What You Need to Know About Apartment Gardening

What You Need to Know About Apartment Gardening

With the pandemic situation, we have been forced to self-isolate and adapt to an indoor lifestyle. And while it’s easy to stay idle inside your apartment, it’s important to keep ourselves occupied. One great way to stay productive is by trying indoor gardening. According to researchers from Chungnam National University, indoor gardening comes with numerous benefits—from relieving stress, to decreasing blood pressure. The good news is that you don’t need a big space to get started, as an apartment garden can be just as ideal for lush greenery as a regular garden. If you’re ready to set up your own, we have gathered some tips from here in the US and from Europe that will guide you. Set Up a Sunny Space The first thing you’ll need to do when setting up your garden is find a space that attracts some sunshine. Whether it’s on your balcony or by the windows in your living room, getting an ample amount of sunlight is vital for the growth of any plant. While you’re at it, you can also get creative when building your apartment garden. If you have a balcony, you can put some wooden crates to use as flower boxes. You can also take your cue from Parisians who like to create living walls for their urban gardens. This not only looks stunning but also increases the air quality of the surrounding space. Paris residents have even been encouraged to turn to this trend by the city government who now provide planting kits. While you don’t have to cover an entire wall, even a few plants will go a long way to improving your apartment’s living space. Start with Succulents Succulents can easily be spotted in any trendy apartment, but the popularity of these plants can be traced back to Sweden. True enough, The Local reveals that nature-loving Swedes started adding succulents in their homes because they’re easy to care for. From Aloe vera to the Zebra plant, succulents only need to be watered occasionally. It’s important to remember, though, they only thrive in well-lit areas. Fortunately, there are many fun ways to place them in your apartment, thanks to their portability. On that note, why not set aside space for a hanging succulent terrarium by following our own guide. Add a Water Feature Elevate your apartment garden’s design by drawing inspiration from the British and their penchant for water features. The good news is that you don’t need much space or to break any ground, with features like a Mixed Metal Water Fountain being a self-contained unit that would fit perfectly on a balcony or even indoors. Whether it’s placing a fountain on the balcony or installing a wall fountain, there’s one thing you’ll need to prepare for before adding any feature: the plumbing. While you might be tempted to grab a wrench and do some DIY, changing a single part can affect your entire water supply. And with HomeServe outlining how burst pipes are one of the most common issues facing households it pays to avoid any potential mishaps by seeking professional help for this modification. Ensuring that you have the proper plumbing for your cool new additions allows you to tend to your plants with ease, while ensuring your home is safe from any water damage. Choose the Right Potting Mix Since apartment plants aren’t exposed to most natural resources, veer from using regular soil and find the appropriate potting mix for each of your plants. For instance, succulents require soil that’s absorbent and coarse, while herbs call for a mixture that’s much smoother and lighter. And whichever soil use you use, be sure to repot your apartment plants every year, so they’re provided with the proper nutrients. Protect Your Plants Last but not least, don’t forget to prevent the presence of pests. Contrary to popular belief, pests aren’t only limited to the outside, as these sneaky creatures can manage to find a way to your apartment plants through soil or fertilizer. And while people typically use pesticide to deal with them, they’re harmful for indoor spaces due to the toxic chemicals they contain. Luckily there are organic alternatives for eliminating pests, such as a salt spray, eucalyptus oil, and chrysanthemum tea. If you need more tips on indoor or outdoor gardening do check out our articles on Miss Smarty...
What To Do With Your Garden

What To Do With Your Garden

There are some big countries in the world right now that are being made to stay indoors. The latest one to follow suit is the UK. With tightening restrictions, now might be the perfect time to get your garden ready for the season. The world has changed completely, but one beautiful thing is that all people have to do now is go outside and enjoy the natural world. People will be going for walks and runs because that’s all they can do. Even if not in complete isolation like some countries, the US is practicing social distancing and people are staying at home more. This leads to being out in the garden and enjoying the peace and quiet of gardening. It becomes almost a hobby and a way to pass the time for some people. So what are you to do with your garden at this time? We’ve got some ideas. Image Source A Fresh Start If you have never been into gardening before, and your garden is a bit untamed at the minute, then you might want to think about a fresh start. Sometimes it’s needed when your garden looks so out of shape compared to what you want it to look like. A fresh start often means clearing everything out, including anything like unsightly trees and bushes that you might have. Moore’s Tree Service is just one company you could contact to do the work for you. It gives you some more space to either turn it into the grass, or perhaps a flower bed, or you could even turn it into another tree patch and plant some trees that you actually like. A fresh start by tearing everything down is always going to make a big impact on your garden. Online Shopping Then you can think about doing some online shopping to fill your garden with things that you know are going to make it more aesthetically pleasing. However, we know that some people just love the experience of going into a garden center and picking out cute little ornaments. Ornaments can be delivered, and they will make your garden look so much better. You can usually find more discounts online as well! Get Relaxing Talking about online shopping, why don’t you think about looking for a hot tub to put in your garden. When all of this blows over people are going to be ready to relax and have fun, and what better way to do that than in a hot tub in your own back garden. You could also look online at online furniture sets if you have space and you don’t have a set at the minute. It gives you that social space you might be missing at the...
How To Water Phalaenopsis Orchids

How To Water Phalaenopsis Orchids

Phalaenopsis Orchids are believed to be the most popular kind of orchids. People commonly refer to the them as the “Moth Orchids”. Taking good care of them is very important, same as knowing the dos and don’ts when dealing with them. They are not your typical houseplants you water in whatever way you feel like. For Phalaenopsis orchids, you have to be deliberate when watering them. You can’t afford to overwater them. Underwatering your orchid is a manageable situation unlike overwatering which is more dangerous to the health of the plant because it is not able to absorb the water. Overwatering is believed to be the number one reason most Phalaenopsis orchids get into trouble. These orchids, being epiphytic plants, naturally cling to trees in their natural tropical environment. They have fleshy, thick roots that help them go to the air to absorb moisture. Overwatering can endanger these roots which underlines the importance of knowing how to water Phalaenopsis orchids properly. Keeping the room temperature in mind when watering your Phalaenopsis orchid can also be helpful. When you have cooler temperature, you should know it’s time to cut down on watering it. When you have warmer temperatures, then it’s most probably the right time to water it more. This means summer and winter determine your watering routine. This is an important factor to note if you want to keep your orchid happy and healthy. Watering Your Phalaenopsis Orchids Correctly Just like every other houseplants’ owners, first-time owners of Phalaenopsis orchids tend to be overzealous about the watering of their new plant. However, overwatering is capable of preventing your orchids from draining properly, making the plants soggy and causing harm to their roots. Learning how to water Phalaenopsis orchids in the correct way is important. They are not made to endure submersion, so excess water is harmful to their health. Sometimes, root damage may be not be reversible and can cause the failure of orchids, or in the worst case scenario, death. Generally, Phalaenopsis orchids are watered once a week but it’s also important to feel the substrate with your finger before watering your plant. If wet, don’t water it till it’s dry. Also, lifting the pot up to check the weight can be helpful in knowing if there’s a need to water your orchid or not. If it’s lighter, you will know you have to water the plant. If heavy, you need to hold off on watering it because water still remains in the pot. Because Phalaenopsis orchids don’t have water-storing organs, don’t let them dry completely before watering them. Let water run till it gets out of the pot through the holes in it. Getting water on your leaves or between them can cause them to rot, a situation which can cause plant death. It’s better to water from the side and not from the top to prevent water getting on the leaves. As time goes on, you’ll understand the pot more; how heavy it feels when your orchid requires water and its heaviness when there’s still moisture inside. After you might have watered your orchid, check pot’s weight. This will help you know the right time to water the plant again when pot is lighter. The pot with moisture may look different. An orchid in clay pot will have a darker look when it is still wet. If it has a light look, it might require watering. Don’t use chemically treated or softened water to water your orchid. Water should be able to pour swiftly through your pot. If water is getting trapped in it, your potting mix might be extremely dense. After watering, check back in few minutes to empty saucer so there’s no water sitting around close to the orchid. Ensure the pot you’re housing your Phalaenopsis orchid in comes with drainage holes. Your orchid can’t be properly watered if there are no holes available for water to drain through. We’ve emphasized the importance of water not staying in your pot, so it is important for water to effectively drain through drainage holes. If your orchid comes in a pot that has no holes, endeavor to repot in a pot with enough drainage holes in its bottom. Try to water your orchid in the morning. Watering your plant at night lets water stagnate on Phalaenopsis’ growing tips. It attracts fungal and bacterial infections. Ensure your orchid stays dry through the night. Orchids tend to tell you when they need something different from you and you have to be attentive to such clues. You should know how they respond to different climates in order to change your watering routine to suit them. Factors That Affect Watering Knowing how to water Phalaenopsis orchids in a proper way is extremely important; it could make them thrive or destroy them. At the heart of watering your plant correctly is understanding the factors that affect it. We will discuss below some factors you have to consider when drawing a watering routine for your orchid. Humidity When the weather is hot or dry, your orchids may need watering twice in a week or you may need to increase your room’s humidity. You can measure the room’s humidity with a hygrometer, a device you can pick up in a store. You may need more humidity in the room and acquiring a humidity tray is a way to get that. These trays can also be bought in a store. Ensure the water on your tray doesn’t touch the orchid pot’s bottom because much exposure to water can make the roots deteriorate. Once water evaporates from your tray, there will be the needed humid climate in the potting medium. Misting your orchids is another way to increase humidity. Spray bottle can be employed for this process. Considering the fact water evaporates partially quickly, your orchids will need to be misted daily, or several times daily, depending on the dryness of your climate. The level of humidity around you should help you develop a watering...
Tips For Tidying The Garden This Spring

Tips For Tidying The Garden This Spring

The world may be a little turned around right now, but in the wake of self-isolation and social distancing, it’s the perfect time to turn your attention to your home. Your house and garden need your time, and with the weather moving into the spring, it’s the best time of year to get the garden tidied and ready for everything to open once more. A messy garden is easily ignored when life is filled with work, but if you now have the time, let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can get your garden tidied and ready for that warmer weather.  Image Source: Pexels The first thing to do is to allocate some time to cleaning out your garden. As you’re at home, you can rope the kids in to help! Getting it all done in one go will let you step back and see what you’re dealing with right now. You can get the weeds and leaves cleared, get out the lawnmower and get it looking tidied enough to assess what you need to do next.Once you’ve sorted the lawn, get some professional advice from companies such as Minnesota Tree Surgeons, as they can tell you whether you need to cut back your garden trees. Sometimes, trees lean in the strong winds and can brush up against the side of the house. You’ll need their expert advice and help when it comes to cutting them back.Get some perspective when it comes to your garden. Yes, it’s a big job, but you’ve been in the cold for months now, and there just hasn’t been the time to clear it all out. Check out other gardens online, by all means, but try not to judge yours too harshly. The best thing that you can do is get stuck in!If there are any stone benches in your garden right now, it’s time to get out the pressure washer. Grubby chairs that have been stained by the weather, mud, and debris are in dire need of a cleanup. Don’t let them stay grubby when you could be working on getting them properly scrubbed. You can do the same with wooden benches, too. Re-treating them is essential after the bad weather!Cleaning out the rest of the garden furniture and your garden tools is a must. They’ve lived in a musty shed for some time now. You can also get stuck in and clean the shed while you are at it. You can give the shed that much-needed lick of paint and sweep the whole thing out. Check your tools over and ensure that mice and other critters haven’t eaten through anything. It’s vital that you look after your things and check the wiring of the tools before you plug anything in just good sense. These are challenging times to live in, but a beautiful garden can provide an excellent distraction to all that worry. Take the time to plan your garden clear out properly, and you’ll have the most beautiful space to...
How To Create The Ultimate Kid-Friendly Back Yard

How To Create The Ultimate Kid-Friendly Back Yard

Your back yard should be a haven for the whole family, the kids included. It should be a place where they can express themselves, make as much noise as they want, get plenty of fresh air and exercise and have all the fun in the world. It should also be a space that is safe, and attractive to the rest of the family. In this post, we are going to look at some of the ways in which you can create the ultimate kid-friendly back yard, with tips for making it fun, calm, safe and enjoyable for everyone all year round. Ready to find out how? Let’s go! Image credit: Pixababy CC0 License Incorporate natural elements Where possible, incorporate as many natural elements int your garden. In terms of sustainability, this is much better for the environment, but it also gives children the chance to really connect with the natural world around them and explore textures, smells and sounds. For example, you could use decorative rocks for landscaping, dig out a rockery to make a little natural sandpit, have rope or tire swings hanging from the branches from trees –  just make sure that they are strong branches first! Use playground tiles If you have decided to put up swings and slides, you may well be concerned about the safety and giving them a soft landing space if they were to fall. While bark chippings and grass are ideal solutions, if you are looking for something easier to lay down and maintain, rubber or foam playground tiles are a great choice.  They come in a wide choice of colors, so you can have them to blend in with nature or bright ones to add a fun pop of color. The usually interlock, and can often be made of recycled materials, such as rubber tires, so they can be environmentally friendly. Creating a seating area for the grown-ups We would say the kids need somewhere to sit, but it is rare for most kids to stay sitting down for more than a few minutes at a time. Instead, when it comes to your seating areas, keep the adults who are on supervising duty in mind.  Make sure that there is a clear and unobstructed view of the garden, particularly if you have any water features or play equipment or steps or younger children. A raised patio or decking area is usually a good option for this. Think about making sure they are comfortable and have somewhere to put down their book or drink when they inevitably have to run to tend to a grazed knee or a rogue child in the treehouse! Chalkboard walls Kids love drawing, usually where they are not supposed to! Direct their creativity by covering one of your walls or fences with chalkboard paint, which is cheaply and readily available at most hardware stores. Give them a tub of playground chalks and let them loose; you never know, you may have the next Picasso on your hands! Build a treehouse Treehouses are the ultimate in childhood garden fun. Big or small, rustic or professional, kids will love climbing up and hiding out with a blanket and some snacks, and watching the world from up high. If heights are not your thing, or you do not have any trees, a summer house or playhouse is a good alternative. This gives your kids somewhere to go that is sheltered from the elements and gives them a bit of privacy, as well as encouraging role play and imaginative play. Build a wonderful water world When kids are grumpy, bored, arguing and bickering with each other, just add water! Your garden is the perfect place to set up a water play area. A plastic paddle pool or a water tray make great places to float toy boats in and splash about in. If you have some old guttering or pipes, attach them to a fence or a wall to make a water wall for hours of free and easy entertainment. Repurpose household items Look around your house and yard; what is lying about that can be used for something different? For example, some old pallets could become a mud kitchen, or if you are particularly handy, a kids picnic bench. Old guttering could be used in the water world we have mentioned above, and all sorts of containers from the house can be used to grow plants and make it a little more fun for the kids- old gum boot plant pots, anyone? Light it up Who says the fun has to stop when the sun goes down? Extend those summer evenings even further by lighting up your garden. Twinky fairy lights hung from the fences and walls, solar-powered lanterns and tealights in glass jars are all low cost and simple ways to add some light to your garden, giving the children much more playtime in the garden, and creates a sense of ambience and calmness for the adults who are supervising them. Throw some shade A shaded area is vital if you have children, to protect them when the sun is at it’s strongest. There are various ways you can do this – by planting lots of big trees and bushes to create natural shade, or by building up gazebos and arbors. If you want something a little less permanent, tents and teepees make ideal places for the kids to go and chill out when the heat gets too much – throw in some pillows and you have yourself a cute little reading and relaxing nook. Space is out The most important thing that you can give your child in their back yard is space. If they have a big, flat area, they can have hours of fun playing soccer, basketball, hula-hooping, riding bikes and trikes and taking out toys from the house. Whether you opt for a concreted spot, rubber matting or lawn, it is entirely up to you. By putting just one or two of these elements...
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