Friday, August 28, 2015

Headed to College? Don't Forget to Take a Houseplant

Include a nice green houseplant on move-in day for your college student. Houseplants have a calming effect on people, while at the same time removing toxins from the air and providing fresh oxygen. Students' stress levels are lessened and a houseplant is a great conversation starter.
My nephew Matt loves plants and kept bonsai in his dorm. 
 Matt Florian with sisters Vicky and Katie with their Bonsai trees

Most students do better with plants that will survive with lower maintenance requirements than a bonsai tree. After all, we don't want to add stress into our favorite students' lives.
Here are our greenhouse staff's recommendations for low-care plants that will survive when schedules get a bit hectic.
  1.  Snake Plant, Sansevieria, is drought tolerant and requires little light. My own Snake Plant did fine this last spring even though it was only watered once during the garden center's busy time. A friend who visited me during that time had never seen one in wilt before, The Snake Plants attractive gold-rimmed, green spear-shaped leaves came back beautifully.  
  2.  Peace Lily, Spathiphyllum, also does well in low light, but may need to be watered more often.It can wilt down easily; but the good news is that it bounces right back after watering. The dark leaves and petite white flowers make the Peace Lily a very popular houseplant.
  3. Ponytail Palm, Beaucarnea loves bright light. The Ponytail Palm needs to be watered sparingly. The large footed palm is very unique in its growing habit.
  4. African Mask Plant, Alocasia has very distinctive leaves. Alocasia works well in moderate light with little care.
  5. Pothos, Epipremnum, also called Devil's Ivy, is ideal for a bookshelf or a hanging basket. Provide moderate light and don't be afraid to cut the long trailers back whenever they need it.

  6. Bromeliads keep their color for months at a time. Many varieties of these plants are available in this family.
  7. Aloe vera is a medicinal plant as well as an ornamental one. Keep this near the hotplate. The gel in aloe is great to use on burns, including sunburn. 
  8. Neanthe Bella Palm, Chamaedorea elegans gets high marks as a plant for clean air, according to Dr. B C Wolverton, who studied many houseplants while doing research for NASA. It is easy to grow, though it would benefit from a more humid environment than most of the other plants profiled here.
Houseplants are amazing. For more information on their how plants purify the air in homes, offices and dorms, read How to Grow Fresh Air, a book given to me years ago by my friend and coworker Pat. It is written by Dr. B C Wolverton and is loaded with easy to digest information on the toxins that 50 common houseplants remove from our indoor environments.
Breathe easy. Add a houseplant to your own office too for stress relief.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tomato Tornado---The Recipes

Way back in May, we had an event named Tomato Tornado. We added 30 heirlooms to our already extensive list, bringing our total to 70 tomato varieties offered in our greenhouse. At the time, we asked friend and chef extraordinaire, Tom Schwarzweller, for some heirloom tomato recipes. Tom is an avid gardener and an award winning executive chef. He hand -wrote the following recipes for us to share with you. Please tell us what you think and add your own favorite tomato recipes to our facebook page. Click the text to towards the bottom of each recipe card to enlarge recipe for easy reading.