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Marimo 101

April 22, 2017

The name Marimo (毬藻, Aegagropila linnaei) originated from Japanese botanist Tatsuhiko Kawakami: 毬 ‘mari’ = ball and 藻 ‘mo’ = generic term for aquatic plants!

The Marimo ‘Moss’ Ball, as it’s commonly called, is not moss at all – but a freshwater, filamentous green algal colony! Native to previously glaciated areas of the world including Japan, Russia, Iceland, and parts of North America – the Marimo’s round shape is the result of freshwater lake motion. And although Marimo live in water, they’re not as slimy as you’d think they are. They’re actually quite fluffy, almost velvety, in nature.

Pet Marimo - The Sill

MARIMO FAQs

1. How do I care my Marimo at home?
Clean, cool water – and minimal light!

The lakes that Marimo have evolved in are alkaline, calciferous lakes – so for the optimal health of your Marimo at home, always use filtered water. Because Marimo balls live at the bottom of lakes, and roll along the bottom with the current, they receive very little light. In caring for your Marimo – keep it out of direct sun. An hour or so of direct sun is tolerable, as long as the temperature of the water stays cool. Freshwater lakes, especially at the bottom where Marimo live, are cold – and temperatures can range from 5C to 35C.

2. What type of light source do I use?
Moderate to low, natural or artificial light will help keep your Marimo happy and healthy. An hour or so of direct sunlight is fine, as long as it is far away from a window, and the Marimo’s water doesn’t heat up.

Trio of Marimo balls - The Sill

3. Do I need to change the water? What water do I use?
Although tap water is OK, we prefer to use either brita-filtered water, or bottled water. If possible, change your Marimo’s water once every two weeks.

4. What should I do when changing water?
Gently squeeze your Marimo to remove any dirt trapped in it’s fluff, then roll your Marimo back and forth on a soft surface, like your palm, to help it retain its circular shape.

Gently roll your Marimo in your palm to help it retain its circular shape - The Sill

5. How long will my Marimo live?
Marimos are slow growers – growing one or two tenths of an inch a year. However, the world’s largest Marimo is almost 40 inches in diameter, making it an estimated 200+ years old. Your Marimo can last for decades with the proper care and environment.

6. Help! My Marimo is changing in color. 
A yellow or brown Marimo is a sick Marimo. Your Marimo could be receiving too much sunlight, have an infection, or its water quality could have decreased. We recommend washing your Marimo under running water, replacing its water, and adding some salt. Make sure to use aquarium salt – not table salt! You can find it on Amazon, or at your local pet store. Add this directly to your Marimo’s container – about 5% of your water volume.

7. How long can a Marimo last without water? 
If conditions are ideal – Marimos can live for one month without water.

Marimo balls - The Sill

8. Will my Marimo float or sink?
Your Marimo will spend its majority of time at the bottom of its container, like it would in its native lake environment. However, a Marimo does perform photosynthesis, and makes oxygen. These oxygen bubbles may make your Marimo float up to the surface of the water for a period of time. The more sun your Marimo receives, the more oxygen it will produce. You can also make your Marimo float by squeezing the water out of it, but we don’t recommend toying with them too often – they’re happiest when left to float or sink on their own.

9. Will my Marimo reproduce? 
Your Marimo might reproduce when large enough and kept in a large container. You will see a bump growing on your Marimo – that’s a baby Marimo in the making. We do not recommend forcing your Marimo to reproduce by splitting it in two – more often than not, it will not be able to bounce back.

10. Is there anyway to get my Marimo to grow faster?
Marimo are slow growers! Be patient. Lower water temperatures, better water quality, and an extremely diluted amount of fertilizer can help. More light equals more growth, so a few hours of sunlight can also give your Marimo a boost, but be very careful not to cook your Marimo in direct light.

11. Can my Marimo survive in a fully sealed container?
A Marimo can survive in fully sealed container, but we recommend picking one with a loose lid, which will allow your marimo to breathe with its environment.

Happy Marimo - The Sill

12. Fun Fact
According to a Japanese legend, there were two lovers who longed to be together. One, the daughter of a tribe chief; the other a poor commoner. When the chief forbade them from being together – the couple ran away, fell into the water, and became Marimo balls – able to live together forever. Because of this, Marimo balls, sometimes referred to as ‘love plants’, are thought to bring luck, love, and happiness, and have the ability to heal a broken heart.

P.S. ADOPT YOUR VERY OWN MARIMO: Shop now.

 

#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Holiday Gifting, How-to, Plant Care, Style Tips

Terrariums 101

April 19, 2017

Doctor Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward developed the first terrarium in 1842. Ward noticed that a fern and grass had sprouted from the damp soil inside an airtight glass container that he had placed a chrysalis of a moth inside. The glass containers, which came to be known as Wardian cases, could maintain a constant humidity. During the day the evaporated moisture condensed on the container walls, while at night it would drip down, back into the soil. The cases became especially popular as a way to transport plants across long distances, when they would otherwise perish.

wardian-case-wikipedia

Now widely called terrariums, they are a generally low-maintenance way to add a little life to your space. Terrariums make it possible to grow things in places that aren’t exactly conducive to growth, and can pretty much be self-sufficient aside from the occasional watering. Making a terrarium can be a great way to experiment with new plant varieties, or to unleash some creativity.

There are two general types of terrariums we pot here at The Sill (although arguably the first type doesn’t fall into the same category as Dr. Ward’s namesake case) –

1. OPEN TERRARIUM

An open terrarium provides ample air circulation and low levels of humidity. It is not airtight, and there is no tight bottleneck or removable top. Instead, it creates more of a contained space for plants that require similar care to grow together. It is perfect for assorted varieties of succulents and cacti. Think of it as a miniature desert:

2. ENCLOSED TERRARIUM

An enclosed terrarium, with a removable cover or lid, provides ample humidity and can create its own tiny ecosystem. The plants inside an enclosed terrarium release moisture, which condenses inside the vessel and trickles back into the soil. For an enclosed terrarium, it’s best to choose varieties of plants that are compact, to keep pruning to a minimum, and thrive in high humidity, like ferns.

OUR TERRARIUM POTTING TIPS

  • Pick generally slow-growing plants – which will require less pruning, and are less likely to outgrow the container
  • If you’re mixing plant varieties, choose plants that thrive in very similar environments – i.e. plants that prefer a similar amount of sunlight, humidity, and water
  • Choose a clean, clear container to allow for natural light to flow in
    • We recommend choosing a glass container
  • Before adding potting soil to your terrarium, layer half an inch or so of gravel at the bottom to create drainage for excess water
    • Here at The Sill we use lava rocks because they’re porous, but any material that creates crevices for excess water to trickle down into should do the trick
  • When you add the potting soil, lightly press down on it to remove any air pockets
  • Arrange your plants inside, making sure to leave some room for new growth

  • Once the plants are securely potted – use a paintbrush (or toothbrush) to remove any excess soil from the sides of the container or the leaves of your plants
  • Place your terrarium in a spot that receives natural sunlight
    • Enclosed terrariums, usually home to plants that prefer high humidity and moderate light, should be kept out of direct sun (a couple hours of full sun can easily fry the contents inside)
    • Open terrariums, usually home to plants that prefer dry conditions and bright light, can be kept in bright, direct to indirect light – like your windowsill!
  • Water directly at the base of the plants/into the potting soil so the water is able to reach the root systems

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  • Do your best to not overwater your terrarium
    • An enclosed terrarium can be watered about 1x about every 2-3 weeks, and you can help keep humidity high by misting in-between waterings
    • An open terrarium can be watered 1x about every 3-4 weeks, and requires no misting
    • Because there’s no drainage hole for excess water to be released from the terrarium – make sure not to completely soak the soil – is should be moist but not sopping wet
    • Remember that it is much easier to add water to soil than to subtract it!
  • Let an enclosed terrarium breathe every 1-2 weeks by removing it’s lid or keeping the lid ajar for a few days
  • If you see any dead or dying foliage inside your terrarium, remove it immediately
  • To keep plants grow upward and fill-in extra space, rotate your terrarium every 1-2 weeks

Questions? Reach us directly at help@thesill.com, or leave a comment below! 

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Holiday Gifting, Style Tips

5 Great Father’s Day Gifts

June 13, 2016

Father’s day falls on June 19th this year. Are you struggling to come up with a creative gift ideas? Tired of getting your dad the same gift every single year? Well don’t fret! We here at The Sill came up with 5 neat plant-inspired Father’s Day gift ideas that your dad will love! Be sure to stop by our shop or visit our website to check out all the different plants we have to offer.

1. The Parlour Palm

calvert_yellow_chamaedorea

The parlour palm, scientifically known as the Chamaedorea Elegans, is a great hard-to-kill plant. Only needing to be watered once a week, this plant is perfect for a dad with a busy schedule. This Parlour Palm is great for brightening up shady spots and would look great on your father’s desk at work! This plant is available for nationwide shipping!

2. The Snake Plant

Modernica_nyc_snake_plant_black The snake plant is great for surviving all indoor spaces! Not only does it help filter out air pollutants but it also adds a little bit of green to a dull space. Easy to take care of, this plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is sure to put a smile on your father’s face!

3. Air Plants

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Air plants are a great choice for busy dads. These little guys are very easy to take care of. They are able to gain their nutrients from the air and the water, so there is no need for messy soil. Available for nationwide shipping, air plants look great on tables, desks, and can even be used as wall decorations!

4. The Fiddle Leaf Fig

2_3_foot_fiddle

The Fiddle Leaf Fig starts out small but can gradually grow to be 7 feet tall.  With it’s fiddle shaped leaves, this plant is a unique contribution to any space. Place it in a spot that gets bright, indirect light and your fiddle leaf fig will be just as happy as your dad will be when he receives it!

5. The Kokedama

Kokedama_Staghorn_Fern_FL

The Sill’s handmade Kokedama moss ball can either hold the Platycerium lemoinei fern or the Asplenium nidus fern. The Kokedama is the Father’s Day equivalent of flowers and is available for nationwide shipping!

Be sure to order before Tuesday, June 14th for nationwide shipping and Wednesday, June 15th for New York City delivery!

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Behind The Scenes, Holiday Gifting, How-to, Plant Care

Potting 101

January 27, 2016

We do a lot of potting here at The Sill – whether it is potting a plant from it’s plastic nursery pot into a more substantial ceramic or terra cotta planter, or repotting a plant in a new planter to provide it with more space to grow or new, fresh soil.

The Sill - Potting 101

The Sill – Potting 101

 

Plants typically need to be repotted every 12 to 18 months, but some slow growers like the Hoya kerrii can call the same pot home for many years.  A common misconception – repotting does not necessarily mean replacing a plant’s pot, but rather, changing its soil or potting mix. Great news if you love your current planter. If you’re looking to splurge on a new one, or you’re changing up your seasonal decor, try to keep the planter size no more than 1″-2″ smaller or larger. A plant should never been swimming in soil in an over-sized pot – that can lead to overwatering and eventually root rot.

Signs You Need To Repot:

  • The plant is in its original plastic grow pot from the nursery
  • The roots are growing through the drainage hole at the bottom of the planter
  • The roots are pushing the plant up, out of the planter
  • The plant is growing slower than normal
  • The plant is extremely top heavy, and falls over easily
  • The plant dries out more quickly than usual, requiring more frequent waterings
  • There is noticeable salt & mineral build up on the plant or planter

Your Potting Toolbox:

  • Newspaper to lay down for easy clean-up
  • Well-draining potting soil for indoor container gardening
  • A watering can or water bottle
  • Small scissors for potential pruning
  • Your houseplant
  • A planter made of a substantial material like stoneware or terra cotta
Potting 101 - The Sill

Potting 101 – The Sill

 Potting 101:

  1. Water your plant thoroughly the day or two before to prep it for potting
  2. Cover your makeshift potting table with newspaper
  3. Turn your potted plant upside down, hold it gently by the stems, and tap the bottom of the container until the plant slides out. Feel free to get those hands dirty and help by loosening soil and gently tugging.
  4. Loosen the roots and prune any dead or extra long roots. If your plant is root bound (meaning the roots are growing in tight circles around the plant), gently unbind the roots and trim them back.
  5. Remove at least 1/3 of the old potting mix.
  6. Pour a layer of new, pre-moistened potting mix into the planter. Fresh soil = new nutrients!
  7. Set your plant atop the new soil in the planter, making sure it’s centered and sits slightly below the lip of the planter.
  8. Add new soil around your plant until it is secure – be sure not to press down too hard, you want the roots to be able to breath.
  9. Even out the potting mix on top, water well, and let drain. Done!

Tips:

  • Look for well-draining soil meant for indoor container gardening. This will help you from overwatering your plant in the future, and can usually be found in apartment-friendly sized bags.
  • Pick a planter with a drainage hole and saucer, or make your own drainage by lining the bottom of your planter with rocks and sand. This creates crevices for excess water to trickle down into.
  • Keep a newly potted plant out of bright, direct sun for a few days, as it acclimates to its new environment.

 

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Holiday Gifting, How-to, Plant Care

Poinsettias 101

December 17, 2015

Poinsettias have become one of the most recognized plants of the holiday season. Native to Mexico, poinsettias are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant to the states in 1825. Poinsett, an amateur botanist, came across the poinsettia south of Mexico City, where it is called “Flor de Noche Buena”, or Christmas Eve Flower. He brought the vibrant red and green plant back to his South Carolina plantation – where he continued to cultivate them and give them as gifts to friends. The plant soon became a holiday fixture.

Many mistake the poinsettia’s colored bracts for flower petals because of their bright hues and groupings – but they are in fact leaves! The bracts are traditionally red, but can be orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled. There are over 100 cultivated varieties of poinsettia!

Poinsettias

Poinsettias – The Sill

Unfortunately this lovely houseplant has received a bad rep. Some are weary of the plant – claiming its poisonous. But that’s about as “true” as Santa Claus…

The genus Euphorbia to which the poinsettia plant belongs does contain some highly-toxic plants, but the popular poinsettia itself is not toxic. Like most houseplants, it isn’t completely harmless – upon digestion, your furry friend could become nauseated or potentially throw up – but it surely isn’t life-threatening. For example: a 50 pound child would have to eat over 500 poinsettia leaves to reach a potentially toxic dose! In addition, the leaves have a very unpleasant taste… making this highly unlikely.

So go ahead and safely embrace the poinsettia this holiday season!

 

#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Behind The Scenes, Holiday Gifting, How-to, Plant Care, Plant of The Month, Style Tips

DIY: Decorate Your Cacti

December 7, 2015

HotHolidayCacti_TheSill_740x

Here at The Sill, we believe conifers shouldn’t have a monopoly on the holidays. So we’re making things interesting this holiday season by introducing desert-dwelling cacti to our easy-care houseplant mix. Nab your own holiday cactus at TheSill.com or your local garden center – and follow our simple tips for decorating it below.


CactiDecorations_1

Let’s be frank – New York City apartments are not envied for their storage space. Even the holiday-enthusiast would have trouble justifying dedicating a coveted-closet to boxes of ornaments and tangled lights. Cacti not only come in a variety of sizes – many petite enough for a tiny apartment – but festive pom-poms and colorful trim also take up little to no space, and are inexpensive enough to replace seasonly.

Felt or wool pom-poms slide easily on to pointy cactus needles (and off post-holiday season – remember that unlike a cut tree, potted plants have no expiration date!), while cacti with multiple columns lead themselves to weaving through ribbon and garlands. Up the ante with petite-sized bows and ornaments from your local craft store.

DIY Decoration Examples

CactiDecorations_2

And as easy as a cactus is to decorate – it is to care for. A cactus’s #1 requirement is bright light. Cacti are desert-natives and thrive in sunny, dry environments. Make sure to keep your cactus in a spot that receives bright sunlight and has low humidity.

When potting or repotting your cactus at home – pick a quick-drying soil that’s made for cacti and succulents, and a small container. Overwatering is one of the easiest ways to kill a cactus, and one of the easiest ways to overwater is to over-pot. Make sure your plant’s roots aren’t swimming in soil.

HotHolidayCacti_TheSill_2_740x

Another way to avoid overwatering is picking a planter with drainage holes – or creating your own drainage with a generous layer of gravel and rocks. We recommend using lava rocks because they’re porous. And remember to let the potting soil dry out completely in-between waterings – cacti are desert-natives that can happily go weeks without water.

Cacti Care 101

  • Sunlight: Bright, direct to semi-indirect light. Tolerates medium light in the winter.
  • Water: Fall and winter, cacti can go a month in-between waterings. Spring to summer, water every 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Humidity: Average to dry home humidity.
  • Common Problem: Overwatering, which will lead to rot.

 

P.S. If you live in NYC – stop into The Sill Shop at 84 Hester Street for endless complementary trimmings to decorate your cactus!

 

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Holiday Gifting, Interview

Local + Lejos x The Sill Fall Giveaway

November 16, 2015

As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it is important to make slight adjustments indoors to keep yourself happy and healthy. It is pretty easy to get down in the dumps when the sun sets long before you’re even out of the office. A simple adjustment is the edition of plants in your most used living spaces – your office, family room, and bedroom are all good spots to start.

Why? Because indoor plants are the ultimate multitasking interior decor item. Not only do they look good – adding life to a sterile space like your office cubicle – but they also double as natural air filters. In addition to producing oxygen, many common indoor plants filter toxic emissions from synthetic materials, airborne mold, viruses, pollutants, and reduced air circulation – making for cleaner air, and consequently a happier and healthier you (airborne toxins can be the cause of any thing from a debilitating headache to seriously low morale!)

To kick off what we like to call ‘houseplant season’ – aka when you really, really need some plants – we’ve partnered with Local + Lejos for a giveaway!

Local + Lejos Sisal Peace Basket. Handcrafted in Rwanda. (4"d x 9.5"h)

Local + Lejos Sisal Peace Basket. Handcrafted in Rwanda. (4″d x 9.5″h)

Local + Lejos is a wonderful home décor brand that features contemporary goods in partnership with global artisans – helping to empower those artisans to grow a business, preserve cultural traditions, & create sustainable futures, along with helping to empower you to design your home with good intention. We spoke with founder Sheeva Sairafi to learn more…

Name: Sheeva Sairafi
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Founder at Local + Lejos
Favorite Plant: Currently – Berried Eucalyptus! More deets on why below 🙂

Local + Lejos Founder Sheeva Sairafi

Local + Lejos Founder Sheeva Sairafi

Can you share a little background about yourself – and a little bit about Local + Lejos? 

Previously, I was a buyer for a big corporate company. While it was an amazing experience that allowed me to work in Boston, New York, London, and Los Angeles – it wasn’t what I was looking to do forever. I learned a ton, and after 6 years, decided it was time to take those skills and apply it to an idea I had been brainstorming for quite some time. I love product, I always have, but wanted to use design to have more of a positive impact on the world. After a trip to Guatemala spending time with Mayan weavers and being blown away by their gift,  Local + Lejos was born. 

[the person] 

What’s a secret skill you have?

I have an amazing ability to make clutter look organized. Hint hint: it’s all about pretty baskets

Make everyday clutter look chic with handcrafted baskets.

Make everyday clutter look chic with handcrafted baskets.

What’s the best present you’ve given or received?

When I was living in New York, I didn’t have a ton of extra cash for Christmas present (Manhattan rent will do that to you!). So, I went around my neighborhood and took pictures of signs that I went by on a daily basis. Then I cut out different letters that spelled my last name, and had a S-A-I-R-A-F-I sign printed. I gave it to my parents so that they could see where I was each day….it still hangs on their mantle!

If your space was on fire, what’s the first thing you’d grab to save?

My desktop…is that sad?!

What’s on your to-do list today?

I put everything on my to-do list. Like everything, because if it isn’t on – I forget. A handful of the things to do today: yoga, design marketing collateral, call my sister, brainstorm merchandising ideas for events, and interview a potential new intern!

[the plants] 

What is your favorite plant and why?

Currently – Berried Eucalyptus! I love that it can stand on its on in a vase, or that it can be mixed with florals to make a light & earthy arrangement. I always try to have it on hand when I have guests, its the perfect and easy addition to give table settings an elevated look.

Do you have a green thumb?

No! And it makes me so sad, because I love them. But because I travel so often, I fill my space with succulents (large & small) and plants that need very little love.

Any plant care tips you can share?

Utilize the shady spots of sunny rooms for plants like ferns that need indirect light.

What tops your houseplant wish list? 

Been dying for an olive tree! 

Local + Lejos Peace Basket paired with The Sill Pothos Plant

Local + Lejos Peace Basket paired with The Sill Pothos Plant

To inspire you to bring the outdoors in, we’re giving away a Sisal Peace Basket handcrafted in Rwanda from Local + Lejos paired with your choice of bright-light or low-light easy-care houseplant from The Sill.

ENTER HERE

(It only takes a minute!)

Peace Basket paired with bright-light loving cacti.

Peace Basket paired with bright-light loving cacti.

P.S. Make sure to follow Local + Lejos on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest – along with The Sill (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest). Each like + follow counts for an added entry.

Have a basket of your own at home? Slip inside one of our easy-care houseplants below!

The Sill - Easy-Care Houseplants - Ship Nationwide.

The Sill – Easy-Care Houseplants – Ship Nationwide.

Shop: The Bird’s Nest Fern Collection; The Snake Plant Collection; The Fern Collection

 

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Holiday Gifting, How-to, Plant Care

Hops 101

June 15, 2015

If you’re new to growing hops like we are – don’t fret! We’ve teamed up with Immaculate Brewery to provide you with everything you need to know, and maybe some things you don’t, for successfully growing hops at home…

above: The Sill – The Hops Starter Gift Set (shop now)

What do I do when it arrives?
Upon arrival, unwrap the shrink-wrap around your hops plant to prepare it for planting. Select a location outside that fits the following requirements: full sun, access to water for irrigation, good air flow, and healthy soil. The soil should ideally have a pH balance between 6 and 7, and a good level of organic matter, which can be mixed in prior to planting or added with a cover crop. Although not recommended – if you prefer to plant your hops in an outdoor container, rather than into the ground, make sure to choose one that is at least 5 gallons and drill holes in the bottom for drainage. IB cautions, “Even then, I’d expect the plant to be root bound by the end of the year. You’ll want to transport to an even bigger container after that… Hops need room to stretch their legs.” They are not conducive to container gardening.

How do I plant my hops plant?
Once you’ve chosen a location, plant your hops plant as quickly and efficiently as possible into the ground, making sure the root system is completely covered. IB says, “You should see it start to grow immediately after transplant shock wears off, which shouldn’t be more than a few days. You’ll want to plant the hop crown so that the ground level stays about the same.” Once planted – water immediately.

Help! I am unable to plant my hops right away.
You can store your hops plant for up to 2 weeks in a cool dark spot, preferably with a temperature of under 42 degrees fahrenheit. Alternatively, you can pot your hops plant in a 1-2 gallon container until you are able to plant it in the ground outside. Keep the potted hops plant well-watered. Make sure to plant your hops plant into the ground outside no later than early fall.

Help! I ordered multiple hops plants.
Just make sure to plant each hops plant at least 36-40 inches away from each other. Ample spacing makes sure you’ll have enough space to weed between plants and cultivate later on.

How much water do my plants need once planted?
Your new hops plant will need at least an inch of rain water per week during the first growing season.

How much can I expect my plants to grow once planted?
Your plant should grow into a full-grown hops plant in about a year’s time. It should bear cones as well.

Will I need a trellis?
Yes – your plant will need something to grow up. And hops grow quite vigorously so it’s never too soon to get a trellis or put together a makeshift one. If you’re planning to DIY your trellis – Immaculate Brewery recommends using coir, jute, or hemp twine as a training string instead of synthetic cords. “Natural fibers are easier for the bine to grab onto,” IB explains. Additionally, they make any bine ‘leftovers’ recycling and compost-friendly.

Will I need to weed?
Yes! Hops do not compete well with weeds. Use a weed killer or cover crop to clear weeds and grasses prior to planting.

Will I need to cover my hops plants?
Nope. “Hops need a period of cold dormancy to thrive, so unless you live in a frozen tundra or a meat locker… you’ll be fine,” says Immaculate Brewery. The rule of thumb? If temperatures outside are above -20 degrees F – your hops plants will be fine.

When do I harvest my cones? 
Immaculate Brewery recommends using this guide by UMV that explains when hops are really ready to harvest and how to calculate it. They even offer an online calculator to help. “I pick a few sacrificial cones, weigh them, microwave on low or toast in the oven on low, and reweigh them,” IB explains. Going through this process for the first few harvests will give you an idea of what your hops look like when they’re ready – so you can eventually graduate to what IB calls “the folksy squeeze method” – i.e. waiting for the cones to feel papery to the touch, yet spring back when squeezed. The lupulin glands will also go from translucent yellow to opaque yellow, and the cone might start to open up a tiny bit on the bine. All signs your cones are ready for harvest.

What do I do with my harvested cones? 
Once you separate the cones from the bines, you’ll want to dry them out. IB recommends spreading the cones out on a window screen and position a small fan to blow air on them. “Once you have them down to about 8% moisture, you’ll want to vacuum seal them. (If you don’t have a vacuum sealer – use a freezer bag and make sure to squeeze as much air out as possible.) Store in the freezer until you’re reading to use them,” says IB. They should keep anywhere from 6 months to a year.

Once I’ve harvested the cones – what do I do with the bine? 
“Once the cones are gone, the bine will continue to put any energy it makes from photosynthesis into root development. This is especially beneficial in your first year or two of growing hops,” Immaculate Brewery points out. A strong root system makes for a better harvest. If you’ve opted to plant your hops in containers instead of directly in the ground, you’ll need to do light crown maintenance (not after the first year, but after the 2nd and following years). You can find more about that on Immaculate Brewery’s site here. Crown maintenance can also be beneficial for plants potted directly in the ground, but not crucial.

 

Immaculate Brewery - Growing Hops At Home* A HUGE thank you goes out to Immaculate Brewery for all their help on composing the information above. Their “Growing Hops At Home” and “Fall Hops Maintenance” articles should be mandatory reads for any hops newbie. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Holiday Gifting, How-to, Style Tips

Mid-Week Musings

November 14, 2012

This week we’re thinking of Thanksgiving of course. Thankful for this festivity of food – amongst our family and friends. This year, we’re making table arrangements easy on our guests by setting the table with place cards. While the turkey is in the oven, you too can create a one-of-a-kind tablescape with some of our favorite accessories.

seating-card-inspiration

1. Above. It should come as no surprise that the fan favorite around the office is our teeny tiny succulent (second from top left). A simple tooth pick, some colored paper, and our trusty glue stick.

(Click link for visual) 

2. Top. This little guy actually looks quite sophisticated. You can usually find these tiny toys at a craft store. While you’re there, pick up some twine and small kraft hangtags. (Courtesy of The Kitchn)

3. Bottom Left. These walnut place card holders are perhaps the easiest to make last minute. Open shells slightly with a nutcracker and insert handwritten or printed name cards. (Courtesy of Martha Stewart)

4. Bottom Right. We’re still hooked on neon. These pinecone place card holders help to modernize the traditional Thanksgiving table setting. We’re thinking about trying them in gold, too! (Courtesy of Camille Styles)

5. Above. Try these monogram cord place cards from Camille Styles. Spell out guests’ names with craft cord and coat with fabric stiffener to set in place. (Courtesy of Camille Styles)

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Holiday Gifting

Behind the Scenes: Special Delivery

August 1, 2012

For moi?” you might ask. Being presented with a well-wrapped gift elicits an elusive emotion we can’t quite put our finger on. But we’re certain it’s something liken to glee, and it also makes us speak in French.

Whether the plant is a gift to yourself or to a friend, we tend to its packing with care and deliberation. Here at The Sill we want to conjure that certain je ne sais quoi every time you send or receive a plant.