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Creating Microclimates to Facilitate Growth

Many gardeners live in areas where almost anything can grow effortlessly.
Just plant the seeds and water it for a few weeks, and you’ve got a
beautifully lush plant. But if you live in somewhere like Colorado, you’ll
understand what its like to have a slim selection of plants that naturally
grow. It can be quite a challenge to facilitate the growth of a large
variety of plants, especially when the very world you live in seems to be
rooting against you.

Some people solve this problem by loading up their plants with every type
of chemical and fertilizer known to man. This usually works, but to me it
seems kind of unnatural to rely on man made materials to keep your plants
alive. Also, if I’m growing fruits or vegetables, I don’t feel very
comfortable eating something that is entirely composed of chemicals.

A gardening theory that I have relied on in the past to grow many types of
plants is that of creating a “microclimate” for each type of plant. This
is when you regulate the sunlight, shade, moisture, and wind factors for
each separate plant. It sounds like a challenge, and it is. But you can
regulate these factors in such a way that the plant feels just like it is
in the ideal growing conditions. This can be achieved by the use of wind
barriers, shading umbrellas, extra water, or different types or amounts of
compost.

If you’re ready to make an attempt at creating microclimates, you’ll need
to make a detailed plan in advanced. You should start by finding a large
shade providing bush or tree that will grow fast and naturally in your
area. Just look at some undeveloped plots of land and see what is there.
Most likely it grew on its own without any planting or care. This is what
you want to happen. Usually the growing of one plant can bring about the
growing of another more desirable plant.

If you have a fence in your backyard (you would be surprised at how many
people don’t) then you already have a good amount of shade to work with.
You can start the microclimate process using just the shade of the fence,
combined with (perhaps) a screen or large bush to shade your new plant for
the other half of the day that the fence doesn’t take care of. The fence
is also useful for shading against wind for very fragile plants.

Once you have established the shade, be it natural or unnatural, you have
created a slightly less harsh miniature environment. You must remember
this is a gradual process, and find a new plant to put in the shade of the
other one. Now your choices are a little more open. You don’t have to go
with a rugged plant like the one you did before; you can now choose a
plant that survives in cooler weather.

If the plant you are trying to grow next requires more moisture in the air
than your area provides, installing a fountain or small pond can fix this
problem due to the evaporation. You may think you don’t want to waste
water on a pond or fountain, but it’s all going toward the betterment of
your garden. It’s just like the watering process, only indirect. As an
added benefit, usually fountains are quite aesthetically attractive and a
great addition to your garden.

I can’t explain every stage of the process, because everyone’s goals and
setups are slightly different. But to reach your goal, you should do
research on every plant that you would like to have in your garden. Find
out everything you can about the zone that it flourishes in, and ask
yourself how you can emulate that zone within your own backyard. Almost
always you can take control of the environment and recreate whatever you
wish. Usually all it takes is some planning and strategy.

Gardening Gifts for All Occasions

There is nothing nicer than receiving a gift relating to one’s passion. If your loved one’s passion is gardening, then show your thoughtfulness by giving a gift that will be truly appreciated.
There are so many great gardening gifts that the only constraint is your own budget.

If your budget is small, go for things like gloves, kneepads or even a shady hat. A pretty pot (or a watering-can) filled with a small bag of potting mix, a packet of bulbs, some gloves and a small trowel or other tool will be received with delight by most gardeners. There are many hand tools at hardware stores that are reasonably priced.

If you feel that is too ordinary, how about a subscription to a gardening magazine? A tiny bit more expensive perhaps, but it will give twelve full months of delight. A book on gardening is another idea, but make sure your recipient does not already have the one you choose. Books are often heavily discounted at Christmas time, so you may get a bargain.

On the other hand, a pot that contains a flowering plant is usually a welcomed gift. Be sure to choose a plant that is suited to your climate. Sometimes plants are sent from tropical to temperate zones and kept in artificial conditions in the store. These plants will not do well once taken from their environment. Shrub roses are hardy and attractive and grow in many climates. Tulips do best in the cooler climate.

If your budget is strong, a more expensive tool may be appropriate. A pull-trolley is easier to use than a wheelbarrow and, like some electric tools, is still not terribly expensive. Small electric tools such as whipper-snippers can retail for as little as $20.00. Or if your friend has a hose but not a hose reel, then that would be a more useful gift that he would truly appreciate.

Automatic lawn mowers, electric cultivators, hedge trimmers and brush cutters are in the more expensive price range and you are the only one who can decide whether that is an appropriate gift. However, when the recipient realizes you have given a gift that complements his passion, expensive or not, it will certainly become the best gift
your friend has ever received.

Creating a Raised Bed

If your current planting goals involve plants that require good water drainage, I am sure you know how frustrating it is to have a yard that just won’t cooperate. Some plants can handle the excess water that comes about from being in an area that doesn’t drain properly. In fact, it might just cause them to bloom more lushly. However, other plants don’t cope as well, and it will cause them to die a gruesome, bloated death. You should always find out about the drainage required for every plant you buy, and make sure that it won’t conflict with any of the areas you are considering planting it in.

In order to test how much water your designated patch of soil will retain, dig a hole approximately ten inches deep. Fill it with water, and come back in a day when all the water had disappeared. Fill it back up again. If the 2nd hole full of water isn’t gone in 10 hours, your soil has a low saturation point. This means that when water soaks into it, it will stick around for a long time before dissipating. This is unacceptable for almost any plant, and you are going to have to do something to remedy it if you want your plants to survive.

The usual method for improving drainage in your garden is to create a raised bed. This involves creating a border for a small bed, and adding enough soil and compost to it to raise it above the rest of the yard by at least 5 inches. You’ll be amazed at how much your water drainage will be improved by this small modification. If you’re planning to build a raised bed, your prospective area is either on grass or on dirt. For each of these situations, you should build it slightly differently.

If you want to start a raised garden in a non grassy area, you won’t have much trouble. Just find some sort of border to retain the dirt you will be adding. I’ve found that there is nothing that works quite as well as a few two by fours. After you’ve created the wall, you must put in the proper amount soil and steer manure. Depending on how long you plan to wait before planting, you will want to adjust the ratio to allow for any deteriorating that may occur.

If you’re trying to install a raised bed where sod already exists, you will have a slightly more difficult time. You will need to cut the sod around the perimeter of the garden, and flip it over. This may sound simple, but you will need something with a very sharp edge to slice the edges of the sod and get under it. Once you have turned it all upside down, it is best to add a layer of straw to discourage the grass from growing back up. After the layer of straw, simply add all the soil and steer manure that a normal garden would need.

Planting your plants in your new area shouldn’t pose much difficulty. It is essentially the same process as your usual planting session. Just be sure that the roots don’t extent too far into the original ground level. The whole point of creating the raised bed is to keep the roots out of the soil which saturates easily. Having long roots that extend that far completely destroys the point.

Once you have plants in your new bed, you’ll notice an almost immediate improvement. The added soil facilitates better root development. At the same time, evaporation is prevented and decomposition is discouraged. All of these things added together makes for an ideal environment for almost any plant to grow in. So don’t be intimidated by the thought of adjusting the very topography of your yard. It is a simple process as I’m sure you’ve realized, and the long term results are worth every bit of work.

promote your gardening website

Are you thinking of promoting your gardening website online? This could actually pose a little bit of a problem to you. Let’s face it. On the Internet, searching for gardening websites could yield hundreds, or even thousands of results in just one click. Therefore, the possibility of people visiting your website is one in a thousand. Here are six techniques on how to promote your gardening website.

1. Free directories

One very effective tip on how to promote your gardening website is to get listed on free directories online. Visit www.dmoz.com. There are a couple of websites that copy their directory. If you have your site listed, you can get yourself linked on to a lot more websites online.

2. Competitor’s popularity

You always need to check your competitor’s popularity. You need to know where you stand in the market. Having a new gardening website does not have to mean lower online visits or hits than other gardening websites around. It is just a matter of knowing your competitors by simply searching them out on Google. Also try checking www.linkpopularity.com. This website can help you determine how popular your website is compared to others. Aside from that, it can also help you get hooked up on many different sites you can find.

3. Quality and Reliable Links

One-tenth of your visitors may have possibly found your gardening website through the use of a search engine. The key here is to find quality links that will point to your website. Choose quality websites with a great number of customers. You could ace your gardening website promotion in no time at all. Related gardening websites will help you rank well in search engines for the reason that you have a targeted audience.

4. Competitors Visitors

Obviously, this is a very big factor in promoting your gardening website. In www.alexa.com, you may see a lot of information regarding your competitors’ websites, specifically their visitors and where they live, how many times they visit and the other gardening websites they go to.

5. Signature

Why not get your own signature for your email? Most people often ignore this idea. But if users come across your signature file, it could boost your “visit” or “hit probability”. It can also show users that you are a website owner who is serious in publishing your site.

Strategy is the key in promoting your gardening website. Do not be content on being just one of those gardening websites scattered around. You can always strive to be one of the most visited sites on the Internet.

Choosing and Planting Perennials

If you’ve been growing a vegetable garden for a while, you might be feeling slightly disgruntled at how plain it is to look at. I too began my gardening career with a vegetable garden, but I decided that it wasn’t quite as pleasing to look at as I would have liked. I heard from a friend that the use of perennial flowers could be a great way to liven up my garden without adding any extra work for me.

Perennial flowers are strong, local flowers that come back every year without having to replant or do any extra work. During their off seasons, the flowers and stems die back and you can hardly even tell the plant is there (rather than just dying and looking like hideous brown clumps in your garden). When it’s time to bloom, entirely new flowers shoot up where the old ones were.

Before deciding whether to put in perennials or not, you need to make sure that your soil has proper drainage. If the water stays saturated for long periods of time, you should build a raised bed. To test, dig a hole and fill it with water. Wait a day, and then fill it with water again. All traces of water should be gone within 10 hours. If the hole isn’t completely dry, you will need to build a raised bed.

Picking your perennials can be a complicated process. The goal should be to have them flowering as much as possible during the year, so you should create an outline of the year. Research the different types of flower you want, and create a timeline of flowering. If you plan it right, you can have a different type of flower blooming at any point in the year. Getting just the right mixture of seeds can give your yard a constantly changing array of colors.

When you go to buy the seeds from your local florist or nursery, you might be able to find a custom seed mixture for your area. This takes the really tough research part out of the job. Usually these blends are optimized for the local climate, and do great jobs of having flowers always grow in your yard. If one of these isn’t available, you can ask the employees what they think would be a good mixture. They should be happy to help you put something together which will be optimal for whatever you desire.

You should definitely use mulch when planting perennials. This will reduce the overall amount of work you have to do, by reducing the amount of weeds and increasing the water retention. Bark or pine needles work great, I have found, and depending on the rest of your yard you might have them on hand at no charge. As for fertilizer, you should use it sparingly once your plants start to come to life.

When you actually go to plant the seeds, you should put them in small, separate clumps according to the directions. This is because they tend to spread out, and if you have too many too close together then they will end up doing nothing but choking each other out. As you plant them, throw in a little bit of extremely weak fertilizer. In no time at all you should start to see flowers blooming up.

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