Solve Issues With Indoor Herbs Organically

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Rut-roh. What’s the point of growing your own herbs indoors if they’re going to do this?

And lots of herbs grown indoors are prone to this, not just the sage in my photo. Rosemary is notorious for powdery mildew-_- and this is just about the time when all those cute little rosemary trees and wreaths start appearing everywhere.

Well, they’re no longer cute when they’re covered in this!  And rosemary is definitely finicky about being grown indoors.

So what do you do?  If you want some of this sage for stuffing,  you certainly don’t want to spray it with fungicide–or even dish soap, necessarily.

Never fear, I have just the solution ( literally,  and no pun intended). It does require milk, so if you are not a milk drinker, get yourself one of those small cartons like the kids drink at school.

Mix up a small amount–no more than you need for one treatment  because you can’t save it. You are mixing 50% milk and 50% water.

Spray the plant, then discard whatever solution is left. Don’t try to save it over in the fridge. I have tried.  Your sprayer will be clogged by the time you go to use it again–hence my instructions to try to mix only what you’re going to need.

It’s just that simple.  Milk and water. No poisons, no fungicides,  nothing toxic to you or your family–unless of course you can’t drink milk!

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Like the Children’s Game: Are These The Same?

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Perhaps you can tell just by placement on the table that these two plants are not the same.  But it goes beyond that.

These are two different  schlumbergeria cultivars. The top one is called ” Scarlet Dancer.” The bottom one is “Dark Marie.”

And there are obvious differences. Despite its name, Dark Marie has more white in its flower. It also has a very subtle fuchsia edge on its petals.

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You can see the distinct fuchsia tinge on its buds ( no, that’s not a reflection from the house plant next to it–it really is fuchsia tinged).

This isn’t true for Scarlet Dancer.  Its buds are just plain red with a hint of fuchsia only at the base. 20171119_114551

Maybe this isn’t so much like the children’s game after all if you learn how to look at flowers and buds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Try This at Home

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This doesn’t look so bad, does it? The orchid looks nice and healthy and there are new growth tips on the roots. What could the problem be?

I’m not sure if you can tell, but when I re-potted it, I didn’t have the proper size clay pot available so I used a plastic pot. Bad mistake. Because while the orchid is happy, I am not.

First of all, it continually tips over and that’s really not good for the plant. I have already damaged one of its leaves that way.

Next, when I go to re-pot this plant, I am inevitably going to have to damage some of the roots–and I am going to have to cut the pot off. That’s not good for either of us.

With a clay pot, if I got desperate, I could just have broken the pot away (something that accidentally happened that led to this fiasco).

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But check out these roots coming through the bottom here. Not good. I mean, the roots themselves look fine, but how will I ever be able to disentangle them from this pot at re-potting time? Oh boy.

So take my advice–don’t try this in your home!

Wordless Wednesday–“Candy” for the Birds

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This is what I call “winter interest.” Because these are crab apples, and therefore sour, they remain on the tree until spring, when the birds come to get them after they (they fruit, not the birds) have mellowed a bit and the birds are hungry after migration.

It’s a win-win for everyone!

The Plant that Keeps on Giving

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I bought this plant (the one in the base of the citrus) as a 6″ annual for an outdoor hummingbird container I was planting in 2015. It was called “Jewels of Opar” (don’t you love common names sometime? They’re so romantic!) The botanical name is talinum ‘limon’ presumably for the chartreuse foliage.

As I was scouting around for the botanical on this, lo and behold, I also discovered it was edible! Gracious! This really is the plant that keeps on giving! When I entitled the post that, I merely meant that since 2015, it has self-sowed into various containers of mine and continues to bloom all over the place. You see it here in 3 containers in 3 different stages: blooming, near bloom, and seedling.

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It was blooming outside in my garden beds as well. When I find these flower stalks going to seed, I shake the seeds over my beds and borders and the next season I find plants coming up in the gardens. How delightful. Plants without work. I am all for that!

The article I link to above makes mention of how wonderful these itty bitty tiny flowers are for pollinators. So many of us grow huge hulking flowers to draw in bees and butterflies but we forget about our smaller bees. There are bees that are the size of a grain of white rice and we need to be mindful of those pollinators too!

Of course, if you are going to attempt to eat what you are growing, make sure that you are growing it organically. No pesticides of any kind, especially on the plants but even in your soils. Be mindful of that.

Otherwise, just enjoy these lovely plants and flowers.

 

More About Office Plants

On Monday, I talked about how to figure out what plants might be right for your office–and showed you the cactus that live in my office windows.

I also named some good contenders for office plants but didn’t show any photos. Many folks are visual. So here are some good choices for dark offices.  You’ll see them in sort of “holding” spaces here in our offices.

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This is the “snake plant” that I referenced on Monday. I am quite fond of saying that this plant will grow in a closet. Normally, we have two of these plants against the back wall of our church altar where they reside in total darkness for 20 hours a day and they do just fine so long as they are not over-watered. They are really enjoying their “temporary” vacation in our offices while the church is decorated with other things.

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Our rubber plant, ficus elastica, fares somewhat better.  It is normally over near our baptismal font, which is near a side door so it gets slightly more light from small windows in that door.  Again, it is loving its vacation in the light. It normally does have this burgundy cast to the leaf veins and stems. It loses much of that in our very dark interior.

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These 3 peace lilies (spathiphyllum sp.) look pretty much the same as they do where ever they are. The only difference is that they need more water now that they are getting more light–that is something to take note of as you move plants around!

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Finally, here is a dracena. Dracenas have great issue with out water and our dry air–hence the browning leaf tips (many of which you can see that I have already trimmed once). Other than that, they are very easy care plants. This one is usually in the church foyer so its light situation is generally the same. it’s just probably warmer than it might normally be in our foyer at the moment!

As you shop, look around–I will bet that you see many of these very same plants behind the over-running poinsettias. And if they can live in dark suburban malls–or office parks–they can live in your offices as well!