Gardening Products - These Can Make Gardening Easy!

It is not very hard to find gardening products these days as gardening has become a very popular activity. The gardening products can be bought either from nurseries or stores, or they can even be ordered online. Gardening products these days carry from gardening equipments to the actual plant itself.
Irrespective of what we are planting, we would require the basic gardening products. Water supplies can be provided either by a sprinkler or a water hose. Other than the above mentioned products, gardening products consists of pot (if we are pot planting), arake, sectures, good pair of gloves and spade. Potting soil are the other important products which a gardener should purchase when he starts a garden to get his dirt ready. The various plotting soil which are available are organic potting soil, cactus potting soil, seed starting plotting soil and root development plotting soil.
In order to maintain a very healthy plant life it is necessary for a gardener to purchase gardening products which will help him to add nutrients to his soil. The most famous growing enhancer for plants is a product called Miracle-Gro. This Miracle-Gro comes in various types and your user's choice depends on the type of plants he is trying to grow in his garden. Fertilizers such as triple 13 or 10-20-10 are available which can be used for the fertilization of your soil.
The products which we use fro flower gardening cannot be used for growing herbs or vegetables, these require different products. Tomato gardens need ties and tomato cage to protect them from heavy winds. Growing vines require trellis or fence of some sort as they grow that way.
Gardening products apart from enabling us to maintain our gardens better can also be used for decoration purposes. The various gardening products which can be used as decoratives are sundials, stones or bricks which can be used for pathways , flower pots and lawn furniture?s personal touch can be given to the garden by making use of these decoratives, that way your garden can be made to look attractive.
During the winter months there will be lots of new gardening products to choose from. It is completely necessary for a gardener to put his/her plants in a greenhouse. Greenhouse can be alternated with some sort of trap which can be used to cover your plants. The much need warmth and extra light can be provided to your pants by using a heat lamp or some other type of light source.
Gardening products are always upgraded and these upgraded and new products pop up in the market from time to time. Most of the gardening products, even though are not necessary, they make our gardening chores much easier and our gardening experience most enjoyable.

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Benefits of Gardening: Healing the Mind and Body

Gardening is one of the many small pleasures many people, especially those who live in the suburbs, can indulge in. Gardens not only beautify the environment but also help people in so many different ways. Having a garden of you own is a great thing to have in any home. It gives you a space to relax and ease your mind while at the same time provide a space to simulate your senses.
There are many benefits of gardening that one can get out of this simple task or hobby. Mentally and physically - both can benefit well from gardening. Here are some of the benefits people can get out of gardening.
It Helps Fight Depression
Gardens have that special vibe that uplifts the mood of any person. It has actually been a prescribed activity of many psychologists and psychiatrists to many patients to help them overcome depression, anxiety and stress. Gardens have the healing effect on people and with constant exposure to such, people feel less stressed and actually feel better. This is one of the many benefits of gardening that people can get. If you are fighting some form of depression - mild or severe - do some gardening stuff and you'll be surprised at how much better and happier you'll feel over time.
It can be a form of Exercise
Exercise is also one of the many benefits of gardening. The positive effects of exercise to our bodies are undeniable. But many of us hardly have the motivation to do so because of the muscle fatigue and the feeling of soreness after some time of working out. Other people get bored with exercising because it is not something that they want to do but they have to do in order to stay fit and healthy. If you find yourself bored and undetermined to exercise, try gardening instead. The constant motion and activity to plant, arrange and dig earth are all forms of physical activity that can be considered as exercise. It has less monotonous movements and more appealing than other forms of exercise as you see results in not just your body but in your garden as well.
Reducing Stress
One of the many undeniable benefits of gardening is reducing stress. It has been common knowledge ever since that some form of greenery can uplift the spirit and reduce any stress. It helps ease your mind and provide a sense of tranquility you won't get elsewhere. In gardening, you engage yourself in an activity that can take your mind off your stressors and give you something more beguiling to focus on. And when you see great results after, it gives a sense of fulfillment that can reduce stress levels as well.
Heals the Mind
Aside from fighting depression and reducing stress, one of the many benefits of gardening is to heal the mind. The different sensory stimulants found in a garden stimulate people with all sorts of mental illnesses. It helps them heal their mind.

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Top Fruit You Can Grow In Your Garden

Top Fruit: There is no exact definition of a top fruit. Included in this group are all of the fruit- bearing woody plants which grow as trees in their natural state, but a few (e.g Quince) are shrubs. Remember that the trees will be with you for many years, so pick the site with care and prepare the soil properly.
Apples are the most popular of all top fruit trees, they are attractive when in bloom and are rewarding at crop time. Most areas of Britain are quite suitable for Apple cultivation, but some people with small gardens are put off by the thought of large standards. Standard trees are not for the average plot. These days you can buy dwarf bushes which will not reach your height in their lifetime, or you can train cordons to clothe a garden fence or wall.
Site and soil: Apples will grow in most situations, but growth and cropping suffer in chalky soils, poorly drained sites and gardens close to the sea. The choice of variety is completely up to you if conditions are fully satisfactory for Apples, but site and soil should govern your selection if there are problems. For northern gardens, shaded sites and land which is more than 5oo ft. above sea level, choose cooking and/or early -ripening dessert varieties.
Planting: October - March is the planting period. Cut back any damaged or broken roots - ensure that the remaining roots are spread out without bending in the plant hole. For bushes and standards firm staking is essential, drive in a short stake before planting. Plant to the old soil mark - the graft must not be buried. Make sure that the soil is kept moist after planting. Do not grass over the soil above the planting hole for at least 2 - 3 years.
Pears are a little more temperamental than Apples. They detest cold easterly winds - young foliage is blackened and torn on exposed sites. Flowers open earlier than Apple blossom, the late spring frosts can be very damaging. Catalogues and large garden centres offer numerous varieties, but choose Conference if you live in the north of Britain. No other Pear is quite as dependable under cold conditions.
Site and soil: Pears dislike shallow soils, chalk around the roots and salt-laden air. They are more sensitive to cold winds and late frosts than Apples, as noted above, but they do have the distinct advantage of thriving in heavier land than is suitable for the more popular rival, the Apple. In general, the site for Pears should be chosen with a little more care than for Apples. Some shelter from cold winds is essential and try to choose the warmest spot in the garden.
Planting: For planting Pears follow the same rules as for the Apple and you will not go far wrong. Remember that Pears are a bit more sensitive and delicate than Apples so choose your site with those points in mind. Happy Gardening.
A large period of my time is spent in my garden, but as I am getting older and things are becoming harder to do. I have decided to make use of a firm called Landscape Gardener London. Up to now they have given me all the help and advice that I have asked for. I still do a bit of pottering around my own garden.

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Growing Healthy Tomato Plants: Care and Feeding

Now that you've gotten your tomato plants successfully transplanted into your garden, it's time to think about the proper techniques for watering and caring for them. It's important to know that tomato plants care about how they are fed, watered, and cared for, so it is really important to make sure you do it right. Following a few simple rules will go a long way in keeping your tomato garden growing healthy, and producing baskets full of ripe, delicious tomatoes.
The first aspect of tomato plant care that I'll be discussing is proper watering techniques. Even though tomatoes are a forgiving crop, and are relatively simple to grow, you still want to make sure you are using the proper method of watering them. The first question to answer is how often should you be watering your plants? One important thing to remember is to not over-water the plants, so somewhere around two waterings per weed should be about right, especially earlier in the season. Once summer heats up however, you should consider additional watering due to the extra evaporation from the heat. Make sure your soil is moist about an inch deep, and that should be a good indicator of when you'll need to water again.
Now that we've answered the question of "how often," we need to make sure we are watering the plants properly. Believe it or not, you shouldn't be watering the entire plant. Many generations of experience in tomato plant care have established that the roots are what really need the water, not the plant foliage. By keeping the leaves and stems dry, you are decreasing the chances of fungal diseases infecting your plants. For the best results, a drip watering system is the recommended way to keep your plants nourished. A small soaker hose, running on a low setting, is one popular way of regulating the amount of water getting to the soil. Some gardeners even purchase watering systems that run on a timer that you can pre-program and it takes care of itself. I also recommend watering earlier in the day so the sun doesn't evaporate the water before it gets a chance to soak into the soil and down to the roots.
I have many people ask me if they need to prune their tomato plants. It can be a bit of a chore, and lots of busy folds don't have the extra time to spend pruning tomato plants. If you are growing indeterminate plants, you should take the time and periodically prune them. If you do, you will get more tomatoes from your plants. The new shoots growing out of the plant "steal" energy from your plant that could be used growing more tomatoes.
Pruning tomato plants is not difficult. Just make sure you are using a clean pair of garden shears, so you don't risk infecting your garden. What you'll be looking for, are the little shoots that will grow in the crotches of the plant. This is the space where newer branches are starting to grow out of the tomato plant stem. Smaller shoots are easily removable by just pinching them off, but once they grow thicker, you'll need to use the shears. You should keep up with your pruning as much as you can, but if you don't it won't harm your tomato plants, only decrease the number of tomatoes you'll see on the vines.
Remember, your tomato plants care how they are fed, watered, and maintained. If you follow these simple rules, you'll find that your plants are thriving and producing an abundant tomato crop. Keep them watered, but don't over-do it, and try to stay on top of the pruning too, as you'll benefit from having more tomatoes to pick and enjoy.

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8 Flowering Plants Ideal for Indoors

Selecting flowering plants for indoors needs your thorough investigation as to what are the basic requirements to grow flowers in your home to give the best possible result to succeed. In order not to waste your efforts in growing some indoor flowers, I have identified these indoor plants for your guidance.
Top 8 Ideal Indoor Flower Plants
1. Orchids. Considered as one of the largest group of indoor and outdoor plants from among the favorite flower collections. Waling-waling which is considered one of the most beautiful of the orchids species is only found in the Philippines. It's beautiful flowers attracts flower enthusiasts to include in their pricey flower collections.
In her book "The Orchid Thief", Susan Orlean described an orchid show and the dazzling variety of flowers in all colors and shapes. Some are breathtaking, some are strange, and some border on downright ugly.
2. Begonias. Some species of begonias thrives outdoors, but most are ideal for indoor growing. They are hardy plants and does not demand too much care as long as the amount of water is sufficient for their growth process. There some other varieties of begonias, they includes the trailing type or the bushy type. Others are free flowering with attractive flowers and the foliage varieties that gives beauty of their attractive foliage.
3. Anthuriums. This attractive flowering plant originates in the jungle before it was domesticated in the nursery. It boasts as one of the most striking plants in the world. Anthuriums favors a humid climate, with sufficient heat, enough moisture, good sunlight requirements and good soil rich in organic materials. Most species of anthuriums are attractive with their different kinds of flower colors.
4. African Violets. These plants are compact and free flowering with a wide variety of flowers and colors. You should keep them grow healthy by proper watering, exposing to high humidity and controlled light to keep them flowers bloom all year round to provide with a continues supply of flowers.
5. Poinsettias. This plant is considered as the most popular indoor plant in the world, because of its meaningful characteristics as a symbol for Christmas. There are newly introduced varieties of poinsettias that includes the pink and white variegated colors, an addition to the most popular red color.
6. Bromeliads. They are grown for their beautiful foliage and flowers. Sometimes they are called urn plants, and most of them grows in rosettes of strapped leaves that form a central water-collecting cup. It's hard to bring bromeliads to bear flowers, but there are some new developed type that blooms and sometimes lasts for several months before they died down.
7. Hibiscus. This plant is the most favorite of home gardeners because of its easy propagation techniques. It is popular for its dizzying array of flower colors with its different flower of single and double forms. Hibiscus tolerates in warm climate, light exposure and high humidity.
8. Desert Cacti. This is featured as the most beautiful flower of the world when in full bloom. Many varieties of cactus are usually good collections as house plant in an array of flowers that decorates the homes. Desert cacti tolerates with enough sunlight and just enough water supply.

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Landscape Design Ideas for Your Garden

If at all you're planning on redoing your garden be it in your back yard or front yard, you should definitely put in a lot of thought when it comes to the design as you're going to be looking at it for years to come.
If it's possible you should hire a professional landscape designer to help you out. But, that's not necessary if you know what you need. There are plenty of different kinds of installations that you could put up in your garden to make it look attractive and beautiful and all you need to do to find the best is a bit of online research.
Tips on landscape design:
Let's take a look at a few tips based on your gardens landscape design:
The elements need to be in proportion
One of the most important facts that you need to take care of is elemental equality. You need to make sure that the different gardening elements such as water, foliage, rocks and earth are all present and in harmony with each other - when we say harmony, we mean that it should have a sort of pleasing effect on one's eyes.
Plan for the entire year
Usually people don't put in a lot of thought when it comes to choosing plants for their gardens. However, if you want your garden to look beautiful all through the year you would need to make sure that it's got plants that bloom during different seasons.
Decide what you want to do
There are plenty of things that you could do in your garden. You could convert it into a paradise for toddlers or make it a sort of park where you could sit and gaze at the beauty in the evenings when you return from work.
Install a water feature
You could further elevate the beauty of your garden by installing a water feature. There are plenty of different options that you could choose from - pools, streams as well as fountains.
However, when choosing a water feature you should know that it needs to be maintained and it would cost you to do so. Therefore, make sure that you have the budget to maintain it well before you get it installed.
Add benches
If you love having your morning coffee in your garden you could place a few benches and covert your garden into a sort of Miniature Park - the choice is yours!

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Winter Gardening Tips For Better Success In Spring

I work at a retail gardening store and I literally get hundreds of customers asking gardening questions. The questions are as varied as the folks asking them. They range from "How do I kill a tree - to why are my leaves turning red on my red oak tree?" Most of the answers are stored inside my brain but, I do on occasion have to take out reference books to look up the answer.
Right now the winter gardening questions are coming in quicker than leaves falling on the ground. Here are some of the most common questions:
What do I do with my Lantana and Red Bird of Paradise (outdoor) plants now that we are getting freezing temperatures? Answer: Cut them down to the ground...both of them and cover them up with mulch to protect the root system. Water occasionally during the winter months. Do not get the "Red Bird of Paradise" confused with the "Indoor Bird of Paradise". Your spouse may get pretty upset if you cut down the "Bird of Paradise" to the ground. If you do not have freezing temperatures I'd still cut them down. They will bloom like crazy when the hot weather returns.
When should I winterize my lawn? Answer: Right now during the month of November or early December. Remember, Winterizer is a root vitamin not a fertilizer and should be used on cool seasonal type grasses. Use on all types of Fescue and Kentucky Blue Grasses. Not sure what type you have? If your grass is green during the month of January you have a cool season grass. Water cool season grasses about twice per month. Bermuda hybrid grasses go dormant during winter, water only occasionally and do not fertilize them.
Do I continue watering my trees and shrubs during winter? Answer: Well, yes and no. Water new plants and trees about twice per month during the cold season. Do not forget to turn up your watering system to about 2-3 times per week once spring arrives. Cut down or stop watering drought tolerant plants and trees if they have been in the ground over 5 years. Succulents need water about 2 times per months...tops. Do not water Cactus type plants unless you have them indoors.
Do I prune my roses/plants now? Answer: You can prune them anytime during the year but, only prune roses or plants if there is a need to. Many folks are convinced they have to prune roses during this time of year. Roses that look healthy and formed correctly need no pruning. Brown or dying branches should be trimmed off as low as possible. Foliage or limbs that are touching plants need to be trimmed. Remember to prune right above the leaves for a better looking plant.
I have grubs in my lawn should I apply a grub control now? Answer: Grubs come from the larvae of the Japanese Beetle. The best time to apply grub control is in late summer or early fall. For heavy infestation of grubs apply it during early spring and again in early fall. Grubs will also feed on shrub and tree roots. Most grub control products are labeled for lawns and plants but, not all products will say this. Read the label - if it contains: Imidacloprid your in business.
There you have it some good winter gardening tips. BTW....Here is the answer to the first two questions?
How to kill a tree? Answer: Remove the bark completely around the tree about 6" wide. The deeper the better. This will prevent it from taking most nutrients into the tree. Just like people without nutrients you/it will die.
Why are the leaves on my Red Oak Tree turning red? Without getting too technical I'll try to answer: Chlorophyll... the green pigment in leaves is Chlorophyll this is why they stay green in summer. The production of chlorophyll in trees requires sunlight and warm temperatures. Once fall time temps come around the colder or freezing temps destroy Chlorophyll thus preventing the leaves from staying green. Cool weather along with bright sunshine helps in the formation of anthocyanins. This is the substance that makes red oaks turn red along with other colorful fall season trees.

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How To Shop For Garden Furniture

Using garden furniture is the perfect way for people to enjoy their outdoor hangout. A wide variety of products are available. For instance, there are chairs, tables, benches, umbrellas and hammocks. When choosing furnishings, people should look for items that match their style and taste. In addition, it's also important for people to consider functionality while shopping.
Before making any purchases, people should explore their options. No one should ever get the first set that he or she sees. It's better to think about the furnishings carefully. Find items that complement the yard. Make sure that nothing clashes with the existing features and structures around the property. Taking the weather into consideration is also important. If someone lives in a place with harsh winters, then durability becomes a factor. Never choose something just because it looks cool. Otherwise, someone may end up with a wooden table that rots quickly.
People should start the shopping process by thinking about materials. For instance, think about a material that would best match the lawn. Would a cast iron set of table and chairs look good? If not, then maybe a wooden bench is a better option. Many people think that wooden furnishings are aesthetically pleasing. However, it's also important to know that metal is more robust and tends to last longer. Some manufacturers combine metal and wood. The wood adds a beautiful touch, and the metal increases sturdiness. Try to find a material that will not take any focus off the pretty flowers. The material should only enhance the area.
Style is another important factor during the shopping process. Garden furniture comes in a variety of designs. For instance, stores sell round, square, rectangular and oval tables. They also come in different sizes. If someone has a small yard, then he or she may opt for a table that only seats two. Those who like to have parties outside should find a bigger table with more chairs. For people to truly enjoy their outdoor space, they must buy items that are functional. For those who like to host parties, adding a Lazy Susan to the new table is a great option. It's one of the easiest ways to move food around with hardly any effort.
Besides looking at style and material, comfort is another important factor to consider. In order for people to truly enjoy their space, the furnishings must be comfortable. People should feel tranquil while sitting outside. Uncomfortable seating is one of the quickest ways to ruin the peaceful ambiance. Never choose something just because it's stylish. If possible, try to test the merchandise for comfort before checking out.
Although flowers, fountains and statues are important, furnishings are another way to give the yard a unique look. It's more fun to spend time outdoors when comfortable seats are available. No matter how their yard looks, people are bound to find the perfect set of furnishings. It's nice to sit outside during warm weather and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee. Along with that, it's a great place to have the family sit for a dinner night. If people shop around, they will find that furnishings come in a variety of materials, colors and styles. There are plenty of options for people to choose from.
Poppy Lynch has been helping beginner gardeners for over 15 years. For simple, easy-to-follow gardening tips, Poppy suggests signing up for the  Woolly Green Weekly, a great source of gardening chat, products, offers and competitions. Woolly Green is a new website, for people who like to garden as a bit of an antidote to their otherwise busy lives.

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Winter Flowering Garden Plants

Winter flowering garden plants can create a wonderful array of colour during the dismal months of winter. With little sun and shorter days, most plant growth slows down to a dormant crawl. Deciduous trees look barren and gangly, roses and other summer flowers have long since disappeared and the garden looks empty and colourless.
Following is a list of winter flowering garden plants that can bring your dreary garden back to life, creating an optimistic landscape, a winter bright spot with an endless array of colour. Let's start with the world's number one flowering winter garden plant, the pansy.
Pansies: The world's foremost favourite flowering annual, the pansy has an enormous array of colours and colour combinations. Pansies grow and flower readily in cooler conditions and with correct positioning can flower all year round. A must have annual in any garden anytime, especially through drab winters.
Kale: Renowned for its ornamental foliage, kale is actually a variety of cabbage. With stunning colour displays in pink, brown and purple, the colours deepen and change as the temperature drops.
Viola: Similar to pansies but with smaller flowers, these fragrant little beauties flower abundantly throughout early autumn to late spring. Their masses of flowers in endless colours are a wonderful sight in any garden.
Primula: These slender plants usually grow on a long stem surrounded with either small pink, white, or mauve flowers. Easy to grow and able to withstand climatic fluctuations, primula add a touch of elegance and a cottage garden feel to any array of winter flowering garden beds.
Polyanthus: Low growing and compact, the polyanthus has small but striking groups of flowers which grow from the center of a leafy plant. Polyanthus enjoy cooler conditions, enduring cold days even better than the loyal pansy. They are available in many colours.
Cineraria: A stunning, compact mass of flower and foliage. The cineraria is a shade loving winter annual which proudly displays flowers from winter to late spring. Available in many colours.
Begonias: Another quick growing and winter loving plant is the Gypsy begonia. Small and compact, this shade loving plant can actually grow and flower anytime of the year. vailable in both green and brown foliage with pink, red or white flowers, the begonia requires little water and little care.
While many more flowering annuals are available to bring winter colour to an otherwise dreary garden, the above list is simply 7 of the most popular varieties and easily the most attractive. Preparing and planting up your winter flowering garden plants can begin as soon as summer is nearing its end.
With the waning of the hot, dry Melbourne summers, watering is less intense with winter flowering annuals. Keeping the ground moist and some liquid fertilizer at fortnightly intervals is all it takes to get your winter flowering garden plants looking their best.

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8 Tips for Preparing Your Garden for Spring

When is the perfect time to begin thinking about what needs to be done to prepare your garden for spring? The answer: while the snow and ice are starting to melt! Ensuring you properly prepare your garden for spring will guarantee it will thrive all year. Here are 8 tips for preparing your garden for spring.
1. Plan. Use the time, while the ice and snow are starting to melt, to plan the steps you will need to follow. This includes ensuring you know the last frost date for your area. Having this information will allow you to create a plan with the steps you will need to follow to ensure your garden is ready for the growing season!
2. Clean the beds. Ensure all gardening beds are cleaned of debris from the fall and winter. Pick up all twigs, branches, and rake the leaves and old mulch out of the beds. Also, remove all the annuals left from the last growing season.
3. Sharpen Your Tools. Ensure all your gardening tools are sharpened for the coming season. These include clippers, shears, pruners, saws, and mower blades to name a few.
4. Prune. It is important to ensure your perennials, roses, trees, and shrubs are trimmed. Different plants require pruning at different times of the year. Some will need to be pruned in the fall after all growth has stopped and the plants are in hibernation. Others need to be pruned in early spring when you see growth at the base of the plant. Ornamental grasses, on the other hand, do not require new growth to be seen prior to pruning.
5. Weed/Fertilize/Mulch. Once the snow and ice are gone for good, weed your gardens. This is easily accomplished with wet soil. Wetting the soil will ensure you are able to pull the entire root, instead of breaking it off at ground level. After weeding, it is time to till your soil. Add a fertilizer or compost and till again. Lay your paper, if you choose to use it, then, mulch your beds.
6. Divide & Transplant. Perennials should be divided and transplanted in the early spring. If you divide and transplant in the spring, your plants will grow more robustly and will result in healthier plants. You will need to do a little research to determine when, how, and how often your specific variety of plants will need to be divided and transplanted.
7. Inventory. Take an inventory of all your supplies, including bulbs, seeds, plant supports, and garden decor. It is always best to do this as early as possible, as your favorite gardening stores will have a wide variety and plenty in stock.
8. Start Your Seeds. Using the information you learned regarding your last frost date, you can start your seeds indoors. Using the growing time for the plants you choose to add to your garden, and count back based on that information and your estimated last frost date, to determine the right time to start flower and vegetable seeds.

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Getting Your Garden Ready for Winter

With the summer months receding into distant memory, now is the time for the astute gardener to turn her thoughts to the harsher winter months and prepare her garden accordingly. Forethought and action now can help your prized plot emerge from the wintry depths in a better condition than would otherwise be the case.
A lawn can make or break the look of a garden, and proper pre-winter care is essential if it is to be at its best during the forthcoming year. In late autumn, give it its final mowing, making sure that the mower is set to its maximum cutting height. Also, keep raking off any leaves and debris that fall onto it from surrounding trees so that they don´t shade the grass, thereby excluding air, encouraging disease and inhibiting growth. Now is also the time to scarify the lawn with a spring-tined rake to remove dead grass, moss and other detritus, all obstacles to a healthy lawn. Then, the lawn should be aerated with a garden fork or a rotary aerator. This alleviates the soil compaction that has occurred during the year. The lawn will probably have sustained some damage after the wear and tear of the summer, so sow seed on any bare patches that have emerged, and make good any other repairs to edges and so on. Finally, a top-dressing should be applied to feed the grass and promote growth.
Flowerbeds and borders
In the flowerbeds, all the annuals, which will be dead or dying but certainly well past their best, should be dug up and put on the compost heap, while perennials should be cut back and, if required, divided to give more plants, which should then be planted in situ, or overwintered in a greenhouse. If you have any shrubs that you want to move, do it now, as it allows them time to get firmly anchored before the growing season. However, be sure to stake them, as they may need extra support while settling in. Soil loses a lot of nutrients during the summer, so dig in compost or fertilizer ahead of the next growing period. Roses should be dead-headed and cut back, so long as they are not winter-flowering, and trees and shrubs should be inspected for damage and disease, which can then be cut out. Any plants that have spent the summer outside in pots should now be returned to the confines of the house or the greenhouse before the first frosts.
If you have a pond, cover it with some netting, which will prevent leaves etc. falling in and polluting the water. A good idea, if you have fish, is to float a small ball on the surface, so should it freeze over, you only have to lift the ball up to provide a ready-made hole for to allow the fish to breathe.
Building maintenance
Inspect walls and any other garden buildings, such as greenhouses and sheds, for wear and tear. Any weaknesses should be attended to before the inclement weather makes them worse and more costly to repair.
Garden furniture
If possible, garden furniture should be stored away somewhere safe and dry. However, if that is not possible, ensure that it is protected with weather-proof covers. And don´t forget that winter winds can be particularly harsh, so be sure that everything is weighted or tied down.
Finally, when all the jobs have been completed, it's time to turn your attention to your tools. They work hard and deserve to be treated with care, so clean and oil them well, and let them enjoy a well-deserved winter's rest in a nice, dry shed or garage.
Much of gardening in winter is the tidy up and then the prepartaion for a closed season. However there are of course things you can do for future growth, for example the drying out and storage of seeds or, as may people try, the winter treatment of seeds. Putting them into flats and then putting them outside over winter to see them germinate in spring. If you need ideas, get online and get inspired!
Graeme is writing on behalf of vegetable seeds supplier Kings Seeds

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Gardening and Health Benefits

Gardening is one of those hobbies which can be enjoyed by almost anybody. From the very young to the very old, from the very healthy to those with poor health or some form of disability, all types of person can enjoy various types of gardening. For those adults who are strong and healthy virtually any aspect of the hobby can be thoroughly enjoyed as often as they like but for those less fortunate strenuous gardening tasks, such as those involved in landscaping and building a new garden, may be beyond their capabilities. Such folk can still enjoy some of the lighter tasks, such as pruning and weeding, and they can certainly enjoy all of the many benefits.
One of the most obvious benefits of gardening are related to the elements of exercise. One of the beautiful things about gardening is that the hobby offers many different levels of exercise from the vigorous and strenuous to the light and easy going. At different ages we require different levels and different types of exercise. It is often a joke that when somebody is about to retire from full time employment they are likely to take up gardening in their spare time. It is true that a great many of us choose to take up the hobby late in life when we have much more spare time to enjoy such things but, for the elderly, regular and gentle exercise can help ensure that joints remain supple. For some elderly gardeners a simple task such as bending over to remove a weed can prove to be nearly impossible, or could lead to injury if done incorrectly. For this reason there are a number of garden implements available to help older folk. These include long handled tools which reduce the need for bending or a small platform with tall poles at each side to help the person lower themselves to a seated or kneeling position and then aide them in returning to the standing position.
Of course regular exercise is important to us all. Unfortunately it is often said that the increase in child obesity is due to lack of regular exercise and bad diet. Well gardening can cater for both these needs because as well as providing all sorts of opportunity for exercise we can also grow fresh fruit and vegetables in even the smallest of spaces. Young children, more often than not, find the whole process from planting the seeds to harvesting the produce, highly fascinating. Many schools now try to incorporate simple gardening into their science lessons and more and more are developing their own gardens, both flower and vegetable, for both educational and recreational use.
From the moment a fruit or vegetable is picked it begins to lose it's nutritional benefits most noticeable is the reduction in vitamin content. All produce now has a sell by date and a consume by date but, when it comes to fruit and vegetables they are best consumed as soon after harvesting as possible. Food should not be too processed, it should not be cooked for too long, as this further degrades the vitamins (steaming of fresh vegetables is increasing in popularity because it helps retain vitamins). Freezing the produce as soon after harvesting as possible can help greatly but nothing beats food which is picked and eaten on the same day.
By indulging in a little gardening you can ensure that at least some of your diet includes food which can be picked and eaten on the same day. Furthermore you can ensure that it is even healthier by avoiding the use of artificial chemicals. Organic fruit and vegetables are considered far healthier and organic gardening is not really that difficult. You will be amazed at how gorgeous a fresh organic new potato can taste and as for tomatoes, have you tasted a tomato recently? They are disgusting, they are often orange and rather tasteless. Compare the cheaper tomatoes with organic vine tomatoes and you can really taste the difference, and I really do mean that you will taste a massive difference. Sadly there is just a massive increase in the price but, happily, tomatoes are one of the most commonly grow vegetables or fruit grown in indoor gardening. I have often grown tomatoes on my kitchen window where they receive most sunlight and where they can be watched closely (as they do require a fair bit of attention). Homegrown tomatoes are simply the best and they remind me of my great grandfather who always grew a great many in his small greenhouse alongside one or two pot plants, a cacti or two and some seed trays full of annuals for his beautifully kept flower garden. He was an avid gardener all of his long life and credited his good health to his love of gardening.
There are numerous other health benefits to gardening, far to many to comprehensively list here, but, with a little research you will find sufficient ways in which to benefit from gardening to encourage almost anybody to take up the hobby. Even the disabled can benefit and can have a garden designed to compensate for their disabilities, such as raised beds which can enable them to weed, prune and plant. However the greatest benefit has to be the enjoyment of the garden itself. Time spent relaxing in a garden it truly priceless, especially if you have a hectic modern lifestyle. Just an hour or two a week spent taking in the sun surrounded by the sounds of birds and other wildlife can prove highly restorative. It is therefore little surprise that nearly every hospital, hospice, health spa or other such places, all have well kept gardens. is dedicated to providing quality information about all aspects of landscape gardening. The author, Andrew Kelly, has been a keen gardener since his childhood and, now retired, he spends most of his spare time enjoying the hobby and writing about it.

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How to Make Your Garden Great for Kids

Nowadays kids spend way too much time indoors. To help get them off the couch and get outside and be active, create an enticing garden that they just won't be able to resist. Make your garden child friendly, with swing sets and other areas set aside just for them. Remember to provide play areas protected from the sun using canopies and other methods of creating shade.
A sandpit is a great play area for kids to get dirty and really use their imaginations. Boys in particular love sandpits and will spend hours with their toy trucks and cars playing in amongst the sand. You can easily create a sandpit by laying out four timber sleepers to create the border, then buy your sand and fill it in. It can be a good idea to buy a canopy for the pit, which you can pull over it when it is not in use. This stops dirt and other bits of rubbish ending up in it, and if you have pets you can avoid having them using the sandpit as a toilet.
Cubby House
Children love cubby houses and it is great for them to have a special place all of their own. It does not necessarily have to be fancy, and if you have a large and sturdy tree you may want to build them a tree house. You can buy ready made cubby houses, or kits that are easy to put together. Otherwise you can design one yourself. Get the kids to help you, they are sure to have lots of ideas as to what they think a cubby house needs. You can also be creative and build something other than a traditional cubby house, such as a pirate ship or space ship. Be as imaginative as you like.
Vegetable Garden
Put a vegetable garden in and give your kids their own plot. Let them help with the whole process, of preparing the soil, choosing what they want to plant, planting the seeds and taking care of the plant. Finally they will be rewarded with their own vegetables, and they can pick them and help prepare them to eat. Growing vegetables can teach children a lot about how our food is produced and can encourage them to eat healthy food.
Adventure Playground
If you have the space you may want to create an adventure playground of sorts, with a swing set, a slide and other play equipment. Put plenty of tan bark around underneath equipment to ensure a safe landing if someone falls and you may want to put up a canopy overhead to provide some shade.
Secret Garden
If you have the space, and can afford to do it, create a secret garden for your kids. Partition off a corner of your garden with a fast growing hedge and create a secret shady world of their own. Have the entry guarded by an archway or gate and let your kids use this space as their very own.
By the way, do you want to learn more about pest protection? If so, I suggest you check Canopies and Bird Netting.

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9 Container Gardening Tips For City Dwellers.

Container gardening is an excellent alternative or addition to a real garden, but require special treatment.  For many years I really enjoyed planting container gardens in giant clay pots while living in rented apartments in Calgary.  Here are a few tips I learned from professional gardeners.

1.  If you live in an apartment and want to add a window box, check with the landlord to see if you're allowed to have one.  Certain landlords ban them and fear that they will damage the structure of their buildings.  Realistically, a well prepared window box won't cause any damage as long as it's anchored firmly in place. You can buy special brackets to do this and stores also have drip trays so that you can catch any excess water that drains out of it. Not only are they attractive, but window boxes make it difficult for intruders to climb in through windows. They have to tackle the plants first!

2. If you want to add a large container to your balcony or  if have access to a flat roof, check to see if there are any weight restrictions before installing it.  It's worth remembering that one cubic yard of compost weights one ton - and that's only its dry weight.  If you then add the weight of a container, plants and water, you could be placing an intolerable strain on the floor or roof which may not be able to support it.

3.  When planting a window box, remember that you are creating a miniature landscape. Consider including some dwarf or slow-growing plants, such as conifers, and one or two trailing vines to soften the edges.  Add splashes of color by introducing some summer bedding plants like petunias, pansies or tulips.

4.  Wooden half-barrels are among the cheapest forms of large containers. To prevent these barrels from rotting, they need to be lined with plastic sheets with some drainage holes punched into both the plastic sheets and the barrel.  Unless you are planting a tree, you won't need to fill the entire barrel with compost. Instead, fill the bottom half with a layer of broken shards of pot to provide drainage, and then add some ordinary garden soil before topping up the barrel with compost to an adequate rooting depth.

5.  To add an aged appearance to your garden ornaments and pots simply paint them with a little milk.  This will encourage moss to grow on them, and they'll soon look as though they've been there for years.

6.  Remember that a large pot filled with compost and plants will be very heavy, so save yourself the struggle of moving it by selecting your preferred location and positioning the pot there before filling it.

7.  For maximum impact group pots and containers of varying sizes together. Single pots can look a little lonely and plants like to have company.

8.  Please note that pots or containers that hold less compost than a conventional eight inch diameter pot will need frequent watering in summer.

9.  Every month or so, prick over the soil of any containers or tubs in which long-standing flowers are growing to prevent it from becoming compacted.  This allows the soil to absorb air, water and nutrients.

Container gardening is great for anyone who lacks space in apartments or condos. It's really nice especially for city dwellers to enjoy a little bit of greenery right on their balcony during the summer months. 

Looking for more gardening ideas like how to make your own Topsy Turvy Planter ? Wonder if Seed in a Blanket or Flower in a Blanket really work? I invite you to visit my blog at to find the latest reviews and tips of infomercial products seen on TV

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4 Easy Steps to Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden

If you are a hobby gardener, you may be dreaming about fresh organic vegetables. It is easier than it seems with a few simple steps. I discovered that vegetable gardening requires good planning and proper preparation for a successful harvest.
Step 1 - Bed and border planning:
Whether squash, tomatoes or lettuce, healthy plants have needs. Since most vegetables need a sheltered and sunny spot, growing them in the shade will be a futile effort. The size of the vegetable garden patch depends on the total size of the garden, and what vegetables you want to grow. Radishes or carrots grow well in a confined space. Significantly more space is required for potatoes, squash and cabbage.
Draw a scaled plan of the bed and lay out which plants grow where. The single bed should be no wider than 130 inches to keep the center of the bed from both sides within easy reach. Enclosing the bed creates visual clarity and prevents rain from washing away the fertile topsoil. This can be done using weather resistant wood planks of larch, oak, frost-resistant bricks or natural stones. If you typically have a lot of snails in the garden, you may want to consider a special snail guard.
Step2 - Preparing the soil:
Before it goes to seeding or planting, you need to prepare the ground. Use a garden claw to loosen up soil or mix existing dirt with nutritious top soil. You can spread a few bags of flower and vegetable topsoil on the bed. This will provide proper nutrition and good plant growth. In order to improve the nutrient content of the soil, you can also incorporate fertilizer. When in doubt conduct a pH test of the soil to avoid over-fertilizing. You can get pH test strips or a soil tester at your local garden center.
Step 3 - Make sure you have good neighbors:
Not all vegetables get along. For example, onions should not be planted next to green beans or cabbage. Tomatoes will grow well next to cabbage, lettuce, spinach, parsley, and celery. You can buy seeds or small plants to start your own vegetable garden. Established plants are sometimes easier for gardening newcomers. Sow or plant the vegetables in rows spaced wide enough apart to facilitate later maintenance of the bed. Keep in mind that some vegetables like green beans or tomatoes require a trellis.
Step 4 - Cultivate and harvest:
If you plant early in the spring and the weather is still cool, cover the freshly planted and sown vegetables to protect them from frost damage. Otherwise, a vegetable is very easy to maintain. If there is no rain, just water once daily and remove the weeds in between.
With a little patience and depending on your region, your own fresh vegetables can be harvested in mid to late summer. When the season is over and you want to use your vegetable patch in the next year again, it is important to give the new soil nutrients. For example, old humus from the compost is ideal for mixing the existing soil.

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Garden Pests - Fight the Pests the Natural Way

Every garden, at one point or another, encounters pests and bugs. Bugs are always found in a natural environment, and on plants and leaves. Though these bugs are not life-threatening, some of these bugs can cause significant damage to plants and, therefore, should be got rid off as early as possible. A proper plan of action must be in place to get rid of garden pests permanently or at least for a longer time period. First things first, understand the kinds of bugs and identify the 'bad bugs', such as Aphids, slugs, snails, Japanese beetles, Root Maggots, Army Worm, etc., that can ravage through a beautiful garden. The next step would be to appreciate the use of natural, chemical-free or organic pesticides and methods to keep the garden free of pests.
There are plenty of natural methods to fight garden pests.
• One of the coolest ways to get rid of pests is to resourcefully use the natural ecosystems and useful insects such as lady bugs, lace wings, spiders, praying mantis, etc. This is called fighting nature with nature.
• Lady bugs are easiest to find and voraciously feed on bugs such as aphids, chinch bugs, grape root worms, thrips, mites and whitefly, as well as most of the other soft-bodied eggs and insects. Make friends with lady bugs and maintain your garden the organic way.
• Praying Mantis has a huge appetite for most garden insects and their larvae. These insects grow fast and efficiently control garden pests. Their eggs can be mail ordered easily.
• Lacewings are perfect to get rid of aphids and quite a few other varieties of insects. They are usually found around flowers such as asters, yarrow and black-eyed Susan.
• Brachonids and Ichneumon Wasps are great for destroying leaf-eating caterpillars.
• Hover Flies are also beneficial insects that consume aphids larvae and other insect larvae. They are usually attracted to composite flowers such as asters, goldenrod and yarrow.
• Nematodes are also excellent to control pests in the garden. There are basically three major kinds of nematodes. One which is harmful to the roots of the plants, the second one which helps in organic decomposition, and the third one which is extremely useful against beetles, cutworms and root weevil larvae.
The nematode eggs are usually microscopic in nature and they hatch and grow in soil usually in millions. However, they are completely harmless to humans and pets.
• Marigolds offer natural pest control. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they also attract beneficial insects that help control pests. Many insects are repelled by the scent of these flowers.
There are also several organic pesticides to prevent garden pests.
• Ground coffee, vinegar and herbs such as tansy, thyme, lavender and catnip should be mixed with water and sprayed on plants to avoid bug infestation.
• A pesticide spray can be prepared by soaking garlic, ginger, onions, Indian lilac and mint in water overnight. This solution acts as a deterrent to soft body insects.
• Egg shells and salt are great to kill slugs and snails.
• Mixing mineral oils or canola oil with water and spraying on the underside of leaves kills insects.
• Mixing baking soda with water or milk with water and spraying on plants and leaves is also a completely natural and healthy way of eliminating bugs.
Extensive use of chemicals for pest control will create long lasting damage to the environment and may also have some adverse effects on the person who handles such chemicals. Therefore, many gardening experts recommend usage of organic chemicals. Besides the safety factor, it has its own set of unique benefits as well.
Written on behalf of the vegetable seeds specialists -

How to Make Your Garden Safe for Your Dogs

Great Britain is the home of dog owners; we have a worldwide reputation for our love of dogs, even the Queen Pampers her pups. Having a pet is fun but you will need to make sure your garden is pet proof for the summer months. Dogs love to play outside but it is important to make sure your garden is properly secure and safe before you let your dog run free.
Securing your garden is the best place to start, without a secure garden your pet could run away and get lost. A garden wall or fence is important; the right panel will not only keep your pet secure but will also help make your garden less stress free.
Having a fence which is solid is usually the best option; this gives your pet no room for escape and will prevent your dog from trying to escape if another dog walks past. Solid panels come in many different sizes so you will need to choose the right size of fence to suit your dog breed.
Smaller dogs should not be able to jump higher than 4 foot but having a 6 foot fence will make sure your dog cannot escape. Large breeds of dogs will need a taller fence; large breeds like Labrador's can easily jump a 6 or even 8 foot fence panel. Install a tall fence and training your dog should make sure they don't escape. You can also add plants or trellis to the top of your existing garden fence to prevent your dog for jumping.
Make sure there are no holes or gaps in your garden fencing; a dog can easily escape or get trapped in gaps. If you're dog gets trapped when you're not home they can seriously harm themselves.
Some dogs get very distressed or distracted by other dogs walking past the garden they live in or even cars. You can restrict your dog's vision by installing a solid fence preventing them from seeing the outside world and making them feel more relaxed.
Many dog owners worry about their dogs digging under their garden fence or wall. Dogs love to dig and even strong training can sometimes fail. Placing paving slabs around the edge of your garden fence will help prevent dogs from digging. You don't even need to lay concrete most slabs will stay put on their own. You can also place wire into the ground before your garden fence. This is always best done before you lay a lawn or fencing.
Getting rid of toxic plants is also very important if you want to make your garden safe for your pets. Dogs don't often eat poisonous plants but it is always worth making sure there is no risk. Tomato plants, foxgloves and daffodils are common garden plants which can be harmful.
If you have a garden pond or pool you will need to ensure it is covered at all times when your dogs are playing outside. Dogs can swim but ponds can still be hazardous; if they jump into a pond and get stuck on a weed or plant they can drown.
Many gardeners do not know what to do about digging dogs! It's only natural for a dog to want to dig up your prized flowers and make a mess of your lawn. If this is a problem for you think about adding a sand pit or mud pit to your garden. This will give your dog a dedicated area to dig saving your flower beds!
Making your garden safe for your dog is the best way to ensure your pets don't have any tragic accidents. It will also make your life more relaxing because you won't have to worry when your pet plays outside. All dogs deserve a nice outdoor life and transforming your garden will make your dog happy!
Yasmin is a keen DIY enthusiast and garden lover and often spends time writing helpful and simple content for advice and inspiration aboutFence Panels. Your garden is much more than a patch of grass around your property but it's a hobby, a lifestyle, and an extension of yourself outdoors

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5 Ways to Get Children Excited About Gardening

If you're planting a vegetable garden this year, you probably wouldn't mind a little help from your children. But what do you do if they're just not into shoveling and pulling weeds? Here are a few ideas to entice kids to help:
1. Plant Fast-Growing Vegetables
Children aren't exactly known for long attention spans (and, okay, some of us grownups aren't either), so they can get tired of waiting for slow-growing veggies to look like something interesting. Why not plant something like radishes, which, depending on the variety, can grow to maturity in a few weeks? Or those little Parisian carrots (50 to 60 days to maturity)?
You also might "cheat" and pick up some vegetable starts from the nursery (or start some of your own). This way, you can put already-thriving plants into the garden, so the kids aren't just wandering out to stare at the dirt. Before long, they'll be picking those pea pods off the vines.
2. Plant Their Favorites
This one probably goes without saying, but most kids are more excited about munching from a strawberry patch than a broccoli plant. If your little ones enjoy carrots more than brussel sprouts, make sure plenty of their favorites go into the beds. It's a lot easier to get them to help harvest vegetables they'll enjoy eating raw right out of the garden than ones they'd prefer never showed up on the dinner table.
3. Plant Heirloom or "Fun" Varieties of Vegetables
Some kids may be skeptical of veggies that don't look like the ones they're used to (AKA store-bought varieties), but the adventurous sorts may be tickled to try yellow and green tomatoes with funky bumps and bulges. And why limit yourself to plain old orange carrots when you can have purple, red, and yellow ones? You could plant a mix and have fun guessing what color the carrot will be before the children dig them up.
4. Get Kid-Sized Gardening Tools
While your trowel and hand rake might suit you fine, your kids might be tickled to have their very own gardening tools. Several outfits make colorful tools that are perfect for kid-sized hands. They're usually not that expensive either so it's less of a big deal if the kids leave them out in the rain (your $60 Felco pruning sheers may be a different story!).
5. Release the Insects!
You've probably heard of beneficial insects, the little buggers that eat the pest bugs harassing your leafy greens. One of the more popular species (probably because they're the least weird looking!) is the good old lady bug. Did you know that you can buy them in bulk to release into your garden? (The jury is out on how helpful this actually is because a lot of them are likely to fly away, but they don't cost a lot and even kids squeamish about insects might enjoy this activity.)
Other predator insects, such as green lacewing and the infamous preying mantis can also be purchased for release. Not only can this be a fun event for the kids (you might even be able to make a science project out of it), but adding some of these guys to your yard may help naturally control pest insects.
There you go, five ways to make gardening more fun for your kids!
Once you've got your children helping with the veggie-growing chores, your time outside will be more entertaining and the weeding might just get done a little more quickly. As an added plus, the kids will learn to enjoy growing and eating fresh, natural vegetables that are better for them than the store-bought ones shipped from the other side of the planet.
The author writes children's stories and maintains the Off the Urban Grid blog, a site with suggestions on green and more self-reliant living for city-dwellers.

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How to Set Up a Perfect Garden

A beautiful garden is the result of time and energy invested in planning, planting, tending, enriching the soil, pruning and many other tasks. It does not come about magically, but through months and years of tender loving care and maintenance. However the journey to get there can be made easier with helpful tips and guide to setting you your ideal garden.
Think about the space you have in your garden. With that in mind, consider the size of plants when fully grown. This will help you gauge the room required to fit all the plants that you have chosen or plant plants that can accommodate the space that you have. In order for plants to grow into its full potential, it must have sufficient room for the roots to grow and the branches and leaves to sprout. Over-planting will cause your plants to fight for nutrients and your plants may not thrive well or grow fully. Furthermore, it makes the garden look very disorganized and gardening work tougher as you are not able to reach the inner recess of the garden to clean the weeds or apply fertilizers.
Consider what color plants you like. Too many colors create too big a contrast and clash with your plants and throw everything out of perspective, whereas monotone will results in a dull and unpleasant garden. Look for colors that compliment each other in order to bring out the spectrum of colors that will make your garden grand and stand out vividly. Multi-colors plants attract bees and butterflies that will make your garden lively. If you are not sure of the colors, use the color charts as a guide.
Take into consideration the weather and environmental condition of your area. Is it hot all the time with little rain or wet most of the year? How much sunshine you get throughout the year? Doing research and understanding these elements will help you pick the right choice of plants as different plants have dissimilar needs. An easy way is check out the plants in your neighborhood. Those thriving plants are the plants that you should consider.
Take into account the amount of time you can spare to tend to your plants and garden. Some plants needs more tending time with watering, fertilizing, pruning while those hardy plants need lesser tending time. Flowering plants adds vibrant to your garden but they more caring time to ensure they stay beautiful. Some plants need a lot of pruning work while others may require watering. Hardy plants require less gardening time. Therefore pick plants that suit your time schedule.
Bear in mind the watering needs of your plants. Choose plants that do not require much water to thrive on if water is not easily available. While planning your garden, you might want to consider installing a water sprinkle system. With this watering system your plants will not be deprived of water and in addition saves you the time to water your plants.
Mentally be prepared for pests. These are insects you cannot avoid and they can do untold damage to your plants. Try drawing birds to your garden as they feed on those bad and harmful insects and help to eradicate the bad insects from destroying your plants. Introduce good insects like ladybugs as they also feed on the bad insects. There are many pests control solution in the market. Find one that is not harmful to the plants and you. In addition, try plants that give out strong fragrant that may be repel insects.
Stop those weeds. When preparing the soil for planting, spread some corn meal to prevent the growth of weeds. Regularly weeding and weed killers help to stop the rapid growth of weeds. It is important to weed your garden regularly as they draw away the nutrients required by your plants.
No doubt gardening takes time and effort but the reward far outweighs all the hard work. Once you can see the results, the hard work means nothing and you will be a proud owner of a beautiful garden within your community.

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Five Container Veggie Gardening Mistakes to Avoid

So you want to grow your own vegetables in containers? Good for you! This rewarding and beneficial hobby has so much to offer our bodies and minds. Whether you are just starting or have been container gardening for awhile, it's always good to remind yourself of best practices...And what better way to avoid common mistakes than to learn from the ones others have made?
Let's look at some of the most common container veggie gardening mistakes so we can be sure to avoid them!
Overwatering may very well be the top reason why container plants die. There are three common reasons behind this trend:
* Not knowing how often to water plants. For novices, just follow this simple rule of thumb: resist the urge to water your plant if its soil is not dry. Use a moisture meter to be more accurate about when you need to water your plants.
* Not watering plants the right way. Some plants need to be watered lightly on a frequent basis. Others need to have their soil dry out completely before being soaked with water. Knowing your plants' watering needs will go a long way to keeping them happy and healthy.
* Not making sure the pots have enough drainage holes. It is absolutely crucial that your vegetable gardening containers have enough drainage holes to let the water drain out easily. Either purchase pots that already have holes in them, or drill 2-3 holes on the bottom of the pot, yourself. It is also a good idea to mix some sand in with your potting soil, which makes the soil looser and easier for water to drain through.
On the flip side, underwatering is another usual suspect for unhealthy container veggies. Although you never want the soil to be soggy, keep in mind that in a container there is less soil and therefore moisture escapes more quickly.
The first defense is to know your plants' individual watering needs. Then group plants with the same watering requirements together. Lastly, make it a daily habit to check soil moisture. It should never feel extremely dry. There is a handy tool called a "moisture meter" than can take away the guesswork.
Not Ensuring Your Plants Get Enough Light
Every type of plant has its own light requirements. Make sure your plants get the minimum amount of light they need for growth. This is especially true with vegetable container gardening. Rotate your plants so they get their share of sunlight regularly and on all sides.
If you are growing your container vegetable garden indoors and you have less than 6 hours of direct sunlight, you may want to install an artificial lighting setup.
If you are only growing low light vegetables like radishes or lettuce indoors, simple fluorescent growing lights should be enough. If you want a full grown fruiting tomato plant, on the other hand, you might need HID growing lights, such as high pressure sodium or metal halide to provide the light requirements needed. Know your plants' foot-candle requirements and purchase a light meter if possible.
Using Outside Garden Soil for Container Veggie Gardening
No matter how rich your garden soil is you should not use it for indoor vegetable gardening or any kind of container gardening. Soil from outside may contain bacteria and can harbor diseases which may prove more difficult to control in a closed environment. You might also end up bringing pests and weeds into your home garden even before you even started planting.
Use special container gardening or potting soil. This will be more sterile than outdoor soil and contain a more appropriate pH balance. Try to get a high quality potting soil containing compost.
Forgetting About Companion Planting
Yes, even though they are in containers, plants should still be grouped together according to light, water and - if growing an indoor garden - temperature and humidity preferences.
And if you are growing several plants together in the same container, there is more to think about than how their foliages complement one another. You need to know if they are mutually beneficial or detrimental to one another.
With a little research you can learn which plants grow well together and which don't, to ensure a happy and harmonious indoor container veggie garden.