Archive | April 2013

Uncommon Answers to Common Gardening Questions

Home-GardeningGardening at home is a great way to improve your health and well-being. Though you may be a good gardener, you can always learn more. Educating yourself is an easy way to improve. Here, in this article, you will get some wonderful information to help you have a better garden.

When growing plants indoors it is important to make sure that the pots have good drainage holes. If the pots do not drain it could cause your plants to drown when you are watering them. It is possible to find pots with great drainage holes for affordable prices if you take the time to do some comparison shopping at the end of summer.

You don’t need to buy expensive weed barrier fabrics for your garden. Instead use a layer of newspaper or old cardboard under your beds. It will discourage weeds and is a cost effective and biodegradable protective layer. This can also be used on pathways or anywhere you want to limit weed growth.

Try growing a shade garden. Shade gardens use less water, require less light, and are generally lower maintenance than gardens in the sun. They typically have less invasive weeds than other gardens, and have a slower growing period as well. Your yard will be a more rounded environment with a garden like this.

Get your children involved in gardening to encourage them to eat their vegetables. Children often are reluctant to eat vegetables, but if they plant vegetable seeds in the garden, nurture the plants, watch them grow and harvest them, they are more likely to be willing to eat the fruits (or vegetables) of their labor.

Each year it is important to add at least two inches of top soil or compost to you raised flower beds. This is called top-dressing, and it is important because the old compost from years past has decomposed. The new soil will replenish the bed with nutrients to feed the plants. It takes three years for a raised flower bed to get settled and for plants to get established.

To have a truly successful garden one needs to do their research first. This will help them learn the best things to plant as well as tips regarding fertilizer, the amount of watering one should do, and many other things. The proper research can save many headaches down the road.

Using natural fertilizers in ones garden will not only be better for the environment but will often be cheaper than store bought fertilizers. These natural fertilizers can be all kinds of things such as egg shells, compost, manure from the family dog, or even the remains of fish or other animals.

If you are planting your first garden, download a zone map to use as a guide. You can also find these on the back of some seed packets. The zone map will basically tell you what plants to plant when. Some plants thrive in sunshine and hot weather, others prefer cold weather and shade.

As we discussed at the beginning of this article, you can improve your gardening skills by educating yourself. When you are educated, you will know where to focus your efforts to have a better yield. Use the fantastic tips you learned here, and you will be destined for gardening success.

This entry was posted on April 24, 2013.

Removing Those Stubborn Garden Weeds And Other Great Gardening Tips

bailie_-_children_gardening_for_web1Many people would agree that one of the most rewarding endeavors is growing their own garden. There is nothing like the feeling of planting something, watching it grow, and then getting to enjoy the fruit of your labor. This article will share some useful gardening tips to help make your garden grow.

A great tip to consider in regards to gardening is to be sure that you protect your feet. Make sure that you wear a sturdy pair of old shoes or boots. This will help to keep your feet clean as well as prevent injury from rocks or sharp tools.

Grow tomatoes successfully! Plant three different types of tomatoes in 18 inch pots when the weather warms up, and position in an area that gets more than half a day’s sunlight. Fertilize weekly, and keep the soil evenly moist at all times. Avoid getting water on the leaves, as wet leaves can burn in the sunlight. Harvest ripe tomatoes constantly for a long harvest.

When you plant your garden, make sure that it has a good variety of herbs. Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow, and can be used in any number of dishes. Herbs take up little space and are the perfect investment in your garden, giving you an excellent return for the time and money spent.

If the leaves on you plants curl and turn yellow, it may be aphid infestation. A sure sign that you have an infestation is by looking for ants around the plants. Ants are attracted to aphids by a sticky, sweet substance secreted by aphids. To rid yourself of aphids, spray the plants vigorously with water in the early morning until the aphids are under control.

Herbs are the easiest plants to grow and most are problem-free from pests. The best tip for growing herbs is to continuously snip the herbs. Herbs respond well to snipping and will grow new shoots quickly. In fact, snipping herb plants will prevent them from getting leggy and tough to chew.

Create a deep flower border. Most people think the standard flower border should be about three or four deep, but a showy border needs to be at least six or eight feet. This will give you enough space to plant small ornamental trees and large flowering shrubs, along with the usual annuals and perennials.

Gardening can be a very rewarding practice. Not only can you improve the look of the outside of your home, but you can be proud of it as well. There are plenty of tools and things to use in gardening and this can be a very rewarding activity. You can improve not only your home but your neighborhood and quite possibly start saving on groceries by growing your own food!

Buying a container-grown shrub. Slide the shrub out of its container to check for a well-developed root system. The roots should have healthy, white tips, and not look dry at all. Don’t buy a plant if it has poorly developed roots, or if the roots are congested and coiled around the base of the pot. These kinds of roots rarely establish themselves once they are planted in the ground.

If you want to have a more productive garden, expand your growing season into the fall by using row covers. Row covers keep heat in, frost out, and also protect against deer intrusion. The crops under the row covers should still be somewhat resistant to cold however, so it is best to choose greens and root vegetables.

If you are intending on getting into gardening, be sure to purchase the right tools and equipment necessary to do all the tasks. This will help insure that you do not end up ruining your garden by using improper tools and wasting a lot of time and energy for naught.

Combining different selections of plants in a garden area holds the interest and adds to the enjoyment of the viewer. Merge contrasting plants to craft interesting combinations. Add big leaf plants with fine leaf plants and combine them with plants different in texture and color to create the most eye catching and interesting landscape garden.

Although it is a most enjoyable pursuit, gardening is not always easy. There are a lot of factors involved in making a garden that is lovely and produces well. By following the pointers shared in this article, you will be well on your way to enjoying a beautiful garden that will bring you hours of enjoyment.

This entry was posted on April 17, 2013.

Great Ways to Protect Your Garden from Bugs

gardening-womanGardening is not just a popular hobby for those who own property, but a family activity and even a profession for some. As with any endeavor, gardening is a lot easier if you know a few things before you get started. Read on to learn some pieces of advice sure to make your thumb a little greener.

Plant your garden in stages. Put in a new vegetable every week, or plant vegetables with different maturation speeds when you do your planting. This helps prevent you from having a large harvest all at once, and will better allow you to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labors.

You can get most of the gardening tools you need second-hand. Visit yard sales and estate sales near you to look for gardening tools at a very low price. You can also visit online trading or donation groups to trade items you have for gardening tools, or even to find find free tools.

Test your soil before purchasing fertilizer. Fertilizers provide essential nutrients to plants, such as phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen. However, fertilizers can be very expensive. By testing your garden soil to see which nutrients it is lacking, you can avoid spending extra money on a complex fertilizer, and instead purchase a fertilizer containing only the nutrients that your soil requires.

To be sure a tree doesn’t become a problem with age, think of what size it will become before you plant it. The perfect place for a sapling may not be a great place for a tree several years down the road. You should be especially careful not to plant a tree too closely to your house, as the roots can cause damage.

Make your own compost ahead of time rather than purchasing it. Adding compost to your garden gives your plants a needed boost to grow successfully. Begin saving your grass cuttings, raked up leaves, egg shells, and skin from fruits and vegetables in a sturdy bin 6 months prior to your gardening season. Your compost will then be ready to mix in with your dirt on planting day.

If you can’t get mulch for your soil, use wet newspapers. Damp newspapers around the base of your plants will help hold moisture in the ground and protect your plants’ root systems from heat and sunlight. Newspaper is biodegradable, so it will eventually degrade and actually add more nutrients to your soil.

Brighten up your winter garden with trees that have interesting bark. A winter garden can tend to look bare and drab, especially if you live in a very cold climate. Three good choices are a paperbark maple, silver birch or scarlet willow. This will make a quite noticeable difference to the look of your garden.

If you want to make plant markers from objects you have around the home, try using old window blinds. Cutting up your old blinds will let you make markers that are almost identical to the ones you’d buy at a store. They’re very durable, and should easily be able to survive bad weather.

Make sure you read the labels on any weedkillers or pesticides that you use in your garden. Follow the directions closely. Using too much of a chemical can be dangerous to your health and the health of your garden. Failing to read the label might also mean that you get the wrong chemical for the problem that you’re having, polluting the ground around your garden for no reason.

If you are gardening in containers, be sure each container has a drainage system to prevent water from pooling. Lining the bottom of a container with small rocks or pebbles can also help with water drainage for container gardening. Allowing water to sit for extended periods can rot the root system of your plants.

Pay attention to the time of year that your plants bloom before you start pruning them. If you prune your flowering shrubs and trees while they have buds on them, that plant won’t flower that year. The best time to prune is just after the last season’s blooms have faded.

Pay attention to zones when choosing plants for your garden. Most plants will come with the zone marked. This is also true of seeds. Make sure the zone corresponds to your growing zone. Though plants may grow outside of their usual zone, they are less likely to be hardy plants.

To rid your plants of red spider mite, use old coffee grounds. Take the grounds and mix them with water in a spray bottle. Head over to your plants and spray all the infected areas. The caffeine in the grounds will help your plants fight off the spider mite, and unlike many other caffeinated beverage, there’s nothing in coffee grounds that will harm your plants.

You were told in the opening of this piece that if you read on, you would learn a few things about planting and growing. Hopefully, that has taken place and you are ready to go out in the yard and plant some seeds. Keep in mind what you have learned, and you’ll have fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers in no time.

This entry was posted on April 11, 2013.

My Tips for Getting a Great Green Thumb!

Maze-Wall-Vertical-Garden5Has searching for tips and tricks related to gardening proven unfruitful so far? Either the information you have come across is wrong or it is worded in a hard-to-understand way. This article will provide some great advice for you so that you have a successful gardening experience.

Try using latex or plastic gloves instead of cloth gardening gloves. Cloth gardening gloves do not block moisture well – a problem when working with moist soil, and they often get stiff, crinkly, and uncomfortable after a few uses. A sturdy pair of plastic or latex gloves, like those used for cleaning, are a much better choice. They protect against moisture, and cleaning is as simple as rinsing them off under a hose and hanging to dry.

Try to fill your garden with a variety of plants instead of just a few types. A garden with a wide variety is more resistant to garden pests. It attracts more beneficial insects that eat the bad bugs. This will cut down on the need for pesticides. A garden with just a few types of plants will sustain more damage from pest invasions.

For those new to gardening it is suggested to experiment with annuals. The following varieties are hardy, thrive in average soil, and take minimum care: sweet alyssum, marigold, zinnia, sunflower, nasturtium, petunia and verbena. Just remember to deadhead them frequently to encourage new flowers to grow.

You need to make sure to wear sunscreen when you are gardening. It is important to apply a generous amount of sunscreen on a regular basis when you are gardening so that you can protect yourself from the rays of the sun. Sunscreen should be applied more than just one time throughout the day.

Gardening doesn’t have to stop in the spring. Planting in the fall can help you have a beautifully vibrant garden once the winter snows melt away. Some plants that do well being planted in the fall include chrysanthemums, kales, and asters. Another benefit of planting in the fall is that bulbs need less fertilizer and watering, saving you some additional costs.

Treat yourself while you garden with a little petroleum jelly. Before donning your gardening gloves, apply a bit of petroleum jelly or your favorite moisturizing cream to your hands. The gloves protect from the dirt, while your hand movement works the cream into your skin. You will finish your gardening with silky soft hands!

Draw your fingernails across a bar of soap, to seal the undersides of your nails off. Doing this will prevent dirt from becoming trapped underneath them while you are gardening. When you are finished in the garden, you can clean your nails with a nailbrush to remove the soap.

Get rid of any garden pests immediately. Garden pests, such as red spider mites, ants, whitefly, and aphids, can infect your plants with various diseases, so if you notice any of the plants in your garden dying or failing to thrive, check for pests first. To get rid of garden pests, invest in a good pesticide.

To rid your plants of red spider mite, use old coffee grounds. Take the grounds and mix them with water in a spray bottle. Head over to your plants and spray all the infected areas. The caffeine in the grounds will help your plants fight off the spider mite, and unlike many other caffeinated beverage, there’s nothing in coffee grounds that will harm your plants.

When deciding to plant a garden, it is important to survey the areas available for planting and determine which will be the best location. Whether you grow your fruits and vegetables in your yard, on your patio in containers, or on your apartment balcony, your plants should be in a location which is exposed to sunlight. To yield the best harvest, most crops need to be situated in an area which is an open location that is sunny.

A great tip to consider in regards to gardening is to make sure that you detach your hose from any outside water outlets when the weather starts to get cold. This is important so that you do not cause any damage to your hose or outlet due to freezing water.

The best way to improve your soil is to amend it with different substances, depending on the type of soil you have. Most plants thrive in loamy soil, so adding organic mulches, such as peat moss or hummus, will add nutrients and improve the soil structure. Grass clippings are another material to add that will decay slowly into the soil and add valuable nutrients. Just make sure the grass doesn’t have pesticide residue on the blades that might harm plant roots.

To summarize, you ended up here because all of the information about gardening that you have come across so far has proven to be less than useful. This is wasting time that you could have spent outside in the garden! Use the advice given here and you should be happy with your results.

This entry was posted on April 4, 2013.

Xtreme Gardening

Competitive-pumpkin-growing-Brain-C.-Frank-for-The-New-York-TimesPeople go nuts over their hobbies all the time.  I guess that’s because we don’t find working nine-to-five very interesting!

No, seriously, people really love their hobbies.  I love my garden, obviously.  But extreme gardening??

Well, first of all, just what is it, anyway…it’s basically folks who get all crazy over their creations and, well, create these astounding gardens, really incredibly well manicured plants and whatnot — but the thing is, they’re all out of proportion, you know, like Trump’s bombast or Romney’s car elevators…only we’re talking gardening here!

If you search the internet you can find amazing photos and videos of people’s pet projects: we’re talking about victory gardens that not only put Versailles to shame, but Lucasfilm’s SFX department as well!  I mean, they’re really crazy creations, stuff that involve not just imagination but, ahem, a rather perverted Jim Burton kinda imagination, you know what I mean?  Something out of Bettlejuice or Nightmare Before Christmas — yeech!

I, Zalman Silber, nominate this kind of gardening xtreme gardening, gardening that, well, goes to extremes.  Like costing thousands of dollars a year to maintain!  I don’t care how rich you are; that’s just plain ridiculous.  I mean, do you really need giant bushes that are trimmed to look like Mickey Mouse silhouettes?  Well, do ya??

Take it from me; you ain’t seen nothing more beautiful than an expertly cared-for flower bed…that right there will put to shame any mega-sized effort…I mean, think about bonsai — they’re so small and yet there’s something really artful about them!  (Actually, truth to tell, I think technically they may qualify as extreme gardening, too, but that’s another post.)

Okay, that’s it for now…tune in next week (“same Bat-time; same Bat-channel!”) for more of my thoughts on anything and everything having to do with nothing at all!  Yeah!

This entry was posted on April 3, 2013.

The Zalman Silber Guide to Gardening

topiary_460Very few things are as rewarding as gardening. Seeing a plant grow from seed to a mature plant is fun and fulfilling. By reading the following tips, you can gain new insight into your garden and expand your techniques. Even the most basic of actions can produce satisfactory and noticeable results.

Plant crops compatible with each other in order to add even more efficiency to your garden. Plant crops that take longer to mature next to faster growing varieties. You can also get ahead of the season by planting cooler climate crops in the shade of larger summer crops. Greens such as lettuce do great in the shade of a large tomato plant.

Tulips can be a gorgeous outer border for your garden. These beautiful flowers are the first to bloom in the spring. There are many vibrant colors of tulips and so, they can easily add beauty to your garden. Tulips will bloom while some of your other flowers are still waiting to pop out. This means you will have a more colorful garden, for a longer period of time.

When weeding, be sure to remove the roots of your weeds. These roots cause new growth to happen quickly. They also remove precious water from your soil. Weeds that grow quickly will strangle your flowers, and steal nutrients from the soil. Get close to the earth and pull all weeds out by the roots for best results.

If you are planning an irrigation system for your garden, consider a drip irrigation system. A conventional system using sprinkler heads loses a lot water through evaporation. However, a drip system irrigates your garden by a constant slow drip of water beneath the surface, which means less water is wasted through evaporation.

Recycle your old pantyhose for garden use! Pantyhose make exceptional garden ties as they are very malleable, very strong and yet extremely soft, so they won’t saw into the plants you are tying up. Best of all, since you are recycling, this solution is another great way to save money.

Prune climbing roses after blooming. The first year you plant a climbing rose it won’t require any pruning – simply encourage it to grow. A rambling rose or large-flowered climber probably won’t bloom until the second summer. In early spring, prune out any dead branches, and generally tidy up the plant. After blooming, remove the oldest canes that are showing no signs of new growth. Don’t leave this too late, as climbing roses produce strong new growth immediately after flowering, and you may end up pruning the new canes which are responsible for producing flowers the following year.

Make a point to get rid of slugs as soon as you see them. Slugs will continue eating your plants until your garden is just a shell of its former self. There are a variety of chemical and organic methods that you can try; find something that works for you and protect your plants!

Once you begin gathering produce from your garden, share it with your friends and family. It is extremely satisfying to give them a gift containing something that you made with your own hands. Seeing the pleased reactions of the recipients, also motivates you to continue working hard on your garden.

To make the most of the water you use, be sure to water your plants first thing in the morning. Doing this makes your water less likely to evaporate, and allows foliage to dry quickly. This reduces the risk of many common diseases, and will help your plants grow to be strong and healthy.

Make sure you water your garden daily. If you or someone else can’t do it every day, you may want to look at setting up a sprinkler system. The convenience of having a sprinkler system outweighs the cost of it. This way your garden will be watered every day.

No one said gardening was easy. However, few will say it isn’t worth the effort. As with anything that requires effort, time and patience are needed. You already spent a moment to read these tips, so take the initiative and give these tips a try. You won’t regret it and you might even be glad you did.

This entry was posted on April 3, 2013.