Raising CP

Douglas Wiggins (zoron@nwcs.org)
Sun, 5 Mar 1995 22:01:00 GMT

This is my fourth attempt to send this,
it was originally to Stephanie Digby . . .

Concerning the use of CO2 generated by yeast in sugar solution:

SD:By the way - as long as the yeasts don't bubble out of the container, th
SD:should do no damage, although I am curious as to what would happen if th
SD:into the bog - maybe they would process some of the dead material althou
SD:pH may be too low for the yeast to grow.

The yeast would probably not find much to live on (there are
already yeast there - everywhere - and the fact that they are not
obvious means that they don't thrive as they do in a sugar
solution). However, one should always avoid getting anything which
contains nitrogen into your CP soil mix, as it will provide
nutrients for other organisms which round-out their diet by
digesting the organic components of the soil mix.

I use long-fiber sphagnum moss, which I buy in 4-cubic-foot bales
for $12.50 each from A.H. Hummert (they have a $50 minimum, and the
prices may have gone up since I last purchased). I choose this
medium because it forms large air pockets, which allow the roots to
obtain the oxygen they require for health. When nitrogen-containing
fertilizers get on this material, from overspray when foliar
feeding, or from accidentally fertilizing by forgetting which jug I
have in my hand, the moss begins to break down - it will be
unsuited for my plants within six months or so, where, without
nitrogen, it might last for two years. Yeast contains protein,
which contains nitrogen, so, on top of the fact that it is probably
not a good idea to put sugar water into your terrarium, the yeast
could also contribute a problem by adding nutrients to the soil.
Another thing which happens when there is enough nitrogen is that
the moss gnats (or fungus gnats - the little black flies that
provide the food for many of our Droseras) thrive; actually, it is
the larvae which thrive, and they round-out their diet by eating
the roots of plants (which is none too good for them, and can
actually result in the plant being cut off at ground level). You
would probably have to really give the terrarium a soaking, though,
to really cause problems - a possible scenario for trouble might be
where the person gets an idea to put a container of yeast and
sugar water into the terrarium, possibly too full, and then it grows
so vigorously that it foams over? I don't know what it would take
to cause problems - we may be chasing smoke.

SD:I would appreciate recommendations on catalogs for buying CP's

SD:Does anyone know of a commercial source for live sphagnum?

There have been several mentions of sources for CP in this echo -
if you have the ability to go back a few weeks, you can probably
find them. I have stopped trying to keep up on them, but I did hear
that Peter Paul's is disreputable (to the max).

As for live sphagnum - I would recommend against it, because it is
likely to have all kinds of other live things in it that you really
don't want in your terrarium; besides weeds, there will be any
number of insects and other denizens of the bog world. I really
prefer the dried moss I get from Hummert to the live moss I have
tried - it is easier to store, too, requiring nothing in the way of
special precautions except that it should be kept dry.

-Douglas Wiggins zoron@nwcs.org, Portland, Oregon

ps You will, eventually, read the "Netiquette", but, in the
meantime, allow me to offer a small critique - if you would set
your line length to 72 characters or less, it will allow those
people who have a different configuration from yours to catch
everything you have to say, and will allow people to quote you
without losing anything. I set mine for 67 characters, which I feel
is optimum for these purposes.

Good luck.

 * OLX 2.2 TD * Zoron Research, Inc. - Custom Lampwork (Glassblowing)