Hoses: love ’em/hate ’em

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This past week we have finally gotten some beautiful weather: the sun was out every day, no rain and the temps were in the 80’s!  And let me tell you, the kids at the beach weren’t the only ones enjoying this change.  Every account I went to this week-the flowers were smiling!

With the warm weather, buds were opening, foliage was filling out, fertilizer was working its way into the plants systems and the soil was drying out.  And that meant that for the first time in a couple of weeks, I needed to get my hose out to water.

Now, hoses are a great tool for any gardener…I mean, really, who wants to haul around water buckets to the tone of 20 or 25 fill ups just to get your containers watered?

But the wrong hose can make the job so much more aggravating, tiring and time-consuming.  Have you ever tried to untangle a mass of yarn?  Well, believe me, it’s a lot harder to untangle certain types of hoses.

And there are so many types of hoses out there to select from: re-enforced, weather proof, pocket, coil, flex, boat, garden, expanding, Never-Kink, utility, drinking, heavy-duty, and that’s just the start.  Then you have different lengths and opening size; both which will affect the amount of pressure you have coming out the end.   I won’t even go into all the attachments and types of nozzles, just take my word for it that there is one for every kind of job.

Each type has its own pro’s and con’s – you just have to decide what works best for you.  I do know from experience that nothing will turn my husband from an easy-going gardener to on frustrated, mad man than having to deal with a hose that is not right for the job.  And we each like different kinds.  I like a coil hose, because it is easy for me to carry around, my husband likes a heavy-duty, re-enforced hose.

I can leave you with three tips for making the use of a hose around your garden a little easier…

1. store it properly: wind it up on a hose-reel or in a nice tight circle by the hose bib.

2.when you go to wind your hose up, leave the water running.  The pressure from the water running through it will help eliminate those annoying kinks.

3. when you are watering and going from pot to pot, if you can, have it cut across your pool, then it will feel almost weightless.

Until next time…Enjoy your time in the Garden!

A Cold Wind Blows

The cold winds of winter blow all over our country bringing varied results to each region.

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Now, I will be the first to admire the beauty of a winter picture where the white fluffy snow looks peaceful and tranquil.  And if I remember my years of growing up in the Niagara Falls area of New York those winds are VERY cold!

But down here in south Florida the cold winds of winter bring more colorful results.  The citrus growers look forward to the cooler weather for it will help sweeten the juice and ripen the crop.

Another benefit of the cooler weather is that it helps set the buds for many varieties of orchids.

Now many people are under the impression that orchids are a hard plant to grow and care for.  But in actuality, they are very easy, almost thriving on neglect.  Let me tell you how I have taken care of mine for years…

Once the orchid is done blooming while indoors, the first thing I do is to cut down the stem from the blooms.  Generally I count down from the tip of the stem to where the 4th or 5th bloom had been and then trim the stem in that spot.  Of course if the stem is turning brown, I cut it back all the way.

At this point, I will repot the orchid in fresh moss or bark if it needed and give it a shot of fertilizer.  Then I attach the container to a sturdy orchid hanger had place them in a shady location. Often I will find a wonderful surprise in a few weeks and a few of the orchids will have re-bloomed.  Then I just let nature take it’s course.  If it is a dry summer, I will occasionally water the orchids where they hang, and at least once over the summer they will get a 2nd shot of fertilizer.

Then the cold winds blow, and the cooler weather sets new blooms.  This morning, when I took the above picture of the orchid, I counted 18 orchids in my Oak Trees.  Each had 2-3 stems of buds either in bloom or getting ready to bloom.  I will be able enjoy these beautify flowers for months!

Oh, if only my tomatoes where that easy to take care of….