Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Grow Your Own SIMPLE Tea Garden

by:Don Rohde, Cedar Creek Woodshop

Materials Needed
1 decorative clay or metal planter

1 package of clay pellets (approx. 30 pellets)

3 packets of organic tea leaves seeds (YOUR CHOICE)

Grow-rich or nutrient-rich potting soil (ASK YOUR NURSERY FOR THE BEST RECOMMENDATION FOR YOUR AREA)

Directions
1. Spread the clay pellets evenly along bottom of planter. These will absorb water and promote healthy root development of the tea plants.

2. Moisten potting soil in a large plastic bag and then spread mix over clay pellets in planter, leaving 1/2 inch at top of planter.

3. Sprinkle seeds on soil, leaving about 2 or so inches between different varieties.

4. Lightly cover the seeds with dry soil, and then moisten slightly with a spray bottle or a few drops of water.

5. Label the varieties of tea on the bottom or side of planter, or create popsicle-stick signs to place in the soil.

6. Move planter to a warm place in indirect sunlight until germination takes place. After germination, relocate planter to a warm area with natural sunlight.

7. When tea leaves reach a height of about two inches, thin out seedlings across the total planter surface to provide adequate space for future growth.

8. Water periodically, only when the soil is moderately dry.
DO NOT OVERWATER!!)

9. Pick tea leaves sparingly and brew in a hot pot of water. Sit back, sip and enjoy!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

How To Do CONTAINER GARDENING

Container gardens can create a natural sanctuary in a busy city street, along rooftops or on balconies. You can easily accentuate the welcoming look of a deck or patio with colorful pots of annuals, or fill your window boxes with beautiful shrub roses or any number of small perennials. Whether you arrange your pots in a group for a massed effect or highlight a smaller space with a single specimen, you'll be delighted with this simple way to create a garden.

Container gardening enables you to easily vary your color scheme, and as each plant finishes flowering, it can be replaced with another. Whether you choose to harmonize or contrast your colors, make sure there is variety in the height of each plant. Think also of the shape and texture of the leaves. Tall strap-like leaves will give a good vertical background to low-growing, wide-leafed plants. Choose plants with a long flowering season, or have others of a different type ready to replace them as they finish blooming.

Color Scheme, Shape & Texture

Experiment with creative containers. You might have an old porcelain bowl or copper urn you can use, or perhaps you'd rather make something really modern with timber or tiles. If you decide to buy your containers ready-made, terracotta pots look wonderful, but tend to absorb water. You don't want your plants to dry out, so paint the interior of these pots with a special sealer available from hardware stores.

Cheaper plastic pots can also be painted on the outside with water-based paints for good effect. When purchasing pots, don't forget to buy matching saucers to catch the drips. This will save cement floors getting stained, or timber floors rotting.

Potting Mix

Always use a good quality potting mix in your containers. This will ensure the best performance possible from your plants. If you have steps leading up to your front door, an attractive pot plant on each one will delight your visitors. Indoors, pots of plants or flowers help to create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere.

Location

Decide ahead of time where you want your pots to be positioned, then buy plants that suit the situation. There is no point buying sun lovers for a shady position, for they will not do well. Some plants also have really large roots, so they are best kept for the open garden.

If you have plenty of space at your front door, a group of potted plants off to one side will be more visually appealing than two similar plants placed each side. Unless they are spectacular, they will look rather boring. Group the pots in odd numbers rather than even, and vary the height and type. To tie the group together, add large rocks that are similar in appearance and just slightly different in size. Three or five pots of the same type and color, but in different sizes also looks affective.

With a creative mind and some determination, you will soon have a container garden that will be the envy of friends and strangers alike.

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