Monthly Archives: April 2016

CompostingA walk through the woods off of the beaten path, or paved path in the case of city parks, will point out the ease of composting. Take a look at the big birch or maple or ash or oak or whatever other tree grows beside the path in your neighborhood. Depending upon the time of year, the tree is covered with leaves, losing leaves or bare of leaves. All those leaves fall to the ground. If you have a similar tree in your yard, every year you rake up what seems to be at least a foot of leaves. Why are there not at least thirty feet of leaves under the trees in the woods accumulated over the last thirty years of growth? Surely the wind has not blown all of them away.

The answer is found beneath the few leaves left under the tree. A quick scuff of the foot reveals black earth full of organic matter, compost. First a layer of last year's leaves with the general detritus of a woodland floor, then that layer of black matter, the leaves of past years broken down by bacteria, fungi, insects and animals of the forest floor.

Leaves are designed to feed a tree. When green photosynthesis allows the sunlight on the leaves to feed the trees in one way, but when brown the feeding continues as the leaves turn to compost and furnish the roots with nutrients the roots have in their turn brought from the depths of the earth. That same growth potential can be brought to the home garden with compost.

In fact even the method of the trees can be used at home. The sheet composting method is one of the most simple. As one example, consider the garden bed in the fall that will need about three inches of compost in spring. Instead of waiting for a busy spring, it can done in the fall. A layer of garden debris form that or other beds can be spread out over the site to about three inches thick. Next, the lawn mower about to put away for winter is used to mow bags of leaves piled from nearby trees. The chopped leaves are spread another three to six inches over the bed. Everything is neatened up and perhaps watered to settle the chopped leaves, which, incidentally, seem to form a sort of jigsaw puzzle to hold together and not blow around the yard following the mowing. By planting time in the spring there will be a great layer of compost to put the seedlings into or to dig into the bed before planting seeds.

Relax and compost. Things rot and return to nourish the earth. All we have to do is copy what nature teaches us and let things grow as they like to grow.

Zoysia GrassZoysia is a particular variety of hardy grass that grows well in a wide range of conditions. This type of grass also requires far less watering and mowing than most grasses. This particular variety of grass can also create a natural thick and soft carpet that feels great for bare feet. Zoysia is also ideal because it actually grows differently. It expands sideways and doesn't grow higher in a short span of time. Because of this, this type of grass can become so dense and becomes effective at choking out most summer weeds and replacing existing grass that you don't want on your lawn anymore.

Although Zoysia is a low-maintenance type of grass, it still needs proper care and maintenance to make sure they maintain their appeal and good condition. Below are some useful tips you can follow to maintain your Zoysia grass:

Fertilize. All well-maintained lawns are fertilized with the right amount and kind needed for that particular grass and on a schedule based on the growing season. When you fertilize, you keep the grass healthy and enable them to build resistance to disease and insect damage. Lawn care experts say that you should fertilize your turf heavily in the spring and summer - a practice called "main feeding" of your Zoysia turf.

Cut Zoysia grass at the height of just one to two inches. Zoysia has a high silica content in which the blade becomes tougher when the leaf is permitted to grow longer. Zoysia also has a stiffer blade texture than most lawn grasses; as such, it requires the blades of a mower to be sharpened more often to obtain the maximum clipping action. Lawn care experts also recommend that you mow your turf 1 to 2 times a week if watered and fertilized more or every 7-14 days on a low fertilization and watering schedule.

Water the grass only when necessary. Zoysia is more drought resistant in the cooler regions. When fully established, they have a deep root system and should only be watered when they show signs of needing it. The normal rate of water for good growth of Zoysia is 1 inch per week. A clear indication of water stress is when the blades start to curl inward. In addition, water only in the early afternoon on new plantings or early morning on established turf grasses for the best results.

Remove thatch. Finally, lawn care experts say that every other year, remove accumulated thatch and debris. It is best to do this in the late winter before the turf turns green. Use a commercial machine to scalp or de-thatch remove debris from your lawn.

Tomato PlantingPlanting tomato plants is easy. They are among the easiest garden plants to grow and if you live in an area warm enough to grow them, you can plant them way I do, and they are almost maintenance free. Here are ten tips to start your best tomatoes yet.

1. Choose disease resistant heirloom varieties and buy from reputable nurseries.

2. Choose plants with dark healthy leaves and thick stems. Long lanky stems are signs that they either grew too fast or they didn't get enough sunlight while growing.

3. Make certain that the area where you plant your garden has at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. Remove rocks and weeds from garden area where you intend to plant. I never put manure or fertilizer in soil where I plant tomatoes.

4. Invest in and put up a sturdy fence upon which to grow your tomatoes. I like to use a good quality cattle panel held up with metal fence posts buried every four feet. Good quality tomato cages also work as well.

5. When soil temperatures are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, dig a trench four inches deep and long enough to bury the entire stem of the tomato plant. Without a fence, you would have to plant tomato plants 4 foot apart but since you are growing your tomatoes up a fence, you can plant each plant a foot from the one beside it.

6. Remove all but the uppermost leaves of your tomato plant, then plant the entire stem, leaving only the leaves above ground.

7. In planting hole, pour one gallon of water and dust the hole with about a tablespoon with dried kelp powder. Make certain to spread it around the hole and not just dump it all in the bottom of the trench. The water guarantees that the plant stays well hydrated and the kelp contains growth hormones that give the plants a healthy boost.

8. Now plant the tomato into the planting hole. Lay the plant so that the leafy part of it is next to the fence. Cover the entire stem.

9. Sprinkle another tablespoon of kelp along the area where you planted the tomato stem and dust with diatomaceous earth around the base of the tomato to prevent cutworm damage.

10. Water a second time with another gallon of water. If your soil is sufficiently warm enough, mulch around plants to conserve moisture and to prevent diseases in the soil from splashing up from the soil when it rains or when you water.

Now that you planted your tomato plants, water your plants regularly and keep the vines tied to the fence. With proper care, within a few weeks, you will have a terrific tomato crop that the entire neighborhood will envy.

Types Of Indoor PlantsHouse or indoor plants do not only add color to the room, but they infuse texture and life. They could be used to set the mood of the home. However, you don't just pick a plant in a store and put it in the room's corner. You would have to consider your room space, how much time you are willing to spend on caring for the plant, and of course, technical aspects of the room like lighting, temperature, and humidity.

After identifying the purpose and how much maintenance you are willing to spend on it, you could start looking for your ideal plant. There are different varieties and kinds of indoor plants. If you are looking for something that is easy to care for, then you could get a cactus. Is that the only thing you could get? Here are some popular choices when looking for indoor plants.

If you want colorful flowers, then begonias are good choices. They have white, pink, red and yellow flowers. They could grow well throughout the year and they could be kept in dark places. African violets can be kept easily and could be watered only every two days. They can grow both in natural and artificial light. The same goes for Philodendrons which can be kept hanging in the corners that do not have enough light.

Shamrocks are great indoor plants. They have white flowers which could totally brighten up your room or office. They are among the House Plants easy to care for. They don't require too much grooming and could be placed in a sunny spot. Another type of indoor plant which would easily grow in a sunny or a dark place is the peace lily. Aside from being beautiful evergreen plants, they are natural Air-Purifiers. Areca palm is another natural air purifier. It does not only make your room beautiful, it cleans the air from different pollutants like xylene present in paints, gas, or pesticides.

Plants like spider plants should not be watered or fertilized too much. They are natural air cleaners and could easily grow in low or medium light. Just avoid putting them in places where they would get direct sunlight. Snake plants, interestingly also called mother-in-law tongue, can also get by with little water.

The choices are endless. If you are planning to have indoor plants, it is important to have an idea what would work for you and your space. Aside from that, you would need to know how to care for the plant. There are some indoor plants that need to be soil-changed every year. While others would take a while before they grow a flower.