The following post was submitted by a guest writer named Edna.
When it comes to taking care of plants, whether they are located outdoors or indoors, there are certain issues that may occur. Some of them can often appear a bit hard to explain and make their owners wonder where the problem has come from.
Yellowing of leaves is a tricky issue which brings many questions and often leaves a gardener frustrated. The leaves of both indoor and outdoor plants are prone to turning yellow in some cases, which is a process that might be difficult to explain sometimes.
This is the right time to say that there are plants, which are especially hybridized to have yellow leaves. It is important for you to know that this is not a problem with the plant, so it does not require any treatment or protection. Such leaves normally turn yellow and do not come as a sign of a sickness, so they don’t need any special care or attention.
Still, if your plants are not from the species that are intentionally hybridised for having yellow leaves, then you probably have an issue here.
There are several reasons for the issue of yellowing of leaves when they should be a healthy green that every gardener has to be aware of in order to prevent their plants from turning yellow. Or, in case the leaves of a plant have already started to get yellow, it is necessary to take the correct measures as soon as possible in order to prevent the whole plant from dying.
TheGardenLady has always preferred organic, so it gives me great pleasure to see the growing interest in organic horticulture.
I learned not to trust products that were synthetic from my father who hated using synthetic chemicals on his farm. Everything he used had to be natural. Fertilizers came from aged horse, cow and chicken manure. Bugs were handpicked from the plants. It was my job to pick off the yellow/orange eggs, the larve and any adult potato beetles. Mostly I squashed them. I also picked off the Japanese beetles and dropped them into a container of soapy water that killed them. Thinking back, these were mainly the two major pests on our plants. My father was fearful of chemical pesticides and today I am so grateful that he was.
I just had to share this with you. Like you, I’m upset that Schultz discontinued their Bloom Plus fertilizer. I am hoping that they bring it back! Unlike you, I didn’t know till it was too late and now I can’t find it anywhere, not on ebay, not on amazon, nowhere. The smart people like you bought it up!Â I’ll keep bugging the folks at Schultz and see if they might consider bringing it back : )
TheGardenLady did write a post that spoke glowingly about the fertilizer that helped produce more flowers because of its high phosphorus content. Besides the phosphorus in the fertilizer there is nitrogen and potassium. Fertilizer is used to boost the growth of plants.
Are you lucky? Espoma organic fertilizers is having a Green Garden Sweepstakes.
A Master Gardener friend swears by Espoma organic fertilizers. So I decided that I would try my luck at winning a year’s supply of their fertilizer.
You can try to win, too. Go here and read about the sweepstakes to see if it is worth your while to enter. You don’t have to buy anything. This Sweepstake ends on June 5th, so you have plenty of time. You can submit one entry per day. The only thing is that you have to be over 18 and you have to give them some information- like your address and phone number, etc.
I do hope one of TheGardenLady readers is the lucky winner. Let us know if you are. From the good things I hear about the Espoma products, I think you will be a happy winner.
Cow manure is a good all purpose organic manure with a good balance of nutrients. It is lower in Nitrogen than other manures so it doesn’t burn plants. It might have a high salt content because cows are given salt to lick, so don’t use too much at one time. If you have a dairy or beef farm near your property, see if you can get some of their cow manure. Again, ask if it is aged or composted because you should wait at least a month before planting with cow manure. It can take up to a year to compost manures, depending on the climate. Colder, wet climates require more time for the manure to sufficiently decay to be safely used for gardening. Aging or composting manures kills the pathogens in it, making it safe for home gardens. Fresh cow manure is high in E. coli and protozoa that the plants can take up from their roots, or the bacteria can splash on their leaves from watering or rainfall.Composting cow manure involves spreading it into shallow piles and letting it decay.
TheGardenLady recently attended a talk on Organic Gardening. One of the aspects of the talk presentation was the importance of good soil if you want a good garden. And to get that good soil, good organic fertilizers are needed. Organic fertilizers include animal manures.
First of all, no one recommends using dog or cat manure as fertilizer. You do not want to use the feces of any animal that is a meat eater. “Both dog and cat manure may contain organisms that cause human health problems. ” See here.
I live in Fenwick, Old Saybrook and have always had a yard full of beautiful, brilliant blue Endless Summer hydrangeas. However, this year is the exception!! I have tried deadheading since the blooms are Â overly abundant but the color is still lackluster, pale blue. Â I have tried adding hydrangea acid based fertilizer and watering with the hose daily. Â Any suggestions?
First of all you should check the pH of the soil where the hydrangea is growing. If your soil is highly alkaline, you will have problems maintaining the blue flower no matter what you do. The pH of the soil should be 5.2 to 5.5.Â Sometimes if your hydrangeas are planted near cement, like a sidewalk, the alkaline can leach into your soil. And sometimes your water is alkaline. Get test strips to test the water and the soil, or have the soil in your hydrangea garden tested at your state agricultural extension or through your local Master Gardener office.
If you have the proper pH, next Spring, water the plants really well and then add a solution of 1/2oz (1Tbsp) aluminum sulfate to each 1 1/2 gallons of water and feed this carefully to your plants- it can burn the roots. This should be applied in the spring when you see the buds forming- about 6 weeks before the flowers come.
Readers who have new hydrangea plants should NEVER use aluminum sulfate until your plants are about 3 years old. The addition of the aluminum sulfate seems to be the most reliable method of keeping the hydrangea flower blue.
It is good that you used a hydrangea fertilizer that is high in potassium. But most authorities do not think that this will help change the color.
An excellent site that goes into details of how to keep your hydrangea blue or pink is this.
I have two adult Lady of the Night plants. I fed them Miracle Gro for Acid Loving Plants. Will anything happen to them? And if so what can I do to save them?
TheGardenLady is assuming your Lady of the Night Plant is Brunfelsia americana. How lovely to have this plant reputed to be the most fragrant of all the Brunfelsia plants which are very fragrant and the MOST fragrant of all plants.
Brunfelsia’s soil pH requirements are 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) to 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral).
Moderate occasional food and moderate water is all that is required. This Lady of the Night plant even handles dry soil well. They are very long lived. Brunfelsia plants are light eaters which means they don’t need much fertilizer.
But your concern is that you fed them Miracle Gro for Acid Loving plants. TheGardenLady doubts that you will have any problem from the one time only feeding of Miracle Gro for Acid Loving plants.
If you fed them as the Miracle Gro label says to feed plants and not given them an overdose (Remember to ALWAYS follow label instructions when applying fertilizers!) there should be no problem but don’t give these plants any more fertilizer. Brunfelsia don’t really need fertilizer- or if you feel you need to feed, highly dilute the fertilizer.
However, if you feel that you overdosed the plants on Miracle Gro, you can try flushing the soil with water. Brunfelsia plants don’t like overwatering just as they don’t need much fertilizer, so this is only to be done if you think you may have given the plants a gross amount of fertilizer.
Now if you have a problem with any Scotts’ product and Miracle Gro is a Scotts’ product, call them at 1-888-270 3714 as TheGardenLady did to be sure she was advising you correctly. They suggested that if you feel you must fertilize your Brunfelsia their recommendation is that you should use their all purpose fertilizer which has the numbers 24-8-16 on the box.
I like your article on using leaves as fertilizer. What specific nutrients are added and how much? I use them in my garden and have sugar maple leaves.
By recycling leaves you are doing what nature does. But leaves by themselves take a long time to break down. Especially maple leaves which can become compacted and suffocate plants if left whole on your plants. So if you just want to use leaves, make them into mulch. Rake the leaves into a pile. Then you can use your lawnmower as a mulcher and mow over the leaves until they are particle sized. Or you can buy a mulcher to do this. This is easiest in the fall when the leaves are brown and dry. Spread the leaves as you would mulch. There are some nutrients in the leaves when used this way and as the leaf mulch works down into the soil it helps make the soil more friable ( crumbly).
Or you can make compost with the leaves. Save the leaves in an out of the way place or build or buy composting bins to hold the leaves. You don’t have to add nutrients, there are some nutrients in the leaves. But to make your compost quicker, you will have to do a little more than just save the leaves. You will want to add grass clippings and household garbage to the leaves.
Microbial activity is affected by the carbon-to-nitrogen (C/N) ratio of the organic waste. Because microbes need nitrogen for their own metabolism and growth, a shortage of nitrogen will slow down the composting process considerably. Material high in carbon relative to nitrogen, such as straw or sawdust, will decompose very slowly unless nitrogen fertilizer is added. Tree leaves are higher in nitrogen than straw or sawdust, but decomposition of leaves still benefits from an addition of nitrogen fertilizer. Grass clippings are generally high in nitrogen and enhance decomposition when mixed properly with leaves. Manure, cottonseed meal, or blood meal can be used as organic sources of nitrogen. Otherwise use a high nitrogen- containing fertilizer. You need an initial C/N ratio of about 30 parts carbon to 1 part of nitrogen. C/N ratios below 25:1 may give off ammonia odors and above 35:1 will take longer to compost. Other nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium are necessary, but are usually present in adequate amounts for decomposition.
You will want to add water to the C/N mix and will want to turn the mix. Some of the purchased bins have a device to turn the barrel. But save your money and use a pitch fork with a little muscle. By getting air in the mix you are heating the mix so that your compost will decompose quicker. Good composting with be hot and you might even see steam even coming out.
By making compost with the mixture of leaves, grass and garbage, you will be making a rich soil to give back to the earth that which was depleted. Your plants will be so thankful.
In case readers have not yet heard of TerraCycle, Inc., the fantastic Ecofriendly company in NJ that makes the most wonderful fertilizer from worm droppings – they are the Worm Poop people, TheGardenLady wants to tell you about them. Please check out their website.
Many TV programs have not only been talking about TerraCycle Inc.’s fertilizer but recently they have had many featured stories about TerraCycle’s newest Ecofriendly endeavor- recycling your trash.
TerraCycle wants some of your trash to help keep this trash out of landfills and are recycling this trash into new and useful products. TerraCycle wants you to recycle your old soil / fertilizer bags, your old chip bags, your old yogurt containers along with many other items by giving it to them. One place you can take these items to is Home Depot (see here) who will ship them to Terracycle and Terracycle will re-use/recycle them and donate money to a local charity. When you visit the Terracycle website you can learn the place nearest to you to take your trash to be recycled.