Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Golden Pothos, Devil's Ivy - Epipremnum aureum

The Epipremnum aureum or Devil's Ivy, or golden pothos is a vine of the family of the Araceae native to the Solomon Islands. When planted in gardens, the vine gets huge and gets support from aerial roots. I've seen Devil's ivy climbing to nearby trees to almost it's top(about 10m high) but in pots, the Devil's ivy are stunted with smaller leaves. The glossy leaves are dark green and variegated with irregular patterns. Although it grows in almost any condition ranging from low shade to sunny, the plant will thrive in bright indirect light. All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.
I'm using it as a light barrier
Similarly to Peace Lily, golden pothos is efficient at removing indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, xylene and benzene

It is a very hardy plant that loves regular watering. Be sure to let the soil dry out between waterings. Fertilize sparingly when the leaves start becoming yellowish. Mine is in the garden and grows vigorously even without fertilizing. The golden pothos occasionally blooms to get green spaths.

Propagation is very easy and can be done by cuttings.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Gardening To Relieve Stress

Don't be like him
Who isn't stressed? Our busy and competitive lifestyle often put a big deal of stress on us. Some people take a cigarette or a drink to try to relieve stress but they are doing themselves more harm. After one tedious day sitting at your office desk, the best way to get unstressed is by doing some physical exercises. Walk, jog, run, swim, cycle or go to the gym. Did you ever wonder if you could save time by exercising and making something rewarding at the same time?

You've guessed right. Gardening is the solution. As I always say, the fruits of gardening are not only what you get in your plate. If you see your garden as a chore, you won't get the stress out. However if you enjoy gardening, the personal satisfaction you get is one step in getting stress out of your life. Dig, chop, weed, sow.... The list is long. Doing these tasks will do only good to you and your body.

Gardening makes you bend and lift things many times. Be sure to do it right. I usually squat while weeding or planting. If you don't squat, you might put strain to your lower back. If you can't squat, place one knee on the ground(have a pair of knee-pads) and switch knee regularly.

Be cautious when lifting heavy objects. Always sit down, grab the object and use your legs to lift up. Do not bend nor twist your body. If something is too heavy for you, seek help. This advice is not only for elder gardeners!

If your doctor doesn't want you to do these activities, have a walk in your garden. Look at the plants, their colors, their smell... Pick up some flowers to put on your table.

Gardening is an excellent way to relieve stress for all ages but remember to do it safely.

More Gardening Tips


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Turmeric(Curcuma Longa) Flower

That's the first time I have noticed turmeric flowers. Each time I plant turmeric(curcuma longa or common turmeric), I dig it after its growing period, but since a couple of years ago, I have left a couple of plants untouched. I let them grow for a season, dry out and grow again to get a bigger rhizome.

I had completely forgotten about those plants (I don't even water them as it is raining quite often), and today, while weeding(Neglect your garden a couple of weeks, and they'll come harrassing you) that part of my garden, I got gobsmacked: Two of the turmeric plants have flowers. They were awesome!! Have a look:
Two flowers of Turmeric plant

This one seems older

Looks like a newer flower

The flower stalk emerges from a leaf stalk


Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Rewards Of Vegetable Gardening

Many people love vegetable gardening. Besides creating something beatiful in your yard, you also making fresh food for your family.

Think about the juicy red tomatoes, crisply lettuce, the fragrance of your herbs... This is just a handful of examples of your garden's output. That's what I call fast food. Pick, rinse, and serve. It's not like choosing vegetables from the market or grocery store. You don't get into the hassle of hunting through the under-ripe and over-ripe tomatoes to choose which to take. In your garden, you're sure that you are getting healthy stuff. No harmful chemicals or additives... Your veggies have been grown with only water and love(and some compost too).
Working in your garden is good for your health. You're out in fresh air, getting some physical exercise to kick the stress of modern life out of your mind. You can get your family members in the task too. Let them go and pick some vegetables in the garden. Children can be initiated too. Let them sow some seeds and watch the plant grow. For lunch, everyone will be proud to eat something they have grown and cared. Maybe your family bonds will get stronger too. That's something you will never get from your grocer.
Even now, I'm still delighted whenever I see some seeds sprout and grow. It's more than a hobby. Gardening is a way of living. After all, you reap what you sow.


Friday, April 3, 2009

DIY Inexpensive Trellis

Do you have a small gardening space? Or do you still want to plant more? Do you happen to have some fences too? Here's a cool trick from digginfood: The inexpensive DIY vegetable trellis. They use it to plant squash, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, and peas.

We install a lot of freestanding trellises made out of bamboo and cedar, but last summer we decided to convert our west-facing, 6-foot tall fence into a growing space by installing panels of welded wire mesh on it. The mesh is sold at hardware stores for concrete reinforcing. We bought mesh with four-inch square holes and each 4-foot by 6-foot piece cost less than five dollars. The grand total for this super functional trellis? Fifteen bucks.

The installation is quick, they stapled the mesh into the fence's wooden frame.
You'll quickly enjoy the benefits of getting more planting space while growing your vine vertically.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Reader's corner #1

Some days ago, a reader called mmillikan commented on The panda plant post and asked a question:

My mom gave me a panda plant that was about 8" tall. I've had it about a year now and it's over 2 feet tall, just kept in a med. pot in my sunroom. So tall now it's having a hard time standing up even though the stem/trunk is strong. Any suggestions?

The way I do it is to have a stick near the plant and attach a string to the plant. That's what I do to my plants when they can't stand up on their own. Anyone got other methods?


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How to graft a cactus

Grafting a cactus is quite simple. I don't know the name of the cactus but i've grafted a zygocactus(christmas cactus) to it. There are two main type of grfting for cactii:
First one is on the top: Cut the top of the cactus(with a sterile knife), make a small cut in the cactus' flesh and insert the christmas cactus in it. Wait some days for the cactus to callus.

The second method can be used if you don't want to chop the head off your beloved cactus. You need to take your sterile knife and cut a sideway 'V' in the cactus. tHe cut would look like a '>' in the cactus. Next step is to take your zygocactus and gently slide it in the '>'. Wait some days for the cactus to callus.

In a couple of months you should get lots of christmas cactus flowers.
Or is it an April's Fool post? :-)


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