How to change the color of your Hydrangea plantTwo years ago we propagated our favorite flower, the Hydrangea. We wanted to create a variety of bloom colors for our Hydrangea loving customers, and to grab attention at the farmers market. Well, it worked. How did we do it? So, unlike most flowers, the lacecap and mophead hydrangeas can changes colors. Fortunately for us, it is as easy as changing the soil pH. Hydrangeas are the litmus test in the flower world. Below are the pH ranges, and resulting colors: Acid Soil (pH less than 6.0) Blue or Purple-Blue Flowers, Between Alkaline and Acidic (pH between 6 and 7) Purple of Bluish Pink Flowers, Alkaline Soil (pH greater than 7) Pink and Red Flowers How can you change the pH? You can get a pH soil test kit to be exact, but that is not me 😉 I had pink, and wanted blue, so I wanted to lower the pH to create a more acidic environment. To do this, I added aluminum sulfate (you could also use garden sulfur). I sprinkled it around my hydrangea beauties, scratched it into the soil, and waited for a big rain. To raise pH, you can use ground lime. Use the same technique. Good luck on changing your Hydrangea color!
Keeping Deer and Rabbit Out of The GardenOk, I know, I know, another post on keeping my garden safe from deer and rabbit. We live on a very open property in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, and there are quite a few deer families and jack rabbits that roam our property. I did not want to clog up our view with added fencing, but wanted to make sure I kept the furry critters away from my dahlias and other flowers this year. In my first post, Homemade Garlic Deer and Rabbit Repellent, I talk about protection for my garden using a garlic, cayenne pepper and egg spray. This works like a charm, but I wanted to add an additional deer and rabbit fencing as an outer layer of protection. I came up with an idea to combine fishing line and randomly placed shiny mylar ribbon to create an invisible fence. I bought some wooden stakes at the Home Depot and placed a few screws into the wood at 1′ and 4′. I put several of the stakes on the perimeter of my lower field to enclose the planting area. This was the start of my deer fence. I then took the monofilament fishing line and ran it from stake to stake, looping it around the screws as I walked. Then, at about 8′ intervals, I tied the mylar strips onto the fishing line. If you can’t find mylar, just use tinsel, or aluminum foil. The shiny strips move in the breeze and reflect light at night, and the cautious deer/rabbits avoid the area. Since placing the deer fence, I have yet to see any deer tracks in my garden. Hope this helps!!
Making Homemade Deer and Rabbit RepellentLast year I had some plants decimated by deer, and wanted to be proactive and get ahead of the curve. So I set out to make homemade deer repellent with common household items. Here is a list of what you will need:
- Peeled garlic cloves
- Cayenne Pepper
- Liquid soap
- Food Processor
- Boiling Water
Cuttings and Dividing Tubers: Dahlia PropagationStarting to propagate my dahlias this week, and using a couple of techniques. In this article i will outline how I am taking tuber cuttings to multiply my stock. First off, at the beginning of my season, i put my tubers into containers indoors, and cover them about half-way with potting soil so i can catch all the action. Depending on the type, and the warmth, it usually takes a few weeks before the eyes start sprouting, and another one or two before i can start propagating the dahlias. Below is an overview of the technique:
- Once the tuber has a number of sprouts, I select ones that are 3 or 4 inches in height for my cuttings. 2. Once I have selected a Dahlia shoot with two sets of leaves, I then use a sharp instrument (Exacto Knife), to take a cutting. Note: You want to get a bit of the dahlia tuber at the base to insure the best chances for rooting. 3. I take off the bottom set of leaves once I have the cutting. 4. This step is optional, but if you have rooting hormone, it can aid in getting the dahlia cutting to root more quickly. 5. Finally, take your cutting and place it in a mix of soil and vermiculite. The loose soil will give roots free reign, and encourage growth. Note: I also apply bottom heat and cover the cuttings with plastic to create a complete propagation environment. In about two weeks or so, the baby Dahlias will root. You can check by gently tugging on the cutting.