Taking Care of Houseplants During Winter

Taking care of houseplants in winter is just a little trickier than during the warmer months. Oh sure they still need water and sunlight but they have a few other requirements during the colder months. Ample light can be hard to come by and might need supplemented. Also fertilizer isn't needed nearly as much.

houseplants in sunny window during winter

Temperature fluctuations can also be a problem especially if the plant is near a drafty window or in direct line of a door that's opened frequently. On the other hand being too close to the heater vents can be bad for plants too. Keep in mind that many houseplants are actually tropical plants and that is exactly why they do so well in constant 70°F temperatures all year round. They're just not built to tolerate blasts of hot or cold!

Want epic Basil? Grow it in pots!

Basil is definitely my favorite herb! I eat it fresh, dried and pretty much in anything I can. Since I use so much basil it only makes sense that I grow my own basil year round. What also makes sense is that I grow basil in pots so I can move it indoors in winter, then back outside in warmer weather. I keep my basil thriving year round so there's always plenty to eat.

Grow amazing basil plants

Basil comes in many different varieties, each one having a unique flavor and medicinal properties. My favorite type so far has been Basil Genovese, though I have tried many types over the years! One of the most popular varieties is Ocimum basilicum commonly called sweet basil. Sweet basil has inch-long, oval-pointed, dark green leaves and a clove-pepperish odour and taste. Another popular variety  of basil is a purple-leafed variety. ‘Dark Opal’ is decorative, makes a lovely houseplant, and is equally useful in cookery. 

Often called the ‘king of herbs,’ basil can be grown indoors or out. I do both. 

Simple bird suet recipe

If you're anything like me then you can't stand to see the birds searching for food in the snow. I have several bird feeders and suet holders hanging from the trees in the woods and on my back porch. I make sure they're always full in the winter. I love seeing the wild birds. We have so many different varieties of birds out here and I try to feed them all.

It gets expensive.

Suet cake recipe for winter birds.

Especially if you want to put out food for several types of birds. Once type likes millet, another prefers sunflower seeds, the squirrels try to steal it all *sigh*. I started making my own suet blocks since finding ones that were good quality and affordable was becoming more difficult. The birds around here don't like to eat the cheap ones, believe me I have tried! 

I came up with a super simple recipe. These are about the easiest suet blocks you can make and you really only need 2 ingredients: seeds and fat. Oh, and you'll need a baking pan and a refrigerator if you want to speed things up. 

Even though this recipe starts out super simple, you can totally customize it! Add peanuts, dried fruit, oats or whatever kind of seed your local birds like. I whipped up a quick batch of suet cakes so I could take some pics for you. I had several types of seeds and some mealworms on hand so I used all of them, but whatever you have will work!

How to grow rosemary indoors and out

I can grow a lot of herbs both indoors and out but the one that gives me the most trouble is rosemary! Oh, I can keep the plant alive and thriving just fine when it's summer (and I'll teach you how too!) but once I bring the rosemary plant inside for winter all bets are off! We can get to that later though. For now, let's talk about how to grow rosemary in your garden.

How to keep rosemary plant alive

Rosemary has a long list of historical uses, dating all the way back to the Egyptians when they used it in burials. It's well known for its use in lamb dishes, as an essential oil and for it's healing properties. Also known for the pop culture reference in Practical Magic "Keep Rosemary by your garden gate". 

Rosmarinus officinalis or Salvia rosmarinus, commonly called rosemary is an aromatic herb indigenous to the Mediterranean area. It is a member of the mint family. Rosemary is a woody, shrubby, aromatic perennial. As a perennial it prefers a warmer, moist climate but can be grown as an annual above zone 6 or moved indoors as a potted plant during winter. 

Rosemary has needlelike leaves and delicate purple, pink, white or blue flowers. Let me clarify, needle shaped leaves but much thicker and a bit softer. Rosemary’s leaves are dark green on top with silvery undersides. They are so fragrant that you can smell the herb just by brushing your fingertips over the leaves.

Mature rosemary plants can live for over 30 years.

20+ Unexpected things you can compost

Good compost can make or break your garden. You can either make the richest, most natural fertilizer to nourish your plants. Or you can spread a bunch of problems like disease and weeds. If you know what to compost and in what amounts though, your compost will come out perfectly from your own compost bins.

Strange things you can compost

You probably know the basics of composting, adding brown and green materials in the right proportions. All the details of proper composting are at the end of this post if you don't though, but  I want to talk about things you didn't realise that you could compost. Everything from toothpicks and used matches (they're made of wood or cardboard) to kleenex, balloons and latex gloves! 

There are a lot of things you can't add to your compost like meat, oils, plastics, anything not biodegradable etc. There are a lot of things you can add to your compost pile though, that you never thought about.