Promoting Longer Bloom Period

Do you know how to promote a longer bloom period? If you have a flower garden that includes black-eyed Susans, bachelor’s buttons, and tall phlox, do you know how to treat them to promote long-term bloomng? Does trimming the plant help, and how soon and how severely can I trim after the blooms fade?

Annual bachelor’s buttons will rebloom freely if trimmed back to remove the spent flowers. Cut the flowers as for a bouquet, just above a branch or leaf so as not to leave bare wiry stems sticking up. Black-eyed Susans will bloom naturally over a long period, but if you deadhead the plants by cutting them back by about half once the main flush begins to fade, you may stimulate another (smaller) flush of bloom in the fall.

Some gardeners simply allow the seedheads to remain and consider them an attractive fall and winter feature in and of themselves, and the birds will enjoy the seeds. The plants would then be trimmed back very short in the spring.

Tall phlox will bloom over a longer period if spent flowers are removed one by one. In general, phlox (except creeping phlox) should be trimmed off very short in the fall once frost has browned the tops. All of these plants will give their best display in full sun with rich soil that is kept evenly moist (but not soggy).

And now I would like to offer you free access to my gardening journal when you subscribe to my blog, a 16 page journal that you can use season after season. Click on Subscribe to My Blog.

Happy Gardening from the Master Gardener Girl!!

4 Ways to Preserve Sweet Corn – For Eating or Planting

Do you know the ways to preserve corn? Every ear of corn is used in some form or fashion whether for eating or for planting. All the husk and hair goes into compost pile as do the stalks. I say waste not, want not.

Keep newly picked sweet corn fresh by keeping ears cool. Picking early in the morning is the best, but I still pick at night as well. Husk and place the ears in an ice bath, adding 2 drops of liquid bleach per gallon of water, cooling ears to 37F.

The two best ways to preserve corn long term are to freeze or can the corn. In canning corn, simply shuck the corn and shave off the cob with a flat bottom of the cob on the table while running a knife down the cob. Then, follow canning instructions on cooking the corn and then processing in jars.

To freeze corn, you could simply place your corn in freezer bags but they will get a little mushy unless you blanch them first. And yes, I know that from first hand experience. Blanch them in hot boiling water for a few minutes, then cool them off in a cold water bath. After cooling, then cut to desired lengths or leave whole and place them in freezer bags.

If you have grown heirloom corn and some of the cobs really aren’t worth saving or if they have already started the drying process, let them continue drying until separated rows form. After the cobs have dried, give them the indian rub and the kernels will fall off. Put the kernels in a brown paper sack or some type of paper envelope. Label and store in a cool dry place until next season.

I save a ton of money by seed saving my corn. Those of you who plant corn know just exactly how much corn costs. On average, each cob gives about 300 kernels. If you have a small garden, you might only need one cob. I on the other hand need about 20 ears as my corn is planted in 15 rows, 300 feet long.

Check out Organic Home and Gardening, there is a propagation and seed saving eBook that can teach you how to save a great deal of money by not having to buy seeds or plants.

Happy Gardening!! Subscribe to my blog and I will keep you informed with all the good stuff.