Climbing the Green Ladder

Climbing the Green Ladder

Community, Gardening Humor, Sustainable Living
by Monica Roberts, marketing consultant, freelance writer, and mom Creating a way to feel superior to your neighbor is just human nature. In my grandparents' day, it was whether or not you ironed your bed sheets and tea towels coupled with how often you went to church. During my adolescent years, self-worth was often linked to how much a person weighed, namely me. This was ironic because my mother has always struggled with her weight. But, by golly, she had a daughter who wore a size 6, so that made everything OK. Plus we attended church every time the door opened. Self-esteem was at an all-time high. One of the great benefits of our day and age is that we have so many more ways to one-up the next guy.…
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Appreciating the Winter Garden

Appreciating the Winter Garden

Flower Gardening, Herb Gardening, Year Round Gardening
Two words bring together my feelings about gardening: appreciation and fascination. At the end of December, when time seems compressed and hasty, tasks are many and quiet moments few, the garden gives us time to appreciate a slower, gentler pace. Appreciation means, to me, looking closely at plants, sensing the feel of damp winter air, listening for a chickadee's cheerful song, and reveling in the serenity of a garden. My garden is on Capitol Hill in Seattle, surrounded by houses and city activity, but it offers quiet, a moment to sit in the copper-roofed rain shelter during early dusk and savor the silence falling into the earth along with rain. Touring a nursery will also provide a sense of calm, as you breathe in extra oxygen provided by plants in…
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Flower Planting Schedule

Flower Gardening
Planting Flower Seeds Recommended Not Recommended This table lists the recommended times to sow flower seeds for typical Zones 8-9. If you are in zone 7, for instance, go back a month, zone 6, a month and a half. If you don't know your zone, check the planting zone maps. And when buying transplants, remember to adjust for the age of the plant (about 1-2 months). This table is also available sorted by botanical name. Common Name Acroclinium (Helipterum)  African Daisy, Cape Marigold (Dimorphotheca)  Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)  Aster (Aster)  Baby's Breath, Gypsophila (Gypsophila)  Bachelor Button, Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)  Balloon Flower (Platycodon)  Bellflower (Campanula)  Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis)  Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)  Blazing Star (Mentzelia)  Butterfly Flower (Schizanthus pinnatus)  Calendula, Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)  California Desert Bluebells (Phacelia campanularia)  California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)  Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)  Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)  Chinese Forget-me-not (Cynoglossum amabile)  Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla)  Chysanthemum (Chysanthemum)  Cockscomb (Celosia)  Coleus (Coleus…
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Botanical Name Flower Planting Schedule

Botanical Name Flower Planting Schedule

Container Gardening, Flower Gardening
This table lists the recommended times to sow flower seeds for typical Zones 8-9. If you are in zone 7, for instance, go back a month, zone 6, a month and a half. If you don't know your zone, check the planting zone maps. And when buying transplants, remember to adjust for the age of the plant (about 1-2 months). Recommended Not Recommended This table is also available as a flower planting schedule sorted by common name. Botanical Name Ageratum (Floss Flower)  Aguilegia (Columbine)  Alcea rosea (Hollyhock)  Ammi Majus (Queen Anne's Lace)  Antirrhinum (Snapdragon)  Armeria (Thrift, Sea Pink)  Aster (Aster)  Calendula officinalis (Calendula, Pot Marigold)  Campanula (Bellflower)  Celosia (Cockscomb)  Centaurea cyanus (Bachelor Button, Cornflower)  Centaurea moschata (Sweet Sultan)  Chysanthemum (Chysanthemum)  Clarkia (Godetia, Clarkia)  Cobaea scandens (Cup and Saucer Vine)  Coleus hybridus (Coleus)  Collinsia heterophylla (Chinese Houses)  Convolvulus (Convolvulus)  Coreopsis (Coreopsis)  Cosmos (Cosmos)  Cynoglossum amabile (Chinese Forget-me-not)  Dahlia (Dahlia)  Delphinium (Larkspur, Delphinium)  Dianthus (Pink, Dianthus) …
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Harvesting and Drying Sunflowers

Harvesting and Drying Sunflowers

Flower Gardening, Growing Food, Seed Saving
There's more to harvesting and drying sunflowers than many growers realize. How soon you decide to harvest them will depend largely on energy costs, temperatures, and whether you prefer them to dry naturally. Ideally, your sunflowers won't be exposed to insects and diseases, and the temperature will be warm enough to allow them to dry on the stem. However, those circumstances are rare. In reality, most crops will be vulnerable to some level of pests and diseases. And depending upon where you live, the temperature can cause your sunflowers to freeze. In this article, I'll explain some of the benefits of harvesting your sunflowers early. I'll also describe how they're dried and why the moisture in the air can affect your crops. Benefits Of Harvesting Early With energy expenses escalating,…
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Storage Tips For Sunflower Seeds

Storage Tips For Sunflower Seeds

Flower Gardening, Seed Saving
The manner in which you store your sunflowers can play an important role in the preservation of your seeds. For example, if there is excess moisture during storage, it's possible for the moisture to freeze the seeds, causing breakage. This happens often when they're harvested early and stored without proper drying. Harvesting them early can help limit the potential for bird damage and shattering, but the seeds must be dried before storage. In this article, I'll provide a few tips for storing your sunflowers properly to prevent them from being damaged. Tip #1: Measure Moisture Accurately Because storing your seeds when they contain too much moisture can cause problems, you'll need to use a moisture meter. However, if your seeds are less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the meter will not…
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Easy To Grow Summer Flowers

Flower Gardening
Late spring is the perfect time to plant seeds for easy to grow summer flowers. The soil needs to be warm enough for germination and the spring rains will help the seedlings get going. Summer annual flowers include zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos, petunias, bachelor buttons, balsam, alyssum, marigolds, vinca, poertuluca, lobelia to name just a few. Flowers need at least six hours of full sun to bloom profusely. In very hot areas such as the Southwest and desert areas, afternoon shade is appreciated. Prepare the soil by digging down at least six inches. Turn the soil over with a shovel. Add compost or well rotten manure and a time release fertilizer per the package directions. Turn the soil over again to mix in your ingredients. If your flower bed is up…
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Creating a Beautiful Perennial Border

Flower Gardening
<div style="float:left; margin:0 15px 10px 0"><img src="https://farmhomestead.com/graphics/1437.jpg" width="235" height="166"></div> By Guest Author: Peter Gordon These are the steps I take in preparing and creating a genuine herbaceous border that is purely dedicated to herbaceous plants and does not include the planting of shrubs, but can include using bulbs or annuals to help with all year-round colour. Before starting work it is important to plan the overall size of the border; one tip - if anything, go for as much width as possible, because one must try to imagine what the border will look in three years; and trust me, there will never be enough space! The more depth to a border the more luxurious it will be. When it has matured, the large open spaces you started with will have…
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