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Gardener's Corner

Join us for tips, helps, questions and answers about the gardening world. Monitored by a Certified Master Gardener but wisdom is shared by ALL.

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Gardener's Corner

GREETINGS MEMBERS, GUESTS AND VISITORS.
Chief Walks In Shadows is a Florida State Master Gardener.
He will post information that he feels will benefit everyone as a whole. But basically this will be a question and answer group.
IF A GROUP MEMBER KNOWS THE ANSWER TO ANY QUESTION PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ANSWER.
Chief Walks will answer all questions asked to him directly. He has over 40 years of experience. And a sizable personal research library.

We are here to meet ALL of your gardening questions and/or related subjects.

 

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The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 separate zones; each zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. If you see a hardiness zone in a catalog or plant description, chances are it refers to the USDA map. To find your USDA Hardiness Zone or use the map below. 

 

 

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Comment by Chief Walks on December 1, 2019 at 2:09pm

Disease-Resistant Plants – What Are Certified Disease-Free Plants

“Certified disease-free plants.” We’ve heard the expression many times, but exactly what are certified disease-free plants, and what does it mean for the home gardener or backyard orchardist?

If you’re wondering how to keep plants disease-free, starting out with disease-resistant plants is even more important than you may realize. Read on to learn more about buying disease-free plants.

What Does Certified Disease Free Mean?
Most countries have certification programs in place, and regulations vary. In general, to earn the label of certified disease-free, plants must be propagated following a strict set of procedures and inspections that minimize the risk of infection and spread of disease.

To be certified, plants must meet or exceed a certain level of quality and safety. Generally, inspections are completed at independent, certified labs.

Disease resistant doesn’t mean that plants are protected from every possible disease that could befall them, or that the plants are guaranteed to be 100 percent free of disease pathogens. However, disease-resistant plants are generally resistant to one or two diseases that most commonly afflict a particular type of plant.

Disease resistant also doesn’t mean you don’t need to practice proper crop rotation, sanitation, spacing, irrigation, fertilization and other methods to promote the healthiest plants possible.

Importance of Buying Disease-Resistant Plants
Once a plant disease is established, it may be difficult or impossible to eliminate, even with powerful, toxic chemicals. Purchasing disease-resistant plants can stop the disease before it starts, which saves time and money and increases the size and quality of your harvest.

Buying disease-free plants will probably cost you a bit more, but the small investment may save you untold time, expense, and heartache in the long run.

Your local cooperative extension office can provide more information about disease-resistant plants and how to avoid plant diseases common to your particular area.

Comment by Chief Walks on November 17, 2019 at 7:54am

DIY Insect Hotel: How To Make A Bug Hotel For Your Garden

Building a bug hotel for the garden is a fun project to do with the kids or for adults who are kids at heart. Building homemade bug hotels provide a welcome refuge to beneficial insects, which we could not have fruits and vegetables without.

I retired several years ago into a retirement community from off the farm. Even in this urban setting I still have four hotels in my yard.

Why Build a DIY Insect Hotel?
All insects don’t fly south when winter approaches, some board down the hatches and go into diapause, a suspended state of development kind of like hibernation. Homemade hotels for insects fill a role that many people think doesn’t need to be filled. After all, don’t insects find shelter and a place to raise the next generation on their own anyway?

It turns out that many gardeners are too tidy. Many of us remove all waste from our landscapes, and in the process wind up removing insect homesteads. Bee homes have become all the rage, and while bees are champion pollinators, other insects are beneficial to the garden too. Of course, ladybugs serve a valuable service by eating aphids, but parasitic wasps, lacewings, hoverflies, and even spiders all do their part to keep predator insects at bay. They all deserve a safe insect hotel to hide out in.

Building your hotel is part of garden art and part winter habitat for these beneficial insects.

When building a bug hotel, you may choose to focus on one species of insect or create hotels for multiple species of insect guests. Creating your bug hotel can be as simple or elaborate as you want. Providing a variety of plant materials will encourage a variety of insect friends.

It’s important to know how different insects overwinter; for instance, solitary bees (those that don’t sting or build a colony) prefer to nest in hollow stems over the winter while ladybugs overwinter in groups amongst dry plant material. Hoverflies overwinter as pupae in leaf debris, straw, or pinecones and lacewings in rolled-up corrugated paper.

How to Make a Bug Hotel
DIY insect hotels can be made out of recycled material such as bricks, drain tiles, pallets, and even stacks of old logs. Imitate nature to the best of your ability by adding leaves, straw, mulch, pinecones, and sticks to create “rooms.” Place your homemade bug hotels in a shady area that receives morning sun with afternoon shade, facing south or east.

Solitary bees need a hotel with hollow holes. Their hotel can be made out of bamboo sticks or hollow stemming plants set in drainage tiles, cans, or hollow logs to keep them dry or drill holes in a block of wood. Drilled holes should be at least six inches (15 cm.) deep and smooth to protect their delicate wings.

Bumblebees die out during the winter with the exception of the new queen. A simple bug hotel you can make suitable for the new royal is an upturned flowerpot filled with straw or garden debris. Building something to entice the ladybugs is as simple as packing some twigs and dry plant material together. This will provide them with shelter and food during the long cold winter.

Parasitic wasps are extremely beneficial in the garden and help to control pests. As with solitary bees, a piece of wood with holes drilled into it makes an excellent parasitic wasp bug hotel for the garden.

Comment by Chief Walks on October 31, 2019 at 8:25am

If you have ever longed to grow your own fruit, growing grapes is an excellent place to start. Grapes have been cultivated for thousands of years by home gardeners around the world, and you can do it too. They’re easy to grow, and they don’t require you to be an expert gardener or own a vineyard to produce sweet juicy clusters. They are excellent for fresh eating, jams, juicing, and winemaking.

Advantages of Growing Grapes

Grapes offer unique advantages over other fruit because they start bearing fruit in just 2 to 3 years, they don’t require a lot of space, they taste so good, plus they add ornamental beauty to your landscape with their splendid fall color. Homegrown grapes have exquisite flavors, that will rival any grape found at your grocer. They are low maintenance, needing little attention, other than an annual pruning, which increases fruit yields and size. They are highly nutritious, packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals supporting eye, cardiovascular and cognitive health. Also, if you sell produce at farmers’ markets, you can add some additional cash to your back pocket, grapes bring top dollar, besides when you prune your vines, consider saving the trimmings to sell at flea markets, they are very popular for making decorative crafts.

Growing Grapes

There are two basic types of grapes, seeded and seedless, you might ask why would I want to grow seeded grapes? Well, the answer is seeded grapes will outperform seedless, with greater resistance to adverse weather conditions of heat, drought, and cold, ensuring reliable yields when growing conditions are less than ideal. Fresh Eating grapes without seeds is, of course, an advantage, you may want to consider planting some of each to enjoy the benefits that each has to offer.

Table or Wine Grapes

Grapes are further broken down into categories of table grapes and wine grapes. Table grapes are best for eating fresh, and usually much sweeter than wine grapes, which are designated mainly for winemaking. However, you can grow a table grape for winemaking or a wine grape for fresh eating, depending on you your taste preference. Also, cultivars are classified in terms of when they are ready for harvest, early, mid and late season. For example, in the upper Midwest, early-season grapes like Brianna will ripen the first part of August, Concord mid-season 3-4 weeks later, and golden Muscat a late-season grape will ripen even later. Growing grapes that ripen at different parts of the season is a great way to strategically lengthen your harvest time and enjoy fresh eating for several months.

Start Growing Grapes

Growing grapes is a rewarding experience, it is hard to compare the delight of picking your homegrown sweet juicy clusters to anything else. It just gives you that garden wellbeing feeling, you know what I am talking about, it’s growing it yourself, sustainability, less dependence on society, great tasting quality food, it’s that little piece of heaven that comes with living on a homestead!

Comment by PITA SIKSIKA WARRIOR on October 24, 2019 at 3:58am

thank you

Comment by Chief Walks on October 23, 2019 at 6:43am

My backyard grown sugar pie pumpkins are finally ripening and a few of the pumpkins ended up being somewhat small and weren't worth the effort to process into pumpkin puree. So, what to do with these little guys? I wanted to do something new and, not having grilled pumpkins before, I was quite excited to give it a try.

During grilling, the sugars in the pumpkin caramelize. The combination of sweet and salty, coupled with crisp rosemary, will give you a different way of thinking about pumpkin. After trying this, you just might find yourself dreaming of expanding your pumpkin patch next year.

Make sure you use sugar pie pumpkins or the equivalent for this recipe, you really don't want to eat a jack-o-lantern type pumpkin as they are stringy. If you aren't growing your sugar pie pumpkins you should be seeing them available in stores and farmers markets this month or, better yet, make a fun trip out of it and head out to a U-pick pumpkin farm. Don't forget to pick up a few extra for making your pumpkin puree for pies and breads later in the year.

Ingredients:
Sugarpie pumpkins (preferably on the small side)
Olive oil
Fresh rosemary, chopped
Sea salt

1. Heat grill to medium-high.

2. Wash and cut the pumpkins vertically into 3/4 inch slices. Remove the seeds and stringy parts. Brush both sides of each slice liberally with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary.

3. Place the slices on the grill for about 5 minutes a side or until dark grill marks appear. Turn and grill the other side until you can easily pierce the pumpkin slice with a fork. You want to make sure that the pumpkin is tender.

4. Since some of the salt tends to fall off during the grilling process, serve with a small dish of additional sea salt.

Comment by Chief Walks on October 20, 2019 at 9:52am

Baby’s Breath Varieties: Learn About Different Types Of Gypsophila Plants

Clouds of billowy baby’s breath flowers (Gypsophila paniculata) provide an airy look to floral arrangements. These profuse summer bloomers can be just as pretty in a border or rock garden. Many gardeners use cultivars of this plant as a backdrop, where the floods of delicate blooms show off brightly colored, lower growing plants.

So what other types of baby’s breath flowers are there? Read on to learn more.

About Gypsophila Plants
Baby’s breath is one of several types of Gypsophila, a genus of plants in the carnation family. Within the genus are several baby’s breath cultivars, all with long, straight stems and masses of dainty, long-lasting blooms.

Baby’s breath varieties are easy to plant by seed directly in the garden. Once established, baby’s breath flowers are easy to grow, fairly drought-tolerant, and require no special care.

Plant baby’s breath cultivars in well-drained soil and full sunlight. Regular deadheading isn’t absolutely required, but removing spent blooms will prolong the blooming period.

Popular Baby’s Breath Cultivars
Here are a few of the most popular varieties of baby’s breath:
Bristol Fairy: The Bristol Fairy grows 48 inches (1.2 m.) with white flowers. The tiny flowers are ¼ inch in diameter.
Perfekta: This white flowering plant grows up to 36 inches (1 m.). Perfekta blooms are slightly larger, measuring about ½ inch in diameter.
Festival Star: Festival Star grows 12 to 18 inches (30-46 cm.) and blooms are white. This hardy variety is suitable for growing in USDA zones 3 through 9.
Compacta Plena: Compacta Plena is bright white, growing 18 to 24 inches (46-61 cm.). Baby’s breath flowers may be edged in pale pink with this variety.
Pink Fairy: A dwarf cultivar that blooms later than many other varieties of this flower, Pink Fairy is pale pink and only grows 18 inches (46 cm.) high.
Viette’s Dwarf: Viette’s Dwarf has pink flowers and stands 12 to 15 inches (30-38 cm.) tall. This compact baby’s breath plant blooms throughout spring and summer.

Comment by Chief Walks on September 29, 2019 at 11:58am

Why Are Barns Painted Red?
Ever wonder why are barns painted red in color? Red is (or, perhaps, was) a popular color for older barns due not to its color shade but for its usefulness.
Many years ago, choices for paints, sealers, and other building materials did not exist. Farmers had to be resourceful in finding or making a paint that would protect and seal the wood on their barns.
Hundreds of years ago, many farmers would seal their barns with linseed oil, which is an orange-colored oil derived from the seeds of the flax plant. To this oil, they would add a variety of things, most often milk and lime, but also ferrous oxide, or rust. Rust was plentiful on farms and because it killed fungi and mosses that might grow on barns, and it was very effective as a sealant. It turned the mixture red in color.
When paint became more available, many people chose red paint for their barns in honor of tradition.

Comment by Chief Walks on September 22, 2019 at 6:20pm

Comment by Chris Durbin on September 7, 2019 at 5:12am

Winesap
My favorite!

Comment by Chief Walks on September 6, 2019 at 3:14pm

 
 
 

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