Gardening Q & A with Jane Slone

How do I get my kids interested in gardening?

Find a pair of their old sneakers and use your imagination. Poke several holes in the sneakers so that water will drain. Let the kids pick out their plants. Have them add small rocks or gravel, add soil, place the plant in the shoe and add more soil. Water gently. Find a place in the garden. They can watch the plant grow. Make sure the plants are not poisonous. This will protect small children who might venture into the garden and pick flowers, that could end up in their mouths. This should help foster the idea of producing your own food and flowers, and give you a fun, family activity to share!

What’s a fun idea to use plants as a fun hideaway for my kids?

Anchor wire hoops in the ground. Plant a fast and easy climber a vine such as honeysuckle. By the summer the vines will cover the area and allow the kids to play in their own secret hideaway.

My plant is only growing to one side… what should I do?

Many times we purchase plants and find that perfect spot for them. They begin to grow and look attractive. After a period, there is growth on the sunny side and very little growth on the opposite side. The easy way to remedy this is to give them a half turn each week. The green leaves (foliage) will search the area for sunlight. This causes the plant to have more growth on one side than the other. Every time you water, make a half turn and then they will have full leaves on each side of the container. They will grow taller and thicker.

How do I take care of the soil for my houseplants?

House plants need air in their soil. After several years, the soil becomes hard and water and fertilizer can’t reach the roots. This can reduce the amount of growth and even cause the plant to die. You could remove the plant from the container and shake the soil off the roots and then re-pot into the same container. This can get messy if you have very many houseplants. And the size of the container may be so heavy it is impossible to move the plant for revitalization.

The answer is as close as your kitchen… Take a fork and rake the soil in different directions. This will loosen the soil and allow air to get to the roots. This process will aerate the soil and reduce trauma to the root system. I would also spray the soil with liquid fertilizer. By spraying the soil, you limit the amount absorbed and helps protect the roots from fertilizer burn.

When is the right time to re-pot a houseplant?

One question a gardener may ponder is when to re-pot my houseplants? If it is a flowering plant, being kept in a small pot is beneficial. Instead of producing leaves, and using up the soil resources, a plant can produce flowers. Another benefit of a small container is water absorption. In a larger container, water may stand, and the roots can’t take in all that water. The result is root-rot, and the plant will die. Evaluate the plant before re-potting. Is it putting on new growth and increasing in size? If it is root-bound then yes, it is time for a larger container. Make sure you only increase the size one container larger. Too big or too small can have disastrous consequences.

Have more gardening questions for me? Comment below and I will answer them in our next Q&A! 


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