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Acer's Florist & Garden Center
Edition . Acer's Florist & Garden Center

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Great selection of Gourmet Gift Baskets, including Stonewall

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Christmas Trees and Wreaths

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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

How should you prune a Japanese maple?


Japanese maples can be lightly tip-pruned during the summer months to control new growth or runaway water shoots, but save the major pruning for winter, when the tree is fully dormant. Do not prune after the leaf buds start swelling, because the tree can bleed quite severely and become weakened.

All Japanese maples have "eyes" on the branches, where the leaves were attached during the growing season. These "eyes" are small half moon swellings, spaced every 1-3" along the branches. Each "eye" faces a different direction, rotating along the branches.

Pruning 1/4" above a particular eye will make the tree branch out in that direction the following year. You can control the shape and direction of the tree each year simply by deciding which eyes to prune above.

Avoid pruning beyond the previous year's cuts. Always allow at least 2 "eyes" of new growth each year to remain on the tree. Pruning more severely can lead to knurled and stunted growth, with many tiny shoots coming out from the same spot. If a large branch needs to be pruned to thin out the tree and allow more light, prune it completely off. Make sure to seal all cuts larger than 1/2" in diameter with a pruning sealer.

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