Summer Solstice

This is the week of the summer solstice, also known as midsummer (the halfway point of summer). The solstices and equinoxes have traditionally been important to gardeners because of their effect on the flowering habits of some of the most important plants in the garden. Plants subject to photoperiodism use the length of the dark periods (nights) as a cue to releasing hormones for flowering and fruiting. Due to a misunderstanding of the actual triggering stimulus, the terms “short day” and “long day” were chosen to describe the two types of plants that are photo dependent for flowering. A...

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How to Make Humidity Disks for Herb Jars

  Simple homemade clay humidity disks (a.k.a. “Grubbycoins”) can be used to extend and improve the life of dried herbs and spices by helping regulate humidity.   Clay particles when bisque fired will fuse together enough that they will no longer separate in water, but the overall structure remains porous enough to absorb or release moisture. Bisque clay, when dipped in water, will soak up moisture like a rigid sponge. Then it can be put into a sealed container where it will slowly release moisture and raise the humidity of the interior. This can help slowly rehydrate overly dried...

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Supplemental lighting and Partially Sunny Windows

Supplemental Lighting Supplemental lighting can extend the area that the plants are grown in, and be used to control flowering in plants subject to photoperiodism. While it is nice when there is a full sun window available to light indoor plants with, sometimes that isn’t available, and supplemental lighting can make up the difference. When planning a window lit garden area, it is helpful to find out how many hours of direct sunlight it receives in a day. Write down the time the area first receives sunlight, and then the time when it is no longer directly lit. The...

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Vertical Gardens for growing in Small Spaces

While it is nice to have a large open area that gives full sun to use as a garden, sometimes that isn’t available, but by using vertical gardens, a fence or wall may offer an alternative. The concept is simple: if you can’t go out, go up. Apartment balconies are an example where using methods can multiply the growing space. The tops of wooden patio awnings may be a well-lit opportunity to grow vining plants in what otherwise would be unused space. A slanted rooftop garden may have fewer obstructions shading it than a ground level garden. To pick...

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How to Grow a Vegetable Garden from Kitchen Scraps

Several kitchen scraps can be regrown in the garden to make an encore appearance back in the kitchen. Kitchen scraps or future snacks? Plants are a part of a healthy human diet, and while it is common for them to start in the garden and end in the kitchen, here are a few of my favorites that can travel in either direction. Ginger Root Ginger is a common flavor in a variety of foods (common in Asian cuisine) and drinks (such as ginger ale). A little goes a long way, and ginger roots are sold in fairly large pieces...

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