Posted in Gardening, Seasons, Timely Tips

Season Transition Plant Care

This Timely Tip first appeared in late September of last year. It’s that time again!

Now that summer’s officially over, you’ll want to care for outdoor plants. Here are some suggestions found online.

1. You’ll want to move your plants indoors when temperatures regularly drop below 60, and definitely before they get as low as 45 degrees F. If you can, plan to gradually transition your plants indoors, putting them in a shady spot for a few weeks before bringing them inside.

2. Decide where the plants will go in advance. Try to match the conditions outdoors, putting plants that were in bright sunlight in south-facing windows. If not possible, at least try to gradually move plants to lower-light areas over a few days or weeks. They may still lose leaves in response to the reduced light, but you can try to minimize the loss.

Note: Without any windows in the way, plants get more sun outdoors than they do inside. Use this as inspiration to wash your windows (both inside and out, if possible). Your plants will appreciate it and, if it’s been a long time since their last cleaning, so will you!

3. Inspect your plants to see if any have outgrown their pots and need to be repotted. If they do, be sure to choose a pot with drainage holes, and the appropriate new potting soil. Lightly prune plants that have gotten leggy while outside.

4. It’s really important to inspect your plants for pests and problems before you bring them indoors. Soak the pot in a tub of lukewarm water for 15 minutes to force any pests out in search of air. Drain thoroughly before bringing indoors. If you want to be extra sure that you’re not bringing in any uninvited guests with your plants, you may even want to quarantine them in a room separate from other plants for a few days.

5. Once you’ve got your plants transitioned indoors for the season, be sure not to overwater. For most plants, that means letting the soil dry to the touch before watering. You may find that the dry indoor air from your heat source(s) means that plants need nearly as much water in the winter as they do in the summer. Since they’ll grow less in response to less light, fertilizing monthly or bi-monthly during the winter should be sufficient.

Happy gardening and transition from summer to fall!

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Posted in Gardening, Timely Tips

Now That Summer’s Officially Over…

Now that summer’s officially over, you’ll want to care for outdoor plants. Here are some suggestions found online, a couple of which I followed yesterday.

1. You’ll want to move your plants indoors when temperatures regularly drop below 60, and definitely before they get as low as 45 degrees F. If you can, plan to gradually transition your plants indoors, putting them in a shady spot for a few weeks before bringing them inside.

2. Decide where the plants will go in advance. Try to match the conditions outdoors, putting plants that were in bright sunlight in south-facing windows. If not possible, at least try to gradually move plants to lower-light areas over a few days or weeks. They may still lose leaves in response to the reduced light, but you can try to minimize the loss.

Note: Without any windows in the way, plants get more sun outdoors than they do inside. Use this as inspiration to wash your windows (both inside and out, if possible). Your plants will appreciate it and, if it’s been a long time since their last cleaning, so will you!

3. Inspect your plants to see if any have outgrown their pots and need to be repotted. If they do, be sure to choose a pot with drainage holes, and the appropriate new potting soil. Lightly prune plants that have gotten leggy while outside.

4. It’s really important to inspect your plants for pests and problems before you bring them indoors. Soak the pot in a tub of lukewarm water for 15 minutes to force any pests out in search of air. Drain thoroughly before bringing indoors. If you want to be extra sure that you’re not bringing in any uninvited guests with your plants, you may even want to quarantine them in a room separate from other plants for a few days.

5. Once you’ve got your plants transitioned indoors for the season, be sure not to overwater. For most plants, that means letting the soil dry to the touch before watering. You may find that the dry indoor air from your heat source(s) means that plants need nearly as much water in the winter as they do in the summer. Since they’ll grow less in response to less light, fertilizing monthly or bi-monthly during the winter should be sufficient.

Happy gardening and transition from summer to fall!

Posted in Gardening, Home Maintenance, Suggestions, Timely Tips

For You and Your Plants

While this Timely Tip isn’t exactly about de-cluttering, it is about benefits – to you and your plants. Here’s something that I do each month – give the houseplants a shower. It started when I was in college, in part as a way to procrastinate about studying. Years later, I’m still at it. (By the way, I always do it during the first weekend of the month. That way, I don’t have to remember when the plants got their most recent monthly shower. Less mental clutter!)

I figure that photosynthesis works better when not competing with dust. Plants always look better after being soaked. Possible bonus points for you during this wintry time of year – absorbing the aroma of wet potting soil may conjure up thoughts of summer, which will return. And, speaking of summer, during that season, I haul the plants outside and mist them with the hose. Whichever season, and by whatever method, your plants will look positively happy. It will boost your spirits, too – really!

Posted in Gardening, Mental Clutter, Timely Tips

On Mental Clutter, Vol. II

It’s always good to shed mental clutter; it makes us lighter. It can come in many forms. One can involve gardening, of all topics. Do you struggle to remember what plants work well, and where? What annuals grow well in the ground, or look good in particular planters or containers? How much mulch to buy? How to recall all of this useful information?

You might start a gardening journal. Do you have a favorite place to buy plants, as I do? You might secure the receipt(s) from your purchase(s) to its pages. You’ll better remember how much you spent on what, which also could help with future budgeting. Tape little plastic plant and/or veggie identifiers to its pages, with comments about how plants do, perhaps as the season progresses and, then again, once it’s done. How much compost, fertilizer, mulch and other plant supporting products do you need? Write notes, so you’ll remember from year to year. Very useful for me, so I’ll know that a yard of bulk mulch will do it, with a bit left over for touch-ups.

I always feel lighter after adding to my gardening journal. Less mental clutter! Now, if I only can rid my brain of truly useless information, like the obsolete phone number of my best friend’s family from decades ago. There’s also a storehouse of song lyrics. Not useless, but also using up some of my available cranial cavity space which, like for everyone else, is in somewhat limited supply.