Recycle your holiday trees as mulch. Simply remove all the branches and then lay the branches in your flower and vegetable beds or around your trees and shrubs. The needles will eventually drop and continue to provide a nourishing and acidic mulch (acid materials are good in our alkaline soils).
The trunks of the trees can be used as firewood or constructed into a garden trellis on which you can grow sweet peas, beans, edible peas, cucumbers or even a hops vine.
Do you see a lot of dust in the house? Perhaps it is time to inspect your furnace air filter. (more…)
Besides providing a look of green there are other advantages to having houseplants.
Researchers at NASA have found that living houseplants can remove several toxic chemicals from the indoor air. These toxic airborne chemicals that houseplants absorb include benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide. Having houseplants in your home or office, will likely improve the air quality and thus improve the health and livability of your home or work.
Other research has found that where there are offices with interior plants, they experience reduced absenteeism by 10%. Another study in Norway found that interior office plants headaches, reduced fatigue, coughs, dry throats and increased overall well-being. It was also found that houseplants increased humidity and reduced odors.
The good news is, there is a houseplant for every micro-climate in your home, from sunny rooms to shady rooms- there is a plant for you. There are also low-maintenance houseplants like succulents and cacti.
Q. Is it a good idea to clump your houseplants into one place or just have one plant here and another one there?
A. There is no hard rule. But the main thing is that first and foremost, your plants should be in the best place for their needs in terms of light. However, if you do have a number of houseplants with the same needs, they might benefit from a bit of togetherness. It also makes watering easier. By grouping houseplants together in a room, you can not only create a good-looking dedicated green space, but also the plants can enjoy a more humid microclimate when among each other.
There’s no reason to hand-dig holes for new bulbs this autumn—not when there are many simple labor-saving tools can make quick work of a time-consuming chore.
Try growing the fragrant paperwhite narcissus for a quick growing flower houseplant bulb.
They need no special cold treatment and are available at garden centers or catalogs this time of year. Plant multiple bulbs one-inch apart in a clay pot. Barely cover them with potting soil. Water regularly and grow in a well-lit location. Within a month they’ll produce fragrant blooms for a week or more.
This is the time of year when a native shrub, rabbitbrush, develops yellow flowers. While rabbitbrush has low livestock and wildlife palatability, city dwellers are discovering it as a welcome addition to the drought tolerant landscape. Rabbitbrush comes in many sizes: dwarf (10”), medium (3’) and tall (up to 6’). In winter it holds its blue-gray winter stem color adding interest to the yard. Early Spring pruning of longer branches stimulates fuller summer growth.
There are all kinds, types and quality of hose winders. You can find spring loaded so that they automatically wind up. There are water-powered hose winders that use the water pressure to pull the hose back into the winder sold under the brand name “Suncast Aquawinder.” First you need to decide what kind of hose winder you need. Winders can be sold as a side-wall mount, front-wall mount and free-standing portable winders. (more…)
Rain barrels are a great way to save money on watering your garden. Here are some tips when considering buying a rain barrel:
· Not all rain barrels are alike. Look for ones that are made in the USA, preferably out of recycled materials.
· It is important to also install a downspout diverter kit so that when you barrel is full water is channeled back to the downspout away from the home’s foundation.
· Be sure your rain barrel comes with a filter to prevent roof debris from ending up in your barrel. If it doesn’t, then purchase or make a filter.
· Place your barrel up high on cinder blocks or some other sturdy material so you can create some gravity driven water pressure when you water. Make sure it is solid and wont fall off its support because water is heavy.
· Locate rain barrels near the plants that you wish to water.
A good weather forecast helps gardeners anticipate hail, frost and more. We have more tools than ever before to keep abreast of the weather including.
A weather radio which provides 24 hours a day forecasts provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Always buy one with a built-in alarm that can alert you to an approaching tornado, flood or severe storms, even when you are asleep late at night, which could be lifesaving.
Set your smart phone for severe weather alerts from either an app or get notifications directly from homeland security. On Iphones, go to “settings,” then “notifications” and there scroll all the way down where you will see where you can tick “emergency alerts” along with “Amber Alerts.”
For hail forecasts check out this site.It provides a great daily graphic of our chances for hail.
Another great graphic forecast is this site, which provides up to 48 hours of predictions for the whole USA. Just click through for 12 hour increments.