Saturday, February 15, 2020

Garden Guidance - Tips and Tricks - Aquarium Upcycle

Aquarium upcycling makes sense and can be fun to do. I wish I'd thought of these ideas years ago, but I should have held on to my ten-gallon aquarium that I got when I was ten. I wonder what ever happened to that fish tank, probably the same thing that happened to my favorite puppetrina doll ... vanished and no one in my family knows anything - yeah, right.   

You'll need an aquarium no longer in use for live fish, wine corks or other odds and ends. If you happen to see one at an estate sale for a buck two ninety-eight, consider taking it home - the possibilities are endless. 

The closest glass planting I have is a large gold-fish looking terrarium glass bowl (right). 

The photos below are from Pinterest since I don't have an aquarium on hand, but I'm keeping an eye out for one.  

Seed Aquarium - use the glass aquarium as a miniature green house for seed starting, just be watchful when the seedlings emerge and move them to a table with additional light and some air movement to avoid damping off

Show off your Cactus -

 Show off your Houseplants -

Show off your Herbs - there are a couple of ways to grow edibles in a fish tank. Either plant or seed edibles directly into a thick layer of sterile potting soil or try an aquaponics system like the photo and YouTube demonstration below. I have not tried this, so no endorsement here, just passing along.  

YouTube Set-up
Show off your Fairy Garden - 

Planting an Aquarium/Terrarium Resources - 

National Gardening Association - What to do with an Old Aquarium? Make a Terrarium!


How to Make a Plant Terrarium 


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Fresh Flower Care - Did Someone say be my Valentine?

Whether receiving a valentine card or a box of confectioner's delights, keeping a fresh bouquet of roses or flowers for several days of enjoyment is a piece of cake! 😍  

Fill a clean vase half way with lukewarm water that has sat out for several hours. Mix in half or the entire preservative bag that comes with the flowers. Or, make your own preservative by mixing a quart of water with two tablespoons of lime or lemon juice, one tablespoon of sugar and one half tablespoon of bleach. Cut flowers last twice as long when using a preservative versus just plain water. Both preservatives prevent bacteria growth which shortens your enjoyment.

Another important step is to remove all the leaves and foliage that will be under the water. This looks pretty and helps keep the water clear. 

Also cut the stems under running water while taking an inch off the bottom of the stems. Use a knife instead of scissors (prevents crushing the stems) and cut them at a 45-degree angle which allows better water update.Location is key to flower longevity. Place the arrangement in a cool spot away from direct sun, cold, hot drafts, direct heat and light from appliances.  

Closed buds on roses will open more quickly in a warm room but put them back in a cool spot once they open for longer enjoyment.  

Add more lukewarm water every day and every fourth day change the water along with adding another preservative packet (or half) or the homemade solution.  

Hopefully your special gifting valentine transported the flowers home in a protective insulated bag, box or beverage cooler (take the cooler in the store to warm up). Any exposure to cold temperatures will cause the bouquet to brown and become joyless in a day or two. 😢 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Seeding and Planting - Cool Season Vegetables

Have you planned your 2020 spring garden? It's time. Next, order your seeds, or use ones from your cache that aren't too old. Check for seed viability or buy more seeds or both. For me, seed buying is more fun than shoe shopping and I like shoes. 

One easy tip is to sort your seeds by month in order to start indoors or to seed outside. Try using a box with dividers.  

Below is one of my seeding and planting chart windows - cool season vegetables. Depending on the crop, some seeds don't need to be started indoors for later transplanting. Just seed them directly in the soil when soil conditions and temperatures are right. Other vegetables need several weeks of indoor growth before going in the ground.

Below are links for more in depth blogs on seed starting -

Eight Mondays Until Spring

Cool Season Vegetable and Herb Seeding

Seeding Indoors and Outdoors - What and When

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Garden Guidance - Tips and Tricks - Seed Starting Markers

This tip is just too good not to share and will become my new system going forward. I read this in the "Reader Tips" from the recent issue of Garden Gate, one of my favorite magazines. The gardener from New York state suggests a fail proof system to keep track of the name of seedlings started in each container - using different colored toothpicks! 

Simply pin the toothpick color to the seed packet and then place the same colored toothpick in the container where the seedling will emerge. When potting up to the next size container, just be sure to move the toothpick to that larger container. 

Remember, the seed packet is the go-to resource with all the information you need for your new plants, now it will always be within reach. No more of the old - "what seeding is that coming up!" Not that that's ever happened to me ... NOT!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Garden Guidance - Tips and Tricks - Watering the Birds

The first month of the new year is behind us, can you tell the days are getting ever so slightly longer? It won't be long before we start hearing and saying - "spring won't be long."  

Instead of my usual do this or don't do that Punch List or mention of basil, garlic, the weather or our dog Ferris, I thought it might be interesting and hopefully helpful to share garden tips that I've read about over the years. My sources are many - from garden magazines, books, the internet, friends, neighbors and family. I'll start sharing these with you, although I may still scribble a blog here and there about gardening or timely must dos and planting/seeding charts.  

No rules here on these tips and tricks friend - it's take or leave it, or modify to make it better and work for your situation. If you have a tip to share, just leave the informaton in the comment box below and perhaps I'll share it with others. Be sure to let me know if you want your name used. I have to okay the comments beforehand, you wouldn't believe how much spam tries to come through my blog.

Winter Water for Birds - my own tip:

Fresh water is scarce for our feathered bird friends in the winter and I like to help keep them hydrated. My neighbors have several bird feeders while I leave all the perennial and herb foliage seeds for winter snacking, all good. 

There are a few ways other than my method to provide fresh water. Heated, outdoor water heaters and heated trays are commonly used. These are available for purchase or DIY.  I have a box with heated tray, made by my dad many years ago. Rather than using, I prefer to display it in my garden room to remind me of him.

This is truly a no-brainer tip. Obviously, water in any outdoor bird bath is going to go through freeze and thaw cycles, most likely leading to cracking damage. My method allows for daily fresh water on top of the bird bath.  

Plastic trays are inexpensive and most are recyclable, so if they crack, can easily be replaced.

I simply place three boards over the concrete bird bath to elevate the plastic tray a bit. You probably have plenty of these trays that are used under containers. You'll need two trays. I fill one with fresh water each morning. Usually the birds let me know they are thirsty when they are flying around the area and making some noise. Of course it's usually right in the middle of my morning oatmeal and coffee. I love being needed!

Because I don't usually empty the water each night before it freezes, I take the frozen tray and replace it with the other plastic tray and fill that one with water.

I let the frozen tray thaw a bit near a patio, then turn it over near a brick wall and let it thaw on the grass which adds a bit of moisture to the area. Sometimes the water doesn't freeze all the way so I'll toss the water on the nearby raised beds. Do whatever you wish with the round frozen ice cube, I just like the ease of exchanging the frozen tray each day. If you cover your bird bath each winter to prevent moisture from getting in, you can still use a tray to water the birds!

Winter Cover for your Bird Bath can still be used to give Birds needed Water!