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Archive for July, 2009

How To Grow Sunflowers

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Gardeners who have taken the opportunity to plant and grow sunflowers are familiar with their vibrant yellow color. It s easy to imagine a garden that is full of tall, brightly colored sunflowers. They’re easy to grow, simple to maintain and can add a dazzling splash of color to any landscape. However, though sunflowers are easy to grow and maintain, there are several potential pitfalls. Small critters can steal the seeds before they have a chance to sprout. High winds can decimate a sunflower garden if stakes aren t used for structural support. Wild birds can swoop down to pillage the seeds before they can be stolen by other animals. By taking a few preventative measures, you can help ensure that your sunflowers grow to be a vibrant, stunning component of your garden. Below, this article will explain how to grow sunflowers and provide a few useful tips for cultivating a gorgeous end of summer garden.

Sow The Seeds Indoors: Most enthusiasts plant their sunflower seeds outdoors. But, doing so exposes your seeds to small animals. If left unprotected, these critters will often steal the seeds for food. You can prevent your seeds from disappearing by planting them indoors. This has the added benefit of preventing the frost outside from damaging the seeds. Plant them in peat pots using average to rich soil. Then, place the pots by the window to allow them direct access to sunlight. You’ll notice when you plant your sunflower seeds indoors that they’ll grow quickly. You should transplant them from the peat pots into the soil outside by the time the seedlings reach 2 inches. If they grow much taller, they may not be able to stand properly when you transplant them.

Transplanting Your Seedlings : There are several factors to consider when transplanting your sunflowers to the soil outside. First, don’t be afraid to get rid of less than stellar seedlings. By throwing away the stragglers, you can boost the overall quality of your sunflower garden. Plus, you’ll prevent overcrowding. Also, it s important to place your seedlings in an area that receives constant sunlight. Your sunflowers can grow in low quality soil. But, sunlight is critical. To ensure a healthy looking crop of sunflowers, prepare the soil prior to transplanting your seedlings. Dig a small hole a few inches wide and a few inches deep for each sunflower. Use a high grade soil with a time released fertilizer. This soil mixture will be more expensive than lower quality soil, but it can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your crop.

Weeding And Watering : Sunflower seedlings are extremely susceptible to drying out. They need to be watered daily from the moment they re transplanted into your soil outside. Once they reach 1 foot in height, their stems should be sturdy. You can reduce how often you water them (every other day should be sufficient). Once your sunflowers grow to 2 feet, you can further reduce watering to every few days. Also, keep in mind that weeds can quickly overwhelm your sunflower seedlings. Make the effort to keep the weeds at bay. Once your sunflowers are taller, the weeds won’t be able to strangle them. You should still eliminate the weeds simply because your garden will look nicer, but your sunflowers won’t be vulnerable.

Tender Loving Care : A patch of tall, vibrant sunflowers can look exhilarating. Many can grow over 12 feet. The bright yellow of the heads combined with their majestic height can add a unique blend of personality and nobility to your garden. Growing them is easy. They simply need a little attention each day. Once your sunflowers are fully grown, they won’t require as much attention and you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. With some tender loving care in the beginning, you’ll have a garden that attracts the envy of your neighbors. Assuming that you chose the right variety of sunflowers, prepared the soil properly, and took pains to replenish the nutrients in the soil with a fertilizer solution, your crop should be large and impressive.

Ways To Take Care Of Fresh Cut Flowers

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Fresh flowers can brighten any room and are quickly becoming a feature in interior design. Fresh cut flowers are those commonly found at your nearest florist. They come in a variety of colors and choices and you have the option to choose any variety of flowers of any color to make your own bouquet. As beautiful as fresh cut flowers are, it is quite unfortunate they do not last long. This article will show some ways to take care of fresh cut flowers:

You must remove the flowers from the packaging, hold the stems underwater, and cut the stem at a 45-degree angle using a sharp knife. Cutting the flower at this angle allows the stem to have a greater surface area for water consumption. Do not use scissors to cut the stems and do not crush the stems either; this will damage the tips and block the flower’s water intake. Prepare the vase and the water. Kill any bacteria or algae that formed in the vase by cleaning the inside with bleach. If your florist does not include preservatives with the flower delivery, fill the vase with lukewarm water and add a floral preservative. You can either buy preservatives from your florist or make on your own. To make your own preservatives, mix lemon with a very small amount of bleach, or a teaspoon of sugar with a few drops of bleach. Take note that using homemade concoctions might not be as effective as professional cut flower food because they don’t contain the complex mixture of preservatives and nutrients flowers need to survive.

Before putting the flowers in the vase, remove all the leaves that might be submerged in the water. Leaves have the tendency to decay when submerged underwater and when these leaves rot, they poison the water and shorten the vase life of your flowers. Arrange the flowers in any way you desire, but make sure you do not overcrowd the vase. If the bouquet is too large or the arrangement seems too tight, divide them into two and place them in separate vases. Once you’re satisfied with your floral arrangement, keep the vase in a cool spot away from direct sunlight to avoid rapid respiration. Respiration is the process wherein living organisms age. It is helpful to note that flowers generally have a higher respiration rate than most agricultural crop. The lower the temperature of the room they are placed in, the longer the flowers will last. However, if the flowers are subjected to temperatures below four degrees, their internal cells can get easily damaged and dry out the flowers. If you want your bouquet to decorate an air-conditioned room, make sure the temperature is not too cold.

Take care of your flowers every day and remove wilted flowers so they do not contaminate the rest. It is recommended that you change the water daily but if you are too busy to do so, replacing the water every two or three days is fine. Make sure you add the preservative each time you change the water. You can also re-cut the stem for improved water absorption. Fresh cut flowers will bring spring right into your home. Taking care of cut flowers is not very difficult as long as you take the steps mentioned above. It does not take much time but you will feel the benefits for many days to come.