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Make Your Pond Balance Using Helpful Tips

PondThe easiest pond to take care of is one that has a natural balance. You can usually get away without filter on a properly balanced pond. A balanced pond contains both plants and fish and the water should be clear and free of mosquitoes. However, a healthy pond will not be crystal clear and completely free of algae…that is a swimming pool! A coating of “slime” algae on the liner and plant pots is a sign of a healthy pond and provides food for many small animals like baby fish and tadpoles. Creating a balanced pond is not difficult, but it may take some time. The key elements to a balanced pond are:

  • One bunch of oxygenating plants (Anacharis) for every 2 square feet of water surface. (Compete with algae for nutrients.)
  • Cover 50%-75% of the water’s surface with floating leafed plants such as water hyacinths and water lettuce (also compete with algae for nutrients), water lilies, parrot’s feather, and floating heart. (Shades the water from the sun to limit algae growth.)
  • Using beneficial bacteria early in the spring will help achieve a balance quicker.
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Keys to Consider about Vegetable Gardening Layout

Vegetable GardeningWhile planting your own vegetable garden might seem like a great idea, most people really do not know where to start. Preparing your layout before you plant will make the job at hand much more pleasurable and assure that your plants grow and thrive – not to mention give you the best harvest possible!

There are at many things to consider when choosing your vegetable gardening layout. Since all plants need sun, the positioning of the garden to expose the most sun to the sun-loving plants while providing a little shade for those that easily burn is a very important element of your vegetable garden. If you choose to have plants that love a little more shade but your garden is in full sun, place the taller plants in a position to help with the shading of the more tender vegetation – especially during the hot afternoon sun.

Another thing to consider is the availability of water since ALL the plants in your vegetable garden will need this key element. Make sure the vegetable gardening layout is situated with easy access to your water source, but not

Good Compost for Your Garden

good compostSize, heat, air, moisture, plus some additional factors.

Being a long-term fan of re-cycling, I believe that the most useful and absorbing way is composting; it reduces not only your domestic waste to something very useful but also your fuel costs by not having to transport yet more stuff to the dump.

Constructing the bin:

There are certain considerations to be taken into account before you start your compost. The first is size (essential#1). The ideal quantity of at least the first bin or box or whatever, should be about a cubic metre. This is a good quantity to get the necessary generation of heat (essential#2) needed for efficient composting.

Bearing this in mind, you are then obliged to think about the position but more of this in a bit.

Unless you want to go to the expense of buying a ready-made bin in, say, plastic, the best material is wood and the best way of obtaining this is in the form of new or used pallets.

Although these tend to come in various dimensions, the most common, conveniently happen to be about

Tree Cutting, Here Its Tips

There are two kinds of winter gardening. The first method usually starts in January as the gardening catalogs begin to arrive in the mail. This type of gardening is as easy and sitting in your favorite chair, browsing the catalogs, and either dreaming about what you’re going to do this spring, or actually drawing designs for the gardens you intend to work on.

The second type of winter gardening is to actually get out in the yard and do a little work. Of course if it’s bitter cold, you’d be better off waiting for a good day. Winter is a good time to do some pruning if the temperatures are around 30 degrees or so. I don’t recommend pruning if it’s considerably below freezing because the wood is brittle and will shatter when you make a cut.

One of the advantages of pruning during the winter is that you can see much better what needs to be cut out and what should stay. At least that’s true with deciduous plants. The other advantage is that the plants are dormant, and won’t mind you doing a little work on them.

Ornamental trees should pruned to remove

Make Your Plants More Blooms with Fertilizers

The secret to making your flowering trees, shrubs, annuals, and perennials bloom more is in the numbers. All fertilizers have analysis numbers on the package. These numbers represent the percentage of each chemical the product contains.

For example, 12-12-12 is a typical garden garden fertilizer that would contain 12% nitrogen, 12%phosphorous, and 12% potassium. The quick explanation is; nitrogen produces vegetative, or top growth, phosphorous produces flower buds, fruit, and root development, while potassium builds strong healthy plants.

Most lawn grasses are vigorous growers and therefore require significantly more nitrogen than the other plants in your yard. A lawn fertilizer would have an analysis of 26-3-3, indicating a fertilizer high in nitrogen. You would not want to use a fertilizer containing such a high percentage of nitrogen on landscape plants because it would be very easy to burn them. You must also keep in mind that many lawn fertilizers contain broad leaf weed killers, and most ornamental plants have broad leaves. The fertilizer doesn’t know the difference, and it will damage or kill ornamental trees and shrubs.

During the summer months the growth rate of most plants slows down, and when plants are not actively

Caring Bonsai in Your Room

Within two weeks of getting your bonsai tree home, it’s quite normal that some of the leaves will turn yellow and fall, this happens as your bonsai acclimates to its new surroundings. Flick any yellowing leaves off and they will re-grow. Do NOT pluck them as this damages the new buds.

Watering:
• Fill a bowl or sink with tepid water. Immerse your bonsai tree so the water comes over the rim of the bonsai pot and covers the soil, and leave for five minutes. Place it on a draining board and allow the excess water to drain away.
• You must not let your bonsai tree sit in water after draining.
• If you follow this method your bonsai tree will get the required amount of water.
• For best results we recommend using a humidity tray and misting twice a day as well.
• Your bonsai tree should be watered approximately every other day, more often during the hottest summer months.
• Remember the soil should be moist to the touch at all times, if wet don’t water, NEVER let your bonsai tree dry out.

Positioning:
• Your bonsai tree needs plenty of natural light but NOT blazing

Fall Gardening, Here Its Tips

Fall is the time to transplant, divide and give away perennials that you have in abundance.

  • After the first hard frost most perennials will die back or begin to turn brown so they can be cut back. Exceptions are chrysanthemum, caryopteris, butterfly bush and ferns. Instead cover these with a generous pile of fall leaves for added winter protection.
  • Compost all plant debris that is not diseased. Ones to keep on eye on are Hollyhock, Beebalm, Roses and Phlox. These tend to get powdery mildew and the roses get black spot as well. Many foliar disease will over winter in the dead foliage and infect your plants again in the spring.
  • If the fall is dry don’t forget to continue watering until the ground freezes. You don’t want your evergreens to go into winter dehydrated. Dehydration increases their chances of desiccating over the winter known as winter burn.
  • Don’t forget to continue weeding. The cleaner your garden is in the fall the cleaner it will be in the spring.
  • If you have evergreens, especially broad leaf, in windy areas consider an application of Wilt Proof for winter protection. This product coats the leaves

About Water Lettuce

Common Name: Water Lettuce

Latin Name: Pistia stratiotes

Hardiness: zone 10

Light: Does best with shade during the hottest part of the day, but can adapt to full sun.

Size: Individual rosettes can range from 2” to 18” across.

Notes: Water Lettuce is a floating plant from Tropical America. It’s thick, fleshy, light green leaves are heavily ribbed and form a rosette that looks like a small head of lettuce. The leaves are covered in tiny hairs that repel water. Like the water hyacinth, water lettuce is a vigorous grower and can form large mats that choke out other plants. It should never be released in a natural body of water and is outlawed in some southern states.

Water lettuce is grown for its foliage, but it does bloom. The insignificant flowers are usually hidden down between the leaves.

Being a floating plant, water lettuce obtains all it’s nutrients directly from the water. This makes it a great plant to use to combat algae. The long feathery roots also make great shelter for young fish and other wildlife.

Water lettuce is generally care free, but there are a few reasons

Creativity Water Garden

Ask any water gardener what the best part of having a back yard pond is, and I bet most will say the peaceful, relaxing atmosphere it creates. The soothing music of running water, the lushness of floating lily pads with their rainbow-like flowers, and the playful movement of the fish are just what the doctor ordered after a long day at work. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but being able to get down close to the water to feel the different textures of the plants and “play” with the fish while you feed them is also a very rewarding part of water gardening.

For most people, getting close to the water is no problem, but for many it’s just not that easy. Millions of people, both young and old, have physical limitations due to aging, injuries, or as in my case, diseases. Are we just not supposed to feel the softness of Parrot’s Feather or let a friendly koi nibble our fingers? NO!

I have used a wheelchair my entire life (all 20 years of it!), because I was born with a form of Muscular Dystrophy. My interest in plants goes back as

Caring Purple Passion Plant

Soil
Purple passions are not picky when it comes to soil. Their only chief requirement is well-drained soil. They prefer rich, loose, slightly acidic to neutral soil types (pH 6.5 to 7.5), though they can grow even in alkaline soil. The soil should be kept moist by regular watering, especially during the growing season. Since the plant is shallow-rooted, adding a thick layer of organic mulch is recommended. Using a mixture of potting mix, peat moss, and coarse sand is also beneficial for potted plants.
Water
This plant requires regular watering, since it prefers humidity. Water until the soil is drenched, and wait for the top 25 cm to dry, until the next spell. Avoid wetting the leaves while watering, as their hair traps water, inviting fungal growth and brown spots. Reduce the frequency of watering during winter when the plant is not in a growing phase. Water outdoor plants daily, while, once a week or 10 days suffices for indoor potted plants. Water more frequently if you want more flowering or when fruits approach maturity. Watering too much or too frequently can cause waterlogged soil, which is to be strictly avoided.

The plant prefers a humidity

What Plant That Don’t Need Sunlight?

ZZ plant

Zamioculcas zamiifolia, or the ZZ plant, as it is most commonly known, is native to East Africa. This tropical ornamental plant is preferred by homeowners mostly for its dark rich foliage and really easy maintenance requirements. It can grow to a height of about 3 feet and has glossy, dark green pinnate leaves. These plants cleanse the air and are excellent for your home or office.
Watering: Water only when the top soil dries. Never let the soil be soggy, as it rots the rhizomes.

Placement: Keep the plant in bright or low light. Direct sunlight tends to burn the leaves, turning them brown.

Temperatures: 65° F to 75° F. Temperatures below 60° F will kill the plant.

Fertilizers: Feed water-soluble fertilizer diluted in half, four times a year.

Care: Well-drained soil works best for these plants. Mix 1 part good potting mix and 1 part sand. You can use cactus mix as well. Keep away from direct sunlight and never over-water the plant. However, you can keep them under direct light for sometime, in the early morning. Never use leaf shiners on the leaves. Use a soft cloth to wipe

Know More About Flower Layout Design

How to Plan a Flower Garden
Laying a flower garden requires some forethought, your creativity, and basic gardening skills. But, you don’t need a degree in landscape designing to proceed with the same. While planning a flower garden layout, certain criteria should be considered like location, yard space, adding flower beds, finalizing flowering plants, and design tips. And to make your project simpler, make a rough sketch of the layout including the plant placement and color pattern.

Decide on the Location

The actual garden layout and the flower varieties to be planted depend on where the area is located. A sunny yard with fertile and well-drained soil is excellent for maintaining a garden. While any piece of land can be made into a beautiful flower garden with some effort, it is better to grow flowers in a suitable area. If possible, try to avoid a shady and damp location. For a shaded garden, the flower options are limited. In fact, colorful blooms look more vibrant in a sunlit garden.

Layout of a flower garden largely depends on how big is the area. So, yard space and total area of the flower beds should be considered

Way to Plant Allium Bulbs

Sometimes called ‘flowering onions’, these can be propagated through bulbs as well as seeds, with the former being more preferable, as they take long to seed and have a higher failure rate. They look better when mass planted in flower beds, borders, and edgings than in pots. You should ideally plant the bulbs around late fall or early spring.

Prepare flower beds by digging deep in the soil. Apply bulb fertilizer or organic compost such as bone meal, peat moss, well rotted manure, etc. Make sure you choose a sunny spot or at least one that receives 4-6 hours of sunlight everyday. Plant the bulbs four inches deep in groups of 4-5 bulbs spaced about six inches apart, leaving the tip lightly covered in soil. Water adequately. Mulch heavily with dried barks if there is fear of extreme frost and snowfall. The tall varieties can be stalked as it gets heavy during a full bloom. Allium bulbs flower mid-summer through late summer and in certain conditions, even in early fall.

These bulbs do not need much feeding, a single application when the flower buds begin to appear should suffice. There aren’t many pests that attack onion,

Adding Water Feature to Your Garden

Without water, there is no life or greenery in nature, and hence it is known to be one of the biggest assets in creating a beautiful sight. In water gardening, interior decorating, and landscaping, many designers use a water feature to improve the visual appeal of the area and make it look as natural as possible. There are a number of ideas used in designing to make the sight more enjoyable and relaxing.

Fountains
One of the most popular ideas is the use of fountains. They can be built using different materials, and can be made indoors as well as outdoors depending on the space and arrangement of the surroundings. They are one of the most effective and beautiful water features, as they can be altered according to the requirement of the house. There are numerous fountain designs that can be incorporated in your garden or in the center of your living room (circular or quadrangular rooms). Garden fountains are also used to improve the aesthetic value. Some types of fountains are:
Wall fountains
Floor fountains
Tabletop fountains
Garden fountains
Waterfalls
They look brilliant falling from high cliffs on mountains, and a mini version would look perfect

Growing Hollyhocks in Easy Ways

Not particularly fussy, hollyhocks grow well in this high altitude micro-climate. You can start from seed or plant. When I first moved to my current home, I brought tiny seedlings with me from my other home. At the time, there was zero landscaping on this property. I now have a literal forest of hollyhocks, all from those tiny plants and their progeny, plus a few seeds I ordered for variety in color.

Description: Hollyhocks have large, 3 to 5 inch flowers on tall stalks and come in colors of pink, white, red, purple and yellow. The colors are vibrant. They flower mid-season; in the High Sierra that is approximately July and August. The leaves are large. Stalks can grow up to 9 feet or more.

Propagation: The plants create many seeds which will drop to the ground and start new plants unless the seed pods are picked before they burst. Deheading blooms when faded will also help control the seed drop. Basically the seeds only need a tiny bit of soil, if any, to cover them. The problem is not getting too many hollyhocks, as you may not want a forest of them. Time of planting

Gardening Ornamental Trees

Planning for a landscape is like filling in the right colors to create a hypnotizing effect. There are endless varieties to choose from, each with unique characteristics. So many different ornamental tree varieties, plus the various landscape designs, definitely make it difficult for most people to decide which one would be right for them. Here, you will find a few tips that will help you decide which ones to plant and how to go about it.

Trees that are often used in landscaping can be divided into three categories; shade, evergreen, and ornamental. The shade ones are planted for their large, spreading canopies that provide an ample amount of shade, evergreen are those that have leaves on them round the year, and ornamental trees are flowering or foliage color-changing trees, most of which are generally deciduous. A lot of them also qualify for all three classifications. The type you would want to plant also depends upon the location, and care and maintenance you can give it. Its pruning, fertilizing, and watering needs should also be well studied.

List of Trees

Flowering Crabapple

It grows around 20 feet high, and belongs to the deciduous family.

Inexpensive Backyard Landscaping

If you have a small backyard, do not clutter it with too many things. The important things one should have in a backyard, is a place to sit and relax, a stone or brick path, a comfortable chair and colorful and beautiful plants. Here, are some of the backyard landscaping ideas with pictures that will help you get started.

Plants
For backyard landscape design, plant colorful plants in medium-sized pots or in the ground. There is no need to spend on large-sized plants, as the medium-sized plants will cost you less and as time passes by these plants will grow big. Buy inexpensive and colorful plants like day lilies, viburnum, nikko blue, calendula, delphinium, clematis, alyssum, etc. for backyard decorating. If you are avid gardener then you consider growing plants right from seeds. Seeds are more affordable than buying plants and you can choose some fast-growing flower plant seeds to grow beautiful plants.

Stone Paths
By creating a stone path, the backyard will look more beautiful and organized. Stone paths are a great idea for small backyard designs. Plan out the route of the stone path. Clean the route, and dig it to a depth of

Pond Liner Installation

When I was about twelve years old, I decided I was going to create a pond in the back garden. Having never undertaken anything like this before, I was blissfully ignorant of any technicalities or possible problems that might be encountered.

I just dug a pear-shaped hole in the ground and with the help of my cousin, mixed up a quantity of cement and sand (which handily came from the excavation). I think we had roughly the correct ratio and simply slapped it onto the sides and base by hand, let it dry and there it was.

And there it stayed, for many years as a matter of fact and this was somewhat miraculous because this concrete liner had absolutely no form of re-enforcement, no water-proofing agent and no leaks! Over the years, I made a few improvements such as a rockery into which I eventually incorporated a circulating water cascade (that was a learning curve) and I doubled the size of the pond itself.

The point is that from an early age I was hooked. From just a hole in the ground to a well established and attractive water feature, which was admired by

Learn to Resource Your Aquaponics Garden

Aquaponics is a system whereby nutrient rich water from a natural fish pond is used to feed and nourish plants in a non soil, water based plant bed. This water is then returned to the fish pond after all waste and nutrients have been removed. Thus the fish enjoy an environment that is constantly being purified in exchange for their waste products that are processed by friendly bacteria in the water and then fed to the plants. Simply put, it is a natural ecosystem that benefits all parties.

The fish feed on food scraps that you supply from your table and/or garbage and other naturally occurring fish foodstuffs in the water, and the nutrient-laden fish water is used to water and thus feed the plants. We humans get to eat the fish and the plants.

The intricate details of exactly how this system works are much more complex and detailed than what is just briefly explained here. Still anyone interested can get all the minute details from several different sources which are readily available both on and off line.

Given the food crisis that ravages an ever growing part of earth’s population, aquaponics could not

About Container Gardening

Container gardening is becoming more and more popular with the shrinking of our grow space and loss of our time. Right now we are losing both at a very fast pace, so the future will belong in the hands of our children. Why not make container gardening a great learning and doing experience for the newest generation of consumers?

Children are very interesting, sponge-like creatures that learn more from observation than by instruction without example, and the best way for them to learn about food and responsibility is to make them aware of what it takes to be able to eat. How better than to plant a container garden – and let them experience for themselves the satisfaction and accomplishment – than to let them eat the fruits of their labors? It is not only a great experience for them, but it also gives you time to connect with and instruct your children on a very basic level. Another great benefit could be that they actually eat what is good for them and not just turn their noses up at the food they have worked so diligently to grow. Planting in containers will save you space, give them