Monthly Archives: September 2016

Indoor Herb Garden Layout

Indoor plants have been proven to clean and clear air in the apartment or house. These plants do require commitment in the areas of watering and feeding, but they are also a front-line against allergens and dust. If you have very little space at home, you can use the kitchen ledge for container. A south or west-facing window would be good. A garden must be planned according to the herbs you would like to grow. Once you have thought about this, you can experiment with colors and types. While selecting the area, it is important to take into consideration drainage conditions.

You should also check up on the height, foliage, and space requirements of various herbs before getting your design in place. While deciding on the bed, keep the space restrictions in mind. The garden should also be easily accessible.

Terminology

Infusion
This term is used to refer to the process in which herbs are steeped in boiling water to be drunk as a tea.

Decoction
This refers to the process in which the dried herbs are simmered in hot water.

Herbal Ointment
The process in when herbs are combined with other ingredients and made into a cream.

Herbal Compress
The process wherein a gauze or cloth is soaked in an infusion or decoction and wrapped and applied externally.

Herbal Wash
The process in which herbs are added to water and are used to heal and cleanse externally.

Tips

These are a few things that need to be kept in mind while working with herbs for medicinal purposes or food.

  • Remember that you can personally identify the herbs you are using. This helps ensure that they are safe.
  • While preparing an infusion or decoction, use only glass or porcelain for cookware and mixing bowls.
  • While preparing herbs for storage, place them in an air-tight container and store in a cool place. Do not refrigerate the herbs.
  • While making recipes, stick to the recommended dose. Overuse can defeat the purpose for which you are using them. The most beneficial herbs can also turn toxic if overused.

This was some information on this subject. Hope this was useful to you.

Tips for Growing Bamboo

Bamboo is a woody perennial plant, belonging to the evergreen grass family Poaceae. Regions that popularly grow this plant include diverse climates of Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and some parts of America. They are hardy plants which grow easily in different soil and climatic conditions. Bamboo has been used as a construction material for a long time in Asia and other parts of the world. It is inexpensive and now forms a part of contemporary décor. The lush green foliage and its distinct upright growth makes bamboo quite popular to grow in gardens and houses.

Growing Tips

From Cuttings
Bamboo is invasive in nature; it is almost impossible to uproot the entire plant, as most types of shoots grow from rhizomes (vertical underground stems). One way to propagate it is to cut off part of the root and the stem, and plant it in the ground. Another method is to use the clumps of the plant. Clumps are the horizontal rhizomes that grow along the surface of the soil, right next to the main plant. Dig around a clump and divide it by carefully separating the roots into sections of three a piece. Plant them in the ground or in small pots.

In Water
The plants grown in water mostly belong to species like willowy green bamboo, golden goddess bamboo, etc. Their height gets curtailed by the container water. Growing these plants in water is very popular, and finding them will not be difficult. Many nurseries and home décor stores have them. Pick the young canes with a healthy foliage and a few sprouted roots. Use a decorative container of glass, ceramic, or earthenware. Hold the canes down in place using some decorative pre-treated colorful stones. Pour water in the container until three-quarters full. Place the container in a location where it can receive partial or diffused sunlight. Replace the water once every week, and add liquid manure once a month. Check for any contamination in the water, especially on or around the stones. If you find any, take it out and clean it before placing it back in the container.

In Cold Climate
Plants grown in the house can be protected from extreme cold by ensuring appropriate air ventilation, and placing it close to a light source for some warmth. It is okay if your plant sheds its leaves, as new ones will sprout back in spring. For plants grown outdoors, it is best to grow cold-hardy varieties like Fargesia dracocephala, Phyllostachys heteroclada, etc.

Growing White Bamboo
White bamboo is officially known as ‘Amoenus’―a variety of Dendrocalamus minor. It is a small member of the giant, clumping bamboo plants. It is not really white, but as its new shoots and clumps are heavily covered in white powder, it is known as white or ghost bamboo. It is a traditional ornamental plant with large foliage that turns pale green, and matures to yellow-green with darker stripes. It can be grown singularly or in large numbers. It is a very fast-growing plant, with new growth appearing at the end of winter. It can be propagated through cuttings of its clumps as well as its rhizomes. It is cold resistant and can be grown in cold climates without any extra care.

Though this is a hardy plant, it needs nurturing and care for healthy growth. It can be successfully grown either indoors in water containers, or outdoors in the garden. Bamboo plants look beautiful as hedges as well as standalone plants.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/bamboo-growing-tips.html

Tips for Indoor Winter Gardening

Think of growing and maintaining a flower garden or a vegetable garden, and the first things that come to mind are land, fertile soil, light exposure, optimal temperature, water, etc. But, times are changing. If you are not lucky enough to have spare land or fertile soil, you still can grow plants in pots, or as a part of water gardening. And if the outdoors are very cold, which is not a favorable condition for plant growth, you can opt for indoor gardening.

With the arrival of winter, many gardening enthusiasts start getting concerned about the extremely cold weather and bitter environmental conditions since most of the garden vegetables and flowering plants cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. In such a case, nothing could be a better idea than starting an indoor garden. You may even grow culinary herbs right in the kitchen. Just keep these few essential tips in mind and you will be good to go.

Decide the Location
Since herbs and green vegetables require sunlight for ideal growth, the ideal location is the area that receives maximum filtered light. If possible, a spot near a south facing window (or an east facing window) is an excellent choice. Careful selection of an appropriate site is suggested for indoor plants, so that their growth is not compromised in any way.

Select Plant Varieties
Deciding which plants to grow in your indoor garden is one of the most challenging steps. This is because, not all vegetables are suited for warm and humid conditions of the indoors. Some herbs and vegetables that perform well in an indoor garden are pepper, tomato, bean, leaf lettuce, arugula, basil, ginger, etc. It is advised that you consult a horticulturist about the same and then start your project.

Prepare the Soil or Potting Mixture
In case you have a larger space, prepare a small bed which is raised at a particular height from the ground and lined with a plastic sheet. If you think this arrangement will be messy and difficult to maintain, proceed with container gardening. For both the options, you need to prepare a healthy soil mixture with adequate amounts of humus, sand, loam, peat moss, and farmyard compost. Adding humus forming soil components reduces the need for fertilizers.

Artificial Lighting System
Most of the leafy vegetables manage to grow even in less light. Nevertheless, fruits and veggies require artificial light for production of flower buds and fruiting bodies. You can consider the installation of a full spectrum lighting or daylight balanced lighting systems for your project. Also, check the plants periodically, and if required, relocate them to other areas.

Watering the Plants Adequately
The thumb rule is to keep a watch over the amount of water used for irrigation. Prolonged dry condition causes withering of the vegetables, and waterlogged soil will result in root-rotting. Irrigate the plants with room temperature water daily or on alternate days to keep the soil moist at all times.

Providing Plant Nutrients
When it comes to growing healthy vegetable indoors, using chemical fertilizers is not recommended. Instead, you can select organic nutrients or compost for such houseplants. A better option is to use aquarium water (just before changing) to irrigate them. For example, if you have grown tomatoes, add calcium-rich plant food and reduce the use of nitrogen fertilizers.

Other Plant Care Guidelines
Another factor that should be considered very seriously is maintaining an average temperature (preferably 16-26° F) around the houseplants. Also, indoor air circulation is a must to steer clear of any plant problems. You should have a keen eye to detect signs of disease and pest infestations in the initial stages. For disease-infested plants, isolate them and spray insecticidal soap on them after every few days.

It is a fun and rewarding hobby. Plan ahead, before the onset of winter and be ready with the required garden supplies. Follow these simple instructions and you will be surprised with the growth of healthy vegetables right in your indoor garden.

Lights for Indoor Plants

It is an absolute delight to have plants around you in your dwelling. Plants like ferns, a few types of cactus, and small flowering ones can instantly impart a pleasing look to your house. The green color is refreshing and surely has therapeutic effects. Indoor plants however, need a bit more care than the usual outdoor plants because of various factors.

One of the most important factors being light. As indoor plants sometimes do not get adequate light, they need another source of it. This is where indoor plant lights come into the picture. These lights are basically of 4 types―fluorescent, incandescent, LED, and high pressure bulbs.

Fluorescent Bulbs/Lights
These are the most popular and commonly available lights and in any desired wattage and color temperature. Standard fluorescent lights in the range of 2800 K to 6000 K are typically fit for growing vegetables like leaf lettuce, spinach, and herbs. These are also good for giving seedlings a jump start on spring planting. When there is a limited space vertically, a HO fluorescent fixture having a very thin profile is perfect.

Incandescent Lights
These lights have a low color temperature, around 2700 K and these are not exactly those which can be categorized as grow lights. These are best used as a highlighting device for indoor plant groupings, though they are sometimes labeled as grow lights. The average life span of these lights is somewhere around 750 hours. If you are looking at energy saving, these types may not turn out to be a good choice for your indoor or house plants.

Metal Hallide Lights
Metal hallide (MH) indoor plant light bulbs are amongst the best indoor plant lights. Abbreviated as MH, these are very efficient grow lights for indoor plants. A bluer spectrum emits a good amount of light, encouraging and helping growth in indoor plants. In addition to this, these light are cost-effective too, making them even more viable and best in the job.

High Pressure Sodium Lights
Giving a tough competition to the metal hallide lamps are the High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps or bulbs. These bulbs have reddish orange light which stimulates the growth of budding and flowering plants. However, these lights do not have the blue spectrum which contributes to the growth of leafy green plants. The life of HPS lights is around 1800 hours.

LED Lights
Light emitting diode or LED lights are a recent development in the lights used for plant growth. These are going to be an exciting offering in the time to come as grow lights, but as of now, these are not as efficient as the other types of lights.

In addition to all these, sometimes a combination of MH and HPS lights is a very good option to make the indoor plants grow. In the opinion of the specialists and manufacturers, the combination of the two results in ideal spectral blend and very high outputs. There are though doubts about this aspect.

Out of these, MH and HPS are high intensity discharge lamps and are the best amongst the lot. But just the lights won’t work. You need indoor plant light stands or indoor plant stands and other equipment with it for ensuring that the plants grow well. That includes fans, reflectors, and a timer. Reflectors are important around the planting for reflecting the light back on plants, and the fans help in optimizing ventilation for the plant, leading to strong roots and stems.