All about Spring

Cool Little Secrets You May Not Know About Fresh Herb Gardening

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Fresh Herb Gardening has been practiced by humans and used for culinary, ornamental and medicinal purpose among others for many centuries. Possibly the ”perfect plant”, herbs hold a vast array of capacities. Though the subject is well documented, we occasionally find little secrets that are worth sharing with other gardening enthusiasts.

Here are some helpful tips to get the most out of fresh herb gardening

  1. Garlic: A big favorite in the culinary world, garlic also hold a very high note in medicinal circles. Growing garlic as a companion plant among roses is an opportunity to witness how nature works wonderfully well. Insects and pests attracted to the roses delicate scent and tempting flowers are quickly turned away by pungent aroma of the nearby garlic plants.
  2. Basil: We all agree that basil has a strong flavorful scent and adds so much to the food we enjoy. This ”Herbal Hero” also plays a guardian role in the garden to surrounding vegetables for it is a strong natural repellent to mosquitos and white flies.

The Northern Garden Guide For May

Monday, May 17th, 2010

The May garden is a constantly changing picture of new life… bulbs coming into bloom, perennials changing from lifeless looking stumps to healthy green growth, new-sown seeds developing into young plants, and trees in full bloom. All of which means a great variety of jobs must be done this month.

Here are a few “don’t forget to” suggestions:

  • Feed naturalized bulbs after they finish flowering. Any good garden fertilizer spread through the area will do wonders.
  • Stake perennials late during the month of May… before they start to fall over.
  • Control thrips on gladiolus and iris by spraying with Malathion weekly.
  • Sow biennials such as Sweet William and campanulas in seed beds, in Hats in a coldframe or greenhouse where they can be protected with sash. Transplant when large enough into beds or frameswhere. they will grow until time for transplanting into the garden in the fall.
  • Feed leafy vegetables such as lettuce and early cabbage
  • Water the strawberry patch if the season is dry. Also feed with any good garden fertilizer working it in around the roots of the plants. Mulch the strawberry bed with straw or hay… the mulch keeps the berries off the ground and clean, helps. prevent rot in wet weather and keeps down weeds.

Vegetable Garden Tips You May Never Have Thought Of

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Organic vegetables are all the rage these days, but in gardening without chemicals there is the constant battle to keep the vegetables to yourself and not share with every type of vermin passing by. Scarecrows seem like the obvious solution, but I have found that there are some other simple things you can do to increase your yield without purchasing expensive gizmos and without giving up on organic gardening.

When my string bean plants were first coming up I found that the leaves were being eaten off as fast as they were being formed. I stopped whoever was doing this dastardly deed in a hurry. This vermin attack occurred early in the season when coincidentally my dog, a big furry akita, was shedding great gobs of fur. I “killed two birds with one stone,” so to speak, by brushing my dog with a shedding brush and then placing the clumps of fur all around the bean seedlings. That was the end of chewed off bean leaves. My beans grew wonderfully and I am now overwhelmed in string beans.

What’s Your Best Chance to Succeed With Container Gardening? The Answer May Surprise You

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Are you interested in getting started with container gardening? This type of gardening is quite popular with both novice and experienced gardeners. No matter if you live in a cottage, apartment, or house you can turn the smallest of space into an attractive plant display. Vegetables, herbs, and flowering plants can all be successfully grown in containers, inside on a windowsill or outdoors on a patio deck. Here are some tips that’ll help your get your container gardening off to a good start.

Soil mixture:

Good soil is important to the health and growth of most plants. This holds true for plants grown indoors or out. Different plants have their own unique needs as far as soil is concerned. When at all possible its best to closely match the soil type to the plants specific needs. Anyway, as a general guideline you want to use soil that will drain rapidly, yet maintain enough moisture to keep the roots moist and hydrated.

Light requirements.

The Reluctant Gardening Calendar – April & May

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

April – and I was right, a million daffodils HAD lost the plot … there is something especially forlorn about a clump of daffs – wearing white top hats – valiantly attempting to keep their heads above the snowline. Easter weekend was a white-out, but that was really the only respite from rain, rain and, guess wot? – yes, more rain. The total gardening activities for April consisted of buying a new pair of wellies and collecting one green bag full of soggy leaves. A reluctant gardener to start with, there was just no incentive to introduce the new (pink) wellies to the squelchy morass outside the patio door. So lets quickly forget the gardening-disaster of April and pass on to May!

Knowing the Tools You May Use in Gardening

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Gardening is a good way of spending your leisure hours. It is a hobby that many people enjoy and feel some sense of fulfillment. But plants do not just grow in your garden. There are certain things that need to be done such as tilling the soil, uprooting the weeds, and so on. And, getting these things done may require tools.

So what are these gardening tools that we are talking about? Let us take a look at some of them.


A cultivator is especially useful when you have just set out to till an untouched lot. It helps in cutting the hard compacted soil and it is very useful in the preparation of flowerbeds and vegetable plots.


It is a tool that can help you maintain your flower gardens and help the shrubs maintain their shape. What usually happens is that over time these gardens lose their crisp lines when grass grows. By using an edger, the grass roots taking a strong hold in planting beds will be prevented.


Because it can penetrate easier into the soil, a hoe is used for cultivating and weeding the soil. This will allow nutrients and water to penetrate easier into the soil.

Concrete Fountains May Be Added To Zen Gardens

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

A Zen garden is basically a sand garden with rocks, gravel and occasionally other natural elements such as grasses. They usually do not feature concrete water fountains or anything that is manmade. Although that is not to say concrete fountains can’t be added for additional impact. A Zen garden is a place to sit and unwind or to meditate.

The most famous Zen garden is the Ryōan-ji Temple located in Kyoto, Japan. The monks of the temple maintain this ancient Zen garden. Concrete water fountains are not found here. The simple design is done in monochromatic shades of brown. The most interesting feature of this Zen garden are the 15 rocks arranged on the surface of white pebbles in such a manner that visitors can see only 14 of them at once, from whichever angle the garden is viewed. According to legend, only when someone attains spiritual enlightenment as a result of deep Zen meditation can he see the last invisible stone with his mind’s eye.

The Simplicity of a Zen Garden

May Gardening Tips for the Southwest

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Use Cypress mulch to help keep roots insulated from the HOT sun. This helps keep moisture in the root zone as well as the keeping weeds down to a minimum.

Lantana, red bird of paradise, Oleander, and other winter damaged plants may be emerging at this time. Do NOT remove them prematurely. These plants will emerge if watered occasionally during winter.

Crape Myrtle will begin to show flower buds at this time and will need regular watering when flowers begin to develop. They like fertilizing and resist “leaf burn” if given a soil acidifying product such as Ironite in conjuction with a regular fertilizer. Remove faded flower tips reguarly.

Planting during this month is still successfull. The Vitex, oleander, crape myrtle, roses, bird of paradise, texas sage, butterfuly bush, red yucca and most “xeriscaping” plants will thrive when planted during this month. Be sure to water thoroughly when first planted.

Trees will also fall into this category. Just follow the directions as noted above. All ash, mesquite, desert willow (timeless beauty is a new variety), Chitalpa, Palo Verde, Live Oak, Chinese Pitache, and many more.

What to Do in a Northern May Garden

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Thinning Seedlings

Seedling need to be thinned if you do not want weak spindly plants that bear poorly. Beets, carrots, onions, leaf lettuce and all flowering annuals should be thinned to 2 or 3 inches at least between plants. Large annuals and such vegetables as beans, parsnips, turnips and head lettuce should be at least 4 to 8 inches apart. Do the thinning after a rain or after thorough sprinkling. It’s easier then.

Cultivating should start as soon as the seedlings show through the ground. Soil that is cultivated regularly every 10 days never gets hard, weeds are kept under control and the ground is aerated.

Lawn Weeds

Weeds in the lawn present a big problem but during May… you can get the jump on them while they are still small. If you have only a few pull them by hand. Treat dandelion, plantain with a weed killer and a couple of weeks later the weeds will be gone.

For heavier infestations call in a professional, they will apply an application over the entire lawn. If you do any spraying with a weed killer don’t use the sprayer or for anything else unless you wash it thoroughly after each session with the weed killer. The best action is to purchase a sprayer for weed killers on;y and another for pesticides applied to plants.

Some Middle of May Garden Jobs

Monday, May 10th, 2010

As you survey the shrubs in your garden, there are several jobs needing doing.

Complete heather pruning, carrying out heavy trimming with shears.

Mulch rhododendrons and azaleas with peat or leaf-soil when the soil is moist.

Plant out any young shrubs and trees, such as the Arbutus unedo, the Killarney strawberry tree, with bunches of creamy bells and orange fruit that arrive almost simultaneously. Young pot plants are to be had of this attractive dark green, evergreen shrub, that given time, becomes a tree.

Greenhouse activity for the moment is quite quiet, and all you need to think about other than in the very cold district, the more tender of the half-hardies, such as the morning glories and zinnias can be put outdoors.

On the other hand the vegetable garden is heating up

Dwarf French beans can be sown in many gardens.

Thin the turnips drastically.

Support the peas when they have reached 6-9 ins.

Sow runner beans in the south, waiting until the end of the month in the north. (A few may be sown under glass for planting: out in late May or early June.)

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