Sunday, June 30, 2013

Capping comb

The bees are in the process of capping the comb! They are doing a wonderful job of honey production.  We probably won't have any to sell this year since they are still getting established, but next year looks promising.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Golden Pothos

Golden Pothos, also called Devil's Ivy, is a houseplant that thrives on neglect.  It prefers bright indirect light, and it's probably best to water it once a week or so, but this plant will survive on less (or more) water and light.  It's perfect for anyone who wants a houseplant, but is worried about killing it, because it will pretty much tolerate anything you do to it.  It's also very easy to propagate, so once you have one, you can get more from the same plant if you would like.  The trailing vines need to be given a 'haircut' every now and then to keep them from getting out of control.  This was my first houseplant.  As you can see from the photos, which were taken one year apart, it is a very good plant for beginners!

Above: Golden Pothos when I first got it in 2012. Below: The same plant one year later, vigorous and thriving.  The leaves are bigger, and I've had to prune it a couple of times.

Friday, June 28, 2013


Strawberries are probably my all-time favorite fruit.  What's not to like?  I'm not sure what variety these are, but they are probably an everbearing type since they started producing blooms and berries last month.  I purchased this hanging container of strawberry plants at my local home improvement store, and at the end of the season I can plant them in the ground and get more strawberries next year.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Phalaenopsis Orchids

Phalaenopsis Orchids, also called Moth Orchids or Phals, are the most tolerant orchid and also the most commonly avaliable for purchase.  Contrary to popular belief, these are quite easy to care for (I myself have six).  Don't be alarmed if it's dropping its flowers, especially in the summer-- as long as the leaves are glossy and dark green, the orchid is healthy.

Phalaenopsis orchids usually need to be watered about once a week.  Some people like to use the ice cube method, which is merely placing three ice cubes on top of the moss and letting it melt.  I have heard this works well for some people, but personally I prefer not to use this method.  Instead, I just give my orchids a quarter cup of water about every week and a half.  I also keep clear plastic liners underneath the saucers, which I sometimes fill with water to increase humidity.  Misting the roots occasionally is also a good idea.  The important thing is to avoid overwatering your orchids, as the roots like to have a lot of air.

Don't re-pot your orchid until after it is done blooming, as this may impair the bloom cycle.  Phals like a nice coarse potting mix, as this will help the roots get the air they need.  Phalanopsis orchids originate in Indonesia, where they grow on the sides of trees and get lots of air and moisture.  If your Phalaenopsis puts roots over the side of the pot, don't cut them off-- this is just the plant's way of getting more air.

If you find you need to trim your orchid, use extreme care.  Use clean tools and make sure you wash your hands.  Orchids are very susceptible to disease, so use sterilized shears or scissors, wear sterile gloves, and be careful what you cut.  If you are worried about disease, you can put a little cinnamon on a freshly made cut to help keep the plant healthy.  Refer to a professional if you have further concerns with the care of your plant.

Overall, following these steps will help keep your orchid looking beautiful for months!

 Above: four Phalaenopsis orchids in good health.  The one on the far right has dropped all of its flowers and is ready to be re-potted.  The leaves are in good condition, so it will re-bloom in the fall.

A useful link for Phalaenopsis Orchid care: