Hummingbird Feeders – Natural Nectar Flower Blossoms Backyard Feeder

Hummingbird feeders placed in your backyard attract some pretty fascinating little creatures. When to place hummingbird feeders in the garden all depends on your location.

Most hummingbirds are migrant birds and will visit during the warmer seasons. In some areas of the country, you may have these beautiful creatures all year long but in the northern areas such as the Upper Great Lakes region, it may not be until sometime in May.

If you feel you are not attracting any hummingbirds to your backyard or garden, you may want to try some of these tips that will bring those hummers to your feeding area in a short period of time.

The majority of hummingbird feeders that are available for purchase have areas on them that are colored red if you feel your feeder does not have enough red you can try hanging a red ribbon to the feeder.

Another way to make your feeder stand out would be to plant some flowers that hummingbirds like or to hang a basket of some of their favorite flowers somewhere near the feeder. Just remember one thing that activity to a feeder will be slower when the flowers are in bloom.

Hummingbirds do prefer to have the natural nectar over what you offer them in the feeders. The hummers are still around and you will see more activity at your feeders much more often as the flower blossoms begin to diminish.

If you are living in the Eastern section of the United States, you have probably only seen one hummingbird that likes visiting during the summer and he is the Ruby-throated. They seem to be very territorial and will defend the flowers and the feeders that are within their roost spot.

If you would rather see more than one hummer you can place 2 or 3 more hummingbird feeders in other places that are not within sight of each other so that one hummer can dominate a different feeder.

The following is a list of some of the flowers and shrubs that attract the hummingbirds. One thing to note is that these flowers do not need to be red in color even though red is very attractive to most hummingbirds. Flowers that they like include –

Begonia, cardinal flower, columbine, coral-bells, flowering tobacco, fuchsia, geranium, hollyhock, impatiens, lantana, and petunia.

The also enjoy the following shrubs – azalea, butterfly bush, honeysuckle, and flowering quince.

Hummingbirds’ specialty is eating nectar; their trademark is their extended bill which is ideal for pursuing tubular flowers. Though their bills can vary in shape and size, each of them protects a long, sensitive forked tongue, which the hummingbird uses to lick, not suck, its nectar, whether it is from a flower or feeder, from three to thirteen times per second.

The fork of the tongue creates a trough that pulls up the nectar by capillary action. Ninety percent of a hummingbird’s diet is dependent on rich sugary nectar and the remainder is made up of pollen and insects that furnish needed protein.

Keeping and maintaining a backyard feeder for hummingbirds helps provide them with nectar that is critical to their survival, particularly in the fall when they must double their body mass before they migrate.

A common fear is that the extra food we supply to them will prevent them from migrating south, this is not true when it is time for them to fly south, they will.

Hummingbird feeders Shapes and sizes

Hummingbird feeders come in many shapes and sizes such as pie or saucer-shaped, tubes, blossom feeders, and many other designs. Some are designed with perches so these tiny birds can sit and feed.

Hummers use a huge volume of energy while hovering and would prefer to sit when they feed if at all possible. A good place to hang your feeders is in the shade; this will help prevent spoilage and fermentation of the sugary hummingbird food.

Be sure you change the nectar regularly before it has a chance to get cloudy, or roughly twice a week in warmer weather. If you have problems with ants or bees getting into the sugar solution try smearing a bit of petroleum jelly around the feeder ports to discourage them.

You can make your own hummingbird nectar by using 4 parts water and 1 part white sugar. You want to bring the water to a boil over low heat and then stir in the sugar and boil for about two minutes.

Final Notes

Boiling will kill any mold spores but do not over-boil the mixture. Cool the solution before pouring into the feeder or storing in the refrigerator. You do not want to use honey because it will spoil easy and cause harmful bacteria.

You also do not want to use red food coloring because this could be harmful to the hummers. If you do not want to mix your own food you can purchase instant hummingbird nectar for your hummingbird feeders.

Solar Lights for Garden – A Beautiful Setting

Solar lights are the friendliest environmental concept for garden lighting. We have come a long way with the advancement of solar technology. Solar lights make a beautiful setting in any garden; the lights burn as brightly as regular landscape lighting without the use of wire power. This can save you money and at the same time reduce carbon emissions.

These lights are ideal for the larger garden where it is almost impossible for the cable power supply. A beautiful setting for any outdoor patio room, flower garden, deck or just about anywhere in your garden.

Solar Lights Install For Garden

Solar garden lights are very easy to install, you don’t need an electrician or a landscape designer, with a specialty in lighting, to help you out. You also don’t have to bury any wires and you won’t have a transformer using any of your valuable power outlets that are outdoors.

You will find that garden solar lights come in a variety of styles and will produce several different lighting effects. What seems to be happening in new construction is the installation of cord-free and hassle-free solar path lights, spotlights, and sometimes floodlights.

Avoid in solar lighting

What you want to avoid in solar lighting are the units that have smaller solar panels. They may be cutting costs but the panels can only reach a full charge if they are incomplete full sunlight. This will cause it’s rechargeable batteries to burn out quicker.

You don’t need to break the bank with the purchase of your garden lights, just look for the products with a good customer review and try to shop with a trusted retailer in case you need to return the lights.

2 Types of solar lighting

Stake solar lighting

Stake solar lighting is a stand-alone unit that is mounted on a stake that can be pushed into the ground. The batteries are located in the stakes and the solar panel located on the top for maximum exposure to the sun.

They often come with a manual ‘on’, ‘off’ switch in the chance that you don’t want all your solar lights on at one time. They are usually placed in garden beds, around patios and pathways. These stake garden lights are available in brass, copper, nickel, plastic, stainless steel, or wood.

Hanging solar lights

Most often used for decorative features are the hanging solar lights which come in a variety of different styles. These lights are wonderful for parties, late-night entertaining and creating soft light ambiance in any part of your garden.

Solar Garden Lights Bring Ambience to a Yard

Solar lights are a wonderful way of lighting up your backyard garden. Solar yard lights need to have a path to the sun during daylight hours so it will be able to store enough energy to be able to work during the night. When you install your solar lights make sure they will be getting enough sunlight.

Before actually installing the lights just lay the lights where you want them, be sure they are placed an equal distance apart and the positions do receive the proper amount of sunlight.

The majority of solar lights require at least 8 hours of direct sun, but some may require more, to provide you with maximum lighting during the night.

Reasons for using solar garden lights

  • There are several excellent reasons for using solar powered garden lights
  • They are environmentally friendly because they are run using energy from the sun and not on electricity.
  • They are easy to install since you do not have any wiring to bury plus they can be moved around the garden.
  • They are much more inexpensive than other types of lighting.
  • They do not require much upkeep except for replacing the rechargeable battery occasionally
  • The LEDs or light-emitting diodes bulbs very rarely burn out so do not need replacing.
  • They add beauty to the garden during the evening by spotlighting areas of the yard that you could not see in the dark.
  • They give you the opportunity to enjoy the garden during the cooler evening hours.

Solar patio lights are a good way of changing the landscape, garden, or yard into an area that you, your family, and friends enjoy inexpensively. These lights are not only inexpensive but are energy efficient, easy to install and give you ways of lighting up some of your unique outdoor decorations or a prize winning flower garden.

Sizes and shapes of Solar lights

Solar lights come in various sizes and shapes; some also have the capability of changing colors. When solar lighting first came out they were mounted on stakes.

You could install into the ground for path lighting, now you can also purchase the lights on poles that resemble lanterns that will light up more of the pathway or lead people through a grassy area of the backyard to an outdoor living room.

Solar light vs Regular light for garden

Solar spotlights are a bit brighter than the regular lighting used for pathways or accent lighting. These lights are generally used when you want to highlight a specific area of the landscape or garden. Some spotlights come with a separate solar panel that is attached to the light by way of a wire.

This gives you the opportunity to highlight a favorite tree that is sitting in the shade by placing the solar panel in direct sunlight. Other spotlights are designed as security lights that will only light up when movement is sensed.

Outdoor Solar Garden Lights

Solar lights strategically placed in your front garden and backyard garden can make your home just as beautiful at night as it does during the daylight hours. Those outdoor solar garden lights also help to prevent guests from stumbling when leaving your house and they will also highlight your walkways. It is always better to feel a little more secure to know that it is safe to visit your home.

You want to use the sun to help light up the night in all your outdoor spaces. Solar lights will not need any wiring and are very easy to install. A small solar panel charges one or several batteries during the daylight hours and then they power an energy-efficient bulb after the sun goes down. The solar lights that are the brightest are using LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes instead of the old filament bulbs.

The volume of energy that is produced by the solar cell will determine how much will be accessible for the light. The more proficient cells that have the better circuitry will end up providing more solar power to the batteries which in turn get passed on to the bulb.

The batteries in these lights will also last much longer; there are some solar lights that are able to remain lit for several nights after only one sunny day. The transparency on the solar cell cover is important, as the panel receives more light it can produce more energy to the bulb.

Final Notes

Solar garden lights also come as spotlights that cast a single beam of light on any particular feature of your garden you want to display such as some bushes, an unusual tree, a fountain, a statue or a rare rock formation. They are very much like a floodlight but will not brighten as large an area.

Garden Yard Stakes for Flowers and Vegetables

Yard stakes can be used in the garden not just for supporting your vegetables but for supporting those beautiful flowers as well. Small garden yard stakes, similar to a wide ice cream stick, can be used to label your rows of vegetables so you do not forget what you planted and to place a date as to when they were planted.

There are two separate ways of looking at flower supports: the preventive measure and remedial way. The preventive yard stakes are needed for the “definite floppers,” similar to a double peony.

The idea is to be sure to place these flower supports where needed before the plants have a chance to grow tall when they need them. This way the plant is able to grow through the support so the device ends up almost invisible to the eye.

Grid-Type flower support is good for those plants that need to have plenty of support such as phlox and peonies. Ring-style supports are better when used for the perennials that spread outward before they burst into bloom. Asters do this, but by using the ring support it keeps the plant looking very tidy without looking as if they are tied up.

If you have forgotten to place your stakes ahead of time or if some of the plants flop over unexpectedly, remedial supports become very handy to use. All that is needed are some plant ties, bamboo stakes or poles, stakes that link together, supports for the stems and a ball of string.

It is imperative to erect the ring-style garden yard stakes before your plants have had a chance to grow tall. There are some of these supports that have a double-set of rings and others that have a ring on the inside for extra support.

Some plants that will benefit from the ring-style supports are large cosmos, delphiniums, dinnerplate-style dahlias, and phlox. Grid-style flower supports are very similar to the ring-style except the openings are smaller and they also need to be placed early so the plant is able to grow through the small grid openings.

These supports give more support than the larger opening ring-style and are also available in several sizes. When you install these supports it is better to place the legs in the soil first and position them to be the same height; once they are level you can snap the grid in place.

The asters, cosmos, peonies, phlox, tall snapdragon, and zinnias will benefit greatly from this grid-style support.

Curved linking yard stakes and Y-stakes

Curved linking yard stakes and Y-stakes are excellent for the plants that have already toppled over. They work wonders when you want to keep the plants from reaching over onto a path or walkway.

They will also help control energetic plants from smothering the plants that are less powerful. Both styles of yard stakes are good anywhere when you want to encircle a grouping or you can set up a line of them down the center of the flower bed for extra support.

Any type of plant or flower will benefit from these stakes, all you do is add a section when needed or take away sections you no longer want. Gathering rings and single-stem supports are used for plants that need support while blooming.

They are also handy when a plant sends out a flower stem that falls onto nearby plants or is weak. Every now and then a plant develops an inferior stem or a strong wind bends the stem.

This is when the gathering ring or stem support comes in very handy. Plants that generally benefit from these supports are gladiolus, Oriental and Asiatic lilies, foxglove, and bearded irises.  

Having a limited space for growing is no reason for not growing some vegetables and flowers. A vegetable cage or tomato cage is good support for container gardening.

When you use one of the cage types supports you will be able to grow snow peas, peppers and tomatoes many climbing plants or flowers on a deck, balcony, patio or a small garden area.

You just need to be sure the container has sufficient drainage holes and is large enough to handle the growing root system of your plant. Vegetable cages, tomato cages, ladders, and trellises can also be used as flower yard stakes or supports.

Trellises not only work well for flowers but also for the vegetables that grow vines along the ground. To keep your cucumbers or zucchini off the ground insert a number of trellises along the backside of the row and when they start to vine out-train them to weave in and out of the trellises.

These garden yard stakes will not only keep your food off the ground but it gives you more room to grow other fruits and vegetables. Cages, ladders, and trellises are also excellent for tomatoes, snow peas, pole beans, zucchini, peppers, cucumbers and any other type of vine fruit or vegetable.

Final Notes

As you can see both a vegetable garden and flower garden will do extremely well with many of the garden yard stake designs that are available.

Portable Indoor Mini Greenhouse For Small Area

A small greenhouse for indoor use is a great way to add the number of things that can be grown in your home. Using a small greenhouse is good to expand your gardening season by bringing in your garden vegetables or for growing some of the plants that your outdoor temperatures will not allow you to grow.

An indoor greenhouse is a good way to start vegetable garden seedlings. It allows you not only to be able to start your garden when you want but to choose more varieties of peppers or tomatoes that your nursery does not stock.

A windowsill greenhouse is a simple greenhouse box that sits on your windowsill for starting a few seedlings. You want to put it in a window that receives some good sunlight and it is easy to keep it watered. Some of them may come as a garden starter kit which includes the small pots, starting medium and grow lights.

Some gardeners refer to the windowsill greenhouse as a mini greenhouse because of their small size. You can even purchase some that have covers to help maintain moisture levels.

Another style is just a set of shelves equipped with a grow light for each shelf but you will not be able to control the humidity levels or the temperature which can limit you as to what you can grow.

These shelves work quite well if all you really need is some extra lighting. Some small indoor greenhouses are called growing racks. They resemble bookshelves that have a plastic covering that helps keep the temperature and humidity at more consistent levels.

Built-in lighting

They also come with built-in lighting or grow lights that will supply your plants with the added light they need for growth. They are available with two, three, or four racks for sitting on the floor or to use as a tabletop greenhouse; you can even find some that are corner units which gives you a little more flexibility on where to place it.

You do not need to have a large greenhouse in order to start seedlings or harden-off your transplants in the spring. A patio grow house generally has a fairly small footprint, roughly 36 x 18 inches, so it will fit in any space that receives good sun.

They also provide plenty of growing space on three levels. These greenhouses are equipped with double-walled glazing that captures and holds the heat of the sun and you can place them on your patio or deck where you get the best sun in the spring.

We all know that a regular-sized greenhouse takes up a lot of room but a portable greenhouse allows enough space for an average gardener to get a good start on their spring plants, but is small enough so it can be moved, if necessary, with help.

Greenhouse styles

Portable greenhouse styles can vary and the best for you all depends on how you want to use it. Some are just a form of a cold frame, which is a box that has a plastic or glass door that is placed over your plants that are already planted into the garden.

These cold frames need to be light enough to be able to lift off once warmer weather arrives. In severe climates you may be able to purchase one that is heated which will give you a head start on the garden.

Interiors of this portable greenhouse can be cooled by opening the door on hot days. They are also low enough to the ground with a small profile so the wind will not be too much of a problem.

Patio Greenhouse for a Small Area

Patio greenhouse gardening has become very popular with urban gardeners and gardeners who do not have very large areas and have a desire to use portable greenhouse structures.

A patio greenhouse is also very handy for those gardeners that do have quite a bit of space because they want the benefit of having portable flower houses and grow racks.

The benefit of patio greenhouse

Some of us literally do not have space, or maybe the finances, for the full-size stand-alone greenhouse so a mini greenhouse or a cold frame is the only option.

The most important asset of using a mini or deck greenhouse is that they are quite compact and portable, and they can be set up just about anywhere in a garden.

Many gardeners prefer to have one on the patio or balcony where the sun is more plentiful. A small patio greenhouse can be moved out of the way if needed or it can be permanent and used to show off some of your finest achievements in growing flowers in winter.

The suitable place for patio greenhouse

A small patio greenhouse is quite suitable for plant propagation and seed germination and if placed close to the back door of your home you can very easily check the temperature and humidity. Since most of the garden tools and accessories are available in stainless steel you want to care for them correctly.

These greenhouses are very handy for storing all your garden items such as watering cans, gloves, garden trowels, forks and anything else that you use for gardening so you know where they are the next time you need them.

Popular planting for mini greenhouse

Flower greenhouse

If you do gardening as a hobby you just might enjoy a pop up flower house. These greenhouses are known for how easy it is to assemble and use. They are small, portable and temporary that can be brought out and used year after year.

They actually pop up in the same manner as a tent being assembled, no tools or skills at building are needed. Once the flower house has been opened you can place your potted plants inside and it will provide warmth and protection to the plants.

All that is needed when you are finished with the pop up flower house is to wipe it out with a sponge and store it away for the next year’s usage.

Grow racks

Grow racks are portable structures that are easy to find and are sold as complete greenhouse kits complete with a greenhouse plastic cover and shelves.

Most of them are a couple of feet in length and a foot or more in width with varying heights. A six foot tall grow rack generally has four shelves that are removable. 2 and 3 shelf varieties are also available.

You can set up a grow rack on a deck or patio that receives a good supply of sun and warmth. The plastic covers are equipped with zippers for easy access or if they need to be replaced. For the patio gardener who lives in excessively hot, sunny areas, shade cloths are recommended and available for grow racks.

Cold frames

Cold frames are raised beds that have lids. They can be part of your backyard landscape or portable. If you are planning on using a portable cold frame be sure that the bottom is perforated to allow for proper drainage.

A portable gold frame that is going to be on a porch, patio, or deck you will need to place trays underneath to capture the draining water. Permanent cold frames, the same as raised beds, are built on the ground except they are much deeper to furnish room for the growing plants under a hinged lid. Some cold frames are available with domed lids for additional space for plants to grow upward.

Final notes

if you are using a greenhouse indoors you are going to need some garden supplies. You will need some planting trays for starting your seeds or you can even use some old egg cartons.

Your hand tools should include a trowel, hand rake or small rake, small shovel, scissors, clippers, and small hoe. You also want hand gloves for protecting your hands from scrapes, cuts and injuries.

5 Superfluous Greenhouse Accessories

The greenhouse accessories you should consider depending on how you use your greenhouse and where it is located. For the gardener who loves to garden all year long a greenhouse is a perfect setting for cultivating vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers.

In a greenhouse the avid gardener can grow almost anything; the only thing is greenhouse accessories are a little different than standard garden accessories.

The main advantage of growing in a greenhouse is the ability to control the environment so you can grow the plants of your choice no matter what the outdoor conditions are like.

The elements that need to be controlled for the best growing conditions are air circulation, ventilation, temperature, moisture, and lighting. Another advantage to the greenhouse is the fact you have more gardening space because you will not be growing in the actual ground but on different levels of the greenhouse.

Some of the greenhouse accessories you may want to consider are thermometers, humidity gauges, plant misting systems, grow light options, potting benches, shelving systems, shades and shelters, and maybe venting and roof openers. These are just a few suggestions but I will only touch on a couple of them.

1. The Potting Bench

Potting benches are very useful greenhouse accessories that you will probably want to invest in. They most often have one or two shelves for holding supplies such as pots, soil, fertilizer, and tools.

Some potting benches are large or portable on four standard legs and some are portable on two standard legs and two wheels that can be moved around to any part of the greenhouse you need.

Even if you decide on the large potting bench, keeping all your potting supplies in one place can save a lot of time because you know that everything is close at hand.

2. Greenhouse Shelving

Gardening in a greenhouse gives you the ability to use planters, containers, wire mesh, plant shelves, trellises, and poles that will help enlarge your growing space.

You can also use these greenhouse accessories outdoors during warmer months but sometimes the wind has a tendency to blow them over. In the greenhouse they are more protected and can be used on a year round basis.

Another greenhouse accessory is a grow shelf that is actually an aluminum frame that is perfect for seedling trays. Some grow shelves come with UV stabilized plastic covers that can create a greenhouse within a greenhouse for starting new plants or unusual plants that need conditions that are different than the standard.

Plant stands or racks are able to grow several plants in a smaller space such as herbs, peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes. The larger spaces in your greenhouse can be used for the plants that usually take over your garden such as cucumbers, melons, and squash. You can grow berries in containers and beans can use the bean pole or trellis and not have to worry about the wind blowing them over. 

3. Misting Systems

The moisture in your greenhouse is usually classified as humidity. You do not want the humidity to be too moist or too dry when gardening in a greenhouse. There are excellent greenhouse accessories that manage the humidity.

Measuring the humidity is simple but is also very important. It can be done by using a humidity meter or a sling psychrometer. Controlling the humidity is a little hard because there are so many things to consider. It depends on air circulation, moisture, temperature and ventilation.

Your heating system and/or an evaporative cooler can affect the humidity along with how you water. It will usually take a bit of experimenting to maintain the appropriate humidity level. Automatic misters can maintain the higher humidity that is needed for rooting plants.

Some misters come with timers so they will come on at specific times during the day or with moisture sensors that will start a cooling mist when the moisture in the air falls beneath a certain density.

4. Grow Lights

The outdoor lighting in a greenhouse can be minimized by using shade cloths or nets. It can also be expanded by using artificial lighting or grow lights. These lights will make it possible so your plants get enough light, even if the sun is not shining outside.

Using the shade cloths or nets will also make sure the sunlight will not dry out your plants. The most common type used in a greenhouse is fluorescent lights, incandescent lamps and high intensity discharge (HID) lights. Light meters are also available that will measure the intensity of light. Lights can be set on a timer, to go on and off automatically. Shading and lighting will also help in the control of the temperature.

5. Heating system

Sometimes it may be necessary to utilize a heating system when the outside temperature is cold and an evaporative cooling system when it is hot. Soil warming devices can be used to prevent frost without heating the entire greenhouse.

When using a heating system it is recommended to use a thermostat for automation. Good air circulation is very important in the greenhouse, without it heat will rise and the cooler air will be at the bottom around the plants.

A forced air system may be what is needed for circulation, or the use of a fan might be less expensive. Ventilation will help maintain the temperature, and to aid circulation.

This can be provided by placing vents in the roof of your greenhouse or through an exhaust fan. Grow lights will increase amount of full spectrum light for your plants, particularly during the winters up north when the days are short.

Final Notes

Gardening in a greenhouse is a new adventure for many gardeners. With the right greenhouse accessories, you will be able to grow almost anything and plant more in less space. The gardening possibilities can be endless.

You will find greenhouse accessories specially designed to fit whatever needs you have and they will help you grow beautiful and tempting plants with minimum effort.

Some Awesome Landscape Design Ideas

Landscape design basics begin at the very beginning and that is how you plan on using the space. Some of those landscape design idea recreation areas for you, the family screening devices for windy areas that receive too much sun or things you want to hide the views from the inside of the house you want to improve on or from porches and patios you want to enhance.

Landscape design

You may be starting from scratch or you want to improve your existing landscape design, either way designing it yourself can be a very rewarding project. The primary consideration regarding your landscape design should be the friends and family who will be using the area.

View of area

Even though you may want to focus on a particular theme for your garden landscape, the real focus needs to be on the ability to view the area. You also want to plan on the way you want people to walk through the garden and what they walk on to be part of that consideration such as with rubber stepping stones or pea gravel.

Drainage

Drainage is a very important key feature that very often gets over-looked by the gardener that is new to designing a landscape. If you get it done right no one will even notice but if you get it wrong your plants will die in soggy garden beds, large puddles of water will kill your lovely lawn or you could end up with water in a basement.

Grade of yard

There is nothing wrong with changing the grade of your yard, build a retaining wall or installing a raised bed for your flower garden. This landscape design can help you become a successful creator of a beautiful backyard landscape for everyone to enjoy. 

Screening the view of undesirable objects or the weather such as wind is of major importance in a design process. Once in awhile screening a particular garden area can be more valuable than you think; it can encourage someone to want to view what is around the corner.

This can be the first step in getting people to check out other areas of your garden or garden rooms. Another trick is to give a little bit of exposure to a vista that will make visitors want to take a look.

Do not just think about how you want people to move through your garden but how you want to wander through it. Doing this may give you some great ideas such as a flower covered arch or an arbor with a gate. 

Please do not forget about your children and pets, they also need to have an area they can enjoy. The back area of a smaller yard can be a good spot for the jungle gym or swing set where you can place soft material such as rubber pavers underneath so no-one gets hurt when they fall.

You want this area to be seen by you but also not to interrupt the views to the remainder of the garden. Your precious children need to feel that the garden landscape also belongs to them and you want them to feel free to invite friends in to play also.

Now that you have everything figured out, sketch it on paper. Get your trusty tape measure out and make some curved borders using a garden hose; these borders can be around garden beds or marking walkways.

If your children will be playing in the garden area with balls or Frisbees you may want shrubs and trees that will withstand the treatment instead of a flower garden.

If you plan on entertaining guests often you may want to include a deck or patio that will compliment your house and other parts of the garden. Another thing to remember is to pay attention to the elements of your site.

A vegetable garden needs lots of sun and open space so you do not want a huge tree nearby. A deck or patio should not have the heat of the summer sun without some type of awning or cover.

Final Notes

Finally, take into consideration how you move through the garden to maintain it. Your flower beds should have gentle curves so mowing the lawn next to it becomes easier. It is also a good idea to have some hose guides at appropriate corners so as not to ruin the flower bed.

Popular Garden Vegetables for Summer Planting – fall garden harvest

There are many popular garden vegetables that can be planted late in the summer season that will produce great crops to harvest in the winter. When you plant late it requires a bit more planning than your spring garden needed. You will need to know which plants will tolerate the heat of summer along with the frost of the colder months.

Many vegetables adapt quite well to planting during the summer for harvesting in the fall. Your gardening season can extend by planting a fall garden so you can have another harvest shortly after the early crops have given you some produce. This fall harvest can even be extended further by providing the crops a little protection from early frosts by planting in covered garden vegetable cold frames.

Many of the cool-season vegetables produce some of their best quality and flavor when they mature in cooler weather. In order to grow a fall vegetable garden that is productive will require some thoughtful planning. Mid-June, July and August are generally the planting times for fall and winter vegetable gardens.

Soil for fall

Before you prepare the soil for a fall and winter garden, you need to decide what to do with what is remaining of the spring vegetable garden. You need to remove any crop residue and weed growth before you can prepare the soil. Once that is done you want to till or spade the soil to a depth of about 8 inches.

If you heavily fertilized the spring crops, you probably will not need to fertilize before planting the fall crop. If you did not you can apply one to two pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer to a 100 foot bed space and completely incorporate the fertilizer.

Good germination in late-summer

For good germination in late-summer, it is imperative to keep the surface of the soil from drying out and not let the temperature of the soil to get over eighty degrees F. An easy solution to this problem is to use shade netting over wire hoops.

The seeds that you plant for your fall vegetable garden need to be sown twice as deep as the ones you sow during the spring. Natural shade coming from a tall plant or a trellis will provide a good area for seeding that second crop of vegetables.

Most of the outdoor vegetables will need at least one inch of water each week. It is better to give them a single watering that deeply permeates instead of shallow sprinklings that are applied frequently. But young seedlings and seeds that are germinating may need light waterings more often. You do not want the seedlings to excessively dry out.

The new transplants can also profit from shallow watering until their roots develop. Some of the fall maturing vegetables will benefit from a little nitrogen just as the spring vegetables. Most leafy vegetables benefit from an application 3 to 6 weeks after they have been planted.

Early summer vegetable garden

Some of the garden vegetables that can be planted in early summer are: purple sprouting broccoli plant the end of June for March and April harvests; Brussels sprouts from late May to early June for Christmas harvest.

Carrots such as Royal Chantenay, through July for late fall and Autumn King in late summer because they will survive throughout winter; fennel plant in late June to harvest in the fall; winter-hardy leeks plant through mid-June for April harvesting; and Oriental greens can be planted in mid-June and mid-July for fall harvest.

Late-season vegetable planting

Some of the late season planting of vegetables include: for overwintered cauliflower you want to plant seeds indoors in mid-July and transplant to the garden in mid-August, they will not start curd formation until after the spring frost; onions can be planted in August and you can pull out the thin crop through February to use for green onions and harvest the bulbs in summer; spinach you can keep planting for a continuous supply.

Start new seeds every 3 weeks through summer and fall for a supply in winter and possibly spring; and turnips, a fast growing crop that can be sown from May to August not just for their roots but also the tops.

Storage Solutions for Garden Vegetables

The storage solutions for our garden-grown vegetables are just as important as the storage for the store-bought vegetables. We need to have good storage solutions since most of the homegrown vegetable gardeners do not have time for canning or have a root cellar.

There are many easy ways to store away our fresh fruits and vegetables from our gardens for enjoyment later in the year. Onions, garlic, shallots, potatoes, and winter squash.

When they are stored in the proper fashion will remain in good condition for several months. The local produce that we purchase from a farmer’s market can also be stored in the same manner as the products that we grow in our backyard gardens.

Harvested crops

We need to harvest all the crops we want to keep for future use before the cold temperatures or the frost damages the tissues of the plants. These harvested crops now need to be “cured” in preparation for storage.

Onions and garlic need to be in a cool, dark place for a number of weeks until the outer skin and stems are dried to a crisp. Pumpkins, winter squash, and potatoes should be cured in a dry, warm place anywhere from 5-10 days so their skins will toughen.

The potatoes will need to stay away from direct light during this time and we should not wash them. After the curing has been completed we need to check the crops for any rot or damage; the slightest sign of decay will intensify once it is stored and it will spread to the other crops that are stored nearby.

Where we store these crops determines how long they last. Light, temperature, and humidity are all very important things to consider. Garlic and onions should be kept in a dark, dry place at 32 to 40 degrees F.

Temperature

If the temperature gets warmer it can cause sprouting. Potatoes must be in complete darkness with the temperature 45 to 50 degrees F. along with the humidity level between 70-75 percent.

Humidity

Sweet potatoes need to be stored at 55 degrees with the humidity levels at 85 percent. Winter squash will store better at temperatures a little higher between 50 and 55 degrees and the humidity between 70-75 percent.

Air circulation

Air circulation is also very important for the cool storage of garlic, onions, and winter squash. If we will be storing more than a small amount we may want to run a small fan or have an old-fashioned type orchard rack or some open storage cabinets which will allow for excellent air circulation and easy access to our storage crop.

Freezer attached

If we have a stand along with freezer with some extra space, freezing is an easy way to preserve vegetables, fruit, and herbs to be used at a later date. We can also use the freezer attached to our refrigerator but the free standing style keeps the food much colder.

Herbs

Herbs are probably the easiest to freeze; all we do is to chop them to the size we prefer and place in freezer bags or storage containers. They can also be pureed with olive oil first before freezing. All the berries that we grow can be frozen whole or in a bit of syrup.

Our vegetables will need to be blanched before we freeze them to slow the progression of the enzymes that cause decay. Heating vegetables for the proper amount of time and then cool quickly is very important to keep the quality of the vegetable. Corn and peas are excellent crops for freezing. Peppers are also good because they do not need to be blanched first.

Final Notes

If we only have a small portion of fruits and vegetables that need cold and moist temperatures our storage solutions are solved by placing them in the refrigerator.

They can be stored unwashed, but wipe away any dirt, in open storage bags. We need to remember to keep the fruits and vegetables in separate sections of the refrigerator, such as vegetables in a drawer and fruit on a shelf.

We should keep our potatoes in a dark, cool pantry, not in the refrigerator. Hopefully, this should take care of most of our storage solutions for our homegrown vegetables.

Planter Boxes for Indoor or Outdoor Usage

Planter boxes are used not only for outdoor use but also for adding more life to indoor living. Planter boxes are available in many styles, shapes and sizes to fit almost any type of plant life. Because of the numerous varieties you can find the right color and style to complement the furnishings of the interior of your home as well as the exterior.

Whether you purchase for indoors or outdoors your plant containers need to have a good drainage system; if your plants do not drain properly the roots of the plants will become water logged and the plant will die.

Your indoor plant containers can consist of any type of material you desire because they will not be exposed to any of the outdoor elements. When you decide to have an indoor container garden you need to have the proper sunlight and space for the plants or vegetables you wish to grow. Once that has been determined you can purchase your plants and containers.

Remember to purchase your planters with adequate drainage holes to help prevent root rot or diseases. You also want to be sure your containers have drainage trays to collect the excess water so the surfaces your containers are sitting on will be protected.

You can purchase planter boxes at home improvement stores, boutique garden stores or florists. You can also re-use an old container or flower box by giving a new coat of paint or decorating it to match your furnishings.

Outdoor garden boxes, window boxes and flower pots are also in different styles, materials, and sizes, such as wood, terracotta, ceramic, resin or fiberglass, clay, metal, and concrete.

The wood garden boxes should be constructed from weather-resistant woods such as cedar, cypress, redwood, or teak; the hardware on these containers should be made of galvanized material.

Make sure the container is best suited for the type of plant you are planning on growing; the location, growing conditions and container size will determine your final results. The newer materials used today for outdoor garden boxes make them more resistant to extreme weather and lighter in weight.

Just remember one thing, these outdoor containers dry out much quicker and are going to need more watering than an in-ground garden. You will find some containers are equipped with a self-watering feature which will help a little.

Some advantages to outdoor container gardening include adding style, color, and fragrance to patios, decks, balconies, and home landscaping; planted containers can hide eyesores around the exterior; the containers can be moved around; replanted when desired; there is less chance of damage by pests if you decide to move you can take an outdoor container garden with you; and you can grow the plants that will not grow with the conditions of your ground soil because you will be using good organic material in the containers.

Garden planter boxes will also give you the opportunity to raise organic vegetables just outside your window or door. The price of organic fruits and vegetables are higher in the markets even though they are better for you.

This is a good enough reason to grow your own even if you do not have a lot of space. Leafy vegetables, root vegetables, and fleshy vegetables will grow well in garden boxes as long as you select the right varieties and give them the attention they require.

The fall season is a very active time for growing fruits and vegetables. You can plant many vegetables in late summer and autumn, including beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, leeks, onions, potatoes, and spinach.

If you picked the right tomato plant it will probably still be producing fruit in the fall. There are other plants that can also be planted in containers during autumn and they are small trees and shrubs such as small evergreen, azaleas, and rhododendrons.

As you can see just about anything can be planted containers inside your home or outside on your balcony or patio. You just need to plant the right fruit, vegetable or plant in the proper size container for maturity and placed where it will receive the right sunlight or shade that is a need for the best results.

In my backyard, we have tomatoes, peppers, and a dwarf peach tree planted in planter boxes and all are doing well.

Decorative Ornamental Landscape Grasses

Your landscaping can be one of the most unusual and original if you try using ornamental grasses. Front yard landscaping along with your back yard and garden landscaping can be accomplished in many different ways. All of the areas can be created by incorporating different styles of grasses.

Using ornamental grasses as part of your landscape design can do a number of things for your yard. By planting some of the tall varieties in a large group can give you privacy from neighbors or it will create a screen from an unpleasant view.

A few of the tall species include big bluestem with its blue-grey leaves and beautiful flowers will range between 4 – 7 feet tall; pampas grass with tall pink flowers can range from 6 – 15 feet and the giant reed grass with leaves 3″ across can grow from 14 – 20 feet tall.

Just remember you need to cut back ornamental grasses in the spring and you will lose your screen during the growth period.

Different Styles of Grasses

Fountain Grass

These landscaping plants will add some texture to flower beds. Grasses such as fountain grass and a couple of different varieties of miscanthus will add that texture when planted with lavender, some black-eyed Susans and even hydrangea.

The mounding grasses will look good with plants having a bold texture while the up-right grasses complement your more rounded plants.

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses have a way of softening the look of paving, walls, and any other type of hardscape by making them warm and inviting. Some of these grasses are perfect for planting around the edges of swimming pools since they will not bloom and attract bees.

Decorative Containers

You really do not want to limit the uses of these decorative grasses just to your garden landscaping. You can grow them in decorative containers to bring a little excitement to your deck, patio, balcony, or a rooftop garden.

Containers have such a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes that these grasses will make a great container garden that can be moved around.

Fiber Optic Grass

Try planting fiber optic grass in a few tall, simple containers and see how they will decorate a stone bench. You can even use contrasting colors such as a blue grass in a silver container; mix and match your colors and styles to create something very unique.

Landscaping grass plants placed among some of your flowering or non-flowering plants will create an accent in your garden. If you tuck in the same grass in a number of different areas of the garden it can help tie a garden together.

Clump-Forming Grasses

You may even want to consider using some of the clump-forming grasses such as blue fescue or the taller feather reed grass nestled in with some of your vegetable plants.

The best type of grasses for this would be ones that form clumps not the running grass type. The running grass will spread too much and start looking very weedy.

Blue Fescue

You can also use landscaping grasses as a border or to create edging around your flower beds. Blue fescue is probably one of the best because it is small and you want to plant them closer together than normal so it will look like a border.

Ornamental grasses stand out even more during the end of the season when the majority of perennials and annuals have begun to look tired. They have wonderful fall color and some gorgeous seed heads. Big bluestem, little bluestem and switchgrass are some of the grasses with beautiful fall leaf color.

You can also attract wildlife such as the birds to your garden with decorative grasses in your landscaping. The birds seem to find shelter in the larger grasses, they find leaf blades are good for making nests, and many species of birds enjoy eating the seeds the grasses produce.

Conclusion

In order to attract birds plant the grasses that are native to your area. The low growing or medium size grasses are perfect for ground covers. They are able to smother out the weeds while they create an unusual texture to the landscape.

The mounding type grasses are best to use because they are very dense. For a change of pace to your vegetable gardens, flower gardens and open areas try using some of the varieties of ornamental grasses for part of the landscaping.

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