Shaded Lawns: Some Advice For The Keen Gardener

Shaded Lawns: Some Advice For The Keen Gardener

While most of your lawn is probably in direct sunlight for most of the day, there will be patches that remain in the shade, especially as the seasons change.  In the winter, for instance, the sun doesn’t rise high in the sky. This pattern creates long shadows for several months, leading grass in some parts of your lawn to be deprived of the light it needs to thrive.  Often, there’s nothing you can do to remove the source of the shadows, either. It could be your two-story house or a large, protected tree (or something on your neighbor’s property). Thus, your only option is to adopt proper lawn care. But what does that involve when parts of the lawn experience a lot of shade? Here’s some advice.  Keep The Lawn Hydrated The first step is to keep the lawn hydrated, especially in the summer months. If grass doesn’t have sufficient water, it will brown more quickly. Choose Shade-Loving Species Of Grass Next, you’ll need to be selective of the grass species you choose. While most varieties need around six hours of sunlight per day to bounce back in the spring, some species can survive low-light conditions for extended periods. Savvy gardeners, therefore, vary grass species across their lawns according to expected light levels. If they know a particular corner will struggle to get the sunshine it needs to thrive, they sow more robust seeds here.  This strategy is one that many stately homes use to keep their lawns looking fresh and verdant year-round. They’ll vary the species they plant according to the expected conditions. If light levels are going to be low, then they will scatter more seeds of grass species that can survive them.  Hire Professional Help Have you ever been to a friend’s house and marveled at how they managed to get a perfect lawn? Well, usually, the state of their grass has nothing to do with their personal efforts. Instead, they’ve usually hired professional help.  Affordable lawn care might be the right option for you if you’re a busy person who doesn’t have enough time to spend in the garden, tending to your lawn. Professionals put your grass on a schedule, feeding and watering it periodically according to the prevailing weather conditions and climate.  Make Weed Removal A Priority The combination of shade and weeds will immediately kill patches of grass, trying to survive in low light conditions. Invasive plant species steal resources from the grass, causing it to die back. Be sure that you operate a robust weeding schedule to remove unwanted plants the moment that they appear in vulnerable spots on your lawn.  Create Bigger Boundaries With Your Borders Pexels – CC0 License Grass near borders tends to receive more shade than grass in the middle of your lawn. Furthermore, it has to compete with neighboring plants for resources. Therefore, professional gardeners suggest that you find ways to increase the gap between the plants in your borders and the grass. The more significant the distance, the less likely the grass will...
How To Enjoy Your Garden In Winter

How To Enjoy Your Garden In Winter

Winter is usually seen as a quiet time in the garden, with not much to do or enjoy. If you miss working in the garden when the weather is cold, there is plenty to do in the garden during the colder months. Here are some ideas to get you gardening over winter.  Appreciate evergreens. Choose a range of evergreens, like box balls and topiary, or large shrubs to add some much-needed structure to your garden all year round. Choose an evergreen, so you get some shape and color even in the depths of winter. Create cover. Winter sometimes brings bright, sunny days, even if it’s cold, so you might find yourself wanting to sit outside (well-wrapped up of course) to enjoy the sun. Make this more comfortable by creating some cover in the garden to protect you from the elements. Fence panels, climbing plants, umbrellas, or Austex pergolas all work well for this. Add a patio heater to keep you cozy. Plant bare-root plants. Winter is the best time to plant bare-root plants. A bare-root plant is one sold without any soil around the roots. It’s an economical way of planting, and you can find a much bigger variety of fruit trees and bushes. You can also find bare-root roses, hedges, and perennials. Enjoy winter flowers. There are several flowers that you can enjoy in winter, such as hellebores, snowdrops, crocus, aconites, and winter iris. Some of these plants, like witch hazel and daphne have strong scents. If you need a little color in the garden, look for more seasonal plants. Tidy up. A seasonal tidy up can help you get things ready for the busy time in spring. Spend a morning outside tidying up the shed and the greenhouse. When the greenhouse is less full, you can get a good tidy in, and ready it for spring. Sharpen your tools and check your lawnmower is in good condition, so you’re ready when spring arrives. Attract wildlife. A lot of wildlife needs some extra help in winter, and offering them something in your garden can be very rewarding. Put out more food for birds, and plant things that still flower, so there’s something for insects too. Enjoy the greenhouse. It may be less full than usual, but you can still work in the greenhouse in the winter. Tidy up overwintering pelargoniums, grow some citrus plants, or plant a pot of succulents. In January and February, you can start to sew seeds in a heated propagate. If temperatures really drop, you can use bubble wrap to insulate the greenhouse. Plant winter containers. Fill a container or plant pot with evergreen plans or plants with bright berries and flowers. Position these near the house to cheer up a dull garden, and where you can enjoy them. Seeing some color and something living can brighten up, even the dullest winter day.  There’s no reason your garden can’t bring you joy all year round. Prepare your garden for winter now while the weather is...
Where to Save, and Spend, in Your Urban Edible Garden

Where to Save, and Spend, in Your Urban Edible Garden

To grow an urban, edible garden is genuinely an art. Unfortunately, just like art, it can end up costing you quite a bit of money. The good news is that by knowing where to splurge and where to save, you will have enough in your budget to get the best results and the most delicious fruit and vegetables. Read on for some advice.  Save on pots  Plant pots can be surprisingly expensive, especially when you have to buy a lot of them. Fortunately, there are some ways to save on the urban, edible garden cost.  The first is to make your own. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about whipping up those concrete things you’ve seen on Pintrest. Instead, all you need is some scrap newspaper and a special tool. Then you can make biodegradable pots that you can place directly in the ground: something that will not only save you money, but time repotting as well.  Picture found at Pixabay – License CC0 Alternatively, why not consider repurposing other containers you have lying around the garden and use those as pots? In fact, just about anything will do including an old welly boot, a kitchen sink, or even the kids paddling pool they no longer use. Just make sure you give them a clean (avoid using containers that have held toxic substances) and line with landscaping fabric.  Save on running costs.  Another area in which you can save money in your urban edible garden is on running costs, with one of the most expensive of these often being water. After all, no matter where you are located, your plants aren’t going to grow without water, and so you will need to give your garden a good soaking at least 2-3 times a week!  Happily, there are some savvy ways you can keep your garden water costs down. In particular, you should consider catching rainwater which is 100% free and use that for your garden. You can even get rainwater harvesting tanks and pumps from suppliers like The Tank Factory online. Something that makes collecting and redistributing rainwater in your garden as easy as pie.  Invest in compost  One area in which you won’t want to scrimp is the compost you use. In fact, if you are going to be eating the produce, you are growing organic compost as a must. This is because it’s both full of nutrients and much safer too.  Invest in seedlings  When growing an edible urban garden, it can be tempting to opt for seeds. In fact, for just a few dollars, you can get a fantastic selection of seeds, including heirloom varieties.  Image sourced at Pixabay – License CC0 However, seeds require loads of time and love to germinate, as well as specialist equipment such as greenhouses. With that in mind, if you are just starting your garden, or are short on time, investing in seedlings which can be planted straight into the ground is a great idea.  It will also give you the best chance of ensuring a decent edible crop as well. Rather than having to hover nervously over your beds for weeks to see if anything decides to...
Why You Don’t Feel Cozy In Your Garden, And What To Do About It

Why You Don’t Feel Cozy In Your Garden, And What To Do About It

It used to be the case that gardens were purely places you wandered around on foot. Then, people saw that they could make the experience better by bringing indoor elements, like tables and chairs, outside.  Pexels – CC0 License In the early days, these weren’t the comfiest. Often manufacturers made sets of cast iron covered in thick paint to ensure that they could withstand the weather.  Even with the invention of waterproof plastics, things were slow to change. It’s only recently that we’ve seen the introduction of weaved vinyl seating and furniture to the garden. Before then, you either had to make do with solid wood or metal.  The following are some of the reasons you don’t feel cozy in your garden and what you can do about it.  You Don’t Have A Canopy Covering Having a roof over your head is important, even when enjoying time outdoors.  The reason is simple: it protects you from the elements. Sometimes you don’t want to bake yourself in the sun. Other times, you want to sit outside, but not in the rain. Here, having some roofing over your patio and decking can help enormously.  You Can’t Recline Easily  Pexels – CC0 License Sitting upright is physiologically stressful. It’s what you do when you’re at work, tapping away at your computer. Reclining, by contrast, is what you do after a long day in the office. There’s something intrinsically enjoyable about it.  Usually, though, you can’t recline in your garden. You have to make do with seating with straight backs – not ideal.  There is, however, a simple solution: invest in an Adirondack chair. This form of seating is specially made for outdoor settings and lets you sit back, relax, and enjoy a good book. What could be cozier than that?  You Don’t Have A Table  Arbors and regular seating are okay if you want to sit and observe your surroundings. But if you want to do anything else, like eat a meal, you need a table.  Tables are useful for a variety of reasons. For starters, they let you keep all your creature comforts to hand. Nobody wants to balance their hot cup of coffee on an uneven lawn. It’s much better to place it on a proper surface. Plus, you can use tables to dress up your outdoor spaces and make them feel more like regular rooms in their own right. Everything feels much less sparse.  You’re Not Making Proper Use Of Lighting Pexels – CC0 License You might think that outdoor spaces don’t require lighting. After all, they have the sun for that.  But if you spend time outdoors in the evening or at night, you soon discover that you need a bit of artificial light to make it feel cozy.  When it comes to outdoor lighting, you have a bevy of options. One idea is to hang strings of fairy lights to your canopies that light up automatically when the sun goes down. Some people use natural candles too. Just be sure that your decking is fireproofed if you go down this...
Growing a Vegetable Patch: Where to Start

Growing a Vegetable Patch: Where to Start

Starting a small vegetable patch is a great way to start growing things that you can eat. If you’ve never grown vegetables before, you might be unsure about where to begin. Maybe you’ve attempted it before, but you didn’t have much luck, and you want to make sure you get it right this time. Even beginners can have great success with growing vegetables if you know the key things that you need to do. It doesn’t take much to get started with a small patch. If you’re thinking of starting a vegetable patch, follow these steps to start growing vegetables that you can actually eat. Find the Right Spot Planting your vegetables in the right place is essential. Where you put your vegetable patch will depend on what you intend to plant. Some crops do best when they’re slightly in the shade, while others need plenty of sunshine. However, what you shouldn’t do is plant your vegetables under a tree or in heavy shade. If you do this, your plants are unlikely to thrive because they won’t be getting enough light. Choose a plot that’s on level ground and gets enough sunshine, as well as one that is perhaps conveniently close to a water butt. Choose the Right Plants There are various things that you can plant on your vegetable patch. Some will be easier to grow than others, so be careful about what you choose if you’re a beginner. To successfully grow your own food, look at vegetables that are easy to grow like chilies, potatoes, beans and zucchinis. It’s also a good idea to choose crops that complement each other and grow well together. Choose the right plants, and they can help to protect each other, preventing pests and other problems. Start with just a few plants, and you can always expand later if you have space. Image from Pixabay – CC0 License Design Your Plot Instead of going in without a plan, it’s useful to design your plot so that you know what will go where. Think about what you want to plant and where you want to plant it. If you plan to have them in groups of four, you can rotate them to help prevent pests and disease. Write down the crops that you want to plant and create a drawing of how you want to plant them. Make sure that you don’t plan to make your vegetable plot too crowded. You need to leave space for everything to grow. Prepare Your Soil The right soil is essential for growing vegetables. You can check your soil by doing a pH test, which will tell you how acid or alkaline it is. You should have neutral soil for growing vegetables if you want to have the most success. For advice on what you should be using, it can be helpful to speak to someone at your local nursery or garden center. Raised beds might be better if the local soil isn’t right for growing. If you want to start a vegetable patch, get the basics right so that you can successfully grow your...
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