From Acorn to NutJob.

Posted: 25th December 2008 by bryant in Valley Oak

So I really am going to talk about trees and plants that I am trying to grow in my cube. You may not think this is very interesting but I have had the most frustrating time trying to germinate and grow various trees and plants.

It all started with acorns that I collected from a large oak tree on the campus of the University of Utah. I will include pictures later.. Anyway, I collected about 50 of these little acorns and brought them home for the winter. I read on other sites that you are supposed to winterize them by placing them in a zip lock bag with some sawdust and moisture and storing them in your refrigerator crisper over the winter. I had most of them in the crisper, and a few in the freezer.

After about a month I decided to attempt a germination. So I get some cups and put some potting soil in them and I thought I had a pretty good system. I put the acorns in the dirt, set them on the shelf of my cube and let nature take its course. The problem was, I was not letting nature take its course. As you read my blog, you will see that I am not very good at letting things alone and this lead to my first failed batch. You see, it was about 2 weeks after I planted the acorns that I dug them up to see what they were doing.

They were just fine and had already germinated but I ended up killing the delicate roots with all my digging. One batch down. I decided the problem with the dirt in the cups was that it was too dirty. I was curious about the status of these cool little acorns, so I had a brilliant idea. Have you ever seen the crystals that you can buy for vases and flowers where the water is absorbed in these clear crystals? Well, I went out and got some clear glasses and filled them with this crystal stuff and I thought I was the coolest guy ever. I sat and watched a dozen or so acorns as they germinated and began to grow. It was really cool and I wish I had some pictures to share because a few of them even grew trunks and were about 2 inches tall before I transplanted them to soil.

Once in the soil, the trees stopped growing taller and I assumed something was wrong. So once again I dug them up and found that the tap root was growing just fine and I once again destroyed these poor little trees. I didn’t kill them all but I did kill a few. Keep in mind that I do have cube mates and one in particular thought I was insane for trying to go against nature. They reminded me often that the oak tree in their back yard was so successfully on its own that they mowed starts in the grass all the time. The constant mocking was received well and we still laugh about it today. (mostly because I am still trying to grow trees,, unsuccessfully.)

This is about the time when the fungus gnats moved in. I can’t even begin to tell you how awful it was to be responsible for the infestation of hundreds of tiny gnats flying around the office. My cube was obviously plastered with them but they also flew into the other cubes and annoyed everyone. I tried all kinds of pesticides and other indoor approved methods to kill the little beasts. I even had sticky papers on and around the containers and it was disgusting to come to work and see hundreds of gnats stuck to yellow cards. I eventually took the pots outside where the trees were quickly killed by the hot July sun.

That was the end of the first round. I emptied the pots and hid them in my cube in shame. That was last year, stay tuned for more about this year.

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