Sunday, November 4, 2012

Research into Custom Natural Habitats 3: Growing Moss

My black silicone came in, finally!  So now that I've started putting substrate to the foam, I'm looking into my next step; growing moss.

Since my attempt at transplanting moss failed epically, I'm trying the 'moss paint' method.  There are a couple different recipes I came across: moss and beer, moss and buttermilk, moss and plain yogurt.  I chose yogurt as it was cheap, it came in a small format, and to me it would have a more paint-like consistency over the other two options.

I also read and interesting idea on (a forum for caudata enthusiasts) that involves using fish emulsion fertilizer to jump-start the moss' growth.  After doing a little searching, I found that one of the local types of fish emulsion is Muskie 5-1-1 fertilizer.  I had a hard time pinning it down in stores, most likely because it's November.  Finally found some at Marlin's Orchard; a very nice orchard and garden store just outside of town.

The recipe I used is as follows:
-1 cup of plain yogurt
-3/4 cup of moss clumps
-couple pea-sized globs of fish emulsion

Blend thoroughly and apply to surface. Mist daily and keep in a cool, shady spot.

I also went one step further and decided to apply some fish emulsion as a base before pouring on the mixture.

See here is what the mixture looked like once blended.  I think I may up the moss ration; the mixture was pretty thin.
 Just as an experiment, I applied it to four different surfaces, coating half the surface with fish emulsion and leaving the other half bare.  My four materials are a piece of fire wood, a flat stone, a brick, and a plastic cover.  This way, I can determine what my moss will grow on, and if pouring it over fish emulsions will make it grow faster or not.

Not shown is the plastic cover experiment.
Note: I've read that mould will appear, but that it doesn't mean that the moss is ruined.  I guess the moss will grow in after.

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