Crypts, tubs, mud, sunlight, jars for winter
Here's an idea I borrowed from a couple articles in the TAG back issues:
A guy described how he grew Crypts in a green house by filling an old
tub with mud he made from composted Beech leaves from a local forest.
This mud was very high in organics and tannins and the mud was the consistency
of runny pudding. Several inches of the mud was placed in a suitable
container and covered with a few inches of water and planted with Crypts.
The water was so strongly colored by the tannins that it was almost
impossible to see through but the Crypts grew like crazy! This was left
in more or less direct sunlight (although I think they were using a
green house) The Crypts grew and propagated and soon the emergent types
had surfaced. The author of the article was able to get the most difficult
Crypts to flower using this method. No fertilization was required and no
CO2 was required. The mud supplied all the CO2 necessary. At one point he
mentioned gases forming in the mud if it were covered with something so
this illustrates how Crypts are completely adapted to growing with their
roots in a highly anaerobic (reducing) environment.
There wasn't a problem with algae; presumably the high tannin content
inhibited the algaes. The author mentioned occassional blue-green algaes
forming on the surface which had to be removed.
Now this is not the typical aquarium environment with fish, filters,
artificial lights and a glass display tank in your living room. :-)
One problem I can foresee for many of us living in non-tropical climates
is what to do in winter. If we had heated green houses, we could continue
to grow a variety of plants all year round but this made me think of
another TAG article by Paul Krombholz about putting your excess
aquarium plants up on the shelf. Paul, as many of us are, was faced with
a growing collection of aquatic plants and insufficient space in his
aquariums to keep them all. He solved his problem but putting many
species into containers of various sizes and growing them on his window
sills and shelves. Those that could grow emersed, he did so. Most
required very little fertilization since they were able to extract
all their vital requirements from the mud they were grown in. The idea
was not to produce prodigious growth but to keep those plants just
growing so that they could be propagated again should the need ever
arise. The same idea could be applied to Crypts to over winter them
couldn't it? Paul, did you ever apply this technique to Crypts?
How did it work out?
My mental image of Paul Krombholz's house is getting quite refined now.
I see a kitchen with a couple of bins of composting soil with an
aromatic, earthy odor! There is a large tub of soil soup and various
pots of mud and window screens. All the walls of the living room
have large fish tanks filled with tropical green aquatic plants.
Every window of his house is crammed with canning jars with a wild
array of green things growing out of them. The bookshelves of his
rooms abound with stacks of musty old books and periodicals upon
which are piled yet more pickle jars and glass containers of all
descriptions. And here is Paul looking a bit like the absent minded
professor puttering about in a tweed jacket with elbow patches. ;-)
Steve in Vancouver with perfect 23C weather!