Monthly Archives: October 2014

Deformed Purple Coneflower

Deformed Purple ConeflowerI have a deformed  Purple Coneflower in my garden, actually I have more than one but not too many.  There seem to be two different types of deformity. The first is that they don’t fully bloom but they have lots of potential flowers on them.  This picture is one manifestation of what is going on with these strange purple coneflowers.  This picture is showing lots of small buds coming out of the main Echinacea flower bud.

Another Deformed Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower Unusual GrowthAnother picture of this strange behavior of a deformed purple coneflower is where the buds grow right out of the main bud without putting out any stems.  In some plants these buds are very compact and grow close to the flower’s center. In all of these Echinacea samples the main flower bud never fully blooms.  This damage is slightly different from the first picture.

More Unusual Echinacea

Purple Coneflower UnusualHere is a another picture of what is happening where the buds are coming more out of the main flower bud.  This is more similar to the first picture above.  After doing some research on the internet I found that the damage could be caused by a eriophyid mite or by a viral type disease called Yellow Asters that is spread by a leaf hopper.  Both these problems are discussed as possible causes of a deformed purple coneflower.  The article says that experts are still sorting this out.

Remove Deformed Plants

Purple EchinaceaOne way to deal with this is to remove the plants from your garden.  I haven’t done that because I was so bewildered to see these deformities in the garden and they were few and far between.  I would just look at them and wonder where in the world did this come from??  Is it some genetic damage from the environment??  Fortunately this isn’t the case and from now on the minute I see this damage I will remove the plant.  If anyone has any other feedback I would be happy to hear from you! I have include a picture above of a purple coneflower just so you can compare a normal purple coneflower to a deformed purple coneflower.

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Growing Winter Lettuce

Growing Winter Lettuce ContainerGrowing winter lettuce is one of my projects this year.  But not outside!  I went to the thrift store to buy something to plant it in.  You need to be creative as you look around in the thrift store.  I came up with this orange plastic container.  It seems like a perfect shape to me–rectangular with lots of space.  One great advantage to me is that it is not too large.  I will be able to carry it into the house when it gets too cold outside.

There is a label on my container–Trofast.  Online I found that this is used as part of a toy storage system by IKEA.  It wasn’t a great bargain at the thrift store so if I want more I will just buy them at IKEA.  But I didn’t know they existed so that was a great ah-ha experience!  They actually sell them in a shorter depth which might also work fine for growing lettuce.  My container is 9 3/4 inches deep and the smaller one is 4 3/4 inches.

Growing Winter Lettuce With Drainage

Holes Drilled in Cheap PlanterI need some drainage in my container for growing winter lettuce.  My husband drilled small holes around the bottom and in the bottom.  The next thing that I needed was something to catch any excess water that comes out of the drainage holes.  I found the perfect size cookie sheet to fit under my container!  So my whole purchase came to $5 and I discovered the source of more improvised planting containers!

Mixture of Potting Soil and Worm Compost

I used a mixture of potting soil mixed with worm compost for the planting medium.  I planted Baby Mesclun lettuce which is a mixture of lettuces.  I also planted a few onions from seed just to try them as as experiment.  I will post later with an update on this project of growing winter lettuce.