Gardener’s Diary: Poinsettia pointers

Purchase the poinsettia at the end of the shopping trip and wrap in paper for the trip home.

Jocelyne Sewell

For the Morning Star

For you who want to save your poinsettias for another year, protect plants from temperatures under 50F degrees (10C).

Chilling causes the leaves to drop. Place plants in a room where there is sufficient natural light. Poinsettias must have at least six hours of bright indirect light to thrive. Never allow them to sit in water and only water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Keep the plant from touching cold windows. Keep poinsettias away from warm or cold drafts from radiators, air registers or open doors and windows.

Ideally, poinsettias require daytime temperatures of 60 to 70°F (16C to 21C) and nighttime temperatures around 55°F. (13C). High temperatures will shorten the plant’s life. Move the plant to a cooler room at night, if possible. Check the soil daily. Water plants thoroughly after purchase. Be sure to punch holes in foil so water can drain into a saucer and discard excess water. Water when soil is dry. Wilted plants will tend to drop bracts sooner. Fertilize the poinsettia if you keep it past the holiday season. Apply a houseplant fertilizer once a month. Do not fertilize when it is in bloom. With good care, a poinsettia will last six to eight weeks in your home. With a little extra care, it is possible to keep your poinsettia year round and have it bloom the following Christmas.

On a cold day purchase the poinsettia at the end of the shopping trip and wrap the plant and pot in paper for the trip home. Even a slight chill can cause leaves to drop later on. Unwrap the plant as soon as you get home and place it in bright light, away from cold and hot air drafts.

Until the early part of December, I had enough greens in the garden for fresh salad on a regular basis. I harvested a very large bag of them and we had salads every day for over a week.

This is my last column for 2018. I will be back in February. At this time, I would like to wish a very peaceful and thankful Christmas to everyone. In this season of joy, don’t forget the less fortunate. As in other years, the St. James School will be the site of a “Together for Christmas” dinner for everyone wishing to take part in this community event on Christmas Day.

Taken from “A Century of Blessings, St. John’s Lutheran Church cookbook” This could apply to all of us, gardeners or not.

The vegetable garden

First plant five rows of peas: Patience – Promptness – Preparation – Perseverance – Purity.

Next plant three rows of squash: Squash gossip – Squash criticism – Squash indifference. Then plant five rows of lettuce: Let-us be faithful to duty – Let-us be unselfish – Let-us be loyal – Let-us be true to obligations – Let-us love one another.

And no garden is complete without turnips: Turn-up for important meetings – Turn-up with a smile – Turn- up with good ideas – Turn-up with determination. To make everything count for something good and worthwhile.

On this special day of Christmas, may the light of baby Jesus shine in your heart and every day of your life.

For more information call 250-558-4556 or email jocelynesewell@gmail.com.

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