Tips for Success, Planting Seedlings

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After bringing your seedlings home from the garden center, they will need a day or two to acclimatise.  This is also known as “hardening off” and it essentially involves gradually exposing your little plants to windier, colder, and warmer conditions – so they don’t get such a shock when they get planted into your garden.

Taking care as we are transitioning seedlings from their pampered nursery and garden center lifestyles (shade, watering two to three times a day) to life in the real world (variable temperatures, soil that dries out) is worth the effort, as it reduced the chance of sudden death – and it also strengthens the plants so that they can yield crops sooner.

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10 Best Landscaping Ideas

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Below are the 10 Best Landscaping Ideas as described by Southern Living.

  1. Greet Guests with Flowers – Plant a variety of flowers at all major entrances to your house
  2. Plant Rambling Vines – Vines are a great way to fill space in a garden.  Be sure to prune at appropriate times using gardening shears
  3. Dress Up Your Driveway – By sculpting the land and carefully selecting plants you can hide an unattractive driveway
  4. Plant No-Fuss Lilies – Crinums will grow in almost any environment
  5. Deer Proof Your Garden – Perennials like butterfly weed, globe thistle, and purple cornflower are found by deer to be disgusting
  6. Add Height with Planters and Baskets – Add another dimension to your garden by raising it off the ground
  7. Grow Blooming Shrubs – Chinese Snowball thrives in the spring and can add variation to the look of your yard throughout the year
  8. Hide Outdoor Structures – Use ferns and other plants to disguise ugly sheds, garages, or outdoor workspaces
  9. Plan a Garden Surprise – Hidden vistas can be a great place for parties
  10. Enjoy Color Year Round – Select a variety of plants that will keep your yard blooming year round

For more details on each of these landscaping tips, be sure to read the original article here.

How to Kill Your Plants

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I know the title is misleading. Our goal should be to grow plants not kill them, right? Of course! This entry is to educate you about some of the most common mistakes every gardener makes. Learning what not to do is the best way not to do it, right?

  1.  Over Work – No matter how much you may love working in your garden, over working it can be a bad thing.  Most plants are fragile and require nature to handle the complicated portions of the growing process.  You are just there to facilitate and make sure that everything is following schedule.  Spending too much time in your garden can lead to accidentally damaging your plants natural process.  Stepping on or leaning on plants can permanently damage their ability to grow fruit.  Over watering and over fertilizing can yield the same problems.  Learn what your plants need, and try not to smother them.
  2. Under Sun – As this sub-section hints, your plants need to be “Under Sun”.  Planting your garden in shady parts of your lawn can often times lead to poor growth due to a lack of sun.  This sounds like common sense, but a lot of gardeners struggle with this problem.  Planting your garden close to your house will allow for easy access and easy watering.  Often times your house will provide shade to the garden on a portion of the day, and this can be the difference between a successful harvest and a meager one.  Go the extra mile and make sure that your plants are able to get the rays that they need.
  3. Over Mulch – Mulch is a fantastic weed barrier, but too much can cause harm to your precious plants.  Too much mulch can prevent water and air from reaching your plants roots.  Yes, roots need air too.  Mounding mulch near the plant’s stem can also be a problem.  Insects will also use these areas as makeshift homes, making your plant’s stem and roots susceptible to becoming the most convenient food source.  Be sure to leave at least a 1 inch diameter between your plant’s stem and any mulch.

 

Keeping Snails and Slugs Out of Your Garden

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Snails and slugs are a major pest to any gardener.  They sneak in at night and eat off the leaves and fruit of many plants.  Fortunately these pests can be removed with a number of simple and safe methods

  1. Set a Trap – the most simple of ways of removing the snails is to divert them to another food source.  As strange as it may seem, snails and slugs are extremely attracted to beer.  Use a small shovel to dig a hole in the ground and placing a cup which is filled 3/4 of the way with beer, you can deter the creatures away from your plants.  The slugs will fall into the cup and drown themselves in the beer.  While a cheap beer will do the trick, alternative substances such as cornmeal and fruit will yield similar results.
  2. Use Deterents – Setting a barrier around your garden with coffee grounds will keep slugs away.  The coffee grounds are also good for the soil, so they will help to nourish your plants at the same time.  Copper strips will yield similar results as slugs will not cross copper.  You can also plant other plants to deter the slugs as well.  Ginger, garlic, chives, and mint will all naturally deter slugs from the area.  Planting these plants in and around your garden will help to keep the slugs away.
  3. Target Slugs Directly – Spend some time investigating your garden.  If you catch slugs or snails in the act of destroying your hard work, take the time to remove them from the situation.  You can relocate, or kill the slugs on the spot.  If spraying the slugs with anything toxic, be sure to do so away from your garden.  Salt is a good solution for killing slugs, but can be harmful to your garden.
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Time-Saving Gardening Tips

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These simple tips will help you minimize the amount of time spent tending to your garden, and maximize the profitability of your time investment.

1. Plant your garden close to a water source.

The last thing you want to have to do is unwind a hose and rewind it after watering your garden.  You might think you will put it away after using it, but realistically it is going to end up stretched across your yard to make access easy.  But we don’t want watering our garden to be a chore.  Planting your garden close to a water source makes this little chore much more enjoyable.  You can even install a permanent sprinkler system that allows you to control the amount of water your garden receives without having to walk to the garden itself.

2. Keep gardening tools close to the garden.

Having to walk to the garage for a spade or shovel is a pain.  Installing a small outdoor storage container near your garden allows you easy access to all of the tools necessary to properly maintain your garden.  Some popular tools to keep at hand are gloves, a small shovel, a hand rake and some prunes.

 3. Turn weeds instead of pulling them.

Weeds are a nuisance, but using them properly can actually benefit your garden.  By using a small spade or shovel, you dig up the root of a weed from the sides.  Next, turn it over and bury all of the leaves in the soil.  This will kill the plant, and as it decomposes it will nourish the soil.

4. Grow like plants close together.

Every vegetable requires slightly different maintenance.  Keep your plants close together depending on they type of maintenance they require.  This means you can do garden maintenance jobs in bulk, covering multiple types of plants at a time without having to travel far between each plant.

5. Keep your plants within reach

When planting a garden, it is better to do long narrow rows vs thick bunches of plants.  This ensures that come harvest time, you will be able to reach every plant in your garden without trampling another one.  If a plant is out of reach it will often become neglected.  Defining clear paths through your garden will also encourages yourself and other to walk in a safe area, and help eliminate trampled plants.

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