• Garden Blog

    Garden irrigation and root veg – does it help?

    Carrot, parsnip and beetroot seeds benefit hugely from regular irrigation when they are germinating as do the plants in the early stages of growth. Germination is more even and plant establishment much faster, leading also to fewer losses from slug/snail damage. (I would still recommend sprinkling a few slug pellets prior to germination, but cover with fleece to keep the birds away).


    For those of you looking for a complete drip irrigation kit to get started, I would highly recommend the RainBird kits.

    They are very simple to set up and made from high quality rubber and other materials. They aren’t very expensive and if you don’t have much experience with drip irrigation kits then this is perfect for beginners.

    Beetroots can be harvested earlier and will yield much more with continued irrigation, without any loss of quality. Early sown crops will get very large if left in, so a succession of sowings is needed if you like small beetroots.

    Although yield is heavier in carrots and parsnips which continue to be watered, there is a loss of skin quality, an increase in splitting and a reduction in root length when watered in accordance with our trial specs (Once every 5 days).

    In well drained soils continued watering is probably beneficial, but my recommendation would be to try 2 days watering every 2 weeks – a heavy enough application to really soak in, but without the waterlogging associated with more frequent irrigation.

    As an alternative to seephose, use drippers spaced about 30cm (12″) apart. Turn the irrigation on to see where the wet patches are.

    One of my favorite new attachments this past summer has been the new metal garden hose which you can use with your drip systems. What I seem to like most about these new metal garden hoses is that they are very durable and the summer sun heats them up quickly to get the warm water on your plants.

    It’s important to remember when using any garden hose or irrigation kit that you need to properly maintain it. Caring for you tools and plants is a full time job and if you take even a day off, everything can get ruined pretty quickly.


    Using a broom handle make a shallow depression in each wet patch and sow 4 or 5 seeds in it. As the plants grow pull the biggest root to eat, but leave the smaller ones to grow on in the extra space created. Weeds are easier to hoe out as you can hoe both ways.

    Water usage is reduced. The plant tops and roots spread to catch the light and water, so yields don’t suffer much. I have done this with beetroots and it has worked really well.

    I will try carrots and parsnips next year, but think pulling them one at a time may be more challenging.

  • Uncategorized

    Garden Urns Add Elegance to Your Garden

    Urns can add a hint of formality and timelessness to your garden. If you want your garden to have a dignified, stately look, garden urns may do the job. They look especially impressive in pairs. Symmetry and multiplicity bring out the elegant quality and ancient aesthetic of the garden urn.

    The right finish adds to the effect.

    For example, a gothic urn might have a mossy jade, a warm rust, or a formidable stone finish. You might keep to one finish, or skillfully blend more than one.

    A rust bench, for example, can look great next to a stone urn, but if you have too many contrasting colors and finishes, your garden might look like a junk store. If, for example, you combine terra cotta with jade and rust, your garden might look messy.

    Urns are also popular in public places, especially for dealing with cigarette butts. It’s better to have smokers toss their butts into an urn filled with sand than onto the ground where they have to be swept up. To find the best variety of quality urns at a discount, go online.

    There you can find high-quality urns with ease. Choose urns made of quality materials to ensure that your purchase will be an investment and not a maintenance problem.

  • Garden Blog

    Some Tips On Growing Lilies this Year

    Hello fellow greenthumbs, this week’s gardening tip is for a very popular flower that can be a little tricky growing so that is why we present the following tips. If any of you reading these tips have any requests on what you may need some tips on feel free to leave us a message here.

    Lilies are grown from bulbs made up of fleshy overlapping scales. These flowers are known for growing into large clusters of flowering stems.

    Location – Both variety’s of lilies are grown best in full sun , shade tends to make them grow very floppy. They also need to be grown in a bed that drains well and isnt overly windy.

    Soil– The best kind of soil for lilies to be grown in is the kind with lots of organic material to prevent drought. They are best grown in groups of 3 – 6 of the same variety and each bulb should be placed from 6-8 inches apart. Make sure to plant the bulbs facing up , divide and replant about every three years.

    Fertilizer – Fertilize the flower in the spring with 5-10-10 as lilies like very rich fertilizer. A slow release formula is also recomended with lilies .

    Water – Lilies are fairly draught resistant , watering once a week during extended dry periods is recomended. Also mulching helps retain moisture and control weeds.

    Pests – Lilies are usually pest free but sometimes slugs can be a problem with new shoots. Just make sure to spray with forceful water and check for bugs often.

    Over Winter –  Its best to mulch newly planted bulbs before winter with anywhere from 4-6 inches of loose compost. When wary of how to protect a plant over winter its best to mulch and leave it there until the first frost of spring passes.

    Well that’s it for this week , again if anyone has any questions please dont hesitate to ask us questions on our facebook and our website.  Until next week .

  • Garden Blog

    Tips on Growing Lettuce

    First, prepare your soil. I like to add manure to the soil to provide nitrogen for healthy growth. Add manure as soon as you can work the soil in the spring (at least two weeks prior to planting the lettuce).

    Plant seeds in full sun 1/8 inch deep in rows, 6 inches apart. If you plant new seed every two weeks you can have lettuce all summer.

    However, for mid-summer yield you must protect the lettuce from summer heat. As the weather warms, begin planting in partial shade, somewhere where the afternoon sun will be blocked by the house, garage or tree. If you have taller plants nearby, such as corn, sunflower, etc., put the lettuce in the shade of those plants.

    Avoid getting the leaves wet when you water. This invites disease. Water the soil at the base of the plant till moist, but not soaked.

    Lettuce does not compete well with weeds or pests. Keep the weeds pulled and hand pick pests off the leaves. I would not use poisonous insecticides on my lettuce. If you must spray, use insecticidal soap.

    The biggest enemy of lettuce in the garden is slugs and snails. They can practically destroy lettuce in about two nights. The best method to eliminate slugs is to go out in the garden, every morning, at sunrise and hand pick them. Look in damp, shady areas and you will find them easily.

    Do this until you can not find any more. You can also help eliminate slugs by removing any article in or near your garden that provides a home for them. Slugs love to hide under old grass clippings, wood, cardboard or anything else that gives protection from the sun. So, clear your garden of all of these items

    You can also buy snail bait at the garden shop that works well. However, I urge you to use the “Pet Safe” baits that are now available.

    The older (cheaper) baits are poison to you and pets. I would never put something that will kill pets on a vegetable I intend to eat.

    You have the basic tips, now read the article on transplanting to see the proper way to get your lettuce in the garden.

  • Garden Blog

    Expert Gardening Tips: Making It Easy for Newbies

    These days, you don’t have to be a grandma to start a garden, nor do you have to have a green thumb. You can start a garden with the help of ready potted plants, some basic gardening tools, and a gardening guide for any type of garden you have in mind.

    Yes indeed, why a grow a new garden or start to learn how to?

    If in the past you have tried to start a garden with one potted plant to test your gardening skill only to end up with nothing to show for your efforts, you must have made a lot of gardening booboos. There is no reason to stop you from trying out again.

    If a garden outdoors seems to be a gargantuan task, start with potted plants for your patio or in the corner of your backyard. Many people love our indoor gardening tips, but nothing compares to being outdoors. When the flowers bloom and the scents fill the summer air, you will surely want to have more blooming flowers that get you closer to nature.

    • A beautiful garden in a cramped apartment or one that stands out in a treeless neighborhood is a sight to behold. It works like magic on the senses and brings you back to the time you wished you had a magic garden.

    If you are tired of the traffic scene outside the four walls of your home and you long for vibrant colors that remind you of open fields awashed with daffodils, you need a garden, no matter how small it is.

    Gardening is also a therapeutic activity for people and the rewards are huge and gardening makes the body physically busy with all the kneeling, bending, pruning, and watering.

    In sum, gardening is the way to go to decorate your front lawn and add some pizzazz to your backyard. A garden also helps in the effort against global warming – and this is the most important reason why you should have a garden.

    Tips for Starting Your New Garden

    Before starting a garden there are basic stuff to learn by heart such as the type of plants that will thrive in your locality and the amount of care they demand.

    • Talk to a gardener and you might get lost in translation with all the babbling about soil pH, mulching, cotyledons, and composting.

    But gardening should start with the basics – garden space and garden shape.

    Where do you want to have your garden and what plants do you have in mind?

    • If you want to start with a small space, make sure it receives a lot of sunlight and it is a place dogs and cats and other pesky four-legged creatures cannot reach.

    For visual delight, choose decorative pots or gardening containers of different shapes, sizes, and heights. These will add texture to your gardening efforts.

    • The decorative pots may have a coordinated look or a mix-match collection to achieve a certain look for that garden space.

    Window Ceil Gardening Tips

    The old-fashioned window box gardening resolves the issue of lack of space for condo dwellers. Window box gardens also enhance the interiors and frame the view out there or spruce up the apartment’s exteriors – with spilling ivy, petunias, and geraniums.

    • This type of gardening should be selected carefully to coordinate with the look and feel of the apartment or condo and the type of plants to grow.

    You can make your own flower garden planter box o get a professional to do the job for you, complete with decorative add-ons and wall brackets to support it.

    The next job is choosing your potted plants that can survive in the area.

    Note the weather condition; is it too windy or does it rain too often and how much sun does that part of the apartment/condo receive during the day?

    Knowing all these can help you choose the type of plants for your window garden.Garden suppliers can also fill you in and help you make the right choices of flowering plants or herbs for your garden, a greenhouse wouldn’t be an entirely bad idea either to buy or build.

    • The issue of home security may be a concern especially if your home can be easily accessed. For the front window, install secure double lock latches. The window is secured from the inside so there is no worry that the plants won’t get their ample diet of sunshine if you leave the apartment during the daytime. Install a top vent or front awning if it rains often so you can leave the window open when it rains.

    What Should You to Plant?

    The choice of plants to grow will depend a lot on your personal preferences or gardening skills, ask around for gardening tips and tricks. If you are the type who goes for scents herbs in the kitchen’s window box garden are recommended: dill, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, mint, spearmint, and sweet basil.

    • For romantic scents in the living room, go grab potted jasmine, lavender, nicotania, and sweet alyssum. The flowers also add a dash of colors that would revive anyone’s flagging spirits. If you want perennials grow crocuses tulips, daffodils, and primroses.

    Homegrown vegetables might interest the culinary expert in the home – tomatoes, cabbages, beans, peas, and lettuces.

    • Fresh homegrown veggies can stretch the grocery budget.

    If you are big on ornamentation of your apartment or condo, choose plants that grow flowers that match the paint color of your home’s exteriors.

    • Permanent greenery such as Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Mugho Pine, Bristlecone Pine, and small cacti are top picks for year-round ornamental plants.

    Get Sterilized Soil

    Good quality soil is important in gardening – indoors and outdoors, its easy to create your own compost gardens with a garden composter.

    For your window box garden and other indoor plants, take the time to sterilize the soil to get rid of nematodes and their eggs and noxious weeds that will eventually show up.

    The best time to sterilize soil is during the summer or ‘cooking’ the soil in high temperatures using a large kwok after sieving to get rid of stones and other debris.

    Or buy sterilized soil from garden suppliers if the job appears too messy for you. Sterilized soil assures the safety of children and house pets from getting worms.

  • Garden Blog

    Creating A Botanical Garden

    Visit a public botanical garden.

    On a basic level, this will give you a chance to enjoy the vibrant colors of a wide variety of flowers. Such gardens usually include a cornucopia of local and exotic plants, in all shapes, colors, and sizes.

    But besides simply enjoying the flowers there, you can also get some fantastic ideas about which flowers to plant, and how to plant them.

    You can do this through observation and by talking with the employees at the botanical garden. In the long run, this will help to drastically improve the quality of your own botanical garden.

    Enhance your botanical garden using vines.

    This is a fantastic method for using your garden’s vertical space more effectively. You can find vines that are attractive for both their flowers and foliage.

    Where should you grow the gardens? Some ideal structures include garden arches and garden arbors.

    Besides using the vines’ attractiveness to enhance your garden, you can also use them to conceal certain sections of your landscape, such as storage sheds.
    When selecting vines for your garden, you can choose between annuals or perennials, and between evergreen or deciduous.

    • Each option has its pros and cons, so it’s basically a matter of which type of vine will have the best effect on your botanical garden. There’s no right or wrong answer!

    Add shrubs to your garden.

    Technically speaking, we usually classify shrubs as horticultural, rather than botanical. Nonetheless, they can provide some variety and pizzazz to your garden.

    The two main types of shrubs are deciduous and evergreen. You can use shrubs for functions such as windbreaks or hedges.

    Due to their large size, you can use them in a variety of functions. They can be the centerpiece of your rock garden, on a indoor apartment garden, or it be used to display smaller flowers.

    4. Have the right tools for the right job.

    This is true for any type of garden, including botanical gardens and even garden greenhouses.

    Here are some of the most helpful types of products for botanical gardens:

    • circle hoe
    • compost bin
    • deer repellant (organic)
    • fertilizer (organic)
    • garden kneeler (save your knees!)
    • gloves
    • kelp meal (organic)
    • perennial planting tool

    Add class with ornamental grasses.

    You can find a wide variety of these grasses, which can help to add personality to your botanical garden.

    They’re available in a rainbow of colors, including reds and blues! The main types of ornamental grasses are cool season grasses and warm season grasses.

      • Warm-season grasses can grow well in dry and hot conditions.
      • Meanwhile, cool season grasses adapt better to continuous temperature changes in the spring.

    If you’re planning to create a garden, why not create a botanical garden?

  • Garden Blog

    Why Artificial Grass Works So Well?

    Most any garden owner will be envious of a beautiful grass green lawn. But the problem is that lots of people who have back yards simply don’t have the time and money these days to keep them up. It takes money and sweat to keep a lawn looking plush and healthy nowadays.

    There was a time when only people who had enough money to pay for professional landscapers and gardeners could afford to enjoy a fresh green lawn. So with all the costs and effort involved, it’s no wonder people are ready for a new and better way. This brings them to the artificial grass option, which has really come on to be the wave of the future.

    But it’s only here recently that it really caught fire. It used to be used mainly for sporting arenas. But now its uses have really expanded, and home owners themselves are taking a hard long look at artificial grass, and they obviously like what they see. Even those who could always afford the gardeners and landscapers before, as seeing the wisdom behind investing in artificial grass. The up-front cost may seem a bit steep, but once you look further into it, it’s very easy to see the savings as a result of using it.

    The savings come at you from various angles. One is in the area of water. A natural surface requires a lot of watering at certain times of the year, as well as insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, weed killers, lawn mower gas, and if you have them, gardeners. Plus they are very effected by the weather. But not artificial lawns. They take the weather and remain looking great, and year round. So you always have a great looking yard in spite of what the weather has been.

    With the artificial grass, you have none of the problems and concerns mentioned above. All the work and worry have been taken out of the equation. That explains the popularity explosion of artificial grass. It’s practical and easier to have. They free up a lot of your time for focusing on other things that may need attention around your home. Just think of the hours spent doing all the things we talked about above.

    If you own a garden, you have several options when choosing the type of artificial grass you want. There are various types for various applications. You just have to find what best suits your needs. They are easily installed and add substantial value to your property. Here are just a couple of the ways this type of grass can benefit you:

    Comfort – This grass is so much like the real grass, it’s hard to differentiate between the two. But with artificial turf, there is a rubber fitting that lies just underneath the greens that provides added comfort to the feet. This adds a safety factor for rambunctious kids, with less slipping and less tripping, reducing the amount of injuries.

    Durability – The durability is one of the best features of this grass. It holds its beautiful color in spite of the traffic amount or weather poundings it takes. The drainage systems makes it usable almost immediately after showers, unlike natural surfaces that hold water and need to dry out for some hours. Being worry-free, it lowers your stress.

    You don’t have to worry about caring for your lawn like you once did, or keep a constant check on it to ensure it’s in good shape. You’ll be surrounded by lush green grass all year round.

  • Uncategorized

    Quick Fixes for Business Writing by Jim Taylor (Review)

    An indispensable book on editing for the layperson that applies to more than just business editing–the cover does not do the content justice.

    What drew me to the book

    Jim Taylor, the author of Quick Fixes for Business Writing, was giving a workshop on his eight step editing process through the Editors Association of Canada (EAC). I wasn’t inclined to go until other editors (some with 30 years of experience) raved about previous workshops by Jim Taylor. I reconsidered, but ultimately couldn’t make it but there was mention of a book based on the workshop so I tracked that down at my local library.

    My thoughts on the book

    I have a confession to make: You know the person who judges a book by its cover? I have to admit that’s me. The cover of Quick Fixes for Business Writing has a very low-budget feel to it that would have put me off without the background that pushed me to check out the book in the first place. It’s also double-spaced (which seems an odd choice to me) and has neither a table of contents nor an index. The content, however, is great. So great that I actually ordered my own copy from the publisher (they only sell direct) for my reference library (that would be the bookcase next to my desk).

    So why did I like this book?

    It helped me get a handle on one of the toughest problems of editing, which is fixing a piece of writing without imposing your own style and voice onto it. This book’s subtitle is An Eight-Step Editing Process to Find and Correct Common Readability Problems and that’s what makes it valuable: It gives you a system to assess a particular writer’s most pressing editing needs as well as a system for pinpointing what types of things need changing and why. The why is important because as an edit becomes more invasive it becomes more noticeable to the writer (and many writers will question why you are rearranging or changing their words).

    This book is written for the layperson, in particular the business manager who has to edit reports or other documents written by subordinates and co-workers. The eight steps move from least invasive (changes least likely to be noticed by an author) to most invasive (rewriting sentences and rearranging paragraphs). It is written in a straightforward and conversational way that guides you through what to do, how to do it and why to do it.

    Although the focus of the book is editing business writing, the principles and steps can be adapted to other types of writing. If I’m faced with editing my own writing, I now pull the book off the shelf and start going through the eight steps. Having the steps prevents that paralysis phase of not knowing where to begin–especially with a long piece of writing.

    About the book author

    Jim Taylor can be found online at his blog.