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Create Backyard Oasis

Garden ponds come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The size of your garden pond will very much depend on your personal taste. While they do differ in shape and size, most garden ponds have similar components such as aquatic plants and fish. There are countless ways to approach your garden pond maintenance. In our experience, the best way to ensure the success of your garden pond is to strike a delicate balance between nature and technology.

While many people have elaborate pumping systems and waterfalls, they are not entirely necessary. For instance, certain types of fish can minimize any issues you may have regarding algae. Goldfish are extremely popular in outdoor garden ponds. There are over 100 varieties of goldfish to choose from, many of which have delightful colors and markings. Japanese Koi are also commonly used in garden ponds, but keep in mind that they need a lot of room.

The golden rule for introducing fish into your pond is to ensure that you have established all of the plant life first. Also be

About Growing Grass Under Trees

Shade tolerant grasses:

If you are determined to grow grass under and around trees you need to use a shade tolerant grass. In our area Fine Fescue is your best bet. However once again you are fighting the shade issue. Fine Fescue requires at least a 50% exposure to sunlight to thrive. This sunlight does not need to be direct as shifting intermittent from the sun as it travels through its day is fine.

Grass under spruce and pine:

As many homeowners have noticed grass growing under these conifers do even worse than under most deciduous trees. Along with the shade, lack of moisture, less nutrients and less air movement, these trees have an extra trick up their sleeves. When these trees drop their needles (needle cast) the needles cause the soil around the tree to increase in acidity. Once again it is just another form of defense trees will use to compete with other plant life.

Growing grass in the shade:

The number one thing you must do to grow grass in the

Improve Garden Soil Naturally

Soil life eats organic matter, decomposing it and creating a crucial soil element called humus. Humus is decayed organic material. The process of decomposition releases nutrients in forms that plants can absorb. In other words, decomposition of organic material has a fertilizing effect.

But fertility is only part of the value of regularly feeding the soil with organic material. Humus also contributes to the sponge-like soil texture that allows air circulation and moisture retention. Loam — the ideal soil for growing plants – is a balanced mixture of sand, clay, silt, and organic matter. Humus will bind sandy soil or loosen hard-packed clay.

For these beneficial results (for fertility and texture), the life in soil needs fresh food. Regular doses of organic material will ensure that garden dirt is enhanced rather than depleted over the lifetime of the garden. Every year, a 30 by 40 foot garden needs around 400 pounds (equivalent to 10 bales of hay) of organic material, but it doesn’t need to be added all at once.

Additions of organic material take a

Watering Lawn

Most grass plants have their roots at a depth of 4-6 inches. The soil should be moistened to this depth. Soil composition is the biggest factor when figuring out how much water is required to achieve this depth. Although it will vary from lawn to lawn, a good general rule to follow is; loam and clay soils require 1-1 ½ inches of water, while sandy soil requires ½ to ¾ of an inch of water to moisten to the same depth. Soils differ in the time it takes to achieve these levels of moisture. Clay soil is very compacted and water takes a long time to penetrate such a soil. Sandy soils on the other hand are very loosely compacted and require very little time to achieve the desired depth.

The time in which you water is on of the most important aspects of your success with your watering schedule. Mornings are the best time for watering. The grass has a chance to utilize the water before evaporating, and the leaf blade dries out during the day. Evenings are your 2nd best time if you are unable to water in the mornings. One of the drawbacks to

About Controlling Spider Mites

Spider mites can be found in most species of spruce but are predominately found on Colorado or White spruce. Spruce spider mites are tiny and very difficult to see. They are approximately .5 millimeters and are a dark green to dark brown in colouration. The best method to find out if your spruce tree may have mites is to place a white piece of paper under a branch and shake it repeatedly. Fold the paper in half, if red smears appear after opening the paper, chances are you have spider mites living in your trees. Ensure you check your trees on a regular basis as mite populations can grow quite rapidly.

By using their sucking mouth- parts the spider mites pierce the needle and extract sap from within. This feeding causes the needles to take on a bleached look to them. If the population is large enough the feeding can cause the needles to become a yellow to brownish colour. These needles eventually dry out and fall off. Spider mites begin feeding on the lower branches of the tree, feeding from the inner needles outward. They use a silk webbing throughout the area they are feeding on.

Must Know about Transplanting Trees

Many times a homeowner will be tempted to use a lower priced tree or shrub. Often these plants will have an underdeveloped root structure that is unable to support the plant. The root structure may be overgrown from being in a container too long. It may have broken branches or damaged bark. Ensure the plant is suited for the hardiness zone you live in. Check with a local nursery if you are unsure of which zone you live in. If you choose a tree or shrub that will outgrow the location you have chosen, move it to another location. Try to imagine what the plant will look like in 15-20 years, this will aid in your selection of location. By doing this you will cut down on the need for excessive pruning in later years. Generally trees and shrubs of poorer quality will be slow to establish themselves, they will exhibit signs of reduced vigor, die-back, and poor growth.

Characteristics of a location will also contribute to transplant problems. Almost all trees and shrubs need a well-drained soil that is moist. Many areas within an urban environment are poorly drained. The soil pH level may be unsuitable

Spring Foraging

  • Identify the plant correctly. Always be 100% sure of the plant’s identification before you harvest and consume. Many plants have poisonous look-alikes so it is imperative you can ID with certainty. Pay attention to the old adage “when in doubt, throw it out”. There are a number of great plant ID books on the market that cover most geographical areas. You may also find foraging classes in your area which can be a fun way to learn about local plants.
  • Practice sustainable harvesting for any plants you harvest. Never take more than you need and be sure to leave enough for the plants to survive and prosper. Keep in mind that unless you are eradicating an invasive species, foraging should never negatively impact the survival of the plant population. Take time to learn what plants are invasive in your area and also what plants are endangered and should never be harvested.
  • Forage in areas you know are clean and have not been treated with chemicals. Be wary of foraging along roadsides and under power lines.
  • Harvest underground storage organs; bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, etc. with additional consideration as harvesting can kill the plant. Early spring and

Deal With Cucumber Bitterness

If you are harvesting bitter Cucumbers, the most likely explanation is that you are growing them incorrectly.

On no account let your Cucumber become stressed (lack of water, for example), they tend to bitter up.

If you grow the right kind of Cucumber, and keep the plant free from anything that might check their growth then you will have perfectly nutritious cucumbers that are crisp, refreshing pick-me-ups on a hot summers day.

However, if you want to be on the safe side, there is a trick for removing bitterness. This bitterness is almost all concentrated in the leaves, stems and skin of the Cucumber. If you remove one inch of the cucumber’s stem end and peel the skin back to a thin layer of flesh directly beneath the skin.

I have also found that scoring cucumbers with a fork makes the difference between faintly bitter and palatable cucumbers. You can try this out yourself. Peel a Cucumber. Take two center section. Score one and leave the other alone. Cut a slice from each and taste. You will find that the slice that has been scored is less bitter.

All this is aimed at

Water Gardens

Water garden construction is, in principle anyway, easy. It is simply a matter of digging a hole, dropping in an underliner, a liner and a re circulating pump and filling with water. Put in a few plants, fish, snails and such and its done. You have a functional water garden. How attractive it is, though, is another story – and that is where a lot of the work comes in.

The hole should be of a pleasing shape, geometric for a formal garden, natural for an informal. Depth is not terribly critical for over wintering fish because of the effective pond heaters which can be purchased. (As long as the water doesn’t freeze all the way down, and poisonous gasses can escape, the fish will be fine all winter.) But a pond that is three feet or more in any direction looks best with a depth of at least 18 inches. For larger ponds, some portion, especially in cold areas, should be 3 or 4′ deep. (My water garden is about 6 ft. on the long side and over two feet in depth at the deepest part. Vary the depth. A shallow section where the fish are

Garden Paths

Landscape gardening may follow along very formal lines or along informal lines. The first would have straight paths, straight rows in stiff beds, everything, as the name tells, perfectly formal. The other method is, of course, the exact opposite.

The formal arrangement is likely to look too stiff; the informal, too fussy, too wiggly. As far as paths go, keep this in mind, that a path should always lead to somewhere and to direct one to a definite place. Now, straight, even paths are not unpleasing if the effect is to be that of a formal garden. To avoid an abrupt curve and a whirligig effect in a curved path, t is far better to stick to straight paths unless you can make a really beautiful curve.

Garden paths may be of gravel, of stepping stones, of dirt, or of grass. One sees grass paths in some very lovely gardens. They may not work well in small gardens with limited garden areas that they are re-spaded each season. Of course, a gravel path makes a fine appearance, but again you may not have gravel at your command. Stepping stones, plain or decorated with a picture, suite

Info of Stone Garden Benches

Stone garden benches are one of the more sturdy types of garden benches found. They are usually made from carved stone, cast stones or stone slabs, and do not require much maintenance other than an occasional dusting. Though stone garden benches are considered to be one of the most durable garden benches, it is not a very comfortable type of a garden bench as the seat is as hard as a stone! If you do think of buying a stone garden bench, it is advisable to get a bench of the right size for your use. This is because a four-foot bench may only seat a person comfortably, and two people adequately if they don’t mind sitting close to each other! Those who are just friends had better go in for a five-foot stone bench to avoid any unnecessary complications that may arise.

Depending on the stone used for the garden bench, the rate of the bench will vary. A marble stone bench costs more than a granite stone bench but the life of both types of stone benches is about the same. The choice in buying the right type of stone bench lies in the hands

Wooden Garden Shed

  1. To store small hand-held and large garden tools; manual and electrical
  2. A place to park the lawn mower, tiller, and other large gardening equipment
  3. Storing vegetables
  4. Cutting, planting, and transplanting plants
  5. Tool repairs

Many people prefer wooden constructed garden sheds rather than vinyl, resin, plastic, and various metal type sheds. It may be more expensive up-front, but lumber seems to have a longer life and therefore is less expensive. Wood is also easier to repair. The other types of sheds would need to be discarded and a new one purchased.

Plan before you start building. There are important considerations which need attention. Decide if you would like to build it or hire a contractor. Do you wish to assemble a shed kit or build it from scratch?

There is a wide variety of wooden type garden sheds which may be ordered from local sources or from online. Note any additional items which may be needed. These items may be concrete blocks, tools and other hardware accessories.

Manufactured sheds can be erected in a few hours or over a weekend. The do it yourself shed may also take the same amount

Garden Tractors

Selection of garden tractor for your garden will depend primarily on the area you are going to cultivate or maintain with your tractor. If the area is less than an acre, you may consider buying a small tiller with 2 to 3 HP. If the area is large, say more than 5 acres and the area has large boulders which you may want to move, you will have to go in for a large tractor with 15 to 20 HP machine. If the boulders are moved by an external agency as a one-time job, then a smaller tractor will also serve your purpose of normal maintenance of your garden.

Safe Operation of Garden Tractors

Since you would be working in your garden unaided, it is necessary that you operate your tractor in a safe way. In case you have even a minor accident, it may not be possible for you to contact your family members easily. Therefore, it is necessary for you to adopt safe practices all the time.

– Ensure that the tractor is in god working condition, and designed for work that you plan to do.

– Use seat belts while driving

Info of Growing Sweet Peas

Sweet peas are thought to have their origins in Sicily, China or Malta. But the first seeds bought to England for cultivation were imported from Italy. They have been cultivated for hundreds of years and thus there are thousands of cultivars that have been developed through the centuries.
Henry Eckford is credited with the development of what we know today as Sweet Peas in the late 1800’s, having cross bred the original small and mainly purplish, sweet fragranced flowers to create a range of various colours with larger flowers. By 1900, he had introduced a total of 115 cultivars of Sweet Peas. Many people since then have tried their hand at breeding Sweet Peas, with amazing frilly or striped varieties being created. Unfortunately, this has often been to the detriment of the fragrance.

Sweet pea breeder Dr Keith Hammett did a lot of work in the 1990’s to retain the fragrance of Sweet peas while providing a range of bicolours, frilled and the ever elusive yellow Sweet pea.

His passion and perseverance paid off, with a range of his seed now being available through outlets that stock Yates Seeds. Most of the plain colour, old fashioned

Riding Lawnmower

If you only have a small area, one that is flat and not more than a few acres you may be able to purchase a cheap lawnmower that is going to last years under these conditions. If you have five or more acres to mow, and the grass is always growing way high, you most likely are going to require at least a mid line lawn mower, one that will cost about $1,500 to do the job. You want to have a deck that is 44″ to 52″ wide to get the job done fast all the time. Remember the smaller the deck, the more you are going to have to cut, the bigger the deck, the fewer passes you have to make on going over that lawn.

If you have a lawn that is more than five acres, and you have rolling hills on your lawn you may want to invest a little more in the riding lawnmower of your choice. A riding lawnmower that is about 48″ to 52″ or more is going to best suit your needs, as it will be one of the largest. You have the options of having it turn in

About Backpack Blowers

Backpack blowers with more than 40cc engines are the best with a typical blowing power of 400 cfm (cubic feet per minute) of volume at 190 mph (meter per hour). If you live in a quiet neighborhood, these units are the best choice, because they are specially assembled to control unwanted noise. Also, keep in mind that harness quality and comfort differ from one model to the other.

Performance backpack blowers generally have blowing power of more than 450 cfm of volume at 195 mph, and are named because of their high performance. Though they may be noisier than other blowers, they are fast, fuel efficient, and have a quick throttle response. Most professionals and commercial users prefer this type of units, which also has optional accessories like breathable nylon back pads and padded, adjustable harnesses.

The largest and heaviest backpack blower units available are Big-bore Backpacks, with engine powers starting at 50cc. They are also fast and may decrease cleaning time in half. Since these blowers are very powerful, they are typically used for larger areas, and tough jobs like wet matted leaves. They are most suitable for commercial uses.

Palm Trees

The palm family of trees has approximately 202 genera and 2,600 species. The palms are native to tropical and subtropical climates, and commonly known palms are date, coconut, and areca nut. Known to have existed around 80 million years ago, palms are among the oldest varieties of flowering plants.

The trunks of the palm have been used since ancient times to build catamarans or special boats. Dates are harvested from palms. Palms produce coir ropes, mats, and bags, and palm oil is extracted from palms, along with palm wine.

In the US, different species of palm are native to Florida, California, Hawaii, Southern Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. In fact, South Carolina is popularly known as the Palmetto State after the palms that line the coast.

As with all other things, many species of palm are facing extinction and are under threat from urbanisation, natural disasters, hybridization, and a lack of knowledge amongst common folk. Destruction of natural habitats, forest clearing operations, mining, clearing of mangroves, and dumping of trash are all detrimental to the survival of palms. Like other plants, palms are also prone to destruction by nature and disease.

Ornamental palms

Saving Seeds

Saving seeds from your own flowers or vegetables is a wonderful way to fully experience the cycle of plant growth. It’s also much less expensive than buying seeds each spring, and seeds saved from your plants will be well suited to the peculiarities of your own garden’s growing conditions. Not only that, it’s also quite a simple process.

Save seeds only from vigorous, healthy plants. Some plant diseases may be harbored in the seed where it will then be passed on to the next generation of plants. So don’t save seeds from a plant that is obviously diseased or has struggled all season. Collect seeds from the plants that have the characteristics you desire, such as height, hardiness, early or late ripening, flavor or vigor.

It is not recommended to save seeds from hybrid plants. Hybrids are the result of crossing two genetically different parent plants, both of which have been severely inbred to concentrate the desirable characteristics. The first generation, referred to as an F1 hybrid, is superior to the parents. But succeeding generations of plants grown from seed saved from an F1 plant tend to randomly revert to the characteristics of the original inbred

Tricks To Grow Shiitake Logs In Garden

Identifying the log

This is another important step that comprises the process of growing shiitake. For Shiitake Logs you have to identify the best and get them from hardwood trees that are freshly cut. While the specifications of logs can change, you can cut them into suitable sizes to achieve your target. There are different trees from which you can cut sections of logs for Shiitake Spawns but make sure that you consult a professional with adequate experience to know the things in entirety. Buying mushroom logs for sale is another idea on which you can rely to enhance the production. It is the quality of the log that can boost the growth of mushroom. Once you have finished the process of getting the Shiitake Mushroom Logs you will be able to grow mushrooms on them for a long time. Logs need to be left for some time to allow the fungicides to die before you move on to the next step.

Buying and stuffing the spawn

Next is the step to get shiitake mushroom spawn whether in the form of sawdust, plugs or thimbles. There are a lot of online portals selling spawns needed

Tropical Beauty

Hibiscus plants are popular in gardens and flower arrangements, since the plants produce astonishingly beautiful flowers on a tall stem. You can choose between wide range of different Hibiscus colours, including the popular red, pink, orange, violet, lavender, yellow and white variants. A Hibiscus flower can reach a size of 4-15 centimetres across and is equipped with five petals. Hibiscus leaves are toothed or lobed and have a deep green shade.

Hibiscus plants will require quite a lot of light, and a majority of the Hibiscus species origins from warm regions of the world. Most Hibiscus species will prefer to be planted where the temperature ranges from 60 to 90 degrees F during most parts of the day. These plants are tougher than many other tropical and subtropical species and will usually survive quite low temperatures as long as they are not prolonged. A cold night can for instance make the plant shed its leaves and buds, but it will survive and eventually begin to form new leaves and buds. You can keep a Hibiscus plant in areas where the temperatures drop below 50 degrees F, but these Hibiscuses will rarely flower. When it does flower, the