It is the time of year when the seed catalogs arrive. What are your favorite catalogs and does it make sense to do mail order or just buy seeds at the hardware store?
We would urge you to order seeds from catalogs because it gives you much more in the way of choices. For instance you might find one early tomato variety on a seed rack and five choices in a catalog. Here are a few of our favorite catalogs that are worth considering: for flower and vegetable seeds, try Johnny’s Seeds (www.johnnyseeds.com), (more…)
If you have an interest in medicinal, culinary or useful herb plants, seeds or books, you can’t do any better than Richters herb catalog. There you will find an extensive listing of both common and unusual herbs. For instance they offer over 40 different types of basil. (more…)
True orange petunias are rare until now. The new petunia variety “African Sunset” wowed the judges of the All American Selection organization. They found the African Sunset petunia to be superior to similar colored petunias currently available. Gardeners are always looking for a petunia that grows evenly and uniformly in the garden while producing a prolific number of blooms all season-long and this beauty certainly fills that need. (more…)
When potatoes are exposed to excessive light, a green skin color forms from chlorophyll development. The green chlorophyll increases the production of a toxic substance in the fruit called solanine.
A bite or two isn’t harmful but if eaten in quantity, it may cause illness. You don’t have to waste these potatoes as you can remove the solanine by pealing the potato below the green, back into the white flesh. To prevent green potatoes always store potatoes in the dark and avoid buying greenish potatoes in the grocery.
You are wrong if you think that immediately, the day after winter solstice (Dec. 21st) the sun starts to set later and rise earlier. The truth is in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the sunset started setting later each day beginning around December 12th, after bottoming out at 4:30 pm it is already getting later each day. Conversely, the sunrise doesn’t start rising earlier until around January 8th, after hitting the latest sunrise of the winter at 7:24 am. Don’t believe us? Visit any number of sunrise/sunset calculators.
While it is true that Dec. 21st is the shortest day of the year, it is an average and marks our furthest away position from the sun.
Culinary herbs are easy to grow given the right environment. First, select a location that receives close to 6 hours of sunlight. A typical winter home temperature of 68 degrees is perfect for growing most herbs. (more…)
It is the time of year when the weather changes at a rapid pace. Sometimes it easier to understand graphically rather than in words. It is especially helpful to view a graphic if you are traveling. This web site provides a graphic forecast for the next 12, 24, 36 and 48 hours. (more…)
The mother-in-law plant a.k.a. the snake plant, also known as the sword plant, is among the toughest houseplants you can grow. It’s Latin name is “sansevieria,” is named after the Italian Prince of Sansevieria, a horticulturist in the 18th century. They resemble swords and are related to agave. Sansevieria leaves are very fibrous and are used to make rope in some parts of the world. They also tolerate most any conditions in the home with ease. They rarely flower, but when they do they have a wonderful fragrance.
What are they and where do they come from?
TUMBLEWEEDS are native to Ural mountains of Russia. First noted in the late 1800s, they are now found all over the west. They were likely brought in with Russian farmers who settled that region. While tumbleweeds roll they can spread up to 250,000 seeds from one plant.
Are tumbleweeds good for anything? Some people spray paint them and stack them as desert snowman. During the dust bowl days of the Depression, immature tumbleweeds were used as an emergency food to feed both livestock and humans alike. They also inspired the rolling robots in Star Wars movies. Researchers have discovered that they can pull depleted uranium from contaminated soils of battlefields. Tumbleweeds also inspired the early NASA landing system for a Mars Rover that bounced and rolled as part of its landing. And everybody knows the song that goes “rolling along with the tumblin’ tumbleweeds.”
Researchers are working hard at finding natural controls for tumbleweeds through the release of beneficial insects and diseases that attack the plant in a young stage.
The biggest mistake people make in growing Christmas cacti is treating them like a desert cactus. Instead treat them like a houseplant, with regular waterings. After they bloom, treat water less frequently watering until summer, when you go back to treating it like a houseplant. Also they don’t like direct sun. Instead find a bright spot away from direct sun. Also this is one plant that is quite comfortable being pot-bound for years. Regular fertilization is also helpful but be mindful that they are slow growers.
If your Christmas cactus has trouble blooming, you can help trigger blooms by doing one of the following: 1) Try setting it in your coolest room or near a cool window. This cool treatment will often trigger blooms. 2) Set your Christmas cactus in a room where you never turn on the lights at night- perhaps a guest room? Uninterrupted periods of darkness this time of year will often encourage blooms.