"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
Are you looking for a great gift for a gardener (or yourself)? This garden
journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This journal, autographed
personally by Paul,
makes a perfect gift for gardeners. The cover holds a 5x7 or 4x6 photo and a
heavy-duty D-ring binder.
- 8 tabbed sections
- 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags...
- Weather records page
- 6 three year journal pages
- Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
- 3 annual checklist pages
- Plant wish list page
- 2 large pocket pages
- Sheet of garden labels
- 5 garden detail sheets
- 5 graph paper pages for layouts
- 5 photo pages, each holding four 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format
Click here to order online.
You do not have to live in Florida to grow good citrus plants. With today's
new hybrids and grafting methods it is possible for you to grow a few oranges,
lemons, limes, kumquat, and even grapefruit right in your living room no matter
where you live.
They are not just citrus trees, they are decorative plants that will produce
edible fruit and marvelous white flowers that are so fragrant that your entire home
will smell of the great outdoors in spring time. Citrus plants are evergreen
and the glossy, dark green, oval shaped leaves are even aromatic when crushed.
The flowers of the citrus are star-like and usually develop on the plant during
the early spring in clusters on the tips of the branches. The flowers are about
one inch in diameter and last on the plant for several weeks.
Citrus is traditionally pollinated by insects but because they are growing
in an unnatural climate, your home, you will have to do the pollination by hand
if you want fruit to form on the plant.
This will be fun--all you have to do is purchase a small artist's paint brush
and tickle the flowers when you notice that the center of the flower has a yellow
powdery substance forming on it. This is pollen; you have to move it from the
pollen sacks and place it on the swollen center of the flower called the "pistil."
Move your pollen-covered brush from flower to flower every day that the flowers
produce new pollen and new flowers open on the plant. I find that if you sing
while you do this, it will work better! So "Buzz, Buzzz, Buzzzz." As
the plant is accustomed to the romance of the buzzing bee, try this buzzing while
your spouse or children are in the room and wait to hear the reaction from them.
Most years you will have new flowers and fruit at the same time on your plant
as the fruit ripens slowly. If you're successful at pollinating the flowers,
a small rounded fruit will form where the flowers were, and in time it will grow
in size, forming a green fruit that will bend the branches it develops on. The
fruit will form slowly and the color will change as it develops, from a dark
green to orange or yellow depending on the fruit you are growing.
Grow Citrus in a sunny or bright lit window or in front of a sliding door,
as the plant needs a lot of sunlight to make fruit indoors during the winter.
When the weather changes and becomes frost-free, place the plant outside in a
full sun location until the fall arrives, then back indoors.
When you place the plant outside in the spring, I would like to see you repot
the plant in a pot one size bigger but still small enough for you to handle.
Use a good quality potting soil that contains a lot of organic matter like the
new Espoma's Potting soil with mycorrhizae. Fertilize every 2 weeks, spring to
fall and then monthly during the winter months.
Water the citrus plant weekly when the plant is outside and more often if
the weather gets hot. During the winter, water sparingly while indoors but keep
the soil moist; do not let it dry out. During the winter, it is best to keep
the plant on the cool side--50 to 60 degrees if possible--and avoid temperatures
above 70 degrees, as the plant is resting.
Fertilize with an acid-based fertilizer such as Mir-Acid and keep lime away
from this plant. When you put the plant outside for the summer, add a little
bit of Holly Tone organic fertilizer to give it a push and help the plant make
If you start to see the foliage color fading or turning yellow, use Mir-Acid
fertilizer as a foliar feed. Citrus loves humidity, so keep the plant on a tray
of stones that you can add water daily to. This will help provide moisture to
the air around the plant. A humidifier will help keep the plant happy--and daily
misting is wonderful also.
When you purchase plants, be sure that they are labeled as dwarf or grafted
plants. This will insure that they will flower and fruit while still small, usually
when the plant reaches 3 to 6 feet tall. Non-grafted plants
will need to grow 10 feet plus to produce fruit in your home--like growing an
apple tree in your house.
When you eat citrus and save the seeds for potting, they will grow, but because
they are not grafted or dwarf they will not bear fruit for you unless you have real high
ceilings. The plants are beautiful, the flowers smell great, and with some luck
you can have "native citrus" in your living room at this time next
fall, no matter where you live. Enjoy!
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Before you get caught up with all
the holiday activities, here are a few final things to do in the yard
and garden. The weather is still favorable to work outside now and
the time spent in the garden can save you time and money--and save
your plants from winter damage. There is nothing more frustrating
than losing plants during the winter, because we did not know how to
protect them properly--especially plants we worked so hard to develop
this past season. Knowledge is power in your garden and here are a
few things that will help you and your plants to have a better
One of the most popular plants for
the garden is the rose bush and for many of us, losing plants after
the first winter that a rose bush was planted in our summer garden is
tragic. The result is discouraging, and instead of increasing the
size of the rose garden to add new varieties and colors, we replace
the dead plants with perennials or annual flowers. Growing rose
bushes is a lot of work but the reward is incredible as the plants
produce the most sought-after flower in the world.
Here is what I want you to do in the
next couple of weeks. Don't panic, because you still have time.
Purchase a bag of bark mulch or compost, a bale of straw, or go down
to the beach and collect sea weed and place it in your garden, but
not on the plants yet. Right now the mice are still looking for a
place to make their home for the winter and organic plant insulation
will attract them to your garden and they will eat your plants during
the winter. I want you to wait until Thanksgiving to create a mound
of material around your plants.
Step one is to NEVER prune your
roses in the fall of the year! Your plant is covered and sealed with
strong bark that helps prevent moisture loss caused by winter winds
and sun. Every time you cut back a branch from your plant, you are
creating an opening for moisture to escape from the plant--resulting
in branch die back or plant kill. If you live in a climate where
winters get cold and temperatures dip down to the teens or colder,
spend under a dollar a plant to give them additional protection by
spraying them with an anti-desiccant sealant like Wilt-Pruf or
Wilt-Stop. Before you use your insulation around the plant around
Thanksgiving, apply the anti-desiccant product. That is something you
can do now while the temperatures are above freezing during the day.
Anti-desiccants sprays need 4 hours to dry on the plant when
temperatures are above freezing to be most effective.
After Thanksgiving, build your mound
with the product you have chosen to use to protect the plants for the
winter. The mound should be 12 to 18 inches wide and high around
your plants, and in the shape of a Teepee. If you live near the
seashore or the rose garden is in a very windy location, you can also
use a burlap bag to cover the plant for extra protection. NEVER use
a plastic bag to cover your plants, because the bag will trap the
daytime heat, causing wide temperature swings that will cause early
sprouting during winter warm spells. Burlap is porous and breathes,
allowing the heat to escape from around the plant and keep the plant
dormant. After Christmas, recycle your Christmas tree and cut the
branches from it so you can lay the evergreen branches against the
plants for additional protection; as the needles dry, the smell will
give your early garden great fragrance--and those fallen needles also
become great organic matter to improve the soil around your roses.
Potted roses should be stored in
your garage, tool shed or under your deck for the winter. This
protects the plant from the winter weather but keeps it dormant.
Plants stored inside an unheated building will need to be watered
well before they are put away for the year and adding a bit of
additional water during the winter to keep the roots moist. Those
left outside under a deck or porch should be watered well and laid on
their side to prevent the pot from filling with water and creating a
ball of ice around the roots during the winter. Plants left outside
should also be treated with an anti-desiccant before put into winter
storage. If the weather gets nice out during mid-March bring the
containers outside so the plants can gradually adapt to the changing
temperatures. You don't want your plants to begin to sprout in the
garage or tool shed as the days begin to warm up, and then have the
new sprouting buds hurt by cold weather.
Now, the pruning of the rose bushes
should be done in the early spring. Always wait until the baseball
season begins in your home town--not during spring training. Prune
to control the size of the plant, remove any branches that dried out
during the winter and turned brown, also remove any small shoots or
suckers that have formed at the base of the plants. Keep the most
vigorous branches, as they will produce the most new growth during
the summer and more flowers for you to enjoy. I also like to apply
the anti-desiccant spray on the plant again in the spring after
pruning to seal up the cuts made on the plant and hold moisture in
the plant until it is ready to grow. If you're only making a few
cuts on the rose bush and have no anti-desiccant spray left, just
light a candle and drip some wax on the cuts you just made to seal
the plant until it is ready to grow and care for itself. Make your
cuts at an angle so rain and watering can roll off the branches to
prevent rotting of the stems.
Fertilizer is applied in April when
you begin to notice that the buds are beginning to pop and green
foliage is forming. You can also begin to apply your first
application of a systemic insecticide to the plant so it has time to
move up the roots of the plant and get established in the new shoots
that develop. That way you're ahead of the insects before they get a
chance to get established on the plant. I also like to apply All
Season Oil and a dormant fungicide to the plant to control any
overwintering insect eggs left on the plant in the fall and disease
spores from last year. This is most effective once you have pruned
the plant in the spring and are getting the garden ready for the new
I don't care what people tell you
about growing roses, it requires work, but the end results are well
worth the effort. If you have never planted roses before, give it a
try next spring but prepare your soil properly and choose a location
with sun all day long, that's the key! If you're new to growing
roses, ask for a gardening book about roses for Christmas and read up
on how to grow them during the winter so you're ready when spring
arrives. After the holidays, go on the internet and sign up to
receive the new rose catalogs in the mail, so you can select the
color combination for your garden. Those catalogs will also be full
of additional helpful information when you get ready to plant the
garden. If you follow these easy steps you can remove from your
vocabulary to following phrase, "I never promised you a rose
Garden because it is too much work." Can you imagine Valentine's
Day without roses? Now imagine your garden with rose bushes growing
in it; imagine cutting roses from those plants and placing them on
your dinner table this coming summer. You can do it and you will
enjoy your time in the garden with your rose bushes. Enjoy.
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If you did any planting this year
around your home during the spring or summer, spend a few minutes to
prepare your new plants for the seasonal changes of winter. All I
want you to do is walk around your property for a final inspection
and make sure the plants are ready for winter. Use this quick
checklist of suggestions that has helped me with my plants over the
I start with the lawn and always
look for potential problems with moles. If you had a lot of Japanese
beetles in your garden this summer you have a better chance of having
moles. You will notice raised mounds or raised tunnels running near
the surface of the grass. When you step on them they flatten easily,
letting you know that the tunnels are actively being used by the
mole. Most of these tunnels will be found at this time of the year
near areas of your property where tall grasses are growing, near
wooded areas, near large mulched planting beds or near walkways and
driveways. The moles spend the summer months hiding in these
protected areas from predators but as the season changes they move
out into the lawn and start digging the tunnels in search for food
for the winter.
Once the ground is cold, frozen,
and covered with snow they become a digging machine and can destroy
your well-kept lawn over the winter, especially if we have an early
snow cover. If you find tunnels or mounds act NOW by treating the
area with a product like Mole Scram, Shake-Away Mole Repellent or
Bonide MoleMax. These product are not a poison; keeping the lawn
safe for your pets and family, they are repellents and will halt the
moles' movement into the middle of your lawn where they can make
major damage to your lawn. Knowing this, you only have to treat the
perimeter of your lawn around the edges with a 10 to 15 foot band,
not the entire lawn, and that will save you money.
If you planted new evergreen ground
covers like English ivy, pachysandra, or myrtle/vinca I would suggest
that you spray them with an anti-desiccant for the first winter.
This will help lock moisture inside the plant and prevent wind damage
and sunburn, as these plants are young and possibly not fully
established yet. When you figure out the time it took you to prepare
the planting area, planting of the ground covers, and the cost of the
plants it is well worth the few dollars it will cost to protect your
investment--good insurance. A product like Wilt-Pruf or Wilt-Stop
can be purchased at your local garden center in a ready-to-use
sprayer for small areas or in concentrates for large planting beds.
Start off next spring with healthy green plants and avoid filling in
the holes where plants died during the winter.
If you planted a row of arborvitae
to create a privacy or noise barrier this year, purchase a ball of
green string and tie up your plants to prevent snow or Ice damage.
Just tie one end of the string to a branch a couple feet above the
ground and walk around the plant wrapping the string in a corkscrew
pattern around the plant until you get three quarters up the plant.
Pull the foliage together as you wrap and this will keep the young
and not mature branches protected from damage. Arborvitaes are
multi-stem plants and heavy, wet snow or ice can split them apart
until the plant has matured. If you live in an area where Deer are
found, I would add the new Shake-Away Deer Repellent bags to your
planting to protect them. If food becomes scarce and the snow gets
deep, deer LOVE arborvitae, and--again--a bit of insurance can save
your plants from being eaten. They're young, tender and tasty and
for a couple of dollars you can save a plants that cost over $25.00
each. Think for the long term; each year they grow they become
stronger, larger and more valuable.
Newly planted broadleaf evergreens
like holly, rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurel, and boxwood
should also be treated with an anti-desiccant spray for the first
year--especially if they are in a planting bed that receives a lot of
sun during the winter months. When you planted the shrub, and if it
was cared for properly will determine if the plant had enough time to
become fully established in your garden before winter arrived. Sun
and wind create the problem with new plants the first
winter, and if the roots are not fully established and the plants
ready you will have damage. If you planted azaleas, be sure to spray
the flower buds on the tip of the branches to protect them and insure
flowers next spring. Again, a bit of insurance now can go a long way
If you planted a new tree that is
over six feet tall and it is in an open area of your lawn, purchase a
staking kit and tie down the tree so it will not move or blow over
with the wet and stormy weather ahead of us. Your main goal is to
keep the plant root ball from moving and hurting the newly developing
root system. If that tree is a fruit tree or flowering tree, also
wrap the trunk from the ground to the first branch with a tree guard
or hardware cloth wire to prevent rodent damage. The bark is tender
and has not hardened off yet, so it is vulnerable to being eaten by
rodents during the first couple of winters. Also be sure that there
is a covering of three inches of bark mulch around the base of the
tree to help keep the soil frozen during the winter. Exposed soil
will freeze and thaw during the winter, damaging the root system of
the new tree.
In your perennial flower beds, be sure to cut back to the ground all plants that have turned yellow or brown and rake the garden clean. This fall clean-up will remove
insect eggs and disease spores left on the plants for next year.
Insects and disease ALWAYS plan for the next year in the fall, so
they can continue to survive from year to year in your garden. This
is also a great time to apply limestone or Magic-Cal to sweeten the
soil and keep the plant productive. Acid soil will slow down the
development of your plants in the garden and produce fewer flower
The vegetable garden should also be
cleaned of all dead plants, and lime the soil to prevent blossom end
rot on your tomatoes and squash plants for next year. Blossom end
rot is a rotting on the underside of the tomato fruit or the tip of
the squash and is caused by lack of calcium in the soil. Use lime at
the rate of 50 pounds per 500 sq. ft. of garden. If you live near
the seashore, go to the beach and collect the seaweed that washes
ashore at the beach and spread it over your garden for the winter.
Seaweed is full of stored energy and contains everything your plant
will need to grow better next spring. Seaweed is a wonderful soil
conditioner and better than peat moss for your garden soil. Just
spread it over the garden now and till it in next spring when you get
ready to plant the garden.
One last thing
is to mow the grass down to 2 inches tall when it stops growing.
This will prevent winter diseases that can be a problem if your soils
have clay in them or you tend to have puddles that form during wet
weather in the growing season. Tall grass will mat down--and if
we have a winter with heavy snow and ice on the lawn that lasts well
into the spring, you could have a problem. Sandy soils are not a
problem but keep the grass short for the winter to avoid problems.
If moss is visible, lime the lawn now so it has time to sweeten the
soil before spring arrives. Did you know that crabgrass and common
lawn weeds have a more difficult time growing in your lawn if the
soil is sweet than when the soil is on the acid side? Also, the
grass can grow thicker and the fertilizer you apply becomes more
effective, so lime the lawn in the fall. Any leaves or pine needles
should be chopped up by your lawn mower and will turn into great
organic matter to help improve your soil as they break down during
the winter. So don't rake the leaves--chop them up and make
your soil better for next year.
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Paul Parent will be hosting a tour that includes:
- Vancouver, BC
- Butchart Gardens--55 acres of floral display!
- Cruising the Inside Passage:
- Icy Strait Point
- Hubbard Glacier Cruising
- Scenic Drive to Anchorage
- Denali National Park
- Fairbanks City Tour, a tour of the Gold Dredge # 8 and a cruise down the Chena river on the Riverboat Discovery Sternwheeler.
Click here for more information.
This Week's Question
Coriander is from the same plant as which of the following?
This Week's Prize:
Wilt-Pruf®...The Safe Way To Reduce Moisture Loss When Plants Are Under Water Stress due to:
- winter kill
- transplant shock
Click here for more information about Wilt-Pruf.
Last Week's Question:
A gardener is very fond of finches and wants to get a thistle feeder, but doesn't want thistles growing all over the garden. That's not really a problem. Why?
- The birds leave no whole seeds.
- The seed from the feeder won't germinate.
- The seeds are ground up.
- The squirrels will eat all the seeds that fall out.
- Thistle seed is not used in these feeders.
Last Week's Winner:
Last Week's Answer:
E. Thistle seed is not used in these feeders. It's nyjer seed. (ed. note: The nyjer seed is treated so it won't germinate but it still (if rarely) does. But it will never grow into thistles.)
Last Week's Prize:
One winner per question - we choose winners from the list of those who answer correctly. Winners must be newsletter subscribers. We'll ship you your prize, so be sure to put your address in the form in case you win!
What You'll Need:
- 2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
Step by Step:
In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla; gradually add the oats.
Press into a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
Bake at 400° F for 12-14 minutes or until edges are brown.
Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, for topping, melt all chips and peanut butter in a microwave or saucepan.
Stir until blended; spread over warm bar mixture.
Cool completely; refrigerate for 2-3 hours before cutting.
Yield: 4 dozen bars