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The green thumb gazette.

Send your gardening questions to our gardening expert, Dr. Kathryn Orvis, at The Green Thumb Gazette, Box 567, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46206.

Dear Dr. Orvis:

What difference is there between flowers called "annuals" and "perennials"?

Signed, Years Truly

Dear Truly:

Annuals (ANN-you-uls) are plants that are planted as seeds (usually in the spring), grow to maturity, flower, produce seed, and die all in one season. In most parts of this country, that means spring through fall. In the southern states it could also run from fall to spring.

Some familiar annuals are marigolds, petunias, zinnias, sunflowers, and impatiens.

Perennials (pair-EN-ee-uls) are. plants that live longer than annuals. You can say that garden perennials are non-woody, flowering plants that live longer than two years.

Some common garden perennials are daisies, coreopsis, day lilies, bleeding heart, and hostas.

Dear Dr. Orvis:

How is good soil different from bad soil?

Signed, Well Grounded

Dear Grounded:

An ideal soil will contain a mix of air, water, organic matter, and earth.

Soil that is heavy, like clay, will have less space for air, which roots need.

Plant roots also need water, but not so much that they drown; remember they also need oxygen or air. A soil like clay can hold too much water, while sand will not hold enough.

Nutrients (NOO-tree-unts) are also important. Plants need different kinds of food to live, and the roots pick up food from the soil. Soil should have just the right amount of food; too much or too little will hurt the plant.

If your soil lacks any of these elements, a good way to help is to mix in some organic matter, like compost. This adds the air, water, and food that plants love!

The Junior Master Gardener program might be just the thing for you. To order the Junior Master Gardener Handbook send $20.00 plus $2 for shipping and handling to U.S. Kids / Junior Master Gardener, Box 567, Indianapolis, IN 46206.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Children's Better Health Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Orvis, Kathryn
Publication:U.S. Kids
Date:Jan 1, 2002
Words:326
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