Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Rooting Your Own Mint

Rooting mint

Rooting mint in a small decorative vase.

There’s nothing like having fresh mint on hand, and I don’t know about you, but when I buy a bunch of mint, I tend use it a couple of times for a specific recipe, or to add to the best gin and tonic recipe anywhere.

Best Gin & Tonic Anywhere

Mix up whatever ratio of gin and tonic you prefer, with ice cubes.

Add to it, a generous squeeze of fresh lime, a couple of slices of cucumber, and a mint leaf or two. Swirl. Enjoy the taste of summer.

But after making my gin and tonic or whatever, I generally toss the remaining mint bunch into the fridge where it often dies because I forget it’s there. Pulling a squishy bunch of decaying mint out of the fridge is always sadness-inducing. And the last thing we need is more sadness in January, the month that contains the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday.

Fresh mint showing root development.

Fresh mint showing root development.

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Get Those Dahlia Plants Out of the Bag, Pronto!

Dahlia tubers getting started in aluminum trays.

Dahlia tubers getting started in aluminum trays.

Did you buy dahlias, bleeding heart, lilies, or another type of perennial packed in a plastic bag? I can’t stress this enough: Get it out of that bag as soon as possible! Buying in a bag is the equivalent of a neighbour digging up a perennial plant from her garden and, not having a pot, sticking in a plastic bag for you to lug home. It works fine, but it’s a temporary measure. It’s a cost efficient way for plant sellers to save on soil and pots when they sell you a plant. Saves on transport costs too. However, it’s not a great way to ensure the survival of the plant when you get home. You may think to yourself, “I’ll get around to that later”, then forget about it. There’s nothing sadder than opening a bagged dahlia and seeing the shoots, white and gnarled where they have tried to grow inside the bag. I’ve done this many times, and, weeks later, found half-dead (or fully dead) plants waiting for me in the bag, staring at me accusingly….why???

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Signs of Life: Snowdrops & Ivy

snowdrops-2016-lr

Before the snow dumped onto my garden I was enjoying the sight of snowdrops and some ivy that was starting to look a bit more perky. Snowdrops are a must in a northern garden as they pop out of the ground even before the crocuses, sometimes appearing in February. Mine certainly did this year, and they are proof that winter is really on the way out. Even with a major snowfall like we got yesterday, they will remain untouched and still be blooming when the snow melts. Tough and pretty, these garden stalwarts. Every garden should have them.



Pest Patrol: How To Get Rid of Mealybugs

Mealybug infestation on cactus, Opuntia microdasys monstrose.

Mealybug infestation on cactus, Opuntia microdasys monstrose.

Do you keep houseplants indoors in the wintertime? If yes, you are essentially maintaining a greenhouse, and what is a greenhouse but an artificially heated room with lots of light? While we typically don’t enjoy the bright light of a greenhouse, we do have the same problems that greenhouse keepers do. Pests!

It’s always in February that I notice these little harbouring beasts. While moving plants around in my sun porch (as close to a greenhouse as I can get) I noticed white fluffy blobs all over my favourite cactus: a case of mealybugs.

Mealybugs are a type of scale insect, but these ones don’t have the protective armour of brown scale. An individual mealybug reminds me of a trilobite. The fluffy appearance of a mealybug cluster comes from the powdery wax layer that the female mealybugs exude. It serves to protect the bugs as they cluster in a herd. Yikes, a herd of bugs!

Mealybugs injure the plant by feeding on plant sap, and present a major problem for citrus and mango growers. They damage other food crops as well, like sugar cane, pineapple, and coffee. Luckily, if found on your houseplant quickly, you can get rid of mealybugs fairly easily.

Whеn dealing wіth pests thаt bother оur homes, іt wоuld bе important tо consider thе type оf treatment provided bу pest control companies. Well pest control toronto are best to use to keep home safe from mosquitoes, ticks, rats and mice. Natural pest control methods аrе mоѕt preferred nowadays bесаuѕе thеу dо nоt саuѕе harm tо humans thаt live іn аn area bеіng purged fоr pests. Thе uѕе оf synthetic pesticides іn eradicating household pests carries danger bесаuѕе thеу саuѕе illness tо people. Thеу аrе neuro-toxins thаt саuѕе paralysis оn thе pest’s nervous ѕуѕtеm. Hоwеvеr, іf humans inhale thе toxic substances bесаuѕе thеѕе аrе used inside thе home, thеn thе health оf thе house inhabitants аrе рut аt stake. To get natural pest control visit to Pest Zone Pest Control service.

It’s true thаt оur lives bесоmе uncomfortable whеn wе аrе invaded bу bed bugs, termites аnd rodents. Aside frоm destroying оur things, thеу аlѕо make uѕ sick. Thеу simply саnnоt bе ignored whеn thеіr presence іѕ noticed inside thе house. Tо dо ѕо wоuld bе tо invite a greater catastrophe. Tаkе thе case fоr termites. Thеѕе insects саn look harmless bесаuѕе thеу hаvе soft, milky bоdу texture. Yеt bеhіnd thаt façade іѕ аn agent fоr massive destruction. Thеѕе insects саn live аnуwhеrе аnd thеу wіll destroy аnуthіng thеу соmе асrоѕѕ. If ignored, thеу wіll make уоur house thеіr camping ground аnd wіll leave nоthіng untouched. Whеn termites increase іn population, іt means thаt thеу hаvе a steady source оf food. Foremost, thеу like tо eat wood. Thuѕ, іf уоur house іѕ mаdе оf wooden materials аnd nоt treated fоr termite attack, thеn уоu ѕhоuld bе afraid. Thеу саn burrow оn thе ground аnd exist thеrе wіthоut humans noticing thеm. Yеt, whеn уоu ѕее mud tunnels thаt gо a lоng wау tоwаrdѕ ѕоmеwhеrе уоu саnnоt trace, уоu ѕhоuld suspect thаt thеу hаvе аlѕо mаdе ѕоmе parts оf уоur house thеіr оwn аѕ wеll. Natural pest control fоr termites іѕ available wіth уоur local pest control company.

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Winter Sowing for Wildflowers & Perennials

seedlings-in-tray

Let’s talk about growing flowers from seed, shall we, especially those harder to germinate wildflowers and other perennials. Miriam Goldberger of Ontario’s Wildflower Farm explains:

Certain wildflowers won’t germinate unless they have the stratification period. It’s not the freezing temperatures of winter but rather the freeze/thaw action of early spring that breaks down the seed shells and serves as a catalyst for germination to occur.

Not waiting for spring and sowing now is called winter sowing, which is a special, yet fairly easy way of sowing seeds. Winter sowing creates conditions that mimic those the seed naturally goes through over the course of the winter, a process called stratification. I also like to use winter jackets when I’m working with my crops outside on the cold weather. Stratification providing seeds with a prolonged period of a cold, moist environment, usually for several weeks. Seed sowers can use the refrigerator to mimic stratification at any time of the year. But since we’ve got winter conditions right now we don’t need to monopolize the fridge.

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