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  #1  
Old 07-24-2019, 11:50 AM
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I have received private messages and even emails, criticizing me for the way I often recommend KelpMax.

Since folks have a really bad understanding of the benefit of KelpMax and think that I push it because I sell it, let me take a moment and describe why I do, and how it came to pass.

I spent most of my career in the chemical industry, so my natural bent, when seeking to improve my orchid growing, is to ask "what can I add...".

For years, I was a big proponent of synthetic hormone products, such SuperThrive and Dyna-Gro K-L-N. I always found it curious that some folks thought they were good while others thought they were a waste of money, so I started doing some research. It turns out that in order to make the synthetic hormones water soluble, they have to converted into mineral salts, which have the unfortunate property of being chemically unstable, especially if exposed to elevated temperatures or light. The owner of Dyna-Gro told me that a fresh batch of K-L-N, if kept at room temperature and in the dark, will be viable for about a year. If left hot, in the greenhouse, it might be a matter of weeks. I could be wrong here, but I think that me discussing that fact publicly on orchid forums led them to put an expiration date on the bottle - they sure didn't while I was one of their distributors.

Anyway, if you consider trucking, warehousing and length of time a bottle may sit on the shelf, it's hard to say whether YOUR bottle is any good or not, and I believe that explained the differences of opinion.

Then I decided to research natural stimulants, and that opened up a whole new variety of knowledge for me.

After about a year of information seeking, especially for studies that backed up the marketing claims, I stumbled upon a kelp product that looked to be very good on paper, so contacted the producer. It took about 18 months of repeated emails and telephone calls, but they finally relented and put me in touch with their US importer. They were nice enough to send me a sample. I contacted the producer's technical folks for advice on its use in orchids, and the simple answer was "we have no experience with them". They did recommend that I start with a 1:400 dilution (more dilute being worthless) and if I didn't see any results in a month, try 1:300 and wait a month, etc. Being a rather impatient sort of guy, I decided I'd try something convenient - a tablespoon per gallon (1:256).

Then I got scared of experimenting with my precious orchids. So...I decided my tropical houseplants would be my "guinea pigs", and treated them one time.

About 4-6 weeks later, I noticed the dracaenas all starting new growths from the bases, with lots of new branching from older stalks. My aglaonemas (Chinese Evergreens) all bloomed, as did a spathyphyllum my wife had gotten in a "funeral dish garden" some 15 years earlier, which had never rebloomed in that entire time. "OK, let's try the greenhouse."

When I lived in PA and had a greenhouse, I grew a lot of vandaceous plants in baskets, hung up high. They provided shade for the plants below. I watered them with KelpMax once at the beginning of April (the time they usually started active growth after winter up there) and again two weeks later. A mature vanda or ascocenda would typically put out 6 to 8 new root tips (new roots from the stem or branches to existing roots) in the spring under my conditions, but that year the average was 40! At that point I started using it on everything in the greenhouse and was quite amazed at the growth, which was like nothing I'd seen in about 35 years of orchid-growing. First Rays was in business about 17 years at that point, and I thought "other orchid growers will LOVE this!", so I went back to the distributor for pricing and availability.

The produced said that they would not allow me to resell it. They have a worldwide distribution network selling to farms, vineyards, etc., and they didn't want anyone taking business away from them. After about 6 months of negotiating, they allowed me to retail the product under my own trade name.

I buy the product by the pallet and repackage it for resale. My first pallet took 18 months to resell. The next 5 pallets averaged about a year each. The batch I currently have in stock was received in April, and have already sold over 80% of it - mostly to repeat customers.

When I retired from the chemical industry, downsized and relocated to North Carolina, I planned on retiring from orchids and closing First Rays, as well, so I started seeking other vendors willing to carry KelpMax, K-Lite, and (then) Inocucor Garden Solution, so it would still be available to the hobby orchid grower. At the time, I was the sole outlet for K-Lite and got Kelley's Korner to pick it up - you'll note there are 4 or 5 vendors now. When I contacted the KelpMax producer about qualifying another vendor, they stated unequivocally that if I stopped retailing it, they would not authorize another. I couldn't let such a good product just go away, so decided to continue with it. Likewise Inocucor (now Concentric Ag) asked me to keep selling their product, and as I use K-Lite, I thought I'd keep that, as well.

The bottom line is that I sell them because I know they work, and if I didn't, the hobby grower would lose valuable tools for their arsenal, and not for any other reason.
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Last edited by Ray; 07-24-2019 at 11:53 AM..
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2019, 01:32 PM
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AnonYMouse AnonYMouse is offline
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This forum was started by Marty for his commercial endeavour and other members use the classified section so I don't have an issue with your promoting your products.

I don't know exactly what people are writing you but they have the option of not reading your posts, not purchasing your products.

Your advice is sound. I've seen some squirrelly advice from others and if they can continue to post I don't mind a little self promotion to get good advice.
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  #3  
Old 07-24-2019, 04:32 PM
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SouthPark SouthPark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray View Post
The bottom line is that I sell them because I know they work, and if I didn't, the hobby grower would lose valuable tools for their arsenal, and not for any other reason.
I have no problem with you encouraging the use of that product or even promoting it for sale.

Your explanation sounds just fine. You definitely had been looking into this and researching it thoroughly.

People shouldn't be sending private messages of criticism about this particular thing in the first place.
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  #4  
Old 07-24-2019, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthPark View Post
People shouldn't be sending private messages of criticism about this particular thing in the first place.
Or anything if you ask me.

This is a public forum. If you don't like what's going on here, you should either express it publicly or leave. There are a few out there I abandoned years ago.
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  #5  
Old 07-25-2019, 09:22 AM
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I'm glad you've advertised your product here. If you hadn't then I probably would have never heard of it and wouldn't have been able to benefit from its use.
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  #6  
Old 07-25-2019, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray View Post
Or anything if you ask me.
Well, if you ask me ...... it depends on situation. In your case, the posts and comments you write are based on very good experience, and are sensible/logical. So normally, I wouldn't expect anybody to send private messages to you for criticising you on anything particular - or anything at all.

And - I think that if any user did have an issue about something ----- then they should just private message an admin/mod, rather than disturb some other user with a private message of criticism.

For sure --- there is a private messaging system, but it shouldn't be abused. And I believe that the private messaging should only be used if the receiving-side is the one that publicly-requests the other side to private message (for example during a thread discussion).

Last edited by SouthPark; 07-25-2019 at 06:40 PM..
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:21 AM
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I wouldn't worry about it Ray. After getting the basics of culture correct (air, water & light) your products actually work and I'm glad to have a trusted place to buy them.

Bill
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:13 PM
Swimmingorchids Swimmingorchids is offline
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I've never used your product and not planning to as I live in UK but we have millions of seaweed fertilizers here ranging from cheap to expensive.

Never been too interested but I am struggling to root a plant that I've had for 20 years at the moment. I am a bit lost - I know how to succeed but it would involve killing the mother plant so that is last resort. I've never had this problem before and have read that seaweed extract might help.

Apparently if you take a leaf, cut if off the plant, spray it with seaweed extract, the leaf will dry up and turn brown - except where you sprayed it.

I have added calcium for now as it was calcium deficient - might have to give this magical seaweed extract a try if I can't succeed in a week.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimmingorchids View Post
I've never used your product and not planning to as I live in UK but we have millions of seaweed fertilizers here ranging from cheap to expensive.
You really don't want a "seaweed fertilizer", you want a biostimulant. If you find one, don't remove a leaf and hope to get it to survive. You're better off soaking the entire plant in a solution for a few hours, then keeping it in maximum RH.

Most products sold as seaweed fertilizers have been degraded enough in processing that there is little left beyond the mineral nutrients.
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimmingorchids View Post
I am struggling to root a plant that I've had for 20 years at the moment.
What sort of plant? Got pics of it?

Over here ..... I use 'ezi-root gel'. It's definitely good for stimulating root growth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimmingorchids View Post
I know how to succeed but it would involve killing the mother plant
What sort of procedure would that be?

Last edited by SouthPark; 07-26-2019 at 07:00 PM..
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