Designing an Herb Garden

March 29, 2011 by  
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Kitchen garden at Bolen residence

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Planning an herb garden and then actually putting the plan in motion is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

Herbs surpass all other plants in their economic uses, medicinal qualities and their decorative advantages.

Furthermore, herbs aid in the control of many ordinary insect vermin in the garden because of their repulsive character that deflect damaging pests, which annihilate your vegetables and flowers.

Setting up the herb garden with just a few easy steps can be simple to do.

The location is imperative.

Choosing a location for the herb garden in important because it affects the growth patterns of the plants. The location place in the garden ought to be where there is accessible sunlight with a bare minimum of 5 – 7 hours per day of direct sunlight to the garden.

The location should not be under the shade of large trees and should be weed free. It should not be have other weeds or shrubs drawing all the nutrients from the soil and away from the herb plants in the garden.

Propinquity to the home is a huge concern. It should not be ignored for trouble-free harvest even in a hostile weather conditions.

Design an eye-catching design

Even though, the purpose for the herb garden is to supply with an accessible stock for the kitchen, do not forget to bestow value to the design for an artistic look commendable of admiration by all who see the herb garden.

Border the design in a way it will be set up on an outline. Plan how shorter plants will be set out and do the same with the taller ones.

The similar is true about the color array it ought to be correctly set to match the other plants establish on color model.

Making the garden more alluring, cementing the path will improve a bigger effect for easy maintaining of the area and for easy access in gathering the harvest.

Organize the area painstakingly

Prepare the soil properly, construct various beds or plots, remove the weeds, add the compost and mix completely with the top soil to assemble it and make nutritionally profuse. The plots should be well-prepared before planting.

The transplanting of seedlings

Just pinch the ends of the seedlings to promote a more growth to emerge to form a thicker growth pattern of the whole plant.

Set the plants arranged by height and color. The shorter plants ought to be planted towards the east so they will get enough of the sunlight and the taller plants ought to be placed towards the back.

Mulching and Maintaining Nutrition

After the herbs have established themselves, add some mulching materials around the plants. Fertilizing the plants about once a month in the growing period should help to keep the plant healthy and growing.

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Therapy in Gardening

March 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Gardening

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Most people garden because it is fun and we find joy in gardening. There are a lot of people who use gardening as a therapy tool. It might sound like a new concept however, therapy gardening has been going on for many decades. The benefits of garden therapy are overwhelming. Garden therapy results in a higher self-esteem and confidence for everyone who is participating. Many people benefit from this form of therapeutic benefits from gardening, such as people that are recovering from surgery, addictions, disabilities, and many health problems.

The most important benefit of using gardening therapy is that the normal ways of communication are not required. So people, who cannot talk, can communicate in their own way. This aspect of the therapy is important to stroke suffers who have communication difficulties, cerebral palsy or other health problems that prevent people from communicating. Garden therapy builds team work, self-confidence and self-esteem in those people who lack this ability while encouraging social interaction.

For substance abusers horticulture can give them a meaningful activity to participate in, in return will help slow down their addiction by creating skills to cope and learn how to work.

Juvenile offenders can benefit from garden therapy as well. They can improve their social bonding skills and improve attitudes because they have accomplished something, and it makes them feel good on the inside. It will help teach them how to attain personal success and job preparedness, and teach them how to work together as a team.

Garden therapy will help increase the ability to make decisions, and give self-control for mental patients.

Prison staff has used garden therapy improved the social interaction of the inmates, and helps the inmates to work with the staff with more understanding, and helps the inmates learn to work together instead of fighting with each other all the time.

It is very promising that studies done from mental hospitals and prisons have a consistently good report when they use garden therapy, the relationships between the staff and clients are better in both instances. The self-esteem and self-confidence of patients are higher when the doctors and staff members use garden therapy. There is also a higher rate of improvement for life skills, integrating the patients with the community, and helping the patients to get better. So far, there are not any negative comments about garden therapy.

It does a body good to be outside, breathing in fresh air and participating in physical labor instead of just sitting around in a cell or a hospital room. The fresh air can increase the chances of recovery.

With all the positive benefits to growing a garden, every one should be out there gardening.

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Health Benefits to Having a Garden

March 29, 2011 by  
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Some people have gardening as a hobby, but others use it as a means to stay healthy. Gardening can be done by the young, the old, the healthy and the unhealthy, all people can enjoy gardening. People who are stronger and healthier will have an easier time of gardening, but the unhealthy use it as a means to get healthy once again. The unhealthy will enjoy the lighter task until they are able to do the more detailed task, they can engage in pruning, and weeding, which will help get them back in shape.

The biggest benefit to gardening is the exercise that you will be getting while in your garden working. The hobby of gardening offers many levels of exercise from vigorous to light and easy going. Different age levels require different levels of exercise, the elderly need regular gentle exercise to help keep their joints supple, the young need vigorous exercise to stay in shape. Use gardening aids to help you with your gardening task if things are too difficult for you to reach or bend over, you will still benefit from the exercise, but at the same time not get hurt. For example, use long handled tools for hard to reach areas, and kneeling pads to help protect your knees. Protecting your knees is for all ages, your knees are precious doing not hurt those young or you will have pain forever.

Regular exercise is very important for everyone. Child obesity is due to the lack of exercise. Children love to garden so to help your child to stay in shape and have fun while doing exercise, let them have their own little garden to get them outside and stay active. Children find the process of plating and watching the plants grow very fascinating, this will help to spark interest and get your child out doing something that is good for them. Many schools are incorporating gardening into their daily lessons to help teach them science and recreational use as well as they are getting exercise and most of the time do not even know it.

Do not plant too many of the same things. Fruits and vegetable loose their nutritional benefits in a short time, so you do not want to have many of the same fruits and vegetables lying around, it will not do your body any good. A good way to help save some of the nutritional values by freezing the fresh food, however this will not be as good as eating it fresh,but it will help a little.

Gardening has many benefits, health is one of them, and by eating right and getting exercise you will be doing well by your body.

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Benefits of Container Gardening

March 29, 2011 by  
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Container garden on front porch

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Container gardening is the new way to grow a garden, and there are so many people wondering why they have never tried it. The container garden has been around for more than 20 years, it’s just been in the past five years that it has become popular.

The container garden is accessible to everyone even the handicapped can garden now because it is easier for them to get to. With a container garden you can place the container on the table so if you are in a wheel chair you can reach your plants. People who are getting up there in age have a hard time getting on the ground, previously have been limited to what they can grow if anything at all, but with container gardening, they are not limited and can grow what ever they want too.

With a container garden you can move your plants whereever you want them with very little effort at all. For example, if there is bad weather coming, you can move the pants so they will avoid the bad weather and they will not die. The greatest asset to container gardening is the mobility it provides you as the gardener. Especially if the plants are in a place that is not working very well for you or the plant, you can pick up the containers and move them to see if the plants will grow better.

With a container garden the soil has more quality features to it. With growing your plants in containers, they will less likely develop a disease. Using potting soil is safer and disease free.

By using a container to grow you plants in, it will be easier for you to feed your plants than if you were using outside soil. It is easier because the food you feed your plants will be contained and you can keep them in the desired place. When using fertilizer you will need to add a little extra due to the fact it will not sink in as fast when planting in containers.

The best part of a container garden is that the seasons can go on forever as long as you’re willing to keep feeding and taking care of the plants because they are in a controlled environment. Insulate your containers to make the soil warmer, this will help the plants to last longer, also wrap the containers with towels or blankets to help keep the warmth in.

Growing your garden in a container can be fun and enjoyable, you will have less worries and hassles, and also you will not need as much space as you would outdoors. Container gardens are wonderful for people who live in apartments. The container garden is a wonderful option for those who are limited with mobility, space and time, also for people who want home grown food year round.

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Growing Your Own Vegetables

March 29, 2011 by  
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Starting your own vegetable garden is not has hard as it seems.

First start looking around your yard and decide where the best place to put your garden would grow best. You can grow a vegetable garden in your yard, or on your back deck, does not matter. The most common place for first timers to start a vegetable garden is in raised garden beds. Raised garden beds are above the ground and can be easily adapted to any surface, rather in the yard or on your deck. Garden beds are easy to make, you can use wood to make a box, or an old small plastic swimming pool with small holes in the bottom for drainage.

Make sure the area you choose gets good sunlight. Put markers out where you will be putting your vegetable garden, so you know how much room you will have for the new adventure you are about to undertake. Your area should be square due to the fact they are easier to maintain than a rectangular one. If you are making your garden bed out of wood, do not use treated wood, the chemicals in the wood will leak out into your food.

Before you put soil in your garden box, line the bottom with pine straws or hay as this will help with the drainage of the water through the soil.

Next begin to make compost out of your scraps, this will help feed your vegetables and help them grow.

If you do not have a compost pile yet that is fine, buy a good composted soil mix. Manure based soils work the best because they do not have too much alkaline in them and are safe for you to eat, organic mixes are even better to use.

When you begin to fill your garden boxes, leave a path so you can get to your vegetables easily, to tend to them. Do not put the plants frrther than three feet away from where you can reach to be able to care for them.

Third you can start to plant your vegetables. A good start would be to place seedlings. Seedlings spread their roots quickly and take hold. You will want to plant them close to one another, but be careful not too close or they will choke each other out. If there is not much room between the plants, their will be less room for weeds to grow and kill your vegetables.

Lastly you will want to water your vegetables well althroughout the growing season. Then, sit back and enjoy your new home grown vegetables, something you can be proud of.

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Urban Gardening

March 29, 2011 by  
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City-dwellers are starting to discover that gardening is not just a hobby for suburbanites; it’s very possible to create a beautiful and fruitful garden in a city environment. The urban gardener must be more imaginative and creative in their plant selection, design, and the landscaping materials, but these gardens can be compelling and lovely. Follow these helpful hints, and make a city garden of your own.

The scope of your garden is dependent on just two things: the space you have available, and the extent of your imagination. No matter where you’re gardening, you should always start by sketching your garden on paper. This is particularly helpful to the urban gardener. A quick sketch can give you an idea of the space you have to work with, and allow you to purchase plants according to the light you have available.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a whole rooftop to plant on, the sky’s the limit! You can build raised beds and plant most anything your heart desires. Some lumber, soil, and a little bit of elbow grease can create a garden plot that will rival any of its suburban counterparts. Just be sure that there’s a water source nearby–nothing will put a damper on your gardening faster than hauling buckets of water up the stairs. However, you will have the advantage of absorbing rainfall, reducing runoff. The patio gardener is a little more limited. You must buy plants that can thrive in pots. But don’t become disheartened! There are many plants available that grow well in these conditions. And think of the decorating possibilities available with the pot selection. Be sure to raise your containers an inch or two from the ground to improve the drainage and increase the airflow. A couple of wooden blocks will accomplish this easily. Also, make sure that the containers you choose have proper drainage holes; you don’t want to over water your plants. The patio gardener can also utilize hanging baskets. Many flowers flourish in these, and vegetables, such as tomatoes, can be grown in this manner as well.

Window boxes are another viable option for urban gardening. Herbs can thrive in these conditions, and they are both beautiful and useful. Think of the convenience of snipping the herbs you need for dinner from the box outside of your kitchen window! It’s also a great way to beautify an otherwise drab exterior. If you simply think outside the box, you can create a lush garden paradise in an urban environment.

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Children and Gardening

March 29, 2011 by  
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Children are curious, and gardening with children can provide a great opportunity to teach them about where food comes from as well as giving them a sense of responsibility and pride when they successfully grow vegetables of their own. It’s also a great way to encourage kids to eat healthier snacks–they will be eager to eat food they’ve grown! But how do you garden with children? These simple tips will have you and your child digging in the dirt in no time.

First, you and your child should decide what you want to plant. Since the child will be actively involved in the gardening, be sure to give him or her some choice in the matter. Consider planting a garden that will engage all the senses; flowers that are colorful and smell wonderful as well as delicious fruits and vegetables. Strawberries, peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers are great options for children to plant. Marigolds are hardy, and a trellis for a vine-growing plant can be fun to watch. Zinnias and sunflowers are big and colorful, and will attract butterflies. Herbs are a great choice for children, too. They grow quickly, which is rewarding for the impatient young child.

Plot the garden in a spot that’s easily accessible for the kids, and encourage them to help with the soil preparation as well as the planting and maintenance. The garden doesn’t have to be a traditional rectangle; allow the child’s imagination to take flight and choose any shape. If your yard won’t easily sustain a garden, consider using large, colorful pots. The child can plant in the pots and decorate them. Or, if you can’t handle the idea of a disorderly garden, consider allowing the child his or her own small plot to do with what he or she wishes. If you’ve got the space, create a maze, or you could plant tall plants around the perimeter of the garden to give it a secluded feel.

To encourage the children to work in their garden, buy special child-sized tools. Rakes, spades, gloves, and hoes all come in smaller sizes, and it’s easier for the child to use properly-sized tools. Be sure to present the garden’s maintenance not as a chore, but a joy. Time to water the garden? Use the sprinkler and allow the children to play in the water. Provide old cups and spoons to encourage the kids to play in the soil. Part of the fun of gardening for children is getting dirty! With these tips, you will find yourself and your children enjoying the bounty of your harvest and having a great time outdoors, together.

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Vegetable Gardening

March 29, 2011 by  
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Tomato

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Many people would love to start vegetable gardening, but they are unsure of how to begin. These easy tips give you the basic information needed to start your own vegetable garden, no matter what your level of experience is.

The first decision you must make is what kind of vegetables you wish to grow, and where you will grow them. A family of three or four people can be fed easily with a 16×20 foot plot, but if you’re new to gardening, it might be best to start with something a little less ambitious. A small bed, or even some containers, can give you the experience you need to go all out the next summer. It’s best to draw your plans before you start to plant. Grow the veggies your family enjoys, and stick with things that are fairly easy to grow. Tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, and lettuce are all pretty friendly for new gardeners. Hit your local garden center and do some research before you make any decisions; the employees there will be knowledgeable about what grows well in your area, and they can point you in the right direction for success.

Once you’ve determined what you want to plant, you must decide where to plant them. A happy garden is a garden with at least eight full hours of sunshine a day. This can determine where you end up planting your garden if your yard has a lot of trees. You should also be sure that your garden has adequate protection from the wind, such as a fence or a nearby building. Your water source should be near the garden, too, so that you can be sure that you can easily water your vegetables when necessary. The condition of the soil is another important consideration before you start planting. You need good, healthy soil that has been properly tilled before you start gardening. The addition of manure or compost is always helpful, and it can improve your soil’s fertility, texture, and drainage. Once your soil is prepared, you can start to plant. The tallest crops should go to the back of the garden, and the smaller ones at the front. The rows should be planted north to south, and you should grant the garden ample spacing, generally 2-3 feet between rows. Your garden center can provide information about when it’s best to plant your crops.

Once the planting is done, all that’s left is the maintenance. You should water the garden frequently, a minimum of once a week. Weed the garden regularly, and add mulch to retain moisture. When your vegetables begin to ripen, pick them frequently to increase production. You will enjoy eating the fruits of your labor!

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Gardening with Herbs

March 29, 2011 by  
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Cover of "Gardening with Herbs"

Cover of Gardening with Herbs

Gardening can be a relaxing and enjoyable hobby for those who wish to try it. Herb gardens are particularly useful, and they are quite simple to start. If you follow these easy steps, your herb garden can provide you hours of pleasure, and a lot of great food, too.

First, you must determine the best spot in your yard for your herb garden. Herbs need a lot of sunshine, so you need to find a place that will have at least four hours of sun exposure every day. You will need a wide place, as herbs can grow rather large. You will need to allow for 1 to 4 feet in diameter per plant. It’s possible to grow them in pots, but they become stunted, and for the best effect they really need room to spread out.

Before you start to plant, you will need to get the soil ready to receive the herbs. A large gardening fork can be used to break up compacted soil; this will allow for water drainage and let the roots of the plant reach way down into the soil. An addition of compost is always welcome at this stage in the preparation, and it will aid in drainage issues and fertilize your garden.

Finally, you must choose the sorts of plants you wish to grow. If you want a high yield using a smaller space, your best choices are cilantro, chives, dill or parsley. These only need to be planted a foot apart. Basils, tarragon, and thyme need to be two feet apart. The most space-consuming herbs are rosemary, oregano, marjoram, sage, and mint. These plants need to be spaced between three and four feet apart. You should also consider your own culinary needs. Do you love to cook Italian food? Oregano, basil, and rosemary could be your most useful herbs. Do you wish to make your own pickles? A dill plant could be handy! You should review your favorite recipes to see what fresh herbs would be most beneficial to you. Once you’ve determined the sort of plants you want to use, get them into the ground. If the soil becomes dry to touch a couple of inches down, you need to water the plants. Over watering is not helpful, so try to avoid this. The levels of water needed to keep your plants healthy will vary throughout the season, depending on the weather in your area. Gardening with herbs is a rewarding, enjoyable experience if you follow the tips laid out here.

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How to Grow Herbs Outdoors

March 29, 2011 by  
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Homeowners are encouraged to test their soils ...

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An attractive element to add to your landscape might be an outdoor herb garden. While many herbs grow without attention in the wild, they are useful plants and can be grown domestically in many locations. If you have never grown herbs, you may find them fascinating because there are so many types. Some are grown for their medicinal properties and cosmetic ingredients; others are used to enhance a good cook’s special recipes. It may take persistence on your part, but you can learn to grow herbs for use in your own home.

An appropriate outdoor placement is vital for the success of an herb garden. A location which provides plenty of direct sunlight and some protection from wind is the best choice. Wind can be very drying to herbs which must have average soil moisture. If you are going to use herbs in your kitchen, they can be planted along a walkway close to the kitchen door.

When you got to buy your plants or seeds, you will find that there are many to choose from. Be careful to get plants that share the same soil, water and sunlight needs. For example, chamomile, cat mint, rosemary and thyme belong together as well as lemongrass, lovage, elderberry and comfrey. On the other hand, dill, fennel, and mint are much more aggressive and one must be careful not to plant them close to other herbs.

Once you have chosen the herbs that will be in your outdoor flower beds and pots, you are ready to prepare the planting site. You will need herb seeds or seedlings to transplant, a garden shovel or tiller, and garden mulch. Most herbs do best in an average, well-drained soil. Equal amounts of compost and sand should be used with heavy clay soils, which need to be loosened with a garden shovel or tiller. Any large clumps of dirt should be broken up before you plant.

Place larger herb plants in the back, with the smaller ground covers near the front. Leave some space between plants for weeding and harvesting. Put a fine layer of mulch around the roots to keep in moisture. Then, water the plants thoroughly and add water whenever the soil becomes dry. You may want to take cuttings off your herbs, which they are young and fresh to use for cooking. Plant parts that won’t be harvested may need to be pruned and shaped to fit into the garden. If flowering herbs are to be used for aromatic uses, they should be cut before the blossoms dry out.

Here’s to happy gardening. Enjoy the lovely new additions to your landscape and the spectacular difference fresh herbs will make in your old standard recipes.

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