A Gardening Carnival-November 26, 2008

Welcome to the November 26, 2008 edition of a gardening carnival.

Condo Blues presents Three Easy, Natural, and Free Fall Centerpieces posted at Condo Blues.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Yard Yarns (Limerick and Haiku Prompt) posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

flowers

GrrlScientist presents Lotus Blossom posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “Lotus blossom. Photographed at Attwater, Texas.”

Laurie Bluedorn presents Trivium Pursuit » Blog Archive » Flowers posted at Laurie Bluedorn, saying, “Here is a tour of our garden as it was in August.”

gardening

Sarah presents Guide to Buying Sprinklers | Winter Lawn Care – Lawn Care Tips posted at Lawn Care Tips, saying, “A guide to buying the right sprinklers for your lawn.”

Machione presents GREEN ACRES Is The Place To Be… posted at Fear And Loathing – The Gonzo Papers, saying, “This summer a vegetable garden popped up in The Writer’s Refuge.”

Kilroy_60 presents I Took Time For Myself… posted at The Lives and Times… of Anthony McCune, saying, “Yesterday I made a point of taking time for myself. I shot photos of the lamb’s ear my mate planted in the garden.”

Hortois presents What Ornamental Grasses to Grow posted at The Compost Heap, saying, “Top grasses and bamboos”

Rachel Kayne presents An RKayne Garden: Northwest Garden Show posted at An RKayne Garden, saying, “organics, water gardening, indoors and out, container, I do it all (oh, and bonsai!).”

Wilfrid presents Time Saving Gardening Techniques posted at Gardening Tips For Beginners, saying, “A few techniques that can go a long way when it comes to making your gardening more efficient”

house plants

Hortoris presents Conservatory Plants posted at The Compost Heap, saying, “Indoor plants see also http://gardenerstips.co.uk/blog/flowers/hibiscus-senensis/”

Dereck presents Gardening in the Winter posted at I Will Not Die.

landscape

GrrlScientist presents Manhattan in Autumn at the Anne Loftus Playground posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “The Anne Loftus playground, which is located in the northeast corner of Fort Tryon Park in Inwood (Manhattan), was named in honor of Anne Loftus (1925-1989), who was a businesswoman and a neighborhood administrator. The park itself, which covers 67 acres, was named for Sir William Tryon, who was a Major General and the last British governor of colonial New York.”

Lauren Rose presents Choosing the Best Plants for your Garden posted at Own Home Style .com, saying, “How to choose the best plants for your garden”

organic gardening

Karen Shanley presents Author Mom with Dogs » Blog Archive » Zucchinis or Squashes Setting Small Fruit? Absence of Bees May Require Hand Pollinating posted at Karen Shanley.

vegetables

Woman Tribune presents Top 10 Produce You Should Buy Organic posted at Woman Tribune.

Kathy Hester (GeekyPoet) presents Grow Your Own Lettuce posted at Walk a Greener Path.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of a gardening carnival using our carnival submission form. The next edition will be posted on December 24, 2008.

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A Gardening Carnival – October 29, 2008

Welcome to the October 29, 2008 edition of a gardening carnival.

Sharontpc presents Who Knew? My Clematis turned into Morning Glories. posted at Psychic Cottage, saying, “Not sure if you do funny gardening stuff.”

Lauren Rose presents THE CULTIVATION OF VEGETABLES | Own Home Style .com posted at Own Home Style .com, saying, “Nowadays due to the introduction of new hybrid varieties in vegetables, which are susceptible to pest and diseases, there is demand for more plant protection, usually with toxic chemicals.”

GrrlScientist presents Honeycomb posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “A picture of a honeybee honeycomb, photographed at Russ Pittman Park, Texas.”

flowers

GrrlScientist presents Seattle Visit: University of Washington’s GreenHouse, Part One posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “Part one of my two-part photoessay about my visit to the biology department’s greenhouse on Seattle’s University of Washington campus. lots of gorgeous images!”

Condo Blues presents Condo Blues: Drying Fresh Lavender posted at Condo Blues.

gardening

Kristen McCarthy presents Community Gardens: Transform Urban Spaces posted at this-sustainable-life.com, saying, “Traditionally, community gardens emerge in the most unlikely spaces: from dispossessed parking lots and abandoned railway lines, to hubcap strewn parks and needle plagued back alleys, to the sagging rooftops that overlook laundry lines stretched out across the cityscape in multifarious patterns. In these areas rejected and wasted from human-made decay, urban gardens are birthed.”

Sarah presents Ridding Your Lawn of Gophers, Moles and Other Rodents | Spring Lawn Care – Lawn Care Tips posted at Lawn Care Tips, saying, “How to get rid of pesky lawn creatures.”

Bobbie Whitehead presents Garlic Onion Time posted at Bobbie Whitehead.

nichole halsey presents Growing Garlic at Home – Planting it? posted at Bad Human! Don’t take chemicals from strangers!, saying, “Easy fall planting”

house plants

Annette Berlin presents How To Grow Hydroponic Herbs posted at Craft Stew, saying, “I’m not much of a gardener. I’m too afraid of snakes and spiders to enjoy playing in the mud. The one exception to my purple thumb is hydroponic herbs. Growing hydroponic herbs is so easy, even I can do it. It’s a no-brainer.”

Sarah presents Why Is Proper Lawn Clipping Height So Important? | Spring Lawn Care – Lawn Care Tips posted at Lawn Care Tips, saying, “Some reasons why it’s really important to clip your lawn correctly.”

John Rhodes presents Lawn Care Success or Failure, ProGardenBiz Magazine V1 Issue 3 posted at Lawn Care, saying, “Some things that will determine whether your lawn business is successful or not”

landscape

Giorgina Devereaux presents Outdoor Decorating Ideas posted at Home Decor Blog.

organic gardening

Jamie McIntosh presents Save Money with Organic Gardening posted at Jamie’s Blog, saying, “Everyone knows that green living techniques can save money by saving energy in the household. Earth-friendly organic gardens can also help you save money.”

GrrlScientist presents Seattle Visit: The Montlake Fill (UBNA) posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “This photoessay describes my visit to one of the finest small- to medium-sized urban birding areas on the west coast of North America, the Montlake Fill. This is a reclaimed wetland that was formerly a city dump.”

vegetables

Bobbie Whitehead presents Cole Crops Ready posted at Bobbie Whitehead.

KimberlyKA presents Vegatable Garden Planting Guide posted at Food Talk 101.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of a gardening carnival using our carnival submission form. The next edition will be posted on November 26, 2008.

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A Gardening Carnival – August 27, 2008

carnival-ride.JPG Welcome to the August 27, 2008 edition of a gardening carnival.

gardening

Mark J. Donovan presents Winterizing a Garden posted at HomeAdditionPlus, saying, “Mark Donovan of HomeAdditionPlus.com discusses the steps in preparing your garden for winter.”

Machione presents Volunteers Needed For Garden That Feeds The Poor posted at Stark County, Ohio News And Views….

Machione presents I Took Time For Myself… posted at The Lives and Times… of Anthony McCune.

Ena Clewes presents Dealing With Garden Pests the Organic Way – Gardening Articles – Organic Gardening posted at Organic Gardening, saying, “For many gardeners, a good offense is better than a good defense when it comes to pests in the garden.”

herbs

Lightening presents 5 Reasons to Start a Herb Garden posted at Herb Garden, saying, “There are plenty of good reasons to start your own herb garden. These are my favourite.”

house plants

Katrina Cain presents Poisonous House and Garden Plants For Pets and Humans. posted at Were You Wondering….

organic gardening

Condo Blues presents 40 Flower, Plants, and Trees That Attract Japanese Beetles posted at Condo Blues, saying, “If you have a garden full of Japanese Beetles, you might want to remove their food source as alternative to killing them with chemicals.”

Carolyn presents I’ve got worms! posted at Juggling Frogs.

vegetables

AdmirableIndia.com presents Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Bangalore: Part 2: Bonsai garden, Lotus Pond, Lalbagh lake and Rose garden posted at AdmirableIndia.com, saying, “Cabbage”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of a gardening carnival using our carnival submission form. The next edition will be posted on September 24, 2008.

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Houseplant Basics 101: Containers

container.jpgYour houseplants need a suitable home to live successfully indoors. That is why your choice of a container is critical to the success of your houseplant. With such a wide range of containers available, you should be able to find just the right home for your houseplant. The two most important factors to consider when choosing a container are size in both depth and diameter and drainage.

Size

Make sure that your plant has the proper root to soil volume. This simply means choosing a container that will accommodate a plant’s root system and a sufficient amount of soil to sustain it. An oversized pot holds more soil than is needed and that soil can easily become saturated with water. This will disrupt the air/water balance and will increase the houseplant’s chance of dying of root rot. You should never increase soil volume by more than one pot size when repotting.

Drainage

Unless you are growing an indoor water garden, be sure to choose containers that have drainage holes. Water must be able to drain through the soil and out of the pot. Without proper drainage, your houseplant is likely to die. If you are thinking about putting rocks at the bottom of your container to help with drainage, don’t do it. Pebbles and rocks will shorten the column of soil which will allow for the soil to become more easily waterlogged.

Aesthetics

Just because a container has to be functional doesn’t mean that it can’t be attractive too. Garden centers are full of beautiful containers that will fit any style and budget. The right container can make just as big an impression as the plant itself, so take your time and pay attention to those finishing touches, as they have a way of making all the difference.

Tips

  • Remember to buy a saucer or tray to go under a container. Many containers are sold with a container already, but make sure to get one if your container doesn’t have one.
  • Add caster wheels to the bottom of a large container for easy mobility.
  • Use decorative moss, pebbles and driftwood on the soil surface to create visual interest and to discourage pets from digging.
  • Conceal less attractive pots and saucers in decorative baskets, crocks or plant stands. Be sure to remove any plastic liners that may prohibit drainage. This is a common problem for many sick houseplants as their roots are literally being drowned and smothered. Remember that the roots need air to survive.

What are some of your favorite containers for your houseplants? Leave me a comment and share.

Photo Provided by kevinrosseel

House Plants Gone Wild

Do you know what happens to your plants when you leave on vacation? Hopefully you don’t do what these folks did when they left. Take my advice and find a trustworthy someone to keep an eye on your house plants when you take that much deserved break. Your houseplants will stay in line and you will both be much happier when you return.

Here is a short video that will show you what just may happen if you leave those house plants unattended on your vacation. I hope you enjoy this tongue-in-cheek video and it brings a smile to your face today.

Now that you know what the consequences may be, what are your plans for your houseplants while you are gone? Leave me a comment and share.

Houseplant Basics 101: Fertilizer

All houseplants need fertilizer to supplement their diets. Think of it as a good shot of vitamins and minerals. Although your houseplants feed on light and the nutrients in the soil, a boost of fertilizer can help to promote and support strong, healthy growth.

Fertilizers contain three major nutrients to support stem and leaf production, flowering and healthy roots. These elements are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Whenever you look at a container of fertilizer, pay close attention to the fertilizer analysis which is represented by three hyphenated numbers. For example, it may look something like this: 20-20-20 or 10-6-16, or 10-15-10 like on this bottle of “SCHULTZ” LIQUID PLANT FOOD PLUS . The first number always represents the available nitrogen in the fertilizer. The second number always represents the available phosphate and the third number always represents the available potash in the fertilizer. The higher the number, the greater the percentage by weight of that nutrient.

Houseplants require nitrogen for leafy growth. As a general rule, houseplants that are grown primarily for their foliage will require a fertilizer with a high first number, a lower second number and a third number that is comparable to the first. Houseplants that are grown primarily for their blooms are given a fertilizer with a high third number (K or potash) that promotes flower development.

Fertilizers are most beneficial to a plant during its growing season, which is February to October. During the winter months when there is less light, you will want to hold back on fertilizing unless your houseplant is beginning to show signs of new growth. Your houseplant’s consumption of fertilizer will follow its growth curve, which in turn follows a light and temperature curve.

General Rules for Fertilizing

  • Granular and liquid fertilizers work similarly. Be sure to read the instructions and mix and feed accordingly.

  • Hold off fertilizing for at least a few weeks after houseplants are repotted. It isn’t that your houseplant doesn’t need food; it is that they only need so much. Most soils contain unknown amounts of fertilizers and it is easy to overfeed your transplant.

  • Water until water flows out the bottom of the container. This step will flush out any built up soluble salt deposits. As salts become more concentrated, it becomes harder for a houseplant to take up a proper supply of water.

What is your favorite fertilizer to use in your houseplants? Leave me a comment and share.

PODCAST: How to Build a Terrarium

podcast.jpgIn this podcast, we are focusing on how to build a terrarium. Building a terrarium is both fun and easy. However, because a terrarium is a self-contained ecosystem, you will want to be sure to set it up properly the first time, making sure to use the correct materials. Take the time to buy a high quality potting soil and select the plants which will be the most appropriate for your terrarium.

Here is a list of the supplies you will need to build your terrarium:

  • One terrarium with air holes or a glass jar without a lid. A glass fishbowl or a pickle jar will do nicely.
  • Small gravel or aquarium gravel
  • High quality potting soil
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Plants—two or three plants for every 3 L of space. Be sure to avoid any fuzzy leaved plants as they will hold water and are susceptible to rotting.
  • Decorative accessories such as stone or driftwood. Use your imagination!

If you have a question for us here at Her Gardening Blog, please leave a comment below the podcast. We will be happy to answer your questions and build an entire podcast around them. Enjoy!

how-to-build-a-terrarium.mp3

Houseplant Basics 101: Soil

potting-soil.jpgThe quality of the potting soil you use can mean the difference between life and death for your houseplant. This means that you will want to invest in a high-quality potting soil that offers the correct balance of water and oxygen. This balance is important because the soil must be able to retain moisture long enough to sustain your houseplant between waterings as well as allow for proper drainage.

Be sure that you do not reuse potting soil from the pots of previous houseplants. If the houseplant died because of pests or disease, the potting soil could be contaminated. Even if the houseplant died because you let it dry out one too many times, do not reuse the soil. The soil may have far to few pore spaces, which are pockets of open spaces that can be filled with water, to sustain a new houseplant. As soil decomposes, it starts to lose pore space and it becomes too dense for air to infiltrate and for roots to grow properly. However, your pots can be reused. Just be sure to scrub them clean and then soak them in a solution of 10% bleach and water.

Potting Mix vs. Soil Mix

Soil is the term that most people use to describe the black medium in which we pot plants. But the truth is that most of the soil to which we refer is actually soil-less. It is completely free of what we traditionally think of as garden soil. It looks like rich garden soil and it even smells like it, but it is completely different.

Most potting mixes contain at least one of the following material: peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, sand and lime to neutralize the peat moss, bark, pumice or compost. On the other hand, soil mixes contain a blend of soil. So when you’re looking for soil, be sure to read the bags carefully and choose a high quality soil-less potting mix.

Specialty Potting Mixes

There are some houseplants that require special potting mixes like orchids, cacti and African violets. Since these houseplants are so popular, distributors have come up with special commercial blends of each type.

Orchid mixes: To the uninitiated, this planting medium might look unable to sustain anything other than a beaver. Many contain two or three types of bark, coarse sphagnum peat, fine grade pumice and sponge rock. It is a rather odd combination, but it is one that serves an important purpose.

Some species of orchids grow on trees in their natural habitat. These orchids are referred to as epiphytic plants, which are those having their roots exposed to the air. One of the reasons that orchid mixes contain bark and moss is to allow the air to move freely through the medium. This air movement allows the roots of an orchid to absorb moisture and nutrients from the humid air.

Cacti mixes: Even someone who doesn’t know much about cacti knows that these plants prefer dry soil. It should therefore come as no surprise that the standard potting medium for cacti is composed of coarse sand, potting mix, peat and perlite. Although the formula varies from one commercial mix to another, all cacti mixes are designed to provide rapid drainage.

African violet mixes: African violets like a soil that is light, loose and porous. Most African violet mixes consist of three parts peat moss, two parts vermiculite and one part perlite. Lime is also often added to bring the pH level to the 5.8 to 6.0 range. African violets hate having their roots sitting in water, so the loose, porous soil is important for the health of these plants.

What is your favorite potting soil to use with your houseplants? Leave me a comment and share.

Photo provided by anitapatterson

Houseplants…Bach or Rock?

Have you ever wondered what kind of music your houseplants prefer to listen to? There have been many studies over the years, both formal and informal, that have tried to find out this very thing. As I was pondering this very topic, I came across a video put together by a couple of teenagers in Idaho. They thought it would be fun to do an experiment and try it out to see which type of music their houseplants preferred.

Here is the video I watched and I must warn you to prepare to have a laugh or two. They put their experiment to music and this is a very enjoyable video.

So which type of music do you plan on playing to your houseplants? Do you have a preference? Do they? Leave me a comment and share.

Houseplant Basics 101: Watering

watering-can.jpgThere are several tools and gadgets on the market today that are designed to measure the moisture in the soil of your houseplants. However, be advised that there really isn’t any secret method to checking whether a house plant needs water. All you really need to do is walk over, stick your finger into the potting soil, scratching down around 2 to 3 cm into the soil. If the soil is moist, it will feel about as wet as a damp sponge. In fact, the soil should also feel a little spongy too. Even when the top of the soil is dry, there may actually be enough moisture just beneath the surface for your houseplants.

How much water your houseplants need and how often they need it will depend on the following factors:

  • Type of house plant
  • Size of house plant
  • Size and type of container
  • Soil composition
  • Humidity of the growing environment
  • Season
  • Location of the plant in the room
  • Average room temperature

You will need to know your houseplants preferences and water them accordingly. Don’t forget that although most houseplants will forgive a missed watering here and there, not all houseplants are as forgiving and tolerant. For example, Boston ferns hate soil that is dry, while cacti hate being too wet.

Watering Methods

Most houseplants seem to get watered from the top, but that is really more about the preference of the person watering it than it is about the houseplant’s preference. In fact, most houseplants could care less if they are watered from the top or from the bottom as long as they are watered regularly and sufficiently.

Generally, in order to check that you are giving your houseplants enough water, you will want to check for water running through the drainage holes at the bottom of your container. This runoff is especially important as it flushes the excess salts from the soil. Be sure to drain any water that remains at the base of the saucer.

Watering from the top

  • Consider grouping your houseplants together in the bathtub and giving them a gentle watering and shower. After you have watered, leave your houseplants in the tub for a few hours. This will allow them to drain properly and will help you to not track water all across your home.
  • Do not water form high above your plant. Place the spout of your watering can close to the lip of the container and water from a different side each time. Watering from the same spot each and every time will wash away sections of topsoil and leave craters behind.

Watering from the bottom

There are some plants, such as African violets, that prefer to wick water through the drainage holes in the bottoms of their pots. They will essentially draw up water until the soil is moist. This method is particularly beneficial to fuzzy-leaved houseplants that tend to blemish whenever they come into contact with water.

Whichever method you choose, your houseplants will thank you and be grateful for a regular and consistent watering schedule. Which method do you prefer? Leave me a comment and share.

Photo provided by kevinrosseel