“Bee”ing a Proactive Gardener

Posted by Tracey Walker on

Do you enjoy eating? If so, you need to understand the importance of pollinators. Most of the food we eat is reliant upon pollinators. Pollinators include birds, butterflies, beetles, and bees. These insects are imperative to our gardening and, ultimately, our sources of food.

Perhaps you’ve never considered how dependent we are on insects for food. Most of us prefer our food to be free of bugs. Now, were not asking you to sit down and eat a bunch of bugs, but rather consider how those bugs that your food make it to your plate.

There are some things you can do to help these pollinators better do their job. One way is to provide them with proper shelter and food. Plant flowers that encourage butterflies. The same plants will typically attract to your garden. As communities grow, it is hard for bees to find areas where they can survive and create hives. Old trees are a great shelter for many bees, so keep that in mind when landscaping. Offering many flowering plants such as pumpkins, mint, sage, rosemary, lavender, pilot great ways to provide the nectar that many insects love. Also be certain to provide them a water source.

If you have insects you refer not to deal with, you can try using organic methods to deal with them or Click Here. This will also help you keep your garden healthier, thus helping with the help of the butterflies the. Pull weeds from your garden more often as well. Build a compost bin and make your own compost tea to fertilize your plants. It may take some time to figure out what works best for your garden. A great way to help unwanted insects out of your garden is to use alternatives to harmful methods such as essential oils and a barrier wall. The best essential oils to use include tea tree, orange, and peppermint oil.

With the decline of the populations around the world, it is important for every family and individual to do something about it. There are many small changes that can have a huge effect. Do what you can your garden to keep the bees and other pollinators healthy and happy.


Keeping Your Raised Garden Healthy

Posted by Tracey Walker on

If you have had a raised garden for several years, you may begin noticing your crops dying or being attacked by pests. This is generally because the soil has been depleted. You may try to amend the soil, is often will not help. Below are some simple ways to help you avoid common raised bed garden issues so you can continue enjoying healthy plants.

  1. Consider rotating your crops through several raised beds: as you plan your raised bed Gardens, aim to build at least four beds that way, you can rotate crops each year. Doing so will allow the soil to regenerate nutrients. Crops require different nutrients, and also leave behind other nutrients that can replenish the soil. The additional beds can also allow you more room to plant crops and rotate them. When doing this, though, it is important to not rotate plants from the same family one after another.
  2. Rotate seasonal crops: this works great if you live in an area where can rotate the crops throughout the year. For example, you could have peas planted in a garden in the spring, plant tomatoes for the summer time, then carrots in the fall. This will benefit the soil in different ways from the different crops and keep your garden productive.
  3. Replace your soil: this can turn into an expensive option, but there are times when you must do this. For instance, if there is a raised bed at a home where you moved, it is best to replace the soil and start with a clean slate. That way, you will not have to worry about any existing issues the previous owner had.

If you are interested in organic gardening, consider replacing the soil as the best first step. That way, you know what you are starting with. It may also be the best that if you are wanting to grow the same crop each year. Regardless of the method you choose, the above options will help you see dramatic changes in your plants immediately. Remember to continually add compost your garden also as a way to help your plants thrive continually. The compost will not only add nutrients, but will help hold in the water during the dry summer months.


Worms in the Garden

Posted by Tracey Walker on

If you have ever spoken with someone who gardens regularly, you may have already learned that earthworms are a great friend of the gardener. In fact, they may very well be one of the most critical factors for a garden’s success. Many people consider earthworms the very first nature gardeners.

If you have ever been on a farm in the springtime, you have seen farmers plowing the soil. The soil was broke up by the plow, which allows water and air to penetrate to the seeds that are planted. It also helps the water to penetrate to the roots of the plant later. When earthworms are in a garden, a are like tiny plows. They create tunnels as they move around in the soil of the garden. The tunnels they create are similar to the filing, allowing water and air to penetrate to the plants roots. Without that water and air, the plants would be unable to grow well. If the soil is compacted and dry, plants have a hard time surviving.

Almost every type of soil has earthworms. In fact, the more earthworms you find in the soil, the better it is. There are four basic types of worms you will find in your garden: red worms, manure worms, parting worms, and night crawlers.

Earthworms live in the soil and eat organic matter such as grass clippings, dead leaves, and dirt. After they digest their meal, the excrement they produce further enriches the soil. This excrement is called castings. The castings are rich in magnesium, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus, all which help the soil. These nutrients are important to help the plants stay healthy and grow.

If you are interested in bringing more important to your garden, you can do so by simply adding more organic matter. Simple ways to add organic matter are through grass clippings and mulch leaves. This organic matter will encourage more earthworms to live in your garden to continue to enrich the soil, thanks to their tunnels and castings.


Creating a Memory Garden

Posted by Tracey Walker on

Adjusting to losing a loved one can take time, whether it is a person or a beloved pet. A Memory Garden is one way to keep their memory alive. This is simply a special spot dedicated in your garden to that pet or person. Below are several suggestions to help you get a Memory Garden going.

  • If your memory Garden is in honor of a loved one, consider planting one of the plants from their own garden in yours. Choose a spot where you have shared a memory with them, whether in your yard or garden. If that is impossible, to supplant their favorite flower or plant instead. If they did not have a favorite one, consider planting different shades of their favorite color to honor them.
  • Another idea is to plant a flower or plant that shares their name. For example, consider an Iris or Lily if that is part of their name. Many Rose plants have names that may work as well.
  • A memorial tree is another option to honor your departed loved one. Some public parks have a Memorial tree planting area that may be an option. Talk with your local parks and rec department to see if they have this option available.
  • Another option you may want to consider is planting a garden in red, white, and blue to honor service members. You can make it as simple or as elaborate as wish. Your creativity is the only limit.

However you decide to remember your loved one, a Memory Garden can be a wonderful addition. Your garden may also include your loved ones favorite saying on a plaque with their picture. This can help to personalize the garden or tree in a way specific to the person you are honoring.

Have you considered planting a Memory Garden for a loved one? Do you have ideas on how to make a Memory Garden especially memorable? If so, please tell us below in the comment section.




More Reasons to Consider Gardening with Kids

Posted by Tracey Walker on

In our previous post, we discussed some of the reasons why it is a wonderful idea to garden with kids. Hopefully, if you have children, you have decided to include in this family activity. If you haven’t quite made up your mind to do so yet, allow us to cover another couple reasons why gardening with your children is a great idea.

Gardening with your children allows them to learn new skills and expand on them. Children enjoy being able to choose which plants to grow and watch the process of gardening. The skills they learn through doing so can be beneficial to them later in life. They increase their attention span when they sow seeds. Research has shown that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and those with attention deficit disorder, or ADD, benefit from the activities associated with art. The children will learn patience as they see how their efforts can create small, yet significant, changes as the seed turns into a plant. Gardening is also a great way to reduce screen time for children. Unfortunately, during the summer lots, and children spend hours in front of the screen. What better way to get them outside and into nature and to have been help with gardening?

Also, gardening can help strengthen children’s problem-solving skills. When a child walks into the garden and sees that it is dry, they learn they must properly water the plants if they want to see them continue to grow. When growing plants that create a vine, a child may need to figure out how to build something for the vine to grow on to support the plant so that it can continue to grow properly. By simply using a tomatoes stake for tomato plants, a child learns that the extra support to help plants thrive.

As you can see, there are many benefits to having children help in the garden. Have you found ways that your children help in the garden? If so, please comment below and let us know what you do.




Benefits of Gardening with Kids

Posted by Tracey Walker on

In most areas of the country, school is out and we have extra time with our children. One great way to help keep your children active and help them learn is to allow them to help you in gardening. There are many great things your children can learn from gardening with the family, and many other benefits as well.

  1. Bonding with the family: often, summer is filled with rushing the children from one activity to the next. How about taking a break from running around and spend time together in the garden instead. Your family will bond over spending hours working together as a team in the garden, working towards the common goal of successful gardening without any competition. To make it easier for young children, consider planting a raised garden bed.
  2. Help them connect to nature: children are often disconnected from their natural world. When a family gardens together, you become part of nature as watch the bees buzz by, birds fluttered to and fro, in the long butterfly happening by. As children see these natural wonders, it gives them a chance to ask questions as they reconnect with the natural world around them. It also gives you the chance to explain to them the peace and beauty found all throughout nature.
  3. It’s educational: as you work with your children in the garden, you will find many opportunities for education, even with the youngest of gardeners. They will learn how to identify different seeds for different vegetables, fruits, and flowers. They will learn how important it is to keep those seeds watered and to pull the weeds out of the garden to help the plants thrive. Another important thing they will learn is how plants grow. They have the opportunity to plant the seed, wait patiently for it to sprout, then watch that sprout turn into a piece of produce they can consume or sprout into a beautiful flower.

The above list are merely a few reasons why you should garden with your children. There are obviously many other reason, a couple of which we will cover in the next post.



Beginning a Raised Garden Bed

Posted by Tracey Walker on

Maybe you have recently purchased yourself a raised garden bed. What do you do now? Below are some tips to help get you started growing in your raised bed.

Items needed:

  1. Soil mixture: you need enough to feel your bed approximately 6 inches deep.
  2. Compost: you can use your own or purchase from a store.
  3. Weed barrier: be certain to buy enough to line your entire raised bed.
  4. Seeds or seedlings: purchase whatever you want to grow.

If you set up your raised bed and a grassy spot, it is best to use a weed barrier fabric on the ground to prevent the grass and weeds from growing up through the bed. You can also add a weed barrier to the top of the soil to prevent weeds from growing and to help control the moisture in your garden.

When deciding on where to put your raised bed, make sure your plants will get enough sunlight based on where other plants in your yard are located. Be certain to plant your garden with plants that will grow well in the amount of sunlight the area gets. Then, use the soil and compost to fill your bed.

Once the soil is placed in the raised bed, add the weed barrier on top, following the directions. When planting seedlings, start by placing them on the weed barrier in their containers, spacing them as necessary. That way, you will be able to envision how your garden look before committing a plant to a certain spot. Once you’re happy with the plant placements, you can insert the plants into the soil by cutting an “x” in the weed barrier and placing the plant directly into the soil. When taking the plant out of the container, be careful to get the entire root ball. Poor little water into the hole before placing the plants into the area. Repeat the process until all of your plants are in the soil.

Once all of your plans are in the ground, water them gently completely. Be certain to water the plants thoroughly to help them get a good start. Now, step back and look at your beautiful garden. You will be amazed at how far a little gardening work takes you.


Getting Started with Gardening

Posted by Tracey Walker on

Even if your friends, family, or online guru give you advice on how to tend to your garden, it is important to remember that it is your garden, not theirs. When you speak to long time gardeners, their usual suggestion is that it’s best to learn how to garden through getting out in the dirt and simply starting to grow.

If you are just beginning your gardening journey, there are several things you do before getting started. If it is later in the season, you can start making plans for planting the next year.

If you live in an area of the country that is older, but are interested in starting to grow now, planting cool weather crops such as lettuce is a wise choice. Those who live in climates that are warmer are able to grow crops throughout most of the year, making it easier for them to begin planting almost any time.

There are several things you need to consider after your first year of gardening before beginning the second year:

  • the location of your garden
  • the amount of shade and sunlight your plants received
  • the amount of water your plants received, whether too much or too little
  • what were your family favorites from the garden, and what did they dislike
  • which flowers were your favorite, in which would you prefer to change
  • how much time was invested in your gardening and whether you need to adjust that amount of time next year
  • what new plants might you be interested in trying out the following year in your garden
  • whether it’s worth it to switch your garden to organic so you can enjoy the health benefits for your family

Once you have determined what you need to change the following year or keep the same, you can began winning your garden and prepare to start growing again. If you decide to switch over to an organic garden, changing out the soil is important. Then, simply refer back to your notes, order the seeds or plants you need, draw out your garden layout, and prepare to start planting.