Tag Archives: project

New on Our Website: Pond Reference Calculators

Check our ever-growing reference area, with our new Pond Reference Calculators, including:  Head Pressure Calculator and Electrical Cost Calculator. 

The Head Pressure Calculator will prompt you for vital questions that will help assure you make a sound decision when it comes to knowing your current pond system’s head pressure. 

The Electrical Cost Calculator can help you determine how much a pump will cost you daily and monthly.  This calculator can be used for ANY electrical appliance.  It’s a great way to determine which pump or electrical product will be the most efficient yet still serve your needs.


February Garden Calendar

The Department of Horticulture at Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service has tons of a great publications.  The particular one that I want to share a portion of with you today is Winter Garden Calendar (HO-90-W).  This article outlines some monthly winter activities that will help make our indoor and outdoor plants and lawns to be more ready for summer.  If you’re winter involves snow and ice like my winter does, you might think there isn’t any horticultural activities to work on currently.  But not true!

Indoor Plants and Activities

  • Maintain water levels on cut-flower vases, as well as, houseplants.
  • Repot houseplants as they outgrow their current pots.
  • Early blooms of spring-flowering bulbs can be forced into blooming early indoors.  Keep the plant in a bright, cool location or longer lasting blooms.  These forced-bloomed plants make poor garden flowers and it is recommended to discard them after the blooms fade.

Lawns, Woody Ornamentals, Landscape Plants and Tree Fruits

  • Check mulches, rodent shields and other winter plant protections to make sure they are still in place.
  • Prune landscape plants, except early spring bloomers, which should be pruned after flowers fade.
  • Birches, maples, dogwoods, and other heavy sap bleeders can be pruned in early summer to avoid the sap flow, although bleeding is not harmful to the tree.
  • Prune fruit trees to control plant size and remove dead, damaged, or weak limbs.

Flowers, Vegetables and Small Fruits

  • Prepare or repair lawn and garden tools for the upcoming season.
  • Start seeds indoors for cool-season vegetables so they will be ready for transplanting to the garden early in the season.  Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage seeds should be started five to seven weeks prior to transplanting.
  • Test leftover garden seed for germination.  Place 10 seeds between moist paper toweling or cover with a thin layer of soil.  Keep seeds warm and moist.  If less than 6 seeds germinate, then fresh seed should be purchased.

More great articles can be viewed on Purdue University Extension’s website.

Forcing Branches for Winter Color


As dreary as it can look outside for most of us in the wintertime, bringing a little early outside life indoors can surely brighten our spirits.  As most early spring flowering trees and shrubs form their buds in the fall before going dormant, it’s possible to force them into early blooming for our enjoyment in a floral arrangement or an accent piece indoors.  This article is compliments of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Department of Horticulture.  I was fortunate enough to receive many similar articles through my Master Gardener’s training that I intend to share.

Gathering Branches

Select young healthy branches with numerous buds throughout the tree or shrub.  Keep in mind that the voids you create might show in the spring so space your cuttings accordingly.  Follow good pruning practices, which include cutting approximately ¼ inch above a side bud or branch so that no stub is left behind.  Cut your branches 6-18 inches long.

Getting Branches to Bloom

After you have gathered your branches:

  1. Make a second cut diagonally above the previous cut.  If the temperatures are below freezing when you cut the branches, immerse the branches completely in cool water for several hours or even overnight.  This deters the blooms from bursting prematurely.  This isn’t necessary for temperatures above freezing.
  2. Put the branches in a container to hold them upright.  Add warm water (110°F) no higher than 3 inches on the stems.  Flower preservative (See below preservative recipes) can also be added to prolong the branch life.  Allow to stand for 20-30 minutes and then fill the container with additional preservative solution.
  3. Keep the container in a cool, partially shaded solution, making sure to maintain the water level.
  4. Once the buds show color, move to a well lit room avoiding direct sunlight.  They can now be removed from the original container and arranged in the desired fashion.  Ample water is needed to prolong your blooms.
  5. Rooting might occur on branches during this forcing period.  If this is desired, remove the branch when the roots are ¼ to 3/8 inches long and pot individually.  The plant can be transferred outdoors after the warm weather arrives.  Protection may be needed for several years on this newly formed plant though.

Preservative Recipe #1:

  • 2 cups lemon-lime carbonated beverage
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon household chlorine bleach

Preservative Recipe#2:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon household chlorine bleach
  • Mix with 1 quart water

Preservative recipe #3:

  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon household chlorine bleach
  • Mix with 1 quart water

Suggested Plants for Forcing

Suggested Plants for Forcing