This year March 20th marks the spring equinox and the first day of spring. Determining the exact date for the first day of spring depends largely on when the sun is positioned over the equator. For the northern half of the earth the date can be the 20th or... >>more
My grandfather taught me to give back to the earth, so I'm doing my part to read labels and select products that are safe, clean, and green. Many products sold to help beautify our backyards are also considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of at designated sites. Check with your local landfill for more details and begin ridding your... >>more
Container gardening is an easy way to keep plants close by, where you can enjoy them, and a large, dramatic planter can be a focal point for a porch or patio. Here's a successful combination of succulents and thyme. These plants have similar requirements and grow beautifully... >>more
This is a favorite recipe from a quaint Greek restaurant in Minneapolis named Gardens of Solenica. The garlic-spiked vinaigrette brings out the natural sweetness of the beets, making it perfect for this time of year when the arrival of spring vegetables is still a few weeks... >>more
The effects of spring occur beyond the garden, too. Love is in the air, with the birds searching everywhere! Male birds will shed their dreary, muddy- colored feathers in favor of new, more brilliant colors for spring and summer — all the better to capture the attention of a... >>more
Now that the flowers on your once-beautiful amaryllis have faded, what should you do with the plant? With proper care you can keep your amaryllis growing and encourage it to bloom next year, just in time for the holidays. Here are five easy... >>more
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Question: Is it true that daffodils can't be put in the same vase with other flowers?
Answer: Daffodils produce a sap that can reduce the vase life of other flowers. It's best to either keep them as a separate bouquet, or allow them to sit in their own vase of water for a day before adding them to an arrangement with other fresh flowers.
Question: I'm new to gardening, and last year I started seeds indoors. They were growing nicely, but then toppled over! What happened?
Answer: Sounds like your seedlings succumbed to damping off, a disease caused by a soil-borne fungi called fusarium, which weakens stems so they can no longer take up water. Overwatering and poor air circulation encourage the disease. Next time, allow more space between seedlings. Water only as needed, preferably in the morning on sunny days, and place a fan near the plants to keep the air circulating.
Question: When can I repot my houseplants? Are there any rules I must follow?
Answer: It's a good practice to repot houseplants every year, and spring is an excellent time. Repotting will help your plants grow larger, and it is an opportunity to replenish the soil with nutrients that will give your plants a boost. Select a pot that is one size bigger than the one your plant is currently growing in. Gently remove the plant from its pot by turning it on its side and tapping the bottom. Fill the new pot 3/4 full with fresh potting soil. Carefully shake off as much of the soil as you can from the roots of the plant, being careful not to disturb the roots too much, and place the root ball in the new pot. Fill with soil to just below the lip of the pot, tamping the soil around the edges to remove any air pockets. Welcome the roots into their new home by watering with warm water. Then water as needed to keep the soil moist but not too wet.
For instructions on keeping the same plant in the same pot, see my February newsletter for step-by-step instructions on pruning the root ball.