Archive | February 2014

Snowy Day Reading

sunflower 2012

While it’s snowing outside this weekend, think “green” by reading a few articles on the Cappers Farmer
website.  Click on this Heart of the Home link and read how others prepare for spring. I confess, I wrote
one of the articles but there are many others that you are sure to enjoy.  Be sure to check out the
Yard and Garden and the Farm and Home sections, too. It’s a great website. Enjoy!

Spring Cleaning

Dirty ToolsIf you’re like me, you’re getting antsy to get outside and dig in the dirt. Within the next couple of weeks, I’ll be pruning our grapevines. But until then, one thing I can do while I’m waiting for the snow and ice to melt is to clean and sanitize my gardening tools and equipment.

Many fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases can be spread with “dirty” gardening tools such as pruners, hoes, shears, stakes, and containers.  Probably the most common sanitizing solution is a mixture of 9 parts water with 1 part bleach. Products such as Lysol, Pine-Sol, and isopropyl alcohol may also be used but are generally more expensive than using the bleach mixture. Here are couple of tips before you begin cleaning:

  • Before sanitizing, be sure to wash the dirt and plant debris off your tools.  Dirt can neutralize the chlorine in the bleach.
  • When sanitizing, let your tools soak in the solution for a few minutes.

Soaking Tools

Some experts suggest you let the tools air dry and although the tool smells of bleach it is safe to use around your plants.  Others suggest rinsing the tool after soaking to prevent rust and corrosion. I rinsed mine.

Drying Tools

Although it’s too cold to do this today, but before I set my tomatoes out, I will wash my tomato cages with a bleach solution. That will be a job, but since tomatoes are so sensitive to disease, it will be worth the effort.

This year I would like to get in the habit of cleaning and disinfecting my pruners after each use throughout the growing season.  It’s so easy to forget or procrastinate, but our tomatoes and roses would be so thankful if I would acquire this good habit.

Hang in there, everybody.  Spring is coming!

jackmani climatus

 

Unexpected Treasure

Moon Cactus

What do you do when you can’t find a 2.5” or 3” pot for an orchid that needs repotting?  Buy a plant that’s in a pot you need, at least that’s what I did. Last week, I couldn’t find a container to re-pot an orchid I’d recently bought. I’m always checking out plants that are on sale and I happened upon a terrific deal.  For next to nothing, I got a moon cactus that was in a 2.5” pot.

I’ve never been drawn to cacti, but the moon cactus is pretty cool.  It’s actually a grafted plant.  The orange/red bloom is a separate plant that contains no chlorophyll and therefore needs the green plant it is grafted to in order to survive. Unfortunately, this plant is not one you’ll be passing down for generations. Its lifetime is anywhere from a few months to a few years.

The moon cactus isn’t a fussy plant. It needs indirect light (direct sunlight may harm it) and normal indoor temperatures. Like me, it’s not a cold weather lover. Water it thoroughly, but let it dry out between waterings. Don’t let the roots set in water or else they may rot.

Moon Cactus

I’m so happy with my little treasure.  As we dig out today from yet another snowstorm, I’m thankful for every bit of color I can get in the house.