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.
Do we swallow spiders in our sleep?
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We recently received this note from a supporter:
“Last year we bought an electric composter and it really works great. We put virtually everything in it and spread the compost in the garden this spring. Naturally, we had also put all of our cantaloupe and honeydew melon seeds in it too. (more…)
This year has been a banner year for tomatoes on the high plains and front range due much in part to the warm weather. If you are finding yourself with a surplus of tomatoes either from the garden, the store or farmers’ markets, you can consider a variety of methods for storing them. Among the options are canning, freezing and drying. By far the most simple is to dry your tomatoes. It is hard to believe that something so juicy can be dehydrated, but it can. (more…)
Because most of the commercial artichokes come from California, people assume that they won’t grow in our shorter season areas. Actually you can grow edible artichokes here. They are not heavy producers and take up a bit of space but they are still not hard to grow and a fresh artichoke is always tastier than store bought.
There is a vining honeysuckle (relative to the shrub) that is showy, hardy and blooms much of the summer. It needs a sunny spot, rich soil, regular water and a trellis or even a chain-link fence. It produces red, yellow or cream colored blooms. “Halls” is the hardiest variety.
Kintzley’s ghost vining honeysuckle isn’t much for flowers but it produces showy, large saucer-shaped silvery bracts that look like silver dollars. Avoid the fragrant Japanese honeysuckle at altitudes above 5,500′ as it is the least hardy.
If you are like many gardeners, you have some flowering plants on your porch, deck or entryway. These pots usually have colorful annual flowers that bloom every day. Unfortunately, when night comes, they too go dark. Light your pots up with a low-cost solar light. Solar lights can cost as little as $3.00 each, and all you have to do is simply place one in the center of your pot or hanging basket. Voila! Now you have easy, instant, cheap, colorful night lighting!
The best time to take photos of your garden is in the early morning or the late afternoon (including right after sunset). It is important to avoid the harsh light that is especially impactful during the middle of the day. Overcast days tend to be better than sunny days. Your garden will shine a bit more if you lightly spray your plants, soil and walkways with water before you start shooting pictures.
Don’t forget to fertilize your houseplants in the summer months. In addition, houseplants need slightly more water when it gets warm outside. This is a great time to take your larger plants outside where you can hose off the accumulated dust from the past year. Of course, only use a nozzle with a gentle spray. This will maintain your plants’ health and keep the bugs down.