MENU

These Common Weeds Could Kill Your Dog

Some say that weeds are just plants out of place, but, at their root, weeds are plants whose undesirable characteristics outweigh their desirable characteristics. Some of these undesirable characteristics can be fatal to both humans and animals. Here are the most dangerous common weeds to be on the lookout for in your yard. 

Read more

Replace Dangerous and Expensive Herbicides and Pesticides With this Simple Kitchen Solution

Every year there are 136 million pounds of pesticides used on North American gardens and lawns. Surprisingly, homeowners are reported to use about three times the amount of pesticides as farmers. In fact, the majority of wildlife poisoning and water contamination is not from farms or other large organizations — it’s from single-family homes.

Read more

Late Summer Tips to Keep Your Flower Garden Looking Great

July and August are months when you should be enjoying the fruits of your labor in your flower garden. Unfortunately, high summer temperatures and drought conditions sometimes bring a premature end to your garden’s beauty. Fortunately, there are some key things that you can do now, in the heat of summer to renew your flower garden’s vigor.

Read more

8 Great Uses for Wood Chips in Your Yard and Garden

Wood chips are a versatile material that you can often get for free. They have many uses for your yard and garden, from the aesthetic to the practical. Read on for some creative ways to use wood chips to improve your property.

Read more

Are These 12 Immune-Boosting “Weeds” Growing in Your Backyard?

If you’re like me, you eagerly await the arrival of spring so that you can escape the house and start gardening again. You probably work hard on your garden like I do – with one of the biggest chores, of course, being weeding. Until recently, I had a serious vendetta against weeds. But then I found out that by obsessively removing all the weeds from the garden, I was actually throwing away valuable produce!

Read more

Controlling Weeds in 6 Easy Steps

If you have a garden, you will also have weeds. In reality, weeds are just plants out of place. This does not change the fact that these plants will steal nutrients and water from the plants that you are growing. Ultimately, weeds will take over unless you employ a full-on weed management plan. Here are six easy steps to help you get your weeds under control so that you can enjoy your garden.

Read more

How to Make a Wildlife Friendly Garden

The way we construct and care for our gardens really matters. Of course, it matters to those of us who will enjoy watching the garden grow and reaping the benefits of a well-tended space. However, a well-constructed garden can also be of great benefit to the wild creatures who visit and even choose your garden as their home. Remember, a diverse garden loaded with native plants is the best place to start.

Read more

Want the Best Grass on the Block? Do These Things

Any suburban dweller with a plot of grass in front of their home knows the status that comes with having a green, lush, weed-free lawn. Though it may seem like having a great lawn is a luxury for those with endless free time to spend on their precious grass, it is not as far out of reach as you may think. Follow these simple tricks and soon you’ll be basking in the glow of your “best lawn of the month” award…without spending four hours per day on yard work.

Read more

What are Hitchhiker Weeds and How to Control Them

When new plants are uprooted and introduced to new areas, many of them become invasive, crowding out native species, which in turn affect native insect pollinators and other animal populations dependant on them.

Read more

9 Creative Ways to Extend the Growing Season

It is easy to look at gardeners in other gardening zones and wish that you had the ease of a tropical climate or the long growing season of southern gardens. However, there are ways that you can extend the growing season and increase your vegtable harvest with the following tips and tricks. 

Control the microclimate of your garden

You might have noticed that some areas of your garden sustain plants much longer than others. For example, a windswept area is more susceptible to the ravages of nature than a sheltered spot.

Apart from the lay of the land, man-made structures such as houses, brick walls, sheds, and barns also affect the microclimate of various areas of your backyard. Plan the garden on a downward slope from the house and orient it southward for maximum warmth and light.

Plant a living fence

The most organic way to create a barrier to frosty winds is to surround your garden with living fences. They gently regulate the movement of air, water, and soil within your piece of land, by filtering, blocking or diverting these elements. They also filter away weed seeds, and insect pests carried on the winds.

Conifer hedging (such as Leylandii cypress) is ideal in cooler regions, as it grows quickly and remains green through winter when the barrier is most needed. It is also wind and drought tolerant.

If you already have a wooden, PVC, or chain link fence around your property, upgrade them with climbers such as passion fruit, cucumbers, melons, grapevine, potato bean vine (Hopniss), scarlet beans, hops, blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, etc. This will fortify the barrier and encourage a protected microclimate.

Several rows of corn planted along the periphery of the garden can also provide a hardworking living fence.

Warm up the soil plastic sheet mulch

We know that black material is excellent for absorbing and radiating heat. You can use black plastic sheet mulch in your garden to absorb the sun’s heat and help the soil underneath thaw faster. Plus it is an excellent way to prevent excessive weed growth and suppress unwanted greenery. It also radiates heat to the surroundings, creating an overall warmer atmosphere.

Start gardening early

Be ready to jumpstart your spring planting with seedlings and rooted cuttings grown indoors. Check the last frost date in your region and sow seeds in trays six to eight weeks early. Even though your local nurseries may carry flats of seedlings, which may even work out to be cheaper, it’s always better to have the first batch ready to go into the garden as soon as possible.

Some crops like onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, and broad beans have overwintering varieties that can be directly sown in the garden late in the fall. The young sprouts remaining dormant under the layer of mulch will be naturally hardened to withstand any unexpected cold snaps later in the season.

Grow veggies in planter boxes or raised beds

Even half a foot above the ground makes a big difference to the vegetable patch when the ground is frozen. It also makes it easier when you want to enclose the patch in a hoop house later in the season.

Toughen up the plants

Tough plants manage to survive cold and drought better. Once the seedlings are well established, reduce the frequency of watering to toughen them up. Too much water stress is counterproductive, of course, but slight desiccation of tissues actually makes them stronger.

Choose early maturing and cold hardy varieties

There are radishes that get ready for harvest in less than 25 days and cauliflowers that take only 45 days. Ideally, you should plant a mix of early and late varieties, but the early maturing ones can be planted over and over again to increase your total yield. Also, consider the cold hardiness of the varieties, especially for the last batch of planting.  

Build a pond in the garden

The sun heats up the water during the day which acts as a reservoir of heat. When the air temperature goes down, it releases the heat slowly and steadily, warming up the surrounding air.  

Harvest to the end of the season and beyond

 

 

Towards the end of growing season, plants start declining. Protecting them against cold with cloches or cold frames will allow the last harvest to mature on the plant. If the plant is too big, make a tepee around it with clear plastic. Keeping a tub of water inside the tepee also might help maintain moisture and encourage heat.

-Susan Patterson