Category Archives: Home Improvement

Home and Garden Television

The Home and Garden Television channel has quickly become one of the most popular cable television channels around today. The network was launched in 1994 and is currently owned by Scripps Network Interactive. Its headquarters are located in Knoxville, Tennessee. HGTV also has sister stations. They are the Weather Channel, Food Network, Fine Living, DIY Network, Great American Country and Weatherscan. HGTV airs a variety of programming tailored towards home remodeling, repair, decorating, designing, gardening and crafts.

HGTV airs such programs as “Sell This House,” “House Hunters,” Extreme Living” and “Weekend Warriors.” HGTV has over 100 different shows that are either currently airing or have aired previously dealing with the home and garden industry. Home and Garden Television has become a leading source for design, home improvement, remodeling and gardening tips for beginners and experts looking to upgrade the look and feel of their house and garden.

“House Hunters” is the highest rated television show airing on HGTV and it airs nightly at 10pm. The show’s host is Suzanne Whang. The host follows around a couple or family searching for a house to purchase. The show also includes different realtors. Each episode features three properties that the viewers are given a tour of. At the conclusion of the show the prospective buyer tells the host and the audience which of the three properties he/she decided to buy. The new owner then gives a tour of the newly bought house, explaining what renovations were made to the house prior to moving in. The show discloses where the properties are located and how much is being asked for each individual property.

One innovative show that has been airing on HGTV since 2006 has been “24 Hour Design.” “24 Hour Design” involves the renovation of a single room in a house occurring in less than one day. It usually takes around 10 hours or so to complete and the budget is set for $2,000. The host of the show, Angelo Surmelis, discusses with the owners of the home which room should be redesigned and how it should be done. In the final hour of the show the renovated room is revealed and an explanation is given as to what was done and for what reasons.

HGTV, like all other television networks around today, does air reality shows. Their most popular reality show currently airing is “Design Star.” “Design Star” involves the show’s contestants designing a room or filling empty space with unique items during each new episode. The unique items can be from a pet store, a mechanic shop or a discount store. The challenge is finding the best way to make the design look appealing to the eye even thought the items used might not be.

The Home and Garden Television Network has enough different programming for everyone’s different interests involving home and garden repair and design. With over 100 different shows to choose from, beginners and experts can benefit from watching the Home and Garden Television Network. HGTV: “Start at Home.”

Great Source Of Home Beautifying Tips

There are several television channels that offer hundreds in home improvement shows. Each show does a different kind of format with many different styles.

Some of these are arts and crafts channels while others are focused on home makeover shows. The Discovery Channel offers many types of home improvement shows which are very educational though they can be a bit on the dull side. To figure out which of these would suit you best, continue reading the article and find out below.

Home Improvement Craft Television Shows

These type of shows are intended for older audiences who have interests in woodworking and joinery. They often have detailed instructions regarding the restoration and creation of new things that can be implemented to restore your home.

These ideas can lead to even more ideas that can lead the viewer to design new things for their home they never would imagined if they had not watched these kinds of shows.

Air shows are challenge type of shows in which two teams compete for success and vie for the best craft. Whoever creates the better craft wins the honor (show). Prizes for winning can vary but most often there are no prizes for winning the competition.

Air shows can be very boring but informative too.

Makeover improvement shows will typically feature certain rooms that focus on bathrooms, dining rooms, sitting rooms and sleeping bedrooms. These rooms can be redone completely… walls and all. Designer teams are brought in while the wife is gone on a voyage for a small time. Designers hurry to work on the room and then as a surprise, she returns to all kinds of different things.

The shows inform others how they can accent their home for a low cost and minimal effort. Sometimes an entire house is redone and then featured on the show. Garden shows are done in this format. While the homeowners are gone, friends of the couple arrange the garden team to spruce up the flower beds and gardens.

These home improvement shows can be aimed toward all viewers, young and old. It gives them an edge for helpful tips. With some much needed insight, homeowners can make their own magnificent home without spending all their hard earned money.

Their popularity have seen a rise in the kind of shows that come out on improvement channels. Since the teams and producers put the home improvement discussion in layman’s terms, anyone can understand how to do a project they are interested in doing themselves.

Feeling the Need For Home and Garden

One reason people may take on home and garden improvements is that they are truly needing or wanting a change in their yard or home. This could be because they enjoy working in their home and garden, or they just want to make it more beautiful for their own viewing purposes. Personal gratification is probably the most common reason home owners do any home and garden improvements in the first place.

The first step to begin your home and garden improvements is to learn how to do the improvements you intend on doing on your own. Many home improvement stores have a myriad of home improvement books, magazines, and DVD’s for you to buy that will guide you step by step through the entire process. In addition to that, these same stores also have free in store demonstrations, as to how you go about the steps of accomplishing your task at hand. The internet offers you endless improvement articles, how to’s, videos and do it your self instructions. Most internet sites extend their home and garden improvement instructions at no cost to you. These sites can also provide you with new and better ideas for your home and garden improvements.

Planning Out Your Improvements

Your first step in creating that new and exciting look for your home and garden, is to figure out exactly how and where the work that is needed to be done. If you are the only man or women on the job, the work at hand can be quite overwhelming. Invite a friend over to discuss your ideas before you start your project. Asking someone’s opinion may save you time, money and they may give you tips and pointers you may have not thought of. If your project will be completed by yourself and many others, sit down together and talk out the home and garden improvements that each person would like to see accomplished.

Knowing beforehand the ideas of others involved in the improvements can reduce future disagreements about the project. Once you start doing something, it’s very time consuming to go back and try to fix your mistake. Remember not to get ahead of your self or your home and garden improvements will turn out exactly as you did them, rushed and half done. As problems approach, keep in mind they are merely set backs and not a project ending finality. After starting your home and garden improvements and unfortunate circumstances cause the project to end up in total chaos, professional help may need to be considered.

When you attain help from the professionals, the cost expense of the project may double or triple. Begin your project with an idea, budget and time line. Consider limiting your steps to several weeks or months for completion. Do not plan on taking on and completing the entire task in a weekend. For better results, take time to map out the whole improvement process from beginning to end.

Successful Home Improvement Projects

 

Many people are timid about taking on any home improvement projects themselves. If you are open to all possibilities, however, you may find that this is not true. The piece below is full of ideas and advice capable of making your home improvement journey a pleasant and satisfying one.

Many tenants who are renting an apartment or home are in a pickle when landlords don’t allow tenants to paint the walls in a different color or take off the wallpaper that doesn’t suit their tastes. A great way to get around this is by purchasing flat bed sheets (the unfitted kind) and tacking them in a pleasing design on the wall. This will not harm the underlying wallpaper or paint and can add a touch of personality that won’t displease the landlord.

When considering what home improvement project to do, stay away from home repairs unless they are absolutely necessary. Things like painting the interior or exterior of your home have no impact on the value of your residence. Spend your time on other projects that will give you a better return for the money you spend.

As you begin your home improvement project, make sure that you don’t underestimate how much work will be involved. Create a list of all the things you need to do. Ask for confirmation from a friend or family member if you have missed adding anything to the list. With a clear plan for the project, you can save a lot of money, as opposed to winging it.

Your house can look more chic by adding a little garden area in the front. First decide what kinds of plants are able to grow in your climate and purchase them from a store. Plant them in a nice design near your porch or doorstep. For a nicer and cleaner finish, add some small fencing around your garden area to fully define the space.

If you want freedom making decisions about your house, you need to move to a rural area. There the properties are much larger and in most cases, there are no rules or regulations to tell you how to decorate your home or garden. This can be a blessing for those who are creative enough to give a unique look to their property.

Flooring can be a relatively simple home improvement project even for a novice. Focus on putting tile in your kitchen and bathrooms and replace your carpet with hardwood flooring. Home improvement stores have a wealth of information about how to make this process easy for you to complete.

If your home improvement project involves moving appliances or other furniture in your house, make sure to put something down to protect your floors. Particularly if you have hardwood flooring, taking out large items can make a big mess and scratch up your flooring. Taking a few minutes to protect your floors can save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you are thinking of changing the flooring in your home, go with hardwood flooring. Hardwood is much easier to clean that carpeting and other kinds of wood. It is also very strong and durable and looks attractive. Another advantage of hardwood is that it can refinished from time to time, so it can always appear to be brand new!

Are you tired of linoleum and carpeting? Maybe it is time to install those hardwood floors that you know will last a lifetime and beautify your home. Hardwood floors are elegant and tasteful, and they are easy to maintain. Nice hardwood flooring shines and speaks volume about the value of your home.

Wood Floor

Wall-to-wall carpeting was common decades ago, but the carpets in these older houses are often badly deteriorated. Wooden floors generally last longer and look more classic.

In any home with original wood floors, the homeowner considering home improvement projects, should avoid replacing the floors, at all cost. The older a wood floor is, the less likely it is that it can be replaced with an equally attractive floor. It is much better to refinish existing wood floors. Even in cases of the most extreme damage, laying a new floor over the original one is preferable to removing it.

Paint worn kitchen floors. If you have a wood floor in your kitchen, it will suffer a lot of abuse over the years. If it gets to the point where sanding and re-staining won’t do the job, try painting it. A coat of oil-based outdoor paint is strong enough for everyday wear, and it will give your kitchen a cottage feel, which is very fashionable nowadays.

Make sure you put a covering on the floor before you paint. Carpet, tile and wood floors are difficult to clean if paint gets on them. In order to prevent accidents, lay down blankets, old sheets, or drop cloths so the paint will drip on them instead of the floor.

Before painting any space, put old sheets or drop cloths on the flooring for protection. Paint spatter is hard to remove from just about any surface. Covering is easy to install and save you the trouble of cleaning.

In your quest for home improvement updates, do not forget the floors. Kitchen floors are one of the easiest projects with a lot of great options. There are linoleum sheets or ceramic tiles. Some people even decide that a good durable wood floor is the best choice for them.

Home Improvements Flower Gardening

The earth is thriving with abundant flower species that would allow you to change your garden at whim. Besides that, flower gardening is a good channel towards “going green” since it would require you to use products that are more organic thus eliminating the need to use pesticides and fertilizers.

For flower gardening,the first choice is always the type of flower that you want to plant as this would determine where you are going to place your garden. However, if you are not provided with that option, the sole location of your garden will determine which flower you are going to choose. The plant chosen should thrive with the amount of sunlight available in that location as well as the humidity and the overall climate where you live. Doing so increases the possibility that your garden will succeed.

Many have tried to tread the path towards gardening roses but very few have survived. Some people say that roses are very temperamental plants. B, if you are seriously considering gardening roses, follow these tips to successfully grow a rose garden all year round.

Planting roses can be tricky. but they are tough flowers and can be found in any climate. The trick i to find the type of rose that loves your climate. Also, you have to remember that roses love sunlight so your flower garden should be where it can get direct sunlight. place them apart from each other and prune them regularly so the bushes won’t get too thick and suffocate. You also have to water them directly to the roots so the water will be easily absorbed.

Following all these steps will guarantee that your flower gardening stint will be guaranteed success although dealt with tough plants like roses.

Landscaping For Home Improvement

Once you have taken possession of your prized possession, it is time to spend some time and money towards home improvement. Whenever one talks of home improvement, various ways of improving curb appeal come to mind such as landscaping, stoning, interior designing, statues etc. Amongst these various options, the one which is most economical and easy to do it by yourself is landscaping your garden. Like any other project however, you must create a plan for landscaping your garden. When building the design document for landscaping your garden, it is important to take cognizance of the use that your family would make of the landscaped garden. There are several resources freely available on the internet to make your task related to landscaping easier.

Typically a landscaped garden would consist of elements such as the trees, plants and the lawn area. It would be essential to remember the lighting aspect of your garden to enjoy those evenings sitting out in your landscaped garden. There are a number of ides related to landscaping described below which would improve your home immensely.

1. Outdoor Fireplaces – These have been extremely popular with people. Not only do these increase your living places but they help you spend those wonderful times enjoying those finer moments in an outdoor fireplace. They provide a feeling which is available in the interior of a house and hence brings out best of both the worlds. Make sure you make use of design professionals for your patio layout and design.
2. Solar Lamp Posts – If you want to enjoy your outdoor space to the maximum, it is important to make arrangements which will help you stay outdoors even after the sun goes down. These lights provide you with a great option to brighten your outdoor space without causing a deep hole in your pocket. It is a myth that any kind of solar panel would make the lights uglier.
3. Woody Plants – These have a place for themselves in almost all gardens. Their importance stems from the fact that these provide shape and form to your garden. The walls for your garden are made up of these woody plants. There are times when these woody plants would be even used for bright displays.
4. Garden Awnings – The demand for garden awnings has been steadily increasing. The increased demand has led to the development of a market for ready made awnings which are available in a large variety of styles to suit your taste. You must understand the advantages and disadvantages associated to a manual or an electrical awning.
5. Pines are a wonderful option – Most people are not aware that pines are available in any form of shape, texture and size. They are an excellent option to beautify your garden. Some of the most well known varieties which are a favourite with quite a few people these days are Pinus wallichiana ‘Densa’, Pinus densiflora ‘Low Glow’, Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’ and Pinus mugo ‘Zundert’

Flowers Gardening Tips

A flower garden can be the most beautiful place in your home. It can be a perfect place for meditation or just for relax at the weekends. If you follow some simple tips you can easily create a beautiful flower garden.

Choose and Buy Tools – Before beginning working at the flower garden, you’ll need to buy some tools such as shovel, oar, and garden cart. You should also buy a clothes that are suitable and comfortable enough for your gardening work.

Start with Suitable Flowers – if you’re a beginner you’d better start with plants that are widely available and easy to grow. You can start with annuals.

Things that Flowers Need – no matter of the plants type, in most of the cases you should provide them some basic things: Light, Spacing, Water, and Fertilizer. It would guarantee you that your flowers won’t die. You should also control the portion of water for your flower. Some flowers need much more water than others. Also, avoid shadow places such as near your house or near the walls.

Improve Your Soil – Remember that before improving your plants, you should improve your soil first. The perfect garden soil is easy to dig and it has the texture of crumbly chocolate cake.

Buy Proper Plants – When you decide to buy new flowers for your garden, you should carefully choose what plants are suitable for your garden. When you buy a plant, checkout the tags or ask the seller about their shade and sun requirements. Also, the shrubs and trees need light.

More People Carrying Out Home Improvements

Because of the uncertainty in the UK housing market it seems that more people are now improving their homes instead of moving. Steve Smith a director on Inter Financial Limited specialist online loans broker said “over the last 12 months we have seen a considerable increase in the number of loan applications we are receiving for the purpose of home Improvements” he went on to say “it is the second most popular reason we see only behind the number of applications we receive for debt consolidation loans”.

So what improvements are people making?

By far the most popular seems to be the building of an extension, maybe because of a new arrival and the need of another bedroom, or possibly because the kids are getting that much bigger you cannot make them share a room anymore. Whatever the reason behind this is definitely the most popular reason for applying for home improvement loan. Closely followed by having a loft conversion carried out, again this type of improvement could provide another one or two bedrooms depending on the size of the loft.

People are also taking out loans to have their windows replaced, probably as a result of the cold weather we have been having. Replacing those old draughty sash windows with some shiny new double glazed ones not only adds value to your home it can also cut down on your heating bills, and help you to recover the money you have spent on them in time. With saving money in mind as well as having new windows fitted more and more people are solar panels and small wind turbines fitted so that they can reduce their utilities outlay. Not to mention the added benefit of reducing their carbon footprint, and adding “green value” to their home.

You then have the old faithful new kitchen and new bathroom or fitted bedroom furniture. Either of these options can make a significant difference to the overall perception of your property, and also add value when you go to sell it. One of the first things anybody takes into consideration when looking to buy a new home is the state of the kitchen. In fact so much so it can be a deal killer if the kitchen is not up to scratch. This also applies to a lesser degree to the bathroom, or en-suite bathroom. A fully tiled bathroom fitted with an up to date bathroom suite can also help tip the scale in your favour when looking at selling your property.

There are also people who are taking out secured loans to build a swimming pool in their garden or have the garden landscaped. Having a beautiful garden can bring an immense amount of pleasure in the summer months when the sun is shining. What could be more relaxing than sitting in your own beautifully landscaped garden basking in the sun in your own private sanctuary? Or maybe even splashing around in your new pool on a hot summer’s day. Helping you to keep cool and contributing to your daily exercise requirements.

Organic Gardening Tips

Are you interested in creating your own organic vegetable garden? Here are some green gardening tips that will lead you in the right direction:

10 Organic Gardening Tips

  1. Test your soil:

If you are looking to have a successful outcome with an organic vegetable garden, you should first test your soil with a do-it-yourself home testing kit before you plant anything. These testing kits can be found at local garden centers and on the Internet at garden speciality stores. The kits use a number scale, 0 to 14, that helps you determine the acidity or alkalinity (also known as pH) levels of your soil. For most vegetables, an ideal number is about 6.5. If the results are too acidic (towards the low end of the scale) or too alkaline (towards the high end of the scale), your plants will not be able reap the benefits of the soil’s nutrients. Once you know the results of your soil, you will be able to adjust the soil accordingly by balancing these levels with the nutrients it is lacking.

  1. Make plans ahead of time and decide where and how you will grow your garden:

Before you begin digging up your lawn, take a look at your property and decide where you would like to plant a garden. Location is very important, as you will want to pay attention to the position of the sun throughout the day (your plants will need healthy doses of direct sunlight each day), the rockiness of the ground, the drainage quality of the soil, and the location’s relation to your main water source.

If you have high quality soil in your yard and you have determined a location, you will want to take advantage of the benefits found in it. Healthy soils have upwards of 650 million microorganisms per one gram of soil. These organisms already present, such as earthworms and other forms of soil life are essential to the life of the soil and will help your garden prosper by providing your plants with valuable nutrients and minerals.

What to do if your soil is not healthy or if you do not have space for a garden at home:

  • Build a raised bed

By making a raised bed, you will have control over the garden’s soil quality. When building your bed, use untreated wood, stones, or brick as a side border and be sure to make the border at least 16 inches high as the depth is important. The plants’ roots will need room to stretch and grow.

  • Consider container gardening

If you are a city dweller, you do not have to miss out on the benefits of growing your own produce. Plant in containers that are large enough to accommodate root growth. Be sure they also have drainage holes. If you are planting organic herbs, pots that are at least 6 inches across are ideal. Another helpful hint is to use plastic pots instead of terra cotta pots. Plastic may not be as aesthetically pleasing, but they will hold moisture longer and will not dry out as quickly as terra cotta pots.

  1. Select authentic, high quality organic vegetable seeds to use in your garden:

Organic seeds can be found at local nurseries, garden stores, home centers, online seed stores, seed catalogs, and farm supply stores. Always make sure the seed company is “certified organic” and be sure to stay away from any seeds that are “genetically engineered.” To save money, start growing the seeds indoors and transplant outdoors when ready.

  1. Make your own compost:

Compost, also known as “gardeners gold,” is a vital element in organic gardening that improves the soil structure of your garden. Compost provides a great source of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and micro/macronutrients essential for plant growth. It also aids in stabilizing soil moisture and pH which helps keep the soil cooler during the summer months.

Other benefits of organic compost:

  • Great source of food for wildlife because it attracts insects and fungi that eat decaying matter. These small animals support larger animals like songbirds
  • Suppresses plant disease
  • Assists in controlling soil erosion
  • Acts as a mild herbicide
  • Reduces need to apply commercial fertilizers
  • Reduces amount of waste sent to landfills
  • Reduces gas emissions that would result from transporting kitchen waste to a landfill

How to compost:

  • Build or buy a compost bin. These can be found at home centers, garden centers, and online.
  • Place compost material in repeated layers. To give your compost the best result, alternate layers of green matter with brown matter. An example would be alternating kitchen scraps with straw/stalks or dead leaves with grass clippings.
  • Cover compost heap for optimal results. This will avoid moisture loss and keep in heat.
  • Keep the pile moist as a wrung-out sponge.
  • Aerate and turn compost pile over frequently.
  • When ready, pile will look like fresh fine soil.

Some ideas for good compostables:

  • Kitchen waste
  • Aquarium water, plants, and algae
  • Sawdust
  • Tea leaves/coffee grounds
  • Pet rabbit or hamster droppings
  • Eggshells
  • Old spices
  • Lawn clippings (thin layer)

Make leafmould:

Leafmould is a dark brown, rich and crumbly material that is created from naturally decomposed Autumn leaves that have fallen onto the ground. It is an excellent soil conditioner and mulch, a great earthworm meal, and is easy to make.

To make leafmould:

  • Collect fallen leaves (avoid evergreen leaves) and place in a container to rot Leafmould matures best in high moisture, so the best time to collect leaves is just after rain.
  • Wait 9 months to a year for the leafmould to mature.
  1. Use water wisely:

Water conservation, harvesting, and recycling are great methods for organic gardening.

  • Recycle/harvest rain water

Not only is rainwater is a great way to hydrate your plants, but it is also an excellent way to lower your monthly water bills, reduce storm-water runoff, and prevent flooding and erosion. It is generally clean, free of containments and byproducts such as minerals, fluoride and chlorine and has a low pH which plants and soils like. Rainwater can be collected and stored using gutters, downspouts, rain barrels and/or cisterns and can be used whenever needed, even later in the season during dry weather.

  • Use a soaker hose

A soaker hose is a great and easy way to save time and money in your garden. Water seeps out of soaker hoses and delivers water directly to your plants’ roots while keeping the leaves dry, which helps prevent disease. Hand watering is time consuming and tedious, sprinklers can be wasteful due to evaporation and runoff, and drip irrigation is expensive.

  • Avoid grey water

When recycling water, avoid use of grey water (household waste water that comes from sources such as sinks, washer machines, and showers) on any plants used for consumption. Grey water may contain phosphates, nitrogen, and pathogens that can be harmful to your health.

Watering tips:

  • Water your garden when the air and soil are cool, typically in the early morning or evening hours. During these times, less water will be lost due to evaporation.
  • Water deeply but less often. Direct the water at the root systems at the base of the plant. This will encourage plants to grow deeper roots, causing them to need less watering. Shallow watering causes the roots to grow close to the surface, making them more vulnerable to drought.
  • Remember that plants and soil in containers will dry out much faster than in the ground and require frequent watering.
  • Avoid watering leaves. Excess water film on a plant makes it more susceptible to disease.
  • Shallow rooted vegetables such as beans and greens need to be watered more often with lighter applications than deep rooted plants like corn and tomatoes. These vegetables require more water but less often.
  • Use a milk jug. For a clever trick, take a 1 gallon milk jug and poke very small holes into the bottom. Bury most of the jug next to your plants when you plant your garden. If you leave it uncapped, you can place your water hose nozzle into the opening to fill. With this method, the water slowly drips into the ground and encourages deep plant roots. This self-irrigation system is great for whenever you need to travel and leave the garden unattended.
  1. Weed Control:

Weeds can be a serious threat to gardens because they remove valuable moisture, nutrients, sunlight and growing space needed by crops.

Some ways to control weeds:

  • Select high quality vegetable seeds or transplants By planting high quality seeds, the chances of them containing weed seeds or seedlings is very low.
  • Rotate your vegetable crops As crops differ in their ability to compete with weeds, rotating crops between hardy competitors and weaker plants can reduce weeds.
  • Use ground cover The use of ground cover and organic mulches such as hay, straw, glass clippings, and manure in your garden is one of the most effective ways to control weeds. Spread the ground cover 2-3 inches thick as this will block sunlight and prevent weed germination and growth.
  • Transplant seeds Transplanting seeds instead of sowing them gives plants a healthy head start in defense against weeds.

Methods of removing weeds:

  • By hand This method is most effective after a recent rain because the soil is loosened.
  • Thermal A short blast of heat directly onto the weed causes it to wilt and die. This is most effective on driveways and paths and is not always ideal for gardens.
  • Hoeing This is effective for larger patches of newly cleared ground.
  1. Make sure you have earthworms

Earthworms are essential to a successful garden. Vermicompost, the combination of organic matter and earthworms’ castings is a high-octane form of compost that provides the soil with an immediate all-purpose fertilizer loaded with nutrients and nitrogen. By tunneling through the earth, earthworms aerate the soil which improves the soil’s access to air and drainage so that water reaches the deep roots of plants more easily. They also encourage beneficial soil bacteria while discouraging disease and predators such as crop destroying insects.

Don’t have earthworms in your soil? Here is how to get them:

  • Discontinue use of any toxins in your garden.
  • Spread 2-3 inch layers of organic matter on top of the soil each year – this will attract earthworms
  • Use leafmould – this is a great earthworm meal.
  • Order earthworm eggs online. Once you receive them, scatter them onto the ground and in about 3 months they will be adults and ready to reproduce.
  1. Keep a gardening journal

By keeping track of your garden’s progress, you will be more prepared next year to tackle issues that came up this year. You will also have a place where you can jot down experiments, experiences: the good and the bad.

  1. Protect against predators and pests:

Make your garden friendly to the native wildlife in your region. This will attract and encourage natural wildlife pest controllers to your garden. Ladybugs, birds, frogs, toads, and bats all help to keep pests such as aphids, insects, and snails in check.

Other beneficial garden predators and the pests they feed on:

  • Centipedes: feed on slugs and eggs
  • Preying mantis: feed on all types of insects
  • Spiders: feed on insects and arthropods
  • Lizards: feed on insects/pests
  • Frog/toads: feed on all types
  • Ladybugs: feed on aphids

To protect against pests:

  • Plant nectar producing plants Tiny flowers on plants such as sweet alyssum will attract beneficial insects, such as predatory wasps. The alyssum’s aroma will also scent your garden all summer. Herbs like parsley, dill, and fennel will attract ladybugs which will also eat intruding insects.
  • Choose native plant species over imported varieties whenever possible Native species have better “immune systems” and will be able to fight against insects in your area better than an exotic plant will.
  • Try companion planting Companion planting is growing two or more different types of species of plant together for the benefit of one or both. For example, by pairing a flower with a vegetable plant, many adult insects will visit flowers for pollen and nectar and in return are effective natural controllers of unwanted pests on the vegetable crops.

How does companion planting work?

  • Companions help each other grow: Tall plants provide shade for shorter plants sensitive to sun.
  • Companions use garden space efficiently: Vining plants cover the ground, upright plants grow up. Two plants in one patch.
  • Companions prevent pest problems: Plants like onions repel some pests. Other plants can lure pests away from more desirable plants.
  • Companions attract beneficial insects: Every successful garden needs plants that attract the predators of pests.

Examples of good companion plants:

  • Carrots and onions: Pests attracted to carrots’ sweet smell can be confused by the pungent smell of onions.
  • Corn and beans: The beans attract beneficial insects that prey on corn pests such as leafhoppers and leaf beetles. In addition, the bean vines will climb up the corn stalks.
  • Cucumbers and nasturtiums: Nasturtiums are said to repel cucumber beetles and can create a habitat for insects such as spiders and ground beetles which help defend the garden from destructive pests.
  • Radishes and spinach: Radishes attract leafminers away from the spinach. The leafminers will damage the radish leaves, but since radishes grown underground, no damage is done to the radishes.
  • Cabbage and dill: Cabbage can help support the floppy dill plants, while the dill attracts the tiny beneficial wasps that control cabbageworms and other cabbage pests.
  • Tomatoes and cabbage: Tomatoes are repel diamondback moth larvae (caterpillars that chew large holes in cabbage leaves)
  • Cauliflower and dwarf zinnias: The nectar from the dwarf zinnias lures ladybugs that help protect cauliflower plants.
  • Collards and catnip: Planting catnip alongside collards can reduce flea-beetle damage on the collards.

Other ways to deter pests from your organic garden:

  • Create barriers and deterrents: Try hanging shiny silver objects in your garden. The reflection produced from the sun can confuse insects such as aphids which orient their flight patterns by sunlight.
  • Rotate your crops each year This will aid in keeping pest and disease problems at bay as well as correct nutritional deficiencies.
  1. Last few tips on garden and soil care:
  • Avoid compacting soil by walking on it excessively This restricts air movement and makes it hard for roots to penetrate.
  • Do not over dig This will destroy vital soil structure.
  • Cover Keeping plants covered with things like mulch helps protect soil structure.
  • Avoid overfeeding and over or under watering Let the plants performance guide you.

I hope you will be able to share the same satisfaction and gratification I experience when I build, create, and tend to my own vegetable garden. Have patience, be willing to get dirty, and be ready to smile and reap the bountiful benefits of an organically grown vegetable and herb garden.

Home Improvement Through Gardening

Today’s man is caught in hard mental work, family conflicts and many other disturbing issues and is in need of some relaxation. Gardening, undoubtedly, is a great thing for alleviating stress and providing mental relaxation. It is usually known as practice of growing ornamental plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables etc. Gardening can give you relaxation after the whole day’s hard work and it becomes more enjoyable when you have personal plot for this. However, with the passage of time, many new methods or systems have been introduced. Some of them are described below:

Container gardening: In this gardening, you are not bound to have a plot to garden as the containers are used for growing plants. Containers can be half barrels or plastic window boxes, earthen pots or gallon milk jugs with the tops cut off. You can choose them according to the space you have for gardening. You can put a variety of plants in the containers depending upon your choice. The only thing you must be careful about that is to know the characteristics of the container. This method of gardening is generally used on balconies, in atriums, doorway and roof tops.

Hydroponic gardening: In case of insufficiency of nutrients in the soil or you have an area with very little useful soil; hydroponic gardening methods are considered the best. The nutrients system is fed directly to the plant and the plant is able to grow efficiently without relying on the growth of nearby plants. The special advantage of this method is that it has no seasonal variation and you can use it throughout the year. We can grow plants anywhere in the house through hydroponic gardening e.g. even in cupboards or small piece of land. This method of gardening is said to be environmentally friendly as it does not cause much dirt. If you are desirous of not going to be sticky, dirty and wet during gardening or to avoid the manual labor usually associated with normal gardening, you must adopt hydroponic gardening methods. In addition to these new methods of gardening, the landscape gardening is also in vogue. Special landscape gardening equipments are easily available in market e.g. clippers, cultivators, water equipment, greenhouses and garden decorations. For the purpose of getting best efficiency of these tools some tips are stated below;

Always avoid tilling a seed on a sunny day. Rather you should prefer an overcast day with the expectation of rain. This is so, because the new plant needs plenty of water. The careful selection of new plants is very important. The best option is short and strong plants with just a few flowers. You must check the condition of the leaves because it will help you to decide whether you going to buy it or not. Flower bed also needs special care. You have to put at least one inch organic matter on the flower bed once a year for the best growth of your plants.