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Gardening Tips and Other Goodies

 

"If we did all the things we are capable of doing,
we would literally astound ourselves."

-- Thomas Edison

Gardening Information of all sorts

 

Useful Gardening Tips

Which manure for what plant?

Garden Type Type of Manure When to Apply
Flower/Ornamental Horse or Cow Early Spring
Root Crops (carrot, potato etc) Horse or Cow Fall
Acid Lovers- azaleas, blueberry etc Cow or Horse Early Fall
Veggies Chicken, Horse, Cow Spring, Fall

African violets: Use chamomile tea to produce the best blooms they have ever had! Another plus is the tannic acid in the tea helps the plants retain moisture making this a good choice for other plants too. This works almost as well as our Golden Harvest Natural Fertilizer does for violets.

  • To make: Pour 2 cups boiling water over 1/4 cup chamomile blossoms. Let steep until cool and strain bottle. Use as needed. This keeps for about a week before going rancid. Chamomile blossoms can be purchased at health food stores and usually grocery stores. Use as you would any African violet fertilizer.

Brassicas: Keeping the soil pH around 7.0 to prevent club root disease.

Chapped hands: Make a very strong tea of spearmint leaves. Rub on your hands to heal them.

Cut flowers: To make them last longer try this: Combine  8 ounces of water with 8 ounces of gingerale or clear soda (7-Up) and 1/2 teaspoon bleach. The sugar in the soda provides the flowers with carbohydrates (energy) and the bleach acts to control bacteria.

Ferns Ailing? A bit of caster oil can help save your ferns: add 1 tablespoon of castor oil, 1 tablespoon of mild shampoo to a quart of warm water. Treat each fern with a 4 ounces of the tonic.

Onions: To raise onions for winter storage grow them from seeds. For summer eating grow them from sets.

Plant Markers: If you write on your wooden or plastic plant markers with pencil instead of a permanent marker they will last much longer!

Potato scab: When planting your potato sets put some wilted comfrey leaves in with them to prevent scab. Also keeping the soil for your potato patch with a pH of 5 or below (acid) or a pH of 7 or above (alkaline) to prevent scab. As an alternative pine needles may be used instead of comfrey leaves.

Rhizome or tuber rot: When dividing perennials with rhizomes or tubers dust the freshly cut parts with sulfur to prevent rotting.

Natural Rooting Hormone:
Rooting hormones available as liquids or powders contain a synthetic form of indolebutyric acid (IBA). IBA in it's natural state is a plant hormone or growth regulator. You can make your own rooting hormone from the ever versatile willow tree. Willow contain a high concentration of IBA however the effectiveness can vary by the amount of twigs you use, the level of IBA that is present when you take your cuttings and the amount of time that you soak your mixture.

Any willow (salix) trees or shrub species will work.

Cut a good handful of willow twigs. Then cut them into two to three inch pieces. Put them in a glass or plastic container with a few inches of lukewarm water. Soak for 24-48 hours. You will then use the water to soak your cuttings in overnight. Another method is to water your soil with willow water into which you have placed your cuttings. Two applications should be sufficient. Other types of cuttings may be rooted directly in a jar of the water. You will need to make a fresh batch of willow water for each use.

Plant Willows: Why?
Willows consume carbon as they grow. This means they effectively reduce the amount of  atmospheric carbon dioxide!

When the catkins open in early spring they provide an abundant food source for pollinating insects when little else is available to them.

Willows can be planted as a sound barrier, to filter waste and as a wild bird habitat.

Willows are also humus builders for the soil provided from their leaves falling at the end of the season. A good excuse not to rake them up.

Little Bits of Trivia

Monarch Butterflies and Milkweed Plants
The growing larvae (caterpillars) eat milkweed leaves. These leaves contain toxins- poisonous chemicals. These toxins donít hurt the caterpillar, but they do make the caterpillar poisonous to most predators. Because it eats milkweed leaves as a caterpillar, the monarch butterfly is also poisonous. The survival of the monarch butterfly depends on this self-defense system provided by the milkweed.

Sap from milkweed was used by pioneers as a cure for warts

The airborne fluffy parachute of the seed was used by Native Americans to insulate moccasins.

The dried empty seed pods were used as Christmas tree decorations by early pioneers.

The boys and girls from Wisconsin schools collected 283,000 bags of milkweed fluff for use in military life jackets during World War II.

It is used as an indicator of ground-level ozone air pollution.

BIRDS!
Woodpeckers are voracious ant eaters. You may see them also pick up ants in their beaks and crush them on their feathers. What are they doing this for? Crushing the ants bodies releases tannic acid which in turn protects the bird from parasites!

Hummingbirds, those wonderful creatures, favor brilliant red and orange flowers the most. Following are some of their favorite flowers:

  • Perennials: Coral Bells (heuchera), Indian paintbrush, columbine, hollyhock, jewelweed, bee Balm (monarda), phlox, daylilies, cardinal flower, lupines, penstemons, butterfly weed- which is very pretty and attracts butterflies too like it's name.
  • Annuals: 4 O'clocks, cleome, petunias, impatiens, scarlet runner bean, red salvia, verbena, zinnias, lantana
  • Shrubs and Vines: Butterfly bushes, creeping trumpet vine, rose-of-sharon, flowering quince, trumpet honeysuckle

BEES!!
Did you know that the flowers bees love usually close at night? The reason is bees only fly during the daytime.  Bees are attracted to flowers that are bright in color and have strong fragrance.

Bees are responsible for the existence of many flowers. without bees over 100.000 plant species would cease to exist!

Bees, feeling the rise in humidity, will usually go back in their hive to avoid a coming rainfall.

FLOWERS!!!
The largest rose in the world resides in Tombstone, Arizona. Rosa Bankiae planted in 1855 at the Rose Tree Inn now covers over 8,000 square feet on a massive trellis. If you are ever in Tombstone this would be worth seeing.

The most expensive flowers: a hyacinth bulb from a variety called " king of Great Britain" sold in 1774 for L100. This equates to over 200,000 dollars in today's economy!

A scarlet and white tipped tulip (Semper augustus) sold for the amount of 5,500 florins. This would give it a current value of  70,000 dollars today!

TREES!!!!
The oldest living tree is the bristlecone pine (pinus aristata). The oldest one found is 4,900 years old. What an amazing specimen to have survived through so many eras! It resides in the Wheeler Peak area of Nevada.

The gingko tree dates back to the Mesozoic era. The same tree today closely resembles its' ancestor and is also known as the "maidenhair" tree. Possibly one of the first fruit trees the ginko produces an edible fruit that is similar to a persimmon.

The fastest growing tree in the world is the acacia. Certain varieties can grow as much as 2 1/2 feet a month, which translates into a little over an inch a day! Fast and furious the acacia does not live much longer than 30 years.

Ever wonder where that cork in the wine bottle comes from?
It comes from the cork oak which is the only tree that can survive "bark harvesting"  as it has two layers of bark.

NEW TOMATO WORLD RECORD
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/tomato/msg0817205626663.0820510322043.jpg

There is a new champ for the biggest tomato ever grown beating Gordon Grahamís 7-pound 12-ounce whopper grown back in 1986. As of August 22, 2014 Dan MacCoy of Ely, Minnesota weighed an 8.41 pound tomato grown on a Big Zac offshoot and a tomato plant less than 3 feet tall. While it's not pretty there's no denying it's a whopper of a tomato! All of the world records for giant tomatoes have been won by tomatoes with fused blossoms. For world record purposes the skin of the various parts of the tomato must be consistent and continuous. How many lobes there are does not matter; only that they be connected via the skin. Congratulations Dan.
 

Did you know?
Slugs are hermaphrodites:
they all have male and female reproductive systems. Yes, they can mate with themselves!!! They can stretch to 20 times their normal length enabling them to squeeze through openings to get at food.

Cinch bugs overwinter by producing an antifreeze chemical that protects their innards from becoming frozen. A plant that everyone detests was found in an area where several feet of rock and plastic sheeting were removed. This area had been untouched for at least 20 years. At the bottom was pure white bindweed, quite alive!

Tall grass: The giant bamboo originating from Asia can reach heights of 50 feet! It is a true grass.

Earth Worms: Have the power to move stones that weigh 50 times their own weight. They also ingest soil and organic matter equal to the amount of their body weight each day.

Did you know that the flowers bees love usually close at night? The reason is bees only fly during the daytime.  Bees are attracted to flowers that are bright in color and have strong fragrance.

Bees are responsible for the existence of many flowers. without bees over 100.000 plant species would cease to exist!

Bees, feeling the rise in humidity, will usually go back in their hive to avoid a coming rainfall.

Earth Worms: Have the power to move stones that weigh 50 times their own weight. They also ingest soil and organic matter equal to the amount of their body weight each day.

 

 

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