November 19, 2008

All About Winter Gardening

For a lot of people, there just is not enough time throughout the year to plant and grow the garden that they would really like to have. And this is often caused by their location in the country as a lot of parts have snow on the ground for a good bit of the year. But something that not too many people consider is winter gardening. Winter gardening is something that has been done for many years but is not something that comes to mind for many when gardening is mentioned. But, believe it or not, winter gardening happens a lot and it may be even happening right now in your neighbor's home.

Winter gardening is done basically during the winter months as one may assume and it is done within the comfort of your home or another building that you may have. Some people even have separate storage houses or winter gardening buildings set up so that they may continue to grow their plants all year long. This works out well for those people who have to rely on their own resources to get them through the winter. Winter gardening is what gets a lot of the population who resides in the middle of nowhere through some of the roughest of the winter months.

Cons of Winter Gardening

Unlike during the summer months, there is not enough heat to naturally keep the plants alive and growing. So when attempting winter gardening, one must supplement the natural light and heat that the plants would have during the summer months. The gardener must make sure that he or she completely reads up on winter gardening and must make sure that the right amount of heat and light are given. Too much or not enough of something can make for terrible results and a lot of wasted food and time.

Winter gardening takes not only a lot of energy out of you but also a lot of money out of your wallet sometimes as the energy costs for heating and lighting the building cannot be cheap. But, if you are simply growing a small garden in your home, the expenses of the heat and light may not be so bad and still be beneficial to you. Winter gardening can be not only a good way to supply yourself and other with food, but also a good way to get your exercise in during those cold months when usually you relax more.

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September 3, 2008

Make Your Backyard Look Unique with Water Gardening!

You want to do something different with your backyard this year. Rather than just doing the standard garden, you would like to do something more unique. Thus, you have given it some thought, and have decided that water gardening might be a unique concept.

Water Gardening: What is it?

When you tell your family and friends about your plan to attempt water gardening, you are met with confusion. Specifically, water gardening is using water and plants in such a way as to give a garden-like effect. One of the most plausible forms of water gardening is creating a small pond in your backyard and adding plants to it.

The first step in creating a backyard pond is to decide how big a pond you would like to have. To start, it is best if you make a pond that is only slightly larger than a moderately-sized birdbath. It is important to note that the size of the pond can always be made larger later.

The next step is finding a liner for your pond. You cannot simply dig out a section of your backyard, because when you attempt to fill it with water it will seep back into the soil. So, you will need to go to your local garden center and find liner, which generally looks like a small version of a swimming pool.

When you have the liner ready, make sure that it easily fits into the hole that you have made in your lawn. Place it in the hole, and fill it with water. Your small pond is now ready for water gardening! For this part, consider using water lilies.

Water lilies are very lovely and make for beautiful water gardening. Perhaps you have seen water lilies on display at your garden center during the summer months. They have a unique root system which supports itself on the surface of the water, and they are available in a variety of different colors. However, it is important to note that water lilies are delicate and only thrive in warm weather.

Water lilies are just one example of water gardening. Other ideas will depend on several factors, including the kind of water you have in your pond, as well as your overall climate. Something else that you should do is make sure that you properly protect your backyard against mosquitoes, since mosquitoes are drawn to water. You are sure to find the right water gardening materials with the proper research.

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June 7, 2008

Planning Space Helps Vegetable Gardening Be More Productive

One outdoor hobby that can be rewarding is vegetable gardening and the type and amount of plants you tend can help with meal planning throughout the year. Different plants have different times to reach maturity and some will require different spacing, but they all require food, water and air. Making sure they receive all of their needs as well as have a means of being pollinated can insure success in your attempts at vegetable gardening.

One of the common crops for vegetable gardening is sweet corn, planted in rows about 18-inches apart. While they will sometimes grow well in small lots, three rows of about two dozen stalks will insure proper pollination allowing them to grow large, succulent kernels. While corn is a difficult crop to weed, vegetable gardening should be more about the productivity of the plants and less about the manual labor needed to get them to grow.

Many different types of tomatoes can be planted when vegetable gardening and they can be used for sandwiches, made into tomato sauce or eaten fresh off the vine. A traditional blend of fertilizer will usually provide all the food tomatoes require but for a juicier crop when vegetable gardening, they must receive sufficient water and sun to grow into large ripe orbs.

First Time Planters Should Follow Directions

Many seed plants, such as beans, peas and cucumbers all have planting directions on the package and regardless of how easy you think they are to grow, successful vegetable gardening is more than shoving a seed in to the soil and hoping for the best. That is why all seed packages offer tips on how far apart to plant the rows and how deep to plant the seeds. Failing to follow these simple instructions may place the plants too far apart for pollination or too close together to give their root the room they need to grow.

Some types of tomatoes, for example can grow plants over eight-feet tall and three to four feet in diameter. If they are planted less than the recommended four-feet apart, they can be difficult to maintain and end up with one plant choking the other. With vegetable gardening, it is important the plants have the room to grow and less competition for the food in the ground.

Beans, peas, carrots and some of the leafy plants can be arranged when vegetable gardening to offer not only prime growing conditions but also a good looking patch of plants. However, taller plants should be placed further from the line of the sun to insure the shorter plants receive an appropriate amount of sunlight for growth.

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May 23, 2008

Gardening Gifts That Will Be Appreciated

Many gardeners appreciate gardening gifts that their friends send them. Some people have no idea what exactly to give to their gardener friends. Here are a few ideas of the kind of practical and luxurious gardening gifts that many a gardener will appreciate.

Packets Of Seeds or Seedlings

Many gardening shops around the country offer a gift basket of carefully selected seeds. You can even have the option of choosing which plants to include in the gift basket if you know what kind of plants the recipient prefer. These kinds of gardening gifts are usually custom made according to the buyer or the recipient's likes and preferences.

Seedlings can also be great gardening gifts since they are already grown and only need replanting. The recipient will be happy with a plant that he or she has been looking for or wanting for some time. Since they are already seedlings, the recipient will not have a difficult time growing them.

Gardening Tools

For novice gardeners, a complete set of gardening tools will be greatly appreciated as gardening gifts. Gardening gifts like these can range from the basic gardening tools to specific tools needed for specific functions while gardening. Specific tools include pruners of all shapes and sizes, sprayers, mowers and many others.

Garden Furniture And Fixtures

Gardening gifts consisting of garden fixtures need not be expensive. Fountains, furniture sets etc may come to mind when you say garden fixtures but these are not the only fixtures available for the garden. Solar lamps are some of the inexpensive gardening gifts that will be greatly appreciated. Other garden fixtures that will be great as gardening gifts are bird feeders, small statues, small fountains and many others.

The more expensive kinds of gardening fixtures and furniture include shade umbrellas, marble seats and tables, lawn fountains, flagstones and many others. These can cost quite a bit more than the smaller kinds of gardening furniture and fixtures.

Gardening Accessories

Gardening accessories are also a great idea for gardening gifts. Gardening accessories include gloves, kneelers, aprons and many more. These can be thoughtful gifts that a gardener will need. There are many different kinds of gardening accessories that can be seen at gardening stores.

For those who have no idea what to give as gardening gifts, the above suggestions are very good ideas that will be greatly appreciated. Of course, if you have an inkling of what the gardener might prefer, you can go with this also.

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May 4, 2008

A Frame For Raised Bed Gardening

Raised bed gardening has several advantages. One of which is less erosion of the soil which you need to grow the plants on. There are many ideas of how to build a raised bed garden and how to maintain it. Raised bed gardening may need a frame that will hold together your garden and keep the plants from spreading around too much.

Building A Frame For Raised Bed Gardening

A frame for raised bed gardening usually consists of a wooden frame that is either bolted together or nailed together. All you will need for a raised bed gardening frame are four planks of wood, preferably untreated to avoid the chemicals from getting to your vegetable plants, four smaller posts of wood to act as corners, some bolts or nails that coordinate with the thickness of your planks and some carpentry tools such as a hammer or a wood drill.

Have the planks you have chosen precut to the sizes that are ideal for building a frame for raised bed gardening. If you have the capacity and the inclination to cut the lumber yourself, make sure that you know what you are doing and have the necessary safety equipment to do so. A rectangular raised bed gardening frame is better than a square one. Make sure that the shorter sides will allow you to reach all parts of the raised bed garden when it is finished. A frame four feet wide and five to seven feet in length will be ideal. Make sure the raised bed gardening frame will fit your assigned garden spot.

On the longer lengths of wood, you can measure where you wish to drill holes for the bolts on the planks and posts. Place a post on both ends and either nail or bolt these on the pieces of lumber with longer length. Attach the shorter pieces of wood pretty much the same way as the longer pieces to make a frame. The posts will act as a support for the nails or bolts to make the frame more stable and sturdy.

It is actually better to use bolts for your raised bed gardening frame. You can loosely screw them when you are still in the process of forming the frame. These can be tightened accordingly when you are satisfied with your frame.

A raised bed gardening frame will help you organize your gardening and help to reduce the pests that may crawl up to your garden.

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April 26, 2008

Growing House Plants With Organic Indoor Gardening

Indoor gardening is a popular hobby, and one that can actually improve your décor and your health. Glossy green living plants are an unbeatable decorating accessory, whether you favor the bold statement a snake plant makes or the ethereal lightness of an asparagus fern. By surrounding yourself with healthy green plants, you oxygenate your living environment and gain more energy.

Grow Houseplants Organically

You can do some organic indoor gardening with houseplants. Growing organically means you don't use chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers in your gardening routine. Organic indoor gardening also means not using genetically modified seeds, cuttings, or other elements.

Indoor Gardening The Organic Way

If you're serious about indoor organic gardening, you might want to purchase Indoor Gardening the Organic Way: How to Create a Natural and Sustaining Environment for Your Houseplants, by Julie Bawden Davis.

The beginning of the book explains how houseplants are grown and shipped to your local garden center. Young house plants are fed the equivalent of a fast food diet to pump them up so they'll look good in the garden center. When you bring your new house plants home, they may have a bit of a chemical fertilizer hangover at first. Be patient with them, and soon they will become accustomed to an organic lifestyle.

Organic Fertilizers

The best organic fertilizer is homemade compost. Even if you live in an apartment, you can make organic compost for gardening indoors.

Use a coffee can or another metallic container with a tight fitting lid. Make a few ventilation holes around the side of the coffee can with a nail or a drill. Fill the can with alternating layers of crisp, dry ingredients and wet ingredients.

For the crisp, dry ingredients, use dry leaves if you have access to them. Otherwise, you can use shredded newspaper or crumpled up paper bags.

For the wet ingredients, you can use raw vegetable scraps – nothing with oil or butter on it – and coffee grounds.

Keeping the compost can indoors will heat the compost up fast and help process it quickly. You can get the compost to make itself more quickly by stirring it periodically.

When one coffee can is full, start another. Turn the first can upside down every day to mix the ingredients and keep the compost cooking. Soon the first can will be full of rich, crumbly compost – the key to indoor organic gardening.

Mix a little bit of compost in with your plants' soil to provide long-lasting nutrients. You can grow almost any houseplant with this indoor organic gardening trick.

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April 12, 2008

Types Of Gardening Gloves

Gardening requires manual labor and the use of our hands. There is a certain satisfaction to getting all dirty and muddy when gardening but there are also times when the novelty of dirt under our fingernails wears off. Enter the gloves that are used for gardening. There are several types of gardening gloves available for gardeners. These gardening gloves are usually classified according to the work that they are used for.

Gloves For Basic Gardening

Gardening gloves that are usually used when your type of gardening includes repotting, handling seedlings and plantings seeds are those that are supple and give the user a great degree of movement. These types of gardening gloves are thinner and afford better grip on the plants and are lightweight. These highly flexible gloves are a staple for any gardener.

Gardening Gloves For Plants With Thorns

Roses and other plants with thorns or with rough covering will need gardening gloves that are usually made of tougher materials. Some rose gloves as flexible as the basic gloves used for gardening but there may be a slight difference due to the tougher material used. The material commonly used for these gardening gloves is suede and they are usually lightweight and still flexible.

Landscaping Gloves

Landscaping gloves are not as delicate as basic gardening gloves because theses are padded on the palms with an extra layer of foam. This is due to the extra work that a gardener does digging, raking and pushing the tools into the soil. Most of these kinds of gardening gloves also have some areas which are enhanced with grips to better handle wet tools and rocks. They are also usually more durable than the ordinary gardening gloves because these are used for more hard work such as carrying, pulling, digging etc.

Miscellaneous Designs of Gloves

Many gardening gloves have different designs especially in the cuff area. The cuff can be flared, tight or loose depending on the design. The preference of the buyer will prevail in choosing the design of the gloves. Gardening gloves also come in many different materials such as leather (smooth, tanned, or suede), cloth (treated with rubber) and even flexible plastic materials.

Although, most gardeners do the all around gardening that may need different kinds of gloves. The basic gloves used for gardening can do most of the work needed. When choosing the gloves that you will use, consider what kind of plants and overall work you will mostly do.

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March 26, 2008

Bonsai Gardening: A Short Introduction

Bonsai gardening is certainly one of the most unique and beautiful forms of art in existence. Since its early beginning in ancient China to present day, it has developed into many striking individual styles.  Once miniaturized, however, maintaining the look and well-being of the bonsai requires a bit of care and attention on the part of the gardener.

Brief History of Bonsai

Bonsai gardening is the ancient art form of literally miniaturizing trees.  The practice itself is over 2000 years old, and began during China’s Han dynasty.  The Chinese word for bonsai gardening, pen’jing, means “tray scenery” or “tree or shrub planted in a shallow tray”.  It was given the name bonsai by the Japanese, who adopted the practice in the ninth century.

Styles of Bonsai

There are several styles that are common to the art form of bonsai gardening.  Among these are: the formal upright style, the slant style, the cascade style, the literati style, the forest style, the root-over-rock style.

Bonsai done in the formal upright style have upright trunks that are straight and tapering. Slant style bonsai are aptly named.  Their trunks are straight, like those of the formal upright style, but lean at a slant from the surface of the soil.

Cascade style bonsai are intentionally groomed to resemble trees that can be found on the sides of mountains. Literati bonsai were inspired by ancient brush paintings of trees that grew in inhospitable climates.  They therefore have few branches.  What branches they do have are generally clustered at the top of the trunk, which is usually contorted.

Forest style bonsai are relatively self explanatory.  They are comprised of several trees planted together in odd numbers.  This type of bonsai gardening is intended to mimic the diversity of age and height that you would find in nature. In the root-over-rock style, the roots of the bonsai are wrapped around a rock at the base of the tree.

Caring for Bonsai

An important part of bonsai gardening is knowing how to care for your bonsai.
Watering is not done as you would typically water your average houseplant.  Bonsai trees require immersing the entire pot or tray in water for several minutes.  Once taken out of the water, allow the bonsai to drain.  During the summer, bonsai need to be watered daily, and every other day during the cooler months.
Bonsai require a warm location with lots of light in order to thrive.  Avoid placing them near window sills, due to the varying temperatures that can be present as a result of drafts.

Bonsai also require a lot of fertilizer.  Fertilizer should be given to the bonsai only after it has been watered.  A typical feeding schedule would be once every two weeks during the summer months, cutting that back to once a month for the rest of year.

Bonsai are living trees, and therefore will grow and sprout new branches and limbs over time.  When it comes time to prune this new growth, follow the original pattern of your bonsai.  Remember, you just want to preserve the look of your bonsai, so don’t trim too much – just enough to remove the new sprouts and shoots. 

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March 4, 2008

How To Make Organic Gardening Compost

What kind of compost should you use for an organic garden? "Organic" means you don't use artificial chemicals or fertilizers to make your compost. It also means that you don't use lawn clippings, plant cuttings, or other material that has been exposed to chemical pesticides or herbicides. 

Recipe For Quick Organic Gardening Compost

Visit your garden center and get some straw, because you'll need plenty of straw to make this organic gardening compost. Start your quick compost pile with a layer of straw. Don't mistake hay for straw; they are two different things. Hay contains many grass and weed seeds that you don't want to include in your compost.

For your second layer, use kitchen scraps or clippings from garden plants, or annual plants that are past their prime – remember, nothing that has been exposed to chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. Sprinkle the pile with plenty of blood meal or bone meal..

For the third layer, add dry brown material like shredded leaves, shredded corn stalks, or small, ground-up twigs.

Keep repeating these three layers. The straw will keep the pile aerated. All you need to do is water it enough to keep it barely moist.

Amazing Additions To Your Organic Gardening Compost Pile

Certain ingredients will give your compost pile a big boost and help it cook faster and be ready to use sooner. Plants, algae, and water from a freshwater aquarium contain nitrogen and other micronutrients that speed up the decomposition process.

Dead houseplants aren't so good for your home décor, but they make outstanding additions to the organic compost pile. Gardening outdoors is more fun, anyway. Make sure the plant is not showing signs of pest contamination or disease. Then just plop the entire plant, including the soil and root ball, onto the compost pile.

Weeds can be composted, too. Just be careful not to include any weeds that have set seed heads, or your compost pile will turn into a weed bed.

Coffee grounds add moisture and texture to the compost pile. You can compost the coffee filter, but it is very fibrous and will break down slowly. Cut it into smaller pieces so it can decompose faster.

Worst Compost Ingredients Ever

Whatever you do, do not add these ingredients to your organic gardening compost pile: Diseased plants; raw manure; sawdust from pressure-treated lumber; gypsum board scraps; vacuum cleaner bags and their contents; and meats, dairy products, bones, and fish.

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February 26, 2008

Guide To Basic Container Gardening

Container gardening can be very convenient for individuals with minimal space in their homes or those who wish to have plants inside their homes. Container gardening enables the gardener to bring in a splash of color to their homes. Compared to single pots, most containers used in container gardening are relatively large and can contain several plants of the same species or of different species.

Choosing A Container For You Garden

One thing that you should consider when choosing a container is the kind of plant you wish to put in the container. Some vegetables require deeper pots for their roots to burrow into while others do not require as much space. Container gardening mediums vary from containers such as plastic pots, terracotta containers and wooden boxes.

Plastic containers for container gardening tend to discolor in time and may also eventually be susceptible to cracks and deterioration. Unglazed terracotta containers will dry up eventually and may be prone to breakage as well as being heavy to cart around. Glazed terracotta containers are ideal since the glaze seals them and protect them from drying up. Wooden containers are prone to rot although choosing wood that is not susceptible to rotting is an option. 

One advantage of wooden containers for container gardening is that these can be made to fit the specifications of the area you wish to put your plants in. You must bear in mind that treated wood that you will use for container gardening can affect your plants so ask what chemicals were used to treat the lumber before you buy.

Containers used for container gardening must also have a wide opening for better plant growth. The containers must also have appropriate drainage to prevent root rot and other root damage.  For containers with big drainage holes, you can line the bottom inside part of the container with news paper to prevent soil loss.

Most container gardening are for indoors plants so it is best to consider the areas where they are placed. Sunlight is one thing to consider as well as the temperature in the area. Some plants need more sunlight than others so make it a point to ask or find out what kind of care your plants need.

Container gardening can be especially satisfying when you plant herbs or vegetables that you place in your kitchen for fresh use when you are cooking. Live plants can also bring color to any area of your home.

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