Water therapy – for plants
OK – I admit it – it is hot outside. If you have plants in pots, you will see them wilting faster than plants in the ground. Best to check them each day and look for signs of wilting. An important things to consider during there spikes in temperature and the warmer days of summer ahead is watering the plants, especially now that we have officially moved into summer.
It is better to water longer because you will saturate the soil. The goal is to water deeply so plants will produce roots that go deeper into the soil. The results will be healthier plants that will be able to withstand dry periods longer. Watering for only a few minutes doesn’t really help a plant because it will only dry out again sooner. Most plants need an inch of water per week during the spring and fall season. An inch and a half of water is required, on average, during summer months.
Mulching around plants helps retain moister in the soil and you will not have to water as often. I use a shredded hard wood mulch around larger plants such as trees and shrubs. I have been using newspaper and straw in the vegetable garden. Having soils that are rich in organic material helps retain moisture longer.
Frequently check the soil to see how dry it actually is. Stick your finger into the ground down to your knuckle. If it is still moist – check it again the next day. Remember – watering deeply throughout the root zone of the plants is the key. Deeper roots (trees and shrubs) require longer watering.
A good video on watering tips – that is fun to watch – and actually learn from is at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrdN5Z5K5QsRead more
Pinching Tomatoes – Therapy in the Garden
Many people really enjoy growing tomatoes. And there’s a great variety of plants – from small cherry tomatoes to the larger slicing tomatoes. We go to great lengths to water, weed and protect these special plants.
One of the questions people ask about caring for tomato plants is how to pinch off the suckers that emerge between the branches. Removing the suckers on indeterminate tomato plants is important. Indeterminate tomatoes are tomato plants that continue growing in length throughout the growing season. However, you do not want to remove the suckers from the bush (determinant) tomato plants because these are smaller growing plants.
Staking is another important consideration in tending to tomato plants. I have staked tomatoes one way for many years – learning the skill from my grandfather. (Doesn’t it all go back to ideas gleaned from other gardeners?) My grandfather used to use wooden stakes and tie up the plants with string.Read more
Therapeutic Gardens Greenletter – August 2011
An interesting garden web site to check out is Garden-Share.com. The site offers a variety of interactive groups to share ideas, such as vegetable Gardens, Perennials, Herbs, Container Gardens and other groups. According to the web site, vegetable gardening has enjoyed a surge in popularity. A recent survey of their members indicated that 45.8 percent of the gardeners cited “relaxation and enjoyment” as the main reason for gardening.
It is well know that the physical characteristics of a neighborhood influence the rate of walking by people living in the area. The research paper “Influence of environmental street characteristics on walking route choice of elderly people” published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology (2009) shows that this is especially true for older adults. Distance to parks, grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores and other entities influences whether older adults will walk to these sites. Pedestrian friendly design is very important for elders to encourage them to walk. Daily physical activities helps elders stay in shape, reduce weight, and stay socially connected. “Sufficient physical activity among older adults can reduce the risk of falls and increase functional status.”
Spending time outside during the summer months has many benefits, among them, the fragrances of the garden can be very profound. The Moonflower Vine has wonderfully smelling flowers that open as the sun sets. Gardenia is a plant that does well in pots and can be moved to the patio for enjoying is fragrant flowers. (You can bring it inside for the winter.) The more common plants, such as Basil, Lavender and Rosemary, add delight to all gardens. Be sure to plant them close to the walk or patio so you can touch them to release their delightful aromas.
It is hard to resist this tree, especially during the summer months. This is one of the few summer flowering trees. It is easy to care for, relatively disease resistant and is available in a range of sizes. Be sure to select a height that fits the setting. They are available in dwarf sizes up to 20 feet tall. They prefer a sunny location. I mention picking the ‘right tree for the right location’, because there is the term ‘crepe murder’ is used to identify the trees that are pruned to reduce their height.
A recent discussion of whether to cut out the suckers from tomato plants led to a little research. An educational and interesting on-line video details why suckers should be removed from indeterminant plants versus determinant (shrub) tomato plants. The sucker is the new growth taken off of the leaf terminal (new growth between the stalk and branch). Never sucker above the new blossoms. A link to the You Tube video is at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJgA4n-sCE8
Looking for an unusual plant to add to your recipes or just a conversation started in the garden – try growing Lime basil. It is great to add to your culinary adventures because of its unique gourmet flavor for fish and chicken dishes, vinegars, dressings, sauces, as well as for herb oils. It grows as a smaller compact (12″ – 24″) plant with bright green leaves, Lime Basil is good to plant in containers and along the walk so that contact will release its zesty aroma. It is very fragrant and will definitely attract attention.
A quick list of some of the plants that will attract hummingbirds includes: cardinal Flower, Trumpet Honeysuckle and Pineapple Sage, to name a few.
“I could go on and on. But that is what gardening is, going on and on.” – Margery Fish
Design for Generations, LLC
Creating Restorative Gardens.Read more
HARNESSING THE POWER OF GARDENS TO HEAL
The current issue of Garden Design magazine (Jul/Aug 2010) has a great article on Healing Gardens and the work of Clare Cooper Marcus. This is a definite read for anyone who has an interest in the healing powers of gardens and why nature can play an important role in the healing process. The article chronicles the work of Ms. Cooper
Marcus and how she has been a leader in helping to define how these spacial gardens should be designed.
Ms. Cooper Marcus talks about how healing gardens should be as much, if not more, about plants and less about creating abstract designs. The gardens should “provide a sense that you are in a garden and not a plaza or indoors.” The garden, as Clare explains in the article, should be designed to include four essential elements: exercise, social support, a sense of control and a distraction of nature. These and other important design ideas are discussed in the article.
The article may be found in the magazine starting on page 73 and additional information at the web site www.gardendesign.comRead more
Benefits of Nature
British researchers looked at ten various studies on the effects of activities performed outside in nature. Activities such as walking, cycling and gardening had positive effects on the 1,200 people surveyed. According to Jo Barton, co-author of the study, “There would be a large potential benefit if people were to self-medicate more with green exercise.” The largest positive health changes occurred when people exercised in the outdoors.
The article, “What is the Beat Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health” can be found at the link http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/es903183rRead more