Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sherri's Helpful Hints

Gardening Tips

Seed-Starting Mix
1 part finely sifted topsoil
1 part finely sifted compost or high-quality leaf mold
1 1/2 to 2 parts vermiculite, perlite or coarse builder's sand

How to Grow Herbs
From seeds: Clean your containers and fill them two-thirds full with commercial potting soil. Soak the soil. Let it drain overnight, then level it. Sprinkle the seeds on top with water and cover them with fine sand or a sprinkle of soil. Cover the container with plastic, and put it in a warm, dark spot. Remove the plastic as soon as you see the first sprouts. When the leaves develop, place the seedlings near a window, but not in direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist, but never soggy.

From cuttings: If you are unable to plant the cuttings immediately, put them in water. When time permits, fill a pot with a drainage layer and then fill it about halfway with soil. Carefully spread out the roots and cover them gently with more soil, packing firmly. Soak the soil

How to Grow Citrus Fruit Plants (Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, Kumquat)
These same directions will work for kiwi, squash or melon seeds, olive pits, litchi nuts, whole Jerusalem artichokes and unsulphured date pits.

Plant seeds as soon as you remove them from the fruit. DO NOT LET THEM DRY OUT. Plant about 1/2 inch down in soil. Water well, then cover with plastic and place in bright light in a warm (75 degrees F to 80 degrees F spot).

In three to four weeks, the weed will germinate and glossy, fragrant plants will begin to develop. Leave plastic on until plants are a few inches high. Allow soil to dry somewhat between watering. Mist leaves occasionally, especially in hot, dry air. They thrive in cool, sunny spots. The plants should be repotted every year until they are in 8- to 10-inch diameter containers.

NOTE: If you are growing kumquats, keep the soil evenly moist.

Good Riddance to Poison Ivy
3 pounds salt
2 gallons soapy water

Mix well. Spray the poison ivy with this solution. A few dousings will kill it.

Repellent Spray
1/2 cup fresh spearmint leaves
1/2 cup green onion tops
1/2 cup horseradish roots and leaves
1/2 cup red-hot peppers
2 tablespoons liquid detergent

Blend spearmint leaves, onion tops, horseradish and peppers with enough water to cover the mix. If the blend is too viscous, add more water and blend again. Strain and ad 1/2 gallon of water. Add liquid detergent.

To use, dilute 1/2 cup of Repellent Spray in 1/2 gallon water in a sprayer. Store the unused portion no longer than 3 days.

Fresh Flower Preservative
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1 quart water

Mix well. Cut stems of flowers on a diagonal. Use this solution instead of water for fresh flowers. The vinegar inhibits the growth of organisms and the sugar serves as food.

Courtesy of Recipe Goldmine

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