Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tip Tuesday

Good morning! As we all know, Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday (May 13, 2012), but do we know its history? A day for honoring mothers has been around in many forms for centuries; however, in the 1600s a clerical proclamation in England included mothers in traditional celebrations honoring the church. It was known as “Mothering Day”.
The tradition was discontinued by settlers when they came to America. In 1870 Julia Ward Howe recommended a day to honor mothers, which was set for June 2, but it lasted only about 10 years and slowly died.

In 1908 Anna M. Jarvis created Mother’s Day to honor peace and her mother, who had recently passed away. The first official Mother’s Day was May 10, 1908. It was celebrated in Ms. Jarvis’ church, and each mother attending received two carnations – her mother’s favorite flower. The white carnation honored a mother who had passed away, and the pink or red honored those still living.

Mother’s Day became an annual observance when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it a national celebration in 1914, and it was to be held the second Sunday in May each year.

Since then, Mother’s Day has become a day celebrated in various ways in over 70 countries. Some complain that it has become much too commercialized, but the basic sentiments still apply. Mothers are, and always have been, crucial to the family’s development and well-being.

All that said, I wish all mothers a wonderful Mother’s Day, and I hope you and your families celebrate the wonderful women you are!

I’m sure many of us will be buying and planting flowers this weekend – finally! So my tips this week apply to gardening.

1) Place a coffee filter in the bottom of planters to hold in the soil and allow for good drainage.

2) Wipe down garden tools with an oily rag before storage to prevent rusting. Also, they can be stuck down in a bucket of sand for storage.

3) For an easy way to provide continuous water for your plants, poke holes in empty soda bottles, fill with water, replace the lid and place the bottles on their sides in the garden.

4) Remove flower blossoms that have faded and lost petals – the plant will be stronger, allowing nutrients to go to stems and leaves rather than trying to keep older blossoms. Also, that will prevent seeds from forming.

5) When buying plants, be sure to select strong plants with healthy-looking foliage. Avoid any yellowing or “floppy” plants!

6) If you sow seeds, be sure to thin the seedlings as instructed on the packet, as overcrowded plants don’t do well. The remaining seedlings will get more sunlight and nutrients for stronger, healthier plants.

7) Water plants early in the day so the water can evaporate. Watering in the evening could lead to fungus growth as the cooler air and darkness will not evaporate the water properly.

8) We’ve all planted things that didn’t survive…the best solution is research. Plant the right plants for your area and for your soil conditions, plant them in the proper sun/shade area, and care for them properly.

9) If you have poor soil, a raised bed works well. Use bricks, blocks or ground-contact wood for the outside walls. The best width for the beds is no more than 5 feet, allowing you to reach across without stepping inside. They can be made any length.

10) Above all, have fun! Gardening should be enjoyable – not a full-time job. Plant what you like to look at and what you like to eat. Let the kids plant some things of their own - maybe they’ll even eat veggies if they've grown them!

Have a terrific week. As always, if you have comments or suggestions, please send them.  Thanks for reading.

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