As we have said in past posts here at Arizona Pottery, gardening with your kids or grand kids can be a wonderful experience. So many great things will happen. They learn, they appreciate, they get involved. Best of all they are away from the television. Woo Hoo!
One of the easiest ways is to have them plant and garden some fresh herbs. They are easy to grow, fun to harvest, they get to eat them and you get quick results. There are so many types of herbs that you can plant into flowerpots and have great success but we are going to pick a few that we think are age appropriate.
Rosemary is an easy one to start with because it is used in many kinds of meals. It is a wonderful addition to chicken, and pork and is used a lot in grilling, salads and baked potatoes. This flavor is mild and yet pleasant.
Mint is an obvious choice. It is perfect for desserts, ice tea and lemonade. It grows fast, and taste yummy so we think most kids will love this potted herb.
Dill is fun because of it's fine feathery fronds. It looks fuzzy and kids will love that. It also makes a great addition to dips for veggies which many children love. This is a ideal herb for small kids to pot up.
Lastly we think Basil is a good herb to pot. The flavor is very mild and the leaves a large and easy to pick. Of course it's perfect when chopped and added to pasta or salads. The colors are amazing and fun for the little one also.
So take your kids to the local nursery and have them help select the herbs we mentioned above. Haul out some clay flowerpots and potting soil and let them help you get them started. We think you will pleasantly surprised how much children enjoy this type of DIY project.
You just hit the local nursery and you now find yourself at home staring at some plants, soil and a garden planter. Now what to do to assure you have the best display in your container?
Start with the basics. Make sure you garden planter has a drain hole. If it doesn't you will need to have the pot drilled. Don't skip this set but it's really important that water drain off and not sit in the bottom of the pottery. Next make sure you have some good potting soil. This really is important. You don't want to use soil from the ground. This simply will not be a healthy start to your new plants and it will inhibit the growth
Now design. Well here is the big tip - Make sure you have a thriller, spiller and filler. Sounds simple enough right! The thriller is the main, eye catching plant. It usually has some height to it like a grass or spiky plant. You want it shooting out of the garden planter and looking dramatic.
Now what is a spiller? Well this is the plant that will drape down the side of the garden planter or yard container. Like a vinica, or ivy. It will spill out over the top of the planter and add interest and depth. You don't not want all your flowering plants and grasses to be just on the top layer. Add some length and another level.
Lastly is the filler. These are the colorful flowers you want to plant that will fill out the pot and give it a dome shape. Geraniums are a great choice along with marigolds and verbenas. They last, have lots of color and will fill out your garden planter beautifully.
Once you make sure you have all 3 pieces of the container puzzle it's really easy to do. Plant the thriller in the center of the pot. The fillers around the middle pot and the spillers around the outer edge of the container. As they grow they will blend beautifully and give you the more stunning flower pot display.
Place on a patio, porch or in a garden area where it can be admired for many months. Good luck!
Feeling the winter blahs yet? Head to the local garden center and get yourself some seasonal leafy greens. These grow great during the winter months and having them fill up those empty flowerpots you have sitting around your home and patio areas is a great plus.
Here's a few suggestions for greens that love winter!
1. Kale - Toss bit sized pieces with fresh lemon juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, then saute quickly until just tender. Pair with ancient whole grains such as quinoa or sorghum for a satisfying and nourishing meal. These will fill out a garden planter with curly thick leaves and stems. Many times the underside of the leaf is purple which adds a lot of color to your winter landscape.
2. Collards: A nutritional powerhouse of green goodness, collards make a smart addition to hearty soups. Toss chopped pieces into the pot toward the end of a soup's cooking time, and simmer until soft and tender. Another deep green colorful plant that has large leaves and will fill out any garden planter with no worries. Nice straight leaves with a white vein these are wonderful.
3. Swiss Chard or Lettuce: A relative of the beet family, this hardy veggies comes in a rainbow varieties that bring welcome color to winter dishes. For brunch, stem leaves lightly, then use as a base for poached eggs. Yummy! We really like this green potted up. It has deep purple stems & veins which off set the deep green semi curly leaves. Color wise they are a beautiful in a garden container as any flower or house plant that we have seen. Check them out.
We hope we gave you some great ideas on how to turn winters starkness into a lush and healthy time.
Ever think about potting some Sage? You may have tried basil, chives, rosemary, thyme but Sage is a wonderful choice for those who like to cook.
Although sage is available both fresh and dried, we recommend using fresh. Dried sage has a stronger more concentrated flavor that can sometimes be bitter. If you are flavoring a soup, stew or pot of beans then dried is acceptable. But, if you really want the sage flavor to shine you have to use fresh leaves.
When looking for foods to pair with sage, think rich, starchy and sweet. Great with pork, potatoes, beans, grains, bread (think stuffing) and is fantastic on turkey, & pumpkin. Try it with roasted apples & pears. Yummy!
When potting sage think of lots of sunshine and well draining soil. Use a garden pot with a drain hole because you don't want standing water on the roots. Place your pots in a kitchen window so they are close at hand while cooking or next to a kitchen back door so you can step out in all weather and clip off a few sprigs.
Harvest individual leaves or springs several inches long. Rinse them to remove dust and gently blot with a kitchen towel. Keep it dry because moisture will deteriorate it quickly. It keeps in the refrigerator wrapped in paper towel for 2 to 3 days.
Lastly, if you haven't had fresh sage in the kitchen you are missing out on some great smells. A small terracotta pot filled with sage is perfect on a center isle or in the window. You don't need much but it's well worth the effort.
Have you ever purchased a beautiful potted succulent at the neighborhood garden center then take it home and kill it before you can even get it transplanted? Well we have. Watering succulents can be the trickiest part of growing and maintaining them.
Everyone struggles with this issue even the most educated gardener. So, here are a few tips to help you master your own issues. And, the next time you visit your garden center looking for a new potted succulent you will know that you now have the tips to keep your plants happy.
Let's start with a few obvious issues. Always use a garden container with drain holes. Succulents don't like sitting in standing water. Next make sure you have well draining soil. Succulents don't like to sit in wet soil for very long. Having well draining soil in your planter with a drain hole is critical. Don't use a spray bottle when watering. Succulents like to be soaked not sprayed. Water in between your plants then on top of them.
When you soak the soil only, this tell the succulents to drink up because a drought is coming. Once you water don't do it again until the soil is completely dry. This takes a few days. As a general rule if you are using the correct soil mix is to water every 4 days or so. If you live in a arid climate like Arizona, then you will water more often than a humid climate like Oregon. Just look at the roots and see if they are too wet they will rot and die. If too dry they will stop growing.
Hopefully you know have some great tips to help when growing and maintaining your potted succulents. Just keep your eyes on the way the plants look and try your best to make the right adjustments. It may not always work but you are on your way to having a better chance of success.
Of course, the correct place to start is by choosing a container with drain holes. If you find aflowerpot that you can't live without then you will have to drill holes because succulents hate standing or pooling water in the bottom of the planter. It's hard not to get emotional when choosing that special pot to plant in. Here are a few tips. Terracotta is breathable and is very healthy for any root system. Ceramic is water poof and comes in great colors and styles.
Poly Resin is lightweight but not breathable so not such a good idea sometimes and concrete is heavy and not breathable so watch out. Remember when it comes to choosing the right size of planter for your succulents a general rule is a 2" succulent works in a 2" pot. If you are going to group them together make sure they have room to grow. They look nice all bunched together but that doesn't give them any room to grow so beware.
Fill top of pot mostly full with soil. Make sure the leaves of the succulent sit above the soil to prevent rotting. Top off the soil with small rocks or glass beads. Press down into the soil so the succulents stay in place. This is the time to have fun and be creative. Use colored marbles, nuts in the shell, beads, or plastic colorful gems.
Once planted leave the pot alone for 2 days with no water. This gives the roots time to heal. Good luck and keep us posted.
In order to have successful potted containers in your home or garden areas, there are a few things you must consider. What you are potting, what size of container you will need, what kind of soil and how much water & sunlight is required for success. This entry provides a few tips on selecting the best soil to use.
Many of you are tempted to use plain old garden soil for filling the pots you tend to plant into. However this is not a good idea! Garden dirt is very dense making it hard for water to flow through it properly. You want soil in your planters to drain well for a number of reasons.
Loose soil lets the plants root system move and expand easier. it also will let the water you apply - saturate the soil and not just run off the sides. You can take some garden soil and try mixing it with mulch or peat moss which will help but we recommend starting with a Basic Potting Soil that you can purchase from your local garden center or nursery.
When starting with a goodpottingmix you have a much greater chance of success with your plants growth. Many centers have special mixes that serve particular needs. You want to make sure the one you select matches the types of plants you are going to use. Also make sure that you purchase enough potting mix to fill the planters that you are going to use. Don't skimp. Give those roots enough soil to expand in.
If you want to make your own just use equal parts of peat moss, compost and vermiculite. Mix in a large bucket! Lastly, you can always add fertilizer to any mix to help insure that your plants do well in thepots you have chosen.
Grouping a trio of unexpected kitchen containers is a simple way to transform common flowers into an eye catching accent. Here we used a red colander, white roasting pan and a blue ice bucket. All simple things most of us have around the home. Each one is holding petunias, lobelias and daisies, inexpensive plants available at most nursery and landscape centers.
For the most balanced display, match the proportions of the blooms to the size and shape of the pot! A domed container like the colander looks best with a rounded mound of flowers, whereas a cylindrical container like the ice bucket requires a taller, narrower planting!
A ladder display is best for a small area! Stepladders are great for displaying potted plants & flowers because they take up mostly vertical space. You could place one on a deck or balcony without feeling crowded. To prevent hiding too much of the A-frame try staggering the potted plants right to left, leaving the top two steps bare and choosing smaller, upright plants like geraniums shown.
And for a small scale display, skipping white ensures harmony. In a tighter space, the stark contrast of white can be overwhelming.
1. Style Mixer - Concrete containers with a vertical ribbed design fit any style. They hold anything from flowers to shrubs to trees. Colored through-out they will not show any chips. Available in 16" inches high up to 32" high. Durable, long lasting and stunningly beautiful these planters have always been very popular.
2. Formal Attire. These garden urns have a classical garland trim and come in many finishes. They are crafted of a beautiful concrete product that is durable and impervious to water. For that perfect spot where you need something a bit decorative and pristine!
3. The pineapple is a traditional sign of welcome and in this fiberglass planter is very light weight. It looks like stone but weighs much less. Fill with a shooting agave plant and create a stunning look if just left empty and displayed as a piece of art. Beautiful for any yard or garden area.
4. This metallic planter is embossed resin so it's lightweight, durable and looks aged. Fill with simple flowers or a lush green shrub and place against a block wall where you need color and decoration.
What to plant this time of year? Just when everything looks bleak and bare we have some good suggestions for still getting out there and working the yard!
Bare root deciduous fruit trees - continue planting them thru February. Encourage reliable fruit tree harvest by choosing varieties that require less then 400 hours of chilling, a normal period of cold weather necessary for trees to produce fruit.
Proven performers include 'Anna' and "Dorsett Golden Apple". Gold Kist Apricot, Santa Rosa Plum, Tropic Snow white flesh peach and Wonderful Pomegranate. Plant them in decorative glazed planters and stage them around your patio area, for color and fragrance. Yummy!
Transplant easy to grow sun lovers such as calendula, dianthus, gazania, marigold, pansy and viola.
There is still time to sow cool season culinary favorites such as beets, bok choy, carrots, chard, collard and mustard greens, endive, green onions, lettuce, leeks, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips.
Transplant broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower into new larger planters. Sow or transplant cilantro, dill, garlic, parsley, and thyme. Use decorative containers to add a bit of pizzazz to your garden or patio area.
Prune as needed now. Spruce up shade trees, conifers and summer blooming shrubs by removing dead, diseased, broken, crossed or weak branches
Cut back established roses by one third. Wait to prune heritage roses until after spring blooms. Hold off pruning first tender potted plants like citrus, hibiscus, natal plum and bougainvillea. Just take your time and keep working it and you will have great success and beautiful potted plants.