Kevin Gardner, our speaker at the January joint meeting with the Rye Driftwood Garden Club, filled the room at the Congregational Church in Rye. His talk on “Discovering New England Walls” was well-received and he was swamped afterward by listeners with questions and comments about this very popular topic.
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Welcome to new member Dianne A. from Exeter who joins us this month. Dianne has joined the Design Committee.
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UNH Cooperative Extension is holding its annual Greenhouse Open House at the Thompson School at UNH on April 5th and 6th. This year’s event will also feature the final Thompson School Flower Show and Plant Sale. The general public is invited to engage with UNH faculty, staff, and students in UNH horticulture and agriculture research facilities. This event is an opportunity to connect with the expertise of Extension educators, specialists, and Master Gardener volunteers.
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Be sure to watch the Promise Tree for some fun new additions, including a Bunco Party, gardening books, field trips, and other surprises. If members are not able to attend the next meeting, you can check out the Promise Tree offerings on this website under “Members Only.”
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Don’t miss this month’s General Meeting – our speaker will be our own Patti Elwell, who always wows us with her knowledge and enthusiasm. This month she’ll be talking about “Seed Starting.”
Art Scarpa made a return visit to EAGC, this time to show members how to assemble a terrarium. With plants, containers & materials supplied by Art, members quickly transformed empty jars into beautiful mini-gardens. As always, Art was an excellent source of plant information and humor. (See copies of Art’s terrarium preparation and care instructions here.)
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As always, refreshments were lovely to look at as well as delicious!
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At the same meeting, Environment & Conservation provided a helpful display on controlling pests in the garden, without resorting to harmful chemicals.
E&C also announced plans for their annual summer party. This year’s theme: Appleicious Afternoon. Sign-up for the August 17 party has started. For party details, click on Appleicious Afternoon Information. A sign-up sheet will be available at the June 14 luncheon or contact Linda V or Edie to sign up.
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On May 25, Nance J and her Beautification crew went to work cleaning up the bandstand area and installing the new plantings. Their hard work and the beautiful result are evident in these pictures. Judging by the big smiles, it appears that everyone enjoyed the morning.
For those of you who didn’t receive a handout at Art Scarpa’s workshop on May 18 and for anyone who would like some information about terrariums and their assembly and care, Art has sent these very helpful instructions and resources.
Art used Anchor Hocking Jars
(For more pictures of the terrarium workshop, go to May Happenings.)
Terrariums are one of the easiest ways to care for houseplants. They are very attractive, blending in with most any decor, make great gifts, and they are easy to make and maintain.
Now that your terrarium is at home, complete the landscape by adding some stones, twigs, pieces of bark or small clumps of moss.
Water very sparingly. Too much water will cause your plants to rot, and excess moisture cannot be easily removed from a terrarium. Use about 1/4 cup or less of tepid water for every gallon of container size. Do not pour the water directly onto the plants or soil. Instead, tilt the container and let it trickle against the glass and run down the inside into the soil. Using a clean new (unused) turkey baster is helpful. If you have a lid on your terrarium, you may not have to water more often than once a month or so.
Do not leave your terrarium in direct sunlight. A spot with good light will work. An east or north window is best, although an east or west facing window may be all right during the winter. A few hours of early morning or late afternoon sunshine in winter should be OK but a good rule is to leave the cover ajar to avoid heat build-up. If you wish to grow under lights, the lights must be placed very close, just several inches above the plants. A wide spectrum bulb is best; fluorescent bulbs are fine. Ott(brand) lights are also good.
Ventilate your container by leaving the lid slightly ajar for a day or so and if excessive mist forms on the glass or mold begins to form, it needs fresh air. Remove the cover for a few days or leave the glass lid slightly ajar – prop it open with a piece of wood, eraser or similar.
Mold spores are present in cool damp air and if you notice white mold beginning to grow on your plants and ventilatng for a day or two doesn’t help, treat immediately with a fungicide such as Physan, Daconil, Captan or similar brands. They are available at better garden supply stores. Some fungicides are drenches; they are mixed with water in small doses and then watered into the soil once. The fungicide is absorbed into the plants through the roots.
Plants that are damaged from mold or insects should immediately be removed to prevent infecting other plants. After treating the rest of the plants with a fungicide, you can replace the affected plant with a new one.
As plants outgrow their space in the terrarium, they can either be pruned back or carefully removed with a long-handled spoon and replaced with new ones.
If you made the terrarium to give as a gift, be sure to allow enough time to get the plants settled in before the big event! Good luck, and have fun!
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TERRARIUM PLANTS LIST
Compiled by Art Scarpa, Atkinson, NH firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a list of houseplants that might be suitable for a terrarium or a bottle garden. Remember,plants for a terrarium or a bottle garden need to like humidity, indirect light (no direct sun needed), and enjoy a closed atmosphere! NO cactus or succulents! Scientific name is listed first, followed by the common name in parentheses.
Acorus (Sweet Flag)
Actiniopteris australis (mini fern)
Begonia rex (small-leaf varieties e.g. Begonia ‘Tiger Kitten’))
Calathea species (Zebra Plant, Peacock Plant, Rattlesnake Plant)
Cryptanthus (Earth Star)
Dracaena sanderiana (Ribbon Plant)
Ferns, small varieties: (Actiniopteris australis, Nephrolepis ‘Tiny Tim’ etc)
Ron gave us a wonderful slide show at the last meeting about gardening in pots and raised beds. He has sent us the recipe for his favorite potting mix. Click to view the slide show he gave about Containers & Raised Beds.
Living Earth Farm – A Nutrient Dense Potting Mix for Vegetable Trays & Transplants
This is a soilless mix that can be used with transplant starts or in a raised bed:
What you need:
Two ‘5 gallon’ buckets of sphagnum peat moss
One ‘5 gallon’ bucket of medium or fine vermiculite
1 gallon of high quality compost (from Ideal Compost, Coast of Maine*, Vermont Compost Company) or 1 lb. of worm castings* (to jump start soil biology)
5 gallons of water (warmed to room temperature or higher – to 90° F)
½ cup of blood meal (for short-term nitrogen)*
1 cup of soybean meal (for short/intermediate-term nitrogen)*
2 cup alfalfa meal (for long-term nitrogen)*
2 cup of bone char (for short-term phosphorus)*
¼ cup of sulfate of potash (for sulfur and potassium)*
1 cup of kelp meal (for micro-nutrients)*
1 cup of dolomitic lime (for long-term calcium and pH balance)*
1 cup of wood ash (for short-term calcium and pH balance)
1 cup of Menefee Humates (for soil microbes, nutrient retention, humic acid and water holding capacity)*
Be sure to wear a dust mask and gloves when handling the ingredients.
Add water to peat moss about one week before mixing,
Gently mix the peat moss and vermiculite together (vermiculite can be crushed if handled too roughly).
Add nutrients and gently and thoroughly mix.
Let the mix sit for at least 24 hours (a week is ideal) so that biological activity gets a chance to start up.
Because sphagnum peat moss has some anti-fungal properties and vermiculite is almost sterile, you should not have any disease problems.