Following A Plant Based Diet Is Easy With Home Gardens

Many people today are turning to a plant-based diet as an alternative to diets too rich in saturated meat products, junk food, and highly processed foods. In some cases, it involves spending more time in the produce section of your local grocery store, looking for fruits and vegetables that are grown organically and spending extra money on them.

You can follow a great plant-based diet in an even better way while growing your fruits and vegetables in your own home garden. If you live in an apartment, you can start a container garden in front of a sunny window. If you have a plot of land to turn into a garden you can go big with a garden filled with healthy fruits and vegetables. You can grow almost anything in a small garden so you have the spring, summer and fall to eat off your own land.

Vegetables Easily Grown At Home

Tomatoes lend themselves well to container gardening and can grow like wild in the good earth of your back yard. They grow and ripen all season long so you can pick what you need for sandwiches, salads, snacks, fresh sauces and even for juicing.

You can grow your own peas or beans in a container or in your backyard garden. They are rich in phytonutrients that have their maximum potency if you simply pick what you need and eat them as soon as possible; you have the greatest amount of healthy phytonutrients and antioxidants in the food shortly after picking them.

Peppers, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, and greens like Kale are great options for a home garden and allow you to reach for healthy and super fresh produce all summer long and into the fall.

Your Home Garden

If you decide to have a back yard home garden, you need to decide if you want to grow organic foods or not. Organic gardening is the best possible choice because the food is grown without pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. This means no harmful chemicals exist with the food you pick and you can even eat them straight out of the garden without having to wash them extensively.

Grow a wide variety of foods that become ripe at different times of the season:

Radishes, for example, take only a few weeks to become edible and, after pulling them up, you have room to grow a row of something else. Most people grow tomatoes and some people grow carrots, lettuce, and potatoes.

Both potatoes and squash need the entire summer to become available for eating so all you need to do is to keep them weed-free and watch them grow. In the early autumn or late summer, you can dig up the potatoes and harvest the squash. These types of produce can be kept at room temperature or in a cool place for many months so you have instant winter eating from vegetables you grew in the summer.

Lettuce and other greens can be grown and harvested all summer long for the …

How To Power Wash Your Shed

When you have found one of the many sheds for sale, the next step is to keep it preserved. The most important thing to consider in the upkeep of your garden storage shed are: Time, Cost and Methods. All of it comes down to repairs and approaches to schedule them correctly along with how much you want to pay for them. Here we’re going to discuss strategies to keep your shed in good working order as well as how to do it on a budget.

One thing that will quickly ruin you shed is dirt and grime accumulation. Dirt will most probably occur regardless of whether you prefer it or not, but the important thing is to stay in front of it. Make sure to differentiate dirt from black mildew. Black mold will take place even when it is hot and dry. The good news is that dirt and mold can be quickly cleaned off using an electric power washer. Although the paint is peeling, go on and power wash that shed just before repainting a shed. If there is green mildew it means there is moisture trapped somewhere. Before you electric power wash consider and discover the source of the trouble. Check and make sure all mold, dirt and debris are removed before you prime and paint. The most beneficial cleaner to make use of for power washing is bleach mixed with drinking water. Make sure you check your concentrations and protect your skin and eyes before starting.

Probe the wooden exterior and interior of your shed to test for strength. If the wood looks gentle or soft, you could be subject to wood rot. Checking for wooden rot is very important to accomplish any time after a tough rain or simply a rainy season. Should you uncover wood rot: under no circumstances fear! Repair is easy as well as not very expensive to resolve. You should remove all rotten wood areas as well as test the surrounding wood to ensure the rot hasn’t spread. Swap the region with new sound wooden and prime and paint. It is actually always much better to repair wood rot mainly because wood rot is usually localized and would not require a whole replacement of siding.

The overall cleanliness within your garden shed is important to its longevity. Use insecticides on the inside and exterior of your garden barn to help keep out carpenter ants and bees which can damage the wood and add to wood rot. Aside from chemicals to keep wood destroying insects out, a little bit of elbow grease and a keen eye are all you need to keep you new shed or pole barn looking good for years to come. If you do start to notice some determination, hopefully you can follow our simply steps to rectify the situation and keep on enjoying your new garden shed.…

Save Your Back With Raised Bed Gardening – And Other Benefits

Raised bed gardening offers many advantages over traditional "in the ground" gardening. This simple technique will improve the health and productivity of your garden while bringing the soil up to a comfortable working level. Raised container gardens are perfect for people with limited space, or who have a hard time bending over and kneeling on the ground for traditional gardening.

Improved plant growing conditions, larger harvests, accessibility, and improved garden pest protection are just some of the advantages of this gardening method. Raised bed gardens also are more efficient in fertilization and water conservation. Gardening in raised beds simply means that you grow your plants above the level of the ground. Plants cover the bed areas; gardeners work from the paths.

When creating your container beds, make them only as wide as can be easily worked from either side. Typically, the beds are constructed 3 to 4 feet wide and elevated between 8 inches and 2 feet. Taller raised beds allow gardening without much bending. While you're building, why not add benches on the sides for even more convenience! Spaces between beds may be left in sod, mulched or even paved with stone or brick. In a vegetable garden, leave enough room for a wheelbarrow.

Wood, brick, rocks, or cement blocks are all popular materials for making a raised bed. Wood is the most common choice, because it is easy to work with and it is inexpensive. The best wood choices are durable materials such as cedar, cypress or redwood. With tall beds made of wood will need support so that your bed will hold up the weight of the soil. You can also use rebar placed into the ground around the edges of the bed to support the wood. My cedar raised beds have attracted a decade, and are still in use.

With this gardening method you can basically start from scratch and create the soil environment that best suits the plants you would like to grow. Soil building is an important part of any garden and it's much easier to control that aspect of gardening with raised beds. The bed is a clearly defined area where the gardener can concentrate on soil improvement techniques; for example, adding compost or fertilizers. Poor soil can be adjusted or replaced completely in a raised bed, so you can eliminate soil borne diseases and improve the ability to hold an appropriate amount of moisture. You can fill the bed with your own mix of soil if the natural soil in your area is not that good for gardening.

Soil preparation is the key to successful intensive gardening. It's important to realize that soil compact can reduce crop yields up to 50 percent. By eliminating walking on the soil, water and air can more easily penetrate the soil. The basic idea of ​​a container garden is that instead of battling against poor soil conditions, you build above ground, where you can have absolute control over the soil texture and ingredients.

Soil in raised …

Chives Are A Wonderful Addition To Your Herb Garden Or Container Garden

Garlic, leeks, and shallots have a little cousin, the chive. It is the smallest and non-odorize member of the onion family. The leaves sprout from a bulb that is planted in the herb garden or in a container garden. Chives are a wonderful way to spruce up omelet's or soups, even stews, chicken, or fish and its fat free, a healthy addition to your diet. A sunny windowsill can also be used to grow the chive herb. An added bonus, if you grow chives in your "in ground" herb garden, you are in the fresh air and are getting a little exercise. Can not hurt, huh?

The chive has been a native of Asia and Europe for over 5000 years. They grow much like grass, in clumps. They send up graceful hollow leaves that will flower into lovely purple puffballs. If you allow the chive in your herb garden to flower the flavor of the chive becomes harsher.

It is not hard to grow the chive in your herb garden or container garden. It needs six hours of sun, well drained soil, moisture, fertilizer and pinching back. The pinching back will make the plant bushy and lush. Always use a high quality potting soil when growing your herb in container gardens. If planting the chive in an "in ground" herb garden, add some organic mix. A seaweed based fertilizer is best for feeding. You can use your old coffee grounds to mulch around the base of the chive in your herb garden. When it's time to harvest the herb cut from the base to encourage more growth.

It is recommended that you harvest the chives before it flowers. If your chive does flower you can eat the chive flower but they are intense and should be dropped apart before use. They have a spicy, peppery taste.

As your herb garden or container garden ages, you will want to pull the plant up and divide the roots and then replant. The chive prefers a cool atmosphere so if you live in a hot area it is best to grow the chive in pots inside.

If you have an abundance of chives, make an herb salt by mixing one cup of sea salt with one cup of snipped chives. Bake in an oven for 45-60 minutes, seal tightly in a jar and place in a dark cabinet. This is a great way to spice up any culinary dish.

To dry the chase harvest snip into inch inch pieces, lay in thin layers on trays. Take them outside to a sunny spot and allow drying for 8 to 10 hours. An alternative method is to snip the chives, spread on a cookie sheet and dry them in a 110 degree oven with the door propped open for 4 to 6 hours.

Fresh chives can be store in the refrigerator for up to one week in a plastic bag. Do not wash or snip until ready to use.

Here is a recipe for an …

Garden Care And Maintenance – Growing Plants To Create A Natural Effect

A sense of order and decorum is the feeling that most people wish their garden to give to them. Yet it is also desirable that the plants appear to have been there for ever; that they seem to belong. While the hard landscaping should create clear shapes and strong lines, it is the job of the plants to soften these lines and blur their angularity. In order for the plants to add a natural dimension to the composition, it's important to choose them judiciously and then to grow them in a certain manner.

Designing with plants for a natural effect

The most effective, natural plant associations are derived from species that possess as many visual features in common with each other as possible. Individuals that stand out from the mass in say shape, size or foliage color should have at least one characteristic that they share with the rest of the plants. Small leaved or fine textured plants for instance, go well with each other, but look incongruous with plants that have giant or course textured leaves. Just think how dreadful Cypress trees look with palms, or how out of place rose bushhes seem next to Philodendrons.

Design and nature join hands in the sense that plants of similar growth habit and visual characteristics, almost invariably grow wild in similar or parallel habitats. For example, Pistachios from Central Asia, Grevilleas from South West Australia and Leucophyllum from Texas, all have the small, fine textured foliage typical of plants that grow in dry climates. While on the other hand, large leaves and course texture are the most obvious features of plants from tropical regions.

Pruning trees

Some exaggeration notwithstanding, the most insulting complement a gardener can receive is to be congratulated on his / her pruning. The aim should be that the pruning is as inconspicuous as possible. In order to achieve this and thereby keep the natural feel of the tree, it is important to:

* Avoid pruning cuts which shorten branches. Instead, limbs should be cut back to their base, whether that be another branch or the trunk itself.

* Avoid cuts which disrupt the direction in which the branch is growing. Let's say a thin branch is attached to a thicker one at an angle of 60 degrees. If the thicker branch is removed, then the direction has been altered together with an ugly pruning wound that will always be conspicuous. The tree will for ever appear "pruned" and not seem as though it belongs naturally to the landscape.

* Do not plant trees too close to paths and entrances, in order avoiding inviting in the future the thought of undesirable pruning just described.

Caring for shrubs and bushes

Shrubs that have a strong and clearly defined shape like junipers, Yucca and other sculptural plants, should only be pruned in a way that does not alter their natural growth habit. Most bushes though require some clipping and pruning in order to encourage compact growth and to avoid an …

You Can not Water a Garden With an Empty Bucket

Self-Care for Women

Women who are around me hear me say this all the time – 'You can not water a garden with an empty bucket.' What does this mean to you? I use it as an illustration to get the point across that women are taking care of work and everyone else and fitting themselves into the little, tiny cracks of time that are leftover – if there are any. So how lush and gorgeous is the garden that gets watered with an empty bucket? Not! How well can you take care of the important people and tasks in your life when your energy bucket is bone dry? Not well, at least not for long. When you are considering your own energy bucket it's important to know what fills it up and what depletes it. Read on to learn the 5 questions to ask yourself so you know how to fill up your bucket.

1. What brings you joy? How much
of what you do during your day brings you joy? How often do you purposely add
joy to your life? For some, work is joy, but for most it's far from it. Make a
list of what it is that brings you joy – a child's smile, dancing, coffee with
friends, sex. Keep it handy, so if you get really overwhelmed you can have a
quick reminder. Joy puts energy in our bucket.

2. What's your natural energy
level? For a woman who is more active in her energy, having a lot of quiet down
time may actually depleted her bucket. If you think of it like a spectrum, with
naturally low energy as a 1 and naturally high energy as a 10, where do you see
yourself? Answer this question as you really are not how you want to be.

3. What
is your current pace? Now that you know your natural energy level, evaluate the
pace of your current energy output. Use the same 1 to 10 scale. Are you a
natural energy 4 going at the pace of a 9? Or are you a natural energy 9, going
at the pace of a 4? Work on getting your face oriented towards your natural
level of energy. We talk a lot about women being way to busy in our world (which
is true), but you can also get too bored. Neither extremes put energy in your
bucket.

4. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Does being around people
energize you or deplete you? If it energizes you then you essentially are an
extrovert. Extroverts fill their bucket by being around people. Introverts
generally recharge by being alone or with one other person. So, if you're an
introverted women who works with a lot of people all day, getting some serious
alone time will help to fill your bucket.

5. How are you maintaining your
machine? Not your car, your computer, or even your IPod – but, your body! Your
body is a big part of …

Back Yard Vegetable Gardens

Why plant a vegetable garden? The best reason to plant a vegetable garden is that it will supply you with fresh vegetables at little expense. Through canning and quick freezing methods, you will be able to enjoy your produce all year long and through the cold months of winter.

Size of Your Vegetable Garden

The size of your garden will depend on the space you have available, the time you will have to main-tain your garden and the amount of produce that you would like to harvest throughout the season. Do you want a supply of vegetables for the entire year or just enough to enjoy during the summer and fall growing season?

In small gardens, tomatoes are always a necessity. They have so very many uses. With limited space carrots, green beans, onions and peppers are good choices. Where larger areas are available you can include sweet corn, cucumbers and cabbage. If you have only a few favorite vegetables, dedicate your space to them and you will be able to can or freeze them for your enjoyment during long winter months.

Location and Preparation of the Vegetable Garden

A sunny well-drained area is the ideal place to plant a back yard vegetable garden. When you have selected the spot, remove all debris, stones, weeds, and undesirable growth. Make sure the area is free of tree roots, which will interfere with the growth of your garden.

To prepare the soil, start by digging to a depth of 8 to 12 inches, breaking up large clumps. Then thoroughly mix in a bag of prepared fertilizer containing nitrogen, Phosphorus, and potash.

Planting and Caring For the Vegetable Garden

Several days after adding the fertilizer to the soil, you are ready to start planting your seeds. Choose good hy-brid seeds and carefully read and follow the directions on the package. Make sure to plant seeds in straight even rows. Use a line to mark each row and a measuring stick to place the distance between each row. Use the handle of evenly and cover with soil. Then tap down lightly.

Cultivation around plants controls weeds and should be done as soon as they break through the soil. Shallow cultivation is more effective at first to protect the delicate root systems. Watering your vegetable garden to a depth of 5 to 6 inches each week is the correct course when rain fall is not excessive. Mulching the garden with dead leaves, grass clippings or straw controls weeds and moisture.

Keep close watch on your vegetable garden for any insects attacking the plants and for any diseases or fungi appearing on the leaves. It is probably wise for new gardeners to visit a garden center and ask for advice to handle these problems.

With a little perseverance and effort, you can have a steady supply of tasty vegetables grown in your own garden.…

Codling Moth

The Codling Moth Trap uses the 'Pheromone' scent of the female moth to attract and catch male moths. Control of this pest in the garden is very difficult using insecticides unless they are applied shortly after egg-laying

When to use the Trap

In most seasons moths fly and mate on warm nights from late May until the end of July, although in some years activity may continue well into August. The trap should be placed in the garden soon after the middle of May. If spring weather is exceptionally warm, or in sentered urban gardens, it may be an advantage to have the traps installed by early May. If in doubt, hang the trap after the petals begin to fall.

How to use the Trap

Assemble the trap. Place sticky insert sticky side up in the base of the trap. The pheromone lure (which looks like a hollow cone of soft rubber) should be removed from the foil sachet and laid in the center of the sticky insert. Ensure that the end flaps are secured.

Note: The lure will release scent from when the sachet is opened – do not open sachet until the lure is needed.

In a garden one trap should monitor up to 5 average size trees with a range of 15 meters (50 feet) of the trap. It should be hung at around head height on the windward side of the tree (or group of trees).

After 5 weeks – replace the sticky insert and lure. Inspect the trap regularly – the Codling Moth is small (about 8mm or 1 / 3rd inch long) dark colored and rests with its wings folded to form a triangular shape.

If you are catching more than 15 moths per week the infestation is high and a suitable spray should be applied a week later. Continue monitoring and if again 15 or more moths are done repeat the treatment.

Remove the trap by the beginning of September and dispose of the lure and sticky insert. The trap should be cleaned and stored. Refill Kits are available allowing the trap to be used for a second season.

Contents: 1 trap with hanging wires,

2 sticky inserts.

2 pheromone lures. …

Scenting A Mood

Setting a mood takes careful planning, from the lighting in the room to the colors you have chosen and the accessories you use. Scented candles can make all the difference in the world when it comes to transforming your living space into an exotic escape.

From tapers to tea lights and gels to jars, scented candles come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes to match any room and any mood. Here are just a few examples of what scented candles can do.

The Warmth of Home

The smells of home-baked goodness can transport anyone back in time to the days of their childhood, when mom had a hot apple pie in the oven or a batch of fresh cookies waiting. Somehow these smells invoke a sense of safety and security.

Place candles around your house spotted like French vanilla, warm cinnamon, brown sugar, and candied apples to inspire those same feelings of home.

An Ocean Escape

Allow your imagination to carry you off to a tropical destination by scinging your rooms with the aromas of coconut, pineapple, mango, watermelon, and citrus. Before you can help it, you will be humming Bob Marley tunes in your head.

A Garden Getaway

The elegance of photographed candles not only can fill your home with the sweet smells of nature, but your garden escape can be enhanced by them as well. Whether you want to bathe your patio in decadent candlelight or prefer to bring the smells of your favorite garden into the indoors, you can find decorated candles that will perfectly mimic your favorite flora and fauna.

Immerse yourself in rich fern scents, or wild jasmine. Take a walk through the woods surrounded by the smell of oak, pine, wild moss, and clover leaves.

Or sit in a sunny garden filled with honeysuckle, hydrangea, freesia, orchid, and lilac. Combine the scents with those of fresh fruit such as citrus, and you will have a melody of invigorating scents to ignite your senses.

The Romantic Interlude

The soft glow of candles enhanced by bewitching aromas sets the stage for your most intimate moments. Bask in the glow of rich musk and patchouli, cloves, rose petals, and the more understated yet equally intriguing sandalwood. The indulgence of such sensual aromas is intoxicating.

Freshen the Nursery

There are a variety of candles specifically designed to eliminate odors. A strategically placed candle near the changing table or diaper disposal may just do the trick to keep the baby's room smelling fresh and new.

You can even enhance the wondrous scent of baby powder with candles that smell just like the real thing.

Aromatherapy

Some scents are just good for your physical and mental well-being. Eucalyptus, mint, and sage are not only refreshing for your mind, but can help cleanse your sinuses as well. Use these scented candles to help rid yourself of allergy symptoms or to clear your head when you have a cold.

Candle Sense

When deciding where to place your candles, or how …

Check The Soil Condition in Your Garden

Pick up a handful of soil in your garden. I bet you are thinking, “this is ordinary, unexciting earth”. Yet it is one of nature’s miracle, and one of her most complex products. Your success as a gardener will largely depend upon its condition, so take the first bold step in gardening…. get to know your soil.

All soils are composed of four basic components, they are: Water – Water is essential for the support of both plant and soil life – it is also the carrier of nutrients. Water is absorbed into humus and absorbed on to the surface of particles. Water adheres tightly to clay, restricting both drainage and uptake by the roots.

Air – Air is essential for the support of plant life and desirable for soil life – it is also required for the breakdown of organic matter to release nutrients. Movement of air is necessary to avoid the build up of toxic gases. This movement takes place through the soil pores.

Mineral particles – The non-living skeleton of the soil is derived from the decomposition of rocks by weathering. The parent rock usually (but not always) lies under the soil and both the fertility and size of the particles are governed by the type of parent rock.

Organic matter – Fertile soils contain a minimum of 5 per cent organic matter. This is present as a mixture of mixture of living, dead and decomposed organisms, both animal and vegetable. True humus is a dark jelly-like substance which binds mineral particles into crumbs.

The physical quality of the resulting blend that we know as soil is described as its texture or structure, but these two terms do not mean the same thing.

Soil texture: refers to the proportions of the different sized mineral particles which are present. When course particles predominate, the soil is described as light. If the particles are minute, the soil is called heavy. The ideal soil lies between these two extremes. The course and minute particles should be evenly balanced to produce the medium-texture soil known as loam. Soil scientists recognise 17 or more types of mineral soil texture, but for the gardener there are just 8 basic types, these can be put in to 3 groups. Light soil, medium soil and heavy soil.

Soil structure: refers to the way the mineral particles are joined together, they may be grouped as clods, plates or crumbs. A crumb structure is ideal – it is what we call ‘friable soil’ with a ‘good tilth’.

Your soil may be nothing like a crumbly loam. It may be a back-breaking clay or it may be sandy stuff which always needs feeding and watering. Don’t despair, it is quite simple to change the structure of any soil. Organic matter will cement sand grains into crumbs. Digging, liming and organic matter have the same effect on clay particles.

The improvement may be spectacular, but you cannot change the basic texture unless you add vast quantities of the deficient …