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7 Reasons to Go Ahead and Start That Garden

7 Reasons to Go Ahead and Start That Garden

Many people have the desire to start a garden, but they don’t know the first thing about what they should do or how to go about doing it. Instead of being intimidated by the garden, you should instead be thinking of what the garden can do for you. Here are 7 reasons to go ahead and start that garden you’ve been thinking about.

Reason 1 – Save Money

A garden is a cheap and reliable source of food for you and your family. A single plant will usually produce multiple vegetables. You can purchase a plant that is already started, and transplant it into your garden, for normally less than five dollars, or start your own plants from seeds.

Since most seeds cost less than five cents a piece, this will end up saving you the most money. When you compare the price of a single vegetable at the grocery store to the amount of vegetables that a single plant produces in your garden, you will understand the savings.

Reason 2 – Know Where Your Vegetables Came From

There have been multiple scares in the past few years about vegetables being handled in unsafe ways while they were still in the fields. When you grow your own vegetables in a garden, you will know exactly what they contain. The only chemicals you will need to worry about are the ones that you will add to your garden yourself.

Reason 3 – Exercise

It has been proven that gardening can burn more than 300 calories an hour. The movements you will be making while you are gardening are akin to many types of yoga stretches. These will help your muscles build strength and definition, as well as combine your workout with physical results in your garden.

Reason 4 – Sunlight is Healthy

Every human body needs sunlight, or more specifically, a vitamin that is essential to human life is absorbed directly through the skin from exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D, as it is called, is a nutrient that many of us are lacking in our bodies. The sunlight you get while working in the garden every day will increase your Vitamin D intake and make you healthier.

Reason 5 – Fresh Vegetables Anytime

When your garden starts producing vegetables, you won’t have to make a special trip into town to get them anymore. When you decide that you want a salad for dinner, you can step out your back door and harvest the lettuce, onion, carrots, peppers and tomatoes to include in your salad right there.

Reason 6 – Bragging Rights

Your garden will probably end up producing more vegetables than you can use. When this happens, you can share them with family, friends and neighbors, who will then comment on the size and quality of your produce. These type of compliments are a lot of fun to receive.

Reason 7 – Watching Something Grow

When your garden begins to flourish, you will have a sense of accomplishment. Watching the plants grow from nothing to providing food for you and your family is a wonderful sensation, and can be an educational experience for your children as well.…

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Design Your Own Garden Shed Plans! Five Tips to Consider

Design Your Own Garden Shed Plans! Five Tips to Consider

Building your own garden shed requires a set of detailed plans and procedures. During the planning process you should examine some of the many garden shed plans available at building supply stores and on the internet. Compare these plans with your own designs and interests. By following these five tips you you should be able to develop your own detailed plans to build the shed exactly the way you want it.

1. Picture in your mind the garden shed that would look best in your back yard with all the features to meet your needs. Look at pictures of different sheds as well as actual sheds in various neighborhoods in your town or city and make a mental note of each.

2. Examine different sheds at building supply stores such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. Take note of the design of each, their door entry features and their interior size. Look at the prices of each and think how much you could save by building a garden shed yourself and according to your own specifications. Consider also how large you could build it to stay within building regulations.

3. With tape measure in hand note the measurements of various details such as interior length and width, distance between studs and rafters, height of walls, size of door opening and pitch of roof, just to name a few. These measurements can aid you in making your own changes and design plans.

4. Take note of the material used in the garden sheds on display and decide on what improvements you could make. Look at the quality of lumber, sheeting and roofing they used. Remember, to keep the price low, the builders often use lower quality or grade of materials.

5. Make a scale drawing of the kind of shed you would like to build, such as one inch equals one foot. Then make a scale drawing of all the different parts of the shed, such as walls including stud spacing and headers, front wall with door opening, roof parts with rafter spacing, soffit and fascia, and corner mouldings. Also make a list of all nails, screws and other fasteners.

Since there are numerous garden shed plans on the market and some at a very reasonable cost, you may want to examine them and decide what parts you could use to make your own plans. Making your own detailed plans by following these five tips can give you the confidence needed to do a professional job building a garden shed.…

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Secret Garden Sanctuary

Secret Garden Sanctuary

Visualize an almost-secret space in your garden, a secluded sanctuary, even spiritual, where you can sit, stare, sleep, think, read, or sip tea. Everyone deserves such a secluded spot. And it must be a separate place where you cannot see the garden chores staring at you, but one which gives you a stunning view of your flowers, the ocean, a stream, or the woods.

Seriously consider a small place, surrounded by something substantial: a lattice-covered wall behind you with climbing honeysuckle or jasmine or sweet peas to stir your olfactory senses. Or use the side of your potting shed or barn or other outbuilding away from snoopy visitors or silly kids and then enclose with trellis or lean-to. You want to feel cosy, enclosed, surrounded, safe.

Add a simple bench with plumped up pillows, a soft throw for breezy days or chilly evenings; a little table or chest for your tea or for storing your book or journal. On either side plant some shrubs with fragrant and soothing blue blooms, such as lavender, upright rosemary, or butterfly bush, to inspire serenity.

Leading to your special space but partially hidden by other blue, lavender, gray, and white flowers, perhaps install a slate stepping stone pathway, inter-planted with low-growing thymes or chamomile. On each side, place screening plants, such as butterfly bush, tall verbena, catmint, oregano, and lavender. They will attract beautiful butterflies and bees which are efficient pollinators and wonderful to sit quietly and watch in your solitude. Sneak in your digital camera and capture them at work. If your growing conditions are such, plant a pair of dwarf citrus trees whose fragrant blooms will send your senses soaring.

As for additional plants, try a range of grays such as artemesia, licorice plant, fescue, blue oat grass or other ornamental grasses. Add some blues like low-growing myrtle, veronica, forget-me-nots, and the re-seeding annual love-in-a-mist. For white highlights, include Shasta daisies or alyssum.

Consider adding several shepherd hooks from which to suspend candleholders or lanterns to spread a bit of diffused light when you wish to sit in the evening after the sun has set, the crickets have begun their song, and the fireflies are dotting the dark. The sweet scents of the lavender, salvia, and jasmine infuse the still air, stirring your soul to say thanks for one more glorious day.

I have seen and dreamed and desired and designed such a space. I confess that I do not yet have one completed; but I will, as soon as the vines grow up over the heavy wire trellis. Beneath it is a pillow-covered antique bed-bench and a little table for my coffee mug. It is not too much to wish for. You deserve a special, secluded space for sitting and staring and thinking and sipping coffee, a place for inspired writing, inspired gardening.

A� 2010 Sandy P. Baker…

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All About Animal Garden Statues

All About Animal Garden Statues

From the illusive wolf to the powerful lion, animal statues are one way to really add a unique and vibrant touch to your garden. Animal statues come in many forms, shapes and sizes with dozens of ways you can set them up in your garden. Taking into account the overhanging foliage as well as the overall colour and density of your garden can give you a rough idea of where your statues would sit best. For example having a large statue like a bear near large plants could obstruct the view. On the other hand if you placed small plants around the base of the statue, you could create a much better look while having your bear in full view.

According to tradition, the birthplace of humans was a garden. Upon creation, Adam and Eve didn’t have to toil or work, they lived a life of no stress or suffering. Maybe that is why people use gardens to help seek tranquillity and peace. Something that many people wouldn’t realize is that a lot of animals have meanings and symbols like the butterfly representing transformation while the hummingbird symbolizes optimism and sweetness.

Understanding the different materials statues can be made out of is also an important aspect of picking your garden statue, materials such as metal may rust or lose colour, although this may seem like a negative, sometimes when a statue ages in creates an even better look. If you’re looking for a more ancient and exotic look possibly looking into the more expensive bronze and marble statues could also be an option.

You’re geographical area when choosing your statue can also be a factor. Creatures from the African savannah are going to be far more suited to a garden that’s drier and with fewer plants compared to a lush forest. Placing small turtle or bird statues around a waterfall or pond in your garden also makes sense. Some types of statues can suit well in pairs or groups, cat statues are a good example of this as they can create the impression they are guarding you’re garden in a pair.

In summary, animal statues are a great way to change the whole dynamic of your garden while also adding some meaning and symbolism. If you’re after just something small like the turtle or possibly the large elephant there will be enough selection of beautiful animal statues out there that you’ll almost always find what you’ve been looking for.…

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Seasonal Jobs for Unheated Greenhouses, Cloches and Cold Frames

Seasonal Jobs for Unheated Greenhouses, Cloches and Cold Frames

Whether you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse or you simply make do with a cloche or cold frame, there are essential jobs you should be doing to mark each of the seasons.

Spring

Spring is the time for new growth in the garden. Young plants are vulnerable so it is essential that you give your greenhouse a through clean and remove lingering pests and diseases. Once this task is complete, you can sow tomatoes, aubergines and other seasonal produce in seed trays and pots. Now is also the time to sow early flowering annuals such as sweet pea. Prick out seedlings and grow on young plants.

You can also start tomatoes and aubergines in seed trays and pots in a cold frame at this time, as well as early herbs and salad crops. Use your cold frame to harden off plants previously sown indoors.

Use your cloches to warm up the soil for sowing early radish, lettuce and carrots. Cloches can also be used to protect slightly tender plants such as dahlia shoots from late spring frosts and as a cover for strawberries to encourage an earlier crop. Young plants can be hardened off under a cloche.

Summer

Early summer is the time to grow on tender crops such as cucumbers and peppers in your greenhouse. You will also need to decide which plants you intend to grow and crop in your greenhouse. Tomatoes although they will live happily outdoors, often do much better if grown in a greenhouse, as do tender herbs such as basil. It is also a good idea to regularly check your greenhouse plants for pests and diseases. These are spread rapidly in such a small warm environment. In extremely hot weather you will need to provide greenhouse plants with plenty of ventilation and even shade from the heat of the day. There is an excellent gadget on the market for those of us who work during the day, which will automatically open your greenhouse windows for you when the temperature reaches a certain degree.

Use your cold frame and cloche to harden off tender plants such as French and runner beans at this time.

Autumn

When plants start to slow down in the garden, you will often find that those in your greenhouse will keep on going, especially if the weather stays fine. Keep cropping tomatoes and peppers. Once they have finished cropping, make space for those plants you will want to bring into the greenhouse to overwinter. You can also start to sow sweet peas in the greenhouse for an early flowering the following year. Once you greenhouse starts to empty, make sure you clean the glass so as to ensure maximum light once the short winter days set in.

In autumn you can also use a cold frame or cloche to dry off crops of onions and shallots and sow late sowings of lettuce.

Winter

During the winter months your greenhouse, cold frame and cloche all serve as protection for plants that would otherwise not survive the winter cold. Bring outdoor planters into the greenhouse with their tender occupants. Cloches can be useful at this time of year for protecting any winter salad crops left growing outside from severe weather.

Whatever the time of year, make sure that your greenhouse and cold frame are well ventilated, watered and clean.…

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Growing an Organic Herb Garden Indoors

Growing an Organic Herb Garden Indoors

Indoor organic herb gardening can be fun and very rewarding experience, along being way to add your own personal touch to your inside decor and at the same time improve the air quality of your home.

Herb gardening indoors can be an excellent family project and can be done in a minimal amount of space. Small window pots are an excellent choice for planting many types of herbs, along with window boxes that can be easily accessed from the inside of your home.

If you are new to indoor gardening, start out small with just one or two pots and expand your gardens as you get more comfortable with what it takes to grow plants indoors. Herbs like basil, parsley and rosemary are all easy plants to grow and ideal plants for indoors.

Basil doesn’t like cool temperatures, keep them in a warm place and preferably with full sunlight. Cutting the stem from the top of the plant just above where there are four sets of leaves to encourage growth. As the plant grows, harvest or prune often from the top of the plant, even if your not ready to use what you harvest, this will develop a stronger, healthier plant and remove any flowers as they form. This will also improve the growth of the plant and improve the flavor of basil.

Harvesting basil can happen when you don’t have any use for it. It can be frozen simply by placing it in a freezer bag. It doesn’t keep well when directly refrigerated, placing it in a glass of water and in the refrigerate will only keep for a few days.

Rosemary is another herb that requires full sunlight for 6 to 8 hours a day, a well drained soil and good air circulation. It is a good practice to re-pot the plant once a year to refresh the soil, and keep the soil moist at all times. A good soil mix that retains moisture, and drains well is very important.

Parsley is another great choice to grow indoors and needs an area that receives full sunlight. Curly and flat leaf are the two varieties of parsley, flat leaf being the preferred choice for cooking or chopping, due to it’s stronger flavor. Once harvested, it can be used fresh for your everyday needs or easily dried for storage to be used at a future date.

Once you get use to growing herbs indoors, you can try different plants and even get creative by growing a garden with a particular theme,or purpose, like an Italian herb garden for cooking. Herbs like basil, chives, fennel, oregano and rosemary are all herbs that are common to the cooking needs in Italian recipes. If you are looking for a garden that is designed for the purpose of a natural air freshener, choose herbs like angelica, chamomile, lavender, lemon balm or mint, there are just so many choices to choose from. When choosing herbs to grow in your own personal organic indoor garden, personal taste or needs is what will determine your choice.…

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A Hot Water Dispenser Saves Time and Effort

A Hot Water Dispenser Saves Time and Effort

One can use hot water for several purposes. Each time when you need water for cooking, drinking, and cleaning or any purpose, it is not always feasible to use a microwave. For a simple glass of H water, it is very cumbersome to even switch on the gas, and take a vessel to heat water in it. One can use electric kettle, but then it consumes electricity. So, if you happen to be someone who needs hot water on a daily basis, it is better you install a hot water dispenser. It provides any time as and when required. You could mount it at the sink’s edge. You could look for a stand-alone unit too. There are also plug-in tops that can dispense water.

Several uses of such dispensers exist. You can polish silver using hot water. If you like having your meals in hot plates, the dispenser comes as a gift to warm up your plates. In your hectic lifestyle, you must be storing many types of foods in your freezer. If you want to thaw them quickly, just use hot water from the dispenser. You can very easily sanitize Baby bottles, calmer, toys and other items using hot water. Even simple tasks like cleaning the grease or fat that is stuck in the grater or corners of devices are possible. You can also remove wax from the candleholders immediately using water.

There are many more uses. Once you fix the dispenser, you will realize how useful it is. It helps in saving time and effort. For instance, you will need for instant sauces, noodles or soups. If you wish to make beverages like coffee and tea, it becomes very easy. Even in your daily cooking if you put hot water in the dish instead of regular water, the cooking time reduces considerably. If you install an in-sink water dispenser for hot water, you will be able to get as many as sixty cups of almost boiling water each hour. The initial investment might seem a little difficult. Trust me, it will pay off completely. They are economical, and if you calculate the actual cost, you will realize it is peanuts. You will find dispensers for available in a variety of styles in the market.

Some of them also have two faucets – one for dispensing and the other for cold water. Such machines are also very useful when installed in offices and commercial establishments. The models available in the market come in various shapes and sizes. Few of them are sleek looking and sturdy. In case you are planning to buy a hot water dispenser for your home, or office, you must do your research well. Find out about the various brands available. Then, compare the models, their features and prices. You must select one that is from a good company. It could be slightly expensive than the others are, but it will be worth spending a few extra bucks. Investing in a quality dispenser is a wise decision.…