Practical Gardening

Easy-to-do tips and guides for inexpensive and worry-free gardening

Cleaning and Storing Gynura Procumbens (Sabungai)

In the past, the only method I knew to store the leaves of Gynura procumbens or Sabungai was to keep them in the refrigerator inside a plastic container. I simply washed the leaves, drained them and then put them in an old recycled ice cream plastic tub (in place of a tupperware container). I would then take out the tub and open it at the dining table where I ate the leaves raw during dinner.

For the most part, they would keep for a while in the refrigerator, probably a week. After that, parts of some of the Gynura procumbens leaves would start to darken into a gray color and turn soft. I just threw these leaves that had gone bad because I had so much that were still good. Somehow, though, it's still a waste to throw these out, especially when I learned that there's a way to keep them longer in the refrigerator for two weeks or longer.

Easy and Cheap Garden Support Stakes

In one of my occasional trips to garden shows, I saw how some plant traders displayed their vines. Vines need some form of garden support stakes to keep them upright and contained in one spot. Otherwise, they sprawl over the rest of the plants and, in some cases, continue climbing on other plants.

The garden plant stakes that was made was fairly easy to assemble and didn't require much materials. All what was needed was: three pieces of bamboo sticks, a short metal wire and some twine.

Homemade Bird Trap - Materials and Tools

The Homemade Bird Trap project is mostly do-it-yourself or DIY. Some of the materials may be sourced from scrap items while most of them may be bought from a hardware store.

Since the end product will be used for trapping small birds, I had assumed that there really wouldn't be any 'heavy duty' materials needed for the trap. And for this, I bought the cheapest wire screen I could find. I mean how strong can a sparrow or some other small birds be, to destroy the trap? Of course, I have planned on setting the above ground, overhead actually, far from the ground and away from my dog. My dog gets all curious and fired up when seeing flapping birds, especially those in distress. So who knows what she'll do to the trap in order to get to the birds. I'm guessing rolling and gouging on it, and deforming the trap as a result.

Make a Garden Dibble Handle for Comfort

In a previous article, I illustrated how to make a custom garden dibber. This customized garden dibber allows the repotting of seedling plugs from the seedling tray. The garden dibber has been effective in preventing the damage of tender roots of young seedlings.

The garden dibber, or garden dibble as others would call it, is essentially made of two basic parts: the dibble head and the dibble handle. The dibble head is molded concrete. The dibble handle is really nothing more than a metal rod that sticks out from the dibble head. It's a scrap reinforcement bar (or rebar) that is only 9 mm thick.

The rebar, as I've found, is really too thin for my hand to hold. The dibble head, being made of concrete, is a bit heavy and there isn't enough leverage when holding the garden dibble.

Garden Waste Incinerator with Grate

A grate is defined as "a frame of iron bars to hold a fire". In the garden and yard incinerator that I built, there was no grate. The garden waste twigs and branches held up the dried foliage that was to be burned. That is until the branches and twigs burned completely and the burning material start to fall into the incinerator bottom. I then needed to use a stick or rod to prop up the burning garden waste up so as not to suffocate the fire.

This is where an improvised grate will help hold up the burning material so it does not collapse and fall into the pit below. An improvised grate for this garden and yard waste incinerator is quite easy to do. You only need a piece of steel matting material to cut, bend and form. Actually, any scrap piece of metal that resembles some kind of a grill will do.

Tip to Pre-Label Marcots or Air-Layers

In the first part of this two-part series, I discussed a technique to identify marcots for pre-labeling them in a multi-plant garden pot. The purpose is to easily identify the marcots without relying on flowers' color come harvest time. That's because there may be no flowers when the marcots have rooted. By identifying marcots and then pre-labeling them, removes the confusion of identification in a multi-plant garden pot.

But there's more. Say you have several different bougainvilleas planted to different pots. Then you managed to cut or harvest many marcots from these different pots and then put them in a big pile or a tray of water. How will you identify the marcots when you'll be potting them? This is especially if they have no flowers, and the leaves look very similar. How will you know which bougainvillea variety is one from the others?

Identifying and Pre-Labeling Marcots

When we were still in a buying frenzy for bougainvilleas, one of the pots we bought had two bougainvillea plants in it. One had white bracts and the other, violet. The garden pot had plenty of both of these colors and was absolutely gorgeous. I decided right there that I would be marcotting these two plants in the pot.

I've been marcotting (air-layering) plants for some time now and it's nothing new to me. Immediately I started marcotting all the branches that were a bit mature and had the likelihood of successful rooting. There were I think a dozen marcots that I air-layered that day.

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