Posts categorized as Plants

Easy How-To: Prickly Pear Propagation

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I’ve always admired prickly pear cactus for its distinctive paddle spikes, bright red buds, and showy yellow flowers. There are 181 different species. Opuntia is a perennial shrub with waxy skin. The cactus thrives in sandy soil and dry conditions. It grows wild in arid areas in the south and southwest. Opuntia is indigenous to the Americas. Pear cactus is a domesticated crop plant grown and harvested throughout the world. Right now is the plant’s growing season and when you see “baby paddles” forming. This is the ideal time to propagate. I’ve never grown prickly […]

tagged in diy, gardening, plants

Forage For Purslane

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Purslane I know a great deal about foraging at this point in my gardening “career.”  But there’s always more to discover. A few weeks back, I learned of a new edible from my friend Melissa Draugsvold. We were at the Beach 91st Community Garden watering our adjacent plots. She pointed out the purslane that popped up between her lettuce crop. Purslane (also known as little hogweed, pigweed, pusley) is an annual in our garden zone 7.  This succulent can grow in sandy soil and resists drought. You’ll see it everywhere if you look […]

tagged in forage, recipe, recipes

Ahh, Aphids! And Other Garden Pests…

I was watering my hanging baskets when I noticed hundreds of aphids on the underside of the delicate petunia petals. I almost fell off the ladder! Unmanaged infestations will kill plants within a few weeks. Aphids are very small bugs – bright green, burnt orange, or black in color. If you see them, take action quickly. Here you can see aphids on the flower and one ladybug larva enjoying a feast. To combat these garden pests, fill a water bottle and add natural dish soap (1-2 tablespoons). Shake, then spray […]

tagged in garden

Sage Summer Tea With Lemon

homemade sage tea

This past weekend was The Beach 91st Street Community Gardens’ plant sale. A big thank you to the garden members who donated plants and helped manage the event. Special thanks to Walsh Properties, Inc. and Rockaway Beach resident Joanne McGrath for donating so many beautiful perennials and bulbs. Props to The Wave for promoting the sale in The Happenings section last week! The event was a great success. Most importantly, it was an opportunity for the community to come together and enjoy the garden space, talk about plants, and mingle. It was […]

tagged in recipe, recipes

Groundcover or Grass?

Purple Mazus

I remember my father taking so much care to make his little patch of grass perfect. But there was always some kind of problem –  grubs one year, the neighbor’s cat the next year. And us kids that one time we destroyed the grass with Slip N’ Slide! I’ll never forget my father’s face after seeing the mud puddles everywhere, which looked more like a Florida marshland than a Long Island lawn … oops. There’s so much maintenance to lawn care. “Don’t walk on the grass, I just put down […]

tagged in garden, gardening

Why do we kiss under mistletoe?

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Monica Glynn, my work friend and The Wave’s Administrative Associate, asked me last week knowing I’m a “plant person,” “What’s the history of mistletoe?” Umm… I actually have know idea,” I said. We both thought, “This would be a timely column.” I remember the mistletoe in my home growing up as a kid. It wasn’t fancy, the exact opposite actually. Our mistletoe was a round ball made of hard plastic leaves and red berries. It had a vine of more plastic leaves that my father would hang from the light […]

tagged in christmas, plants

Ignore succulents

I happened to notice the succulent plant on my window sill as I was washing the dishes the other day. To my delight, I noticed the leaves I had propagated started to grow! I believe I planted these cuttings about two months ago, and with all the outdoor gardening I’ve been doing, I just forgot about it. I knew that succulents can be propagated by one leaf so I ran the water over the flat edge and buried it barely below the surface of the soil, not expecting much. I […]

tagged in houseplant

Chrysanthemums Before Season

My husband hates my seasonal decorating obsession. He thinks it’s a waste of money, a waste of storage space and it’s plain ol’ silly. Despite this though, last year for our anniversary he bought me six huge mum plants from Lisena Garden Center (12-5 Cross Bay Blvd, Broad Channel). They looked beautiful on my porch. Adding the burst of yellow and orange color I needed to contrast the hay bundles and corn stalks in my fall harvest display. The flowers lasted well into late October. I never understood why people […]

tagged in fall, gardening, plants

Garden Update: Roly-poly Bugs, Daylilies and Pokeweed

Pokeweed growing out of concrete

I was in the front garden and noticed the marigolds I planted in my cement pots had severe damage. At a closer glance, I saw pill bugs everywhere. You may know them as roly-poly bugs or potato bugs from when you were a kid. I found it strange because marigolds are considered an insect repellent and planted in vegetable gardens to detract pests. The pill bug is not a picky eater apparently and the pungent flavor of this beautiful annual doesn’t detract this garden pest. Upon some research, I learned […]

The Versatile Chive Plant

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I’ve been spending some time this week in the Beach 91st Street Community Garden. I only planted my vegetables two weeks ago because it’s been unseasonably cold. Despite the late start, things are looking good. This year, I have two cherry and two beefsteak tomato plants. The cherry tomatoes do very well in the garden for some reason. I have two cubanelle pepper plants, squash, kale, cilantro, sage, basil, and chives. I think I over-planted my plot. I couldn’t help myself! Flowers and the scapes of this easy-to-grown herb are […]

tagged in gardening, herbs