The Extension Master Gardener program through K-State Research and Extension is a valuable volunteer program that trades classroom hours of study with the experts in horticulture. In return, the Master gardeners give back to their communities with the knowledge they received. A long time Master Gardener for Barton County is Ron Cunningham of Ellinwood. I asked him to write a column for me to share this week. For more information about the Master Gardener program, call the Extension office at 620-793-1910. New classes are forming now, so call if you would like to be able to get involved!
Are the dreary winter days getting you down? Does the whole world seem to be brown or sort of lifeless? Maybe you would like to try something new. Even if you have never taken the chance before, it may be time to put a house plant, plants, or a planter in your home. It adds life and for those who think of healthy aspects, it also adds oxygen to the air in your home. And you don’t have to wait until spring to get started!
Now, don’t panic. Just go step by step. First, look at the type of lighting you have. There may be a large window on the south. There may be several north windows, or there may be a low light level throughout. You will be able to find a plant or two to fit the location.
Before you go shopping, make a list of the containers to fit the space you have available. Maybe a plain clay pot with and under tray would be best for a start. You will need a few river stones, pieces of rock, broken clay pot shards, or maybe marbles. Anything to cover the bottom of the pot so there can be drainage.
Decide if you are really interested in a specific plant, or want to have one that needs little care. You will need to decide if you need to have a rich soil in the planter, or a sandy more arid environment for your plants. If you are using a planter, the variety of plants, must all have the same requirements in soil, watering and lighting.
Charlie Odum, a horticulture teacher at Kansas State University always said, “You may wish to plant two or three more plants than you really need in the planter. It is only natural that one or two may die while the others flourish.” Read the directions on the plant seed packet or on the label and follow them. Put the plant in place firmly and water as instructed. Be careful not to overwater, as it will cause root rot and the death of your new addition.
Keep in mind, after your plant has been in the home for several weeks, it will need to be turned to keep all of it receiving light evenly. You should check most plants every few days and water as needed, If they are not happy in their location, move them. Your packet plant instructions should be able to give you a hint on care, or call your local extension office. Most of all enjoy your new plant and the color it brings to your house this winter!
Alicia Boor is the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Barton County K-State Research and Extension. You can contact her by e-mail at email@example.com or calling 620-793-1910