enough..the sun is filtered through layers of glass, and they dont get the all-day duration, because the sides of the windows cause the plants to be in shade for much of the day..

yes, the plants are doing ok..but they could be even better..they really need to be outside..

soon..soon..

CP2008-033.jpg

The binata seems happy!

CP2008-034.jpg

The VFT's have been open for business for weeks..even catching some bugs!

but so far only three Sarracenia pitchers have opened...thats ok, no hurry.

CP2008-035.jpg

CP2008-036.jpg

And thats the update for April 1st...6 weeks into the growing season.

When can they go outside??

sometime in the next one to three weeks hopefully..

I have been watching the forecasts, and I will put the plants outdoors when I first see a 5-day forecast that

shows every night-time low above 35 degrees F. (+2C)

basically, nights above freezing..not quite there yet..but soon:

april1weather-1.gif

hmmm..actually, those night-time lows look pretty good!

a low of 30 forecast for next Sunday..thats slightly below freezing, and would probably bring some frost with it,

but the plants could handle one 30-degree night just fine..

but..

im not ready to trust it yet..

temps that warm this early in the spring could easily be just a fluke..

snow and freezing temps is not uncommon in April.

I think that forecast is just a tease! ;)

its very likely there will be still be temps in the 20's in April..

The next update will however probably be the day they go outside! icon_smile_big.gif

as I said, one to three weeks should do it..

Scot

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I live in belgium and have all my sars outside year round, but this year the fluctations in the weather are really giving all of them a hard time.

For example first we have a beautifull sunny warm spring day and than the same night it gets below freezing and the next day its 7° (celcius) max

I hope it gets better soon

back on topic your vft's look very healthy already

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April 6, 2008.

7-week update.

springicon.gif

The day has arrived! The plants are going outside for the season! :sarcastic_hand::thumbsup::D

It's a week or two earlier than most years, but I will take it!

Here is the forecast for the next 5 days:

april1weather-2.gif

Every nightly low is above freezing,

days in the mid 50's to mid 60's (7-13C)

and nights 35 to 45 (2-7C)

Yes, we could still get freeze, frost or snow, but I will deal with that

if/when it happens..meanwhile, the plants will be happy to be outside.

So out they go:

CP2008-039.jpg

CP2008-040.jpg

CP2008-041.jpg

CP2008-042.jpg

CP2008-045.jpg

CP2008-046.jpg

CP2008-047.jpg

Above is a look at the drain hoses coming out of the pots.

CP2008-049.jpg

The rain water collector is back out!

I made this last spring..its very simple.

its a plastic storage bin from Target..cost around $5.

I cut a hole in the cover for the downspout, then a larger hole in the side for the drain.

the drain is a large piece of PVC "elbow"..very cheap at Home Depot.

the excess water flows out the drain, hits the concrete "splash block", which then carries the

excess water away from the foundation.

I also installed a valve at the bottom of the bin, to dispense the water when its needed.

The idea was that I was going to install a piece of clear tubing to that valve fitting,

and when I wanted to collect water in a jug or bucket I would simply put the tube in the buclet and

turn the valve...well, I never actually used it!

because I discovered it was much easier and quicker to simply lift up the top of the bin and submerge the bucket right

in the water! so the valve turned out to be unnecessary engineering..oh well.

Last year I also attempted to build in some mosquito proofing to the bin.

I installed a piece of nylon screening (window screen) to the PVC drain pipe elbow,

sealing the edges with aquarium silicone sealant..didnt work.

the sealant didnt hold well, and I also discovered that if any mosquito larva DO attemt to live in

the bin, the next rain will wash them right out the drain! so mosquito-proofing was also totally unnecessary.

I forgot to take a "before" photo before I set up the bin, but during the off-season I just install the regular

downspout attachment, looks just like this one on the other side of the garage:

CP2008-050.jpg

CP2008-048.jpg

soaking up the sun! :)

CP2008-051.jpg

Calvin spent most of the day outside today, helping us with lots of early-spring yard chores.

The last two pictures are close-ups of some leaves..I will use these to demonstrate "the burn"..

which begins very soon..here are some UN burned leaves, right after the plants went outside:

CP2008-043.jpg

CP2008-044.jpg

these are the leaves that grew indoors during the last 7 weeks..they will soon burn in the intense sun.

the "burn demo" is next..in a week or two.

Scot

Edited by scottychaos

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Nice photos! I'm waiting a bit longer to put mine out, I'm in Poughkeepsie.

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Hi, I know that you will cover this later in the year, but can you tell me about the timing of the cutting down of the Sarrancenia?

I am trying to work out what to do at the end of this year, also, what size in litres are your bogs?

Fix

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Hey Scotty, nice photos and account. It's a shame those leaves will get burnt - I hope you find a way around it one day.

Useful cat you have there! :shock:

Edited by jimfoxy

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