Thursday, 13 February 2014

Gardening - Natural Science NOT Rocket Science..

Don't force yourself out of the most profitable hobby in the universe because you think it's too hard to learn ...It isn't!

Gardening is fast becoming the world's number one hobby, and with all the latest 'alternative' information we have to hand, gardening as a natural science is fun to learn about and rewarding in the extreme...

  • Produce your own fruit and veg - cut the shopping trips.
  • Keep it organic!- be nice to the planet, and your body.
  •  Stay fit and healthy with exercise and fresh air.
  •  Spend quality family time in the outdoors.
  •  Turbo boost your creative spirit.

And if that isn't enough to be going on with, learn about plant-kind in all it's glory. From trees through to fungi, there are millions of plants to research, grow and eat- no chance of getting bored!

First you have to take your first step.

Start gardening, be a gardener, enjoy your garden.

Starting from scratch? Let your imagination run wild. Stand in the centre (-ish) of your garden and imagine..close your eyes if you like.

Don't hold back. Let your creative thoughts flow. How much can you do with your space? Don't imagine for one minute that a simple lawn will let you off the hook here. A lawn needs maintaining, and mowing regularly - for EVER..and it can get kind of boring to look at as well! How about creating:

  • a butterfly patch
  • a wildflowers corner
  • a vegetable plot
  • a herb garden
  • a water feature
Then you will need a shed to store your tools. Where would that be best placed in your garden? Don't waste a sunny position with a garden structure. Sheds don't need to be in full sun to survive!

Is there enough space to place garden furniture? Rather than going for the table-and-four-chairs-on-patio style, can you place benches and small tables in semi-shady spots near the honeysuckle or round the herbs?

When you think you have a reasonable idea of all you want from your garden, take some notes and think about it for a while. Don't leap in too soon-more often than not you'll end up doing the same job twice. Browse through garden catalogs, take a little time and do a little planning.

But not for too long! Don't let the ideas wither into another was-gonna-do-one-day file

If you have enough of a budget to buy your garden structures and furniture, do this first, and position them in your garden. Then create your flower beds, vegetable plots and wildlife patches around these structures.

If you don't have cash up front, don't worry. The things you need will come to you. For now, prepare the space as if you DID have the shed, or bench or whatever, and work around these areas.

Start all the patches and work on them as and when you can, or start one patch and get it finished before moving on to the next. How you work in your garden depends on a number of things...

  • size of land and budget
  • helping hands available
  • seasons and the weather
  • time slots and energy levels!
Treat gardening as an ongoing hobby rather than a project to be started and finished. Plants are growing life forms and will always be changing the shape and feel of your garden. Go with it where you can, and prune heavily where you have to!

Get the kids involved with quick-germinating seeds, and fast-growing plants. Many retailers offer special seed mixtures for kids. Pumpkins are great for getting the kids interested in gardening.

Learn about edible flowers and teach the children what can and can't be eaten - and why.

Don't let the grass grow under your feet. Get in on the action now. Turn off the TV, put your wellies on and leap into nature!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

8 Tips To Get Your Kids Enjoy Gardening

Dirt has always been one of the kids' best toys, so gardening could just be one fun activity for your children. Excite them by allowing them to pick whichever plant they want to grow. Here are some tips to help you make your little ones become enthusiastic with gardening.

1. Choose the right plants

Kids will more likely choose plants and flowers with bright colors, so have a load of varieties of plants. Examples of bright flowers are zinnias and cosmos; these will keep your children fascinated. Don't forget the sunflowers. Anything that is tall and fuzzy will surely overwhelm a kid. Make sure these plants will not cause any allergic reactions from your kid.

2. Starting seeds

Give your children the freedom to help you with the staring seeds. Some seeds might be too small for the tiny fingers, but their digits can be of help in covering them with dirt.

3. Gardening Memoir

To keep the kids' enthusiasm until the plants grow, make them create a gardening journal. This activity will allow them to use their imagination to sketch on what the plants will be like and write down when they placed in the ground the seeds and when they first witnessed a sprout pushing up.

4. Make sure that the garden is somewhere very visible for the kids.

Before you start gardening, pick a spot where the kids often play or walk by. Every time they see and pass by their garden, the more they will see changes.

 5. Dirt playing

Always remember that children are fond of playing with dirt or mud. They can help you ready the soil, even if what they are only doing is stomping on the clumps. To make gardening with the kids more fun, you can provide them with kid-sized tools to make gardening very engaging for them.

6. Your kids own the garden

A picture of each plant will enable the children to foresee what the flowers will look like. You can also put your child's name on a placard, so everyone can see that it's their garden.

7. Playing with the water

Playing with water is right up there with playing with dirt. Look for a small watering can that they can use to water their garden. You can show them how to let the water go right to the roots of the plants. Hoses want only trouble. They are simply formidable for little hands to control.

8. Kids make mistakes

Adults, too, are sometimes impatient. Give the kids full control to their garden. If they make a mess, let it be, it's their mess. Allow them to get pleasure from it and take dignity in their own piece of territory. Just don't forget to tell them how to clean up that mess.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Getting Your Hands on a Good Pair of Gardening Gloves

The next best thing to gardening is owning the best pair of gardening gloves. Gardening gloves are the basic gear that the gardener in us needs. And a good pair of gardening gloves should always be found in a gardeners tool box. Why? Because gardening gloves protect your hands from thorns, sharp objects found in the garden, rough work and blisters.

In choosing the right gardening gloves for your hands, follow these easy steps.

Choose gardening gloves that have a cotton lining on the inside. This way, the cotton lining will provide comfort for your hands. Use this particular kind of gardening gloves when you work in wet and muddy places in your garden.

When gardening for you entails spraying pesticides every now and then, the perfect gardening gloves would be made from neoprene. Neoprene is a material that resists the chemicals that tend to escape from the pesticides and fertilizers that you use, unlike plastic or latex where these chemicals can easily penetrate.

If your garden is made up of mostly roses, choose gardening gloves that extend up your wrists and protects your hands up until that part. This way, even if you prune your roses, your wrists and arms will not get wounded or scarred by your gardening work.

For colder weather, fingerless gardening gloves will help you do magic in your garden. Fingerless gardening gloves will enable your fingers to do detailed work such as grafting branches together and transplanting seeds.

If you have to choose one, good and sturdy leather gardening gloves will do your hands very good, Leather gardening gloves will prove to be all-purpose and will last longer than any other kind of gardening glove material. This way, your gardening gloves may be used in pruning, grafting, seed transplanting, spading, digging holes and/or planting in these holes.

They can also be used in other household chores, but always make sure that they are cleaned before and after you use them aside from your gardening needs. It is best to have a gardening glove exclusively used for gardening, but if you are on a tight budget and cant afford to buy one or cant find the time to buy one, the easiest solution is cleaning your gardening gloves.

It is also important that owners take care of their gardening gloves. Always clean gardening gloves after using them, place them in the right place where you can easily find them (along with your other gardening materials).

 When cleaning your gardening gloves, be sure to follow these steps. Do not remove your gardening gloves yet, after working in them. While the gardening gloves are still in your hands, wash them using soap and water. Make sure that you wash them carefully, especially if you have just used them for spraying pesticides or fertilizers. When you have completely washed them, rinse them very well with water. When you have done this, take your gardening gloves off your hands and lay them flat on top of a heater in your house. Be sure that the heat is just enough to dry your gloves and not melt them or ruin them.

 Follow these easy tips and steps and you are on your way to getting your hands on the best gardening gloves there are.

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Benefits of Growing Fruits and Vegetables Organically

Organic gardening is the way of growing vegetables and fruits with the use of things only found in nature. Then, nature does most of the work for you. There are many benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables with this way. Growing them organically is also easy and you just need to learn some general principles.

Here are the benefits of organic gardening:

1. Organically grown foods are not sprayed with chemicals.

That means less health harming chemicals on the food that you and your family may consume. Keep in mind that pesticides are created with only one purpose, to kill living things. A certain kind of protection might be dangerous. Pest control must be done with utmost consideration to safety; safety in terms of the plants, animals and humans.

On the average, a child ingests four to five times more cancer-causing pesticides from foods than an adult. This can lead to various diseases later on in the childs life. With organic gardening, these incidents are lessened.

Organically grown foods are nutritious and full of taste although they may not look as colorful and well presented as shop produce.

2. Cost savings

One example of organic fertilizer that you could make use of is as simple as stale coffee and coffee grounds. You dont need to buy chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are expensive. Besides, the main purpose of taking care of vegetables and organic gardens will be defeated if they become "tainted" with pest control chemicals. In organic gardening, pest control relies on a series of strategy, not on a highly toxic chemical. For example, you can plant suitable flowers to attract pests natural predators like wasps and lacewings.

Compost can be made using vegetable waste. You can also add tealeaves, coffee grounds, eggshells and banana skins. Although this is a bit more time-consuming than buying prepared chemical pesticides and fertilizers, it would surely be one rewarding activity.

3. Less harm to the environment.

Growing foods organically can protect the topsoil from erosion. As an addition, it has residual effect on ground water. According to The Environmental Protection Agency, 38 states have cases of contaminated ground water.

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a great way of getting closer to nature. The independence and satisfaction that can come from growing your own food is as rewarding as the peace of mind you have when you know exactly how the food was grown. By doing it, you have participated in safeguarding the future of the next generations.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Rose Gardening Tasks Early Spring

When shoud you start preparing your rose garden for the onset of spring and summer? Well, if you live in an area where you can start seeing the promise of spring in late March or early April, then you're an "early spring" rose gardener. However, if you live where March and April still brings icy rain and snow, then just keep waiting out old man winter until your turn at spring arrives and then follow the tips in this article.

Early spring is a time of great activity in the rose garden as you prepare for the beautiful buds that will be sprouting almost any day. Here's a summary of what needs to be done in order to prepare your roses for the tough growing season that lies ahead.

If you covered your roses with dirt or mulch, your first step is to gently remove the protective materials so you can introduce your dormant bushes to the warming spring sun and rains that lie ahead.

Before beginning your spring pruning activities, cut back any dead and damaged canes that did not survive the winter. Be sure to clear away any debris and residue from around the bushes as well.

Prepare the soil to nurture your plants by adding some organic compounds. You can either buy pre-packaged organics from your favorite garden supplier, or you can mix up your own recipe using
composted manure or mushroom compost, or any of the usual meal blends which can include alfalfa, cottonseed, fish or blood meal. See below for some suggestions.

Work your soil with a spade or hoe if it has become too compacted during the winter or if you notice standing water after watering your plants. Roses require well-drained soil to thrive.

After soil preparation is done you can plant any new additions to your garden including container grown roses.

Next it is time to begin your fungicide spraying regiment either immediately or, if you prefer to wait, approximately 14 days after you complete your pruning. Opinions on the best time differ. The choice is yours.

Remember to rotate through different fun gicides during the year to prevent any fungi from becoming immune to any one product.

Don't use any pesticides unless you see evidence of damage, but remember to keep a sharp eye out for aphids which are as much a sign of spring as April showers are. Hit them with a blast of water to remove them, or apply insecticide in a mister to the affected areas.

Imagine how hungry you'd be if you just woke up from a long winter hibernation! Well, your Roses are hungry too. The best way to coax them from dormancy to budding is to feed them now and every other week through the remainder of the growing season. Water well after feeding! Feed with a fertilizer balanced for Nitrogen (N), Phosphates (P2O5) and Potash (K2O). Nitrogen stimulates the growth of leaves and canes and increases the size of the bush. Phosphate stimulates the growth of roots, canes and stems and speeds up flowering. Potash stimulates the production of top quality blooms and improves the drought and disease resistance of the plant. A good balanced fertilizer with these elements is 10-10-10.

Another popular spring fertilizer is Osmocote which is a controlled release fertilizer that releases nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium depending on soil temperature. The 18-6-12 (8 to 9 month term) formulation is recommended for this area. Osmocote is also available with trace elements added in a product with the name of Sierra 17-6-10 Plus Minors Controlled Release Fertilizer.

There! Your rose garden is ready for spring, but remember your work is far from over. If spring is near then summer can't be far behind.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

How To Plant Herbs Together In Container Gardening

Organic container gardening is easy and gives good results as long as some simple rules are followed. Mint, oregano, sage, thyme, marjoram, and basil are ideal herbs for container gardening.

You can plant each herb in a separate terra cotta pot or plant a collection in a long window box. You need to use containers that are food safe when choosing pots for herbs. Some glossy or brightly colored pots are made with lead or other materials that you won’t want in your food. Plastic pots are always safe, and most plain terra cotta is safe. Containers that are not safe for food should have a warning label, so it should be easy to find something decorative that will not be harmful to you. Most herbs will do well in small pots or with three or four plants in one long window box. Large plants, such as an old rosemary bush, can be planted separately in larger containers.

It is preferable to plant only one variety per container. Different plants grow at different times, different rates, and to different heights. Inevitably one plant will take over the others or the foliage will be so mixed up you won't know what you are cutting. Strawberry pots are the exception to this rule, just don't plant a mint in one.

If you decide to mix herbs together in the same container, be careful not to grow the more invasive herbs together with slow growing herbs like sage. Mint is an example of an herb that should be grown in its own pot because it does eventually take over the space thus preventing the other plant to develop fully.

Popular herbs for use in cooking are flat leafed parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, chives, and sage.

All these herbs will grow well together in a large container 24 inches across the top. Plant the rosemary in the middle because it is a taller plant and quite hardy, then around the outside plant the other herbs. Of all the others herbs basil is also quite tall and this could be put beside the rosemary in the centre. All the other herbs grow to about 10 inches, and some will even spill out over the side of the container.

There are basically two kinds of herbs: those that need a lot of moisture and those that don’t. Herbs that prefer moisture-rich soil include basil, cilantro, tarragon, and parsley, while herbs that don’t need as much water, or "Mediterranean herbs," include chives, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, bay, marjoram, and lavender.

Plant herbs with the same moisture needs together. For variety, try a tall, medium, and cascading plant together in the same pot.

Plant moisture-loving herbs in plastic containers, which retain water, and put Mediterranean herbs in terra cotta containers, which draw out water. Make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom otherwise, plants can rot from sitting in water.

When planting an herb pot, select a container that has at least a one gallon capacity. If you don't have a gallon pot, use a milk jug or any gallon container to measure your soil. Each plant will need its own gallon of soil. So, if you plant several together, make sure they have enough space by measuring your soil.

Get a container that is at least 6-12 inches deep. You can plant multiple herbs in a wide or long container or use at least a 6" pot for individual plants.

Mint is also a very popular herb but it does tend to take over a pot so plant it in a pot on its own.

Herbs ideally thrive in the ground, but with proper choices and the right precautions, they can flourish in the indoor garden. They have to be positioned inside the house where they can grow well.

You can combine herbs of different colors to create an atmosphere inside your house. For example, you can get calendula or lemon thyme, herbs with sunny colors for a brighter effect.

Let the herbs grow together. They can create a climate among them that will further encourage their growth. They also create a fuller and healthier appearance.

Limit the amount of herbs you will plant in a container. It should depend on the size of your container. There should at least be an allowance of four inches square in between each type of herb.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

What Is Organic Gardening

Organic gardening means using only natural products and fertilizers on your garden and not using any artificial chemicals such as pesticide sprays or slug pellets.

The first consideration in organic gardening is the soil. You should add organic matter to the soil regularly. You can make your own compost from waste vegetables and decaying plant waste such as grass clippings and leaves.

The next consideration is choosing plants or vegetables that are well suited to your environment. Plants that are adapted to growing in your climate and weather conditions will stand a much better chance of thriving without too much attention. Whereas, a plant that is not right for your site will need a lot of extra attention to boost it's natural defences just to keep it healthy.

With regard to pest control, you can sprinkle cayenne pepper on your plants or spray them with a water and cayenne pepper solution to stop squirrels and other rodents from eating them.

Spray the leaves of your plants with a mixture of 1 part dishwashing detergent to 10 parts water to deter small insects. This won't harm the plants. Another good repellent for many insects is garlic. You could either have some garlic in your garden or spray your plants with a mixture containing garlic oil.

 An inexpensive way to keep grub worms from getting at your potatoes is to use a product called milky spore. This will kill the grubs, and as they decompose they will release new spores into the soil.