Time For Houseplants To Come Back Indoors

With a chill in the air, it’s getting close to the time for houseplants to come back indoors.  Our houseplants enjoy a time outside every year from about mid-May to, well, about this time of the year.  In the northeast Ohio area and probably across most of the east and midwest United States, we can potentially see our first frost even in early October.  Today is officially the first day of fall, and we’ve felt it with a drop of 20 degrees in the temperature from yesterday to today.  Bob Beyfuss has written an article about when it is time for houseplants to come back indoors.

It's time for houseplants to come back indoors.

It’s time for houseplants to come back indoors.

Within a few short weeks, much of our region will have had their first hard frost. In fact, parts of the mountainous areas in Greene, Ulster and Delaware Counties as well as the Adirondack region had a frost warning out for the morning of Sept. 19. . .If you still have houseplants outside, they need to be brought in as soon as possible.

In addition to telling the reader how to bring in those houseplants, Bob gives the reader information on how to take some cuttings that you can grow indoors, how you can preserve geraniums and also how you can propagate some of the perennial flowers in your garden.  But here’s about how to bring in those houseplants that have summered on our decks and patios so that we don’t bring in mites and other bugs.

Before they come back in you should spray them at least a few times with a houseplant insecticide such as Insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. You may also use a systemic soil poison that is put in the pots and then watered in. Systemic poisons are absorbed by the roots, move upward through the plant and kill the pests from the inside out. The plants may appear to be perfectly bug free to your eye but I can pretty much guarantee that if you bring them indoors without treatment, they will soon show evidence of spider mites and perhaps aphids.

Bob’s article, which you can read by clicking here or on the link below, also suggests that you might start looking for those bulbs you’ll want to plant in the next month or so.  For the best selection, you probably want to buy them soon.  Don’t waste any time, though, in getting your plants in, because it is time for houseplants to come back indoors right now. Then plan your trip to your gardening center for your spring flowering bulbs.

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Photo by faith goble

Organic Methods To Deter Garden Pests

There are ways to do so chemically, but if you want organic methods to deter garden pests, you would do well to read the article by Marshall Hinsley.  He attempts to debunk some organic methods that have been commonly used to deter pests from gardens, and he sets about telling why most of them are old wives’ tales.  Some of the ideas have been around for a while, and some of them are relatively recent. If you are looking for organic methods to deter garden pests from your garden, you would do well to take a look at Marshall’s article so you don’t waste your time with old wives’ tales solutions that don’t work.

Hanging CDs is not one of the organic methods to deter garden pests.

Hanging CDs is not one of the organic methods to deter garden pests.

Pests can be deterred from consuming your crops by planting appealing alternatives such as marigolds. Organic gardeners seek alternative ways to get their job done. But that can leave them open to old wives’ tales and scams. I’ve made a list of silly claims and fraudulent products that need to stop. . .Fire ants are a continual thorn in our side in Texas. Their bites are painful and leave ugly welts on skin. Questions on how to get rid of them are a common topic on gardening forums, and corn grits or cornmeal are frequently offered as a solution.

Yup.  Cornmeal to deter fire ants is one of those old wives’ tales.  Not living in an area where we have fire ants, I haven’t heard of that old wives’ tale that doesn’t work.  Then there are others that you need to be careful not to throw out.  If you were a person who has no gardening experience and was told that beer is a method to get rid of slugs, you might laugh and think that is an old wives’ tale. You would be mistaken.  Thanks, Marshall, for sorting some of it out for us.  Here’s another that might be familiar to a goodly number of us gardeners.

Birds are a benefit to the garden because they eat insects and weed seeds. But some eat fruit and berries. To deter them, some gardeners hang old CDs in fruit trees or over berry vines. The thought behind this remedy is that the shiny CD surface will reflect light randomly and scare the birds away. . . A few CDs hanging over a berry crop may perplex birds briefly, but they’ll get used to it.

You’ve seen those CDs hanging in people’s gardens, haven’t you?  At least they’re repurposing something, even though hanging CDs may not be achieving the desired result.  Read Marshall’s article by clicking here or on the link below for more information about organic methods to deter garden pests that do not work.  You may also enjoy his comments about the Farmer’s Almanac, which he essentially says makes for some good fiction.

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Unique Mosquito Repellent

If you are susceptible to being bitten by mosquitoes, perhaps you’d like to try a most unique mosquito repellent.  Laurie Garretson, whose articles I frequently curate because of their good quality, notes that the mosquito population in her area of the North American continent has been particularly offensive this year.  She writes about how you might try to mitigate the problem, and she writes about the most unique mosquito repellent that I have ever heard of.  First she gives some details about the current problem.

How's this for a unique mosquito repellent?

How’s this for a unique mosquito repellent?

The past several weeks seem to have brought every mosquito in the state to our area. I don’t remember such an infestation as we’ve been having. Sure these pests have been bad many times before, but this time there are so many more of them. I’ve had many reports from people saying the sides of their houses are literally covered with them. . . It sure hasn’t been much fun trying to garden while swatting mosquito after mosquito.

It seems as if there are several of my friends and I standing around where there is a mosquito, the mosquito always manages to find me before anyone else.  I’ve been told it has to do with has to do with the scent a person’s body gives off.  Well, my body must be a beacon to mosquitoes, because I’m a mosquito magnet.  Laurie gives some idea of what you can do to reduce the likelihood that mosquitoes will propagate by adding Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis ‘Israelensis’) to standing water to kill mosquito larvae.  But Laurie heard of a couple ladies from north Texas ho are marketing a unique way to repel mosquitoes.

Someone recently told me of a couple of ladies in North Texas who are selling dried cow patties that supposedly help repel mosquitoes. I looked this up online, and sure enough, they have a website that tells all about it – cowpoopladies.com. Seems all you do is set fire to a really dried patty that will then smolder and the smoke will repel the pests.

You can read even more about this unique mosquito repellent by reading Laura’s article.  You can click here or on the link below to get to her article.  I’ll have to pick up some of that manure and make sure I have some with me at all times.  I may need to judicious in when I take advantage of this unique mosquito repellant. I’m sure that my next garden party invitation to my friend’s house may be my last if I light up on his patio.

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Photo by apercoco

Sloe Berries Are Not Among The Sweetest

Did you know that sloe berries are not among the sweetest of the summer berries?  Tell me you’ve heard of sloe berries, haven’t you?  If you haven’t, I wouldn’t be surprised.  Lynette Leman writes an article about the sloe berries, and perhaps you don’t know about sloe berries because Lynette is writing about a plant that is native to the United Kingdom.  Perhaps you’ve heard of the term “sloe gin,” so you know something about sloe berries.  But if you haven’t really tasted them, you don’t know that sloe berries are not among the sweetest of the summer berries.

Sloe berries are not among the sweetest of the summer berries.

Sloe berries are not among the sweetest
of the summer berries.

Sloe berries are the fruit of the Blackthorn Tree, found growing wild in woods and copses, and along country hedgerows.  The fruits are a bit like miniature plums but slightly smaller than a marble. They’re purpley-blue, with a cloudy skin, and have a small stone inside. You’ll know they are ripe as they are slightly squashy to the touch and fleshy when you bite into them: although you’ll only do that once as they are tremendously bitter.

Not only are sloe berries not among the sweetest of the summer berries, they are downright bitter.  All I can think of that is similar is biting into a persimmon that is not ripe.  Biting into an unripe persimmon is not like experiencing a bitterness but rather a drying out of your mouth.  Why does Lynette write about sloe berries, then, if they are bitter and not like some other summer fruits and berries.  A clue was in the “sloe gin” reference above.

Mixed with gin, sloe berries make the most delicious sloe gin: made now, it will be ready for drinking around Christmas time. The first time I picked the berries, I took a couple home and checked out on the internet that they were indeed sloes and not some ‘berry of death’. I figured if I was going to be making delicious Christmas gin from them, I’d be best to avoid Great Auntie Winnie carking it between the Christmas pud and the cheese and biscuits.

When you make your sloe gin, you want to make sure you don’t cark.  Love some of the UK expressions.  I remember having to “Mind the gap” in London.  Regardless, you can read the rest of Lynette’s article by clicking here or on the link below.  Though sloe berries are not among the sweetest of the summer berries, they make a wonderful gin drink.  In fact, Lynette gives the recipe regarding how to make sloe gin in her article.  Check it out.

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Photo by Deanster1983 thank you for the one million + views

Many Choices For Native California Flowers

If you are looking to go native in California, there are many choices for native California flowers.  Sometimes native flowers are not always the most beautiful.  But that is not the case for native California flowers.  Gloria Young has written an article that will please you, particularly if you live in California and are looking to plant a flower bed that will be hardy, beautiful and require less work than a garden with non-native plants.  In her article, Gloria writes about the many choices for native California flowers that exist.  And this is the perfect time of the year to plant them.

One of many choices for California native flowers.

One of many choices for California native flowers.

October is the best time to plant them, Redbud Chapter (of the California Native Plant Society) member Julie Becker said. “It’s a good time for the roots to take hold,” she said. “The (plants are) putting their strength into setting their roots instead of producing beautiful flowers. You’ll get more beautiful flowers if the roots are grounded well in the fall. They can’t do it when it is 90 degrees day after day.”

Gloria spends nearly all of the rest of her article describing various native California flowers.  She gives information about color, size, blooming times, etc. about seven different different native California flowers.  She makes them sound so attractive that I want to plant some of them.  However, they would not be native to my area of the northeast part of the USA.  Got to remember why they are called native and why you don’t try to transplant native plants to other areas of the country to which they are not native.  Here is one of the flowers Gloria describes.

Another favorite that does well in her garden is Cleveland sage, which blooms June, July and into August. Its gray green soft leaves are very fragrant. “The flowers grow up the stem, but they are spaced up the stem so they always remind me of pagodas,” she said. “…The flowers are stunning to look at. They stay there for a while. When they dry, which they have now, they still look pretty as a nice decoration in the garden. … Sometimes I’ll leave the dried-out flowers even into the winter.” Cleveland sage is a very hardy plant that does exceptionally well during drought, she added.

Lucky Californians!  I chose to add the Cleveland sage excerpt because it carries the namesake of that great city on Lake Erie from which I hail.  Cleveland is an up and coming city, and the Cleveland sage will be an up and coming plant in your California native flower garden.  But if you read Gloria’s article by clicking here or on the link below, you will learn that the Cleveland sage is only one of the many choices for native California flowers that she recommends.

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Photo by JefferyTurner


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