Do you, like many small-space gardeners, discard unplanted seeds every year based on the sell-by date the manufacturer has stamped on the seed packet? If so, you’re wasting money.
While it is true that seed germination rates generally decline from year-to-year after harvesting, that is no reason to waste perfectly good seeds just because the sell-by date has passed. Older seeds that do germinate will produce plants that are just as vigorous as they would have been in year one.
The key is to test whether seeds will germinate before, not after, you commit precious garden or greenhouse space to them. This is a luxury not available to large-scale producers.
The technique is simple. On a damp paper towel, arrange seeds representing about two or three times the number of plants that you would like to produce. Cover the seeds with another damp paper towel, then fold the towels and seal them in a plastic zipper bag. In order to accelerate the germination process, first nick larger seeds with a sharp knife so moisture will penetrate and soften the outer-shell more quickly.
Store the bag at room temperature and carefully unwrap its contents to look for signs of germination every few days.
Plant germinated seeds in starter pods or directly into the garden depending on the season. Continue this process over a period of days until your space if full or you have planted all germinated seeds.
In addition to making the most of your gardening dollars, this process eliminates the need to thin seedlings once they emerge from the soil.
No need to give up after season two. Instead, carefully re-seal opened seed packets and store them in plastic in order to maximize germination rates for next year or for a second planting in the current year.
Home gardening is pleasurable for so many reasons including the pleasure that comes from trimming the family food budget. That can only increase as the annual seed budget shrinks.
Bringing the outdoors inside with some creative art ideas. There are many reasons why indoor gardening has become a popular hobby among gardening enthusiasts. People are choosing apartment living, which limits the space that is available to build a healthy garden. There are healthy garden articles available that give some great tips on creating a garden in the balcony area, but what about options for inside an apartment? The creative use of plants inside the apartment living space can also be a great interior design choice, bringing vibrancy, positive energy and life to any living space. A number of creative indoor art projects involving plants will be presented.
Creating a living, plant-like painting is a clever way of bringing healthy garden living inside. Old painting frames that are lying around can be a good starting point. Remove the back support to frame a standard wall planter and plant fresh leaves. Aromatic plants such as coriander can create a distinctive fragrance to freshen up the living room. A thin box is filled with potting soil, meshed, surrounded by a picture frame and individual succulents can be inserted into the mesh gaps. The choice of succulent plants for these paintings will depend on climate but in general, the Haworthias and Gasteraloes are two varieties that do well indoors. Succulents are a good choice for small individual additions, but there are other indoor hanging garden painting options, depending on climate conditions. Moss and fern arrangements have also been used for these types of paintings. One of the main appeals of this art work design is that there is fun to be had from choosing the best picture frame or even painting it to add individual personality and creativity.
There are other alternative healthy garden ideas to create a living space inside an apartment building, depending on materials available. An unused book shelf can be used, with a collection of indoor pot plants, to create a vertical wall feature. The same could be said for unused kitchen shelves and cabinets. To make a lasting impression on visitors, there are indoor alternatives to traditional planting boxes and pots. Empty wine glasses have been used by some indoor plant enthusiasts, filled with soil and water and filled with smaller plants. Light bulbs, with an opening cut out, can be filled with water and hung in a decorate arrangement, while flower cuttings can be put inside and replaced.
The biggest challenge for healthy garden enthusiasts who want to bring plants indoors is the choice of plants and their sunlight requirements. Nonetheless, there is much enjoyment to be had for using indoor gardening and creating works of art for a living space.
Some roses, vines, and even shrubs will weep and cascade over lawns, flower beds and arbors. The effect from only one or two plants with this growing attribute can be beautiful in the romantic or cottage garden adding a sense of movement to the design.
A less than hardy weeping and cascading plant might include the fragrant vine, wisteria. The large flower racemes have the appearance of grapes on the vine. This plant needs a very strong support. The gardener will need a little patience – waiting a few years before the first flowers appear. Wisteria is traditionally grown on strong arbors, or supports around a door entrance. It grows best in garden zone 6 or higher.
Another zone 6 cascading plant is the tree-like shrub, laburnum. This shrub has long pinnacles of yellow flowers in spring. It is a common addition to English gardens, often used in design to create a traditional laburnum walk. The laburnum walk is a long path under an arbor tunnel with laburnum planted near the base of each supporting post. As the visitor passes through the tunnel, her only vision is that of the yellow flowers of the plant weeping through the overhanging posts that cross the path. Wisteria can also be used in this manner. It's a stunning effect.
Most roses known as climbers and ramblers will cascade if not tied to their supports too strictly. For the cascade and weeping appearance, it may only be a case of letting the upper canes and some of the side-shoots fall loosely without being tied in. A climbing rose like the Explorer rose, William Baffin, is easily left as a stand-alone rose in the lawn without any support whatsoever. The upper canes will weep and cascade over the lower canes creating a large mass of deep pink flowers, as wide and tall the long canes will grow.
The list of climbing roses is long, and the plants themselves are easily found in Online rose catalogs.
There are many choices in weeping and cascading plants, and it isn't difficult to find only one or two plants that will work for the gardener's location, adding a little garden romance to the landscape.
Gardening has become a very popular hobby in the last several years for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is the fact that more and more studies are showing the harmful effects of eating food which has been treated with chemicals or altered with hormones or other unnatural products. Growing your own food in a garden can be a healthy activity which is also quite enjoyable. If, however, you live in an apartment it might seem impossible to be able to have a garden since you don’t have a yard where you can put it. Fortunately, there are many ways you can start apartment gardening without any trouble.
The biggest problem to overcome with apartment gardening is the fact that there is just not as much room for a garden as there would be for someone with their own home. Most apartment gardens will be placed on or around the balcony which is often very limited in space. The best way to take advantage of as much of the area as possible is by using a combination of hanging baskets and pots to hold the plants. By using both the ground area and the area above it is possible to fit in far more plants than you otherwise could.
There are also devices designed specifically for gardening in small areas which will allow you to put pots in a tiered format where all of the plants will fit nicely and still get sufficient sunlight to remain healthy. The important thing when considering this type of option is that you take into account the size the plant will be when fully grown. It is impossible, for example, to put corn in this type of arrangement because the plants are simply too tall. By planning ahead and arranging the plants for your apartment garden wisely it is possible to get dozens of healthy plants into your balcony area.
While there are some obvious difficulties associated with apartment gardening, there are also some advantages. The biggest advantage is that when using pots and baskets for your plants it is possible to bring them inside when necessary. This means you can begin your garden much earlier in the year because there is no worry of a frost killing the plants. On nights when the weather is supposed to get too cold, simply bring the plants inside for the evening. This extra growing time can often allow you to have two or even three harvests each year rather than just one with a traditional garden.
The temperature is hovering around 45 degrees, and vestiges of winter’s north winds are in the air. It’s a great time to be out in the garden!
There are several vegetables able to thrive in early spring. Beets, peas, lettuce, cabbage and spinach taste better when grown in cool weather, either early spring or fall. After a long winter’s hibernation, it’s gratifying to have an excuse to dig in the dirt. And that first dish of asparagus topped with stir-fried snowpeas makes braving that chill worth the effort.
Two key elements in achieving a successful spring garden are soil preparation and seed germination. I have always tried to pregerminate my seed, either in plug trays, peat pots, or by sandwiching between two moist paper towels in a warm area. Lettuce, spinach and cabbage or cauliflower seedlings transplant easily from plug trays directly to soil. Peas can be started in peat strips, and the entire strip placed in a furrow after the pea plants have their true leaves. Beets don’t appreciate transplanting, so these can be germinated on paper towels, and the rooted seeds placed gently into holes created with a small dibble or a pencil. Doing this ensures adequate seed germination, and also eliminates the need to thin plants.
Choose a day when it’s relatively warm, sunny and the soil is dry to prepare your soil. Wet soils will compact with tillage, and the end result is a hard lump that can strangle the tender roots of your seedlings. Dig in adequate amounts of compost and / or dry fertilizer, and allow these to settle in for a day or so before placing seedlings in the furrows.
Most of these plants can withstand light frosts, but if there is a threat of a hard freeze or snow, find a way to protect your seedlings. Last year, I had to put a plastic tunnel over my spinach, which survived an 8” snowfall and went on to produce several salad bowls full of leaves. Row covers, tarps, even newspaper “caps” can be used to protect young plants from any harsh winter conditions that blow in. Just remember to remove the protection as soon as the threat is over – you don’t want to give your plants a plastic-induced “hotfoot.”
Vegetable gardens don’t have to be one-season events. Enjoy the cool weather while it lasts, and work in some tasty spring greens beside your daffodils.
Growing your own vegetables is a hobby that many people enjoy. The only question is what will you plant? If you want to grow something a little different, then try planting some radishes.
How is Growing a Radish Different?
Radishes are different from many crops because they grow in the ground. Radishes are basically just vegetables with big juicy roots. They will sprout leaves like your other garden plants, but the part of the radish that you eat will grow in the soil.
Soil Type -
Radishes thrive in most types of soil; however, sandy soils seem to work best. Be sure that you break up your soil with a till or a similar tool. This makes it easier for the root of the radish to penetrate the soil, and it also helps with water drainage.
Temperature and Sun -
Radishes require rather warm temperatures (low eighties to mid-nineties) in order to produce healthy plants. If it freezes, then your radishes could die. Generally, you should plant your radishes in the latter part of March through early July. As for the sun, radishes prefer full sun rather than shade.
Radishes usually have small seeds. To plant your radish seeds, simply use your fingers to create an indentation in the soil. How deep you plant your radish seeds will depend on the type of radish that you're attempting to grow.
If it's large radishes, then you should dig out a trench with your fingers that's about five centimeters deep. For smaller radishes, make your trench around two centimeters in depth.
After you've decided how deep you want to plant your radishes, simply sprinkle your radish seeds into the trench that you have created. When your radishes start to produce green stalks, then you'll need to start pruning them. The radishes that you don't prune will then have more space to grow and develop into mature plants.
Even though your radish is growing under the earth for the most part, you should still attempt to keep it as pest free as possible. Ants and other insects can still eat away at the green leaves that the radish produces. Without these leaves, your radishes might die. Also, over watering your radishes could cause the roots to rot. And gophers would love to eat the roots of your radishes as well.
So be sure to keep some pesticides handy for the insects. If you're really worried about gophers, then you can just grow your radishes in a pot. Simply make sure that your pot is at least six inches deep. As for the watering, you'll just have to be more careful. If the soil is still damp from your last watering, then don't water.
Radishes can be a fun and unique type of vegetable to grow. Just make sure that you understand the basics and then plant away.
Clean bird feeders and bird baths are as important to wild birds as clean dishes are to humans. Grimy bird feeders and baths can be a source of contamination that can be fatal to birds. Please help to spread the word about the need for clean, healthy wild bird feeders. Dirty bath water and feeders can cause wild birds to contact disease, leading to sickness and or death.
Sometimes elements of nature, such as forceful rain can cause moisture to enter feeders that normally wouldn't have a problem with dampness spoiling seeds. Spoiled seeds will discourage wild birds from using your feeding stations and cause a harmful build up of mold. In some circumstances birds may contaminate the seeds with droppings.
What To Look For
Feeder: With so many feeders on the market, how do you choose the best one? Well, one of the first considerations is durability, the thing has got to last. It needs to be well built, so it can withstand a fall. And it should be resistant to the weather, rust and squirrels. I also look for one that holds a lot of seed, so I don't have to refill it so often.
Bath: There are a few things to consider when you place a bird bath on your lawn or in your garden. Birds prefer shallow water (no more than 1-2 inches). If the water is deeper than that they will avoid it out of fear. Also, the bottom of the bird bath should have a fairly rough surface. Birds feel more comfortable when they have a solid footing.
When it comes to both feeders and bird baths, the need to keep them clean is essential for the birds and the environment. The reasons are obvious and simple. Bird baths are regularly contaminated with bird droppings, feather algae, dust and dirt blown in from around the yard.
After you have found the most appropriate location for your bird bath and installed it, you can then concentrate on attracting the birds to it. Having a ready supply of food nearby is an excellent way to attract your feathered friends. If you keep a well-stocked bird feeder near the bird bath they will eat their fill and then splash around in the water for a few minutes. Your new bird bath will be a wonderful addition to your lawn and garden in the winter time as well as the summer. Although most plants go dormant in the winter, birds continue to need a water source and many local streams and ponds may well be frozen over and not provide the water they need in order to survive and remain healthy. Also, there are different species of birds around in the winter time as opposed to the summer. Be sure to keep your bird bath free of ice and filled with water during cold weather. The water is useless to birds if it is only available as a block of ice
There is truly nothing like hearing the sound of wild birds calling and talking back and forth in your own yard. To look out of your windows and see birds making their homes, flying and frolicking in your own yard may even give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Unfortunately not everyone lives in an area that is rich with, or fit for, bird life. With the abundance of cities, towns and civilization, habitats for wild birds is not at its best. On the other hand you can create a healthy habitat for wild birds with a little bit of effort.
Depending on where you live you may not be able to do more than put up a bird feeder or two, a bird house or possibly a small patio garden. If this happens to be your situation rest assured that you can still attract several wild birds to your bird habitat. If you opt for a bird feeder you will want to hang it where you can easily reach it to refill it as the feed will disappear quickly once the birds know it is there. For a bird house you can either build a simple house or purchase one from any local department or livestock store.
If you have a yard area that you can transform into a bird habitat the possibilities are almost endless as to what you can do. Your new habitat will have to offer shelter and protection from both the elements of nature and other animals. Though bird houses are an instant addition to your habitat it may not offer immediate results. I consider natural cover to be the best solution. This type of cover can be simply created with vegetation such as bushes and shrubs as well as a small pile of brush. The vegetation can be planted in large planters if you cannot plant them directly (very handy if you are a renter). A small pile of brush works well for smaller birds to hide from birds of prey.
There are flowers, shrubs and small trees that you can add to your yard to attract wild birds. Many flowers offer seeds and insects for the birds to eat. Many shrubs will offer berries for them to eat in the colder months as well as shelter and nesting places. Small trees, within one to three years, will offer shade for you and endless opportunities for birds to nest, feed and thrive.
Adding a bird habitat to your living space, no matter how small or large, is not only easy but can prove to be very satisfying (and relaxing).
When a cold snap threatens, don't forget that citrus trees need protection. Frosts usually occur when the weather is clear and calm. For a few hours overnight, temperatures drop below 20 F then rise above freezing as day returns. Frosts are temporary and different from freezes, which can last days, weeks or months. No citrus tree can withstand freezes, but many tolerate frosts providing they are protected.
Wrapping insulating materials around citrus tree trunks offers protection over winter. The best time of year for wrapping the trunks is late fall, but you can also wrap them on a dry, mild winter day. Suitable materials include palm fronds, cornstalks, fiberglass and cardboard. Start at the base of the tree, and wrap a layer two to four inches thick around the trunk up to the lowest branches. Tie twine around the material to hold it in place. When heavy rain is forecast add a layer of plastic to keep to keep the insulation dry. Don't forget to remove the plastic when the weather dries up.
Moist soil retains heat better than dry soil, and regularly watering citrus trees helps keep them frost free. When the soil is dry to a depth of one to two inches, water the ground under the trees' canopies, spraying the water evenly. Overwatering can do more harm than good, however, because citrus tree roots drown in soggy soil, so don't water so much that the ground becomes soggy.
Throwing a covering over citrus trees provides overnight protection from frosts. Larger trees may be too big to cover, but small trees benefit from this quick and easy solution. Spread burlap sacks, quilts, blankets or other large sheets over the trees' branches in the late afternoon or early evening before the temperature falls to freezing. In the morning when the temperature rises, remove the sheets so that the leaves aren't deprived of sunlight.
Lightly heating the air around citrus tree branches keeps frost at bay. Outdoor holiday lights and weather-proof incandescent light bulbs provide a surprising amount of heat. String holiday lights through citrus tree branches or fix a 100-watt light bulb at the center to protect one tree. When night falls, turn the lights on and leave them on until morning.
Grow citrus trees in areas of the garden where frosts rarely strike for long-term protection. Sunny spots sheltered from winds and next to brick walls are most likely to stay free of frosts. Bricks absorb heat from the sun during the day and radiate it at night, raising the local air temperature a few degrees. Slopes are also good for frost protection because cold air flows downward and away from the trees. Protecting citrus trees from frosts keeps them looking good and prevents damage to blooms and fruit, preserving your citrus crop. So when the weather forecast indicates frosty weather is on its way, step outside and see what you can do to keep your trees snug and warm.
What To Look For
My mom has quite the green thumb. She spends hours working on her beautiful garden and her indoor plants are thriving. I, however, lack her plant-growing skills and have found my indoor plants quickly wilting and dying due to my lack of care. However, I don’t give up because I love having fresh plants in my home – they are beautiful and add so much to my environment! For those of you who, like me, find that busy schedules and neglect have brought your indoor plants to the brink of death, there is hope! I have provided some healthy tips that will assist you in nurturing your indoor plants so they can be brought back to thriving, lush life.
What To Look For
For the avid gardener who loves to stretch out the gardening season as long as possible, or eagerly anticipates the Spring growing season and wants to get a head start, you need a plan to care for and keep your greenhouse. There are many styles and sizes to fit various gardening needs, nevertheless, they all function very similarly. They have the capacity to keep a regulated temperature inside while the temperature outside is either too hot or too cold. This produces an excessive amount of moisture or mold build-up if not cared for adequately. With an investment of time and a strong set of values toward cultivating the soil to grow rich, fertile plants, you will want to protect your investment through good time management and rightly taking care of your greenhouse.
What To Look For
Greenhouses should have at least one major clean out each year. One of the ideal times to do this is just before spring sowing, as this will remove over-wintering pests and diseases. Early autumn is another good time for a cleanout, just before tender plants are returned to the greenhouse. It is also important to maintain a clean and tidy greenhouse during the rest of the year. Otherwise, pests and diseases will develop rapidly in the humid and heated conditions. Below are some general maintenance tips, but some plants will have their own specific requirements.