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Ponds, Fountains, and Garden Decorative Items – The Complete Guide to Installing a Water Feature

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As any avid collector of garden decorative items will tell you, although they may often need to make choices about which of their many garden statues and stones will make the cut for their garden display each year, one garden decorative item that always stands front and center is the garden fountain. A fountain on a pond or “water feature” as they are known today, is the “focal point” of every water gardener’s landscape. It’s no wonder gardeners are reducing the square footage of their lawns to make way for a tranquil space all their own or a delightful and whimsical water feature in their landscapes. They are not only good for the environment but also provide an element of individual style adding to decor of your outdoor living space. Some gardens go so far as to say that without a water feature in your garden, you are not only missing a real asset to your landscape but an asset to your piece of mind.

Esthetically speaking, no other garden decorative items can compare to the beauty that a water feature adds to your property. However, it’s the added benefit of stress reduction, most gardeners proclaim, that makes the upkeep of these water features worth every cent spent and every minute they spend maintaining them. Simply said, they sooth the soul.

Small or large, a water feature can transform your garden into a tranquil retreat that is all your own, a delightful and mesmerizing centerpiece for your garden, or used to complement the space you use for entertaining in your outdoor living area.

While landscapers can offer an almost instant and custom designed water feature, it can be very costly. With just a short trip to the garden supply store and a few tools, there is no reason you can’t do it yourself and save some money in the process. With a little planning, a little preparation, and a little digging, it is easy to create a water garden. Here’s what you need to know.

Planning Location, Location, Location! Just like real estate, you will want to choose a prime location for your fountain and pond.

Here are the things to consider:

First, decide how you want to use your water feature. Will you use it solely for a beautiful view from inside your home or will you want to create a environment for outdoor dining and entertaining? Are you someone who dreams of having a secluded and tranquil setting? Perhaps a meditation garden or a garden setting where you can simply sit and relax with a good book is what you have in mind? Think about your purpose and what you want to achieve by adding a water feature to your landscaping.

Think about whether or not your desired location will be beneath trees that will drop their leaves or needles. If so, this will add to the maintenance involved in keeping your water feature clean. Consider the slope of your landscape, your soil (clay is the best), the amount of sun and shade in the area, and don’t forget about access to water by either hose or water line, and access to an electrical outlet.

You’ll want to be sure you build your water feature on level ground and above the lowest elevation in your yard where rain water might accumulate. Setting your pond at a higher elevation than that of the lowest point will avoid overflow when heavy rain is present and prevent the possibility of washing away your fish, plants, and just about anything else surrounding your water feature.

Some other things to consider are how much sun and shade your water feature will receive each day. Ideally, about 6 hours of sun a day is perfect for both plant growth and keeping algae at bay. More than that, will not only limit the plants that are available for planting around the water garden but more importantly, will increase the amount of algae that will accumulate.

Consider the availability and proximity of your power hook-up. Is a GFCI available or will you need to have one installed? Keep in mind the average length of the cord on a pump is only 6′ in length. Lastly, and probably most importantly in selecting your location is to make certain that you avoid installing your water feature over gas, electrical, telephone, cable and/or sewer lines. Remember to CALL BEFORE YOU DIG! One easy phone call to 811 starts the process to get your underground utility lines marked for free. When you call 811 from anywhere in the country, your call will be routed to your local One Call Center. Local One Call Center operators will ask you for the location of your digging job and route your call to affected utility companies. Your utility companies will then send a professional locator to your location to mark your lines within a few days. Once your underground lines have been marked, you will know the approximate location of your utility lines and can dig safely, because knowing what’s below protects you and your family.

Preparation What you Will Need, a.k.a. The Shopping List:

One Garden (submersible) Pump – This is the most important factor of a efficient and clean pond. Look at the GPH factor. This factor indicates how many gallons of water are displaced every hour. 120 GPH should be enough for a small garden pond. Every water pump manufacturer recommends that the water be turned between 1/2 time and 1 time per hour. With that in mind, you might think that a 120 GPH pump would be sufficient for a 240 gallon pond. However, keep in mind that you will want to have enough pump-power left over to give your fountain a good stream of water. Therefore, in this example, you would need a higher GPH pump to fuel your fountain. To figure it all out, it’s simply a mathematical equation. (I’ll wait while you get your calculator). There are 7.5 gallons of water in a cubic foot.

Multiply the number of cubic feet in your preformed pond liner by 7.5 and this will give you the number of gallons of water your pond will hold. Divide that in half to select the appropriate GPH for your pump for the pond and add a little more umph for the fountain. Another incentive for having a strong enough pump is that a pump that doesn’t adequately turn the water will become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes prefer still water. You pump is not the place to try to save money.

One plastic pre-formed pond liner or flexible pond liner . Which one you need depends on the size of your pond. For a small pond, I recommend the pre-formed liners. Just drop it in the hole and you are almost done. For larger ponds, you’ll need a flexible liner and will have to form your own walls which means more digging on your part as ledges will need to be formed in the interior of the hole for securing the liner with rocks.

A Level, the length of the preformed pond liner. If you don’t have one of these borrow one from a carpenter or contractor friend or neighbor.

A Fountain. This is the fun part! This will set the style of your landscape. One word of advise here; this is your centerpiece and it should make a statement about what you are trying to crate. Also, make sure that your fountain is not out-staged by a larger element in your pond landscape. A common mistake that people make is planting plants around the fountain will grow taller than the fountain itself. Small fountain, small plants. You get the idea.

Tubing: buy tubing that is the same size as the as the discharge adapter on the pump. The discharge adapter is the “pipe” coming out of the pump’s hole where the water is pushed out. You will need enough tubing to reach from the pump to the top of the fountain and a little extra for flexibility in placement.

Several bags of sand. This will be needed to cushion the underneath of the liner, support it, and fill in empty space in the sides of the hole once your pre-formed pond is in place.

That’s really all you need. However in addition to the basic supplies above, I strongly recommend adding a few additional items to your pond. Although they are optional, they will reduce required maintenance to your water feature, and if that’s not enough, make it more pleasing to the eye and soothing to the soul. Plants– Plants will keep your ecosystem in balance and attract birds, insects, butterflies, and frogs to your pond. Just as in true organic gardening, a proper ecosystem will sustain life in and around your pond while keeping pests and other unwanted elements away from your pond.

Plan to cover about 65% of the water surface with plants. This will reduce the water temperature and keep the algae growth to a minimum. Algae is caused by too much sun so if your location gets more than the recommended 6 hours of direct sunlight a day, plants are even more essential to the balance of your ecosystem and you will want to cover about 80% of the waters surface. Plant life in your pond also provides valuable biological filtration by removing nitrogen, ammonia, nitrates and other nutrients from the water that algae would otherwise feed on. If you are planning to add fish or other wildlife that live in and around your pond (or just want to keep the water clear), submerged and marginal plants will provide the food, shade, and protection for your pond residents. Parrot Feather, Foxtail, and Water Violet are referred to as ozygenators, these plants grow entirely submerged in the water and prevent growth of algae along with providing oxygen for the fish. Water Lilies, Floating Fairy Moss and Water Hyacinth, will float on top of the water surface and will provide shade thereby protecting your fish and keeping the water temperature down.

These plants also absorb dissolved nutrients that left alone, would encourage growth of algae. The roots of these plants also serve as a nesting place to protect fish eggs. Lastly, marginal plants are shallow water plants and sit in shallow areas of the pond. Their purpose is primarily decorative however they also add to and provide shade to the pond. Some examples of marginal plants include Winter Hardy Arrowhead, Yellow Water Iris and Cattail. Cattails also attract dragonflies and other mosquito-eating insects. In tropical climates, Nonhardy Taro, Canna, and Papyrus can also be used.

Rocks – I collect these everywhere I go. Rocks work well as decorative elements and equally as well for a border around your pond. They can also serve to keep predators away from your fish. Flagstones can be arranged around the pond to hang out and above the water providing more shade, keeping dirt out, and preventing access to your fish from predators. Rocks are a natural decorative element for use with any pond.

Garden Decorative Items: garden statues, garden stones, wind chimes, and birdfeeders all make wonderful additions to your pond landscape. A path of stepping stones leading up to your pond is also visually appealing and practical.

Fish – Once you have the proper ecosystem in place consider adding some fish to your pond. Adding pond fish will not only help support the ecosystem and reduce pond maintenance, but they will keep your pond free of mosquito eggs and larvae. A “mosquito fish” can eat up to 168 mosquitoes a day! Koi and goldfish are also good choices as they can tolerate fluctuations in water temperature and poor environments.

Installing Your Water Feature

Once you have planned and prepared you will be surprised at how easy the installation will go. There is really not much to it. Ready, set, start digging. Turn the preformed pond liner upside down in the desired location and trace around it with a shovel or hoe. Try to make the diameter of the hole the same size, or as close as possible, to that of the preformed plastic pond liner. Don’t worry too much if it’s not perfect as you can fill in with sand where the hole is too big but do your best to get as close to the actual size of the liner as you can. Do the same for the depth of the pond liner.

Once the hole is dug, put in about an inch of sand to cover the entire bottom of the hole. This will not only raise the liner about an inch above the ground and keep the dirt out of the pond but it will make it easier to move the liner around inside the hole to level it.

Put the preformed plastic liner into the hole and use your level to make sure it is level. Move the liner around until the liner is level from both front to back and side to side. You may need to remove the liner, add a little sand and/or move the sand around a bit to get it just right. Now, go get your fountain! Feed one end of the tubing through the top of the fountain and all the way through the fountain, leaving a short stub of tubing sticking out of the top. You will adjust this after hooking the other end of the tubing to the pump. Do not plug in the pump yet! Keep the plug end of the pump near the electrical outlet out of any wet areas. Never run your pump without water, it will overheat and damage the pump!

Fill the pond liner with water. You are almost there! Fill in any extra space around the pond liner with sand now that the water will hold the liner in place. Make it as compact as possible but allow a little room for expansion in freezing climates. Still without plugging in the pump, place the pump in the water.

Now situate the fountain in the desired location. I like the fountain to overlap the edge of the pond just a little. Sort of three quarters on the ground and one quarter over the pond. Use a brick or block to support if necessary. Take the plastic tubing that is coming out of the bottom of the fountain and attach it to the pump’s discharge adapter. Make any necessary adjustments to the fountain placement.

Now the big moment you have been waiting for! Plug in the pump and watch as the water shoots out of the fountain!

Add rocks, garden decorative items and plants both inside and around your new water feature and enjoy the gratification of all of your hard work for years to come.

Alison Dale,
Decorator’s Garden Supply

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Have Some Room? Save Money by Growing Your Own Tomato Plants!

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Now, wouldn’t it be nice to go and pick your own tomatoes in your living room for almost nothing? Seems obvious enough, and with the winter months ahead, the prices are only going to be going up. But how come I don’t hear about people growing vegetables during the winter inside? you may ask. Well, it’s just one of those things that people assume are left to the crazy-vegetable growing people that have giant greenhouses (which aren’t a bad investment, by the way). Vegetables for the average home take up almost 35% of our grocery bill (yikes!), and this has been something I’ve been doing since high school when my father turned me onto it (I’m a vegetarian, so any way to save on my veggies is a huge plus for me). Now, if you’re interested and know what you’d do with the tomatoes (this is important!!)– continue reading.

Some background; you know absolutely nothing at all about gardening; or, maybe you do. I’ll assume you know what dirt is. And seeds. So I would suggest that you go and buy seeds (or take them from tomatoes that you have purchased, let them dry, and then plant them… but I seem to have very little luck with these). I’d recommend going for cherry tomatoes (they seem to do best in terracotta pots from my experiences).

How to Choose Tomato Plants- Tomato Plant Stakes
Now I’m going to bust out some vocabulary you may or may not be familiar with. This is vital to understanding the world of tomato plants. When you’re choosing a tomato plant type, it is very important to keep in mind what you have space for. Taking the plants that claim to be “high yield” might at first seem to be optimal, but in this particular situation, probably not. Tomato plants can be either “determinate”, “indeterminate”, or “semi-indeterminate”; determinate are short and bushy (about three feet– don’t require support to stand), indeterminates tend to be tall (from five to eight feet tall), and semi-indeterminates tend to be in between (hence semi… duh [about three to five feet]). These growth patterns also have a lot to do with how they provide tomatoes. This is why you need to know what you plan on doing with your produce when it is ready for harvest. The determinates (the short guys) produce all of their tomatoes at once, while indeterminates (the tall guys) will continue producing until frost hits. The semi-s are, well, in between. (duh) You may think it’s best to get the biggest plant that you can; but remember, bigger isn’t always better. Any plants with thick, green leaves are going to be 10x better than plants that are bigger but have yellow wilting leaves near the soil.

Time to Plant- Tomato Plant Stakes
Does your house stay above 45 degrees Fahrenheit? Then any time is the right time. Now, which room is the one that gets the most sunlight? In fact, which space in the room specifically gets the most sunlight? That’s where you want to place the pot. Otherwise, you may as well be wasting your time. Keep in mind, you may only want to try one plant before you decide to make your living room a greenhouse. Terracotta pots are my best recommendation; they are attractive, and contrary to popular belief, they are quite cheap. But really, you could use anything: a kitchen colander, paint pots, cooking pots, plastic and glass jars, vases, even topless soda cans! Just remember to wash out the pot completely before adding soil and the plant.

Tomato requirements- Tomato Plant Stakes
It seems that most people think if you plant a seed and water it, that’s good enough and it will grow. This isn’t too far from the truth, but the small difference decides whether you’re going to be having any tomato sandwiches for free soon. Tomatoes, like you and I, want to be happy. They enjoy lots of sun (as much as you can get them– honestly, there’s no such thing as too much sun for tomato plants), a little bit of water every day (if their soil is soaked an hour after you watered them, then cut back a little), soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8 (okay, if you need that, you’re a little weird). Certain plants like to climb, certain like to lay around on the ground. This is where you need to go off on your own and do some research on the types you’re interested in first. Keep in mind that there are advantages and disadvantages, regardless of whether they need a stake or a cage.

Pros of stake/cage: Bigger tomatoes, less space, earlier harvest, cleaner vegetables.
Cons of stake/cage: More work, lower yield, increased risk of sun-scald/cracking/blossom end rot (you know, all the stuff that causes you not to buy them at the store).

The point is that because it is said that you should or shouldn’t use a cage, keep in mind your own interests. If you do decide to let them grow on the ground, keep in mind you do have to mulch once the tomatoes begin to show. This means that you need to be moving the plant around as well as the topsoil a little bit to keep the bottom of the tomatoes themselves from rotting.

Harvesting-
I know you’re excited to get the vegetables off the plant, but please try to wait. The average tomato plant takes between 49 days (Fourth Of July plant) and 90 days (Garden Peach).

Some final facts for you:
An average tomato plant produces on average 35 pounds but up to 45 pounds of tomatoes.
Based on these stats, and if the cost stays around $3.00 a pound, we can assert that we are getting on average $105 worth of vegetables from one plant. The seeds might cost $1, the water used might even cost $1, the pot… maybe $5. Now only if I could get that percent return on all of my investments! Just one more way to save money the DIY way.

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Article Source: http://princegardening.com

10 Top Garden Accessories

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Are you looking for a way to draw interest to your garden? Are you ready to make your garden the one that everyone notices in your neighborhood? While you are planning your garden or just looking to freshen things up, give some thought to garden accessories. There are many things you can do without spending a lot of dollars!

1) Lanterns: For adding a touch of romance. Choose aromatic candles or scented ones for chasing the mosquitoes away! Lanterns can be used on tables or along the meander path. There are as many ways to arrange them as there are different styles.Garden Accessories

2) Fake Flowers: Well there are some areas where plants refuse to grow. So why not get creative with metal flowers? Keep ’em guessing is my motto.

3) Containers: Available in a variety of different styles and shapes. They can be moved anywhere and switched out any time to go with your color scheme or the season. Place cone tea lights within the planters and create your own work of art!

4) Bird Feeders: Many types are available today Feeders will attract birds to the garden bring with them their beautiful songs.

5) Obelisks and Trellises: Can be works of art or as simple as bamboo poles. They can be used solely for effect or for function. A great way to define space and support plants. Allow your favorite flowering vine climb around this garden accessory. Tastefully placed they add structure and beauty to your landscape.

6) Gazing Balls: the gazing ball has become one of the most must have garden accessory. From stately classic gardens to quaint cottage garden yards, gazing balls can be found. Highly reflective one are ideally suited to show off your garden from different viewpoints.Garden Accessories

7) Rain Chains: A simple item that adds the delightful sound of running water and vertical interest to your garden. A beautiful and functional alternative to the typical closed downspout.

8) Bird Baths: A must have item for any bird fancier. Bird baths can be hand crafted works or art or just a simple dish. You are giving them a place to play and bathe while you enjoy their company.

9) Bells and Chimes: Gardens are best appreciated for visual appeal and fragrance. You can add the dimension of sound to your garden with chimes and have a soothing, peaceful feeling Bells and chimes are a dynamic element in the landscape, forever changing with the slightest breeze.

10) Wall Plaques: This accessory takes over where plants leave off. the do not distract or overwhelm. they provide interest when plants are not at their most striking.

When it comes to placing accessories remember “quality over quantity”. Quality does not mean expensive, garden accessories can start at less than $10.00. Skillfully placed, a piece will guide the eye and add to the beauty of the plantings. They enhance the yard and bring interest to the garden.

Marianne Droste

I have been a devoted weekend gardener for over 30 years. Always interested in design, sales and customer service. Visit my website for more information on garden accessories.

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Spruce Up Your Garden With The Best Outdoor Garden Accessories

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Any backyard or garden serves as a perfect place for families and friends to come together and spend some enjoyable time. In connection to this, equipping it with outdoor garden accessories will make it more fit for any type of social event.

The checklist of these garden decors could be endless. Generally, it may include outdoor fountains, ponds, outdoor garden statues, and even some outdoor art. It could also involve some outdoor furniture like barbeque grills, fire pits, heaters and outdoor lightings.

Garden Accessories,Before you start with your garden beautification projects, first you need to have a plan in mind so as to avoid overspending. Beginner and veteran gardeners who are working on a tight budget can start with planting of easy growing plants which can later on be enhanced with any piece of cheap garden décor like an old garden statue.

If you have a large garden area, you can place bigger decorations like garden fountains, bird houses and bird baths. Pieces of furniture like dining and picnic tables and chairs are a good addition too especially if you love entertaining a lot of people in your yard.Garden Accessories

In the absence of holidays, your garden can look remarkable with garden clocks and sundials. Outdoor wall clocks appear in sundry forms and patterns. You can even find ones with a built-in thermometer. This clock type not only drops your time guessing habit but also gives you the correct temperature of the day. If you want to go a little ancient in telling time position a sundial on the spot of your garden that receives sufficient sunlight.

Come Halloween or Christmas, you can have a change of your outdoor garden accessories. You can enhance your garden according to the holiday theme by including some outdoor yard lights for use during dusk. Hang some colorful ornaments too on tree branches that add delight in the eyes of the young and old.

Once holidays have passed you can go back to recreating your garden into a quiet place to relax and get rid of stress. You can put back the ideal decorations that you enjoy most either because of the childhood memories they remind you of or the simple thought of their givers. If you want your family members and friends to share something personal, let them place in your garden the most wanted garden accessories as well.Garden Accessories

Other yard decorations that can bring to life the wonderful memories or happy vacations spent with your loved ones are sculptures, water fountains, or wind chimes. Decors like attractive planters can remind your daughter’s first gardening attempts. A handmade bird house, on the other hand, could be a wonderful memorabilia of your son’s enjoyment from playing with the birds resting in your garden.

Working in your garden with great outdoor garden accessories adds more life and energy to it. Sticking to your budget and being wise on spending on items in your garden that bring happiness to your family is the key to making your garden reformation a success.

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Hanging Flower Baskets – Creating a Beautiful Flower Basket For Your Yard

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Hanging flower baskets filled with beautiful plants and flowers add a lot of beauty to our homes and lives. They add color whether indoors or out. It is always nice to bring nature into our lives and hanging flower baskets are a great way to accomplish it. The baskets need to be easy to maintain in order to make them enjoyable instead of a burden.

Plant Selection for Hanging Flower Baskets

Plant choice is important in achieving a successful flowering basket. There are several varieties of plants that lend themselves well to the hanging basket. Flowering plants that make big full baskets are those that will trail such as petunias, fuchsia, dianthus or impatiens. They can be mixed with green plants like ferns, succulents and ivy. They grow quickly filling and overflowing the basket. They will live all year if moved inside for the winter.

Hanging Flower Basket Selection

Choosing the right hanging basket is as important as choosing the right plant. Hanging baskets lose moisture more quickly than other potted plants. They need a container that is good at retaining moisture. A basket made of natural fibers looks good and works well. The most popular are made of coconuts. These can be set down into a bucket of water and they will soak up the water and retain it for an extended time. They need to be re-soaked about once a week. In addition, the plants still need to be watered frequently. Plastic containers help prevent evaporation through the sides of the basket but are not as pretty as the natural fibers.

Hanging a Flower Basket

Use a strong support and attach it to a solid surface that can support the weight. Hanging basket are surprisingly heavy especially when they are watered. A nice simple black metal hanger tends to look good with almost any decor. Sheppard’s hooks are also an alternative to permanently attaching a hangar to the deck or house. They do need to be secured though, so that they do not topple over in storms or wind.Hanging flower baskets

Baskets are portable and can provide a lot of color and texture to patios, porches and even indoors. In general green plants are easier to grow than flowers. The key points are choosing hearty plants, baskets designed to help hold moisture and having them secured against wind and storms. When the weather begins to cool, they need to be brought inside and placed where they are easy to water yet continue to receive sun.Hanging flower baskets
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Hanging Flower Baskets How to choose by princegardening

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It seems Every Garden Center, Discount Store, Home Improvement Center; even Roadside Vendors have hanging flower baskets for sale. Though most of the baskets you see offered have beautiful flowers and plants, what do you notice about them? OK, I will give you a hint, it has to do with the type of basket used and the presentation of the flowers. Do you notice a similarity between most of the baskets you see for sale.

What strikes me is they are mostly plastic baskets filled with potting mix or soil with the flowers planted in the top. There are some exceptions to the plastic basket theme, where other materials are used for the basket or liner, but the basic concept of planting the flowers in the top seems to be universal.  Hanging Flower Baskets  Is there a way to break out of this one size fits all hanging baskets world?

Yes there is! Using a few readily available materials and flower flats you can create a unique hanging flower basket that presents your flowers in a way I have not seen in my local outlets. Probably the reason it is not seen on the market is that for commercial outlets the labor and care required to create this unique flower presentation is not commercially cost effective. Simply put, it just costs too much to produce for consumer sales. Another reason may be the difficulty of transporting the completed basket from the vendor to the commercial outlet.

This of course presents a rare opportunity for you to create a hanging flower basket that is unique and will not be seen in your neighborhood unless you produce it or share this information with your neighbors. Do not despair, to create this unique hanging basket takes very little time and is a very enjoyable and satisfying project to complete.

What is it you ask! What I am talking about is a way to produce a hanging basket that has flowers all over the basket that takes the shape of a large ball formed with flowers. By using a wire basket and material to hold the flowers in place, the flowers are placed in the basket from top to bottom. After placing all the flowers in the basket it will grow into a sphere shaped ball of flowers.

Begonias are a good choice for the flowers to use, but other species of flowers can be used also. You will need a wire basket so you can place the flowers through the frame, and a material to place around the flower root balls, to hold them in place.Hanging Flower Baskets

It is simply a matter of starting at the bottom and placing the flowers in the basket one row at a time until the basket and the top are completely filled with flowers. The number of flowers and spacing is of course up to you. Keep in mind the flowers will fill out with time in the growing season.

When the basket is complete you need to water it of course, and will need to continue to water it every day or every other day depending on the climate and humidity of your area. To maximize growth and assure the maximum vitality of your flower ball it needs to be fertilized periodically using the recommendations on the container of the plant fertilizer you choose.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and will take the plunge and create a unique hanging basket for yourself.

Take care.Hanging Flower Baskets

All rights reserved. Copyright 2009

I am a long time internet user and observer of life and the world in general. For some reason, I suspect it is just my stick to it attitude and being around a while, I have inherited the role of mentor or someone in the know. Be it real or perception I will leave to others. This role is not unique to me but befalls to many that are patient and take the time to listen and learn. When I do come across some interesting or enjoyable information I take pleasure in sharing with others. The article I share here is an example of that.

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What Is a Greenhouse Gardening shade net?

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Greenhouses operate on the principle that the temperatures from day to night are kept ideal for the plants to grow in no matter the weather outside. As a general rule, the greenhouse is made relatively cooler during the day and then comparatively hotter during the night.

  • There are various means to achieve both of these temperature-related goals of which the most common and most effective is the use of a shade net.
  • This is especially true for greenhouses located in hot and humid climates where the sun often beats down mercilessly on all earthly things.

The Greenhouse Shade Cloth Defined Gardening shade net

Basically, a shade cloth is any material that can be placed over the greenhouse’ roof and walls that, in turn, will block out the sun’s direct heat from entering the structure.

  • The most common material is loosely-woven polyester with varying intensities from 5% to 95% depending on the shade levels required.

Greenhouse gardening experts recommend using a cloth with 40% to 60% density for most plants although exotic blooms like orchids require a minimum 75% density. The general rule is to go for the lowest density possible and then adjust as the plants grow.

Be sure to take the cloth or net off the greenhouse at night.

  • If you fail to do so, the greenhouse will be cooler than necessary, which will produce a similar effect as when you failed to place the cloth on the greenhouse during hot days.

Importance of Greenhouse Shade Net Cloths Gardening shade net

From the above mentioned definition of a shade cloth for greenhouses, it is easy to conclude about its importance to the proper maintenance of the greenhouse.

• Since it blocks out the sun’s direct sunlight, the shade cloth lessens the energy costs necessary to keep the greenhouse cool during the mornings and then well into the early evenings. Most greenhouse owners will put up the cloth from 10AM and leave it on until 5PM, perhaps even later in places with extreme western exposure. This is particularly true during the hot summer months.
Conversely, the new shade also helps in heating up the greenhouse during the evenings. Just pull up the shade cloth to let the cool air into the structure.

• Also, it prevents irradiation damage to the plants. Many crops have been destroyed by excessive sun exposure, which counteracts the purpose of the greenhouse in the first place – to protect the plants from the whims of the weather outside including extreme levels of sunlight.

• The cloth also plays a significant role in keeping the greenhouse’s ventilation up to par. Keep in mind that proper ventilation is also of great importance to keeping the ideal temperature within the greenhouse. The trick is in using the shade cloths to aid in such purpose.
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How to Plant Tomato Plants – A Beginners Guide

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Tomato Plant Stakes When it comes time to plant your tomato seedlings there are a number of steps that should be followed to give them the best chance at survival. This is a critical time for your young plants and there are a number of things that you can do which will either hinder or harm them when it comes time to transplant.

The very first thing that must be considered is location. Where are you going to plant your seedlings? The location that you choose has to have plenty of sunlight throughout the whole season. At least 10 hours a day is good. Tomato Plant Stakes

Tomatoes like air circulation but young plants will dehydrate very quickly in a wind tunnel. Make sure that there is plenty of open air around them and if your area is constantly subject to very high winds that you have taken this into account.

Now let’s take a look at your seedlings… are they strong and stocky or long and leggy? Seedlings that have been grown with insufficient exposure to light or air movement are bound to be long and leggy and you will have problems if you aren’t careful. I will address this further on in the article.

Now let’s take a look at your soil. Hopefully you will have already taken a soil sample and had it analysed and you will know that your soil is nicely balanced for you new babies. If you haven’t done this then I strongly suggest that you do so. Tomato Plant Stakes Planting plants in bad soil is not something that you want to do.

Alright, so now we are ready to plant… leave the seedlings in their peat pots if that is what they are in. (Or gently tap them out if they are older plants you are transplanting from pots)

Plant the seedlings so that the highest branching is about 3 inches above the soil (roughly half of your plant should be below ground) we want the roots deep enough to stay in the soil but we don’t want it too far down in the cold.

Cover the plant around with soil and gently firm it down. If they are Indeterminate plants that will be growing tall then stake them (but don’t drive the stake through the root ball keep it about three inches away).

Water them in thoroughly with some tepid water, give them a good soaking initially. If you want to give them a boost then use some fish emulsion here.

I generally don’t believe in fertilizing freshly planted young plants, however if you have your heart set on it then make sure that you use a weak solution, half strength should be ok, keep the fertilizer at least 3 inches away from the stem of the plant so that you don’t burn it.

About a fortnight after place a good layer of mulch around your now healthy growing little plants. Roughly 3 inches should do it. This will aid in water retention in the soil and make it easier for you to maintain them. Tomato Plant Stakes

As you can see the act of planting (or transplanting) your tomato plants is really very simple it is really mostly the preparation steps that will mean the difference between having fantastic healthy crops and mediocre ones. Of course this is the way with gardening in general, most of the truly important work is in the preparation.

Now, as for trench planting those long and leggy seedlings. The art of growing seedlings correctly is a subject in itself and at this point in the game it is too late to do anything about them anyway. The best idea for long, leggy seedlings is to trench plant them.

The problem with long seedlings is that, if planted normally, the root ball will end up too deep in the ground. This can lead to a variety of problems and you simply don’t need to buy the trouble.

The procedure to rectify this is very simple, instead of plant directly down into the soil, dig a horizontal trench at a shallow angle. The idea is to keep the root ball about 3 inches down. Right where it would be if your plants were strong and stocky.

Pinch off any leaves along the stem that will be placed in the ground and lay the plant in. Gently cover over and stake the new seedling on the other side of the stem from the root ball. Water it in thoroughly and you are good to go. Tomato Plant Stakes

Oh and one last thing if your location is notorious for Cutworms then take some precautions and wrap some tinfoil around the stem of the seedling. Protecting them using toilet roll holders, old (clean) tins or plastic cups also works.

Want to learn more about planting tomato plants [http://princegardening.com]? Visit [http://princegardening.com] for helpful tips and information on planting and caring for a thriving tomato garden.

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Cheap Garden Accessories Working Together For a Green Look

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Before the morning Sun rises in the East taking a walk in a dew filled garden will surely energize each and every nerve with never ending energy. William Wordsworth, the great connoisseur of Nature insisted that men and women find shelter and peace in the lap of green Nature. And it’s true which we can feel day in or day out.

Decorating a green lawn in front of one’s home happens only with an array of garden accessories. Everybody knows it but as usual the cash matter. Yes, cheap garden accessories are the cherries in one’s backyard and there’s no need of swaying with the thought of buying high end garden accessories.

Trekking down a mountain in a remote country will give a view of beautiful garden which is the handicraft of a poor gardener. He might be living in his poor hut but he has a great heart for each and every flower in his garden. Talking of towns and metros in which we also find honey bee folks having a great liking for gardening. Sometimes a few of them lay back on the chair saying that they would not go for gardening unless they have a pot of money to unload a truck of costly garden accessories. Isn’t it a sheer negligence?

We should rather break the huge waves of our narrow mind and become more practical. And at the same we should try to acknowledge that contemporary gardening do not require a hefty bank balance. Fountain, trough, mower, rhubarb forcer, zap bat, wooden cold frame, herb wheel, Jumbo thermometer etc are nevertheless the most important accessories which have to be bought for decorating a green garden. An enthusiastic gardener can bag  garden  with a least amount of money.

The human mind is insane but it finds solace and pleasure in the warmth of a beautiful garden. Yes, the virgin Nature is no more around the concrete walls but with the physical might and with a sack of a few cheap garden accessories can bring back a stereotype of green Nature.

Henry Michel is expert in consumer electronics and writing about price compare [http://pricebomb.co.uk] on various products i.e., garmin forerunner 405 uk, zanussi zou330x, kdl37u4000 etc.

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How to Use an Electric Miter Saw to Make Great Stakes For Tomato Plants

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If you or someone you know owns an electric miter saw, it is very easy to make stakes that are very easy to drive into the ground by creating a nice sharp point on the end of the stake.

Before I go further, let me stress that it is very important to observe all safety procedures outlined by the manufacturer of the saw. Be sure to respect the tool for what it can do and do not take a cavalier attitude towards using any kind of electric saw.

I like to use 2x2s purchased from the local home store for my stakes. These are typically 8 feet long and are often referred to as “furring strips”. Be sure and purchase the 2x2s that are not treated. The chemicals in treated wood are toxic and since you are using these stakes for gardening, you do not want any of the chemicals from treated wood leaching into the soil around the roots of your plants.

Purchase as many of the 2×2 furring strips as you need according to how many tomato plants you need to support. What I do is leave my miter saw set at a 90 degree angle and hold the end of the furring strip into the saw off to the side about 20 degrees. This creates an angled cut on the end of the furring strip. Be sure to position your 2×2 so that the cut will bisect the middle of the end of the stake.

After you’ve made the first cut, flip the stake over 180 degrees, place it in the same 20 degree angled off to the side position and make a cut on the opposite side that cuts at the same place right down the middle of the end of the stake essentially creating a “V” shape on the end of the stake. Now rotate the stake 90 degrees, make the same cut, and rotate the stake 180 degrees and make the same cut again.

At this point you should have a nice point on the end of your stake. You can shorten the length of your stake if you happen to be using it for a determinate variety tomato plant, but if you are planting tomatoes in the ground, it is probably best to just retain the entire length of the furring strip. This is because when planting tomatoes in the ground you will most likely be digging a deep hole and then driving the stake down into the ground from that point. Ideally you will have about 6 feet of the stake sticking up out of the ground.

At the end of the season, pull out the stakes, clean them off with the hose and store them away for the next year. If you are feeling particularly motivated, you can quickly slap on some green or brown outdoor wood stain that will help them to blend into your landscape better when you use them again.

David Mitchell is a gardening hobbyist and an avid grower of tomato plants. He likes to start tomato plants from seed in order to have access to more unique varieties of the plant. He looks forward to trying new varieties each year.

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