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Acer's Florist & Garden Center
Edition 16.02 Acer's Florist & Garden Center January 15, 2016

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Seeds and seed starter kits have arrived; get a jump on spring flowers and vegetables!

Call or stop in to place your firewood delivery now; half cords and full cords available.

Long Island's largest selection of chimineas!
Keep the chill of autumn at bay while your family and friends are over to play!

Herb Gardens Indoors

Have you bid your herb plants "adieu" and resigned yourself to using dried herbs until the warm weather returns in the spring? Why not try an indoor herb garden this winter? These plants can then be transplanted into the garden when the danger of frost has passed.

If you already have a few plants inside, you can take cuttings of your existing plants. For variety, however, you'll probably prefer to start some new plants from seed.

Here is a list of materials you will need:

Containers: Any container will do, as long as it's large enough for the herb(s) and drains well.

  • Vermiculite: You will need this only if you are starting your plants from cuttings. Vermiculite will allow the cutting to stay moist enough but not so moist that it rots before it has a chance to develop roots.
  • Rooting hormone: Available in powdered or liquid form, it encourages faster development of roots. For use with cuttings only.
  • Potting soil: Choose a good quality, light potting soil. Sow your seeds directly into the soil, or use it when transplanting your rooted cuttings into a slightly larger pot.
  • Grow light: You can dispense with the light, if you have a window that is warm and sunny enough.

Follow these steps when starting your plants from cuttings:

  1. Take a cutting, about 4" long from the herb you want to grow.
  2. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cutting into the rooting hormone. If you are using the powdered form of rooting hormone, shake off any excess powder.
  3. Stick the cutting into a small container filled with moist vermiculite. To increase humidity, cover your plant and container with a glass or clear plastic.
  4. Place plant in a sunny, warm window and keep the growing medium moist.
  5. When the plant is rooted well, it can be transferred into another container, using potting soil.

Follow these steps when starting your plants from seeds:

  1. Fill small containers with potting soil, pressing it in firmly.
  2. Following the instructions on the seed packet, plant at the recommended depth.
  3. To increase humidity, cover your plant and container with a glass or clear plastic.
  4. Place plant in a sunny, warm window and keep the growing medium moist, but not soggy.

Your herb plants will benefit from an occasional "bath" to wash the dust from them. In the spring, when danger of frost has passed, begin moving them outside. Acclimate them slowly over a period of a couple of weeks by placing them in semi-shade for a few hours a day at first and gradually increasing the time and amount of sunlight they receive until they are eventually outside in the full sun all day long. Next step? Transplant them into the garden!

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Garden Primer

What does soil pH measure?


Soil pH indicates how acid or alkaline a soil is. In technical terms, it is a logarithmic function of the hydrogen ion concentration [H+]: pH = -log [H+]. Got all that?

In simpler terms, a pH of 7.0 is neutral. Below that number is acidic, above that number is alkaline. The scale is progressive, too. A pH of 6.0 is ten times more acid than a pH of 7.0; a pH of 5.0 is 100 times more acid than a pH of 7.0, and so on.

You can test your soil pH with a simple pH test kit.

• To modify or correct acidic soils you need to apply lime.
• To modify or correct alkaline soils you need to apply soil sulfur or aluminum sulfate.

Most plants prefer soil slightly on the acidic side of 6. Use a lower pH for acid-loving plants like blueberries, azaleas, and ferns.

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