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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Fix Bad Garden Soil

The first method to clear out all the unwanted debris in the soil. For example, you want to clear out anything that includes synthetic materials, weeds, and rocks. Basically, you should try and get rid of anything that provides no help to your plants. You may have to dig a few inches underground in order to identify these debris but it is a step that has to be taken. Rocks have to be removed because they impede the growth of a plant’s root system. You want a plant’s root system to be as extensive as possible so that it can absorb as much nutrients as possible. When you clear out the debris, make sure you don’t touch any of the organic materials. For example, don’t touch things such as dead leaves because they will break down and turn into compost.

The second method is to replenish the nutrients and minerals in the soil. There are two ways of doing this. You can either purchase organic compost from stores or make your own. If you want to make your own then you will need to have a composting bin. These bins will help break down organic waste into nutritious compost or mulch. Obviously, plants are going to grow stronger if there are more nutrients in the ground. If you use the garden on a regular basis then you may have to add compost on a regular basis. This is why some gardeners like to relocate their garden spot every few years. This gives a chance for the old spot to revitalize its mineral levels.

Plant Garlic in Autumn

Some gardeners prefer to grow garlic from actual seeds. It is a tough process and one of the reasons most growers prefer using cloves.

Start by researching which varieties grow best in your area and climate. I prefer German White, which belongs to the hardneck garlic family. A moderately spicy flavor and plump cloves set this garlic apart from other varieties. A German White bulb typically has up to six cloves. The bulbs store well in Michigan when kept in a cool area.

You can buy garlic anywhere. It is not recommended to use garlic from local grocery stores as they may have been treated with chemical agents to slow down sprouting. Nonetheless, you can plant the cloves if you are in a pinch. On the other hand, the best results are obtained if you buy bulbs from reputable on- or offline seed dealers. Start with a moderate amount. You can increase your seed supply over the years by using more and more of the cloves you harvested.

Plant too late and the root system will be weak. Plant too early and the cloves grow above ground shoots. Find out for your area when frost sets in. Check the weather forecasts online. Start planning when temperatures start to go down and stay low.

Prepare your planting bed by adding well-composted manure. Remove weeds. Garlic prefers a well-drained, sandy-clay soil. Separate and inspect the garlic bulbs you selected for seed just before planting. Remove blemished cloves.

I lay all the seed cloves out on the bed to eyeball acceptable spacing distances. Space the seed about six to eight inches apart. Plant them at least three inches deep in the ground, with the pointy end facing up. Water the bed thoroughly. Keep the soil moist to allow the cloves to grow roots. You may even need to water during the winter if you live in a mild climate. Do not overwater as the seed will rot.

Softneck garlic has a flexible stalk and keeps longer. Silverskin and artichoke are usually sold at supermarkets.

Hardneck varieties have fewer, larger cloves. They are more delicate because they have a thinner outer bulb wrapper. This also reduces their shelf life. I dehydrate most of my garlic and grind it into garlic powder, which will stay fresh until the next season. The three main hardneck garlic types are porcelain, purple stripe, and rocambole.

The sulfur that garlic accumulates as it grows turns it into a natural fungicide. This can be beneficial to plants attracting pests easily. Naturally-occurring fungicide can help protect your plants from diseases.

Garlic works well in various situations as long as it is grown in full sun. Plant it near broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, fruit trees, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, peppers, roses, tomatoes, etc. It does not like parsley, peas, potatoes, or legumes like beans. Try not to plant these near your garlic.

Design Winter Garden

Flowers can come and go, but plants that offer colour and texture with their bark, stems and foliage have a more enduring appeal; even leaves that are deciduous can last a good while through the seasons.

In most gardens space is at a premium. So plants that add interest in more than one season are welcome residents. The key to success is to fill each position with plants that will thrive in the growing conditions there; whether sunny and open, shaded and wet, dry and stony, acid, neutral or limy. Choose plants that linger into the autumn, start in early spring, or are at their best in the winter in addition to the summer stars in order to obtain all-year-round interest.

When you design your garden, if you use tall and broad structures as a starting point, the rest of the garden can then be formed around them. Trees and shrubs give height and lower-growing species can spread out between them. The garden is inevitably more colourful in summer but when the autumn leaves disappear, the view from the house is longer and the bare bones of the garden are exposed. If a garden is designed to look good in the winter, it will never completely lose form, colour and interest.

Start building the structure of the garden with evergreens. They can produce green focal points in a garden. You will find they can have silver, purple, cream, gold and bronze foliage as well as green.

Conifers come in many different shapes and hues. Yew also has red berries to add more colour. Piceas have an attractive texture. Creeping junipers are useful to create ground cover. The dark colours of conifers can also offer a wonderful backdrop for jewel-coloured tulip flowers in the spring.

Other garden features become more prominent in the winter too, such as statues and sculptures, urns and benches and of course waterfalls. They may be partly hidden by foliage in the summer but take on a more dominant role in the winter garden so make sure they are placed well. Box topiary will also remain green in the winter and looks especially interesting when covered in snow.

Otherwise, plants can be grouped in pots to create a display that is easy to look after. Green plants such as rosemary can be mixed with flowering plants such as cyclamen. Plants that thrive only in one specific type of soil, like pieris, can be grown in pots too. Willows are in leaf for a very long season but their roots can be invasive which will prove to be a problem in a small garden. A smaller variety like a corkscrew willow can be confined in a large, decorative container.

Some plants that flower in the winter months have very muted colours. These dusky colours often suit winter light. You may want to group these together: skimmias, heathers and sedums for example. The colour of spring flowers are often much brighter. If you don’t like the clash of the bright yellow of daffodils with these dusky tints then make sure they are not planted together.

Should Decorate Garden

Chairs and Tables

In the summer, you can going to want to sit in the garden for the things that you would usually sit in the house for, so, reading the paper, watching TV; or even something as simple as having a brew and sitting alone to gather your thoughts.

Therefore, you will need a set of table and chairs. It is better to buy these in a set so that they match and you are not too hunched over the table. You should think about buying a set with an umbrella attached to it so that you can sit in some shade, should the sun become too intense.

At some point, you will also be thinking about sunbathing, so you can buy a chair that can be adjusted to become a bed. This chair might be included in the table and chairs set, or you could buy one separately because you won’t be using it to sit at the table.


In the summer, barbecues become more popular. Therefore, you should be looking for a nice barbecue so that you can have family over and you can all have a good time in the garden.

If you know that you are going to have barbecues a lot, then you should consider buying a large barbecue that is freestanding, that you can just leave in the garden, or you could have a barbecue built into the patio. The later being the most expensive option.

If you are only going to have one barbecue a year, you could save money and buy a disposable barbecue that you can just use once and then throw away.


You will be spending a lot of time in the garden, even when the sun starts to go down. Therefore, you should be looking at some light features for the garden. You won’t want the garden to be completely lit up because that will spoil the atmosphere.

You should think about buying a few small lights that can be installed around the garden to give it a more romantic atmosphere. You could even get solar panelled lights so that you don’t need to have wires all over the garden, to power the lights.