How to Prune Oregano | eHow.com

How to Prune Oregano | eHow.com.

Haven’t found myself using much fresh oregano but I plan on attempting to dry the leaves and store them to add seasoning to pasta sauces, etc.

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How to Prune Cilantro | eHow.com

How to Prune Cilantro | eHow.com.

A few highlights from this handy post:

1. Apparently cilantro begins to do poorly in hot temperatures. Being that we are approaching summer in Florida, I’ll harvest what I can to use and hope for the best.

2. You can harvest coriander seeds by allowing the plant to flower and go to seed. Cool!

Pruning Basil – YouTube

My herbs (basil, cilantro, and oregano) are getting a little unruly. A cursory search of YouTube resulted in some great tutorials on how to take care of my plants.

Pruning Basil – YouTube.

Bushwhacked

Apparently, I garden now. As in rip out dead bushes and push the remains in a wheelbarrow to the curb, garden.

For months, we’ve been neglecting some dead shrubs in the yard. In our defense, I wasn’t entirely sure that they’d bitten the dust. Recall, I don’t claim to know anything about gardening. But my Dad (parents are visiting us this week) took one look at them and said, “uh, you’re going to take those out right?” He demonstrated one snap of a dried branch and educated me that this, in fact, means ding dong the witch is dead. Guess we need to start digging.

So, I received a crash course in landscape management and I may as well share.

First, the right tools (we already had some of these in the garage and for some we just made a quick trip to our local Lowe’s garden center):

1. Shears – good for trimming stems of plants and small shrubs.

2. Loppers – good for cutting larger branches and roots.

3. Spade – good all around shovel, and with the straight end, good for edging and cutting through roots.

4. Long Handled Shovel – enough said, good for digging and the longer handle saves your back.

5. Gloves – protect your pretty fingers in case you have hand modeling aspirations. (Oh, and to avoid the stinging nettles in my yard, OUCH).

6. Pruning Saw – cutting through brush and larger branches, roots, etc.

7. Bow Rake – a good all around rake for collecting leaves and other garden debris. Also good for breaking up hard soil.

(all the images are from the Lowe’s website)

Now, my father is no garden expert but as I’ve mentioned in the past, it is something he enjoys and has dabbled in for years. According to his sage advice, these are the tools he reaches for most often and come in handy the most. I’ll take it.

Armed with our tools, we got to work on ripping out some of these dead shrubs. I am ever grateful for their free labor.

Before

 

Casualties

 

After

I’m truly amazed at what a little clean-up work can do. Removing these dead plantings transformed the yard, all without spending a dime to replant anything new!

Flower Power

I do not have a green thumb. Truly and honestly, I’m sort of mulch when it comes to gardening, landscaping, or anything of the sort. I find this odd because I grew up with parents who seemingly loved to garden. Every weekend in Spring and Summer we were making painful (well, at the age of 10 it was) trips to garden centers that smelled like fertilizer and rotting cabbage picking out tomato plants, the perfect marigolds, and shrubs. To be honest, it was worth it because we always had a beautifully landscaped home and pretty gardens…but this skill just did not rub off on me. I mean, I appreciate a pretty flower bed as much as the next person, but gardening just doesn’t get my motor running. Which really is weird because I love being outside but honestly, I’d rather be dozing in the grass than pulling weeds…ya do what ya gotta do as a homeowner though to keep the place from looking like an overgrown mess.

Anyway, our yard could use a little TLC. The only problem is our yard is BIG…by my standards anyway (it’s an acre and a quarter)…and I more or less know zip, zero, zilch on how to make grass grow or what native plants to plant, etc. Additionally, the former homeowners had laid BIG patches of rock mulch and after researching this situation a little bit I learned that this stuff becomes hard to maintain and unsightly after just a couple of years. Being that our home laid vacant for several months, weeds and grasses grew between the rocks. Now, we just mow over it (cringe) to make it look a little more “grass-like”. On the upside, we do have some nice shrubs out front (though I have no clue what they are) that we work to keep nicely trimmed to keep things looking neat.

Now, as we get into the swing of springtime things here in Florida, I was itching (not from allergies) to have some pops of color in the front yard. I was also DYING to have some home grown herbs and, gasp, a tomato or two. However, this would mean that I’d actually have to put something. In dirt. And water it. And not kill it. And maybe even fertilize it. Gah.

This is when I discovered the beauty of container gardening. Right now, we do not have the budget, or ambition, for a yard overhaul but I still wanted a way to bring flowers and herbs into my life. Cue this handy-dandy little book:

Miracle Grow: Container Gardens

The best part…I had found it on the clearance table at Books-A-Million for $3.00.

Based on advise from my handy little manual, I was ready to head to the Home Depot garden center for my supplies. I purchased the following to get my container garden party started:

1. Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix

2. Herbs: Cilantro, Oregano, and Basil

3. A patio tomato plant

4. Flowers

Now, I’m such a novice and so clueless that I cannot for the life of me remember the names of the flowers I purchased or the variety of the tomato plant. So, when you peek at the pics below feel free to refresh my memory on what the heck I planted.

I chose pots that had good drainage and for a few pots we drilled our own holes and placed rocks in the bottom for drainage. Then, I simply situated the plants in the soil and gave them a nice soak with the water hose.

I arranged a few of the flower pots near the front door. This way, they get the required full sun exposure and add some color to the front yard.

GO GATORS!

I placed the tomato plant and herbs on the pool patio so it was nearer to the kitchen thus accessible for cooking. (Oh yeah! That green thing is a tomato cage. I understand it’s helpful to train the plant upwards and keep it stable and all that).

I also placed another flower pot in a covered area of the pool patio where it would receive the recommend amount of shade.

So far, so good. The plants have been thriving for about two weeks. I’ve remembered to water them, and I’m learning to prune dead buds and foliage. Fingers and stems crossed!