July 31, 2015

An Environmentally Safe Insect Killer

I get so many good tips from my fellow gardeners! This one came from the Back Yard Nursery Forum that I belong to. We are all having  problems this summer with aphids, ants, Leaf hoppers, etc. I posted my fear that Sevin dust and spray is killing our bees and butterflies. In reply one of the members posted the following Mother Earth News link. This is a good substitute for Sevin and other harmful sprays. It is cheap too! Remember, if we kill the pollinators (and we will with Sevin) we will not have vegetables or fruit!

Mother Earth News Insecticide

July 24, 2015

Hanging Basket Tip

I have four window box type planters that I plant every year, one is actually under a window and the rest are attached to my deck rails. Even with all the plants I sell in my backyard business, I was hard pressed to find fillers for my own boxes. The nursery lady only gets what's left over. I had coleus, Petunias, sweet potato vines, etc but I needed one more little plant to fill in the last box. I found a pretty shaped chocolate mint left over from the herb table. I put it on one side of the last deck box. It has been the best plant of all! who knew mint would trail over the edge so prettily!  I'm going to use it next year in the baskets I sell. It is the plant on the right side of the box in the picture above. I love the little trailing leaves and purple stems.  The other plants in that box are coleus, purple Queen and Golden Oregano. The plant on the table in front is a Citronella Scented Geranium and a Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum) in the seashell. 

July 17, 2015

Making Yogurt at Home

Bill and I eat yogurt every morning for breakfast. We mix it with cereal and I usually put fruit in mine. I like Greek Yogurt and he likes plain. I decided it might be fun, and save some money in the long run, if I made yogurt at home.

Of course, I went straight to Amazon and found the one pictured below. Got it the same week as I ordered (good ole Amazon). I had ordered Greek yogurt culture that had not arrived as soon as the maker did so I made a batch of plain yogurt from existing yogurt we had here as the culture and whole milk. You do not have to buy yogurt culture.  I could have used my plain Greek yogurt for culture but I had already ordered culture. The plain yogurt was good! The Greek culture arrived a couple of days later so I made a batch of that. It is very good. I won't have to buy culture in the future because you just use a little yogurt from the previous batch. I'm done buying yogurt! Next time I'm going to use fat free milk so we will have fat free yogurt. You can also add fruit or flavoring if you want to.

The instructions came with the yogurt maker,of course, and were simple to follow. There are probably ways to make it without the appliance but I liked the little jars and the ease of clean up.

July 10, 2015

My Mother in Law's Tongue is Blooming!

My Grandmother died 60 year ago. She had a little pot of 

Mother in Law's Tongue  (S. trifasciata laurentii).  It had grown in a tiny little ceramic parrot on her window sill for as long as I was alive. I was 10 when she died. My dad was an only child so my mom kept the little parrot and plant. I don't remember at what point we took it out of that parrot and divided it but I was grown and married. Inside that little pot was a gazillion tiny sprouts! I potted mine in a bigger pot and it soon filled that one up. Over 10 years ago I put it in the container pictured here along with a plant from my Daddy's funeral, another plant that a friend from work gave me and Ivy and Christmas Cactus that I already had here. Last year I took the over-grown Mother in Law plant out and divided it again. This year it bloomed! I think the dividing forced it to bloom. I don't think I ever saw it bloom before. I do move it outside to my deck every year when the weather warms enough and that probably helped too.