Tag Archive | Spring Fever

Welcome Spring!

by Master Gardener Rich Fischer

We have had a cold and wet Spring, but finally the signs of Spring are upon us.  I say this because our magnolia tree is finally blooming, and quite nicely too.  The other little signs, beside the robins and redwing blackbirds and killdeer are the hyacinth and daffodils.   Just thought I’d share these Springtime blooming photos with my fellow GardenSnip bloggers.  The power of our collective Springtime thoughts might warm up our weather a little bit!

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Forcing Hyacinths

HyacinthL1Now is the time to get your hyacinth bulbs ready if you want them blooming and beautiful for spring. They need a cool period of at least 14 weeks to form roots and prepare for blooming, so pot them up (or put them on forcing jars) and keep them in cold darkness (35º to 45ºF) until the rest period is up. If you have no other place that provides these conditions, you can use the refrigerator; simply store the bulbs in a paper bag away from the crispers. The ethylene gas that some fruits emit inhibits bulb development. Keep them in this retreat for about ten weeks, and be sure to mark your calendar so you’ll remember to remove them.

At the end of the cold period, pot the bulbs using a good potting mixture that has not been pre-enriched with fertilizer. Pots should be clean and have adequate drainage. One bulb is sufficient for a 4” (10cm) pot and three bulbs are needed for a 6” (15cm) pot. If you’re using a larger container, plant the bulbs as closely as possible together. When planting it is advisable to use gloves, since the bulbs contain organic compounds that can cause a skin rash. Move the potted bulbs to a cool, shaded part of the room for a week or two. As the flower buds begin to emerge, gradually expose the plants to ever brighter light. A bit of direct sun is useful, but fortunately it is not imperative.

forcing-hyacinths-indoorsOnce your hyacinths are growing indoors, they will flower in two to three weeks. If desired you can also lift the bulbs out of their potting material, wash off any dirt around the roots (just hold the end of the bulb under running water) and place carefully into a decorative glass container with some stones or hydro beads and a little water. Prolong the blooms by avoiding direct sunlight, but ensure that the plants get strong, indirect light. When the spring comes, plant them in the garden. Hyacinths can last for a number of years in garden condition.

Posted by Vicki

Miniature Garden Inspiration!

I was so inspired by the Miniature Garden presentation at the Garden Conference last weekend I ran home and got to work!

I had two old fish bowls collecting dust in the garage that were just perfect. I went to a local greenhouse and picked up a few succulents, a small cactus and some air plants. I also needed Cactus Mix soil, some sheet moss (both were recommended at the conference) and used rocks and beach glass I’ve been collecting for years.

As I had learned at the conference layering rocks and the sheet moss under the soil helps with drainage and keeps the plants from being too wet. Cacti and succulents can manage without too much water so you don’t want them swimming! Air plants also just need a spritz or rinse once a week so they seem like good companions for my little cactus.

Here are my creations! I’ll keep you up to date on their status and if I’m able to keep them alive. I’ve already learned that cats really like to pull little air plants out of the soil!

Inspired by the conference and my recent trip to Arizona!

Inspired by the conference and my recent trip to Arizona!

Little Cactus and Air Plants

Little Cactus and Air Plants

Mini Succulent Garden

Mini Succulent Garden

Mini Garden

Mini Garden

Posted by Rachel

The only cure for spring fever is the Plant Sale!

The Outagamie County Master Gardener Association (OCMGA) is in the thick of planning for their annual plant sale. This is THEE largest fundraiser for the non profit organization and always has an amazing community turnout. The sale takes place on May 16th from 8 am to 2 pm, it is held at the Outagamie County UW Extension Office which is located at 3365 W. Brewster Street, Appleton, Wisconsin 54914.

Many many hours of volunteer time, brain power and muscle go into the planning of the sale. Not only do the Master Gardeners organize the logistics of the sale, they often grow, dig, split and pot plants for the sale. One member in particular has 25 different varieties of tomatoes growing in his basement!

Some of the plants are grown by Master Gardeners but many are also ordered from area greenhouses which offers a huge variety to those who come shopping for their gardens. The sale also includes a “Garden Rummage” where you can purchase second hand gardening supplies for whatever project or patio awaits you.

Keep an eye on the blog for a list of the veggies, herbs, sunny and shady plants the OCMGA hopes to have at the sale. Availability is dependent upon crop availability but we’ll be able to share the wish list soon. Hopefully you can start your wish list too!

If you have any questions please comment on this post and we can address it either here or through an email or phone call to you!

plant sale mtg.

Can you see the brainpower!? Just a few of the 16 Master Gardeners at a recent planning meeting.

Posted by Rachel