Monthly Archives: February 2016

Greenhouse Design Best Suits Your BackyardThere are a number of greenhouse designs to consider with regards to your needs and characteristics of your backyard. Some of these designs are relatively simple to construct while others are more complex. Some designs will be better suited for properties with limited space available. Other designs will fit in well if they are constructed on larger properties with established gardens. Let us consider some of these designs.

1. Lean-To Style Greenhouse - This greenhouse design is ideally suited for those whose live on properties with small backyards or no backyards at all. The structure is relatively simple to build. It generally resemble an a-frame building cut in half from the top of its roof to the ground below. As the name suggests it will lean up against the side of your home with access generally achieved through your patio door. the optimal location should be on the side of the home with receives the most sunlight. This type of structure is simple in design but will require some insight of how to fasten it securely to the side of a building such as your home, garage or shed.

2. A-Frame Greenhouse - As the name suggests this type of structure consists of a pitched roof with each side generally of the same pitch and length. This design will require room in your backyard to accommodate its footprint. One strong point of this structure is that need not be located on the side of your home which receive the most amount of sunlight. This structure can be located in an area of your backyard near the limits of the property boundary and where it will not be affected by any shadows being cast by your house. This greenhouse design is relatively simple to construct and can be built-in a yard with an established garden.

3. Hoop Greenhouse Design - This type of greenhouse is one my favorites to construct. It is simple in design but will require a backyard large enough to accommodate its foot print. Its shape resembles an elongated cylinder, horizontally cut in half. This structure is much easier to build, as it does not require a pitched roof. It can easily be built with PVC piping fashioned into hoops. The structure can be covered with any type of transparent covering such as UV protected polyethylene plastic. As with any of these designs you will able grow plants that will endure before or after the typical growing season. Its design also makes it more wind resistant then an A-frame or Victoria style greenhouse.

There are a number of other greenhouse designs to consider. However these are the more simplistic to construct and are good choices if you have limited space for their location and cost of materials is an issue.

Organic FertilizerMany of us are concerned about how safe our home garden's fertilizer is. We want to grow our own healthy veggies, but don't want to add to the problem of illness and pesticide poisoning. This can be a challenging task. It seems like all the great gardeners, the ones that bring in the mega harvests, have an awesome fertilizer by their side. Who knows what this fertilizer contains? All we really know is the amazing effect it has on our plants.

What if I told you there was a fertilizer you could be sure about? One that will give the plants in your garden all the nutrients they need, but in a natural one. Yes, I'm sure you want a fertilizer that can explain itself, and list an honest disclosure of all the ingredients it posses. If this is your wish, then you're looking for an Organic fertilizer.

Organic fertilizers aren't hard to find. I'm not saying that you'll be able to find them in the garden section of Walmart, but if you go to a gardening store, you should be able to find at least one brand that says organic on it. Even Ace, or a hardware store will most likely have a brand. It's more likely that this product will be in stoke during the summer months. Stores tend to forget about winter veggies.

If you're not interested in going in store, it doesn't mean that you won't be able to find a product that's organic. It actually means that you'll have more of a selection as to which fertilizer to go with. Have you tried the lawn, and garden section on Amazon? Not only do they have thousands of gardening fertilizers for sale there, they also have hundreds of ones that are certified organic.

A great reason to by your organic fertilizer from Amazon is the access to reviews. These reviews are available to you whether you're a member of Amazon or not. There's also something called a verified review, this is a review written by someone that has bought the product from Amazon. Some reviews left on Amazon aren't fair, so you should read them all and really get a feel for the quality of the product.

You can also make your own organic fertilizer using compost. Have banana peels? These are very nutritious to plants. You could also try crushed egg shells as an ingredient for your home made fertilizer. I know a lot of gardeners say cabbage leaves do the trick. Another option is to put bean poles in the fertilizer, as they add nitrogen to the soil, something tomatoes need to thrive.

So you see, you don't have to use a product that was made in a lab to get the nutrition your soil needs actually in the ground. There are loads of natural ways to do it. Why risk your health with something that wasn't made the way nature intended? It's important that you keep your family safe with the right fertilizer in the garden.

Design Layout for a Small GardenEveryone loves a beautiful garden whether big or small. Designing your ideal garden is easy when proper planning is done in advance. A small patio garden is very private and easy to maintain, depending on where you would like your garden to be laid out. If you are living in a small complex where there is no space for a garden, you can design the garden on your patio. If you have small but enough space, then go on and design the ideal garden you want.

If it's your first time designing a garden you can either hire a professional landscape architect, or you can do it yourself. Designing your own garden shouldn't be very difficult especially if you have ideas on how you would want it to look. Either way, designing your garden should be a fun and relaxing experience. Get all the information you would require to design a garden and do it yourself. You will get a list of garden items such as flowers, plants, spade, wheel barrow, garden fork, paving bricks, cobblestones and other garden tools. Think about where you want to place the flowers, which areas are to be covered with grass and where to place the walkways. If you want to have a water feature, find out where the pipes will be laid and where the water feature will look best. Keep in mind that it will need to be a small feature otherwise it will take up much space. Consider placing it along a wall so that it's not in the way and it will create a serene scene. Choose paving bricks that are weather resistant and cobblestones that suit the theme of your garden.

Once your planning is done, then you can start with the planting process. The earlier you plant your seedlings the sooner you can start on the next step. While small gardens and terrace patio undoubtedly come with their own set of design challenges, even the most economical of plots can be reworked into beautiful and elegant outdoor havens.

Think small but perfectly formed. Using space intelligently is the key to making a small garden work such as seats that double up as storage, wall-mounted flower pots or herb planters and even folding furniture will all help free up precious space. The right garden accessories and plant species can set the tone for a tranquil outdoor atmosphere. You could add a small gazebo that can bring lots of shelter. Surround your gazebo with cobblestones and some grass for relaxing summer picnics.

To light up your garden you can use solar panels and lanterns that are the safest and most eco-friendly options in your garden and they can placed anywhere in your garden. Think out of the box when it comes to a small garden space and you'll create a tranquil masterpiece

The Paving Warehouse & Wonder Rock, masters in the art of simulated rock, are no ordinary stone masoners. The Paving Warehouse is South Africa's leading manufacturer of simulated rock, with applications both indoors and outdoors, each stone cast is a classic.

Growing African VioletsIf you like to grow African violets and other indoor flowers, herbs and fruits, good thing is that such plants don't require much space to grow. Depending on the violet plant size, common 5-12 cm (2 - 5 inch) plastic flower pots are usually more than large enough. Sometimes, such pots are even too big.

Violets vary in size from micro African violets, with plant width less than 7.6 cm (3 inches) to giant and trailing violets with plant width larger than 40cm (16 inches). Standard African violets width is between 20 and 40 cm (8 - 16 inches) and these plants are most common violets.

Herbs like parsley, celery and chives have very short growing period and their requirements for space are also very modest. Fruits like strawberries are grown yearlong and they have similar requirements like all other indoor plants, but they also require hand-pollination.

For plants to grow, bloom and even bear fruits, they require proper light and temperature, adequate humidity, enough, but not too much water and good growing medium.

Room and office temperatures suit violets very much, but light can be a problem. They should never been exposed to direct summer sunlight - such strong light can cause leaf burns and can even kill violets and other sensitive plants. Herbs often need much more light than violets, while strawberries and other indoor fruits require light to bear healthy and tasty fruits. If the leaves are pale and leafstalks are elongated, plants are lacking light.

The correct amount of light for African violets is around 10.000 to 12.000. For example, offices usually have around 250 - 500 lux, full daylight is around 10.000 - 25.000 lux (not directly on the sun) and direct sunlight is between 30.000 and 130.000 or even 180.000 lux during summer days.

Obviously, violets can grow successfully on windowsills if they are not exposed to direct sunlight. To grow plants away from the window, one must have additional growing lights, commonly in the form of fluorescent or LED grow lights. Incandescent bulbs as source of artificial light are rarely used due to low energy efficiency and increased heating. It is good practice to periodically measure light intensity using light meters, since such devices are much more accurate than human eye.

Humidity in offices is kept usually around 40-60% and violets will grow and bloom under these conditions. If one can provide some open water around the plants and let the water evaporate, this will be beneficial for violets and other plants which like increased humidity around the leaves. However, most herbs don't like humid air and such conditions can cause various diseases and fungus, making them unsuitable for consumption.

When watering African violets, be careful not to wet the leaves - this can harm them, especially during strong sunlight. Also, too much moisture around the roots can cause them to rot - if you notice water in pot saucer after watering the plants, remove this water. Violets do like moisture around the roots, but soggy soil causes problems more often than one would think. Herbs should be watered as required by individual species - most of them will grow healthy with moderate amounts of water, while too much water can cause various issues. Strawberries like moist soil and if the soil is dried out, fruits can't grow properly.

Choosing good potting soil for indoor plants is easy, since there are specialized potting soils for various plants. These potting soils can be purchased at any larger garden center - it is not the cheapest potting soil, but since indoor plants usually don't require large pots, expenses are kept low. However, such potting soil is not requirement - one can buy ordinary potting soil and add and mix some sterile sand, peat moss, vermiculite and similar components that makes soil light, well aerated with good drainage and good nutrients retention.

Fertilizing should be done with liquid fertilizers once a week with weak solution or as suggested by manufacturer, or by using fertilizers in the form of pellets or sticks with gradual release of nutrients. Without nutrients, plants can't grow, but too much of fertilizers can cause root burns, plants can grow large and weak (especially if too much nitrogen is present) and in the end, too much fertilizers can even kill the plants.

If you like indoor flowers, herbs and fruits, but don't have much time to care for them, food sticks and pellets are recommended fertilizers, since they can be added every few months and it is rather hard to over-fertilize plants using such fertilizers.

Long story short - one can easily grow African violets and similar plants indoors, just follow these few tips regarding most important issues.