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Thieves Jargon

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Jennifer Holan

Jennifer Holan lives and writes in the grand city of Chicago. She is currently a student in Bennington College's MFA program.

Questions from Teen Growth.com
Answers from The African Violet Society of America, Inc.

A group of girls in my class have suddenly ganged up against me because they have become friends with a girl that doesn't like me. Now they criticize everything I do, and it's so irritating. What do I do?

They probably are gnats, shore flies, or fruit flies. This time of year they can be very persistent because they are coming in from outside, often with garden vegetables and fruits. Most of these pests need a damp place to breed. Cleaning reservoirs and allowing them to go dry for several days can be helpful. Garbage disposals, ripening vegetables and any moist area should also be checked and kept as meticulously clean as possible. Once you have eliminated the likely breeding areas you can treat with one of the brand-name pest sprays that are recommended for use indoors for gnats and flies. It will require persistence until frost outside decreases the population. Happy Growing!

What would be the normal events during my development? Why do I get so moody? My mom says I'm a rebel. Is there anything wrong with me?

Temperatures can affect the expression of color in a blossom. If your growing area is significantly warmer now than it was when your violet first bloomed, there is a chance that the color will return when it is cooler again. But, if you are noting red patches on the undersides of the leaves where there previously was no red color, then this is more likely a permanent mutation. Happy Growing!

Exactly what is an orgasm?

I had a similar question this summer. The name for the phenomenon is "guttation." Some plants have the ability to exude sap at special openings on the edges of the leaves. The sap is pushed out of the plants at night because of high root pressure. The pressure is created when there is a high level of dissolved salts (fertilizer, minerals etc.) in the roots. Water moves into the roots from the soil (by osmosis) because of the high solute concentration (low water concentration) in the roots. This increased volume of water has to go somewhere. Happy Growing!

Is it safe to shave pubic hair? Why do some people shave there?

We can only guess but here are some thoughts that have been suggested: 1) The hairs direct water away from the center of the plant so that rainwater would run off instead of pooling in the center of growth where it could damage the plant. 2) The hairs provide a layer of insulated air which helped to maintain a more consistent temperature in nature. 3) The hairs prevent many pests from being able to feed on the plant. The bugs generally move only on the hairs and not on the actual plant tissue, and when they attempt to chew, they get only a mouthful of hair which isn't very satisfying. Happy Growing!

When I shave my vaginal area I get a lot of ingrown hairs. Is there a way to make it better without going to a doctor?

If you have sharp fingernails, you can simply pinch the individual flowers. If not, manicure scissors work well for close trimming to eliminate unsightly stubs. Once all of the flowers are gone on the peduncle (blossom stem) rock it gently back and forth until it comes away from the plant. Happy Growing!

I like self-inflicting pain; it's the only thing that makes me feel better. Recently I scratched my nose really hard with a fork until it bled. I have tried a lot of things to ease the pain I have, but this is the only thing that works! What should I do?

I think that the adjustments you made were good choices. 8-9 inches from the tube to the leaves is about right for small plants, but 15 hours is a very long day. The leaves pushing downward is the reaction I would expect from too much light. 12 hours a day should be about right. If there were more serious problems, you would be seeing other symptoms. I think you are doing well. Happy Growing!

I am a girl. Whenever I walk by this 7th grade boy he says, "Hey, wanna date me?" or "Chick, let's go out sometime." He says he's kidding, but he tries to hump girls from behind. Should I beware of him?

The phenomenon you are describing is called 'sporting'. If I am reading your description correctly, it would appear that one of your sports is a chimera (the one with the stripe in the petal). Chimeras are quite rare and generally considered valuable because of their beauty and because they will not reproduce true from leaf cuttings; rather they must be propagated from suckers (sideshoots). What causes sporting? Stress is thought to be the most common trigger. Happy Growing!