of the Week
Planning For Spring...
It was fun watching it snow yesterday. Noah, our oldest son,
and I were walking in the school parking lot trying to catch the
flakes on our tongues. We were twirling about caught up in the
beauty of the moment. When we got in the car he exclaimed, "Wow
mom can you believe how big those flakes are?" I just smiled and
said, "No, I can't." It was true
innocence at its best and it is moments like that you hold onto
January weather has been quite a pleasant surprise. I have
actually been able to do quite a few things in the yard. Now is
the perfect time to start thinking about what your spring "plan"
is going to be. Will you be transplanting some plants, putting in
a new walkway or retaining wall? Will you be creating a new
garden? If any one of those things are on your list now is the
time to start thinking about whether or not you are going to do
the project or if you are going to hire it done. Once March 1st
rolls around, landscape companies
become swamped so be sure to plan ahead. Call around, make
inquires and meet with different companies. You'll want to work
with someone who gets your vision. Spring will be here soon
enough and we will all once again be where we belong - in the
Blowin' In The Wind...
When those north winds blow we humans find ourselves feeling
colder than the actual ambient temperature would suggest. We
know that as the "wind chill factor". For warm-blooded animals,
wind chills can have a profound effect on their ability to keep
warm. However, plants do not respond to wind chills because they
do not need to maintain a temperature above that of the outside
temperature. It's not all good news for the plants however.
Wind is desiccating and can dry plant tissues. Plant
tissues require moisture to survive and high wind speeds can
cause excess moisture loss from those tissues. This desiccation
may be great enough to injure or even kill tissue, particularly
the smaller size wood as in peach twigs, apple spurs or
It's hard for our feathered friends to find
food in the winter months. Keep your feeders full and you
will be rewarded with beautiful garden visitors year round. If
you're interested in attracting specific birds here are
some popular birds and their favorite menu items:
thistle seeds, broken sunflower hearts, oil-type sunflower
Sunflower seeds of all types, safflower, cracked corn,
millet, other seeds, unsalted nutmeats, raisins.
sunflower seeds, cracked unsalted nutmeats, safflower,
white proso millet, finely cracked corn, oil-type sunflower
seed, unsalted nutmeats.
Sunflower seeds of all types, safflower, cracked corn.
sunflower seeds, white and red proso millet, safflower,
cracked corn, wheat, milo, other seeds.
white proso millet, oil-type sunflower seeds, cracked corn,
unsalted nutmeats, sunflower seeds, cracked corn.
Reconsidering Grow Lights...
When ambient light is scarce many indoor
gardeners turn to "grow lights". These pricey items are
designed to emit light primarily in the red and blue regions of
the light spectrum. However, grow lights actually give off
less light than standard fluorescent lights. A standard
fluorescent unit containing two regular 40 watt fluorescent tubes
or one cool white and one warm white tube will provide adequate
light for house plants and are much more economical. Save your
money for the plants!
Anxious For Asparagus...
Want to grow asparagus from seed, but hate to wait the extra
year to harvest? Try seeding the asparagus indoors in late
winter to get two year's worth of growth in one season. Plant
seeds 3/4 inch deep in flats. Sow them 1 inch apart in rows 2
inches apart. Provide as much natural light as possible and
supplement it with fluorescent lighting. Fertilize the seedlings
every three weeks once they have their true leaves.
Upon purchasing a new houseplant a common mistake made
by many is immediately repotting it in
a decorative container. Unfortunately this puts additional
stress on a plant that may already be pretty stressed
out. A better solution? Simply place the plant, with it's
existing container, inside the decorative pot. Now you have the
best of both worlds.
African Violet Troubleshooting...
If you grow African violets, take note of
the causes of these potential troubles:
Spotted leaves - this occurs if you allow cool water to
contact the leaves. Use only room temperature water.
Small plants with pale yellow leaves - often caused by
too much light and inadequate fertilization.
Leaves curled downward - may be a result of too low
temperatures (below 60 degrees).
Long leaf stalks and a few or small blooms - often
results when plants don't get enough light.
Buds dry up - this might happen if there is not enough
moisture in the air or soil and if temperatures are too high.
Plants wilt quickly and crown rots - likely they are
getting watered too frequently and/or the drainage may be poor
(due to potting mix or lack of container holes) or the plants
were set too deep into the soil.
Leaf stalks rot where they rub against pot edge - high
salt concentrations on the sides of the pot and near the soil
surface damage the leaf stalks allowing the Botrytis disease
organism to enter. You can protect the stalks by putting a
strip of aluminum foil, paraffin, or a cardboard cover around
the rim of the container.
No flowers - may be due to one or more of the following:
temperature too low, soil is overfertilized, too much light or
too much shade, too much or not enough water, or air contains
Time To Wrap...
Now is the time to wrap your shrubs with
twine for the winter. The branches of plants like boxwood,
arborvitae and columnar junipers are susceptible to splaying or
breaking under the weight of snow and ice. Secure the twine to
the bottom of the trunk and wrap it upward in a spiral form.
After reaching the top of the shrub, begin wrapping downward in
the same spiral pattern until you reach the starting point.
Finish by tying the twine securely to the trunk. Twine should be
removed as soon as the threat of ice and snow has passed.
"In gardening one's
staunchest ally is the natural lust for life each plant has, that
strong current which surges through everything that grows."