Category Archives: Gardening

10 Organic Ways to Rid Your Garden of Slugs

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The first thing you can do is switch your watering schedule. Slugs go out at night, and they work best in damp conditions. So if you’re watering in the evening, then you’re creating a perfect environment for slugs. Water in the morning so there’s time for things to dry up.

You could try introducing slug predators to your yard or garden if you really want to deal with the slug problem. Frogs are usually the predator of choice. Of course, you’ll need to provide an environment for the frog to survive, and it also means you’ll have frogs in your yard, so be aware of that trade off.

Slugs like some plants more than others. What you can do is plant a distracter plant so that the slugs stay away from your fruits and veggies and other prized plants. Chamomile is a great example. Plant it near your other plants, and the slugs will eat this instead of the others.

You could also use plants that deter slugs instead of distracting them. For example, fennel and rosemary are highly disliked by slugs. Plant them in your garden, and that should help get rid of the little pests.

Diatomaceous earth is one of the best solutions for lots of insect problems in the garden. The product shreds up the slugs’ underbellies, dehydrating and killing them. Sprinkle this around the edges of the garden and near the bases of the plants.

Lava rocks are another product for your garden that are a natural way to kill slugs. Their rough and scratchy surface also rips up the slugs. It will kill them and also, once they learn, they’ll avoid your garden. Just make sure there aren’t any leaves or dirt on the rocks that will cover the surface.

Break up some egg shells and sprinkle them around your soil. Like the previous ideas, this creates a rough surface that cuts up the slugs’ bellies. However, it also helps add nutrients to the soil as the shells break down, so it’s a win-win.

I bet you didn’t know that seaweed is a great natural slug repellent! Mulch the seaweed around your garden, making sure it doesn’t touch the base of the plants. The seaweed is salty, which slugs hate, and when it dries, it becomes rough and scratchy.

A copper wire can work well to deter slugs. Wrap it around the base of your garden, making sure it’s fully exposed. You can also use a copper mesh to protect your plants. The slugs will avoid crossing over it because they don’t like the copper.

A really drastic solution for getting rid of slugs is the old salt technique. Go out to your garden at night and pour some salt on any slugs you may see. The salt kills them pretty quickly. Just don’t go overboard because you don’t want a bunch of extra salt in your soil.

8 Brilliant Tips for Growing Strawberries

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I didn’t know this, but there are three types of strawberries you can choose from. For beginners, you usually want the Junebearer strawberry. This is the most typical and easiest to care for in a home garden, and the fruit still tastes great. You can try the other strawberries, but that’s if you’re a more experienced gardener.

Make sure to plant your strawberries in a sunny spot. Strawberries taste better when they’re grown in full sun, and we all want the tastiest strawberries possible. Just make sure, especially when the strawberries are young, that they don’t get sun-scorched.

Soil is a vital factor in how well your strawberries grow. The most important rule is that you don’t let them get waterlogged. That means from overwatering or flooded soil. Provide the strawberries with well draining soil to keep them safe and dry. You could also plant the strawberries in a little mound to elevate them.

If you’re really concerned about your soil, then I suggest building a raised garden bed for your strawberries. This gives you much more control over the soil and what goes in it. Also, raised garden beds are easier are your back, which is always a plus.

When planting strawberries, you want to give them plenty of space to grow. Too little, and they’ll fight over nutrients. Most experts suggest a depth of 30 centimeters for the seed and about 40 centimeters between the rows of plants.

After a while, when your strawberry plant begins to bloom flowers, pluck them! I know it may seem wrong, but you want to get rid of the flowers so more energy can be conserved for the fruit. By plucking the flowers, the plant doesn’t need to grow them anymore, meaning it can focus its attention on making the most delicious strawberries possible.

Also when the flowers start blooming, you may want to consider using fertilizer. This isn’t necessary for every garden, but if you feel your strawberries are lacking something, this could be the solution. Choose a fertilizer that is rich in potash.

After all this work, you should be getting some amazing and succulent strawberries. Before you go picking all of them at once, remember: only pick what you’re going to eat right away. Once a strawberry is picked, its sweetness will begin to recede. So, if you eat freshly-picked strawberries, they’ll be much sweeter than strawberries that were picked a few days earlier.

7 Tips for Successfully Growing Tomatoes in Containers

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The nice thing about growing tomatoes in containers is that you can move it around. That being said, you want the plant to be in a spot that will give it at least six hours of sun a day. Tomatoes need the sunlight to grow up strong and healthy, so make sure they get it.

Choose the right size pot in order to get the best tomatoes in a container. Most tomatoes will thrive in a cage that is 18 to 24 inches in diameter. That is roughly 20 gallons for pots that are sold by volume. If you have any questions, feel free to ask the employees at your local nursery; they should be able to help you pick the best size for your plant.

When you first plant your tomato, also insert a tomato cage or a similar structure. When the tomato plant gets bigger, the structure will help it grow vertically. However, if you insert it into the soil later, it can possibly disrupt and even destroy the roots. So put the cage in early so the roots can grow around it.

It may seem like a good idea to skimp on the soil in order to save money, but DON’T DO IT! The soil is absolutely vital for your tomato plant to grow. If you get cheapy stuff, then you’ll get poorly grown tomatoes. Spend a bit more money upfront and buy some premium soil to promote strong and healthy tomatoes.

If the soil you buy doesn’t have fertilizer in it, then make sure to get some. This is an important step that a lot of people forget or ignore. Because the tomatoes will be in a container, they need you to provide all the nutrients. And they’ll get those nutrients from the fertilizer you add. So don’t skip this step.

Make sure to leave at least one inch of space between the top of the soil and the top of the container. This is because you’ll most likely want to add some mulch to the container. The mulch will help the soil retain moisture, which will keep the tomatoes healthy. If you don’t have that space, then it’ll be messy and damaging to remove the soil in order to make room.

Watering your tomato plant regularly is important, but it’s absolutely vital in a container. Too much water can drown the plant and cause it to rot. Not enough water will make it dry up and die. Water regularly to keep it alive and healthy. If you can press your finger into the soil and it’s dry, you need to water. The key for tomatoes is to keep the soil moist but not wet. You may need to water every day, depending on the climate you live in.

Top 15 Most Colorful Perennials for Your Yard and Garden

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Peruvian lily. The combined colors in this flower are absolutely stunning. This flower comes in purple, yellow, and orange, and each type is gorgeous. Make sure to twist the shoot off at the base so the flowers keep on growing.

Mango Punch. I’m not going to lie, this flower makes me want to drink a big bowl of fruit punch. It just has that color that I absolutely love.

Phlox. Not only is the shape great on these perennials, but you also have the choice of multiple colors. So you can always get flowers that match and complement the rest of your garden.

Russian Sage. I really enjoy the deep and rich color that comes from Russian. It can grow really big, though, so be aware of that. Usually it works best in the back of a garden so that it can reach high without blocking other plants.

Gloriosa Daisy. I love how simple yet colorful this flower is. It adds that fantastic pop of yellow that daisies are so well known for. Plant a few in your garden to get a great accent color for your yard!

Blanket Flower. This flower is both gorgeous and it’s incredibly tough. It’s drought- and heat-tolerant, which means it can withstand some pretty brutal temperatures and climates.

Yarrow. Whether you want the simple white or the colorful yellow, yarrow is a great addition to any garden or yard. Both varieties grow well, and both add texture and color to your garden that it can’t be without.

Daffodil. This is a classic flower, but there’s a reason for it. It’s so pretty, and it’s not too hard to care for. Just because it’s a classic doesn’t mean that’s bad. You won’t regret the bright yellow addition they are to the garden.

Veronica. For a stunning addition to you garden, try veronica. These spikes of blue or red will pop out all over your garden, adding some awesome height and color to the yard. Plant them near the front for the best growth.

Purple coneflower. This is, by far, one of my favorite flowers. I just love the color and the shape of this plant. It’s so unique, and that makes me happy. It’s great for drawing attention to your flowerbed.

Penstemon. These plants don’t live for long, but I think they’re still worth it because they’re breath-taking. Their rich color is a must for any serious gardener looking for color, and their trumpet shape isn’t too bad, either.

Pineapple sage. Get that tropical feeling by adding pineapple sage to your garden. This is the best in fall, when the plant grows some astounding red spikes.

Aster. To me, aster is like that friend who is just so sweet and kind. When I look at aster, I just feel at peace. Which is why I love having it in my garden. Plus, the white they add is just so cute and pure!

Forget-me-not. I can’t forget to mention forget-me-nots! They’re so cute, and the colors are amazing. It won’t be the focus of your garden, but it will for sure add that extra boost of color that you’re looking for.

Chrysanthemum. The best part about this flower is that it comes in a handful of colors to choose from, so you have a wide selection. The circular shape and texture of the bloom is also great for adding variety to your garden.

8 Incredibly Helpful Tips to Grow Fruit Trees in Containers

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Before you go out and buy all your supplies, you need to plan on what type of tree you want to plant. Do your shopping between late January and early March, as this is the best time to get the healthiest trees. You can try your hand at apple trees or any other dwarf plant such as peaches or nectarines. Fig trees work too. When you choose to buy, make sure it’s from a reputable source. You don’t want to get a sick and unhealthy tree.

The container is going to be incredibly important because it determines how well your tree’s root system grows. You want one that is at least 18 inches in diameter. 20 inches or more is usually best, though. The material can be anything you want: terracotta, plastic, wood, or whatever. Just make sure it’s sturdy, has good drainage, and is big enough.

Because your tree won’t be getting nutrients from the actual ground, you need to make sure you’re using high quality soil. Don’t use gardening soil because it’s too heavy and can cause drainage problems. You’ll also want to find nutrient mixes and fertilizers that your tree may need in order to grow best. Talk to your local nursery or wherever you bought the tree.

Before planting, cut and trim any roots that look damaged or that are too long. If you don’t, they can cause damage down the road that will be a lot harder to fix once the tree is in the pot. The beginning is a much easier time to nip these problems in the bud.

When your tree is planted and in the pot, don’t forget to prune it. This is really important because your tree will need as much energy as possible to bear the best fruit. Fruit usually grows at the tips and tops of trees, so keep that in mind.

Be weather aware when it comes to potted plants. Because you can move the pot, this should help you keep the plant alive. During good weather, put it where it will grow best (usually in full sun). When it’s cold and in the winter, you’ll want to move the plant indoors or to the garage or shed.

Watering is one of the most important things you can do to help a potted tree survive. Usually, you’ll want to water twice a week. If it’s really hot, you may need to water daily. Don’t just rely on the rain because the pot doesn’t have enough surface area to provide the plant all the water it needs.

In order to keep the tree healthy, you’ll want to have a stake, trellis, or some other support system. If not, the tree will easily slant to the side or grow in an odd direction. Do this when the tree is first planted because fixing it down the right will be a NIGHTMARE!

13 Garden Mosaic Projects That Will Blow Your Mind

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One of the most popular ways to add a mosaic to your yard is by making stepping stones. They’re really easy to make yourself, and it’s a fun project to do with the kids. Each stone can be different, or you can create a uniform pattern.

Pathways are a bit more work than stepping stones, but they’re just as gorgeous. The best part about a path is that the entire thing is covered in the mosaic, creating a work of art on the floor of your yard. You just want to have enough tile pieces!

Decorate your yard with mosaic rocks. You can create fun and creative patterns, or you can do things like a ladybug design! These can go between flowers, in bushes, or on your patio. They can be used to decorate anywhere you need them.

Add some color and gardening space by making a mosaic vertical garden. The best way to do this is by using teacups or halved flower pots, since the material looks best with the mosaic tiles. But you can do whatever your heart desires!

Get creative and make some wall or fence art out of mosaic tiles. It can be as big or as small as you want. As colorful as you feel. Get your kids involved for a fun summer project.

The birds deserve to have a cute place to come hang out. Make a mosaic birdbath that they can enjoy. Whether it’s the whole piece or just the dish part, this is a great DIY project to start.

Add mosaic tiles to cinder blocks and you’ll find a whole new slew of ways to design with them. The blocks can be stacked to make a large mosaic, or you can just place them around the yard or garden for dispersed decorations.

Adding mosaic tiles to flower pots and planters is really fun. There’s something about it that feels almost therapeutic. You can coordinate the color of the flowers to match or complement the color of the tiles you choose!

If you do this idea, I would choose something a bit more classy and sophisticated. A window box will go on your house (or near it), so you don’t want something that is too flashy or will draw too much attention. A nice simple design is just what you need.

Whether it’s for the birds or just as a decoration, these mosaic birdhouses are absolutely gorgeous! They catch the light, brighten up any space, and even attract birds to your yard. There’s really nothing better, I’d say!

Using PVC pipe or some other similarly shaped object, you can create these outstanding mosaic pillars to place all around your yard or garden. They’re simple, elegant, and give you more space to place plants and flowers.

If you have the space, consider making a mosaic bench for decoration or for use. Either one works. A mosaic bench is a great addition to any garden that needs a little more personality.

I think this idea is just so cute and clever. Mosaic tiki torches look beautiful and add to the intimate feel of your yard or patio. Choose simple colors and shapes to get the best results.

How to DIY a Pergola and Save Thousands!

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A pergola is a great addition to any yard, but it can be expensive to have one built. But if you do it yourself, then you can save thousands of dollars, as long as you know how to do it. The follow guide was brought to us by our friends at Popular Mechanics. Enjoy!

First, you want to place the posts and tightly secure the anchors into the ground so that the pergola is strong and sturdy. There are a few different ways to do this (and different materials you can try out), but the anchor is vital in order to have a safe pergola. Once the anchors are secure, place the support beams in them and attach securely.

After the posts are in, it’s time to attach the safety beams. These keep the posts securely in place and prevent them from toppling over in high winds or other inclement weather or sudden movement. Make sure the support beams are even and flush with one another so that the pergola is straight all the way through.

Next are the crossbeams for added support and a nice aesthetic appeal. If you’re handy with a saw, and want a nice look, curve the ends so that you don’t just have a straight piece of wood sticking out.  Attach the other trim and braces around your pergola for maximum security and appeal.

Now it’s time to fit the slats into the top of the pergola to get that rustic and charming look that you’re probably going for. Make sure the slats are screw tightly to the frame in order to prevent them from falling out or breaking off.

Lastly, you can cap the posts to give the pergola a more finished look. This isn’t necessary, but I like it because it makes it look more elegant and professional. Go ahead and paint or decorate the pergola however you want. You’re all finished!

7 Surprising Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

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I love composting, but sometimes it can be hard to balance all the nutrients that need to go in there. However, coffee grounds are great for the compost pile because they can give it that extra boost of nitrogen needed to best take care of your plants.

Coffee grounds are also great supplements to soil because it enhances some of the features to make it even better. For example, coffee grounds in the soil can improve drainage and water retention as well as aerate the soil to make it more hospitable towards plants.

Acid-lover plants (like azaleas) will also love having coffee grounds mixed into their soil. The coffee grounds will lower the soil’s pH level, and your acid-lover plants will love YOU for that!

Some pests, such as slugs, snails, and ants, can be repelled using coffee grounds. The caffeine in them repel and even kill some of those critters, which is great news for you! Sprinkle the coffee grounds around your plants or just on the border of your garden to help protect them.

Mulch is another great reason to add coffee grounds to your garden. The density of the coffee grounds help insulate the ground, which keeps the roots of your plants warm and toasty. Their favorite!

If you have a worm bin, then throw those leftover coffee grounds into it! Worms love it, and they’ll be extra productive for your use in the garden.

Make coffee ground “tea” by soaking some coffee grounds in a bucket of water for a while. Once the water turns an amber color, drain the leftover grounds out and put the liquid in a spray bottle. Spray that onto your plants, and it’ll provide them with extra nutrients to help grow!

5 Fantastic Ways to Use Rock Mulch in Your Yard

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Putting a smaller and darker rock mulch ring inside of a larger amount of rock mulch looks really good. I know it may seem strange, but it’s actually really nice. Choose colors that contrast but that complement one another. That way you’ll get a really clean-looking line between the two.

Coordinate the color of your rock mulch with the plants in your yard/garden and the color of your home. You don’t want brown rock mulch with a navy house; it would just seem strange. If you can get your home, plants, and mulch all coordinating and complementing one another, then you’re on the right path.

Remember, when it comes to rock mulch, there’s not just a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, you should try to mix the rock sizes that you use. It will add another layer of texture and depth to your yard and garden, which makes it more interesting. Play around with a few different sized rocks and see what you like most.

Make a border for your plants and rock mulch. Some people just kind of let the mulch peter out as it reaches the grass, but I don’t think that’s a good idea. By making a border, you create crisp lines to divide up your yard and make things seem a lot neater and more organized.

Just because you’re using rock mulch doesn’t mean all the other types of mulch are off limits. You can actually often combine rock mulch with other types of mulch to get a really diversified. For example, bark and rock mulch usually always complement each other!

8 Gardening Mistakes to Avoid

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Whether you’re a beginning gardener or an experienced green thumb, this mistake is a common way. Starting out too big can make you fizzle out really quickly. It may be tantalizing to see the magazine pictures full of lush and gorgeous gardens, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Honestly evaluate your own skill and time, and then plan accordingly.

That’s the next big thing: make sure to map out your garden. You don’t know how many people email me for gardening help, and when I ask about their garden plan, they say they didn’t have one. This is so important, people! Take some time in the fall or winter to sketch out what you want to grow and where you want to put it. This will seriously save you so much time and headache down the road.

I have a funny story to tell you about when I first got into gardening. I had decided I wanted to improve my green thumb, and so I went to the local nursery and bought a BUNCH of seeds. So many seeds. I went to go plant them in my garden aaaand…I ran out of space about three packets in. Yeah, I had way too many seeds for my garden. So buy your seed packets one at a time or at least don’t go out and buy dozens of them. Plan your purchases smartly.

Gardening is more than just going out to your backyard in the summer and planting some seeds. No, if you want a good garden, you need to prepare the soil much earlier than the summer months. As soon as you can go out in the spring (without breaking your tools in the ground or getting stuck in mud), start preparing the soil. Once you’ve planted your seeds, it’s too late. They’re stuck with the soil they have, even if it’s poor quality.

When it comes to your garden, remember location, location, location. You could have all the experience in the world, but if you have a poor garden location then your plants will not grow well. Look at what you plan on planting and make sure they get the sun or shade they need. Something else to consider is soil drainage, accessibility to animals, etc. You want to choose a location that will keep your plants strong and healthy.

Watering is probably one of the most important parts of gardening. And if you’re not committed to it, then your garden will most likely fail (or at least not reach its potential). First, always read the watering instructions for your plants. Next, stay consistent. If you water whenever you feel like it, you’re going to get subpar fruits and veggies.

Spacing is also really important for a strong and happy garden. There’s really no such thing as TOO much space to harm a plant, but you can definitely put them too close. Follow the instructions on the seed packet so that your plants can have all the space they need.

When I first started gardening, I figured pruning and trimming wasn’t necessary. To some extent, it isn’t (you can still get fruits and veggies without it), but your yield will be a LOT better if you prune and trim. This allows the plants to conserve energy, and it helps prevent rot and other diseases. Take the time to prune and trim your plants as necessary so that your garden can be healthy.