Rose Planting Tips

Renoir's painting of cabbage roses, Roses in a...

Renoir’s painting of cabbage roses, Roses in a vase (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dr Mom,

When spring is on its way and the ground is soft, it is the perfect time for planting roses. Roses have been a very popular bloom over the years, not only do they look good, but they smell wonderful too.

However, planting roses cannot be done just anywhere or in just any climate. They need special care and treatment. Here are some tips that you need to consider in order to successfully grow roses:

1. Roses require about 4 to 6 hours of sunlight everyday. It would be best to plant your roses in a clear area where there are not too many trees or other types of plants. The reason behind this is that the rose may lack sunlight exposure and the roots are also likely to become intertwined with the rose and throttle its growth. If you wish to replace an old rose bush, you should remove about 1 ½ cubic feet of the old soil and replace it with new soil so that the newly planted rose will have fresh soil to start with.

2. When thinking about the position of your roses you must consider the type of rose you are planting. Place ramblers and climbers along trellises, fences and next to pergolas or arches. This is important to consider because they need space to grow freely and these positions are perfect for bigger blooming roses.

3. Roses will look good in island beds which can be mixed with perennials. Smaller roses make great edging plants, which are perfect for combining in front of taller species. Dig a hole large enough for the size of the root ball, but remember to loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole. You can also add bone meal which acts as a slow acting resource of phosphorus. This will help establish a healthy root growth for your roses.

4. You should be careful when considering the planting depth as this depends on your climate. If you live in a cooler climate, plant roses deeper, but if you wish to plant in a pot, you must dig about 1 inch deeper than the usual potted level.

5. Make sure that you place roses in the hole carefully. The hole should be refilled with soil so that the roots are covered completely. Before you make the final covering, water the rose. Then mound the soil about 8 inches high around the base of the plant. The earth will keep the stems from drying out until the plant is completely rooted. As the leaves open, you can remove the excess soil that surrounds the plant.

These some important tips you need to consider when planting roses. It will be worth the effort, as your roses will bloom beautifully.

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Tips for Container Gardens

My lovely container garden

My lovely container garden (Photo credit: staticgirl)

Dear Dr Mom,

Here are several tips for creating a wonderful hanging basket or container this summer. The first is to use an artificial soil composed mostly of peat moss. Good soils such as Fafard or Pro-Mix use perlite, peat, and other ingredients to produce a soil that will not compact over the summer. Real garden soil compacts and turns into concrete under the pressure of regular watering. And when it does, plant roots stop growing because they require good open spaces to move into and absorb nutrients. Hard, compacted soils do not grow good plants so do not use real soil in your containers. I re-use my artificial potting soil from year to year. I dump it out of the pot. Chew it up with a shovel to cut up all last year’s roots and add approximately 10 % by volume of compost. The compost increases air spaces and gives plants a boost in healthy nutrition.

Feed your plants weekly. Nitrogen, the engine of plant growth, is water soluble and as you water your containers from the top the dissolved nitrogen is leaving from the bottom. I use a fish-emulsion liquid feed with seaweed to provide all the trace nutrients my plants require and recommend it highly. You can use any liquid plant food (like Miracle Grow or Shultz) to promote growth. Compost tea is the Cadillac of liquid plant food and if you make your own compost tea, your plants will respond with bigger and better blooms as well as increased vigour.

And finally, no matter the size of the container, it is important to soak it all the way to the bottom at each watering. Continue watering until water emerges from the pot bottom. This ensures the roots can reach all parts of the container and grow properly.

Worm Wee For Luscious Gardens

English: Freshly bedded worm bin, garden waste...

English: Freshly bedded worm bin, garden waste mixed with finished aerobic compost Category:Vermicomposting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dr Mom,

One of the best ways to improve your garden is to stop throwing out your garbage. That’s right, your used coffee grinds and banana peels can help your tomato and cucumber plants grow larger and stronger. When that same garbage is eaten and digested by a worm it becomes a powerful plant supplement known as worm castings. Starting a worm compost bin is a great way to create a steady supply of worm castings for your flower and vegetable gardens.

First thing you’ll need is a bin. You can buy a commercially made worm bin but where’s the fun in that. Those plastic or rubber storage bins make great worm bins. Drill a few holes in the bin so your worms get plenty of air. Just be sure to cover those holes with small pieces of window screen or something else that will keep the fruit flies out. And if you have any plumbing experience, why not add a hose spigot near the bottom of the bin to take advantage of worm tea. Worm tea is even better than compost tea for your plants. All you have to do is add a cup or two to a large watering can and fill the rest with water. Then water as normal.

Next you’ll need some worm bedding. Most commonly used worm bedding for home bins is shredded newspapers. The bedding must stay moist but not water logged. Use a spray bottle to keep the bedding just right for your worms. When your order worms in the mail they will usually ship in a container filled with peat moss. Some people have stopped using peat moss as a political statement. You see peat is not a replenishable resource. Peat takes centuries to develop in swampy regions and it’s just being used up too quickly. Other’s argue that Peat is now created in a safe quick way and what’s all the fuss about anyway. The two sides contradict each other so it’s up to you to decide if you want to use it. Newspapers are readily available and you probably have a stack of them in your house already. So why not avoid the whole controversy and go with what’s on hand.

And don’t forget to put some dirt in the bin too. Worms don’t have teeth, so they need some grit to help grind up their food. You can also use rock dust or powdered limestone instead of dirt if you like, but regular dirt from your yard will work fine.

And of course, let’s not forget the worms. Digging up some worms from your yard will not work in a worm bin. Worms that come from the soil, like to live in the soil. For worm bins, you’ll need red wigglers. They’ll love the environment that you’ve created in your worm bin. How many should you buy, that depends on the size of your bin. Let’s assume that you’ve created your worm bin for the worm castings and not to have tons of worms for your weekends fishing. That means that you’re going to leave the worms in the bin until they’ve turned most of the bedding and food waste into vermicompost. The worm to garbage ratio is usually 2:1. That means that if you’re going to put a half pound of garbage into the bin on a daily basis, then you should start with a pound of worms.

Check your bin everyday to ensure that you get off to a good start. Keep the bedding moist and the bin should stay in a spot that’s about 60 to 70 degrees. Leaving the bin outside in the summer sun is a good way to cook all of your worms. And remember if the worm bin starts to smell, then you probably need more bedding.

Starting a worm bin is a fun project for everyone in the family. Get your kids involved, they’ll love watching those little worms wiggle around your bin. And if you’re lucky, you may see one of the kids chase your mother in law around the house with a handful of worms. Like I said, worm bins are good times for the whole family and great for your garden too.

For Better Plants

English: A picture of compost soil

English: A picture of compost soil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dr. Mom,

Many people worry a lot when it comes to caring for their plants. When talking about house plants, there is no need to worry. There are just a few things you need to consider.

1. Watering
A watering can is a must-have in every garden. It is recommended that you purchase the one with a narrow spout to ensure adequate watering. But that does not always apply, so the finger test may come in handy. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If you feel that the soil is damp, don’t water it. Otherwise, do.

2. Feeding
With foliage plants, they always need to be high in nitrogen. For flowering plants, on the other hand, K2O is needed. Fertilizers such as the slow release ones can be mixed with the compost. However, some plants like cacti and orchids need special feeds. Feed plants on the height of their active growth.

3. Lighting
Plants like Sanseveria and Aspidistra require no shade. They can be placed away from a window. Spider plants need semi-shade. You can put plants like these near a window that does or does not get sunlight. Others need sun or no sun at all like cheeseplants.

4. Temperature
With houseplants, they can survive in temperatures a little bit higher than 15 – 250 C or 55 – 750 F. But drastic fluctuations of temperature may not be good for them.

5. Humidity
Some houseplants require a humid environment. One tip to maximize humidity is to put the pot inside a larger pot and fill in the gaps with stones or compost to keep in the moisture. The compost will not dry out. Plants are capable of creating their own climate if grouped together. This tip can also be used for keeping the soil moist. If you want, you can spray them with water once or twice a day depending on the day’s temperature.

6. Re-potting
Other plants require re-potting for optimum growth but some plants may not be suitable for this idea. They would not want their roots to be disturbed or other plants’ root system is small. One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If roots are all you see, then re-pot.

You just need to have a little care for your plants and in turn, you’ll reap its benefits. You don’t only have a garden that can add to your house’s beauty you can also learn how to respect and nurture life in its varied forms.

Air-Bathing and Good Health

Fresh air and sunshine

Fresh air and sunshine

Air is of prime importance for life. One may live for a few days without food or perhaps even without water. But it is impossible to survive even for a minute or two without air.

Oxygen is essential for the process of combustion taking place in all the various cells of the body. We obtain this oxygen from the air. When we inhale, oxygen of the air dissolves in the blood flowing through the fine capillaries in the lungs, and is thus carried to every cell in the body.
Carbon dioxide and other toxic substances are formed in the cells as the end pr6ducts of combustion and other processes taking place in the cells. Carbon dioxide thus formed dissolves in the blood. When this impure blood carrying carbon dioxide reaches the lungs, carbon dioxide is released into the air present in tt1e lungs, and is exhaled with it.
Thus when we breathe in, oxygen of the air enters the lungs and dissolves in the blood. When we breathe out, carbon dioxide formed in the body is expelled. In short, the blood gets purified in the lungs. Even this elementary information is sufficient to make the importance of deep breathing obvious to everyone.

The main source of oxygen on the earth is vegetation such as trees, shrubs and other green plants. Plants take up carbon dioxide from the air for their nutrition and growth, and release oxygen into the air. The proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere is, therefore, somewhat greater in areas covered with greenery. Densely populated and industrial areas, on the other hand, are comparatively deficient In oxygen, and polluted in other ways. The thoughtless and wanton destruction of vegetation going on – today aggravates this deficiency and pollution.

All these facts make it obvious that a walk in open space covered with greenery, such as gardens and fields, is highly beneficial, especially when accompanied by deep breathing to ventilate the lungs. The cool breeze of early mornings, being fresh, pure and rich in oxygen, purifies the blood and the body, and fills the mind with cheer and the joy of life. The beneficial effects of fresh air on the body, mind and health are felt as good over time.

Some suggestions:

  • Always breathe through the nose. The hair in the nose performs the function of a filter, removing the fine dust particles in the air. Moreover, the air gets warmed up in passing through the nasal passages, which has a salutary effect in the lungs.
  • Always take deep breaths. The breathing of most city people leading sedentary lives is shallow. The result is that carbon dioxide is not eliminated properly, and toxins consequently accumulate in the body.
  • Do not cover the face while sleeping.
  • In winter, protect yourself from the cold with warm coverings to keep your core temperature warm; but keep the windows open a bit to feed fresh air into the home but not as a draft.

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Organic Gardening – Get Started Today

Unloading a truck-load of mulchy soil for gard...

Unloading a truck-load of mulchy soil for garden project. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Growing your own herbs, vegetables, greens and fruit can be both incredibly rewarding and delicious. However, many gardeners rely on pesticides, herbicides and fungicides not to mention chemical fertilizers to help their garden grow. That’s not only unnecessary, it’s also unhealthy. All those nutritious veggies pack a much healthier punch if they’re sans harmful chemicals.

Step #1 Prepare your soil. Because your soil is the foundation of your garden, it is important to make sure it’s full of the right nutrients to feed your garden. Mix in organic material like compost or humus and consider having your soil tested. The proper soil conditions can make the difference between a sparse crop and award winning vegetables.

Step #2 Choose your crop. The second step to build an organic garden is to choose your crop. What are you going to grow in your garden? Initially, in addition to what you’re going to grow, you’ll want to decide if you want to purchase plants or start your garden from seeds. If you start early enough you can use seeds. If not, you can purchase organic plants from your local nursery.

Regardless of what you choose, seeds or plants, make sure they’re grown without chemicals.

Step #3 Organize your garden. Did you know some plants naturally protect other plants from disease and pests? It’s true. Marigolds for example, drive bugs away and if you plant them around the perimeter of your garden, they’ll help protect your herbs, greens and veggies.

Before transferring your plants into your garden, mark where you’re going to plant them. Make sure there is plenty of room between plants so they have room to grow and thrive. A tiny tomato plant can grow several feet high and several feet wide. Leave room.

Step #4 Natural pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. It’s been said that home gardeners generally use more chemicals on their gardens than farmers do. That’s a lot of chemicals! Interestingly enough, mild detergent and water protect many plants from harmful pests. Hot pepper sprays also work to fend off pests. And natural predators like frogs and ladybugs can keep your garden healthy and full.

Step #5 Maintenance. Watering and weeding are all you have in store for you until it’s time to harvest. Take care to not over water. Soil should be moist but not soaking. Weed on a regular basis to make sure your plants have all the nutrients and room in the soil they need to grow.

Organic gardening isn’t difficult when you start with a healthy foundation. Before you dive in and start a garden large enough to feed an army, choose a few plants you know your family will eat. Grow those successfully and next year you can grow a bigger garden.