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Monthly Archives: June 2017

Healthy of Indoor Gardening

There are many reasons indoor gardening can benefit you. Digging in the soil can really boost your serotonin levels. There is a strain of bacterium in soil that triggers it’s release. The serotonin increases your mood and decreases your stress and anxiety. Therefore, there IS true pleasure in your puttering around the garden.

Indoor plants can greatly improve the air quality by filtering out VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) which are chemicals that emit scents and odors that can be dangerous to us and the environment. They are not severely toxic, but can have long-term health effects. Most man-made VOC’s come from solvents, raw gasoline, and car exhaust.

Asthma, bronchitis, and COPD can be aggravated by these VOC’s. Plants will not only improve the air quality by giving off oxygen and filtering air toxins, they can lower your blood pressure, and decrease your stress. That, in turn, increases the body’s ability to handle these chronic diseases easier.

Some indoor plants that can help immensely by filtering these VOC’s are:

*Aloe Vera – easy to grow and the gel inside can also be used to aid in the healing of cuts and burns. This nice, sunny, window-sill plant helps clear up paint and other chemical fumes.

*Spider Plant – easy to grow and hard to kill. Safe around children and pets. This is a great plant that helps with many of the VOC’s including carbon monoxide, and printing chemicals.

*Golden Pothos (Devil’s Ivy) – gorgeous vine that will grow quickly and doesn’t need much light. Good garage plant to help with exhaust.

*Gerber Daisy – this beautiful flowering plant likes lots of light. It does well to clear the chemicals from dry-cleaning. It would certainly brighten up a laundry room nicely.

*Snake Plant – one of the best plants for the formaldehyde problem that toilet paper, personal products, and cleaning products carry. This plant would love to make an amazing statement in your steamy bathroom. It wouldn’t even mind low light conditions.

Other plants that will help in filtering the VOC’s are:

Chrysanthemums – like bright light,

Red-eyed dracena – grows tall, easy to grow

Weeping Fig(aka ficus) – livingroom plant to help clear carpet fumes

Azalea(flowering shrub) – likes cooler temperatures. A wonderfully pretty basement plant if there’s lots of light

Also the English Ivy, Bamboo(reed) palm, and the Peace Lily.

Most people are happier when they have something to tend and nurture. It not only gives your life a sense of purpose and meaning, it helps you feel more empathetic and compassionate.

Someone who is disabled, housebound, or in a wheelchair, can still be able to garden. It can give you emotional enjoyment and physical therapy.

Mowing in Fall

Stop mowing when the daily average temperature is below 50° for a continuous week.

When mowing for the last two times of the year, move your mower’s blade to the lowest setting. This will help the sunlight reach more of the grass.

Keep you grass shorter than 3 inches to reduce the risk of snow mold.

Be sure to keep your mower blade sharp to ensure a clean, sharp cut and to avoid various grass diseases.

Mowing Doesn’t Have to Be a Chore

Do you often feel like mowing is the worst outdoor chore there is? It requires so much time and energy to mow and to maintain your lawn mower. But mowing the lawn doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a game!

If you have a walk-behind mower, and dislike the effort required to push it across your entire yard, you may find joy in replacing it for a riding mower.

Sometimes a little music while mowing can help lessen the stress and pain of mowing. You can also see how far you can get before the song ends. Set a goal of finishing the lawn before a set amount of songs are over and reward yourself with your favorite treat or activity if you make or beat your goal.

Backyard Vegetable Garden

It’s also very important to be sure your backyard vegetable garden has good drainage and irrigation. The soil in the area should be spongy and spring back somewhat when you squeeze it. It should not be in a low-lying area, or an area in your yard that puddles when it rains. Try using raised beds to help allow for good drainage and irrigation when you are watering your vegetable garden. Also plan your garden in a location that is easy for you to water.

Take a look at the quality of the soil in the area that you plan to have your vegetable garden. The type of soil that is best for growing a garden is rich, dark, loomy soil that feels a little spongy when you squeeze it. It should have a sweet earthy smell. Is your soil more sandy, clay like, or pale in color? Never fear, you can improve the quality of your soil in many ways. One is to buy some loom or topsoil from a local garden center. If you are looking for a low cost option, try looking around locally reasonable prices for topsoil. You can also add organic matter like rotted leaves, manure or other organic matter to your soil. Also, don’t forget worms! Worms are a gardener’s friend. They ingest organic matter and process it and add it back to your soil, all the time aerating your soil in their travels. Consider adding some earthworms to your vegetable garden soil to help improve it’s growing power.

Now you need to decide what vegetables you want to grow in your garden. Start by deciding what vegetables you and your family enjoy the most. If no one likes zucchini, don’t plant it or you’ll end up with buckets of zucchini that you have no use for. Think of some favorite vegetables and then fully research them. Do they grow well in your climate? Do they need a lot of sun? How long does it take for them to produce vegetables. If this is your first garden, it’s a great idea to start with some vegetables that produce results quickly, so that you can start to reap the rewards right away. Good choices for a fast harvest are lettuce, potatoes, spring onions and beans. Also try to choose hardy, basic varieties that are tried and true. You can get fancy after you have a few growing seasons under your belt!

About Chalk Gardens

These soils tend to be shallow, free draining and stony, so gardening this type of land is not without its challenges. What’s more, if you add organic matter to the soil it can decompose rapidly, so that it is hard to keep fertile.

However, there are many examples of wonderful gardens made on chalky soil, such as the University Botanic Gardens at Cambridge, or the Hidcote Manor National Trust property at Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire.

And it’s not all bad news. Flooding is rare, given the porosity of this kind of soil, and it warms up quickly in springtime compared with kinds of ground. Equally, with a good quality fertiliser, and manure, you will be able to grow a wide range of plants. (Dig in lots of organic matter, and use mulch wherever possible.)

When creating your design, bear in mind that smaller plants will establish themselves more rapidly than species which are more mature. Plan to have plants which grow well in chalky soils. These include Mediterranean and prairie plants.

If you want camellias, rhododendrons and other plants, which tend to prefer an acidic soil, plan your design to have them in containers.

Here are some other ideas to include in garden designs for chalk soils:

Bulbs

The white Madonna lily loves chalk as do tulips and spring anemones.

Perennials

Peonies thrive in this type of soil, but other ideas include euphorbia characias and oriental poppies.

Many of these, once they have flowered, die quite quickly. You will need to be prepared to shear them and fit in other plants to fill in the gap. An ornamental clover or perennial pea will do the job.
Leguminous plants also love chalk, as does the borage family.

Shrubs

When it comes to shrubs, you have plenty to work with planning out your design. Think lilacs, elders, or buddleia, while the Moroccan Pineapple Broom flowers against a warm walk in chalk soil.

In terms of a colour scheme, grey and silver leaved plants appear to adore chalky soil. Equally, many aromatic shrubs love the ideal drainage and warmth of chalk, so you can create a fragrant space.

Climbers

Old Men’s Beard, or wild clematis, will thrive in alkaline soil – just make sure there is enough humus at the roots.

Trees

Flowering cherries and crab apples do well in soil with a high chalk content – indeed they probably do best in such conditions. Field maple is wonderful in autumn, when its leaves turn gold, while the Judas tree, or Cercis, flowers magnificently.