Sharpening Hand Pruners

While I’ve used standard files in the past to sharpen hand pruners, here’s another smaller option.

Smith’s DRET Diamond Retractable Sharpener

The Smith’s DRET Diamond Retractable Sharpener is available on Amazon for less than $9.00 and seems to do a nice job of sharpening.

Below is the technique I use. I sharpen from the bottom up.

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Gardening with a Phone

Since I usually spend two to three hours a day working in a garden, I like to be entertained while I work.

The phone is a natural resource these days since you now have access to the world. The problem is that if I keep it in a shirt pocket, it likely will fall out and possibly break and while I can keep it in a pants pocket, it will get sweaty and possibly banged around.

I found a solution recently which works out well. It’s a “Hiearcool Universal Waterproof Case,Waterproof Phone Pouch” found on Amazon. For $10.00 you get two cases. It fits my Pixel 3a which is around 6.5″ diagonally and seems to fit perfectly. Larger phones will be tight or not fit at all. It hangs around my neck and I can manipulate the phone from the outside and even take pictures through the clear plastic. The phone sound is good through the case.

While this device is really meant for water protection, it seems ideal to keep my phone protected while I garden and listen to my favorite podcasts.

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Maintaining Native Landscapes

If you’re interested in using native plants for your butterfly garden, Scott Woodbury shares his years of experience in this video.

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Native Garden Seminar

June 3, 2020 – 4 pm Central Time

Register at the link below.

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Soil Prep and Seed Mix Planting

While it’s common for people to buy a seed mix and just throw it on the soil, there are actually many factors to consider to get the best results.

Below are a couple of videos which talk about soil prep and seed mixes necessary to have good results.

Prairie Reconstruction

Video #2 – Click on this link and then look for Plant for Success.
Another nice video is Why Pollinator Habitat Makes Sense.

Here are a couple of other good videos from this website.

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Hardening Off Your Plants

If you start your own plants inside from seeds, they will be pretty wimpy compared to seeds that started their life outside.

Here’s what my milkweed looks like without hardening off.

Here’s the hardening off schedule I am going to try.

  1. May 4 – Leave in shade all day
  2. Put out in sunshine for 1 hour
  3. Put in sunshine for 2 hours
  4. Put in sunshine for 3 hours.
  5. Sunshine for 4 hours Had to bring plants inside because of possible night frost.
  6. Sunshine 5 hours
  7. May 11 – Put on back patio – faces east – gets about 6 hours of sun per day
  8. May 12 – still on back patio – gets sun from 7 am to 1 pm. Milkweed shows minimal damage.

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Marking Exceptional Plants

Marking Plants with fold plates or string.

Since I collect seeds every year, the question is always from which plants should I collect the seeds. In some cases, it’s obvious, but in other cases you might need some help.

What I do is mark the plants which have grown exceptionally well or bloomed well or attracted a lot of bees and butterflies.

I do two things to mark those plants.

  • I mark the plants with gold sprayed steel plates.
  • If the plant is large, I use gold string to tie up the plant.

Now when I go around to collect seeds, I know for sure which plants to use.

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March 1st Echinacea Planting

Approximately 50 echinacea seedlings from seed I collected and planted on March 1st. The moral is, don’t throw away your old echinacea seeds as you cleanup the garden in early spring. The voles frequently decimate my echinacea roots, so I constantly need to renew them.

Seed pods I collected on March 1st

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Filed under Native Plants, Nectar Plant, Plant Propagation

Doubling Milkweed

Rooting Tropical Milkweed

One of the easiest ways to double your tropical milkweed plants is to take cuttings from the new seedling plants and put them into water. I’ve found that aluminum cans works well. In around two weeks your cuttings will have roots which you can plant into new containers.

Below is what my old plants look like after I cut them down and let them grow back for two weeks.

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Filed under Milkweed, Plant Propagation

A Way to Garden Podcast

I came across this podcast and thought I’d share it. It has lots of great information and would be a good companion while we garden in the yard.

Note – I usually listen to my podcasts on the Pocket Casts app. on my phone.

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