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Great Organic Gardening Tricks From The Pros

Is there really a secret to successful gardening? People who are unsuccessful at growing fruits and vegetables seem to think so. But the truth of the matter is that anyone can garden organically if they only receive the right information. Use these great gardening tips to go organic and to get that garden you’ve always wanted.

Always grow what works in the right area. If cabbage does not work in one climate, but carrots do, then it is a robust carrot crop that needs to be planted and the cabbage crop should be small. Talk to the neighbors and see what is working for them to maximize the output of your own garden.

When removing and replanting perennials, it is important to replenish the soil as well. If you remove a large number of perennials, and then replant them without adding additional compost and soil, the bed will be lower, reducing drainage and air circulation. Also, the compost will replace nutrients that have been used up by previous growing seasons.

When and why should shrubs be pruned? Most shrubs need pruning to increase flowering. Deciduous spring and early flowering shrubs should be pruned immediately after flowering. Cut back old wood to encourage new growth. The buds for next year’s flowers will appear on this new wood. Late summer flowering shrubs should be pruned in spring. They will produce flowers on the shoots that grow immediately after pruning. Winter flowering shrubs simply need pruning in early spring to clean up any dead or diseased branches.

Consider using your garden to grow some kitchen herbs. Herbs such as basil, mint, parsley, coriander, rosemary and dill, are essential to many dishes, but they can be very expensive to purchase in the shops. These culinary herbs, however, are very cheap and easy to grow in your own garden.

Get your kids and grand kids involved with gardening by letting them help you in the garden, and by taking them to nurseries and arboretums. Children generally love being outdoors and will soak up any knowledge you are willing to share about sunlight, water, and soil quality. Gardening is a great way for children to learn about nature and for them to bond with you.

Use your leftover pasta water in your garden! Plants are big starch fans and thrive with water that contains higher levels of starch, like the water left over after you boil pasta or potatoes. Make sure, though, that you let the water sit until it reaches room temperature prior to watering your plants with it!

To kill off aphids on rose plants, spray them with a powdered milk and water mixture (1/3 cup powdered milk to one quart water). When the mixture is sprayed, the aphids get caught in the liquid and eventually die. Every few weeks spray down the roses with water to rinse off the mixture and reapply it if needed.

Sometimes you will need to re-pot your plants. One good way to check if your plants need re-potted is to turn them over and look at the bottom. If you see many roots, it is time to get it into a new pot. If you see few roots, you may not need to disturb the plant.

If you need to do some gardening around your home, it is important that you wear insect repellent. Mosquitoes can carry diseases that can make you very sick. By simply spraying on some insect repellent, you are protecting your self from the possibility of contracting a dangerous disease like West Nile virus.

Take the time to plant your roses properly and you’ll enjoy greater success down the road. Dig a hole larger enough to easily accommodate the roots and enrich it with organic matter. Build a mound of soil in the hole and drape the roots over it. Fill half way and water to remove any air bubble, then finish filling the hole.

Deter bugs without pesticides with careful planting. Planting marigolds along the edges of your garden, or planting garlic, parsley, and basil within your garden can repel bugs without resorting to harsh chemicals. These plants give off strong scents which are unappealing to most insects. With these in your garden, pests will steer clear.

If you order roses and they arrive in the mail, be sure to get them in the ground as soon as possible. If you can’t, be sure to keep them in a damp container and cool. They will be fine if you stick them in a bucket of water for a few days before planting. Just be sure not to let them dry out because that can kill the plant.

Secrets aren’t really well-kept in the world of organic gardening, so you can’t really call them secrets at all. What you’re looking for is thorough and accurate information like what you’ve just read in the article above. If you can find this, you can become a successful organic gardener. Make sure you use this information.

Great Organic Gardening Tricks From The Pros

So, you’ve made it. You’re ready to get into organic gardening right? Well, now is the perfect time. You probably have a lot of questions on how to start and what to do, but no worries, this article has you covered. Listed below are some tips that will help you get started with your organic gardening plans.

Use a solution made of a combination of alcohol, water, and vinegar to remove the salt deposits that may accrue in clay pots. Spray it on the the pots and scrub away with a brush, preferably plastic. This allows you to continue to reuse those clay pots! Make sure the pots are dry before using them though.

Start a compost bin, and enjoy nutrient-rich fertilizer that you can use for your vegetable plants, herbs, flowers and more. Food scraps and peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, newspaper, paperboard, yard waste and other organic matter are perfect additions to your compost bin. Keep a small bucket or bag in your freezer as an odor-free way to collect kitchen waste, and empty the container into the outdoor bin when it is full.

Look at your planting area before you purchase any rose bushes. Some varieties of roses can be finicky in the type of soil or planting environment that they need. On the other hand, there are other varieties that are hearty enough to tolerate a variety of conditions. So, when you know what type of growing environment your roses will live in, you can choose the most suitable variety.

When you buy young bare-root trees, keep the root ball moist until your are ready to plant. If the roots dry out, the tree will weaken or die. You should plant the tree as soon as you bring it home. If you cannot, lay the tree on its side and cover the roots with moist peat moss, then cover the roots with a tarp.

Use stones as plant markers if you want to keep a natural looking motif. You can write with permanent magic marker on the flat side of stones and surround your plant with them. That way you will be able to tell what type of plants you have without having an unsightly white mark.

To make the most of the water you use, be sure to water your plants first thing in the morning. Doing this makes your water less likely to evaporate, and allows foliage to dry quickly. This reduces the risk of many common diseases, and will help your plants grow to be strong and healthy.

Consider using weed-control cloth in your garden. Weeds cause a tremendous amount of work for any gardener. While the cloth is not the most attractive option, it does its job. If you place strips of the material in between the rows of your garden, it will keep out the vast majority of the weeds.

A wonderful treat for your indoor houseplants is to take them outside periodically and let them bask in the glory of a summer rainstorm. You will be treating them to higher humidity and longer hours of daylight that far surpasses the stale conditions they may be getting indoors! You will want to minimize too much direct sunlight and make sure your plant containers have good drainage holes so that extra rainwater doesn’t collect to cause root rot. Some quality time in the outdoors will pay off with lush, healthy plants year-round!

Keep an eye on your lilies. Unfortunately, lilies are prone to virus disease, such as lily mosaic. If you can, purchase bulbs that are guaranteed ‘virus-free’. During the growing season, keep a sharp look out for any aphids, as they spread the disease. Make sure to spray with insecticidals soap at the very first sign of them.

Pick the right plants. Certain plants will have an easier time germinating than others, and will guarantee a better harvest for the beginning organic gardener. Good choices include hardy varieties of cabbage, cauliflower, and herbs, but of course, you have to choose those plants which are going to do well in your climate.

You should put chives around flower beds as it is a natural insect repellant. Flies, aphids and other pests are easily repelled using simple herbs like chives. Chives can be grown or can be purchased as any grocery store. Place a generous amount around the roses and notice the bugs stay at bay.

Do not get rid of weeds by pulling them. This takes you a lot of time and they might grow back. If you notice an area with a lot of weeds, take a shovel and dig under it. Turn the soil over so that the weeds feed your seeds like manure would.

Now you are much more prepared when it comes to organic gardening. You thought that you were ready before, well look at you, now! Hopefully, the tips that were provided gave you some advice that will help you get started with your organic gardening adventures so that you can begin growing like a pro!

Top Organic Gardening Advice From The Experts

It’s really no secret that not everyone has a green thumb. Some people couldn’t grow mold if their basement flooded. Gardening is really an acquired skill and not something you luck into. So if you want to grow a garden but just don’t have the confidence or skill-set, use the tips provided below to beef up on your organic gardening.

Do not improperly lay your new sod. Before laying the sod, the soil must be prepared. Do some weeding if necessary, then break the soil until it is no longer packed. Flatten the soil back into place, gently but firmly. Dampen the soil completely. You want the sod laid down in staggered rows, and the joints to be offset from each other. After the sod has been flattened to an even surface, you can use soil to fill any remaining gaps. You will have to water the sod every day for 2 weeks, and then it should be firmly rooted to the ground, and able to be walked on.

Before settling on your garden space, visit it at multiple times throughout the day. You need to understand what type of light the spot gets on an hourly basis, as it can have ramifications on the plants you can grow and your ability to grow anything at all! If the location receives no direct sunlight, reconsider your options.

If having a lot of color in your garden is what you like but you want a sense of continuity, the best way to achieve this effect is to use two colors consistently among all of your plantings. As you look at your garden, your eyes will be drawn to the continuity of color and the view will feel more harmonized to the senses.

If you have many potted plants, do not water them all the same way. Some plants do well with plenty of water, whereas other plants might prefer a drier soil. Over-watering can do as much damage to a plant as under-watering. So, be mindful of what types of plants that you have in the pots, and water them appropriately.

Having beautiful bulb plants is fun while it lasts, but once they have bloomed you are stuck with bulb foliage that is not very attractive. Try to plant bulbs among plants that will grow up and over faded bulb leaves. This way, once the lilies or daffodils are spent, the old foliage will be hidden by the new growth of other plants.

Store your seeds well. If you do not store your seeds properly, they will not last long. A great place to store your seeds in a dark spot that is cool and has low humidity. You could even use a refridgerator. You can use zip bags to hold the seeds themselves.

Try placing evergreens that grow berries around your garden. This will aid in giving your garden great color, even during the winter when other plants have lost their colors. Some plants provide color during the winter like the Winterberry, and American Holly, the American Cranberrybush and the Common Snowberry.

If your flower beds have diseased or dead plants in them, it is best to remove them as soon as possible to prevent the spread of disease. It is a good idea to clean out your flower beds in the fall so that the soil will benefit from freezing over the winter by killing the pests or disease-causing organisms in the soil. Cleaning out your beds in the fall will help prevent the spread of disease to your spring flowers.

Remember to mulch before the first freeze. Spread compost or shredded leaves around the garden, mulching under shrubs, hedges, roses, and on top of the crown of any tender perennials. A layer of compost spread on bare ground will help to protect any bulbs, corms or plant roots. By springtime, this compost will have been taken into the ground by worms, and your soil will be full of nutrition, ready for new planting.

You should place human hair in netting around your garden to deter animals from eating your growing produce. The scent of humans can deter animals from coming near an area. When you get a hair cut place the cut hair into satchels made from netting. Hang the netting around your garden to ward off pests.

Make sure any open cuts are completely protected from dirt and chemicals before you go to work in your garden. The dirt and grime you come into contact with while gardening can cause even a small cut to become seriously infected. However, there are bandages available that will seal the cut completely. Using these should protect the cut from any infection while gardening.

Developing a skill-set in gardening does not mean you have to possess an aptitude for agriculture, in general. As long as you can follow some fairly basic directions, you should have no trouble, whatsoever, planting and growing a successful garden that is 100% organic. So here’s to your success!

Get The Best From Your Garden With These Tips

If you have just started out as a gardener, you probably have visions of a beautiful, bountiful garden and lots of enjoyable hours tilling the soil and reaping the fruits of your labors. While this can surely be the case, very often, gardening is lots of hard work followed by baffled disappointment – at least until you know what you are doing! Here are some ideas to help you cultivate your green thumb as quickly as possible.

Pick the correct soil to get the best results. The kind of plants you want in your garden should let you know what kind of soil you need to get. It can happen where one artificial area is designated to have just one type of soil.

If you are growing tomatoes, be sure to pick an airy spot that gets plenty of light. Tomatoes require at least ten hours of sunlight during an average summer day in order to grow to their peak flavor levels. Good air circulation between and around the plants is also vital to their survival.

Create a convenient cleaning station next to your outside faucet or garden hose. Collect all of your old soap slivers from around the house (or simply use a whole bar) and place in a plastic mesh bag. You can often find these bags in the produce department of your favorite store for storing vegetables in the refrigerator, or in the laundry department for delicates. Hang the bag near your hose, and the mesh works as a scrubber as well as containing the soap for an easy hand washing station.

You can use natural waste items around your home to benefit your plants. For example, plants that prefer high acidic soil love a mulch mixed with coffee grounds. Cinnamon can be used as a natural fungicide for potted plants. And of course, there are the myriad benefits of a home compost pile.

Don’t plant large shade trees in your yard between the curb and the sidewalk. Large trees have powerful root systems. These roots will crawl under the sidewalk, lifting and breaking the sidewalk pavers. The sidewalk can’t be repaired properly without removing the tree roots, which would damage the tree. Smaller ornamental trees will do less damage.

Make a point to get rid of slugs as soon as you see them. Slugs will continue eating your plants until your garden is just a shell of its former self. There are a variety of chemical and organic methods that you can try; find something that works for you and protect your plants!

To get rid of weeds and household junk at the same time, use shredded junk mail as a fertilizer. Take the shredded pieces of mail, wet them, and lay them in your garden. This will prevent weeds from growing on the places where they are laid, and will also help your plants to fight off diseases.

Mulching around your plants is a great water saving tip. You can use purchased mulch, but it is easy to make your own from what you find in your yard. Use fallen leaves, pine cones, sticks, and tree bark, and lay them out heavily around your plants on the dirt so that water does not evaporate so easily after you water.

Fall is the time of year to start planting those bulbs that produce the beautiful flowers that herald the beginning of spring. These types of spring flowers are easy to grow and can reward you with many years of gorgeous blooms. These bulbs need to be planted a few weeks before the first hard freeze in order to get their root system growing so they can survive the cold winter.

When taking an organic path to control garden pests, try to build up the soil to allow healthy microbes to flourish. Earthworms are also very important to organic gardening and they should be encouraged to stay in the soil. When the soil is unhealthy, it is not as resistant to pests.

One of the best ways to be successful at organic gardening is to plan early. The best laid out plans for an organic garden, always make for the most successful garden. Plan what you will plant early on and be sure to have back-up vegetables ready to plant when short-lived plants, like lettuce and spinach, are done for the year.

By following these tips, you should be able to get a good start on your gardening hobby. Keep in mind that container gardening is a very easy and controllable method of gardening that is just great for beginners. You can plant almost anything in a container garden, and if you are a renter, you can easily take your garden with you if you move. Just remember to keep your container garden well watered since it will have no resources to draw on other than what you give it.

Get The Best From Your Garden With These Tips

Gardening is a good way to make your yard a source of fresh fruits and vegetables. Why settle for a few fresh herbs here and there when you have the power to grow the ingredients for an entire salad? This article is packed with a variety of simple and effective gardening tips that anyone can use.

Know what grows in your region. When you see the wide variety of seed packets offered online, it is easy to get sucked into the idea of growing everything and anything! In reality, though, only some of them may flourish in your regional environment. Study up on your region and what crops can survive.

Protect your seedlings from frost with clay pots. Early spring is a perilous time for a new garden. You want to get your plants going as soon as possible to ensure plenty of grow time, but a single frost can wipe out your fragile seedlings. To protect your tiny plants from frost at night, simply place a small, upside down clay pot on each seedling. They will insulate from the cold and protect from the wind.

Don’t try to remove low lying weeds by hand. Instead get a small shovel and flip them over so their leaves are under the dirt. You will kill the weed and the leaves will rot creating a fresh mulch like material for you to use. It is green and nourishing for the other plants.

When you’re picking vegetables from your garden, choose to harvest them when they are at the peak of ripeness for the best flavor and the most nutrition. It is best to pick vegetables and fruits in the early morning, because they are still full of moisture and nutrients. With only a few exceptions, anything that you’re not going to use right away can then be preserved by chilling in the refrigerator.

To be sure a tree doesn’t become a problem with age, think of what size it will become before you plant it. The perfect place for a sapling may not be a great place for a tree several years down the road. You should be especially careful not to plant a tree too closely to your house, as the roots can cause damage.

To make the most of the water you use, be sure to water your plants first thing in the morning. Doing this makes your water less likely to evaporate, and allows foliage to dry quickly. This reduces the risk of many common diseases, and will help your plants grow to be strong and healthy.

Put a fence around your garden. It keeps out dogs, kids and a wide variety of other creatures that might try to invade your space. If there are gophers where you live, you can also try using raised beds in your garden with screened in bottoms. The extra effort is worth the frustration it will save you.

Use your used pantyhose in two beneficial ways for gardening. Wrapping and knotting up old soap slivers in pantyhose allows you to scrub stubborn ground in dirt off your hands, without needing expensive garden soaps. You can also use pantyhose to bag up your squashes and melons as they grow to give them more support on the vine, and the sun can still get through hosiery.

Use scale, color and texture in your garden to improve interest. Use plants of different heights, putting small ones in front and tall ones in the back. Add a few plants that have deep maroon leaves, which looks great next to greenery. Plant a tree or shrub that changes to oranges and golds in autumn, and mix small-leafed plants with larger-leafed or spiky plants, such as agave.

When watering plants use recycled water, but avoid re-using water from sources such as baths, washing machines, or dishwashing. These water sources may contain harmful chemicals that can be absorbed into your vegetables such as nitrates and phosphates. This water may even contain pathogens that could harm you or your plants.

Be sure that you have earthworms in your soil. Earthworms are vital to good organic gardening, because they aerate the soil. Also, the by-products of earthworm digestion are actually great plant food. Earthworms encourage soil bacteria that provide needed nutrients to your plants while competing with harmful insect pests, reducing the need for chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

For those new to gardening it is suggested to experiment with annuals. The following varieties are hardy, thrive in average soil, and take minimum care: sweet alyssum, marigold, zinnia, sunflower, nasturtium, petunia and verbena. Just remember to deadhead them frequently to encourage new flowers to grow.

This article should have helped you understand the value of growing fresh food in your very own backyard garden. Being able to make a meal from homegrown ingredients will leave you with a sense of satisfaction. Use the advice in this article to optimize your efforts in the garden and yield amazing results.

Simple Organic Gardening Tips From The Pros

Gardening, be it for shrubs, trees, flowers, or vegetables, can be a very relaxing and rewarding activity. The smell of the dirt under our fingers as you plant seeds and pull up weeds, the thrill of the watching the tiny plants start to come up, and the pleasure you take in the results of your efforts, all make gardening an affordable and pleasurable past time. here’s a few useful pointers.

Select perennials to reduce the amount of care your garden requires. Plants that return year after year usually require only a modicum of weeding and pruning. Edible perennials, such as asparagus, rhubarb, and sorrel, can provide an excellent salad addition for your household without causing too much work for you.

A great way to maximize garden potential is to plant perennials. Some edible vegetables will come back year after year with minimal maintenance like weeding, mulching, and fertilizing. Asparagus, bunching onions, and horseradish all will come back every year. Depending upon climate, there are many options for growing perennial vegetables for a maximum yield.

Take care of weeds right away when you see them sprout up. Weeds can grow very quickly, and they can take over your garden if they are left unattended. It is easier to keep weeds under control when the weeds are still relatively young. Large weeds have deeper roots and are more difficult to remove.

Take the time to plant your roses properly and you’ll enjoy greater success down the road. Dig a hole larger enough to easily accommodate the roots and enrich it with organic matter. Build a mound of soil in the hole and drape the roots over it. Fill half way and water to remove any air bubble, then finish filling the hole.

When you work out in the yard, it is important that you protect your skin. If you constantly work out in the sun without any protection, you can develop skin cancer, which is a life threatening disease. Keep your skin healthy and apply sun screen any time that you go outside.

When you first plant a seedling, make sure that you keep the soil moist until it germinates. This is very important because, if the soil dries out, you risk the seedling dying. Once the seedling does germinate, the soil can be allowed to dry in between watering, but remember that it is still delicate and needs to be taken care of.

You must water your plants correctly, to achieve success with your garden. When watering your garden, always try to do it early in the morning or in the evening, when the sun has gone down. This gives the soil a chance to actually soak up the water without it evaporating. Also, if you have pots, try to hand water them with a can, rather than using a hose. This way you can make sure that each pot gets enough water, since potted plants can dry out completely in a matter of hours, if they haven’t had a deep watering.

If you have to lift something heavy you need to lift with your knees. Many people make the mistake of lifting with their back when they are lifting heavy objects. This can lead to a lot of back ache and could even cause extreme damage. You should never lift anything that is extremely heavy without help from someone else.

A great way to calculate the timing for planting your plants in an organic garden is to use a seed-starting chart. You should do your research and fill in the chart in advance. Once you have it, you can use the chart to plan your planting through the entire season.

Establish a precise schedule to know when you should plant your seeds. Even if you are growing your plants indoors, you should follow a schedule that matches the season and outside temperature. Spend some time on your schedule at the beginning of a season and you should be able to improve it the next year.

Use mulch in your organic garden. Mulching helps retain moisture, and helps provide nutrients to your growing plants. You should try to use at least a three inch layer of mulch in all of your beds. It will also make your garden beds look as if they were professionally finished.

Before you begin planting in your garden, it’s a good idea to test your soil’s acidity first. Home testing kits are readily available. Your soil should have a pH around 6.5 for most vegetables. If the pH is too low, you can boost it by spreading lime. If it’s too high, you can use powdered sulfur.

Gardening is a pastime that really gives back. It brings benefits to ourselves, to our family, and to our planet. So, turn your thoughts to outside, and to the pleasure to be had by tending our own piece of the earth, and work on that garden!

Huge Profits From Growing Your Own Microgarden

Organic gardening is gaining in popularity because more and more information is coming out about the harmful effects of pesticides and garden chemicals. If you want to learn more about organic gardening, do some research into the various things you can do. You can begin by reading some of the advice here.

Use groundcover perennials in sunny areas. Groundcover perennials can be used as an alternative to grass where there is minimal foot traffic, or in an area where grass is difficult to maintain, such as on a slope. They are also handy in between larger perennials, as they help to suppress weeds and keep the soil moist and cool. Good choices for groundcover perennials are creeping thyme, ajuga, various sedums, alyssum and armeria.

A good idea when gardening is to keep a record of progress. If it is a journal form or photographic form of recording the progress of the garden is helpful for the years to come. Recording which types of plants work well, which did not work or what types of soil can help future gardens start without any trial and error of previous years.

When and why should shrubs be pruned? Most shrubs need pruning to increase flowering. Deciduous spring and early flowering shrubs should be pruned immediately after flowering. Cut back old wood to encourage new growth. The buds for next year’s flowers will appear on this new wood. Late summer flowering shrubs should be pruned in spring. They will produce flowers on the shoots that grow immediately after pruning. Winter flowering shrubs simply need pruning in early spring to clean up any dead or diseased branches.

One of the best ways to maximize the benefits of a garden is to learn how to can. Water bath canning is an effective way to store fresh vegetables for a very long time and is not that difficult to learn how to do. It involves submersing jars of the gardens home grown goodies into a bath of barely boiling water. This will preserve the vegetables for up to a year or more.

Tie strips of mylar balloons to the branches of your fruit trees just before harvest time. These flapping, shiny straps will frighten away birds and small mammals, protecting your fruit. Just be sure to remove them after the harvest, because if they blow loose, animals may eat them and become ill.

If you’re a new gardener, it is vital that you follow the instructions when it comes to your chemicals and tools. If you use your gardening chemicals wrong, you can abrade or even burn your skin. Be careful when it comes to your body, and always follow directions.

It is important to wear eye protection when you are gardening. Many people do not realize that chemicals can easily get splashed, fertilizer can be blown or dirt can land in their eyes. All of these things can cause major damage to the eye. If wearing eye protection the chances of having your eyes damaged are greatly decreased.

It is important to use a strong and quality sunscreen when gardening outdoors. It is very easy to get burnt on the back of your neck, tops of your arms or on your legs while you are gardening. Sun block will help to prevent sunburn and will lessen your chance of getting skin cancer through sun exposure.

When planting rose bushes, the location is essential. You need to choose a location that gets plenty of direct sunlight. Roses need at least 6 hours of sunlight, in order to grow as large as they possibly can. It is important to find the perfect spot before planting them in your yard.

Seeds take a lot more time and effort to grow than nursery transplants. That being said, planting seeds is much cheaper and gives a greater sense of satisfaction to see something actually grow from seed. Hard to grow plants or perennials are best purchased from a nursery. This is a great way to have a ready-made garden!

A great first step to having a successful organic garden is to test the acidity of the soil in your garden. The ideal number is 6.5, if your soil is on the low end, it’s too acidic and if it’s on the high end it’s too alkaline. Neither of those situations lends itself to a successful garden. So by purchasing a soil testing kit before planting, you will assure yourself a beautiful organic garden in the summer.

Organic gardening is not difficult to do if you know the methods. It will take some experimentation to find the right combination of plants, amendments and techniques to use, in order to produce the best results in your garden. Continue to gather ideas from reading and from seasoned organic gardeners. Before long, you will have a beautiful and healthy organic garden.

Tips For Protecting Your Garden Plants From Bugs

Today, gardening is an incredibly popular hobby and career that is emerging. The demand for products that come from grown plants and crops is numerous. Now is the time to enter into it. Here are some tips that you can use to get you started with your gardening plans.

Run your fingernails across a bar of soap before you go out to weed or plant in your garden. The soap that collected under your nails will prevent the collection of dirt while you work. Afterward, a simple scrub with a nail brush will remove the soap and leave your hands clean, with much less effort.

Invest in a electronic PH tester. Avoid liquid PH kits (the color coded ones) as they tend to be less accurate. It is very easy for first time users to botch readings. Also, do not use soil PH test kits as they are unreliable and are not intended for home use.

If you want your garden to be successful, focus on your soil. In order to protect your plants from unwanted pests, it is essential to have healthy soil. It will nourish your vegetation and help them grow into strong plants that are able to fight off disease and damage from bugs.

Use fertilizers that are free for the taking. Using chemical free grass clippings or human urine for a nutrient rich and free fertilizer. Twenty parts water with one part urine is an excellent fertilizer for seedlings, or steep the grass clippings in water to make a tea for watering and fertilizing the plants. So don’t spend a lot on the garden when the fertilizers can be had for free.

Grow from seeds. In garden centers, it is usually much cheaper to purchase a packet of seeds than to buy the equivalent number of grown plants. Remember, if you sow some seeds before the summer, you can get a garden full of bright, colorful flowers for a very cheap price.

Ensuring your plants are both dry and aerated is a great way to keep them healthy. Excess moisture creates an appealing environment for disease and parasites. Fungi are parasites that are common in the plant world. It is possible to control fungi with sprays, but the key is to treat your garden before any problems arise.

When you are pruning a tree, make sure that your tools are sharp. Cutting with a dull tool can tear the bark off the tree, causing unnecessary damage to the tree. Not only that, cutting with a dull tool causes you to spend extra energy in cutting. A sharp tool will give you a cleaner cut with the least amount of effort.

Tie strips of mylar balloons to the branches of your fruit trees just before harvest time. These flapping, shiny straps will frighten away birds and small mammals, protecting your fruit. Just be sure to remove them after the harvest, because if they blow loose, animals may eat them and become ill.

If you don’t have someone to water your plants while you’re out of town, build a homemade watering device! Simply make a small hole in the bottom of a jug, block the hole, and then fill it with water. Place the jug near the base of the plant and remove whatever is blocking the hole. This will slowly give your plant the water it needs while you’re away.

Use your used pantyhose in two beneficial ways for gardening. Wrapping and knotting up old soap slivers in pantyhose allows you to scrub stubborn ground in dirt off your hands, without needing expensive garden soaps. You can also use pantyhose to bag up your squashes and melons as they grow to give them more support on the vine, and the sun can still get through hosiery.

When deciding to plant a garden, it is important to survey the areas available for planting and determine which will be the best location. Whether you grow your fruits and vegetables in your yard, on your patio in containers, or on your apartment balcony, your plants should be in a location which is exposed to sunlight. To yield the best harvest, most crops need to be situated in an area which is an open location that is sunny.

Grow evergreen plants. If you grow too many evergreen plants, your garden runs the risk of looking very gloomy, but a few well-placed evergreens can give a year-round framework. Choose evergreen plants with variegated or lighter green foliage, rather than sticking to darker colors. They can be used as a backdrop for spring and summer plants, and be the main attraction in the fall and winter.

You should now see why this hobby and career is very popular and very in demand. There is so much you can do in it! There is also a ton of information on how to start enjoying the benefits of it. By following these tips, you are well on your way to becoming a successful gardener.

Shopper’s Diary: Flowers From Miss Pickering

In the heart of Middle England is Stamford, an outrageously pretty town. Miss Pickering’s flower business is just off the High Street, in a low-ceilinged shop, serviced by a single window. It is heavenly without being twee and the business is far from provincial.

Photography by Miss Pickering except where noted.

Miss Pickering's Flowers, Stamford, England. Gardenista

Above: Miss Pickering, a name not to be quibbled with, was at school in Stamford. She saw the world via London, Italy, France, and Spain before deciding to move back here. In London’s Notting Hill, she got a job with legendary florist Nikki Tibbles of Wild at Heart, taking phone orders. Miss P. left seven years ago, the same week as Vic Brotherson of Scarlet and Violet, another Wild at Heart alumna (see Shopper’s Diary: Scarlet & Violet).

Miss Pickering's flowers, Stamford, UK. Gardenista

Above: With a concrete floor and low light, Miss Pickering’s shop is a perfect stopping-off point in the journey of a cut flower. Fortunately the low-level lighting is flattering as well as practical. The shop building itself was built in 1463.

Miss Pickering flowers, Stamford, UK. Gardenista

Above: Miss Pickering began to write a blog when she moved to Stamford from London, partly for the sake of her sanity. It was quickly picked up and is a wonderful read, not only for the afianced.

Miss Pickering flowers, Stamford, UK. Gardenista

Above: Having sent an experimental bouquet to the editor of Country Living when her shop opened, Miss P. has been in demand ever since.

Miss Pickering flowers, Stamford, UK. Gardenista

Above: Miss P.’s wedding flower business thrives on personal recommendations. Her brides have a good idea of Miss Pickering’s style through the blog and through her posts on Instagram. They put their trust in her and may be persuaded to be more adventurous than they realized they could be, hitherto: “We’re here to make something for someone else’s day.”

Miss Pickering flowers, the Hound. Gardenista  

Above: The only permanent member of staff is the Hound. Miss Pickering likes to do everything herself, which is difficult to conceptualize: her weddings are not small and they are all over the country, though often in London or for London-based people. The Hound has his own blog.

Miss Pickerin's flowers, Stamford, England. Gardenista

Above: A wedding takes about a week to prep, from conditioning the flowers to figuring out the mechanics of building a floral arch for the church. Miss P. studied biophysics at university. She approaches each wedding with a healthy mix of emotions: “I’m excited and terrified in equal proportion.” 

Miss Pickering flowers, Stamford, England. Gardenista

Above: Being located in the middle of the country has its advantages for getting to bigger projects; the shop in Stamford is also open from Tuesday to Saturday for bunches of flowers. Photograph by Kendra Wilson.

Miss Pickering books on shelf ; Gardenista

Above: Miss Pickering flowers is at 7 St. Paul’s Street, Stamford PE9 2BE.

For more cut flowers that have a distinctly English style, see Wildflowers Delivered to Your Door. Getting married? See DIY: Secrets of Growing Your Own Wedding Flowers. How to keep your cut flowers from drooping? See DIY: How to Make a Vase of Flowers Last a Week.

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DIY Climbing Roses: From Trellis to Vase on Cape Cod

When my husband and I lived in Manhattan we’d often question, as we beat our way through endless traffic on the Merrit, why we bothered to make the four- or more frequently seven-hour trip to Cape Cod. Finally arriving some time after dark, we’d open the car doors to be greeted by an intoxicating wave of sea air mixed with honeysuckle and roses. There and then, before we even caught a glimpse of the sun dancing on the water, the stress of city life melted away, and in less than a New York minute the trip all became worth it.

Today, even though our journey from Boston is a good deal shorter, the pure magic of that cocktail of beach cottage aromas never wanes. This time of year, when the New Dawn roses that climb the porch are at their finest, I like to harvest them along with honeysuckle and grapevines. I created an homage to Cape Cod for the inside of the house, so the salubrious fragrance follows me wherever I go.

See below for step-by-step instructions for a DIY arrangement with climbing roses.

Photography by Justine Hand for Gardenista.

New dawn bouquet, Salt Timber Cottage covered in roses, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: My rose-covered cottage in June, when blooming New Dawn roses and honeysuckle frame the porch door.

New Dawn Rose Bouquet, rose detail, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: A rugged Cape Codder: though most rose are finicky about Cape Cod’s sandy soil and salty air, this hearty climber seems to love the less-than-ideal growing conditions here. (For more, see 10 Easy Pieces: Perennials for the Seaside Garden.) Organically grown New Dawn Roses are available at Stargazer Perennials; $ 19.

New Dawn Bouquet, honeysuckle, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: For me, the sweet smell of honeysuckle is synonymous with the Cape. Even though it’s an invasive species, I can’t bare to remove the four plants that wind their way up the trellises of our porch. In my defense, I will note that this honeysuckle has been here since the 1960s, so was not planted by me. In fact, you can’t get Japanese honeysuckle in nurseries any more. When one died, I replaced it with a non-invasive alternative: Lonicera X Heckrottii Gold Flame, which is a similarly fragrant, climbing honeysuckle and available at White Flower Farm; $ 24.95.

New Dawn Rose bouquet, roses with honeysuckle, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: The inspiration for my bouquet is the way New Dawn roses and honeysuckle intertwine above the door of my cottage.

New Dawn Rose Bouquet, grape vines, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: Another feature of a Cape Cod landscape: grapes often grow wild by the shore. Here an unknown cultivar grows on the arbor near my children’s play house.

New Dawn Rose Bouquet, supplies, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: For the DIY arrangement, I cut long stems of each of the roses, honeysuckle, and grapevines. (Thick gloves are highly recommended when handling roses.) For a vase, I picked my grandmother’s old pitcher. An “ole Cape Codder,” my grandmother is responsible for instilling in me a love of flowers. I also employed her vintage frog useful for anchoring the long heavy stems of this sizable bouquet.

Shopping for an old-fashioned flower frog? See our favorites at Vintage-Style Flower Frogs.

New Dawn Rose Bouquet, cutting grape stem, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: I absolutely love the expressive form of grapes, with their leggy stems, broad leaves, and grasping tendrils. Sometimes I will simply place a single cutting in a long vase. But after they’re cut, grapes tend to wilt rather quickly. To prolong their shelf life, I either use a knife to make a long diagonal slice to expose the center of the stem, or I smash them with a hammer.

For more tips on smashing stems to prolong the life of cut flowers, see DIY: Hydrangeas Gone Wild.

Step-by-Step Instructions

New Dawn Rose Bouquet, base of grape leaves, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Step 1: Make a base with the long grapes. I like to use one stem that brushes the table on one side, by a bushier sample placed a bit higher on the opposite side.

New Dawn Rose Bouquet, cutting rose stems, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: While wearing gloves, prep your rose stems in the same manner as the grapes, with a long cut. I also like to remove the thorns because they catch on other stems, which can disrupt the whole arrangement if you attempt to move them.

New Dawn Rose Bouquet, adding roses, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Step 2: Focusing on the center of the composition, place an abundant grouping of roses. But you also don’t want to lose informality of the New Dawn, so don’t pack them too tight.

New Dawn Rose Bouquet, detail right, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Step 3: Finish off your bouquet with a few strategically placed pieces of honeysuckle. Structurally, these demure flowers add a sense of height and airiness to the arrangement. Their bits of yellow also complement the sunny center of the roses. Not to mention (again) that smell.

New Dawn Rose Bouquet with grape leaves and honeysuckle by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: That’s it. My finished bouquet has an abundant but wild aspect that captures the rugged beauty of the Cape.

New Dawn Rose Bouquet, detail roses, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: A detail of the bouquet shows that expressive power can be achieved with a very simple palette.

New Dawn Rose Bouquet, detail left, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: In this detail of the lower part of the arrangement, you may note that I didn’t try to tame the drooping forms of the grapes and roses, but rather let them inform the structure of the bouquet.

New Dawn Rose Bouquet, finished, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: Now my cottage smells as sweet inside as it does out.

N. B. Take a walk on the wild side with these other foraged arrangements:

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