Monday, December 17, 2007

Caring for Poinsettias and Making Them Re bloom

Here is another great article by my good friend Mike I would like to share.

Caring for Poinsettias and Making Them Re bloom

Poinsettias, a bright and cheerful symbol of the holiday
season, are often thought of as "throwaway" plants to be
set on the curb when their red blooms fade. Rather than
buying a new plant each December, with proper care you can
keep your poinsettias blooming for another holiday season.

Poinsettia plants enjoy indirect sunlight for at least six
hours each day while they are blooming. They prefer to be
slightly on the dry side and will not be happy if they are
overwatered. While the plant is flowering it should not be
fertilized, but after the plant has finished blooming an all-
purpose fertilizer may be applied..

To enjoy your poinsettia blooms for another holiday season,
it should be cut back to about 8 inches in late March or early
April. It can be fertilized about once a month, and by late
May new growth will begin to appear.

Once there is no more danger of frost and nighttime temperatures
stay above 55 degrees F, your poinsettia may be kept outdoors
for the summer. Fertilizing can be done every 2-3 weeks during
the summer, and the plant can be pruned to keep it full and
compact. In warm climates a poinsettia may be planted directly
in the garden but in cooler climates it is best to transplant
your poinsettia into a pot that is just slightly larger than
its original pot. This can be done in early June. Be sure to
use a well-draining potting soil.

As temperatures begin to cool in late summer, the plant should
again be brought indoors. Longer nights will cause poinsettias
to set buds and produce flowers during November or December.
To encourage your poinsettia to bloom for the Christmas holiday,
you must carefully control the amount of light the plant receives.

To bloom for Christmas, the plant must be kept in total darkness
for 14 hours each night during October, November and early
December, along with 6-8 hours of bright sunlight. This can be
accomplished by moving the poinsettia to a dark closet each
night, making sure that no light sneaks beneath the door. Or
simply cover the plant with a large box each night. No peeking!
Any stray light will upset the schedule.

During October, November and early December the plant needs 6-8
hours of bright sunlight along with 14 hours of total darkness.
The ideal temperature for your poinsettia is between 60 and 70
degrees. Warmer or cooler temperatures can also delay flowering.
Continue fertilizing monthly until the blossoms appear.

Follow this schedule of daylight and darkness for 8-10 weeks and
your poinsettia will reward you with a colorful holiday display!

(more personal stuff about Mike and Pam)

Have a great week!
-Mike McGroarty

P.S. The message board is here:

McGroarty Enterprises Inc.
P.O. Box 338
Perry, Ohio 44081

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Composting Methods

Here at Granny's garden we are big on the use of composting for beneficial use's in our garden.
There are many benefits to using compost in the garden that range from Biological Benefits to
Chemical Benefits.

There is a wonderful article on the different ways of composting methods over at the University of Illinois Extension titled Composting for the Homeowner it explains the different methods of composting.This is a great 
read for anyone interested in the subject of composting.I recommend you give it a look.
Composting Methods

Monday, December 10, 2007

Growing and Caring for Amaryllis Indoors

Growing and Caring for Amaryllis Indoors
Here is anothet great article by my good friend Mike I thought you might enjoy.

Amaryllis bulbs are often given as gifts for the holidays,
later producing spectacular flowers to brighten the
recipient's home or office. Amaryllis bulbs can be found
in many stores in December, or in mail-order catalogs.
The bulbs are sold separately or already planted in pots.

If you're purchasing unpotted bulbs, choose those that are
large and feel solid. The largest bulbs will produce two
or more flower stalks and larger blooms. Select a pot for
the bulb that is an inch or two wider than the diameter of
the bulb, and plant the bulb in well-draining potting soil
that does not include pine bark. A mix of equal amounts of
perlite and peat can also be used for potting amaryllis bulbs.
The upper half to third of the bulb should remain above the
soil surface.

Once planted, water the pot well and place it in a location
where the temperature is 70-75 degrees. Some sources say
that the bulb should not be watered again until the bulb
sprouts. Once it sprouts, the soil should be kept moist but
not soggy.

After the bulb sprouts, move the plant to a sunny window and
give it a half-strength dose of fertilizer once or twice monthly.
Turn the pot each day to keep the flower stalk growing straight.
The stalk may need to be staked if it tends to lean.

Once the flowers appear, move the plant to an area with cooler
temperatures and indirect light. Cooler temperatures will prolong
the life of the blossoms.

When the flowers fade, cut off the flower stalks about an inch
above the bulb. Remove any dead foliage but leave the green
foliage on the plant so they can help the plant store energy.

Amaryllis bulbs will produce flowers year after year if treated
correctly. After the plant has finished blooming, move it back
to a sunny window and give it water when the soil surface is dry.
Continue fertilizing once or twice monthly until outdoor
temperatures stay well above freezing, generally in May.
Gradually expose the plant to outdoor temperatures and sunlight
for several days, then plant pot and all in a spot where it will
receive partial to full sun.

Bring the plant back indoors in mid-September and place it in a
cool, somewhat dark location such as an unheated garage or
basement to induce dormancy, and stop watering the plant.
Remove the leaves as they become brown, and keep the bulb at
a temperature of 50-55 degrees for 8-10 weeks. After this time the
plant can be moved back to its sunny window and watered well.
New growth will soon appear, followed by another round of lovely

(more personal stuff about Mike and Pam)

Have a great week!
-Mike McGroarty

P.S. The message board is here:

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Linky Love Train

Get aboard the Linky Love train. Chris from the The Dog Log blog invited me to join her on a new linky love train. I've never been on board one before, so I'm definitely game for it. Plus this is such an easy tag, how can I not join in the fun?

The rules: when you get tagged, you have to add your name below the person who tagged you and by doing so you are letting the list grow.
Rachel’s Soulful Thoughts
When Silence Speaks
Dancing in Midlife Tune
Underneath it All
I am Dzoi
Hobbies and Such
moms…..check nyo
Choc Mint Girl
Amel’s Realm
My Thoughts
Rusin Roundup
Juliana’s Site
Rooms of My Heart
Colin aka cotojo
A Great Pleasure
The dog log
Granny Gruners Garden

I would like to tag my good friend Waliz from the Waliz Diary

Monday, December 3, 2007

Caring for a Live (Balled) Christmas Tree

Here is a great article on Caring for a Live (Balled) Christmas Tree by my good friend Mike.

Live Christmas trees (balled in burlap) are great
because you can enjoy them for Christmas, then enjoy
them in your yard for 20 or 30 years or more. But you
must know how to care for them and how to plant them
in your yard.

1. Keep your live tree in the house for as short a period
of time as possible. Try to keep it in inside for no more
than three weeks.

2. Keep the root ball watered well, they dry out quickly.
But don't water it so much that it's soggy or submerged in

3. Dig a hole in your yard the size of the root ball BEFORE
you move the tree inside. That way as soon as Christmas
is over you can get the tree planted even if the ground is
frozen Do not dig the hole too deep. Once in the hole the
top of the ball should be at least 1" above ground. Then
mound soil over the root ball so the burlap is not exposed.

4. Keep enough loose soil in your garage in a wheelbarrow
to cover the root ball after planting. The ground might be
frozen after Christmas.

5. Don't store your tree in the garage after Christmas. It will
be much happier in the ground, even if it's really cold outside.

6. Do not fertilize your tree. Come spring you can fertilize
with an organic fertilizer. Do not use a high nitrogen fertilizer.

7. Enjoy your live Christmas tree for many years to come.

(more personal stuff about Mike and Pam)

Have a great week!
-Mike McGroarty

P.S. The message board is here:

McGroarty Enterprises Inc.
P.O. Box 338
Perry, Ohio 44081