Indoor Plants in Winter

Photo credit: The Record Herald

Rosemary in window-Turn 1/4 every few days to keep growth even (B.Petrucci)

Winter Care Tips for Indoors Plants

by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener

EXCERPT

From Master Gardeners I have learned a few key things, so here is my quick tip list followed by a number of great resource sites. It is important to check the needs of each plant since they can vary greatly.

Aloe roots crop - http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BhvAgFZ2Q4s/VMEdUMUBThI/AAAAAAAADU4/Yo2jVQRwhsw/s1600/aloe%2Broots%2Bcrop.jpg
Aloe roots crop – http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BhvAgFZ2Q4s/VMEdUMUBThI/AAAAAAAADU4/Yo2jVQRwhsw/s1600/aloe%2Broots%2Bcrop.jpg

1. Be sure the plant is potted in the right size container (with a drainage hole) and right potting soil.

If you are digging it up and dragging it in from the outdoors then potting it up, don’t use garden soil. It’s too heavy.

2- Water only as needed when the soil is dry.

Water from the top until water comes out the drainage hole (You do have a drainage hole, right?) into the saucer. About two hours later, drain any excess water from the saucer. Don’t allow the roots to stand in water. If you don’t see drainage but have watered well, check for a clog in the hole and clear it. Inconsistent watering is one of the primary reasons for plant loss.

3- Use room temperature water.

Leave tap water out overnight, uncapped or uncovered, to allow the chlorine and fluorine added to city water to dissipate. Although these probably don’t harm plants, you want the water to be at room temperature anyway. Rainwater, snow melt and well water are ok. Don’t use water run through water softeners.

4- Light should be appropriate for the plant. – See more at: http://www.therecordherald.com/article/20150122/BLOGS/301229993/1391#sthash.uFCa0nro.dpuf

Winter sowing is great

Photo credit: Buffalo-Niagara Gardening

Start seeds outside now using milk jug, other containers in ‘winter sowing’

by Connie Oswald Stofko

EXCERPT

Will opaque milk jugs work for winter sowing?

I had first tried winter sowing a few years ago with the translucent milk jugs that we used to get in stores around here. Find the directions for the milk jug greenhouse here.

I had good results, but wasn’t sure if it would work with the newer opaque milk jugs, so I tried it last winter.

This does work with opaque milk jugs!

I tried it last winter and by spring I had tomato seedlings. I worried that they were coming up later than they should, but our spring was cold, so they were probably on time.

I’m not sure why it worked with the opaque milk jug, but it did. When the top and bottom halves of the opaque jug were closed, they didn’t fit together as neatly as they did on the translucent milk jug. Maybe that let in enough light for the sprouts.

Other containers for winter sowing

If you don’t trust the idea of using containers that are opaque, there are lots of other options.

 

Read the full article: Buffalo-Niagara Gardening

Tips for winter sowing

Photo credit: Recordonline

Winter sowing in mini-greenhouses

Get a jump-start on veggie garden with winter sowing

By Susan M. Dollard
For the Times Herald-Record

EXCERPT

Winter sowing is an outdoor method of seed germination that requires just two things: Miniature greenhouses (made from recycled milk jugs and various other containers) and Mother Nature. After planting in January-March, these mini greenhouses are placed outside to wait for winter to end.

Here are some suggestions for what to plant and when, based on zone 5b:

Read the full article: Recordonline

Plastic bottles and bags: precious jewels for container gardening (Willem)

On September 12th, 2007 Riziki SHEMDOE sent the following message :

“I have been reading on the container gardening experiments that you have been doing. This has encouraged me to put up a proposal on introducing this technology to the rural semiarid areas of Tanzania where normally crop production is very poor due to drought and poor soil fertility. I am requesting to know whether there are some best practices from the third world countries that you have come across regarding the use of this technology in improving rural food security and poverty alleviation? I will be grateful if you share with me some of the best practices so that I may use them to strengthen my proposal. I look forward to reading from you.
Kindest regards,
Riziki. “

Riziki Silas Shemdoe (MSc)
Institute of Human Settlements Studies,
University College of Lands and Architectural Studies
P.O.Box 35124 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Here is my reply :

The easiest and most practical way for people in developing countries to practice container gardening is to collect a large number of plastic (PET) bottles and plastic shopping bags. It’s clean and cheap. Moreover, it helps to take care of our environment !

The plastic bottles should be cut in two : a shorter bottom part (the cup, used as a water tank) and a longer top part (with the stop still on), to be filled with potting soil. In order to cut the bottle in two optimal parts, define the length of the two parts approximately so that, turning over the top part (that will contain potting soil later on) and sliding it into the bottom part, the stop is touching or almost touching the bottom of the cup. If this is not the case the bottle will be rather unstable. Then, a small slit should be cut at the edge at two opposite sides of the bottom cup so that the top part of the bottle can be pushed into the cup until the stop reaches the bottom (short slits will open a bit). It is better to have the bottom cup a bit too long than too short (stability). One can always cut the two slits !

The bottleneck should be perforated at two opposite sides, close to the stop, to create drainage possibilities if too much water is poured in the bottle and to create water absorption possibilities from the bottom cup. Holes of 5 mm diameter are sufficient.

When filling up the inverted top part with potting soil, the soil should be well compressed in order to avoid larger air cavities in the bottle. I recommend to mix a water stocking soil conditioner with the potting soil, but if this is not possible for financial constraints, don’t hesitate to do it without.

During the first days, watering should be abundant to eliminate too much air in the potting soil. As the infiltrating surplus of water will run through the two openings in the bottleneck into the bottom cup (water tank), and as evaporation will be limited (only through the top opening of the bottle), one can save a lot of irrigation water and produce significantly more biomass with less water (less leaching of nutrients from the potting soil, and less evaporation).

Isn’t this a nice solution for some of our main environmental problems in the drylands ?
—————-
The same advantages are offered when growing vegetables or young trees in the classical plastic shopping bags.

Fill up a plastic bag with potting soil for 2/3, and keep the two handles of the bag upright, simply by pushing them up and sustaining them with two pieces of a small branch or another support (one at each side of the bag). Thus, a shallow cavity is created above the potting soil in which water can be poured from time to time.

Don’t forget to perforate the lower part of the plastic bag a couple of times at the two opposite sides of the bag, e.g. 2-3 little holes (not slits !) at both sides approximately 1-3 cm ( 0.5 – 1 inch) above the bottom (and not in the bottom itself, so that a bit of water can be kept temporarily in the bag). Vegetables can be seeded or planted in the potting soil. Young tree seedlings can also be grown in such a simple plastic bag.
—————–
FOR BOTH BOTTLES AND BAGS :

Considerable advantages :

(1) more biomass with less water (because of less leaching and less evaporation).

(2) eliminate plastic from the environment by burying the used plastic bottles and bags at the end of the growing season, e.g. when planting the tree seedlings in a planting hole (ecological cleaning).

Caution : avoid heating in the bottles or bags by keeping them in half-shade or in places where the number of hours of sunshine is limited (not a full day).

Please set up some experiments and discover the real advantages of gardening in plastic bottles and bags, not in the least the provision of food security and the alleviation of poverty. That’s what I call a success story or best practice for sustainable rural development. I hope that once my preaching in the desert will be heard.

PS. Have a look at my former postings to discover pictures and drawings.

————-

RIZIKI’s IMMEDIATE REPLY

“Thank you so much, Prof., for the explanations and the methodological approaches. I will try something in this area. This will really relieve our poor people in the dryland-areas to improve their nutrition. Similarly this will assist in improving the environmental sanitation by giving use values to the plastic bottles that are being thrown everywhere in our cities. Thank you.
Riziki.”

Non-flowering strawberries in window boxes (J. TOLLEDOT)

Here is a question coming from my friend Joseph TOLLEDOT :

“I remember you had a flowering and fruiting Strawberry plant in a bottle…I planted some 10 bare-root Strawberry plants in March in window boxes – only one plant flowered and gave some fruit only once and then stopped. All the others have produced plenty of healthy leaves and many runners but no fruit – very disappointing! – What can I do now? Any ideas? I have seem much contradictory advice on the internet so I am unsure what to do!”

————

Joseph referred to my former posting:

My very simple strawberry bottles (Willem)

Strawberries
Strawberries flowering and fruiting in plastic (PET) bottles

I don’t have see a clear reason for the fact that Joseph’s strawberries are not flowering in the window boxes.  I can only make a couple of suggestions :

1. Can it be that temperature is sometimes becoming too high in the boxes?

2. Can it be that inside the boxes (behind the window) there is a lack of UV rays?

Who can help us out ?

Willem

Garden cloches: a nice way to recycle plastic bottles (Reviews eBay)

Read at :

Rviews – eBay

http://reviews.ebay.com/GARDEN-CLOCHES-recycling-Soda-bottles_W0QQugidZ10000000000702094

GARDEN CLOCHES recycling Soda bottles

A great way to use up those 2 litre soda bottles, and protect plants in your garden at the beginning and end of the growing season. We live in zones 4-5 and this means that if I want to extend my gardening season I have to do it with either an expensively heated greenhouse, underground warming system or try my garden cloches. These cloches are used to protect such plants as tomatoes set out and when there is a possible danger of a last frost. For us that means in April – mid May. Continue reading Garden cloches: a nice way to recycle plastic bottles (Reviews eBay)

Strawberries in containers and grow bags (RHS)

Read at :

Royal Horticultural Society

http://www.rhs.org.uk/thegarden/pubs/garden0101/jan_strawberries.asp

The Garden
January 2001

Pot the red

A handful of strawberry plants can yield a bumper crop of fruit. Jim Arbury recommends a variety of suitable containers

Jim Arbury is Superintendent of the Fruit Department at RHS Garden Wisley

Sweet and versatile, strawberries are the essence of a British summer and delicious when eaten freshly picked. Strawberry plants will yield good crops of fruit when grown in small spaces including a wide range of containers, and growbag cultivation is particularly economical and productive. The small, short-lived perennial plants are suitable for autumn or spring planting, and a little extra time spent now in caring for your autumn-planted runners and finding the right location to grow a container of cold-stored strawberry plants will help to improve your chances of a bumper summer harvest. Continue reading Strawberries in containers and grow bags (RHS)

Growing chilli peppers in containers and gardens (selfsufficientish)

Read at :

selsufficientish

http://www.selfsufficientish.com/chilipepper.htm

Chili Peppers – Capsicum by the Chili Monster part 1

The chili plant originated in Latin America, where it was cultivated from its wild form by South American Indians. Christopher Columbus is regarded as the first European to sample the fruit, and indeed coined the term pepper. With the Spanish firmly in control of the Mexican economy, the chili was introduced initially to the Philipines and then to China and other parts of Asia. (It should be noted that some believe that it was the Portuguese that introduced the chili to Goa where it became a constituent of curry). Although grown as an annual outside of its native South America, the chili is in fact a perennial shrub that can tolerate temperatures ranging from 7 to 29 degrees centrigrade, annual rainfalls between 0.3 and 4.6 m and soil pH 4.3 to 8.7. From the container-suited Dwarf Apache and Thai Sun varieties through to the large but very mild Anaheim, from the pungent (hot) Mexican Tepin to the ornamental Purple Prince, there’s a chili pepper cultivate suited to every gardener. Continue reading Growing chilli peppers in containers and gardens (selfsufficientish)

Growing Chillies in pots or grow-bags (Gardening Patch)

Read at :

Gardening Patch

http://www.gardeningpatch.com/herbs/growing-chillies.aspx

Growing Chillies – advice on how to grow Chillies

Growing Chillies requires a warm growing environment and so unless you live in a warm climate your Chillie plants will spend a considerable amount of time indoors or in the greenhouse. Chillies are most often grown in pots or grow-bags and are a good source of vitamin C. They also stimulate the circulation and boost metabolism so give a feeling of energy. Chillies are very similar to sweet bell peppers (Capsicum) but they have a hot fiery flavour instead of the sweet flavour associated with bell peppers. Continue reading Growing Chillies in pots or grow-bags (Gardening Patch)

Growing tomatoes in containers and gardens (Google Alert / Ygoy)

Read at :

Google Alert for gardening

Gardening.ygoy

http://gardening.ygoy.com/2007/07/25/grow-your-own-tomatoes/

Grow your own Tomatoes

If you want to start your own vegetable garden, then tomatoes are the best ‘first’ vegetables that you should start with. Since growing tomatoes is easy it gives great boost to veggie gardener’s confidence. No wonder they are so popular, in fact a vegetable garden is rather incomplete without tomatoes. There are a lot of varieties of tomatoes you could chose from. The most popular ones being Cherry Tomato and Beefsteak. Continue reading Growing tomatoes in containers and gardens (Google Alert / Ygoy)