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Time to thank your indoor garden

National Houseplant Appreciation Day (and Week) spotlight benefits of growing things inside

Peace lily
Peace lilies are natural air purifiers. (Photo
courtesy Green Acres Nursery)

Cooped up indoors? It's time to show your green companions some love.

This is National Houseplant Appreciation Week, culminating in National Houseplant Appreciation Day on Sunday, Jan. 10.

While urging us to give a little TLC to our favorite pothos or spathiphyllum, this special week is really about awareness for all that houseplants can do.

Sure, they brighten up our windowsills or office spaces with some comforting greenery. But they actually can help people breathe easier by improving indoor air quality. Plants such as spathiphyllum -- the familiar peace lily -- are natural workhorses at filtering indoor air, converting carbon dioxide to oxygen and removing harmful substances such as formaldehyde and benzene.

Plants also release moisture into the air. These green humidifiers help make our indoor air feel more refreshing, countering the effects of dry heat from furnaces. European studies have found that the added humidity from houseplants can help reduce dry skin, soothe sore throats and combat colds.

Houseplants really do help people feel better. A Kansas State study found that hospital patients with plants in their rooms actually healed faster than patients with no plants.

Besides those physical benefits, houseplants offer small doses of garden therapy. It's relaxing to care for something and watch it grow.

The Garden Network gets credit for creating National Houseplant Appreciation Day, which always falls on Jan. 10.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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