Skip to content

The Easiest Way to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Buildings are so well insulated these days it is like we live and work in sealed boxes!  You can’t even open the windows in some office buildings.  And many folks don’t even open the windows of their homes from one season to the next.  The downside is a silent form of air pollution.  Some items in our homes release fumes.  The paneling and carpeting in our home, and even our clothing, release formaldehyde and other chemicals.  Cooking odors and byproducts, cleaning products, along with the carbon dioxide we breathe out are all contributors to less than ideal air quality.

The good news is that we can improve our indoor air quality simply by bringing the outdoors indoors.  Many common plants absorb dangerous chemicals into their leaves, turning them into new growth while putting oxygen back into the air.  For example:  Philodendron and Ficus leaves remove the nicotine from tobacco smoke, and either store it in the leaves, or break it down into harmless compounds.  Just about all plants take in the carbon dioxide we breathe out while adding oxygen back into our air.

My wife Rita has a knack for taking care of house plants (as you can tell from these pictures).  She buys them small, pots them in Miracle-Gro Potting Mix and feeds them with Osmocote.  She likes to repot into the next larger pot each spring.  She suggests that if you are buying house plants this time of year, pick a warmer day and protect them as much as possible from extreme cold when transporting them home.  Place them in a location with good light that does not receive blowing hot, dry air from a heating vent.  Allow the soil to dry in between watering.  Don’t allow water to stand in the saucer after your plant has drained.

Hope we have inspired you to improve your indoor air quality with plants.  Your local garden center has a great selection of both plants and pots this time of year.

Rita selected this Philodendron for its unusual foliage

Rita selected this Philodendron for its unusual foliage

Rita grew this fern from a tiny plant in two years.

Rita grew this fern from a tiny plant in two years.

Rita grew this Variegated Ficus from a 10 inch plant to one that is now over 6 feet tall.  It survived our move from Ohio to Georgia three years ago.

Rita grew this Variegated Ficus from a 10 inch plant to one that is now over 6 feet tall.

This Dracaena has been a very fast grower.  In two years it has grown from 1 foot tall to 4 feet now.

This Dracaena has been a very fast grower. In two years it has grown from 1 foot tall to 4 feet now.

How to Choose Vegetable Varieties?

Seed catalogues in your mail box.  Seed racks in garden centers.  How do you decide what to grow in your garden?  Or do you want to get a jump on learning about vegetable plants that will be available this spring in your garden center?

The first thing I do is look at my vegetable garden journal from last year.  This is a calendar where I noted what I planted, when I planted, how much I planted, what we liked, when it frosted, etc.  I then select one or two varieties of each vegetable from my journal that I know did well.  Next, I like to try one new variety of our favorite veggies each year.  So I make my selection of these varieties we are going to try from the seed catalogue descriptions or from a list of recommended vegetable varieties for my state.  To find out vegetable varieties for your state do a web search using key words like:  vegetable variety recommendations (insert your state).  For example, click here to see the recommendations from the Extension Service here in Georgia.

To research vegetable plant varieties a great place to start is the Bonnie Plant website (click here).

When it comes to “what to plant” in our vegetable garden, we learned long ago that it is hard to go wrong with “All America Selections”.  Every year since 1933, the best of the best new seed introductions that have proven themselves in variety trials, get this “All America” designation.

Check out our harvest of Carmen Seet Peppers - An "All America Selection" from 2006

Check out our harvest of Carmen Sweet Peppers – An “All America Selection” from 2006

For example, we love Carmen Pepper (2006 selection), Sugar Snap Pea (1979 selection), Melody Spinach (1977 selection), Buttercrunch Bibb Lettuce (1963 selection), Premium Crop Broccoli (1975 selection) and Gypsy Pepper (1981 selection) to name just a few of our favorites.

And for all you flower lovers, there are probably even more flowers that have been recognized as All America Winners.  For example, Purple Wave Petunia was a 1992 selection.

Click here to go to the “All America Selection Winners” website. (When you are on the site, there is a pull down menu to access the yearly winners for both vegetables and flowers or a listing by vegetable type.)

Most of the time these All America Winners are identified in seed catalogues and on plant tags as having won this distinction.

Most of the time these All America Winners are identified in seed catalogues and on plant tags as having won this distinction.

Apply Now For a Grassroots Grant to Engage Youth in Gardening

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s charitable foundation announced the opening of the GRO1000 Grassroots Grants award program, inviting non-profit organizations from across the country to apply for funds to improve their communities.  The Grassroots Grants program, now in its seventh year, provides support to not-for-profit organizations to better their neighborhoods through the development of community gardens and greenspaces.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation will support the creation of 1,000 community greenscapes by 2018, which aligns with the The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s 150th anniversary.  To date, more than 830 community organizations across the country, as well as dozens of major U.S. cities, have received program funding.

The 2017 GRO1000 Grassroots Grants application is available online now at www.GRO1000.com.  The deadline for application submission is February 20, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. EST.  Grants range from $500 to $1,500 and are awarded based on youth engagement, community impact, harvest donation, and sustainability, among other factors.

My Most Popular Blog Postings in 2016

Happy New Year!

These three blog postings were the most popular during 2016.  I am also giving you a link to two of my favorite humorous blog postings:

Number 1: Dandelions: Hate Them OR Love Them

“If you hate dandelions here are tips to get rid of them.  If you love dandelions here are reasons to maybe love them a little bit more”.  (Click here to read more)

Number 2:  Answers to Your Grub Questions

“The number 1 question I get in spring is when is the best time to apply GrubEX.”  (Click here to read more)

Number 3:  Preventing Crabgrass

“If you love your lawn, you’ve gotta hate crabgrass.  It’s an aggressive, stubborn weed.  Even if you had just one crabgrass plant last year, your lawn could have thousands of crabgrass seeds lying in the soil right now ready to grow up and choke your good grass to death.”  (Click here to read more)

My two favorite blog postings that may bring a smile to your face:

Lawn Humor

“I am here to dispel the myth that those of us who have built our life’s work around watching grass grow do not have a sense of humor.  We love a good laugh as much as the next person.  In fact, the lawn and garden experts who have staffed our Help Center for more than 50 years have told me numerous stories of callers who made them laugh.  Here are a few that I think will bring a smile to your face:”  (Click here to read more)

World Naked Gardening Day, Saturday May 7

“Mark your calendar:  The 12th annual World Naked Gardening Day is this Saturday (always celebrated on the first Saturday of May).”  (Click here to read more) 

Container Gardening is only one way I plan on celebrating World Naked Gardening Day this year.  (By the way, Rita was totally naked under her clothes when she took my picture.)

Container Gardening is only one way I plan on celebrating World Naked Gardening Day this year. (By the way, Rita was totally naked under her clothes when she took my picture.)

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Keep coming back this year for more of my lawn and garden tips.

Scotts Ice Melt

Don’t fight winter weather alone, Scotts Ice Melt with Heat Lock Technology is your secret winter weapon.  With 4 times the melting capacity of rock salt, you can use only what you need.  The Heat Lock Technology Coating keeps hands & paws protected from the calcium chloride core during application while the non-staining formula reduces the potential for damage to your drive & walkways.  Apply before, or soon after, the snow starts to fall for the best results, but Scotts Ice Melt can penetrate ice, even at -25 Degree F. Scotts Ice Melt is tough on ice, but easier on everything else.

For best results, apply preventatively before or soon after snowfall begins, to prevent excessive ice buildup. If snow is deeper than 2 inches, plow or shovel surfaces, before applying product.

For best results, apply preventatively before or soon after snowfall begins, to prevent excessive ice buildup. If snow is deeper than 2 inches, plow or shovel surfaces, before applying product.

Apply evenly onto the surface to be de-iced at a rate of ¼ -- ½ cup (2 -- 4 oz.) per square yard, depending on the amount of snow and ice present.  Wait 5 -- 10 minutes to give the formula time to loosen the ice from the surface.  Remove melted ice, snow and slush to prevent refreezing.

Apply evenly onto the surface to be de-iced at a rate of ¼ — ½ cup (2 — 4 oz.) per square yard, depending on the amount of snow and ice present. Wait 5 — 10 minutes to give the formula time to loosen the ice from the surface. Remove melted ice, snow and slush to prevent refreezing.

How to Reduce Christmas tree Needle Drop

There are two easy steps to help keep your Christmas tree hydrated and reduce needle drop.

First, ask the lot where you pick out your tree to cut a half inch off of the trunk base.  This fresh cut will improve water uptake into your tree.

Second, add a special Miracle Gro to the water in the tree stand.  Click here to get more info about Miracle-Gro for Christmas Trees to help keep your tree hydrated and reduce needle drop.

Here is a short video with more info.

 

Gift Idea for an Indoor Kitchen Garden

Here is a great gift idea for that special person on your list who loves to cook AND really appreciates healthy, fresh food.  The good thing about this gift is even if that person has never grown anything or even if that person has no place to grow things they can be successful!

Click here to learn more about the Miracle-Gro AeroGarden system for growing herbs, salad greens, vegetables, and flowers.

This time-lapse video shows lettuce growing in the Miracle-Gro AeroGarden System.