Cold Frame Greenhouses

Aside from protecting the plants from the harsh and cold weather conditions, this particular type of greenhouse is also made especially to help extend the growing season of vegetables as well as fruit bearing and flower bearing plants. Most of the time, they are constructed as expansions to larger, heated greenhouses. They are usually built in the southernmost side of the bigger greenhouse structure. Also, they are usually used as a transition area where newly germinated seeds can grow before they are introduced on to the bigger and heated greenhouses or before they are planted in the outdoors.

Generally, cold frame greenhouses look a lot like hotbeds or hotboxes. Each structure can generate various amounts of heat, depending on the design. These structures are especially designed to absorb the natural heat of the sun and keep them in for longer periods of time to keep the environment at favourable growing conditions.

Today, more of the cold frame greenhouse structures are created for growing various kinds of plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables. These structures are mainly made for creating a separate space that gives out proper insulation for protecting vegetation from the cold and the ever changing outdoor weather.

Because of this, cold frame greenhouses have become an important structure in areas with colder climates and winter seasons. These structures have also made it possible for gardeners to start planting seeds early in the season, even when the climate is not favourable for growing vegetation.

Today, there are a wide variety of cold frame greenhouse designs in the market. There are now ready made kits available which already contain all the materials needed and an easy step-by-step manual that one can follow for construction. It is also possible to make cold frame greenhouses out from materials that you already have at home. Simple wooden frames and recycled window panes can be good enough to make the structure. Glass can also be substituted for thicker, clear plastic.

Some of the cold frame greenhouse structures are slanted designed for getting the most amount of sunlight during the day – especially during the winter months, and for facilitating water run-off during wet, rainy seasons.

Creating Beautiful Garden Landscapes

Plan the garden properly

The landscape of the garden must be planned in such a manner that it looks beautiful now while also having the future in mind. You will find it is best to plant your precious collection of plants in such a manner that there is enough space when in future you require a mower, or the stump grinder, to enter for building projects for your porch or the patio..

If this planning is not done now, then in future you may have to throw away your precious plants in order to have space for allowing movement of such equipment.

Have a focal point

The focal point of your garden must be such that it attracts people and engages their attention when roaming in your garden. It should be different than others but not out-of-place. You can have an antique garden bench as the focal point but don’t use an object which is not related to the garden. A water body or an oak tree can be a great focal point which will give the garden landscape a new dimension.

Curves must be checked

It is good to have curved pathways or flower beds in a garden, but you must not overdo them. It must be kept simple so that the geometric design that you have incorporated in the landscaping stands out. If you use those shapes too often it will become common and no one will notice them.

Have movement in the garden

A garden landscape that does not have movement is like a painting. Paintings are good on the walls but in a garden, you must have movement so that you can bring life and create interest in your garden.

You may be wondering how to have movement. It is quite easy to have such movement in your garden by adding swaying ornamental grass or flowers which attract birds and butterflies and this will help to have the desired movement in your garden.

Highlight your house

The landscaping design that you have in your garden must match with the house that you have. If you have a house that does not have much architectural designs, then you can benefit by having the edges softened by the garden that you have.

You must keep in mind while matching your garden with the house is that you must not overdo it. It must not be such that your house is completely hidden by the garden trees that you have. The best of garden landscaping is that which will help to highlight the smallest of architectural features that your house has.

Think completely differently

When you are designing the landscaping of your garden you must think completely differently from the one that you now have. For example, if you have overgrown shrubbery don’t think that you have to keep it like that. By removing it you may be astonished to find a sunny sport which can be ideal for a rose bed. So, don’t plan your landscaping according to the present situation but think differently and you will find new possibilities to have an even better landscape.

Choose plants according to locations

When you select a plant base for a particular spot in your garden, consider the growth rate and the final size it will be. If you do not base your plant selection on these considerations, then the money you spend will not lead to overall beautification but, in the end, you will have to spend more money for adjustments.

If you think that having a cheap plant which grows fast you are gaining much you are thinking wrongly. The money you will spend later for pruning and other maintenance will eat up your initial savings. So, have a purposeful selection of garden trees and place them properly.

Let the garden show the way

The design of the garden should lead visitors to your house. You don’t want visitors losing their way so the garden must show the way to the house. The curved pathway or the big pots that you place need to say, “Hi, this is the way that you need to go.”

Limited number of species

If you have a garden don’t feel pressured to have every plant species that is available. Select those species which will help you to have a garden which is easier to maintain and gives it a uniform look. Select the species according to seasons so that you can have flowers in your garden all throughout the year and also add to the biodiversity that you have in your garden.

Space plants properly

This is of utmost importance because it determines how your beloved garden will survive. Having proper spacing of plants ensures having the right air flow required for the survival of the plants and avoids having fungal insect infection. You may feel that there are vacant places in the garden. Yes, there will be and you can easily fill those spaces by the proper use, and positioning, of annuals.

Outdoor House Decorating Ideas

This amazing inflatable seating can be used inside your home, in your family room or a guest bedroom, or outside in the garden, pool or even as a patio idea. It can even go along to the beach, park or on your next camping trip because the new Fun-Care Lounge Seat is not only stylish and comfy, but is inflatable, packable (in its own handy bag), waterproof and washable. Therefore, the Fun-Care lounge seat makes an enjoyable swimming pool idea for you, your family and your guests.

This outdoor accessory allows you and your guests to sit or lie down, and even rock in complete comfort. Designed specially for people who need a flexible, easy to move seating inside or out on the deck or even in the pool. All you have to do is just sit, relax and enjoy this experience.

The unique design of this home décor accessory coupled with professional air technology makes the Fun-Care Lounge Seat the ultimate `go anywhere` lounger. The ingenious and sophisticated packaging system allows you to pack it away simply in a convenient, easy to carry or store bag (included). With the Fun-Care Lounge Seat, enjoying the beach is just a few folds away.

When inflated, you have the ability to set the lounger to multiple reclining positions. The adjustable shoulder strap of the bag functions to adjust the seat position continuously if desired. For even more convenience and relaxation, the lounger can be used with the foot support behind it to create a comfortable upright chair or placed in front and used as a comfy footrest/ottoman.

Weighing in at a mere 8 lbs, the Lounge Seat is easily relocated to wherever you need seating and since it’s inflatable, it can be stored in your closet or under a bed when you don’t need it.

The Fun-Care accessory comes complete with its own hand pump and convenient carry/storage bag. Dimensions are 95 cm x 97 cm x 96 cm when inflated and 70 cm x 34 cm in the bag. The lounger’s weight is 5 kg (8 lbs.) and it is created from strong durable K 80 PVC 0.50 mm.

Plant a Garden for Winter Colour

Put plants that will perform the best through the winter months in a position where they will be seen from your windows. Other gems can be found on an occasional walk around the garden. You don’t have to have a greenhouse to have winter colour.

Use tall or broad structures as a starting point and then the rest of the garden can be designed around them; and there are a surprisingly large number of plants to choose from to give interest right through the winter.

Roses are summer flowers that offer a large selection of colours to choose from and often last well into December. They can be positioned in beds or trained up walls, arches or porches.

Sorbus are trees that produce brightly-coloured berries far into the autumn. The berries stay on the branches after the leaves have dropped. The trees will then produce white flowers in the spring to give interest in another season. Whitebeams will grow quite large but rowans can stay a reasonable size for a garden.

Cotoneaster and snowberries also produce berries in the winter. Callicarpa has very unusual mauve-coloured berries. Arums have low-growing spikes of berries and interesting foliage. Holly can grow to a good height. It is famous for its berries and can have variegated leaves tinged with yellow or cream to add even more colour. These leaves are an interesting shape and look particularly nice when edged with frost.

The Himalayan birch has stark, white bark that will stand out in a prominent position. The Tibetan cherry has a rich, dark, shiny mahogany bark. Fatshedera has large glossy leaves that will last through the winter and Virginia creeper will clothe a fence in vibrant, autumn hues.

Dark green laurels and the variegated euonymus are both plants with a solid form. In contrast, other plants like lonicera have a more open structure. Bamboos are an exotic-looking evergreen but may need to be contained in a pot if they are one of the species with invasive tendencies.

Other plants that can give height and colour are prunus with pink blossom, kerria with yellow flowers and pittosporum with silvery leaves. Acacias are very tall trees that burst into noticeable, yellow blossom in February.

Pyracantha has a huge abundance of stunning red or orange berries and is a good candidate for growing up a wall. Jasmine likes to grow up a wall too but with its straggly habit looks good mixed with ivy. Garrya is an interesting plant to grow over an arch and camellias have lovely flowers in a variety of colours, but need protection from the frost.

Cornus (or dogwood) with vivid red or yellow stems can add height to a garden and so can mahonia with its acid-yellow flowers which bloom from November into the spring.

Grasses that last through the winter can be low-growing and have a windswept look, or be tall and elegant with plumes of seed heads that catch the gauzy, winter light from a low sun.

Plants that have interesting leaf shapes are: euphorbia, choisya, hebes and cynara. Heucheras have foliage in a good range of colours and will also bear flowers on delicate stems in the spring. They are low-growing plants suitable for ground cover through the winter. They will benefit from being tidied up in the early spring.

Plants that produce flowers in the middle of the winter are white snowdrops, pink cyclamen, yellow aconites and multi-coloured, winter-flowering pansies. Hellebores offer a large range of flower colours and often very interesting leaves that last well into the spring. They are followed by crocuses, celandines, primroses and dwarf irises.

Shrubs that produce winter flowers are witch hazels, catkins and viburnums.

If you need plants to cover a hard-to-reach bank, you could choose ferns or bergenias because these don’t need much care.

Architectural plants that make a lone statement are European fan palms, fatsias, cordylines, phormiums, chamaerops and yuccas but these plants need a degree of shelter and may need to be wrapped in fleece through the worst of the winter weather.

Plants to keep near a front door should be chosen carefully, because they will be passed by the most. Christmas box has a powerful, arresting scent from tiny flowers. It has a very long flowering period so is well worth growing. Other plants that emit perfume into the winter air are daphnes and edgeworthias.

Plant and Grow Snap Peas

Snap peas are a very rich source of Vitamin C whereby just 100g contains 100% of the recommended daily intake. Furthermore, the vegetable provides a good source of dietary fiber (10% recommended intake), folic acid (10% recommended intake), Vitamin A (22% recommended intake) as well as being a good source of iron, calcium and Vitamin K.

Sowing snaps peas is an easy and rewarding experience, not to mention the luxury of having your very own fresh produce available in your very own backyard. Below is a step by step guide for sowing your snap peas:

Soil Preparation

Snap peas can be grown from a wide range of soil types ranging from heavy to light soils, although needs good drainage and a friable well-structured soil. The vegetable prefers a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0 and lime should be added if soils are too acidic. Turn over your soil to aerate it, add some fertilizer, I recommend using horse manure and a slight amount of blood and bone meal.

Planting the Seeds

Snap peas have a very delicate root system, therefore it is recommended to direct plant your seeds into the garden as opposed to growing seedlings in trays. Sow at a time to avoid flowering during the frost periods. Prepare flat trenches approximately 15cm (6″) wide and 5cm (2″) deep. Plant seeds at an interval of 7.5cm (3″) and when sowing multiple rows allow 90cm (3.5″) between each row. Cover seeds with soil and firm down gently.

Water Well

Once sown, water well and keep well watered throughout growing. Since peas are part of the legume family of vegetables they are capable of fixing nitrogen from the air and as such require little fertilizer. Snap peas will need to be trained to go up a trellis or similar support (stay tuned for how to construct your own garden trellis).

  • Pests: Birds can be a problem for emerging seedlings. If required, cover rows with bird netting until seedlings are 10cm high. Pests and diseases are minimal, although the most likely to damage pea crops are onion thrips which cause spotting of the pods. Caterpillars may also attack leaves and pods. Mildew and rot is also a common problem, whereby the seedlings are stunted and the vines are an off color. Typically mildew and rot is caused by poor drainage in the soil.
  • Harvesting: Snap peas are usually harvested 8-12 weeks after planting and may continue for 8-10 weeks. Typically snap peas are harvested when the pod is still flat and the seeds are just starting to swell. Be sure not to leave the pod on the vine too long well before any etching of the veins show on the surface as it may become stringy.
  • Storage: You’ll get the best flavor if you eat the peas right away (typically same day as harvesting). Although peas can be kept in the pod in the refrigerator crisper for up to a week (be sure not to wash until ready to eat). Alternatively you can wash thoroughly, remove stems and leave peas whole, blanch for 90 seconds then chill quickly and freeze immediately in an airtight container for up to 12 months.

Enjoy!

Create a Roof Terrace Garden

Although a roof garden can add another dimension to your living accommodation, space will probably still be limited and so you will want to choose plants carefully. You can choose to grow plants that will give you fresh produce or flowers and shrubs that have long flowering periods.

Shrubs, flowers and also crops can be grown in pots, containers, compost bags and maybe even raised beds. You should choose the lightest containers and compost you can find. All of this can be done in an inexpensive way if you recycle containers.

Plastic containers retain moisture better than terracotta; they are also lighter and more frost-proof. The addition of water retaining crystals to compost will reduce the need for watering. If you don’t like the appearance of plastic pots, they can be painted; and if you have a motley collection of recycled containers, they can be painted the same colour to create a co-ordinated colour scheme. The wonderful thing about container gardening is that it gives you the opportunity to choose the exact soil to give any plant the requirements it needs.

You will still need to consider whether a position is mostly in sun or shade before you decide what to plant there – as in any other garden.

Fruit and certain vegetables can be grown up walls or trellises to use all available space. They can even be mixed in with flowers. Some, like marigolds, can help keep pests away from your crops. Fruit trees especially like being trained against brick walls because these retain heat which will help to ripen fruit. A lot of fruit trees and vegetable plants have been bred as dwarf varieties to suit the smaller garden and really can be quite tiny. Some trees even produce more than one variety of fruit from one trunk.

Some crops like herbs, radishes, cut-and-come-again salad leaves and chillies can be grown in very small spaces. Strawberries can be grown in ornamental towers.

Your crops will need well-drained, fertile soil, good airflow and enough water. A greenhouse of any size will extend a growing season but because most roofs would not be able to accommodate such a large structure, cold frames and cloches can be employed to shelter young plants from pests and chilly spring winds instead.

Consider how much time you can spend giving attention to each crop’s needs; some are more self-sufficient than others. Think about when you will be away from home on holiday and when your crops will be ready for harvesting. Because container grown plants need a lot of watering they may not be able to survive for weeks without attention.

Plants on roofs have to either be able to withstand wind or be sheltered from it. They will need more watering than plants in the ground. Be careful where the water drains to if you have neighbours underneath.

Water gardens in the evening or early morning and give regular feed any pot-grown plants, especially later in the summer when the nutrients have been mostly spent from the compost.

On roof tops that really have no shelter from wind, plants that do well by the sea or perhaps New Zealand natives should be successful. Any plant that has thick leaves like laurels or fatsias would do well. Lavender and other plants that like free drainage should also be happy.

If you have very little soil to grow plants in, then you could consider planting wild flowers, alpines or sedums which come in a multitude of colours and will tolerate poor, shallow soil and a certain amount of drought too. Or you might like to grow bonsai trees which like being outside but are restricted in very small pots.

Using Cladding To Redecorate Garden

Starting from scratch to create a beautiful garden is not easy, so plan each step of the process. Landscaping will have to be done plus new garden ornaments and plants will have to be acquired. You can keep some of your old garden furniture if it is still usable and incorporate it into your new garden. You’ll find a variety of well-known cladding systems to choose from. Some are made of real wood while some are very good imitations. Some need fixing with pins and others just need an adhesive. There’s also a variety of cladding that is stone-like in appearance. Make sure you measure the garden properly so that you can buy enough cladding bricks. Be sure to cover your grass so that it doesn’t get damaged with all the digging and landscaping.

If someone is helping you then make sure that you tell them exactly what you want done and where you want the cladding to be fitted so that there is no miscommunication. Alternatively, get a professional to assist you. If you have a waterfall feature in your garden, placing cladding around it will make your garden look decorative. It can also be used to cover the surrounding flower beds and around the swimming pool area or the fish pond. Pathways leading to the swimming pool or braai area will create the illusion of a bigger garden. Cladding can be applied along the side of the pathways to create a complete themed look.

Many people these days are searching for a modern way to decorate their gardens and the number of options out there can be quite extraordinary. For anyone who wants to make their home unique, cladding bricks is the way to go. Your redecorated garden will give you a lovely view from your home and will increase the value of your house in case you’re thinking of selling it in the future. Your beautiful garden will make your home more inviting so friends and family will visit you more often.

Decorating Garden with Romantic Ideas

Well, keeping the love burning and the romance going is essential for any committed relationship. If you have a garden then you can make use of it by adding some romance and surprises for your loved one.

Have a garden picnic. Get some mason jars with wiring around them that allow them to hang. Place a candle in each jar and hang them from the trees in your garden. Place about six to ten of the candle-lit jars around the picnic blanket. Place a carpet under the blanket so that it is a bit more solid for your picnic basket and drinks. Get a few fairy lights and hang them in your garden tree. You’ll need to get a bit creative with this part. Print a few hearts, glue them on to cardboard and cut them out. Pierce a hole at the top of the heart and pull a string through it. Then hang these heart ornaments from the tree. This will create a romantic picnic set up in your own garden for both of you to enjoy.

Fall in love with Valentine’s Day. Print a few pictures of hearts and cupid. Glue them onto cardboard and attach a string to them. Hang them in your garden. If you have flowers in your garden, they can form part of your decorations. If your flowers are not red, you can get a floral spray paint in red and spray all your flowers red. You can take some of those printed hearts and glue them on a piece of stiff wire. If you have a flagstone tiled pathway, you can stick the hearts in the ground along the sides of the pathway. Get a few lanterns and alternate them with the hearts to create a soft romantic lighting effect. With the cupid pictures that you’ve printed, cut out the arrows. Get a ball of cotton wool that is proportionate to the size of the cupid. Glue cupid onto the cotton wool ball. This will look like cupid is sitting on a cloud. Place these cupids on clouds in the tree or on a high surface so that it looks like they’re floating in the air. Take the arrows that you had cut out and stick a piece of double sided tape behind it. As your guests spot the cupid in the trees, stick the arrow on them. They’ve been shot by cupid’s arrow. This is a bit of decorative Valentine’s fun and works well if you are chilling at your stone tiled braai pit in your back yard.

Pruning Fruit Trees

Prepare Your Tools

Have your shears sharpened before you attempt any pruning. A dull blade will only damage the wood and injure the tree. Keep tools free of rust by storing them in a clean, dry area.

Maintenance Pruning

Deadwood should be removed first. You also should prune any damaged sections, along with all areas that have visible disease.

Also prune offshoots that begin at the base of the trunk. These will only suck the nutrients from the upper branches and limit fruit production. All watersprouts, the straight growth growing upwards, should be removed, but it is best to do so over several years (30% per year), to avoid stressing the tree and to help ensure more growth.

Types of Cuts

One of the main types of cuts is thinning cuts, which remove branch offshoots back to where they originate from the parent branch. Thinning is useful when a fruit tree has too many branches – so many that the available nutrients are spread too thinly.

Bench cuts are more dramatic. These are cuts to branches growing straight up, done so they can begin to grow outwards. Branches that grow in a lateral direction bear more fruit.

Maximum Light = Maximum Production

When pruning a fruit tree, it is vital to remember that making cuts to maximize the amount of sunlight on all fruit-bearing branches should be your main goal. Branches that get ample sunlight are less likely to develop disease, as well.

Most pruning should be done on the upper half of the tree in order to eliminate shade and encourage fruit production. Also concentrate more on outer tree growth, making sure that the main portions of all fruit-bearing branches are getting the most nutrients.

Additionally, make sure to always make clean cuts and never leave a stub. This will help the tree heal faster and more cleanly.

True Cost Of Landscape Lighting

The main problem with hardware store lights, are the alligator clips that make the electrical connection. These are bad ideas, because they always fail after a year or two. The problem is that they allow moisture to corrode the alligator teeth, and eventually corrode the cable. In this situation I would cut out the alligator clips strip the cable and make waterproof connections using silicone filled wire caps. This is the only reliable way to connect outdoor lighting.

But still there is the problem with the cheap fixtures themselves. Hardware store lights are the low end of the lighting manufactures lines. They are built cheaply and sold at a low price. That is why there are so many houses using them. The cost to install landscape lighting like this is usually $100 a light. These lights come with a 1 year warranty on the fixture and no warranty on the bulb but it will last about 1 year.

In comparison to high quality solid fixtures which would cost about $200 a light installed correctly. These lights come with a 5 year warranty on the fixture and no warranty on the bulb but it will last about 1 year. The fixture will last more like 15 years.

One step better is Kichler potted LED lights which cost 300.00 a light installed but come with a 15 year warranty on the light fixture and the bulb inside. They are expected to last about 30 years.

So let’s add up the dollars over time.

Hardware Store Light / High Quality Light / High Quality Light / Kichler Potted Light
Halogen Bulb / Halogen Bulb / LED Bulb / LED Bulb
Installed correctly / $100 / $200 / $240 / $300
5 years bulbs / $30 / $30 / $40 / $0
5 years labor / $300 / $250 / $50 / $0
New fixture needed / $60 / $0 / $0 / $0
10 year bulbs / $30 / $30 / $40 / $0
10 years labor / $300 / $250 / $50 / $0
New fixture needed / $60 / $0 / $0 / $0
15 year bulbs / $30 / $250 / $40 / $0
15 years labor / $300 / $30 / $40 / $0
New fixture needed / $60 / $120 / $120 / $0
Total / $1,270 / $1,160 / $620 / $300

So the least expensive landscape lighting system to install is the most expensive to maintain over time, and the most expensive to install is the least expensive to maintain over time. This study doesn’t put a dollar amount on the headaches and times that your landscape lighting was not working correctly and waiting for service. Halogen Light bulbs go out randomly, not all at once. But, the costs listed were assuming that all halogen bulbs were changed 1 time per year. LED bulbs were changed 1 time every 5 years and the Kichler light never had to be changed.

The study also shows that LED bulbs cost more to install but save a lot of money in service. LED bulbs are guaranteed to last 5 years in comparison to halogen bulbs 1 year, and LED bulbs use 4 to 5 times less electricity tan halogen bulbs do. I switched my house from halogen to LED and went from using 466 watts to 66 watts, saving about $12 dollars a month on my electric bill.