November 28, 2015

Saturday Gardening Thread: What is your Statice? [Y-not and KT]
— Open Blogger

Y-not: Good afternoon, gardeners!

This week the incomparable KT asks "What is your Statice?"

When I went to do my own "status assessment" it went something like Kryten's in this classic Red Dwarf episode:

What with the move and our new routine (including college football or basketball games to attend several times each week), I'm currently at Condition Marigold...

Marigold.jpeg

...and headed to Condition Heliotrope.

Heliotrope.jpeg

So no contribution from me this week. My apologies!

Fortunately, KT, brought the content:

What is your Statice?

I recently decided that I needed to pay a little more attention to making good memories, for myself and those I care about. Statice is a good plant choice for memory-making. The Front Yard Foodie wrote:

This thought is related to many, many, many memories of my mother. Her garden. And a flower called statice. . . .

Though I don't think my mom considers herself very crafty, I remember her picking flowers and hanging them in bunches with twine or yarn on nails along the sunroom windows to dry. . . . I have these idyllic visions of her cutting her flowers from large plants saturated in golden sunlight with butterflies and bees lazily coming off the plants and hanging in the air about her, a small smile resting on her face. It was her world, her space, her project and she loved it.

There are more kinds of statice than I thought there were. The flowers known to gardeners and florists as "statice" are mostly from the genus Limonium, which contains 120 species or more, depending on your source of information. There are a couple of garden-worthy species from related genera. Do you have any in your garden? All garden varieties of statice form a basal rosette of leaves, with flowering stems rising above them.

You can use statice to make a lasting country bridal bouquet.

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Bouquet of Annual and German Statice

I do not know if limonium species are edible, but who cares? Nobody wants to eat papery flowers. They are on the "safe" list of garden plants. So if you want to decorate a wedding cake with Statice "Emile" (a hybrid cultivar for florists), Singapore Orchids, Phlox and Wax Flowers, go ahead. I once decorated a wedding cake for a low-budget wedding with silk flowers, since I am too klutzy to do those frosting decorations. I think statice would be almost as easy to use, for example, on those trendy naked wedding cakes, which despite their name, are classier than this wedding cake:

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James Bond Theme Wedding Cake

STATICE GROWN AS ANNUALS

The annual statice most commonly used by florists is Limonium sinuatum. I once had a delightful elderly neighbor who grew it. The plant is kind of gawky. She always planted it in a hot location, against the garage facing west into the alley. Sometimes a few plants lived over the winter. She loved to make dried arrangements for her friends.

In my 1988 edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book, the only colors listed for this Mediterranean species were blue, lavender or rose with a white corolla. A similar species, L. bonduellii, was described as having yellow flowers with a tiny deep yellow corolla. I found a little information about this species on the intertubes, mostly in French, but it is rarely mentioned in terms of gardening today. It has been re-classified as a subspecies of L. sinuatum. Cross-breeding the blue to rose forms with the yellow form has given us new colors of S. sinuatum, such as most of those in the Sunset Strain. The flower colors in this strain harmonize nicely with fall colors in bouquets and with crafts in "antique" colors, as well as with tannish flowers preserved with glycerin.

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Annual Statice, Sunset Strain

There are wild forms of L. s. bonduellii in the Sahara desert and in Morocco. Seeds are still available from a company in Malta. The flowers look nice, but the plant form of the Saharan strain is probably not one you would choose for your garden. There is a word for this plant in the Tuareg language. Some of our lefty friends consider the Tuareg culture to be "progressive" even though they are slave traders, their culture is based on a fairly rigid caste system and they consider themselves to be superior to others. Sex and the Saharah. Striking photos. The short video included may give us a clue to where twerking came from.

I am grateful that I do not live in or near the Sahara desert. This 2010 Journey to Timbuktu by NBC News seems so long ago. . . .

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News crew pretending to be Tuareg tribesmen

I get the impression that garden and greenhouse forms of L. sinuatum were floppier back in the 1980s than they are today. Not as floppy as the ones in the Sahara, though. You can now buy refined strains for the florist trade in single colors or in mixtures with a very wide range of colors. If you want to try making a little money growing your own, Stokes Seeds has directions for various parts of the country.

The USDA has issued guidelines for florists wishing to improve the quality and lasting power of cut flowers including German statice, annual statice and new hybrids for florists, propagated by tissue culture. Statices known in the trade as Sea Foam, Latifolia, and Caspia are also mentioned.

Many statice species can be dried and used for years in permanent flower arrangements. Yet when used as a fresh flower, they may last only a few days before leaf yellowing (on statice only, not German statice) or Botrytis infestation occurs.

Even if the leaves yellow, you may still be able to use annual statice flowers from bouquets in wreaths where the stems do not show.

Russian Statice, or Pink Pokers, is very easy to use in both fresh and dried arrangements. According to Sunset, Psylliostachys suworowii hails from Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. It prefers average soil and water. Its slender spikes of lavender pink flowers may be branched or unbranched, with the latter resembling "furry rat tails". It may grow better in coastal Alaska than in some parts of the country.

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Pink Pokers

GERMAN STATICE

Goniolimon tataricum (sometimes still sold as Limonium tataricum) is a favorite for making wreaths. It has tiny rose to purple true flowers that fall off after blooming, leaving white or silvery-blue star-shaped calyxes. Though the plant is not very tall, it has been described as having "architectural presence". It looks white from a distance and gives an effect in bouquets similar to babys breath. Sunset notes that the entire 1 1/2 foot high and wide dome of flowers can be cut and dried for winter arrangements. It is hardy to USDA Zone 4 and can be seen at the Denver Botanic Gardens. It does best where summers are hot and dry.

Statice-300x225.jpg

German Statice in the Steppe Garden, PlantAsia

LIMONIUM PEREZII AND NATIVE SPECIES

All of the remaining types of statice below are from the genus Limonium. This genus is known for plants that tolerate heat and poor soil, including salty or alkaline soils. They all need good drainage. They tend to be tap-rooted and do not transplant easily once established. Some may not tolerate humidity or continuously moist soil. Flowers are typically made up of two parts, an inner corolla and a surrounding calyx. Often, these are different colors. The flowers attract butterflies.

Limonium perezii, from the Canary Islands, is the showiest species of statice for the garden. Its individual flowers resemble those of L. sinuatum above, though they only come in lavender blue. The flower heads are large and it has a long bloom period. It is a favorite in California, and will grow in the low deserts of Arizona with afternoon shade. It can be fire retardant. Sadly, it is only hardy to 25 degrees.

Garden designers in California have used Limonium perezii with other plants even in the "hell strip" between the street and the sidewalk. Other ideas for this difficult planting situation here.

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Because it naturalizes near the beach in Southern California, people sometimes confuse it with native Limonium californium, a salt marsh plant. L. californium can excrete salt from its leaves.

The two other native species are also salt-tolerant. Transpecos sea-lavender flourishes in the salty, often alkaline soils near cienegas in the Southwest.

SAW_02034.JPG

Transpecos sea-lavender

Carolina sea-lavender is the only native statice in the East. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 - 8. Flower stems are gathered from the wild to make wreaths, worrying some ecologically-minded people.

Popular with floral arrangers, this coastal native grows in the dunes just above the high tide line. Wide leathery evergreen leaves form a ground hugging rosette from which rises the foot tall, broccoli- shaped heads of tiny purple flowers. En masse, these flowers appear as a purple haze. Very tolerant of salt, as it grows in marshes, yet easy to grow in the garden, provided it has moist, very well drained conditions in full sun.


Speaking of crafts, they love Carolina sea-lavender at Marsh Radio Island, where in 2013, they invited people to:

Come to "Stitching the Shore" a collaborative crochet session to stitch floating salt marsh islands before they are deployed in the Boston Harbor. This workshop - for veteran and inexperienced crochet stitchers alike, will result in community crocheted connective tissue between our prototype salt marsh modules.

If you understand how this helped protect the shoreline, let us know.

HARDY GARDEN STATICES

Sea lavender, Limonium platyphyllum (AKA L. latifolium), is listed as suitable for USDA Zones 3 - 9. Sunset does not list it for the desert, but does list it for parts of Hawaii. It grows at the edge of the water at The Battery, a waterfront part at the tip of Manhattan. "Tiny blue-lavender flowers arranged in basketball-size masses above sprawling basal rosette of dark green 6-12" leathery oval leaves. Foliage turns rich purple and red in autumn." Note: Fall foliage color may not be reliable in all climates.

sea-lave18-detail.jpg

Sunset says that there are also pure white and pink forms. Some people call it broad-leafed statice. Grows 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall. It has a frothy, see-through quality. Excellent for fresh or dried flower arrangements.

Siberian statice, Limoniium gmelinii, is a little shorter and more compact than the species above. It has widely-branching clusters of blue flowers in mid- to late summer. Some sources list it as hardy only to Zone 4. Hawaiians are out of luck with this one.

Common or Mediterranean Sea Lavender is native from the British Isles through Southern Europe, North Africa and the Azores. It sometimes turns large swaths of ground near the shore lavender when in bloom. It only grows a foot or two tall. It is hardy to about 15 degrees.

Go ahead. Get some statice. There are many possibilities. Maybe you could make a wreath.


Y-not: Thanks, KT!

To close things up, here's the Heliotrope Bouquet:


What's happening in YOUR gardens this week?

Posted by: Open Blogger at 09:45 AM | Comments (113)
Post contains 1848 words, total size 16 kb.

1 Pink Pokers Heh heh.

Posted by: WhatWhatWhat? at November 28, 2015 09:46 AM (HMt16)

2 done with raking leaves, not yet time to turn the compost, garden is iced dead, forgot to plant winter greens, hoping the cover crop has germinated and and may sprout when the rains start again.

I am reduced to patrolling for ice-weasels.

Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 09:50 AM (q2o38)

3 Scott Joplin!  Heliotrope!  Fun. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 09:52 AM (qahv/)

4 I never did like ststiceticks.

Posted by: Kanye West at November 28, 2015 09:52 AM (B1TZ/)

5 Nothing happening in our garden now, but I've picked up loads of pinecones and sprucecones from around the neighborhood. 

Will be adding small ornaments and 'cones to fake-greenery garlands.  Pretty.

Posted by: JQ Flyover at November 28, 2015 09:52 AM (044Fx)

6 What's an ice-weasel, Kindltot?

Posted by: Y-not at November 28, 2015 09:52 AM (t5zYU)

7 Will be adding small ornaments and 'cones to fake-greenery garlands. Pretty. --- Nice!

Posted by: Y-not at November 28, 2015 09:53 AM (t5zYU)

8 Pink Pokers are grown as potted plants in India.  I guess they need really good drainage.  Temperature seems to be less of an issue than humidity. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 09:54 AM (qahv/)

9 Statice might not lie; but liars certainly can statice.

Posted by: zombie samuel clemens at November 28, 2015 09:54 AM (xodPA)

10 TRUMP! 

Posted by: The Moron who shouts TRUMP! at November 28, 2015 09:54 AM (EUMr7)

11 Matt Groening put it best:

"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come."

Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 09:55 AM (q2o38)

12 I think this was the first time I ran across a list of "safe", non-toxic plants. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 09:57 AM (qahv/)

13 Clemson up by 9 with 3:56 left in fourth quarter Time out-Clemson Don't try to score boys... Just try to run out the clock.

Posted by: Palmetto Primary at November 28, 2015 09:58 AM (qCxUV)

14 Single digit temps have taken care of any green looking growth around here.

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 09:59 AM (mUa7N)

15 11:  Just great, Kindltot. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:00 AM (qahv/)

16 My salvias seem unaffected by the cold. Both leaves and flowers show no signs of drooping. Is there any chance these guys will survive the winter? My marigolds are likewise in their sixth month of big yellow blooms, but their stems seem to be bending under the weight.

Posted by: Spellcheck at November 28, 2015 10:00 AM (j+aWk)

17 Still not about how to grow weed in my basement? Get with the times man.

Posted by: bob at November 28, 2015 10:02 AM (7Ovi4)

18 My garden is frozen right now :/

Posted by: chemjeff at November 28, 2015 10:04 AM (uZNvH)

19 My statice is "tired." It has taken me a full year, but I have set foot on all areas of my farm.

I have some remarkably good luck, because when I bought the place, seeing all of it was impossible, but I see that I can grow pig and chicken food on the wilder sections and convert the current pasture into crop.

My brother gifted me some garlic, so I have about 300 more to plant tomorrow. Also planting 7 gardenia and a crepe myrtle tomorrow.

Posted by: traye at November 28, 2015 10:06 AM (ORTuM)

20 Pink Pokers are grown as potted plants in India. They are popular on the periphery of Punjab.

Posted by: fluffy at November 28, 2015 10:07 AM (AfsKp)

21 JQ Flyover at November 28, 2015 02:52 PM

I like wreaths done that way.  Garlands, too.  You can add some little lights to the gardland if you want to. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:07 AM (qahv/)

22 Gardland?  Garland.  As over a door, on a mantle, or down the middle of a table. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:08 AM (qahv/)

23 Kt, the bay trees you asked about the other night, down here they're just as thick as they can be anywhere you don't keep cleaned out. I guess it's the birds moving seeds around. I was checking when you asked what kind and I found this-
The leaves are eaten by caterpillars of the Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes).

Persea palustris is in grave danger from a fungus (Ophiostoma sp.) carried by the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle (Xyleborus glabratus), introduced from Asia. Many of the trees in the southeastern part of North Carolina are already dead. The redbay wilt, or laurel wilt disease, is spreading rapidly in coastal North Carolina, and has already destroyed most Persea trees in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. It has been reported in Sassafras (Sassafras albidum); other members of the laurel family (Lauraceae) may be susceptible.

Posted by: traye at November 28, 2015 10:12 AM (ORTuM)

24 Spellcheck at November 28, 2015 03:00 PM 

What kind of salvia do you have, and what region do you live in? 


Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:14 AM (qahv/)

25 The 2 houseplants are still alive. Well the outside trees and grass are alive, just dormant now. I should probably be getting decorations down but its cold and the garage door safety sensor went wacky which makes it uncomfortable cold in the garage to be messing with ladder and stuff. So I'm living vicariously through you all today.

Posted by: PaleRider at November 28, 2015 10:14 AM (1OLmv)

26 Wow! I thought the scrolling would never end. BTW, KT and Y-not makes KY, right? I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Posted by: ThePrimordialOrderedPair at November 28, 2015 10:18 AM (zc3Db)

27 THE ice-weasel comes : on little ice-weasel feet. It sits looking : over harbor and city : on silent haunches: and then moves on.

Posted by: zombie carl sandburg at November 28, 2015 10:19 AM (xodPA)

28 23:  Traye,

Terrible about that new tree disease.  The Eat the Weeds guy has a page on those bays. 

I always thought of the Palamedes Swallowtail as a Florida butterfly.  They're pretty. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:21 AM (qahv/)

29 I think the worms in the Garden Tower will probably freeze this Winter. Damn shame.

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 10:24 AM (mUa7N)

30 Spellcheck at November 28, 2015 03:00 PM What kind of salvia do you have, and what region do you live in? Posted by: KT --- I think he meant 'saliva' and mistyped salvia by mistake. I've noticed that Spellcheck is really bad at catching errors like that.

Posted by: Bruce Boehner at November 28, 2015 10:25 AM (B1TZ/)

31 Got an email from the Garden Tower people. They were having a sale. Can't remember how much off. Still too darn expensive.

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 10:27 AM (mUa7N)

32 We get a lot of those swallowtails  here too, they are on of my favorite.

When we got here everyone was saying "rent a dozer and clear all this mess." No way in hell was I tearing up a beautiful natural area in the interest of expediency. I know my way is harder, and time consuming but I'm sharing this place with a ton of native wildlife I haven't seen before.

Posted by: traye at November 28, 2015 10:29 AM (ORTuM)

33 Did anyone build and plant a hugel?  Did you have any luck with it?

(Hugel means heap, it is basically a pile of slash and trash wood covered with dirt to make a planting area)

Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 10:30 AM (q2o38)

34 I'm not much of a gardener; I'm pretty much stuck with pink pokers.

Posted by: sandra fluke at November 28, 2015 10:33 AM (wKcQA)

35 It's fun to learn about the things you find at your place, Traye.  The only exotics we seem to have here are wind scorpions.  There are supposed to be vinagarones around, too.  I have never seen one. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:35 AM (qahv/)

36 Traye, a friend of mine rented a house on some acreage.  The owner mostly used it to run his show cattle herd on in the late summer and fall and left it mostly alone during the spring except to spray the noxious weeds.  It had the best array of fairly rare wild flowers I ever saw - everything but the rare orchids, and I suspected they were there but I never found them.
The cattle browsed down all the brush, but didn't eat the wildflowers and kill them in the early spring when they were vulnerable.  So there was enough sun and clear areas for them to grow in. 

Hogs are different, they root everything up, but if you run some cattle in the late summer and fall, they will do a bit to clear out your underbrush in your woods.

Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 10:36 AM (q2o38)

37 Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 03:30

I'm going to this winter. A big mo fo, about 6-8 wide and 100 or so ft long. I want to plant plums, peaches and apples in it, and let the fruit roll down to my pigs. I'll document it for a garden thread.

Posted by: traye at November 28, 2015 10:37 AM (ORTuM)

38 I think I recall the sea lavender growing near the beach in Rhode Island. The color seemed to change with the angle of the sun. The Christmas cacti are blooming with those beautiful ruby colored blossoms. We get the blossoms twice a year and they are always a treat. Now if I could only draw well enough to capture that color and form.

Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 10:38 AM (FvdPb)

39 BTW, KT and Y-not makes KY, right? I'm not sure how I feel about that.

KT and Y-not makes:

KY

and

Not-T


Posted by: chemjeff at November 28, 2015 10:39 AM (uZNvH)

40 Gardening, which at casa de Peon consists of mowing and weed-whacking, is suspended for the winter. I am at a rig in the Peace country of B.C. right now, and it is a beautiful fine day here. Blue sky, white puffy clouds, a South wind, and temps nicely above freezing (Chinook conditions). No snow to be seen out my window, but if you look hard, you can find remnants in shady places. There are still green leaves on some of the combined canola plants in the adjacent field, and plenty of moose droppings near the treeline at the edge of the field. So think the moose have been noshing on canola greens (which make a nice salad green when young and tender).

Posted by: Alberta Oil Peon at November 28, 2015 10:39 AM (7MWCL)

41 Collards, kale and cabbages all coming in good. Nice thing about collards and kale is you can trim what you want and the plants keep growing back.

Posted by: Hairyback Guy at November 28, 2015 10:40 AM (ej1L0)

42 I picked up a Kindle book called "Grow or Die" by the Good Dave. It has some good stuff. Mentioned a tool site called easydigging.com. Book is worth the money.

Posted by: Notsothoreau at November 28, 2015 10:41 AM (Lqy/e)

43 10 TRUMP! Just watched the whole Sarasota rally. This one was so yuuuuuge, they said he held a mini-rally afterwards for the thousands of folks who couldn't get in. Can't help but get caught up in the excitement when you watch one of his rallies. I haven't seen people get so juiced about a Repub since Ronaldus Maximus himself. Best moments today: "Second Amendment UP! Common Core OUT!" And the crowd breaking into "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye" at a protester that got tossed.

Posted by: WhatWhatWhat? at November 28, 2015 10:45 AM (HMt16)

44 KT and Y-not makes: KY and Not-T. Posted by: chemjeff --- I've been naughty in KY.

Posted by: Rand Paul at November 28, 2015 10:45 AM (B1TZ/)

45 Don't knock the James Bond cake topper; it's the one item I insisted on getting for my wedding. Also, it was on Archer's cake when he married the KGB / cyborg chick.

Posted by: PabloD at November 28, 2015 10:48 AM (eOnMX)

46 When I was a little girl, our neighbors went to the mountains to look for wildlife on the day a moose visited their vegetable garden down in the city.  Didn't happen very often in Utah. 

I am not surprised that canola makes a good green when it is young. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:53 AM (qahv/)

47 45:  I imagine that a James Bond wedding topper is appropriate when Archer wants to marry a KGB  / cyborg chick. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:59 AM (qahv/)

48 Always look forward to the gardening thread. Thanks to both of you. We don't do much with flowers at Maison JTB but the Mrs. and I enjoy learning about them.

Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 10:59 AM (FvdPb)

49 Hey there, big boy, how 'bout a game of 5 card th-tud?

Posted by: Pink poker at November 28, 2015 11:02 AM (B1TZ/)

50 Growing season is done here in No. Ill.
I just got done cleaning out the leaves in the window wells. Tomorrow, it's tune up the snowblower and probably drain the lawn mower gas and then get the Christmas lights up.

Time to start thinking about what to put into the yard this spring. Thanks for your ideas and tips. I usually learn something each week.

Posted by: Bruce at November 28, 2015 11:06 AM (8ikIW)

51 The 2010 NBC Timbuktu story actually has some information in it that helps explain what is going on in North Africa right now.  No matter how silly their news crew looks.  I got an error message on the link.  You could try this one:

http://tinyurl.com/ng8vbvd

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 11:11 AM (qahv/)

52 Thank you KT.

Now I know where linoleum comes from.

Posted by: Ed Anger at November 28, 2015 11:12 AM (RcpcZ)

53 Had a surprise this week, weeks ago a frost threat I picked everything and pulled up all plants but a very prolific Anaheim pepper plant. This week before a real frost I noticed about 6 little peppers about 4" with one turning red. I'm going to miss that plant, dozens of Chile rellenos

Posted by: Skip at November 28, 2015 11:13 AM (XRpjE)

54 I'm going to miss that plant, dozens of Chile rellenos
 Posted by: Skip

Thanks a lot! Now I'm wanting those for dinner. I don't make them, but the place in town does them up nice.

Posted by: Bruce at November 28, 2015 11:19 AM (8ikIW)

55 I thought this line from the "Sex and the Sahara" piece was interesting:

"Andy Morgan, who managed Tuareg rockers Tinariwen, noted in 2013 some Tuareg considered the 'culture to be backward and irrelevant in the modern world, a folksy throw-back kept alive by meddling Western anthropologists'."

Reminds me of a Spengler piece about Obama's anthropologist mother, before he was elected. 

Some of the rock-influenced Tuareg music is really interesting.  The Islamists pushing them to give up their music may win out over both the anthropologists and the enticements of modernity.  At least for a while. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 11:22 AM (qahv/)

56 Can't 'look at the flowers' when it's 38 degrees here in ETEX tonight and our furnace is still down.

Posted by: Eromero at November 28, 2015 11:23 AM (b+df9)

57 Just downloaded the "Grow or Die" book. I like the philosophy behind low tech gardening. I need the exercise, anyhow. According to the reviews, the author has a sense of humor. It will help fill in the aching void until the deluge of seed catalogs arrive in a month or so.

Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 11:31 AM (FvdPb)

58 Does anyone know of David The Good's book on composting is any good?

Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 11:34 AM (FvdPb)

59 I used Steve Solomon's Organic Gardeners Composting.

It is also free on Gutenberg

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4342

Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 11:39 AM (q2o38)

60 Can't 'look at the flowers' when it's 38 degrees here in ETEX tonight and our furnace is still down. Posted by: Eromero at November 28, 2015 04:23 PM (b+df9) And a baby in August

Posted by: Velvet Ambition at November 28, 2015 11:44 AM (QPdNE)

61 I have two inches of snow on the ground, overnight low temp was 9 degrees on the F scale, and you are talking about flowers. Which is probably the perfect time to talk about a trip to Bora Bora; to return about May 30th or so. Ok settle for somewhere around Orlando, in an travel trailer. I'll probably get the VA hospital in Detroit.

Posted by: Woolford Spaulings at November 28, 2015 11:49 AM (5j3K1)

62 Thanks Kindltot. It's also free for Kindle. Just downloaded it. What I know about composting wouldn't fill a thimble so this can only help.

Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 11:51 AM (FvdPb)

63

 

Pwink pwokers?  Ohooooooooeeww...

Posted by: Bwany Fwank at November 28, 2015 11:53 AM (JErR4)

64 Great Iron Bowl so far!

Posted by: logprof at November 28, 2015 11:55 AM (vsbNu)

65 KT @24: I'm in Philadelphia. We've been in the 60s for a few days and only one overnight freeze this season. The salvia are red. They came in a skid of 12 from Home Depot. I'd guess. Salvia is all the tag says. Sun. Annual. Low water. Fertilize monthly. They're in a bed that was thoroughly tilled, cleaned and prepped with 10 pounds of manure/hummus. They may be the best plants I've ever had. The same bed killed two tiny butterfly bushes, two hostas and an attempt at honeysuckle. I've been outside bagging leaves for several hours. No end in sight.

Posted by: Spellcheck at November 28, 2015 11:57 AM (j+aWk)

66 Did anybody catch an NBC series called "American Odyssey starting this spring, with North African rebels, corporate conspiracy stuff?  Just ran across it while looking up Tuareg flower appreciation.  I wonder if they ended up actually running the whole series? *THIS COMMENT "PRUNED" BY Y-NOT. LOL!*

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:02 PM (qahv/)

67 KT, there are some flowers in here that require your attention

Posted by: Teh Barrel at November 28, 2015 12:03 PM (uZNvH)

68 Oh. Oh. KT

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:03 PM (mUa7N)

69 Well.  That link did not turn out well. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:03 PM (qahv/)

70 Whoa. Glad that was a cob. Barrel Proof?

Posted by: Golfman - Xenophobe Extrodinaire at November 28, 2015 12:03 PM (48QDY)

71 Actually, not flowers, more like stinkweed

Posted by: Teh Barrel at November 28, 2015 12:04 PM (uZNvH)

72 Posted by: Teh Barrel at November 28, 2015 05:04 PM (uZNvH) Pitcher Plant?

Posted by: Golfman - Xenophobe Extrodinaire at November 28, 2015 12:05 PM (48QDY)

73 Spellcheck,

They are probably Salvia Splendens.  They won't make it through the winter, but should be readily available in the spring.  They may take a light frost. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:07 PM (qahv/)

74 Microsoft for the win!

Posted by: Woolford Spaulings at November 28, 2015 12:08 PM (5j3K1)

75 Can't fix that comment above.  One of the "officials" will have to do it. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:09 PM (qahv/)

76 When we moved into the house when  I was a little kid, Dad just piled the leaves, and sink colander and grass clippings into a corner of the property that was backed by the neighbor's blackberry thicket. 
It made good dirt but it took 5 years or so.  I remember digging it out with a wheelbarrow and having the ducks follow me around because I would throw them big-ol nightcrawlers and beetles.
Composting is really easy, the trick is to make it faster than 5 years, and that requires some planning and some digging.

I used to use 10' of woven wire fencing in a circle to pile up the compost, it keeps it together and it is easy to move.  You can also use pallets wired together, or like I do now, scrap lumber cribbed up like giant lincoln logs to make an enclosure kept together with those fencing T-posts

The trick is to keep the volume greater than a cubic yard so it will keep warn and working, and keep it damp in the summer.  The other thing is to keep it un-compacted enough so enough air gets in so it doesn't go anaerobic and stinky and slimy. 

Anyhow, read the book, its a really good book, and you will find a lot of good information in it.


Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 12:09 PM (q2o38)

77 Whoa, KT. "and our furnace is still down." Uh-oh. What kind? Gas?

Posted by: Ricardo Kill at November 28, 2015 12:12 PM (fmL7f)

78 The Grow or Die book does a nice survey of growing methods. I am a big fan of Steve Solomon. I've hand dug a fair sized garden before, using a sharpened shovel and digging fork. I want to do that for the garden in the new place, if my knees will let me. You don't have to dig it all up at once. I like Carol Deppes books. I also have "Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical Self Reliant Gardening". I'm not sure if I want to purchase the later. I can't garden at this place. We have clay soil and a large maple tree in the front. The backyard is shaded by the neighbors evergreens. There are a few spots where I can get plants to grow in pots but they never grow well. The place at the river has sandy soil and better sun. Could have grown some nice tomatoes there this year. But there's always next year.

Posted by: Notsothoreau at November 28, 2015 12:13 PM (Lqy/e)

79 gah. Explanations needed.  
 We kept a colander in the corner of the sink for vegetable peelings and carrot tops and onion skins and other stuff peeled off when prepping veggies, and that went into the compost.
It was the "colander".
Mom did not hold with throwing otherwise useful stuff into the garbage so we could pay to have it taken away and smell it rot while waiting for garbage day.

Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 12:13 PM (q2o38)

80 Does anyone know if those barrel type composters as seen on Amazon work worth a darn?

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:14 PM (mUa7N)

81 And David the Good has an ebook on growing tobacco for trade. I don't smoke the stuff but did know a guy that was able to grow a small crop here. That Will Bonsall book recommends it as an herbal insecticide.

Posted by: Notsothoreau at November 28, 2015 12:15 PM (Lqy/e)

82 Ronster,

The kind f compost barrels that rotate?  Don't know. 

The kind that just sit there may attract roaches. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:22 PM (qahv/)

83 I was thinking of the kind that rotate.

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:23 PM (mUa7N)

84 This was the rarer type-][ barrel. But how does one create it? I didn't see what the error was in the html. Is it due to cutting and pasting from another site?

Posted by: Bruce Boehner at November 28, 2015 12:24 PM (B1TZ/)

85 Knock on wood, I've never seen a Roach around here.

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:24 PM (mUa7N)

86 Mr. Bar-the-Door picked and peeled a Just Right turnip and shared it with me this morning.  It was great.

Raw turnip.  Romantic, no? 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:25 PM (qahv/)

87 Not even the smoking kind.

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:26 PM (mUa7N)

88 There was a guy in Spokane that was a serious composter. I got to see the set up at his house. He had sloping ground and a platform at the top. He had a long set of metal 55 gallon drums, tops and bottoms removed, welded into a long tube. I think there were maybe eight of them. He'd load them from the platform and finished compost would come out the bottom. He had a chain rigged on it so that he could rotate the barrel stack. He had an amazing garden. The other amazing gardener I knew had a patch of peas in his front yard. They were trellised and fenced in. He had a little shed for his chukars, which he called his "insecticides". They ran loose in the peas and ate bugs. He also raised strawberries in wooden beds at waist height. They were covered with a chicken wire lid. Really an amazing place.

Posted by: Notsothoreau at November 28, 2015 12:26 PM (Lqy/e)

89 "Knock on wood" Never seen a roach around a house. Sure it happens but I've just never seen it.

Posted by: Ricardo Kill at November 28, 2015 12:30 PM (sBphU)

90 "Not even the smoking kind." Heh, here either. Had roaches in a really decent apartment in ATL one time though. Darn near needed a pellet gun to fight them back.

Posted by: Ricardo Kill at November 28, 2015 12:33 PM (PLMhP)

91 Never seen a roach around a house My mom had some in on of her rentals. Of course the renters lived like scum.

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:33 PM (mUa7N)

92 Posted by: Notsothoreau at November 28, 2015 05:15 PM (Lqy/e) Nicotine is a effective herbicide.

Posted by: Golfman - Xenophobe Extrodinaire at November 28, 2015 12:35 PM (48QDY)

93 The rotating barrel composters are supposed to be the bees-knees, but there is this issue:
Will you go out and rotate it every day or every week?  It will make compost fast, but you have to use them. 
I tend to forget, so piling stuff up and throwing a pan of the water I wash dishes on it every-other day or so is about my speed.

Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 12:37 PM (q2o38)

94 Posted by: Ricardo Kill at November 28, 2015 05:33 PM (PLMhP) Sounds like water bugs. Heh.

Posted by: Golfman - Xenophobe Extrodinaire at November 28, 2015 12:38 PM (48QDY)

95 Knock on wood, I've never seen a Roach around here. Posted by: Ronster --- We'd be happy to bus some of ours to your community. They're just like the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, really.

Posted by: Bill DiBlasio at November 28, 2015 12:38 PM (B1TZ/)

96 When I was at Ft. Sam Houston, the roaches were big and plentiful. In the 4th Army Med Lab, we would squirt them with ether or alcohol. It would knock them out, but they would come to and wander off.

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:39 PM (mUa7N)

97 "Sounds like water bugs. Heh." There were those. The big, brown sons of guns.

Posted by: Ricardo Kill at November 28, 2015 12:43 PM (0CPzC)

98 Kindltot at November 28, 2015 05:37 PM (q2o3 It would be for the wife. She is the composter around here. I'm thinking during the cold Winter months that the process would be rather slow.

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:43 PM (mUa7N)

99 I suspect that most compost fails because there's not enough nitrogen. We wound up with rabbits at one place because our neighbor decided to make them free range. We got the ones he managed to recapture. We used straw under the cages and composted that. It was just in a big wire mesh container. It's the only time I've seen steam on my compost pile. When it cooled, the stuff was full of little red worms. It was nice stuff. I may get rabbits again just to make compost. Don't have the heart to butcher them any more.

Posted by: Notsothoreau at November 28, 2015 12:43 PM (Lqy/e)

100 A load of horse manure will also do that.  If you have stables around they may be willing to load you up a pick-up full or so just to get rid of it.

Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 12:45 PM (q2o38)

101 Notsothoreau, couldn't one just throw in a tiny bit of Nitrogen fertilizer to provide the Nitrogen?

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:47 PM (mUa7N)

102 I don't know if there's anything in commercial nitrogen fertilizer that would break down. Couldn't hurt to try it. Steve Solomon has a nice discussion of composting in his Gardening when it counts book. He talks about the difference between indifferent compost and high quality stuff. I've always been fascinated by hotbeds. They made those with horse manure and planted in them as it started to cool a bit. Never had the chance to try it.

Posted by: Notsthoreau at November 28, 2015 01:08 PM (Lqy/e)

103 I think the Nitrogen lawn fertilizer is pretty much water soluble unless it's something special, like slow release.

Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 01:14 PM (mUa7N)

104 I've heard of chewing tobacco soaked in water for a certain amount of time, then sprayed as an insecticide. I think it was a very old idea. Never tried it myself. And my tobacco chewing days ended decades ago.

Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 01:23 PM (FvdPb)

105 JTB,

Nicotine is an insecticide, but there is some risk of spreading Tobacco Mosaic Virus to certain plants. 

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 01:32 PM (qahv/)

106 Mom used Black Flag aphid killer, which is Nicotine Sulphate, on her roses.  She used to use a tin of chewing tobacco soaked in water but when I was a kid she insisted that it was cheaper to get the commercial stuff since it was cheaper and she couldn't bum it off my step brother.
She was very particular to never use it on edible plants and to not let anyone use the rose petals for anything that would be eaten, Nicotine is toxic in high enough doses.

Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 01:43 PM (q2o38)

107 Sorry for the delay in fixing that comment, KT. I was trimming our tree. (Not a euphemism!)

Posted by: Y-not at November 28, 2015 01:53 PM (t5zYU)

108 Thanks, Y-not.

Tuareg rockers.  gotta figure out the scale:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvt55yopjAU

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 02:16 PM (qahv/)

109 Posted by: Bruce at November 28, 2015 04:06 PM Where are you at in N IL Bruce? We're in Dixon. Yesterday I found a living sprig of this vining thing the wife plants in the window boxes, clipped it and hopefully won't have to buy it in the spring. I brought in both baskets she had hanging on the porch, they were outstanding this year. I'm trying to save them over the winter, these buggers are getting expensive. We will see how much survives.

Posted by: Farmer at November 28, 2015 02:24 PM (o/90i)

110 Glad you made it, Farmer.

I am still cracking up about crocheting little floating salt marsh islands to release into Boston Harbor. 

They don't do stuff like that in the Midwest, do they?

Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 02:30 PM (qahv/)

111 Does anyone know if those barrel type composters as seen on Amazon work worth a darn? Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 05:14 PM I'm using one that the wife bought me from Gardener's Supply. Works great. I just tend to not get the right c/n mix in, just throw stuff in. So I get 2 loads of compost in a year instead of getting it done in a few weeks as they advertise.

Posted by: Farmer at November 28, 2015 03:39 PM (o/90i)

112 I am still cracking up about crocheting little floating salt marsh islands to release into Boston Harbor. They don't do stuff like that in the Midwest, do they? Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 07:30 PM I missed that reference, but doesn't sound like anything we'd do here.

Posted by: Farmer at November 28, 2015 03:47 PM (o/90i)

113 For those tuning in late, like me, JTB had asked if David the Good's book, "Compost Everything" was any good. I can confirm it is, and it's entertaining as well. I've given several e-copies to friends who garden, and you can get it in paperback now. I haven't read his new book yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by: Gordon at November 28, 2015 08:38 PM (hqhmo)

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