How To Grow Your Own Moss

From Apartment Therapy

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Water, buttermilk, moss and a blender is all you need to get started.

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I love outdoor spaces filled with overgrown blooms, piles of mismatched pots, bits and bobs of weathered sculpture and richly textured blankets of moss. Though moss could be associated with the words dilapidated or swampy it is actually a very healthy vegetation in that it has no known pests or diseases. It’s also extremely forgiving and requires little to no maintenance. It’s soft on your feet if used as a ground cover, stays green throughout colder months and is really easy to propagate. Learn how to grow your own moss after the jump.

What You Need

Ingredients
Existing sample moss from a yard or a garden store. It can be dead or alive.
Equal parts buttermilk and water

Tools
A blender
A paintbrush (optional)

Instructions

1. Measure two cups of water and two cups of buttermilk.

2. Pour both into the blender.

3. Top with moss to fill the blender.

4. Blend until you have a milkshake consistency. You want the existing moss to separate.

5. Paint or pour the mixture on rocks, fences, foundation, bricks, ceramic pots, trees or wherever you’d like to see moss grow. You can get creative and draw pictures if you’d like or write things if you’re feeling fancy.

Additional Notes:
Use a mister to keep moss moist for the first couple of weeks and if possible grow your moss in a shaded area. The moss should start to grow within 3 weeks


Ladybugs and Your Garden

From Apartment Therapy

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In many countries, it is considered good luck if a ladybug (or ladybird) lands on you and then flies away of its own will. In England and Germany, it’s thought that the number of spots has a bearing on the luck she will bring. But the best thing that can actually be proven about ladybugs is that they are a gardener’s best friend and an aphid’s worst enemy. MORE


Storing Your Harvest: Root Vegetable Bins

From Apartment Therapy

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Even though my vegetable garden is just starting to sprout, I can’t help but think about storing this summer’s bounty in these simple wire and jute bins. MORE


Garden Inspiration: Espaliered Fruit Trees

From Apartment Therapy

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Espalier refers to the practice of tying the branches of trees to some sort of flat support (a wall or trellis, for example), creating formal, geometric patterns. The use of espaliered trees isn’t reserved for formal gardens, but are a great way to get a high fruit yield in a very limited space. And it’s a very graceful way to liven up a boring or unsightly wall or fence without fear of the tree getting out of control the way a vine would.

One huge advantage of espalier, is that it in cooler climates, it allows warmer weather species of trees to grow well because they absorb as much sunlight as untrained trees. This method can be very high maintenance, so you might want to limit how many you plant. But if you’re up for the challenge and work, it could make for a very striking and bountiful garden.

You can either completely DIY the training of the branches via tutorials from sites like Vintage Garden Gal or Gardening Know How, or you can purchase a tree from a local grower like Flowering Shrub Farm, where they’ve started the training for you.


Dandelions are No Lawn Menace

From Small Footprint Family

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Many wild plants and “weeds” are some of the most nutrient-dense greens you can eat. It is only in the past 100 or so years, as our food system became more and more industrialized, that wild superfoods dropped out of our diet. So I try to include them in mine when I can.

This spring I am enjoying Stinging Nettle Paté, made from the weeds in my garden, and wild arugula often graces my salad bowl—another delicious and nutritious garden weed. And if that weren’t delicious enough, this week, my CSA box had two bunches of dandelion greens, which are very easy to grow, medicinal, and very, very good for you.

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How To Save Seeds From Your Garden

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One of the most joyous feelings for a gardener is to see that first ripe pepper o tomato on the vine. Excitement boils over, as you can’t wait to taste the fruits of your labor.

But if you’re planning to save seeds from this year’s harvest, the smartest thing to do is to let that tomato or pepper or squash or cucumber ripen to the point of near bursting. That first-to-ripen fruit or vegetable is the earliest product of the hardiest plant and that’s exactly the seed you want to save for next year’s garden. That first-to-ripen seed will produce the most robust plant, able to survive pest attacks and weather extremes better than its brothers and sisters.

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My saved and leftover packet seeds are stored in mason jars to be used next season

If you’re saving seeds from a flower, find the best looking plant – sturdy, beautiful foliage and flower, best color, best growth pattern  – and harvest the seeds from that specimen.

The seed saving methods for individual plants are considerably different. If you’re saving seeds from a plant more complex than beans or peppers (open fruit, pull out the seed, let it dry), it’s worth your while to spend a little time researching the techniques specific to the seeds you want to save. The book that introduced me to seed saving and one I highly recommend is:  Saving Seeds: The Gardener’s Guide to Growing and Storing Vegetable and Flower Seeds. There’s also some excellent information from the International Seed Saving Institute.

Preparing the seeds for storing

Once you’ve harvested the seeds, allow them to dry for a few days at room temperature on a paper towel or newspaper. Do not store them damp, as they’ll rot. Then put the seeds in a standard white paper envelope, roll the top down and mark the envelope with very specific information: The plant the seed came from, including specific cultivar if known; date it bloomed or fruited; company that produced the seed; and the month and year you harvested the seed.

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Planting a Pineapple

2501507836_434fa4aa61_z.jpgDid you know that when you buy a pineapple, you can do more than compost the top (also known as the crown)? You can actually plant it to get two (or even three or four) pineapples for the price of one! Okay, the catch is that it takes patience, but at least while you’re waiting for your very own pineapple to grow, you’ll have a lovely tropical plant for your garden or sun room. Want to know how? It’s easier than you’d think.

First, you pick a fresh, whole pineapple up at the store (or farmer’s market, if you’re lucky enough to have someone growing pineapples nearby). Make sure the crown is green, healthy and that the pineapple isn’t overripe.

Next, you will twist off or cut off the crown. Make sure to trim off any additional flesh, leaving only the center and it’s root buds. You’ll also want to remove some of the bottom most leaves because, once planted, the leaves that are partially in dirt or touching the dirt will rot. Then place the crown upside down to dry in an area where the temperature does not fluctuate wildly. Leave it to dry for 5 – 7 days.

Once dry, you can plant your pineapple. Use a good quality potting soil and plant in a pot or, if you’re in a temperate climate, you can plant it outside. Make sure to give it some room to grow. These plants can grow up to 6 feet wide. It can take up to 20 months for your plant to produce fruit, but imagine how exciting it will be to make that first harvest!

Further reading: University of Hawaii – How to Grow a Pineapple in Your Home

(Image: Flickr member MartinEric2008 licensed for user under Creative Commons)