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Root Your Cuttings Now

Butterfly Gardening

cuttings-medium-test-01

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to take some cuttings from your plants to root over the winter months.

I’m going to do a few experiments and try different rooting mediums. My current teacher for Horticulture 101 doesn’t say which type is better, but says that he has good luck with Meramec river gravel – it’s cheap, has the right texture and does a good job.

sand-cuttings
That’s what we are using in class. I bought the same type of sand at Home Depot – they call it Quickrete Premium Play Sand. It’s a coarse sand – not like what you might find at a beach.

Make sure you take a look at my posting on the14 steps I take to make cuttings. It’s actually fairly easy.

Here are the different mediums I am using for cuttings.

  • Coarse sand – this is what they use at Meramec…

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Aphid Video

Here is a video on aphids done by the naturalist and videographer Jo Alwood.

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Compost 2018

Every year I like to feed the soil with a mulch/compost mix (Black Forest) or just straight compost.  This year I am trying 3 yards of Black Gold compost from St. Louis Composting. It looks very similar to the Black Forest Mulch, but is a bit more expensive.

It’s always amazing to me how compost and mulch just disappears over the period of a year. You can buy the compost relatively inexpensively for $25/yard, but you will need a trailer or pickup. To buy it by the bag, one cu. yard would cost $101.25.

My cost delivered to my house was $140 for 3 cu. yards = 81 cu feet. Black Gold Compost
Note to Self – Buy four yards in 2019.
It took Joe R. nine hours to spread three yards.

 

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Free Tropical Milkweed Seeds

monarch-dsc04726I have some milkweed seeds that I’d be glad to share. The seeds are Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica.

Plant the seed so it is slightly covered and keep warm and moist to start. If you start these inside, you can get a a head start on spring.  I like to start my seeds inside in March. Plant outside when all danger of frost is gone – usually around May 1st in St. Louis Missouri. Tropical Milkweed does not like cooler temperatures, so there is not advantage to planting it early.

Another option is to plant the seeds in the soil and let them come up naturally.
May 1st would be the earliest I would plant in my area.
If you plant too early, the seeds will rot in the ground.

These seeds also do very well in pots.  You can put 20 to 30 seeds in a 12 inch pot.

Please send a SASE – Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope to:

Free Milkweed Seeds
9016 Robyn Rd
St. Louis, MO 63126

The best way to start these seeds is with bottom heat.  The seedlings on the right have bottom heat.

80-degrees-covered

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80 degrees and seeds slightly covered seems to be the best. I did put the plastic top on this to keep in the heat and moisture.

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What to Plant?

While most of my emphasis is on growing specific plants for butterflies, there are many other insects and birds which I enjoy. Unfortunately, numbers seem to be decreasing every year. Here is a good video on what we can all do to bring nature back to our yards.

 

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Watering at Christmas?

drought-mo-dec-17-2017With winter and Christmas just around the corner, one of the last thing on most people’s mind is to get out the hose to water the plants and trees. Yet in Missouri with most of the state in drought conditions, that may be just what is needed.

A recent MU bulletin told people to check their soil around the drip line of newly planted trees and if dry then watering would be beneficial.

This would also be true of fall planted perennials.

A soaker hose set on low would probably be your best bet.

My guess is that established trees and natives will weather the drought just fine, but if you have invested money in a fall planting, those perennials and trees would probably appreciate a through soaking and may be the difference between them surviving the winter or dying in the spring.

Here’s the link for the Missouri drought monitor.
https://www.drought.gov/drought/states/missouri

 

 

 

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Cleaning Up the Garden in the Fall

dead-plants-fall-800With the first frosts of fall, my garden turns from a lovely shade of green to a dirty brown with withered sticks and leaves.  While my first inclination is to clean up everything, there may be seeds that you can collect or even save for the birds.

Here’s a good video which talks about some of your options.

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