Category Archives: Gardening

What is hydroponics gardening

World population reached its first billion in 1830. By 1930, it doubled to two billion. It reached an unexpected 3 billion just 60 years after that. And in 2002, world population more than doubled at 6.27 billion. On the same year, the United Nations Population Fund projected that global population will reach 9.2 billion by 2050. Given the rate at which population increases across the world, deforestation and scarcity of food are two risks we all face. Great minds of today propose that we take part in preventing them through hydroponics gardening and vertical farming.

The world’s continuing population increase only means one thing – there are more mouths to feed with each passing day. Because of this, the world’s demand for food increases as well. But our current food supply can’t meet this demand and agricultural lands will have to continue expanding horizontally. Horizontal expansion of agricultural lands is only one problem of the ever increasing global population. Eventually, residential, industrial, and commercial structures will have to be built as well to meet everyone’s need for homes, jobs, and commodities. Deforestation and the extinction of animals and non-agricultural plant life are terrible consequences of these, expected to take place unless we do something about them.

A common denominator across all these problems is plant life. From an agricultural perspective, plants can help sustain the world’s demand for food supply. Environmentally, they constitute of forests and contribute to the delay of global warming. With hydroponics gardening and vertical farming, underlying dilemmas can be addressed.

Hydroponics gardening is a method of planting wherein soil is no longer used. Instead of placing plants in soil for watering, they are instead placed on gravel, coconut husk, perlite, mineral wool, or any other inert substance. Minerals and nutrients are artificially introduced into water and then allowed for absorption through inert substances. It was first discovered in 18th century. Research showed that minerals and nutrients can be absorbed by plants directly from water.

Since any land-grown plant can grow with general hydroponics gardening, it is part of the plans to push through vertical farming. Vertical farming is a strategy wherein instead of expanding farms horizontally to take up more land space, farms will be built upwards in skyscrapers. As proposed, vertical farming could help increase land availability for the world’s growing population. Moreover, it could help stop deforestation since the need for horizontal land expansion will be decreased significantly.

How To Plant Your Grass Seed The Right Way

Planting grass seed and getting it to grow can either be one of those things that make people go crazy because they can not get it to grow for the lifer of them or they can get it to grow like wildfire. If you are in the last group then congratulations you are one of the few people who have a natural knack for getting things to grow or otherwise known as having a green thumb. If you are in the first group then welcome to the rest of the word who were not born with innate ability to grow things. However do not fret though because growing grass seed is fairly simple and all that you need is a couple materials and some time. The materials that you are going to need are an aerator or hard rake, grass seed, seed starter fertilizer, spreader, water hose and water.

To get started you need to decide what kind of grass that it is that your yard is made up of. If it is green all year long and it gets cold every winter then more than likely you have either a fescue blend or bluegrass mix or one that has both of the types of grass included. You will want to get select a grass seed that is the same or as near to the same as your existing grass in your lawn. If you do not know or cannot find out then it is best just to go with a blended fescue mix.

Once you have your seed either aerate or use a hard rake all over your lawn to give the seed a good bed to sit on. You will want to go over your lawn with either the aerator or the hard rake as much as possible to give it a really good seedbed. Doing this will also allow for your lawn to get a increase in nutrients, air and water to the grasses root layer.

Once you have aerated your lawn spread the seed at a rate of 5 – 7 lbs. of seed per 1000 square feet. There should be a spreader setting on the seed bag that will tell you about the setting to put the spreader on for spreading seed.

Once the seed is down now spread the fertilizer at the rate that it says on the fertilizer bag. Make sure that when you are using the spreader that you do turn off the spreader when you are turning around so that you do not put large clumps of fertilizer on the lawn.

Now that you have spread the seed and the fertilizer use the water hose or sprinklers or whatever way of watering your lawn that you have to give the grass seed a good soak to ensure that there is good ground contact and that the seed will get the moisture that it needs to germinate.

Now all that you have to do is water your grass for a out 20 minutes each day until you see it get around 3 inches. At this point you can then cut back on the watering and begin cutting your grass.

Jason is the editor of both the Art Of Growing a gardening site and Georgia Lawn which specializes in Atlanta weed control.

BloomBoss UFO 90 Watt Grow Light Review

Since NASA started playing with LED technology in the early 80’s, plant enthusiasts around the world have been awaiting the day that this technology would finally be viable for use. Whether we are there or not is a subject of debate, but most plant experts are slowly warming to LED growing lights technology. One of the more popular starter kits out there is the BloomBoss 90 Watt LED UFO Grow light (yes that is a mouthful). Let’s review this light by taking a look at some of its advantages. Let’s also take a look at how to best use this BloomBoss UFO light.

Advantages of BloomBoss 90W Grow Light

Developing a product that saves the environment and saves money is the way to success in today’s business world. At first it was believed that providing both environmentally and economically healthy products was impossible (it was either one or the other). However, with some effort, companies are finding that they can provide both. The BloomBoss UFO Grow Light is a perfect example.

Initially this light costs more than traditional growing lights (quite a bit more at that). However, over time the energy savings from this light is quite phenomenal. Some say that you can save over 80 percent on energy costs. This might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the plant experts agree that LED lights provide quite a bit of savings on energy costs (in many cases enough to more than make up for the initial costs).

Saving energy means helping the environment. The BloomBoss LED light leaves a much smaller environmental footprint than traditional growing lights. This means you can have more money in your pocket and feel good about doing your part to keep the earth healthy.

How to Use the BloomBoss 90W UFO

The makers of the product recommend you hang the light anywhere from 6 to 24 inches away from your precious plants. That’s quite a wide range! We’d recommend you go about half way (around 15 inches away). Keep in mind that you might want to put the light a little closer when your plants are just seedlings. Seedlings need deeper light penetration. Gradually move the light away as your plant grows. If you want your plant to grow wide, then move the light farther away. If you want your plant to grow thick, then keep the light close. Manufactuer 6 to 24. We would say around 13. Closer for vegging, farther for flowering

Conclusion

The BloomBoss UFO is a great starter light for those who want to get their feet wet with LED technology. It’s a fun little light that will allow you to grow plants from start to end inside your house without the use of the sun (a miracle in our humble opinion). Nothing wrong with growing your plants, saving money, and saving the environment.

Composting Basics

Are you interested in living a more simple lifestyle?  Are you interested in learning about “going green”?  Are you interested in creating your own fertilizer and mulch?  And are you interested in saving a lot of money?   If you have answered yes to all of these questions, you are a person who is interested in getting yourself off the grid to live a more independent and basic life.

One way of “living off grid” is to learn about composting.  There are many methods of composting.  All of them are relatively simple and inexpensive.  But what exactly is compost and what it is used for?  Compost is a dark, nutrient rich material that is comprised of broken down garden/yard debris, kitchen scraps, and other organic materials.  many gardeners call compost “black gold”, because it is so rich in minerals that it is a prime fertilizer for garden beds, potted plants, and landscaping in general.  Any gardener can create his own compost by combining the above mentioned materials in a simple bin or container along with some water.  But is it really that simple?  The answer is a resounding, YES!

Photo By: Bruce (http://www.flickr.com/photos/superfantastic/4123518950/)

So, how to make compost

Step 1 – Decide a location for your compost bin/pile.  Most compost bins are wooden or wired in area that holds materials securely in a pile.  If you do further research into using worms for composting, you will definitely want a wooden box or a shallow metal or plastic basin to hold your compost materials.

Step 2 – After deciding on a location, you’ll need to figure a size of your compost pile.  This is going to depend on a few factors.  First, how much organic scrap material does your household produce in a week to put into your compost pile?  Typical home composts are about 3 foot by 3 foot and are no more than 18 inches deep.  You want to make sure your pile doesn’t get much taller than this so the pile can have proper air circulation.  Air will naturally penetrate the pile up to 20 inches.  This will help reduce odor and your chances of attracting bugs and other critters to your compost.  For smaller piles I recommend wire fencing on the outside of the pile so you have easy access through the top to turn your pile.  For larger piles you can create a box using wooden pallets as the side walls and a fifth one for the top.  The slats in the pallets allow for air flow and the lid can still be removed to help you maintain your compost pile.

Step 3 – Once you have a location, size, and basic structure, you are ready to start adding materials to the pile itself.  Every compost pile is made of green materials which add nitrogen (non greasy kitchen scraps such as fruit cores and peels, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, grass clippings, weeds, and barnyard animal manure – not cats and dogs), brown materials which add carbon (shredded paper, twigs, small branches, and straw), and moisture.   Keeping your compost pile watered so it is damp but not sopping wet is key.  If it is too dry the materials will not break down.  If it is too wet it will start to smell and become slimy.

Step 4 – Wait.   Time will do most of the work.  Although you do have to check the pile weekly to make sure it is moist.  Also, you will want to rotate the pile from the outside in once a week or so.  This will help the materials to break down more evenly.

Step 5 – Harvest your compost and use it around your home.  Various uses are to fertilize indoor and outdoor herb gardens.  Use as a top fertilizer for any indoor or outdoor potted plants.  Use instead of expensive store bought mulches and fertilizers for your larger flower beds or gardens.  For all potted plants, you will only need about 1/2-1 inch of compost on top of your potting soil to keep your plants happy and growing all season.

Happy gardening!

The Garden Cart: An Indispensable Garden Accessory

One of the most popular pastimes in spring, summer and fall is gardening. Done by individuals of every age and background, gardening can be any number of things: Relaxing; utilitarian; a means of doing moderate exercise; or just a way of getting outside and enjoying the weather. All one needs to start a garden is a patch of land, some seeds, and the patience to see the project through. Certain gardening accessories also help to make the activity easier. One such accessory is a garden cart.

Garden wagons and carts come in every imaginable variety, and like the act of gardening itself, can serve multiple purposes. You may prefer a purely useful tool to assist in the transporting of produce, watering cans and other gardening accessories, or you may wish it to serve a primarily decorative purpose.  Here are some of the garden cart options that you may wish to consider.

Photo By: Lisamarie Babik

The first type, mentioned above, is the one that is purely functional. This cart is rugged, able to withstand considerable wear and tear, and resistant to extremes in weather conditions. Most often this type of wagon will be made of a durable material such as metal, or a combination of metal and wood. It is also possible to find rugged carts made of durable plastic materials. These types of carts are especially useful in situations where heavy or bulky items must be transported. Using this tool can not only save time; but also considerable strain and exertion caused by manually transporting heavy or bulky materials.

The second type of wagon is primarily decorative in function. Although this cart may be used to transport materials, it will also be aesthetically pleasing, and a visual feature of the garden itself. Look for carts made with wrought iron detailing and wood slats. To make a permanent installation within the garden, consider planting flowers or vegetables directly in the cart.

Using Garden Edging in your Vegetable Garden

A garden can be both beautiful and useful. Just because you are starting  vegetable gardening doesn’t mean your garden can’t be attractive to the eyes. Using garden edging is a great way to add beauty and a unique style to your vegetable garden.

Garden edging is simply working on the edge of your garden bed. Instead of leaving it as the soil meets the grass, there are a wide variety of ways you can make the transition from soil to grass smoother. A barrier that goes into the ground will help keep the weeds out of your garden and away from your vegetable plants. Plastic edging should work well for this and is a good starter for other edging as well.

Photo By: Steve Cornelius

Stones make great edging materials. You can find stones or large rocks in your yard, or you can purchase stones from your local garden store. Placing the stones side by side makes a pretty border that is also natural looking. Bricks or broken stones or concrete can be used in a similar manner. Feel free to mix and match materials as well.

Flowers or other plants can be used as edging, too. Surround your vegetable plants with short growing, dense plants or flowers. Try plants that stay put and try to create straight lines. You can be unique in how the plants grow, possibly making the boarder larger and smaller in different parts, but keep the edge clean will ensure that the edging is serving its purpose and doesn’t look disheveled.

In addition to plants and rocks, you can use recycled materials or other unique ideas you have. Mix and match as well, but try not to make the garden boarder overwhelming. Keeping it simple with plastic edging is fine too if you are worried the garden will look too busy or make it difficult to harvest or vegetables.

Use An Aerator And A Thatching Rake To Improve Your Lawn

There are two machines that can help in achieving a fresh looking and green lawn. These are the aerator and the dethatcher. These machines perform different functions and serve different purposes. Their common ground however is that they will help your  lawn become more healthy and drought resistant.

An aerator is a lawn care machine. The process of lawn aeration involves plugging holes into the compacted soil underneath the lawn. With this process, the holes that are created allow water and fertilizer nutrients to reach down to the roots. Likewise, it allows increased oxygen supply. During aeration, the amount of carbon dioxide deposited in the lawn is also released. In simple terms, the process of aeration allows the lawn to breath, something which every healthy looking lawn needs to do in order to look fresh and green.

On the other hand, a dethatcher is a machine that removes thatch in the lawn. Thatch is composed of stems, crowns, and rhizomes of dead turf. Dethatching is the process of removing thatch layers, with the use of a thatching rake, that obstruct the passage of water and fertilizer nutrients down the grass roots. When thatch layers are removed, both the soil and the grass can breathe.

According to some experts, it is best to do your dethatching first and then follow it with aeration. In that way, the thatch is already removed before the holes are made in the lawn. By following this sequence, the lawn should never look messy.  Aeration is best done during the spring time while dethatching can be done when the thatch layer is more than 1 inch thick. But as mentioned earlier, it is best to dethatch first then proceed with aeration for better results. Definitely, with these two machines working together, you will have a beautiful, green and fresh looking lawn.

DIY Plumbing Project: Building a Slow Drip Line

While irrigation sprinkler systems can save you the time and effort needed to maintain your garden or landscaping, Champs Houston Plumbing experts say that a slow drip line offers a more economical alternative.  Unlike water sprinkler systems that can end up consuming a lot of water, a slow drip line supplies the water directly to the plant roots, minimizing evaporation and water loss.  It is also said to reduce weed problems and fungal plant diseases.  In this post, Champs Dallas Plumbing experts teach you how you can build a slow drip line for your garden using inexpensive materials available at most home improvement stores.

  1. Plot the area where the slow drip line will be installed.  Vegetable gardens, landscape plantings and flowerbeds are ideal areas for putting in a slow drip line.
  2. Unless you are planning to set aside an outdoor faucet solely for the purpose of your slow drip line supply, attach a Y-shaped valve hosepipe connector to the outdoor nozzle.
  3. Design the layout of your slow drip line depending on the way that your plants are arranged.  Draw a rough sketch indicating the position of specific plants you want to irrigate as well as their exact distance from each other.  In a slow drip line, each plant will be assigned a sprinkler of its own.  Certain plants that require more water should get two sprinklers.
  4. Purchase and gather all of the materials required to assemble and install your drip system.  You will be needing a battery-operated timer capable of regulating automated watering times, a pressure regulator or a backflow valve to prevent damage to your household plumbing.  Hose adapters could make it easier for you to make connections but these are largely optional.
  5. Assemble the slow drip line by connecting the parts in the following sequence: Y-shaped pipe, timer, pressure regulator, hose adapter, garden hosepipe, and hose-thread adapter.
  6. If you already have an existing sprinkler system installed, you can convert it into a drip irrigation system by plugging all of the spray heads on a circuit except one on which you will be connecting a drip circuit.

What Are Lawn Grubs? How Do They Damage My Lawn?

Literally, grubs in lawn are pests. Because a lawn grub is typically white-colored, it is also called white grub. Lawn grubs are said to be beetles larvae with 6 small legs found just near their heads.

Before doing any damage control, you need to detect the presence of grubs in your lawn. When you see numerous little holes in your area, such is already a good indication especially when there are birds apparently looking for the grubs. By then, you are sure to find lawn grubs right below the soil surface. Aside from that, when you notice a portion of your lawn that appears very dry with unhealthy and fading grasses, that portion must have high concentration of grubs.

Although the damaging effect of lawn grubs is a little lower, it may become significant however in some cases. In your lawn area, the thatch layer is where you can find white grubs enjoying the protection of the spongy layer of the soil. The grass root level of your lawn is the common feeding source of these beetle larvae. Even the roots of your garden plants are not spared by their harmful effects. The Japanese beetle and the European chafer are the two kinds of white grubs that can greatly damage your lawn. If there are at least 5 grubs living within the thatch layer per square foot of your lawn, they are already capable of destroying the root system of such identified area, and eventually your lawn will die. This damage will likely be aggravated with the presence of many cutworms in your area.

Larger grubs are harder to eradicate hence, repeated application of insecticides is necessary. Apart from manually picking up the grubs during weeding process, regular performance of core aeration is another good option. To effectively avoid beetles larvae, you better keep your lawn a lot healthier.

All About Lawn Grubs And Lawn Repair

When you hear the words “beetle larvae”, the very first thing that will come into your mind are lawn grubs. The most damaging among them, especially during summer season, is the so-called Japanese beetle, a white grub bearing 6 little legs. In terms of notoriety, count in also the June beetle, Asiatic beetle, and the equally harmful masked chaffers.

Although both white grubs and cutworms are found into the thatch layer of your lawn, these two are not the same. On one hand, white grubs or lawn grubs are white beetle larvae measuring ½ inch to 1 inch long. On the other hand, cutworms are actually moth larvae which measure 1 inch to 2 inches.

Photo By: Shutter Mania

In doing your lawn repair, you have to consider different seasons by which grubs are undergoing some sort of life cycle. During spring time, beetle larvae are vigorously feeding. When the summer time comes, they developed into pupae, and they eventually emerge into beetles. The fall season tends to drive the grubs to go deeper beneath the soil surface in order to stay away from freezing. When the spring comes again, they will also come out again.

The most effective approach against white grubs is to keep your lawn greener and continually develop a strong root system. This entails feeding and regular core aeration using an effective aerator. Also, you will notice that in times of weeding operation, the white grubs are exposed. Hence, when you prepare your land area, you can manually remove them to reduce their damaging effects.

To enhance your damage control, you can use chemical control or insecticide although this is not entirely effective unless you perform frequent application over your lawn. Don’t forget that treating white grubs during fall is much effective than doing it during spring time. Understand that when they are done with their feeding season, white grubs become larger hence, harder to kill.

A Look at HID Lights for Growing and Alternatives: Incandescent, Fluorescent and LED

People who grow plants indoors have been using HID lights for growing for many years. An issue with these grow lights is that they are not very energy efficient. There exist other options that can be just as effective, and don’t consume as much energy. Incandescent, Fluorescent, and LED grow lights are other choices you have, but you should know what they’re all about first.

LED Grow Lights

The first thing to say about LED grow lights is that they have a hyped reputation. But if you acquire the right product, after proper research, they have great potential. These grow lights are effective, because every amount of light produced, across different spectra, is used by plants for photosynthesis. Also, they consume the least energy of all lighting options, and they can last up to 100 thousand hours.

Fluorescent Grow Lights

If you buy these bulbs, you should look for them as T5 fluorescent grow lights. They can be easily confused with T12 bulbs, which are those commonly used in offices. Because they have high brightness levels (75 to 90 lumen per watt), they can grow healthy plants. Often they are used to grow seedlings and low-light plants, and they consume little electricity as well.

Compact fluorescent grow lights are a smaller version of T5 bulbs. They are more effective if used in smaller spaces, but they perform as good as their larger counterpart. Expect to find more information on fluorescent bulbs than LED, because they’re more popular and have been used for a longer period of time.

Incandescent Grow Lights

Incandescent bulbs provide a low quality lighting setting for plants. They are not fit to grow healthy plants, because their brightness level is so low it can maybe be used as supplemental lighting. They are the least expensive of all grow lights, but they’re also the least energy efficient.

We recommend looking into fluorescent grow lights if you’re just starting with indoor growing. There is far more information on how to use them than LED grow lights. Besides, you should only consider LED if you’re willing to experiment, research and tweak to get optimum results. There is a lot of promise in LED grow lights, but also more work to be done on the side of the user.

Why Choose an LED Grow Light for Your Plants?

Getting a LED grow light is the first thing to be considered while setting up to grow plants or hydroponic gardens indoors. It is very difficult to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs all the year around due to the natural inconsistency of outdoor lighting, and grow lights provide a controllable alternative which is both cost-effective as well as energy efficient.

Why LED lights?

Besides being consistent, the biggest benefit of LED lighting over conventional lighting is its efficiency. In terms of lumen output, a 400 watt HID light may show better score compared to a 300 watt LED grow light. But only brightness which can be perceived by human eye is measured by lumens. However, in reality, plants respond to ranges of light which are beyond our calculations and imaginations. According to studies, about 80 percent of the brightness of an HID light and subsequently the electricity used and the light emitted is nothing but a waste. Moreover, these systems require cooling fans as a function of the heat given off and may even lead to burning of the plant or excessive evaporation.

Therefore, though the full spectrum LED grow lights may have lower score in terms of lumens and may not seem as bright but they are very effective for enhancing faster growth, greater yields and fuller blossoms than an HID grow light of equal cost.

It is a bit costly initially to have LED grow lights than having HID lights or natural lighting but the cost of the grow light is worth the purchase in the long run. This is due to the fact that they are much better for the growth of your plants resulting in increased output and better productivity. Besides this, the grow lights help to save as much as 20 percent to 30 percent of the electricity use in the process.

An Introduction to Bonsai Trees

Japanese gardeners have practised the art of bonsai over centuries, and in the last hundred years an interest in bonsai has spread through the Western world as well. The bonsai gardener plants a tree or shrub, tends it and trains it with cutting and wires so that it grows to the gardener’s preferred shape in a miniature size.

In recent years, bonsai gardening has also been taken up in the western world by hobbyists who share an interest in Japanese culture, landscape design or Japanese garden design.

Some of the hardier varieties of bonsai tree may be planted outside in the garden, directly in the soil. Other, more delicate, species require more care and protection from the elements. For this reason, bonsai trees are often grown in

Photo By: Johann Dréo

pots, so that they can be moved away from extreme temperatures, or into better light and shade conditions. For example, gardeners may move them indoors in the winter to protect them from frost. The pot itself provides another opportunity for artistic design, and may be chosen to harmonize with the appearance of the tree, or to contribute to the appearance of the miniature landscape.

When choosing which species to cultivate, the Chinese elm and Japanese maple are both good choices for beginners. You can either look for ready grown bonsai trees for sale online or in your local nursery, or grow one from seed with one of the bonsai growing kits available on the market. You’ll need a pot and some basic tools to get started, and a kit will typically include these, along with growing instructions. A well designed bonsai garden can create a sense of peace and wonder, as the gardener’s artistic expression works with nature to create a beautiful landscape in miniature. Who knows, one little bonsai tree could be your first step towards a beautiful Japanese garden!

Lawn Care Advice For Gardening Novices

When it comes to tending to a garden, a little experience and knowledge will definitely help.  However, you don’t need to be expert in order to maintain a beautiful lawn because it only takes a good routine, the right tools, and a lot of enthusiasm in order to achieve lush greenery.

Here is a little bit of lawn care advice for garden novices:

Go Green on Fertilizers
Everyone knows that garden soil needs nutrients which means working to a sensible lawn feeding schedule.  Using natural fertilizers is always a better choice, especially if you want for the garden to stay healthy and the plants green, in a way that’s still friendly to the environment.  First rake the lawn with a spring rake and then add a slow release organic feed and water it in well.

Photo By: RfDuck

Water According to the Weather
Excellent lawn care starts with good watering routine so you have to make it a point to take note of the prevailing weather.  During the summer, it is best to water more often but in smaller increments.  Having a sprinkler system would be very helpful since you would not have to stand in your garden a few times a day just to properly hydrate it. If you are able to afford to do so you could look into a sprinkling system that can be set up with a timer so it is totally automated. Otherwise, even a regular sprinkler system where you have to physically turn the faucet on yourself will be sure to save you quite a bit of time.  You may need to move the sprinklers around from time to time also, as your garden is developed, so it is a good thing to keep tuned into from time to time.

Pay Attention to Weeds and Insects
Another good thing to learn when you have a garden to tend is spotting weeds as well as other pests.  Keep in mind that weeds take nutrients away from the grass which can result in a weak patchy lawn.  Insects can also wreak havoc so it is good to take care of such problem before it gets out of hand.  However, be sure to kill only the pests and not garden friendly insects such as lady bugs and bees.

Having a great lawn is such a joy but it will take some effort in order to achieve this and maintain it.  Being observant and curious would come in handy especially when it comes to dealing with infestation as well as other problems. The best way to maintain your lawn and garden is to do it regularly rather than working on it in bursts whenever time permits. Schedule some time each week or two, or as often as you need to in order to keep it looking great, and stick to your schedule. If you are not personally able to take care of your lawn and garden as often as you would like to or you feel you need to, you may want to look into the possibility of hiring a gardener to come and take care of the more tedious jobs on a scheduled basis. They do cost but it is a matter of weighing up time versus money when it comes to keeping your garden in tip top shape.

How to Grow Chrysanthemum Flowers

The colorful and pleasant flowers known as chrysanthemums are a delight to have in any garden. They happen to be quite easy to grow for flowers of such beauty. Being that their name is so long and difficult to spell, many people refer to them as simply “mums”.

You’ll want to start growing mums in the spring when the temperatures warming up. Start growing Chrysanthemums before April to avoid having the summer heat singe the plants before the flowers appear. To get a head start, start the seeds in a pot or greenhouse inside the house. This way you will be ready to plant the young flowers as soon as the weather permits.

There are two different types of Mum seeds, each of which are better suited to different environments. The Florist mums like average weather with no harsh temperatures. The Hardy mums can handle more extreme weather such as freezing winters. Knowing which type of seed to plant is important if you want to successfully grow chrysanthemums. If you are not sure what would best suit your climate and location you could either ask your local gardening shop what they recommend or simply opt for the more hardy type.

Photo By: Colin

Choosing the right area to grow the Mums is essential. Areas of the garden which have well draining soil are ideal. The soil should be deep and rich. Pull out any and all crabgrass that is present in the garden bed.  If there is too much water in the soil, the roots can rot. When using containers, make sure that they drain well. This is extremely important if you wish to successfully grow them.

Plant the seedlings in rows at 18 inch spacing. The chrysanthemum plant should be able to grow to full size without touching any of the surrounding plant life. New plants should be shaded from harsh sun as to not cause shock–there are several ways to do this, simply choose something that is easy for you to implement and not too costly. Again, if you’re not sure what to do check what others in your area are doing or ask at your local gardening shop. In general, weekly water application should be done. However, extreme temperatures may require the watering frequency to be altered to suit.

When winter comes, it is prudent to protect the plants by covering them with mulch. This will allow them to return next spring without your having to plant new seeds. To enhance the growth every year, pull off any new that you see up until summer time. The chrysanthemum will then grow very rapidly for the remainder of the season.

Garden Composting Tips

Even a novice gardener can make great garden compost with the right recipe and by following a few simple instructions. It can be a bit like cooking – composting is half art, and half science but no great mystery. Just like when a cook needs quality ingredients, successful composting in the home needs the best ingredients too.

Some materials that are great for composting include grass clippings, leaves, plant stalks, hedge trimmings, old potting soil, twigs, vegetable scraps and even things such tea bags and any green household waste. A few things you should avoid using for compost  include, diseased plants, weeds, pet waste, bread and grain, meat or fish parts, dairy products, grease, cooking oil, or oily foods. Most of these will either contaminate the compost or take too long to break down. If you are not sure exactly what does and does not go into a compost take time to research things before going ahead and starting a compost. There are plenty of resources online that can help point you in the right direction. You can also visit your local library if you are unsure of how to go about starting one and receive valuable information on how to proceed.

Photo By: mjmonty

To prepare compost successfully you need clean organic materials, microorganisms, air, water, and a small quantity of nitrogen. The organic material is what you are trying to decompose and the microorganisms are what will break down organic material. These micro organisms include bacteria and are present in soil or manure. The air, nitrogen, and water make up a good environment for the microorganisms to produce your compost. You can add nitrogen to the mixture by using some fertilizer. Air is one ingredient which you can’t have too much of and this is why you hear about turning compost piles or using a compost tumbler. The single most important thing to making good compost is air and of course a little time.

To speed up the composting process shred your organic ingredients finely and keep the mixture moist. Using a specially designed compost bin or tumbler can be a great help especially for the smaller scale composting most of us need. Think a little about what you add to your compost, the ingredients are the key.

Planning ahead will help to make your compost really valuable. It is tempting to simply throw a compost heap together and hope for the best, but you may end up being less than satisfied with the results. Compost is an invaluable help for the home gardener, providing it is built properly. It is worth researching if you know little about it and it is definitely worth taking the time to make sure it is done properly. Your garden will benefit!

Expert Lawn Mowing Colleyville Texas by Landscape Manicurists

When searching for a lawn maintenance company that will be the best choice in caring for your lawn needs be sure to do your research. Knowing exactly which services each company is capable of providing, you will be better able to select the firm that can best serve your needs. Lawn care in the North Texas area is a competitive industry and some providers will be more reliable and efficient than others. Before making your selection, be informed of the questions you will need to ask while gathering information.

Discuss the company’s lawn care regimen with a knowledgeable representative. You will want to know about each service they are capable of providing. Do they offer pet waste removal services? Do they provide seasonal lawn maintenance tasks like regular fertilization and thatch buildup removal? In addition, do they have a company wide standard for grass cutting methods when mowing? Unknowingly cutting grass too short during severe weather can shock your lawn for an entire season and deter healthy growth. Do they provide continuous visual inspection for possible pest contamination and act accordingly?

Lawn service is not just about stopping over to mow once a week.  A service provider that is not knowledgeable about the factors that affect the quality of your lawn can do more damage than good. For quality lawn maintenance in the North Texas areas of Keller Collyville, North Richland Hills, Southlake, Hurst, Euless and the Bedford area, contact the following firm that does lawn mowing Colleyville.

Pricing for lawn services vary greatly but the above company in Colleyville services small lawns of up to 7,000 Sq. Ft. at $26 weekly and $32.00 every other week. This is a very reasonable price point for the quality of their service. You can use the above prices for a general guide when searching for the service that you will choose.

Keep in mind, when determining your needs, that you will want quotes that include numerous tasks. Along with mowing services, you may also need an occasional service for trimming the areas of your yard that may not be included in the weekly mowing price. Also keep in mind that edging may not be included but having the option to include it in your pricing structure may be something that you will be interested in. The final icing on the cake when it comes to lawn maintenance is the timely schedule of edging around curbs, driveways and sidewalks. This is a process that gives the appearance of your property a very nicely groomed, distinct touch; well worth the occasional expense.

Core Lawn Aerator Rentals

Lawns can be very hard to take care of if the right measures aren’t applied in time, before it suffers any damage. There are few lawn owners who know about aeration, a technique which can easily revitalize your lawn and help it grow even larger. The best way to accomplish suitable lawn aeration is to use a special device called a lawn aerator. Below, we have prepared some tips for you that might come in handy when you’ve decided to rent this device.

Whenever you’re trying to rent an aerating device, you should always go for the core lawn aerator, since it is much more advantageous than other similar machines. You must always take a close look at the most important aspects this product feature. Firstly, you should make sure that you’re picking the right brand for your needs. Although searching for bigger brands is more recommended and overall safer, not everyone affords such devices. If you’re just looking to give your lawn a little boost, you’ll get off with a smaller brand, but it is though important to make sure that the product you’re buying is easy to control, especially if you are new to lawn aeration.

The place where you rent the aerator from is also a key aspect which could affect the entire aerating process. Bigger aerator rental stores are the best choices, but you will usually find quite expensive products. Furthermore, some companies might impose you certain insurance policies which will cost you additional money. Smaller shops though feature much better prices, while also allowing you to negotiate with the shop owner, letting you see if you could get a better deal. In case your lawn has suffered serious damage and needs an aeration badly, you should consider lawn aerator rental from a bigger brand store, since they will always have the best equipment around.

It is very important to have a healthy-looking lawn, both for you and your family, lawn aeration being a very effective and effortless way to keep it that way, without paying much money either.

Are LED Grow Lights Any Good?

LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, are becoming more and more popular for helping with our lighting needs. They are proving to be very efficient and long lasting. But one of their greatest qualities is that they generate a very low amount of heat. If a regular halogen light bulb is on for fifteen minutes, there is no way you would try to handle it. However, a LED light, while it still does emit some heat, is no where near as hot as halogen, incandescent, or fluorescent bulbs. And this is one of the reasons why they work great as grow lights.

LED grow light technology is one of the areas that has utilized the low amount of heat generation to a great advantage. With conventional HID grow lights, the gardener had to incorporate all sorts of fans and vent systems to keep the area from becoming over heated from the lights. Remember, halogen light bulbs take the majority of the energy it uses to create heat, the remainder creates light. That creates a lot of heat to displace and made areas using grow lights very specialized.

Photo By: Antonietta Kies

Now, with LED lights and now you don’t have to be an engineer to figure out how to light your plants. No more intricate, extensive equipment like ballasts and high wattage cooling is needed to help your plants grow beyond the actual grow lights. And, with the LED technology, you can have it emit certain wavelengths of color that are most beneficial to the type of plant growth you want. For example, you can get color blends for vegetation cycles, flowering cycles, or general for all stages of growth.

The only caveat is when looking at LED grow lights, don’t go for the cheapest option. Not all LEDs are made the equally. You may pay a little more, but it will be worth it in the long run. Look for 1 to 3 Watt LEDs in your grow lights for maximum performance.

Going Green, Growing Green, Saving Green

Homeowners are finding that doing their own landscaping not only saves them money, but gives them a sense of pride when strolling through their lawns of lush grass. Many are feeling the pinch of our tough economic times and are exchanging vacations for gardening of all sorts. Some are planting large and small gardens alike that support their vegetable needs. Some are even growing and selling vegetables grown in their garden, which helps some make ends meet. Many people are making attempts to grow their grass, flowers and vegetables organically.

Photo By: Julie Gibbons

A lot of people are finding out that using organic methods to grow plants is saving the earth from chemicals that break down nutrients in soil. Beyond saving the earth, growing and eating organic vegetables reduces the risks associated with chemicals used in plant production. While there are health benefits when using organic methods, there are also substantial savings for those choosing to compost scraps for fertilizer and mixing soap for pesticide mixtures.

Many find that compost scraps are adding earthworms to speed up the composting time, some use their worms for personal fishing bait, and others sell them to the public for bait. Compost is a natural fertilizer that has been proven to not only be healthy for plants, it also aids in repairing damaged soil by adding micronutrients and much-needed bacteria back into stripped soil.

Those that are growing gardens also tend to try their luck at growing other plants such as flowers and other types of ornamentals. Having beautiful flowers blooming in raised flower beds surrounding other landscaping plants has a beautiful impact on the overall appearance of a home. One thing many people don’t know when they invest in landscaping such as planting trees, growing grass, and installing watering systems, is that it dramatically increases the value of the home and land. In fact, landscaping added to a property adds more value than installing a pool.