Monday, August 6, 2007

Stevia Cuttings Failure

Unfortunately, my Stevia Rebaudiana cuttings are dead for sure. I have already mentioned in one of my previous posts Stevia Cuttings Accident that wind caused my cuttings to fall. I suspect that this fall was crucial for the death of my Stevia cuttings. However, I'll try to propagate my Stevia plants for the second time and I hope this time with more luck!

Stay sweet!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Growing Stevia plants

I'm glad to hear that another fellow Stevia blogger has decided to grow his own sweet leaf. His Stevia Rebaudiana seeds arrived from Germany. It seems that he has already sowed his seeds and I can only wish him luck and a great germination rate.

Fortunately enough, already mentioned(in one of my previous posts) Stevia germination study is here for every future Stevia grower and we can all be thankful to
Goettemoeller, J. and A. Ching for providing us with so much needed information. I advise all wannabe Stevia Rebaudiana gardeners to read this publication carefully. You should take in consideration the effect of light on Stevia seeds germination, i.e. it has been proven that Stevia seeds need light to germinate, so be aware of that while you're sowing your seeds.

Klaus Seistrup, a fellow Stevia blogger, I wish you good luck and a green thumb with your Stevia seeds, hopefully soon to be some gorgeous Stevia plants!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Stevia Cuttings Accident

Bad news, I found my Stevia cuttings on the balcony floor! In this delicate stage I suspect it could very well be the end of them.
We've had some bad weather and very strong wind that created chaos on my balcony garden. Fortunately enough, my Stevia Rebaudiana plants from which I took the cutting are O.K.! Check out my main blog and you'll see that my tomato plants were less fortunate. I'm still counting the casualties, but there's some hope that my cuttings will survive. However, I won't make the same mistake twice, so I brought the cuttings inside where they'll have at least some chance to survive, i.e. root.
In the case they die, I'll be sure to take more cuttings as soon as I can. Next time, my Stevia cuttings will be safely placed inside of my apartment, in controlled environment.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Stevia Rebaudiana Propagation

I have finally taken a few cuttings of my Stevia plants! Allegedly, Stevia cuttings should root easily, but I guess it wouldn't harm to use commercial rooting hormones. However, I haven't done that because I'm interested to see how soon will the cuttings root by itself. Of course, rooting hormone would speed up the process, but I'm in no hurry.

Propagating Stevia by stem cuttings is done in the following manner. Take cuttings about 3 inches long and remove the lower leaves, keeping two or three smaller ones.

In meanwhile I've prepared jiffy peat pellets in which I placed my Stevia cuttings. The cuttings should be placed in a shady place with adequate air humidity.

Stay Sweet!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ready to cut

My Stevia plants are growing fine and as I've mentioned before I plan to propagate them by cuttings. I plan to do that not only because of poor germination rate of Stevia seeds, but because of saving my first Stevia Reabaudiana genetics. By saying this, I do more than hope it wont be the last!
Tomorrow is The day!
Wish me luck and stay sweet!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Seed Germination in Stevia Rebaudiana

A few days ago I stumbled upon an interesting study regarding germination of Stevia Rebaudiana seeds. Germinating those tinny seeds can really be a hassle(as I experienced) and that's why Stevia propagation is usually done by cuttings.
It is pronounced that Poor seed germination is one of the factors limiting large-scale cultivation, what is of special concern for northern growers who must grow this plant as an annual. This study evaluates the influence of pollination treatments as well as the effect of light and darkness during germination of Stevia seeds, so I can advise it to anyone who's about to germinate some Stevia seeds. Maybe it will help you to get better germination rate than I have had with my Stevia seeds!

Stay Sweet!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stevia in Croatia?

Finally, I've found the web site for which I thought was no longer active, as I wrote in one of my earlier posts Stevia Seeds . I'm referring to this site, owned by people who were good enough to provide me with some Stevia Rebaudiana seeds.

I'm not sure if they're still fully active, but I sent them an e-mail to thank them for the seeds once again. They offer some basic information about Stevia Rebaudiana and some Stevia products, like dried Stevia leaves and Stevia extract. The name of the site refers to my country, i.e. Croatia and it seems their target market seems to be in Croatia, as they say in their offer Where you can buy Stevia in Croatia!. On the other hand, there is not a lot of people in Croatia who know about this plant or have even heard about it. It's like a really well kept secret hidden away from common folks. There was some actions taken by green activists in order to educate the people, but unfortunately it was far from enough for people to hear. Nevertheless, it's a praiseworthy effort! As far as I know there's no official Stevia Rebaudiana production or offering in Croatia, so I'll be safe to guess the owners of this site grow or get their Stevia somewhere else.

I call upon them, come to Croatia, spread the word about Stevia Rebaudiana and scatter some seeds across the land, especially if this still stands: Croatia is one of minority countries in the world where is STEVIA recognized as welfare plant of set.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The results of Stevia pinching

After I've topped, i.e. pinched my Stevia plants for the second time, I waited a while for them to heal. Now, they are growing again and I hope that I'll be able to take some cuttings very soon. I've never tried to propagate Stevia Rebaudiana, so it will be a first time for me. Wish me luck!
Here are a few photographs of my Stevia plants that will show you the pinching method and its results, i.e. new growth which will be used for cuttings.

Here's the place where I made the first cut, the top shoot of the plant!

Here's the place where I made the second cut, thus creating four new plant shoots!

Stay Sweet!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Opinion on Stevia Rebaudiana

I was just searching Google for some information regarding this beautiful herb and came upon this interesting publication.
It's titled as an Opinion on Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni Plants and Leaves and its' main purpose is to as they say assess the safety from the consumer health point of view of the leaves of Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni as Novel Food. This opinion is brought by European Commission, i.e. its Scientific Committee on Food.

Interestingly enough, I thought to myself, there's somebody who cares about what we eat, NOT!
If this care should be genuine in any sense, it for sure wouldn't allow a bunch of products you can find in your stores today. We are all overdosed on sugar and salt, bunch of additives and chemicals, yet we find so much supposedly unanswered questions and controversy surrounding one plant. As expected, it is concluded that information submitted on Stevia products was insufficient with regard to specification and standardization of the commercial product and contains no safety studies. There are no satisfactory data to support the safe use of these products as ingredients of food or as sucrose substitute for diabetics and obese individuals.
We shouldn't forget that there are cultures(people) around the world that have used Stevia leaf for generations.
It seems to me that there certainly is a way to gather sufficient information regarding the safety of Stevia usage, but is there will!?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

After the second topping

Here are a few photographs of my Stevia plants, after the second time I've topped them. I hope you'll get better understanding of what I was writing about in my previous post. The plants are still in process of healing, but I hope you'll be able to see what are the results of this pruning method I practice.

Stevia Plant

Stay sweet!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Topping again

After I have pinched(topped) my Stevia for the first time, I had to wait for the plant to heal and produce two new branches, instead of one main stem. That's easily seen from my previous post. Then I waited for a week or two and again cut off the tops of two new branches, just above the second set of new leaves. My main goal is to promote branching, so I can take some cuttings. I have never done that with Stevia and I can only hope I'll have enough cuttings to experiment with!

Wish me luck and stay sweet!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Topping my Stevia plant

There are a few methods you can use to promote branching and one of those is topping your plant. After you pinch the top of your plant, you´ll have to wait for the plant to heal and soon you´ll see the results. Maybe topping is not the best method for this cause, but it´s quite simple and effective. You just have to wait while they heal and soon you´ll have a little bush. I have just done some topping a few days ago, so take a look at this sweet little example.

Stay Sweet!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Seed Germination

How to germinate Stevia seeds: Stevia seeds are so tiny, you have to be extra careful when handling them. What seed germination method to use, was the first dilemma I encountered. After some researching I decided to go with the paper towel method.

Paper towel method
: place seeds you want to germinate in to a moist paper towel. It is a must to keep them in a warm and dark place. To retain moisture, simply put your wet paper towel within a plastic bag and that will do it. At germination, the outside shell of the seed splits and a tiny, white sprout called taproot pops out. When you see those little taproots coming out of the seeds, gently place them(root down) in to the soil and try to keep your soil equally moist for the next few weeks. Over watering presents a big problem in this stage, so be very careful!!!

Stay Sweet!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Stevia Plants

I live in a flat, but still I can find the space and time to grow some beautiful plants. Stevia Rebaudiana has a special place in my garden and as you can see, the plants are pretty small but they are looking great. They are grown totally organic so there will be no problem with possible chemical residues. Soon I´ll be making some 100% home made tea with my own sweet leaf!!!

Here are a few photos of my Stevia plants!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Stevia Seeds

A few years ago I watched a TV documentary about this beautiful plant called Stevia Rebaudiana. That was the first time ever I heard anything about this plant. An old man, a nutritionist by vocation explained the basic properties of this herb and its medicinal importance. That´s when I became highly interested in this amazing herb and started my research.
For a passionate herb grower the logic step was to get some seeds and try growing this plant, and that´s exactly what I did. In my country that seemed impossible. It seemed that almost nobody heard of Stevia and those who have, failed to cultivate it. I decided to continue my search via internet and after a few months, BINGO! It looks like the website I got my seeds from is no longer active, but I have to thank them one more time! They sent me the seeds for the first time, but something went wrong, I guess. I contacted them and informed them about the whole no seeds situation, so they kindly sent another package and now I grow my own Stevia! And by the way, the seeds I got were for free!!!

Good people, thanks again!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Sweet Leaf Stevia

This is just one of many great herbs known to mankind, yet it is not the only one surrounded with so much controversy. I will try to create a log of my stevia garden and hopefully provide you some useful information(growing tips, cooking recipes, science articles...) regarding this beautiful herb.

Stay sweet!!!