Credit: Sprinkler Juice
From Sprinkler Juice
New gardeners make plenty of mistakes, it’s all part of the learning process. While most mistakes are harmless and will only set you back a little, others can be detrimental to your new garden. Here are three major mistakes you should try to avoid.
Seeds – As cheap and easy as it is to buy a bag of seeds, don’t do it. You’re new to gardening and cultivating seeds is a learned skill. Since plants are most susceptible as seeds you’re far better off purchasing seedlings for your garden. Seedlings are hearty enough for an inexperienced gardener yet young enough to need tender loving care before they can grow into fruit baring plants. No, it’s not cheating, once you master the skill of actually taking care of your plants you’ll then be ready to start your garden from scratch.
Watering – Don’t be to quick to think that all of your plants need the same amount of water. Take some time to get to know your plants, some will need regular watering and some will only need a minimal amount. We suggest that you do your homework way before you plant your garden, this way you can group plants together depending on their water needs.
Pruning – Please do not forget to prune. No matter how little or frail that seedling looks, it still needs to be pruned even if it doesn’t have very many leaves. If you don’t prune your plants they can become unhealthy and sick; when dead leaves stay attached, the plant continues to waste precious energy feeding the dead leaf when it could be growing a new, healthy one. Prune often and you’re plants will grow strong and healthy.
“Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make” – SprinklerJuice.com
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From: Sprinkler Juice
It’s easy to look at bodies of water all around us and make assumptions. While we might think that a water molecule frozen in a pacific glacier will never reach a backyard stream, we could be mistaken.
Traveling Water – Surface water, meaning water that is above the ground, doesn’t stay put. But of course you already knew this. if you’ve ever sat on the side of a babbling brook or watch the wave’s crash onto the sand you know that water is always moving. Having said that, how far does it travel? In a 100 year period one water molecule will spend, on average, just over a year and a half as ice, two weeks in lakes, rivers and streams, 98 years in the ocean, and less than a week in the atmosphere. Knowing this, take another look at the water that is rushing past your feet as your walk along the surf, said water hasn’t just traveled thousands of miles in the open ocean, imagine where else it has been and how far it still has to go.
Groundwater – We know that surface water is fast moving, what about groundwater? If you get your water from a well then you’re actually tapping into a groundwater system. If you have always pictured the aquifer as a fast moving underground river, you couldn’t be more mistaken. Groundwater couldn’t be more opposite than surface water. So opposite in fact that it takes nearly an entire human lifetime for groundwater to travel one mile. Where above ground is zipping from here to there groundwater moves at a snail’s pace.
Temperature – It’s probably a good thing that surface water is constantly moving, especially because water regulates earth’s temperature. Have you ever noticed that coastal towns are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer compared to central regions? The reason for this is simple, you’re standing right next to a huge body of water that is doing its best to regulate temperature and make changes less drastic.
So, the next time you water your garden, think about the water you’re using. If you’re using rainwater just imagine how far said rain molecules have traveled to land in your buckets. If you’re using well water think about the slow moving pool beneath your feet.
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We decided to take a critical look at our beloved lawn so see just how green and eco-friendly they really are. Here’s what we found:
Lawns are cool!
Lawns are 50-70 degrees cooler than streets and driveways and 30-40 degrees cooler than bare soil.
Lawns minimize erosion!
Rain will remove up to 2200% more topsoil from bare earth than from a lawn
Lawns are 10 times better at soaking up rainfall than crop farms
90% of the weight of a grass plant is in its roots
The microorganisms in turfgrass soil can clean:
- petroleum products
- metals (lead, copper, zinc, and cadmium)
- chemicals, including pesticides
Grass enrich the soil by adding over 6500 lbs of organic matter per year to an area the size of a football field
A turf area of 50 sq. ft. absorbs carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fouride and releases enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four.
Lawns are efficient!
Five year old trees require 200-300% more energy input than a lawn.
Shrubs need 350% more energy.
Shrubs can take twelve times as many hours for maintenance as the same area planted in grass
Less than 1% of the domestically used water is utilized to irrigate landscape plants.
Infographic: How Green is the Grass? by Adam Kutner
Professional Lawn Care Association of America
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From Organic Gardening Magazine
Edible flowers add a touch of colorful to your salads and are the perfect way to welcome summer into your cuisine!
Here’s list of the best ones we’ve found, based on flavor and beauty, of course!
Available in a scope of colors. Both flowers and leaves add a peppery flavor to mixed greens.
A prolific grower, calendula blossoms grow in abundance. Sprinkle individual petals lightly on a salad.
Basil, chives, dill, fennel, and arugula flowers all add a spark of aromatic flavor and a burst of color to salads.
Whether wild or cultivated, delicately flavored violas jazz up a bowl of mesclun greens like nothing else.
Intense blue star shaped flowers add a burst of color that contrasts nicely with greens. The flower’s delicate flavor tastes similar to cucumber. Separate the flower from the stem for a softer texture.
Organic Gardening Magazine - “Edible Flowers”
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The most common misconceptions surrounding the concept of xeriscaping (other than the mistake in the moniker as “zero-scaping”) is that a xeriscaped yard is a rock garden with little to no plant life or vegetation.
This is not necessarily true. Though rocks, gravel, and mulch can be a part of the xeriscape’s design, a xeriscape is actually a landscape system where the plants are regionally appropriate and planned out to maximize growth and sustainability with less use of resources. But what does this actually mean and how do you achieve it in your own yard?
Let’s break it down in seven simple principles:
- Smart design and planning – be purposeful in your choices by choosing plants that you know will thrive in your region’s conditions. Think about water needs, sun vs. shade, size, and longevity.
- Soil preparation and amending the soil – healthy, nutrient-rich soil is where it all begins. Take steps to amend the soil with fertilizer and compost tea to replenish micro-organisms and organic matter that fuel vegetation.
- Appropriate use of grass turf - where do you need turf and where is it unusable? Where is the turf thriving and where is it not doing so well? Think about maximizing your lawn by having turf where children and pets will enjoy it and skip it in areas like on the periphery, along paths or under trees where the roots are shaded.
- Grouping plants by water needs – because your system is interconnected and working symbiotically, group plants with like watering needs to avoid over-watering and wasting resources. Make watering meaningful!
- Efficient irrigation systems – a properly installed, professional irrigation system is a great investment. It makes your watering routine smarter and more efficient by reducing over-watering and encouraging deep root soaking.
- Mulches to retain moisture – mulch is much more than aesthetically pleasing, it actually works to retain moisture by minimizing evaporation in the soil and also blockades weed infestations.
- Good maintenance – like any landscape, xeriscaping takes time and maintenance, but fall less of it. Since all the plants are mutually benefiting one another you can get to know the system and how to best serve your xeriscape for maximum plant prosperity.
If landscaping is what you want to do, then this is definitely the way to do it…and following these simple steps will get you well on your way to a beautiful yard!
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If you want to attract specific birds to your bird feeder, there are a few basic things you need to know. First, you need to figure out the types of birds that are native to your area. Once you’ve done so, you’ll need to determine what they like to eat. Many colorful birds enjoy black sunflower seeds, which are easy to buy and put into a feeder. You’ll also want to learn what kinds of plants you can incorporate into your landscape that will attract birds, such as brightly colored flowers and trees that offer shelter. Lastly, you can make your own birdfeeder, which is not only a fun project but also will help you save a lot of money in the process. For all of these tips and more, check out these 15 blog articles.
What to Plant
Hummingbirds drink nectar out of deep throated flowers, so planting those kinds of flowers will bring them into your yard. Pine trees are a great source of shelter for many birds, and having a few pine trees in your yard can be a great haven for those looking for a place to nest. For more ideas, take a look at these five blog posts.
What to Feed
Orioles like fresh fruit like oranges or watermelon, but if you plan to feed them these things then you need to make sure that you replace the fruit every day so that it doesn’t rot. Live meal worms are also attractive to specific birds, so you might want to leave those out in a dish as well. You’ll find explanations of what to feed specific birds in these five blog entries.
Making a Feeder
Part of the fun of bird watching is watching the birds eat, but bird feeders at the store can be pricey, ranging from $20-$50 or more per feeder. By making your own feeder you can not only involve your kids in the process, but you can save a ton of money. Some feeders can be made for pennies, while others will cost a bit more, but the end result is still far cheaper than buying one at the store. These five blog articles will explain how you can make all different kinds of feeders on your own.
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From: Vegetable Gardener
Many people recognize lady bugs or lady beetles as valuable beneficial insects for the garden. Baby ladybugs adore munching on aphids and will consume about 400 of the plant-sucking pests before they grow up into adult lady bugs. In a lifetime, lady bugs will devour about 5,000 aphids before their life cycle is over. While aphids are the main course for a ladybug, they won’t pass up side dishes such as tomato hornworms, mealybugs, cabbage moths, whiteflies, and scales.
Keeping Ladybugs in Your Garden or Yard
There are a couple of ways to encourage your new friends to hang around your place and not go skipping off to the neighbor’s house. On the other hand, if they truly do all leave the vicinity, it probably means that your yard doesn’t have enough food for them (read: pests) and they’re off in search of nourishment. This is actually good news when you think about it. Your garden is most likely very ecologically balanced if this is the case and it should allow you to get really puffed up about it.
The first thing you want to do is use their metabolism to slow them down by using your refrigerator. Notice I didn’t say your freezer – that would be too much of a good thing, therefore, turning it into a bad thing. This will keep them in a holding pattern (a slightly dormant state) until the time that you want to release them. The idea is to keep them in the fridge for a short amount of time, not banish them to Siberia.
Release them in the evening hours and they’ll be certain to find a place to sleep and settle in for the night. In the early morning hours, they’ll stir, find some delicious plant pasts, and hopefully, make themselves at home. Another good idea is to release them in groups over a period of hours or a day or two. This ups your chances of keeping some around.
Some gardeners suggest spraying water into your plants before letting the ladybugs loose as ladybugs get thirsty, too. If you really insist on a captive audience, some commercial ladybug sources say that it’s perfectly harmless to give them a little mist of a soda solution (1 part soda & 1 part water) before letting them go, too. It makes their wings a bit sticky, which keeps them crawling instead of flying for a week. Feels a bit like cheating; but we’re not abouve a little cheating.
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