Care for your containers
Cydney Steeb (August 1, 2012)
It's easy to forget about house plants with all the work that needs to be done outside. Remember to water them with room temperature water and fertilize weekly at half the recommended strength, but don't over water. If you have a shady deck or porch you might want to take your house plants outside for a week or two. If we get a nice summer shower it will wash the dust off the leaves and make the plants happy. Summer time is also the perfect time to wash accumulated salts and minerals out of pots. I use rainwater from my rain barrel for this task. You can also use bottled water. If you have a lot of accumulated salt around the edges of your pots you may want to consider repotting with new soil. If you have plants that need repotting either because the soil is bad or the plant needs a bigger pot, use a pot that is only one size larger. Plants are happier if not lost in a big pot.
Here's a hit to help your garden veggies last longer. If you like to pick your zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers before they get too big, you frequently have to pick them before you really intend to cook them.
If you have a second refrigerator you can brush off as much dirt as possible and store them unwashed. You can also keep them in a cool basement in a basket for a few days. You can then wash them just before cooking.
If you need to wash and store them be sure to dry them completely. It is the moisture that makes them spoil.
Also don't store veggies next to apples and bananas that give off ethylene gas that will speed up ripening. If you have an unripe avocado and want to have it for breakfast in the morning, simply place it in a paper bag with an apple overnight and voila.
Forest field tour
If you own forest property or you're involved in making decisions about forest property, you are encouraged to attend the Emmet Conservation District's Forest Management Field Tour from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25. There is no charge for the tour and bus transportation and lunch will be provided.
The tour will be conducted around the Emmet County area by local, knowledgeable area foresters. Simply call Cydney at (231) 439-8977 to register or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You must register by Monday, Aug. 20, to attend as bus seating is limited and lunches will be ordered.
Cydney Steeb, Advanced Master Gardener, can be contacted at Emmet Conservation District, 3434 M-119, Harbor Springs (231) 439-8977 or email@example.com. Her Gardening Wit and Wisdom column runs every Wednesday.