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Category Archives: Gardening

Planting a Garden

Tomatoes are packed and full of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants and are a rich source of vitamins A and C and folic acid. The tomatoes are associated with the benefits of the cure for cancer combating the formation of free radicals, diabetes and heart diseases. Also, they have folic acids that help with depression. Whether you refer to a tomato as a fruit or a vegetable, a tomato is a nutrient food that most people should be eating.

Water spinach is another one that has essential nutrients like vitamins A and C as well as a high concentration of beta-carotene. Due to its healing and detoxifying properties, it helps in providing relief in case of skin itching or insect bites. Just add salt to water spinach and grind it into powder. Dab it on the sore spot and wrap it for immediate relief. Another property of this plant or should I say vegetable is that it acts as a sedative for people who have insomnia or sleeping difficulties. Water spinach also is effective in treating ulcers, menstrual pains, toothache, launched urination, nosebleed etc.

Aloe vera, there so many benefits in aloe vera that this plant is a must have in our garden. It’s excellent in skin conditions like burns, eczema, and is also a quick pain reliever. It has numerous nutrients, one of which is vitamin B12. Aloe Vera can also be used as a body cleanser (blend the crystal inside with the pineapple). I don’t want to forget to mention that it’s great for digestion. Vital to the growth process and healthy function of our body. The benefits are so many that I encourage you to keep it close. Even in a pot in your kitchen you can grow a beautiful Aloe Vera plant.

Watermelon seeds are good sources of magnesium with 100 grams of seeds providing 139 percent of the recommended daily requirement. Magnesium is vital for normal heart functioning, contain lycopene which is good for your face and also helps in improving male fertility. It is also effective in recovering health after illness and sharpening your memory. It can even be used as a tea for treating diabetes, boiling a handful of watermelon seeds in 1-liter water for 45 minutes while keeping the pot covered.

Ginger, this is another terrific plant full of benefits for our good health, usually called the traveler medicine because it helps with most indigestion problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. It will also help with menstrual cramps, bloating and much more. Keep this one in your garden.

Sage, one of the must have good for digestion, ulcers, sore throat, improving memory and one more thing; that I know keep most women at the edge. It is known to have properties to reduces menopausal sweats. Sage is also good for menstrual irregularity. So let say goodbye to those menstrual cramps and night sweats with a sage tea.

Plant Smart

Plant Drought Tolerant Herbs: Some types of herbs do very well with little water. Herbs that thrive in dry conditions include sage, rosemary, lavender, oregano and thyme. All these herbs come from the Mediterranean region. Once their roots are established during the first growing season, they require minimal watering and love full sun.

Add Water-Saving Compost to Lawns: New lawn-related products on the market contain biochar, which enable more time between lawn waterings. Biochar is a naturally-produced soil amendment. Its tiny pores retain water, much like a sponge. Biochar also contains nutrients to help the soil and plants to remain healthy. As another advantage, biochar captures carbon emissions, which reduces greenhouse gasses.

Cover Bare Spots With Bark: Spruce up bare spots around lawns and gardens with bark. Chopped bark, usually 1/4″ to 3″ in size, can be placed in large open areas to give a yard a finished look–and requires no water.

Upgrade Your Garden Soil: Garden soil should be replenished with nutrients before new planting. First, break up hard soil and add organic soil amendments. Next, consider rotating your garden–for example, plant tomato where corn was grown last year. By rotating vegetables of the same plant family to a new location, you can better prevent crop-specific pests and diseases from reappearing.

Plant Heat-Loving Vegetables: Now is the time to plant most all vegetables, especially warm-season vegetables such as Armenian cucumber, artichoke, corn, cucumber, eggplant, melon, peppers, potatoes, squash, sunflowers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini.

Use a Drip Irrigation System: Avoid using sprinklers or other overhead watering because when doing so, much of the water evaporates. Install a drip irrigation system so water goes directly to the plant’s roots. Water the garden in the early morning before 7:00 a.m., giving water time to soak deep into the soil before the heat of the day.

Garden In Extreme Summer

Every gardener, with a common sense, can easily know that water poured on soil can evaporate easily. You can dig a small area around the plant, cover with stones and rocks where water can percolate down easily to prevent evaporation.

You can also test in the soil moisture the same way. You can poke a stick in the soil around the plant to see if there is moisture. You should water only if there is dryness on the surface.

You can water only near the root tips. Note, that plants do not catch water flowing around and absorb water only near their root tips. The rest of water all around the plant is wasted.

You can put ‘mulch’ near the plant roots to prevent water from evaporation. Mulch can be prepared from any layer, such as dry leaves, compost, brick pieces, hay to provide moisture near the stem of the plant at its lower part. All the plants, benefit from mulching. However, the mulch has to be changed or moved up and down to prevent infections by fungus and worms.

A grass lawn may be soothing to the eye, but they require water in plenty. Now, we come to the most important part in the article – selecting plants which need less water.

Choose drought resistant plants in the garden. These plants do not need much care, and can thrive in the ordinary garden soil and in the full sun. The best examples are oleander plants. Another plant, if given the natural weather conditions, is Bougainvilleas. They love the heat, and their flowers are bright when there is less water.

There are also other types of plants such as bromeliads, bog plants and water lilies. However, seek the services of a gardener before you start the process.

Water Conservation Lifestyle

Make water conservation part of your lifestyle.

Turn off the taps while you are brushing vessels, or putting soap on your hands and face.

All the rinsed water, without chemicals can be fed to the garden plants.

Fix leaking taps as soon as possible.

Garden Room

Think about room space and positioning

How you wish to use the room should be what guides your space and positioning considerations. Remember that the room can be placed anywhere in the garden, even if it is not that close to your main house or on the patio. You can actually hide it from view or choose a sunny spot so that you have enough light coming into the garden room. If you are looking to enjoy more privacy while using the room, then choose the location carefully.

Choose the appropriate structure

When it comes to garden rooms, the structure options are numerous. You can choose anything from tented spaces, glass boxes, mobile shepherd huts or fully constructed and insulated rooms. Again, your usage should help you determine what kind of structure is best for your garden. The size available in the garden can also be used in determining whether a mobile structure or a semi-permanent one is best. There are so many ready built solutions for garden rooms you can choose from but you can always have something unique built from scratch to match your personal preferences. But whatever you structure you choose, remember to bring weather into consideration so you have a structure that remains functional during the seasons you need to use it the most.

Blend the room with the garden

Your aim when designing a garden room is to create a visual flow that is seamless between the room and the garden. Choose construction materials that compliment garden design and items that you could have in the garden. Unpainted wood, for instance easily matches the outdoor settings, especially if you have trees and other shrubs. You can also make other choices to add definition to your structure without making it look overdone in any way.

Artificial Grass Is Superior to Natural Grass

First, the ultimate reason why we want to have a lush green grass surrounding our place is because they uplift the outdoor space with their natural beauty. Both the grasses qualify here as both look stunningly great and awesome. Some even call artificial grass as an exact replica of natural grass.

Once the appearance and beauty is done, then comes the real test. The durability and long lasting feature. This is the point where artificial one is superior than the natural one. The reason behind this is the premium quality of synthetic fibres used in the manufacturing process. They are soft, durable and hard wearing. Some of the grasses come with an impressive 10 years of the warranty period. This means, once you installed these grasses, they are going to remain fresh and green for years to come. So, you don’t need to worry about them at all. These grasses can withstand harsh weather conditions and remain at bay from wear and tear. And as far as natural grass is concerned, they are not going to remain fresh and green for long, if you stop maintaining them.

Here we come on the maintenance factor. As mentioned in the previous para, natural grass needs maintenance on a regular basis, whereas artificial grass has a low maintenance cost or even very negligible. So, once you are done with the installation process, you just need to relax and chill in your garden. This grass does not require any watering or mowing which saves you a lot of time and money.

All about Vegetable Garden

Level ground with good drainage or ground with a slight slope is just about ideal. If the ground is on a slight slope make the slope even by filling in any depressions with soil taken from obvious high spots otherwise some plants will suffer from excess moisture while others, a few feet away, suffer from the lack of it. It is difficult to obtain an even stand of seedlings on uneven ground, for germination is always patchy.

If the only ground is on a moderate to steep slope it will be necessary to construct a number of bench terraces to conserve soil and moisture. The grade of the slope will determine the number of terraces necessary. Moderate slopes need two or three wide terraces; steep slopes call for several narrower ones. On moderate slopes the terraces can be shaped with soil, but on steeper slopes retaining walls of concrete, brick or stone are essential to prevent severe damage and soil loss during heavy storms. For preference these terraces should slope back slightly from the retaining wall. At all costs avoid, if possible, low-lying ground which is likely to become waterlogged in the rainy season. These lower soils often attract amateur growers because of their dark color, and appearance of fertility.

Good drainage is essential in vegetable gardens for no crops of consequence will tolerate “wet feet” for long. Too much soil moisture is detrimental to plant growth because the roots must have moisture and air circulation to function properly. Saturated conditions also slow down appreciably the beneficial activities of soil organisms which, as with roots must have air to flourish.

In laying out a garden there are two generally used methods each with its advantages and drawbacks. One method is to dig over and prepare the whole ares allocated to vegetables and to grow the crops, in rows, side by side with no defined paths between. This is the usual system in temperate regions and has the advantage that the area is used to the full.

The alternative method, and probably the most used, is to grow vegetables in slightly raised beds with each bed devoted to a single crop. It may be worthwhile to practice the first method in the dry season for winter crops and then resort to the bed method during the wet months to assist with drainage, as was mentioned earlier in my article to avoid the “wet feet” syndrome.

Gardeners practicing the bed method usually make the mistake of making the paths too wide and the beds too narrow and too high. The bed can be of any convenient length but should be at least four feet wide if the are to accommodate several rows of crops such as beetroot, carrots and lettuces. Beds of this size will still make it possible to allow for hoeing, thinning and harvesting to be done from the paths, which can be about fifteen to eighteen inches wide. Potatoes, sweet potatoes and other widely spaced crops are unsuited to bed culture because of the distance between rows necessary if adequate soil is available to earth them up.

Healthy Summer Lawn

Fertilize Lawns In The Spring

A home lawn which is healthy before Summer arrives is a far better solution to achieve a healthy Summer lawn, than if we were to wait until Summer arrives and then trying to create a healthy lawn. The same is true of Winter lawn care.

Fertilization of turf should be done prior to the onset of the two harshest seasons, Summer and Winter. So we want to be sure we have fertilized with a high quality fertilizer prior to the onset of Summer so that the lawn is in its peak health as the heat arrives.

The Importance Of Correct Summer Lawn Mowing

Loss of moisture in soils is responsible for the majority of turf problems in the Summer. As already discussed, we can greatly improve this situation by watering correctly to promote deep root growth, but we can also help the soil further by reducing the amount of water lost through evaporation in the Summer sun.

While a strong healthy lawn growing in full sunlight can be cut short, for most lawns which are less than perfect, their greatest health benefit in Summer can come about by increasing the lawn mowing height. This increase in the length of the lawn leaf then shades and insulates the soil against further moisture loss, resulting in less heat stress for the lawn.

This same principle of insulating the soil against moisture loss can be further added upon by mulch mowing the lawn. Whereby the lawn cuttings are recycled back into the lawn, rather than being collected and thrown away. Recycling lawn clippings not only insulates the lawn soil against moisture loss, but they are an incredible source of nutrients to feed back to the lawn instead of relying on the expense and hassle of having to use so many lawn fertilizers.

Lawn Weed And Pest Control

Some treatments for lawn pests and weeds can be harsh on the lawn, especially those that are applied by the homeowner and not by a turf professional.

Avoid treating for weeds or pests using chemical pesticides on the hottest days of Summer, instead wait for milder days to do any such spraying, or better yet, try to treat for pests and weeds in Spring, before Summer arrives.

Carnivorous and Insectivorous Floras

Drosera (Sundews)

Australia is home to some of the most dangerous and fascinating creatures. From the plants and flowers growing in Australian localities, the Drosera or the sundews is among the hundreds of insect-eating plants. Its deadly powers come from its sticky tentacles that trap insects for digestion.

It is a fighter as they can hold extended exposure to the sun, but will require hydration or they die. As the Drosera grows heavier, it may take a siesta down the pot. Gardeners planning to grow them should not be wary as it will eventually grow back with more vigor.

Nepenthes

Also called the Monkey Cups, Nepenthes resembles a pitcher storing fluids that monkeys love. They can’t swallow big mammals like monkeys. Yet, they are capable of digesting small frogs, small crawling animals or winged insects when grown higher.

These plants can be daunting to grow, but doable nonetheless. Where will be the fun in doing something easy, right? They are apt for growing in a spacious greenhouse because they can grow longer. But, hybrids allow plant lovers to bring it indoors. Maybe you could change the theme of your living room and make it look jungle like. It will be an added fun or not.

Cobra Lily

Parents warned us that sweets can be harmful. Truly, some plants and flowers like the Cobra Lily will seduce insects with sweet nectar before they will go for the kill. The leaves of this plant closely resemble a cobra’s head ready to strike. Having this in your garden will not only diversify it, but will add theatricals beside the coy blossoms.

Control Coontail Moss

1. Reduce the Use of Fertilizer near the water body- Chemicals such as Phosphorus and nitrogen foster the growth of weeds like Coontail.

2. Insert fish- Another effective way of curbing the growth of plant is to introduce grass carp inside the water body. These fishes eat all the weeds and grow tremendously, as a result of the nutrition gained through these hornwort.

3. Apply herbicide- Application of the herbicide is advised in case the plant grows exceptionally in leaps and bounds. Before applying a chemical such as Aquacide Pellets, we suggest that you first measure the area which is infested with Coontail and then apply the herbicide selectively.

Carefully read all the instructions related to the application of herbicide or call with specific questions. Herbicides such as Aquacide Pellets can be evenly distributed by hand broadcast using 100 to 150 pounds per acre.

4. What all You Need.

• Fishes like Grass carp, koi and other effective ones.
• Aquacide Pellets.
• Use shade-Limiting sunlight to the pond also restricts its ability to grow (Aquashade).

Trees Can Affect Value of Home

The front garden is the gateway to your home, the first thing a potential buyer sees and an impression will quickly be drawn in the first few seconds.

How does it look to you, do you have a large, overgrown and badly maintained hedge or a tree that has become too large, blocking out light and has branches that are overhanging into the street or the garden next door? Perhaps the front garden is fine so no problems there, so now take a look at the back garden.

Is the grass neat and tidy, do you have lots of overgrown beds, borders and shrubs creating a tangled mess and lots of weeds? Perhaps that is all fine but you have a tree or trees that have been badly maintained, are now far too big, look like they could cause a potential hazard and are blocking out all the light.

Trees and gardens that have been unmaintained can not only reduce the value of your home, they all too easily put off potential buyers. All they will be able to visualise is the additional added cost of either having the tree or trees removed or heavily pruned and the rest of the garden sorted out. They may have a tight budget, have plans for additional work to the house but would like to be able to immediately enjoy a garden that is not going to require a lot of costly work and attention.

This is where the services of a local tree surgeon will be very useful, they can quickly assess your tree or trees and advise you of the type of work that will be necessary to regain order, ensuring the tree or trees actually enhance your garden and blend in with their surroundings, thereby creating a relaxing and harmonious environment. Most will also be able to advise what to do with the rest of the garden too and if they are too busy with tree works at that particular time, will certainly be able to recommend the services of a landscape gardener or similar to get the garden all ship shape for you.

Do remember that if you live in a conservation area permission to carry out any tree works will be required from your local council and this can take about six weeks to come through. Most local tree surgeons offer this application process as a free service and will also know how to word the application form which will greatly help in receiving a favourable reply from the local council.

Now you have a beautiful garden that a new owner can relax in immediately and their first impressions will be how they are going to enjoy it over the coming months. Perhaps you should have your home revalued now too, as this work may have increased its value.