Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Harvesting Geraniums with FirstNations!

One of the onerous tasks associated with growing geraniums is stripping and grooming. Now by that I do not mean what you think I mean; no, I mean getting naked and actually taking a bath instead of spritzing on a half gallon of Chanel and calling it French. Actually no, I really mean getting the product market ready. For most people this means getting naked and calling a Frenchman to harvest your geraniums for you, which doesn't make anyone happy and is not sanitary. This is where technology can help you.

Anyone with access to a machine shop and scrap steel can make this simple, elegant and highly effective tool which can handle everything down to the daintiest bud:
This highly technical tool is called: a piece of metal with some holes in it.

The one I saw was made out of 1/4 inch thick stainless steel angle stock. The draw holes had first been bored on a drill press, and then the guy had taken a mandrel and gauged them out wider by whamming it through from the back of the face plate (he made four different sized holes.) Using a mandrel also makes the burr on the outer side crown up nice and high, which is what you want. To finish he simply took a rat tail file and filed the crowns nice and sharp. And there you have it!

You can clamp this to a table, or use nails or screws to attach it to your work surface. It cuts off the leaf material like a knife; you get very little waste. (Hint: to be really effective, the stems should first be de-budded and then drawn through top first, against the curve of growth.)

The tinier holes stem the buds neatly. Feed them through stem end first; duh. The lower portions drop off and the top pops off in one piece.

An unexpected side benefit of this tool is that you can periodically scrape off the face of the draw plate with a razor or exacto and collect honest to crap hash. Yeah, it will be harsh because of the chlorophyll and frag. Knock a couple bucks off the price. It's still bonus cash, and it has the added benefit of not having passed through the hands of a nine year old kid who wipes his ass with his fingers.

I hope this has been helpful. I know I've spend many an hour bitching and clipping hunks of skin off the sides of my fingers wishing I had a goddamn clue, so I offer this as a public service to those of you who labor in ignorance as I once did. You'll still have to do a little scissors and clippers work, but nothings perfect; and there won't be any Frenchmen involved. Yay!


  1. I use the Jenna Jameson Hot Trimmer on them.

    Same thing I use in my capacity as Official Beard and Body Hair Groomer to World Champion Stephen Neal.

  2. ah yes... the lazy mans machine... unfortunately i do enjoy watching the naked asian minions i have in my factory slaving away---


    i mean, with such a picky and choosy market these days it would be a shame to waste even the tiniest bit of strawberry cough, purple koolaid, sage and sour or trainwreck....

    i do love growing my flowers... lots and lots of flowers... the post was very informative and fun!!

  3. I love the staff in your graphics department.

    I just let my Gerraniums go because the Frenchmen turn their nose up at my Canadian Dollars because they want to be paid in Quebecois Argent ((pffft)) "silly wipers of other people's bottoms!"

    I should sell all of the spent GeRANIUM 'Pellets' to that Al Kayda feller?

    Besides, I find Gernaiums very hard to keep lit.

  4. Geraniums? that's some kind of plant right?

  5. mj: and it comes complete with little stencils! I want my geraniums clipped in the shape of a sexxxy chili pepper, please!

    voices: oh you luddite. fine. get all green and scuzzy. but wouldn't you really rather they called you 'Stinkfinger' for another reason?

    donaldo: the staff love you too X! *clips some geraniums in shape of sexxy valentine heart for coppens*

    tick: Geraniums are #32 on the periodic table of elements. so much for the UK supposedly having the highest standard of public education in the world.

  6. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Well shoot, I will try posting again. My only experience with Geraniums were the ones my grandmother grew in pots on her front porch or kitchen window. She would not cut them, just preferred to watch them bloom. They smell rather astringent. Who grows that many geraniums for commercial applications? Retro

  7. You should see the garage I have. I have all these tools and probably one not unlike the one you demonstrated - I however still labor in ignorance. I do have a favorite screwdriver that doesn't always fit the screw I am trying to move....why is that.

  8. okay, here's a question:

    is sterilizing seeds important in germinating seeds?

    (i'm not planting geraniums)

  9. Harvesting Geraniums?


    you can't eat them.

    Jeezus, things have slipped since I've been away.

  10. I had to read this 3 times before i figured out you weren't actually talking about geraniums. i couldn't figure out why you need to strip geraniums. i've grown geraniums, and while they need good sun and regular pruning and dead-heading, they certainly don't need any of the treatment that you describe here. very confusing.

  11. Mrs Chaucer, i read this like, 7 times, and still don't get it.

  12. i blame it on my third world country upbringing

  13. anon: well....there ya go. if only she'd known, huh?

    gale: reeeeeeeeeeeeally. ever think about supplementing your income by turning one of those empty rooms into a....hm....little farm? re the screwdriver-i have the same damn set.

    trees: sterilizing? honey, i never messed with seeds much. try growing a nice mother plant and then taking side cuttings and sticking them. in your climate they should take off like fireworks.

    frobi: long time no see, beloved ratso! did you smell the geraniums blooming? furthermore, do you have any idea what young Treespotter is talking about by 'sterlizing' seeds?? cuz I don't. give the kid some advice, dearest one!

    Mrs. CB: the part about 'hash' should have clued you in. of course, you're probably pretty sleep deprived lately....

    Trees: oh get real. you're probably toasted again.;)

  14. problem is, i don't have the tree. i just have the seeds, and i need them germinated so i can grow trees.

    i'm not toasted. yet.

  15. Anonymous9:29 AM

    I have no idea why you would want to do this. Whats it for?

  16. you're right about the sleep deprivation, but for all the wrong reasons. *scratches eyes until they bleed some more*

  17. Trees: sweetheart, have you ever started tomatoes from seed? its just exactly the same as tomatoes. go to any gardening site and look it up if you're leery about having 'how to grow geraniums from seed' on your search history...although that 'how to' out there too, of course.

    muttley: oh dear. do i need to email you, or have you been into the geraniums too?

  18. trees: BTW, WHERE ARE YOU NOW, DUDE? you have a bunch of weird blogs up and its all very complicated trying to visit you.

  19. okay, in my peculiarly third world country case, i can't go to shops to find seeds or living trees. In fact, i don't think there are that many countries in the world where i could get what i need, plus the logistics of traveling with the acquired seeds. so i have only dried up seeds to work with and need to figure out how to germinate it. It doesn't have flowers, but it smells nice.

    Treespotting, that's all i do. the other blogs are distractions for my more random shit (i'm removing them from my profile page).

  20. Is "stripping and grooming" anything like "spreading and popping?"

  21. OH yes, there it is next to unobtanium.

  22. I love Geraniums, I can't pass them by without rubbing off on a leaf. Plant red ones outside yer front door to ward off evil.

  23. D'oh

    Sterilze seeds - put teaspoon of household bleach in glass of water - put in seeds and allow to soak overnight (kills of any mildew/nasties on outside). Then transfer to damp paper towels and keep damp in a dark place.

  24. frobisher: question, would any seed work, or is there a particular way to identify one would work and others won't? (i have giant baskets of them, so there's a lot to work on).

  25. trees: otay!

    champ: if by 'spreading and popping' you mean 'hydrogenating and ramming', then yes. yes it does.

    tick: you need to go down another row and look up 'badpartoftowninium' which is two over from 'carparkbehindbarite'

    knudson: and here i thought i had a snail problem.

    frobi: thenkew! what he said, Trees.

    trees: the way to sort out the deaders is, when you put them in the soaking water, the floaters are dead. skim them off. you can't really tell whos a girl and whos a boy until they start growing, and i forget how to do that. see frobi.

  26. boy plants generaly grow faster and will sprout little tiny tiny nuts (ask knudsen about those) and girly plants will sprout little pube like hairs (see mj about those)... dont let them mix of course or you will have geraniums full of more seeds and no beautiful flowers.

  27. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Girl, I've missed so much while on my vacation!I didn't mix with many wacko-brains of the kind I encounter in these parts!
    Nice to be home again...

  28. Do you make the left over leaves into butter FN? I love to make butter and bake green chocolate chip cookies. Yum! Baked goods rock and they sell well too.

  29. ~~I am completely confused not , when you have mauled your geraniums into shedded stuff , then what happens ???

  30. voices: thank you!

    dinah: don't let the napoleon costume fool you. we're all quite normal here. ignore the prosthetic limbs. ignore the jam. IGNORE THE SEA LIONS!!!!

    joy: even better, I make Alice B. Toklas fudge with them! go search that phrase on my blog and you'll come up with the recipe for it!

    beast: *sighs heavily*

  31. Going to search for the majikal fudge recipe a la Alice B. Toklas right now. Baking is fun.

  32. you can also make a top-notch toddy by soaking leaves and some small amount of flower material in liqueur (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liqueur) of chosen flavueur. my uncle did a gran marnier soak that was quite nice at the y2k turn - the fireworks over the pv bay were simply fascinating...

  33. btw, i consider it a compliment that you thought i plant tomatoes. that makes me sound really cute.

    i'm testing the seeds. if it works, i'm gonna need brownies lesson soon.

  34. joy: its really delicious AND nutritious!

    sEa: I've had something really similar, more like an infusion in homemade blackberry wine. it was on the thick side, but got tastier the further down the bottle you got!

    trees: you DON'T grow tomatoes? gracious.

  35. I have just installed iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.