Monday, May 20, 2013

Growing Tips for Plants that Repel Mosquitoes

Grow a natural mosquito repellent plants in containers and prevent bites.  The citronella mosquito plant is a genetically engineered geranium hybrid. The entire plant repels mosquitoes with its citronella lemony scent.  

amazon Citronella Mosquito Plant 

Buy the plant from your local nursery of find it online at    I purchased my plants from amazon and planted a few geraniums in containers and one in the ground by my back garden.

The foliage of the plant is eye appealing and the scent of the leaves is that of a lemon.  I recommend that you grow a few plants in containers and set them close to your outdoor living space. 

Growing tips:
Choose a plant container that has drainage holes.  Fill the containers with miracle grow to 8 inches set the plant in the pot and then fill the rest of the container with soil.  Water after you plant and set in a sunny to part sun area.  It is best to keep the soil evenly moist but not wet.  Wet roots will cause the plant to die.

The mosquito plant will put out many leaves and these leaves emit the oil and the fragrance that repels the mosquitoes.  This is a natural method for repelling mosquitoes.

Another way to prevent repel mosquito’s is to break off a leaf, give it a good shake so the oil is realized and then rub the leaves onto your exposed skin. 

If you are like me and are mosquito magnet, then I would recommend that you plant more than one  plant. Put a few plants in containers close to your patio, deck and along your garden path.  

This geranium will repel mosquitoes up to 25 feet.  

Grow the citronella mosquito plant outdoors during the summer season.  You will need to bring it indoors before there is a fall frost.  You can put it in your greenhouse or bring the plant inside your home and set it next to a southern exposed window.  The lemon scent will add a lovely fragrance to your home. 

View this YouTube video to learn about other flowers that repel mosquitoes.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Garden tips for Growing Shasta Daisy

Shasta daisy, Chrysanthemum maximum, are white petal perennial flowers with a golden center that looks wonderful when grown in a border garden.  You can also grow them in a prairie or in your cutting garden.  

Grow Shasta daisy from seed or from a plant. When the daisy is full-grown it will form a bushy clump were the stems grow up to three feet tall before producing flowers in the summer from July to September. 

Growing tips:
For healthy flowers with many blooms grow the Shasta daisy in full sun. However, if your summers are extremely hot with temperatures in the upper 90’s then the Shasta daisy would welcome part shade in the heat of the day.  

Plant the flower seeds or nursery-grown daisies in moderately fertile well-drained soil.  If your soil is poor, then amend it with miracle grow potting soil.  You can plant daisy seeds indoors 12 weeks before the last frost in spring or sow seeds outdoors when the soil warms to 70 degrees. 

For growing daisies in masses, turn over the soil with a tiller and plant seeds in rows; plant seeds  1/16 of an inch deep. Space the seeds sixteen inches apart.

Another way to grow Shasta daisies are to plant them with eye-catching colorful flowers; coneflowers, zinnias and black-eyed Susan and red bee balm are a few of my favorites.  All of these flowers can be cut for beautiful bouquets or floral arrangements.

Caring for Shasta Daisies
Water the newly planted seeds so that the soil is evenly moist but not wet.  Do not allow the soil to dry out as it will cause seedling stress. Seed germination occurs in approximately 21 to 30 days.

Apply organic mulch around the flowers to help to retain moisture. 

Keep the soil evenly moist but not wet throughout the growing season.  The best way to achieve this is to water the flowers with a slow drip irrigation system in the morning.  If your summer temperature is hot; high 90’s, then water in the morning and then again in the late afternoon.

Fertilize monthly with miracle grow formulated for flowers.  I use a bloom booster that is made to attach to the end of your hose. The fertilizer that is applied with water will get to the roots where the nutrients are needed.  My Shasta daisies produce large beautiful blooms that are long-lasting.

Deadhead the spent flowers to extend the bloom season.

Prune daisies in the fall to get ready for winter.  View this YouTube video to learn tips:

Shasta daisies are a useful evergreen ground cover.  The plant's foliage is attractive even in the winter.  So plant them where you can admire them from a window.

Grow in USDA zones 5 to 9. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Recycle Coffee for Fertilizer

Pour a cup of coffee for yourself, then recycle the coffee grounds to use as fertilizer for your yard. The  coffee grounds will enrich your lawn and garden soil with phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, copper and calcium. Your acid loving plants will be healthy with vibrant blooms and your lawn will be lush and green.

Storing Recycled Coffee Grounds
Accumulate coffee for fertilizer by saving spent coffee grounds.  The best way to save the coffee is to turn the grounds from coffee filter over onto a paper towel and  air dry. When the coffee grounds are dry; put the grounds into an air tight container and store in a cool dry place. 

Fertilize with Coffee
Nourish your acid loving flowers with coffee grounds by scooping handfuls of the dry coffee and then spreading the coffee grounds around your acid loving plants, flowering shrubs and evergreens.  

Water after you fertilize with coffee as the water will help in breaking down the nutrients so that they get to the plants roots. 

Amend garden soil with Coffee
Get a new garden bed ready by amending the soil with the recycled coffee grounds. 

Ready the gardens by removing the grass; weeds, rock and other debris then use your tiller to break up eight inches of the top soil.  Work the clumps out of the soil until it is a fine texture then amend with the coffee grounds.  

Water the new garden bed lightly. The water will allow the nutrients found in coffee to slowly release into the soil. 

Feed your Lawn with Coffee

Another way to recycle coffee is to fertilize your lawn.  Add dry coffee grounds to your broadcaster and spread the coffee evenly on your lawn, then water the grass.  Your grass will green up fast and will grow in as a lush lawn.

List of Acid Loving Plants and Shrubs
 Amaryllis, aster, azalea, bleeding heart, blueberry, camellia dogwood, evergreens, fern, fir, gardenia, holly, huckleberry hydrangea, lily of the valley, lupine, magnolia, marigold, roses, rhododendrons, strawberries

Other Uses for Coffee
Repel ants, slugs, snails, grubs, cats and dogs from your flower beds with spent coffee grounds.

Dilute any leftover coffee in the pot with water and feed your acid loving houseplants with the watered down coffee.  

Recycle coffee by adding to your compost.