CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I just read a tip that's going to make my family happy. This spring, I was determined to dig up and separate our huge maiden grasses. These plants die out in the center (a common problem), and I always thought the only solution was to dig up the plant and divide it. Bring on the big shovels, right?
Garden Gate Magazine will save us a lot of work. Here's its tip:
"Wearing safety glasses, gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself, remove debris from the middle of the plant. Using an electric drill and a 4-inch hole saw, carefully drill down 6 to 8 inches through the crown, stopping occasionally to clear out the soil and dead roots. Then refill the hole with a fresh soil/compost mix. It's not easy, but it does save a lot of heavy digging and lifting. The rest of the season new roots will grow into this soil and next spring the plant will send up new growth, filling in the gap. Works on fountain grass (Pennisetum) and maiden grass (Miscanthus and hybrids)."
A 4-inch hole saw bit for your drill costs less than $15 at a local hardware store. I'll be trying this trick soon and will report the results.
Luck o' the Irish
Pick up a shamrock plant this week in honor of St. Patrick's Day -- they are in all of the stores. Here are some tips on care of the oxalis plant:
Shamrocks need to rest occasionally. If the leaves start to look yellow, remove them and cut back on the water. When all of the leaves are totally droopy, remove the leaves and stems. Move the plant to a low light area and ignore it. When you see signs of new growth, add light and water and watch it come back to life.
Repot it once each year. Place the plant in a shallow tray of pebbles and water from the bottom of the pot.
West Virginia State University Extension Service will be offering tips and techniques in shiitake mushroom production with its latest "In Your Backyard" workshop, part of a series of courses designed to offer new skills and opportunities to novice and experienced gardeners both. The workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon March 22 at the university's Land-Grant Administration Building, 4015 Fairlawn Ave., Institute.