A GARDENING expert has 10 easy tips for success with raised garden beds and planters.
Raised garden beds are elevated structures built to hold plants above ground and if you do it right, they can make gardening a little easier.
According to landscape designer Carson Arthur, who outlined his 10 tips for raised garden beds for the website Eartheasy, one of the key tricks is to keep things simple.
Simple plants like herbs will be much easier to care for and to get right when you’re just starting out with your raised garden.
Some herbs you could start with include thyme or mint, and remember to plant them in rows so that you can pull weeds easier.
It’s also important that you have a good grasp on what your plants require, so stay up to speed on how much water and sunlight they need.
While you’re gardening and trying out these tricks, try to keep a log of everything you plant each year and how they performed, that way you’ll remember for next year.
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Dollar Tree hack revealed
Whether you’re protecting your plants from pests or looking to make an incredible terrarium, Dollar Tree’s plastic cloche domes will get the job done.
In outdoor gardens, cloches are used to cover plants while offering protection from things like harsh weather, and pests.
They can also be used to create a warmer climate that will nurture germinating seeds and young plants in colder weather.
Easiest herbs to grow revealed
He named the two easiest herbs for first-time gardeners to grow.
“The first thing I started growing was basil. It’s just such a versatile herb, and it is easy to grow,” he told local ABC affiliate WCVB.
Another easy herb for fire-time growers, according to Jernigan, is mint.
“Mint is one of the things that you can definitely start off with. It is very hearty.
“It is forgiving, so if you forget to water it, just like anything else, it is going to let you know. It smells great.”
Blue grass means no recovery
Silver or blue-colored grass is the worst news for a gardener.
Sean said: “When turf turns a silvery blue, it is dead. At this stage, there is no recovery.”
Rust disease turns grass orange
Orange is an alarming color for your grass and means that a fungus is loose in your lawn.
Expert Sean Lade explained: “Orange is not a natural color found in grass. This is a sign that your grass is suffering from rust disease.
“The orange color comes from the fungi spores on the leaves. This comes about in wet and warm conditions and when the grass has not been cared for properly.
“This can kill the leaves of your turf, but in general, will not kill the entire turf plant.
“To control this, invest in some lawn fertilizer, mow your turf properly, maintain good drainage, and water your turf properly to the guidelines above.”
Take action on a red or brown lawn
A lawn with a brown or red tinge is not in great shape and Sean explained that this means you need to take action straight away.
The expert said: “This is a sign the grass is stressed and you should take action as soon as possible.
“A brown color is usually a sign that the grass is dormant, a natural protection mechanism for grass to withstand weather changes.
“Grass is very tolerant and can recover from stress with just a bit of care and a regular watering regimen.”
Yellow means your grass needs water
If your lawn is yellow it probably means it’s been too hot and needs some more water.
Gardening expert Sean Lade said: “Your lawn is deficient of chlorophyll and could do with a little care.
“This is to be expected in hot and dry conditions. Now would be the perfect time to give your lawn a good soaking to get it looking its best.”
Green grass is a green light
Different colors of grass have different meanings, and it’s pretty obvious that green grass is the best sign of a healthy lawn.
Not only a good sign on traffic lights, green means all systems go in the garden too – as it means you’re doing a great job.
Gardening expert Sean Lade said: “The darker the green, the healthier your lawn is.
“You shouldn’t expect your grass to be a dark green 24/7, but this is a sign that your lawn is very happy and healthy.”
Prevent blossom end rot with the right soil
According to Walliser, it’s necessary to ensure the plant is absorbing sufficient levels of water, which in turn helps allow the plant to get enough calcium.
“The calcium is there; your plants just aren’t getting it,” she said.
“Blossom end rot is especially common in container-grown tomatoes or during years of inconsistent rainfall.”
If you water your plants consistently and have high-quality soil, you’ll help avoid the rotting problems.
Blossom end rot is a disorder
According to the gardening expert, blossom end rot is not a disease or something that is caused by insects – this type of rotting is actually a disorder with the plant itself.
“It is a physiological disorder thought to be caused by stress combined with a lack of calcium in the developing fruit,” expert Jessica Walliser wrote in the blog post.
As she explains, if the plant is low on calcium, which is needed in high amounts as it grows, then the fruit breaks down.
A few issues that can contribute to the lack of calcium include not having enough calcium in the soil itself, but typically it has to do with soil that isn’t retaining steady moisture levels.
Blossom end rot explained
Blossom end rot is a problem that can foil your plans of eating vegetables straight from your garden.
This type of rot has a “distinctive appearance” and while speaking with the website Savvy Gardening, expert Jessica Walliser described it as “blackened, sunken cankers appear on the bottom (blossom end) of the fruits.”
Often the tops of the vegetables will look as if they are totally fine, only to have the rotting flesh on their underside.
“They are always on the blossom end of the fruits, never on the top,” the expert warned.
Aerating your lawn can be fun
If you have $20 to spare, you can purchase a pair of aerator shoes that make it easy to poke holes in your lawn.
Aeration allows water, air, and nutrients to reach the grass roots in your lawn, making for healthier grass.
Slip your feet into a pair of aerator shoes and go for a walk around the lawn to get some cardio in and improve your grass’s condition.
Give your lawn a quick fix
Gardening experts say that you can use a rake to dethatch the surface of your lawn.
Dragging the rake across your grass will loosen a layer of dead grass from under the new growth – that dried-up grass is known as thatch.
“The goal is to remove a thick layer of built-up, dead plant material, and allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the soil again,” said Blythe Yost, co-founder and CEO of landscape design company Tilly.
“It’s one of the best ways to stimulate lawn growth quickly and naturally.”
Light levels explained
Each light level is determined based on the hours of sun or shade the area receives.
Below are the number of sunlight hours each light level receives, according to Almanac:
- Full sun – six to eight or more hours of direct sunlight
- Partial sun – three to six hours of direct sunlight
- Partial shade – three hours of direct sunlight
- Light shade – bright sun filtered through leaves
- Full shade – less than three hours of direct sunlight
- Deep shade – no sunlight
Light levels revealed
When growing a garden, it is important to keep in mind the light requirements for each plant.
The gardening website, Almanac laid out the common terms for light levels:
- Full sun
- Partial sun
- Partial shade
- Light shade
- Full shade
- Deep shade
Best places in the US to garden year-round
This is because these climates do not experience cold winters.
Hunker described that in these areas, the first crop is usually planted in January, and the second in late August.
The outlet added that warm-season crops can be grown from April to early winter.
Best places in the US to grow tropical fruit
Fruits like mangoes and pineapples grow best in warm climates with considerable rainfall.
Hawaii and Florida are the best locations in the US for these fruits.
While some midwestern states are warm enough, they do not receive enough rain to grow tropical plants, according to Hunker.
Best places in the US to grow vegetables
According to USDA Economic Research Service, California produces 60 percent of US fresh vegetables.
Idaho and Wisconsin produce the most potatoes, the outlet reported.
Best places in the US to grow fruits
If you are looking to grow fruits such as oranges, apples, lemons, avocados, peaches, and grapes, California is the best state to do so.
The state ranks highest in the production of many fruits, Hunker reported.
Florida is ranked second for orange production, and New York is second for apple and grapes.
Save money with vegetable gardens
With a packet of seeds costing just a few cents on average, growing your own produce can save you a considerable amount of money on groceries.
For those who do not have the backyard space for garden beds, container gardening on a porch or balcony is also a possibility.
How to make cut flowers last longer
Cut flowers can last for weeks with just three simple household items: sugar, bleach, and optional fresh lemon juice.
It’s also important to change the water often and trim the stems.
About a teaspoon of sugar and a drop of two or bleach will combine with the flower’s water to help the plants stay fresh.
Best time to remove weeds revealed
You’ll have a much easier time removing weeds when the ground is wet because damp soil is more flexible and should allow you to rip out the root of a weed intact.
Yes, there is an extra mess but it’s much easier than trying to dislodge weeds when the ground is rock hard.
It also minimizes ripping the body from the stem, getting a clean sweep instead.
Regrow celery or lettuce
Another common vegetable that you can regrow is celery.
Chop off the bottom of the stalk and put it in a bowl with a little water, being careful not to fully submerge the scrap. Then let it grow in the water for a week or so before transferring to soil.
According to the folks at Farmers’ Almanac, it’s sensible to try this one out in the Spring because it grows better in cooler weather.
You can use a similar process to regrow Romaine lettuce from scraps.
If you want to grow your own garlic, all you have to do is save one of the cloves from the bulb you bought at the store.
The gardening experts say you can just plant the bulb directly in your garden and watch it grow.
Regrow your green onions
Green onions are one of the easiest veggies to test your kitchen scrap gardening skills.
Take the white end of the onion, with its roots intact, and re-plant it in potting soil.
The place it in a sunny window and keep it watered, the publication says.
It can take less than two weeks until the plant will be tall enough to snip the top off and add to your next meal.
Grow your own food with kitchen scraps
In an online post, the gardening experts at Farmer’s Almanac say you can build a surprisingly robust garden by regrowing vegetable scraps into plants.
“Kitchen scrap gardening is the ultimate in recycling,” the Farmer’s Almanac writes.
“It’s environmentally friendly, can save on grocery bills, and it’s a fun, hands-on science lesson for young children.”
The periodical lists a dozen veggies that are great for kitchen scrap gardening, with tips for how to blossom them into fully growing vegetables.
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