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Category Archives: Gardening

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 of the buyer. As far as possible, buy from local stone bench stores. If you see a bench you like in the catalog from another place, it would better to ask the local furniture or garden supply if they can order the bench, and thus save on the shipping costs. Who knows, the local store may deal with the same wholesalers and order the bench for you!

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 of time or longer. There are variables for both situations.

If you’re anything like me I did window shopping, comparative price shopping, and talked to my friends and neighbors who had garden sheds for their opinions and experiences. Then I made my decision. In case you are curious, we decided to build a wooden shed as it could be designed and customized to meet our requirements.

Before you setup this is a list to review:

  1. Location
  2. Size
  3. Utility outlets (if electric and plumbing are to be installed)
  4. Local residential building codes, licenses, and permits
  5. Zoning requirements
  6. Location of underground cables
  7. Neighborhood restrictions
  8. Building inspections

The location of the shed needs to be in a clearing within short access to the garden areas and pathways for loading and unloading heavy gardening supplies. The size of this structure is determined by the tools and garden equipment which will be stored.

It is also critical to check overhead, underground, and around the placement of the proposed site. Are there any trees, shrubbery, or overhead wiring which may interfere with the structure? Before digging locate any underground cables, plumbing, or electrical wires.

Water and electrical utilities may or may not be essential. But if it is, planning is critical.

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 tractor. Unless the tractor turns turtle, you will be safe.

– If you are going long distance and with load, on a new path, it is a god idea to walk this section of ground and see any potential trouble that you are likely to encounter.

– Keep you eyes on the work you are doing. Do not get distracted.

– Do not drive with extra riders on garden tractors EVER.

Always use hand brakes after stopping the tractor or make a positive arrangement so that tractor does not move on its own due to gravity.

Fuel Saving Tips For Garden Tractors

– Keep the tractors in trim condition.

– Change the fuel filters regularly. Maintain the cleanliness of injectors by servicing tractor regularly. Use fuel additive to reduce fuel injector cleaning frequency.

– Clean or change air filters regularly. Clean air and clean fuel accounts for increased fuel efficiency.

Last but not the least; do not overload your tractor.

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 varieties have retained their fragrance and are available through most nurseries and garden centres now for planting. If you don’t have room for the tall climbing varieties, there are dwarf forms suitable for garden beds and pots. One of my favourites of the dwarf form is Bijou, I am particularly fond of the pale colour mix.

PROPAGATION

Being an annual, it is most commonly grown from seed. They can be planted either in mid autumn to mid winter or early to mid spring. Sow the seed directly into the open ground to a depth of around 1 to 2cm. You can aid germination of the seed if you soak it over night in luke warm water. Once you have planted them, give them a good soak, then water once every few days lightly until the seedlings emerge in around 7 to 14 days.

CULTIVATION

Sweet peas should be grown in soil enriched with organic matter in full sun with good drainage.
For climbing varieties, make sure that they have an adequate climbing support. They will also benefit from a liquid fertiliser while in growth, but make sure you don’t add a high nitrogen fertiliser around flowering time.

To extend flowering, dead head the old flowers before they set seed. Also ensure that they have adequate moisture.

They can be affected by a range of pests and diseases which can be easily controlled. The main culprits are slugs and snails on the new growth, aphids on flower buds and powdery mildew. To control the powdery mildew, avoid watering the foliage, and spray each week with a watered down chamomile tea.

If you haven’t tried growing Sweet peas before, you could be missing out on one of the darlings of the horticultural world. It’s not hard or expensive. You can pick up seed at your local nursery for around two or three dollars a packet, and once you have grown your own, you can collect the seed from them for the following year.

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 180 degrees or you can have the regular type of lawn mower that will require steering in straight lines.

A large type of lawn mower is going to have different wheels. The lawnmower with just small wheels on the front and on the rear if for a flat area, without hills. The lawnmower with small wheels in the front and larger wheels in the back is for an area that has hills, so you can climb those hills easier.

Don’t forget if you are mowing more than five or six acres all the time during the summer, you are going to want to purchase a lawnmower with a larger motor so it will be able to haul, tote and pull things as well. Gardening and landscaping over large areas will be nice, when you can pull a wagon with your lawnmower as well. You will find many lawnmowers will actually come with some type of wagon, free, during special promotion times. You can also purchase wagons for any lawnmower at the same place where you are considering purchasing the lawnmower of your choice.

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 are a luxury and can cost from fifty to several hundred dollars.

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 ancestor plants.

Plants that are not hybrids are referred to as open pollinated. Many seed catalogs will identify which of their seeds are hybrids or open pollinated. If you intend to save your own seed, always start with open pollinated seeds. Some of these may also be identified as heirloom seeds. These heirloom varieties have been passed down for generations, often saved within one family for many years before becoming available to the general public.

Cross pollination is another concern for the seed-saving gardener. Cross pollination often results in seeds which have a different genetic makeup than that of the parent plant. Pumpkins, squash and small gourds may cross pollinate with each other, resulting in seeds that will grow to produce rather picturesque fruit. Sweet corn will cross pollinate with field corn or popcorn, and your 6-inch marigolds will cross with your neighbor’s 18-inch pompon marigolds. However, crossing will only occur within a species. Cucumbers won’t cross with squash, and cosmos won’t cross with pansies.

To avoid cross pollination, keep two varieties of the same species separated by as much space as possible. Some species, such as corn, are wind-pollinated and the pollen can travel great distances. These plants must be pollinated by hand and kept isolated from other varieties of their species. This can be done with corn, for example, by tying a small paper bag over selected ears before the silk emerges, then once the silk has appeared it is hand pollinated with pollen from the same plant or its healthy neighbors.

Seeds should be collected on a dry, sunny day. Frost doesn’t hurt most seed as long as the seed remains dry. Vegetables such as cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes should be allowed to become slightly overripe before their seeds are collected. Flower seeds and vegetable seed such as lettuce should be collected after the seedheads have become dry, but don’t wait too long, as many will shatter, meaning they’ll be dropped from the seedpod or seedhead if they remain on the plant too long.

Cucumber, squash and tomato seeds need an additional step before they are ready for storage. First the seeds must be separated from the pulp, then dried. Scoop the seeds from these vegetables, pulp and all. Place the whole mess in a container of water and give it a good stir, then let it settle a bit. The pulp will rise to the top while the seeds will sink to the bottom. Carefully pour off the pulp, and repeat the process until most of the pulp has been poured off. Then strain out the seeds and set them on newspapers to dry.

Seeds should go into storage as dry as possible. Give all seed a post-harvest drying period of at least a week, just to be sure they’re dry. Spread them out on a paper plate or newspapers in a warm area out of the sun while they dry.

It’s very important to keep the seed dry during storage. Store your dry seeds in tightly sealed jars, metal film containers, or old vitamin bottles. To save space, smaller quantities of several varieties of seeds can be stored in separate envelopes inside a jar. A cool, but never freezing, garage, closed-off spare room or cool basement can all be good places for storing seeds. Or simply keep your sealed jars of seeds in the refrigerator. Temperatures between 32 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal.

Be sure to label your jars and envelopes so when spring comes around again you’ll know which flower seeds and vegetable seeds you’re planting, and include the date the seeds were collected. Some seeds will remain viable for several years, but most will grow best if planted right away the following spring.

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 for shiitake mushrooms offering different strains and varied characteristics. For each log, you will need a certain number of spawns. After this, you will need to drill holes in the logs and the entire thing is to be done around the circumference of the log. You have to plug spawn in the holes. After filling the holes with spawns you have to cover them with good quality wax which is food grade such as beeswax to avoid contamination.

Keeping the logs

You have to stack the logs against something or lay them on the ground, preferably on a bed of straw. Ideally, the place in which the logs are placed must be shady. However, air circulation must be proper and if there is scanty rainfall in the area, you can keep the logs moist. As a matter of fact, this is the trickiest part of growing shiitake mushroom on the logs. You might have to go through a few steps of trial and error before getting it right.

Growth of mushroom

Finally, the shiitake mushrooms will grow on the logs within a period of six to twelve months. If you are lucky enough the production can continue until springtime. You can expect the growth for about three to four years until the cellulose of the log is consumed fully and prepare for commercial selling if you want.

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 blossoms will typically be very small and sometimes look a little weird. In a cold climate, you should not give your Hibiscus too much water since this will increase the risk of fungal infections. Temperatures below the freezing point should always be avoided.

If you take care of your Hibiscus, it will begin to produce buds. Hibiscus buds are typically big and tight. Unfortunately, Hibiscus buds are often attacked by worms and insects that can kill the entire bud. When the buds open up and begin to blossom, you can protect them from parasite attacks by regularly spraying them with water.

You can make the Hibiscus flowers last longer by providing them with water and protect them from severe heat. Heavy downpour can harm Hibiscus flowers. If the Hibiscus plant is exposed to temperatures above 95 degrees F, it can begin to drop its buds. This can sometimes be prevented by giving your Hibiscus plant a lot of water and creating some type of shade for it. The plant itself will have no problem surviving temperatures above 100 degrees F as long as it does not become dehydrated.