Choosing Vegetable Seeds for Garden

Other considerations include garden size and design. Large vegetables, such as squash, should not be planted in a small garden since these ground vine plants require a spacious area. When confined, they will not be able to give good fruits. However, in case you have a small garden, add a trellis so that the climbing pants will grow upwards and not outwards.

Perhaps the best garden contains vegetable seeds that are productive during the entire growing season. Go for an assortment that will thrive in the first, middle and latter part of the summer, and some that will produce vegetables during the fall. As an example, green beans grow during the early part of summer and throughout the season, corn in the middle to latter part of the summer, and pumpkin or squash during the fall. It can be tedious to come up with a garden so naturally, people do not want to enjoy the harvest just once.

There are several different ways to buy seeds. Once spring approaches, interested individuals can find seed packets in many places like home depots, garden centers or supermarkets. These products make the process easier by offering information such as the best time of planting for a particular region, the estimated harvest date, plus planting instructions. In general, these instructions include the distance between the seeds and the number of seeds that can fit in every hole.

Gardeners can ask local farmers to supply them with seeds that will best suit their area. They are equipped with the experience and knowledge needed to grow productive plants in their location. There are farmers that sell vegetable seeds on stands along the road or at their farm.

Those who like a certain variety can go for heirloom vegetable seeds. These vegetable varieties have already been around for at least 5 decades, and preserved by devoted growers. They are able to produce big compatible plants from seeds and supply varieties that are not available in supermarkets. Small growers consider them as some of the best-tasting plants that are available on the market.

House Plants

The immediate excuse is ‘oh when I grow anything it immediately dies!’ Anything or anybody taken out of their correct environment is not going to be happy. I would venture to suggest this is time for a new approach. If you know you have a dodgy history with plants then take the necessary steps to change. Ask appropriate questions to find out what will make the plant you have chosen flourish – do they like to be in the sun or do they prefer the shade, what about water -?a lot or a little? If you are still unsure, then the Internet is really the place to go; or Gardening Groups on Facebook, or Wikipedia. There are also sites dedicated to houseplants. Surely by taking the time to investigate, you are investing in the success of the plant. Nothing says wasted money more than a dead plant.

So you have your plant home and it is sitting there. It may or may not need water but it will certainly need a nice container. Think about your interior design room scheme. What would be the most appropriate? Decide the theme. Is your room rustic, then a lovely basket would look great. If modern, then you need something that is clean lined and simple – Perhaps black, white or silver in colour. A room surrounded in antiques needs a planter that fits in with the scheme. Old soup tureens make wonderful containers. I also adore those lovely swans that you can fill with plants – they can look really interesting. Why not look round on Pinterest for ideas, go to your local flea market, car boot sale or trawl eBay to see what you can find that you like. Another option is terracotta pots, the older and more interesting the better. As with any container make sure that watering will not do any damage, appropriate saucers fitting in your general overall design are most important. There is nothing more heartbreaking than water damage on a beautiful dark wooden polished table.

Care of your container is vital. Always line your basket with a black liner. Make sure if you are using china that limescale does not become an issue. Re-potting a house plant gives ample opportunity for cleaning the container too. Glass too for a more modern display also has to be kept clean and smart.

Don’t forget by having houseplants in your home you are improving your health! Plants produce oxygen. There is a theory supported by NASA that houseplants remove up to 87% of airborne toxins. To do this, you need 15 – 18 good sized plants in 6″ – 8″ pots. By helping you feel calmer and providing a purpose helps you focus outward which in turn can help your blood pressure drop. Your plants can contribute a ‘Zen’ feeling in a room. So with all this very positive information, I hope that you are feeling more confident about giving them another go.

The next step is to decide what effect you are looking for. Do you want just foliage or do you want flowers as well? Realistically unless they are orchids, you will be looking at a limited timeframe when they are at their best. Orchids by the way flower for 3 months plus! If you fancy growing them, then please do check out Kew Gardens to learn more about their orchid extravaganza. Other flowering alternatives include lavender or jasmine, peace lilies even a shrimp plant; Christmas cactus, azaleas, streptocarpus and begonias.

If you have the space, see if you can grow your plants from seed. Coleus do well here and they are fun to grow as they have the most amazing coloured leaves going from pale green/white to the darkest of plums.

Foliage plants are a joy. They take less maintenance and have all year round interest – often seen in offices. In this category, you might also consider Air Plants. They are something a little bit special as they only need spraying not watering. Well worth investigating. Foliage plants are interesting, do you keep them as specimen statements or do you group them for impact? You need to use plants with different textured leaves and different colours. Be warned, group plantings can be more difficult as all the plants will have different watering needs.

In this category, check out ferns, spider plants and fiscus. Peace lilies cross the divide as their flowers are somewhat exotic yet the leaves look great by themselves. Aloe Vera and eucalyptus have health benefits. Herbs growing in the kitchen look most authentic and obviously have a use too. Also in the heat, the aroma of the plants is really attractive. Curry plants are fun here. I would also encourage you to check out sedums. Fascinating plants that look great in a modern scenario. Pinterest have lots of beautiful examples of how they can best be set off.

Winter Care for Potted Plants

If you wish to include plants in containers in your garden, you have to make sure you care both for plants and containers during the winter.
Here are few tips to follow for best results:

  • Plant early – to get container plants off to a good start, you have to plant early. You cannot expect to plant them in the winter and see them thrive. According to expert gardeners, container plants need at least a month of warmer weather. It is good to start them in the autumn so that they can establish their roots before freezing weather sets in.
  • Pick the right pots – there are many pot types you can pick from. Resist the urge to go with beautiful clay or concrete pots. These absorb a certain amount of moisture, which can freeze in low temperature and thus crack the container. Plastic and resin are much better in that regard since they retain no moisture and those will not break or crack in the winter weather.
  • Don’t forget to water potted plants – winter damage most frequently occurs due to desiccation (drying out). You must not forget to water containers when they are dry, especially before you expect a hard freeze. It is best to water in the morning because that is when the soil is warming up.
  • Plants need good drainage – when you water plants, you have to ensure the water drains properly. Otherwise, it will accumulate, expand and possibly break the container. The planters need to have drainage holes and well-draining potting soil. Also, don’t let plants sit in a tray of water, as most winter plants don’t like soggy conditions.
  • Pick your plants wisely – container soil can get colder than ground soil, so it is important to select plants that do well at least one zone colder than the area you are located in.
  • Placement is essential – although sunlight is rather weak in the winter, you should still locate your potted plants in the sunniest possible spot. Also, make sure they are away from any strong winds that can dry the plants or topple over the pots.
    Protect pots – group your pots together for better protection and place them against a sheltered location. You can also wrap them in burlap if you suspect winter weather can cause them some damage.
  • Feed them slowly – one thing you should know about plants in the winter is that they actually absorb fewer nutrients then. Don’t even try to overwater and overfeed them – it won’t help them one bit. What you can do for them is use enriched soil and a well-balanced organic fertiliser when you plant them. This will give them a good supply of nutrients for the winter.

Grow Herbs Successfully

If you have no garden or very little space for growing crops, then herbs are the choice before any other. They can be grown in borders with flowers because they often have attractive foliage. They can be grown in small raised beds or containers in courtyards or on sheltered balconies. If you have no outside space in which to grow plants, herbs can be grown in pots on a kitchen windowsill.

If herbs are to be left outside over winter, it would be best to keep them by the back door for easy access in the cold weather. Some plants like French tarragon, rosemary, sage and marjoram will survive through the winter months. These perennials benefit from being cut back in the summer after flowering. This keeps the bush compact and the fresh, new leaves are good for picking. Others like bay will have to be kept in a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory over winter.

Herbs are a perfect crop for children to grow because you only need small pots to grow enough for your needs and those pots can be in the shape of objects or characters to make the experience more fun. Herbs can also be grown as individual plants in the children’s flower or vegetable patch if they have one.

Then the fresh herbs can be added to simple dishes like salads or omelets. Children can make these using their own crops. Parsley can be added to egg sandwiches and basil to cheese and tomato sandwiches. Chives can be added to omelets.

If you have heavy soil in your garden, putting herbs in a container with free-draining soil is your only option to ensure they will grow well. Put broken crocks at the bottom of the pot and use compost suitable for herbs. Grit added to the compost can help to improve drainage. All herbs benefit well from organic matter added to the soil.

Mediterranean herbs such as marjoram, rosemary and thyme like a position in full sun and will need well-drained ground. They can cope with growing in quite poor soil. Marjoram is loved by bees and butterflies and grows best in full sun but the variegated varieties can stand a little shade.

Some other herbs like parsley and chives prefer moister conditions and will tolerate some shade. Mint has similar requirements but must have its roots restricted in a container because of its invasive habit. The container can be sunk into the ground but any escaping roots should be kept in check.

Basil, dill and coriander are annuals and will have to be sown from seed each spring or early summer. Kept inside, basil may last for more than one growing season but it will become leggy. Basil grown outside likes full sun and heat; it is thought to originate from tropical Asia. Parsley is a biennial plant which flowers in its second year but can be sown every spring to ensure a continuing crop.

Sow a few seeds every two or three weeks from mid-spring to mid-summer to ensure a constant crop for harvesting. This won’t be too time-consuming if each new crop is planted into a single pot. Sowing instructions come on seed packets. Keep the packets for future reference if you intend collecting your own seed. Keep seed in labelled paper bags or envelopes to keep it dry, never in plastic bags.

The whole planting project can become a learning experience for your children.

If they are going to sow seeds in pots, get them to devise a planting programme on a calendar. They can count days and weeks to set out a plan for succession sowing.

Furthermore, they can draw a diagram for a planting scheme on a plain sheet of paper if they are going to plant up a small herb bed. This could be in a window box, an old sink or small raised bed.

They can keep a folder containing empty seed packets to remind them of a plant’s needs and sowing instructions. They can keep a gardening dairy with notes of their ideas, activities and results.

Wooden Garden Shed

Most garden sheds are used:

  1. To store small hand-held and large garden tools; manual and electrical
  2. A place to park the lawn mower, tiller, and other large gardening equipment
  3. Storing vegetables
  4. Cutting, planting, and transplanting plants
  5. Tool repairs

Many people prefer wooden constructed garden sheds rather than vinyl, resin, plastic, and various metal type sheds. It may be more expensive up-front, but lumber seems to have a longer life and therefore is less expensive. Wood is also easier to repair. The other types of sheds would need to be discarded and a new one purchased.

Plan before you start building. There are important considerations which need attention. Decide if you would like to build it or hire a contractor. Do you wish to assemble a shed kit or build it from scratch?

There is a wide variety of wooden type garden sheds which may be ordered from local sources or from online. Note any additional items which may be needed. These items may be concrete blocks, tools and other hardware accessories.

Manufactured sheds can be erected in a few hours or over a weekend. The do it yourself shed may also take the same amount of time or longer. There are variables for both situations.

If you’re anything like me I did window shopping, comparative price shopping, and talked to my friends and neighbors who had garden sheds for their opinions and experiences. Then I made my decision. In case you are curious, we decided to build a wooden shed as it could be designed and customized to meet our requirements.

Before you setup this is a list to review:

  1. Location
  2. Size
  3. Utility outlets (if electric and plumbing are to be installed)
  4. Local residential building codes, licenses, and permits
  5. Zoning requirements
  6. Location of underground cables
  7. Neighborhood restrictions
  8. Building inspections

The location of the shed needs to be in a clearing within short access to the garden areas and pathways for loading and unloading heavy gardening supplies. The size of this structure is determined by the tools and garden equipment which will be stored.

It is also critical to check overhead, underground, and around the placement of the proposed site. Are there any trees, shrubbery, or overhead wiring which may interfere with the structure? Before digging locate any underground cables, plumbing, or electrical wires.

Water and electrical utilities may or may not be essential. But if it is, planning is critical.

Pick Sod for Yard

Cool Season Grasses

If you live in a region with cold winters and hot summers and has regular periods of rain. Three of the most common cool season grasses are Kentucky bluegrass, Ryegrass, and Bentgrass.These grasses can go dormant during times of droughts and experience two periods of shoot growth annually, once in mid-spring and again in early fall.

Warm Season Grasses

If you live in the hot and humid climates found in places like the southern United States, one should choose warm season grasses. Warm season grasses only have a single expanded shoot growth during the summer. Many kinds of warm season grasses require special care during the winter months when blades tend to turn brown and may require reseeding in areas damaged by the cold. Popular warm season grasses include St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Centipede.

What Will Your Grass Be Used For?

If your lawn will be heavily used by kids who play on it or you have frequent outdoor get togethers or BBQ’s. Then consider grass that can withstand a lot of foot traffic. Two options would be Bermuda or Zoysia. Both of these withstand heavy use better than most other types.

If your yard has little sunlight or is heavily shaded both St. Augustine and Centipede mixtures are excellent choices. If you get plenty of bright sunlight Bermuda is a great choice.

For large yards, Centipede is not only a popular choice in warm regions because it requires no liming to remove acidity but it also requires infrequent mowing. More expensive sods however, like Zoysia, as beautiful as it is, might be more expensive than ones budget allows.

All grass will do well in with rich topsoil. But homeowners who live in places with little rain and desert-like regions have limited options when choosing their sod. Bahia is popular because it can grow in infertile and sandy ground. Where as Centipede grass, also known as the “lazy man’s” grass, can withstand acidic soil.

Elegant Azaleas

I bought this evergreen azalea last spring and transplanted it this winter into a larger container where it busted out in a plethora of new growth filled with blossoms for the spring fashion show, the only thing missing is fragrance. The good news: azaleas can bloom for several weeks.

Two years ago, I planted a Red Bird Azalea that expanded and I had to transplant it after it doubled in size in one year. Some varieties are smaller and more compact and it is good to choose the correct size for your garden area.

When I was young, we lived in Chamblee, Georgia near Atlanta. At our new house, my Dad planted several azaleas in the front yard and they looked grand with their cranberry blossoms each spring. The azaleas grew well under the pine and dogwood trees in the right environment, in the shade with acidic soil.

This spring, I added eight new azaleas for containers throughout my front and backyard. Azaleas prefer shade or tree cover with acidic soil either in the ground or containers. I have them in containers on the side of the house, on the front porch, on the deck, and on the patio. As long as they have some shade, they develop profusely.

Azaleas are either evergreen or deciduous plants; my plants are evergreen, providing green serenity in between numerous flowering plants in my garden.

During planting, I add soil amendments prepared specifically for azaleas, organic acidic azalea food, seaweed organic fertilizer, rainwater. These organic planting methods ensure healthy soil, healthy leaves and roots, prolific blooms, and sturdy growth.

Prune the plants soon after they bloom to avoid reducing next year’s buds. You can prune some of the branches every other year to ensure buds for the next spring. Mulch your plants two to three inches deep with pine straw, leaves or bark.

By providing azaleas with their favorite environment, your plants can produce abundant blossoms and healthy foliage for you to enjoy in your garden setting throughout the year. As a shrub, azaleas provide formal foliage throughout the year or you can prune them in a more casual, branching style.

Perhaps I can help you with your garden design or container gardening to make an impact at your entranceway, porch, or deck. For your commercial business or residential property, I will prepare a plan for your microclimate to make your entrance more inviting with a sense of place and beauty.

Greenhouse Ventilation

Environmental conditions in your greenhouse are greatly affected by ventilation. These environmental conditions affect the plant’s ability to perform photosynthesis. This process involves the plant’s ability to convert light from the Sun into chemical energy. This energy is used by the plant to give it fuel to grow. This includes the plant’s ability to take in important elements from the soil and complete the reproductive cycle.

Proper ventilation of your greenhouse will help with air circulation, temperature and humidity control. These factors greatly affect the ability of your plants to grow in a productive manner. This will help provide your plants with the necessary amount of carbon dioxide to grow.

Plants need carbon dioxide to perform proper chemical reactions to occur such a photosynthesis. When the levels of carbon dioxide start to decrease the ability of the plant to grow decreases. Proper ventilation in your greenhouse will help keep the level of carbon dioxide at the level needed for healthy grow.

As the plants grow they consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. But many people do no know that plants require oxygen to grow. Oxygen from fresh air is required by their roots. The roots require oxygen to grow and this is directly linked to the plant’s ability to take in nutrients from the soil.

Proper ventilation will keep the inside of your greenhouse filled with fresh air, so your plants can thrive. Healthy plants will grow faster and give you the best yield of its fruits.

Keeping the proper flow of air in your greenhouse will require expert knowledge of how to achieve this. The type of ventilation system you decide to use will depend on the design of your greenhouse and the plants you are growing. Some of these are natural and others are mechanical systems.

Natural system ventilation can involve just simply opening up a part of the greenhouse. The hoop style greenhouse is well suited for this. Structures which are built from more rigid materials may need a mechanical ventilation system. These structures are often designed to be operated year-round and a mechanical ventilation system is recommended.

How to Grow an Avocado Tree

To grow an avocado tree, you need to get an avocado seed, clean it off and poke three toothpicks into the side of it. Then immerse the seed halfway in the water while the three sticks rest on the rim of a drinking glass. Set the seed with the wider portion down.

Place the glass with the seed somewhere warm with not too much direct light. The water should be changed at least every couple of weeks, before it gets dirty and depleted of oxygen.

In four to six weeks, the seed should split and out should come roots and a sprout. Once the stem has grown a few inches, place it in a pot with soil. Avocados have been known to grow large, so you will have to repot the plant several times.

The ideal spot for the plant is at the brightest window. Avocados are widely cultivated in tropical to subtropical climates. They may grow in shade but require full exposure to sunlight for best productivity. It should also be watered every few days.

Under good conditions, growing avocado takes many years, even up to a decade or two, to begin producing fruits. Indeed do not expect to get fruits but you can still grow a beautiful houseplant!

Avocado is a medium to large evergreen tree with large, leathery, deep green leaves. The tree grows to 20 m, with leaves 12 cm to 25cm long. The flowers are greenish-yellow.

To grow an endless amount of organic avocados! Avocados are very healthy for you. They have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and alkalizing properties. They can help you lower your cholesterol level and contain lot’s of healthy nutrients. They are also very rich in fiber. So there’re many reasons why it’s recommended to include avocado in the diet. Try growing an avocado tree at home if you don’t like making regular trips to the grocery store for your daily supply or if you are fed up with spending lot’s of money for quality produce!

Start a Compost Heap

Make or buy a bin that will suit your garden. Site it in sun or partial shade and have the base of the heap in contact with the soil. You will need at least two bins or two compartments in a bin to process compost properly. Ideally, you should have three. Don’t keep the compost too close to the house. If you think your bin is unsightly, you can screen it with a trellis or a hedge.

You could opt for a wormery instead, but if you have a bin that processes dog faeces, don’t put the end-product on your vegetable patch or where children play.

The debris from your garden and peelings from your kitchen can be turned into black, crumbly, sweet-smelling compost. The larger your garden the more room you will have for a heap and the more compost it can provide for your beds. If you have a small garden, you might find that sealed, plastic bins are a more attractive option.

The composting process will take about six to twelve months. It is a good idea to mix matter as you put it in. Grass cuttings should never be dumped on top of the heap in a great mass because they will go slimy. Mix some dry matter like shredded newspaper in with them. Allow moisture and air to penetrate the heap. Forking the heap will help with this process.

If a heap has too much dry, woody material, it will not rot down quickly, so you could drench it with water if you haven’t enough green stuff to add in. Never lay on a thick layer of material because you will prevent the circulation of air; when adding matter – little and often is best.

Woody sticks will compost more quickly if you shred them. Don’t put in any that are bigger than the width of a pencil. Small twigs will help to keep air circulating inside the heap.

Perennial weed roots like dandelions or bindweed should never be thrown onto a heap unless they have been ground into tiny pieces because even a thread of root left intact will start to grow a new plant. It might be safer to dispose of these by putting them in with the rubbish. Don’t add diseased plants to the heap either.

Don’t overload the compost with citrus fruit peel or shiny magazines. Don’t put in plastic-coated paper. Never put in bones or cooked food. This will attract rats.

You can, however, add seaweed, straw from animal cages, animal fur from brushes, dust from vacuum cleaners and tiny scraps of wool and felt left over from crafting. Tea bags, coffee grounds and egg shells are all good things to add from the kitchen.

Tree leaves collected off the lawn in the autumn take twice as long as other compost to rot down, so in order to be able to add them in with the rest of the compost, you can mow them up off the lawn and put them onto the heap when they are shredded into tiny pieces. The increased surface area will ensure they rot down more quickly. Leaves don’t carry many nutrients but they do help to improve soil texture. You may choose to compost them separately if you have the room in your garden and a huge bulk of leaves to store.

Woody material and straw will be carbon rich and any green material will be nitrogen rich and a good mix of the two makes the best end-product. Compost can be used to feed plants, re-pot plants or as a weed suppressing mulch.

When a bin is filled up, leave the lid on or cover it with an old piece of carpet. When the top of the heap has stopped sinking, turn all the contents to ensure that everything is broken down and then leave it for a couple of months and it will be ready to use. The easiest way to turn the heap over is to shovel the compost from one bin into the one next to it. Have another bin to start filling up while you are waiting for the closed-off heap to mature.

If you are lucky enough to have three bins, start your first heap in the centre one. While it is covered start the next heap in an end bin and when the central heap is ready for turning it can go into the empty bin next to it. By the time the second heap is ready to be closed off the first will be ready for use so that bin can be emptied out and you will have room to continue the process.