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Looking To Plant A Garden? Try These Ideas!

Poor organic gardening can negatively affect you, both physically and emotionally. You need to do a lot of your research, so that you don’t waste money, time, and resources on improperly growing your garden. There are some tips listed below to help you start properly growing the ideal organic garden.

Make use of an old golf bag to carry your tools such as spades and rakes around your garden. You will save a lot of time and effort (and you’ll have an excuse for a new golf bag!). The bag will keep them all together, so no more lost tools either. Many golf bags even have a stand, in this case you won’t have to worry about it tipping over and causing an accident.

You don’t need a costly chemical solution to deal with powdery mildew in your garden. Combine baking soda with a small dollop of liquid soap and add it to water. This solution can be sprayed onto your plants once per week until the problem is resolved. Your plants will not be harmed by the baking soda, but the mildew will definitely not like it!

When gardening in the fall, you need to be watching for stink bugs. They like to feast on all kinds of fruits, as well as peppers, tomatoes, and beans. If left unattended, your garden could be ravaged by these bugs, so you need to proactively keep their population under control.

Consider using organic fertilizers in your garden. These are safer than chemical fertilizers, which can build up salts in the ground over time. The salts restrict the ability of the plants to get water and nutrients from the soil. They can also kill helpful earthworms and microorganisms which eat thatch.

It is crucial that you have the proper tools before starting a garden. You do not want to begin the process of starting a garden only to realize that you are in need of a tool you do not have. Try to get shovels, trowels, pruners, hoes, garden forks, and rakes.

Put compost down on the soil in your garden about two weeks to a month before you plan to plant. This allows the compost enough time to integrate with the soil. Giving the compost time to stabilize means that your soil pH will be steady enough to test, and your plants will be ready to thrive when you plant them.

To keep your plants from suffering irreparable damage, be sure to check them for bugs and various diseases at least once a week. All these problems are much easier to treat if caught quickly, and monitoring them closely can keep them from spreading to other plants. Research ways to treat common problems so that you’ll be prepared for whatever you encounter.

Tie strips of mylar balloons to the branches of your fruit trees just before harvest time. These flapping, shiny straps will frighten away birds and small mammals, protecting your fruit. Just be sure to remove them after the harvest, because if they blow loose, animals may eat them and become ill.

If your home just has a small patio, you can still have a garden by growing plants in containers. Container gardening can give you the option to grow all kinds of flowers, plants, and even vegetables. You can also bypass the problem of frost by taking your containers inside during frosty weather.

For those new to gardening it is suggested to experiment with annuals. The following varieties are hardy, thrive in average soil, and take minimum care: sweet alyssum, marigold, zinnia, sunflower, nasturtium, petunia and verbena. Just remember to deadhead them frequently to encourage new flowers to grow.

Keep your soil healthy. One of the best ways to deter pests from eating up your hard work in your organic garden is to make sure your soil is good. If your growing medium becomes imbalanced, it will become an attractive place for all kinds of unwanted visitors. Check pH and moisture levels often.

Sometimes when you are growing vegetables or fruits, it can be helpful to cut off newly formed buds or other non-fruit bearing areas. This will stimulate the growth of heavier fruit because the plant re-routes nutrients to where its growth should be navigating. When taking care your garden, it’s important to make the distinction between harvesting the plant, or encouraging its growth.

For organic fertilizer to use around the plants in your garden and flower beds, start a compost bin made from all-organic material that would otherwise be wasted. Pitch in yard clippings, leaves, vegetable peelings, eggshells and coffee grounds, turning the contents of the bin often. In just a short time, you will have great material to mix with your soil that will provide nutrients and nourishment to your plants without added chemicals.

Poor organic gardening can be very troublesome, but with some work and some patience, you can grow a better garden. It just takes research, hard work and patience to start seeing the “fruits” of your labor. Do yourself a favor and try using the above tips to help grow a beautfiful organic garden.

Bedding Plant Royalty: Splendid Salvia Splendens

If the world were to coronate a Salvia as its favorite annual, there's little doubt that a deep red variety of Scarlet Sage (Salvia splendens) would bear the sceptre. It's a long blooming, global favorite sometimes called Bedding Sage or Red Sage. When it was first introduced to horticulture in 1822, it was known as Lee's Scarlet Sage. Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery explains the growth habits and history of Scarlet Sage and suggests numerous favorite cultivars to add grandeur to your garden.
Flowers by the Sea

Plant Problems? Follow These Hints For A Better Garden Today!

It goes without saying that taking care of an organic garden is critical for its success. This is where you need to think smart about organic gardening. You have the ability to produce healthy, delicious produce on your own property. Use the following tips to create a flourishing and very rewarding organic garden.

Use a mixture of vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water to get rid of salt deposits. If you are having a problem of salt buildup on your clay pots, mix equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Spray on the deposits and they will wash away with ease. Make sure to let the pots dry thoroughly before use.

Plant vegetables and flowers that are native to your local area. These plants will grow better with less work than plants that are not native. Also, native plants won’t require much extra watering, as they will generally adapt to the amount of rain typical to that area. This will also reduce your need for pesticides and fertilizers, since the plants will be able to handle the soil and pests in your area.

When growing potatoes, make sure you choose a variety with a starch content that corresponds with the way you’ll be cooking them. The more starch there is in a potato, the drier and flakier it will be when cooked. Potatoes that are good for mashing have approximately 7% starch. These potatoes cook quickly and retain a high moisture content, so they’re easy to mash. Baking potatoes have a starch content between 15% and 18%, and frying potatoes have the highest level at 22%.

As you plan your garden this year, change the layout so that it’s different from where the various plants were located last year. For example, place your tomatoes in the part of the garden where the corn grew last season. This rotation of crops will help keep your soil from becoming depleted of the nutrients needed by each type of vegetable.

To make your own miniature greenhouse, simply cover a pot with an old plastic bag. This will mimic the humid environment that allows plants inside a greenhouse to thrive. If you’d also like to protect your plant from the weather, build a dome out of a sturdy plastic and place it atop the plant.

Fall is the time of year to start planting those bulbs that produce the beautiful flowers that herald the beginning of spring. These types of spring flowers are easy to grow and can reward you with many years of gorgeous blooms. These bulbs need to be planted a few weeks before the first hard freeze in order to get their root system growing so they can survive the cold winter.

To save money on seeds, only use a small portion of the packet. In most cases, only a pinch of seeds are necessary, and seeds can easily be stored for the following year. You can also try splitting seed packets with your neighbors and friends. This is a great way to garden on a budget.

Choose a site for fruit trees depending on their specific requirements. Most fruit trees require 8 hours of sun per day. Morning sun is important, as it dries dew rapidly, helping to prevent fungus. Avoid planting fruit trees in a low spot in the garden where frost or cold air can collect. Some fruit trees are especially susceptible to late frost damage, and are better planted on a north-facing slope. This is especially true for peach, plum, cherry and apricot trees.

Any organic gardening project is immediately susceptible to fungal diseases that can rot and ruin your seeds or seedlings before they even have a chance to grow. In order to prevent this, you should use sphagnum moss which acts as a natural fungicide. When your seeds are planted into the soil, apply the moss immediately after planting. On the other hand, if your seeds are exposed to sunlight, you should apply the moss first, and then deposit the seeds on the moss. You only need to use a sprinkle of moss.

Plant slightly more than you will need. Pests and poor weather can diminish yields from your garden, especially if you are new to organic gardening. To account for this possibility, plant a little more than what you will need. However, don’t go overboard, if it is successful, you could have more vegetables than you could possibly use.

Once a year, you must rotate your garden. Planting your garden in the same area every year will allow fungus to grow there as well. Fungus and disease may stay in the soil and then affect your plants the next growing season. Different plants have different immunities and vulnerabilities. Changing what you plant where will naturally stave off fungus and disease.

It’s obvious that organic gardening can help you produce fresh fruits and vegetables in your very own garden. It requires a good work ethic, but an organic garden is indeed worth the effort.

DIY Poinsettia: A Common Christmas Plant Goes Luxe

Ubiquitous at this time of year, poinsettias are often dismissed as too common, or worse, too tacky. (The fact that their pots come swathed in garish foils doesn’t help.) This holiday season, I set out to see if I could reimagine this common Christmas plant—and turned it into a cut flower in an exotic holiday bouquet.

Read on for materials and step-by-step instructions:

Photography by Justine Hand for Gardenista.

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, white poinsettia, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: Already better: simply replanting the poinsettia from plastic into an earthy Italian pot makes it looks more warm and natural. And by removing some of the excess leaves, you can also see the more dramatic form of the plant. Each bloom looks like a firework.

Native to Mexico and Central America, poinsettia’s (Euphorbia pulcherrima) commonly come in red, pink and white. For my bouquet, I chose a white poinsettia plant from my local grocery store.


  • White poinsettia plant
  • Branches of berries or rose hips
  • Evergreen boughs (I used leucothe)
  • A footed vase or bowl
  • Floral foam (available at most craft stores)
  • Candle
  • Sturdy scissors or shears


Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, rose hips, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: To emphasize the newly discovered wild warmth of my cream colored poinsettia, I chose an unruly spray of persimmon rose hips. These are quite common. I have them in my yard.

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, leucothoe, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: Found at Winston Flowers (my favorite local florist), the lush, variegated foliage and crimson buds of Leucothe seemed the perfect complement for my Christmas arrangement. Note: if you can’t find leucothe (you know, that shrub with the clusters of small, white, bell flowers that bloom in spring), then any similarly expressive green will do.

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, non-floral supplies, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: Besides flora, for this bouquet you will need: a pedestal bowl, wet floral foam (available at most craft stores), a candle, and sturdy scissors or shears.

Step 1:

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, constructing the base, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: When working with foaming in a shallow bowl, you want to distribute the weight of your specimens evenly on all sides. Otherwise the foam may float and your bouquet will tip.

Cut your foam, if necessary, and place it in the bowl with water. Gently turn the foam over to make sure it’s completely saturated.

Then begin layering your longer pieces (rose hips and leucothe) on each side. First ,measure the specimen to determine the right length. Then give the stem a fresh diagonal cut, leaving about 1.5 inches excess to stick into the foam. Note that you don’t want too much stem in the foam as these will get in the way of the opposite branches and can cause the foam to break apart. Continue to add plants, alternating from one side to the other until your get the desired base. 

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, base, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: My base, constructed.

Step 2:

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, poinsettia sap, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: After the poinsettia is cut, a milky sap will bleed from the stem and cause the flower to die quickly. To prolong the life of a cut poinsettia flower, it is necessary to sear the stem before you place it in water. 

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, searing a poinsettia, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: After cutting the stem to the desired length, sear it by holding the end over a flame, turning it around to scorch all sides, for about five seconds. 

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, seared poinsettia stem, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: A seared poinsettia stem will prevent the sap from bleeding, and still will allow the plant to draw water. Note that it is not necessary to sear where you removed leaves. Only the main stem needs to be cauterized.

Step 3:

Poinsettia bouquet, adding flowers ; Gardenista

Above: Place four or five seared poinsettia flowers toward the center of the arrangement in front and in back.

Poinsettia bouquet with rose hips, finished arrangement 2, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: An explosion of holiday cheer. In a silver pedestal bowl, my poinsettia bouquet is both wild and formal.

Poinsettia bouquet with rose hips, finished arrangement detail, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: A long lasting arrangement; after being seared, cut poinsettia flowers will last more than a week.

Poinsettia bouquet with rose hips, finished arrangement, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: My bouquet graces the corner of my dining room. Next year I may try pink poinsettias with purple privet berries. Or, if I’m feeling really adventurous, I might even attempt something with the red poinsettias (perhaps pairing them with  white gooseberries and black pearl amaryllis).

Explore more outside-the-box ways to arrange this common holiday flower in Christmas Miracle: 5 Poinsettias That Aren’t Tacky. And then there’s always the poinsettia cocktail, served at during A Woodland Holiday Party.

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