Category Archives: Environment

Chrysanthemums – Add Fall Color To Your Home And Garden

Chrysanthemums, or “mums,” are popular perennials. They offer a wide variety of flower colors, from white and cream to dark maroon and burgundy, as well as numerous growth habits from small dwarf plants to giant shrub-like Maxi-Mums. Mums are easy to grow and can provide years of enjoyment.

Garden chrysanthemums grow in a wide variety of soils but must have excellent drainage conditions. Growth is poor and winterkill likely in poorly drained wet soils.
Before planting incorporate 2 – 4″ of peat moss, compost, or well-rotted barnyard manure into the soil. If you use only peat moss or do not add organic matter, apply a complete fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 5-10-5 in the spring. Side-dressing plants with a complete fertilizer in early August, especially in years of abundant rainfall or irrigation. Space plants 12 – 24″ apart, depending on the mature size of the cultivar.

Mums vary widely in cold hardiness. Cultivars listed in the table below have been developed based on years of plant breeding at the University of Minnesota. These plants have been selected for superior flower characteristics, growth habit, and winter hardiness. Most will survive winters in Minnesota.

Plant Division Plants can be dug and divided in spring as new growth begins. Stronger shoots are usually on the outside of the clump. Set the growing tip of each division just below ground level. For an attractive display of color, plant at least three shoots in a triangular pattern.

Florist Mums Are attractive blooming potted plants are available through-out the year from florists. After flowers fade, plants can be cut back to 3 or 4 inches and planted in the garden. Florist mums may overwinter, but usually flower too late for USDA Zones 2, 3 and 4.
mum1
mum2
mum3

Advertisements

Plant A Fall Garden – It’s Not To Late

It’s the first week of August but it’s not to late to plant many Fall and early Winter crops.

Fast growing cool weather crops like lettuce, turnip for fresh greens, radish’s, kale and such still have time to produce before the first hard killing freeze in most areas of North America.

As for my tiny garden in SW Oklahoma hot dry drought conditions is the main limiting factor of what can be planted and expected to produce a Fall crop.

As of this morning my soil available moisture at the 4 inch depth is about 9 percent. This is not a good thing!

Plant Available Water values are 24-hour averages, updated each day after midnight.
Most plants experience water stress when less than 50% of the maximum plant available water remains in the active root zone.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

If you see or read something you like Please Share By Re-blogging, Twitter or Email To A Friend.

Why is common sense so uncommon?

Hummingbird Summer

Summers dry rainless days and nights with it’s full sunshine and heat has arrived.

Springs cooler weather flowering plants are gone.
Few plants in my tiny part of SW Oklahoma flower in the heat and dry of summer. It will be late August before the cooler season fall blooming flowers suddenly pop in to full bloom. Till then my hummingbird feeders will supplement the hummingbirds food needs.

I only have 2 feeders. Each holds about 8 ounces (1 1/2 cup) of sugar water. At present I have enough hummingbirds visiting my feeders to consume 16 ounces (3 cups) of sugar water every 24 hours. Making fresh sugar water and refilling feeders is an every morning project.
This routine will continue until cooler weather fall season flowers are in bloom and the hummingbirds will be less dependent on a supplemental food source.

Several pair of Ring Neck doves, 2 pair of Cardinals(redbirds) and 1 pair of Redwing black birds that come to feed from a cake pan filled with black sunflower seed several times a day seem to be happy to shell and consume sunflower seed. At present they are consuming close to one 13 ounce coffee can full of sunflower seed everyday.

Luckily I can purchase 50 pounds of sunflower seed from my local farmers coop store for about 1/3 the price of 50 pounds of seed from places like Atwood’s, Lowe’s and Home depot.

Like pigeons, dove are ground feeders and prefer to feed from a feed tray placed on a large flat landing platform.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

If you see or read something you like Please Share By Re-blogging, Twitter or Email To A Friend.

Why is common sense so uncommon?

Save Hundreds Of Dollars On Your Food Bill – Buy In Bulk ….. Pt-2

Produce packaged in large tin cans may cause storage problems after being opened.

When I find produce on sale in large 1/2 or 1 gallon size tin cans at a really low price I bring it home and spend a little time ‘re-packing’ into smaller more useful size jars. For me that means using pint size jars.
Any produce packaged in tin cans not consumed in one or 2 meals may become a storage problem. What do you do with a 1/2 tin can of pickled peppers?

Pack hot sterilized jar(s) with peppers. Fill jar to within 1/2 of the top with boiling vinegar, seal. Allow to cool to room temperature, check to see if jar is sealed, then store in refrigerator for up to 1 month. For longer term storage process your jar(s) in a boiling water bath for 10 or 15 minutes. Allow to cool, check to be sure your jar(s) are sealed and move them to a cool, dark place in your pantry.

Hint: When repacking discard liquid from the can and use fresh white or cider vinegar rated as being 5% acid content.
Customize your repacked produce. Add 1 o 2 peeled whole cloves of garlic in each jar.
Add color by adding a few carrot or red and yellow bell peppers sliced length wise.

Nuts packaged in large cans or bags or fresh shelled nuts will benefit being repacked in small more useful size containers. Store out of direct daylight in a dark cool place in your pantry.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

If you see or read something you like Please Share By Re-blogging, Twitter or Email To A Friend.

Why is common sense so uncommon?

Save Hundreds Of Dollars On Your Food Bill – Buy In Bulk ….. Pt-1

Buying foods in large size containers or better yet buying in bulk is a real money saver. You can often buy a 10 pound bag of dried beans, rice or peas for the same price as a 1 or 2 pound bag of the same produce.
The same applies to large containers of coffee.
I often find 35-38 Oz containers of brand name coffee on sale for the same price as a 13 Oz can of the same name brand coffee. However coffee is sensitive to being exposed to air and those nifty plastic coffee containers are not air tight after being unsealed.

However before you run out an buy 25 pounds of dried beans you must do your part to be ready to place your bargain priced foods into long term storage.
The same rules apply whether buying large bags or bulk buying.

Sunlight, exposure to air and warm/hot temperatures are not you friends.
A glass container with a tight fitting lid also works well keeping insects and rodents from contaminating your food supply.

Soak jars over night in soapy water to make removing paper labels easy. Scrub jars with a green scrub pad to remove any residual glue that remains. Wash the inside of jars well.
Once air dry give them the smell test. If you still detect any aroma in the jar, wash them again.

To minimize food being exposed to light, affix a piece of 1 inch wide masking tape vertically from near the top to near the bottom of the jar. Put the jar lid on tightly and paint the jar(s) the color(s) you like.
Some people color code jars, white for rice, green for beans and brown for coffee. Anyway you see where I’m going with this color coding system.
If you are more talented than I, you can paint labels on your storage containers.
After the newly painted jars have air dried for 24 hours remove the masking tape. This sight glass will allow you to visually see what produce is in the jar as well as how much produce remains in that container.

The darker and cooler you pantry the better and longer you can safely store dry produce.
This also applies to noddles and pasta products.

Look and advertise for Free 1/2 or 1 gallon jars with lids on Craigslist.com
FreeCycle Advertise for free items you need.
Be sure you advertise for jars with lids.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

If you see or read something you like Please Share By Re-blogging, Twitter or Email To A Friend.

Why is common sense so uncommon?

Summer Solstice Happiest Day Of The Year

Plants are more connected to the summer solstice than humans. Plant cells contain microscopic amounts of phytochrome, a light-sensitive pigment that actually enables plants to reckon the length of daylight.

When the length of daylight the “photoperiod” falls below a certain critical level, the leaves of a maple tree spontaneously start changing colors. The result is a breathtaking spectacle, especially in New England.

The behavior of animals is strongly tied to the length of daylight.
For instance, when the photoperiod reaches 12.5 hours of sunlight per day which in the U.S. happens in late March the gonads of male and female hamsters instantly begin revving up. When the photoperiod falls below 12.5 hours of daylight in mid-September, the reproductive machinery begins shrinking and slowing down.
Now was that hamster information useful information?

Length of daylight which maxes out on the summer solstice also triggers many other important animal traits and behaviors. Everything from the color of animal fur to the timing of animal migrations.

Scientists have also come to learn the huge importance of daylight to our own mental and emotional well being. A recent, experiment evaluated the emotional content of tweets from 2.4 million people worldwide for nearly two years.
Researchers found that, all other things being equal, as the length of daylight increases, so does a person’s general level of happiness.
Everything else being equal, therefore, the summer solstice is arguably the happiest day on Earth.

The perfect mindset for participating in all those over-the-top solstice celebrations.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

If you see or read something you like Please Share By Re-blogging, Twitter or Email To A Friend.

Why is common sense so uncommon?

Summer Gardens June 2018

Welcome to a snapshot of summer in my tiny part of Southwest Oklahoma.
Many triple digit temperatures days, south or southwest winds with long periods between rain events.

National Weather Service 3 day forecast.
May 31, Sunny and hot, with a high near 102. Southwest wind 9 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.
June 1, Sunny and hot, with a high near 102. Heat index values as high as 108. South wind 9 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.
June 2, Sunny and hot, with a high near 102.

I can’t wait for summer to arrive in another 20 days, that’s when the really warm dry weather arrives. 🙂

Happy Summer Gardening

Skunk In My Coreopsis

Coreopsis, sometimes rightly or wrongly called garden tickseed, golden tickseed, or plains Coreopsis are in bloom. A ready made feast for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

This is a native wildflower that can become an invasive plant. As with many plants it can be considered a wildflower or a damn old weed if it spreads to places that it is unwanted.

Skunks are one of those critters that I truly detest. I can find no redeeming benefit to having skunk(s) any where with in a mile of my hen house.

For more than a week I have been smelling the faint aroma of a skunk when I go to my hen house for feeding and to gather eggs.
So I have been on the hunt for this unwanted critter for more than a week.

This morning in broad daylight about 9AM I saw my unwanted guest making it’s way as I watched through my picture window view of Coreopsis, he was headed for the henhouse.

My tool of choice for such an event is a 60 or 70 year old Remington pump shotgun loaded with #2 shot. The skunk was distracted by the smell and sounds of a fresh chicken meal to hear or care that I had stepped out on my back porch. He (no I did not look to verify it was a male) was about 50 yards away, really out of range for a shotgun. I waited until the skunk had closed to about 30 yards before I give him a lethal dose of #2 steel shot.

Now me, chickens, ducks, goose and dogs will sleep better tonight.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

If you see or read something you like Please Share By Re-blogging, Twitter or Email To A Friend.

Why is common sense so uncommon?

Beet Root makes any meal special

If your a fan or maybe not of beet roots this pickled beet recipe will add a new twist to salads or as a side dish to many meals.

What you will need.
1 – can small whole beets. (well drained)
1 – pint canning jar with new lid and screw ring.
1 or 2 cloves (no more than 2)
1 whole garlic clove (optional) Do not crush. mince or slice
1/2 cup 5% acid vinegar of your choice (white, cider or wine vinegar)
1/2 cup distilled water (tap water will work)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat your canning jar.
Bring enough water to cover your jar to a boil and remove from the burner.
Place you jar in the water to preheat.

Canning mix.
In a small pan add vinegar, water, cloves, sugar and salt.
Bring to a boil, remove from heat an stir until salt and sugar is dissolved.

Packing you jar.
Remove your preheated jar from the pan of hot water.
Pack with small whole beets and garlic clove (if used).

When vinegar mix comes to a boil remove from heat and very carefully pour hot vinegar mix over your beets.
Leave 1/2 inch head space in your jar. (add more vinegar as required to fill canning jar)
Cap jar and tighten jar screw ring.

Allow beets to cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate for 24 to 72 hours before serving.
Pickled beets can safely be kept sealed up to 3 months. Consume within 1 month after opening jar.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

If you see or read something you like Please Share By Re-blogging, Twitter or Email To A Friend.

Why is common sense so uncommon?

Something for ‘almost’ every gardener

April was an unusually cool April for my tiny zone 7b garden.

60 degrees F is kind of, sort of the magic soil temperature needed for many garden vegetable seeds to germinate. It was the last week of April before we approached the 60 degree soil tempeture.

May arrived and my soil has warmed to 71 degrees F and it is still a month until the start of the summer gardening season. Leaving plenty of time for most gardeners to plant summer and fall producing vegetable gardens.

I’m happy with our bamboo project. We planted bamboo in a well contained garden plot about 25 feet long by 12 feet wide near Christmas time 2015 and I have been concerned that I wasted my money on two 6 inch pots of bamboo. However after 2 summers of putting down a good root system this spring bamboo canes have jumped up and some canes are more than 11 feet tall and still growing taller everyday.

I invite new visitors to my tiny blog to search my previous posting. At sometime in the past I have information about almost every vegetable from A – Z as wells as info on raising chickens, rabbits, composting and water saving irrigation ideas.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

If you see or read something you like Please Share By Re-blogging, Twitter or Email To A Friend.

Why is common sense so uncommon?