How to grow dill in containers

Dill is an herb which has been used in many kitchens to add flavor meats, especially fish and even directly as a garnish on the plate. Not just taste to the food; the yellow flowers on dill add beauty to the garden as well. Herbs like dill generally look good when planted in a pot. Scientifically called “Anethum Greveolens,” dill is the only species in the genus Anethum.

Dill finds its applications in the soap manufacturing as well. The industrialists extract its oil from the seed and distill it to get soap at the end. The oil is also extracted from its leaves and stems.

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The next time you cook fish or bacon and want to add dill for garnishing, take the fresh herb from your own yard and surprise everyone. If you don’t have dill in your garden yet, you should consider it! Dill grows well in containers and is pretty easy to care for once established.

Soil Conditions

Although dill can grow in poor soil conditions, it grows much better in sandy, well-drained, or loamy soil which is slightly acidic in nature. For dill to get adequate nourishment, the temperature of soil must be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spacing

The maximum height any dill herb can achieve is 3 feet. It does grow much wider as well. So you need not worry about the space that it takes. Anyone can easily afford a little space for something as great as dill.

Site Temperature

You need to protect dill from the gust of winds. Heavy winds can damage the herb in a matter of minutes. It grows much better when exposed to the full sun. Dill is such an excellent herb that it can survive temperature as less as 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Do It

Choose and Fill the Container

To grow dill in a container, choose a pot which is deep enough to accommodate the long roots of the plant. It should not fall down due to the weight of the plant. You can plant dill in your existing an existing herb box, a metal raised garden bed, or even a single planter

Sprinkle Seeds on the Soil

Fill the container with the soil and then sprinkle the dill seeds on the surface of the soil. Cover these seeds with a quarter an inch of the layer of soil.

Expose to Direct Sunlight

Irrigate the Seeds

Now water the soil so that it gets moist. During the germination period, make sure the soil stays a little moist. Keep it in mind that overwatering can cause significant harm to the plant. The best way to prevent overwatering is to make sure you are using a suitable potting mix if indoors or that the soil/depth combination in a raised garden bed is adequate to provide drainage.

Thinning seedlings

After about two weeks, you will be able to spot the signs of seedling emerging from inside the soil. Once you see the sprouts getting bigger, you will need to trim them. The thing here is that the lightest one must be removed so that the healthiest one keeps growing.

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Water Plants

If the pot is inside the house, you can re-water once or perhaps twice weekly. However, the ones kept outdoors need to be irrigated every day.

Fertilizing Dill

Note that it is crucial for dill to be fertilized to grow. Fertilizers, however, must not be applied directly to the seed. A soluble fertilizer in its diluted form must be sprinkled on the dill every four weeks. Excess of fertilizers can affect the plant from producing tasty leaves.

Harvest the Leaves

Dill leaves usually get ready to be used within the first two months of the plantation. You can also do it when you feel that the herb is long enough to be used for culinary purposes. Make sure you cut them close of the stem. It is preferred to harvest them when the temperature is slightly cooler.

Storing Dill

Once you have harvested the dill leaves and flower heads, it is necessary to store them properly, so they don’t lose the taste and aroma. To keep them fresh, a plastic bag or even a damp paper towel can be used.

Pros & cons of different types of mulch

A garden needs mulch to look and produce better. The basic idea behind using it; is regulating soil temperature, retaining soil moisture, and also; reducing the growth of weed. If you do it properly, it also enhances the landscaping beauty of the garden, and also prevents soil erosion.

The thing is that nothing in this world comes with just positives, or negatives. There always remains a balance between these two; which is necessary as well. Organic and inorganic mulches are quite different. The former ones break down to provide nutrients to the soil while the latter ones don’t decompose.

Here you have the list of pros and cons of different mulches that are being used by the gardeners.

Shredded Rubber

It is an inorganic mulch that is primarily made of recycled rubber. Since there comes a lot of scrap from rubber every year, it is a great idea to use it for something beneficial.

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Pros:

  • It has a capability to reduce the weed growth to a significant level.
  • During flooding, mulch holds much better to the ground, which helps prevent soil erosion.
  • Yet another benefit of rubber mulch is that it repels the insects that are harmful to the growth of plants and trees.

Cons:

  • Per cubic feet, it costs much more than any other mulching material. It indeed affects the cost savings of the homeowners.
  • Since it is made of rubber, there’s no denial of the fact that it burns quickly if exposed to flame; as insignificant as a lit cigarette.
  • When you need to remove the rubber mulch from the ground, well, it is extremely challenging. You might have to take off the topmost layer of soil to do that.

Leaf Litter Mulch

Leaves fall off the trees; that’s nothing to be surprised about. And we have to get rid of them for a simple reason that they can block gutters and downpipes. One great way to remove them without actually removing them is to use the leaves for mulching. Again, it has some benefits and some negatives. Let us have a look at both the sides of the coin.

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Pros:

  • Soil needs nutrients to maintain its fertility. Leaves contain a lot of nutrients which can you send back to the soil by just mulching them.
  • For the homeowners, the financial aspect of everything is a necessity. Well, with leave matter as mulch, you don’t have to spend a penny.
  • Shredding the leaves is quite easy. You just have to run a mower on them to make it happen. Or perhaps, you can use leaf shredders, which are made specifically for the purpose.

Cons:

  • Too many leaves from the native plants make the soil, ‘water repellent.’ This is because of the natural oil that these leaves contain.
  • If you don’t shred the leaf mulch, it can blow around very quickly.

Hardwood Bark Mulch

Made from the shredded barks of hardwood trees like maples and oaks, it is quite popular among the gardeners. Remember that no ground or waste wood pallets are used for the same. It is ideal for the people who want dark-brown, and not the reddish-brown color in their garden.

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Pros:

  • It is excellent when it comes to controlling the growth of weed.
  • Since it is made entirely of pure wood, there’s no chance that it will blow away. It is also ideal to prevent soil erosion.

Cons:

  • Hardwood mulch breaks down very quickly and thus need to be replaced sooner.
  • Also, it does not have an insect repellent quality, which is not quite great for the plants.

Conclusion

When you are looking forward to mulching your garden, make sure you know what to look out for. Every type of mulching material has something good and bad, and you must know it well in advance. The area where it has to be spread also helps you determine the type of mulch. To make it easier for you to understand, gravels and rocks look much better when used as mulch in front of a business center. Similarly, every type of mulch looks the best at a specific location. You need to find the right one for your garden.

How to plant Rye grass

Perennial ryegrass, also known as Lolium Perenne, has been used in the United States for a very long time. The application, however, differs with the location. People love to grow it because of its comparatively faster germination. Ryegrass comes in annual form as well. Annual ryegrass, as the name suggests, lives for just one season.

The grass has a tendency to tolerate relatively less temperature and is thus used in northern climates. Unlike other grasses that fade away with the first frost, ryegrass keeps shining all through the winter season.

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If you want to grow it in your garden, there are certain things that you need to prepare in advance. Keep reading the post to know what you need to grow ryegrass in your yard.

Prepare The Planting Area

A soil test is the first and foremost that needs to be taken to grow ryegrass. No matter how expensive seed to sow, you can’t simply outweigh the necessity of nutrients that ryegrass needs. Also, it is not a great idea to make changes to the soil once the seed has been sown. Ryegrass germinates more quickly in the damp soil. You should harrow or till the soil evenly before sowing the ryegrass seed.

Choose The Right Rye Seed

As mentioned earlier; the ryegrass is of two types- annual, and perennial. The perennial one germinates much better than the annual one. This means that lush that you achieve because of the perennial seed does not come easily with the annual seed. You can also use pre-grown patches of rye and plant them in the planting area. This is called Sod.

Fill The Soil

This holds true for both seeding and sodding. You need to fill in the existing soil so that it can reach required depth. For ryegrass, the correct depth is about 6 inches. Always remember that the soil must not have more than 20% clay content. Also, it must not contain any herbicides, which can hinder the growth of ryegrass.

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Spread Fertilizer

For ryegrass, phosphorus and potassium are the best available options. You should uniformly spread the fertilizer all across the area of the yard. This is necessary because soil needs nutrients to get fertile and let the plants grow without any issues.

Water The Lawn

You have to water the lawn before and after sowing the grass seed. This is to make sure that the soil has enough moisture content for ryegrass seed to germinate. Don’t water to a level that the yard gets muddy. Keep note of the pace at which water is being drawn into the soil, so you know when is right the time to stop. Thoroughly water the entire surface area of the lawn.

Maintain It Properly

You cannot expect ryegrass to grow unless you take enough care of it. Throughout the growing season, ryegrass remains thirsty. Also keep a record of the pH levels of the soil because unlike other grasses, ryegrass can grow with pH, as low as 5, which is quite acidic.

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Harvesting of Rye Grass

It requires at least 50 days of growth before getting ready to be harvested as hay. Over-harvesting and overgrazing don’t do any good to the ryegrass, so you must keep an eye. The recommended time to harvest hay is when nearly half of the flowers have opened up to bloom.

How to make an herb garden for cooking

herbs garden for cooking

Herbs are essential for cooking. They can make a simple dish flavourful and interesting. They are also healthier replacements for processed ingredients that you can buy in the supermarket these days. The only problem though is certain herbs are hard to find, and some are seasonal. They can be costly as well.

So growing your own herbs is a practical way to save money and to ensure you have fresh herb anytime you need it. If you want to start your own herb garden for cooking and don’t know where to start – then this guide is for you.

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Image by Pixabay

Choose your selections of herb

Before starting your own herb garden, select first which herbs do you need. There’s no hard rule on selecting herbs. The most important thing is to start with something that’s handy, and you can use often.

To give you an idea, below are the easiest herbs to grow in your garden and their uses.

Basil

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Basil is a culinary herb belonging to mint family and is used for different cuisines worldwide. It is an essential ingredient for Italian and Mediterranean cuisines. It is a versatile ingredient and is known as the base for pesto, and it works well with pizza, salad, and sandwiches. Vinegar, oil, and dressings can be made from basil too.

Mint

Mint is another popular herb famed for its flavor. It is known to complement drinks and can be made as a stand-alone low-calorie drink. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals and known to aid digestion problems.

Dill

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Dill is an aromatic annual herb of the celery family. It is another versatile herb that is good for soup, salads, cream cheese, pickles and as an ingredient for drinks. It has a piquant fragrance that reflects on its flavor. It is most popular in Central Asia and Northern and Eastern Europe.

Parsley

Parsley is one of the most common herbs used for garnishing. It is also known for boosting the taste of a dish without adding an unhealthy amount of salt or sugar. It also a good source of vitamins, minerals and is known to have the highest concentrations of Myricetin. It’s a flavonoid that helps prevent certain cancers.

Thyme

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Thyme is a popular herb that compliments soups, stews, meats, and sauces well. It is an herb of the mint family. It has subtle minty flavor and dry aroma. The uses for thyme extend to its health benefits including antibacterial properties and acne-fighting ingredients. Storing thyme is not a problem. You can either freeze it or dry it to use for future cooking.

Cilantro

Cilantro is also known as coriander or Chinese parsley and considered as one of the oldest herbs in history. It is used mostly for salads, pasta, stir-fry, soups, chutneys, and stews. It also a good source of several vitamins, minerals, and antibacterial properties.

Lemongrass

A personal favorite, lemongrass is an herb known for its subtle lemony aroma and citrus flavor. It is a popular ingredient for Southeast Asian cuisines. Lemongrass is a popular stuffing for anything roasted. A glass of lemongrass tea will also change the way you look at tea.

Where to plant herbs

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You can plant most of these herbs in a pot in your garden. If you don’t have a garden or has limited space, you can also place the pots in a balcony, window chills or any space in your kitchen where the plants can get sunlight. Most herbs are low maintenance plants, and they don’t require too much space to grow.

What do you need

  • herb seeds/ plants
  • small size pots
  • well-drained potting soil
  • compost
  • trowel

How do you make an herb garden for cooking

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Image by Pixabay

The process of planting herb is easy even for beginners. Below are the step-by-step process of making an herb garden for cooking.

1. Choose the herbs that you will often use as a starter.

2. Select a location where you can place your herb containers or pots. Make sure the herbs get at least 6 hours of sunshine so place it in a south-facing window to get enough sunlight if you are planning to place it indoor. Like all the plants, they thrive better with an adequate supply of sunlight. If it’s winter, use fluorescent lights as alternative light.

3. Prepare the soil. Fill the container with potting mix. Herbs grow better in the well-drained soil so make sure to choose the proper soil for your herbs. Add compost to supplement the soil nutrients and for the herbs to grow better and faster. Make sure to use individual containers/ pots for each herb, so it gets specific care that it needs.

4. Sow seeds. Each herb has a different planting depth so check the seed packets for instructions.

5. Water the seeds right away after sowing.

Proper care for the herb garden

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1. Some herbs require watering every 2 to 3 days while others require daily especially for the herbs planted outside. To ensure that the herbs get proper care, always check the soil. If the soil is getting dry, then it’s time to water the plants.

2. Contrary to popular belief, herbs don’t die when you harvest from it often. In fact, it encourages the growth of the plants. So try to harvest as often as possible.

3. Remove weeds occasionally.

 

 

Plants that do well with poor soil drainage

In any gardening guide, you’ll often see the terms like “good drainage” or “well-drained soil” or “plants in poor soil drainage”.  A good soil drainage is a vital requirement for almost any plant to flourish well. But what do the terms “well drained” and “good drainage” actually mean? Are there plants that do well with poor soil drainage?

A well-drained soil is the type of soil where excess water caused by unchecked watering or heavy rain dissolves quickly. Contrarily, if you see a large splash of water on the ground after a hard rain shower, your soil is not draining efficiently. This may cause plant roots to sit deep in water for long periods and prevent them from carrying on adequate respiration to their stalks and leaves. This could slow their growth or even kill them by rotting.

When growing plants in pots, the prime cause of poor drainage are the use of containers having no drainage hole. At least, one hole should be in the pot’s base to allow unnecessary water to drain away.

Perennial flowers – beautiful plants that thrive in poor drainage

Perennial flowering plants are well-suited for poor drainage soil which retains water for long term. They do much better than delicate annuals that need constant draining. Some of these moisture-loving flowering plants thrive in still water while others can tolerate soggy, poorly drained sections of your garden. Moreover, once they get established in your garden, they can produce stunningly vibrant displays in a multitude of your favorite hues!

Daylily

Daylily is a versatile plant that tolerates both scathing drought and light floods. They come in beautiful shades of orange, pink, purple, red, white and yellow. Growing anywhere between 1 to 8 feet, daylilies are perfect for  rain gardens, low-lying areas, and other wet places. These plants can survive submerged for weeks before they need to be dried out eventually.

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Newly planted daylilies appreciate regular watering, especially when they’re blooming. Daylily roots efficiently absorb and store water, making them ideal and functional to be put to work for managing landscape run-offs in your gardens. Daylilies prefer exposure to full sunlight but can tolerate part-sun conditions in shaded areas.

Illicium

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Illicium beautifies any ugly wet area with their glossy evergreen foliage and vibrant red blooms. These bright colored flowers are equipped with leathery leaves and can grow in marshy  areas  and stream banks. This low-maintenance flower shrub is perfect for naturalizing steep slopes along drainage ways and they thrive without much help. They typically grow to around 4-6 feet in height  with a dense and pyramidal form.

Hibiscus

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While there are multiple varieties of this tropical beauty, the vibrant red hibiscus will instantly add a spicy aesthetic to your garden! ‘Panama Red’ aka hibiscus is a low-maintenance plant that requires moist soils. However, be careful not to let them sit in water for a prolonged period between the rainy months. Try planting them on small mounds of slightly raised elevations to ensure healthy roots.

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Calla Lily

Calla Lily

Beautiful blooms of calla lily can thrive in a swampy environment. They can continue growing in up to 1 foot of water. Ideal planting sites for calla lily include spots beside a pond or stream and spaces where puddles of water accumulate. They grow from 2 to 3 feet tall and up to 2 feet wide. Varieties come in a wide array of flowers that bloom in many hues of vibrant yellow, deep red, white and pastel shades.

Tangerine Beauty

Image of Tangerine Beauty. Photo Credit: www.finegardening.com

Tangerine beauty is the perfect garden vine for covering areas made by large fences. Its trumpet-shaped flowers fully bloom in the spring in attractive colors of red and orange. They are easy to grow and the rewarding showy blooms of their flower trumpets are a favorite for both bumblebees and hummingbirds.

Self-clinging to bricks and wood fences, the plant leaves are semi-evergreen and can adorn any unsightly structure with beautiful green foliage. You can plant tangerine beauty anytime and anywhere if the ground is not frozen. They grow the fastest in moist soil, but can also adjust with drought and flooding.

Iris Flowers

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Irises begin showing their colors in late winter to early spring. They bloom in shades of deep purple, blue, white, and yellow, while some hybridized versions that produce blooms are multi-colored. The hybrid varieties are perfect for extending a colorful flower bed at the center of your garden.

The iris plant can grow in height that ranges from 3 inches for the shortest dwarf variety to 4 feet for the tallest iris variety.

Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed can add a splash of soft purple and lavender to your garden from summer to early fall with its towering blooms. This flowering plant boasts of low-maintenance and adapts easily to slow-drain and boggy soils like heavy clay with ease. They’re great for lining your fence and as back-of-the-border plants for your rain garden.

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You can place them in spots with full sun to part shade exposure. Their flowers attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects and can grow 5 to 8 feet tall and up 2 to 4 feet wide, so make sure to allow considerable growing space for them.

Conclusion

Poor drainage is a common problem that involves many factors like compaction, subsoils and steep slopes etc. Despite your best efforts to improve soil drainage, problem areas may still persist in the ground of your garden. Fortunately, nature has supplied us with some wide plethora of plants that don’t mind some wet puddles! So, you can still have colorful and thriving gardens even with poor soil drainage by making a careful selection of your plants.

Corn – frequently asked questions

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Corn is the most widely produced crop in the entire world. It is considered as whole grain and vegetable at the same time.  Like rice, it is also a staple food in many countries. It is a member of the grass family and grow in a grass-looking stalk and produce ears or cobs. These cobs are used for several food products and ingredients which makes up the 20% of the world’s nutrition. Corns usage extends to cosmetics, medicines, fabrics and several materials.

If you are planning to grow corns, these frequently asked questions should provide you the basics to start your own cornfield someday.

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1. How long does corn take to grow?

Corn grows between 60 to 100 days. It depends on the variety of the corn and the soil temperature during the growing season. Corn germinates faster when the soil is warmer. So it important to plant corn when the air temperature is between 60 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. How many ears of corn per stalk?

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On average, sweet corn and field corn produce one to two ears per stalk. According to agriculturists, the density of the stalks affects the number of ears that corns produce. The less density, the more space for the corns to grow and produce more ears.

There are varieties of field corns that produce between 6 to 10 ears or cobs depending on the size. These are the baby corns that we typically use in salads and dishes.

3. When is corn season?

The corn season varies per country. Since corn thrives better in warmer temperature, the corn harvest season reflects at the end of the summer to fall season. In the US, planting corns start normally from April to June and the harvest season is from June to October. Tropical countries have longer harvest season due to warm weather all throughout the year.

4. How do you harvest corn?

Harvesting corn is easy. Once corn kernels are mature, just hold the corn ear with your hand and twist it on the side. And then pull the ear and yank hard. Use your other hand to steady the stalk. If you are harvesting sweet corns, preserve or prepare it for eating right away as sweet corns lose their sweetness right after harvesting.

5. How do you know corn is ready to harvest?

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There are several signs that you can check. First off, the tassels must be brown. These are the stuff that looks like hair at the top of the cob. If it’s still green, that means it is not ready yet. The cobs also start to swell when its ready. And lastly, the kernels must be full and milky. You can check this by pulling back the corn silk and squeezing the kernel.

6. Is corn easy to grow?

Growing corn is not that complicated. Corns require minimal aftercare. It needs warm and healthy soil, at least 6 hours of sunlight and a constant supply of water. Weeding and adding fertilizers might also be needed from time to time.

Aside from the basics, it is important to remember that corn needs other corn to grow and produce kernels. Corns are wind pollinated and need pollens from other corns. This is why it is also important to plant them by rows and about a foot apart from each other.

7. Can I grow corn in my backyard?

It is possible to grow corn in your backyard as long as the location meets the basic needs of the plant. It is important that you have rich soil, proper drainage, and good water supply. And that you plant the corn plants that they can pollinate each other properly.

8. How much sun is needed to grow corn?

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Corn is a summer crop so it is best to plant them where it can get a full sunlight. At the minimum, corn requires at least 6 hours of sunlight. Corn is sensitive to cold and susceptible to frost so avoid planting them during the winter season.

9. Does corn need a lot of water?

Corns need water at least once every week or when the soil starts drying. Pour at least 1 inch of water to the soil. It is important to keep the soil moist and keep it from drying. Drought conditions can result in stunted growth of the corn and lack of kernels.

10. Where does corn grow best?

Aside from the warm weather, corn grows best in sandy loam soil. Sandy loam soil is a rich soil composed of sand, silt, and clay. It has good drainage and normally stays moist without being too wet which is ideal for corn growing. Corns also like slightly acidic soil or has a pH scale of 5.8 to 6.8.

 

Bird of Paradise houseplant care

Bird of Paradise aka Strelitzia plant blooms beautiful, bright colored flowers that add strong tropical flair in any place you grow them. The plant got its name from its stylistic flowers resembling the plumage of a bird. With its symmetrical shape and pretty oval-shaped canopy leaves, it’s often regarded as the Banana Plant.

Bird of Paradise is a stylishly sophisticated choice to be kept as an indoor houseplant. They are fairly easy to take care of. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to help them thrive in optimum condition:

Flowering Bird of Paradise Varieties

There are five Strelitzia species. But only two of them are grown as indoor plants: Strelitzia reginae (orange bird of paradise) and Strelitzia Nicolai (white bird of paradise). These plants grow with upright standing leaves coming out directly from the soil with no visible trunk. The large leaves range in size around 1 foot long. They tend to shred when exposed to heavy windy conditions or when often brushed in a crowded, busy hallway.

Here’s a short guide on how to look after the bird of paradise plants to keep them looking pristine and proper in your home or business area: 

Environment

S. Reginae and S. Nicolai are beautiful plants that can be successfully grown inside. The biggest drawbacks are their size, as they grow at around 5 to 6 feet. The plants require anywhere from three to five years before they flower. However, the wait is well worth it as they can complement the massive plantings outside when their flowers rise above the foliage for an impressive display

Indoors, the plants only need moderate-to-high interior lighting condition. This way, the light can be diffused when sunlight is available. Low lighting could cause difficulty in processing water for the plants. This may lead the plant to be leggy or to experience discoloration. 

Light and Soil 

Since birds of paradise are tropical plants, it’s no surprise that they appreciate splendid daylight. Place the plant in a spot where it will get the most sunshine, but not where it may also suffer during the harshest temperatures in the early afternoon.

By any chance, if your plant leaves turn yellow, expand the plant’s exposure to sunlight. Birds of paradise plants thrive better in rich soil that stays moist but allows for good drainage. If you’re growing it in a pot, make sure the pot has well drainage. 

Water 

Bird of paradise does best with a consistent watering plan. Keep the soil around the plant wet in spring and summer. Water, having a high salt concentration, could cause the leaves to burn out. If this is the case with your water, consider utilizing rainwater, or refined water when necessary, to water your plant. Bird of paradise grows best in normal household temperature, however, the plant could benefit from misting during dry winter months. 

Fertilizer

In spring and summer seasons, give your plant enough nutrients by preparing a compost with a fluid manure thinned to a large portion of its prescribed strength. Remember, you must not fertilize your plant during fall and winter time. Extra feeding can cause the leaf tips to fold and curl on itself. 

Creepy crawlies and Pests 

Birds of paradise are vulnerable to scale, coarse bugs, and spider mites, but these bugs are easy to identify and remove. Wipe the leaves with a thin cloth or warm, foamy water. Avoid using liquid pesticides on your plant. Pesticides can hurt the leaves or completely burn them off with the chemical content. 

Growing bird of paradise successfully is not a rocket science. So don’t get anxious by their size and their affinity for some rays. Just make sure to provide lots of bright light with some direct sunlight, regular watering, and warmth. Feed them with organic compost early in spring before the new growth begins, and then fertilize every week during the growing season. Grow the plant in a container that can be efficiently moved outside in the warm summer months and then bring back the plants inside for fall and winter. 

 

Birds of paradise are large, enchanting plants that give off an intense tropical aesthetic to any indoor space. With the right amount of care, these exotic tropical beauties can develop to more than six feet tall. Its wide, vibrant leaves can make a definite and chic statement for your home. 

Growing pumpkins in Florida

Growing pumpkins in Florida seems to be a Herculean task. After all, it’s way too hot to sprout them that long south. Nevertheless, you can grow healthy and juicy pumpkins in the northeastern region of the state. It may not be easy, and the capital needed may be a bit high for an average earner. But you can definitely do it!  

Though pumpkin is native to North America, English and Irish immigrants introduced the custom of carving jack-o-lanterns for Halloween in America. They would use beets and turnips in England & Ireland to sculpt their festive moments. Pumpkins replaced turnips and beets as they were more suitable for engraving and setting a light inside.

pumpkin craving. photo credit pexels.com

Northeastern Florida is known for growing potato and cabbage, but the market is also available for venturers looking into growing other crops in the area. Pumpkins need a significant amount of fertilizer and 3-4 months long  growing season. You’ll need to plant your seeds around late May to early July in the southern states. The month of July and the state of Florida is probably the worst time and place to do back-breaking work such as planting pumpkins, but you must endure the extreme heat if you want your juicy harvest-ready by October!  

CHOOSING THE  GROUND 

Pick  an area with full exposure to the sun (at least 8-12 hours+ sunlight per day) and enough space for vines.  If you have a limited garden space, no worries! Pumpkins can still thrive at the outskirt of your garden, provided that vines can grow across your sidewalk or up a custom trellis. You can also try miniature  varieties to fit in with your space. Pumpkins are heavy feeders that prefer well-drained soil. Before sowing the pumpkin seeds or transplanting them, you need to mix lots of  (6-8 bags for 300-900 sq feet space) aged manure and compost into the growing site.  

PLANTING  SEEDLINGS 

Hand-plant seeds with a row spacing of 2.75 feet, and with 6.5 feet between row centers. Spread reflective plastic mulch over the rows to deter pests and insects as well as to keep the ground cool. Pumpkins are likely to grow best when you plant the seeds directly in the  selected area. If you plan to transplant,  harden them off ahead of transplanting. The ideal soil temperature is at 95ºF.  

Prepare the row hills in  advance  with a mixture of old manure placed about one foot deep into the ground. If manure isn’t available, you can slacken the soil and blend in a 2-4 inch stretch of  compost. Plant the seedlings an inch deep into your cultivated rows with about four or five seedlings in each row. Make sure to allow a space of 4 to 8 feet  apart between each row.  Expect the seeds to germinate in a week with the right soil temperature and emerge in about 5 to 10  days.  

PLANTING 

Incorporate fertilizer into the soil, and lay the plastic with poked holes. When you see the plants to be around 2 – 3 inches long, snip off the unnecessary plants without harming the roots of the desired  ones. Cut down the excess plants to trim the placement to 1 plant for every 1.5-3 feet. 

 

CARE 

Use  row plastic covers  to protect the plants early in the season and to prevent insect infestation. Pumpkins need lots of water. Northeast Florida gets a fair amount of rainy weather, but you may still have to irrigate your rows when necessary. Therefore, you need to water deeply, especially during the fruit  setting. Try to keep the foliage and fruit dry because the dampness or extra moisture will make rotting and other diseases more  likely. You can add  mulch  around your pumpkins to preserve the required moisture and curb weeds.   

Do not over-cultivate to avoid damaging the roots. Most small vine varieties can climb up a customized trellis, which would save you space in your garden, but be sure to make them sturdy to support the expected weight. 

Bees  are crucial for pollination of your crops and fruits, so avoid using insecticides for killing pests. If it’s extremely necessary, use it in the late afternoon or early evening, when the blossom of flowers is done for the day. To entice more bees, you can try setting up a bee house  in your  garden. 

PESTS AND DISEASES 

Squash bugs  and  cucumber beetles  are common pumpkin pests, particularly in late summer. Aphids, Powdery Mildew, poor lighting, and poor weather can adversely impact a healthy fruit set. So, spray for fungus and downy mildew on a 2-3 day regular basis for 3 or 4 weeks, but be wary of driving off the honeybees.

Also, pumpkins are highly vulnerable to leaf burn from bug-killing chemicals due to the intense Florida heat and sun conditions. So, use the smallest dosage possible.

HARVESTING AND STORAGE 

The best time to harvest pumpkins is when they reach maturity. They will best stay fresh this way. Avoid picking pumpkins off the vine as soon as they reach your intended size, you should let them reach their maturity. If you prefer small pumpkins, purchase the small  variety of seedlings. A pumpkin is due for ripening when its skin takes on a deep, sturdy orange color (in most  cases). The shell will feel tough and it will make a hollow sound when you thumb the surface. Try to nail the skin as well. If it repels puncture, it should be  ripe.   

To harvest your pumpkin, cut the fruit off the vine carefully without rupture. Make sure you don’t cut too close to the pumpkin and you handle it very gently to avoid bruising. Keep them under the open sun for a couple of days to further harden the skin. Store them in a cellar, or  anywhere with a temperature of about 55ºF. Remember that pumpkins grown in Florida will never be the big jack-o-lantern types so expect your produce to be around 8 to 15 pounders.  

Do you think growing pumpkins in Florida worth the risk? Yes, of course! Florida-grown pumpkins taste good enough to compete with those grown in other states and are of supreme delectable quality for consumers to buy. Follow the tips above and you’ll soon see that pumpkins are easy to maintain if you have  space and enough determination! 

How to grow and care for Bougainvillea bonsai

Purple Bougainvillea Bonsai

Lend some colorful accents to your surroundings with the beautiful plant of Bougainvillea Bonsai. It is a tropical plant that comes in several colors like orange, bright red, white, purple and pink. Originated in South America and native to Peru, Brazil, and Colombia, it is considered as a subtropical species that is known for its large-sized flowers. Their branches resemble that of a vine and can be pruned into Bonsai.

This plant has a beautiful display of flowers with an interesting branch structure and a thick trunk. Depending upon their species, Bougainvillea Bonsai can be grown against a fence, in the containers, as hedge, ground cover, in tree form, and more.

Yellow Bougainvillea Bonsai

How To Grow A Bougainvillea Bonsai

Bougainvillea Bonsai plants are not different from Bougainvillea Vines. But if you want to grow a Bougainvillea Bonsai, you need to start by selecting a good container with excellent drainage.

Purchase a small Bougainvillea in springtime. Keep the plant in a small container, brush the soil from its roots, and prune one-third of its roots.

Bougainvillea Bonsai

Now prepare a growing medium with equal parts of perlite, pine bark, peat moss, and potting soil. Add the medium in the one-third of the container and keep the plant into its center. Tamp the soil down firmly and stop an inch below as you are about the rim.

Once you have planted, it will require sunlight to thrive all day long. Always keep the plant where the temperature is above 40 degrees. Make sure that you prune the plant during the growing season and do shape the plant to enhance its center trunk.

Bougainvillea Bonsai also grow their best when the weather is warm.

Bougainvillea Bonsai Bloom

Care Instructions For Bougainvillea Bonsai

Bougainvillea Bonsai care is as important as correct planting. Here are the care instructions to follow to make your Bougainvillea Bonsai grow its best.

Sun Exposure

If this plant does not get enough amount of sun, it will not show its full colors and hues.

Hardiness

Bougainvillea Bonsai comes from the USDA zones 9B-11 and does not grows below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. This plant cannot withstand freeze; especially the newly planted ones.

Pruning and Styling

The care of Bougainvillea Bonsai includes trimming at regular intervals. You can trim the foliage at any time of the year, but make sure that you do not trim off the bracts when they have started to gain the color.

Whenever you style the Bonsai plant, you need to take care of the special areas like canopies, form pads, and long sweeping limbs.

Water Tolerance

Bougainvillea Bonsai prefers deep watering, i.e. regular watering every three to four weeks. Whenever you plant a Bougainvillea, make sure that you water it regularly, and the soil is damp as well.

Container/Pot Selection

It is essential that you choose an ideal container for your Bonsai. Look for a round or a rectangular pot that goes with the shape of your plant. However, the round pot should be 1/3rd of your plant’s height, and the rectangular one should be 2/3rd of it.

Irrespective of the fact, whether you are planting it inside or outside, the depth of the container should also be equal to the diameter of the plant.

Soil

Bougainvillea Bonsai prefer a fair amount of organic matter in the soil. The soil that you use should at least contain 40% of it. However, the inorganic part of the soil should consist of coarse sand, agricultural pumice, decomposed granite, or different portions of all the above.

Pests and Diseases

This plant is mostly pest free, but they are somewhat vulnerable to aphids and a bit of black spot fungus.

Use Of Fertilizers

During the spring, low nitrogen fertilizer should be used in the plant. The plant will have more blooming if the content of potassium is more than the Nitrogen in it. You can also make the soil acidic by adding the azalea fertilizer to it.

Bottom Line

Out of all the tropical species used for Bonsai, Bougainvillea will grow and will give you one of the most impressive displays for your home decor.

How to grow and care for Juniper bonsai?

juniper-bonsai-tree

Did you know that one of the most popular Bonsai trees available is the Juniper Bonsai Tree?

Native to Middle East, Asia, India, Europe, North America, and South America, Juniper Bonsai is the member of Cypress family and have about 170 species. They belong to the category of hardy plants and can also be found in a variety of temperatures, except for the places with extreme cold and heat.

Juniper Bonsai comes in a diverse variety of shapes, and its leaves vary, from yellow to green, dark green, and even some light blue-green as well. Moreover, there is a wide variety of Juniper Bonsai that can be divided into four categories:

  • Dwarf Juniper: Grows up to 4’
  • Small Juniper: Small Junipers Bonsai grows up to 6 feet.
  • Ground Cover Juniper: These Junipers Bonsai grow up to 1 ½ tall and are best for gardens, ground cover, border edging, and more.
  • Large Juniper: Large Junipers Bonsai grow up to 25 feet.

 

bonsai-juniper

How To Grow Juniper Bonsai?

 Juniper Bonsai is easy to grow and a low maintenance plant.

To grow Juniper Bonsai, dig a hole twice as the size of the root ball. Mix some rich compost and then remove the rooted plant from the container. Set the plants in a hole and spread the outer roots a little. Tamp down the soil, fill in the hole, and water 2-3 times for a couple of weeks.

Keep the weeds down and add the additional fertilizer if the overall quality of the soil is poor. Moreover, you should grow your Juniper Bonsai in a location where it can receive more than 4 hours of sunlight every day. This plant can also withstand both drought and dry soil conditions.

However, you need to remember that growing Juniper Bonsai in containers will retard their growth. They grow much better in the regular garden soil.

But in case, if you grow them in pots, the plant under the age of 10 years should be repotted every two years. Those plants over the age of 10 years should be re-potted every four years.

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When To Grow Juniper Bonsai?

 The best time to sow the Juniper Bonsai seeds is autumn. Whenever you sow a seed in autumn, the seedling has full summers to grow once it starts to germinate in early spring.

The Juniper Bonsai Trees are easiest to care for, and also serve as an excellent choice for the one who is new to the world of Juniper Bonsai. Moreover, with the just right amount of humidity, light, and water, this plant can thrive in any conditions.

 

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Care Guidelines For Juniper Bonsai

Care of Juniper Bonsai might seem difficult at first, but here are few guidelines that will help you to take care of Juniper Bonsai with ease.

Position: Place the tree outside around the year and on a bright spot where it can get lots of sunlight.

 Soil Requirements: You can use a commercially prepared soil for Juniper Bonsai. You can also use your own soil or use a suitable potting mix that has equal parts of sand, clay, perlite and ground pine bark.

To improve the soil drainage, you can mix stones, rocks, and other large particles in the soil.

 Watering: The Juniper Bonsai roots don’t prefer soil wetness so be careful that you don’t water this plant much. However, you need to mist the tree regularly, especially after the tree has been repotted.

Wiring: Junipers should be heavily wired when they are young. They look their best with the twisted shapes, but you should wrap them for extra protection.

 Pruning: Pruning a plant means to trim the ground parts, but with a Juniper Bonsai plant, you also need to prune its roots as well. And pruning should be done regularly to maintain the shape and health of the plant.

You can also wire them to shape them in the desired pattern.

 For Propagation: Use its seeds and cuttings.

Apart from following the above guidelines, look for the mites and pests on your plant. If you spot any of them, rinse the foliage with warm water or spray a mild insecticide for three weeks.

Moreover, it is important that you don’t let the foliage pads get dense as pests settle more easily on wet plants.