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CONTAINER GARDENING TIP OF THE DAY

Now here is something I have just learnt – so hopefully this it is not just a reminder for you too!

You can share your club soda with your containers. Because of the bubbles? Not sure that this would be an immediate follow-up question but some may ask it. No, it’s not because of the bubbles, it’s because club soda contains minerals that plants love. These include phosphorous, potassium, sulphur and sodium; and they all help plants to grow bigger and greener and deter pests because the plants are healthy.

I shall certainly be adding more club soda to my shopping list in future.


Lestie Mulholland
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HELLO EVERYBODY ...

Well you must all think someone has gone a 'bit bonkers' as we used to say at school. Who me? No, it's not I!

This morning when putting up the TIP OF THE DAY, the program seemed not to accept it, so I did it again and again, and when it still didn't show, with the logic of a very non-technical person (!), I started a new thread.

Well then I went out of the program and when I came back in, lo and behold - there they ALL were!

That's my story and I am sticking to it!

I say we carry on as before but we use the continues thread to keep going. No loss to anyone and hopefully a lot of gains! Thank you.


Lestie Mulholland
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CONTAINER GARDENING TIP OF THE DAY (this one is for Saturday ... where do these days fly off to!?)

There are several ways to enhance your container soil, give it a new lease on life as it were, without having to replace it completely. Of course everything relies on the soil, so it would be wise to replace it at least every season (?) or when re-potting or up-sizing (?) or rearranging plants in established pots (?) The question marks? Depends on your garden and your circumstances…

Anyway, two things you can do easily to enhance your soil are: mix some cinnamon powder into the soil (especially for seedlings) but as a general action too. There are anti-fungal properties here that can kick in just when they need to.

The second is to crush eggshells very finely (I blend mine) and add this egg powder into the soil for a great calcium boost. Depends on the size of your pots, but around a tablespoon per pot will do every three months or so. Any plant will like it and only plants that need it will take it up, it would be harmless otherwise. You don’t have to do this, don’t feel driven by yet another chore for the container garden, just do it on an if-and-when basis.

P S Be careful if you are going to blend the dry eggshells, you will want to let the mixture settle down and even then be careful not to breathe it in (easy to do if you open the blender ‘carelessly’).


Lestie Mulholland
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CONTAINER GARDENING TIP OF THE DAY

Speaking about soil, you can add unused cat litter to your soil mix that you use for succulents and cacti. A third litter to two thirds soil is okay. Succulents (and similar) prefer fast-draining soil and this is a very good substitute/addition for lightening up the soil, enhancing drainage properties and it will help you with your watering regimen for these delightful water-storing plants. You could also add/mix in fine bark mulch - it also works well.

Never use soiled litter (this is the one time you do not recycle!) and note that it is best to use a litter that is not fragranced and which is clay-based. The pet store will help.


Lestie Mulholland
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CONTAINER GARDENING TIP OF THE DAY

You have some edible flowers in your containers not so? I hope so, they’re so much fun to use, easy to grow and add colour and pizzazz to your life!

You should pick the flowers you want to use early in the morning so that their water content is at its highest and you can keep them fresh in a glass of water (in or outside the fridge). Put them in water, don’t expect them to last just lying on a plate.

Wash the flowers before eating (use only organically grown ones of course … no insecticides or chemical sprays etc.) and I do this by gently spritzing water over them in a large sieve or colander. Drain and dry the petals on an absorbent paper towel. Don’t put them in the sun to dry (!) because they will just wilt and go floppy. A floppy salad? No thanks. Smile now.

Pansies and Violas can be eaten whole but, as with other plants, it is better to remove the stamens and pistils. Only do this just before you add them to your dish or they will wilt too.

Nasturtium bedecked salad – oh so pretty!


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CONTAINER GARDEN TIP OF THE DAY

Have you thought about propagating your own plants for your containers? Many people don’t because, well, it’s a container garden right? and all you need to do is go and buy what you like? Yes. I guess that’s fine (and I love buying new things for my pots) but once you get into gardening, you may like to spend some more time and propagate your own. Succulents and cacti are very easy to propagate, as are many other plants that remain strict favourites and which will root readily in water. It is really a satisfying and easy way of sharing plants too.

If you would like specific instructions on how to do this for a plant that is dear to you, let me know and I’ll see how I can help.

Remember this nursery rhyme …

Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat; Please put a penny in the old man’s hat; If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do and if you haven’t got a ha’penny then God Bess You.

From your container garden and heart to another container garden a prettily packaged propagated plant could be a nice gift idea in this season of giving.

Last edited by Lestie4containergardens; 12/09/20 03:15 AM.

Lestie Mulholland
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CONTAINER GARDENING TIP OF THE DAY

Have you thought about propagating your own plants for your containers? Many people don’t because, well, it’s a container garden right? and all you need to do is go and buy what you like? Yes. I guess that’s fine, but once you get into gardening, you may like to spend some more time doing stuff besides watering (!) and propagate your own. Succulents and cacti are very easy to propagate, as are many other plants that will root in water. Besides, it doesn't matter what time of the year it is or why, something propagated and presented to a friend is such a nice thing to share.

If you would like specific instructions on how to do this for a favourite plant, let me know and I’ll see how I can help. Remember …

Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat; Please put a penny in the old man’s hat; If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do and if you haven’t got a ha’penny then God Bess You.

From your garden to another garden ...

P S It's a proven fact, days are deaf. Yep. They are deaf, they do not listen to me and they are undisciplined and disappear just when a person doesn't want them to. Ah well, this tip was supposed to be for yesterday, so today's will follow. Help!


Lestie Mulholland
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CONTAINER GARDENING TIP OF THE DAY

Did you know that plants enjoy the energy that some music produces, and that music can help plants grow? Apparently the sound of music and its vibrations emulate similar sounds in nature that make plants respond positively.

Apparently too, a Australian university study established that they do not like being exposed to music more that one to three hours a day (?) and that classical music and melodious jazz seem to stimulate the plants best … makes sense that a gentle violet or and stately rose would be unlikely to respond well to heavy metal don’t you think?

Anyway, what happens is that some sounds can make the stomata of plants stay open longer. Stomata are the tiny pores that act like lungs on plants, and if these stay open longer, then the leaves take in more air and so grow faster and bloom more.

I have been playing music to my plants for years and I am convinced they love it! I don’t know why or for how long or for whatever reason, but I play them music and I talk to them. I tell them how pretty they are. Or I can tell them off if they are not performing well. Or I can apologise when I forget to water them. Or I just chatter.

Ah. What’s not to like about containers!


Lestie Mulholland
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CONTAINER GARDENING TIP OF THE DAY

Well now. I wonder if this constitutes a real container gardening tip ... one around Tillandsia or Air Plants? Let's vote. Okay the yesses win!

I saw this in a magazine some time ago. On a shielded balcony, this person had hung, at differing heights/lengths, a variety of these air plants which now and then moved a little in the breeze. It looked charming and balanced the space, drawing the eyes upwards and then back down to the magnificent display of daisies below. I think there are as many ideas on how to display these plants as there are gardeners times ten. Except of course trying to grow them in soil. They don't do this.

Tillandsia are clever. They have adapted their root systems to allow them to anchor themselves onto other plants (trees, branches, logs) and other rough surfaces and they are epiphytes – meaning they absorb their nutrients through their leaves instead of through their roots. It is through the trichomes – those fuzzy white hair-like things - on their leaves that they take in nutrients from the air and water around them. Their flowers come in bright vibrant combinations of red, yellow, purple and pink but they look good even when they are not in bloom, besides, there are so many types we are spoilt for choice.

Looking after them seems easy enough - so maybe this could be an addition to your container gardening space you've not considered. Let me know if you want to find out more about these fascinating plants.


Lestie Mulholland
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CONTAINER GARDENING TIP OF THE DAY

The soil in containers and pots can get compacted over time, and when this happens, it’s best to aerate the soil, loosen it up a bit so that all the elements of growing can perform optimally.

You water the roots which support the plant growth but they need air to do so as well. So, as you like Chinese now and then, I guess you may have a chop stick or two lurking somewhere. Perfect. If you don’t have said chopstick lurking anywhere then use a pencil instead, but regardless of what you use, be careful not to damage the roots of your plant.

Gently poke the chopstick or pencil into the soil and inch by inch (or so) apart and about 1-3 inches deep (difficult to say) and work your way around the pot starting at the outside and going in to the centre as best you can. You will know it’s time to aerate when the water sits on top of the soil for too long before draining through … a sure sign that the soil is compacted.


Lestie Mulholland
Container Gardening Editor

Contain your Delight - it's easy!
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