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Category Archives: Gardening

Garden Tricks for Summer

Get Rid of Weeds:

As your plants grow, they should provide enough shade to hinder the growth of weeds, but they still need to be removed if you see them so they don’t prevent more weeds later down the track.

Pick Your Vegetable Plants Clean:

Fruiting plants such as tomato vines can be picked clean as the fruit begins to ripen. This will prevent the plant from producing over-matured fruit and ensures the longevity of the plant.

Water Your Plants in the Morning:

It’s best to water your plants before the sun rises so the heat of the burning sun doesn’t evaporate all the water before the plants have the chance to absorb it. You can also water your plants in the late afternoon but you may have to fend off those pesky mosquitoes.

Remove Dead Flower Heads:

Picking these off will allow the plant to focus more energy into being able to flower again. And new flowers will mean a more beautiful garden!

Get on Top of Pest Management:

It pays to watch for signs of pests and disease while your weeding or watering your garden to keep on top of any issues as early detection is key. Welcome the good bugs and insects such as worms and bees into your backyard, but keep the nasties out.

Fertilise Your Garden:

Your plants may need a top up of nutrients especially in the extreme heat of summer. Fertilising your plants will give them a much-needed nutrient boost, especially if they were planted more than a month ago.

Clear Your Gutters:

The beginning of summer marks an excellent time to assess the state of your gutters. With summer brings an increased risk of bush fires. One way to reduce this risk is to install gutter guards. Gutter guards are a metal mesh insert that prevents the build-up of leaves and other debris in your gutters, reducing the risk of embers starting a fire by falling into the leaves on your roof.

Aquaponics Indoor

Many gardeners who do traditional gardening or who have a desire to garden but do not have enough land have turned to Aquaponic gardening or farming. This method of growing allows production for fruits, vegetables, and fish. Both horizontal and vertical growing can be accomplished.

Beginners often start their first project in the home. Do you have an aquarium in storage or want to do more with your current fish tank? People enjoy the living art and the d├ęcor which this system introduces into living quarters. The beauty of the colorful fish and the greenery adds nature to the indoors while also growing foods. If there is no interest in growing foods many flowering plants may be considered.

Many gardeners enjoy traditional gardening. Some people like to use both methods.

Traditional Versus Aquaponics:

  1. Land vs water
  2. Large space vs small space
  3. Seasonal vs year-round
  4. Gardening tools vs some tools
  5. Seeds or plants are used in both systems
  6. Fertilizers vs organic fish wastes
  7. Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides vs none required for indoors
  8. Hours of maintenance vs one hour a day
  9. Manual labor vs automatic operating equipment
  10. Natural weather conditions vs controlled indoor environment
  11. Eat produce vs eat produce and fish

Growing plants with water and fish is much easier. This is a more pleasant way of obtaining organic vegetables and fresh fish raised on the homeland with minimum of effort and costs.

Fish has become very expensive at grocery stores. If you enjoy eating fish this becomes more affordable than shopping at your local store.

Why are home gardeners and commercial farmers using this method of growing crops or fish or the combination of crops and fish?

  1. Requires less water than traditional farming
  2. No waste water is produced
  3. No soil eroding conditions
  4. No requirements for harsh insecticides
  5. Toxin free fish

This type of farming coupled with fish farming has been done for thousands of years. Home growers have made great strides and the more ambitious gardeners are using abandoned buildings, such as warehouses, to build a commercial business. Once again, a hobby has become an entrepreneurs career.

How is this gardening accomplished?

  1. Select ornamental or edible fish
  2. A floating platform of containers with a plant or seed is placed on top of the water
  3. The roots are attracted to their nutritional needs with fish wastes
  4. The fish are placed below the plants.
  5. Feed your fish as their waste matter is the essential fertilizer for the plants
  6. The roots of the plants keep the fish tank clean

Care for Young Trees

The first 3-5 years are crucial for the health of the tree. With the proper tree care, you can up the chance of growing a healthy specimen. This in turn means reduced maintenance costs and minimises the potential issues that may develop. Make sure you follow the instructions below:

Watering – one of the most important aspects to looking after young trees is proper watering. Young trees can do with regular watering in order to fight off diseases. It is important to deep water them frequently in order to prevent surface roots. You can use the indication of soil moisture on how often to water. When the soil 4-6 inches below the surface of a tree feels moist (not wet), you should water. Be alert for drought symptoms, such as wilted, yellow/brown leaf edges. Mulch can greatly help with moisture retention in the soil. A 3-5 inch thick layer of mulch does wonders in that regard. Don’t rely on lawn irrigation, since light sprinkling for 5-10 minutes a day is only enough to moisten a few inches of the soil. Here are some practical watering instructions you should keep in mind throughout the life of a tree.

Year 1 – a few days after planting you should be watering every single day by filling the tree basin with 15 gallons of water. Reduce the amount of times you water to once a week within the next 3 weeks. The next 6 months you should fill the basin every other week for the remainder of the first year. At this point, roots require not just water, but also oxygen.

Year 2 – when rain is scarce, you should water every 2-4 weeks with about 15-20 gallons of water. Don’t water on the surface, because that creates water dependency and shallow roots. The goal is to water deeply but infrequently, so as to allow roots to seek moisture underground in order to develop properly.

Years 3-5 – watering once a month with 20-30 gallons of water is ideal. That maximises soaking and conserves water at the same time. Keep in mind prolonged dry periods, because proper watering during such times means the difference between a thriving and a struggling tree.

Weeding – despite the fact that trees usually tower over other plants, that can leave them deprived of nutrients and moisture. It is best to keep the base of the tree free from grass and other plants.

Perfect Sitting Area in Garden

Gazebos add beauty and luxury to your gardens. It will give a unique look to your gardens. It not only covers the extra space of your premises but also provide room for you. You can install gazebos, flowers, ponds, fountains, benches and hedges altogether in your backyard. If you require somewhat privacy in your gazebos, you can fix it with gazebo side panels in your yard. The open sides of the gazebos will hinder your privacy. You can surely take various steps to make it convenient for your leisure time. The intensifying structure of the gazebo will give your lawn a geometric feel. You can use them for meditations, relaxation, gatherings and other fun activities.

Gazebos add value and grace to your lawns:

Different homeowners primarily concentrate on large and spacious rooms, useful garages and the necessary facilities in a house like electricity, plumbing etc. Nevertheless, nowadays they are focusing on creating a fancy look to their residential property that will also add immense value to their land. It is not only beneficial for their outlook of beautiful premises but also it will prove advantageous in future if they want to take a selling transaction.

Selecting the wrong type of gazebo can pull down the value of your property. There are many kinds of gazebos. Some of them are written below:

1. Pergola

2. Pagoda

3. Rotundas

4. Belvederes

5. Pavilion

6. The folly Gazebo

If you install belvederes in your small lawn, it will not prove a good idea because it will block the scenery you wanted to gaze at to forget and release the stress. Similarly, a pavilion built in a snowy or freezing area, cannot benefit you at all without gazebo side panels. Until it is sheltered by trees or a wall etc. the wrong choice of gazebo will defeat the purpose of it.

Accessible in various varieties:

Gazebos can be constructed and purchased as kits and pop-ups. They are also available in personalised forms. The constructors can build the gazebo fulfilling your requirements. You just have to ask them the kind of gazebo you want to have for your gardens. Same designed gazebo and canopies will be at your doorstep in the fixed time. They are the little bit expensive. However, you have various other cheaper options as well. There are many manufacturers in the market, who can take custom orders from you for the ornamentation, size, colour and seating arrangements of gazebos for your backyards and lawns.

They let you spend time out of your house:

Several people in our society profess a business or do a job. They do not have much time to spend at home. Whereas there are, many people found in the community too, who spend their most of the time indoors or they do not belong to a background of those persons who have jobs. Staying indoors is a tough task. It is why they need a change. For that change they get their selves indulge in other activities. Enjoying nature is one of the best exercises for them. They can do it spending their most of the time over there. In such situation, gazebos play its best role being picturesque and children friendly too.

All about Smartweed

1. Smartweed as an Antioxidant

Oxidation of free radicals is the main reason behind aging. Antioxidant serve as the guard against it. You can definitely lessen the oxidation process with the intake of smartweed.

2. Smartweed for Cholera

A person gets afflicted to cholera when he either drinks contaminated water or eats adulterated food. The decoction of smartweed is the remedy to treat cholera. And it has been practiced by natural healers in the past.

3. Smartweed for Respiratory Ailments

If your respiratory tracts are congested, use smartweed. The herb has been used to treat cough, asthma, sore throat and respiratory infection.

4. Smartweed to Stop Excessive Bleeding

The lance-shaped wavy leaves are known to possess rutin that strengthens the fragile blood capillaries. It stops excessive bleeding.

5. Smartweed for Indigestion

The smartweed is known as the drug that prevents the accumulation of gas in the alimentary canal. So all the unwanted gas will be expelled from your intestine when you regularly take this.

6. Smartweed for Diuretic

If you are in the habit of going to the loo too frequently, add this ‘smart’ herb in your meal and stop becoming the laughing stock. The smartweed has the capability to stop the excessive passing of urine.

7. Smartweed as a Treatment of Piles

Intake of smartweed herbal medicine can treat piles medicinally known as hemorrhoids.

8. Smartweed as an Oral Contraceptive

Researchers have characterized smartweed as an anti-fertility drug. If you want to prevent conception, use smartweed as an oral contraception.

9. Smartweed for Treating Gastric Ulcer

The herb is known to be rich in quercetin, a flavonoid known to possess antioxidant properties which can help in treating the gastric ulcer.

10. Smartweed for Dysentery

Immerse the smartweed in cold water and let it sit in there for a while. Now, remove the herb and drink this herbal water and see the effect.

Backyard Landscaping

The Main Reasons That I Hear

There are 3 main reasons that I hear all the time. You just moved into a house and you want to upgrade. Maybe you just got married and you and your spouse plan on starting a family one day. Or maybe you are planning on selling your home and you know this is a solid investment to make. At this point in my life the last one is my favorite. You simply want to enjoy what you already have. These are absolutely all good reasons so let’s get started.

It all starts with a plan

Before you start digging anything up you need a solid plan. This should include the entire property you want to incorporate. If not your end result could look like a mishmash of designer magazine. You must know your desired outcome before you start. Sometimes you will run into road blocks that you did not foresee no matter how well you planned everything out. This will happen from time to time. Just remember this though, your earlier preparation will pay huge dividends if this should happen.

Take advantage of the type of land you have

A good plan will put importance of taking advantage of the land you have and its features. What I mean is this. Lets take the sun for example. Are there certain parts of your yard that get the sun in morning and shade in afternoon. Or maybe you are in an area that gets the sun in one part and shade in the other all day. And what about your soil type. Is it fast draining or does it drain on the slower side. How about your climate. Do you have cold winters or do they average in the 60″s. This is something that you should consider.

What Is Your Vision

Objects appear smaller in the rear view mirror than they actually are. Do you remember that. Well the same applies here only in reverse. Some types of hardscaping are actually larger than what you vision in your mind. Be cautious and extremely careful before you decide on something that could be very costly to fix if wrong.

Tree Care And Cutting

Knowing how to tend to your plants is vital and it can enable you to avoid these calamities. A tree, just like any other living life form, has a number of requirements to develop and keep up the balance of its own system. A few things that you do with your plants could be hazardous, and neglecting the necessities of your plants can have negative outcomes.

There are a couple of the essential steps for tree care that you need to take to guarantee that your yard remains in a healthy condition, and it will help in keeping away diseases from happening. This begins with planting them in the right zones.

Every plant species is unique, and it’s crucial for you to know its special needs before planting. You will require enough area to help the extent of its root system, so know these things ahead of time and plan appropriately.

Placing mulch around your tree is an awesome approach to keep your tree in incredible condition. It not just keeps lawnmowers from getting excessively close, which could be damaging to the roots, yet it stops weed development, and the soil around from being excessively tramped down.

Greenhouses

  1. Cold Frame Boxes: Portable framed boxes which service seedlings or plants to become stronger or acclimated to withstand an environmental change before being transplanted into the traditional garden.
  2. Lean-To Greenhouse: The lean-to green house is a three-sided structure which is attached to the side of a stable building, wall, or fence. Its design presents the appearance of a half-house with a slanted roof and three sides covered with plastic, shade cloth, or glass.
  3. Free standing building: A permanently constructed building for the serious horticulturist.

The cold frame box is a square portable container usually constructed of wood with a slanted lid covered with glass or 6 ml polyethylene sheeting. The purpose of the cold frame is to transplant young seedlings from an indoor setting to a temporary controlled environment before being planted into the main garden area. It helps the seedlings to not experience sudden shock or die from the abrupt temperature changes.

The Lean-to is often referred to as a half-house with a vertical slanted roof. The convenience of this style is its placement. It is most often placed against the wall of a house, barn, shed, or other stable structure which allows for the added convenience of utilities, storage space, and walking distance for hauling. This structure may be simple or designed to meet the architectural style of the stable wall.

The free-standing building is for serious horticulturists or commercial usage. For instance, you may live in a four-season state and raise tropical plants. These plants will not survive without the controlled environment of the greenhouse.

This permanent structure will stand for many decades. This building is fully equipped with hanging rails, shelves, sink and plumbing fixtures, controlled heat and air conditioning, lighting, fans, work bench, and other accessories which the gardener utilizes.

Other benefits for investing in this added protection includes protection from inclement weather, insects and critters, year-round growing, a hospital for sick plants, light-weight tools, automatically controlled utilities, and less stressful labor.

Care For Bermuda Grass

A homeowner can have a Bermuda lawn just by following the step-by-step program of Bermuda grass lawn care. With proper watering and mowing, the Bermuda lawn will grow healthy and strong.

Bermuda spreads through stolons and rhizomes. These are the above-ground stems and spreading roots respectively. Because these spread fast, the homeowner must be vigilant when it comes to keeping out of shrub or flower borders. Bermuda that has become wayward is easy to dig during the winter because it has become dormant.

Here are some steps to remedy the weed problems on Bermuda lawn care:

1. Apply pre-emergences during very early spring.

2. Control the lawn weeds during early spring.

3. Apply fertilizer during late spring after 50% green up. Do insect control when necessary.

4. Bermuda likes acid soils. When needed to raise pH, apply lime during the late fall.

Here are some steps to maintain your Bermuda lawn’s good condition

1. Apply high nitrogen fertilizers every month to six weeks during the summer months

2. Apply fertilizer until early September and do insect control during late spring or during early summer.

3. Apply winter lawn treatment with a pre emergence and Potash the end of October (winter conditioner) and do insect control when needed during late summer or during early fall.

The key is to do the steps indicated throughout the year. You will see improvements in your Bermuda lawn after that given time. Remember to read the label on the lawn care product before you apply it to your Bermuda grass. You have to be careful with the weed killers and fertilizers. Only use products that have been specified for Bermuda grass lawn care.

Gardening Without a Plan

Condo Gardening

If you live in a condo or in an apartment, then your gardening might be limited to flowerpot gardening, or windowsill gardening or patio gardening. Whatever the case, you can still garden! There are ways to do this –even in apartments and even in the strictest condos. Ears open now?

Private Home Gardening

If you live in a home, your own home, you might have less rules than a condo has, yet, even in most neighborhoods, you have that “unspoken” rule, “green grass rules”! Not to worry, you, too, can garden. You can still have your own personal space, your own style and stay right where you are.

Mansion Gardening

If you live in a mansion, yes, a mansion, you can still be a personal gardener for your own space. The key to happiness is all in knowing or realizing that, yes, “YOU CAN DO IT”!

What’s your message?

So, what is your neighborhood “statement” or unwritten rule? Look around you to find out what that is. Are all the yards bright green, no wholes in the lawn, just perfect, rectangular pieces of real or fake grass? Are all the houses, trim, slim, unencumbered, and just plain the same? As you look down the block, is it hard to tell one house from another? Does it look like the Stepford Wives live there? Really? What is the unwritten, unspoken rule of your block, of your neighborhood? Is there hope for your creative or different mind, right where you are? Yes, indeed! There’s always hope. If you keep an open mind, and are willing to really hear me, I’ll share my ideas about individual gardening or “gardening without a plan”.

What is your plan?

Do you want your garden to look like a professional? Do you want your space to say, “Hey, landscaper here”! Or do you want your green space to say, “Wow, that’s a lot of work”! Or do you want your gardening space to say, “Welcome to my wonderful, natural garden”! Or is your message, “No dog poop allowed”!

Are you gardening to bring attention to your cause or to your charity or to your line of work? Would Bonsai fit the plan? Is your plan to have people stop, pause and slow down in this busy city? Do you garden to promote peace? Or is your garden saying, “I believe in God”! Do you want the neighbors or people passing by to keep on walking or to stop and pause and to enjoy the green space? Ask yourself these questions and a few others and you just might have a plan for your unplanned garden.

Budget?

Can you afford the best for your garden? Or are you on a very limited budget? Is gardening part of your budget in a different way? Are you going to grow certain plants just to avoid buying things in a grocery store? Are you ready to plant Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, and other herbs because you want to be able to pick your cooking ingredients every day — rather than shop for these things?

Budget or No Budget?

Or is your budget unlimited? Can you afford the top of the line in gardening get ups and accessories? Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is and begin creating a most magnificent garden, perhaps the most magnificent garden in your whole area? Ready for that?

Gardening Goals

Now, what is your real goal? What’s your real message? What is the “why” of your gardening?

Does your garden say, “Freedom”? Or does your garden say, “Hey, I’m fitting right in here”! Does your garden remain quiet, serene, unencumbered by whatever anyone else has to say or do — about your gardening? Are you looking to create and organize a mini-farm? Do you want a country environment, a natural environment or are you willing to ditch all that grass and trade it in for common sense groundcover? Do you want to mow grass? Or do you want to have a goat eat all the grass? The choices are all yours!

Or do you want your garden to remain “no work; no stress”?

Whichever is your goal or your statement, this is the place for you because all garden topics will be covered and then a few more. Over the next few weeks or months, I’ll cover practically every kind of gardening that there is. Hope you enjoy the ride!

Over time, we will discuss almost all the aspects of gardening and of other hobbies and of other nature topics.