Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

Gardening: Your Backyard Oasis

Friday, May 29th, 2020

gardening-your-backyard-oasis

How would you like to create a backyard oasis? Everyone needs more of nature, and gardening is calming for your body and mind. When you sit on your porch, what do you see? With a little effort and a few tips, I will show you how to improve your outdoor space.

Gardening: Your Backyard Oasis (video demonstration)

Make a beautiful haven where you can sit and pray or think about life, and get away from it all. I started filming this video near the end of April, and now it’s the end of May. So I show the progression of the backyard, awakening from the winter, and blooming into the spring and summer.

We also hung lights around the backyard deck for the first time, changing the atmosphere in the evenings to a festive experience, which I will show you by the end of the video.

Vegetable Garden Tips

The first tip for vegetable gardens is to have raised beds so that you can dump really good soil into them. When I first moved into this property 20 years ago, I didn’t know that the soil was not good for growing anything. Not only was it too sandy with rocks (look at the dirt that I’m sitting on in the video), but the 23 pine trees on our property make the soil acidic. Furthermore, most of my backyard is in shade because of the trees.

I love the fact that my backyard looks like the woods. But eventually I realized that the only way to improve my yard was to grow mostly shaded plants. Tip #2 for a vegetable garden, then, is to try to find a place where there is sun. We finally found a place (that used to be a dirt pile) to the right of our deck.

vegetable-garden

Last year we only had one raised bed, as you can see in the picture below. I didn’t know how large the plants would grow, so I overcrowded it. For this reason, even though there were lots of leaves, the plants didn’t produce much fruit.

So tip #3 for a vegetable garden is not to overcrowd the plants. Leave space between the plants. Then the roots won’t be competing for the nutrients in the soil with any other plants, and the sun can shine on all the leaves of each plant.

Tip #4 would be to give the vegetable garden a good watering every day, especially when the plants are young.

Tip #5 is to have tomato cages for the tomatoes, and if you are growing beans or other vines, place the raised bed next to a fence so they have something to crawl up. Next year I might add a third bed next to the chain link fence just for this purpose. This year all I needed was the tomato cages to re-enforce the stems of the tomato plants, so they don’t topple over or break with the wind.

Tip #6 is to pick off any dead leaves that you see. This keeps the plants healthy.

overcrowded-garden

Perennial Garden Tips

At the beginning, the perennial garden didn’t look like much. When removing the pine needles and dead leaves, we saw a few green perennials coming up. (Perennials are flowers that come up year after year.) We trimmed the bushes, pulled some weeds, and amended with good soil. After a month of watering the garden, it looked beautiful!

This perennial garden is right outside the bay window of my dining room, so it can be enjoyed every time we sit down to eat a meal.

perennial-garden

Rose Garden Tips

My rose garden is in the front yard, but I thought I would include it in the gardening that we do. I show you in the video how to prune the rose bushes after uncovering them from the winter. We also put rose fertilizer on each bush. Roses are my favorite flower, so I really love this garden!

rose-garden

The back porch looks lovelier this year than ever, since my husband hung lights on poles bolted down to blocks of cement. (I show you a close-up of the base of these poles in the video.) My husband placed a hook on the top of each pole, and strung white lights. It feels like I am in Europe, where I traveled and lived before I was married. It makes me feel so much joy!

garden-evening

Here are some other gardening posts you might like:

Garden Patch for Kids

Monday, March 16th, 2015

garden-patch-for-kidsWhy not make a fun garden patch for kids? Your children can enjoy playing in the dirt and can watch the plants grow. Here is how your child can design his or her own garden patch.

Designing a Garden Patch for Kids

  • Find a spot in your backyard where you can place a garden patch. A sunny spot will work better than a shady one.
  • With a large shovel, dig a hole about a foot deep, removing any bad soil and replacing it with good soil. If the soil is good already, then just fluff it up with the shovel.
  • You can buy some fencing at a dollar store or make your own by hot gluing large popsicle sticks together in the shape of a fence. Stab them into the soil.

kid-garden

  • Choose some plants from a local nursery, and set them on top of the area, re-arranging the plants until the tall ones are in the back and the shorter ones in front.

planning-a-kids-garden

  • Now dig a hole for each plant, take the plant out of the container, and place the plant into the soil. Pat the dirt around it like a nice comfy blanket.
  • Water your garden. Give it a long drink with a gentle spray, either with a hose or with a watering can
  • Enjoy your garden.

kid-gardening

Tips for Gardening with Kids

Monday, March 9th, 2015

gardening-with-kids

Gardening with kids is a joy! The kids can see a plant growing up out of the soil into a large and beautiful plant. Getting fresh air and sunshine is good for children, and they are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they grow their own plants.

gardening-with-kids-3

First you will want to find a plot of ground for your child to plant his or her garden. There was a small square plot at the front of our house, and my son chose that space for a small tomato plant. If you look at the picture above, last year his plant grew to ten times the size in just three months! The tomatoes tasted wonderful. He wanted to sell them, but they were just too good. So into his mouth they popped.

gardening-with-kids-2

This year my son wanted to plant strawberry plants. I told him that a contained area is great for strawberry plants, which tend to take over the whole yard like a weed. The strawberry plants thrived as well.

Tips for Gardening with Kids

  • Make sure that the soil is rich in the area where your child is planting. You will want to dig out the bad soil and replace it with good gardening soil.
  • Don’t forget to water your plants. You might want to place a note on the refrigerator to remind your child to water the plants.
  • Let the child choose the plants. This way they will be more interested in the growth and produce of their plants.
  • Choose plants that are native to your area. You are more likely to succeed if the plants are indigenous to the area. You can find those in local nurseries rather than big chain stores that ship their plants from outside your state.

Have a wonderful time gardening with your kids!

Growing Indoor Grass

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

growing-indoor-grass

One activity that my young children enjoyed was growing indoor grass in a plastic cup. I saw the idea in lots of different places, including Family Fun Magazine. Even though we did this activity in the spring, it might be fun to grow the grass in the winter as a centerpiece for my dining room table, just to see some greenery at that time of year. If I grew it in a shallow container, I could make a scene, depending on what I added to the grass. Candles, plastic animals, army men… the list is endless as to the scenes you could create!

Older children could create scenes from different countries or habitats, or a battle from the Civil War. Or they could design a scene on the grass that would make someone feel like they were in a spa, with different levels of candles stabbed into the dirt.

If you want to make the fun grass heads in the picture above, start with some clear plastic cups. The children decorated these according to their personalities. I decided to hot glue their decorations onto the cup to make sure they didn’t fall off, but your kids could use white school glue. Each child shoveled soil into the cup, then sprinkled grass seed. They sprayed the seeds with a spray bottle of water. We placed the cups on a table next to a sunny window.

Grass grows fairly quickly, so we didn’t have to wait very long. Soon the grass was tall enough to decorate the “hair,” so to speak. We put hair clips into the grass heads, and they looked really silly. This is a perfect activity for young children.