Thursday, February 27, 2020

Air Plants (Tillandsia) by Vicky Spelman

Courtesy of Pixabay
Air plants are gaining popularity as houseplants as they are unusual looking and require little care.  They grow without soil and can be grown just about anywhere indoors that receives bright, indirect light.  You can grow air plants in trays, in terrariums, set them in sea shells, or on pieces of drift wood. 

Air plants (Tillandsia) are epiphytes belonging to the bromeliad family. Epiphytes are plants that grow harmlessly upon other plants or anything else they can sit on including rocks surfaces using their roots as a means of attachment and support. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Reading Your Seed Packet – Light and Depth Requirements By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo: Pexel
As we prepare to start a new gardening year, those of us who enjoy starting plants from seed are probably already purchasing our seeds or browsing catalogs arriving in our mailbox.

Once you have made your selections, one of the most important items to note is the important information often listed on the back of your seed packet. Part of the success of growing from seed is using that information to start the seed not only at the right time, but also other essential details such as how deep to plant the seed.

This blog will cover the light and depth requirements for planting your seeds. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Friday, February 14, 2020

Show love for the Earth this Valentine’s Day by Vicky Spelman

Photo graphic credit: Teresa Watkins
Here are some great ideas and activities for eco-conscious ways to make your Valentine’s Day sustainable and teach science. 

Valentine’s Day, February 14, is a day filled with cards, sweets, flowers and gifts. Like many holidays, its celebration can create unintentional environmental side effects, such as the consumption of natural resources. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

Here are some suggestions:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

St. Valentine and the Gift of Fresh Flowers by Carol King

Photo fellowshipofminds
Legends and lore abound on why we celebrate Valentine’s day by giving flowers to our loved ones.  Here’s one of my favorites. This one involves the lore of forbidden love and has been favored over other stories by hopeless romantics.

Emperor Claudius II issued an edict forbidding marriage because he felt that married men did not make good, loyal soldiers to fight in his army. They were weak because of the attachment to their wives and family. St. Valentine was a priest who defied Claudius and married couples secretly because he believed so deeply in love. Valentine was found out, put in prison, and later executed.

The law of irony then came into play, as St. Valentine fell in love with the daughter of the Emperor. Prior to his beheading, St. Valentine handed the lady a written note and a single red rose - the very first valentine and the very first fresh flower.  From this, the gifting of flowers for Valentine's day began.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale) by Sally Blanchard

Photo: Sally Blanchard
If you were dragging your hoses to water your thirsty yard and garden in January, perhaps you spied many perennials poking through their mulch blankets including these Oriental Poppies, Papaver orientale brilliant. With their glowing orange blossoms and fuzzy, fern like foliage, oriental poppies are the ‘bling’ in the late spring and early summer garden. They are deer and rabbit resistant and attract bees and butterflies. They grow to approximately thirty inches and spread slowly. 
Oriental poppies are very frost hardy and thrive in Zones 3-7. After many failed attempts at starting from seed, I gave up and purchased a small potted plant at the local nursery.  Choose a location with six hours of full sun. Choose wisely; poppies can be fickle about being transplanted. They like sandy soil but have flourished in my unamended clay like soil. They do not like wet feet so be careful not to overwater. The plant will turn brown and go dormant in the heat of summer. I just cut back the brown foliage and tuck in a few sun loving marigolds near the poppy plant. In the fall, the foliage re-emerges as a relatively low ground cover.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Need a Winter Boost? by Vicky Spelman

Courtesy of Pexels
Need a winter boost?  Try growing herbs inside.  Lots of the Gardening Centers have a stock of herbs already planted and growing inside – give them a call a see what is available.

Herbs grown indoors offer many benefits including fragrant foliage, various foliage colors and shapes, & a constant supply of herb leaves for cooking.

Herbs that grow well indoors include: chives, horehound, winter savory.
Herbs that DO NOT grow well in containers include: horseradish, fennel, lovage.

Courtesy of  Pexels
Unlike common houseplants, herbs need conditions to be just right for optimum growth, or their health will rapidly decline.  Rotate pots often so that each side gets enough light for uniform growth. Most herbs need six hours of direct sunlight - either a sunny location, or 6 to 12 inches from two 40-watt, cool white fluorescent bulbs for 14-16 hours. Rotate pots so each side gets light for uniform growth.
  • Keep herbs in rooms that have at least a 65-70°F day and 55-60°F night temperatures.  Although most herbs can survive temps that are in the mid to low 40s, others cannot.
  • Herbs also require a proper balance between a humid environment & adequate air circulation.
  • Herbs should be grown in containers with a drainage hole & in a potting mix that will aid water drainage.
  • Fertilize herbs with a low dose of water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks. A soapy solution, 1-2 tablespoons of a mild soap such as dishwashing soap to 1 gallon of warm water, can be used to control most insect pests. Spray infested plants with the solution once a week while pests are visible. Always wash leaves off before using.
  • Repot when roots grow through the drainage hole.
  • If you would like to place your herbs in containers outside during the late spring and summer months, acclimate them to higher light levels & intensities produced by the sun. Start by placing pots outdoors in partial shade, & then slowly expose them to more & more light every few days.
    Penn State Univ – via Ext MG -Prepared by Kathleen M. Kelley, asst. professor of consumer horticulture and Elsa S. Sánchez, asst. professor of horticultural systems mgmt. 

    For additional information: Herbs

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Gardening Power to the People: Cleaning Your Garden Tools (Video)

January is a great time to prepare your tools for the upcoming gardening season. Master Gardener Gail demonstrates an easy way to sharpen and clean all your devises.