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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Get Growth From Your Plants

Have you experienced the frustration trying to grow plants that never grow? If you have, there may be some things to consider before you attempt to see growth happen again.

A first thing to considering as you try to plant seeds and see their growth is the location. Where will you grow the plants? What are the conditions of that area? If you attempt to grow plants outside, what is it like? If you are hoping to achieve plant growth inside, what kind of environment are you using for the growing? Be sure that you understand how wet, dry, sunny or cloudy your chosen areas are. Having a correct picture of these things will save you time and money as you begin to look for the right kinds of seeds and plants to experiment with.

It is important not only that you understand the environment in which you hope to see growth from your plants, but it is also important to choose the right kinds of seeds to plant. You must be careful to match a proper kind of seed with your environment. If you live somewhere that is dry and hot most of the time you should choose seeds that require a dry heat for maximum growth. Other varieties of plants will grow better in areas that are sunny but wet, and still others will have maximum growth in areas that are cool and wet. So learn your growth environment well and then choose plants wisely and accordingly. You will not see proper growth happen from even the best, most expensive varieties of plants if you have chosen a seed that does not match your growing environment.

Once you have determined the kinds of environments you have and you have selected the right kinds of seeds to plant you can begin the process of planting the seeds. Take some time to research this process. Are there particular kinds of soils that will bring growth quicker than others? Is there a plant food that will promote growth for your chosen varieties? These are important things to know. How much water does your plant require for healthy growth? Over or under watering a plant can quickly be the death of it.

Is this process sounding more complicated than you thought it would be? Take heart, you are almost on your way to seeing amazing growth from every seed you plant. The most important steps, if done properly, will almost ensure the results you are hoping for. Perhaps your best bet is to pick up a book on growth and planting from your library or from a friend. Learn as much as you can and then enjoy. Maybe you will want to start with some cheaper seeds first so that you can practice doing everything necessary for their growth before you spend too much money. Whatever you decide, just have fun. Determine the right environment for growth, pick the right seeds, then treat your seeds with the individual care they need. In no time you will be surrounded by a wealth of beautiful plants and flowers.

Geraniums Galore – A Container Garden Delight

All over the country, geraniums flaunt their red and scarlet, rose, pink, and white blooms with a gay abandon that few other plants can rival. In boxes on city fire escapes and rooftops, in window boxes on suburban and country houses, in tubs and pots on terraces and patios, and in hanging baskets of the porches of summer cottages, they are beloved and cherished plants

It needs sun to bloom; it tolerates shade, where it is usually handled as a foliage plant. What it resents is too much moisture and a rich diet. Kept too wet, the leaves turn yellow; given a heavy soil, one high in nitrogen plants go to foliage and flower sparingly.

Even if you choose no other plants, you could have a varied potted garden of single and double zonal, fancy-leaved or variegated, scented-leaved, ivy and Lady or Martha Washington geraniums (also called show or fancy geraniums), not to mention a few oddities of cactus and climbing types.

The zonal geranium is characterized by dark circular markings on the rounded green leaves. Double types dominate the trade and are offered by florists in the spring for planting in gardens and window boxes.

Variegated geraniums, with leaves that are often brilliantly colored, are attractive even out of bloom. Set among green-leaved geraniums and other foliage plants, pots of the variegated plants add color and pattern.

The trailing, ivy-leaved geraniums are among the most profuse flowering when grown under favorable conditions. They dislike shade and high humidity and thrive best in climates with warm days and cool nights, as in California.

Lady Washington’s, considered the handsomest of geraniums, are not so easy to grow. Like the ivy-leaved, they prefer cool nights and warm, sunny days, preferring shelter from wind and all-day sun.

If you are a geranium gardener, you may want to spark your pot plant collection with some cactus and climbing geraniums. They will give you bizarre and fascinating forms and flowers and are certain to arouse comment.

Geraniums flourish and look well in pots, boxes, and planters. They thrive in various soil mixtures if drainage is good. For abundant bloom, however, supply a special preparation, not high in nitrogen, or lush foliage and few blooms will result. I have success with good garden soil and a sprinkling of a 5-10-5 fertilizer and bone meal. During the growing season, plants respond to a low-nitrogen fertilizer in liquid form.

When potting, be generous with drainage material to insure free passage of water. As with any plant, always water with care, since too much or not enough can be harmful. The best rule is to water when the surface of the soil feels dry. Then soak the soil well and do not water again until plants need it. If soil is kept too wet, leaves will turn yellow; if too dry they wilt and discolor.

To maintain even plant growth, turn containers from time to time. Remove yellow leaves and faded blossoms which are especially distracting on plants at doorways or any other key spots. If rain rots and disfigures the center florets of the heads, pull them off with your fingers, leaving the unmarred outer florets and buds.

If you want plants for next spring, take two- to four-inch cuttings in August or early September. Look for mature stems (with leaves spaced close together) that break easily like a snap bean. Woody growth is hard to root and succulent tips tend to rot. Before planting spread out cuttings in a shady place for several hours so leaves will lose excess moisture.

When ready to plant, cut off the lower leaves, allowing but two or three to each cutting. Also pull off the little wings on the stem, since they are inclined to rot. Dip stem ends in hydrated lime to prevent decay and then insert about halfway, in a flat or large pot of pure sand or a mixture of sand and peat moss. With geraniums, rooting powders are hardly necessary. When cuttings develop inch-long roots, they are ready for spacing out in another flat or for separate planting in 2½-inch pots. Fill with a mixture of three parts sandy loam and one part peat moss or leaf mold. After planting, keep in the shade for the first few days, and bring indoors before cold weather.

When the separated cuttings have developed strong root systems, shift to 3½- or 4-inch pots. Use the same potting mixture as before, with bone meal added. Later as established plants begin to grow, feed periodically with a high phosphorous fertilizer, as 5-10-5 or 4-12-8.

To keep plants bushy and to encourage branching, pinch while small, starting when they are three to four inches high. Provide sunny windows, and keep turning pots to prevent lopsided growth. Water regularly, but allow soil to dry out just a little between applications

Plants may be wintered in cool cellars with little light. Remember only that the less light, the cooler the temperatures should be. This is because too much warmth and insufficient light cause lanky growth that undermines a healthy plant.

Gardeners with cellars or sheds when temperatures remain above freezing, can winter geraniums hanging upside down from the ceiling. The dead-looking sticks, set out in pots or in the garden in warm weather, will astound you when they develop into glorious flowering plants.

Gardening Your Personality: The Greens Of Growth

Many gardeners are the nurturing type: just like Mother Nature. People say they have “green thumbs” because they can make anything grow. Is your personality the growth type? Are you the kind of person who wants to see others grow and develop? If so, you probably love to be around children and, though you are exhausted at the end of the day, you feel like it is all worth it if you have helped other people. So is there green in your garden?

It seems to be a silly question: is there green in the garden? Most people think that green automatically appears in the garden. Leaves and stems are almost always green. But green can also be used as an accent color itself, though it’s often overlooked – just like the nurturing individual – a teacher, a preacher, a farmer. These nurturers are vital to the world, but often go overlooked.

Why does the color of a garden even matter? Many psychologists have studied the effects of colors on the human psyche for years. Colors both reflect our current emotions and elicit certain emotions from us. In other words, if you feel happy, you may wear your yellow shirt to work. Yellow is a happy color. If you look on the walls in the doctor’s office, they are most likely blue or some other calming color. Green is a color of growth and nurturing. Used in the garden, can give those feelings liberally.

Many people focus on the brightly colored flowers – the reds, yellows, and oranges, but they overlook what a simple green can do for the garden. The next time you go to the greenhouse to pick out flowers for your garden, take a moment and consider this. It’s important because the garden – and your whole house – should reflect your personality. If you are the nurturer, let the green come out and show the neighborhood that this is your sanctuary.

When it comes to greenery, use it liberally in the garden. It’s difficult to have too much green. Using green in the garden has a two-fold effect. First, by filling the garden with a green backdrop, the other colors will stand out more vibrantly. If you set off a firework in the middle of the day, it’s rather unimpressive. But if you place it on a dark backdrop, it will light up the sky. Green in the garden helps to accomplish this. Green also has a second effect. It gives the appearance of a lush, healthy garden. It’s nice to see the different flowers in a garden, but if you fill in the areas between them with some greenery it makes the entire landscape seem to jump to life.

So when it comes to your garden, does your loving and nurturing side come to the front? Can your neighbors see the effect of your green thumb? With the careful placement of some green plants, you can bring your garden to life and make it an extension of yourself. After all, you spend a great deal of time, effort, and money in the garden. Shouldn’t it reflect part of you?

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