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  

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Backyard Gardening Approaches

Home gardens can be as elaborate or as carefree as you would like them to be. Some can survive in blend into the natural landscape of your area or dress up a garden to prove a sense of awe and wonder. Here are a few gardening approaches to get your creative juices flowing.

Xeriscaping

To turn your garden from boring to extraordinary and self-maintaining is to xeriscape. Xeriscaping means to use native and water-wise plants and in arid areas or during times when rainfall is limited, or water restrictions are in force. Xeriscaping plants make gardening easier, once established, because Xeriscaping plants are adapted to the local area and or are more drought resistant because they need less water to provide lush flowers and foliage. Most Xeriscaping plants are perennials, so, they will continue to flourish with minimal care for several years without having to replant.

Formal Gardens

Formal gardens convey a sense of artistry, symmetry, and power over the environment. Formal gardens use of carefully trimmed hedges and symmetrical layouts and elegant pathways. Formal gardens were popularized during Elizabethan times. Formal gardens require considerable work, but the overall effect can be visually spectacular.

Woodland Garden

Woodland gardens use plants that can tolerate shade, and partial sunlight of being undergrowth or grow when desidius trees have lost there leaves in the fall, winter, and early spring. The concept is to mimic and enhance the characteristics of the forest floor and encourage wildlife. Embankments, walkways, streams, and ponds can be augmented by adding or rearranging stone or wood, fencing, bridges, mulch, to accentuate desired areas. The idea is to work with space and terrain and make a Woodland Garden to convey a sense belonging to place and time.

Container Gardens

If your space is minimal, you can still create spectacular visuals with a container garden. Container gardens can be useful in an urban setting, or a small backyard, courtyard, balcony, or patio. Container gardens can con variety the differing colors, sizes, and shapes of containers creating a kaleidoscope of textures and colors. Container gardens can create stunning visuals on very little space, especially, when potential vertical garden opportunities have been incorporated.

Wildflower Gardens

Wildflower gardens can create a wonderfully natural wash of color across the seasons with minimal care in addition to providing food for the native species in your area. Wildflower gardens recreate the mix of flowering plants one might find in a natural field or meadow, rather than the classic, highly groomed, pure green grass lawn. Sowing wildflower seeds can be as simple as just casting handfuls of wildflower seeds around your garden area or in small prepared patches within the existing lawn or garden. You may also want to consider planting some within easy reach of your walkways, in case you get the urge to pick a few to put in a vase in the house. Wildflower gardens will attract bees, birds, and butterflies, to entertain and add activity to your yards and garden.

Lots of money is not required to get started creating your own extraordinary garden spaces. Mostly creating an inspiring garden space requires some creativity, research, planning, and tender loving care (TLC). If in doubt on how to get started, you can always contact your local agricultural extension office of guidance and literature to help you along the way.

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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

Rain and snow in your landscaping

Do Your Landscape Reseach

As you consider landscaping your yard, keep in mind that rain and snow are factors for the success of your plan. That means you must follow a careful plan to achieve the best result. You will need to conduct thorough research on landscaping, including finding relevant books on the subject in the library. The success of your research will point you in the right direction about yard landscaping without destroying your yard. The research will also give helpful ideas and concepts which can be combined to improve the appearance and quality of your yard.

Find Precipitation And Drainage Patterns

When implementing your yard landscaping, proper attention should be given to the impact of rain, snow, and drainage. If in the winter you discover your yard is muddy or you are experiencing pool of water across the garden, perhaps you need proper drainage. While it is okay to handle your landscaping as a DIY project; it will be helpful to invite a professional to look at your drainage. In this regard, the expert can do a better job and make your effort at landscaping more rewarding.

Understanding Your Local Weather Patterns

If your yard landscaping is adequately set up, you can maximize the rain resources for the benefits of your plant without ruining your yard. In this way, the rainwater will feed your plant and trees and will not cause puddles that may make your yard flooded while it rains. When you have adequate information about widespread rainfall including it levels and timing, it will help you to plan for the success of your landscaping. Also, this information will help you to make landscaping survival plan for summer.

The Need for Snow in Colder Climates

You also need snow for successful yard landscaping. While it is cold and icy, the melting snow will help to water your garden, and the ice will warm up the soil to sustain the sleeping plants and keep them alive. In the spring, the plant bulbs will crack open and spring back to life giving your garden lushly beauty.

PRECIPITATION Distribution and Collection

Therefore, the proper distribution of rainwater across your yard is vital to the success of your planned landscaping project. You can cross check this when it rains by going around the yard to note the flow of the water and also where it collects into puddles. Use the information you gathered to plan your landscaping project. Even when you have to call in a professional to work on your drainage, the facts gathered would be useful for them to know what to do to plan the right water movement for you.

Related References

An Introduction to Edible Landscaping

Freshly  Mulched Landscape With Rosemary, Roses And A Variety Of Other Plants
Freshly Mulched Landscape With Rosemary, Roses And A Variety Of Other Plants

Just as the name suggests, ‘edible landscaping’ is a phrase that describes the process of filling a residential landscape with herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Rather than planting ornamentals, the goal is to introduce edible options and then enjoy them on your dining table.

As long as a plant produces food, it has a place in an edible landscape. However, this doesn’t mean completely wiping the existing garden that you’ve worked so hard to create. For many, they choose to incorporate food-producing plants into their current space, and this can include berry bushes, herbs, vegetables, nut trees, and edible flowers. Whether you choose a 50/50 strategy, a full edible landscape, or even 80/20 towards edible plants, this is entirely up to you!

Why Choose Edibles?

Now we know what an edible landscape entails, why should you consider it for your garden or yard? In truth, there are many reasons (aside from the fact your whole family can enjoy home-grown fruits and vegetables, of course!).

While some people like to save money on grocery bills, others want to be in control of what they’re eating rather than taking a risk with purchased products (with regards to herbicides and pesticides). Elsewhere, you might want to grow foods you can’t get in local stores or offer some food options for those days when you can’t get to the shops.

Finally, we shouldn’t ignore those who want to get outside and connect with nature once more. Whether with kids or alone, creating an edible landscape can be great fun.

Landscaping with Edibles

The best locations to start an edible landscape have the following;

• At least six hours of sunlight
• Well-drained soil

Rather than making grand plans and digging up the whole garden, we recommend starting with straight substitutions. If you planned to introduce chrysanthemums, for example, why not replace them with edible bachelor’s buttons? Eventually, fruit trees will replace shade trees and your edible landscape will start to take shape. Fortunately, the variety of shapes and sizes of edible plants are much the same as ornamental plants so the transition can be rather simple (regardless of the space you have available!).

Are Edible Landscapes Hard Work?

Rosemary and Sunflowers in a Shallow Raised Bead
Rosemary and Sunflowers in a Shallow Raised Bead

Before we finish this brief guide with some fantastic ideas, you may be wondering whether an edible landscape is lots of hassle. If so, you should be aware that it will need a little more attention than ornamental landscapes. For example, the plants may need pest management, more water, pruning, and fertilization.

The hours you invest in an edible landscape will be repaid with the fresh, natural foods you’ll have available. What’s more, it can be seen as an investment because the cost of groceries should reduce.

Edible Landscaping Ideas

As long as you consider edible landscaping a hobby rather than a chore, and you’re willing to start small, you’ll soon grow attached to the plants. As you’re about to discover, the edible landscaping world is vast, so we encourage you to continue your research even after our ideas here!

  • Plant perennial herbs like rosemary, mexican oregano, mexican tarragon, mints, chives, and bay
  • Consider edible flower for salads such as borage, nasturtium, calendula, and violas
  • Introduce a full spectrum of colors with peppers
  • Fill a planter with annual herbs
  • Build a grape alcove
  • Plant fruit trees for fruit, flowers and shade
  • Fill hanging baskets or window boxes with cherry tomatoes
  • Fill a flower bed with radishes and lettuce
  • Decorate fences with pole beans, small vining pumpkins, cumbers or melons, Malabar Spinach, and don’t forget grapes

As an insight into the sheer number of options you have, our favorites include lemon thyme, blueberries, chives, apricots, rosemary, red currant, sweet woodruff, elderberry, gooseberry, garlic, and marjoram!

Related References

A Guide To Protecting the Soil in a Permaculture Garden

Permaculture Erosion Protection
Permaculture Erosion Protection

It is important for all gardeners to remember that the soil is one of nature’s most precious resources. We rely on the soil in our gardens in order to grow food. Without the soil ecosystem, plants simply would not be able to survive – and neither would we. This guide to protecting the soil in a permaculture garden will help you ensure that the soil is safeguarded now and for the future.

Protecting Soil Through Planting

One of the main ways that we, as gardeners, can protect the soil is through making the right planting choices. There are several different ways in which plants can help to protect the soil. These include:

  • Stabilizing slopes and loose soil with their roots.
  • Preventing water run-off and erosion.
  • Encouraging the formation of beneficial bacterial and/or fungal networks below the soil.
  • Providing biomass (leaves & other organic matter) which improve soil structure and nutritional content.
  • Creating shade or ground cover to reduce moisture loss from the soil.

Protecting Soil Through Organic, ‘No Dig/ No Till’ Gardening

In addition to taking care to make the right planting choices for a given location, gardeners can also make sure that the soil in their gardens is protected by choosing to avoid damaging gardening practices.

In organic gardens, no pesticides or herbicides are used. Rather, natural methods such as companion planting are used to retain and good balance and keep pest numbers down. By keeping the soil ecosystem free from pollutants that can damage it, organic gardeners help to maintain good soil health.

In addition, many permaculture gardens operate a ‘no dig/ no till’ system. Rather than digging in organic matter and disrupting the fragile soil ecosystem, permaculture gardeners disturb the soil as little as possible. Instead of digging in fertilising material/ organic matter, permaculture gardeners lay materials on top of the soil.

Protecting Soil Through Mulching

In a no dig garden, the main way to add nutrients to the soil is through mulching. Mulching is simply the practice of adding organic matter, compost or well-rotted manure onto the soil surface (also known as top-dressing). When the soil ecosystem is left undisturbed, the biota contained within the soil are able to do their job. Over time, they will draw the nutrients down into the topsoil and incorporate the material for you so there is no need to dig and disrupt the processes at work below.

In a forest garden, much of the work is done for you as a natural mulch will begin to form below your trees and shrubs, as deciduous trees and other plants drop their leaves. Organic material from the forest garden can be simply chopped and dropped where it stands to build up the ‘forest floor’.

The problem with many modern farming and gardening practices is that they neglect or even actively do harm to the soil. In a permaculture garden, protecting and enhancing the soil should always be a top priority.

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