• February: Clean Your Houseplants

    Dust and oils can build up on the leaves of your plants, blocking light, making it difficult for them to “breathe” and increasing the risk of disease. For large, smooth-leaved plants, a wipe-down with a moist cloth works wonders. Plants with small or narrow leaves will benefit from a rinse from the kitchen faucet sprayer or a quick turn in the shower. For hairy leaves, such as those on African Violets, employ a soft toothbrush gently,

  • February: Growing Medium for Starting Seeds Indoors

    When starting seeds indoors, always select a growing medium that has been especially mixed for starting seeds.  It should not contain a slow-release fertilizer.  If you want to mix your own growing medium, combine 4 parts of very fine, screened compost with 1 part vermiculite and 1 part perlite and 2 parts peat moss or coir.

  • January: Grow Paperwhite Narcissus

    Bring some spring indoors with easy-to-grow paperwhite narcissus. Simply put a layer of stones or beach glass in a container and top with the bulbs. Place more stones or glass around and between the bulbs, leaving the tops exposed. Add water, maintaining a level just at the base of bulbs, and in 4-6 weeks you will have beautiful, fragrant blossoms.

  • January: Vegetable Families

    Every vegetable is a member of a vegetable family.  For example – peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant are all members of the Solanaceae (tomato) family.   Members of the same vegetable family tend to attract the same pests and diseases and have similar nutrient requirements.  Take time this winter to study the vegetable families.

  • January: Adding Humidity

    Many of our indoor plants require more humidity than our homes can provide.  Increase the humidity around your plants by standing them on a  lined with pebbles.  Fill the tray with water to just below the top of the pebbles so that the pot is not sitting in water.  Grouping plants together on a tray of pebbles and water will further increase the humidity.

     

  • January: Plan Ahead

    January is the perfect month to review your garden catalogues and consider what you want to grow this spring.  Place your seed order as some plants need to be started indoors many weeks before their outdoor planting date.

     

  • January: Crop Rotation

    Crop rotation is a good gardening practice to care for your soil and to reduce the risk of pests and diseases affecting your vegetable crops.  It means that you do not grow the same vegetable in the same place in your garden each year.  It also means that you do not grow a member of the same family in that spot.  For example, do not grow potatoes this summer where you grew tomatoes or other relative last summer.  A crop rotation of 3-4 years is recommended.

  • January: Composting in the Winter

    Continue to add vegetable scraps and other compostable household waste to your compost pile throughout the winter.  To keep your ‘greens and browns’ in balance, cover your kitchen waste periodically with leaves that you have saved or shredded newspaper.  Decomposition will be slow but will speed up as winter moves into spring.

  • January: Make a Seed Starting Calendar

    As you pore over the seed catalogues that are fast arriving now, note the time required for your choices to germinate and then grow to harvest or bloom. Then make up a calendar to make sure you get your seeds started at the right time. Now’s the time to check that you have the supplies you need, too.

  • January: Propagating Succulents

    Many succulents produce baby plants (pups) around the mother plant.  To grow plants from these pups, pull the soil back from the plant to cut the pup off where it joins the mother plant.  Leave the pup exposed to the air for a couple of days so that the bottom develops a callus.  Pot up by setting the stem of the pup into a suitable growing medium.   Leave room to cover the growing medium with a layer of gritty material.  Water for the first time after 3 days.