Gardening for Beginners: The Basics

Gardening for Beginners: The Basics

If you are just getting started in gardening, just figuring out where to start can be defeating. The process seems enormous to the beginner. To get you started, we have narrowed down some critical things to consider as you begin to explore your green thumb.

Know Your Region: Before you ever buy a plant or flower, before you take a spade to the ground, find out what grows best in your area. Find out the length of the growing season, average temperatures, and rainfall. You do not need to be a meteorologist about this, but you will need some idea of the type of region you live in.

How long is the growing season? In New England, for example, we need to be careful of plants and flowers which require a lengthy growing season. New England Summers are not quite as extended as Summers in Georgia.

Start With Easy Plants: The good news here is that most commonly grown vegetables count as “easy plants.” They generally do not require a long growing season, and vegetables tend to just do their thing. Sunflowers and ferns are also good sturdy plants for the beginner.

Create a Plan: Though this is not as much fun as actually digging in the garden, it is important especially for the beginner. Do some research on how to space out your plants and how they will ripen and bloom over the course of the growing season. This way you can plant in ways which are conducive to healthy growth. (And the pros do this constantly!)

Water Carefully: With the help of the research from your plan, you can determine how much and how often to water your new garden. It is essential to remain consistent with this step. The added benefit of careful and consistent watering is that this will have you out in your garden nearly every day finding inspiration to keep it up.

Cultivating a Wildflower Garden

Cultivating a Wildflower Garden

There is nothing quite like the magic and surprise of cultivating a flower garden which springs to life from nature’s own wild design. A wildflower garden is as much a gardening prize as the perfectly tended rows of roses or geraniums.

Getting Started.

The most important bit of preparation for a wildflower garden is to clear the plot you want to plant. It is crucial that the plot be cleared of grasses and weeds since these will compete with the wildflowers for sunlight, water, and nutrients in the soil.

Choosing Varieties

Numerous plant and flower distributors offer mixes of wildflowers. Some are specifically summer blooms and others are designed to bloom in the fall. Just check your local garden store to see which varieties you prefer.


The fun part, and the easy part, of a wildflower garden is planting. You simply spread the seeds out over you cleared plot. You can do this by hand or, if you have a particularly large area, use a seed spreader.

To Cover or Not to Cover

You really do not need to cover the freshly planted seeds. Properly broadcast and planted, they will follow nature on this end of things.

It is a good idea to press them into the soil. Once you have spread the seeds out, you will want to press them into the soil. You can create compression by walking over a board placed over the seeds. But you can also just walk over it wearing shoes.

Do I Need to Protect the Seeds from Animals?

The simple answer is no. Birds and squirrels can eat their fill and you will have plenty of seeds which will take hold and bloom. They cannot really damage your wildflower plot.

Watch and Wait

If you planted a mix of annuals and perennials you will begin to see them germinate and sprout within about two weeks. Blooms will take approximately 5-7 weeks. Once you have planted your wildflower garden, you will have your own flowering meadow, and with perennials it will return year after year.

Tips for a Fire Escape Garden

Tips for a Fire Escape Garden

Apartment life in the city can make gardening seem impossible. For obvious reasons, apartment dwellers just do not have access to green space. If you have a fire escape, this can serve as your plot of land, and with a little plant knowledge and creativity you can create a beautiful garden right outside your window.

First Check if it is Legal

The first thing you need to do is find out if it is even legal to put plants on your fire escape. Some cities have laws forbidding things on fire escapes. Mostly you just need to make certain the area is clear enough to remain a safe space for use in the event of a real emergency.

Planting Vegetables

Vegetables that can be cut and will re-grow work great for the fire escape garden. Varieties of lettuce, kale, and other leafy greens will grow in pots. You can cultivate, cut for use, and they simply keep coming back. They are also make for a beautiful plot of green.

Fresh Herbs Right Outside Your Window

Fresh herbs are another crop which can be easily cultivated on a fire escape garden. Basil and oregano will thrive in the high light which so often beats down on a fire escape. Keep pinching back the tops on your basil and it will bush-out beautifully.

Hanging Plants and Flowers

Hanging pots are another great option for the garden on your fire escape. The advantage of hanging pots is that they can be set out of the way of the walk way for safety. Moss Rose is a fantastic hanging plant because it spreads out instead of creating a bush which can block access. It also blooms with small red flowers almost continuously.

Again, the most important consideration before beginning your fire escape garden is to maintain safety. Beyond this, it is a matter of imagination. You can be an apartment dweller and a small scale urban farmer.

5 tips to help keep pests from attending your backyard party

5 tips to help keep pests from attending your backyard party

(BPT) – When you’re making memories surrounded by friends and family by the grill, the last thing you want to be doing is swatting and shooing away pests. With a few tips from Terminix, you can help keep your backyard the perfect place for all your celebrations.

Reduce standing water

Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. In just one bottle cap full of water, mosquitoes can lay 100 eggs that may soon wreak havoc on your yard. In addition to itching, mosquito bites can transfer disease-causing pathogens, making it all the more important to guard against these pesky pests. Be sure to get rid of standing water in objects like trash cans or old tires, and change the water in birdbaths and kiddie pools at least once a week.

Inspect for nests

A nasty wasp sting can ruin outdoor fun quickly. Luckily, you may be able to spot their distinctive, umbrella-shaped nests. Look for them in areas with some protection, such as the corners of windows, below decks, and under soffits, porches and awnings. They may even make a home inside your grill. If you encounter any wasps or their nests, contact a pest control professional to remove them so you can avoid being stung.

Keep outdoor surfaces clean

Bees love anything sweet, but that shouldn’t keep you from enjoying an ice pop or fresh watermelon slice. Just ensure that you clean up immediately after eating and mop up any spills to help avoid attracting pests to your party. And apart from being unsightly for your guests, trash cans also attract bees to your yard. Keep any outside trash sealed and away from the grilling area.

Choose clothes carefully

It may seem far-fetched, but even what you wear can attract certain pests. Bees are drawn to bright colors, so stick to un-patterned, muted colors. Avoid dark colors and reds as well, as some bees can associate these with their natural predators and see them as a threat.

Bring in the professionals

Some problems call for professional help, and pest control technicians can fight pests both inside and outside your home. For example, the new Terminix Quick Guard(R) Mosquito Service works immediately to kill and reduce mosquito populations in your yard so you can enjoy backyard activities all year long. For any pest problem, a well-trained inspector will recommend the best treatment solution for you.

Types of sheds for your yard

Types of sheds for your yard

By this time of year, most people are getting their full use out of the lawnmower, hose, and a long list of gardening tools. Meanwhile, the reminders of winter: the snow shovel, snow blower, salt and other items, are cluttering up some corner of the garage.
Maintaining a home and yard in New England requires a lot of equipment, which is why sheds are essential.
There are many types of sheds, and the one you choose depends on a number of factors.

    • Cost
    • Material
    • Durability
    • Size
    • Purpose

The cost of a shed generally depends on the size and type of material used in its construction. You can determine size based one your needs. As far as materials go, there are typically three main types: wood, metal, and plastic.

    1. Wood sheds cost more, but are more durable and last longer. Wood sheds also stand up to the beating Mother Nature unleashes.
    2. Metal sheds are more reasonably priced, but durability can be an issue. Metal bends and dents, leaving it susceptible to damage and even total loss in a storm.
    3. Plastic sheds are the cheapest options, and are very easy to move when empty. While they will not dent like a metal shed, plastic does not hold up any better against an opponent like Mother Nature.

Size and Purpose Are Important of shed is important

Size and purpose are important in determining which type of shed to choose.
If your need is for a small shed to store some gardening tools in an area that is somewhat sheltered from the elements, going with a plastic one may be the right option.

For those who need a place for the heavy-duty snow equipment or riding lawnmowers, a larger, more durable space is required. The bigger, sturdier space not only has the required room, but also the durability needed to house such an expensive trove of equipment.

While picking the right type of shed can be difficult. If you need a not-so-difficult decision to make, however, get The Dirty Bird to hide that septic vent – it will bring a practical purpose to an otherwise unsightly element and spruce up the outdoor area.