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Category Archives: Gardening

Holidays by Gardening in December

Prune Deciduous Fruit Tree: Prune deciduous trees once they have dropped their leaves. Don’t be afraid to give the tree a healthy trim as they will bounce back nicely in spring.

Fill In Bare Spots in Your Lawn: Since southern California winters are mild, there is still time to seed bare spots in your lawn. If rain is sparse, you’ll need to water regularly.

Start A Mulch Pile: Rake up leaves and create a homemade mulch pile. Add leaves and grass clippings. Water the pile (if necessary). Turn once a week. You’ll have compost by spring.

Remove Dead Flowers and Branches: Gardens can look a bit ragged in winter. Keep them fresh by cutting away dead flowers, leaves and branches. Consider cutting back large trees including pines and oaks if limbs look weak or have become overgrown.

Recycle Your Christmas Tree: Check with your city on how and when to recycle your Christmas tree after the holidays. Remove all decorations and lights. Most recyclers will accept flocked and unflocked trees.

Extend the Life of Poinsettias: During the holidays, keep poinsettias in a cool indoor location-away from heating vents and fireplaces. Once spring arrives next year, cut the stems back. Put them outdoors in the shade during summer and then bring them back indoors in fall. To get the dark red leaves that poinsettias are known for, they’ll need to spend half of the day in total darkness beginning in October. They’ll start blooming-ready for next Christmas-by mid-November.

Budget Garden Sheds

Size

Sheds are usually measured in feet and inches, and are produced in many different shapes and sizes. The most popular sizes are 6×4, 7×5 and 8×6. As these sheds are manufactured on a big scale by a wide range of producers, they tend to cost less than more unusual sizes.

Wall construction

Shed walls can be divided into two main types: overlap and shiplap. Overlap sheds are the easiest to produce, and therefore the most cost-effective option. Their walls are made up of horizontal overlapping planks which form a series of sloping surfaces, like tiles on a house roof. This simple but effective design lets rain quickly flow off the shed walls before it gets a chance to soak into the timber. An advantage of this design is that if an individual plank gets damaged, you can quickly slot a new one in place without having to disturb any surrounding boards.

Shiplap sheds have a higher price tag but are sturdier and more weatherproof. This is because the wall planks are shaped to tightly interlock with each other. They also have an extra lip, or groove, between each panel to help rainwater run off easily, making them twice as watertight. In addition, these sheds are often made from superior timber which has been slow-grown for extra strength.

There is a third type of wall, also at the premium end of the market, which is often referred to as shiplap but is not quite the same: tongue & groove. While this is very similar, with a secure interlocking construction, it does not have the extra lip between each board.

Timber density

Check the thickness of the walls, roof and floor before making a choice. Ideally they should all be at least 8mm, and preferably 12mm. The roof and floor in cheaper sheds are nearly always made of chipboard (also called OSB, short for oriented strand board), whereas in high-priced models they are likely to be solid wood.

Roof covering

The cheapest type of roof covering is black mineral felt. It is also the thinnest, so needs careful fitting as it can be easily torn. Green mineral felt is thicker and more durable, but costs a little more. Both types are normally supplied in rolls, and have to be cut to size then nailed in place along the roof frame. Corrugated roofing sheets made from bitumen are also becoming popular, but are much more expensive.

Sheds are made with roofs in two main designs: apex (shaped like an inverted V) and pent (a single flat sloping surface). Both types cost about the same, but it’s a bit easier to fit covering to a pent roof as there is no centre ridge involved. You can also get reverse apex sheds, where the door is set in the long side wall instead of the front, but as these are less common they tend to cost more.

Timber treatment

You may have noticed that not all sheds are the same colour. This is due largely to the timber treatment used by the manufacturer to protect the shed from rot and insect attack. There are two types:

  • Dip-treated
  • Pressure-treated

Spring Foraging

Before heading out on your foraging journey there are a few tips and tricks to keep you and the plant world safe:

  • Identify the plant correctly. Always be 100{754c2092adc65395063d6e34d01ab9478258af8095c36affc533759512775091} sure of the plant’s identification before you harvest and consume. Many plants have poisonous look-alikes so it is imperative you can ID with certainty. Pay attention to the old adage “when in doubt, throw it out”. There are a number of great plant ID books on the market that cover most geographical areas. You may also find foraging classes in your area which can be a fun way to learn about local plants.
  • Practice sustainable harvesting for any plants you harvest. Never take more than you need and be sure to leave enough for the plants to survive and prosper. Keep in mind that unless you are eradicating an invasive species, foraging should never negatively impact the survival of the plant population. Take time to learn what plants are invasive in your area and also what plants are endangered and should never be harvested.
  • Forage in areas you know are clean and have not been treated with chemicals. Be wary of foraging along roadsides and under power lines.
  • Harvest underground storage organs; bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, etc. with additional consideration as harvesting can kill the plant. Early spring and late fall are the best times to harvest underground storage organs as the plant’s energy is conserved below ground. In late spring and summer, the plant will redirect energy to above ground growth and production of flowers and seed. A few examples of bountiful roots to forage in spring are chicory, dandelion, and burdock.
  • Seek out leafy greens as they are the stars of spring foraging. This fresh food is available long before our gardens start producing. In most areas, there are quite a few leafy greens to choose from. Dandelion, chickweed, lamb’s quarter, garlic mustard, and violet are all commonly foraged greens. Do some research to find which greens are best eaten raw and which taste best steamed or sautéed.

Utricularia Plants

Managing Bladderwort

Bladderwort plants indicate a healthy marine milieu. Due to plant’s invasive nature, the plants tend to congest native plants and alter the usual balance of elements in the water. The dense mats of these plants create problems for swimmers and others. Hence, its important to manage it from time-to-time.

Controlling mechanisms

Manual extraction processes are considered safe and natural. This includes raking or hand pulling of the plant. First try and remove one lot in smaller patches as it’s normal for plants to grow again. Inserting fish inside the lake is also a good idea, usually Grass carp likes to feast on the plant and thus ensures that the plant does not grow out of proportion.

Chemical Control Methods

Use of chemicals such as the root killing Aquacide Pellets is yet another process that can be used to get rid of Bladderworts. This is a very easy product to apply and is safe for fish and wildlife.

Growing Bladderworts

In case of growing bladderwort plants, dig up portions of seasoned plants in spring or pat dry flowers in a paper plate and remove tiny seeds. These plants reseed easily, and its invasive potential help in early growth. These plants can be grown inside as tropical plants inside the house. Bladderworts need at least four to five hours of good sunlight and prefer an additional four hours of sieved light every day. For best and early results, plant it in one part perlite and one part peat, and no bagging soil and then place the container in a plate of mineral-free

Be a Great Gardener

Design

Form and texture are more important than the color. The atmosphere and space are also very important. If you notice that the shrubs have no space below, you may need some pruning. You need to think about the design of your space and decide on what you should plant there and in what quantities.

Sowing

This is a very important part of growing a garden. When you sow your seeds, you need to water them using some warm water. Avoid using the ice-cold water as it ends up delaying the germination. After they germinate, it is important that you only handle the seedlings using the leaves since they are tougher than stems at this point.

Planting

When you are planting, then you need to think about every aspect of the process so as not to affect your plants negatively. Make sure you plant in the correct soil combination.

If you have the funds for it, then a greenhouse is definitely an amazing idea and definitely worth a try. Even a greenhouse that is not heated extends your season for growing your own good and increasing the summers. A greenhouse can be an invaluable addition to the garden as it can help you extend the range in the most incredible ways.

For real gardeners, it is important to listen to your own mood and do what you think should be done to improve the garden. You should choose the ideal time to move the plants as long as there is enough soil, shade, and a water source. This is what allows the plants to establish even more quickly.

It is important to act early. For example, if you feel young tree is not located in the ideal point, and then you need to move it early. Do not wait until such a tree has already matured so as to start thinking of ways to deal with it.

Vegetables

If you chose to grow your vegetables in pots, it is important to have a shade so as to slow down the bolting. You can use mulch to stop weeds from invading the vegetable area and this works well too. You need to consider which vegetables grow together. Doing this helps you make the most of the gardening experience by easing processes like pollination and so on.

Growing Water Lilies

True, a pond covered with water lilies do look attractive, but if the river body gets completely covered, it will inhibit the growth of flora and fauna living deep inside. Plus, they have the tendency to propagate. In no time, you will see your pond covered with them. So to prevent such a situation –

1. Use Plastic Container or Baskets : Shallow and wide plastic containers that have holes punched inside.

2. Line the Periphery of the Container with Burlap : To retain the soil in the container, use a landscape fabric or a burlap else the soil would leach out and make the pond water murky.

3. Add Clay and Fertilizer : Fill the container with clay, silt or loam and mix it with the aquatic fertilizer.

4. Remove the Old Leaves : Before placing the plant, make sure you have removed the old, fleshy and thick roots and leaves.

5. Know the Right Placement : Plant the tuber at about 45° angle.

6. Keep the Soil Intact: Add pea gravel or rocks to the container to retain the soil in the pot. There are chances of the soil washing away from the planted pot.

7. Take Note of the Height : Now, leave the pot in the pond at a depth of around 18 inches. If required, raise its depth by placing the pot on the rocks. Ensure that the leaves float on the surface.

Organise Your Garden Shed

Cabinets help – if you think cabinets only belong in your home, you are wrong. Cabinets are the perfect addition to your shed if you want to have that extra space for tools or practically anything you want to store there. Installing a few of them inside is not overly complicated, and the benefits are significant. Apart from the extra storage they provide, they are also a way to organise your items better. Depending on cabinet size, you may even be able to store everything inside, which makes the area neat and tidy.

Install a peg rail organiser – if you are more into finding your tools immediately, without them lying around, then a peg organiser is an excellent option. You add pegs to the board/wall and hang your tools there. You can sort your tools there, where they will be readily available for grabbing. You can add different levels of height, depending on what items you want to keep there. Pegs aren’t expensive, nor are they challenging to place on the wall.

Cups of plastic on a pegboard – if you want to take the idea of a pegboard organiser one step further, go with hanging plastic cups there. Drill two holes in each cup so that you can secure it on the pegboard with zip ties. You can then use the cups to place small parts in, such as pens and screws, without them contributing to any clutter around.

An organiser with magnetic strips – if you want a unique way to organise your tools, then a magnetic strip organiser is right for you. If your drill bits and other metal tools are always getting in the way of other items, you can place them on a magnetic strip on one of the walls inside the shed. This saves you the need to get large toolboxes in place.

Paint the floor – if you want to add a touch of style to your shed, paint the floor. This does little in regards to organisation, but it does contribute to the visual appeal. Your shed’s going to look neater that way.

Yummy Patio Gardens

The Tomato Checklist

Size does matter – when it comes to growing tomatoes in a container or pot, always remember that bigger is better. The essence is the soil capacity – a bigger container means the more soil it can hold. Growing tomatoes requires the roots to have more space to promote optimum growth. A typical tomato plant can grow for up 6-8 feet tall depending on the soil, maintenance, and fertilizers you use.

Soil – with regard to the soil composition, many non-organic-farming professionals argue that it is better to use a potting mix because it significantly yields favorable results. However, others also pointed out that using natural potting soil promotes better growth and is a safer method. Either way, it all ends up to the decision of the gardener. Note that potting mix is obviously expensive but as they say, and probably will always say, it is worth the money.

Fertilizers – if you use fertilizers, you need to understand first that not all fertilizers are the same. Considering that you are growing tomatoes in pots, you want to use fertilizers that provide a well proportionate and balanced fertilizer that has higher nitrogen content, especially when your tomatoes are young; you need more leaves and foliage growth.

Some Common Mistakes in growing Tomatoes in Pots

The use of small containers – the roots of tomatoes need more space so be sure to use bigger containers.

No Stakes – even determined tomatoes still do need some proper staking. It is not that complicated though. You can use metal rods, sticks, or basically anything sturdy for growth support.

Too much water – don’t binge on watering because too much watering will result to Blossom End Rot, split tomatoes and stressed plants. But make sure that your tomatoes are also not deprived of water. The key is to have a working drip irrigation system of basically watering them sparingly.

Know when to stop and change – stop the use of fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen upon maturity and opt for using fertilizers that are low in nitrogen, high in phosphorous and potassium. Never use fertilizers rich in nitrogen once your tomatoes are flowering.

Coontail

MECHANICAL CONTROL

There are typically two ways of controlling Coontail or Coontail Moss, it can be done via manual control mechanism or by chemical control options,
Manual option of removal includes cutting and raking from within the pond. The plant’s tendency is such that it can regrow from the remaining roots or spill over seeds.

Another option is to use pond Dye which is usually used to restrict sunlight from entering directly inside the pond. The reason of controlling sunlight being that the photosynthesis will not occur and hence the growth will also be shunned.

CHEMICAL CONTROL

Use of herbicides and chemicals is yet another effective medium to curb the growth of Coontail or hornwort. Read some of these tips to control the growth of Coontail:

Use of a seasoned herbicide like Aquacide Pellets will curb the growth of Coontail and other common pond weeds that can be troublesome.

1. Use a comprehensive contact herbicide, that can instantly kill Coontail. Also, it’s important to note that one may have to repeat procedure of the treatment as it does not stay in the water body. Hence, multiple application is a must.

2. Another effective herbicide is Clipper, it actions fast and controls rough hostile and nuisance plants.

CHEMICAL APPLICATION FOR BEST RESULTS

Before applying chemicals, one must follow certain set rules for the treatment of weeds and algae.

• Divide your pond in sections and treat it one at a time. First apply herbicides in half of the pond’s bottom and then in the second half of the pond area. During hot and humid temperature, and while treating substantial growth of plants, remember to treat only ¼ of the pond at a time and wait until 15 days before reapplying it. This helps in reducing the risk of fish loss during extreme humid and hot weather conditions or while treating the heavy growth of plants.

• You will notice that the weeds have changed their colour to brown and once they die, pull these plants with the help of a weed cutter & rake and remove as much dead material as possible. This process will help prevent build-up of dead plant stock and muck.
• Think proactively and keep the muck at bay- Include chemicals which can make your pond look great at all times.

Additions To Garden

The Florida Silver Palm is but one of about 50 species of coccothrinax palms originating from the west Indian region. The species name argentata means silvery.

Its native habitat is pine rock lands and coastal hammocks; wild palms are threatened and rare in the wild in florida.

This palm is typically 8 feet or less in height, but it can reach 30 feet under ideal conditions. The slender trunk has its upper portion covered with webbed fibers. It has an open crown of large deeply divided fan-shaped leaves, up to 3 feet wide, with drooping segments.

Leaves are dark green above and silvery white below, presenting a striking appearance when they move in the wind.

Fragrant flowers are borne in white clusters, producing purple to black fruits about 3/8 inch in diameter, eaten by birds.

It can be grown from seed. This palm does well in poorer soils providing they are well-drained and prefers open sites