Worm Composting 101

“Rich with phosphorus, nitrogen, and many other nutrients and trace minerals, worm compost is an excellent organic fertilizer.  Worm composting is a method for recycling food waste into a rich, dark, earth-smelling soil conditioner. The great advantage of worm composting is that this can be done indoors and outdoors, thus allowing year round composting.”

Worm Composting

Composting with worms (a.k.a. vermicomposting) is the proverbial win-win situation. It gives you a convenient way to dispose of organic waste, such as vegetable peelings. It saves space in the county landfill, which is good for the environment. It gives worms a happy home and all the free “eats” that they could want. For those that have gardens or even potted plants, homegrown compost is a great way to feed and nurture plants.


Read more: https://www.planetnatural.com/worm-composting/


How to Keep Your Vegetable Garden Pest-Free—and Pesticide-Free

Whether you’re doing it for yourself, for the security of your children, or to keep your silly brilliant retriever from eating dangerous slug-executioner, it’s possible to radically reduce the number of pests in your garden without resorting to hosing your yard down with a soup of harsh chemicals and toxins.

We here at Chelsea Green love to garden, as do many of our authors. We’re always looking for ways to keep pests, and pesticides, out of our garden and learn new techniques and tips to improve our yield, improve the nutrition of our food, and the health of our soils.

(C) Better Homes and Gardens

(C) Better Homes and Gardens

It’s a good thing we have a plethora of books to help us along—one for every job. Indoor, urban gardening? Think Fresh Food from Small Spaces.

Year-round gardening? Look no further than Perennial Vegetables, The Four-Season Harvest, and Winter Harvest Handbook.

And don’t even get us started on permaculture:

  • Gaia’s Garden
  • The New Organic Grower
  • Permaculture
  • The Resilient Farm and Homestead
  • and on, and on….

The right tool for the right job. You get the idea.

For pest management, here’s a helpful organic how-to guide from Getting Started in Permaculture.

The following is an excerpt from Getting Started in Permaculture by Ross and Jenny Mars. It has been adapted for the web.

Read more: http://www.chelseagreen.com/blogs/how-to-keep-your-vegetable-garden-pest-freeand-pesticide-free/



Tips For Growing Herbs Indoors

Growing your very own herb plants is an excellent method to produce fresh, aromatic herbs for lots of purposes. Growing herbs indoors is easy given that herb plants grow well in pots plus they thrive in sunny window sills. Any kind of pot or container which allows for well-drained soil will be a pleasant home for herb plants.

You can find three (3) tips important for an indoor herb garden and these are similar essential things needed for outdoor herb gardens too. They include the following:

(C) Herb Guide

(C) Herb Guide

Herbs in general, need lots of sunlight. This is true even when seeds have just been planted. For growing herbs in pots, try to place your pots or containers in a spot near a window receiving southern or western sun. Should you just don’t possess enough sun indoors, a small fluorescent light is great for getting the plants started as seedlings. Put the fluorescent light right above your containers while they are germinating. As your seedlings grow, it could be required to get a grow light to ensure that they’re growing strong.

After you have your pot, you should choose your soil. Remember; herbs grow best in soil, that is low in nutrients. It is recommended mix potting soil with sand. This cuts the nutrients in the soil allowing your plants to thrive. Adding about a Tablespoon per small pot helps make the soil sweet enough for the herbs to thrive. One secret to growing herbs in pots is making sure there’s a layer of pebbles in the bottom of the pot. This allows water to drain from the soil which makes it harder to waterlog your plants. The soil at the site doesn’t need to be especially fertile, so little fertilizer needs to be used. Generally, highly fertile soil has a tendency to develop excessive levels of foliage with poor flavor.

Herbs like a well drained soil and do not flourish in soggy soil or with their roots sitting in water. Water too often is where many new gardeners fail. Looks can be deceptive, so test the moisture level of your soil by sticking your index finger into the soil right down to your first join or about 1 ½ inches to see if your soil is dry enough to want water. If the soil is still damp, your herbs do not require water yet.

Whenever growing herbs indoors, it is easy to start a herb garden without a lot of fuss and trouble. Following these three essential tricks for indoor herb garden projects can help ensure that your herb plants are healthy and produce fragrant herbs for cooking or another purposes. This is simply the start of the fantastic experience of herb gardening and before you know it, you’ll be able to take your indoor herb garden into the outdoors too.


How to Winterize Water Features in Your Yard

There is no doubt now that summer has passed and the cold, dark winter is approaching. There are plenty of overwintering techniques at hand to help keep your water features safe over the colder season.

With winter coming, there’s a lot to do to prepare for the season. From stocking up on shovels, firewood, and salt to getting all of your winter coats and accessories out of storage, we know that you wish to leave no stone unturned. This includes something that might not immediately come to mind, which is winterizing the various parts of your yard—especially any water features you may have. To help you take care of this cold weather chore, we’ve rounded up instructions, tips, and tricks to guide you through keeping your water features protected all winter long!

(C) Watermark Builders

(C) Watermark Builders

Fountains and Small Water Features

Remove Plants

The first step in winterizing your water features is to remove any plants that exist around the space. This can occur as late as during the first frost of the season, although we recommend getting it done prior to that point of the winter! Once the physical plants are gone, remove any remaining debris from the plants that may be floating around your water feature or that has fallen around it. At this point, you’ll also need to decide whether you want to keep your plants and preserve them over the winter or get rid of them and replant new ones when the warm weather returns.

Clear Algae

You’ll definitely want to make sure you get rid of any algae that exists within your water feature as you get it ready for the winter. To do this, use a water-activated granular algaecide. Keep in mind that ridding the feature of algae completely may mean you have to scrub it clean.

Read more: https://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-winterize-water-features-in-your-yard



Landscape Design: 10 Tips for a Fire-Safe Garden

A garden needs to be maintained and cared for no matter what season it is. Check that your garden is free from items that can cause damage. There are few safety considerations that you need to address.

The wildfires that have ravaged parts of California this year are making us all more aware of this real or potential threat. You’re at higher risk if you live close to wildlands, or in an area with low rainfall where dry vegetation can spread flames in an instant.

(C) Pinterest

(C) Pinterest

What can you do to keep your family, property, and home safe from fire damage? The type of plants in your garden, the design of your landscape, and how you maintain it can all make a big difference. For solutions, we consulted with Michele Steinberg, Wildfire Division Manager at the National Fire Protection Association. According to Steinberg, “There are easy techniques people can use with their landscaping and gardens to resist fire and protect their homes.”

Here are 10 tips for designing a fire-smart landscape:

1. Prune trees so the branches don’t touch or overhang the house.

“Even if you have a good roof and siding, you could have an issue if you’ve got a lot of flammable vegetation up against the house,” says Steinberg. Ideally, trees should be placed at least 10 feet away from structures, and you should remove “ladder fuels” by pruning the branches up at least six feet to reduce the chance of the trees catching fire from flames traveling along the ground.

Read more: https://www.gardenista.com/posts/landscape-design-10-tips-fire-safe-garden



Guide to Common Lawn Diseases

Lawn disease could be a real hassle. They can do critical damage to your lawn in a very small amount of time. The main culprit for lawn disease is fungus. It is possible to understand fungus from the emergence of spots, circles, patches or the presence of various colors like brown or yellow or red in your lawn. It is necessary that you take care of lawn diseases without any delay. Below are a few common disease that you understand and how you are able to get rid of them or at least put them in check.

The dollar spot disease is one of the lawn diseases that could sometimes really prove harmful for the plantation growth. Many times, it results in spoiling and killing the whole lawn grass, like the roots. This lawn disease frequently leads to grey or silver spot appearance in the lawn. Such spots are likely to be seen within the diameter of 1 to 6 inches. In extreme cases, you can even note overlapped spots in the form of large patches in the lawn.

(C) GreenThumb

(C) GreenThumb

There are a selection of cure measures that needs to be implemented to prevent dollar spots. Be sure to regularly water the lawn. Watering helps in retaining moisture in the soil, thus staying away from the fungus growth. It is recommended water the lawn area at intermediate regular intervals rather than short period of time. Furthermore watering should be carried out early in the morning. Such conditions are the very best to avoid the growth of dollar spot infection in the area.

Rust is another common lawn disease. If you discover your leaf blades turning orange or rusty, it’s likely that Rust has appeared inside your lawn. Rust is often found in Ryegrasses and Kentucky Bluegrass. Morning dew, shade, high soil compaction, and low fertility are aspects in which bring about its growth. To discover in case your lawn is infected with Rust, it is possible to take a white tissue or paper towel and rub several grass blades with it. In the event the orange or rusty color remains, it is most likely Rust.

Thicker grass reduces the buildup of weeds, particularly in combination with a “mow little and often” strategy that cuts the weeds back frequently which they hate and just tops off the grass – which the blades need and love. When you lawn aerate frequently, it helps enhance the health of your turf and will avoid diseases and pests including thatch harming your lawn.

Next is the red thread disease that looks like areas of pink grass. You can actually see red or rust colored threads on the grass. This lawn disease loves cool humid climates. These patches at the area affected are commonly seen in irregular shapes. Ironically, you can only completely find out the disease as soon as it reaches its more complex stages.

For proper lawn care fertilize in spring and fall. Add lime as needed, improve drainage and remove all infected grass clippings. You can even use fungicides, particularly during wet weather. It is recommended to use fungicides which contain carbendazim or benomyl.

By recognizing and knowing the type of disease inside your lawn, you understand the initial step in treating your lawn properly. By raking out the area, dethatching, and aerating, you’ll strengthen things quickly. Mowing & removing all clippings will stop the spreading of the disease. Drying out the surface – with better sunlight, proper watering, and balanced nitrogen – could keep it from coming back. It is simply that simple to remove lawn mold and keep it away.



Lavender – A Healing Plant For Your Garden

Lavender is not only beautiful, but has many wonderful uses. The article provides some ideas on interesting ways in which the flowers from a lavender hedge can be used for culinary, healing and restorative purposes.

Many plants are known to soothe and calm the senses, and now it is believed that the smell of flowers can improve your quality of sleep along with making your home look better.

Lavender is lauded for its healing powers and has been used in baby shampoos and soaps to help children relax. You can even get pillows infused with the scent of lavender to help you relax and fall asleep. I’ve also heard if you treat your children’s bedding with lavender that when they travel all you need to do is mist their new bed with lavender and you can get them to sleep anywhere.

(C) Pinterest

(C) Pinterest

Lavender is a fairly easy plant to grow indoors. It requires lots of sunlight and even watering. Not only do the flowers give off a scent but so does the foliage as well. With its beautiful grey foliage and blue flowers it makes a stunning addition to any room.

The smell of jasmine doesn’t make you sleep but it does make your sleep time count for more. According to a study by Wheeling Jesuit University, jasmine has a positive effect on the quality of sleep one gets, decreasing anxiety and improving the attitude one has after waking up. With its tiny white flowers this vine can be grown both indoors and as a patio plant in the summer. When in bloom jasmine can be most striking, and the fact I can wake more refreshed makes me want to try this in the bedroom soon.

Read more: https://eieihome.com/articles/lavender-healing-plant-garden



The One Thing You Always Forget To Do When Gardening

Gardening can also be hard on the body, especially on the knees and lower back. Here are some easy exercise tips that can help you avoid garden injuries.

Gardening is one of the nation’s favourite hobbies, especially in the warmer months, and more people are becoming green-fingered than ever before. But there’s always one thing we forget to do before going out in the garden – a warm up!

(C) Nature's Path Blog

(C) Nature’s Path Blog

In recent research by Squire’s Garden Centres, 93 per cent of people said gardening helps to keep them fit and healthy. Indeed, gardening is a great whole body workout (click here for exactly how you can reap the benefits) but a staggering 81 per cent of people surveyed said they never stretch or warm up beforehand, despite 20 per cent admitting that gardening was their main form of exercise.

Sarah Squire, deputy chairman at Squire’s, said: ‘Gardening is a great way to achieve a low impact workout, full of movement and stretching but without the strain on the joints of pounding the streets. Plus best of all it’s free!’

Before any gardening session, Squire’s advise you to carry out a 10-minute warm up and stretch to help avoid any aches and pains, and of course, you should keep yourself hydrated throughout.

‘Just as you would drink water in the gym you should also do so while gardening, as dehydration can lead to increased muscle stiffness after exercise,’ Sarah explained. ‘So remember, it’s not just plants that need water in the garden – you do too!’

Read more: http://www.housebeautiful.co.uk/garden/a1857/gardening-warm-up-exercise



How Long Do Mums Last When They Are in Bloom?

With their many colors, and various forms, mums have provided happiness for thousands of years. This is one of my favorite flowers and it’s also easy to plant them. If you are curious how long they will last, you might want to check this article.

Grown for their colorful blossoms since the 8th century in Japan, mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium) form brilliant shrub mounds when properly maintained in your garden. Preferring U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, these dense flowers can last several weeks when blooming occurs in the fall, but a number of environmental factors influence their blossoming duration.

(C) Gertens

(C) Gertens

Planting Time

For long lasting fall blooms, you need to plant your mums in the spring. Providing both spring and summer months for root establishment allows your mums to have a strong foothold in the ground for nutrient and water uptake. As a result, your flowers bloom longer and with increased numbers. Although you can purchase and plant blooming mums in the fall, they cannot bloom as long or as densely as established plants even with consistent watering patterns.

Soil and Watering

Soil preparation is a key factor influencing mum blossom longevity. Nutrient-rich compost must be tilled into the garden bed prior to planting your mums. A balanced fertilizer spread across the topsoil works well to create a healthy growing environment for the mum’s spreading roots. In fact, a monthly fertilizing regimen during the vigorous spring and summer growing season helps your plants generate many long lasting blooms in the fall. Daily watering coupled with the amended soil also promotes healthy roots so that blossoms may last longer with ample moisture. However, you need to keep an eye on the soil’s moisture levels — soggy conditions tempt root rot that stifles all growth.

Read more:  http://homeguides.sfgate.com/long-mums-last-bloom-63422.html



Urban Oasis: Balcony Gardens That Prove Green Is Always In Style

Many individuals would love to garden unfortunately do not have the opportunity if they live in an apartment. For those who live in a condo or apartment this may be the only place you have to garden. And for those who love to bring changes in their homes, balcony is a perfect place to go green.

A balcony garden is no stranger to urban apartments. If you are living in a big city where a backyard is not an option, you likely rely on nearby parks for your daily dose of greenery. Wishing to have a little nature inside of your own home is a very common wish, but it can be quite a challenge setting up a garden in a small apartment. If your urban apartment has a balcony, you can use it to create a unique garden that is rich in plants and therefore rich in the color green! Get inspired by these incredible green balcony gardens that show off the true impact of plants!

(C) Pinterest

(C) Pinterest

Urban Meets Natural

A balcony garden, once it’s fully blooming, can obscure much of your small outdoors. The shield created by greenery establishes a more intimate and secure space, giving you privacy among the big apartment complexes.

A Japanese styled balcony garden creates a sacred space within the small area, keeping things simple and stunningly unique. The plants have a thoughtful placement, keeping out of the way but leaving their impact on the space.

A minimalist balcony garden is a great addition to any modern apartment that wishes to feature a few natural elements as well. If you want to keep the space open and roomy, arrange the potted plants near the railing!

Read more: http://www.decoist.com/balcony-gardens