Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

December 27, 2013

DIRT ON GARDENING: Amaryllis is that seasonal ‘pick-me-upper’ plant

Did you buy or receive an Amaryllis bulb as a holiday gift? They are prominent this time of year and may readily be seen at just about any store that sells plants.

An Amaryllis is a striking flower that is normally grown over the holiday season and can be found at grocery outlets, as well as garden centers, throughout the area. The bulbs will be mass displayed in a cube-shaped box approximately 6 or 7 inches on each side. They are offered in a variety of colors and will contain the large bulb, a plastic pot and a potting soil packet to start your project. A heavier pot would be more suitable to prevent tipping when fully grown, so if you have a pot that fits this description and is about the same size in diameter then you might consider using it instead. Just make sure the pot is deep enough and contains drainage holes.

Pots shouldn’t be any larger than half the width of the bulb and deep enough to allow a comfortable fit so as not to crowd the roots. The Amaryllis bulbs enjoy a tight fit with no more than an inch or so between bulb and pot — a 5- to 6-inch pot is normally perfect. Don’t substitute a heavier potting soil as these plants prefer a light, fluffy mix with a fertilizer charge. If your mix doesn’t have this charge, then use a slow release fertilizer placed an inch under the roots when planting. Use a piece of screen or broken pot to prevent soil from seeping out the drainage holes.

Place 1 to 1½ inches of soil in your pot and hold your bulb in the pot to see if the whole neck of the bulb will be exposed above the soil level that will be one inch from the top of your pot. Make certain roots are not cramped and that the neck of the bulb is exposed comfortably above the soil level.

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Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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