As Halloween approaches, we want to share a few sweet Gardening treats with all of you. These simple hacks are some of the favorite ones we have heard of and will make gardening easier for you:
- Get sweeter tomatoes by adding baking soda to your soil. Find out how here.
- Here at the greenhouse, we use pieces of broken terra cotta pots or extra cocoa liner to help prevent soil from spoiling out the bottom of containers. At home, line your pots with coffee filters to prevent soil from pouring out the bottom of the pots. The absorbent liners also help with retaining moisture for less watering.
- Keep your plants watered when you’re out of town with a paper towel and a glass of water. Here's how
- Want an inexpensive wall planter? Try using a shower hanger with cocoa liner or felt, like this one.
- Use a shoe organizer for a vertical garden. These work great for herbs and flowers alike. Here's an example
- Hate getting dirt under your nails? Scratch a bar of soap before gardening to prevent dirt from getting under your nails. When you come in to wash your hands, your nails will be sparkly clean.
- Another self-watering trick: Use old wine bottles for self-watering containers. Here's how
- Make a watering can from leftover milk jugs by following these instructions
- Add vodka to your vase of fresh cut flowers to make them last longer. The reason why this works is explained here
- To prevent the line on your string trimmer from jamming or breaking, treat with a spray vegetable oil before installing it in the trimmer.
- The quickest way in the world to dry herbs: just lay a sheet of newspaper on the seat of your car, arrange the herbs in a single layer, then roll up the windows and close the doors. Your herbs will be quickly dried to perfection. What's more, your car will smell great.
- Make a quick tower garden with terra cotta pots of varying sizes. Check out how to make one of these here
- Another vertical planter with terra cotta pots can be made by following these instructions.
- Use car wax to grease garden tools that are getting a little sticky.
- Have slug issues? Place a shallow dish of beer out in the evening. The next morning it will be filled with slugs. Simply toss them out in the garbage from there.
As the leaves fall and the thermometer begins to drop, we not only need to prepare ourselves for the winter, but we need to prep our gardens as well. Here are a few quick tips for preparing your garden:
1. Annuals: Your summer annuals like your zinnias, sweet potato vine and marigolds, are going to have to be discarded. As soon as the nights begin to drop below 50 or 45 degrees, these plants will not survive the nights. Now is the time to plant cooler weather annuals like pansies, violas, alyssum, as well as ornamental peppers, kale, cabbage, and Swiss chard. These are the most common annuals that you will see during the fall because they will last you into the first freeze.
2. Perennials: Generally speaking, most perennials require very little care at this time. Once frost has hit, go ahead and clean up the garden a little bit, but it's more for aesthetics than the plants. Cut down the dead stems and foliage once they have turned brown and yellow from the cold. Though, some of the plants, like coneflowers, rudbeckia and goldenrod, have seed heads that can remain to feed the birds through the winter.
The perennials you need to prepare for the winter are any newly planted ones. Once the soil freezes in the late fall, go ahead and mulch their bases to protect the root system from the winter. Autumn is a great time to plant perennials that have been growing all summer in containers, just be sure to add the protective layer to them after the freeze.
Perennial or ornamental grasses should not be cut back in the fall. Leave the grasses standing as they will be great decorations during the fall and winter seasons. Once spring comes around, remove the browned foliage and seed heads.
3. Roses: Much like other perennials, leave roses alone this time of year. Remove all the leaves and foliage it has dropped from the area around the plant. Prune any spent flowers from the roses, unless it is a rugosa variety. Then mulch the bases once the ground freezes.
4. Shrubs & Vines: Most shrubs and vine, like clematis, are the same as the rest of the perennials. If they were newly planted, go ahead and mulch their base. Do not prune them at this time, but let them die back naturally.
5. Watering: Throughout the late fall, if there has not been sufficient rainfall, it is important to water your perennials and shrubs. It may seem pointless, but this will help them come back healthy and strong next spring. Do not fertilize, however, as they will be going dormant for the winter season, you don't want to stimulate them.
6. Lawncare: The fall is a key time to fertilize your lawn. Apply two or more applications of a fall fertilizer to your lawn, look for higher amounts of phosphorus and potash and lower amounts of nitrogen.
Putting in some work now to prepare your garden for the winter will result in a better start next spring.
Each spring we love assisting you all with making your plant selections and designing containers, and now we want to see what you've done! Goers is excited to be starting a new monthly series that gives our customers a chance to show off their gardens. Goers Greenhouse is looking to feature some of our best customers each month on our blog. We want to share your photos of your beautiful garden and containers and hear about your garden story.
This month we are happy to feature Paulette. She is an experienced gardener who is still perfecting her craft with each season.
How long have you been shopping at Goers?
Probably about +20 years.
What do you like most about the greenhouse?
I love the quality of the flowers as well as the variety of perennials offered. The staff is also extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The perennial section is designed in a natural way and makes me feel like I am walking through their garden.
What’s your favorite season for your garden?
My garden looks best in late spring or early summer and I have planted things that bloom at different times just to keep color going. I have also tried to vary the heights of plants too. My garden remains a work in progress.
What’s your favorite plant & why?
I struggle to name just one plant, as each has its beauty . I love astilbes because they appear delicate yet hold their own in wind and heat. They also last a long time and bring an interest to the landscape even past their bloom. Clematis are special and I try to have 2 variety per trellis. Their colors can be intense, while I find the flower shapes on different varieties fascinating.
What’s one word you would use to describe your garden?
What do you most enjoy about gardening?
I enjoy the ongoing excitement that a garden brings. Does the garden look as designed? Did each plant survive the winter? What are the rabbits eating this year? What new plants should I try and where should they go? It is a joy to walk the gardens every day and watch what is happening, what is blooming, etc. Gardening allows me to enjoy the smell of things, get dirty without feeling guilty, and mostly allows me to take the time to soak up some peace and serenity. It also has taught me patience, because despite what I may want, Mother Nature always wins.
Scientific Name: Hippeastrum_hybrids
Sun: Sun, Part Sun
Bloom Time: Spring or Winter
Bloom Color: Pink, Red, White, Lime, Multi-color
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Amaryllis are a beautiful flower that blooms from enormous bulbs that are best when grown indoors during the winter months. Amaryllis are often grown for Christmas time, and seeing as they need six to eight week to bloom, they will need to be started in October.
Amaryllis come in a variety of colors, from white to lime to red and salmon. Some blooms are double while other are single; some have ruffles and others are straight-edged. They range in height and how many blooms come out of the bulb. The general rule of thumb is the bigger the bulb, the bigger the flower, and often the more flowers that you will get.
Amaryllis grow off of large, thick stems, and most bulbs will have multiple stems and buds. Once they sprout, amaryllis are a great project for kids. They can measure and track the progress of the plant each day as it grows rapidly.
Once blooming, the flowers tend to stick around for up to six weeks. They last longer if they are in a cooler room versus a warm, sunny area. To plant your bulb, make sure you have a pot that is slightly larger than the bulb itself. You will want to keep the top half of the bulb exposed, out of the soil, while the rest of it is buried. Keep the soil evenly moist, and keep the bulb in a warmer area until it sprouts.
Scientific Name: Narcissus
Sun: Sun, Part Sun
Bloom Time: Winter or Spring
Bloom Color: White
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Paperwhites are another great bulb to grow indoors during the winter months. They are in the narcissus family, looking like small, all-white daffodils. They have a strong scent and are very easy to force grow, not even needing soil. The bulbs grow quickly, blooming about three weeks after they are planted.
Just like amaryllis, plant the bulbs with the tops of the bulbs above the soil. While you can plant multiple bulbs in a pot, it is important to plant them tightly together, filling the entire pot so that the bulbs support one another.
You can plant them in soil or grow them in water, using decorative stones or pebbles to hold them in place. If you choose to grow them in water, be sure the bulb itself is not touching the water, as it will rot. If it is sitting just above the water, the roots will grow down into the water, giving it all the moisture it needs.
Just like amaryllis, paperwhites will last longer if they are in a cooler area. If you need them to grow quickly, then you can place them in a warm, sunny area. These too also make great gifts or projects for kids, as they grow a noticeable amount each day.