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Archives for November 27, 2017

Rain gardens provide layers of lush vegetation

By Kim Smith

WSU Master Gardener

As we head into the rainy season, maybe you’re starting to notice a river of water running off your driveway or a washout in the lawn where a gutter drains. These are perfect indications that a rain garden could be a beautiful and functional addition to your landscape.

A rain garden is an area designed to collect stormwater from your property to contain it and clean it as it filters through the soil and roots of selected plants. This mimics the way our well-established native vegetation and forests reduce runoff, erosion and pollution, while improving aesthetics, wildlife habitat and much more.

A rain garden is not a pond, but rather a shallow garden bed that has the capacity to hold water for a short time as it absorbs into the earth.

Home landscapes often include impermeable surfaces, such as rooftops, patios, walkways and driveways. These are areas where water is not able to infiltrate and can contribute to greater regional problems, such as water pollution and flooding. Installing your own rain garden can be a beautiful addition to your yard, while helping to alleviate these problems on your property, throughout your local community, and in the surrounding watershed.

To begin planning your rain garden, look at possible sites where runoff normally occurs or places where stormwater could be channeled. There are a few limitations; some places to avoid include areas near building foundations, steep slopes, utility lines and septic tanks.

Because the purpose of a rain garden is to absorb and filter the water through the soil, the soil should be tested for texture and percolation rate to determine that it drains well. In addition, if an area already has standing water or high groundwater during the winter, that would not be a suitable site for a rain garden.

Once an appropriate site has been found, you can design and build a rain garden as big or as small as needed and tailor the plants to fit into your overall garden design. The construction of a rain garden entails digging out the desired area 2 to 3 feet feet deep and installing the inflow and establishing the overflow. Stormwater can be channeled into the garden by a swale or a pipe. At the other end, line the overflow with rocks to direct the excess water away into a smaller rain garden or open space (away from buildings or neighboring properties). The excavated area is then refilled partway with a well-draining soil mix, leaving 6 to 12 inches of ponding depth where stormwater can accumulate and be held as it percolates into the earth.

The unique climate of the Pacific Northwest means the plants for the rain garden must be both water- and drought-tolerant. Thankfully, native species are adapted to this climate.

Place water lovers such as rushes, sedges, iris, red-twig dogwood and twinberry in the center of the garden (Zone 1 in the graphic). Daylilies, camas, columbine, boxwood honeysuckle and dwarf Oregon grape can add color and texture to the next layer (Zone 2) in the intermediate area between the deep center and outer berms. The plants toward the outer edges (Zone 3) should be the most drought‑tolerant, such as evergreen huckleberry, red-flowering currant, snowberry and various ornamental grasses.

Directly after planting, be sure to cover the bare ground with a mulch, such as wood chips to retain soil moisture, reduce weed pressure and prevent erosion.

In the first two years, it is important to keep the young plants well-watered and the weed pressure low; but once well-established, this garden will be relatively care-free. Just remember to keep the inlets and overflows clear and reapply mulch as necessary.

The layers of lush vegetation in this rain garden will provide wildlife habitat and stunning year-round displays of flowers and unique foliage, all while capturing and cleaning the stormwater.

For more detailed instructions and tips, explore ext100.wsu.edu/raingarden for an excellent demonstration video, a downloadable version of Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington, and more.

Kim Smith, who lives in Porter, joined the WSU Master Gardener Program in 2016.

* * *

Join the WSU Master Gardener Program! A new class begins in January. Email 2018mgtrainees@gmail.com for more information.

 

Photo by Aaron Volkening                                This public rain garden in Greendale, Wisconsin, is in a median fed by road drainage.

Photo by Aaron Volkening
This public rain garden in Greendale, Wisconsin, is in a median fed by road drainage.

Graphic by Melbourne Water

Graphic by Melbourne Water

Article source: https://www.thedailyworld.com/life/rain-gardens-provide-layers-of-lush-vegetation/

Falmouth Garden Club Holds Holiday Arrangements Sale

If you have an event you’d like to list on the site, submit it now

Article source: https://www.capenews.net/falmouth/briefs/falmouth-garden-club-holds-holiday-arrangements-sale/article_f3729019-d2a7-5201-87a1-d4d494f9537d.html

Turn your garden into a meditative spot


A homemade fountain creates a pleasing sound in a shady spot in your garden. (Photo by Karen Gideon)

A homemade fountain creates a pleasing sound in a shady spot in your garden. (Photo by Karen Gideon)










One of the benefits of gardening is spending time away from the noise and distraction of our daily lives. Electronics, audio devices, televisions, phones and activities can keep our minds filled with day-to-day minutia. Designing a contemplative area in your garden can offer an escape from the daily grind and a quiet space for introspection and moments of gratitude.

How that takes shape for each person is individual and personal. However, there are basic principles you may want to consider in the design of a space just for you. These are heartfelt decisions based on your preferences.

The best way to find that area of your garden that offers you a reprieve is by spending time sitting quietly in prospective locations. Take a few minutes, sit and listen. If a neighbor’s fan turns on every five minutes or a kids are splashing in a pool over the fence, you might find that distracting. Consider a side yard or courtyard already in existence. Experiment until you find a spot that promotes relaxation.

Create distinct space

Once you’ve found your spot, look for ways to differentiate the area from the rest of your garden. Maybe that’s a curved flagstone path with a gate of sorts that says “you’re entering a distinct space.” Giving your area a sense of separation from the rest of your garden connotes a sense of “arrival” for yourself and visitors.

Most meditative gardens offer a quiet place to sit comfortably for relaxation. Whether that includes a cushion, a bench, a stool or a yoga mat on a sandy rock-laden area is up to you. Typically, sitting places are located in shady spots under trees or protected by fences. If you plan to spend time there year round, a wooden platform with a roof can keep and sun and rain from interrupting. Once you have found your little oasis, it’s time to spend some time there and let your senses guide your design.

Pleasing plants

The easiest approach is to incorporate the pre-existing natural features that support your relaxation needs. Plant selection is personal so focus in on those plants and colors that please you. Consider low-maintenance perennials and succulents that thrive in the microclimate you have selected. If lush greenery gives you peace, there are many large leafy plants that thrive in shade. Wild ginger and ferns are leafy and beautiful. Using potted plants allows you the flexibility of changing plants out or moving them around as you grow into your space.

Don’t overlook your sense of smell. Herbal combinations will give off a gentle scent. Some folks prefer to be surrounded by edibles, flowers, or medicinal herbs for their aromatherapy value. Consider lavender, sage, scented geraniums and rosemary as well as thyme and chamomile for ground cover.

Many of us live in areas where neighborhood noise is a constant. You can incorporate a water element like a small fountain or cascading stream to muffle sounds and create an ambient background for relaxation. Falling water can add a sense of cleansing or renewal and incorporates an ancient way of focusing in meditation. Some gardeners like the sounds of nature in their meditative space — so they attract birds and bees. Others enjoy the rustling of leaves and the tinkle of wind chimes.

Avoid clutter

What you leave out is also important. If a clean, open sense is what you’re after, then avoid cluttering up your area. Adhere to the principles of good garden design by massing and detailing, and using repetition with focal points. Look at the hardscape and stonework, ponds, plants that surround you. These elements can be formal, rustic, large or small. Stones, which give one a sense of strength and passivity, are favorites in many meditative gardens. Statues and objects d’art help you personalize your space.

The key to designing your contemplative garden is matching your needs for relaxation and calm with the elements you select. Have fun with it! And you don’t have to know how to meditate to enjoy your space. Just sit, relax and grow calm.

The UC Marin Master Gardener column is written by UC Marin Master Gardeners, who are sponsored by the University of California Cooperative Extension. For questions about gardening, plant pests or diseases, call 415-473-4204 from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays, bring in samples or pictures to 1682 Novato Blvd., Suite 150B, Novato, or email helpdesk@marinmg.org

Article source: http://www.marinij.com/article/NO/20171124/FEATURES/171129910

WVU students brainstorm ideas for 4-H camp

BUCKHANNON — Could a remediated tar pit at the Upshur County Youth Camp in Selbyville one day serve as an archery range?

Or would it be a better home to low growing vegetation whose roots don’t extend very deep into the soil?

Those were some of the questions bandied about Wednesday, Nov. 15 as six groups of 24 third-year landscape architecture majors at WVU presented their master plans for remediation of the tar pit and a complete overhaul of the 4-H youth camp at the Event Center at Brushy Fork. County officials – including commissioners Troy “Buddy” Brady and Sam Nolte, as well as county administrator Carrie Wallace, assistant administrator Tabatha Perry and other local stakeholders – meandered from table to table, as the students highlighted features of their master makeover plans for the Upshur County Youth Camp. 

Perry explained the county will begin the process of remediating the tar pit in 2018, thanks to the commission having been awarded a three-year, $200,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant with a 20 percent in-kind match from the county.

“We’re mostly looking at their ideas for remediating the tar pit,” Perry said. “Later on, if there was other grant funding available, the commissions would have the designs available to look at, but the focus now is on remediation.”

The project will need to be bid out in 2018, and then the county is likely to work with one or two students on tar pit remediation ideas.

“The main objective of this event is community engagement,” Perry said.

The tar pit remediation project began back in 2012, when then-county administrator Willie Parker applied for and the county was awarded a $5,000 Focus W.Va. Brownfields assessment grant to determine the scope of the project, Perry said.

Peter Brown, associate professor of landscape architecture at WVU, said he transformed the junior-level requirement into a service learning project.

“It’s really about getting out and providing design services for nonprofits and communities and government,” Brown said at the Nov. 15 event, “and the scope of the project wasn’t complex enough to just cap the tar pit, so we had them looking at some issues with lack of spaces and recreational resources. So we made the scope of the project the whole property.

“It’s such an authentic learning experience; it’s very real work,” Brown added. “In landscape architecture, we work with places and people and to be able to provide that experience in the classroom is key. One of the most important things I evaluate in these plans is how well students are listening to and understanding the concerns with and for the stakeholder.”

Junior Sean Gaffney said he’s been doing landscaping work since age 16.

One of the ideas Gaffney had was to cap the tar pit once, add an additional cap and then transform the space into an archery range.

“I also added a green roof to the assembly hall, which would help keep heat in during the winter months, as well as an indoor shooting range to help attract more of the public,” Gaffney said.

Junior Tess Fallova said she was keenly interested in crafting a master plan as soon as she learned about the project.

“I’m from West Virginia, and I’m really big on nature and 4-H, and that was something that was a really big part of my childhood,” said Fallova, who lived on nine acres of farmland growing up. “That stuff is very near and dear to my heart, especially with this youth camp because kids these days — they’re not used to this kind of stuff, the whole nature, team-building types of activities, and this camp upholds that.

“That’s a really good thing to learn when you’re young because they told us there’s no cellphone service (at the youth camp in Selbyville) here,” Fallova continued. “You sit down and you have a conversation with someone – and that’s something we don’t do, so I think this is a really great opportunity for the youth of today.”

In her master plan, Fallova incorporated several elements to address stormwater management issues, as well as several raised platforms for viewing stars.

“It is a really great place for viewing stars, and one of the only places they say you can see the North star, and I thought that was a really significant place,” she said. “For the tar pit, I was thinking, after EPA comes in and cleans it up, just having low-growing plants that don’t have very deep roots because you don’t want to mess that cap that they put on top of it.”

Students utilized a variety of computer programs to assemble their plans, including GIS systems, AutoCAD, SketchUp and Photoshop.

Commissioner Sam Nolte said having a variety of master plans for the county’s use is essential, should it ever want to apply for grants to make improvements to the camp.

“The bonus is, we have a master plan for the entire camp, and down the road, it’s something we can consider,” Nolte said. “How you get your grants is, you have to have an idea of what you’re going to do.”

Article source: https://therecorddelta.com/article/wvu-students-brainstorm-ideas-for-4-h-camp

First Images of What is Set to Become the Largest Botanic Garden in …


First Images of What is Set to Become the Largest Botanic Garden in the World Revealed, Exterior view of Northern Habitat Biome. Image via Arup/Grimshaw
Exterior view of Northern Habitat Biome. Image via ©Arup/Grimshaw

Bold, innovative and set to become the largest botanic garden in the world, images of Oman’s future light-filled oasis in the desert have been revealed. A collaboration between Arup, Grimshaw, and Haley Sharpe Design delivers the architecture, engineering, landscaping, and interpretive design in a scheme of over 420 hectares for the Oman Botanic Garden.


Aerial View. Image via Arup/Grimshaw
Aerial View. Image via ©Arup/Grimshaw

The gardens, with guidance offered by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said will celebrate the country’s botanic diversity in the foothills of the Al Hajar Mountains. Here, an ancient seabed is still visible after it was elevated to 100m above sea level by tectonic activity.

The scheme uses the diverse landscape to its advantage, working within the undulating land and natural ridges and ravines to generate walkways and inform building elements.


Exterior view of the Southern Habitat Biome. Image via Arup/Grimshaw
Exterior view of the Southern Habitat Biome. Image via ©Arup/Grimshaw

Central to the site, eight defined habitats reflect the habitats of the country, featuring a range of endangered, native and endemic flora. Two sensitive habitats are enclosed by large biomes – shimmering glass structures woven seamlessly into the rolling plains of the desert. The Northern Biome recreates the varied environments of the Northern Mountains while the Southern Biome will house habitats of the Dhofar region, including an immersive green forest ‘Khareef’ setting. The habitats will be supported by a visitors center and education and research facilities and connected by a cable car.


Southern Habitat Biome. Image via Arup/Grimshaw
Southern Habitat Biome. Image via ©Arup/Grimshaw


Northern Habitat Biome. Image via Arup/Grimshaw
Northern Habitat Biome. Image via ©Arup/Grimshaw

The organic forms of the biomes were driven by the atmospheric conditions of the site, working with the topography and using the sun orientation and weather patterns to optimize natural lighting and cooling and the most efficient plant irrigation. All the water for the site is sourced sustainably with no wastage, contributing to the scheme’s plan for achieving the globally recognized sustainable standard – LEED Platinum.


Habitats Pavilion. Image via Arup/Grimshaw
Habitats Pavilion. Image via ©Arup/Grimshaw

Keith Brewis, a partner at Grimshaw has said of the design; 

“The Oman Botanic Garden is an astonishing project with many layers of interwoven cultural and environmental significance. Its scale and diversity is truly world-leading, and we are honoured to work as the architects for a project that has the conservation of bio-diversity as a core design driver.”

The Oman Botanic Garden will allow visitors to experience the flora of the Sultanate of Oman in only a few hours, and no doubt become a much-loved attraction for locals and tourists alike.

Construction on site is expected to start imminently.


Visitor's Centre pavilions and cable car structure. Image via Arup/Grimshaw
Visitor’s Centre pavilions and cable car structure. Image via ©Arup/Grimshaw

News via: Grimshaw.

Allies and Morrison to Masterplan New City District in Oman

The competition to masterplan Muscat, Oman’s new district, Al-Irfan, is over. Organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), five teams were chosen to submit proposals for the development project. Of those five, international firm Allies and Morrison has been selected to oversee the design process.

Grimshaw Reveal Vision for a High-Speed Concourse at London’s Euston Station

Grimshaw Architects, in collaboration with Arup, have revealed renderings for their proposed 25,000 square metre High Speed Two (HS2) railway terminal at Euston Station, in north London. They have developed an “incremental staged design” that will allow for the construction of the new high speed station while maintaining all existing services.

Article source: https://www.archdaily.com/883980/first-images-of-what-is-set-to-become-the-largest-botanic-garden-in-the-world-revealed

Garden Help Desk: So, you got a Christmas cactus

Utah State University Extension provides informal education outreach to residents throughout the state. This question-and-answer column is designed to give you research-based information whether your gardening interest is producing fresh food, creating a landscape area or anything in between.

Question: I’m going to get some rosemary topiaries to decorate with this holiday season. Can I plant them in the yard this summer?

Answer: You can move the potted topiaries outside in the early spring and keep them there all summer. Gradually move them into full sun, water thoroughly but infrequently, keeping in mind that rosemary can’t tolerate overwatering. Fertilize once or twice in the spring. Once frosty weather returns, you should move them back indoors.

Rosemary topiaries are not suited to our winter-hardy zone 5 climate, so if you plant them in the ground, they probably won’t survive the following winter. There are a few varieties that can overwinter here with careful placement and adequate winter protection, but their natural growth habits make most of them unsuitable for use as topiaries. Check the label on your plant to see if they can overwinter in our zone.

Question: My mother-in-law gave me a Christmas cactus and said it’s easy to take care of. Is there something I should do for it besides water it once in a while?

Answer: Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving cacti are popular, easy-to-grow indoor plants because of their showy, colorful flowers which can be spectacular this time of year and will bloom all winter.

Put your plant in a location with bright, indirect light and normal indoor temperatures. Avoid drafty locations near exterior doors and dry air from heat vents. You can keep your cactus there year-round or you can place it outdoors in a shady location during the summer and then bring it back indoors once fall temperatures start to dip below 50 degrees at night.

Although they are true cacti, a holiday cactus isn’t as drought tolerant as other cacti you might be familiar with. They require thorough but infrequent watering. When the pot feels light and the upper surface of the soil is dry, it’s time to water your cactus. Make sure you water deeply enough to see at least some water come from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If your Christmas cactus has flower buds on it, keep an eye on the soil moisture because drought stress can cause the buds to drop.

A holiday cactus doesn’t need fertilizer year-round, but in the springtime after the flowers fade it’s time to begin one-half to one-quarter strength applications of a complete houseplant fertilizer until early fall.

By springtime, your cactus will have dropped its blossoms. If you want to see blossoms again next Christmas, you’ll need to provide the right conditions at the right time. Your cactus will need six weeks of long nights and short days to bloom. Cooler night temperatures are also important. You’ll need to provide 14 hours of darkness each night and bright indirect light during the day. The night-time temperature shouldn’t rise above 68 degrees, but warmer temperatures will be fine during the day. Some people find it easiest to keep their holiday cactus in a seldom-used room where the lights won’t be turned on during the evening. Once you begin to see flower buds on the branch tips you can move your cactus to a location where you can enjoy its beauty again.

Article source: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/community/garden-help-desk-so-you-got-a-christmas-cactus/article_e555d5b3-5351-5432-a7c9-76059e7f8f2a.html

Gardening: As winter settles in outside, settle in inside with these books

Homesteaders, crafters and all kinds of gardeners will find inspiration aplenty in a sampling of new books meant to delight and educate.

Curling up with one of these on a cold, dark night almost guarantees that you’ll find an idea (or a dozen) to try.

“The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner: What To Do and When To Do It” by Amy Larken Hansen (Storey, 202 pages, $18.95)

Whether you’re ready to try growing some backyard veggies or you want to learn about running a small, diversified farm, the author — a small-scale organic farmer herself — offers tips and how-to’s organized by season for all levels of experience.

She covers orchards, livestock, gardens, honeybees, wildlife habitat and much more. Specifics range from using cover crops to butchering chickens.

Checklists and pages for record keeping will help you stay organized throughout the year.

“The Fine Art of Paper Flowers: A Guide to Making Beautiful and Lifelike Botanicals” by Tiffanie Turner (Watson-Guptill, 254 pages, $25)

At first glance, the leaves and flowers in this book look as if they were just picked from a garden.

But they are created from mere crepe paper, glue and wire, and the author demonstrates how you can make them, too.

After the basic raw materials, patience, a steady hand and, of course, a love of flowers are the main requirements.

Tutorials — complete with templates — range from roses to peonies and even dandelions.

“The Grumpy Gardener: An A to Z Guide From the Galaxy’s Most Irritable Green Thumb” by Steve Bender (Oxmoor, 225 pages, $25.99)

Irreverent, opinionated and so much fun to read, Bender — the garden editor at Southern Living magazine — offers loads of helpful advice in his trademark down-to-earth style.

Among his tips on mulch, shrubs and other typical topics, he manages to mention J. Edgar Hoover and plastic flowers; offer a recipe for “Squirrel Creole”; and share comments from readers (“Nobody really gives a rat’s patootie what you think!”).

A downside for Ohio readers: Some of the information applies only to Southern gardens.

“Native Plants of the Midwest: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best 500 Species for the Garden” by Alan Branhagen (Timber, 440 pages, $39.95)

If you’re not already a convert, this photo-packed volume will make you a fan of native plants.

As the author explains, they’re uniquely suited to our conditions, they support wildlife and they’re beautiful.

From delicate woodland wildflowers to mighty trees such as oaks, there’s a native plant suited to almost every Midwestern garden or landscape.

“Prick: Cacti and Succulents: Choosing, Styling, Caring” by Gynelle Leon (Octopus, 224 pages, $19.99)

Don’t be misled by the racy title; this selection is actually useful, inspiring and well-illustrated.

Ever bought a cute little cactus at the grocery store — but it lacked an identifying label and left you wondering what to do with it?

To the rescue: detailed photos with both common and botanical names, along with growing tips.

And a section called “Styling” shows how to decorate your home with these sculptural, low-maintenance beauties and curiosities.

 

Diana Lockwood, a freelance writer covering gardening topics, posts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mrsgardenperson.

Article source: http://www.dispatch.com/entertainmentlife/20171126/gardening-as-winter-settles-in-outside-settle-in-inside-with-these-books

Weekend: Tips to keep your herb garden growing year-round

By ANN WOOLUM
Give your holiday dishes a distinctive and delicious flavor by using fresh herbs. Four of the most common herbs used in Thanksgiving dishes — parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme — can be successfully grown in pots indoors, even if you don’t have a green thumb. Other savory herbs — bay, chives, marjoram, oregano and cilantro — can also be grown in containers and accessed for year-round cooking.
If treated properly, many herb plants will survive in the garden for a number of years. Others are sensitive to frost or severe cold weather and must be brought indoors, protected, or replanted each spring.
Many herbs will be killed with the first hard frost in the fall, unless they are brought indoors for the winter. You can take cuttings or root the entire plant. If your herbs have already died in the garden, you can purchase pots of fresh herbs year-round in most garden centers and grocery stores.
Here are some tips for growing and using fresh herbs in the fall and winter:
• Many herbs are sun lovers, so even if you place your potted herbs in a sunny window, they may still need supplemental light due to the shorter winter days. Any fluorescent bulb can achieve additional lighting for the herbs. Place the plants 8 to 10 inches from this alternate light source. The total time (between sunlight and artificial light) should be 10 hours a day.
• Most herbs prefer well-drained soil, so grow them in a pot with a drainage hole and use a high-quality potting mix.
• In the garden, most herbs can survive on little water. Typically, potted herbs require not only more water than those planted in the garden but, often, more fertilizer. The watering process will flush nutrients out of the soil in pots, which will have to be replenished more often than the garden. Plan to fertilize every four weeks or so.
• Indoor herbs should be large, bushy plants that you can use in the kitchen. Your herbs will grow as fast as possible and produce flowers and, later, seeds, so frequent pinching and harvesting is needed. Pinching and harvesting will not damage your herb plants. Your herb plants will grow back bigger and healthier if you take the time to regularly pinch and harvest them.
Pinching is the act of removing an upper portion of a stem on an herb plant in order to encourage new leaf growth from the lower dormant leaf buds. Deliberate pinching should be done when the plant is small or during times when you may not be harvesting much.
All you need to do is remove a small top portion of each stem every week or so. You do this with a pinching action on the top of the stem. This removes the top part of the stem cleanly, and those dormant leaf buds will start to grow.
• Harvesting is rather easy, and the point of growing herbs in the first place! All you do is simply harvest the leaves (using the pinching action described above) when you need them, and Mother Nature will take care of the rest. Don’t worry about hurting the plant when you harvest.
• When using potted herbs for holiday dishes, the rule of thumb is three fresh herbs to one dry. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, use 3 teaspoons of fresh. Add most fresh herbs at the end of cooking time to preserve their flavor and color. Some of the heartier types like thyme, rosemary, and sage can be added during the last 20 minutes of cooking or even longer, as when stuffing poultry.
• Potted herbs also make beautiful centerpieces for the holiday. For a low cost, they dress your table with a wonderful fragrance and a fresh, natural appearance. You can find wonderful ideas for using herbs in decorations on Pinterest.
• Finally, potted herbs also make a wonderful hostess gift or Christmas gift. A basket filled with two or three pots of herbs, along with care instructions or recipes, is sure to appeal to even the hard-to-please person.
For more information about growing herbs indoors, visit https://extension.psu.edu/growing-herbs-indoors.
Woolum is an Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener volunteer in Hancock County and a certified public accountant. Join us on Facebook at Master Gardeners of Hancock County Ohio.



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Article source: http://thecourier.com/local-news/2017/11/26/weekend-tips-to-keep-your-herb-garden-growing-year-round/

5 garden tips for this week, Nov. 25-Dec. 2

1. Avocado season

Fuerte avocados usually ripen from now through March. Pick one or two now by cutting stems close to the fruit, not breaking them off, and let them ripen a few days indoors. If they soften without shriveling, the crop is probably ready to harvest, but try these first to make sure they taste right. If they don’t taste quite right yet, give them another couple of weeks, and then try again. You don’t need to harvest the whole crop at once.

2. Dried and true

Save your homegrown spices to savor later by drying them now. Harvest and dry mint leaves before plants go dormant. Basil will die back, so preserve those flavorful leaves while you can. Parsley, rosemary and thyme will remain usable on the plants as fresh herbs throughout winter; or you could hang any of these herbs in loosely tied bundles to dry, then store the whole, dried herb leaves in air-tight containers to retain freshness.

3. Out with the old

Although this is an easy task, it is vitally important. Pick up and dispose of any old fruit — whether it is on the ground or dried up and clinging to the tree. These so-called “mummies” harbor reproductive disease spores that can devastate trees next spring and reduce the quality and quantity of next year’s harvest.

4. Division made easy

Divide overgrown or declining daylily clumps any time until early March. First cut back the tops to only about 3 inches. Then carefully dig the plants — inserting the shovel about a foot away from the center, all the way around the plants, in order to minimize damage to the fleshy roots. Clean off the dead leaf debris. Divide into clumps with three to six plants together and replant them a foot or more apart in a sunny location at the same depth as before.

5. Work now for spring blooms

Divide and replant Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile). When clumps get too big or crowded, dig all around the clump 6-10 inches deep then tilt the handle of the shovel to lift the clump out of the soil. I like to break or cut the older rhizomes apart so the each new clump has three to five foliage fans. Then replant the new clumps to settle in over the winter and bloom again next spring.

Article source: http://www.dailybreeze.com/2017/11/25/5-garden-tips-for-this-week-nov-25-dec-2/