Sharing the Group Garden for the weekday crowd, in case you missed it :)
Hello my planting lovelies, how are you today? Welcome the group garden, where we can share our plans, tricks, and tips with the novice and experienced gardeners among us.
Every week, I'm going to share some basic gardening tips that'll help you decide what and how to plant in your plot of land. And because I like plants, I'll introduce some to you with a little plant featurette.
Lets talk about zoning and how this affects your plant life. If you're doing a smaller container garden like I am, temperatures can be a little easier to control since you can adjust temperatures on your own. But if you're planting outside, a zoning map will tell you which plants will thrive best for you. The USDA sets the standard zoning for plant hardiness and is used for most plants, so here is a link to maps of hardiness by zone by continent/country.
For simplifying purposes, I'm going to use the USDA map of the United States as an example.
In many plant catalogs and on seed packets, they will usually give you a zone in which your plants will do best in. For example spinach will grow well in colder climates such as zone 3 because they thrive in cooler temperatures, but you'd be hard pressed trying to get a fig tree to grow for any more than a few hot weeks in North Dakota. A lot of plants grow well across multiple zones, such as broccoli, so long as there is adequate shade for them in warmer climates or light in cooler climates. The Farmers Almanac is a great resource on finding what plants will work best for you.
When it comes to indoor gardening your plants will likely not be affected too much by outdoor temperature, but without the benefits of being outdoors with wind, they may suffer a bit from stale air. Plants love a little bit of air circulation, so if you're growing container plants I would suggest setting a fan on low nearby, or gently brushing over them with your hands a few times a day.
Now on to my plant of the week: the jade plant (aka the friendship plant, lucky plant, or money tree)
Originating from South Africa, this is a succulent that does well as an indoor plant in colder climates and will grow beautifully outdoors in warmer climates. A friend of mine gave me a cutting of her plant for my office, which was all of two branches and six leaves. I've since had this jade for 2 years, and this is what it looks like now.
This is one of the simplest succulents to grow as it has a tendency to give you clear signals on whether it needs more water, or has too much water to deal with. The leaves will feel mushy in either direction, telling you to pull back on the water or give it a little feeding. It's a plant that loves a sunny spot, but be careful not to put in too much direct sun or it'll get burned. This is easy to tell as the leaves will start blushing and the edges will start turning a little red.
They can also be trained similar to a bonsai with some pruning. The pruned leaves and branches can be given away as new plants, as it doesn't need much other than a little sandy soil to take root.
Mine did well without fertilizing for the first year, but the recommended feeding is about once or twice annually. If well taken care of, this plant that can grow up to 6' tall indoors and as tall as 10' outdoors. It's also a plant that takes a lot of effort to neglect and kill off, so be prepared to have it forever.
How are your gardens coming along? Share tips and tricks here!