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If you keep chickens, make sure that you spread around the straw/sawdust/bottom of the coop in the late fall / early winter. Let the winter snow/rains mix this into the soil. Free nitrogen and happy plants!
Hot off the presses is a new book by author and ATP member Larry Rettig, about gardening in the Amana Colonies. Let me share my review of this interesting and useful book.
Last year I removed seeds from some dry, prickly Leonotis seed pods - with my bare hands. Ouch! Having learned from my mistakes, when I was fortunate enough to gather more pods this year, I tried to remove the seeds while wearing gloves. Alas, I was not destined to be a brain surgeon and was all thumbs. I needed a better idea...
Wear or make a carpenter's type apron with pockets for holding small hand-held garden tools, seed packets, plant ties, and anything else you might need while working in your garden.
Bring the outside in and extend your decorations by adding a bird tree to your holiday.
It pays to belong to garden clubs offered by local or regional nurseries. I belong to two different ones.
Instead of throwing out that Christmas Tree, lay it down underneath your bird feeder. It will provide cover for those birds that don't migrate and feed at the feeders throughout the winter. They can make a quick dash into the tree for cover when hungry hawks fly overhead.
PVC is inexpensive and easy to work with, which makes it great for garden projects. In this article I will show some ways of creating new pedestals using the original pattern.
PVC is inexpensive and easy to work with, which makes it great for garden projects. This article will look at basic pedestal ideas.
If you have naturally alkaline soil, you can combat it naturally by saving the needles off your Christmas tree and tilling them into the soil.
When you boil or steam vegetables, don't pour the water down the drain. Save the cooled water and use it to water potted plants. Many plants will respond well to the added nutrients from the water. Fruit and vegetable peels can also be soaked in water for about eight hours before the water is used to water houseplants. Strain out the peelings and toss them onto the compost pile.
The Truth About Butterflies and Buddleja vs. Native Plants
By clintbrown, December 8, 2013
I recently learned that some native plant promoters are claiming that gardeners should not grow Buddleja (Butterfly Bush) because it fools butterflies into thinking it is a host plant. They claimed that the butterflies would deposit their eggs on the Buddleja and the offspring would die because Buddleja is not a proper host plant. However, I researched this claim and found it to be 100% FALSE!
"OP" means "Open Pollinated", but that term is used in two different ways. It can mean an inbred OP variety that can produce seeds that come true to its parents. Or it can mean that a specific batch or packet of seeds labeled "OP" was "openly pollinated by wind, insects or birds," without saying whether other varieties might have cross-pollinated it.
Texas Sage, Leucophyllum frutescens 'Lynn Lowrey's Dwarf Everblooming'
By frostweed, December 6, 2013
This Texas Sage variety was discovered by Lynn Lowrey while he was on one of his road trips in search of new and different native plants. He found it by the side of the road and was astonished by its shade of color and beauty. He took a cutting to his greenhouse and propagated it so that everyone could enjoy it.
How to make a bird bath that seems to attract birds!
Leaves and pine straw help when you're driving through sand. Use your own or get some from your neighbors for a free and environmentally friendly option.
We all know that spiders are great in the garden to help control insects, but not so great when they come inside the house. Fall is a bad time of year for this as the spiders are looking for a warm place to “hang out" for the winter.
Cissus quadrangularis, also known as Veldt Grape, is one of the most unusual plants in my garden. I have it contained in a hanging basket, but when a piece is knocked off, it will readily root on the ground. Cissus prefers to climb and will wind its way into the tree limbs if allowed. In early fall, the plant has small insignificant white flowers and, occasionally, small red berries that are are sterile.
White Mistflower: What a Magnet for All Kinds of Pollinators!
By frostweed, December 1, 2013
Just at the time when most flowering plants are going to rest for the winter, this plant explodes into gorgeous blooms that cover the entire plant.
I am sure everyone here has their own method, but I have one that has been great. After digging, cleaning and dividing, I put the tubers in bags of various sizes, either Ziploc bags or old bread bags, identify them, then cover the tubers with extra dry Pro-Mix and seal the bag. They go in the coldest corner of the cellar, and my success rate has been virtually 100% for many years.
When we replaced our laundry tub several years ago, hubby asked whether I had any use for it. Right away I said yes, it would be very handy for mixing my potting soil and filling the pots in the shed. A small garden spade is great for mixing as I sometimes combine two or more different types of planting media. I add water and mix until just damp, then fill the pots without a big mess everywhere, and it is easy on my back. The tub, being lightweight, can also be taken outside on a nice day.
Jelly can be made using Callicarpa Americana - American Beautyberry. It's all-American and easier than apple pie.
Ever bend down too close to an agave and realize that you like your eyesight better than your plants? Although houseplants are great, it's hardly worth a terminal spine to the retina!
The easiest way to wash and dry herbs is to use a salad spinner. It is quick, easy and works great!
Coralberry is a lovely semi-evergreen shrub suitable both for house foundation plantings and for naturalization.