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Simple Ways Organic Gardening Tips

organic-gardeningThe act of natural planting may appear to be scary and complex yet it is not as troublesome or costly as you may think. While it is an alternate way to deal with planting, it essentially implies finding new hotspots for your supplies and figuring out how to utilize them. Business natural cultivators are bound by strict government directions however home planters have more adaptability. You can cultivate naturally, bit by bit staging in new natural practices before you turn into an undeniable natural nursery worker.

The best way to start is from the ground up, so to speak. Healthy soil results in healthy plants that are more resistant to insects and diseases. If the friability or drainage of your soil needs improvement, use natural amendments such as dried leaves, compost, or manure. I favor well-composted horse manure with shavings from local stables because it is available by the truckload and is relatively inexpensive. Many states have local agricultural newspapers that are filled with ads offering various types of manure and compost. Your State Department of Agriculture can direct you to the publication that best suits your needs. Of course, you can always find these amendments cleanly bagged at your local garden center or home improvement store.

After amending your soil, have it tested through your local county extension office. (Be sure to follow the test instructions so that you get accurate results.) Once you get your test results, use organic compounds in place of synthetic ones to balance up your soil. The tests are typically calibrated for synthetic fertilizers, so you may not be able to find organic fertilizers in the same exact ratios. You can find instructions on how to convert inorganic fertilizers from your soil test report to organic ones here.

Next, begin the use of organic pest controls. There are many great products available. You may find that local garden centers and home improvement stores carry a limited selection. For more choices, shop the web. Some excellent sources I have found are Gardens Alive, Extremely Greenand Golden Harvest Organics . The key to successful insect control is consistent and proper application.

After you are comfortable using organic pest controls, begin using organic fertilizers. Fish emulsions are the most readily available and can be applied using a foliar spray application or just watered in. Don’t be concerned about odor. The smell dissipates fairly quickly. Just don’t get it on your clothes or all the neighborhood cats will be eyeing you hungrily!

Organic seeds are the next step. Again, the widest selection will be through the web. Most catalogs clearly indicate whether seeds are organic or not. Organic seeds come from plants that are raised organically. They are important because they promote plant diversity and are not genetically modified. Usually organic seeds are open-pollinated varieties, meaning that if you save the seeds from these plants they will reproduce true to form. This is a key factor in preserving heirloom varieties. Check out Seeds of Change.

Lastly, explore ways to control weeds without using chemical herbicides. Mulch is one of the easiest ways to keep weeds down. Apply a thick layer of pinestraw, shredded bark, well-composted wood chips, newspapers printed with soy-based ink or kraft paper to smother them. Hoeing and hand-pulling, if done consistently, are another great way to prevent weeds from taking over. Also, corn gluten can be used as a pre-emergent. Just don’t use it where you have seeds planted as it does not discriminate between desirable and undesirable seeds.

Organic gardening practices can be simplified by implementing them in stages. While I encourage you garden entirely organically, any step you take will have a positive impact.

Garden and Your Health

garden-and-your-healthBreak out the apparatuses and patio nursery your way to a more beneficial personality, body and soul. Plant specialists know it and exploration demonstrates that cultivating is an extraordinary type of activity.

You’ll work out all your significant muscle bunches when raking, burrowing and planting for 60 minutes. Incorporate cultivating as a noteworthy segment of your workout plan. You’ll extend and fortify muscles while advancing cardiovascular wellbeing and keeping up bone mass. A University of Arkansas study found that yard fill in and weight preparing more altogether kept up bone thickness than high impact exercise, moving or bicycling in ladies more than 50.

And for those of us trying to lose weight, add 30 minutes of gardening to your daily or weekly routine to help shed some extra pounds.  A half hour of raking burns 162 calories, weeding 182 and turning the compost pile a whopping 250 calories.  Gardening several times a week will help keep you and your landscape looking its best.  And anytime I can receive double or triple the benefit from my time and energy, the more likely I am to complete the task.

Don’t let physical challenges keep you from gardening.  Maintain joint flexibility, range of motion and your quality of life by tending your landscape.   Everyone, especially those suffering from arthritis, will appreciate these benefits.  Just include a bit of planning, healthful gardening techniques and pace yourself so you can enjoy your home garden now and for years to come.

Plan your landscape for beauty and ease.  Grow moisture-loving plants in beds near a source of water.  Have a shed or storage  bin stocked with your favorite tools conveniently located in your landscape.  Add a mailbox or two in remote areas of your yard.  Store a trowel, twine, pruners and other frequently needed small tools in the mailboxes for easy access to needed tools.

Or invest in a tool caddy, garden apron or cart that allows you to carry frequently used tools with you.  Purchase or convert discards like an old golf bag on wheels or wheeled garbage can into long handled tool bags.  I like the small garden stools that provide both seating and tool storage.  They provide relief for the knees and reduce trips made retrieving forgotten hand tools.

Protect your joints and muscles while gardening.  Warm up, just as you would for any workout, with a few simple stretches.  Protect your knees by using a stool, kneeling pad or one legged kneel (other foot flat on the ground and back straight) instead of squatting.

And if kneeling is too painful raise your garden to a comfortable height.  Containers, vertical walls and raised beds look good while allowing those with stiff joints, back problems and other physical limitations to keep gardening.

And no matter what shape you are in drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated during and after you finish gardening.  Always wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.   Since I love the outdoors and skin cancer runs in my family, I visit my dermatologists each year.  And if it’s getting hard to see the weeds, try a pair of Weeding Glasses.  The tinted reading glasses protect your eyes while weeding or reading outdoors.

Pace yourself so you can enjoy the process and smell the roses, nicotiana, daphne and alyssum along the way.  Gardeners have been into aromatherapy long before its recent rise in popularity.  A few strategically placed fragrant flowers can create a delightful welcome home, soothing scent in your secret garden or aromatherapy as you weed and tend your landscape.

Include some edible flowers and fruit for you, the birds and the butterflies.  I like to munch on serviceberries or fresh from the garden tomatoes as I work in my landscape.  Nothing beats the flavor or the nutritional value of fresh from the garden fruits and vegetables.  And watching the butterflies and hummingbirds sip on nectar from fuchsia, Verbena bonariensis or columbine, finches feed on coneflower seeds and squirrels acrobatic antics on the giant sunflowers provides added beauty and entertainment.

And don’t forget to invite the family to join in on the fun.  Save a corner for your kids to raise their own Halloween pumpkins or the neighborhood’s biggest sunflower.  Perhaps a worm bin will get the non-gardening fishermen and women into the act.

Or enjoy the peace and quiet that can be found when weeding, deadheading and watering your garden.  In just a few minutes you will leave the stress of the day outside the garden and find yourself  focused on the task at hand.  And what can beat the delight of watching a tiny seed grow into a towering sunflower, seedling develop into a tree or bulbs breaking through the cold spring soil to bloom.

And if the task is too big or your time is limited – ask for help. Gardening can also be a great team sport. I have a couple wonderful friends that help me in my garden when life is too busy or my knees too sore.  We make it a fun and productive workday.   Our day begins with a visit over coffee and we end the day with a refreshment or two and time to admire our work.  The rest of the day is filled with work, conversation and laughter. What was once an overwhelming task suddenly becomes a chance to spend time with friends, enjoy the garden and create new memories.  Sharing your knowledge, plant divisions or other talents like cooking or sewing may be the perfect trade for your friends’ time and energy.

And as a wise person once said “Planting a garden is a way of showing you believe in tomorrow.”

Good Looking Lawn for Your Garden?, Here Its Tips

good-looking-lawnIn March, it’s still too soon to do much with warm season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede, and St. Augustine. Be that as it may, in the event that you have a cool season grass, similar to Fescue or Kentucky twang, now is the second best time to overseed. Here are my recommended ventures for getting your cool season yard fit as a fiddle.

Expecting no less than half of your yard is still grass and not weeds, then continue with my arrangement. Else, you might need to consider beginning once again sans preparation. To begin with, complete a dirt examination through your district expansion administration. You’ll take in all you have to think about what supplements you’ll have to give to give your yard the most obvious opportunity with regards to performing. Make certain to take after the application rates recorded on your examination. Do this immediately. You require time to include the corrections before you do a portion of the accompanying recommendations for best results.

On the day you are ready to spread the seed, first mow the grass a bit on the low side. Next rake or blow any leaf or grass debris from your turf area. You want to start with as clean a slate as possible. Then, aerate your lawn with a core aerator. The term core refers to the plugs of soil that are removed from your lawn as the machine does the work. Although the cores may be unsightly, don’t worry. They’ll wash back into the soil quickly. In the mean time, the voids left by the cores allow oxygen deeper into the root zone, and generally creates a more favorable environment for grass roots to grow by relieving compaction. The voids will also be filled in with new organic matter, as well as lime or fertilizers that you might be adding.

Based on the results of your soil analysis, you may need to add supplemental nutrients or adjust the soil pH. Add those ingredients now, while the voids are still open. This gives s the best chance of the amendments making their way quickly below the surface where they can be most effective.

Next, add grass seed. Distribute the seed in a back and forth pattern. Once complete, go over the same area again but this time, cross the original pattern at a 90-degree angle. Think of a checkerboard pattern. This ensures the best coverage. Resist the temptation to cover the lawn area with so much seed that it looks like a new carpet. Cool season grasses do best when you apply at a rate of no more than five pounds per 1000 square feet. This is much less than you intuitively are inclined to do. Trust me on this. If you add too much seed now, you will have a beautiful stand of grass until summer. As soon as the heat and drought kick in, a heavily seeded lawn will suffer from water needs, disease, and decline. In just a matter of months, your lawn problems will be back.

Once the seed is down, use a water-filled roller to go over the entire lawn area. This ensures the best seed to soil contact; a very important point for good germination.

For cool season grass to germinate quickly, it must stay constantly moist. Until the seed germinates, irrigate your lawn several times a day for very short intervals. You are only attempting to keep the seed moist, not water your lawn. Four very brief sessions of only a few minutes should be adequate. You may even want to apply a light layer of straw mulch to assist in retaining moisture. Once you have good overall germination, you can back off on the watering. Ultimately, an inch of water per week is your goal. Ease into getting to that goal.

Finally, mow your lawn once the grass roots have become well established and the blades are tall. A lawnmower can do a lot of damage to newly sprouted grass. I usually wait about two to three weeks before making the first cut. Although cool season grasses can suffer and decline in the heat of summer, following the above guidelines will give your lawn the best chance of not only surviving, but looking good.

2017 Garage Door Trends

If you’re hoping to update the look of your home, consider upgrading to a brand new garage door. Even if you’re planning to stay in your home for several more years, it’s important to think about curb appeal and make every effort to keep your home’s appearance neat, tidy, and up to date. If you know that you’d like a new garage door but you’re not sure which style to choose, browse the selection available at Discount Garage Doors Inc. This company has multiple options available to mesh perfectly with the style of your home.

Barn Door

As rustic homes and décor gain popularity, barn doors are becoming more common. If you love the rustic look and your home would pair well with this style of garage door, consider going with a sliding barn door for your garage. Barn doors can come in a variety of materials and colors, but cream-colored wood with metal accents tends to be the most popular and versatile. To browse the selection of barn-style garage doors, check out the selection at Discount Garage Doors Inc.

Carriage Style

If you’re a fan of simplistic and traditional styling, consider opting for a carriage style garage door. This type of door looks great on nearly every home, and its clean lines make for a very appealing picture to all who walk or drive by the home. If your current garage door is a little banged up but you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, a new carriage style door can make all the difference in the appearance of your home at first glance.

Solid Wood

For homes with bold architecture and paint color, a solid wooden garage door can be an excellent choice. While this type of garage door can require a bit more maintenance than a steel or glass door, wood has been an awe-inspiring choice for decades. This traditional and bold style of garage door adds a touch of rustic elegance to any home, and it can look even better when you add a fresh coat of paint to the wooden shutters and plant brightly colored flowers in the front yard to offset the solid color of the wood.

Galvanized Steel

If you prefer to keep the exterior of your home simple and understated, a galvanized steel garage door could be the perfect choice for your home. In general, this style of garage door is reasonably priced and stands up to even the harshest of climates. If you’re not worried about styling and would rather go with a functional garage door that will last for several years, check out the steel doors available from Discount Garage Doors Inc.

Classic White Vinyl

Living on the coast is peaceful and idyllic, but most garage door materials will quickly break down under the constant spray of saltwater. To give your home a nice upgrade that looks simple and classically elegant, opt for a white vinyl garage door. This type of material is known for its longevity and low maintenance, but it also looks great on a variety of home styles.

About Pollinators

Envision living in a world without blossoms or natural product or even espresso or chocolate so far as that is concerned. On account of the brilliant work of pollinators like honey bees, a significant part of the nourishment we eat and blossoms and plants we appreciate are conceivable.

What’s more, it’s not simply honey bees that are doing all the work. Butterflies, winged animals, creepy crawlies, bats, wasps and even flies are essential in the fertilization procedure. Be that as it may, notwithstanding the significance of pollinators, they are underestimated very regularly. Around the world, there is a disturbing decrease in pollinator populaces. Over the top utilization of pesticides and a constantly extending change of scenes to human use are the greatest offenders.

It is estimated that more than 1,300 types of plants are grown around the world for food, beverages, medicines, condiments, spices and even fabric. Of these, about 75% are pollinated by animals. More than one of every three bites of food we eat or beverages we drink are directly because of pollinators. Indirectly, pollinators ultimately play a role in the majority of what we eat and consume.

Pollinators are vital to creating and maintaining the habitats and ecosystems that many animals rely on for food and shelter. Worldwide, over half the diet of fats and oils comes from crops pollinated by animals. They facilitate the reproduction in 90% of the world’s flowering plants.

You can make a positive difference in your home environment. Provide a diverse assortment of flowering plants and encourage native species in your landscape. Use pesticides only when necessary and then only late in the day or evening. Look for alternative ways to deal with pest and disease issues before reaching for a quick fix. These often come at a price. Learn about and practice IPM (Integrated Pest Management). The actions you take in and around your garden can either help reduce or promote the population of pollinators in your landscape. Hopefully it’s the latter.

Improve Your Garden Soil

Exactly when I thought it couldn’t improve, it does. I’m discussing the execution of my yard and greenhouse. While I’ve been cultivating by and by and professionally for the majority of my life, in the course of recent years, I’ve had an opportunity to truly settle into my eternity scene (and green research center) and enhance soil wherever I need plants to flourish.

This grass and garden flourishes without the utilization of manufactured composts or herbicides. Rather, concentrating on building the dirt with natural inputs has all the effect

I’ve always practiced what I’ve preached. But now I finally have time to put all that advice I teach and demonstrate on television and writing, into full-on testing here at the Garden Farm—my personal home garden and landscape. It’s also the filming set for our national television series, Growing a Greener World.

For years, we’ve demonstrated all this great wisdom in everyone else’s garden or landscape and my former personal gardens too. Now, finally, we’ve been doing it at my place long enough to really see the tangible results of our practices.

Can I just say it’s pretty amazing—but not surprising?

The vegetable garden astounds all who visit. Plants seem to jump out of the ground with growth and vigor. Even seasoned gardeners are surprised.

The organic lawn has never looked fuller or greener.

And my tree, shrub and perennial installations have adapted beautifully. As with my veggies, they too seem to have tapped into some incredible energy source that has them.

So what’s behind this across-the-board vigor?

If you didn’t know me, you might think lots of synthetic fertilizer. Not that. I’m an organic gardener. Perhaps it’s time-consuming hours of watering. No, not that either.

The common denominator to why all my plants and lawn are thriving is the soil. It’s my ongoing commitment to always building the soil health.

When I think about planting, it’s not so much about how deep or wide to dig the hole. Although that’s very important, I’m planning well in advance to improve the growing conditions. That means giving plants the best foundation possible through great soil.

Yes, it takes some forethought and patience, but the rewards are ongoing. No matter what type of soil you have to start, whether it’s loose and sandy, or heavy clay (like mine), doing what you can to incorporate organic matter will give it body, porosity, texture, and crucial microorganisms your plants need to really thrive.

So let’s break that down.

What is organic matter? That’s the not-so-secret ingredient to improving any soil. In a nutshell, organic matter (my definition anyway) is the natural earthy material that when decomposed, makes up the non-mineral part of soil.

Examples include rotted leaves, shredded bark or wood chips, aged manure, degraded straw, hay, grass, and yard debris. But the holy grail of all organic matter is compost. It’s made up of any or all of the elements listed above, and possibly food scraps, paper, cardboard, coffee grounds, and more.

Over several months, these ingredients break down into the perfect soil amendment for your lawn or garden, complete with nutrients, and billions of beneficial microorganisms that serve as the workers in your soil in a symbiotic sort of way to help your plants thrive as nature intended.

Simply put, when you feed the soil, the soil feeds the plants in the best way possible.

You may be surprised to know that in nature, organic matter only makes up about 5% of native soil. About 50% is air and water, and 45% is minerals (sand, silt and clay in some combination).

Take comfort in knowing only a little bit of organic matter goes a long way to making any soil better. My suggestion is to mix all the natural inputs you can into a heap or bin and let them break down all together first. When it does, you have finished compost.

Then, use it in your landscape or garden. At my place, I make all I can and add it in my vegetable garden, working about a half-inch slightly into the soil. The addition of compost (or other organic matter) will improve your soil which in turns, helps whatever is growing there.

And there’s one other player that I attribute to the success of my lawn and landscape:Milorganite. The organic nitrogen in this fertilizer product is itself a direct result of billions of microbes that safely add an extra boost to help build my soil and stimulate my plants and lawn to grow naturally.

As an organic gardener, whatever ingredients go into making my soil productive can’t be negated by inorganic inputs. That’s why if I’m purchasing a fertilizer, it has to be a good fit into my soil-building protocol. Healthier plants mean deeper roots, better water filtration and drought tolerance. That leads to a healthier soil environment and overall improved vigor in everything above ground.

For your lawn, rent a core aerator and run it over your lawn first. That will extract soil plugs, leaving a great place to top-dress with compost and organic fertilizer. I do this twice a year in spring and fall.

In vegetable and landscaped beds, I work about a half inch of compost into the surface, add Milorganite as directed and top dress with mulch.

Hopefully you’ve gotten the picture that it doesn’t take much to achieve big results over time.

I typically repeat this process twice a year in spring and fall. While you should see good results quickly, the best results will occur over time. But I assure you, it’s worth the wait and money in the bank.

The Advantages of Comunity Gardening

I observe gardening to be the perfect action to pass the hours away, totally lost in the isolation and delight of time alone—just me and my plants. Truly, I respect those uncommon events of serene ecstasy. It is a superb break from the bustling pace we as a whole appear to be excessively gotten up to speed in nowadays.

Be that as it may, there’s another side of me that relishes the chance to encounter the delights of cultivating with others significantly more. There is a sure fervor and vitality in sharing such a brilliant movement. Group planting is the ideal approach to scratch that cultivating tingle. What’s more, I cherish it for much more than basically the social association of a mutual energy. Greenery enclosures do draw out the best in individuals and group patio nurseries are an incredible spot to unite it all.

First, we learn so much from others. Even as an experienced gardener, I always enjoy the contribution of others and admittedly, I learn something new all the time. On the other hand, what a joy it is to be able to share some nugget of wisdom with a budding fellow gardener. I still get a kick out of feeling the excitement of those I am able to help improve their skills. And it’s a wonderful opportunity to start an ongoing dialogue with a new friend.

Best of all, community gardening provides an opportunity to give back; from beautifying a run down or neglected space, to unifying a neighborhood or community to donating the harvest to a local food bank or shelter as with the Plant a Row for the Hungry project.

There’s a magnetic quality that seems to draw people into a garden. Strangers become friends and neighborhoods come together in a community garden. It often becomes the catalyst to stimulate social interaction and community development. Quality of life improves and neighborhoods are beautified. And what better way to enhance an unadorned space while creating a place to connect people across inter-generational and multi-cultural boundaries.

But community gardens take more than the dedication and determination of its caretakers. When it comes to providing the equipment and funding for the start up and ongoing costs involved in smaller projects, individuals may chip into the pot. It’s also possible that grants for these plans might be available from the city, state, or federal government to subsidize such a project. Even some corporations with an interest in gardening often set aside grant money to promote community gardening efforts.

Fiskars is one such corporate example. Their grant program, code named “Project Orange Thumb” was started in 2003. The company helps provide community garden groups with the tools and materials they need to reach their goals, from neighborhood beautification to horticultural education. Through 2007, the project has provided over $200,000 to more than 100 community groups, providing everything from gardening tools to the seeds and plants to get started.

Grants like these from generous corporate and private donors make it possible for groups of all ages and interests, without regard to financial means, to become involved in their schools and communities through beautification and outreach, make friends and get their hands in the dirt, all in the name of gardening!

Plants from Seed Adds

Beginning blossoms and vegetables from seed is an awesome action, particularly when you just can hardly wait any more to get your hands grimy before spring. It’s a cheap undertaking, bunches of good times for the entire family and the assortments of seed accessible from numerous sources far surpasses what you can discover locally.

It ordinarily takes six to eight weeks for plants began from seed to be prepared for open air planting. When you begin seeds inside, you have better control over the earth and can time your plantings to guarantee they are not subjected to solidifying conditions, which would kill delicate seedlings.

Seed trays may be purchased but common household items are just as effective, such as small cups or bowls. I like the plastic containers that you get at the grocery store or from a take-out restaurant. They have a clear plastic lid, perfect for watching your progress and keeping moisture in.

When planting, use a seed starting mix that is “soil-less”. You can make your own, or buy ready-made products at any garden center. These mixes are light, and sterile. They are usually made up of a combination of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. Avoid using garden soil. It is too heavy for tender seedlings, plus soil contains disease pathogens, which can kill your plants.

When sowing seeds, premoisten the mix so the seeds are not disturbed by water after planting. It should be about the dampness of a wet sponge. Assuming the container or tray stays covered, the mix should hold all the moisture the seeds need to germinate. However, not all seeds have the same germination requirements, so it’s best to refer to instructions on the seed packet or elsewhere for specific details.

Next, cover the trays with a plastic lid that allows light through but holds moisture in. Plastic bags work well. With adequate moisture, condensation will develop inside this tent or cover.

Supplemental lighting is important for best growth. A simple shop light consisting of two 40-watt florescent bulbs is perfect and very inexpensive. Place your tray or containers under the lights and positioned just above the container cover. The lights should stay on for about 16 hours each day.

Keep an eye on the seeds daily. As soon as you notice them sprouting, remove the cover. Too much trapped moisture could cause plants to rot. Placing a small fan nearby to keep air moving across the soil will help keep new seedlings disease-free.

Lastly, continue to add water as needed to keep the soil moist but not wet. Once the cover has been removed, soil will tend to dry out more quickly. Be sure to continue to raise your light, keeping it to within an inch or two from the tops of your sprouts. In about six weeks, the seedlings will be ready to transition into the garden.

Starting seeds indoors is just one more element of gardening that I find addictive and a great activity when not much else is going on in the garden. As a bonus, your seedlings will reward you with months of vivid colors, fresh produce and the satisfaction of knowing you had a hand in making it happen.

Purchasing Annual Tips

The appeal of those lovely annuals calling our name as we drive by the nursery, or maneuver into the home change store can be excessively. We likely didn’t have blooms on our shopping list. Presently I’m as feeble as anyone else with regards to drive purchasing, and I’m a conceded plantaholic. Be that as it may, before any new blossoms or plants go home to my patio nursery, they should pass an extreme examination.

Fortunately for me, many happy gardeners buy up all the annuals in full bloom, the ones with the most blooms currently on display. I on the other hand, use these flowers as a guide, but proceed to purchase the plants that have yet to bloom, or are just starting to bud. These are the plants that will look great a few weeks from now in my garden, when the others may have already fizzled out. It takes a lot of energy to put out flower buds. I prefer that energy to go into making a bigger stronger root system first, rather than trying to spread plant resources in too many directions.

Now I realize annuals are easy plants to grow, and they’re usually very productive for the few weeks or months that they are on display. But unless I need color impact today, I’ll opt for disbudding an annual in full bloom, or look for ones yet to flower.

Next, I check for pest damage. I usually have enough pests in my garden already, and the last thing I want to do is bring more home! Be sure to look all around the plants, especially under the leaves where most pests like to hide. Look for signs of discolored leaves, or ones that look like they’ve been chewed on, or have holes. These plants are likely hosts for any number of pests. Bring these plants home, and you’ve just unwittingly invited a whole host of other problems.

As I inspect the leaves, I’m also looking for disease problems. Again a discolored, or spotted leaf, is a good sign of problems. It may be that the plant has simply had too little or too much water, or light. However, disease symptoms can show the same signs. Assuming I have a choice of which plants I’m buying, and I usually do, the plants that show stress don’t come home with me. Although it may be a very correctable problem, why take the chance when choices abound.

The next inspection point comes with the general form of the plant. Is it short and stocky; full looking? Or, is it tall and leggy, kind of gangly? I want the compact plant. This one matured under the best conditions, and I’d rather not take the time to rehabilitate a plant that has suffered. These may continue to do so in my garden.

This sounds like a tough regime for little annuals to pass the test, and I admit, most of these problems are correctable with a little knowledge. But I say, if you’re spending good money, then being a bit more selective at the point of purchase will pay big dividends in your garden.Lastly, how do the roots look? Are they fully developed, without being root bound? Root bound plants can become stunted, and without some help from you at planting time, may never break the cycle. The plant will simply languish at best.

About Annuals

We much of the time hear the expressions “annuals” and”perennials” in reference to planting, and especially blossom cultivating. These terms allude to the lifespan of the plant. Annuals finish their whole lifecycle in one developing season, and afterward kick the bucket. Perennials then again, given the right conditions, will keep on surviving for two or all the more developing seasons.

If annuals only live for a relatively short period, then why do we even bother with them? First, annuals can provide that perfect punch of color, right where you need it. They look spectacular in containers, and deliver that wow factor in any mass planting. When was the last time you saw a corporate office development that didn’t have a bed of bright, colorful annuals?

By definition, annuals are plants that germinate, grow, flower, set seed and die, all in one growing season. Think marigold or zinnia. Within this broad category or annuals, there are sub-categories that further reveal a bit more about the plant. These are:

Hardy Annuals- This is an annual that will reseed, and withstand frost. The mother plant dies, but the seeds overwinter, and germinate the next year. Cleome is an example of a hardy annual.

Half-hardy Annuals These are plants that will withstand light frost. Seeds can be sewn in late summer, and these plants will grow, bloom, and survive some winter weather, to continue blooming as the weather warms again, in late winter, and early spring. The classic example of this plant is the pansy.

Tender Annual These are most of the annuals we find at garden centers, and see in mass plantings in the office parks and subdivisions. These plants are easily killed by even light frost, and only thrive in the warmer weather of spring, summer, and early fall. Again, think marigolds, zinnias, coleus, and impatiens. There are many more.

Know The Reason Why Your Garden not Green

All garden are not green. Actually, as per a late National Gardening Association review, just around 5% of plant specialists sticks entirely to natural cultivating strategies. Most by far misses the mark concerning making a really eco-accommodating greenery enclosure and scene. Shockingly, as we plant specialists and weekend warriors make so much magnificence, the natural value we pay can be very expensive.

Take water utilization for instance. Around 30% of all utilization goes to outside use and about portion of that is squandered, generally because of vanishing and overflow. In this season of basic water deficiencies, saving water is more essential than any other time in recent memory. On the off chance that we could figure out how to water amid the dew cycle (from late around evening time until the early morning hours), use programmed clocks, soaker hoses and trickle watering system, we’d save critical water all the while and keep our plants more beneficial by diminishing the measure of time foliage stays wet.

Overwatering also contributes greatly to runoff. When water moves across our property, it takes with it topsoil and a plethora of chemicals from fertilizers to pesticides and herbicides. Many of these chemicals end up in storm drains and waterways, ultimately harming aquatic life and disrupting ecosystems, not to mention the health risks to humans.

On another note, maintaining our landscapes with equipment powered by gasoline engines pollutes the air at a rate far greater than you may have imagined. According to the EPA, a standard gasoline powered lawnmower used for an hour, pollutes as much as 40 cars on the road for the same amount of time. Today, engineless reel mowers, similar to what our grandparents used, are lighter and stronger than ever. Ball bearing wheels and stainless steel blades make cutting the lawn almost fun again. Alternatively, rechargeable and electric mowers and landscaping equipment now rival gasoline-powered models yet offer greener choices while eliminating the need to ever reach for a gasoline can.

Even simple things like using certified mulch in your flower and vegetable beds can make a big difference in greening your garden. It’s possible that the mulch you are using could contain dangerous material, such as arsenic from pressure treated wood. To know that the mulch and soil you are buying is free this and other chemical risks; look for the Mulch and Soil Council’s Certification seal. Any bagged product bearing that seal is certified to be free of unacceptable material. In my eco-friendly garden, there’s no other option.

Speaking of unacceptable, random spraying with synthetic or even organic, non-selective insect controls when only 3% of insects in our gardens are actually considered pests is anything but green! In the process, we put the other 97% of neutral and beneficial insects at risk. Similarly, about 7 million birds die each year from the residual effects of consuming insects poisoned by backyard pesticides according to Dr. Stephen Kress of the National Audubon Society. The better option is a more proactive approach. By connecting with and visiting your garden on a regular basis, we can prevent a majority of problems before they get out of hand. And when control is necessary, more benign solutions are often just as effective when caught early.

Finally, one of the easiest steps we can take for a greener garden is to simply put the right plant in the right place. It sounds simple and it is. When a plant is placed in its proper growing environment, it is more robust and vigorous without the need for supplemental fertilizer. A healthy plant is also naturally more pest and disease resistant. The end result is a garden that thrives without the need for extra chemical controls.

So, are all gardens really green? Not yet, but the more we know about how to make them so, the sooner we can get there. I hope this helps get you a little closer in your own little eco-friendly corner of the world.

Vegetable Garden Soil Preparation

Genuine nursery workers once in a while allude to soil as just earth. They comprehend the distinction between the stuff you delve up in your patio versus the “dark gold” that comprise of fertilizer, compost, decayed natural matter and a large number of advantageous microorganisms that are effectively at work underground.

Luckily, changing over earth to soil is a simple procedure. Inside this setting, understanding three normally utilized planting terms – surface, structure, and tilth – ought to clear up one of the dirtier riddles of cultivating.

Let’s start with soil texture. Texture refers to the relative percentage of sand, silt and clay within the soil. Ideally, you want to have an equal amount of each. When these three are proportionate, the soil is said to be loamy. Soil with great texture allows plant roots to spread, moisture to be retained (but not to excess) and essential air pockets to exist between the tiny spaces of the soil particles.

Next is soil structure. Simply put, structure is how sand, silt and clay fit together. Good structure is evident when the soil holds together if squeezed, but breaks apart or crumbles easily when disturbed. As I work to achieve ideal soil structure, I am constantly working to blend the right amounts sand, silt and clay to get the results I described above. But don’t over-think it. A diverse mix of soil components will pretty much assure you’ll achieve that goal.

In my garden beds, (which natively is mostly clay) I usually find adding plenty of compost and aged manure do the trick. The compost is home made. However, the cow manure is another story. Fortunately, composted manure is available by the bag at many garden centers and home improvement stores.

When soil has good tilth, it drains well. It is loose enough to allow for adequate drainage, yet dense enough to retain moisture long enough for plant roots to utilize it. This is why garden soil should neither contain too much sand or too much clay.

The key is to know from which extreme you are starting. If soil is too dense, then your action is to loosen it up by adding gritty organic material like composted bark. For soils that are too loose, you want to increase the water holding capacity. Sphagnum peat moss is an option for this. However, in either case, organic material continues to break down over time. Monitor your soil constantly, and amend when needed.

Understanding what makes perfect soil will get you well on your way to having the best garden ever. Regardless of your current soil texture, structure or tilth, you can change what you already have. Call it a soil makeover. By adding organic material like compost, humus, composted cow manure, leaf mulch, peat moss, etc. – and a bit of persistence – you can greatly improve any soil.