Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Clever Idea - Container Water Retention system on the cheap

Folks - Check out this blog post on the use of diapers (yup, diapers) as water retention additives to containers.  I have often looked at purchasing these polymer additives in the store. It can range from $13 - $49/pound! You know diapers are maybe $1 each.

The question though is what do you do with the diapers afterwards - I guess it's just garbage. Maybe too many of them in the landfill already...

Anyway, thought it was Cool! It appeals to the frugal gardener in me!


Today I noticed garlic and other spring perennials going crazy in my garden. Darn Climate Change! It does feel like Spring in Chicago. I'm reviewing seed catalogs and starting a landscaping class on Saturday! So excited to get a long range plan going.

Sign along!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Overwintering Tender Ornamental Grasses

I absolutely adore ornamental grasses - either in containers or planted in the garden. I have several hardy varieties - Zebra Grass and a Pampas grass. The latter that was a gift from my father which I divide every year and give away :)  I purchase several annual grasses each year - and this year decided to try to overwinter a few in containers over the winter. 

Here is the process I followed.  Just posting this now, since I'm starting to see some new growth in the containers so I'm sure the process will be successful. 

1) Get a good section of the grass and plant in containers with appropriate potting soil mixture. I did this about midway through the summer to allow them to grow into the pots. Also purchased a few grasses late in the season and did not plant them. Those are the ones in the photos. These were $20/each in springtime and only $3/each in the fall!  If you repot grasses make sure you don't pull any diseased stalks or stems. 

2) In late fall or early winter you need to prune the grass. I wanted to save the grass so I followed a process of a) tying up the grass b) then shearing off leaving only 1-2 inches above the crown.  Once I had cut it down I then looked through to carefully remove damaged stems or stalks.  

Purchased Fall - 2011
Annual Grass - Prep for Shearing

3) Place the containers indoors near a light source. Here I put mine in a basement window with other plants I'm over wintering.  I make sure to water these regularly to keep the roots alive. I am not applying any fertilizer now. I don't want them to get too big right now - I think it will be difficult to have them grow full and lush with so little light. After 2 months, there are new shoots growing. In the spring I'll start to hit it with fertilizer and then move outdoors.  

Overwintering Annual Grass Indoors
Decorating with Grass!

As an added bonus - I saved the top of the grass that was sheared off - and used it as decoration inside! Adding a nice natural element into my eclectic room!

Happy Gardening!

Teresa Marie