(EDITOR’S NOTE: Amy Muncy was born in Wabash County and lived in Northern Wabash County for close to 40 years. Muncy grew up in the country, has always enjoyed gardening and mowing the lawn. She has been gardening since a small girl. She moved to Kosciusko County in 2000.
She is a master gardener intern at this point, but will be a full master gardener before long. “I enjoy all aspects of gardening. I really don’t have an expertise on any one thing. I make compost. I can, freeze and dehydrate. I like to grow veggies, flowers, herbs and houseplants. I like to plant trees everywhere I can. I know a little bit about a lot of gardening. would say my most experience has been on composting and different ways to do this. I believe we must conserve our land for our future generations and composting is a great way of doing this. The more we become self sufficient, the better off the future generations are and we need to be teaching them by example.”)
Welcome to gardening advice from master gardeners on InkFreeNews!
I thought since I grew up gardening I knew quite a bit about it. Then I took the master gardener course through the Purdue Extension office in Kosciusko County and found I did not know as much as I thought.
Anyone interested in the master gardener course should call the Purdue Extension office to find out more. It has opened up a whole new world for me. You also meet so many new garden friends.
Houseplants are the subject this week. I’ve been asked many questions about houseplants through the years. I’ve always had several and enjoy them very much. They scrub the air! In the summer, I move most of mine to a covered porch.
Recently, I was asked why a plant bolted (which means it grew quickly and leggy) after being transplanted, then slowed down growing after a while and fell over. I asked a lot of questions starting with what kind of plant do you have? If you do not know, you can usually look it up online. Be specific in your question and description, generally you can find your plant through the pictures provided. You can also try books at the library.
Make sure to read all the info you can on the plant. Each one is different and has specific requirements for water usage, type of soil, fertilizer needed, etc. Once you know all these things, taking care of them gets a lot easier. Growing houseplants can be very rewarding, but you must know what you are dealing with.
When repotting an established plant, only repot plants that need it, i.e. those that are root bound or have white crust on the dirt. When placing in the pot, water heavily after adding your plant to see if soil comes out the hole in bottom of the pot and if the soil compacts down. You can put a shard of pottery or large stone over the hole in bottom to ensure minimal soil escaping. Add more soil as needed. I have added more even a year later when I think they are getting low.
Make sure you do not cover your plants up too much with soil though, you may have to lift and reset the plant. Your plant has a line at the soil that cannot be covered or you will smother it. When you transplant, fill the soil in the pot to the same level the plant was originally planted. This will ensure proper growth.
I have added my own garden soil and compost into the potting soil I buy so there is more weight to it. However, this means the soil is no longer sterile. You may see worms or bugs and have sprouts come up. I just pull the sprouts and have never had a problem with bugs getting out of the plants except for one instance, which was my own fault.
You also need to make sure the pot is large enough for the plant to grow into. The most successful for me have been clay pots. Most plants do not like their feet wet. Plastic does not breathe and seems to hold water. Unholed pots are difficult to judge water levels and water gauges are not very reliable. If you can put holes in the pot you really want to use, you may have better success.
More to follow later in the month on houseplants.