Let's just imagine
you lived somewhere else, now I don't mean another city
or state, I mean another planet. And imagine what we lived
on a planet where there were no trees or shrubs or flowers.
Nothing that relied on the sun for energy. Now imagine that
you sent a rocket ship to that planet, the third one from
the sun and brought back this living organism that was able
to change sunlight into a food source. Why it would absolutely
amaze everyone. It would be the most incredible find, the
most fascinating new living creature ever. And we take it
for granted everyday because it happens trillions and trillions
and trillions of times every second, whenever photosynthesis
is the process that literally changes our waste products,
carbon dioxide, and water in the presence of sunlight into
food. Specifically, photosynthesis takes 6 Carbon dioxide
molecules and 12 water molecules and breaks them apart and
turns them into 1 molecule of sugar and 6 molecules of oxygen
and 6 molecules of water. Now this happens wherever there
is chlorophyll. Typically in the leaves but in young plants
it can happen in stems as well. And, as important as photosynthesis
is, did you know that scientists still cannot duplicate
it in the lab. We know what goes in and what comes out,
but not exactly how the whole thing occurs at the cellular
Photosynthesis drives the world as we know it! And photosynthesis
is determined by how much or how little light is available
to the plant. Outdoors, light levels are rarely the limiting
factor to plant growth but indoors, the lack of light can
be a serious concern.
You see every plant has an optimum amount of light that
it can use. And a number of our houseplants are plants that
grow in full sun but have the ability to adapt to much lower
light levels. This Ficus benjamina or Weeping fig is a good
example of a tree that grows 50-60 feet tall in many tropical
parts of the world and thrives in full sun.
A mistake we often make with our houseplants, is if a plant
is not growing or propering in an indoor situation, it must
be hungry for fertilizer. That's perfectly incorrect. The
notion that plant food is a source of energy is really a
problem for our indoor plants (Label of fertilizer) Fertilizer
does not supply energy to the plant, that comes from light.
Light is what limits our houseplants from growing, not fertilizer
or water. In fact, I read where the average life expectancy
for a typical indoor plant was 6 months. The reason most
houseplants die is that they receive much too little light
and therefore, too much water or fertilizer. Indoor lighting
like these fluorescent lights help a bit but let me show
you the difference between light levels indoors and outdoors.
I think it will really amaze you. This is a light meter
( a great tool if you are serious about indoor gardening)
In a typical indoor room we have about 50 footcandles of
light. A footcandle is one way in which we measure quantity
of light. One footcandle equals the amount of light one
candle gives off, one foot away. Now go outside, even in
the shade and we see we have 5000 footcandles of light.
The difference is staggering! Imagine if you were living
off of 5000 calories of food everyday and then had to start
trying to exist on 50. That's why indoor plants do not do
so well. So stop watering your indoor plants. Stop fertilizing
them unless you are seeing a great deal of growth. They
are fed enormous amount of fertilizer at the nursery and
just don't need it in an indoor environment for several
years if then. Try to give your plant more light, move it
closer to the window, take it outdoors, put it somewhere
the lights are on more often. You'll have much more success
with your indoor plants if you remember that energy comes
from light not fertilizer.
Gardeners Dictionary -
Annuals, Perennials and Biennials
Annuals grow from seeds planted every year.
Perennials grow each year from roots in the ground.
Biennials require two seasons to flower or fruit.
you ever wondered how ferns get started. Well it's not from
seed. Take a look under a mature fern leaf and you'll see
hundreds of tiny reddish brown bumps. Often they are mistaken
for bugs. Believe me there has been more than one fern taken
back to the store because of these little dots. In reality,
they are SORI and they contain thousands of fern spores.
me show you a way to propagate your own ferns from spores.
First, you'll need a mature fern frond (not a leaf but a
frond) and you can use any type of fern you choose.
you'll also need a brick and a saucer without holes in it.
Place the brick in the saucer and pour boiling hot water
over it. This sterilizes the brick and kills any existing
bacteria or fungus on the brick. Now you want to keep about
an inch of water in the bottom of the saucer so that the
water can be wicked up by the brick and it will keep it
slightly moist, creating a perfect environment for the germinating
the fern frond and on a piece of white paper, gently tap
the frond. If the sori are mature a yellow or brown colored
dust will land on the paper. These are the fern spores and
you can now take them and gently dust the brick. Best to
do this indoors or where there is no wind.
2-6 weeks you will see a velvet green covering the brick.
It looks a bit like algae but if you look close you will
see hundreds of very tiny heart-shaped leaves on very short
stems. These are NOT baby ferns but prothalli, which are
the predecessors of ferns. The prothalli will fertilize
one another and then growing on the brick will emerge baby
ferns and you can gently tease them off the brick into a
container and grow them out until they are ready to put
in the garden.
me emphasize that you use good potting soil. How do you
know if you've got good potting soil. Well don't be deceived
by color. That black dark earth you can buy from the garden
center may look great but looks ain't everything. Soil texture
is as important esp. if you are growing in a container.
This good looking soil which is very inexpensive is much
too fine textured. It is full of sand and very small organic
particles and as a result, will drain very poorly.
Dahlias are a favorite summertime plant. We plant them in
from a Tuber. They are easy to propagate and it is easier
to do after
they have been planted. Make cuttings approximately 3"-4"
the bottom leaves, put into a rooting box filled with Perlite,
put outside in a shady place for about 3 weeks. At that
cutting should have roots and the new plant should be ready
to plant in
you are looking for a large background or screening type
plant esp. in the summer months, take a look at Vitex agnus-castus.
Common name is Chaste tree. Handsome divided foliage, slightly
aromatic fan shaped leaves 5-7 grayish green above, gray
beneath. Dr. Rick introduces us to Vitex. It is a large
screening plant with coarse texture foliage. It has beautiful
blue blooms, is somewhat fragrant and drought tolerant.
summers ago, I was weed-eating a strip of grass and was
attacked by a swarm of yellow jacket As far as I could tell,
I wasn't doing anything that would provoke an attack. I
suppose that if a weedeater bigger than your house started
buzzing around your front door, you'd become a little agitated
as well. Let me tell you, they sting painfully and believe
it or not, unlike bees, they can sting repeatedly. About
the only good thing one can say about yellow jackets is
that they are predators of cabbageworms and some other smaller
caterpillars . I suppose they help pollinate crops somewhat
but otherwise their sting is something that you'll never
Yellow Jackets are the most famous wasp we have here in
the south. Their Scientific name is Vespula maculifrons
. They're about 5/8" long and have long yellow and black
stripes. They're pesky because they are particularly fond
of sweets and meat. You'll often find them hanging around
picnic tables and garbage cans If you're bothered by them
at an outdoor event because they are attracted to sugar,
try sugar-free soft drinks as a way to keep them from pursuing
the soda in your can.
jackets are ground dwellers building a nest under rocks
or in dry ground. The entrance is about 1" across and you
can see them coming in and out of the entrance all day long.
If you suspect you have them in your yard, don't walk around
barefoot, don't empty the trash in the middle of the day
They're not active at night, in fact that's the best time
to get them just sneak up on the mound and use a jet-spray
wasp control product according to directions.
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