I will have a picture of one of these plants, if you are interested you need to google the rest. INTERESTING names for these house plants.
Best Houseplants for Sunny Windows
Bright rooms and south-facing windows seem like a boon to houseplants at first glance, but in reality, many houseplants can experience leaf scorch from too much sunlight. Many houseplants come from jungle regions where the tree canopy constantly filters the light. However, some plants, especially those native to South Africa and Austrailia, need ample sunshine to thrive. You can transform a bright room with a pretty planter and one of these houseplants that crave the sun's rays.
Add to your first aid arsenal with a low maintenance aloe vera plant. The sap provides ready relief for minor cuts and burns, and plants are easy to propagate by repotting the pups. Plant your aloe vera in a heavy terra cotta pot that will both support the top heavy growth, and encourage air circulation. You can also mound soil around the stem to provide support for flopping plants.
With its sturdy stems and interesting, fleshy leaves, jade plants have endured as a popular houseplant for those with sunny windowsills or bright conservatories. Jade plants need at least four hours of sunlight each day, so a south-facing window is ideal. Although the Crassula argentea is a succulent, and therefore drought tolerant, it is not a cactus. Keep your jade plant moist by watering it when the soil surface is dry, to prevent shedding leaves. Jade plants can live for decades and continue to grow slowly over time, so keep your plant in a suitably heavy pot to prevent it from toppling over.
Sago Cycad Palm
The sago palm, Cycas revoluta, is a slow growing cycad that fits into modern decorating schemes well. It produces no flowers and rarely sheds its leaves, making it a tidy choice for the bright bedroom or living room. Got curious cats or nibbling toddlers? This plant is very poisonous, and should not be around pets of kids that might give it even a cursory taste.
African Milk Bush
Euphorbia trigona is an unusual looking plant that often elicits strong feels of affection or dislike. Although not a cactus, this succulent does grow sharp spines that can make repotting a challenge. The African milk bush is strictly a tropical plant, and if you give it a summer vacation outdoors be sure to bring it back in before temperatures drop below 50 degrees F.
Mother in Law Tongue Plants
This popular "impossible-to-kill" houseplant is carried in most garden centers as an ideal specimen for those new to houseplants, or those too busy to provide much care to their plants. Sansevieria trifasciata does great in bright light, but it will grow in shady conditions as well. If you're lucky, your snake plant might even reward you with a flush of fragrant white flowers.
The same plant the Egyptians used to build boats and make paper also happens to be an interesting houseplant specimen for sunny spots. The key to growing a happy papyrus plant is to give it constant moisture. Papyrus grows as a pond margin plant, so it is used to wet feet. Place your container in a dish of water, and change it weekly to prevent it from becoming stagnant.
The croton is proof that foliage can be every bit as lovely and vibrant as flowers are. Don't overwater your croton plants; only water when the soil surface feels dry. Croton plants need warm temperatures to thrive, and may experience dieback if temperatures fall below 60 degrees F.
The swollen trunk and frizzy foliage of the pony tail palm make it a fun accent plant for the sunny kitchen or family room. Care for your ponytail palm as you would a succulent plant. Give it coarse soil amended with sand, and water weekly. The ponytail palm grows slowly, and will only need repotting once every year or two.
No houseplant brings larger flowers indoors than the tropical hibiscus. A site with strong light is essential to achieving blooms when growing the hibiscus indoors. Pinch your plants monthly to keep them compact and branching, and feed them regularly with a potassium-rich houseplant fertilizer. Regular moisture, but no "wet feet" will keep your hibiscus healthy.
The areca palm is a grand specimen for entryways or living areas with vaulted ceilings. The plants can grow about six to eight feet tall indoors, and have a spread of several feet. Areca palms need little other than a sunny space and occasional watering. Make sure no water is left standing in the dish under the pot.
Jasmine Hanging Basket
Gardeners covet jasmine vines for their highly fragrant flowers that appear in late winter. White jasmine blooms are simple but plentiful, and a few cut stems make any flower arrangement special. Jasmine plants like bright but not direct sunlight. They need humid conditions, and a summer vacation outdoors will increase their longevity and performance.
String of Pearls
Senecio rowleyanus plants are a fun conversation piece tumbling over the edge of a container or hanging basket. The succulents like bright indirect light, sandy soil, and infrequent watering. Cuttings are easy to root, so you can share some of this whimsical plant with your friends.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/best-houseplants-for-sun-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Celery in the garden, here is one idea to use it for. Also do you have your October jobs done in the garden?
Here is a recipe with one of those vegetables/herbs that I love to grow CELERY. This is from my sister Mary Kay, give it a try if you have celery yet in your garden.
Found this in the Rachael Ray magazine. I used the celery leaves from what I planted in containers for summer seasoning.
Don't throw celery leaves. Wash and pat dry. Bake in a single layer on parchment paper lined cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes. I did the temp at 325. Crumble and mix with flaky sea salt. Use in egg salad or tuna salad or the rim of a glass for a Bloody Mary :-). From MK
I know gardening in October for us in Iowa needs to be done soon as it is the 30th of October. I am leaving all the zones advice because this blog reaches many of you all over and I really don't know who is logging on but I thank you for taking the time to look at the blog. Hope it is helpful. Becky
Gardening in October is entirely dependent on the weather. If there's an Indian Summer, there is no better time of year to be out in the garden. While gardeners in warm areas will have more to do than their northern counterparts, there are plenty of garden tasks to keep everyone busy in October.
General October Garden Chores
■ Get your soil tested and add amendments as needed.
■ Amend your soil with a dressing of compost
■ Turn your compost pile.
■ Use your garden debris and leaves to start a new compost pile.
■ Plant trees and shrubs. Be sure to keep them well-watered, even through the winter (snow permitting).
■ Make sure all vacationing houseplants are brought back inside.
■ Continue planting garlic.
■ Plant cool season annuals. Covering mums and asters on nights when a frost is expected, will lengthen their blooming.
■ Clear away dead foliage.
■ Dry and save seed.
■ Take cuttings of tender perennials.
■ Harvest and dry or freeze herbs for winter use.
■ Remove green tomatoes from the plants. Either ripen in a brown paper bag or lift the entire plant and hang upside down in a warm spot, to ripen.
■ Harvest winter squash once the vines die back, but definitely before a hard freeze.
■ Continue harvesting fall crops like beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale and leeks.
■ Clean and put away empty containers and garden ornaments.
■ Clean and sharpen gardening tools.
■ Continue winterizing your water garden
■ Clean bird feeders.
■ Think about a de-icer for the birdbath. If you're in an area that freezes and you don't have a de-icer, turn your birdbath over to keep it from cracking.
■ Enjoy the season. Show off your harvest with a fall display.
■ Then start thinking about putting your garden to bed.
California Garden Chores
■ Prune Oleander in October, before next season's flower buds have formed.
■ Plant cool season annuals such as African daisy, foxglove, Iceland poppy, larkspur, lobelia, pansy, petunia, phlox, snapdragon, stock, sweet alyssum, sweet pea, and viola. Keep them well watered, especially if the temperature warms.
■ Feed and water roses, but don't prune now.
■ Plant warm climate bulbs, like those from South Africa (ixia, ornithogalum, sparaxis, tritonia), for early blooms.
■ Pre-chill cool climate bulbs (daffodils, crocus, hyacinth and tulips) before planting. You can also purchase already chilled bulbs.
■ Sow cool season vegetables like beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, radishes, spinach and turnips.
■ Feed azaleas, camellias, hydrangea and rhododendrons with a fertilizer for acid-loving plants.
Pacific NW Garden Chores
■ Protect winter greens from this season's heavy rain and wind with row covers.
■ Take advantage of upcoming rains to re-seed bare patches in the lawn.
North Central Garden Chores
■ After the first killing frost, dig your tender bulbs, let dry and package for storage.
■ Winterize your roses.
■ Divide and/or transplant peonies.
■ Plant spring blooming bulbs this month.
■ Keep mowing, as long as the grass is growing. But set your mower to its highest level and let the grass go into winter with at least 3" of growth.
Northeast Garden Chores
■ Start raking. Shred or compost this fall gold.
■ Cut back and remove diseased perennial foliage.
■ Finish planting bulbs.
■ Keep transplants watered.
Midwest Garden Chores
■ Clean up and remove dying foliage.
■ Continue planting spring blooming bulbs.
■ Harvest winter squash when the rind is too hard to poke a finger nail into.
Southwest Garden Chores
■ Plant strawberries now for spring harvesting.
■ Plant cool weather herbs, like cilantro, dill, fennel and parsley.
■ Seed quick growing cool season vegetable, like carrots, lettuce, radishes and spinach. Set out transplants of broccoli and cabbage.
■ Dig and store tender summer blooming bulbs and plant spring bloomers.
Southeast Garden Chores
■ Keep planting perennials.
■ Make sure plants receive enough water, especially transplants and winter and spring bloomers.
■ Plant a cover crop in the vegetable garden.
■ Harvest sweet potatoes before a frost.
Hawaii Garden Chores
■ Prune avocado, mango and plumeria trees.
Indoor Plants Garden Chores
■ House plants start to slow down as the days get shorter. Cut back on watering and feeding until next spring. Winter feeding will result in weak growth.
■ Plan for Christmas blooms on your poinsettia and Christmas cacti. Move both plants so that they are in temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees F. Make sure the Christmas cacti get at least 13 hours of complete darkness at night. Poinsettia will need about 15 hours in the dark. For most of us, this will mean covering the plants themselves. When uncovered, place in bright light. Provide them with water and a general purpose fertilizer.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/gardening-to-do-list-october-in-the-garden-
till next time this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
This greenhouse is located in Pandy's Garden Center, 41600 Griswold Road, Elyria, OH 44035. But has some good advice. See what you think?
Can I transplant and prune my shrubs yet?
I have been inundated with questions of moving plants and shrubs and pruning questions this past couple of weeks. Here are my recommendations of when, how and why....
First let's talk about transplanting.... Perhaps a plant is too close to another, it's grown too big or just hasn't done what you expected. For whatever reason you wish to move things, it's getting real close to the time you can do it. If you are not a seasoned digger and know the long process of digging and moving plants, the best time to transplant most evergreens and shrubs is AFTER we receive a hard killing freeze. Cold weather is knocking on our door and soon plants will begin to change color and defoliate their leaves. This is the tell tale sign they are going dormant.
By waiting another week or so for the cold weather, your success rate for transplanting will increase ten fold. Plants shut down and prepare for old man winter. By taking a sharp spade and creating a earth ball around the base of a tree or shrub, the plant can be moved to a new location with no stress on the plant. The key is to start large and keep whittling away until you see many roots. If you dig too big of a ball, it may break when you go to move it. If you dig to small, you may not have retained enough root mass for the plant to flourish. You need to be like Goldilocks and pick the right bowl of porridge or in this case root ball size.
Once dug, move to its new location and plant. I always like to use soil conditioner to amend the soil which predominantly is clay based in our area. Dig a hole 1.5 to 2 times the width of the root ball and plant elevated from the surrounding soils a couple of inches. This assures good drainage and allows a fudge factor for settling in case you have dug the hole too deep. The mixture of pine bark mulch soil conditioner and clay should be placed an and around the root ball as back fill for the plant. I compact the soil as I am planting and create a little basin or bowl around the root ball. This is a great thing to do to help the plant capture and hold water. Add a 2-3" layer of mulch on top and water plant. If dry weather continues, you should try and water once a week. Give the plant a good soaking so you know it's good and moist. Typically the fall rains are enough to keep plants irrigated.
Now, moving on to trimming. It is always best to wait for a hard killing freeze as well. Once dormancy sets in, the thinning process can begin. Keep in mind, the rule of thumb is, plants that bloom in the spring, you do NOT want to prune. Lilacs, azaleas, hydrangeas which flower in a ball not a cone, rhododendrons and andromedas are a few plants which you would not want to prune now. If you really feel you need to trim these, keep in mind, you will be cutting off your blossoms for next year. Sometimes you got to bite the bullet and do what you got to do.
Grasses are a debatable plant. In my personal experience, I like to leave them untouched till spring. The leaves and plumes add some winter interest. In conducting a test of grasses we kept over winter several years ago, I got half of them back in November and left the other half intact. The ones I had not pruned in fall, but waited till March to trim started out quicker then the ones that had been cut. In all honesty by June, you could not tell them apart, so the decision is yours.
Roses are another fickle plant. You must really wait till they drop their leaves. This may not happen until late in November. They must be dormant and pruned down to 12-18" tall. Then they need covered with mulch to help insulate the graft and avoid freeze and thaws on the bud union. A good cypress, or pine mulch does the job well. Just remember to remove in mid to late March before they start to grow. As for knockout roses, they pretty much can fend for themselves. My roses bloomed some years into late December and I just let them be. I waited till spring to prune them. They were fine! In strange winters which are brutally cold, I have lost a knockout rose which I just left alone and did not mulch. This is a rare occurrence but could happen. Many of my clients will cut knockout roses down now and have no problems. You can error on the side of caution or gamble on the weather.
If you do have an area that seems to be windy part or all of the winter, and you have broad leaf evergreens planted such as azaleas and rhododendron, japanese or regular holly, andromedas or inkberries, I would recommend you spray them with wilt stop from Bonide. This spray seals in moisture of the leaves so the winter winds to not dehydrate them and you end up with winter burn in the spring. Again, wait till a hard killing freeze and coat all the leaves with this spray. A burlap barrier placed with stakes blocking the wind will help with winter burn as well. Many of my clients erect fences to help with protection on newly planted Junipers and arborvitates.
And speaking of arborvitaes, and junipers and pines and all newly planted evergreens, be prepared for a defoliation of needles and leaves on the interior of the plant. First year evergreens can lose up to 50% or more of their interior leaves and needles. They simply turn yellow and fall. Your plant is not dying. This is something that occurs until the plant gets established and gets it's feeder roots out. This happens with all new evergreens.
As for perennials, it's a great time to clean up the dead leaves and trim back growth in preparation for winter. By removing diseased leaves and dead branches, your perennials will start fresh and healthy come spring. A light coating of mulch on top of perennials will help insulate their roots from freeze and thaws this winter giving them a better chance of surviving.
Hope to see you soon, J.R. Pandy, "The No B.S. Gardener"
taken from email@example.com
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
It's Pumpkin Season!
Halloween is coming up fast, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Can you believe it? It seems like just yesterday that the Tomatoes were ripening on the vine and we were basking in the summer sunshine in our gardens. These days, the air is crisp, the nights are cool, and the autumn leaves are falling. It's officially sweater weather, and everywhere we look, mums and Pumpkins are adorning front porches and patios. It's such fun to decorate for fall, and to indulge in all of the wonderful goodies you can make from your bumper crop of Pumpkins!
To help you celebrate the season, we've gathered a bunch of our favorite Pumpkin ideas and recipes into this one handy email. Enjoy, and stay warm! Oh, and Daylight Savings Time officially ends on Sunday, November 5th...
Jack O'Lanterns to Wow the Kids!
The day before Halloween, we're busy cleaning out pumpkins, preparing to carve fantastical faces that will thrill the Trick-or-Treaters. But once those pumpkins are ready to be carved, we invariably find ourselves standing there helplessly, our minds blank of imaginative ideas. Sound familiar?
Luckily, there are tons of ideas online. From traditional cute or scary faces to fantastical patterns and architectural creations, you'll find tons of inspiration on our Pumpkin Carving Ideas Pinterest page. Before long you'll be pulling out your power drill and cookie cutters and impressing your neighbors with your Pumpkin-carving prowess.
Looking for healthy snacks to counter all that candy the kids will be eating on Halloween night? You'll love our Halloween Fruit & Veggies Pinterest board. We can't wait to make severed carrot fingers and honeydew bats! For a healthy Halloween night side dish, try Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Rosemary and Sage Vinaigrette.
Better Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
We all grew up roasting the pumpkin seeds we pulled out of our Jack O'Lanterns. It's a childhood ritual--cutting the top off the pumpkin, reaching in, and pulling out a delightfully cold and slimy handful of pulp and seeds. After that tactile moment, the fun-factor always began to go downhill: trying to separate the seeds from stringy pulp, rinsing them, and them roasting them, only to find that they were chewy and not all that tasty.
Luckily, we know better now how to get crisp, crunchy, delicious roasted Pumpkin seeds that make all that work worth it. The key? Boiling the Pumpkin seeds first! Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Bring several cups of heavily salted water to a boil and add the raw Pumpkin seeds. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain well and, in a bowl, toss the seeds with olive oil, salt, pepper and any spices you'd like to try (we love a bit of cayenne or curry.) Spread the seeds out on a lightly oiled or parchment-lined cookie sheet and roast for at least 10 minutes, checking every couple of minutes afterward until they are the perfect crispness. Yum!
The key to the best pumpkin pie
Doesn't the thought of Pumpkin pie make you long for family? It's second only to roasted turkey as a symbol of Thanksgiving's joy and familial love. We all love that feeling of spending time with the people most dear to you, stuffed to the gills with Thanksgiving dinner, but summoning the energy to add just one more delectable thing to your belly: Pumpkin pie!
The key to the best Pumpkin pie you've ever tasted is your own Homemade Pumpkin Puree. It's easy to make and oh-so-much better than canned. You can even freeze it. You can find detailed instructions on our website HERE. Use this homemade puree in your favorite Pumpkin pie recipes, or try it in a few of our favorite Pumpkin recipes, like Pumpkin Creme Caramel, Spiced Pumpkin Buttermilk Pie (we really do adore this recipe!), Velvety Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Shaylynn's Pumpkin Cake.
Want even more Pumpkin recipe ideas? Explore our Pumpkin Recipes Pinterest page.
Taken from firstname.lastname@example.org
Till next time this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa
Fall Needle Drop - Why Evergreen Needles Turn Yellow in the Fall
Despite being called evergreens, the needles on evergreen trees do not stay green forever. The label "evergreen" refers to their habit of not dropping their leaves, or needles, before winter, the way deciduous trees do. While evergreens are never totally without needles, older needles are shed regularly, as newer needles fill in.
We are used to seeing the leaves of deciduous trees change color and drop in the fall.
But when you see your evergreens start to turn yellow, it can cause you concern. There are diseases and pests that can harm evergreen needles, but if it is the older, inside needles of your evergreen trees and shrubs that are yellowing and dropping, it is probably not a disease or an insect. It is normal fall needle drop, sometimes referred to as seasonal needle drop.
What is Fall Needle Drop?
Fall needle drop refers to the tendency of evergreens to shed some of their older, inner needles at the end of the summer. It is triggered by weather and other factors of the growing season, much like dormancy. So it doesn't happen like clockwork, but it is fairly regular.
Sometimes needle drop can also occur slowly, over several months, making it barely noticeable. You may not even be aware of this regular shedding of needles, because the new needles fill in quickly.
Fall needle drop is most noticeable when several trees start to lose their needles at the same time, which is not uncommon since it is a seasonal process.
It can be a startling sight, but it's a normal one for most evergreens. The inner most needles will turn yellow while outer needles stay bright green. The yellow needles eventually drop and carpet the ground around the tree. It may look alarming, but not only is it normal, it is also healthy. Older needles may also turn red or brown and go unnoticed before dropping.
Do All Evergreens Experience Needle Drop?
Different types of evergreens will drop their needles at different rates. For instance, most pine trees will shed every 2--5 years, while spruce trees hang on to them for 5--7.
Eastern white pines can show their shedding dramatically. They tend to carry 3 years worth of needle growth during the growing season and drop the oldest year's needles just before winter; sometimes the 2 oldest years' needles. This can leave you with a sparse looking tree, with yellow needles throughout. It can take another season before the tree starts looking lush and green again.
Other pines, like the Austrian pine and Scotch pines, hang onto their needles for at least 3 years. This means there will be enough green needles on the trees to virtually hide the loss of the yellow needles.
When are Yellowing Needles a Sign of Trouble?
Yellow needles early in the season and the yellowing of newer growth are different stories. If that should happen, look for other causes, such as drought, insects, such as spider mites, or other symptoms on the needles, bark, and roots that could be causing desiccation.
If you see signs of yellowing in isolated portions of a tree, or if it starts in an isolated spot and starts to spread slowly, you should gather some needles and a couple of small branches and take them to your local cooperative extension or a good nursery and have them take a look for signs of disease or pests.
However, evergreens are continuously shedding needles as new needles fill in, much like the hair on your head. You will know it is fall needle drop if it is occurring throughout the tree.
Not All Conifers are Evergreen
It's true, not all cone bearing trees and shrubs are evergreen. Some, like the bald cypress, dawn redwood, larch, and tamarack, have needles that change color in fall and then drop from the branches. They are deciduous conifers, and behave just like leafy deciduous trees, such as maples and oaks. Don't panic if you have one of these trees and you start seeing large amounts of needles dropping in fall. They will leaf out again in the spring.
Taken from https://www.thespruce.com/fall-needle-drop-
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
So yesterday I blog about keeping hardy plants in containers, today it is about tropical plants how to winter them over. INTERESTING...again I learn so much from doing this blog regularly. We are having that cool, cold weather and killing frost predicted for this weekend, now it would be time if you haven't done this all ready.
Three Ways to Overwinter Tropical Plants
By Marie Iannotti
How to Over-Winter Tender Tropical Plants
It's hard to resist those tropical beauties in the garden center each spring. We've all succumbed to the imposing leaves of elephant ear (Colocasia) and the striking colors of cannas. Trumpet-flowered Mandevilla grows nicely in a container and can cover a fence in never ending color, at least until frost. Then there are banana trees, which will probably never produce bananas for us, but make quite the statement in the garden none the less. And who isn't charmed by Brugmansia, or Angel's Trumpet, with its foot-long trumpet horn flowers that obligingly hang upside down, so we can fully take in their heady scent.
These tropical plants add a touch of the exotic to our gardens, providing a taste of warmer climates for however long our summers may last. But they don't come cheap and to grow a really impressive specimen takes years. Growing them as annual plants seems a waste of not just all the resources you put into buying and caring for the plants, but also the plants themselves. However if you want to enjoy your tropical plants for years to come, you will need to find somewhere safe to store them for the winter.
That can vary from plant to plant. Some plants will happily go dormant, grateful to have the winter off and a little downtime to regain their stamina. Others make excellent indoor plants, if you have a spot with enough sun and you can control the heat and humidity.
It's not easy making an outdoor plant happy indoors, especially in the winter. Days are short, indoor air is dry and there are no natural predators for houseplant insects. But it is possible to over-winter your tender tropicals. Here are 3 ways to do it and which plants fare best for each method.
Storing Tropical Bulbs and Tubers
Many gardeners start their elephant ears as a bulb, but don't consider saving them over winter as bulbs. This is arguably the easiest way to over-winter plants and all the bulbs or tuberous plants, like cannas, caladiums, and even dahlias, are good candidates. You need to wait until the leaves have been browned by a light frost, then lift the plants and put them somewhere shaded and sheltered, so the bulbs can dry out for several days.
Once dry, brush off as much soil as you can, trim the leaves back to a couple of inches and store them in a box with peat of saw dust or wrap each bulb in a sheet of newspaper and tuck into a box. Keep them cool and in the dark, checking periodically to see if any are starting to rot or if they are starting to shrivel. Dispose of any rotting bulbs and spray a little water onto the peat or paper, if they are drying out. Here's more about storing tender bulbs for winter.
You can repot them a month or two before your last frost, to get a head start on the growing season, or save them to plant outside, as soon as the ground warms and no frost threatens. This method takes up minimal space and most bulbs and tubers make it through the winter just fine. Since the bulbs will produce more offset bulbs, saving them year after year will also mean more bulbs each year, to plant or give away.
Bringing Tropical Plants Indoors
Not all tropical plants make good houseplants, but there are plenty that do. Some, like canna, seem to attract every aphid to come indoors with them. And very often we just don't have the growing conditions a tropical plant needs to continue growing and looking attractive indoors. If you want to give it a try, start caring for them before you bring them inside. Carefully inspect the plants for any sign of pests or disease and treat accordingly. You might want to cut it back by one-third to one-half, to make it more manageable.
Then find the brightest window you have and make a space for your plants to settle in. Make sure they are away from drafts and from excessive heat sources. Bringing your plants indoors while the windows are still open at night will give them the best chance of acclimating.
If you don't have a sunny window, you can use artificial plant lights. Another concern is the dry air in winter. Keep a spray bottle handy and mist your plants daily.
Some great candidates include: banana, begonia, brugmansia, fuchsia, and mandevilla. Your plants probably won't thrive and they may not bloom, but they should survive with minimal stress. Here are more tips for bringing outdoor plants inside.
Letting Tropical Plants Go Dormant in Containers
This method of over-wintering tropicals is a little more hit and miss than simply storing them as bulbs, but it's worth a try. It helps if the plants are already in containers, but you can always lift them and pot them up at the end of summer.
After a light frost, cut the tops back to 6 - 8 inches and only water when the soil looks bone dry. Move the containers to a cool, dark spot that will stay above freezing, but below about 50 degrees F. Check them periodically, to see if they need a small drink of water, but water sparingly. You can resume regular watering about the same time you begin to start seeds. At that point, you should see new growth starting and you should move the containers into the light. (Don't move them directly into bright light immediately or your could burn the tender, new leaves.) When you see several inches of new growth, you can also give your tropical plants a little fertilizer. Start to harden them off, after all danger of frost.
Plants that handle this type of winter care well include: banana, begonia, brugmansia, caladium, canna, mandevilla, and tender ornamental grasses.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/three-ways-to-overwinter-tropical-plants-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Can I keep hardy plants in their containers alive during the winter here in zone 4? This is what I found.
So the last blog writing I talked about spring for the warmer zones and for the southern hemisphere. Now today talk about us and what if we can overwinter HARDY plants for the winter. Interesting ideas....do you do any of these?
Overwintering Hardy Plants in Containers
More and more gardeners are growing plants in containers these days: pots, flower boxes, smart pots, etc. It’s very handy, as it lets you grow plants in spots where there is no possibility of digging a planting hole, such as on a deck, balcony or rooftop. Of course, most of the plants grown in containers are either annuals or plants treated as annuals—tomatoes, begonias, petunias, sweet peppers, etc.—and no one expects them to survive the winter at any rate. Either you can just let them freeze and replace them the following year, or you can bring those that are tender perennials indoors (or bring in cuttings) indoors and grow them as houseplants over the winter.
But what about hardy plants grown in pots? Shrubs, perennials, conifers, fruit trees, etc. Most of these are hardy enough to survive local winter conditions… that is, if they’re grown in the ground. But in a pot? That changes everything! You can’t bring them indoors, as hardy plants need a cold winter in order to thrive, yet it can be so cold outdoors in a pot during the winter that even hardy plants die.
Mostly a Problem in Colder Climates
In hardiness zone 8 and above, or any area where winter cold comes in short bursts quickly followed by above-freezing temperatures, there’s no great difference between temperatures in pots and in the ground and most plants that will survive the winter in the ground will do about equally as well in pots. It’s where winter cold is deeper and longer lasting that plants in containers have a harder time surviving and some sort of special winter care becomes necessary.
Winter Is Tough on Potted Plants
Sadly, growing in a pot is more stressful to plants than growing in the ground, and that’s especially true in winter. Here’s why:
First, the soil in pots freezes more deeply than soil in the ground nearby. It generally drops to the same temperature as the surrounding air, while in-ground plants profit from “bottom heat,” heat given off by the soil below (the soil is an excellent source of geothermal heat). This can make a huge difference! The soil temperature in the ground can be more than 20 °F (10 °C) warmer just a few inches deep compared to the air on a very cold day.
Also, plant roots are usually much less hardy than plant parts that are exposed to the air. Since roots are typically protected from the worst of cold weather simply by being underground (remember ground heat), they’ve never had to adapt to extreme cold. For example, above-ground parts of black spruce (Picea mariana) can tolerate -58 °F (-50 °C) in midwinter, yet their roots will die if exposed to -5˚ F (-20 °C) temperatures. In other words, the aerial part is hardy to zone 1 whereas the roots are only hardy to zone 6! That’s a huge difference!
That was, of course, an extreme case, but nevertheless if you garden in containers, you have to assume the roots of a hardy plant will probably be one or two zones less hardy than its leaves and stems.
Added to that is the fact that the roots of a potted plant have to put up with some pretty wild temperature swings while in-ground roots usually undergo only very slow and very moderate changes. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is ground heat, already mentioned. Also, though, it takes longer to heat or cool a large mass of soil (in the ground) than a small one (in a pot), plus soil is quite naturally a good insulator. As a result, soil temperatures in the root zone of plants growing in the ground tend to drop slowly in the fall, remain cold but very stable in winter, then to warm up, very gradually, in the spring. Compare that to potted plants, with their minimal soil mass and little to no bottom heat. They undergo regular and rapid temperature changes, usually including repeated cycles of freezing and thawing, and those are never good for plants.
There are nevertheless several methods you can use to successfully overwinter hardy container plants. Here are a few:
1. Choose a large pot. The larger the pot, the greater soil mass and the less the plant will undergo temperature swings.
2. Insulate the pot. At planting time, probably the previous spring, plan for the coming winter and line the inside of the pot with moisture-resistant insulation, such as waterproof foam panels. Indeed, some pots have built-in insulation. This insulation works not so much to keep the soil in the pot warmer (if the air is cold and remains so for long periods, soil temperatures will still drop) as to prevent those nasty temperature swings.
3. Choose Extra Hardy Plants. Prefer as container plants ones that are at least one and preferably two zones hardier than the basic hardiness zone of your region. In other words, if you live in zone 5, for example, only grow plants adapted to zones 1, 2 and 3 in pots, or, at the limit, zone 4. If you apply that simple rule, you eliminate most of the problems of overwintering plants in pots. Notably, now that cold is no longer a concern, you can leave pots out in the open and use them as decorative elements for the winter months. Alpine plants (naturally acclimatized to deep freezing in their original environment) and conifers are particularly resistant to winter cold when grown in a pot … when you choose ones at least one zone hardier than your local climate.
4. Place plants in a garage, shed or some other shelter for the winter. If the shelter is somewhat heated, all the better, but even when it isn’t, temperature swings will be considerably reduced compared to what pots experience in the open air. Do remember that such plants will likely need watering occasionally, even in winter.
5. Take the plant out of its container and plant it in the ground for winter. Add a good layer of mulch (always useful to protect freshly disturbed roots from temperature swings) and your plant will be much better able to tolerate cold temperatures. In the spring, you just have to repot it.
6. Plant the plant in the soil, pot and all. The result will be the same as point 5 and you won’t have to repot, although you’ll likely have to give the pot a thorough cleaning come spring.
7. Remove the saucer. If you normally place your pots on a saucer during the summer, remove it for the winter, otherwise the roots are likely to soak in cold water throughout the winter or, in the coldest climates, the water in the saucer will freeze solid for the winter, preventing any drainage. And roots that soak in water all winter are likely to rot.
8. Raise the container off hard surfaces. Sometimes a thin layer of ice forms under the pots placed directly on a hard surface such as wood or concrete, preventing any drainage. The result is that the plant dies, not from the cold, but from rot because the soil remains constantly soggy. Just raising the pot only ¼ inch (6 mm) above the surface is enough. You can use pot feet, sold for that purpose, or raise the pot on slats of wood or a few flat stones.
9. Set the pot on the north or east side of the house. This may seem counterintuitive, as these exposures are colder than south or west exposures, but winter sun causes more damage to container plants than does persistent cold, as it often leads to the soil thawing during the day, then freezing again at night. By sheltering the plants from the winter sun, the soil temperature will remain more stable. Also, snow tends to build up more and last longer in north or east exposures … and snow is an excellent insulator!
10. Place the pot against a wall that radiates some heat, such as the wall of the house. This will be even more effective when combined with point 11.
11. Insulate the pot against the elements to protect the soil inside against temperature swings and allow it to retain more heat. Several methods are possible. You can, for example, form a wire mesh “cage” and fill it with fall leaves or straw or surround the pot with bales of straw or plastic bags filled with fall leaves. You can also wrap the container in burlap, geotextile designed for winter protection, bubble wrap, an old blanket, etc. and thus gain some protection. Allow snow to build up around the pot or add more when it’s available for even better insulation.
12. Insulate the foliage using one of the methods outlined in point 11. This will reduce damage to aerial parts due to temperature swings, but … remember that the plant still needs to breathe. Avoid covering the plant itself in airproof wrapping, like bubble wrap or plastic sheeting. Leaves, straw and snow are the best insulators, as they allow air circulation while keeping cold winds out.
13. Group your pots together. This reduces access to cold wind and facilitates insulation (points 11 and 12) because you can cover the pots collectively. Place the hardiest plants on the outside so they surround the least cold-tolerant ones for even better protection.
The Right Pot
If you want to keep perennials or shrubs in pots all year, you’ll need a container that can withstand freezing and in particular repeated freezing and thawing. Ceramic and terracotta pots, for example, tend to crack quickly if left outdoors all winter, especially with a mass of soil inside that expands as it freezes, but containers made of wood, concrete, metal, fiberglass, resin or plastic are generally more weather resistant.
One suggestion: use valuable pots outdoors only as a cache-pots and bring them back indoors over the winter, growing your plants in simple “grow pots” of little value. Then you place the grow pots inside the cache-pots for the summer and on the ground for the winter. If a grow pot cracks in the winter, it won’t cost much to replace!
While plants may be dormant in the winter, they aren’t dead. You’ll need to keep watering your container plants during the winter if Mother Nature doesn’t do so. Their watering needs will be greatly reduced due to their dormancy and reduced evaporation due to the cold, but still they mustn’t dry out completely. Conifers and broadleaf evergreens, in particular, continue lose quite a bit of water to evapotranspiration during the winter and this lost water must be replaced. Water on days when the temperature is above freezing, preferably in the morning so that water can penetrate before freezing temperatures return at night.
Note that moist soil insulates roots better than does dry soil, because when the soil is damp, its air spaces fill with water and water is a much better insulator than air.
What I Do
Above I’ve listed a whole panoply of suggestions on how to protect your container plants from the cold, but personally, there are only two that I apply to outdoor containers in the very cold area where I live (zone 4). During my apartment years, when my only garden space was a balcony, I learned two things that I’ve applied ever since: to stick to extra-hardy plants (point 3) and to raise the pots above the balcony floor (point 8).
As for watering, that turns out not to be a problem in my area, since everything is covered with snow throughout the winter and I can therefore count on melting snow to take care of watering needs.
Thank you Mother Nature!
taken from https://laidbackgardener.blog/2017/10/18/overwintering-hardy-plants-in-containers/
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
I know that this blog is going global and in the southern Hemisphere so this advice will be for the ones starting their spring, working up dirt for gardens, and for the higher zones in North America that are gardening. For us in here in Zone 4 just some advice to give you for next spring. Food for thought.
Gardening Basics - How to Start a Garden
for Planning a New Garden
Starting a garden can be daunting. There are all kinds of decisions to make, but a little planning can go a long, long way toward making a garden you'll love working in as much as looking at. However even planning can be a challenge.
I think the three most important questions to keep in mind are:
■ How do you plan to use the space (entertaining, play area, grow food...)?
■ What do you envision in your mind?
■ How much time and money can you devote to it?
Here are some resources to help you answer these questions and create a garden you'll enjoy.
Starting a Garden
Where to begin? First you need to choose a good site. The amount of sun exposure and access to water will play a big part in what plants you'll be able to grow.
Another good place to begin a new garden is with the soil. This may not be the most fun part of gardening, but as the saying goes: "Feed the soil and the plants will take care of themselves. You'll need to assess what type of soil you have and what, if anything it needs. You can get your soil tested for a nominal fee at your local Cooperative Extension office and sometimes at a good nursery.
Vegetable gardening is a little different from flower gardening and here are some questions to ask yourself and steps to take to start a vegetable garden.
Selecting plants is one of the toughest gardening tasks, simply because there are so many from which to choose. Key things to keep in mind are your hardiness zone and your soil type. But when push comes to trowel, what it really comes down to is what plants do you like and how much time can you put into caring for them. Here are some lists and resources to help you focus your search:
■ Drought Tolerant Plants
■ Easy Care, Low Maintenance Perennials
■ Deer Resistant Plant Lists Shade Plants
Want to get started on a smaller scale? Why not try container gardening or focusing on one particular type of plant, like roses?
Designing a garden is an ongoing process and half the fun of gardening. While there are so called "design rules", like always planting in odd numbers, there are no garden police to enforce them. Make your garden whatever you envision. Most gardens are a mix of plants - annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs - that are always growing and changing and even the best thought out design will eventually need editing. Even so, there are some basic principles that will get you started off right.
And here's a tip: Choosing some type of theme, whether it's a color scheme, a style or a group of plants, will not only help give your garden a sense of cohesion, it will help make your design choices easier. You can always expand from there.
There are all kinds of tools and gadgets designed to make gardening easier and more enjoyable. There are a few that should be in every gardener's shed, like good pruners, but most are optional and as you gain experience you will find yourself reaching for the same favorite tools again and again. So don't go overboard buying tools right away. However once you know what you like, it's worth it to invest in the best gardening tools you can afford. Good tools are more comfortable to use and last a long time.
Maintenance - Caring for Your Garden
There is always something to do in the garden: planting, staking, dividing, cutting back and weeding. Some plants are more demanding than others, but garden maintenance is a given. It can also be the most enjoyable part of gardening, because you get to observe the changes your garden goes through. By regularly working in your garden, you'll stay ahead of problems and learn the seasonal rhythms of your plants. You will also learn which plants do well in your garden, which you love and which you'd just as soon dig out and give away. Maintenance is the real essence of gardening.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/gardening-basics-how-to-start-a-garden-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Here are some interesting ideas about getting garden plants. I am thinking about doing a plant swap next year for our customers. Just have a place where the gardeners can bring plants and take some home to use in their gardens. We can provide containers as we always have lots of them. We will water and take care of them. I am a strong believer in pass along plants.
Evelyn Question for you???? Car Boot sales do you have them in Australia? LOVE that concept. Might have to market that here with something for sale.
Enjoy the rest of the article.
11 Ways to Get Cheap or Free Garden Plants
Create a Lush Yard and Patio Garden for Next to Nothing
By Lisa Hallett Taylor
Not everyone has the finances to buy new plants for each season or occasion. That doesn't mean a garden has to look drab or bare, nor do gardeners need to be deprived of their favorite pastime. The sign of a beautiful garden is not how much money is invested, but how well it's cared for, the design, and choice of plants.
Through cuttings, seeds, plant sales, plant rescuing, and other resourceful ways, a garden can look like paradise. Here's how:
Cuttings are one of the most obvious and popular ways to sample different plants in your region. You can propagate them through layering, rooting, dividing, or simply transplanting the plant directly into soil.
This is a popular way to add to your succulent garden, especially for those who live in the western United States and dry or drought-stricken regions that feature succulents in landscapes throughout the year. There's such a frenzy of succulent lovers out there that Facebook groups devoted to collecting and sharing information have had to limit membership due to overwhelming response.
Try to resist taking a cutting from a public or private garden—it's someone else's property. Instead, find the owner, and ask if you might have a cutting. Most likely they will be flattered and happy to share. Food for thought.
Just as dogs, cats, and many other living things need to be rescued, so do plants. Think about sources for unwanted plants that you could nurse back to health and put in containers on your patio or in planting beds. Some ideas:
■ The trash areas and bins of home and garden centers, nurseries and florists. Many merchandisers report the excessive waste of some retailers that throw out plants that were returned or don't look their best.
■ The yard maintenance companies hired by neighbors and devoted to collecting and sharing information have had to limit membership due to overwhelming response.
Try to resist taking a cutting from a public or private garden—it's someone else's property. Instead, find the owner, and ask if you might have a cutting. Most likely they will be flattered and happy to share.
Flea Markets and Car Boot Sales ( Interesting words)
Flea markets, farmers' markets are a great source for cheap and sometimes free plants. In the United Kingdom, a car boot sale is a term for a group of people gathering together to sell household and garden items.
Most people price plants to be affordable. After all, that's why people attend and sell at these kinds of events.
Shopping at Flea Markets for Vintage Patio Furniture
In spring or fall, organized garden tours give locals and enthusiasts opportunities to visit residential gardens. It's a chance to see what grows well in the region, and many tours sell cuttings of plants at stops along the tour.
Join the Arbor Day Foundation
One of the perks of joining the Arbor Day Foundation: receive 10 free trees. There are also options for 10 trees to be planted in your name in a national forest or rain forest.
Yard and Estate Sales
Plants are among the least-popular items at an estate or garage sale--everyone has his or her eye on a valuable piece of jewelry or a cool Mid-Century modern teak buffet. Strategically arrive at the end of the sale, when items are often reduced drastically as the sellers want to pack up and move on.
Offer a low but reasonable amount to take several potted plants off their hands, and be prepared to move them yourself, swiftly and easily. With a little gardening know-how, pruning, and TLC, you can swiftly and easily. With a little gardening know-how, pruning, and TLC, you can...MORE have those plants looking healthy in a month or so.
Garden Clubs and Organizations
Plant sales are an excellent way to raise money and awareness of local garden and horticulture clubs. That's why they hold seasonal plant sales. And those sales are where someone who is looking for more unusual plants at a great price (or sometimes free), should attend.
An added bonus: most members include information on how to grow the plant. Who knows? You might end up joining one of the clubs, where the monthly meetings are often good places for free plant swaps.
Request a Plant as a Gift
Your friends and family are always bugging you for gift ideas around the holidays and your birthday, anyway—so why not ask for something you actually want, like plants? You can also request seeds or gift certificates to a garden center or nursery. Your gift giver will be happy to know he or she has selected something you really want. And it's a gift to you, which means it didn't cost you anything.
Pay it forward and share cuttings with other plant lovers.
Do your research online for plant-swapping groups and individuals who have plants to give away for free. Among them:
■ CraigsList: Find your region, then enter "free plants" or even the name of the particular plant or plants you are looking for. Nothing's guaranteed, but it's a good idea to check frequently. This is also a good way to share your extra cuttings with others.
■ MeetUp: Locate a garden or plant-swapping group near you.
■ Facebook: Search for a particular plant or for groups in our region.
■ GardenWeb plant exchange
■ World Plant Exchange
Seeds have always been one of the most inexpensive ways to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers, and other plants. You don't have to get scientific about it, with grow lights and a miniature greenhouse. If you want, just add some to soil in a pot or garden bed, water regularly, and be pleasantly surprised when seedlings sprout in days, weeks, or even months.
Church, School or Work
During holidays like Christmas and Easter, churches decorate altars with seasonal potted plants that are often donated by local nurseries and florists. At the end of the holiday—or sometimes after the holiday service--clergy will offer plants to parishioners to take home, rather than throwing them away.
While we aren't suggesting you hang out during the holidays at local churches to score free plants, if you happen to be attending a service or are a member of the congregation, you can inquire about the fate of the plants. Better yet, volunteer to distribute them to other members of the parish, and take one or two leftovers home for your garden.
The same goes for school and work functions—if plants are being thrown out, speak up and take them home.
Easter lillies planted in a home garden bloom in late spring. And in some warm climates, like Southern California, poinsettias grow into trees or hedges.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/get-cheap-free-garden-plants-
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
I love to can and process garden stuff. So I read canning recipe books, always see recipes for these kinds of condiments. So found this article interesting, maybe you will too. If you want the recipes go to the link at the bottom and you will find them. I might try the red beet one.
Fruit Butters, Conserves, Curds, Jams, Jellies, Marmalades and Preserves
Which Is Which?
In the days before refrigeration, reducing sweetened fruit pulp and canning it was a means of preserving the taste of summer year-round in Eastern Europe. The flavor was so exceptional, what was once a necessity became an important part of the culinary tradition.
The difference between fruit spreads is one of consistency. Here's how to tell them apart.
Fruit butters are made by cooking whole or halved unpeeled and, sometimes, unpitted fruit until tender and then forcing it through a sieve or foodmill.
Sugar, and sometimes spices and lemon juice, are added and the pulp is reduced by cooking until thick. No gelling agent, such as pectin, is used. The term fruit "butter" derives from its spreadability. There is no butter in the product (unlike fruit curds!)
■ Fruit Butter Facts and Recipes
■ Peach Butter Recipe
■ Pumpkin Butter Recipe
■ Plum Butter Recipe
■ Prune or Apricot Lekvar Recipe
■ Quince Butter Recipe
■ Apple Butter Recipe
■ Pear Butter Recipe
■ Tomato Butter Recipe
Conserves are jam-like mixtures of fruit, often with raisins or other dried fruit and sometimes whole or chopped nuts, liquor and spices. They are cooked until they become very thick and chunky, but are generally thinner than jam. They're typically spread on toasts, biscuits, crumpets and other breakfast breads or rolls. But they also will work as a side with game meat or pork, or to fill a pastry like kołaczki.
■ Brandied Fruit Recipe
Fruit curd is a creamy spread made with sugar, eggs and butter and, usually, citrus juice and zest. Lemon curd is the classic variety, but lime, blood orange, strawberry and cranberry curds can be found. A citrus curd is refreshingly tart, as opposed to more sugary jams and preserves. Fruit curds also can be used to fill tart shells, and as a garnish.
■ Lemon Curd Recipe
■ Doberge Cake with Lemon Curd Recipe
Jams are made by cooking fruit purees with sugar and pectin until thickened. They are unstrained. Berries and other small fruits are most frequently used, but larger fruits work also. Good jam is characterized by an even consistency without chunks of fruit, bright color and a semi-jelled texture that has no free liquid. Jam also can be used to fill pastries like Polish Royal Mazurek.
■ Fig Jam Recipe
■ Easy Strawberry Jam Recipe
■ 6 Low-Added Sugar Jam Recipes
■ Cranberry Jam Recipe
Uncooked fruit purees mixed with sugar and pectin are called freezer jam because they are stored frozen. They are valued for their very fresh taste.
■ Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe
In the United States and Canada, jelly is simply sweetened and jelled fruit juice. It is made by cooking down sweetened fruit (or vegetable) juices with pectin and an acid like lemon juice. Good jelly is clear and sparkling with no traces of pulp and it can be cut with a knife. In Britian, jelly refers to a fruit spread or preserve.
■ Red Wine Jelly Recipe
Marmalades are sweet and tangy fruit preserves that include the flesh and zest from citrus fruits, usually oranges.
■ Christmas Marmalade Recipe
■ Kumquat-Orange Marmalade Recipe
■ Red Onion Marmalade Recipe
■ Red Beet Marmalade Recipe
Preserves are different from jams in that large or whole pieces of sweetened fruits (or vegetables) are cooked and jelled. It is not smooth like jam or jelly. Serbian slatko is a type of preserve in which the fruit is kept whole in a thick, very sweet sugar syrup.
■ Watermelon Rind Preserves (Slatko) Recipe
Fruit spread is a jam or preserve made with no additional sugar.
Till next time this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Hi! My name is Becky and I am a Master Gardener. I own Becky's Greenhouse in Dougherty, Iowa.