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Summer 2012 2 hobby greenhouse


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Summer 2012 2 hobby greenhouse

  2. 2. Page 2 Hobby Greenhouse
  3. 3. Contents Summer 2012 Volume 34, No. 3Features Departments 10 We Have a Winner! by Karen Saia 7 Your Questions Answered 12 The Tool Shed: Burgon & Ball 18 Mini-Survey 14 Choosing the Right 26 From Hobby Greenhouse Greenhouse 32 Round Robin by Tom Karasek 37 Book Review 38 The Back Door 16 Propagating Plants Etcetera By Roger Marshall 8 Photography Competition 25 HGA Writing Guidelines 31 Classifieds 20 Teaching Young 34 HGA Bookshop Greenhouse 36 Discounts Gardeners by Cindy French-Curtis 22: Ficus: The Workhorse of the Landscape by Paula Szilard 28: Ed Egolf’s Greenhouse By Tom Eckert Front cover: Dahlias in the editor’s garden Back cover: Signs of summer, ImpatiensHobby Greenhouse is the official quarterly magazine of the Hobby Greenhouse Association. It is published in theWinter, Spring, Summer and Fall. The mission of Hobby Greenhouse is to provide a vehicle for sharing memberinformation and for printing articles on greenhouse construction, maintenance and on indoor gardening. It carriesadvertising and is available to non-members.Hobby Greenhouse Page 3
  4. 4. Editor’s Note: M ore change awaits you. We are now offering a PDF version of Hobby Greenhouse magazine, which can be downloaded onto your computer or hand-held device. This PDF version will be sent at no charge to all current Hobby Greenhouse Association members for whom we have an email address. You dont have to do anything. Just wait for it to arrive. If you dont want it, simply opt out. When your current membership is ready for renewal, you’ll have the option of continuing to get both the paper and PDF versions of the magazine or receiving only the PDF version at a reduced rate of $14 a year. New members will have this same choice. In this way, we hope to increase our appeal to younger generations of greenhouse gardeners for whom e-books and e-zines are a routine part of daily life. Another change you’ll notice is a new section on garden tools in this issue. Both good and badgarden tools are being sold today, and it is always useful to get some help distinguishing between thetwo. We plan on trying out a variety of greenhouse tools and telling you what we learn. This monthwe feature tools by the English company Burgon & Ball, which has kindly given us the stainlesssteel tool set shown on page 13. We’ll send this premium tool set to the person who brings to ourassociation the most new members over the next two months, so I encourage you to sign up everygreenhouse gardener you can find and help our association grow. Finally, I call your attention to the mini-survey in this issue. It is hard to operate in a vacuum, sowe’d like to find out exactly what you’d like to see in this magazine. With your help, we can featurearticles and information specifically tailored to your interests. So please fill out the survey and sendit in. Happy gardening, RogerOur Contributors Without them there would be no magazine Karen Saia began gardening as a child, learning from, and helping, her father with his vegetable & flower gardens. She currently gardens at her home in Ashland, MA. In the winter, she enjoys window gardens of both tropical & succulent plants, especially those with colorful foliage. She has been a member of the Hobby Greenhouse & Indoor Gardeners of Massachusetts chapter of HGA for over ten years. Tom Karasek is the president of HGA, is retired after 35 years as an engineer and engineering manager followed by management of a large garden center. He has assembled one kit greenhouse and built four greenhouses from scratch, including a sun-room addition to his home. Tom resides with wife Sherron in a home they recently built themselves in Longview, Washington. Paula Szilard is currently a master gardener in the Denver area. She grows hundreds of tropical plants in her sunroom, enclosed porch and basement grow room. She has converted her front lawn into an edible landscape and usually plants a large vegetable garden in the back. She also serves as Vice President for Programs for the Tropical Plant Society, (, a group of local tropical plant enthusiasts. Cindy loves everything about gardening; from seed selection, to planting, the vibrancy of her flower colors, to the preservation of produce for winter. My husband, Jim, and I live in the mountains of Colorado with our horses. pets and greenhouse. We share 6 children, 10 grandchildren and our love of the outdoors.Page 4 Hobby Greenhouse
  5. 5. HOBBY GREENHOUSE ASSOCIATION, INC February 8, 2012 OFFICERSPresident: TOM KARASEK TEL/FAX: 360-578-1228 1/2011-1/2013 1975 Coal Creek Rd., Longview, WA 98632 EMAIL: tomsherron@msn.comVice President: MARY P. LAWRENCE TEL: 724-744-7082 1/2011-1/2013 2049 Baughman Rd., Jeannette, PA 15644 EMAIL: marylawrence2@me.comSecretary: DONNA L. BOCOX TEL: 515-991-6610 1/2012 - 1/2014 10746 NW 103rd Court, Granger, IA 50109 EMAIL: cactuslover@wildblue.netTreasurer: TOM ECKERT TEL: 717-766-3492 1/2012 - 1/2014 229 Meadow Trail, Dillsburg, PA 17019-9532 EMAIL: tjghg@verizon.netPast President: RICHARD A. SCHREIBER TEL: 515-981-4360 922 Norwood Dr., Norwalk, IA 50211-1329 EMAIL: DIRECTORSDirector of Finance: Vacant 1/2010 - 1/2013Director of Programs Vacant 1/2010 - 1/2013and Activities Cyberspace PAUL HOLZWARTH TEL: 508-865-1609 Connections: 58 Griggs Rd., Sutton, MA 01590 EMAIL: Round Robin Flight JACKIE PENDERGAST TEL: 623-374-2816 Chairman: 29747 N. 130th Dr., Peoria, AZ 85383 EMAIL: Chapter Coordinator: TOM ECKERT TEL: 717-766-3492 229 Meadow Trail, Dillsburg, PA 17019-9532 EMAIL: tjghg@verizon.netDirector of RICHARD A. SCHREIBER TEL: 515-981-4360 1/2012 - 1/2015Membership: 922 Norwood Dr., Norwalk, IA 50211-1329 EMAIL: schreiberra@hotmail.comDirector of JANICE L. HALE TEL: 978-369-3421 1/2012 - 1/2015Publications: 80 Deaconess Rd., Suite 443, Concord, MA 01742-4173 EMAIL: HG Editor: ROGER MARSHALL TEL: 401-423-1400 44 Ft. Wetherill Rd., Jamestown, RI 02835 EMAIL: of Public RICK JARVIS TEL: 573-422-9912 1/2011 - 1/2014Relations: 37860 Hwy. 42 West, Dixon, MO 65459 EMAIL: Publicity Chairman: BERNIE WIENER TEL: 610-446-2160 229 Ellis Road, Havertown, PA 19083 EMAIL: Web Master: JOE KERENICK TEL: 803 609 0322 210 St. Mark Dr., West Columbia, SC 29170 EMAIL: jkerenick@windstream.netDirector of Resources Vacant 1/2011 - 1/2014 Help & Advice Coord: Vacant Historian: BARBARA W. WICH TEL: 574-674-9170 55780 Timber Lane, Elkhart, IN 46514-9456 EMAIL: Webmaster and Advertising Sales Wanted HGA is looking for a new webmaster to replace Joe Kerenick who is retiring. If you are interested contact President Tom Karasek at the email address above. Thanks Joe, for all your work. HGA is also looking for a person to go out and sell advertising for Hobby Greenhouse magazine. It shouldn’t take too long, just a few hours a week, but we really do need to build our advertising base to allow us to bring more exciting developments to the magazine and to the association. If you are interested in either position please contact Tom Karasek at the email address above.Hobby Greenhouse Page 5
  6. 6. Editor: Roger Marshall Write for Us Contributors: Paula Szilard, Cindy French- Curtis, Tom Karasek, Karen Saia Tell our readers about your experiences Hobby Greenhouse Magazine (ISSN in your greenhouse. Hobby Greenhouse 1040-6212) is published quarterly by the magazine is looking for stories about Hobby Greenhouse Association, a non- profit 501(c)3 organization, to promote greenhouse gardening, growing greenhouse and indoor gardening as a techniques, and raising plants under hobby or avocation, and to disseminate practical and instructioive information cover. related to the erection, maintenance, and operation of a greenhouse by a hobbyist. All indoor gardeners have a plant (or plants) Subscription/Membership Rates they love to grow. Many of us have discovered Member: US $28 (Two years $54) new growing techniques and tools that others Electronic Version ............$14 want to know about. Many of us built our own Contributing Member $60 greenhouse and learned several valuable Sustaining Member $100 lessons. Why not share your knowledge with Canada and Mexico $30, Two years $60) other readers. Canadian and International Money orders Write about your passion. Hobby Greenhouse payable in US funds. magazine is looking for articles about 1200 Single copy non-member price US $3.50, words in length. If you write one you’ll get free overseas $4.50. membership for one year in HGA. (Shorter articles compensated proportionately.) If you Correspondence All advertising have or can take photographs that’s even better. correspondence should be addressed (Contact the Editor for ways to submit a story to Hobby Greenhouse Association, 80 and save the information on page 25.) Deaconess Rd., Suite 443, Concord, MA 01742-4173 Tel: 978 369-3421 Editor: Roger Marshall Email: email: Editorial Correspondence should be addressed to Roger Marshall, Email: Deadlines for stories and advertising Spring issue: Jan15th Summer issue: April 15th The Hobby Greenhouse Association reserves Fall issue: July 15th the right to refuse any advertisement. Winter issue: Oct 15th Disclaimer Every care is taken in compiling this magazine to ensure the accuracy of the articles but the editor and HGA In the Fall Issue assume no responsibility for any effects therefrom. While care is taken of material We take a look at Des Park’s Elite Series submitted, we cannot be responsible for loss or damage. No portion of this material greenhouse and hot pepper production. may be reprinted without permision. Tom Karasek continues his series on what to look for in a new greenhouse. © Copyright 2012 We tell you how to winterize your greenhouse Hobby Greenhouse Association to save on heating costs. 80 Deaconess Road, Suite 443 We have new products and tools coming over Concord, MA 01742-4173 the next few months that we’ll tell you about. Printed on 30% Post Consumer Recycled Plus we’ll have all your usual departments Paper and sections. PRINTED IN THE USA by E Graphics LLC http://www.hobbygreenhouse.orgPage 6 Hobby Greenhouse
  7. 7. Your Questions AnsweredNote: All responses may be edited for length and clarity. Black and Green AphidsI have been fighting green and black aphids constantly for years. I, like so many others, bring in plants into thegreenhouse in late fall. Usually in too big of a hurry. Mums are terrible for aphids, both kinds. I change my spraysand usually get them under control. What other people doing to combat them?Bob Carney FLI purchase ladybugs (lady beetles) once or twice in the spring (or as they become available), make sure I keepthe doors and vents closed for a week to 10 days, and that usually gets them under control. Other times of year Iuse insecticidal soap spray as needed but not when ladybugs are in action. Spraying with insecticidal soap (reallydrenching plants) before you bring them into the GH in the fall also helps. You can really drench them, then spraybriskly again (1/2 hour or so) with regular water to wash off the soapy scum. I do not use any other pesticides.Alice Dionne, WAAn old gardener once told me that the best way to get rid of aphids is to regularly spray your plants with a solutionof water into which garlic has been left for a while. The garlic water gets rid of aphids and then you can move theplants into your greenhouse without problems. If you do suspect aphids on your plants, make an isolation chamberin the greenhouse with either a large glass fish tank and a close fitting pane of glass as a cover or get one of theinexpensive small plastic greenhouses and use it as an isolation chamber. Put your plants into it and leave themthere until you are sure your plants have no aphids then move them into your greenhouse. You can even movethe isolation chamber into the greenhouse as long as you open it outside until you are sure that your plants haveno aphids. Id also leave a can of garlic water in the isolation chamber, if it doesnt kill off the aphids itll give thembad breath!Roger Marshall, RIIt is important to NOT rush bringing your plants inside, but inspect for pests. Even an alcohol spray will help greatlyin reducing the infestation brought indoors. Once indoors, the environment is ripe for spreading. Follow up every7 days until there are no signs of infestation. Doing so on sunny days when the temperature is high will be moreeffective because the little buggers are more active and not prone to hide, or be slow. It is not about what you use,but being diligent about it.Greg New FL (continued on next page)Hobby Greenhouse Page 7
  8. 8. Your Questions Answered... againIn the summer I remove all of the plants from my greenhouse in the spring (March or April,depending on the weather).In fall, around September, I go through a greenhouse cleaning process. I don’t know how scientific it is but the onlyyear I had a problem with insects was the year I neglected to do it. My greenhouse is 12 x 24 with a door at eachend. I remove the benches that can be taken out (some are built in) and first blow out all of the sand and debris.Then I wash it all down with a hose. Then I wash it all down with bleach in a hose end sprayer (mixes the bleachand water). I let it dry, then sweep and blow some more. I have a lot of tropical plants and all sorts of insects lovethem. I don’t like to use pesticides but if necessary, while the plant is still outside I might spray with insecticidalsoap. But once they’re in the greenhouse, if I see a bug I isolate that plant and spray with plain rubbing alcohol. Ido on occasion get fungus gnats and, although annoying, they don’t hurt anything. I always have lizards and toadsthat sneak in and overwinter, and I don’t want to poison them, or myself with anything stronger. I really think themost important thing is to start every fall with a really clean greenhouse. And, if a plant is really infested, toss it.Carol Mirabella Finch GA NEW CHAPTER BEING FORMED PHILLY HOBBY GREENHOUSE Meetings will be held at : The Horticulture Center, West Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA The purpose of this organization shall be to stimulate and promote interest in growing plants under different conditions. The Horticulture Center has five greenhouses where all types of plants are grown and outdoor experimental gardens. This location attracts many visitors during the growing season. Any Questions Email: Visit the website: Photography Competition Remember to take lots of pictures this summer with your camera. In conjunction with Charley’s Greenhouse we are holding a photography competition. Full details were announced in the last issue of Hobby Greenhouse magazine. The competition is open to paid-up Hobby Greenhouse Association members, so get your friends to join us now. Images will have to be high resolution, which rules out most cell phone cameras. Plan on taking lots of pictures this summer and entering them for the fall deadline. You can win up to $500 worth of products from Charley’s Greenhouse. (Check the photo guide on page 37 of the Spring Issue.) Winners will be announced in the winter 2013 issue.Page 8 Hobby Greenhouse
  9. 9. Membership Services HGA is a non-profit organization of people who garden in hobby greenhouses, window greenhouses, light gardens, and other indoor areas. Membership in HGA includes a subscription to Hobby Greenhouse magazine. Other membership benefits include round-robin letters, email correspondence, help and advice on greenhouse gardening, and discounts on greenhouses, supplies, and print materials. Membership questions: Richard Schreiber, IA 515 981-4360 Membership Renewal Your membership in HGA expires two weeks after the date printed in the HGA membership card on the back cover of Hobby Greenhouse magazine. In order to avoid missing any issues, please renew your membership before this date. Change of Address/Corrections Please notify us of any changes or corrections in your address as soon as possible. Bulk mail is not forwarded. You could lose a copy of the magazine if it is undeliverable. Membership Dues US: $28/yr, $54/2yrs, Contributing Membership $60, Sustaining Membership $100, Canada and Mexico $30/yr $58/ 2yrs (Canadian money orders payable in US dollars) Mail to: HGA Membership, 922 Norwood Dr.,Norwalk, IA 50211-1329. To pay by credit or debit card: Membership Questions: schreiberra@hotmailcom Missing Issues: Publications Office, 80 Deaconess Rd., Suite 443, Concord, MA 01742-4173 or jhale@ Advertising: Advertising rates and information can be obtained from Publications Director Janice L. Hale. The Hobby Greenhouse Association reserves the right to refuse an advertisement. Important News Hobby Greenhouse magazine is now available in digital format (pdf) for your computer! Anyone can now view a sample copy of the Spring issue on our web site I-Pad users can read the magazine using Adobe Flash compatible browsers such as Photon. Dues for full membership in HGA with the digital version only is $14 per year worldwide. The savings are possible because HGA won’t be mailing the paper copy, only sending the magazine as an attachment to an e-mail. If this interests you, and you are a current member, send an email to: Richard Schreiber at schreiberra@ and ask to receive the digital version only. Richard will extend your expiration date. If you would like to become a member of HGA with full benefits or renew your membership, but receive only the digital version of the magazine, mail a check or money order for $14 with your e-mail address to: Richard Schreiber, 922 Norwood Dr., Norwalk, IA 50211-1329. You may also join or renew your membership at our web site as before, but you now have the option of full membership with only a digital copy of the magazine. All members receiving the paper magazine will also receive the new digital magazine unless they opt out by e-mail to: Richard Schreiber at Show your colors Get Your HGA member sticker for car or greenhouse. Send an email to Dick Schreiber at schreiberra@ and ask for your sticker. Put it on your car or your greenhouse so that visiting greenhouse experts (well, maybe not all are experts), will know that you are a member of HGA. Send Us Your Pictures I know many of you take pictures of your plants especially when they are in flower. If you have high-resolution pictures of your flowers, your greenhouse (inside preferably), your plants, with or without you in the picture, send them in to us. We are always looking for really nice images. Who knows, you may end up on the cover of HG. If you haven’t entered them into the photography competition you should do so. It will give you a chance to show others how nice your greenhouse is, what you grow, and maybe you’ll make new friends.Hobby Greenhouse Page 9
  10. 10. We have a Winner!By Karen Saia W e have a winner! That was the subject line of the e-mail sent to members of the Boston Chapter of Hobby Greenhouse Association, on March 13th, judging day for skillful cultivation”). They were a beautiful Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri (miniature Easter Cactus), and a blooming Veltheimia bracteata. Except for two indoor primroses, all the plants in the 2012 Boston Flower Show. Art Scarpa had the display came from Art’s personal collection. taken the “Small Bay Window at the Flower The two indoor primroses, grown from seed by Show” project from the idea phase to Blue Hobby Greenhouse member, Rodney Barker, Ribbon status! Art planned the Bay Window added delicate, colorful flowers to the display. display, recorded all necessary paperwork, In addition, in the Amateur Horticulture readied plants for display, and chose only those section of the show, both Art and Rodney won plants that were in perfect condition on entry blue ribbons for individual plants! Rodney’s day. The “Judges Comments” stated: “Overall Blue ribbon plant was a Primula polyanthus. appearance and selection of plants exquisite.” The class it was entered in was “A plant grown Two plants received Cultural Certificates of the from seed over one year old” in a greenhouse. Mass. Horticultural Society (“awarded to growers Art’s beautiful and blooming Rat Tail Cactus of plants which show evidence of unusually (Aporocactus flagelliformis) won several awards: Page 10 Hobby Greenhouse
  11. 11. Opposite page: The bay window display with the Blue Ribbon. This page left: Art’s Rat Tail Cactus. Top Right: Art Scarpa. Bottom right: Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri/ Miniature Easter Cactus (won Cultural Certificate).Blue ribbon, Cruso Award (“outstanding Art Scarpa is truly a plant enthusiast, and haseffort by an individual exhibitor in the been described as a “local horticultural legend!”Amateur Horticulture Competition”), Bennett He has told our chapter members that he prefersAward (“demonstrates the most outstanding to grow miniature plants, because he has roomhorticultural achievement in the individual for more plants if he collects the small ones!entry classes”), and a Cultural Certificate! Art Art has been a long time member, and officer,modestly reminded members that the winning of both Hobby Greenhouse & Indoor Gardenersplant was given to him, five years earlier, by of Massachusetts, and of the Cactus & Succulentanother Hobby Greenhouse member, Phyllis Society of Massachusetts. He has a large glassPodren! Phyl says that “old veteran” cactus greenhouse at his home, which is packed withbloomed faithfully, in time for the Flower Show, plants! And, he often arrives here and there withevery year, for over thirty years, before she gave “Art Scarpa’s Travelling Plant Show!”it to Art!Hobby Greenhouse Page 11
  12. 12. The Tool Shed New and Interesting Items for Your Garden and Greenhouse Burgon and Ball Greenhouse Tools By Roger MarshallS ome 10 or 12 years ago I was at a garden center in of tools allows you to have one for almost every job in England, and I spied what seemed to be an incredibly the garden. For me, there’s nothing quite like having a well-made, stainless steel, potting soil scoop. It was matching set of well-made tools in a handy location readyexpensive, but I figured it was a scoop that could be to do the job they were designed for.handed down for generations. So I bought it, and I liked it The hand cultivator is one such tool, which looksso much that over subsequent trips to England I gradually somewhat like a spider ready to dig into the garden andpurchased a whole collection of these Burgon & Ball rip those weeds apart. The weeder (a slim knife-like toolstainless steel garden tools. (See above!) I have become a with protective plastic on the sharp edges) allows you tobig fan of the award-winning Burgon & Ball products (visit get between bricks in a walkway or planks of wood on and you’ll understand why). All greenhouse shelves to dig out virtually anything. The B &the ones I own are used constantly in my greenhouse, B potting soil scoop is different from the garden soil scoopand on almost every visit to England I succumb to the in that it will scoop up a full four-inch pot load of soil intemptation to buy more. one go. In contrast, the garden soil scoop has digging power Now Burgon & Ball has an outlet in America (www. as its primary goal. It possesses serrated edges designed toBurgonand You can also purchase these cut easily even into compacted soil. Another of my tools istools retail at Shovel and Hoe ( or the weeding finger, which looks like its name implies – awholesale at Terrebonne Limited (www.terrebonnelimited. long, thin finger with a razor-sharp talon on the end. It letscom), both of which online stores have other interesting you get down under those pesky weeds and uproot themgardening tools available. in a snap. A tool that I use often is the dibber. You simply Why are the Burgon & Ball tools so desirable in my stick it in the soil and drop your bulb or plant into the holeestimation? Well, for one thing, they are made of quality that it’s created. I don’t have a regular B & B trowel (mustmaterials. The working parts are stainless steel and the put it on my to-get list!), but I do have a long, thin widgerhandles are English beech. Each tool also comes with a (don’t you love the name!) for digging deep into soil. Itleather loop so that you can easily hang it on the wall at the enables you to make quick work of weeds with long, thinback of your potting table. So far, only one of my leather taproots, such as those of dandelions, or to harvest plantsloops has broken, and this was after about 10 years of use. with similar roots, such as horseradish. And it is not just quality materials that make B & B The only change I would recommend for my B & B toolsproducts stand out. These tools also fit into your hand is to make the hand-held garden hoe sharper. My hoe looksextremely well. I have big hands, which can make it as if it still has the cut metal edge. Needless to say, it is verydifficult to find garden tools that feel truly comfortable. hard to put an edge on stainless steel with a file. I had toWith B & B each tool feels perfect. What’s more, the range use a bench grinder.Page 12 Hobby Greenhouse
  13. 13. One thing I’d like to experiment with is the strength handled rake it would be perfect for my greenhouse beds.of a B & B trowel. I find that many trowels bend at the When working in the confined space of my greenhouse, Ibottom of the handle, and I’d like to see if the same prefer tools with handles that are not too long. They givewould happen over time to a B & B trowel. Admittedly, me much less opportunity to knock pots off of shelves.I use trowels for purposes they shouldn’t be used for, To sum up, B & B garden tools have become thesuch as prying a rock out of a growing bed. Here in New tools of choice in my greenhouse. They are solidly madeEngland we have a lot of rocks in growing beds, so you of stainless steel and beech wood, intelligently designed,can’t blame me for wanting a trowel that can stand up and easy to hold and use. They also look great hanging onto them. the potting shed wall. After digging into the garden with Most B & B garden tools can also be obtained with them over the last 10 years or so, they may be a little dirty,what is called a mid-length handle – 18 inches overall but they have no signs of rust or crevice corrosion. Maybe– which is designed to make it easier to gain greater that’s partly because I use them so often, but I also thinkleverage if needed. Now if they just made a mid-length it speaks to the quality of Burgon & Ball products. Free Greenhouse Tools We have been given three free Burgon and Ball greenhouse tools. These wonderful tools were given to us by Burgon and Ball USA ( They will be sent to the HGA member who brings in the most new members over the next two months. If you want to receive these tools all you need do, is go to your greenhouse owning friends and persuade them to sign up for at least one year. If they need to see an issue, let me know and I will send them a password protected PDF of the latest issue. The deadline will be August 30th, so you have just over two months if you want to win these very special tools. (See pictures on the opposite page.) Just send in a list of names to Dick Schreiber, the HGA Membership Director.. The list with the most paid up names will be sent the tools shown below. Roger Marshall Frost Protek Plant CoverS You may have used a row cover to protect your plants or wrapped them in a blanket when a frost is forecast, leaving your garden looking like something out of Sanford and Son. Now you can protect your plants against a moderate frost with an easy to use, slip on cover. The Frost Protek has a drawstring at the bottom to enable you to pull it snugly around your plants. The cover is permeable but it will also keep insect pests off your plants while aloowing rain or moisture to penetrate. It also helps to protect plants against wind and sun and may keep larger pests (deer and rabbits) off them as well, When not in use the Frost Protek covers can be folded and netly stowed in your potting shed. The covers are sold in garden centers across the country and come in various sizes. Why not buy one or two now and The Hobby Greenhouse Association does not have them ready for use endorse or promote products. Our reviews at any time? are intended only to provide information to our ( members.Hobby Greenhouse Page 13
  14. 14. Choosing the Right Greenhouse By Tom KarasekA dedicated greenhouse or a growing space in our home can take a variety of forms, each with good reasons for that form. I’ll group theforms together, calling them all just greenhouses. Beforediscussing options, let’s look at some basic considerations. within to above freezing all year. In summer you will provide ventilation and shade to control overheating. Almost all plants will need air temperatures above freezing and below 120F to survive. As growth only occurs between about 50F and 90F, heating the whole greenhouse to any temperature The purpose of having a hobby greenhouse is to take between 32F and about 50F is a waste of money. Andcontrol of an environment such that the plants that we heating to growing temperatures in the winter can be tooenjoy growing can thrive. The shell which separates the expensive for many hobbyists. A variety of smaller internalgrowing environment from the natural world outside is structures or divisions, however, can economically becomposed of glazing, which permits sunlight to reach the heated to growing temperatures.plants, and a supporting structure to hold the glazing, Before we get into choosing what to grow, let’s look atprotect from wind and bear the weight of a snow load in some other choices in preparing the greenhouse:northern climates. For the hobbyist, the shell also provides Greenhouse Location The greenhouse will ideally bea comfortable working environment and presents most located close enough to your home for you to reach itplants at waist level. easily in bad weather and to minimize costs of running While almost any plant can be grown in a suitably sized underground water and power. The long dimension, thegreenhouse, there are tradeoffs of size and temperatures twelve foot wall in our example, should run east to west,that are largely based on cost of greenhouse operation. So, if possible, to have the sun’s path provide the most lightit is generally a good idea to first decide what space you possible. The trapped solar energy will be your primarywill have and what internal conditions you are willing source of warmth, even on cloudy winter days. Internalto provide. Your time and dedication are factors too, as temperatures in the growing range are common in winter,no plant can be left alone for extended periods without so a heater won’t even come on during many days andany care. Plants which survive outside in your climate even infrequently at night due to stored heat. Plants can,will need water, at a minimum, in your greenhouse and without harm, grow when temperatures are suitable, goprobably need some protection from temperature swings dormant when too cool and resume growth the next day.and likely some protection from insects too. Kit or home made? Most greenhouse kits can be assembled So, say you will build or buy the typical first greenhouse in a weekend by one person with a few minutes of helpthat is free-standing away from your home, is about eight by another person. Prices run from about $3,000 up, plusfeet wide by twelve feet long and you will heat the air site preparation, utilities and ventilation. GreenhousePage 14 Hobby Greenhouse
  15. 15. supplier catalogs or web sites will help you decide. A person four-faucet manifold will prove handy. Power will bereasonably handy with a saw, hammer and shovel can build needed for lighting, especially supplemental lights fora greenhouse from lumber, maybe a little concrete and the your plants as plants appreciate 15-18 hours of light aglazing material for about $400 up, with “up” depending day and that exceeds day length in some months. And,on size and glazing. of course, power will be required for electrical resistanceGlazing A single layer of transparent plastic sheeting, or forced air heating. A back-up electric heater or two setfiberglass or window glass will pass light and trap some heat to a lower temperature are inexpensive and use no powerbut will prove expensive to heat due to lack of insulation. unless your primary heat fails. If you want to grow withTwo layers of UV protected plastic sheeting held a few hydroponics, power will be required for any pumps. Ainches apart by a small 24/7 squirrel cage fan or two panes couple of small 24/7 wall mounted fans to circulate theof glass separated by a sealed air gap will retain heat far air helps with disease and whitefly issues. So, in total,better. Fiberglass willeventually yellow andblock too much light. Foreach 4 by 8 foot of glazing,expect to pay about $10 fortwo layers of plastic andabout $80 for double painglass or the more populartwin-wall polycarbonate.The plastic sheeting willbecome brittle and fail in3-5 years but is so muchless expensive that manycommercial growers selectthat option. Greenhousesurfaces which see little orno direct sunlight can be ofplywood painted white onthe inside for protection andto reflect light.Free-standing or attached toa home Your local buildingcodes will probably permita starter greenhousebuilt without complyingwith residential buildingcodes while an attachedgreenhouse addition maynot be exempt, so checkwith your county buildingdepartment. An attachedgreenhouse to be accessed Above left: This 12’ x 16’ greenhouse has tempered safety glass walls with insulated twin wallfrom the home should have roof. It is pictured with automatic fan ventilation system, door drop, cresting, and foundation walla door to isolate for heating and is available from Charley’s Greenhouseand to limit spread of insects.Design features You will Above: A brand new Hartley’s greenhouse ready for plants and people..need ventilation to exhaustexcess heat. A simple flap near the roof or an attic ventilation plan on at least one twenty amp, ground fault protectedfan, either with a matching size inlet down low, will work. circuit.A simple door for a homemade greenhouse can be a storm Optional features Dedicated potting up and propagationdoor, which come with frame, a sliding glass/screen panel areas and a small sink in the greenhouse are nice but notand even a knob with lock. Benches to support plants at the optimum use of space in a small greenhouse. A tallconvenient levels can be made of about anything sturdy interior will allow hanging baskets without detractingbut I like the white coated metal shelving made for closets from bench space. Storage space for chemicals, soils andbecause it lets light and water through and lasts a long tools are handy but further decrease growing space. Atime. Flooring options include gravel, concrete and brick comfortable chair and reading light make the greenhousebut I like a good grade of landscape fabric right over the a pleasant retreat. Architectural features and trim cansoil. Plumbed water is almost a necessity and a two- or blend your greenhouse into your landscape.Hobby Greenhouse Page 15
  16. 16. Propagating PlantSBy Roger MarshallI f you go to a nursery, you’ll see a huge selection of plants with rows of identical Sowing Seeds plants of one kind or another. Often, these Sowing seeds is a propagation method that we are all familiar with. We simply cover the seedsplants were propagated from parent ones. You, with soil in a pot or growing bed and wait totoo, can propagate plants to increase your stock see what comes up. But if you are gatheringof favorites or to economically obtain enough your own seeds from parent plants and have noplants to make a hedge or border. package instructions to follow, there are some For some plants, propagation from cuttings is things you need to know. One is that the seedsextremely easy. For example, if I want to obtain of some plants, such as iris, aster, and lavender,additional jade plants, I simply take a small twig require stratification. That is, they need to be(preferably with some tiny roots) from the very put in a cold environment for six or eight weekslarge jade plant I have, push the twig into the and then in a warm spot, sometimes severalground, and let it grow. Propagating a Christmas times, before they will germinate. Another iscactus is equally simple. Just break a small that self collected seeds need to be collected just“leaf” segment (actually a piece of stem) off the at the right time. Too early, and the seeds maymother plant at the point where it connects to the not be ripe. Too late, and the seeds may havesegment below it and plant it in potting soil. If already distributed themselves. Yet another isyou keep the cutting moist, it will usually sprout that seeds may not come true to the parent. Forroots and grow into an independent plant. Many example, if corn is cross-pollinated, you mayother succulents can be easily propagated in this have a completely different type of corn comeway, although for other plants propagation from up. If you collect seeds from hybrid plants, youcuttings can be much more difficult. may also see a completely different plant to the Of course, propagation from cuttings is not the parent. Occasionally, these different plants endonly approach to obtaining new plants from old up being in demand from seed merchants andones. Essentially, there are three major methods the lucky owner can make a lot of money, butof propagating plants: taking cuttings, dividing more often the seeds resemble one of the hybridthe roots, and sowing the parent plant’s seeds. plant’s parent.Part of the secret of successful plant propagation Some seeds need complete darkness tois knowing which of these methods is easiest for germinate, while others will not germinatethe particular plant in question and what, if any, without lots of light. Examples are the seeds ofspecial techniques should be used to increase Primula and Impatiens, which need 15 to 20your chances of obtaining healthy offspring. hours of light a day to germinate. To get them toPage 16 Hobby Greenhouse
  17. 17. Begin propagating with easy plants such as these geraniums and varigated pelargoniums above. When propagating woodybreak dormancy, sprinkle them on top of potting shrubs such as the hydrangea below, take fresh green cuttingssoil and keep them moist under a grow light orfluorescent shop light until they show signs of from the growing tips to Propagate and dip them in hormonesprouting. powder before pushing them into the soil.Taking CuttingsTiming is something many gardeners don’tthink about when taking cuttings from plants,but properly timing this method of propagationcan lower your risk of failure. For some plantscuttings are best taken in spring when the greenshoots are young and vigorous, but for manyplants, cuttings are best taken in August orSeptember before the new green sprouts havehardened off. The later in the year that you takecuttings, the more difficult it usually is to get thecuttings to grow. There are three methods of taking cuttings.You can take cuttings from the stem tips, youcan slice off a side shoot (called a basal cutting),or you can take a heel cutting by pulling a smallbranch off the main stem. Different plants preferdifferent cutting methods. To take tip cuttings, simply cut off the tips ofstems, taking two or three leaves, dip the cut endin rooting hormone, and plant it in well-drainedsoil. For good drainage, I mix equal parts ofpotting soil and sand when planting tip cuttingsfrom flowers such as fuchsias, geraniums, andpelargoniums. This propagation method workswell in mid to late summer, giving you strong, Another tip when propagating cuttings is toyoung plants for next season. pare the cutting down to include only one or When planting any type of cutting, it is two leaves. That way, not too much water is lostessential to keep the potting soil moist. If you through transpiration. On large-leafed plantslet the soil dry out, the cutting will probably some growers cut the leaf in half to reduce thenot survive. Professional growers mist cuttings area available for transpiration.regularly to ensure that they stay moist. But don’t Plants such as rhododendron and privet can belet the soil or the plant become too wet, or it will propagated by rooting a low-growing branch. Inprobably get moldy and cause the cutting to die. (continued on page 19)Hobby Greenhouse Page 17
  18. 18. Mini-SurveyW e want to get a handle on what you would like to see in your magazine. In order to give you the content you really want, we have put together a mini-survey of this issue and would like to get your comments on it. If you could answer the questions below It would help us in formulating what to put in future issues. Please circle the number after each question with 1 meaning I hate it, 3 meaning I don’t care one way or another, and 5 meaning I love it. I hate it Neutral I love it 1. Front Cover: Do you like the full color front cover? 1 2 3 4 5 2. Board of Directors page 1 2 3 4 5 3. Editor’s Note 1 2 3 4 5 4. Table of contents page 1 2 3 4 5 5. Masthead and Write for Us 1 2 3 4 5 6. Your Questions Answered (formerly Cyber Connections) 1 2 3 4 5 7. Greenhouse Review 1 2 3 4 5 8. The Tool Shed 1 2 3 4 5 9. From The Planter 1 2 3 4 5 10. The HGA Book Shop 1 2 3 4 5 11. Discounts 1 2 3 4 5 12. Book Review 1 2 3 4 5 13. The Back Door 1 2 3 4 5 14. Classifieds 1 2 3 4 5 15. Organizations 1 2 3 4 5 16. Round Robins 1 2 3 4 5 17. Back Cover 1 2 3 4 5 Would you like to see more on the following subjects: 18. Growing and Propogating plants 1 2 3 4 5 19. Growing tropicals 1 2 3 4 5 20. Growing orchids 1 2 3 4 5 21. Growing vegetables in Your Greenhouse 1 2 3 4 5 22. Growing for Market 1 2 3 4 5 23. Growing Flowers 1 2 3 4 5 24. Greenhouse methods: hydroponics and aquaponics, 1 2 3 4 5 25. Greenhouse construction and materials, painting 1 2 3 4 5 26. Greenhouse design: foundation, glazing 1 2 3 4 5 27. Greenhouse updates: adding water, electricity, heating 1 2 3 4 5 28. Reducing heating costs: water and rock storage 1 2 3 4 5 Advertising 29. Should we have more advertising to help defray printing costs 1 2 3 4 5 30. Do you use the advertisers in the magazine 1 2 3 4 5 31. Do you read the advertisements 1 2 3 4 5 32. Do you get good inforamtoin from the advertisements 1 2 3 4 5 If you have suggestions for other articles you would like to see, write them here ________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ If you have other comments on what you think we should be doing to help you use your greenhouse better, write them here ________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Add more on another piece of paper if desired) You can either email your response to or copy this page and snail mail it to Roger Marshall, 44 Ft. Wetherill Rd., Jamestown, RI 02835 Thank you for your help. The results will be printed in the winter issue.Page 18 Hobby Greenhouse
  19. 19. (continued from page 17) For some plants you may prefer to take smaller cuttings off the roots. This method is most oftenspring cut a low branch on a slant about a quarter used for plants that have a large root system, suchof the way through and push the cut portion into as chrysanthemums, irises, certain lilies, andthe ground. Wedge it so that it stays under the bee balm (Monardia). To make chrysanthemumsoil, or put a brick on the branch to hold it down. root cuttings, for example, dig up some roots,It doesn’t take long to get a new plant started. cut them from the main plant, and replant theseOnce the plant has sufficient roots to grow well cuttings into pots. You can cut a single root onlyon its own, cut the remaining connection to the an inch or two long, and eventually it will growparent. into a large plant.Dahlia division is done slightly differently. These plants develop large tubersDividing Roots and Tubers that should be stored for the winter in a frost-Root division is another method of propagation free location after you dig them in the fall. Then,that works well for large clumps of rhubarb, in spring, simply divide the tubers so that eachdaisies, hostas, and many other plants. For clump of one or two has at least one eye thatexample, if your hostas have formed a ring and will form a new stem. Following this procedurethe middle has died out, it is time to divide them. you will double or triple your stock of dahliasSimply dig up the entire hosta plant and divide each into sections. Replant each section, and it will Propagating, then, is not too difficult. Withgrow into another clump. a little knowhow and effort, you can greatly If a plant has deep roots, such as rhubarb or increase your number of plants without spendinghorseradish, dig out the entire carrot-shaped a lot of money. Practice first on easy-to-propagateroot and divide it into two or three parts before plants before moving on to more temperamentalreplanting each section. ones. Before you know it, you will have enough This is best done in late fall or in the middle plants to fill many pots and garden beds. In fact,of winter when the plant is entering dormancy your biggest problem may be figuring out whator is completely dormant. to do with all of them. Proofing Seeds You can keep seeds from year to year in a cool place, but gradually they may lose their viability. Proof old seeds by starting ten or twenty in damp paper towels. Put the seeds between two damp towels and put them in a plastic zip top bag. Set the bag in a warm place to germinate where temperatures are about 70 degrees. After four or five days remove the seeds from the bag and count the number of seeds that have germinated. If half your seeds have germinated, you have a 50% germination rate. When you plant the remainder of your seeds, double your normal seeding rate to account for the lack of germination. GREENHOUSES ● Sturdy Aluminum Frame ● TwinWall or Glass ● Many Styles and Sizes ● Full Line of Accessories ● Building Materials Serving gardeners for over 37 years Charley’s (800) 322-4707 charleysgreenhouse.comHobby Greenhouse Page 19
  20. 20. Teaching YoungGreenhouse Gardeners By Cindy French-Curtis(This is the second article on young greenhouse gardeners. The first was Growing Greenhouse Gardeners published inSpring 2011)T here are many ways in which to promote were so easy to breed differences. He studied a lifelong love of gardening and a curiosity and recorded his discoveries about recessive and about plants to the young ones in your dominant genes. Wouldn’t it be fun to study thisfamily. You will be able to share many cultural, and then for older children this discussion couldhistorical, and scientific facts with your children turn your greenhouse into a laboratory!and grandchildren. So let’s get started with some Another way to discover unique plants youfun and interesting examples. In the paragraphs might want to try in your greenhouse or gardenbelow I will share some fascinating things about is when traveling. When traveling this fall myplants and a way to forge an invaluable lifetime husband, our granddaughter, Emily and myselfbond with the children you know. were returning from antelope hunting in the Did you know that the first greenhouses were south-eastern part of Colorado, when we madeconstructed by the Romans so their Emperor a discovery. On the way back home we decidedTiberius could have cucumbers out of season? to stop at a roadside farmer’s market. There weThey were originally constructed with mica discovered Anasazi beans. These beans wereinstead of glass. With this tidbit of history cultivated and consumed by Anasazi Indians (incan promote an entire discussion with your Navajo, Anasazi means “the ancient ones”) inchild or grandchild. Have they yet studied the the Mesa Verde area of Colorado. It is estimatedRomans? What do they know about the Romans? that these beans have been in existence for 1500(Gladiators and statues) Maybe you can find years. They are a spotted red and white dry bean.cucumber seeds from Italy! I teased my horse-loving granddaughter they As a child, I can remember learning about were the Appaloosa of beans! We talked aboutgenetics in Science class from the colored the fascinating National Park in the southwestphotographs of sweet pea plants. I think I was corner of Colorado where visitors can see howabout in 4th grade, and enthralled by the way these cliff dwellers lived and actually visit theheredity influenced color. Friar Gregor Mendeldid genetic research with peas because they cliff dwellings.Page 20 Hobby Greenhouse
  21. 21. To continue the educationalexperience of the Anasazi beans,when I traveled to Oregon tovisit my grandchildren, Alex,Christian, Alaina and Jackson,I brought some of the beans.My son started the seeds ona wet paper towel in a plasticbag. We were all surprised howeasily and fast the seeds grew.I have since started some andthey seem to grow about a ½inch a day. They are hardy aswell, our cat, Nigel, ate the topsoff and they came right back!A few days ago, I read onlinethat beans are the secondmost popular plant plantedby children. How can you gowrong with these historicallyinteresting beans taking a spotin your greenhouse? I have always loved violets. Opposite page: Christian, Alex and Alaina French play in the garden.The color, the fragrance, and Above: Mom, Is this hole big enough for that lettuce plant? We wateredtheir simplicity make them a it in well as you suggested.favorite. With children thereare always the squabbles. The unfairness, the visiting one of my Dad’s friend’s house and therewrongs in life, and being in the greenhouse with in the front room was a lit aquarium filled withyour hands busy in the warm earth it’s easy to talk large healthy snapping venus fly traps. Myabout spiritual matters; to answer questions, to brother and I would endure hours of boring adultillustrate your point of view and to show the true conversations just to sit in the front room andrelationship between plants and life. One day feed or tickle this plant. This is the plant tothe opportunity of forgiveness came up with an amuse and impress even the most reluctant childolder family member. And Mark Twain’s quote, and win them over to gardening.seemed perfect. “Forgiveness is the fragrance I hope these ideas will inspire you andof the violet as it is crushed beneath the sole the young ones in your family to make yourof a boot.” There are all kinds of lessons to be greenhouse and garden a family place. A placelearned in your Greenhouse. where lifelong learning and experimentation, And finally, if you are experiencing a child thrive together in harmony with the love youwho is truly hard core and just plain doesn’t see have for each other.the thrill of the greenhouse here is my secret And that your greenhouse becomes a placeweapon – the venus fly trap! What child can where the generations blend and the thrill of aresist a carnivorous plant? I remember as a child new leaf or plant never dies. Greenhouse factoids Greenhouses were originally called glasshouses and had small panes of glass overlapped at the bottom to prevent heat loss. The overlap was hard to clean and often harbored moss and other plant life. In the drab winter months of 19th century England glasshouses provided a bright green splash of color in the winter landscape. Because of the greeness the structures became known as greenhouses. A big fad inVictorian England was to grow pineapples, when the structure was know as the pineapplery. If oranges were grown, then it was often known as the orangery. Similarly, if grapes were grown it might be known as the vinery. To keep the large plant pots warm in winter, fresh horse manure and straw was piled around each plant container. As the manure rotted down it gave off heat which kept the temperature up. Larger greenhouses used wood fired steam heating systems with pipes around the base below the greenhouse glass and while it may seem impossible, many greenhouses including England’s most famous Crystal Palace, burned down when the heating system went awry.Hobby Greenhouse Page 21
  22. 22. Ficus:the Workhorse of the Interior Landscape by Paula SzilardS ince the latter part of the nineteenth century, few most overcast winter day in Colorado, a measurement plants have put in a more frequent appearance in taken at the glass of an east or west window is roughly our homes and offices than members of the genus 300 f.c. and the measurement on a sunny winter morningFicus. There are over 800 species in this genus, which at an east window is over 5000 f.c.)includes the weeping fig (Ficus benjamina), the banyan Still popular, though losing ground to its more attractivetree (Ficus benghalensis), the Bo tree (Ficus religiosa), cousins, the rubber plant was a favorite in the Victorianthe rubber tree (Ficus elastica) and the common edible home. Though all ficus species release a type of milky latexfig (Ficus carica). Members of this genus are often used in when wounded, only the sap of Ficus elastica was everour interior landscaping because they can be pruned easily made into natural rubber, only to be replaced eventuallyinto tree-like shapes and add height and structure to our by a different tree yielding a better product.indoor plantings. In nature, though, they are sometimes Many ficuses adjust well to the lower levels of humiditystranglers, starting out as epiphytes on branches or crotches in our homes, especially in winter, when central heatingof trees, but eventually growing so large that they strangle keeps our indoor humidity levels at their lowest. In fact,their host. they actually transpire considerable amounts of water Ficuses have remained popular since they were into the air, increasing the humidity levels in our homes.introduced in Victorian times because they have many This definitely gives them an edge here in Colorado! Mostattributes which make them suitable for indoor culture. tropical ficuses grow well at temperatures of around 65Though most grow under high light conditions in nature to 80 F, temperatures within the range of most interiors.(often full sun), they adapt well to the reduced light levels Another advantage is that they don’t usually requireavailable in our homes. The rubber tree, Ficus elastica, can special care, and even people with a casual approach tobe sustained for long periods on about 250 foot candles, indoor greenery can keep them alive for extended periods.although about 4,000 to 8000 foot candles are desirable You can still kill them, of course, but you have to be eitherfor good growth. (As a point of reference, on the dreariest, fairly negligent or overly generous with the watering can.Page 22 Hobby Greenhouse
  23. 23. The ficus most commonly seen in the home is thegraceful, tree-like weeping fig, Ficus benjamina, whichis now available with attractive variegated foliage. Incontrast to most houseplants, these fast growing plantsare desirable because they allow themselves to be prunedinto beautiful tree shapes. Although they would preferhigher levels of light, plant quality can be maintained at150-250 foot candles. Ficus maclellandi, another attractive tree-like ficuswith a triangular canopy, has narrow leaves about 8-10”long. It was imported from Thailand into Hawaii in theearly 1980’s and later marketed by Kraft Gardens, Inc.and Aloha Foliage. The Kraft Gardens name was banana-leaf fig, an unfortunate choice, since the plant isn’t evenremotely suggestive of a banana. Ficus alii, the AlohaFoliage name, on the other hand seems to have stuck. (Aliiis the Hawaiian word for royalty.) The plant is extremelyfast growing and quite durable. I have to keep pruningmine back! It’s exceptionally tolerant of dryness and like Fruit of ficus carica ‘Brown Turkey. (Image by Roger Marshall)the rubber tree, it will survive in reduced light (about 200foot candles) for extended periods. Naturally, it does better The creeping fig or Ficus pumila performs well atat higher light levels of 4,000-6,000 foot candles. fairly bright light, but can adapt to lower levels of light. The fiddle-leaf fig, Ficus lyrata gets the prize for Unfortunately, it needs a relatively humid environment.interesting, large foliage. As its name implies, the leaves Here in Colorado it’s a good terrarium plant. If the humidityare shaped like a fiddle and are rough and leathery in in your home is moderately high, you can use it as atexture. They reportedly get as large as 18” long and a groundcover for large plants. A variegated cultivar withfoot wide, however it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see that leaves edged in white is now available. In tropical areas,size on a potted plant. For a time in Honolulu, I had this plant often climbs up walls of buildings and stoneseveral trees planted in my garden, and the leaves never barriers of all types to great heights. The residents of a well-approached that size. Again, as with the weeping fig and known high-rise condominium building in Honolulu hadficus alii, an adequate maintenance level of light is about a topping off party when the creeping fig reached the roof!250 foot candles, though for growth the plant prefers 2,000 There are several worthy new introductions to our ficusto 6,000 foot candles. Unlike ficus alii, this plant is not repertoire. Ficus aspera, the clown fig, is a fairly recentat all drought tolerant. You’ll need to water regularly, but arrival on the scene. An attractive plant with striking,not to excess. variegated green and white foliage, it has a fruit with aHobby Greenhouse Page 23
  24. 24. one in September. Since figs are self fertile, fruiting should not be a problem, even in an indoor setting, provided it receives enough light. Stay tuned! Watering ficuses can be tricky, especially if the plants are large. Allow the soil in large pots to dry out to a depth of 2-3 inches in between waterings. Plants in lower light will need much less water. If you forget and let them get too dry, ficuses will may suddenly drop all their leaves, but unless they are totally parched you can bring them around with regular watering. No fertilizer at this point, please! Check to see if the branches are still supple. If so, the plant can be saved. Leaf drop may also occur as a result of sudden changes of temperature and overwatering. The common insect pests found on houseplants also attack ficuses. Infestations of scale insects, mealy bugs, and spider mites are not atypical. It’s always a challenge dealing with these pests, especially when the plants are large. Horticultural oils mixed with water are especially effective for dealing with scale insects, but will also work on the other two pests. It’s best to do this outside during warm weather, but never in direct sun to avoid damage to the leaves. Indoors, the logistics of shielding your walls, furniture and floor coverings from damage can prove formidable. You’ll generally need to apply the oil- water mixture more than once. Ficuses are usually not damaged by this treatment, unless you get carried away and add too much of the oil. Remember, your goal is to suffocate the insects, not the plant! In the Ficus Bejamina needs bright light to grow well winter months, cotton wipes or Q-tips dipped in alcohol can control scale and mealy bugs, especially ifreddish cast, resembling a clown’s nose. Hence the name, the infestation is not too severe. Spider mites are averse toclown fig. It’s prone to spider mites, but its interesting water and are fairly easy to control with vigorous showering.foliage and fruit still make it worth growing. Low-impact, pyrethrin-containing sprays also kill spider The blue fig, or ficus petiolaris is another attractive mites and mealy bugs.You get an extra bonus for growingnewcomer. It has heart-shaped, whorled leaves with ficuses in your home! Apart from their attractivenesspronounced pink veination in good light and a swollen and ability to thrive indoors, they are constantly at workstem or caudex for water cleaning the air youstorage. Another plant, sold breathe. Sources:as the Congo fig (Dorstenia Both the rubber Appell, S.D., ed. Landscaping Indoors: Bringing the Garden Inside.elata) is different enough plant and the weeping New York: Brooklyn Botanical Garden, be placed into another fig excel at removing Blessington, T.M. and P.C. Collins. Foliage Plants: Prolonginggenus, but still in the fig gaseous formaldehyde, a Quality — Postproduction, Care & Handling. Batavia, IL: Ballfamily (Moraceae). It is an common indoor pollutant Publishing, 1993.understatement to say that given off by textiles, Hamilton, P. The ABC’s of Indoor Ficus Trees. Pacific Grove, CA:it its eight-inch leaves are adhesives, carpeting, New Leaf Press, 1991. (DBG Library)shiny. They look as though paints, particle board, McColum, S. and T. Risley. Plant Basics: A Manual for the Care ofsomeone emptied a can of wall coverings and a Indoor Plants. 1994. (Available from Garden Tapestry, Inc., 719 W.leaf-shine on them! It also host of other products McGraw, Seattle, WA 98119, (206) 213-0162) $9.50.has an unusual flat fruit, commonly used in the Martin, T. Once upon a Windowsill: A History of Indoor Plants.occasionally producing home. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 1988. (DBG Library) Wolverton, B.C.viable seeds. Additionally, the How to Grow Fresh Air. New York: Penguin Books, 1996. A new dwarf edible weeping fig also removesblack fig, Ficus carica the solvents xylene and‘Petite Negra’ can grow from 5 to 8 feet when planted out toluene, as well as ammonia. Overall though, the rubberin milder climates. Container grown here in Colorado in an plant and ficus alii get somewhat higher marks forindoor/outdoor setting, it should remain much smaller. It’s removing more pollutants. So, why not green up yoursupposed to produce two crops a season, one in late July and home and reap the benefits?Page 24 Hobby Greenhouse
  25. 25. TGarden Planner App for Your iPad or iPhone his garden planner app is from Mother Earth News and allows the user to plan his or her garden. You begin by drawing out your garden and adding crops. As you add your crops the app automatically sizes plants and tells you how many plants you can put in the space. It also uses the zip code and weather stations for your area to calculate recommended planting and even harvest times. You can also browse seed catalogs, visit major garden suppliers, and update your present Garden Planner app, or change the garden as the season progresses. However, the online reviews appear to be about half and half in favor and against. Many reviews say the app is buggy and the manufacturer has updated the program. Whether the latest version is less buggy, we shall have to see. Hobby Greenhouse Writing Guidelines 1. Aim for articles between 600 and 1200 words long. As we move toward web-based publication, shorter, well-illustrated stories will work best. If you have an article much longer than this guideline, think about breaking it into parts for inclusion in more than one issue. 2. We like to see as many high-resolution photographs as possible accompanying a story. Even if we can’t use all of your submitted photos, it is helpful to have a variety to choose from. At a minimum, try to include at least six good images. Remember the old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Good illustrations enhance an article greatly. 3. Do not embed images in the text. The only time that you might do this is if you have 10 to 20 images and want to show us where they should be placed. If you embed images in the text, we have to delete them to do the layout, so please supply your images separately. 4. If you email images to us, you may have to send them in multiple emails. We have found that three or four hi-resolution images per email is best. 5. Don’t be afraid to give your story a strong voice. Tell the readers what worked for you, why you think it worked, and anything you did that may have created problems. Personalizing a story in this way can often make it more interesting to read. 6. Especially if your article is on the long side, consider inserting some headings to make its structure and subtopics clearer. A few well-chosen headings can be very helpful to readers. Also, use one space between sentences, not two spaces. 7. Try not to digress from the main subject of your article. If you have something peripheral you’d like to say, consider putting it in a short sidebar. If the sidebar is getting long, you’re probably better off saving the peripheral topic for another article. 8. Please send your story to If you send in a printed version by snail mail, please also enclose an electronic version, either on CD or flash drive. CDs and flash drives are really good for lots of pictures. The snail mail address is: Editor, Hobby Greenhouse, 44 Fort Wetherill Road, Jamestown, RI 02835. 9. Hard-copy-only versions will need to be sent out to be retyped and may not be in the issue that you would like them to be in. If you send hard copy photographs, they will need to be scanned, and the scanning quality is often very poor. Polaroid pictures scan particularly badly. 10. We suggest that you check back if you have not heard from us within a week after submitting an article via email. Sometimes our server thinks perfectly legitimate emails are spam and deletes them.Hobby Greenhouse Page 25
  26. 26. Barbara W. Wich, HGA Historian 55780 Timber LaneEasy-Care Bromeliads Elkhart, IN 46514-9456by Ann MannReprinted from Hobby Greenhouse Sept/Oct 1983I f you havent tried raising bromeliads in your hobby available at very little cost; and the hobbyist need not worry greenhouse, youre missing the colorful addition of about specialized care for them — most are easy to care a family of exotic epiphytes that will not only add for. Heres a list of bromeliads the hobby grower will findbrightness, but will give you the bonuses of fragrance and rewarding, easy to care for, and that take up no more spaceelegant design. Plus easy care, fast propagation, and little than you need for an African violet in a medium-sized pot.expense! Try these if youre short of space: Bromeliads are a family of epiphytes almost totally Acanthostachys strobilacea. This bromeliad has cascadingindigenous to the New World. They have come late to thin whip-like leaves emerging from a stoloniferous trunk.the greenhouse scene and home culture, perhaps because Leaves are bronzy green and attain 30" in length, but nothey suffer from “bad press” in the myths that have been more than 1/3" wide. It makes an elegant hanging basket,erroneously bandied about them. Let me explode the “bad especially when in flower — its long-lasting inflorescencebromeliad” myths: resembles a tiny pineapple. Stiff bracts are vivid orange One myth is that they are parasites and kill their host and its flowers are yellow. Give it strong light (up high);plants. Not true. What is true is that many of them cling protect from temperatures below 40; water it weekly; andto trees for support, but they take no nourishment from feed with balanced fertilizer monthly. Plant in a porousthe host tree itself. well-drained orchid compost. Another myth is that they attract and cause to breed The Aechmeas are a diversified genus with many ofmosquitoes, frogs, snails, snakes/roaches, even scorpions. the large spiny bromeliads as well as the medium-sizedNot really. What is true is that water collects in the “urn” and small plants; generally, they want bright light, feedingor cup in the center of many of the bromeliads that form with balanced fertilizer every ten days; weekly watering;rosettes. Mosquito larvae will of course collect in the cut, and temperatures above 40 deg. For a potting medium, givebut frogs are attracted to the water-filled cup and quickly them a porous well-drained compost. For plaquing, I usetake care of the mosquitoes. In a controlled greenhouse fiber plaques and balls or drift-wood.environment, this should be no problem. Aechmea biumenavii is a small semi-tubular plant with Another myth is that they are hard to grow and flower; firm smooth purple-tipped green leaves. The plant seldomthis is not true. In fact, they grow fast and propagate almost exceeds 12" in height. The rose-colored flower stem risesas fast with few exceptions. As for flowering, if you give above the foliage and bears a panicle of yellow flowersthem what they want (and these are simple desires) you’ll surrounded by pink bracts. It makes a fine pot plant.get an abundance of brightly-colored bracts, topped off by Aechmea mertensi is variable. Its a small plant with brightcolorful, sometimes fragrant, flowers, which in turn are green leaves densely overlaid with white-silver scales in aoften followed by waxy berries of varying colors. semi-tubular rosette. Leaves are edged with brown spines, The next myth you often hear is that they take up alot of not of the lethal variety. Flower stalks are bright coral redspace, which is true of some, not true of most. Many are no with yellow petals. White berries follow, then one by onebigger than a gloxinia; even more are charming miniatures. turn blue, while the bracts retain their vivid red color. The next tale you hear about bromeliads is that they Aechmea miniata v. discolor is highly desirable as a space-are vicious “attack” plants with lethal spines just waiting saver. Leaves are 12" long, glossy green on top, waxy maroonto embed themselves in your tender flesh. True, some underneath. Its inflorescence is an erect panicle of prettyhave wicked spines that can put the bite on an exposed bright blue flowers; berries turn red and last many months.arm, finger, or leg of the unwary gardener. Most of these It makes a fine pot plant.are “biggies” however, and the hobbyist might do better Areococcus flagellifolius is another desirable species. Thisto eschew these and specialize in smaller ones with less elegant plant has whip-like bronze leaves, about 18" long,thorny exteriors. Many have no spines at all. The ones I rising from a slender oval pseudobulb. It produces a thinconsider energy-space savers are such plants. These are red flower stem bearing many rose flowers, followed bysmall, colorful, and make ideal hanging baskets or plaques. blue-black berries. Plant in a hanging basket, giving theThey add color and fragrance and a fanciful touch to your same conditions as Aechmeas.greenhouse. Cryptanthus were dubbed “earth stars” by Mulford If youre short of space (who isnt) consider the small- Foster (the botanist credited with discovering many of ourgrowing bomeliads that do best mounted on fiber plaques cultivated bromeliads). They like filtered light, but theiror balls; or in small hanging baskets with stolons cascading other requirements are the same as for Aechmeas.from the sides. There are hundreds of such bromeliads Cryptanthus pseudoscaposus is a rosette-shaped plant,Page 26 Hobby Greenhouse