SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

December 20, 2013

Ideas for sharing the gift of gardening

(Continued)

Tips for gardening under lights:

Use a timer on lights. It will save fuel and aggravation, as well as your time. Who likes to be reminded, in the middle of the Patriots playoffs that they have to go and see if the grow-lights are on?

Turn your plants regularly — the light from artificial bulbs falls differently than natural light, and the plants tend to reach for every watt they can get.

And since you are supplying the light, you can use new space that you never used for gardening before. Why not have a bed of lettuce under the sink? It would be so convenient!

Q: This year my Christmas cactus is going to be more beautiful than ever. I took your advice and left it out longer than any of the other houseplants this fall, and you could see that there are going to be hundreds of buds and flowers. I brought the plant in to a partially sunny window where everyone could enjoy it as it bloomed — and one morning, a bud had fallen off! And the next day, it was the same — only this time there were dozens of buds on the table underneath the plant. Why? Now I think I will be lucky if I get few flowers. There are no insects I can see.

A: Any of these jungle cactuses share the same need: Once they set buds, they don’t like to be moved and turned to another direction of light source. The plant literally will twist itself off the plant to find its required light.

It’s probably too late to reverse direction. Enjoy what few flowers you get — and remember this for next year. Don’t move it around after midsummer.

Q: We are having difficulty controlling moles or voles. Any suggestions?

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