Category Archives: Garden Basics

Fertilizing Your Flowers

When buying fertilizer for your flowers, there are two basic approaches. Either of these methods is satisfactory and the approach you take will depend upon the types of flowers you have. The first approach is to have your soil analyzed and give your flowers the precise nutrients they need as determined by the results of the analysis. Very often you can have a sample of your soil analyzed by your local county extension office for a small fee, but the most convenient method of testing is to purchase a simple soil analysis kit from your local garden centre and purchase flower food based on the results. This method is very effective and will undoubtedly give you the results you hoped for, although it does take some extra time and effort.

The second and most convenient manner of feeding your flowers is to choose a multi-purpose, balanced fertilizer that contains a full spectrum of plant nutrients. There are many brands of all-purpose flower food. One of the more popular brands is Miracle Gro. Most professional gardeners will attest to the effectiveness of Miracle Gro, but in most cases any brand of flower food will be just as effective if used properly. No matter the brand you choose, use the fertilizer according to the directions on the package. In the case of fertilizers, more does not translate into better. If you over-feed your plants you could cause damage to the roots or even kill the plant completely.


Companion Planting

Companion plantings of some kind have been practised throughout agricultural history. Some of the earliest written documents on gardening discuss these relationships. Early settlers discovered American First Nations people were using an inter-planting scheme of corn-bean-squash that balanced the requirements of each crop for light, water, and nutrients. In the 1800ís, hemp (cannabis) was often planted around a cabbage field to keep away the white cabbage butterflies in Holland. In many parts of the world today, subsistence farmers and organic gardeners grow two or more crops simultaneously in a given area to achieve a certain benefit.

Companion planting is the practice of locating particular plants near one another because they enhance plant growth, discourage pests and diseases, or have some other beneficial effect. When selecting your companion plants consider more than which pests are deterred. Think about what each plant adds or takes away from the soil and what effect the proximity of strong herbs may have on the flavour of your vegetables. Avoid placing two heavy feeders or two shallow rooted plant types near each other.


Get Rid Of Moss And Algae For Good

It’s green; it’s slimy; it’s slippery. It’s growing on your lawn, your patio, your steps and walkways-even your roof and siding. If you’ve ever lived through several humid or wet days, you probably have had to deal with moss or algae.

“Dampness combined with heavy shade and poor air circulation are the ingredients that create moss and algae,” says Bayer Advanced™ Garden Expert Lance Walheim, who wrote the book “Lawn Care for Dummies” and is a regular contributor to Sunset magazine. “They make your house look dirty and on your patio, it’s easy for children or the elderly to slip and fall.”

Pruning trees to increase sunlight can help prevent moss and algae over the long run. Adjusting the pH of your soil can help reduce the green slime in your lawn. You can also spend a few hundred dollars a year to have the exterior of your home cleaned.