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Archive for the ‘herbs’ Category

Most of us are familiar with the Version 2geranium, which is formally named “Pelargonium”.   These geraniums are considered a hardy perennial, biennial or sometimes an annual, medicinal herb.  The herb is often used for aromatic oil.  (I have a hard time believing that, as I find their odor slightly offensive.)  But, that is not my purpose here today.

Today, I want to talk about the geranium with which most of us are familiar.  It is a very popular potted plant, usually associated with bright red, white or pink flowers.

In northern climes, they are considered to be an annual, although they can easily be overwintered, out of the ground.  Here in Seattle, our climate is temperate enough that they survive quite nicely in the garden. At Horizon House we can see them flowering happily, not just in garden beds, but on our balconies.

Audrey was having a few issues with yellowing leaves on her geraniums.  The plants seemed healthy otherwise, and she just removed the leaves.  That’s exactly what she should do.  Remember however, that this is a very drought tolerant plant.  It likes to be a bit dry, so over-watering can overwhelm it pretty quickly.  If the leaves on your geranium are yellowing, hold off on the water a bit.

Also, it could be that it is needing a little fertilizer.  Remember in your home-owner days when you fed your grass fertilizer high in nitrogen???  (The first number on the fertilizer bag.)  That fertilizer (nitrogen) is what kept the grass GREEN!  So, look for a fertilizer that has more nitrogen than other nutrients.  Maybe 10-5-5 or something like that.  The first number should be the highest.  Do not get too rambunctious with that fertilizer.  Less is probably better!  Here’s a link from Clemson University that tells you more than you’d probably ever want to know about fertilizers.  But you might find it interesting!  And it might just help your geranium!

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Here at Horizon House, we are definitely IN an URBAN setting.  Many of our gardeners here would like to have attractive vegetables growing in their raised beds, and on our gardening terraces.

Within the city

Within the city

There are things to be cautious about with urban vegetable gardening, mostly with noxious air and also noxious things in the soil.  Everything eventually gets into the soil, so it’s worth a bit of concern.

I don’t think we need to worry as much as those who live locally, and attempt to plant veggies right at the roadside.  Here at Horizon House, we have the benefit of using packaged soil or “compost” in our gardens.  We do not just dig in local soil, as do many of our neighbors.  BUT, there is still air, and rain borne chemicals that settle down into our soil.

This morning I read an interesting article on my NPR Home page.  It talks about what Washington, D.C. is doing concerning this.  The University of the District of Columbia is supporting a study on urban farming, and is in fact, the ONLY Land Grant University that deals with a totally URBAN focus.

Mchezaji “Che” Axum is the gentleman who runs the research farm for the U. of the D. of C..  “…instead of vast fields testing dozens of varieties of wheat, Axum’s research farm has raised beds, narrow hoop houses and even a shipping container. He gives growers advice on where to buy decent soil or how to compost their own, in case the land they plan to grow on has a seedy industrial past.”

This is GOOD stuff for the urban farmers within the confines of Seattle, and even the communities close by.

HH Herb Garden

HH Herb Garden

In our Gardening Terraces, some gardeners are growing pretty greens,  little tomatoes, kale, etc.  We also have an herb garden tended by two of our Garden Committee members.

The herbs are available to ALL who live at Horizon House.  It’s wonderful to be able to come down to the garden and pick nice, fresh herbs to use in our dinners and lunches.  In fact, the Garden Committee has also sponsored an herb garden for our chef, right outside the dining room, so the menu can now boast fresh herbs in our food!

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