Pollinator-Friendly Container Plants Perfect for a Balcony

Want to support the bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies but don’t have space for a full garden? Try these containers filled with pollinator-friendly plants.

Plant Tube-Shaped Blooming Perennials That Attract Hummingbirds

Planting a container with a vibrant mix of red, orange, and bright pink tube-shaped blooms is an easy way to attract hummingbirds. For ongoing color, consider filling the container with the hummingbirds’ favorite plants that last from spring to fall. Here, Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’, red and purple verbena (Verbena canadensis), and coral and raspberry autumn sage (Salvia greggii) are sure to lure hummingbirds as well as add a pop of inviting color to the landscape.

Choose Brightly Colored Container Plants for Butterflies

Bring butterflies close to you by planting a butterfly container garden filled with long-blooming, daisy-shaped flowers. Butterfly favorites such as delphinium, ‘Queen Victoria’ salvia, red verbena, and coreopsis provide food and respite for fluttering wings. In general, butterflies favor brightly colored flowers in red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, and blue. They prefer flowers with “landing pads,” such as coreopsis, where they can perch while they eat.

Article By Sheryl Geerts for BHG©

More ideas for container planting at link below.

Source: Containers for Pollinators | Better Homes & Gardens (bhg.com)

We Lost These Celebrities Today

Naomi Judd, of Grammy-winning duo The Judds, dies at 76

photo chris pizzello©

 Naomi Judd, the Kentucky-born singer of the Grammy-winning duo The Judds and mother of Wynonna and Ashley Judd, has died. She was 76.

The daughters announced her death on Saturday in a statement provided to The Associated Press.

“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” the statement said. “We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”

Naomi Judd died near Nashville, Tennessee, said a statement on behalf of her husband and fellow singer, Larry Strickland. It said no further details about her death would be released and asked for privacy as the family grieves.

The Judds were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday and they had just announced an arena tour to begin in the fall, their first tour together in over a decade. They also made a return to awards shows when they performed at the CMT Music Awards earlier this month.

Actress Jossara Jinaro, who appeared on ‘Judging Amy’ and ‘ER,’ dies at 48 after cancer battle

GREG DOHERTY/GETTY IMAGES

Actress Jossara Jinaro, who portrayed roles in “ER” and “Judging Amy,” has died, according to a post on her Facebook page. She was 48. 

The TV and film star died from cancer on Wednesday, her husband Matt Bogado announced in a statement posted to Facebook. She passed away at her home surrounded by family.

“Jossara was an amazing wife, mother, artist, and friend. She had the most beautiful, kind soul and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Even in her last moments, she was still fighting,” Bogado wrote. “She is now resting in peace and will be remembered forever. Myself, Liam, and Emrys will miss her so deeply, although we know she is in our hearts and guiding us every step of the way.”

Source: hollywoodreporter.com & The Associated Press

GROWING PINEAPPLE SAGE

Growing pineapple sage will attract hummingbirds and butterflies, plus make your yard look wonderful. Pineapple sage makes wonderful cut flowers, too.

healthbenefitstimes.com

Named for the uncanny pineapple scent of its foliage, pineapple sage is worth the wait. It is a seasonal treat that gives gardeners a sense of anticipation. A small plant set out in spring after the danger of frost has passed will grow into a branching plant 3 to 4 feet tall and nearly as wide by the time it blooms. It will then sprout spires of cardinal-red blooms in late summer and fall, just in time to refuel hummingbirds and butterflies for their fall migration. If you live in an area that does not freeze, blooms will continue all winter and sometimes all year.

Although cold hardy to about 20 degrees, pineapple sage is worth planting each spring in areas where it fails to return for another season. Try growing pineapple sage in sandy or otherwise sharply drained soil, which may allow it to tolerate colder temperatures by going dormant and sprouting new growth in spring.

Quick Guide to Growing Pineapple Sage

  • Plant pineapple sage in spring once all chances of frost have passed.
  • Space plants 24 to 36 inches apart. Grow them in a spot that gets abundant sunshine and has sandy well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0.
  • Improve your native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or rich organic matter.
  • Water regularly for the first few weeks after planting, then only water during a dry spell. Good drainage is essential during the growing season.
  • Boost your harvest by feeding regularly with a continuous-release plant food.
  • Harvest leaves and flowers once they are large enough to use, or leave them to attract pollinators.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Pineapple sage requires a place in the sunshine where the soil is well drained but moist and rich enough to support its rapid growth. Improve existing soil by mixing in a few inches of Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics®All Purpose In-Ground Soil with the top layer. Space plants 24 to 36 inches apart, and be sure not to plant them in front of other, smaller plants, as pineapple sage will grow large enough to block them out. In addition to planting in great soil, fertilize regularly throughout the growing season with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition—which feeds the soil as well as your plants—for best results.

Sorce: How to Grow Pineapple Sage Plants | Planting & Growing Tips – Bonnie Plants

Ways to Reduce Blood Sugar “Almost Instantly”

High blood sugar—also known as hyperglycemia—is linked to diabetes and prediabetes, and can lead to serious issues if left untreated. “The way I explain prediabetes to my patients is that your body is struggling to keep your blood glucose levels in a healthy range,” says nutritionist Lauren Antonucci, RD. “You shouldn’t panic, but you should start making real changes in your diet and lifestyle to prevent your blood sugar from rising and turning into type 2.” Here are five ways to lower your blood sugar, fast.

©© Provided by Eat This, Not That!

1. Curb the Carbs

Being mindful of carbs can lower your blood sugar, doctors say. “Generally, carbohydrates should make up about 50% of the daily calories (with the accepted range 40% to 60%). In general, lower carbohydrate intake is associated with lower sugar levels in the blood,” says James Norman, MD, FACS, FACE. “However, the benefits of this can be canceled out by the problems associated with a higher fat diet taken in to compensate for the lower amount of carbohydrates. This problem can be improved by substituting monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats. It is quite important for diabetics to understand the principles of carbohydrate counting and how to help control blood sugar levels through proper diet.”

2. Work Up a Sweat

Want to lower your blood sugar? Get moving, and make it part of your lifestyle. “If you stay fit and active throughout your life, you’ll be able to better control your diabetes and keep your blood glucose level in the correct range,” says Lisa M. Leontis RN, ANP-C. “Controlling your blood glucose level is essential to preventing long-term complications, such as nerve pain and kidney disease. When most people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they are overweight, so the idea of exercising is particularly daunting. For your health, you have to get started on a good, reasonable exercise plan, but first… You should talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to assess your heart health, which is particularly important if you already have blocked arteries or high blood pressure.”

3. Go To Sleep!

Want to keep blood sugar down? Go to bed on time, experts say. “We have substantial evidence now to tell us that sleep deprivation has harmful effects on metabolism, particularly the glucose metabolism,” says Esra Tasali, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. 

4. Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water is key to lowering blood sugar. “When your blood sugar levels are running high, your body will try to flush excess sugar out of your blood through the urine,” advises Diabetes UK. “As a result, your body will need more fluids to rehydrate itself. Drinking water can help the body with flushing out some of the glucose in the blood. Just a word of caution to be sensible with drinking water; water intoxication (which can result in death) is possible if a number of liters of water are drunk in a short space of time. This is rare and quite difficult to manage but it pays to be aware of this.”

5. Lose Weight—Especially Around the Belly

Losing weight is one of the most effective ways of bringing blood sugar under control. “Since nearly 9 in 10 people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight or have obesity, it is likely that your doctor will discuss the benefits—and they are significant—to achieving weight loss,” says Leontis. “There is some urgency to this recommendation since added adipose tissue increases your insulin resistance (which occurs when your body can’t properly use the hormone insulin to metabolize sugar), and leads to further weight gain. It’s more important that you focus on reducing the weight around your middle (waist circumference) since the evidence points to central adiposity as the greatest risk for heart disease and other adverse side effects of diabetes.”

Article by Ferozan Mast for ETNT Health©

Source: Ways to Reduce Blood Sugar “Almost Instantly” (msn.com)

ZUCCHINI COMPANION PLANTS

TO DETER PESTS OR PROVIDE OTHER BENEFITS

Learning the best zucchini companion plants, as well as companions for other crops, is an important part of planning your vegetable garden ideas as it helps negate the need for pesticides, an important element in creating a sustainable garden.

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Zucchini companion plants fall under two main categories: those that help to protect against pests, and those that help improve the general conditions for the plants to thrive.

The main pests of zucchini are:

  • Cucumber beetle
  • Aphids
  • Cutworms
  • Squash vine borers
  • Spider mites
  • Thrips
  • Leaf miners
  • Whitefly

There are several different types of zucchini companion plants that can help protect against these pests. These include trap plants that are more appealing to pests than the zucchini crops, drawing them away; others that will attract in beneficial insects such as hoverflies, ladybird and lacewings that predate zucchini pests; and companion plants for zucchini that deter pests from zucchini with strong smells or visual confusion.

There are then zucchini companion plants that improve their general growing conditions. These include plants that do not compete for space or nutrients; those that house nitrogen fixing bacteria within their roots and can help to increase nitrogen levels in the soil; and ground cover plants that cover the soil and reduce water loss.

HERB ZUCCHINI COMPANION PLANTS

If you are including herb garden ideas in your vegetable garden plans, then add in some of these herbs as useful zucchini companion plants.

DILL will repel squash beetle and flea beetles and is a great companion plant for lots of crops, including zucchini. It is worth knowing how to grow dill to enjoy as a herb, in itself, and its tasty leaves and seeds are also really good at attracting beneficial insects, such as hoverflies and lacewing that will predate your pests. 

‘LAVENDER is a great zucchini companion plants as bees pollinate the lavender plant, making their way over to pollinate your zucchini plants as well. As a result, the bees will distribute more zucchini pollen throughout your garden, hopefully yielding more zucchini at the time of harvest,’ says Mary Jane Duford from Home for the Harvest.

Lavender is also among the strongly smelling herbs and is known to deter some pests, such as aphids and whitefly. 

CHIVES is another strong-smelling herb that will deter aphids with its odour. It’s a delicious and easy to grow herb that will not compete with your zucchini for space and will also attract pollinators when its flowering. 

OREGANO, marjoram, sage, and rosemary are all aromatic herbs that pair well with zucchini. They will not compete for water or nutrients, and they will attract pollinators. Their scents also deter aphids, whitefly and even squash beetle. 

FLOWERS AS ZUCCHINI COMPANION PLANTS

It’s a great idea to have flowers in your vegetable garden, whether or not they are meant as companion plants for zucchini. Attracting and supporting pollinators is a great way to ensure good crops of fruits and vegetables.

If zucchini are not pollinated you will see the end of the small, developing fruit start to rot. It’s tempting to assume that this is due to pests, disease or lack of nutrients, but more often than not it is a pollination issue. This can be avoided by simply planting more flowers.

NASTURTIUMS are a wonderful trap plant that are tasty to aphids and squash beetles, thus drawing them away from your zucchini. They are also great at pulling pollinators into the garden with their gaudy orange, yellow and red flowers. Growing nasturtiums couldn’t be easier, and the flowers, leaves and seeds are all edible, and great to use in a salad, or make into a pesto with a beautiful peppery taste.

BORAGE is a brilliant plant for any garden. With beautiful – and edible – blue, pink and white flowers, and large edible stems, they are very attractive to pollinators and insects that will prey on aphids, whitefly and thrips. They are easy to grow and will readily self-seed if allowed.

SWEET ALYSSUM is particularly attractive to hoverflies and parasitic insects that will help to control your pest populations. With its dainty flowers, it also provides good ground cover and will not compete with your zucchini for space.

Article by Becky Searle

Source: Zucchini companion plants: the best plants to grow with them | Homes & Gardens | (homesandgardens.com)

To water or not to water? Classic debate over summer lawn care begins

Every summer, neighbors on either side of their respective fences revive the great debate about which is better when it comes to summer lawn care. Do you water all summer or let Mother Nature take its course?

Photographer Richard Hentschel.

You can find pros and cons on both sides of the fence. One of the biggest perks is enjoying a beautiful, lush green lawn in the height of the summer heat, which has the downside when July’s water bill comes.

Hentschel advises deciding whether you are going to water or not in spring because it determines what other lawn management practices are needed.

If you are going to water all summer, that changes the fertilizer program, mowing frequency, and when to collect or leave lawn clippings. Depending on the age of the lawn, disease management may also be on your list.

Those who decide to water will need to maintain a higher level of care including adding fertilizer. The typical cool-season grasses naturally expect to go dormant during the heat of summer. Keeping the grass alive with water means it will need more energy through fertilizer. More water and more fertilizer mean more frequent mowing and an overall increase in the amount of time you’re likely to spend on lawn management.

If you have an older lawn, the potential for lawn fungal diseases can increase with more water and fertilizer. Newer lawns are grown from improved seeds that are less prone to disease. A good preventative practice is to map out your watering so the lawn is dry well before the end of the sunshine. Consider starting on the north or east sides of the home, where it will take longer to dry and finish on southern or western exposures.

For those who opt-out of watering, the lawn will stay green as long as the rain lasts. It will go dormant when the weather turns hot and dry.

Homeowners will find plenty of cost savings with this option. In addition to using less water, you’ll use less fertilizer because grass that is dormant does not need to be fertilized. A dormant lawn will also need to be mowed less often, meaning less fuel for the mower.

One of the best ways to keep your lawn looking good is to mow higher, more often, and with a sharp mower blade.

The taller grass blade further shades the soil, helping to retain what soil moisture is there. This works out very well for the lawn, whether you water or not.

There will be no need to figure out what to do with all the clippings either, so long as they do not smother the lawn.

To keep your grass green for as long as possible, Hentschel suggests top-dressing the lawn annually with quality black dirt or other organic matter that will absorb and hold water for the lawn to use later.

Article by Richard Hentschel,

Source: Gardeners Corner Summer 2021: University of Illinois Extension

The #1 Best Drink to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

Sip on this to reduce your risk for the most common form of dementia.

BuzzFeed

The dietary pattern most closely linked with Alzheimer’s disease protection is the Mediterranean Diet. This diet is reminiscent of the eating style which has been seen in traditional cultures among people living in the countries lining the Mediterranean Sea.

A terrific drink choice that aligns with the Mediterranean Diet for protecting brain health includes a well-made smoothie. Familiar smoothie recipes consist of a Mediterranean Diet-approved combo of fruit, milk, or yogurt, and added protein like nuts, sometimes whole grains, and even vegetables.

Fruit offers a natural hit of sweetness, while milk or yogurt delivers creaminess, protein helps to keep hunger pangs at bay, whole grains amp up fiber, and veggies add extra vitamins and minerals. Smoothies can be an appropriate snack replacement (aim for around a 300-calorie drink) and an easy way to get a nutritional boost.

Healthy smoothie combinations to blend up

Here are some healthy smoothie combinations to excite your taste buds while protecting your health. Add water and ice as needed to achieve appropriate consistency.

  • 1 cup strawberries + 1 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup almonds + 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 medium banana + 1 cup unsweetened soy milk + 1 scoop vanilla protein powder + 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup mango + 1/2 cup pineapple + 1 cup skim milk + 2 tablespoons chia seeds + 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 medium apple + 1 cup light almond milk + 2 tablespoons peanut butter + 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup blueberries + 1 cup light oat milk + 1/2 cup silken tofu + 1/2 cup cauliflower

Article by Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD for Eat This, Not That©

Source: The #1 Best Drink to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk, Says Dietitian — Eat This Not That

Coffee grounds in gardening – the hacks that work and the ones that don’t

You’ve probably heard all about using coffee grounds in gardening. But does using coffee actually work, and if so, how do you use coffee grounds correctly, for maximum benefit to your soil and plants?

You’ve put your best coffee maker to good use – now, find out how to make the most of your coffee waste while gardening. When figuring out how to use coffee grounds in the garden, make sure you concentrate your efforts on the garden hacks that are really useful – and avoid those that have been proved to be myths.

gardenoholic.com

1. Make your own fertilizer for plants

You can create your own fertilizer from coffee grounds, saving the expense of buying a commercial version. Fertilizers are used to provide a source of nutrients for plants and improve their growth and, even if your soil is healthy, they could result in a better display from flowering plants and a bigger harvest in kitchen gardens.

Coffee grounds contain many of the nutrients commonly found in plant fertilizer. According to coffee expert Lewis Spencer of Coffee-Direct.co.uk, ‘coffee grounds have a varied amount of essential nutrients in each batch, but they all contain nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus alongside micronutrients.’

There won’t be a huge amount of these nutrients in the coffee grounds – far less than the concentrations found in commercially produced fertilizer – but this can be a good thing, as a slow release of nutrients is actually better for a healthy garden than a massive dose all at once.

According to Spencer, ‘plants such as carrots, azaleas and roses would appreciate a nice boost from coffee grounds.’

There are some plants, however, coffee grounds are not suitable. This isn’t because coffee grounds acidify soil (this is a myth), but because applying coffee grounds straight to the soil can inhibit seedlings from growing. This seems to be especially true of tomato seedlings, so avoid using coffee grounds if you’re growing tomatoes.

You can make your own liquid plant fertilizer by filling a bucket with 5 gallons of water and mix in two cups of brewed coffee grounds. Leave overnight before using. 

2. Use coffee grounds in compost

Coffee grounds are excellent for use in compost; in fact, composting yours is far better for your garden than putting them directly on your veggie beds. One of the main benefits of compost in your garden is opening up the soil structure, which aids aeration and microbial exchange.  

If you know how to make compost then you’ll know that it’s made using both brown ingredients – that’s things like dried leaves, twigs, and newspaper – and green materials, including grass clippings and dead flowers. 

Coffee grounds can contribute to its green ingredients. Add the filter paper, too – only if it’s unbleached – which can be part of the mix and means you’ll be generating even less household waste. 

3. Add coffee grounds to mulch

Using mulch in the garden has an array of advantages. Mulching is one of the best ways to kill weeds naturally by inhibiting their growth. It can help the soil retain water, which protects the roots from drying out and can help protect plants from frost. 

Mix the coffee grounds with other organic matter such as leaf mold. In this way, you’ll reduce the risk of clumps which could stop the water from reaching plant roots. Make sure you don’t use a thick layer either because plants could be sensitive to the caffeine in the grounds.

4. Feed worms with coffee grounds

Worms, or at least the sort that you’d use in a wormery, are fans of coffee grounds, it seems. If you’re are a vermicomposter – or like the idea of becoming one – coffee grounds can be part of the kitchen waste you add to your worm bin.

Vermicomposting employs the skills of particular types of worm to turn scraps from the kitchen along with other green waste into both compost rich in nutrients and liquid fertilizer. 

You can add a cup of coffee grounds a week to a small worm bin. Make sure you never put in too much at one time, though, as the acidity could be a problem. Oh, and you can add the paper filter as well. Neat.

Which vegetable plants in particular like used coffee grounds and why?

‘As coffee grounds are close to pH neutral, acid-loving vegetable plants will benefit the most. This is because the grounds lead to better harvest by providing extra nutrients. Cabbage, carrots, potatoes, radishes, turnips, squash, and soybeans all like used coffee grounds,’ says Spencer. 

Can you put too many coffee grounds in your garden? 

In a word, yes. This isn’t because coffee grounds will acidify your soil (they’re not nearly acidic enough to do this), but because, as Spencer explains, ‘the small particles can clump together creating a water-resistant barrier, stunting plant growth.’ 

So, ‘always use the grounds sparingly and never in large quantities. Coffee grounds will not kill grown plants, it will just take some recovery time in the event of excess application. To rectify using too much, use a rake to separate the particles into finer bits.’

Can you put coffee grounds in potted plants?

This isn’t recommended. ‘As coffee grounds can easily become compact, adding them directly to the potting soil of potted plants could create a thick layer. This will trap the plant of moisture and can cause fungal overgrowth. 

‘Instead of direct application, only use a thin ½ inch layer before covering with a four inch layer of mulch. Coffee grounds work best as mulch when mixed with organic matter. Only do this if your plants are large, small potted plants won’t benefit from the grounds as they have less surface area to retain moisture.’

Do coffee grounds repel slugs?

This one is a myth, unfortunately. Blogger at Garden Myths Robert Pavlis tried the coffee grounds method – and, guess what, the slugs happily crawled all over the coffee grounds and still ate his plants.

What does work, according to a study by Nature.com, is freshly brewed, strong coffee that’s been cooled down. Water the area that slugs frequent; the slugs will absorb the caffeine through their bodies and die. It’s not a humane method of getting rid of them, but it will work.

We should all be drinking more coffee ☕️ right?

Article by Sarah Warwick for Real Homes©

Source: How to use coffee grounds in gardening – the hacks that work and the ones that don’t (msn.com)

Hackers Exploit a Critical Chrome and Edge Vulnerability, Update Now to Fix It

I posted the Chrome story yesterday however, another browser, Edge, is also at risk. Edge is a Chromium-based browser and needs to be updated against new vulnerabilities.

Google, Microsoft

This vulnerability, called CVE-2022-1096, was reported to Google by an anonymous user or researcher. It appears to affect all Chromium-based browsers, including Opera and Brave. Details on the vulnerability are slim, as Google doesn’t want to share any information that may be useful to hackers

Both Chrome and Edge are supposed to update automatically. That said, you should paste chrome://settings/help or edge://settings/help in your address bar to see that you’re running version 99.0.4844.84 of Chrome or version 99.0.1150.55 of Microsoft Edge.

Source: Google via Forbes and reviewgeek.com/