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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Fall Projects

With the arrival of Fall, you may be thinking that there really isn’t much to do in the garden except complete your harvest.  But Fall is not a time to slack off and forget about gardening.  On the contrary, it is a time to prepare your gardens and lawns for the Winter slumber they are about to undertake.  There are a lot of great things that you can do now to encourage a strong growth in the Spring.

During the next week, we will be focusing on several of these items so that you are sure to have the best garden and lawn that you possibly can next Spring.  We will discuss the reasons you need to do certain things now and I will even tell you how to do them.  Some of the topics we will discuss will probably be familiar to you.  But there may be a few surprises for you.

So don’t put up your garden gloves and tools just yet!  We still have some work to do.  And when we are done, I will even tell you how to take good care of your gardening tools so that they will last you for a longer period of time.  Together, we can make the most of your investment in the garden.

For some of you, you may be thinking that after these discussions I am telling you about, that we will be done here at Her Gardening Blog until Spring.  On the contrary…we will be here all Winter with lots of gardening advice.  I will even offer some advice on Fresh Cut Christmas Trees.  There are several houseplants that we can discuss and of course there are all of the seed catalogs, pre-Spring planning that needs to be done, seed starting and the list goes on and on.

But I am getting ahead of myself…we have some Fall projects that we need to complete first.  So lets plan on getting our hands dirty just a little longer so that we can have the best lawns and gardens that we possibly can next Spring.  After all, what you sow in your garden today will reap you great bounties tomorrow.

Photo provided by sebastiano

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

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

Cats and Houseplants

I came home a little while ago and found part of my creeping ficus lying on the floor. I immediately knew what happened and went to confront the furry culprit-my cat. For reasons unknown, some cats look at houseplants as a free kitty salad bar. Some vets speculate that the plant material helps with digestion. Others think cats simply love a little green on their menu! While I make sure that any plants within the cat’s reach are non-toxic, I still don’t appreciate having them chewed up by him!

Take this cat for instance:

Here are some things to try if you have a plant loving kitty:

–Obviously, simply moving the plant out of the cat’s reach is the best, but if it’s not possible, try putting aluminum foil or contact paper (sticky side up) around your plants. Cats hate the feel of both on their paws and will stay away.

–You can also try spraying your plants with one of the sprays (such as Bitter Apple) made to keep pets from chewing on cords. You can make your own by blending up citrus fruits or hot peppers in a blender and then mixing the puree with water. Keep in a well-labeled spray bottle. The drawback to this is that it can make the leaves of your plants sticky and that will attract dust.

–If your problem is your cat using your plants as a bathroom, try covering the surface of the soil with aluminum foil or sticky tape. Using polished river stones, which can be found in most garden centers and craft stores, is a more decorative alternative.

–Another easy remedy to keep your cat away from your plant is to buy him his own plant! Most pet stores sell pots of cat grass, or you can easily grow your own from seed, which can be found at most garden centers. You can also buy pots of catnip but don’t expect it to last long! Chances are if you give your cat his own plant, he won’t nibble on yours.

Ironically, the cat species as a whole are carnivores and can’t survive on a vegetarian diet, even if they wanted to!

What are some of the things you have tried to get your cat to stay away from your plants?

Submitted by: Sue Walsh