Garden

I went to visit my co-worker and close friend after work one day. Upon my arrival I noticed a very lush and extensive garden. She later confided in me that it cost her a great deal of money. To which my eyes bulged… and not knowing how to do my own garden because I had no yard, I did not know how to answer. As recent events would have it, I know have a wonderful yard, granted it is not completely mine, but I have done all the work to fix her up. Now I know how hard it is to keep and maintain a garden, however, I have a lot of great tips to get you started.

First you will need basic garden supplies: shovel, rake, hand trowel, garden gloves. These items can be found virtually anywhere; however, what I like to do before I head out to the store is look online and compare prices. This not only saves gas (so you aren't barreling from store to store) but saves you time and money by allowing you to see which store is your best option for one-stop-shopping.

Also if you don't find the items you like at the prices that are affordable and available in the store you could buy online. If this isn't feasible you can ask your landlord (if you are a renter) or neighbor to borrow some tools. But if you are borrowing-remember to treat them gently-no one wants broken or damages tools returned to them!

My other favorite place to get my gardening supplies because they are so cheap and the items last for years-the dollar store! From the Dollar Tree to the Dollar General-they have great prices, selection, and value; but not so much on quality.

Another great resource; if you have friends or family who like to garden ask them for any excess items they are not using that you may have… I have gotten a lot of items for my garden in this particular way because a lot of my family tends to garden.

So remember to compare prices online, browse or buy online, shop the Goodwill, Salvation Army, or the Dollar Stores before stopping at the big hardware stores, or ask a friend or family member for supplies you have not rounded up yet; all these tips should help you save a bundle on your gardening experience!…

Garden Landscaping Ideas

Ah, mid winter. The season best for planning your landscaping for the next year. By now, the gardening catalogs are out and you are probably sitting there looking at pictures of flowers at their summer best.

This is when I go over my gardening journal and try to decided what to change for the next year. I like to keep what works, work on what could be better and decide what to scrap.

All gardens are works in progress. So I compiled a list of some ideas for various areas in your yard

This is for all of those people with a mailbox standing on a post. If this is the case, plant flowers and a vine around it! There are even containers you can buy that fit around the post so if the ground there cannot be planted, you can container garden. A bright colorful area will probably cheer up your postal worker as well as make you smile as you pay your bills.

For the container garden, go with annuals that you like. I tend to do themes, pink and purple pansies…..or red and white pansies with a lobelia center (it’s bright blue). Once I just sprinkled wildflower seeds and let the riot of color take over.

For the ground, plant an ivy to crawl up the post and then plant according to light. My mailbox is shaded so hostas and caladium worked well.

One year I had trick or treat pansies (they are orange and black) and put them out in early October along with a few jack be little pumpkins.

Have fun with it.

Walkways

You can ignore them. You can light them. You can even garden them. I prefer a walk with small plants so it doesn’t become crowded and lighting. Along the walkway you can place solar lights, roughly one every 3 feet. For plants, I went with bulbs and balled mums. The bulbs are tulips that bloom and begin to die back as the mums leaf out. The mums are a beautiful deep green all summer and then flower late. I alternated orange and red because of the proximity of their bloom time to autumn in my area.

Eye Candy and Ease

You knew it was coming. Burning bushes. Ok, so they are without a doubt my favorite shrubs. But few shrubs are as beautiful and yet require so little work as a burning bush. I went with two dwarf bushes on either side of my walkway. Dead center in the front lawn so they can grow to their maximum height and width: 5 feet by 5 feet. Deep green in summer, they flame red in autumn. Once established, they require no work. None at all.

A Three for One Deal

Have a damp basement or crawl space? How about an empty corner near the house that needs “something”? Maybe you want to up security around your window? Plant yucca.

Yucca may be a desert plant but that just means that they can survive under harsh conditions. They drink water like crazy so placed outside in a wet area, or an area that you know is causing water to leak into your basement or crawlspace and the problem is solved.

Yuccas are also sharp plants so planted near windows means that you can sleep safely without worrying about intruders.

Yuccas are beautiful as well. The best part is that you can plant them near a house. Yuccas have a single taproot so there is no problem with spreading roots into your foundation. The taproot grows straight down.

Plant Herbs

I actually know people …

Gardening in New Albany, Mississippi

I love my Mississippi garden and I have grown one each and every year for 5 years now. The feel of warm moist dirt between my fingers and toes is indescribable. Plants reaching upward for the the suns rays and the rains touch is simply beautiful and a comfort to my soul. To be able to nourish a seed into a young plant is a very rewarding experience. Growing a garden in New Albany Mississippi is not as hard as it may seem. The soil here is rich and filled with nutrients. The humidity provides just the right amount of moisture and the sun is plentiful. New Albany Mississippi is a perfect area for gardening.

When preparing your garden for planting here in the south, you must first decide what you will be growing. I have found that Cabbage, Tomatoes, okra and Peppers are some of easiest plants to cultivate. Cabbage is so strong and hardy that even prolonged drought doesn’t seem to harm the this tough crop. Okra is another example of a garden trooper. In fact, Okra loves the dry spells that New Albany is famous for. This crop continues to thrive even as the soil cracks open from lack of moisture. Tomatoes, on the other hand, require a little more attention. These and most types of Peppers require more hydration than Mississippi can provide naturally. A little extra attention ensures these crops the proper amount of nutrition to flourish. In my gardening experience, I have found that strawberries are one of the hardest plants to grow and require lots of nourishment in addition to what the soil provides. The secret to growing these moody plants is lots and lots of hydration and soil additives.

The best time of year in New Albany Mississippi to start the garden, is in late April/Early May. At this time, the ground should be completely thawed from the winter freeze and most chances of frost have passed. Planting this early can produce a large quantity of crops before the weather becomes unbearably hot in July. If you plan to grow Squash, you must certainly get the seeds in the ground by the first of May. Squash easily suffers from intense heat and sun scorch which ultimately kills the crop. By August, most of the Squash crop is usually dead or withering badly. Fruit is almost completely gone.

So, you know what to plant and when to plant it. But do you know how to take care of it? The most important maintenance tips are to fertilize and use weed control. There are several types of fertilizers available including: Organic blends and natural additives like manure. I, personally prefer to use manure and Triple 13 for the best results. Plants are twice as big as plants with out these fertilizers. After the garden is established and has seen some growth, you will have to start removing weeds either with chemicals, ground covers such as dark plastic or mulch or pulling and hoeing the grass out of the garden soil. Without this proper maintenance, your garden will suffer and will not produce as large of a crop as with care. Plants have to compete with weeds for nutrients from the soil. When weeds are removed, the crop can absorb all the plant foods it needs. Another great tip for gardening in New Albany Mississippi, is to use Miracle Grow. Miracle Grow is an amazing growth stimulant. When using Miracle grow on your crops, you will notice a drastic difference in the quality and quantity of your plants.

Gardening is one of the most rewarding …

Teach a Child Gardening: Grow More Than Just Vegetables

In the old days, farming was something done by the entire family. If you were old enough to walk you were old enough to get outside and help with the chores. To some people, this may seem a rough way to raise a child, but for the children involved, they’ll develop a closeness with family, learn responsibility and patience, and become productive human beings.

Even if a child grows up to become a city-dweller, he or she will fondly remember the days when the family was out raking the garden or planting seeds. And nothing can match the excitement a child has when he picks his first cucumber or tomato – that he grew.

Include the child in the garden-making decisions. If there’s enough room, let the child have his own small garden. If not, let him have a row or two in your garden space. These rows will be his to maintain. The child might complain about weeding and watering but encourage him to continue what he started. It will pay off in the long run.

Older children might be inclined to participate if they know that gardening spells mall money. More than one kid has purchased new toys, bikes or clothing because of money earned from selling off garden goods.

Consider the size and age of the child before determining how much gardening responsibility to give him or her. A two-year-old may be able to put rocks in a bucket but won’t be able to handle the actual gardening. A seven-year-old can rake and plant, but may have a time keeping up with a large garden. The main thing is to try and make gardening fun, not a dreaded chore.

As the child gets older he can have a larger garden or a couple of extra rows in yours. He should show a willingness to have such – it should not be forced upon him. But, once he has taken on the responsibility, he should be encouraged to continue through to the end. It’s important for the child to understand that someone isn’t going to come in and do the hard work, then give him the fruits of the labor.

Gardening teaches kids many things. If he looks at seed catalogs he will become a better reader who is knowledgeable about plants and gardening. He will also use writing and spelling to mark his rows in the garden. He can also be encouraged to keep a journal about what days he planted, when the first signs of life were seen, and how many tomatoes his plants yielded.

For young gardeners choose vegetables like sweet corn, radishes, green beans, tomatoes, pumpkins, and watermelons. Help your child select vegetables to plant, from a catalog, and try to choose a couple of items from the “huge” selections they now have. Most catalogs sell “gigantic sunflower plants” or “the hugest watermelons” plants. When a child sees these very large vegetables coming from his own garden, he can be, like everyone else, very impressed. This will encourage him even further. After harvesting, let the child have a pumpkin or watermelon party. Sharing his goods with friends is a fun way to show off what he’s learned while sharing with others. Or, have the child pick one of his pumpkins and take it to an elderly neighbor. The child will become caring and considerate in addition to the other things he’ll learn while gardening.…

Garden Ideas for a More Beautiful and Successful Garden

Your garden can be a decorative feature of your yard, enticing you to pick the fresh vegetables and even spend time weeding, watering and caring for your plants. Here are some ideas for how to make your garden an oasis!

Creating a raised bed is a secret of more advanced gardeners that you can do too. It takes a bit of strength to carry railroad ties or other lumber into place, drive metal rods in to reinforce the lumber once the dirt is in place, and of course, pile the soil in to create the bed. You’ll find that it is easier to mow around the edges of a raised garden as well, and you can work from the sides with less bending over.

If you think ‘natural fertilizer’ means smelly manure, think again! There are bags of dried manure available which have little or no smell and give a great boost to your plants. Some areas have sheep and other manure as well as cow manure, select what is best for the plants you are planning to plant.

A traditional way to keep pests away from your garden is to plan marigolds, especially around tomato plants. It adds a little color to the garden as well, and you might find that you want to create a little ‘flower space’ in the garden area as well.

If you have the space and love cats, you can plant catnip in an area on the edge of the garden. Cats that love catnip will roll around in it and go nuts, so keep it a little bit away from the vegetables! It’s a beautiful and unusual way to enhance your garden. Beware – catnip tends to return pretty aggressively each year, so make sure you’ve got a dedicated space for it.

If you’re growing tomatoes and remember the family garden with scrap wood stakes and bedsheet ties, look for ‘tomato cages’ which will help you guide and support your tomato plants as they grow. These are cone-shaped metal cages which stick into the ground. As the tomato plants grow (some grow very large, and the tomatoes can be heavy!) you can use the tomato cage wires to support the branches of the plant. You may find the metallic appearance of some tomato cages less attractive, so consider using some outdoor spray paint to harmonize them with your garden in green or white – or even red!…

Disturbing Garden Dark Haiku

Due to my super hectic work schedule running a seasonal business right now, my yard and gardens are in dire need of attention. I have been working on both in bits and pieces of spare time, but feel as if I am fighting a losing battle.

While driving home from work last evening, I admired house after house with perfectly landscaped yards and gardens bursting to life with color. However, when I arrived home, I was painfully aware of just how bad a shape my own are in.

I wrote this Haiku to honor (in the darkest sense) my sticks-and-pine-cone-laden yard and creepy looking cottage gardens that have taken on a disturbing look of their own.

Surely, there must be someone else out there with a garden that even bugs and wildlife avoid! If you do, don’t be shy; please share your story in the comment section and God speed!


Spine-Chilling Garden Haiku

My green thumb is sick

Garden frightens all children

Scary weeds grow there…

Some Suggestions on How to Make Your Garden Stand Out from the Rest

Since spring is very quickly approaching you is probably already thinking about what you can do with your garden this year that would make it a little different from last year. Maybe this your you can rearrange your garden, by adding a few statues or some other type of garden decoration that will really make it stand out.

When it comes to garden statues or garden fountains there really is a large variety for you to choose from. Try looking at one of your local home and garden stores. They usually start putting out the new ones at the end of winter right before spring begins. You may even be able to find several small statues if you don’t really want anything that is too big or too expensive. Before you buy one however make sure that you have room for it in your garden. You should take the time to measure the space that you want to use before you go shopping for your statue. This way you will not have to worry about whether or not it is going to fit or not. Another suggestion on how to make your garden stand out is to put a little path in the middle of the garden. Of course this would depend on how big your garden actually is.

If you have a small garden then you may just want to use some decorative flower pots around the edge of your garden. If however you have a nice size garden installing a path in the middle or around the outside of the garden really makes for a nice touch. It really is very inexpensive and easy to do. You just have to decide what you want to use for your path. For a few ideas and suggestion on how to create a good garden path you can visit www.hgtv.com. They have a huge list of suggestions when it comes to adding a path to your garden, as well as some other ideas and suggestion on how to make your garden really stand out.

One final suggestion is to maybe plant some flowers or vegetables (depending on the type of garden that you have) that are a little different from what everyone else has. There really is no better way to make your garden stand out than to have a rare flower or vegetable growing in the middle of it. If you start planning during the winter time, then by the time spring arrives you will have your ideas all set and be ready to get your garden fixed up. Remember working on a garden will take time and patience, but if you really enjoy gardening then it would be well worth the effort.…