Plants to Grow For a Healthy Garden!

Here is a list of 16 plants that you can plant to have a healthier garden at home! These plants are very helpful, most repel pests like aphids, mosquitos, moths and worms, Some can even trap pests like beetles! Having these plants in your garden will create a healthier soil, and allow you to have a bountiful growing season. Give some a try! 

Thank you to Jessica Damiano for the original information. You can read more here.

Creepy Plants for Halloween

Halloween is around the corner- which means pumpkin picking, costumes and gardening? Halloween is meant for fun and dressing up in costumes. Everyone’s houses are skillfully decorated as well, so why not decorate your garden? This is a follow-up list to our last post about black plants for October. You can read that here.

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Are your plants purifying your air?

Its no surprise that plants have been shown to reduce stress levels. Many people turn to gardening because it gives them a sense of calmness, which lowers stress and ultimately has a positive effect on health. For example, having low levels of stress goes hand-in-hand with low blood pressure.

While the most effective way of clearing the air of pollution is to open windows, it is not always practical or possible. Many offices and other buildings have stationary windows that are meant to stay shut. However, most of these buildings have indoor plants. This isn’t just for aesthetic’s. Since NASA conducted a research project in 1989 on how plants are a very efficient and cost effective method of reducing indoor air pollution- plants have become a household thing. Many commercial buildings have incorporated plants into the floor plans inhales of avoiding “sick building syndrome,” which is a condition when there is poor ventilation and causes headaches and respiratory problems amongst workers.

The science behind having plants in the office is simple. Like you learned in middle school, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen. What they didn’t teach us, was they are also very good at removing toxins from the air as well.

You would be daft to think you don’t have indoor air pollution. According to NASA, if you have carpeting, vinyl flooring, upholstered furniture, plastic grocery bags, cigarette smoke or even a roll of paper towels laying around- you may be inhaling toxins on a regular basis. As an ironic side note, many scented air refreshers even release chemicals that may be harmful.

Here is a list of plants that are great at taking toxins out of the air and making the environment a nicer place to breathe.

  • Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)
  • Chamaedorea (Bamboo Palm)
  • Chlorophytum (Spider Plant)
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Dracaena Spp.
  • Epipremnim (Golden Pothos)
  • Ficus Spp. (Weeping Fig)
  • Gerbera (Gerber Daisy)
  • Header Spp. (English Ivy)
  • Philodendron Spp.
  • Sansevieria (Snake Plant)
  • Spanthiphyllum (Peace Lily)

Thank you to Jessica Damiano for the original information. You can read more here.

 

Plants That Are Out Of This World!

Valentines Day, 2016. Scott Kelly harvests a patch of Zinnias in the International Space Station. Space travel to Mars is getting closer then ever. NASA is currently in the middle of an experiment to grow plants and vegetables in space. The seeds were activated on November 13th, and have been growing bountiful since. “We need to learn a tremendous amount to help develop more robust sustainable food production systems as NASA moves toward long-duration exploration and the journey to Mars,” said Gioia Massa, a principal ground scientist for the experiment.

The experiment consisted of two patches of Zinnias, one on the ground and one up in space. Grown in the same conditions and time span, to see if any faults would arise. “The flowers going to seed are a good demonstration for sustainable food crops,” said Nicole Dufour, a NASA mechanical engineer and Veggie subject-matter expert. “It’s a good example of starting with seeds and ending with seeds, which is what you need to sustain crop growth.”

Researchers are curious to see if the pollen from the plants are going to affect the health of crew members, and if having bright flowers aboard will boost morale as well. Expieremnts that involve space plants have always brought joy to astronauts, especially for the people who have been in space for long periods of time, like Scott Kelly. Part of the pleasure of being an astronaut is having been involved in meaningful work, according to behavioral scientists at NASA. However, it is not just astronauts that are positively affected by growing plants!

The next batch of plants sent to the space station will include two types of seeds: ‘Outrageous’ Red Romaine Lettuce for the crew to grow and consume, and a variety of small Chinese Cabbage called ‘Tokyo Bekana.’ We are all excited to see the outcome of these experiments!

Thank you NASA for the original information. You can read more about the experiment here.

 

How to Bring in Plants Without Bugs for the End of the Season

We are planning to bring geraniums into the greenhouse to winter over, and to use for cuttings for next year’s plant giveaway.  If you have plants you would like to bring in, let Kathy know. Before you bring any plants into the greenhouse please try and be sure they are insect-free. Here are some steps you can follow to de-bug your plants:

  1. You can spray foliage with insecticidal soap if you see any signs of critters
  2. Then I would pop the plant out of the pot and inspect around the bottom and outside edge for any hitchhikers.
  3. Flick them off or scrape them off.
  4. Then I dunk the entire plant and pot in a spackle bucket full of water for about 15 minutes to convince all the other insects to make an escape.
  5. If you have a bug problem in the soil (ants or any other burrowing critters) you may have to take the plant down to bare roots get rid of the them. You can rinse the soil off the roots with a hose and repot in fresh soil.

What to plant in the Summer for the Fall!

While summer is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean your gardening has to. There are many plants that should be planted now to insure they grow for the winter and fall season. Also many of the plants thrive better when exposed to the cold fall weather and frost. Some that benefit from the frost include Brussel Sprouts, Chinese Cabbage, Kale and even Turnips. But what do I mean by frost you ask? Frost is generally a light coating of ice that occurs overnight and is split into three categories of intensity. Light freeze is anywhere between temperatures 28 and 31 degrees, Moderate freeze happens between 24 and 28 degrees, and Severe freeze which occurs below 24 degrees. All of the previous plants noted should be harvested before the first frost. On Long Island, our first frost typically happens around October 15th. Here is a list of plants that can be seeded now, for a harvest in the upcoming seasons.

  • Beets (sow one-half to 1-inch deep and 1-inch apart in rows 12-18 inches apart)
  • Cabbage (sow one-half to 3/4-inch deep and 3-inches apart. Harvest when heads first feel solid)
  • Kale (sow one-quarter to one-half inch deep and 1-inch apart in rows 24 inches apart. Harvest when leaves reach full size)
  • Lettuce (sow directly into the garden one-eighth inch deep and 1-inch apart in rows 12 inches apart. Head lettuces should be harvested when head feels firm but before it bolts)
  • Radishes (sow directly into the garden one-half inch deep and 1-inch apart in rows 12 inches apart. Harvest before the ground freezes)
  • Spinach (sow one-half to 1-inch deep and 3-inches apart. Harvest when full sized or a few leaves as necessary)
  • Swiss Chard (sow 1-inch deep and 4-inches apart in rows 18-24 inches apart. Harvest by removing the outer leaves as needed)