How to Grow Organic Vegetables

Growing your own fresh, organic produce is satisfying on so many levels. Flavor; the convenience of walking out to your garden to select fresh vegetables to prepare for a family meal; reduction of food costs; and knowing the origin of your food source, are just a few. Gardening can be both an art and a science, and it can take some trial and error to get to the point where you can rely on your own green thumb to provide an adequate food source for your family. Here are a few primary tips that can help you get started with your own organic backyard garden.

Location

Choosing an area for your garden is the first step, and should be considered one of the most important. Vegetables require a fair amount of sunlight, so choose a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of sun per day. If you need to clear an area of vegetation before working the soil, wet down the area and cover it with a layer of black plastic for 3-4 weeks prior to digging up the area. This will rid the plot of existing grass and weeds, and will also sterilize the soil, killing any dormant weed seeds. To ensure a truly organic garden, you’ll also want to make sure that your garden is not located in an area that was recently treated with lawn chemicals or pesticides. If you have difficulty meeting any of these requirements, a raised garden bed is an excellent and easy solution to existing soil or location problems, as it can be located anywhere on your property, including a sunny patio. 

Soil

The soil needs to be well-drained, and have a rich organic consistency. Add peat moss, and a variety of composted materials to build up your soil. If you are using a raised bed garden, you can create your own soil mix by combining peat moss, vermiculite, and compost in equal portions. All of these materials can be purchased at your local garden center.
You’ll also want to start your own compost pile for ongoing inexpensive soil amendments.

Planting

When selecting what to grow, it is best to start small, and choose plants that your family likes to eat or that can be added to dishes that appeal to your family. Be sure to choose seeds that are organic or open pollinated, and if purchasing seedlings, choose the organic varieties. Garden centers and online seeds shops are a good source of organic seeds and seedlings, however if you are unable to find them commercially, starting your own seeds indoors in a greenhouse is a cost-effective way to ensure that your plants are organic. First-time gardeners may want to start with plants such as beans, peas, carrots, onions, squash, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, and pumpkins as they are all easy to grow and need little care. Be sure to water transplanted seedlings and newly planted seeds well to encourage germination.

Weed Control

If you sterilized the soil prior to planting your garden or you’re using the raised bed garden technique and created your own mix of soil, weed growth should be minimal. Sowing seeds in close proximity, and companion planting (such as growing marigolds next to tomatoes) results in very little room for weeds to grow between plants. Once the vegetables are established, mulching around the plants and on garden paths is a very effective method of maintaining a weed free garden, and also builds up your soil as the mulch decomposes. When using mulch, be sure that it contains only organic materials (not grass clippings that have been treated with lawn chemicals). Keep any new weeds at bay by hoeing and weeding by hand regularly. When hand weeding, be sure to pull the weed from the base of the plant to ensure that you get the entire root. Pouring boiling water over the entire plant is also an effective way to kill established weeds.

Insects and Pests

Many insects are beneficial to your garden, and organic gardening encourages bees, butterflies, earth worms, and frogs to make themselves at home. Earth worms can be purchased and added to your soil. Lady bugs are also a welcome friend to organic gardeners as they feed on aphids which love to chew on leafy greens. Remove any uninvited pests by hand. Slugs, which can do a great deal of damage in very little time, can be deterred by using beer traps (shallow containers such as jar lids, filled with beer). Rabbits, deer, and other four legged creatures can be kept out of your garden by installing a fence around the circumference of the plot. Fencing is easily installed by using steel fence posts and 4′ high wire mesh. Secure the bottom of the fence to the ground with stakes, and make sure the openings at the bottom of the mesh are small enough to keep the baby rabbits out too, as they can be very destructive all by themselves.  If you need more deterrent, tried used kitty litter or a commercial prepared product such as Liquid Fence.

Water

Watering your garden until plants are well established, and during dry spells, will keep them healthy and better able to ward off diseases and pests.
Watering in the morning will reduce problems with pests that like dark, moist places to hide (slugs). It also gives the plants extra energy to get through the hot, sultry days of summer.

Journal

Keeping a garden journal that includes dates, plant names, and photos will help you track what works and what, if any modifications you need to make for planning your garden next year. The photos will help with crop rotation, by helping you track where things were planted so you can move them around every year.

Don’t forget to get the whole family involved. Teaching your children to garden is educational and they’ll learn lifelong skills that are healthy, enjoyable, and useful. Gardening is a hobby that can bring your family closer together, while creating memories and healthy eating habits that each of you can benefit from and cherish for years to come.

 

Steps to a Perfect Pool

6 Steps to the perfect pool

Something I will never forget is the look on my father’s face the day I asked for an inground pool. I must have been 10 or 11 years old, and he looked at me as if I’d asked for a helipad or another brother.  “Go outside and run around the house,” he barked.  Not even close to the response I was hoping for.

Back then, above ground watery pools were popular, but “dug-in” pools were rather rare. In fact, there was only one in our entire neighbourhood. times sure have changed:  According to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, there are about 5 million existing in ground pools in the U.S., and 175,000 to 200,000 new pools are reinforced each year.

About two years ago I decided to take the plunge, so to verbalize, and began calling pool contractors to get approximate construction costs.  Next, I spoke with the bank to discuss financing options.

When the contractor came out to scrutinize the proposed pool site, he walked around the yard, stopping from time to time to kick at the dirt and tremble his head.  Not a good sign. “Well, we could put the pool here,” he said with little enthusiasm, “but it ain’t going to be easy.”

Apparently there’s a vein of rock roughly the size of Mount Rushmore running through my yard. There was no way to dig the pool without blasting first. I immediately called two pool owners who live nearby and discovered that they both had to blast to get their pools in. As I was bemoaning the expense of dynamite, one neighbour casually mentioned the high cost of fencing. I had completely disoriented that you’re required by law to instal a protective barrier around an in ground pool.

“It cost us nearly $12,000 for the fence and two gates,” my neighbour said. And her yard isn’t much bigger than mine. “It would’ve cost less than $10,000, but the contractor had to charge extra for digging the postholes, you know, because of all the rock.” My dream was in jeopardy–and severely underfunded. I abruptly felt like running around the house. I was also told about a new chlorinator that that would substitute for a salt water chlorinator, allowing you to swim in mellifluous clean water.

Later on several weeks of crunching numbers, it became apparent that I had only one row of action: I convinced my neighbour Bob to put in a swimming pool. And since I had instigated this whole mess, I felt it was my duty to help Bob get the pool of his–and my–dreams. It was woth the effort when we had the first party. Here’s what we learned along the way.

Stay attuned for the next articles that contain the 6 steps.

Landscape Gardening – Meet Your own Style And Produce A Concpet

Landscape gardening represents the special decoration of the outdoor area around the house so as to meet certain style characteristics. It was during the 19th century that the concept became popular. People know landscaping under the name of English Gardens, because the English were the first to impose the trend. Most home owners will try do-it-yourself options, while others will hire professional designers to create some fanciful decoration.

The hedge and lawn cut make the basics of landscape gardening. Then, the flower arrangements, the presence of fountains with water statues or rocks, small bridges and special lighting systems contribute to the artistic effect specific to landscape gardening. With a bit of effort and some investments you can even preserve the same colors all year round by planting new flowers every season.

The flowers, bushes and trees are incredibly important for landscape gardening. The most daring of effects can be achieved by working on these elements. The flower arrangements in the beds often follow complementing color lines, while occasionally, mono-color designs are preferred. Landscape gardening is not possible with plenty of work, time and effort. River rocks, gravel, sand and carved wood make great matches in landscape gardening too, but every artistic detail has to be exploited at the maximum.

Normally, landscape gardening is different depending on the alternation night-day. And the outdoor lighting system contributes to the modifications and the look of the garden immensely. At night, the trees, bushes and plants only offer you shadows that you can play with and make more or less appealing with the careful location of light fixtures in the most unexpected of places. For instance, use small lights to show the way along the alleys, and create a touch of mystery by hiding the lights in the background.

Last but not least, the presence of a porch or a gazebo is very important for landscape gardening, together with the choice of the specific wooden garden furniture. It is important to adapt all these elements to the features of the house, the size of the garden and the overall decor. The main objective of landscape gardening should not be that of showing off but rather of creating an atmosphere that you love. Personal satisfaction and comfort definitely come first here!

How You Can Find The Right Hedges For Your Front Yard

If you’re looking to sell your home or are basically looking to have a nice inviting front garden, there are many points it is possible to do for the front of your home. In particular, there are many green hedge plants which are inexpensive, but can offer a amount of rewards for your home and your loved ones.

 

You can find a quantity of curb appeal plants  available at your local hardware store. Although the word curb appeal is generally utilized to attract possible buyers of a house, curb appeal basically refers to an overall attractiveness for the front of one’s house. In other words, does your front backyard look pleasant or is it a area that individuals will want to avoid. The answer to that question can ascertain the value of one’s residence and your neighbor’s home.

 

One with the easiest techniques to improve your curb charm is to use garden hedge plants. There are several types of hedges accessible and may colors to chose from. These live plants can add a bit of life and color to any garden. In addition, hedge plants provide a clear path to determine where your property line ends and where your neighbor’s property begins.

 

The proper hedge plant can also offer a level of security. This is because most hedge plants can grow thick sufficient to block visibility. In this way, an intruder is unable to see what you and your family are doing inside of the house. In this way, a prospective intruder may possibly move on and leave your home undisturbed.

 

Clearly, there are several rewards to garden hedge plants. Before selecting the proper hedge for your front backyard, be certain to plan how the hedge will look in your garden. Choosing the correct plant will make certain you’ve added to your residence value, whilst keeping your family safe at the same time.

 

If you are looking to sell your home or are simply looking to have a nice looking front yard, there are several things you can do to the front of your house. In particular, there are several green hedge plans that are inexpensive, but can provide a number of benefits for your home and your family.

 

There are a number of curb appeal plants available at your local hardware store. Although the word curb appeal is generally used to attract potential buyers of a home, curb appeal simply refers to an overall attractiveness to the front of your home. In other words, does your front yard look pleasant or is it a area that people will want to avoid. The answer to that question can determine the value of your home and your neighbor’s house.

 

One of the easiest ways to increase your curb appeal is to use garden hedge plants. There are several types of hedges available and may colors to chose from. These live plants can add a bit of life and color to any yard. In addition, hedge plants offer a clear path to determine where your property line ends and where your neighbor’s property begins.

 

The right hedge plant can also offer a level of security. This is because most hedge plants can grow thick enough to block visibility. In this way, an intruder is unable to see what you and your family are doing inside of your home. In this way, a potential intruder may move on and leave your home undisturbed.

 

Clearly, there are several benefits to garden hedge plants. Before selecting the right hedge for your front yard, be sure to plan how the hedge will look in your yard. Selecting the right plant will ensure you have added to your home value, while keeping your family safe at the same time.

Practical And Efficient Patio String Lights

Turn an outdoor patio into a unique backyard getaway by using simple and practical details. To start, set the ambiance with patio string lights.  Patio decking lights can easily add a magical ingredient and brighten the outdoor patio spot.  Lighting effects are the most essential elements in a patio makeover.

Outdoor patio string lights come in many functional but pleasurable and intimate styles. Attractive string lights are able to add a fun effect to an event or get together.  String light models are really easy to install and remove, it’s possible to exchange them for special situations.  With a simple peek online you can easily find several whimsical creations that will match almost any décor. You will certainly locate a set just right for your home.

Use fishing lantern styles so as to add a nautical element to a seashore deck.  Most of these lanterns are available created using durable stainless steel or iron metal along with coatings such as pewter, weathered zinc, a rustic patina, galvanized or with brightly painted colors.  Some of these patio string lights can be found in lovely French bell or classic lantern forms.

You may be surprised to find attractively hand-blown glass globe sets of patio string lights which have high powered white LED lights hidden within.  Each one features a hanging hook and mini solar panels. They’ve the means to turn themselves on when the sun sets as well as off again at dawn.

Possibly you could have several outdoor areas that require illumination.  Patio string lights can be found in several different lengths and may very well be strung with each other to direct your guests to several outdoor patio areas.  They will operate fantastic and look fashionable.  There’s  plenty of light to produce ambiance, however, not overly bright that they are annoying.

Patio string lights work extremely well as the primary source of light or merely to add a bit of soft mood lighting in addition to atmosphere. They can be strung about the patio rafters or on an umbrella, across the railing or in trees and shrubs.

Solar and LED patio string lights are not simply fun and whimsical, they are energy efficient as well.  Due to the fact they commonly will not get as warm as normal light bulbs they’re significantly less hazardous.  These types of lights will be safety graded to ensure that they could be put to use indoors and outdoors. 

Adding accessories to just about any patio should be simple and  affordable.  Try making use of clay pots loaded with seasonal flowers and herbal plants. Arrange weather resistant pillows in vibrant colors and also setting out distinct dinner ware to add interest to patio dinner parties.  Don’t forget about setting the mood using patio string lights, they will create the finishing touch.

Amazing Landscaping Ideas – Turn Your Yard Into an Oasis

If you have an interest in the landscaping that surrounds your house but you are at somewhat at a loss for not knowing exactly where to begin, then you can quite easily discover many different inspiring examples. It might be simply driving around your neighborhood and stopping the vehicle to take a picture of a landscape design that is appealing to you. You may even knock on one of the doors and see if the homeowner will give you some advice on whether they use a professional or if they did it themselves.

Resources of Inspiration

Another good place to get many different ideas for your landscaping projects would be the numerous magazines and books that are published on the topic of design landscapes. Also, nowadays there are numerous different resources that are available online for designing and embellishing the landscape that's around your house. Quite a few of these websites even offer sample landscape design plans, numerous pictures of various ideas, as well as tips from experts for do-it-yourselfers, and contact information for professional landscape design that are around your area.

Some of the most common features in landscaping for homes are patios and decks. Patios and decks not only provide beauty and are a type of centerpiece to overall landscape design, but they can also add a functionality to your house and furnished outdoor living space as well.

Decks and patios provide you with an excellent place to host family gatherings as well as other types of entertainment. While at the same time, a small patio can be added to a special garden area to make a place for you to get away to relax and be refreshed by the beauty of your natural surroundings. Adding patios and decks, or making different improvements to existing ones, is also an excellent way to add more value to your home as well as increase your equity.

Fountains and Rock Gardens

Nowadays, more frequently, fountains are steadily becoming features of home and garden landscaping. There are the more traditional types, multi-tiered fountains that are reminiscent of European villas and country estates which can add an old world charm to your surroundings.

There are also more modern types of fountains that use specific types of rocks and stones or large ceramic pots which are steadily becoming very popular in different types of landscape architecture. Naturally, there are numerous other creative and beautiful styles that are available on the market today to meet any style and taste.

Rock gardens are also becoming quite popular. These type of gardens have the benefit of being highly attractive, however they generally integrate very few, if any, types of plants. The end result of this is that they are very low maintenance as they need either no watering, or very little, and virtually no weeding, and generally speaking need almost no attention, except to simply sit back and admire how your rock garden adds to the beauty of your overall landscape design.

English Cottage Gardens and Lawns

Emulating an English cottage landscaping garden is an additional home and garden inspiration. These type of gardens are notable for their overall lack of a formal plan. There is very little rigidity in their design with English cottage gardens since the whole idea behind them is to let the plants themselves “just grow” and to let them develop in a more natural, or organic method. These type of gardens have a specific charm to them and very often make individuals feel more relaxed as well is embraced by nature.

Lush green lawns are, in all probability, the most common and largest component of most of the landscaping design plans. A beautiful lawn is very popular since it provides for homeowners with an area where the family can enjoy numerous different types of activities. Lawns are also one of the simplest of the landscape components to maintain as well as staying beautiful for many years afterwards with basic maintenance routines.

About the Author

Listen to Corbin Newlyn as he shares his insights as a avid writer in the field of gardening and home. If you would like to learn more go to Building Koi Ponds advice and at Garden Ponds Designs tips.

Article Source: Content for Reprint

Easy Front Yard Landscaping

frontHaving a low maintenance front yard is the goal of many people. You can get easy to manage front yard landscaping done by any of the professional landscapers in your area or you can do it yourself. Either way you can have front yard landscaping done that will take minimal work to keep looking fantastic all year round. If you are going to get a professional in to do your front yard landscaping though, be sure to tell him that this is your over all goal, that you want to have a yard that will not take a lot of work to keep up.

If you have less grass in your front yard landscaping then you will cut out a lot of maintenance time right there. Mowing the lawn can take up a lot of time and energy so keeping the grass to a minimum is a great way to save on work. Talk to the front yard landscaping expert about alternative that you can use to keep your yard look good with little lawn area.

Some people choose to use clover instead of grass. Using a clover lawn in your front yard landscaping is a good idea because it will save you money and time. You will not have to mow it very often at all and a clover lawn is even good for front yard landscaping in area that is prone to droughts. They do well virtually everywhere. And best of all for those who want to get out there and enjoy their front yard landscaping, bugs hate clover.

Watering the yard can be a big hassle as well. That is why many people incorporate automatic irrigation systems into their front yard landscaping designs these days. This can save you tons of time and money. This is one of the easiest ways for you to keep your yard looking healthy and well watered during the hotter months of the year. No more hooking up the sprinkler or having to drag out the hose.

You can get a professional to install one of these systems for your front yard landscaping design quickly and easily or you can get a kit and do it yourself. I would recommend getting in a professional however, unless you have experience with this kind of thing. If you were to cause a leak then you could face some flooding and rotting and neither of these is going to do anything for your front yard landscaping, do you know what I mean?

Backyard Landscaping Is About Many Different Things

backyardYour backyard landscaping is going to have to be about many different things but the most important one of these if your well being. Most people get into backyard landscaping because they want to change the look and feel of their home, they want to make it a wonderful place where their family can feel safe and comfortable at all times. Backyard landscaping is a great way to add some more peace to your life whether you are alone or you have a large family and tons of kids. You will be able to create a sanctuary with your backyard landscaping that you have never had before in your life.

Backyard landscaping does not have to be drastic or hard. You can do your own backyard landscaping or you can hire a contractor to do it all for you. The choice is yours but doing it yourself can be a lot of work, especially if you do not have any experience in this type of thing. There are all kinds of things that you will need to learn about before you start doing your own backyard landscaping. You will have to take a crash course in landscaping and this course will be jammed packed with all kinds of info that you never even knew was out there. You may be able to save some money on the work if you do your won backyard landscaping but if you screw things up too badly you may end up paying even more to get everything fixed.

If you want to get some backyard landscaping done you should only do it yourself if it is going to be a simple and straightforward job. If you need irrigation things dealt with and planes and elevations leave it to the professionals that do it for a living. These things may be over your head entirely. You need to watch out how you go about your backyard landscaping or you could end up with quite a mess on your hands.

There are a couple of great places for you to learn some more about backyard landscaping such as the local public library and the internet. You can get many backyard landscaping books out of the library and these will help you to make the best decisions as to your landscaping needs. You can also get many do it yourself tips online.

A Wonderful Backyard Landscaping Idea

backyardideasA good backyard landscaping idea is one that everyone can make use of. There are many different backyard landscaping ideas and most of them are pretty good but to find the one that is right for you and that is just what your yard needs may take some reading. This article will help you to find the perfect backyard landscaping idea for your home.

A good backyard landscaping idea is to use evergreens. The use of these fabulous trees will do o much for any yard. They will add a stately nature to the feel of your home while keeping it welcoming and warm. Many people like to use deciduous trees in the yard and this is always a good idea but it is the evergreens that will give the yard the structure and the stability that it needs for a good backyard landscaping idea and design.

You need to look for a backyard landscaping idea like the one above that will benefit you all year round. Deciduous trees will not be gorgeous in all seasons, most perhaps, but not all. Evergreens on the other hand are always fantastic and they look as beautiful in the winter as they do in the summer and this is why they make for such a great backyard landscaping idea. The key to any great landscaping design is to find a backyard landscaping idea like this that will keep your yard interesting no matter what time of the year it is.

Another good backyard landscaping idea is to use hardscape. This is the use of things like rocks, fences and walls. These can make your yard look very interesting during all of the seasons. You can have climbing plants on it in the summer and spring and pretty trees around it that will look great in the winter. When looking for a good backyard landscaping idea you need to look for other options besides just plants. There is much more to landscaping than just plants and trees.

Walls and fences can frame your property beautifully and using them is such a great backyard landscaping idea because they will just accent all of your other wonderful backyard landscaping ideas. They will frame your yard as a picture frame frames a gorgeous painting. Look at this kind of backyard landscaping idea as well in your search for the one.