Nasturtium

Genus:

  • Tropaeolum majus

LIFECYCLE:

  • Nasturtiums are annual

Height:

  • 12 inches for a bush, 72 inches for vines

Spread:

  • 18 inches for bush

Description:

  • Distinctive, blue-green circular leaves are held up on fleshy stems. These annuals come in a variety of types ranging from compact bushes to long-spreading vines. They make an eye-catching addition to any garden. In addition, they have large attractive blooms that range in color from palest yellows, pinks, and apricots to deep, rich yellows, oranges, and burgundy. The vining types are great in hanging planters, window boxes, or for use on trellises and fences.

Ease of care:

  • Easy

How to grow:

  • Plant in full sun to partial shade in average to poor, moist soil.

Propagation:

  • By seed in late spring. They’re large and can be planted individually where the plants are going to grow

Pests:

  • Aphids love nasturtiums, so be on the lookout for them.

Uses:

  • Fresh leaves and flowers-salads
  • Fresh flowers-floral arrangements
  • Unripe seeds and flower buds-pickled for salads

Preservation:

  • Pickle unripe seeds in vinegar and use them in salads.

The Benefits Of Having Rain Barrels

Did you know rain barrels have community as well as household benefits?

Beyond contributing to the heath of your beautiful flowers and plants, here are the major benefits of using a rain barrel as part of your eco-friendly gardening: 

Rainwater is better for your plants and soil.

  • Rainwater is highly oxygenated, free of the salts, inorganic ions, and fluoride compounds contained in tap water that accumulate in the soil over time and potentiality harm plant roots Use of rainwater in your garden dilutes this impact, making plants more drought-tolerant, healthy.

You’ll have your own water source in times of drought or watering restrictions.

  • If you collect rainwater, you’ll be able to keep watering and nourishing your garden with your rain barrel reserves.

You’ll help to reduce runoff pollution.

  • When it rains, runoff picks up soil, fertilizer, oil, pesticides, and other contaminants and pushes them into other areas of the landscape. These pollutants can increase algae growth in lakes, alter the habitat for fish, and even make lakes and oceans dangerous for recreational activities Your water collecting stops some of this damaging flow

You’ll contribute to erosion prevention efforts.

  • Rain runoff is also a particular issue in places where land erosion is a concern_ Your rain catch will be especially helpful in these cases 

You’ll cut down on the amount of water that must undergo expensive and energy-intensive sewage treatments.

  • Capturing rainwater and putting it straight to use in your garden eliminates the need for this processing cycle

You’ll have a fresh, green way to wash your cars and pets.

  • Rainwater doesn’t have the salt and other chemicals found in tap water and therefore will be kinder on you car and pets

Use to fill birdbaths, ponds, and water gardens

Captured rainwater can be used to fill bird baths, water gardens and small ponds, all of which can be used by backyard wild live to to drink, bath and as habitat for a host of animals such as frogs, toad, fish, turtles and many more

Rainwater is the eco-friendly option to keep composts moist.

  • Adding tap water to your compost doesn’t fit this sustainability practice; you’ll want to use rainwater instead 

Help control moisture levels around the foundations of your home.

  • Collecting rainwater before it hits ground levels will help to prevent flooding, damp, and mold 

You can reduce your water bill.

  • Garden and lawn watering accounts for 40 percent of residential water use during the summer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thanks to a rain barrel’s water catch, the typical gardener can save 1, 300 gallons of water during the growing season  

Related References

Making A Compost Bin From Wooden Pallets

Wooden pallets can be a quick, cost effective, and easy do-it-yourself way of building a compost bin made of pallets. Also, reusing wooden pallets is an environmental friendly way to put wooden pallets to use in and around your home.

Advantages of making a compost bin of wooden pallets

  • Wooden pallets are low cost, generally free given a little research and sweet talking. You may even have a couple laying around from your last couple of projects.
  • Wooden pallets which are in good condition, they can last for years, even without any sealer treatment.
  • A large capacity compost bin can be created in very little time, once the pallets and required supplies have been gathered.

Where to get wooden pallets?

  • If you don’t already have some wooden pallets available, local small businesses are the best place to look. Smaller companies occasionally get a few pallets and then have to figure out how to dispose of them and, therefore are often willing to let someone have the pallets if nicely asked.
  • Larger companies tend to have arrangements for the pickup of their pallets already, but there is no harm in asking.
  • Also, construction sites, usually, have a few stray pallets laying around which they generally happy to be rid of.

How to choose your Pallets?

  • Pallets should be undamaged, not overly weathered, and free of rot.
  • Pallets should be of the same length, width, and height.

What supplies will you need?


Four pallets will be needed for a single stand-alone compost bin. If you are going to make addition bins, which will share a wall with a previous bin, you will need three pallets for each additional compost bin. For example, two bin requires seven pallets; three compost bins requires ten pallets.
Enough heavy duty zip ties or enough heavy duty wire (e.g., baling wire) to bind the pallets. Approximately 15, 12 inches or longer heavy duty zip ties for a stand-alone compost bin and each additional compost bin.
A cleared, level spot for large enough the compost bins and to permit access to the compost bins to check, repair, fill, turn, and empty the bins. Be sure to consider the size of any equipment you may desire to have access to your compost bins; things like a yard tractor or a wheelbarrow.
Fence posts to provide additional support (optional). For a stand-alone compost bin, four sturdy metal posts, at least as tall as the pallet once driven into the ground. Three more fence posts for each additional compost bin. Over the years, I have found fence posts keep the pallets straight and upright.

How to Assemble you Compost Bin

  • If using fence posts for support, place you first corner post,
  • then attach the pallet securely with sturdy wire (like bailing wire) or zip ties to the fence post.
  • Proceed to the other end of the pallet and repeat the process adding the second pallet.
  • Then repeat the process the process to attach the third pallet.
  • While you are doing this you will want to make sure that each pallet is maintaining a 90 degree angle, so, your compost be in finishes as a proper square.
  • When you mount the the fourth pallet you will want to make it more like a gate, so, you have easy access to turn your compost pile and, eventually, to empty the compost bin. So, you can either secure in a way that you can easily open it or add hinges on one end and some form of a lock on the final end.

Working with wooden posts

  • If you would prefer to make your compost bin using wooden posts you will want to plant you wooden posts and secure your pallets with either nails or screws (which I strongly recommend) rather than tying the pallets in place. Nails have a habit of working loose.
  • Otherwise the process is essentially the same.

To Make a Multi-bin system

  • You can by using either side of the compost bin, as you face the gate and add three more pallets for the new bin.
  • Don’t forget to make the last pallet a gate, just like the first compost bin, and you will want it on the same side as your existing gate.
  • You simply, repeat the process for each additional bin you wish to add starting with the side of the existing compost bins, where you which to add the new compost bin.

Your compost bin is built, what now?

  • Once constructed, line the bottom with permeable a protective barrier to prevent grass and weeds from taking over your compost bins.
  • This permeable protective barrier can be a commercial landscape cloth or couple of layers of flattened cardboard boxes or several layers of newspaper work well for this purpose.
  • And begin adding your compost materials in layers, being sure to water to each layer.
  • Be sure to mix your ingredients and turn your compost bin regularly.

Related References

Lawn Care Basics

If you want to keep a beautiful, tidy looking garden, you need to pay close attention to the lawn with proper lawn care. Most Americans take great pride in their yards and so lawn care is important to them. You will notice when you see the results of a properly cared for lawn, it will give you a sense of pride. Of course, you could always pay a gardener to do it, but then you would get no real satisfaction as you would not have done it yourself.

Knowing Lawn Care Basics

Lawn care can be simple just as long as you at least know the basics. Firstly, the tidiness of the garden needs to be addressed. Is it clean? Is there anything on the lawn which shouldn’t be there? Leaves and rubbish spoil the garden, so you need to get rid of them by raking and picking up all litter before you start. You will notice that once you have removed the rubbish and leaves, your garden will already look so much nicer.

If you have bumps within the garden, they can be removed with a spade and you can either replace the sod or plant new grass seed. As well as boosting the appearance of the garden, by leveling it out, you are also ensuring that it is easier to mow and to keep in pristine condition.

Overall keeping the lawn looking good and keeping it trimmed is all part of primary lawn care. It is something which must be done if you are to have a garden of which can be proud.  A green and healthy lawn is very easy to achieve as long as you know Lawn Care Basics techniques and how to apply them correctly. Read the guidelines below so you can handle your turf properly and get incredible results in no time.

Lawn Mowing

• Find out the recommended cutting height for your grass type and follow it. If you’re unaware or unsure of how much grass to mow, cut only one-third of the total grass length as a general rule.

• Make sure you set your mower high enough. Cutting at a low setting will only damage your grass and prevent its roots from growing deeper.

• Use the appropriate mower for your lawn type. It must be well-tuned, sharpened and in good working condition at all times so you’ll be more efficient at mowing the lawn.

• Never mow over wet grass. Always cut when the turf is dry so you can discourage the presence of weeds and diseases.

• To prevent sunburn, mow your lawn during the coldest part of the day, usually, in the morning after any dew has lifted.

When deciding which lawn mowers is right for you, you need to consider the size of the lawn you are going to be cutting and the type of finish you wish to achieve. If your yard is large, then you will want to look at the petrol lawn mowers are not limited by a power cable and tend to have larger grass collection bins meaning less stopping to empty the bin.  If you have a small area of lawn, you might only need a small electric mower.

Lawn Watering

  • Where lawns are concerned watering more frequently in short durations is better than long soaking, which may cause water to run off and wasted.
  • You don’t have to water your lawn all the time. Feed it only when it’s necessary, or you think it’s a bit dry
  • Be sure to your local communities water restrictions and permissible schedules.  Your local communities water restrictions should be checked regularly as they can change throughout the growing season.
  • Water early in the morning-never late in the afternoon or evening because this promotes pests and diseases to develop.
  • Avoid overwatering your lawn. The advisable amount is around 1-2 inches of water per week, but you may have to adjust depending on the season and the required water supply for your particular grass type.
  • Be sure to spread and sprinkle the water throughout the entire lot. You don’t want one area to be soaked and other parts to become dry due to lack of supply.

It is a known fact that grass will not grow and will die without water which will cause some brown patches to show on the lawn. It is essential to understand what type of soil and grass you have to supply it with only the appropriate amount of water. It is also important not to over-saturate the soil with water as this could cause the grass to die. The ideal time of watering the lawn is during the early morning or at sunset because it is during these times that the water is more likely to soak into the soil than just evaporating.

Weed & Pest Control

  • Weed the turf especially during the fall and spring seasons.
  • Choose organic weed and pest control agents, as a last resort, to get rid of unwanted elements without causing damage to your lawn.  If you must apply chemicals, please use them as directed and apply them only where truly necessary.
  • Take out crabgrass as soon as you see it so you can prevent it from developing roots and spreading throughout the lot.

So, those are the basic techniques that you need to apply if you want to make your lawn more beautiful. Be sure to use them the right way so you can see improvement in your lawn’s overall health and appearance.

The best way to achieve that perfect garden is to start carefully and make small but steady improvements over time. A few basic lawn care tools are necessary, but you can buy lawn care tools at any number of places.

fertilizing your lawn

Fertilizing the soil is also essential. However, you will need to know what type of soil you have before proceeding. Knowing your soil type is important because it will allow you to get the correct fertilizer for your lawn, whether organic or chemical. It is essential to understand that using too much fertilizer can harmful to your yard, to the environment, and your family and pets.

Overfertiliation can leave lawns vunerable to Insect attact.

Most people hardly realize that the roots of the grass need air to This is why people who are in the know aerate their lawn to make it healthier. One good way of checking if your soil needs aerating is by pouring a small amount of water to the soil and see if it soaks down through quickly. If it does not, then it is required for you to aerate your lawn.

If you can stay away from the herbicides and weed killers, Consider interplanting perennial clover or Alfalfa. If you can get an established mix of 30 to 50 percent of clover or alfalfa, your lawn will be healthier and require little or no additional fertilizers, as the grass will get its nitrogen from the clover and alfalfa. Additionally, during hotter weather when your lawn grasses my stall or go dormant, assuming adequate rainfall or irrigation has been applied, the clover and alfalfa will continue to be lively and green. If you live in a location where you can let the clover and alfalfa go to flower, you will be attracting and help the local native and honey bee population.

Related References

The legacy of Heirloom Seed Plants

Gardeners are discovering that a number of traditional fruits and vegetables seem to be going out of existence. Over 75% of the varieties of seeds which were available nearly 100 years back are not available these days. This failure of cultural and genetic supplies has become a quiet revolution for saving seeds and heirloom gardening.

Native Bees With A back Full of Pollen Climbing Out Of  A Squash Flower
Native Bees With A back Full of Pollen Climbing Out Of A Squash Flower

History of openly pollinated plants

In the past, most of the species in agriculture were open pollinated. Two plants that were identical genetically or similar in looks were pollinated simply through insects, animals or wind. As a result, the desired specimen of similar looking crossbreed was produced, the seeds of which used to be procured for use in the next season. Thus seeds were saved every year to allow the next generations to use them in the future.

Heirloom Bean Seeds
Heirloom Bean Seeds

Availability of seeds at present

In the last 50 years, that system has changed as the availability and distribution of these seeds is now controlled by multinational corporations and seed corporations, etc. The breeding of hybrid quality spices to produce sterile seeds has completely controlled the system, but the quality of the crop received from those seeds was not good.

Effect of seed breeding culture

Actually, some of the programs of breeding seed are known for growing food without nutritional value and flavor. The poor quality of the tomato crop is the right example of this seed breeding culture. In order to expend their shelf-life and to make their shipping easier, the rich and juicy flavor of the tomatoes has been sacrificed to leave fake and weak supermarket tomatoes with cardboard like flavor for us.

Evolution of seed saving organizations

Luckily, a lot of seed exchange networks and seed saving organizations were initiated in the 1970s to promote and save the resources of native American genetic plants as well as immigrant plants from all over the world. These seed-saving organizations also work as their suppliers. Most of these organizations claim to provide over 500 exclusive species of herbs, vegetables, grains, and fruits.

Raised bed Vegetable Garden
Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Importance of heirloom gardening

Heirloom gardening can be one of the most important elements of the movement of waged workers. These gardens are developed with a variety of almost 50 years old seeds pollinated openly regardless of their size, garden in the backyard plots or in the large organic farms. Most of these heritage gardens might have developed in the early period of colonial civilization.

Importance of traditional seeds

The historical or traditional elements of some of the heirloom herbs and vegetables found by some of the gardeners were very tempting. In the beginning, for some people, they look attractive due to their good taste. Heirloom gardeners have shifted to surprising and unique colors, textures and flavors of the old varieties of fruits and vegetables along with providing richly flavored and familiar vegetables. They also allow knowing about the history of many global species of rare breeds.

Variety of heirloom species available today

The heirloom kitchen garden at present may include the late variety of premium flat cabbage of 1840s introduced by the immigrants from Germany, the variety of lettuce grown in 1700s in the colonial gardens, mixed varieties of century-old potatoes from the highlands of Andean and improved variety of long orange carrot brought in 1620s by the Dutch breeders. Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans, Czech Black Peppers, and Howling Moon Corn are some of the hot, ornamental and flavorful plants found in today’s heirloom gardens. They may also have one of two trees of sporting Wine apples, ball tomatoes brought from German Black Forest region and Moon and stars watermelons that look like a big yellow colored moon with small stars on its oblong crust of dark green color. They may also have the variety of hollow Crown Parsnips grown in the 1800s that can be used to make wine or marmalade.

They can also plant Ashwagandha, yucca, wormwood, and decorative wheat along with heirloom culinary and medicinal herbs and old-fashioned decorative flowers like sunflowers for making arrangements of dried flowers in the additional space in their heirloom garden.

Young Pumpkin Seedlings In Peat Pots
Young Pumpkin Seedlings In Peat Pots

Use of Heirloom seeds to develop a garden

Just reading the names of Heirloom seeds in the catalogs can be enough to encourage you to order them and grow in your garden. Actually, most of the seed catalogs are like old literature containing information about the seeds found in the barn of a polish uncle to the garage in suburban New York. Some of them may describe a good range of historical dialogues like the seeds of a snap bean, the Scarlet Runner bean, grown in the pre-revolutionary period by the colonists and collected by American natives. These plants were grown for their beans with nutty flavor in and before the 1800s. Though it is grown by contemporary Americans for its exceptional decorative value, in Great Britain, it is grown as the most popular bean of green color.

Garden Vegetables
Garden Vegetables

Reason to grow openly pollinated seeds

Another important aspect of growing openly pollinated varieties is saving seed like banking genetic seeds. Every gardener is helping, regardless of its size, in keeping the source of genetic seeds workable by planting these heirloom gardens. Some of the gardeners have taken an advance step by cultivating certain plants with an aim to save their seeds and sharing them with others in exchange. However, basically, anyone who saves seeds to be used in years to come can be appreciated. For instance, if this year you have grown delicious and productive variety of yellow potato onions of modest size then you can produce 3-8 times onions every year from which you can use, share and save to use as seed in future.

Package Of Garden Seeds
Package Of Garden Seeds

Where to get heirloom seeds?

Certainly, you need not start an heirloom garden to get these seeds. You can get seeds of heirloom fruits, vegetables and decorative plants like roses of old fashion from local garden centers. According to some of the popular county organizations like Behnke Nursery and American Plant Food Company, they can provide minimum 40-60 varieties of heirloom seeds for sale. You can know about their availability from other garden centers also. You can easily take the first step to develop your heirloom garden by buying seedlings as it can be a good option for you to take the next step of starting a large and attractive world of saving heirloom seeds.

Related References

How many strawberries to plant per person?

A Basket of Strawberries Near Strawberry Patch
A Basket of Strawberries Near Strawberry Patch

Nearly everyone loves strawberries. However, most of them never even see a strawberry plant, much less grow one. Growing your strawberries, however, can be a fun and healthy alternative to spending money on commercial strawberries in the market or grocery store. Strawberries should be a permanent fixture in a garden. It is hard to predict the number of strawberry plants to order when planting but the following guidelines will help you to know how many strawberries to plant per person.

First, each strawberry plant typically produces about a 1/4 of strawberries annually. Varieties such as Ozark Beauty produce two major crops and a few berries throughout the year. When planted together, they total about 1/4 of total production.

Varieties like Tristar and Tribute (day-neutrals) produce scattered berries over the growing season, and other time s up until the first frost. day-neutrals usually produce a bit smaller strawberries, but they can produce up to a quart in a good environment. Last, the most popular types are June-bearers which produce one main crop of larger berries, totaling more than a quart of the total production.

Freshly Cultivated Strawberry Patch
Freshly Cultivated Strawberry Field

Generally, for fresh consumption, a minimum of six to seven plants per person is required. Thirty to thirty-five well-cared strawberry plants should feed six people. When you are plan on freezing strawberries, fifty to sixty strawberry plants would be advisable – a minimum of ten plants per person. These figures are the minimum. If your family is a voracious strawberry eater, it’s advisable to increase the number of strawberry per person to at least ten for fresh eating and more than a hundred for preserving for year-round consumption.

Make sure you read the information about growing strawberries to get the plants off in the right direction once you have planted strawberry. And, don’t forget that late-season care is essential for the highest strawberry production. The attention you give strawberry plants will determine the number of strawberries you will harvest.

Related References

Inviting toads to your yard and garden

Toad Found In Flower Pot
Toad Found In Flower Pot

Every year many homeowners use a lot of money on propane-powered mosquito traps, toxic chemicals or even pheromone lures to prevent the onslaught of crawling critters and creepy. But fortunately, there is a simple solution that is simple and easy to use.

What is this simple technique?

In this modern world of controlling pest naturally, one of the brightest players is the humble toad. Toads have a phenomenal desire for foods for pests and other invertebrates that squish in the night time, especially unwanted and rapacious animals such as slugs, gypsy moths, and tent caterpillars.

Actually, up to ninety percent of the toad’s diet is pests from the garden, such as sowbugs, earwigs (a.k.a.woodlice), crickets, millipedes, beetles, and predators like centipedes and spiders. Recent, U.S. Team of Agriculture survey estimated that certain adult toad might ingest more than10,000 pest in three months period.

With the possible exemption of Mr. Toad from Toad Hall in 1908, The Wind flow in the Willows, toads neglects to gain the esteem and understanding given to Kermit his kin – including strange popular ale spokes-frogs. Fables bring us reasonable maidens kissing frogs and freeing princes from bad spells; japan considers frogs all the best; the French consider them good eating. But toads are simply just shunned for concern with transmitting warts. Something must be done concerning this irrational Bufonophobia (toads participate in the genus Bufo).

In case you end up strolling through the natural area from spring to mid-summer or listen to a great deal of melodious trilling, you ‘ll accept the idea of the American toad. They already have too much to sing about.

Through the peak reproductive season, from March to July, feminine toads are briskly active in shallow swimming pools laying ropy strings and coils comprising up to 6,000 specific eggs. Immediately after, those eggs will hatch to produce ravenous.

Hoards of pollywogs tadpoles, they can eat larvae of mosquitos until they get onto land as adults.

While not all the large number of offspring from a large number of ponds will make it through, the amounts of toads moving about the region is actually amazing. With so many available, it is not too difficult to encourage some toads to take up home in your back garden, where they’ll immediately add your most troublesome pests with their cuisine.

To produce your own toad habitat, categorized as toad abodes, you will need to find a wet location on your premises. The shady area in your lawn, perhaps an all-natural major depression that remains soggy most of the time, provides the perfect set up for your toad hall. On the other hand, areas near a downspout or next to the dripping drain from an air conditioner provide a suitably moist environment.

Your toad abode itself permits plenty of creativity, particularly if starting this job with children. I love to recycle old or ruined terracotta pots into habitats. Often, much larger clay pots (nine inches or even more in diameter) left outdoors through the winter will crack in two. By merely turning each half on its aspect and somewhat burying it in the land to provide steadiness, you can create two independent abodes.

Toad in a Artsy Toad House
Toad in a Artsy Toad House

Other damaged or chipped pots can be altered by developing a two-inch-high “entrance” at the very top advantage of the container. Simply rating a semicircular section in the very best of the container and gently touches it out with a hammer. Invert the container, and toad hall is ready! Children can help with an amphibian appearance by decorating the completed container or potshard with bright non-toxic paints: perhaps depicting glass windows, bouquets, dance toads, helpful ladybugs, or other fanciful critters.

Buried Terracotta Flower Pot Toad House
Buried Terracotta Flower Pot Toad House

Make sure to line the within of the toad abode with a few handfuls of leaf litter or leaf mildew from the compost pile. These toads can hunker this fresh organic and natural blanket through the hottest days and nights of summer, developing to feast during the night. For gardeners ready to purchase upscale toad houses, you’ll find so many online sources for real wood, terracotta, and plastic material resin toad abodes.

Some symbolize toadstools with columned ways of entry, ruled over by the toad queen and ruler, while some represent barns or colorful cottages. Perhaps one of the costly appears like inverted clay flowerpot!

These toad options are generally fair-weather affairs, well suited for spring through show up. To encourage larger citizen toad populations, you might like to consider creating a winter palace. Because toads hibernate through the winter; they’ll desire a protected climate where to snooze away before world warms up and food becomes available.

The toad hibernaculum is made out of standard plastic or even clay drainage tile material; drain tube (4-inch diameter). You start with 12 to 14-inches section of pipe or tile, dig a shallow gap in your sheltered, wet garden site and bury the tube on 30-degree viewpoint, so that is only 5 inches at the very top exposed. The entryway has to be 2-3 inches high.

Fill up the bottom half the winter property with sand and fill up the rest with leaf mildew. The toad uses this habitat like any other abode during three conditions and can climb down under leaves and the sand to rest through the wintertime. You can even cover the top of hibernaculum with compost through the winter to provide additional insulation against extremely winter. Clear the top by March to permit both toad and abode to warm-up in the first spring sun.

One final take note: toads, like some of the most beneficial inhabitants in our yards and backyards, are very sensitive to pesticides and other fabricated chemicals. Your likelihood of appealing to toads to a house featuring only garden area, or which is cared for with backyard and garden chemicals, are really low. If you wish to encourage natural pest handlers, you’ll need to give up the pesticides. Small shallow garden ponds will also help attract toads. Mr. Toad thanks a lot you.

Related References