Monday, July 26, 2010

Growing Gardenias

Any true-Southerner will tell you that Gardenias are 'must' in the south. Gardenias are loved for their shrubby foliage, white blooms, and sweet sent. Gardenias are easy to grow if they are cared for properly.

Quick Tips for Growing Gardenias:
  • Keep the soil moist.
  • Do not prune during blooming.
  • Plant your Gardenia so that it gets some shade from the scorching sun.
  • Fertilize about once a month.
  • Do not let it get dry for days at the time! It will drop its leaves!
  • Check for common pests associated with Gardenias.
  • Do not plant near by if you or a family member is allergic to Gardenia scent. It is highly fragrant and will have them sneezing continuously!

For more detailed info on growing Gardenias, check out Guide to Caring for Gardenias

Saturday, July 24, 2010

How to Keep Weeds Out of Your Garden

As a gardener, I would have to say the thing I like the least about gardening is the weeds! I detest weeds. Over the past few years I have tried several methods of preventing weeds, spent countless dollars on weed sprays, and well, did some experimenting on my own.

How to Keep Weeds Out of Your Garden will give you several ideas on preventing weeds. I would have to say that using the newspaper method has worked the best. I used newspaper in my rose bed last year and about 3-4 layers thick, wet it down, and then covered it with straw for visual appeal... I still don't have a problem with weeds in that bed. I'm sure I will have to re-do it next year but for 2 years now I might have picked out 3-5 weeds out of the entire bed! Would definitely recommend it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Using Fish Ponds in the Landscape

Fish ponds are a great way to add design, elegance, and a focal point to any landscape. The options are endless when it comes to size, shape, decor and fish that can be used in a fish pond.

In the south, fish ponds are quite common. They are easy to maintain but do require some knowledge on growing the perfect fish that will maintain a healthy status with the summer heat.

When planning to start a new fish pond there are some things you should always consider:
  • Type of fish you want to use in your fish pond
  • Types of plants you wish to incorporate
  • Will it have an running water
  • The temperatures for your area
  • Any decor you may want to use
  • Size of the pond
  • How much time are you willing to spend maintaining the pond?
With all these things in mind you can get an idea on what size you will need, how elaborate it should be and how much time it will take you to maintain it. There are lots of great books and articles online that will help you determine the best fish and types of fish ponds for your area.

You may also want to read Types of Fish for a Fish Pond to get a general idea of some of the easiest and most popular fish for a fish pond.

How to Service Your Riding Lawn Mower Engine

Whether it's Spring, mid-Summer or your lawn mower just needs a tune-up, you can save yourself quite a bit of money by servicing your own lawn mower. Luckily, my husband is a mechanic for John Deere so he does all of our lawn mower maintenance. Thought I would share his expertise on this article- How to Service Your Riding Lawn Mower Engine. It tells you how to check the oil the oil, spark plugs, air filter and other things you do when servicing your lawn mower engine. It's a lot easier then you think!

How to Service Your Riding Lawn Mower Engine

Friday, July 16, 2010

How to Identify Blackspot on Roses

Blackspot is a common problem associated with growing roses, especially in the south. Blackspot can be identified by thoroughly looking over your roses. Look for small blackspots that may be accompanied with yellowing of the leaves and leaf drop.

You should treat roses at the first sign of Blackspot to keep it from spreading. Be sure to treat the soil, mulch and anything else near the infected plants. Always water plants from the base to insure you are not spreading the Blackspot with water. Splashing, trickling and running water are all common reasons for the disease spreading to other plants.

Since it spreads rapidly, always be sure to discard any rubish that contains leaves, stems or blooms from a plant with Blackspot.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stephanie's Rose Garden

For those of you who enjoy rose gardening, I just started new blog Stephanie's Rose Garden. Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July Gardening Tasks

Summer is in full swing and it’s time to give your garden and flower beds a check up. July is one of the hottest months and with the heat comes diseases, pests, and drought. Here are some things to do in the garden during the month of July

Check Irrigation Systems
With the extreme temperatures and dry weather insure that all sprinkler heads, irrigation drips and soaker hoses are working efficiently. Check for clogs, broken pieces and insure the soil is staying moist in between waterings.

Take Cuttings
Most plants, trees and shrubs are actively growing and producing soft wood. Now is the best time to get optimal cuttings on most plants. Be sure to keep cuttings moist to insure proper rooting.

Check for Diseases
Hot weather is a great environment for most diseases to take over. Check for diseases such as Blackspot and spray with a fungicide to keep plants healthy.

Prevent Pests
With all the lush, new growth, pests will find the perfect feast in your garden and flower beds. Check for aphids, slugs, tomato worms, and other pests that may be attacking your garden. Spray with an insecticide and keep an eye of future outbreaks.

Weed the Beds
Weeds are growing actively and producing new seeds. Keep weeds under control by pulling them as they come up or using a herbicide to prevent them from over taking your garden and flower beds.

Continue to fertilize plants as usual. Follow the recommended strengths that varies with each product. Water in thoroughly to prevent burning tender plants.

How to Grow Okra From Seed

Okra can easily be grown from seed. It produces more abundantly in a fall garden when temperatures are cooler. For information on how to grow okra from seed, visit the step-by-step instruction guide How to Grow Okra From Seed

How to Start a Backyard Nursery

Looking to start a small business, create and additional income or just have fun selling your plants? Consider starting a backyard nursery. Hear are two helpful guides to starting a backyard nursery.

How to Start a Backyard Nursery

Starting Your Own Backyard Nursery

How to Protect Plants During the Winter

The cold, Winter months can quickly injure or even kill tender plants. Learning how to protect your plants during the Winter can save you time, valuable resources, and the health of your plants.

Always use plants that's are capable of growing in your weather zone. Avoid planting tender plants that can not with stand the cold of your area. To find the hardiness of a plant research the growing conditions online and then determine if it is hardy for your zone.

Plants can be protects in the winter by mulching. Mulching plants can help protect roots and prevent plant failure.

Wrapping plants are another great way to protect them in the winter. Using old towels, sheets, burlap, or other breathable materials can help reduce the winds and frost that will beat away at you plants during the winter months.

How to Protect Your Plants During the Winter has more information on how to protect your plants.

Planting a Fall garden is a great way to get in one last round of crops before the end of the year. Planting fall gardens have several benefits including avoiding the heat, avoiding excessive drought, and the ability to produce crops that may not do well in hotter regions.

The article Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden includes information on the following topics:

  • How to Plant a Fall Garden

  • When to Plant a Fall Garden

  • List of Vegetables That Can Be Planted in a Fall Garden

  • When to Harvest Fall Gardens

Peace Lilies that Won't Bloom

Peace Lilies make beautiful houseplants. Their bright, tropical foliage adds a touch of class to any decor. Peace Lilies are easy to grow and great for beginners.

The most common problem associated with Peace Lilies is that the grower can't seem to make it bloom. Their white, long-stemmed spathes are the main attraction for most growers. Unfortunately, some deficiencies can cause a Peace Lily to stop blooming. This can easily be corrected with just a few adjustments.

  • Water- Peace Lilies require moist but not soggy soil. Insure that the soil stays moist and does not dry out between waterings.

  • Sun- Peace Lilies are tropical plants and require sun. A sunny window or well lit area will help increase blooms.

  • Fertilizer- Peace Lilies require a houseplant fertilizer. A simple fertilizer such as Miracle Grow Houseplant Fertilizer used at recommended strength will help promote lush, new blooms frequently.

More resources on Peace Lilies:

How to Get a Peace Lily to Bloom

Guide to Growing Peace Lilies

Tips for Growing Squash from Seed

Growing squash from seed is quite easy if done correctly. However, there are some things a beginner needs to know.
  • Always plant squash seeds in peat pots, cell trays, or directly in the garden the prevent root disturbance. Squash plants can not tolerate their roots being disturbed and will die off if not handled carefully. Always avoid seeding them in a seed tray and then moving to pots.
  • Squash need to be planted outdoors as soon as they are mature enough to handle the elements.
  • Always water squash well. Do not keep soil soggy but moist. Due to their produce, they use water to help promote new growth and squash.

How to Grow Squash from Seed is a great resource for beginners. As a step-by-step instruction guide, it will help teach you what you need to know prior to planting the seeds to help avoid plant failure.

How to Grow Schefflera from Stem Cuttings

Schefflera, also known as an Umbrella tree, is an easy plant to propagate by stem cuttings. They are great for beginners and work well as outside plants or as a houseplant. How to Grow Schefflera from Stem Cuttings is a step-by-step guide to show beginners how to grow Schefflera from stem cuttings.

Start Your Own Gardening Club

Gardening clubs are fun, educational, and a great way to meet other gardeners. Some larger areas have a variety of gardening clubs while smaller, more rural areas may not be so fortunate. If you
are looking for a great way to network with other gardeners consider starting your own gardening club. Here are several things you need to know on how to start a garden club. Read more

Mold on Sphagnum Peat Moss

Mold can sometimes be a serious problem associated with sphagnum peat moss. Treating mold on sphagnum peat moss is simple if correctly done.

Moisture and mold spores are the main cause of mold. This article tells you how to prevent and treat mold on sphagnum peat moss.

Using Sulphur in Flower Beds and Gardens

Sulphur is a natural resource that is great for organic gardening. Sulphur can be used as an insecticide and and fungicide on various plants such as roses, shrubs, ornamental, and vegetables.

Some plants can not tolerate Sulphur. Avoid putting Sulphur on plants that advise against it. For more information on using Sulphur on plants and vegetables, including those to avoid, read Using Sulphur In Flower Beds and Gardens