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And the Greenhouse??

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I complained a lot about the greenhouse. It was a pain to put up. Now, as spring creeps ever so slowly on, I'm crowing about it. Come on in! I do, many times daily.

You can tell from the outside there's something going on in there.

Graffiti, in scarlet and pink. Love that stellar geranium, and it's going hog-wild now. 

Fancy French blood lettuce. Delicious.

 Delicate little antique geranium Frank Headley, prone to sun and fertilizer burn around those snow-white leaf edges, but about to send up salmon flowers. I feed with Osmocote, mixing it into the soil when I pot the plants.

Happy Thought, pink. Love that color.

Happy Thought is a so-called "butterfly" pelargonium (just a fancy name for geranium). See the yellowish butterflies on the leaves?

Grey Sprite, teeny tiny mini geranium. One of my favorites.

The lettuce I planted last October is finally starting to bolt and get bitter. That's quite a run, October to April! We've had many a salad. See, I keep it near the cool floor of the greenhouse, and lettuce grows best in coolness. What a wonderful way to keep yourself in fresh lettuce. 

The tangerine hibiscus has woken up and is trumpeting its intention to stay covered in flowers all summer long. 

How about four flowers at once? (one's off to the right). I cut this baby back to sticks and would have sworn it died, but the roots were still there...roots are the key.

Hibiscus are a real challenge for me. Between aphids and two-spotted spider mites, I'm always spraying. But they hate being sprayed and respond by yellowing and dropping leaves. It's a dance we do. I've found a spray that works without being too hard on my plants. Pyrethrins are a flop. Instant leaf drop and poison, blehh.

One more reason to love geraniums: practically pest-free, but for a bit of white fly now and then.

The only spray I'll use now is homemade and non-toxic. Here's the recipe: 

To one quart water add 
3/4 cup isopropyl alcohol
2 TBS Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap

(you know, that hippie liquid soap with all the nutty preaching on the label. All One!!)

Shake it up and spray 'er down. Be sure to hold the plant up and hit the undersides of the leaves, too. Stops aphids in their tracks, and works on scale, too. Best to do it in the evening or on cloudy days.

More greenhouse tips and treats coming.


I'm keeping that recipe! We haven't had a problem with white flies or aphids on our plants in a long while, and we take them out onto the deck every summer. I think that because we have a live-and-let-live relationship with spiders that come into the house, they probably pay their rent by eating any bugs that make their way in. I call them my "spider army".

Posted by Anonymous April 7, 2013 at 3:33 AM

Looks like the groanhouse has become the grinhouse. Hooray for happy endings!

Those plants sure look happy to make you happy! Does your bug spray smell like peppermint, too?

Kathy in Delray Beach

Thank you for the invitation to tour. It is a treat. I never added my alcohol to my soap spray before. I use alcohol on a q-tip for stubborn things like scale. I will try the mixture.

There is that golden time in the GH before things heat when you can hardly believe your good fortune.

We pretend the "plant room" is a greenhouse but it's a poor one. I inherited a hibiscus last fall and ran into just the issues you describe. Will try the recipe and look forward to more tips.

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