Monday, April 27, 2015

Flower Baskets

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Here is how I do my hanging baskets:
  • You will need hanging basket, potting soil, 3 to 4 plants per basket, starter fertilizer and slow release fertilizer. The Spousal Unit uses a trowel, I use my hands.
  • I use three different colours of Supertunias in the baskets. If I can get the ones that have Vista on the marker I am happy though the others work well also. My favourite combination is white, light pink, and bubble gum pink. This year I snuck red into a couple of baskets. For our baskets (11 – 12”) I use three plants per basket.
  • Use fresh potting soil each year for the hanging baskets. We put the old potting soil in the garden or flower beds. Wet the potting soil until it holds together and no water runs out (OK, I put in more water than the Spousal Unit but he is the pro here). As you put in the soil into the baskets, press it down to remove air spaces. We mix our soil in plastic tubs that Rubbermaid sells for doing dishes in.
  • Fill the baskets with soil to within a couple of inches from the top.
  • Prepare a solution of water and plant starter fertilizer. We use both fish fertilizer and chemical. Both work equally well. This will promote good root development in the plants.
  • While in the small pots, trim your plants to take off the top flowers/buds of each plant. This forces them to become thicker (stool out). I use scissors for this job. You don’t have to do a perfect job. Snip, snip, snip and your are done.
  • Dig three holes in the pot for the plants (I use my hands). Take the plants out of their little containers and play with the roots to spread them out. Don’t be afraid to mess with the roots. Put some starter fertilizer into the holes, put in the plants, and press dirt around them.
  • Add some slow release fertilizer to each pot. I sprinkle 2 scoops around the soil of each pot and don’t have to do it again for 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Water daily as these baskets will use a lot of water when the plants get big. Our irrigation system keeps ours wet but we water them daily until system is on.
  • We keep our hanging baskets in the greenhouse for 3 to 4 weeks as I do them early. I want them to be well established prior to going out but that is a personal choice. Also I do them when we still have a good chance of frost. Other people do their baskets after the chance of frost has passed and put them out right away. Either way is fine.
When I do the tubs, I dig up the soil in them and soak the dry dirt with a solution of water and starter fertilizer. We remove part of the soil every couple of years as these tubs take a lot of soil to refill. I remove all the flowers from the plants prior to planting them. I also play with the roots to get them spread out prior to planting them and use starter fertilizer for good root growth. Use the slow release fertilizer in your tubs also. I would use the slow release fertilizer on everything but that isn’t economical. The Spousal Unit waters the tubs that aren’t watered with our system daily and uses a weak solution (half the amount recommended) of 20-20-20 fertilizer daily.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Transformation

I had to take a picture of the front of the house yesterday afternoon. What a transformation. We have gone from this in June 2009:
to this in July 2012 after I had taken a course in doing hanging baskets and pots and we had ripped off some of the old siding:
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to this in April 2015:
The hanging baskets still need to go up and will look very similar to those I did in 2012. I do them like this every year as they are our mark in the neighbourhood.

Until tomorrow………………………….

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A New Bind Off Method

I took a few minutes during mid morning break to cast off the seed stitch swatch. I bound it off in pattern as called for. It sat while I hunted for the post by Techknitter on binding off. She shows three different ways in which to bind off the last stitch. I chose b.
 I followed her directions carefully and it was a success.
No ugly last stitch. Here is the swatch prior to blocking it.
And after blocking.
My tension is better also as it is smaller than the first sample.
As I was blocking this swatch, I thought about how much I have enjoyed improving my knitting skills.