Tufa Planter Workshop Saturday, May 25th 2013

TufaJoin us for our Tufa planter workshop! Tufa is a type of lightweight cement that can be molded into garden vessels that look like limestone. Tufa is porous and is beneficial for plant growth, so it is a wonderful plant container. In this workshop, you will create at least 2 planters for your outside garden using baskets or plastic containers as molds. Planters are lighter than clay or concrete and can withstand harsh winters. Please feel free to register with a friend! Class taught by: Joan Rusek

Registration Fee: $45.00

What you make: 2 Tufa Planters

Who can join us: Adults are welcome to register with a friend or a child that is 12 years or older

Workshop Time: 2:00pm to 5:00pm;  Approximately 3 Hours

Class Size Limit: 10 Registrants (including friends) – Will notify if class is full

What you need to bring/be aware of:

  • Wear old clothes and shoes, you will be working with CEMENT
  • You may bring your own container to “form” the planter, we recommend a plastic container, please don’t bring anything that you couldn’t afford to lose as the cement may damage it
  • Rubber or Vinyl gloves – we will try to have some available, but if you have them, please bring them.
  • The materials have some weight to them – if you have trouble lifting heavy objects, we recommend bringing a friend who can help you!

Workshop Registration:

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April Showers – Why Plants Turn Bright Green After a Storm

459px-Lightning_hits_treeApril showers bring May flowers… along with longer sunny days and the thaw of winter with warmer temperatures.  Warm weather mixed with cold fronts also bring in thunderstorms. Storms can cause a burst in plant growth and here’s why:

All life on earth depends upon Nitrogen fixation. Nitrogen exists in the atmosphere and soil, but for plants and other organisms to utilize it, it must be fixated. So what does this have to do with thunderstorms? Lightening is one of many ways that can cause Nitrogen (N2) to be fixated. It allows plants to absorb it through foliage and into the rain down to the soil. So, its not a coincidence when you look outside and suddenly everything looks bright green after a storm.

Crop rotation using legumes such as soy beans also helps Nitrogen to become available in the soil through bacteria that live in symbiosis with these types of plants. This is  why many farmers switch crops from year to year to help keep their soil healthy as well as their plants.

Vinegar Weed Control, Myth or Fact?

spraySo we found a lot of hype on the web about using vinegar to kill weeds, so we thought we would look into it as it seems to be a relatively safe, non-toxic approach as opposed to commercial weed killers.

But, we want to understand how the vinegar kills the weeds… Products like Round-Up attack the plants chlorophyll, preventing it from performing photosynthesis, causing the plants to dry up and “starve” to death. Other products attack dicotyledons (broad leafed plants like dandelions) as opposed to monocotyledon plants (grasses), so they kill your weeds, but not your grass. Apparently, it is the slight acidic property of vinegar which causes it to kill weeds… and there are several “recipes” or suggestions on how to use it all over the web.

First, let us point out some issues with some of the recipes we found…

  • Soap – Yes, it will help the vinegar stick to the plant, maybe even help dry it out, but too much soap if leached into the ground can also kill plants you may not want to kill. Ever throw used soapy car wash water on your lawn…? You probably saw a big brown spot a few days later!
  • Salt – Again, like soap if it reaches the soil, and builds up can prevent plants from growing or burn them out, and you should never use your tap water (softened) to water plants.
  • Water – It turns out you are not supposed to dilute the vinegar, the stronger the acidity level, the better it is to kill the weeds
  • Vinegar – It is recommended to use 5% Distilled Vinegar, as opposed to other kinds – after doing a little research we determined that the regular 5% Distilled Vinegar should be more than acidic enough to do the job, any higher percents of vinegar are NOT necessary.

What we are going to do:

  • Test plain vinegar on weeds
  • Test vinegar with our choice amount of liquid dish detergent
  • Test vinegar with an alternative to dish detergent (we will reveal it later!)
  • Test the spray both on sidewalk and gravel areas & around other plants
  • Test plants in both the sun and in the shade
  • Pour some of the solution on the ground around weeds (not spray) and see if the ingredients in the soil cause problems to the plants

We will update with pictures and results!

A couple things we do know about vinegar, you can use it to make buttermilk, and running  a 1/4 cup full in your dishwasher leaves your glasses sparkling clean!

Have you tried this before? Please feel free to comment below – we want to hear about your experience using vinegar to kill weeds:

 

 

 

Holden Arboretum Plant Sale May 3rd, 4th & 5th

HoldenFor over 20 years the Holden Arboretum has held its annual Spring Plant Sale! Although there have been changes over the years, many of the growers who participate are still doing so today along with some new faces as well. Landscape Creations Nursery was one of the original nurseries included at the sale, and we still participate today.

Every year, the arboretum grows many native plants for the sale as well as has jellies, jams, and featured plants. But, no matter what vendor you purchase from, a portion of the sale benefits the arboretum – so this isn’t just your typical spring plant shopping spree! It is also probably the largest gathering of Horticulturalists and experts on hand available to the public to answer all of your gardening and plant questions. Conveniently scheduled the weekend before Mother’s Day, it is always a great time to buy a special plant for mom! Participating growers bring annuals, perennials, flowering shrubs, native plants, ornamental and exotic species as well as many new plant varieties and introductions.

May 3rd – Friday is always the Members Preview Sale – If you are not already a member of the arboretum, the plant sale will be off limits to you this day, in other words, members get first dibs on the plants! Membership starts at $40 for individuals, and $50.00 for families; you can find more Membership Information Here.

May 4 & 5 – Saturday & Sunday – The sale is open to the public with a discounted admission to the arboretum.

This year, there will be more than 25 vendors at the sale! You will also be able to find food, refreshments and walk the beautiful gardens at the arboretum. This is sale is also being held in preparation to the grand opening of their new Rhododendron Discovery Garden on May 18th.