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bringing nature home

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Healing Herbs For Your Garden

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Air Plants – Beautiful and Virtually Care Free

 

Air Plants – Beautiful and Virtually Care Free

No soil required!

No soil required!

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No green thumb? No worries! Now you can enjoy plants that don’t need water – or dirt?  No such thing, right? Well…not exactly- check out these little gems affectionately referred to as Air Plants! Want to know more? Read on…
 With over 730 species in the Tillandsia genus, these air plants (epiphytes) are in the Bromeliad family. Ok, enough botanical talk- let us move onto more interesting facts. 
These plants are native to the jungles and forests of Central America, South America, and the southern United States. Typically, they grow without soil while attached to other plants. They get almost all their nutrients through their leaf structures from such things as dust, insect matter, and decaying leaves. New plants can be propagated from their offshoots. Some species produce vibrant colourful blooms and others produce fragrant flowers. A few varieties bloom only once before dying and their leaf colour will change from green to red (blushing) when getting ready to flower. 

Growing and Caring For Your Air Plants•    With a little imagination and about 15 minutes, you can dress up the dreariest corner, an empty spot on your wall, or add a splash of colour to your kitchen counter, bathroom, or desk! Let your imagination run wild on the possibilities – these precious little plants never demand much attention. They fit perfectly into teacups, conch shells, small glass-bowl terrariums, hanging globes, small ceramic pots, etc. Research the type of air plant you plan to buy and its natural habitat will help you understand its care. 

Common to all air plants is the fact that they all need constant air circulation. Other factors to consider:
•Mist your air plant daily - they need some moisture –if located in a humid environment, such as a bathroom, misting is not necessary. Mist only once or twice a week during the winter
•Fertilize  with a weak solution monthly during spring and summer-mix a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer at ¼  strength
•Protect from full sun-if it grows wild on trees, provide partial shade and keep it in moist
•Ground types will do well indoors in bright, filtered light or outdoors in partial shade
•Air plants will not survive temperatures below 45 degrees

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Infographic explaining how awesome air plants are.

Infographic explaining how awesome air plants are.

How about you, is an air plant something you would decorate your home with?


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HOW TO GROW AN AVOCADO TREE FROM SEED

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HOW TO GROW AN AVOCADO TREE FROM SEED

 

How To Grow an Avocado Tree From Seed

hass_avocado
avocado_tree
Mature Avocado Tree

Mature Avocado Tree

Some Fun Fact about Avocados
Call them ahuacatl, avocaat, abogado, avocatier, agovago pears or alligator pear, from guacamole to sushi, the world over has enjoyed avocados in a variety of ways. Once considered to have an aphrodisiac effect in many cultures, avocado growers put a lot of effort into dispelling this reputation to increase its popularity.
From guacamole to sushi, avocados have been enjoyed for centuries by all cultures. The fruit of the avocado has been reported to have healthy cardiovascular effects. Avocado oil is now used for many dermatological applications. It has also been reported to have beneficial effects against osteoarthritis.
Most of all – they taste good! 

Nutritional Benefits of Avocados
Nutritionally, each 3.5 oz. avocado averages 160 calories, 2 grams of protein, 15 grams of healthy fats and only 2 “net” carbs (9 grams of carbs with 7 from fibre), making them a friendly low-carb food.
5 Easy Steps to start your avocado tree
Things you will need:
•A ripe avocado seed (preferably from a farmer’s market so they are not GM-genetically modified)
•A tumbler (preferably glass)
•Four toothpicks
•Water

The Set-Up
1.Cut the avocado lengthwise, being careful not to cut through the seed. Twist the two halves, exposing the seed – remove the pit
2.Wash the pit carefully-do not use soap, only warm water. Be careful not to remove seed cover. Wash until pit is no longer slippery
3.Hold the pit with the narrow end up and insert 4 toothpicks about midway – these will support the pit when placed in the glass of water
4.Make sure your tumbler is wide enough for your pit – set your pit, rounded end down, in the glass and fill it to rim with water
5.Set in a well-lit, temperate area where it will be undisturbed
Tips: 
•Ensure you replace the water every 1-2 days; this will prevent mould and bacteria from forming
•Keep the base submerged in the water
•Be patient for the roots to sprout – 2-3 weeks-the tap will form within 3-4 weeks – take care not injure
•The skin of the seed will dry out, wrinkle and slough off – this is natural
•The seed will soon sprout at the top, put out leaf-buds and a shoot bearing leaves
•When the stem reaches 15-18cm (7”) cut back to about 7-8cm (3”) to encourage new growth
•When it reaches 15-18cm(7”)  again, it is time to plant your baby avocado tree
•Remove from water and carefully remove the toothpicks

Learn how to grow an avocado tree from seed with this infographic.

 
Infographic on how to grow an avocado tree from seed.

Infographic on how to grow an avocado tree from seed.

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

Have you tried this, what was the result?

 
 

how to grow an avocado from seed avoseedo


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EASIEST HERBS TO GROW INDOORS

10 of the Easiest Herbs to Grow Indoors

Herbs Potted Up

Herbs Potted Up

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Nothing beats cooking with fresh herbs. The flavour cannot be compared to dry herbs, unless of course you dried them yourself! With a little effort and a few simple supplies, no matter where you live, whether it is an apartment or house, you can have an indoor herb garden year round! Place them in a sunny window of you kitchen and enjoy fresh herbs every day!
Here is a list of the 10 most popular herbs, their characteristics and some uses; follow the easy potting directions for a hassle-free indoor herb garden. 
Get your planting party started!
Things you need:
Several clay pots and a premium potting soil, preferably one that will feed your plants for several months and won’t dry out quickly


Basil
Characteristics and Uses:  Sunny flavour, sweet. Use on beans, potatoes, peas, tomato sauces, chicken dishes, salads. Add on prepared dish or at end of cooking time  
How to start: Basil is best started from seed. Sow seeds generously in pots-don’t plant too deep- 1/4-1/2”
Best Location: Basil needs lots of humidity and sun – cut the bottom off a litre bottle of pop and put over basil to create a “terrarium” effect- keep moist but not wet

Bay Leaf
Characteristics and Uses:  Mint like, pungent -Used in gumbos, sauces, stews
How to start: Bay Laurel is a tree and will grow best if purchased as a seedling. Plant in a pot that will allow for a tap root-transfer when roots come out the bottom
Best Location: Water deeply; allow soil to dry out slightly in between. Bring indoors before the hard frost and put outside after the frost period. Mine does best in my cold kitchen next to a window.


Chives
Characteristics and Uses:  Mild onion flavour. Use as final flavour or at end of cooking or garnish. Chop, snip - Great with potatoes dishes, eggs, poultry, salads, sauces 
How to start: Dig up clumps at end of season – let all leaves die back
Best Location: Bring indoors in early winter-place in coolest part of house for a few days, and then move to sunny spot

Dill
Characteristics and Uses:  Dominating- tangy & pungent Seeds have strong flavour. Salmon, cucumber yogurt sauces, peas, salads, pickling eggplant, cabbage
How to start: Start from seed or clumps -best time to plant dill inside is between October and early spring. Fern leaf dill is ideal or indoors
Best Location: Fertilize every 6 weeks with a ½ strength liquid fertilizer or fish fertilizer. Dill is drought resistant; it will grow better if watered

Mint
Characteristics and Uses:  Sweet and strong -Peppermint and spearmint-Teas, lamb, fish, desserts, salads. 
How to start: Start from seed or buy a small plant from organic grocer
Best Location: Needs full sun plenty of water – watch them grow!

Oregano
Characteristics and Uses:  Adds an earthy flavour to lamb, tomato sauces, seafood, chicken, pork, eggplant
How to start: Start from seed or buy a small plant from organic grocer
Best Location: Oregano likes bright light 6-8 hrs, medium watering

Parsley/Cilantro (Italian Parsley)
Characteristics and Uses:  Bright, clean flavour to chicken, seafood, beef, sauces, potatoes, soups, salads
How to start: Start from seed; plant 1/4 to ½ deep; water deeply
Best Location: Full sun-Keep soil moist as the seeds germinate.  Establish a watering schedule, allowing  to dry some between watering


Rosemary
Characteristics and Uses:  Pungent , piney can overpower other flavours- Chop finely; Add to poultry, lamb,, fruit salads potatoes, white beans, breads
How to start: Propagate from a healthy mother plant: Snip several 2 1/2” (6 1/3cm) stems. Remove bottom set of leaves from your cuttings. Dip the bottom of each cutting in water, and then dip the bottom of each cutting into a rooting compound. Fix each cutting into its own container. Mist your plant. In 2-4 weeks, once rooted, transfer to a larger pot
Best Location: Pinch the top bud to increase the likelihood of your rosemary branching - Use neem oil to treat any pests. If powdery mildew develops, clean leaves with mild soapy water and place in front of a fan to circulate the air – sunny location


Sage
Characteristics and Uses:  Slightly bitter- mint-like. Overpowers easily. Add whole stems to stews and soups-discard when done. Great for pork, sausages, veal, stuffing, poultry, sauces. Note: Dried sage has a different flavour
How to start: Start from seed or buy a small plant from organic grocer
Best Location: Sage needs six to eight hours of full sun daily. If your sunny window does not provide this much daily sun, use fluorescent lighting when growing sage indoors.


Tarragon
Characteristics and Uses:  Liquorice flavour; strong. Use alone or combine with parsley -tomato dishes, vinaigrettes veal, chicken, potatoes, mushrooms
How to start: Best started from root stock that has been separated
Best Location: Tarragon seems to perform best in a lower or diffused light situation- does not perform well when exposed to winter chill
With these herbs in your cooking collection you are off to a GREAT start and some wonderful seasoning.

Do you have some tips you would like to share with us on these or other herbs?  Let us know your thoughts!

 Here's a little infographic  on the easiest herbs to grow indoors.

 
Infographic on the easiest herbs to grow indoors.

Infographic on the easiest herbs to grow indoors.

Do you agree with the list? Anything missing, what would you add?


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HOW TO TAKE CARE OF INDOOR PLANTS

 

How to Care of Indoor Plants

neem_oil
neem_oil_spray
Dracaena Marginata Stump Acclimated

Dracaena Marginata Stump Acclimated

Sanseviera

Sanseviera

When it comes to taking care of indoor plants, sometimes, even your best intentions can go awry!  Too much water and they drown. Too little water and they wither and die. Too strong a fertilizer, to weak a fertilizer, too little sun, too much light – the lists of do’s and don’ts goes on endlessly.  
How is one to know what to do?
One of the best things you can do as a plant-lover is to arm yourself with information.  Where once you had to buy volumes of books and read through all the boring stuff to get to what you needed to know, now the internet has become your best friend.  Having a beautiful coffee-table version of the best plant book on earth is wonderful. You can browse it at your leisure.  But when you want answers, the quickest, most efficient way is to search the internet.
One of the most recommended products for organic pest control is Neem oil.


Uses for Neem Oil
Neem oil is a naturally occurring oil that helps control:
•Insects: Kills or repels many harmful insects and mites, including aphids, cabbage worms, snails, flies, nematodes, gnats , mealybugs, moths, cockroaches, , termites, whiteflies, mosquitoes, and scale. It also attacks the larvae and its bitter taste repels plant munchers 


•Fungus: Effective in preventing fungal diseases such as black spot, anthracnose, rust, and mildew


•Disease: Battles viruses that can harm plants.


Neem oil is a popular choice in organic gardens, indoors and outdoors because it is:
•Non-toxic: If not sprayed directly on them, neem oil is nontoxic to beneficial garden insects such as earthworms, predatory wasps, ladybugs, spiders, honeybees, ants, and adult butterflies. It is also nontoxic to humans, birds, and other animals 


•Organic: Neem oil is plant based 


•Biodegradable: breaks down quickly and leaves no residue
Tips for your plants


•Study up on the types of plants you plan to have in your home and their specific needs


•Learning about the lighting and watering needs will help you place your plant in just the right spot in your home


•Set up a schedule to clean, feed and tend to your plants. Just as your pets need your care, so do your plants


•Some people talk to their plants, others play music for them. The most important thing is to not neglect them
Remember, each plant is special and has specific needs. Once you get comfortable with a care routine, you can sit back and enjoy all your beautiful, healthy plants.
Do you have some favourite houseplant, perhaps a spider plant, Bird of Paradise or African violet? Tell us about it and how you care for it:

Check out our  infographic  on how to  take care of indoor plants

 
Infographic on how to take care of indoor plants.

Infographic on how to take care of indoor plants.

Do you have any tips or tricks on taking care of indoor plants?


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