Monthly Archives: March 2016

Use Organic FertilizerMany of us are concerned about how safe our home garden's fertilizer is. We want to grow our own healthy veggies, but don't want to add to the problem of illness and pesticide poisoning. This can be a challenging task. It seems like all the great gardeners, the ones that bring in the mega harvests, have an awesome fertilizer by their side. Who knows what this fertilizer contains? All we really know is the amazing effect it has on our plants.

What if I told you there was a fertilizer you could be sure about? One that will give the plants in your garden all the nutrients they need, but in a natural one. Yes, I'm sure you want a fertilizer that can explain itself, and list an honest disclosure of all the ingredients it posses. If this is your wish, then you're looking for an Organic fertilizer.

Organic fertilizers aren't hard to find. I'm not saying that you'll be able to find them in the garden section of Walmart, but if you go to a gardening store, you should be able to find at least one brand that says organic on it. Even Ace, or a hardware store will most likely have a brand. It's more likely that this product will be in stoke during the summer months. Stores tend to forget about winter veggies.

If you're not interested in going in store, it doesn't mean that you won't be able to find a product that's organic. It actually means that you'll have more of a selection as to which fertilizer to go with. Have you tried the lawn, and garden section on Amazon? Not only do they have thousands of gardening fertilizers for sale there, they also have hundreds of ones that are certified organic.

A great reason to by your organic fertilizer from Amazon is the access to reviews. These reviews are available to you whether you're a member of Amazon or not. There's also something called a verified review, this is a review written by someone that has bought the product from Amazon. Some reviews left on Amazon aren't fair, so you should read them all and really get a feel for the quality of the product.

You can also make your own organic fertilizer using compost. Have banana peels? These are very nutritious to plants. You could also try crushed egg shells as an ingredient for your home made fertilizer. I know a lot of gardeners say cabbage leaves do the trick. Another option is to put bean poles in the fertilizer, as they add nitrogen to the soil, something tomatoes need to thrive.

So you see, you don't have to use a product that was made in a lab to get the nutrition your soil needs actually in the ground. There are loads of natural ways to do it. Why risk your health with something that wasn't made the way nature intended? It's important that you keep your family safe with the right fertilizer in the garden.

Growing Your Own VegetablesVegetable gardening is making a comeback! If you're looking for reasons to raise your own vegetables, here are a few you may or may not have considered.

1. You can grow your own more conveniently than going to the store. Done right, gardening is easier. A small garden bed of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and peppers and I have the freshest salad I can get anywhere and I didn't have to fight traffic to do it.

2. It's a hobby with a practical purpose. Though you could be golfing, playing baseball, hand gliding, skydiving, bungee jumping, camping, buying antiques, candle making, quilting, crocheting, ball room dancing, cooking, face painting, or oil painting, though some are quite practical, not one of them that is more practical than growing at least a part of a daily meal.

3. Using simple garden tools for gardening makes gardening economical. Although, you could also spend thousands of dollars for a couple hundred dollars' worth of food, because you bought one of those expensive tillers because some advertisement convinced you needed it, you should spend a few dollars on good quality hand tools.and grow those same vegetables for much less. If you save seed, you save even more.

4. You know where your spinach has been. (Think about this one for a moment and you may never eat at a salad bar again.) Imagine that the irrigation water used on the field came from a nearby CAFO. (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation). Next imagine the migrant worker in the spinach field forgot to wash his hands after defecating, or the waitress sneezed into you salad. That doesn't happen with your home vegetable garden where you know who has handled your vegetables and the water came out of the hose on the side of your house.

5. Vegetables picked fresh from the garden have higher nutrient value than food bought at the store. Studies have shown that by the time we buy fresh vegetables at a grocery store, they have already lost 45% of their nutritional value. You will like thinking about that while you are eating a salad of vegetables that you picked a few minutes before serving.

6. Offers low impact exercise (or it should). Vegetable gardening not only offers nutritious food, but gives you reason to stretch and bend and lift. Just remember not to overdo it and to remember to bend your knees when lifting.

7. Brings families together. Children helping with gardening bring family closer together and children like vegetables better that they have helped plant and pick. Remember not to make weeding the only experience your child has in the garden, or this could drive your child into hiding when you mention the garden.

8. Is an educational experience. Gardening is a mandatory class in school. Years ago, I had a friend who was from a city in California. When he moved to the Missouri Ozarks, he didn't know that pickles were cucumbers. A couple years later he was growing his own cucumbers and making his own pickles.

9. Creates a better connection with nature. By digging in the soil and feeling the soil run between your fingers grounds you to the earth. In addition, you will enjoy the sounds of nature and the earth's smell.

10. Vegetable gardening offers you a chance to give back to the garden what you have taken out. Until you start converting your household garbage and yard wastes turning it into compost, you have no idea the synergistic effect that composting has on the soil. Garden soil was not inert dirt, but composed of living organisms that depend upon you as much as you depended on them. By gardening, you reconnect with nature, and that is an awesome feeling.

Perhaps now that you have read the ten reasons that I have, you might come up with ten reasons of your own. However, remember, all you need is one to grow the freshest, safest vegetables you've ever eaten.

Conservatory and an OrangeryFor many people who enjoy looking at their gardens and the outdoors from the shelter and warmth of the indoors, a conservatory or an orangery can be the ideal extension to the home. Many people are confused, however, about the difference between these two structures which seem to have a lot of similarities.

Indeed, the orangery and the conservatory are very similar. Both are structures which are simple extensions to the home, and make use of a large number of glass panels to allow a clear view into the garden. They act as a way to experience more natural light within the home, and even serve a practical purpose when it comes to growing plants indoors.

Initially, the orangery was an extension of a property or a stand-alone building, which was built with the purpose of growing citrus fruit plants and trees. This is where the name comes from of course, as oranges were some of the most popular citrus fruits that were grown in this kind of building, due to the exceptional light and warmth offered by the large windows.

The difference between this kind of structure and a greenhouse is that the orangery is much sturdier and larger, and can be treated as a place to relax rather than simply a place to grow plants. The same is true of the conservatory, which is a structure that also allows for some the same benefits of a greenhouse when it comes to growing plants.

The conservatory differs from the orangery in that it was initially built for the growing of different plants, not solely for cultivating citrus fruits. Various botanicals could be grown in the warmth of a conservatory, but this structure was generally not a stand-alone one, unlike orangeries.

Considering this, the conservatory can be said to often be more inline stylistically with the design of the original property home. It is treated as an actual extension, although it is mainly constructed from glass panels with very little brickwork and small walls to hold window frames.

Orangeries are a little different in that they were often stand-alone structures in their purest form, and therefore required solid brick structure in which glass panels were placed. The modern style of the orangery often reflects this period construction, using far more brickwork than conservatories.

Generally speaking, the orangery is focused on delivering an element of luxury and grandiosity, which can be compared to the conservatory which is a simple but luminous extension of the home. One element which makes orangeries special is the use of brickwork which can add a more luxurious and imposing appearance compared to the conservatory which consists mostly of glass.

Indeed, a conservatory is much more about viewing the garden from a window, whereas the other option is more about creating an impressive structure with a feel of 'Old World Elegance'.

Both of these types of properties are popular today with those looking to extend their properties, with conservatories being an excellent option for those who want to enjoy a view of their garden as much as possible, with the orangery offering a larger, more luxurious and more stylistic alternative.

You choice, therefore, will all depend on what you want to achieve. It should also be considered that as orangeries require more brickwork than the conservatory, they can require more construction work. This can also mean more expense, which is an important factor to consider for many individuals.

Both of these structures have their unique charm, and if you are interested in extending your home with one of them, it is strongly advised to consult with an expert in the design and installation of these structures, as they will give you a better idea of which is better for you.

Decorating Your Garden Romantic IdeasIf you are a couple living together then a time may come when you are so comfortable together that you forget about romance. Well, keeping the love burning and the romance going is essential for any committed relationship. If you have a garden then you can make use of it by adding some romance and surprises for your loved one.

Have a garden picnic. Get some mason jars with wiring around them that allow them to hang. Place a candle in each jar and hang them from the trees in your garden. Place about six to ten of the candle-lit jars around the picnic blanket. Place a carpet under the blanket so that it is a bit more solid for your picnic basket and drinks. Get a few fairy lights and hang them in your garden tree. You'll need to get a bit creative with this part. Print a few hearts, glue them on to cardboard and cut them out. Pierce a hole at the top of the heart and pull a string through it. Then hang these heart ornaments from the tree. This will create a romantic picnic set up in your own garden for both of you to enjoy.

Fall in love with Valentine's Day. Print a few pictures of hearts and cupid. Glue them onto cardboard and attach a string to them. Hang them in your garden. If you have flowers in your garden, they can form part of your decorations. If your flowers are not red, you can get a floral spray paint in red and spray all your flowers red. You can take some of those printed hearts and glue them on a piece of stiff wire. If you have a flagstone tiled pathway, you can stick the hearts in the ground along the sides of the pathway. Get a few lanterns and alternate them with the hearts to create a soft romantic lighting effect. With the cupid pictures that you've printed, cut out the arrows. Get a ball of cotton wool that is proportionate to the size of the cupid. Glue cupid onto the cotton wool ball. This will look like cupid is sitting on a cloud. Place these cupids on clouds in the tree or on a high surface so that it looks like they're floating in the air. Take the arrows that you had cut out and stick a piece of double sided tape behind it. As your guests spot the cupid in the trees, stick the arrow on them. They've been shot by cupid's arrow. This is a bit of decorative Valentine's fun and works well if you are chilling at your stone tiled braai pit in your back yard.