Saturday, November 24, 2012

We Have Moved

Hello, We Have moved!
Come visit
The Growing Patch
on our new site.


There is so much more to do and see over there.
Don't be shy, come on over!

Growers Trust Product review P1

Growers Trust Product review Part 1.

 I received a package in the mail today from Growers Trust. In case you missed the first post, you can see it here at Growers Trust review coming soon. When I opened the box, I was very surprised. I know on the Growers Trust website you can buy the 16 fl oz, 32fl oz, 1 gallon, and 1 gallon concentrate bottles . For a review I thought I was going to receive a smaller sample bottle or the 16fl oz, but they sent me a full sized 32fl oz bottle. That was very nice of them, and I am sure I will use every last drop.
So these are the two products that they sent. One of the great things about getting these in the mail was the packaging. I've ordered a few products online before, and they generally come in over sized boxes, and a generous amount of paper. The box was just big enough, with just enough paper to hold and secure the two products. This is always nice, as I do not want to create a bunch of trash, or use a lot of trees.

Both bottles come with their own spray nozzle, and directions on the back. The nice touch on the instructions, is there is an indoor process, and outdoor process.

The first product I am going to talk about is the Powdery Mildew killer. I applied the spray on the plants that had visible powdery mildew on them. I applied a generous amount as the directions said. I have to say that the products smell nice. There are no harsh chemicals, or foul odors. They are primarily plant extract and citrus oil, so there was a nice smell of lemons in the air when I sprayed my plants. I sprayed my plants about three hours ago.
 Checking my plants again, I saw a little bit of powdery mildew left on the worst leaf of my bamboo. I took my thumb and gently rubbed the leaf, and the mildew came right off, whereas before I would be able to rub some off, but a small amount would still visibly remain.
  The bottle says to repeat every 5-7 days as needed. For this leaf, I am going to repeat the process just to make sure. On my other plants and leaves that had the Powdery Mildew, I see no more evidence on the plants. In 5-7 days, I will spray again and apply the product to my bamboo, and I should be set.
  Over all, on the Powdery Mildew Killer, I am very pleased and impressed. Growers Trust has a very good, and organic product. I will suggest this to my friends and family. If you notice that you have any Powdery Mildew on your indoor plants, or you live in a warmer region, Go over to http://www.growerstrust.com and pick up a bottle of Powdery Mildew Killer. I am sure that you will be just like myself, pleased, and delighted with the product that you receive.

 Check back later as I give a review on Growers Trust's Spider Mite Killer.
   Thank you for reading,
        Garrett

Friday, November 23, 2012

Annual or Perennial?

Annual or Perennial?

 Have you ever wondered what the difference was? When you get into gardening these two words are thrown around a lot. So, what is an Annual and what is a Perennial?

Annual-  Annuals only live once a year. They usually germinate, and die off after a year, or when the seasons change, depending on your climate zone. If you prevent an annual from seeding, it may live longer then a year.
  Types of Annuals:
     corn, beans, grains, marigolds, blue eyes, daisies, begonias, and much much more.

Perennial- Perennials are plants that live for more then two years. Some perennials are only grown as annuals depending on the climate they are grown in, and the gardener.
   Types of Perennials:
     Wooded plants, orchids, ferns, aster, baby's breath, and much more.

So there you go, a little less trouble when it comes to deciding between an Annual and a Perennial. I hope you enjoyed this post.
   Thank you for reading,
        Garrett.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Indoor Lighting: How much is enough?

Indoor Lighting: How much is enough?

  I've been wanting to do more intense growing, and get away from plants that only need indirect lighting. If I want to get a set up that can grow plants that require more light, I'll need to know a few things.

  Space for gardening
  Lighting fixtures

  Precise humidity control

  Space to develop a garden
  First of all, I live in an apartment. I have a stepson and wife as well, so I can not use an entire room. Currently I have a table in front of my sliding glass door. This table holds my plants. The table is a little full, but with some organization I can clear some space.
 Second, I have a 15 gallon fish tank that I have been holding onto. I can clear enough space off the table to hold the tank. So I will use the tank to hold my plants, and it will make sense later why I chose to use an aquarium.

Lighting fixtures
  How much lighting would I need to light up this tank? That all depends on the type of plants I will be growing.

 High Light Plants: around 40 watts of light per square foot.
 Low Light Plants: around 25 to 30 watts of light per square foot.

 Great! So how much square feet do I have? Use this formula:

  Width (in feet) x Depth (in feet) = Square feet

 I have 2 x 1 = 2 square feet of growing space.
For high level plants I will need 80 watts total, and 50-60 watts for low light plants.

Humidity Control
In an aquarium this is rather easy. There are lids to fish tanks, that can hold humidity around 90 to 100% pretty easily. I'll be using an Aqueon Versa Top. They fit very well into a tank. If you do an aquarium garden, and need to control the humidity well, I would pick up a Versa Top. The other reason why I want a fairly tight sealing lid, specifically the one mentioned previously, is that it keeps all the moisture away from the lights. So I do not have to worry about a fire or anything while I go out during the day.

And that is it. The math is pretty easy to figure out how much light you will need. I hope that I helped you answer any questions. If you are looking to start up an indoor garden, let me know. I would love to see or hear about your set up, and what plants you are going to grow.

 Thanks for reading,
     Garrett.

Cornucopia Recipe

  • Tear off a 30x18 inch sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Fold it in half to 18x15 inch. Roll diagonally to form a hollow cone, about 18 inches long with a diameter of 5 inches at the widest end (Cornucopia opening). Fasten end with clear tape. Stuff cone with crumpled regular foil until form is rigid. Bend tail of cone up then down at end. Spray the outside of the aluminum cone with non-stick cooking spray. Place on cookie sheet.
  • Beat the egg with the water to make a glaze. Open and unroll the first can of bread stick dough on work surface. Separate bread sticks. Begin by wrapping one bread stick around tip of cone. Brush end of next bread stick with Glaze and press to attach to end of first bread stick. Continue spiral-wrapping cone, slightly overlapping dough until there are 3 bread sticks left.
  • Pinch one end of the 3 breadsticks together, then braid. Brush bread around opening of cornucopia with glaze. Gently press on braid. Brush entire cornucopia with glaze.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes or until bread is a rich brown. (If parts start to darken too much, cover them with pieces of foil.)
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely on cookie sheet on a wire rack. Carefully remove foil when cool. (If freezing, leave foil in bread for support. Remove when thawed.)
  • This Recipe came from http://allrecipes.com/ , and this recipe can be found at http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cornucopia/  Check the site out. 

    Do you have any good centerpieces? Send Me an email at growingpatchblog@gmail.com and I'll make a new post out of them.

     Thank you for reading,
        Garrett.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    TGP's second Author..

      A New Author
      The TGP has a new author, Holly. She will be doing a post hopefully next week. She is a little under the weather with the flu. I went to High School, and worked with her at the pet store. I am excited to see her articles on TGP. Here is Holly's profile.

    Holly
      I am a pet store employee and student at a nearby university. I am majoring in Environmental Studies and Biology, and minoring in Chemistry. I have several associates degrees related to biology. My interest in plant life began when I was approximately five, when my dad enlisted me to help him plant 100 trees on our property where a corn field used to be. I did not understand it then, but I definitely appreciate what he did now. The old field is now a forest of oaks and pines.
       I went on to plant extremely successful vegetable gardens, flower gardens, and wildflower gardens (for the fauna). I am extremely interested in attracting hummingbirds and other rarely seen birds to my area. Recently I decided I wanted a lemon tree, so while making lemonade, I dried some seeds and was able to successfully grow some seedlings, which I am very proud of.
       I am also interested in insectivorous plants, which I have had some success with. Sundews and water pitchers are probably my favorites. I hope to learn a lot from this, and teach a lot in turn. Thanks.
    -Holly

    Look for Holly's posts coming up. Until then, check out these Reusable Foods. 
     Have a great day!
         Garrett

    Great sites for Gardening help.


    When In Doubt.
    There are times when I need a little bit of gardening help. When my friends or family do not have an answer, I can always turn to the internet. I have found several great sites that have top quality information.

    Reddit
      In the past few years, maybe you have heard of this site. If you have not, I suggest that you check it out. There are two areas of reddit that I like to go to.
    Gardening - here you can find useful tips and stories by other gardeners. Even ask them questions if you can not find the answer.

    What Is This Plant - Did you go hiking, and found an odd plant? Take a picture of the plant, and post it here. In a few hours someone will let you know what it is, or at least where to look.

    You Grow Girl
      This site is very well written. The pictures in each post are very well done. I enjoy looking at You Grow Girl from time to time. I always seem to get inspired when I do. check out You Grow Girl.
     This is a great article for anyone who is going to want to save plants (if you haven't already.)
    Bringing Potted Plants Indoors











    Kitchen Gardeners International
     Or KGI as the cool kids like to say. I love cooking, and I love to garden. This site combines both worlds into just a visually, and mentally appeasing site. I bet you will love Kitchen Gardeners International too.
     What is better, hot or cold compost? Find out Here.








    66 Square Feet
     This is just an awesome idea. In today's world, gardening can be cramped for most people, especially living in the city. The layout of Marie's garden, and the plants and flowers that she grows are just beautiful. Check this blog out for sure. 66 Square Feet.
     My favorite part of her blog is Roof Farm. Just great pictures, and well written articles all around. If you are gardening in a small area, check Marie's blog out.











    Urban Farm Online
      Looking to raise a goat in the city? Maybe just a few gardening tips. Urban Farm Online has all of these things, and more. UFO has very well written and intriguing articles. They really do have tips on goat keeping,a even bee keeping. For a interesting read check out Urban Farm Online.






    I hope everyone checks these sites out. There is so much good information to be had in these five sites alone. Take a look at let me know what you think. Feel a blog should be listed here? Leave a comment and I can make it happen.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    Growers Trust review coming soon

    Good news everyone.
    Hello everyone, I was contacted today by Growers Trust. They have asked me to do a guest post for them. I will be reviewing two of their products. Both products deal with situations that I have talked about before. The first product of theirs is Powdery Mildew Killer. I have watched the video, and I am very excited.
     The second product that I will be reviewing is Spider Mite Killer. I still have my coleus that has some spider mites on it. Growers Trust really contacted me at the right time. These things are driving me crazy. The product is organic. That is always a plus.

    When will I be doing the review?
     In the next week, probably after Thanksgiving. They sent the products out today, and should be arriving shortly.

    What now?
      Well, for now, I would suggest you checkout their site Growers Trust. The site is crisp and clean. They have a few videos on their site that explain their products. They also have a little blog. Check their blog out at http://www.growerstrust.com/blogs/news

    Here are their two videos. The first is for the Powdery Mildew Killer, and the second video is for the Spider Mite Killer.


      .



    The neat thing about these products, is that they are organic. I want to try to stay with organic products as much as possible. I am sure that some of you feel the same way.
     Check back in a week, and I should have the review of both products posted.
        thank you for reading.
          Garrett.


    White powder mildew

    White powder Mildew.

     If you have found a few white spots on your plants, join the club. These white spots can appear on most plants. Don't worry too much, this mildew is generally not fatal to plants. It will cut down on photosynthesis of your plant. These mildews are a type of fungi, however there is nothing fun about this guy. There are several species of the mildew. They all function in the same fashion. The different types of mildew don't affect other plants. If you have mildew on your coleus, you wont get the same species on your jade plant.

    What causes white powder mildew?
    High humidity, or just a general dampness around the plant.
    Poor air circulation
     Make sure that you take care of the mildew as soon as you can. If you do not your plant can be in a bit of danger. It won't receive full photosynthesis that the plant needs, and won't be able to process the nutrients properly.

    I'll wait till winter.
      If you think the winter will solve your problems, think again. Most of these fungi will lay dormant in plant matter and debris overwinter. When the temperature picks back up the fungi will release spores. Then the wind and insects will help spread the spores.

    How do I get rid of it?
     You can improve air circulation for plants that need a high humidity by pruning, or having a fan around your plants. Prune out the leaves that have the mildew on them, and wash your hands very well. You will probably need a fungicide to rid your plants fully of white mildew, but there is a method using baking soda. I hear that this method is fairly effective.

    Baking Soda mixture to take care of White powder mildew.

      1 tablespoon of baking soda
      1/2 teaspoons of liquid soap
      1 gallon of water.

    Please make sure that you do a test patch on your plants first. Some soaps can burn your plants, and some plants are pretty sensitive. For more sensitive plants, make sure you water them well a few days before you apply the baking soda mixture  Spray your plants that are infected once a week to two weeks as needed.

    I hope this helps you. If you have any questions please ask.
           Garrett.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Leaf burns

     Leaf Burns, and what causes them.
        Have ever noticed sometimes on your plants, you have leafs that are burnt, and don't know why? In this article, I am going to talk about a few reasons why your plant has burnt leafs. There are a few things that you can do to take away leaf burn. Check the plant's water, sun, and temperature needs.

    Water- Some plants need more water then others. But if you give too much water, or not enough water, your plant could start to have burnt leafs. Check around for care guides to make sure you are giving the right amount of water to your plant. I suggest when you buy a pot, make sure it has a drainage hole, and a saucer to catch the run off. This will help your plant not sit in excess water, also help the humidity in your home.

    Humidity- Some plants need a higher humidity. I would suggest that you again check the care guide for your plants. If you don't have enough humidity in your house during the winter, mist your plants leaves. My house in the winter is fairly dry. As a result I have started to see a few burn spots on my plants.

    Fertilizer- If you are using a liquid fertilizer, and you see your plants are having burnt leaves shortly after you fertilize them, adjust your levels. Too much fertilizer is not a good thing. You can flush your soil if you have added too much by running water through the soil a few times.

    Sun- Do you see the plant leafs turning yellow, and sometimes some scorch marks, move your plant? Some plants do not require much sun at all. Put your plant where it will be the most happy.

    Cold- Sometimes if you have a tropic plant next to a window during winter, the plant will develop burnt leafs. If you can move the plant away from the window a bit, and increase the temperature of your house, that would be best. Make sure your plant has enough humidity as well.

    Fluoride- Some plants are damaged by fluoride over time. These plants are usually in the dracaena family. Plants like your dragon trees, and lucky bamboo. Studies are being done on other plant families that fluoride damages.

    These are your main culprits. I suggest that if you do have some burnt leafs, that you check the care guides for your plants. People also suggest using distilled water. This will cut out any chemicals that are found in tap water.
      Thanks for reading,
            Garrett

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

    Reusable foods: a growing list.

     I had posted a list earlier about some foods that you don't have to throw away, you can put them in a pot and regrow them. Check this post out for the guides on green onions, and garlic. This time we will be talking about some of our best spuds.

      What is first on the table?
       Sweet Potatoes! Who doesn't love a sweet potato? If you have never had one, pick one up next shopping trip. You can prepare them just like a regular potato. My favorite way to make a sweet potato is to mash them up, and add cinnamon and brown sugar. My wife taught me this.
         To regrow a sweet potato do this. Take the bottoms of the sweet potato , jam some tooth picks in the sides. Suspend the potato over a glass of water so it is partly submerged. Put the cup of water in a sunny spot, and wait a few weeks. Add water as needed. Now you will have roots on bottom and shoots on top. Divide your potato up, and plant. Harvest your new Sweet potatoes when the leaves turn yellow.
    Potato. Do the same for potatoes as you did the sweet potato.

    Ginger, but no Marry Ann. Did you buy some Ginger from the Grocery store? If it isn't dried out, plant your ginger partly in soil so the roots are in, but there is section above ground, and the nubs are facing up, or out. Keep your soil moist. After a few weeks, your ginger will start to grow again. If you live in Michigan, bring your ginger inside during the cold months.

    Celery. I do not like Celery said I to miss Elery. I do not like it in the gallery, I do not like it in the ally. I do not like celery said I to miss Elery. If you do like celery this is for you. When your munching down on the worlds worst vegetable, you eat it to a certain point. That base there that you would normally throw away. Soak it in warm water over night. Plant it in the morning, in fertile moist soil. Keep the soil wet for the next few days and moist for the next month. In a few weeks, you will have some stalks.

    Pineapple. Let's get juicy. Take the top (or crown) of the pineapple, cut it off the pineapple. Trim the shell or skin off the pineapple, and let it dry a little. Place the crown in water for a few days until roots begin to grow. Plant the crown in some soil. Keep it warm, keep dirt out of the leafy part, and water on the crown. When you plant the pineapple in soil, make sure the soil is pretty moist, and taper it off after a few days. The pineapple will be ready in a few years.

    Shallots. These guys grow just like garlic, see here.

    Turnips. The the top of a Turnip, plant it in semi moist soil that is fertile. After a few weeks you will have some growth going on. Keep the turnip in a sunny window with moist soil. 

    AVOCADO!  Want the coolest tree in town? Take an avocado, and remove the pit. Wash the pit off very well so no avocado is on the outside. Push tooth picks into the pit. Have them in the pit enough until you can pick up the avocado by the tooth pick. You will need four total. Suspend the avocado about half way in a container of water. you can use a glass or a bowl for this. Change your water every two days. Make sure that you have your avocado in a sunny window.
     Keep changing the water for about three weeks. Around this time, you will see some growth. Keep changing your water. After three months or so, you will have decent root growth going on, and your leaves at the top will about 8-10 inches. Pinch off the top few leaves.The tree will be encouraged to grow more branches after this. 
     Now you can plant. You will want a decent size pot with a draining hole Dig a shallow hole in your pot. Plant the pit so the top half is exposed, with the root side down. Make sure your tree is straight up. Press the dirt firmly around the pit. Now pour a little water around the pit, this gets the dirt to settle. There you go. Keep your tree in a sunny area of your house, and keep your soil moist.


    Mint To see how to grow mint, Check this out.

    So there we go, 11 foods so far. If you have any more remember let us know and we will add it on.
     Thank you for reading,
          Garrett

    Family Gardening

    Family Gardening

     Gardening with your family can be a lot of fun. Kids love to learn. This is also a good time to help kids who don't like to get their hands dirty to overcome their phobia. My step son Eian for example doesn't like to get his hands dirty at all, however during the summer, he didn't seem to mind one bit.


      It is all about quality time. Kids crave it. Plus it is always nice to see their expression as the plants first start to grow and change. You and your kids can water the plants together. Pick the flowers, and even the veggies if that is what you planted.


      This past summer, Eian and I tried planting some wild flower seeds. The potter became water logged due to a very heavy rain and I was working so much I did not catch it in time. Sadly the seeds never grew. We had fun anyway planting together.


    This doesn't just have to be an outside spring and summer time activity. You can do this all year round. Maybe you would like to try your hand at a terrarium, or just grow some flowers inside. Either way, include your kids. They will have more fun than what you think. Just make sure to explain to them the steps that you are taking. One day they may do the same thing with their children.

     Thank you for reading,
           Garrett

    2 reusable foods

    Two Reusable foods

     Have you ever had a few bits of garlic or green onion that you just wanted to get your money out of? Well here is how to do just that.

    Green onion
      You are cooking, and you are using green onion. Well save those white parts. You can take a glass of water. and throw them in there. Make sure that the roots are facing down and the stem is above the water a bit. After about a week you will have some good growth. At this point you can go ahead and plant them in some dirt. Good job!

    Garlic
      Have some puny bits of garlic you just did not get to use? Throw them right in some moist potting soil. You will have a whole new bit of garlic.

    Two awesome foods that you can reuse. If you have any foods that you know how to reuse, let us know and we'll post them on our front page.

     Thank you for reading.
            Garrett.

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    Spider Mite Update.

     Update
       Congratulations to me! I have successfully taken care of my spider mites. In a few days I will do another sweep just in case there are eggs that didn't die. If you need to know anything about spider mites, check out my posts for Part 1 and Part 2
      If you have spider mites, they are pretty easy to take care of. Good luck.

    To mint, or not to mint

    To mint, or not to mint, that is the question. Mint: one of the greatest plants I love mint. I love the smell, the taste, and how it grows. The mint plant is just so awesome. How could you not love this plant. Making tea? Put some mint in there. Baking? Throw some mint in there. Why I like mint When I was growing up, every year or so, my dad and I would go to Virginia to visit my grandmother. She had a huge yard, in front and back. When I went on my grandmothers back porch, there was this amazing, big mint plant. It was just so massive. It had an amazing aroma. The taste of the leaves was fresher, and more vibrant than any piece of gum.

    What does mint do for you? Mint is one of those smells that really brighten everything up. It makes your house smell a little more cozy with its inviting smell. Mint purifies your air. Not only does it recycle your breath, it will absorb toxins that are in your home. In the winter time, fresh clean air indoors is a must. After all inside air is dirtier then outside air. How to grow mint If I were you, I would get a large pot. About 5 gallons will do. Make sure that the pot has a basin, or dish for excess water to go. Put a good draining potting soil that has a high nitrogen level in the pot. Check out my guide to fertilizers. When you plant your mint, keep the exposure of the roots to the air at a minimum. Once your plant is in the soil, I like to give mine a bit of water. Just enough to make the soil a little more compact around the roots. Sun for my mint Mint likes the sun. About five hours of direct sun a day. Growth and setbacks Mint plants grow fast. This is a great thing though. If you use it in your tea, or cooking, you can use mint just about everyday. The more you use, the better your bush will look. I didn't use my bush for a few months, and it looks like a spider.
    You will have some set backs if you over water, or poor water directly over the mint plant in large quantities. Your mint plant drinks a lot of water. But it also has a chance to drown if the roots stay too wet. The mint plant will bounce back though. So if you over water, just don't water for a week or two.

    Propagation Take a cutting of about three inches, and place it in water. Only about the bottom inch needs to be under water. The plant will root fairly quick. This will take about 10 days. Once you have some established root growth, go ahead and plant your new mint plant.

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    Christmas ideas, and Jade Plants.

    These are the two jade plants that I will be giving away if they make it. I have 3 more leafs starting and some branches too. However these are the only extra pots that I had at the moment. The pots will come with the jade plants.
    The potting soil is Sta-green from Lowes. It isn't anything special, but here is a link for it. Sta-green
    I hope the aloe takes off. I would like to give that away for Christmas too.

     But here are some other good plants to either get yourself or someone else for Christmas.

    1. Wheatgrass. Wheatgrass doesn't need much light, and it grows pretty. It is fairly inexpensive too.

    2. Jade Plant. Check out the care guide for the Jade Plant to learn why it is a great plant.

    3. Lucky Bamboo. Lucky bamboo is easy to take care of and pretty in groups. Learn about Lucky Bamboo.

    4. Herb Garden. If you are looking to cook with a nice level of freshness, get an herb garden. Most herbs that you will grow are fairly easy to keep. They do not need much light, and you may use them everyday. 

    5. Coleus. I know I talk about it all the time. But once you have a Coleus, you will see why they are so awesome. Maybe your local lawn and garden store has one. Check it out, or at least watch a video on them. Also, you can check out the care guide here

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Cut cut cut

     Hello everyone. I have some prime plants that I need to try to propagate. I am trying to propagate my Coleus, Jade Plant, and Aloe. I really need a new project, and this will be a good one.

    Coleus
      To propagate a coleus you will find a 3-5 inch section of the plant. Cut off any flowing (this will take away nutrients from growing, and probably kill off the cutting).

    Remove the leafs on the bottom two inches of the cutting.

    Fill a cup, or a jar with water.

    Put your cutting in the water so about 2 inches of the cutting are in the water.

    Wait....for about two weeks. Sometimes a week will be okay. Once your Coleus has about 2-3 inches of roots coming out of it.

    Now we plant. and there you go.

    Jade Plant
     This can be propagated a few ways. First way is the leaf way.

     1.)Pinch off a leaf.

     Place in semi dry dirt. After about two weeks there you go. Water just a little bit every week.

     Next method is the branch method.

      2.) Cut a branch off that is around 3-5 inches.

           Let set out for a week so the bottom can callus over.

          Place the branch (callus side down) in some potting soil. Give a little water every week.
    There you go, two ways to propagate a Jade Plant.

    Aloe
     With aloe I have read a few different ways. first way is to let the Aloe pup. When the Aloe pups you can just gently pull it out and replant it.
      The Second way there are two options.
          First, do like we did with the Jade branches. Cut a section of about 2-3 inches. Let them callus for about a week. then Plant.
         Second, Cut a section of about 3-5 inches. Then plant straight up.

    I'm a bit cautious on the second way of propagating Aloe from cuttings, just because it may grow mold easier. That is another thing. If you are going to propagate by using cuttings, make sure you have your powder handy. Mold can get out of control and just wreck you whole day.
      Well there you go. In about two weeks if my propagation goes as planned I will give away some of my new plants.
       Hope to see you soon.
              Garrett.

    The Spider Mite Battle.

     Hello again. So yesterday I was able to identify, and take action against some spider mites. The method that I used was the alcohol and water solution.

    Alcohol and Water
      Take a spray bottle, add one part rubbing alcohol, and one part water (1:1) put them in the bottle together. Then spray the undersides of the leafs, and base of the plant.

    How did it work?
      The alcohol and water worked great. My plants are super green today. There are almost zero webs, and I took a white piece of paper and put it under the leaves that I knew for sure had spider mites on them. Some fell off and didn't move. I killed them dead.

    Great, you got them all right?
      NO! I noticed a few webs on my aloe. So I went through my plants in fine detail. I sprayed every little bit of the plants. The worst part was my Coleus. There are so many leaves, that I had to spray so much. But I should be set now. In a few more days I will look in close detail again. I will probably have to do one or two sprays but that should be it.

     So there you have it. I hope this works for you. If you have any trouble stories or questions please leave a comment. I would be happy to help you out.

     See Spider Mites for the full article on what they are, and what they do.

     I hope this helps.
             Garrett

    Moss balls, my wet friends.

     Hello, I'm going to be talking about moss balls, and aquatic plant. I had to take down my half gallon tank yesterday and inside I had a moss ball. I had bought this plant at Petco when I worked there. I'm told that they only grow 5mm a year, but this moss ball has easily doubled his size in the past six months.


    Why would it grow so fast?
    If I were to guess, it would be because I had a very poor filter, led lights, and an over stocked tank. I had 15 fish in the half gallon tank. The plants that I had in there easily kept the tank clear and clean. This moss ball probably doubled in size because of that.

    So what is a moss ball, and why should you have one in your tank, or just in a jar?
      The moss ball has a few names depending on where you go. Mirimo, lake ball, moss ball, Cladophora ball. This moss ball, isn't really moss. The moss ball is actual a type of algae.

     Algae, why would I want to put that into my tank?
        The moss ball will stay in its ball shape, so it wont make your tank all green. It also eats the same nutrients as regular algae, but it eats them faster. So this helps keep down your algae that will grow on the glass. That is worth having for sure. This is also the reason why my half gallon tank didn't have any algae in it, well besides the moss ball.

     So what does it do?
       Well, the moss ball is just a plant, it will filter the water, and keep it clean. My moss ball, as fish were dying it started to be covered with bones and fish bodies. So it more then likely aided in breaking them down. Some say that the moss ball even will move around your tank.

    Where do moss balls come from?
      Moss balls are found mainly in the Northern Hemisphere and are most present in countries such as Iceland, Japan, Estonia, and Scotland.

    How do they grow?
      There are three different types of this plant. There is the Moss ball proper, which is the round velvet like balls you can buy in pet stores. There is the epilithic form, this grows on rocks that are in shade. Then there is the a form that grows as a free floater.

    How to care for your moss ball.
      When you have your moss ball, if you have it in a tank, you can introduce your plant into the tank as normal, and it will be just fine from here on out. If you have it in a glass of water, or a jar, make sure you change the water every two weeks or so.

    My moss ball is turning brown. What do I do?
     If you moss ball is in a tank, take it out and put it in a glass of water. Add a pinch of salt and let it sit in indirect light for the next week. You should be okay after that. Not always do you need to do this. Your moss ball can heal by its self.

    Now what?
     If you have your moss ball, and it is gaining some mass that is great. After a while of having your moss ball, your ball will grow what looks like a tumor. This happens after a few years of growth, depending on the environment of the ball. The tumor is fine, let it grow for a few months after you notice it. Let it grow. After a few months take your thumb and rub it gently. This should pop that tumor off.

    *Warning* If you go to a pet store, and there are balls of moss that are floating, this is not the same thing. Moss balls that we are talking about sit on the bottom of the tank. The other is a Styrofoam ball that is covered in actual moss, wrapped in fishing line, and generally attached to a sinker. You will want the moss ball that sits on the bottom of the tank.  You can tell the difference by the touch.
     The moss balls that we are talking about are squishy. the other kind are not.*Warning*

    Ew, a plant tumor.
     No this is a good thing. Leave that thing alone after you get it off. This with any luck, will turn into another moss ball. If you have it in a tank and you need to gravel vac your tank, gently scoop it into a cup and out of the tank while you gravel vac. The baby ball needs time to grow undisturbed.

     That is it, you now know what you need to about moss balls. I suggest you go get one. They are really neat, and one of my favorite plants to put in an aquarium.
          Thank you for reading.
               Garrett.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Spider Mites!

    Spider Mites, how i loathe thee. If yo do know what spider mites are, I'm sorry. If you don't know what spider mites are, I'm sorry. I found out today that some of my plants ended up getting spider mites on them. DOH! So what is a spider mite and what do they do?

     Spider mites are super small, and leave webs like a spider. They eat plants, and breed like wildfire. They are not very nice looking huh? You don't have to worry about them hurting you. They eat plants. Spider mites do get fairly big though. (Just writing about this gives me he Hebe geebies.)

    So how do you get rid of them? There are a few answers to that. First if you are able, isolate the plants that you see webs on. If you can enclose the plant in a container, you can raise the humidity for a few days and they should do the trick.


     What if that doesn't work, Help my plant is dying! Well you can take rubbing alcohol and water in a 1:1 solution, put that in a spray bottle. When the solution is in a spray bottle, spray the plant, focusing on the under sides of the leafs, and the base of the plant. This should kill off most of them. If they are still making webs, repeat a few days later.


     Hey! Uh still doing it, now what? Well you will need to use a miticide on your plants. Make sure you talk to a garden expert in your area or do a bunch of research on these guys before you go down this route. Sometimes miticide will have adverse reactions to your plants.


     Yo man, I want to be all natural and stuff, what do you have for me to use? Alright, so all natural it is
    Mix 1 part canola oil into 50 parts water (about 1 tablespoon oil to 1 litre water). Add a few drops of dish washing detergent and shake well.  Spray this mixture to take care of your pest problem. They make a wide range of green dish washing soaps

    There are a few dusts and sprays for the spider mites. Your local lawn and garden center should have them, or check the web.

    So there you have it, a few great options. If you know another great idea let us know. I hope this helps, and that your spider mite problem, and mine will be taken care of.

     Thanks for reading,
         Garrett.

    Way too much water.

     I looked at my little lemon tree, and it looked very sad today. As I examined the tree a little more, I noticed that the soil had way to much water! This is very bad for plants. If there is too much water in your pot, your plants will drown. Yes really. Over watering is actually one of the leading causes of death in house plants. So what I did, was I replanted the tree in some fresh clean and dryish potting soil. This should help out a bit. But how do you know if you are over watering the plants?

    Let the top inch or so of soil dry out. If the soil feels dry to the touch then you can add some water. If your soil is moist and visibly wet on the surface, let the poor thing dry out for a while. Your plants roots need oxygen, but not too much either, that can damage them too. Your plant will tell you when it has too much water. The leaves will turn a dull green. Stop watering right away. The best thing to do if you can, is to re pot the plant if there is so much water that it wont evaporate over a day or so. Keep the soil moist not wet.

     I will be writing a post about spider mites soon. As I have found I have a problem. Oh golly I have problems. But that is why we learn.

    Soils and Fertilizers, what we need to know.

     Hello everyone, let's get a little dirty. I'm talking about soil. Now I have been using a soil from Sta-green. I feel it has worked pretty well, but perhaps when the spring comes I will try a different brand. On your bag of soil there are going to be some numbers. On my Sta-green they are .10-.08-.06. what does that mean? Why should we care about those numbers? Let us take a look.

    There are three numbers on each bag of soil, or fertilizer. The numbers are representative of the main elements that are in the fertilizer. N-P-K. Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium. Awesome, so what does that mean for you and your plants?

    Nitrogen: Nitrogen will make things green. If you are growing grass, or just some trees or even some herbs, Go with a higher Nitrogen. If you are growing flowers, or something that grows fruits, use less Nitrogen. That's good to know huh?

    Phosphorus: Phosphorus, this is your power element. Phosphorus helps with photosynthesis. This element also helps turn Nitrogen and Carbohydrates into food for your plants. That is pretty cool. What else does Phosphorus do? Well Phosphorus will make your flowers colors look more intense. Also your plants wont look so puny if you give them the Phosphorus that they crave.

    Potassium: A good friend to all. Potassium promotes strong and healthy roots. Potassium also helps your plants draw up more water. While this isn't something I will need too much of since I do indoor gardening, but you might. The more water your plant draws up the better it will withstand drought. That seems great for a cactus! Maybe for your lawn, because this past year Michigan had a bad drought, maybe your state will be next.

    *Some bags of soil do not have these numbers. This is because that soil doesn't have very much or any of the elements. Look before you buy*

    So, we learned some good information today I think. Next year I will definitely buy a few different small bags. Maybe I will even try liquid fertilizers. We can learn about those sometime soon too.
     Thank you for reading.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Contact TGP!

    Hey, if you have a story you would like to tell about your indoor gardening, or have pictures of your plants, I would love to see them. You can send an e-mail to me at growingpatch@gmail.com . I'll try my best to respond as quick as I can.
      Thanks,
        Garrett.

    My plants, better pictures.

      Hello everyone, I thought I would give some better pictures of my plants. The first few are of my cactus. I will be doing a care guide on a few different cacti in the future.





    These next few are of my Coleus. See how it is changing from red to green. Very pretty I think.




    The tree closest is my tree, and the one in the back ground that has the white pot, that is my step son's tree.


    The little lemon tree is doing pretty well I think.



    The last two are of my lucky bamboo. I have had them since the summer, and wow have they really grown. The neat thing about these pictures, not that you can see it well. So I suppose it isn't so neat. The neat thing is there is a little plant growing in the far side of the planter. I put wild flower seeds in here during the spring, but  we had a huge rain and the planter was flooded for a few days. I let it dry out. A few months later I put the bamboo in the planter, and the little flower came too. Very cool I think.

    So these are my plants. I would love to see some of the plants that you have in your home. You can send an email to me at growingpatchblog@gmail.com . If you even like, I will post them on the site, and link to your site or where ever you may want a link to go. Let's see what you have growing over there!
    Thanks,
    Garrett.


    Care guide: Jewel Orchid

    The Jewel Orchid has some awesome looking leaves. There are many varieties of these plants. Mine has silver veins running along the leaves. I'll give you a care guide so you can raise one too if you are lucky enough to come across one of these.

    Light: Jewel Orchids prefer low light levels. Too much light and you may burn up a leaf or two. I had mine in a pitcher when I first brought it home, and put it in a window, it did pretty well though. However mine is at 100% humidity.

    Soil: Keep the soil moist, but not with over flowing with water. Sphagnum moss is okay for this plant, but you will want to give it plant food.  A well draining orchid mix would be ideal.

    Water: Bottled water is best, to cut down on fluoride and any salts that may be in your water. Only water if the soil is becoming a little too dry.

    Temperature: Keep your Jewel Orchid above 60 degrees. They are tropical plants and prefer tropical temperatures. So if you can keep it around 80 that would be a bit better.




    Check out our new Video.

    This is our first video for TGP, check it out.

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Care guide: Dragon Tree

    The dragon tree is an interesting looking tree. It takes a couple of months to sprout, but once it does, it grows fairly fast. Here is what you need to know to take care of it.

    Light: The dragon tree does great with high levels of light. Keep the tree indoors if you live in a region that drops below 60 degrees.

    Water: When you have this plant in its potter, allow the top inch of the soil to dry out first, before you water it again.

    Soil: Give this plant a decent potting soil, that has a good drainage.

    Problem: Over watering can cause the roots to rot. So be careful when watering.

    Care guide: Venus Fly Trap

    The Venus Fly Trap is a fun little plant, here are some tips to keep them healthy and happy.

    Light: Give these guys around four hours of direct sunlight a day.

    Soil: Pick a soil that is low in nutrients. Having the fly traps in shagnum peat mosss is a good idea. This way the medium is will stay moist for a longer time frame, and it will be void of nutrients.

    Water: Make sure their soil stays moist. these guys thrive in high humidity, but if you are not going to have them covered, make sure your soil is moist.

    Dormancy: The Venus Fly Trap needs a few months of dormancy a year. an easy way to do this, is you will put the potter that they are in, in your fridge for two months. As long as your fridge doesn't go below 40 degrees that is. After two months you can take them out and they will spring back up.

    Growth: To get bigger fly traps, cut the flower off as soon as you see it. This will force the fly traps to continue to enlarge.


    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Care guide: Lucky bamboo

    Lucky bamboo is generally what you can buy in pet stores, or in your local Wal-mart, is actually part of the lily family, and various other house plants. More then likely you will get this plant from a store,or as a gift. If there is already a container for the bamboo, then you can skip a head a little bit. If not, keep reading.

     Take a container that you would like to put the bamboo in, and put some decorative rocks or pebbles in the bottom. Or you can even use soil like I do. If you use rocks you will want to fill up the container about 3/4ths of the way with rocks to hold the bamboo. If you are using soil, you will want to have about an inch of the bamboo under the soil.
     If you are using rocks, fill the container up to the top of the rocks with water. Replace the water after a month, or add new in when the water is almost gone. Some houses may be a little dry. When you do use water make sure that your water doesn't have much fluoride in the water, as lucky bamboo is sensitive to fluoride. To be safe you can use bottled water.
     If using dirt, make sure that the soil is damp. A trick to keep your soil damp for a longer period of time, is that you put rocks on top of the soil. This will cut down the surface area of the soil, allowing less water to evaporate.

    Now that our bamboo is planted, you will want to place the bamboo in an area that is bright, and receives a good amount of indirect sunlight. After this your bamboo should live just fine and happy. If the leafs of the bamboo start turning yellow, make sure you add fertilizer to the water or the soil of the bamboo. If the bamboo is in water, start changing the water once a week and add fertilizer after the new water is in. This will help your bamboo recover quickly. Other then that bamboo is pretty easy to care for, and a good learning plant to start with.

    Care guide: Aloe Vera


    Aloe Vera

    Sun: Keep out of direct sunlight. If leaves turn brown move to a more shaded area.

    Water:  Little water is needed. Can go a week or two without water, and soil only needs to be lightly damp.

    Fertilizer: little fertilization is needed, but plant will grow much faster with a decent fertilized soil. Miracle-Gro 15-30-15

    The larger the plant, the more potent the Aloe inside becomes.

    Give plenty of room for growth in a pot. So as the pups can have room to grow.


    Care guide: Jade Plant


    Jade Plant

    The Jade Plant is an easy houseplant to care for, thus why you see many people having them. The Jade Plant is characterized by plump, full leaves with a glossy appearance coming off of thick stems. In the right conditions, Jade Plants can reach up to 4 feet in height and width.


    Jade Plants prefer moderate light levels. Placing it this houseplant in a east or west-facing window or within 2 to 3 feet of a south facing window works best. Overall, try to allow the houseplant to receive 3 to 5 hours of bright, direct sunlight each day. If the stems become spindly, your plant is probably not getting enough light.


    The Jade Plant requires low water levels. You should allow the soil to dry out almost completely in between watering. A good way to tell if you houseplant is not receiving enough water is if the usually plump leaves become wrinkled.


    This houseplant is usually pretty good when it comes to common pests such as mealy bugs or mites. If pests appear spray a soapy dishwater mixture on the plant twice a day. If that does not get rid of the pests, visit your local garden center for a stronger insecticide.


    Since these houseplants can get large in size, you can prune it as needed in order to keep in a nice compact shape. Feel free to also remove and dead or dying leaves / stems.

    Care guide: fuchsia


    Fuchsia

    Sun: Morning and After noon sun but not Mid day sun.

    Bloom Time: Blooms repeatedly

    Foliage: Grown for foliage Evergreen
    Dark/Black Smooth-Textured

    Other details: Average

    Water Needs; Water regularly; do not over water

    Soil pH requirements:
    5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

    Propagation Methods:
    From hardwood cuttings

    Care Guide: Princess Lily


    Princess Lily

    Light: Full Morning and After noon sun. Keep out of Direct Mid day Sun as it is too hot for the leafs.

    Fertilizer : A mix of fertilizer with NPK 12:10:18 is excellent and suitable for these plants.

    Water: Princess lilies prefer a well-drained soil that is moist, but not soggy. Water regularly to keep the soil from drying out, but do not allow the plant to stand in water.

    Pruning: On young plants, pinching off the stem tips promotes a fuller plant with more branches off of the main trunk. Remove dead branches and leaves immediately and deadhead blooms that are done. The princess lily multiplies through rhizomes, which can be carefully separated in the spring to create more individual plants.

    Hardiness: USDA Zone 5 (Most of Michigan)

    Care guide: Coleus


    Coleus Plant
    Pinch your plant. Coleus plants can get leggy. Pinch growing tips often to encourage them to branch out and stay bushy and full. Also pinch off its small, insignificant flower spikes as soon as you notice them because they will detract from the beautiful foliage.

    Keep it moist. Coleus leaves will wilt and may fall off if the soil is too dry. You'll have a much healthier-looking plant if you keep the soil moist at all times. Use a pot with drainage holes and water thoroughly.

    Origin: Southeast Asia

    Height: Up to 2 ft (60 cm)

    Light: Bright light. Some direct sun is ok, except intense summer sun which will scorch the leaves. Too little light dulls leaf colors and may cause leaves to drop.

    Water: Keep soil evenly moist. Leaves will wilt if thirsty.

    Humidity: Moderate humidity. Set pot on a tray of wet pebbles.

    Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F, 16-24°C

    Soil: Any good potting mix

    Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring and summer with a
    balanced  liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

    Propagation: Sow coleus seeds in spring. Take 3 in (7 cm) coleus stem tip cuttings in spring or summer. Stem tip cuttings root easily in water or moist soil.


    First time gardener in the winter.

     If you have thought about getting a plant for the winter but don't want something that is too difficult to keep inside, look for evergreens. With evergreens you have a wide selection. If you want a tree you will probably go with either a bonsai, or a pine tree of sorts.
    Little bonsai trees are great to get into. They are fairly slow growing, and don't need a lot of care. So if you are a person who has a lot to do during the day, and may forget about a plant, these guys will be there for you. 
     If you want something a little softer looking, then you will be looking for a fern for sure. I loved my fern when I had it. It grows like a water fountain, you can go weeks with out watering it, and when you do, it will spring right back to life. 
    There are many different types of ferns. They have different looking leaves and grow a little different too. Their needs are different from one another, but most ferns are pretty happy with indirect light and moist soil. Above all plants to start off with, I would suggest a fern.
     Thank you for reading.
         Garrett.