Gardening

While January and winter weather means an end to gardening activities in many parts of the United States, it is prime time to plant in southern California.

Plant fruit trees: A variety of bare root fruit trees are at nurseries ready to be planted in January. Varieties include apricot, blueberries, plum, apple, pear, peach and raspberries trees. Give the trees a boost by adding organic compost planting mix to the soil to increase soil aeration and to keep in moisture.

Add Artichokes: Add artichoke plants to your garden. Plant them 4 feet apart. They start their growing process in winter and begin sprouting artichoke heads in spring. These hardy, perennial vegetables can produce artichokes year after year.

Plant Garlic Cloves: Separate cloves from a garlic bulb. Plant them with the pointy part up the clove up-and about 7 to 8 inches deep. Garlic plants will soon poke their heads from the soil and grow during winter. They can easily withstand cold winter nights. The new garlic bulbs with their juicy cloves will be ready for harvest in late spring or early summer.

Keep Applying Mulch To Cut Down On Weeds: Every rainfall (no matter how infrequent) means more weeds in the garden. Weeds seem to go more quickly than any vegetable or flower plant. To keep weeds under control, make sure you have a several-inch layer of mulch wherever weeds may appear. If weeds are already taking root, remove them before covering the area with mulch.

Plant Wildflowers From Seed: First, rake the flowerbed area. Sprinkle California poppy and other wild flowers and cover gently with soil. Sow more seeds just before a rain to encourage continued flower production in spring.

Move Living Christmas Trees Outside: Living Christmas trees should stay indoors for as little time as possible. Once planted outdoors, pine trees can easily grow 40 to 50 feet tall. Their strong root system, over time, will spread and can easily crack concrete walkways that stand in their way. Make sure you plant your tree in a location that can accommodate such a large tree.

Extending the Life of Poinsettias: Poinsettia flowers will usually remain healthy into March. After March, cut back the stems to no more than eight inches tall. By June, new growth will begin. Keep the plant in indirect, natural sunlight and the soil moderately moist. When the weather warms, bring the plant outside and transplant into a bigger pot. Prune as needed so the plant is bushy. Flowers will begin to grow in October and reach their peak of beauty in November and December.

Purchase A Rain Barrel: Don’t let rainwater roof runoff go to waste. Many cities and counties offer rebates when purchasing rain barrels. These barrels can typically hold 50 gallons of water– water that can be used to irrigate your garden.

 

Gardening

If you have a garden and you love seeing it bloom and prosper, you are lucky. Should you ever find it a little stressful and hard to devote the time, you can always hire one of the many gardeners to look after the place for you.

Leaving all, or most, of the gardening work to professionals sure has its benefits. For one, you get enough free time to address all of your other tasks. Another notable benefit is that you leave your garden in the care of experts, who are well-trained to handle any task with ease and expertise. Finding the right gardeners for your needs is not that difficult. You just need to follow a few steps:

Decide what you need help with – the first step to finding the right gardening service is to figure out your needs. Surely there are many gardening companies out there, but do they all offer what you need? Take a look around your garden and list all of the tasks – general maintenance, pruning, weeding, lawn care, tree surgery, etc. Then, see which companies do these tasks and figure out the best one to hire. You will find that not every company specializes in some task and likely doesn’t cover the rest, so it is important to make a thorough research on the matter to select the best one.

Check qualifications – it is a good idea to consider the professional qualifications of the gardeners you want to hire. There are several schemes to keep an eye for, and if you find a gardener with any of them, you know they are more likely to do a good job at any task. Aside from that, there is also the physical aspect. You want a gardener who is physically fit and capable of dealing with the job you have in mind.

References – it is a wise idea to ask for references. That is a sure way to know if the service you are about to hire has been used by other people who were happy with it. Any respectable company keeps a close record of their clients and will be able to provide references for successfully finished projects.

Get a price quote – getting quotes from multiple companies will allow you to compare their prices and see what works for your budget. Usually you will have to provide some details about the job and the area of your garden. Some companies can provide estimates over the phone, but others prefer to send a representative for a more accurate quote. Pay attention to what you agree when it comes to negotiations, as you don’t want to find out you need to pay more for something that the gardener worked on. Last, decide on a payment method – some gardeners prefer cash, while others prefer bank transfers or cheques.

This pretty much sums up the procedure for finding the best gardeners for your needs. Follow these steps and you will soon enough have the best service by your side.

 

Gardening

Water fountains make for a beautiful view wherever you have kept them. They can be used in outdoor gardens of your home or in your drawing rooms to add to the beauty of your indoor décor. However, it is to be noted that both the indoor and outdoor fountains differ in various aspects such as style, size, management etc. Having an outdoor fountain is a common practice, but there has been an increase in trend of getting indoor fountains. Let’s have a look at how the water fountains can add to the value of your home and why have they become a popular commodity to own.

Visually Appealing
If you are looking for ways to change the look of your home or going for a renovation, there can be no better option than getting a water fountain. It not only adds value to your home but also enhance the overall look. It gives your home the required change and exudes the feel of a luxurious lifestyle.

Fit for Every Home
You can get fountains in a variety of styles and sizes. Whether you have a huge house or a relatively smaller one, you can get a water fountain that can fit as per the requirement of your home. Whether you want a fountain for your room or for your garden,

Relaxing Feel
Indoor fountain helps in giving your home a relaxing feel and environment. After a tiring or stressful day at work, you can feel relaxed and stress-free in your home with the soothing sound of water and the visually appealing look of the indoor water fountain.

A Cure for Humidity
Indoor fountains can act as a humidifier in your home. They make for an effective cure for humidity and dryness in your homes. It provides the moistures to the air, which keeps the humidity level low. It is not only beneficial for the inmates of a home but also make for a healthy environment for plants.

Enhances Air Quality
Air quality has been a major concern for everyone owing to the increase in air pollution. Many people have air purifiers in their homes or offices to enhance the air quality. The air purifiers work by producing negative ions that attract the dust particles and remove them from the air. However, the air purifiers can cause disturbance to the inmates with the not-so-pleasant sound they make. Water fountain does exactly the same in an even more effective manner. It gives out a pleasant sound rather than the irritating sound produced by the air purifiers and also gives your house a much better look and feel.

Decor fountains whether indoor or outdoor exude classiness and can be a great source of reducing stress and tensions. It is a one time investment that you need to make in order to give your home or office the much-needed change.

 

Gardening

A pretty lawn is the result of persistence and hard work, and then some more persistence and almost no hard work at all. How does that work? Here are six easy tips on how to keep your lawn in a beautiful state at all times.

#1 – Evaluate
When you decide to have a nice lawn, the first thing you have to do is see if your own lawn is good enough for that. If you have dead grass, a patched yard, and unbalanced soil, then dig into your pockets and do yourself a favor: hire a gardening service for re-turfing. Some lawns are too old or warn-out to be rejuvenated, or it takes way too long. Better start from scratch and a good gardener will be able to replace the lawn with a functioning one.

#2 – Water
This one should go without saying, so buckle up, make a schedule and make sure you do proper watering. The hot seasons require watering every few days, the colder seasons have rain and snow for that – it’s an easy thing to do, just remember to do it.

#3 – Mow
Mowing the lawn is essential to having healthy grass. If you let it overgrow, you invite weeds and other nasty Greenland inhabitants to get in the way of healthy grass-growing, and then you will get the patchwork again.

#4 – Rake
When the autumn season comes, remember that raking is not just something recommended – you actually should do it. All the leaves that fall, they degrade into the soil, and create an uneven feast for the soil, sometimes ruining the initial look of the lawn. That is why leaves should be raked and then collected.

#5 – Clear
Garden clearance is essential. Whenever you feel that there are too many things that should not actually be on the lawn, you should take a rubbish bag and do your chores right. Weather can be quite cruel on lawns and wind can bring about a lot of unwanted items, so be prepared to clear out whatever does not belong.

#6 – Decorate
Naturally, if you want something to be beautiful, simply make it beautiful. Lawns should not necessarily be naturally pretty. You can bring beauty yourself with the right décor. A properly placed patio here, a garden gnome there, a garden patch over there, and voila! You have the lawn you always envisioned and all you have to do is make sure you keep it clean and do your patio cleaning right.

Keeping the lawn beautiful requires work, but pays off with a nice green view outside the window. It makes for a healthy place to plan a garden, invest in a landscaping service, or just have a nice and clean place to enjoy summer afternoons.

 

Gardening

Most people believe that the vegetable gardening season ends in September and starts all over in April or May. While this may certainly be the time with the most agreeable temperatures – where you will spend more time outside – it isn’t true that winter is a “dead season”.

Besides preparing your soil for the coming spring (what we described in this article) you can, in fact, practice winter gardening and continue to grow vegetables. In this article, I will write mainly about two points: To use season extenders for extending the “warmer” season; and which crops you can grow now (in winter) to generate yields in spring.

How can I continue to grow plants even though it gets cold?

You can use so-called “season extenders” for winter gardening to retain some level of warmness for your plants and to protect them from wind and snow damage. This can be:

With this later system, you’re flexible when it comes to size. You can create small row covers just large enough to cover your plants; or you can create a kind of greenhouses, that you’re able to enter and work inside.

The benefits of these systems are, of course, that you use the greenhouse effect to heat up the air under the respective cover. As it will get cold at night nevertheless, best grow cold-resistant plants.

How to grow vegetables in winter?

There are winter gardening vegetables that can be planted even in late fall or in the winter months (also when the ground is frozen). In fact, some plants (so-called cold season plants) are meant to be planted rather and will not grow as well if planted late in the year.

The benefit of planting early is that a.) You get healthy, resistant plants and b.) You get your vegetable yields much more early (in spring instead of in summer).

Before planting any seeds, you should always clear your beds of all dead plant material (also autumn foliage), crack the ground open, add compost and till it in. You can use organic fertilizers if your soil has been grown heavily during the preceding year.

Typical cold-hardy plants are the following:

You should not grow tubers and roots this early during the year, as they will easily rot from wetness. If, however, you combine the two tips I gave you in this article (cold covers & cold season plants), you can even grow potatoes before their time is due and transplant them into your “normal” beds once the weather gets warm again.

I hope this post motivates you to try winter gardening yourself. I recommend taking a bottle of warm tea along if you’re feeling cold icon wink winter gardening – How to grow vegetables in winter?

 

Gardening

Bonsai trees have been around for thousands of years, and continue to be a popular pastime for many reasons. Aside from their beauty and conversation-starting benefits, Bonsai trees are said to be good for your health. Countless Bonsai owners have reveled in the stress-relieving hobby, and insist that taking care of one helps with focus, patience, confidence, establishing a sense of purpose, and even indoor allergies! Also, growing plants indoors can help combat colds, fatigue, coughs, and sore throats. If you are considering adding a Bonsai tree to your home or office, be sure you are suited for the job. These trees are not your typical house plant, as they require a more intensive care on a daily basis, much like a pet would. Continue reading to learn the 5 element of caring for a Bonsai tree, and then determine if this age-old hobby is right for you.

Potted Planter

The first important part of this particular type of tree care starts with the pot. Without the proper size pot, a Bonsai tree cannot survive. The right pot size will allow the root system to grow and thrive comfortably. A pot too small can be restricting, causing plant stress and insufficient root growth. A pot too large can be obtrusive and wasteful. The general rule of thumb is that the width of the pot should be one third the height of the tree, and the depth should be the same as the tree trunk. As the tree grows, you’ll need to re-pot it every year.

Soil

Another important factor is soil. Soil is always a top-priority and one of the most influential elements to plant growth. You must use the right soil conditions for a Bonsai tree to thrive and flourish. The soil you need will depend on the species of Bonsai tree you purchase. There are several species, so be sure you know which one you have so you can pick the proper soil and fertilizer.

Water

As mentioned, Bonsai trees are not your normal house plant. In fact, they are not a plant at all; they are trees and require the same level of care as the trees in your backyard. As for water, they require watering every day. So if you are out of town, you must have someone care for your tree just like you would for your dog. And you don’t water Bonsai trees the same as house plants. You must place them in a bowl of water and allow the soil to soak. Once the bubbles stop in the water, the tree is done.

Temperature

The soil must retain moisture in summer and be able to get rid of it in winter. So when the weather is hot, they will need to be kept in a partly-shaded area of your home or office. When it is cold, they should be placed in a sunny area so that the soil doesn’t stay too wet for too long.

Pruning

The most popular part of owning a Bonsai plant is the artistic pruning you get to do every week. They grow fast, so you will have to keep up with the trimming in order to maintain a healthy and aesthetically pleasing tree. But it is important to prune it properly so that it remains healthy and grows into the right shape. Cutting the wrong branch or over-pruning can be detrimental. You must learn the proper technique for trimming Bonsai trees.

 

Gardening

Even on the coldest of winter days you can enjoy your favorite strawberry snacks and desserts without having to pay the phenomenal costs at the grocery store. All you have to do is grow strawberries in a pot right in your kitchen! And it’s not as hard as you might think. Growing strawberries in a pot is actually very simple and a great way to ensure that your fruit is all organic and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals or pesticides.

Here’s how to Grow Strawberries in a Pot at Your House

Necessary supplies:

  • Everbearing Strawberry Plants
  • Organic Soil
  • Self draining hanging pot with water collector

Purchase already started strawberry plants from your local garden center or buy them online from a reputable retailer. When purchasing your strawberry plants, be sure that the plant is an everbearing strawberry, meaning it will continuously produce fruit throughout most of the year.

Fill the hanging pot about 1/2 way with dampened organic soil and place the strawberry plant in the center.

Continue filling the pot with soil until it is full. Be sure to use a large hanging basket with good drainage in the bottom. A self draining pot with a water collector at the bottom is a great choice for strawberries.

Press the soil down gently, but don’t compact the soil. The plant needs room to grow and if the soil is too tight, it will make it harder for the roots to take place.

Lightly water the soil. Don’t soak the soil, or you risk drowning your new plant. Just water until the soil is damp and pliable.

Hang the strawberry plant in bright sunlight for at least six to eight hours each day.

Water as needed. If you are using a self watering planter, follow the guideline on the planter. If not, you’re strawberry plant will likely need to be watered every other day, providing you live in a moderate climate. Drier climates may need to water daily.

Place the plant in a dark or dimly lit area after the sun sets and leave it there until the sun rises the next day. A room that is unused or not often used is a great place to leave the strawberry plants during the night, so you can ensure they do not get damaged.

Pick the strawberries as they ripen and place them into freezer bags for long term storage or make jellies, jams or preserves.

 

Gardening

Today, we are constantly bombarded with information about the pesticides used for growing fruits and vegetables and the negative impact they have on our health. At the same time, supermarkets widely promote organic groceries, but as you know, they are quite expensive. Basically, your health comes at the expense of an empty wallet. If you have a lovely backyard, you must have considered growing your own vegetables. If you are still wondering whether to grow organic vegetables, get to know the benefits you will get:

You save money – we cannot forget to mention the fact that growing vegetables will save you a lot of money. You will not have to invest a huge amount into preparing your garden and buying seeds. However, when you do the math, you will see that the amount of your investment equals the cost of several pounds of organic vegetables.

The health aspect – when you grow your own vegetables, using pesticides is out of question. Well, your production might not be as eye-catching as the vegetables at the grocery store, but at least, it will be safe to eat. After all, you want the best for yourself and your family, and the healthy, nutritional vegetables are a great addition to the menu.

Take care of the crops – many people want to grow their fruits and vegetables but admit that they do not have the gardening skills necessary for getting a healthy, abundant harvest. You don’t have to master a complicated set of skills to grow vegetables. Still, you’d better seek a professional advice. If you use professional lawn mowing or bush trimming services, don’t hesitate to ask the gardeners for recommendations during their next visit. One of the most important questions you should ask is how to protect your crops against common pests without using any hazardous detergents.

Get the whole family involved – growing vegetables can be a fun activity for the entire family. If you are looking for a creative way to make the kids stop staring at their smartphones, ask them to help you in the garden. Various researches suggest that such kind of activities strengthens the bond parent-kid and teaches them to be responsible towards another living creature. So, if you are reluctant to get your kids a pet, you can assign them a gardening task. Tell them how often they should water the vegetables. Teach them how to protect the crops against weeds and pests. The better performer gets an award.

It would be excessive to say that you can have great crops without dedicating time and effort. In fact, many gardeners spend at least several hours per week taking care of their plants. Of course, you can always arrange professional gardeners to look after your vegetables. That means that you need to spend some extra money on their services, but the majority of people say the investment is justified and the pros of growing your organic vegetables outnumber the cons.

 

Gardening

Each season brings with it, its peculiarities and its set of challenges. Which is exactly what makes gardening a very engaging and enjoyable activity! One summer you’re scurrying around to ensure that your plants keep getting enough water, while during the spring you merely wait and watch the magic unfold. One winter, you’re able to see the beautiful and hardy garden that you’ve grown, while the next monsoon, you’re working on planting your next batch of special saplings!

To be actively involved in each step makes this an incredibly rewarding journey, especially if you’ve paid close attention to the cycle of the seasons.

To help you on your way, here’s a list of plants that you can grow during the monsoons. The rains can often leave home gardeners flabbergasted, but it isn’t too difficult to comprehend which fruits, flowers, and vegetables should be grown at the time. Just take a look!

1) Water Hyacinth: The hint is in the name and these quickly growing mauve flowers are the perfect way to add some monsoon fragrance to your garden. They grow in bunches and will populate your garden well.

2) Wild Balsam: For adding some like light pink to your garden and filling up those bare nooks and corners, the Wild Balsam is the right option. It is a delicate flower that is at home during the rains.

3) Indian Borage: Growing well in bunches, especially in damp patches, the Indian Borage is a herb. It blooms with beautiful blue flowers that have the ability to light up any garden.

4) Hill Turmeric: Suitable for growing at the base and even lining your garden, this plant is known for its broad leaf structure which eventually gives way to graceful flowers that come in shades of purple, yellow, rose, crimson and red.

5) Blue Ipomoea: For a little variety, why not have a friendly creeper in your garden? The purely azure hues of this flower are just the kind diversity that the monsoon season will bring.

6) Talimkhana: A shrub well-known for its medicinal properties, it can lend a bit vertical beauty to your garden as they can grow up to 5 feet high. Their gorgeous blue flowers are just the icing on the cake.

7) Indigo: If a plant should be taking over the major real estate in your garden, it might as well be stunning to behold. The bright reddish-crimson flowers dotted amidst the lush greens can be quite a sight.

8) Wild Sesame: A staple of monsoon based gardens, this herb quite ravishing. The purple tubular flowers and gorgeous foliage will make your garden seem truly verdant.

9) Bitter Cucumber: Bright yellow flowers make this creeper plant stand out of the crowd! Besides that, you also get a fruit harvest as this plant blossoms.

10) Glory Lily: Scientifically called Gloriosa superba, the appeal of this flower lies in the multi-staged, multi-coloured petals that go from green to yellow to red to crimson as the plant grows.

Pick your favorites from our list of the best monsoon plants and get planting. This monsoon promises to be a memorable one!

 

Gardening

Mushrooms are a fungus that has a different life cycle compared to other plants that grow from seeds and die. The living tissue of the fungi is underground which feeds on rotten wood, and this is known as mycelium. This ingredient is needed for making them breed. This is any mixture of mycelium when combined with a substrate. A common form is a mycelium mixed with a combination of sawdust. This is an inexpensive method of making this at home. It is also possible to make mushroom proliferate with cardboard and paper. These are placed at those locations where the gardener wants them to grow.

Are you tempted to buy oyster mushroom spawn for sale? Let us make some at home.

Materials needed:

• Get some cardboard
• Bucket to hold warm water
• Plastic containers
• Bowls
• Spoon, knife, and fork
• Aluminum foil
• Drill

Let us discuss the steps to make these types propagate at home.

Searching for mycelium

You have to find fresh fungi with stems that are intact. The stems are required for breeding. So while picking up edible fungi choose the ones with perfect stems. If you cannot find living stems or you are hesitant about the quality of local mushrooms whether they are poisonous, then go in for pre-made oyster mushroom spawn for sale. Mycelium helps in producing mushrooms under proper conditions. So make and nurture your spawn to produce quality mushrooms.

Multiplying:

Fill a big bucket with lukewarm water. You can make mushrooms proliferate with cardboard. While making a selection of cardboard, use the ones from those countries which do have environmental regulations. Avoid those cardboards which have toxic glues. Soak the cardboard pieces into this warm water for several hours. Drain the water and tear the cardboard layers to show the corrugated area. Place these back into the bucket and add the mushroom stems or pre-made spawn. Cover with extra cardboard. Keep them in the dark place. This process will take a few months. The spawn once it has multiplied, will be ready when you see a whitish coating on the box.

Planting:

When the spawn is ready for use, a substrate can be inoculated. Moisten and keep in a cool, dark place.

Consider starting your production commercially:

Once you have begun growing your these types successfully, then you may want to branch out on your own and start producing your edible fungi. This is a good practice not to spawn beyond a few times to reduce chances of contamination. Any form of contamination will lead to less production of mushrooms. Cardboard is an amazing method to ensure breeding because it is easily found and very cheap too. It can hold moisture very well. You can create a lot of breeding with almost negligible effort. Once a batch of cardboard is colonized then you may use it partly for growing and the rest of it to create more breed. You will then get a steady supply of cheap, quick replenishable spawn.