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A lovely display of ink caps have sprouted up on my rockery after layering it in wood chips last spring:
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Summer is almost here and we are all ready for those long summer day and warm summer nights. Here are some great DIY backyard ideas that will get your backyard all ready to celebrate summer!

#Backyard #DIY

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GERMINATION OF DATE PALM SEEDS
P McShea, W McShea



Date palm seeds of Medjool dates, Phoenix dactylifera, were saved from the 2014 Christmas feast. Towards the end of March they were encouraged to germinated by wrapping them in a damp cloth, placing this in a re-sealable polythene bag and leaving this in a warm part of the kitchen for 5 weeks. After this time 17 had germinated with primary roots of about 2cm. No shoots were evident. They were transplanted into small pots and left for a further 4 weeks after which time 10 had produced shoots. They were transplanted again to much larger containers and it was obvious that they had produced very long primary roots and only a few secondary ones. The original date pips were still attached and continued to play a part in plant growth - 2 of the seedlings were not re-potted properly and the seed case was left above the soil. Noticeably the growth rate of these two did not match the others.

The plants were measured at weekly intervals and graphs of height vs time were plotted.
As expected they produced straight line graphs (plants 3 and 4). Plant 5 was re-potted with the seed case above the soil. It shows a slower rate of growth until week 7 when the 2nd leaf grew.

The appearance of 2nd leaves was independent of the height of the first leaf.
This Christmas we intend to eat more dates.
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My son told me he saw nats comming from my garlic braid, upon investigation I found no nats... nothing... later in the week I havested a head for dinner and clove after clove was completly powder. I haven't found another affcted head... now to investigate how to avoid this... I thought garlic repelled everything #garlic #growinggarlic #bugsingarlic

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Observations on Red Wine Fermentation
W McShea

Whilst fermenting 23 litres of red wine (Merlot) the process was followed by counting bubbles of CO₂ from the air trap every minute. The strain of yeast used in fermentation was Saccaromyces bayanus (Lalvin EC1118) which shows a tolerance over a wide range of temperatures from about 10°C to 30°C. I have used it successfully down to 8° after which the wine 'stops'.

The graph of morning activity shows an unstable response to outside stimuli. This could be due to:

Gross temperature changes affecting the dimensions of the equipment.
Changes in atmospheric pressure between a denser, cooler air mass in the morning resulting in lower measurements of the fermentation.


In the last 3 days morning activity was faster than the evening rate. Possible causes of this could be yeast cells tolerant to high levels of alcohol have a higher rate of anaerobic metabolism. Yeast cells intolerant to high levels of alcohol being more efficient at reproduction and consequently dominating the fermentation process in the first 6 days.









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Development issues identified in flowering Digitalis purpurea
P McShea, W McShea

Digitalis purpurea is otherwise known as the common foxglove or purple foxglove. It is a member of the genus Digitalis and is widespread throughout Northern Europe. It is biennial. Typically it produces its flowers in the two months June and July of the second year. It matures firstly at the base of the flower stalk working up towards the growing tip. Tall one-sided spires of pendant, tubular, bright rosy-purple flowers 6cm long and spotted within, develop in the summer. Seeds, flowers and buds are all present at the same time.

Observations

Populations of foxgloves that were growing wild on level ground had flowers that were arranged in a symmetrical pattern around the whole of the flower stalk. However on steeply sloping ground flowers were developing only on the downslope side. Our sample listed below were on a north facing slope and consequently the only mature flowers were those facing North.

Seed capsules were forming on the bottom third of the flower stem, flowers were in the middle but only on one side (downslope). Buds were seen developing around the whole of the upper quarter of the stalk.

The data below was measured on 6 plants:

Buds Flowers Seeds Total parts

Plant 1 23 14 45 82

Plant 2 44 35 110 189

Plant 3 20 14 48 82

Plant 4 17 13 19 49

Plant 5 58 19 81 158

Plant 6 15 9 50 74


The following table represents percent parts to the cumulative total:

Buds Flowers Seeds

Plant 1 28% 17% 54%

Plant 2 23% 18% 58%

Plant 3 24% 17% 58%

Plant 4 34% 26% 38%

Plant 5 36% 12% 51%

Plant 6 20% 12% 67%


5 out of 6 plants could support10% to 20% of flowers at one time
All of the plants could support 20% to 36% of buds
5 out of 6 plants could support 54% to 67% of seeds

More work in following years would refine this data


























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