Tag Archives: Plant Care


Maintain Plant Moisture with Ice Cubes

With this squelching hot weather, it’s natural to want to hibernate away indoors with air conditioning or lounge in cooler, shaded areas… but what about your plants? Finding it tough to keep up with watering your container gardens in this heat or keeping your plants from drying out too quickly?  Try adding ice cubes!

Adding several ice cubes to the base of your plants will allow your hanging baskets or container gardens to be watered slowly, as the ice melts into the soil.  This nifty little trick helps to keep you from overwatering your plants and allows the soil to retain moisture over a period of time.  Plants don’t like to be shocked by the cold, though, so be careful to keep the ice away from the actual plant, just resting on top of the soil.  It is important to pay attention to your plants when you first start watering with ice cubes, to know how many pieces of ice to use per plant, being cautious to not overwater them when all of the ice melts.

If you are looking for a more long-term solution to maintain a proper routine of watering your plants while you are at work all day, or plan to leave town for a few days on vacation, check out our CobraCo® Plant Sitters for your plants! The CobraCo® plant sitter system provides a healthy-well balanced diet of water and fertilizer for your plants. With busy work schedules, family activities, vacations and business trips, life can get rather hectic. That doesn’t mean your plants have to wither from infrequent attention… take advantage of today’s innovative plant sitter systems. Plant sitters take the guesswork out of nourishing plants, giving you one less thing to worry about. The ceramic plant moisture sensors fit inside virtually any planter and irrigate plants for up to 2 weeks from our 1-quart reservoir (duration depends on plant size).  No more wilting plants with brown edges from under watering and no more oddly light-colored leaves from too much water; just healthy, happy plants!


Top 10 Mistakes Gardeners Make!

Each year many gardeners ask themselves “What did I do wrong?” Don’t make the same mistakes twice. Here are the most common gardening mistakes and how to avoid them.

1] Choosing the wrong location – Depending on where the location is, most of these mistakes have an easy fix with a little effort and do not need to be re-located.

2] Pulling flowers instead of weeds – There’s a reason plants come with labels; use them!

3] Not preparing the soil – soil is different in each region, but you should test it annually because of varying weather conditions from year to year. Purchase an inexpensive soil test kit from the hardware store and then fix what you need to.

4] Too much watering – Watering plants too much drowns the roots which creates root rot. Watering too little, dehydrates plants. The best cure for this is to invest in a mid-priced self-irrigation system. It adjust watering levels automatically.

5] Planting an unruly variety – Some plants, no matter what you do, you just can’t get rid of. These types are best for container gardening. Keep an eye on the description of the plants before you purchase. Prolific reseeder and vigorous growth most likely mark an invasive plant.

6] Not considering wildlife – From squirrels to deer, even dogs. Install a fence around your veggie garden to help keep unwanted visitors out.

7] Too little sun – Make sure and pay attention to sun needs of plants when laying out your garden. Some plants, like tomatoes, need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Other plants such as peas need more shade.

8] Planting too many seeds – If you plan on planting larger vine type plants, go easy on the seeds. Although you don’t feel as if it’s enough, remember how large the outcome of these plants can get. Pumpkins and watermelons are two culprits.

9] Drowning plants in pesticide – Pesticides can remain in soil for long periods of time, some even years! The best way to clear up weeds is to use a natural, organic weed killer or mix equal parts of hot water and vinegar and pour over the area for a few days until the plants turn brown.

10] Too close for comfort – Planting too close together can deform your plants and sometimes strangle the life out of them. Follow the directions on the plants on how exactly to plant them.

What is your best advice for easy gardening?
Have fun and happy gardening!

WINPLNTR13 (plants)

Easy-to-Grow Indoor Herbs

Growing herbs indoors should not only be fun, but easy! Herbs are perfect to grow indoors in the colder months because you don’t have to go outdoors to reap the benefits. If you plan on growing your herbs in your kitchen, that’s even better. You can make so many delicious dishes with fresh herbs – you will be amazed.

Below is a list of the five best and easiest herbs to grow indoors.

1)    Chives – this is a must have herb. It is very versatile because of its mild onion flavor, and can be used in many savory dishes. The flavor of white or yellow onions can often be a bit on the strong side, but chives are perfect for those who just want a hint of onion flavor. Snip them back often so that they don’t get too out of control.

2)    Thyme – is a great, all around herb that can be used in just about anything – even desserts! Most all varieties of thyme are easy to grow. Remember to trim this herb regularly. The more you trim the better the flavor. Thyme is known for its slight lemon flavor. It is perfect for fish, chicken, or vegetable dishes. You can also use thyme in hot tea.

3)    French tarragon – French tarragon has a terrific flavor, similar to basil. Its hints of licorice are a bit stronger, but goes great with many things. From frittatas to chicken dishes to bruschetta – tarragon makes a tasty addition. No tricks to growing this herb just plant it and watch it grow.

4)    Sweet marjoram – this herb is closely matched with the flavor of oregano, yet not as robust or bitter. Sweet marjoram is great on pizza dishes and in home made breads. It also holds up nicely when used to season the hearty flavor of steak. Anyone who loves herbs will appreciate marjoram.

5)    Sage – Sage is one of those must have herbs. It is very easy to grow, versatile and packs quite the flavor punch! Sage is great around Thanksgiving, because it goes nicely with turkey and other poultry dishes. It is also great to use in vegetarian meals when you want to add some flair to your dinner. Use this herb in tea for sore throats and colds. Sage comes in many varieties, so feel free to choose more than one!

Growing Flowers Outdoors

Before investing time…and labor…in planting and cultivating flowers, you might want to invest a little time into some research and planning before you begin.

For openers, you’ll want to choose the right plants and flowers for your gardening beds. With a little research, you can make some decisions among the three classifications of flowers. Annuals grow from seeds, bloom the current year, then die. Perennials grow from seeds the first year, but don’t produce flowers until the following year. After that, they will re-grow and bloom for years to come. Biennials grow as small plants in the first year they are planted, bloom in the second year and then die.

As for planning, there are four factors that should work together to make your garden a success: sun light, temperature, the soil/fertilizer, and the amount of moisture Continue reading

Suggested Plantings for Sun and Shade

Typically, when most of us think about gardening, we’re thinking about plants and flowers planted, cultivated and grown in full sunlight. But there are abundant opportunities that can produce pleasant results when we expand our planting to partial sun and shade.

Some definitions: Full Sun means at least 6 full hours of direct sunlight. Partial Sun / Partial Shade are used interchangeably to mean 3 – 6 hours of sun each day, usually better in the  morning and early afternoon.  Partial Shade means the plant need some relief from intense late afternoon sun. Dappled Sun is similar to partial shade but sunlight is filtered through the branches of a deciduous tree.  Examples are some Continue reading

Gardening and the Environment

You’d don’t need to become an eco-warrior to get on friendly terms with the environment. In fact, you can start small…literally in your own backyard. Here are a few suggestions.

In the Yard
Plant a few trees, shrubbery or flowers around your property. Weed and mulch shrubbery beds. Don’t over-water your lawn. Make sure you completely shut off the water source when you’re finished. Use your mower to mulch lawn clippings as a good self-fertilizer and to help re-seed. If you bag clippings, recycle them as mulch laid in thick layers in the areas between rows of your vegetable garden.

On the Deck, Patio and Porch
If you’re growing plants in containers, consider biodegradable coco liners. They’ll help Continue reading

Starting with Seeds

Want to really begin your gardening experience from the ground up? Then you might want to start with seeds.

If that sounds like a challenge you’d like to take on, you have some decisions to make from the very beginning. Namely, what do I want to grow? Flowers? Vegetables? Herbs? Fortunately, whatever you decide, you’re probably going to purchase seeds that are commercially-produced, so that’s a leg up.

Commercially-produced garden seeds typically are packaged with valuable information to make your garden a success. After all, you won’t buy more seeds next year if they don’t take this year. Consequently, these packages will tell you when to sow your seeds, whether they require full sun or partial shade, the ideal temperature for gemination, when and how to space the seedlings, and how large the plants are likely Continue reading

Source: planandplant.com

Planting Bulbs

With Fall soon approaching, it’s actually time for gardeners to Think Spring! Why think of Spring now, you may ask? Because as Summer fades, Fall is the time to plant your bulbs.

Let’s start with the very basics. What’s a bulb? A bulb is an underground stem, enclosed with scalelike leaves, containing stored food for the shoots within. The scales are held together by hardened stem tissue. Tulip, daffodil, hyacinth, and lilies are true bulbs. Crocus, usually thought of as a bulb, is actually a corm, which is a mass of fleshy tissue with a bud on top. The tissue disintegrates as the stored food is used and produces roots and shoots.  Though initially dormant, bulbs and corms are living plant structures and always require care when handling. For our purposes, we’ll lump them together and call them all bulbs.

Bulbs produce foliage and are among the earliest flowers to bloom in spring. They are Continue reading

Raised Planting Beds Raise Your Gardening Prowess

Would you like to make growing your own fresh vegetables easier? Then give a thought to raised bed gardening. Gardening in contained soil higher than surface soil provides a number of advantages over growing plants in level ground.

Easily Managed Plots
Raised bed gardening means planting vegetables within smaller sized plots of contained earth.These smaller bed layouts are great for those who have limited room and can be more compatible with today’s busy lifestyles. Rectangular raised beds approximately 3 feet in width make all areas of the bed easily accessible. The length of the bed depends on your needs and your landscape. For more yield, some gardeners plant multiple raised beds with paths between them to allow for easier reach and easy Continue reading

Vegetable Garden Tips

These days, many households are growing their their own fresh, seasonal vegetables in their very own gardens. If you’re contemplating starting your own vegetable garden, here are some basic tips you ought to know.

Grow what you like to eat. Plant a garden that will yield the homegrown vegetables that you know you and your family can enjoy. Don’t over plant. Don’t spend your time and effort growing things you’ll just give away.

Know your vegetables. Do some research. Match what you want to grow with your area and climate for best results.

If you have plenty of time and space, a manageable garden is about 10 feet by 10 feet. Design your garden with long rows or partitioned into grids. Sketch a diagram where Continue reading