More About Butterly Gardening

When creating a butterfly garden, the possibilities of what to include in your butterfly garden design are endless. Below are some suggestions to help get you started. They are designed to spark the creative process of your mind and get you started on your way to creating a lovely butterfly garden.

Before you even begin your butterfly garden, find out which species of butterflies are in your area. Consider taking an exploratory hike around your location with a butterfly identification book. This may take a little extra time and effort, but the results will be worth it. After you have compiled your list of local butterfly species, be sure to write down in your butterfly garden plan what these particular species of butterflies use for nectar and food plants.

Be sure that your garden is in a location that provides at least six hours of sunlight per day. Butterflies are cold-blooded creatures and therefore do better where they are warm and sheltered.

Wind can be a butterfly’s worst enemy so be sure to have plenty of wind protection in your design. You can plant tall shrubs and other plants in order to create a wind break, but a location that avoids heavy winds is even better.

The best of all would be a butterfly garden placed on the sunny side of your home with windbreaks on both the west and east sides, or wherever the prevailing wonds come from in your area. Try and locate your garden close to a window so you can view the butterflies from indoors. Provide seating outside too.

If possible, you could excavate an area and build a stone wall around it. This would create the ideal windbreak for your butterflies. Mmake gravel pathways around your garden to save walking in mud.

There are many creative ways for constructing a butterfly garden. Take your time to design a garden that you will enjoy and be proud of.

Improving Your Garden by Adding a Fountain

A great way to spice up your garden is to add a water feature. These can
be both soothing and aesthetically appealing. I’ve found that there’s
nothing more relaxing than sitting on a bench next to my garden and
listening to my fountain while I read a good book or do some studying.
Putting in a water feature is fairly easy and relatively inexpensive, and
will add immensely to the pleasantness of your garden. Also, the
maintenance level is minimal.

Usually, people install fountains for the benefit of the natural ambience
it provides. For some reason, being around a gorgeous scene of water gives
you a positive energy. This is also good if you practice Tai Chi or some
form of yoga or meditation. The constant drone of the water is exactly
what most people need to concentrate on what they are doing. Even if
you’re not into that kind of stuff, just being in a garden with a fountain
has a sort of meditative quality to it, even if you’re not trying to do
so. I recommend it to anyone.

When you first decide to put in a fountain, you need to put great care
into picking out one that will go well with the rest of your garden. If
you have any other decorations, you want to consider if it goes well with
your motif. Does the fountain you’re considering stand out in your garden
like a sore thumb, or does it look like it was meant to be there? If
you’re like me, you can’t naturally tell whether the fountain will be a
good addition to your garden just by looking at it. So my solution was to
bring my sister (a natural at fashion design and that kind of stuff) along
with a picture of my garden to the store. I was able to get her expert
opinion, as well as see for myself what it would look like. By doing this
I was able to pick a beautiful rock fountain that goes marvelously with
the rest of my garden.

However, I still had a slight problem with supplying my fountain with
power. You see, my garden isn’t very close to my house. I thought it would
look pretty tacky to run an extension cord across my yard, so I had to
come up with another solution. I discussed my situation with a Home Depot
employee, and he quickly found me the exact solution I needed: an
extension cord meant for being buried! All it took was a few hours of
digging a small trench across my yard, and I had power to my fountain
without an unsightly cord running across my yard. After I got over this
little hitch, my fountain plan went beautifully.

So if you’re looking for a way to make your garden a more classy and
beautiful place to be, I hope you consider installing a fountain. The
whole process is surprisingly inexpensive, and I think that you will be
very happy with the results. Having a fountain in your garden is not only
soothing, but it also adds a lot of character to an otherwise bland
garden. Remember, gardens are not just for giving us vegetables! A garden
is a place to go when you want to retreat from the outside world and dwell
in your own thoughts with no disturbance.

Maintaining a Compost Heap

Many people who maintain gardens have a large amount of organic waste, from grass clippings to leaves and dead plants. Unfortunately, many waste money and time having these wastes transported to a landfill. It isn’t just a waste of good compost; it’s a waste of everything that goes into the process of transporting it (the garbage man’s time, the money you pay for the removal, etc). It is truly a travesty.

All this garbage that people are trying to get rid of can be a better supplement for your garden than any fertilizer or chemical. If you properly facilitate the decomposition of all of the garbage, it will alter chemically until it is in such a state that it can be nothing but beneficial nutrition for other plants. Therefore you can turn all the stuff you would have thrown away into top grade fertilizer for your garden.

Usually compost is maintained in a pile somewhere in your backyard. Usually the thought of a compost heap brings disturbing images to ones mind; heaps of rotten garbage emitting a horrid odor. However, if you maintain it correctly you’ll be able to produce great compost without producing an offensive odor. When I first began my compost pile in an effort to improve environmental health, I made several major errors. These included preventing the pile from the oxygen it truly needed, and keeping it to dry. It ended up decomposing in a very non-beneficial way, and producing an odor so foul that I had government agents knocking at my door.

When you are choosing your spot where you will be putting all of these materials, you should aim for a higher square footage. Having a really deep pile of compost is not a good idea, because generally the deeper sections won’t be exposed to anything that is required for the process to work. It is better to spread it all out over a large area. If you have a shed or a tool shack of some sort, it is a possibility to spread it over the roof (with boards to keep it from falling off, of course). I have seen this done several times, and it helps keep the pile out of the way while still maintaining a large square footage.

A compost heap can consist of any organic garbage from your yard, garden or kitchen. This includes leaves, grass, any leftover food that won’t be eaten, or newspaper (no more than a fifth of your pile should consist of newspaper, due to it having a harder time composting with the rest of the materials). Usually if you have a barrel devoted to storing all of these things, it will fill up within several weeks. It is quite easy to obtain compost, but the hard part truly comes in getting it to compost.

After you have begun to get a large assortment of materials in your compost heap, you should moisten the whole pile. This encourages the process of composting. Also chop every element of the pile into the smallest pieces possible. As the materials start to compress and meld together as they decompose, frequently head outside and aerate the pile. You can use a shovel to mix it all up, or an aeration tool to poke dozens of tiny holes into it. Doing this will increase the oxygen flow to each part of the pile, and oxygen is required for any decomposition to take place.

If maintaining a compost pile sounds like something that would interest you, start considering the different placement options. The hardest part about maintaining a pile is choosing a spot that provides enough square footage without intruding on the rest of your yard or garden. While usually you can prevent the horrible odors that most people associate with compost heaps, it’s still not a pleasant thing to have to look at whenever you go for a walk in your garden.

Six Ticks For Organic Gardening

Organic gardening is the way of growing vegetables and fruits with the use of things only found in nature.

Why would one want to indulge in organic gardening?

1.One can easily make compost from garden and kitchen waste. Though this is a bit more time-consuming than buying prepared chemical pesticides and fertilizers, it certainly helps to put garbage to good use and so saves the environment.

2. Organic farming does not use chemicals that may have an adverse affect on your health. This is especially important when growing vegetables. Chemical companies tell us that the chemicals we use are safe if used according to direction, but research shows that even tiny amounts of poisons absorbed through the skin can cause such things as cancer, especially in children.

On the average, a child ingests four to five times more cancer-causing pesticides from foods than an adult. This can lead to various diseases later on in the child’s life. With organic gardening, these incidents are lessened.

Remember, pesticides contain toxins that have only one purpose – to kill living things.

3. Less harm to the environment. Poisons are often washed into our waterways, causing death to the native fish and polluting their habitat.

4.Organic farming practices help prevent the loss of topsoil through erosion.
The Soil Conservation Service says that an estimated 30 – 32 billion tons of soil erodes from United States farmlands every year.

4. Cost savings. One does not need to buy costly chemical fertilizers and pesticides with organic gardening. Many organic recipes for the control of pest and disease come straight from the kitchen cupboard. Sometimes other plants can be grown as companions to the main crop. An example of this is the marigold, which helps to repel aphids from vegetables.

Mixing 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap and 1 cup of cooking oil can make a cheap garden pest spray. Put 3 tablespoons of this mixture in 1 quart of water and spray on plants.

5.A simple mulch of pine needles will help to suppress the growth of weeds as well as keeping the moisture in.

6. Organic gardening practices help to keep the environment safe for future generations.

Picking a Healthy Plant

When it comes to getting started with your garden, you have two choices; planting seeds, or buying entire plants. Both have their own benefits. If you plant seeds and care for them every day, you will find it is a much more rewarding experience when you have a full, healthy plant. However, this method is a lot more risky. I can’t tell you how many seeds I’ve planted and never seen any trace of whatsoever.

If you choose to buy the plant from a nursery and install it in your garden, it reduces a lot of the work involved in making it healthy. However, I have found in the past that many incompetent nursery workers will absolutely ruin the future of the plant by putting certain chemicals or fertilizers in. I have adapted to this incompetence by learning to choose the healthiest plant of the bunch. Here I will discuss some of the techniques I use in my screening process for plants.

It may sound superficial, but the one thing you need to check for on your prospective plants is how nice they look. As far as plants go, you can truly judge a book by its cover. If a plant has been treated healthily and has no diseases or pests, you can almost always tell by how nice it looks. If a plant has grown up in improper soil, or has harmful bugs living in it, you can tell from the holey leaves and wilted stems.

If you’re browsing the nursery shelves looking for your dream plant, you want to exclude anything that currently has flowers. Plants are less traumatized by the transplant if they do not currently have any flowers. It’s best to find ones that just consist of buds. However if all you have to choose from are flowering plants, then you should do the unthinkable and sever all of them. It will be worth it for the future health of the plant. I’ve found that transplanting a plant while it is blooming results in having a dead plant ninety percent of the time.

Always check the roots before you plop down the money to purchase the plant. Of course if the roots are in absolutely terrible condition you will be able to tell by looking at the rest of the plant. But if the roots are just slightly out of shape, then you probably won’t be able to tell just by looking at it. Inspect the roots very closely for any signs of brownness, rottenness, or softness. The roots should always be a firm, perfectly well formed infrastructure that holds all the soil together. One can easily tell if the roots are before or past their prime, depending on the root to soil ratio. If there are a ridiculous amount of roots with little soil, or a bunch of soil with few roots, you should not buy that plant.

If you find any abnormalities with the plant, whether it be the shape of the roots or any irregular features with the leaves, you should ask the nursery employees. While usually these things can be the sign of an unhealthy plant, occasionally there will be a logical explanation for it. Always give the nursery a chance before writing them off as horrendous. After all, they are (usually) professionals who have been dealing with plants for years.

So if you decide to take the easy route and get a plant from a nursery, you just have to remember that the health of the plants has been left up to someone you don’t know. Usually they do a good job, but you should always check for yourself. Also take every precaution you can to avoid transplant shock in the plant (when it has trouble adjusting to its new location, and therefore has health problems in the future). Usually the process goes smoothly, but you can never be too sure.

Optimizing Your Garden for Drought or Water Conservation

Living in Colorado and being a gardener has been rather stressful in the
past few years, as this state has been undergoing a rather severe drought.
The city is imposing watering restrictions which are not giving enough
water to lawns and plants. I’ve had to renovate my garden to make it more
water efficient. Now, because of the techniques I’ve employed, I’m the
only one in my neighborhood with a garden that isn’t completely brown. So
if you live in an area that is going through a drought or if you just want
to save water, I suggest you use some of these techniques as well.

First, I took out all my plants. The soil I was using didn’t retain water
very well, so I had to water about twice as much as necessary in order to
get it to actually absorb into the roots. If you have this same problem,
you can fix it by loading the soil up with lots of compost. This not only
prevents water from escaping, but encourages the plant’s roots to be
healthy and able to survive more.

Once I was done optimizing the soil for my new low water consumption plan,
I was ready to replace all my plants. I decided that the placement of all
my plants would reflect the amount of water necessary to keep them alive.
All the plants that don’t require much water I placed in on one side of my
garden, and then just progressed in the amount of required water to the
other side of the garden. As a result of my new arrangement, I don’t have
to waste water on plants that don’t need it as much.

The installation of a drip irrigation system was another move on my part
that reduced the amount of water I needed to fully water my garden. The
great thing about these systems is that they constantly drip into your
plants, so that every single drop is absorbed. With traditional watering
systems, usually the roots get too overwhelmed with the sheer amount of
water in the soil. Thus, lots just seeps right past. This is all taken
care of with the drip system.

If you still seem to need more water than you can supply to your garden,
you might consider which plants you could replace with less water
dependent plants. If you want a good shrub that doesn’t use up more than
its share of water, look for Heavenly Bamboo. It is not only tolerant of
droughts, but looks rather decorative in any garden. Herbs such as
rosemary are useful in preparing meals, and are rarely thirsty.

If you’re trying to find flowers that will still be lush and beautiful
despite the lower amounts of water, look for penstemon varieties like
Garnet, Apple Blossom, Moonbeam, and Midnight. You can attract
hummingbirds and butterflies with varieties like Cosmos and Yarrow. The
best part about all these plants is that they don’t look rugged and
withstanding, but they sure are. Your neighbors wont be saying “Look at
them, they downgraded their plants just to withstand the drought. What
chumps!” Instead they will be marveling over how you keep your flowers so
beautiful in the midst of the watering regulations.

One of my favorite drought resistant plants is the Lavender plant. I could
go on for pages about it. A large group of Lavender plants looks
unbelievably gorgeous in your garden, and hardly requires any water to
flourish. Pineapple sage is another personal favorite. It is a 2+ foot
shrub that smells strangely of pineapple. It’s another major attracter of
hummingbirds, and the leaves are also useful to add taste to drinks.

So if you are in the position I was, and you’re dealing with a drought and
perhaps watering regulations, I suggest you try some of the things I’ve
mentioned. Even if you’re just trying to conserve water or be generally
more efficient with it, I think you’ll still be able to benefit.

Gardening Experience

It all started a few weeks after I moved in to my first house. I was
excited just to have my own grass to mow, since I had been in apartments
and condos for quite a while. In between plans to paint walls and renovate
the inside to exactly how I like, I thought it would be a good idea to
start a fruit garden so that I could have some fresh produce and put my
yard to use. At that point I didn’t really know anything at all about
gardening. But still in my spunky youthful years, I decided I didn’t need
help. How hard could it be to start a garden and grow stuff? After all, it
happens in nature all the time and nobody even has to do anything.

I already had a grassless patch in my yard where it looked like the
previous owner had attempted a garden. But any attempt they had made
turned out to be an utter travesty. The area was full of rocks and weeds,
with no signs of any agreeable plants. I spent several hours of work
spread over several days to clear out the entire area, leaving nothing but
dirt. At that point, however, I didn’t realize the difference between
“dirt” and “soil”. I was dealing with barren, hard, nutritionless, and
unforgiving land.

I made some attempt at making my garden look nice; although I think even
Martha Stewart would have had difficulties. I took some stained boards
that were sitting in my basement (quite convenient, no?) and used them as
a border for my garden, to keep out all the pests that couldn’t jump more
than a foot (I figured I would be safe from lawn gnomes). I used the pile
of rocks I had collected from the garden to make a creepy shrine looking
thing in front of it. I don’t know what I was thinking when I did that.

I went to the store that very day, and picked out whatever looked tasty.
Strawberries? Sure! Watermelon? Yeah! I hacked away a hole in the
rock-hard ground and poked the seed in. After that, I think I watered it
faithfully every day for several weeks before realizing that it was not
going to grow anything. But even after I had that realization, I continued
to water in hopes that my seeds would pull a last minute sprout on me. But
I knew there was no hope, and I was heartbroken. After all those hours of
pulling up weeds and tossing rocks into a pile, I had no fruit to show for
my labor.

So, feeling dejected and betrayed, I logged onto the internet and searched
for a guide to gardening. I quickly ran across a site that led me to
realize the true skill required for gardening. It was then I learned about
soil consistency, nutrients, ideal watering conditions, seasons, and all
those things. After I read up on my area and how to grow fruits, I learned
exactly what to do. I learned how to get the ideal soil, when to plant the
seeds, how much to water, etc. Just a night of browsing the internet and
printing off sources, and I was totally ready for the next planting season.

If you’re in the position I was, and you’re just itching to start a new
garden… I urge you to learn from my mistake. Make sure you do plenty of
proper research on the types of plants you’re trying to grow, along with
the climate. Spend money on good soil, good fertilizer, and good garden
tools. Hopefully you don’t have to go through the emotional disaster that
I went through.

Installing a Drip Irrigation System

If you’re looking for ways to keep your garden watered without wasting too
much time and money, you’ve probably gone through a lot of options in your
mind. Maybe you’ve considered a sprinkler, a hose, or a good old-fashioned
watering can. All of these methods might be convenient, but most of the
time you will end up wasting water on plants that don’t need any more. If
you live in a drought stricken area like I do, you know that every bit of
water counts. I ended up getting a drip irrigation system. I haven’t
regretted this decision at all.

When you install a drip irrigation system, you can choose one of two
varieties: above ground and below ground. The above ground version drips
small amounts of water continuously onto the ground, and allows it to soak
in. It is all regulated from a pressure controller, which ensures that the
water just comes out at a drip instead of a spray or a stream. These
pressure regulators are very inexpensive. The whole drip system can be set
up with a pressure regulator and a garden hose with holes poked in it
(although it is ideal for you to get a pipe designed for this type of use,
I’ve found that the hose method works acceptably).

The underground system is a bit more of a pain to install and maintain.
But if you’re really into the aesthetic aspect of your garden and don’t
want any visible watering system, then you might consider it worth it.
It’s essentially the same as the above ground version, only a small trench
is dug for the hose or pipe prior to any planting. This allows the water
direct access to the roots for the most watering efficiency. Plus, you can
impress your neighbors by having a beautiful garden without ever going
outside to water it! They’ll be baffled.

To choose between the two systems, you need to take several things into
account. Do you have the same plant layout year round? If it is always
changing, you probably won’t want to bury your hose. It can be a pain to
dig it up and re-align it with all your new plants every year or so. Even
if your plant layout never changes, you need to consider how much you
really mind seeing a hose in your garden. If it really bothers you to the
extent that you’re willing to work for a few hours to get rid of it, then
by all means bury it. But otherwise I would suggest staying above ground
if for nothing else than the convenience of repairing and rearranging.

One of the main advantages of the drip irrigation system is its
efficiency. Instead of spraying large amounts of water willy-nilly like a
hose does, it makes the most of your precious water by putting it exactly
where it is needed. It can also provide your garden with constant
watering, instead of just having to go thirsty whenever you’re not around
to water it.

So if you’re looking for an easy, cheap, convenient, and efficient
alternative watering method, you should go out to the gardening store
today and purchase the necessary items to install a drip irrigation
system. I think you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to maintain a
garden after you have it.

Picking the Ideal Location for your Garden

Once you have picked what garden you want, there are many other factors
you need to decide before you actually get to work with your gardening
tools. Mainly you need to choose its location. This is usually decided by
several factors: How you will water it, how much shade it needs, etc. Some
of these questions can be very important in deciding whether your garden
lives or dies, so don’t take them lightly. You need to take each one into
special consideration.

Choosing the garden’s location within your yard is one of the more
important things to decide. You want to choose a location that will
provide an ideal climate for the plants in your garden. I don’t know what
type of garden you’re dealing with so I can’t give you specific advice,
but if you do a Google search for the plant you’re dealing with then
you’ll find a plethora of sites informing you about the perfect conditions
for its growing. After this, it’s just a matter of finding the most shaded
or most sunny spot in your yard.

Another deciding factor is how you plan on watering your garden. If you
have a sprinkler system already installed for your grass, then it could be
a good idea to put your garden in the middle of your yard. Then it will
get watered at the same time, and require no extra work from your part.
But if this doesn’t provide for a good location for your garden, then you
might end up watering it by hose or dragging a sprinkler out there. In
this case, just make sure your garden is within the ideal distance for a
hose to reach. While this might not seem like a good thing to base the
entire location of your garden on, you’ll be surprised at how nice it is
to plan out in advanced.

Getting the perfect amount of shade for your garden can be a difficult
endeavor. Once you have a basic idea for where you want your garden, you
might want to watch it and record how many hours it spends in sunlight and
how many it spends in shade. Compare your findings to an online web site,
and you should be able to determine whether the spot you chose is ideal or
not for planting and starting your garden in. Of course the amount will
change as the seasons change, but this should give you a good idea of what
to basically expect for the rest of the year. If necessary, later you can
put up some kind of shade to protect your garden from getting too much sun.

After you’ve determined the ideal place for your garden and whether it has
the right amount of sunlight, and whether you will be able to conveniently
water it, you’re one step closer to actually starting your garden. Of
course there are other factors that I have overlooked here, but mostly you
should be able to decide whether your location is good or not based on
common sense. Just think: If I were a plant, would I be able to flourish
here? If you can honestly answer yes, then I think its time for you to
head out to your local gardening store and buy the necessary soil and
fertilizer to get started! Have fun!

Other Factors in Garden Creation

So now you’ve picked out what type of garden you will have, what the
location will be, and what kind of fertilizer you need, now is the time to
really get started in choosing your garden environment. First you’ll want
to choose what your garden barriers will be. What will separate your
garden from the rest of the world? Next you’ll want to choose the
decorations and support for your plants. Often some kind of metal mesh is
necessary to keep your plant standing up. You will also want to choose how
much soil and fertilizer to buy, and how to arrange all the plants in your
garden.

Choosing a border is actually a fairly important step in getting your
garden started. It might not actually affect the well-being of the plants,
but having a garden is a fairly aesthetic ordeal for many people anyways.
So usually you will want to choose between metal and wood. You can stack
up boards around the perimeter of your garden, and give it a rather nice
cabin look. If you’re looking for a more modern look, you can obtain some
metal lining at your local home improvement store for rather cheap, and
installation is medium difficulty.

Finding something nice-looking to support your plants can be a little bit
more challenging. Sometimes a short metal pole can work well, but often
for plants such as tomatoes you will need a wire mesh for it to pull
itself up on. You can find these at any gardening store, usually
pre-shaped in a sort of cone shape ideal for plants. The plant just grows
up through it, and usually it will last until the plant is grown enough to
support itself. After that you can take a pair of wire-cutters and just
snip it free.

Deciding how much soil to buy can be slightly easier. Look up information
on your plants and find out the ideal soil depth. Then dig out that much
from your garden, take the measurements, and find out the exact amount of
cubic feet of soil that you will need. Go to the store and buy it,
preferably adding on a few bags just so you can replenish the supply if it
compresses or runs out. If you live in an area where the ground is rough,
dry, and barren of nutrients, then you might even want to add a few inches
of depth to the original recommendation.

Arranging the plants is rather important to the success of your garden.
I’m not talking about some kind of feng-shui thing, but depending on your
watering, some plants might hog all the water and leave the other plants
high and dry. Some plants have longer roots than others, and are more
aggressive in the collection of water. If you place one of these plants
next to a plant with weaker, shorter roots, it will quickly hijack the
water supply for itself, and choke out the other plant.

I hope I’ve led you to realize that placement isn’t the only important
thing about a garden. There are many other factors that might not seem
very significant, but spending a proper amount of time considering them
could change the outcome of your garden. So if you’re working on building
a garden, use and reference you can (the library, the internet, and
magazines) to look in to some of the factors I’ve mentioned.