Plant your amaryllis bulbs indoors this week for Christmas-time blooms. They take six or seven weeks to grow into gorgeous flowers. I have seen them in red, red and white, white and pale pink; all are beautiful!
Most grocery and department stores or nurseries carry them in kits with everything you need included. Each box contains a bulb, soil, and a pot with instructions on how to grow your amaryllis. Once potted up, leave it in an (indirect) sunny spot and watch it grow. Turn the pot regularly to keep the stem growing straight. Some may need to be supported as they get tall and top-heavy.
In recent years I have planted lots of variations. One thing I have learned is that they are extremely top-heavy when full-grown. For that reason, be sure to add a stick to support them in their pot, attaching the growing stem to the stick with a loose tie.
Take your pick, but do it soon if you want them to bloom in time for Christmas. As you can see below, Amazon has lots of gorgeous varieties to choose from:
Do you compost your organic waste or is the chore too much of a hassle? I must admit, I go back and forth. Recently though, I came across an option for an electric kitchen composter that may have piqued my interest enough to coerce me back into the practice. Reducing food waste into nutrient-dense plant food? Did someone say plants? I like that idea, as long as fruit flies and rotten odours don’t invade my kitchen. However, an under-the-cupboard garbage bin generates both of those problems too. That’s the argument I will use on my hubby to persuade him to give Lomi a try.
Introducing the world’s first Smart Waste appliance,Lomi fits on your kitchen counter, ready to devour your organic (no meat or bones) kitchen waste. If you consume lots of fresh fruit and vegetables like my family does, this might appeal to you too. My morning smoothie alone generates lots of appropriate fuel for the Lomi.
I currently have three outdoor composters that are used less frequently every year. The main reason (or excuse) for that is that the procedure takes lots of time. Filling, turning, and emptying the heavy bins is not easy, especially for seniors with arthritic wrists. They are considerably less expensive than the (modern) electric Lomi.
Of the three traditional, outdoor composters I have, my favourite is definitely the tumbling one. It looks something like the first one below, without the fancy colours. I love the fact that it rotates to flip the contents around but it is quite heavy when full, so not the easiest to maneuver. I have to enlist the help of my husband or one of my three sons to rotate and remove it from its base to empty.
The second one pictured appears to have taken those negative aspects into consideration as it stands on legs and features a handle. It also is divided into two lighter chambers. Perhaps that would make it easier to rotate and empty.
I would love to hear comments on which models other gardeners use.
The Current Landfill Situation is a Global Problem
Regardless of your current composting methods, our landfills are filling at an alarming rate. We have to be smarter. Composting organic kitchen scraps with Lomi is a start and something individual families can do at home. A recent post discussed garbage incinerators, an even more significant step in the right direction.
Interlocked sidewalks or driveways/laneways and river rock instead of lawns may look nice and tidy until the weeds move in. And they will try, you just have to stay on top of them for a winning look.
Weeds are inevitable as their seeds blow around in the wind, lodging themselves in the cracks between the interlocked stones or river rock. They can settle into the tiniest of cracks and then sprout to become a huge mess. Don’t disparage the contractor that you paid to make your yard look nice, it is not (generally) their fault. Weeds and wind are facts of nature.
Polymer Sand Between Interlock
Most landscapers use polymer sand, AKA hardscape, jointing, or paver sand, a mixture of fine grains of sand and bonding agents. These products fill in the cracks between the interlock stones of sidewalks, patios, and driveways. The benefits are stability (the stones don’t shift), weed control, and even insect control.
The problem is, even when applied properly (there is a specific method of applying polymer sand) weed seeds will still congregate on top.
The most recent look in interlock involves larger slabs of stone, meaning fewer cracks for weed seeds to invade and you to keep clean. That’s a move in the right direction.
Landscape Fabric Under River Rock
Landscape fabric is (should be) used under river rock when it replaces lawns to help keep weeds from poking through from underneath. Some aggressive weeds still do manage to get through the barrier though. As mentioned above, nothing prevents weed seeds from blowing from above and settling between the rocks.
Landscape fabric can be purchased in (very) large rolls or smaller, more manageable rolls. Regardless of the roll size, choose the heavy-duty kind.
One of my biggest complaints about landscaping with river rock is the instability of the rock surface for anyone walking on it. That would be me working in a client’s garden. Even though I always wear stable shoes, I still find the rocks unstable to walk on so worry about twisted ankles.
I do find the smaller stones more stable than the larger ones.
Vinegar to Kill and Deter Weeds in Interlock or River Rock
Vinegar, and not just regular vinegar but the extra strength “cleaning” vinegar, works well to kill any weeds that do manage to sprout between the cracks of your interlock or stones/rocks. It also deters new weeds from sprouting. I put the vinegar in a large pressurized sprayer to make large applications easier.
Weed Torches to Keep Interlock and River Rock Tidy
Another method of removing weeds that have sprouted between the cracks of your walkways or patios or your river rock is a propane-powered weed torch. I have yet to try one but have heard only good reviews on them.
I don’t mean to discourage anyone from replacing their old, outdated walkways with much prettier interlock or their lawns with river rock, but want people to be aware these types of landscaping still require work. Lots of work.