Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Indoor Gardening Day

Hey there Kiddos! Are you keeping warm? I'm keeping cozy warm here inside and I hope you are too!

I received my first garden catalogs a week or so ago, which got me thinking about the thing that keeps me going when I can't dabble in my tiny garden...I lavish attention on my indoor garden, in other words, my house plants.  You can tell when I'm really ready for spring, my indoor green family generally increases by a few. Maybe you don't have a ton of plants, or any for that matter, there are some easy tips for caring for your plants that will really make them almost carefree. And if you don't already have an indoor garden of your own, you may just be inspired to start one!

The first thing you need is the perfect food for your green friends. I'll give you my recipe for the plant water I feed my green friends. I can't take 100% of the credit for all the ingredients because I read a lot of gardening books and magazines. Initially I had only ever fed my houseplants Miracle-Gro, diluted in a gallon jug at the ratio of 1/4 tsp per gallon.  They did fine on that.  But, then somewhere down the line I must have brought home a rebel that needed a little something extra, thus the Bliss Water for plants. Since I have begun using this, I have noticed it can invigorate recovering plants and it goes without saying, healthy plants love it.  

Choose your indoor gardening day and pretty much stick with it, for me it's Sunday. Your plants will be quite happy to be tended on a regular basis and if you pick a certain day, there is less likely chance you will be spending time wondering if they need watering. This wondering has brought about the demise of many a lovely houseplant. Wonder no more! Pick a day and water them on that day! There are a couple of other things to consider, I like to mix this up at least the night before so that it has time to fully dissolve into the water, I'm not a chemist, it might not take that long, I just like to let it set awhile. Truth be told, I have used it right away in a pinch, without negative results. 

Please don't drown your plants. Give them a drink. I water until I first notice the water is not being absorbed into the soil, then I stop watering. Then I know there will be enough water for the plant. There is no need to go back to this plant and water more. If you're tempted to overwater, just think how horrible you would feel if someone (well intentioned,albeit) hovered over you, forcing you to drink glass after glass of wine...I mean water! You'd end up with a big bellyache or worse! Water regularly, once a week, you and your plant will be very happy. 

Here's something else to consider when feeding your plants, this is really important, in order for them to make use of the delightful bliss water you are about to feed them, you need to give it to them before 3:00 pm or so. Plants need plenty of daylight to make use of the food, anything later than that is just going to sit on their delicate roots and wont really help the plant, might even cause damage to delicate roots. I usually try to feed mine around 11:00 or 12:00 at the latest. Something to consider when you are picking out your indoor gardening day.

I have three gallons mixed at a time, I bought gallon water bottles because I knew I would be using them over and over for years to come. If you have another container you are thinking of using, like a milk jug, for example, just make sure it's really, really clean. The bacteria left behind wont hurt your plants, but it might not smell so pretty after awhile and who wants that smell in the house? 

Ok, so imagine you already have the recipe, you mixed it up you're just about ready to go do your indoor gardening. This is also the perfect time for a quick little plant maintence... the indoor gardening. 
Here's what you need to begin: 
  • A watering can, one with a long narrow spout which makes it  easy to get in among the leaves.
  • A sharp pair of garden shears. Get rid of dead leaves and neatly trim brown tips away if present. Remove flowers as the blossom fades and quite often your plant will bloom even longer. Between plants, wipe the shears clean, just incase you have some unknown invader on one plant, you wont unknowingly spread it from plant to plant. I use a little something like windex.
  • A receptacle of some sort to collect these little snips from your plants.
  • An old towel. I always manage to slosh a bit over on to the floor or table, usually it runs off the leaf of this one particular spider plant if I'm not mindful of the waterspout!
Bliss Water for Plants
(This is actually the order that I put them in. It just made sense to me to put them in this order, so while it's a list of ingredients, it's also the recipe.)

  • 1 gallon jug filled with water, clearly labeled as "plant water" with a permanent marker.
  • To this add 2 drops chlorine remover (or the amount recommended per gallon of water on the brand you pick up.)  The bottle I have cost $2.99, bought from a pet store, it's used in aquariums to neutralize the chlorine so the water is safe for fish. I live in the city where chlorinated water is an issue, if you have well water or filtered water you could skip this step.
  • Mix in 1/4 tsp  unsweetened instant ice tea powder.
  • Three drops of antiseptic mouthwash.
  • Three drops of dish detergent. The one I'm using is Lavender and Sage, the aromatic qualities are an added insect repellent.
  • 1/4 tsp Miracle-Gro.
Screw on the cap, give it a good couple-three shakes, now you're all set for Indoor Gardening Day! As I said earlier, I mix up three gallons at a time and set them on the basement landing until I need them.  I keep all the ingredients, including the dedicated measuring accoutrement, in a little, handled shopping bag under the sink, so it's all in one spot.

Happy Indoor Gardening!

1 comment:

  1. In my years of experience I have learned house plants like room temerature (not too cold, not too hot, just right) water so I fill my containers the day before I water my plants.
    When I feel my plants need a boost I put some bunny marbles on top of the pot and every time I water they get a bit of food.


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