How to Propagate Philodendrons

how-to-propagate-philodendrons

This post contains affiliate links.

Philodendrons are tropical plants. This means, among other things, they will NOT survive outside when it gets cold. If you live in a tropical area, I imagine you could plop these babies in your garden bed, and they’d be happy campers year-round. The rest of us have to treat them as indoor house plants or outdoor potted plants during the summer.

Philodendrons are among the easiest houseplants to grow, keep alive, and propagate. Even a forgetful or somewhat neglectful person can successfully keep a philodendron alive and well.

Let me put it this way: they don’t even need dirt! Dirt! They can live forever in a jar of water. Trust me on this one.

I LOVE to encourage discouraged newbie gardeners when/if they experience a gardening “failure.” You might see me reply to a comment with something like, “Take heart. That’s how you learn. Failures, if embraced and learned from, are really the seeds of what turns a failed gardener into a seasoned and experienced gardener.”

However, if you make even the slightest attempt to keep a philodendron alive, but you SOMEHOW manage to kill it … {sigh} you and me … we need to have a talk. :)

If you want to purchase a philodendron at your local home and garden store and propagate (create baby plants from it) it, here’s how you’d propagate the plant.

Follow These Simple Steps to Propagate Philodendrons:

[...Continue reading this post.]

4 Seed-Sowing Tips

seed-sowing-tips

Unless you live in an area that’s warm year-round, you probably just recently got your plants into the ground and direct sowed your seeds, or you’re getting ready to do that.

(Don’t do like I did one year. I sowed my corn in so late that John teased me we’d have Christmas corn. :) )

I know many of you are newbie gardeners, and some of you are still working up the courage to start your first garden. So I thought this would be the perfect time to share a few seed-sowing tips to better prepare you for a successful gardening experience.

1. Read the Seed Packet

This tip may seem a bit over simplistic, but sometimes skipping over simple instructions can be cause enough for failure.

2. Seed Planting Depth is Somewhat Proportional to Seed Size

As with any hobby or passion, you learn or pick up on things through simple observation or common sense. Something I noticed over my gardening years is that teeny tiny seeds barely need any dirt over them, while large seeds need to be planted much deeper.

For instance, the seed packet instructions for teeny tiny carrot seeds may suggest a planting depth of only 1/4 inch, but it may recommend corn seeds be planted as much as 2 inches deep.

I did a quick search online to see if I could find a nifty chart to show this. Here’s an image that shows a few seeds and their planting depth. It demonstrates how small seeds are planted almost on the surface and larger seeds much deeper.

[...Continue reading this post.]

12 Ways to Critter-Proof Your Garden

critter-proof-garden

This post contains affiliate links.

Back in January, I asked on Facebook which specific critters, insects, or plant diseases have been the most problematic to your garden. So many of you chimed in with responses. Most people named one or more adorable but destructive critter; quite a few people mentioned insects; and no one mentioned any plant diseases.

To keep this post from becoming a novel, destructive insects and plant diseases will be addressed as separate posts.

Here’s how I see these adorable but destructive critters:

Nearly all of them will fit into one, some as many as three, category based on how they move about: flyers, tall walkers, short walkers, climbers, and diggers. Many solutions for one animal will prevent all animals in that category from getting into your garden. Of course, that won’t always be the case, but many times it will be.

I’ve included at the end of this post a nifty little table I created of various critters and the category in which they fit.

1. Cinder Blocks

cinder-block-1
cinder-block-2

Okay. This idea is not for the faint of heart. If you consider yourself a leisure gardener, this will NOT appeal to you. It will take a one-time big investment of sweat and brawn.

If you’re bound and determined to live off your land and keep persistent diggers out of your garden, here’s an idea I had:

  1. Dig a trench 8 inches wide x 8 inches deep around the perimeter of your garden.
  2. Place cinder blocks – with openings vertically oriented!! :) – back-to-back in the trench.
  3. Bury the cinder blocks with the dug-up dirt.

If you’re up to the physical workout, you could even go two cinder blocks deep. (It only took me about 5-10 minutes to dig one hole for a cinder block, as seen in above photo.)

Don’t get in so much of a hurry that you forget the simple things, like making sure the cinder block openings are vertically oriented. Otherwise, you’ve just unwittingly constructed an elaborate underground tunnel highway INTO your garden. :D

2. Motion Detector Sprinkler System

John is an engineer and an amazing problem-solver.

The first house we lived in, we had a very nice neighbor next door who had a few cats. When our gravel driveway got wet from rain or the late night or early morning dew, the cats would walk around gathering the gravel dust onto their paws, as much as their paws could hold, – oh, yes, it was intentional – and then jump onto our cars and make these *adorable* paw prints all over them.

[...Continue reading this post.]

The Art of Gardening: Building Your Soil {and Coupon Code}

This post contains affiliate links.

The Art of Gardening: Building Your Soil (e-book)

There’s a lot of internet chatter – good chatter! – going on about the brand new e-book by Susan Vinskofski.

She’s a VERY knowledgeable and successful gardener who knows what it takes to grow not just a harvest but a HEALTHY harvest. As she explains in her e-book [... Click here to continue reading this post.]

How to Make Your Own Seed-Starter Mix

seed-starter-mix

This post contains affiliate links.

If you live in an area that has cold and snowy winters, the best way to feel like winter is shorter than it really is or that spring is here before it really is is to start seeds indoors. You’ll observe seedlings emerge 4 to 6-ish weeks before you can place seeds in the ground.

Optimal seed-starter mix will allow for the following:

  1. Retention of Moisture
  2. Drainage of Excess Water
  3. Aeration
  4. Emergence of Seedlings (upward growth) and Penetration of Roots (downward growth)
  5. Nutrients
  6. Beneficial Microbes

Seed-Starter Mix Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Parts Pre-Soaked Organic Coir or Sphagnum Peat Moss
  • 1 Part Perlite
  • 1 Part Vermiculite
  • 1 Part Vermicompost or Compost

coirbrick

Sunleaves 100% Organic Classic Coco Coir Mulch-Soil Brick – Growing Media & Soil Alternative

(affiliate link)

Coir or Sphagnum Peat Moss

Probably the two most common mediums used for “soil”, moisture retention, and the “glue” that keeps everything together are coir and sphagnum peat moss. (Compost also has these characteristics.)

Coir is the by-product of coconut processing. Other names for coir are coco/coir peat, fiber, pith, or dust. You’ve probably picked up on the fact that “coco” is short for coconut NOT cocoa. :)

[...Continue reading this post.]

Would You Like a Natural Garden?

natural-garden

This post contains affiliate links.

Yeah, for most of us it’s still too early to be sowing seeds outside, but it’s the PERFECT time to plan for gardening. Spring will be here in no time at all.

If you had a neighbor who always had the most beautiful flower garden and bountiful vegetable garden, year after year, and they invited you over for a cup of tea and offered to pour out their brain full of gardening knowledge and tips, would you say, “Nah … but thanks anyway”? Yeah, me neither. I’d be a sponge!

The internet is full of such gardening knowledge, but, let’s face it, we just don’t always have time to be a part-time researcher. I understand. I get up for work at 4:00am, and I don’t get back home until ~5:30pm. That’s almost a 14-hour day BEFORE I get to feed the dogs, start dinner, check on the garden (in warm weather), and blog. I’m so grateful for late nights (when it works out) and weekends!

Your day may look different than mine, but I’m guessing it’s still a long and busy one.

Consider this post an invitation for a virtual cup of tea and a plethora of gardening knowledge and tips delivered to your computer screen or front door.

These authors will share from their own gardening experience or their long hours of internet research.

Here are three books I highly recommend, all of which I own. Look through their table of contents, reader reviews, etc. (where provided), and pick and choose as you will. Or, simply bookmark this post and come back to it later. However, we know how that usually goes. Something we put off for later ends up more like never.

The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of

Natural Insect and Disease Control

The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control
(affiliate link)
Available in Kindle version and paperback.

If you want a well organized book to walk you through how to identify WHAT is causing your plant problems and HOW to NATURALLY remedy it, THIS is THE book to have.

[...Continue reading this post.]