Category Archives: Home and Garden

Indoor Herb Garden Layout

Indoor plants have been proven to clean and clear air in the apartment or house. These plants do require commitment in the areas of watering and feeding, but they are also a front-line against allergens and dust. If you have very little space at home, you can use the kitchen ledge for container. A south or west-facing window would be good. A garden must be planned according to the herbs you would like to grow. Once you have thought about this, you can experiment with colors and types. While selecting the area, it is important to take into consideration drainage conditions.

You should also check up on the height, foliage, and space requirements of various herbs before getting your design in place. While deciding on the bed, keep the space restrictions in mind. The garden should also be easily accessible.

Terminology

Infusion
This term is used to refer to the process in which herbs are steeped in boiling water to be drunk as a tea.

Decoction
This refers to the process in which the dried herbs are simmered in hot water.

Herbal Ointment
The process in when herbs are combined with other ingredients and made into a cream.

Herbal Compress
The process wherein a gauze or cloth is soaked in an infusion or decoction and wrapped and applied externally.

Herbal Wash
The process in which herbs are added to water and are used to heal and cleanse externally.

Tips

These are a few things that need to be kept in mind while working with herbs for medicinal purposes or food.

  • Remember that you can personally identify the herbs you are using. This helps ensure that they are safe.
  • While preparing an infusion or decoction, use only glass or porcelain for cookware and mixing bowls.
  • While preparing herbs for storage, place them in an air-tight container and store in a cool place. Do not refrigerate the herbs.
  • While making recipes, stick to the recommended dose. Overuse can defeat the purpose for which you are using them. The most beneficial herbs can also turn toxic if overused.

This was some information on this subject. Hope this was useful to you.

Tips for Growing Bamboo

Bamboo is a woody perennial plant, belonging to the evergreen grass family Poaceae. Regions that popularly grow this plant include diverse climates of Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and some parts of America. They are hardy plants which grow easily in different soil and climatic conditions. Bamboo has been used as a construction material for a long time in Asia and other parts of the world. It is inexpensive and now forms a part of contemporary décor. The lush green foliage and its distinct upright growth makes bamboo quite popular to grow in gardens and houses.

Growing Tips

From Cuttings
Bamboo is invasive in nature; it is almost impossible to uproot the entire plant, as most types of shoots grow from rhizomes (vertical underground stems). One way to propagate it is to cut off part of the root and the stem, and plant it in the ground. Another method is to use the clumps of the plant. Clumps are the horizontal rhizomes that grow along the surface of the soil, right next to the main plant. Dig around a clump and divide it by carefully separating the roots into sections of three a piece. Plant them in the ground or in small pots.

In Water
The plants grown in water mostly belong to species like willowy green bamboo, golden goddess bamboo, etc. Their height gets curtailed by the container water. Growing these plants in water is very popular, and finding them will not be difficult. Many nurseries and home décor stores have them. Pick the young canes with a healthy foliage and a few sprouted roots. Use a decorative container of glass, ceramic, or earthenware. Hold the canes down in place using some decorative pre-treated colorful stones. Pour water in the container until three-quarters full. Place the container in a location where it can receive partial or diffused sunlight. Replace the water once every week, and add liquid manure once a month. Check for any contamination in the water, especially on or around the stones. If you find any, take it out and clean it before placing it back in the container.

In Cold Climate
Plants grown in the house can be protected from extreme cold by ensuring appropriate air ventilation, and placing it close to a light source for some warmth. It is okay if your plant sheds its leaves, as new ones will sprout back in spring. For plants grown outdoors, it is best to grow cold-hardy varieties like Fargesia dracocephala, Phyllostachys heteroclada, etc.

Growing White Bamboo
White bamboo is officially known as ‘Amoenus’―a variety of Dendrocalamus minor. It is a small member of the giant, clumping bamboo plants. It is not really white, but as its new shoots and clumps are heavily covered in white powder, it is known as white or ghost bamboo. It is a traditional ornamental plant with large foliage that turns pale green, and matures to yellow-green with darker stripes. It can be grown singularly or in large numbers. It is a very fast-growing plant, with new growth appearing at the end of winter. It can be propagated through cuttings of its clumps as well as its rhizomes. It is cold resistant and can be grown in cold climates without any extra care.

Though this is a hardy plant, it needs nurturing and care for healthy growth. It can be successfully grown either indoors in water containers, or outdoors in the garden. Bamboo plants look beautiful as hedges as well as standalone plants.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/bamboo-growing-tips.html

Tips for Indoor Winter Gardening

Think of growing and maintaining a flower garden or a vegetable garden, and the first things that come to mind are land, fertile soil, light exposure, optimal temperature, water, etc. But, times are changing. If you are not lucky enough to have spare land or fertile soil, you still can grow plants in pots, or as a part of water gardening. And if the outdoors are very cold, which is not a favorable condition for plant growth, you can opt for indoor gardening.

With the arrival of winter, many gardening enthusiasts start getting concerned about the extremely cold weather and bitter environmental conditions since most of the garden vegetables and flowering plants cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. In such a case, nothing could be a better idea than starting an indoor garden. You may even grow culinary herbs right in the kitchen. Just keep these few essential tips in mind and you will be good to go.

Decide the Location
Since herbs and green vegetables require sunlight for ideal growth, the ideal location is the area that receives maximum filtered light. If possible, a spot near a south facing window (or an east facing window) is an excellent choice. Careful selection of an appropriate site is suggested for indoor plants, so that their growth is not compromised in any way.

Select Plant Varieties
Deciding which plants to grow in your indoor garden is one of the most challenging steps. This is because, not all vegetables are suited for warm and humid conditions of the indoors. Some herbs and vegetables that perform well in an indoor garden are pepper, tomato, bean, leaf lettuce, arugula, basil, ginger, etc. It is advised that you consult a horticulturist about the same and then start your project.

Prepare the Soil or Potting Mixture
In case you have a larger space, prepare a small bed which is raised at a particular height from the ground and lined with a plastic sheet. If you think this arrangement will be messy and difficult to maintain, proceed with container gardening. For both the options, you need to prepare a healthy soil mixture with adequate amounts of humus, sand, loam, peat moss, and farmyard compost. Adding humus forming soil components reduces the need for fertilizers.

Artificial Lighting System
Most of the leafy vegetables manage to grow even in less light. Nevertheless, fruits and veggies require artificial light for production of flower buds and fruiting bodies. You can consider the installation of a full spectrum lighting or daylight balanced lighting systems for your project. Also, check the plants periodically, and if required, relocate them to other areas.

Watering the Plants Adequately
The thumb rule is to keep a watch over the amount of water used for irrigation. Prolonged dry condition causes withering of the vegetables, and waterlogged soil will result in root-rotting. Irrigate the plants with room temperature water daily or on alternate days to keep the soil moist at all times.

Providing Plant Nutrients
When it comes to growing healthy vegetable indoors, using chemical fertilizers is not recommended. Instead, you can select organic nutrients or compost for such houseplants. A better option is to use aquarium water (just before changing) to irrigate them. For example, if you have grown tomatoes, add calcium-rich plant food and reduce the use of nitrogen fertilizers.

Other Plant Care Guidelines
Another factor that should be considered very seriously is maintaining an average temperature (preferably 16-26° F) around the houseplants. Also, indoor air circulation is a must to steer clear of any plant problems. You should have a keen eye to detect signs of disease and pest infestations in the initial stages. For disease-infested plants, isolate them and spray insecticidal soap on them after every few days.

It is a fun and rewarding hobby. Plan ahead, before the onset of winter and be ready with the required garden supplies. Follow these simple instructions and you will be surprised with the growth of healthy vegetables right in your indoor garden.

Lights for Indoor Plants

It is an absolute delight to have plants around you in your dwelling. Plants like ferns, a few types of cactus, and small flowering ones can instantly impart a pleasing look to your house. The green color is refreshing and surely has therapeutic effects. Indoor plants however, need a bit more care than the usual outdoor plants because of various factors.

One of the most important factors being light. As indoor plants sometimes do not get adequate light, they need another source of it. This is where indoor plant lights come into the picture. These lights are basically of 4 types―fluorescent, incandescent, LED, and high pressure bulbs.

Fluorescent Bulbs/Lights
These are the most popular and commonly available lights and in any desired wattage and color temperature. Standard fluorescent lights in the range of 2800 K to 6000 K are typically fit for growing vegetables like leaf lettuce, spinach, and herbs. These are also good for giving seedlings a jump start on spring planting. When there is a limited space vertically, a HO fluorescent fixture having a very thin profile is perfect.

Incandescent Lights
These lights have a low color temperature, around 2700 K and these are not exactly those which can be categorized as grow lights. These are best used as a highlighting device for indoor plant groupings, though they are sometimes labeled as grow lights. The average life span of these lights is somewhere around 750 hours. If you are looking at energy saving, these types may not turn out to be a good choice for your indoor or house plants.

Metal Hallide Lights
Metal hallide (MH) indoor plant light bulbs are amongst the best indoor plant lights. Abbreviated as MH, these are very efficient grow lights for indoor plants. A bluer spectrum emits a good amount of light, encouraging and helping growth in indoor plants. In addition to this, these light are cost-effective too, making them even more viable and best in the job.

High Pressure Sodium Lights
Giving a tough competition to the metal hallide lamps are the High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps or bulbs. These bulbs have reddish orange light which stimulates the growth of budding and flowering plants. However, these lights do not have the blue spectrum which contributes to the growth of leafy green plants. The life of HPS lights is around 1800 hours.

LED Lights
Light emitting diode or LED lights are a recent development in the lights used for plant growth. These are going to be an exciting offering in the time to come as grow lights, but as of now, these are not as efficient as the other types of lights.

In addition to all these, sometimes a combination of MH and HPS lights is a very good option to make the indoor plants grow. In the opinion of the specialists and manufacturers, the combination of the two results in ideal spectral blend and very high outputs. There are though doubts about this aspect.

Out of these, MH and HPS are high intensity discharge lamps and are the best amongst the lot. But just the lights won’t work. You need indoor plant light stands or indoor plant stands and other equipment with it for ensuring that the plants grow well. That includes fans, reflectors, and a timer. Reflectors are important around the planting for reflecting the light back on plants, and the fans help in optimizing ventilation for the plant, leading to strong roots and stems.

Tips for Growing Turmeric Indoors

download-6Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a tropical plant that is used as food as well as a beautiful addition to any garden. It can be argued that the rhizome of a turmeric plant is one of the healthiest foods that is widely available, leading nutritionists to call it a miracle drug. Interestingly, while it is commonly known that the rhizomes are edible, most people discard the leaves, stem, and flowers. In reality, the entire plant is edible and can be used as a good source of nutrition.

While buying turmeric powder from the market is easy, the fresh, raw, rhizomes offer a lot more potential benefits and versatility in usage. In such cases, growing your own turmeric plant is your best option. Doing this is not very difficult. Although the plant is best grown in a garden, one can also grow it indoors, in a large pot. It is a hardy plant that tolerates changes in weather to a large extent. It can also provide a lush green addition to the indoor environment. Let us now look at the things you need to know while creating an indoor turmeric garden in your home.

How to Grow Turmeric Plant in a Pot

  1. Soil: Get a few large and deep pots, at least a 1 ½ foot wide in diameter, for growing the turmeric plants. Fill the pots with rich organic loamy soil, which is lightly moist but well drained. The ideal pH should range from 4.5 to 7.5
  2. Planting Season: Dig the soil around 3-5 inches deep and bury large pieces of store-bought rhizomes with nodes on them. Pick only those rhizomes that are firm, and avoid diseased or rotting ones. Ideally, you should plant the rhizomes in the month of March, as it takes around 8 months for the plant to fully mature. So, you will get your harvest in winter, just before the frost sets in. In warmer regions, you can plant turmeric at any time of the year. Use the same process if you are using seeds instead of the rhizomes.
  3. Mulching and Fertilizing: Put in a mix of organic fertilizer and manure on top of the soil. On top of this, spread a ½-inch layer of mulch to protect the plant from the cold. Fertilizers should be replenished every 6- 7 months.
  4. Climate requirements: Ideally, the turmeric plant grows well in areas with a temperate summer with good humidity, and will eventually fade in winter. Place the pots in an area that receives bright, warm, indirect sunlight. The plants can also survive in full sunlight, as long as watering is increased. Your plant will need artificial warming if the temperature falls below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Watering: The soil of the turmeric plant should always be moist, but not too wet. Ideally, watering once in 2-3 days is good for the growth of the plant. However, check the soil for moisture before every watering session. A daily misting session with a spray bottle will also help the plant stay healthy.
  6. Harvesting: At the end of the season, the foliage starts to wilt and die. It is usually assumed that at this time, the turmeric is ready to harvest. It is best if you take out all the rhizomes in the soil at the same time. You will get approximately 500 grams of fresh roots from each plant.

Pruning
After the saplings have grown into full-fledged pleated leaves, you will soon see them grow to around 4 feet tall. Eventually, during the summer, you will find that the plant has white and green cones surrounding yellow flowers, between the leaves. You will need to cut the plant to the ground to encourage the growing turmeric root to bloom even more. The foliage will grow again and wilt for a final time just before winter begins, signaling the time for harvest.

Pests and Diseases
Turmeric plants are highly resilient against pests and diseases, except a few varieties of aphids and mites. Keep a watch for these insects and wash them off with a spray of water if you find any. The plants can also be affected by leaf spot. This condition can be cured with appropriate fungicides.

Turmeric Plant Life Cycle
To help you understand how a turmeric plant grows, it is important for us to understand, the process of reproduction in the plant. In the following paragraphs, we will describe the process in which the reproduction occurs asexually, in the same flower, to form seeds by meiosis and mitosis.

Life Cycle of a Turmeric Plant
In the flower of the turmeric plant, the ovary and the anther start a process of maturing cells. The single-celled microspores filled in the microsporangium of the anther, carry out a cell division process of meiosis and mitosis to form a pollen grain.
By a similar process of cell division, the ovary forms many embryos filled with fertile eggs.
When the pollen grain reaches the ovary, a pollen tube extends out to transport the sperm to the egg for fertilization.
The fertilized ovary now matures into turmeric seeds, while the flower deteriorates.
Eventually the seed falls off the plant, and begins the process of germination to form a new plant.

Other Tips
When handling turmeric, it is advisable to wear gloves, as the roots can stain your hands yellow.
To create turmeric powder from the rhizomes, boil them for 45 minutes in water, and dry them in the shade for a week till they turn hard. You can now grind them to a powder, with a food processor or a mortar and pestle.
After harvesting the roots, store them in a cool and dark place, till the time you use them.
Do not over-water the plant as this slows down its growth.
So you see, growing turmeric is very easy. You can try growing ginger in a similar fashion, and enjoy the benefits of all the herbal goodness.

Tips to Take Care Chinese Evergreens

Studies have suggested that Chinese evergreens are extremely effective when it comes to the removal of formaldehyde and xylene from the air.

Chinese evergreens belong to Aglaonema genus and Araceae family. It is a popular indoor ornamental plant, that is relatively easy to care for. Though Aglaonema is a genus of flowering plants, it is the speckled or variegated foliage of this plant that interests gardening enthusiasts, and not its flowers. Its leaves are long and pointed. Its glossy foliage has pronounced patterns of green, silver-gray, or creamy white. Aglaonema ‘Silver Queen’ is one of the most popular cultivars that has received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Over the years, several cultivars and varieties have been developed that have foliage with more visually-appealing patterns. Breeders have been able to develop varieties that have shades of yellow, pink, or red on the foliage. Some of the hybrid varieties are more resistant to diseases, and grow at a faster rate. Another feature that makes this an ideal houseplant is its compact size. This plant will flourish, if you provide it with the ideal environment.

Chinese Evergreen Plant Information
✦Genus: Aglaonema
✦Family: Araceae
✦Subfamily: Aroideae
✦Scientific name: Aglaonema spp.
✦Also Called: Aglaonema, Pewter plant
✦Plant Type: Evergreen perennial
✦Foliage Type: Green-colored leaves that are large, long, and pointed
✦Height: Up to 3 feet
✦Width: Up to 3 feet
✦Native to: Southeast Asia
✦USDA Hardiness Zone: 14 to 15
✦Temperature: Between 65-80ºF (18-27ºC)
✦Humidity: Average indoor humidity levels or higher
✦Light Requirements: Partial to full shade, Partial Sun; Avoid direct sunlight
✦Soil Requirements: Well-drained soil
✦Watering Needs: Average watering to keep the soil moist
✦Maintenance Category: Low
✦Fertilization: Once a month from spring through summer
✦Propagation: Stem cuttings or root division
✦Pests: Aphids, spider mites, mealybugs

How to Take Care of Chinese Evergreens

Light and Temperature
Chinese evergreens make ideal indoor plants, as they can thrive in low light or shade. The plant can be placed around a north-facing window. It can tolerate filtered sunlight, but exposure to direct sunlight can cause damage to its foliage, which is the best feature of this low light indoor plant. Also, make sure that the temperature falls in the range of 65-80°F. If the temperature dips lower than 60°F, the foliage might begin to show signs of damage. For instance, dark patches might appear on the leaves. The foliage might even start curling due to the decrease in the temperature.

Watering and Humidity
For the Chinese evergreens to thrive, you need to ensure that the soil remains evenly moist. So, water thoroughly till water starts draining from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. However, refrain from heavy watering, as that can make the plant susceptible to root rot. Allow the soil to become somewhat dry, before you water the plant again. Don’t wait till the soil becomes completely dry. Since this plant does well in average to slightly high humidity, you can use a humidity tray.

Soil and Fertilizer
As far as the soil type is concerned, you could use a regular potting soil. However, the plant needs a well-drained soil, which is why you can add sand or perlite to the potting soil in the ratio of 1:3. The soil should also be replenished with a fertilizer during the growing season. You can apply a balanced liquid fertilizer (20-20-20) every 2-3 weeks. You can reduce the frequency of fertilizer application during the winter season.

Pruning
During the spring, you will spot blooms, which then turn into berries. Since the flowers don’t offer any visual interest, and the berries are poisonous, it would be best to remove them. Moreover, these will only compete with the foliage for nutrients. So, the removal of flowers and berries is to ensure that the leaves get all the nourishment they need. Also, pruning will be required if leaves are yellowing or wilting.

Repotting
After every 2-3 years, the plant should be repotted or placed in a pot that is bigger than the one that was used previously. Make sure that the potting soil drains well. The best time to repot Chinese evergreens is during the spring.

Propagating
Chinese evergreens can be propagated through division. In order to do so, you will need to remove the root ball. Use a clean knife to sever the thick rhizomes, so as to get clumps with several stems. The cut ends of the rhizomes can be dipped in rooting hormone to promote new root growth. Stem cuttings can be used for the purpose of propagation. All you need to do is cut the stem back to about 2 cm from the soil line. New growth will appear where the cut was made, and the top of the stem with leaves can be used as tip cuttings. Shoot tip cuttings that have at least 5 leaves can be used for propagating aglaonema silver queen or other cultivars. Remove two basal leaves from each cutting and push them in a pot filled with potting soil. Make sure that the pot is placed at a location that receives filtered sunlight. To encourage new root growth, water regularly for keeping the soil evenly moist.

On a concluding note, the Chinese evergreen is an excellent choice for an indoor plant, not only due to its glossy, variegated foliage, but also due to its ability to purify air. Provide aglaonema with the ideal conditions that it needs to thrive, and watch its glossy foliage add visual interest to your home.

Herb Gardening Tips for Beginners

Herbs are used for many purposes. Mostly, we use them for adding delicious aroma and flavor to different recipes. You can also use them to garnish different recipes or add a strong flavor to a drink. Herbs are also used in many home remedies like you can use garlic, ginger, and holy basil to get rid of throat infections. Some herbs when planted, act as a natural insect repellent like lemongrass. You can also use various herbs from your garden and use them to infuse oils. Simply put, you can use and enjoy herbs for many purposes.

Selecting the Herbs
Assuming you are interested in growing herbs you must already have some kind of herbs in mind you wish to grow in the garden. But, before you plant your herbs in the garden soil or containers it is very important to place the herbs in a group where they are compatible with each other. To plant many herbs in a group, you need to consider the space between the herb plants, their light requirement, and check if they can grow with each other in harmony. So, first of all make a list of the herbs you wish to grow, then form groups according to the common light requirements and the compatibly factor. Some herbs prefer full sun, some do good in partial shade.

For herbs that prefer partial shade, you can plant them on a patio, or under a tree, or create a shade so that the herbs get filtered light. If you are learning herb gardening then go with herbs like basil, lemon thyme, and chives and place them in a box near a sunny window. If you want herbs that have beautiful fragrance then lavender, rosemary, and sage are great choices which can be grown in full sun. Mint can be grown in a shaded area or in a container. Certain herbs like bergamot, catmint, and sweet marjoram attract bees which can be grown in sun or partial shade. If you want to grow insect-repelling plants than consider citronella, lemongrass, or sage.

Preparing the Soil
After you are done selecting the herbs, it is time to prepare the soil. If you are planting herbs in the ground soil, then pour a layer of compost on the soil. Then loosen it up, so that the soil becomes well-drained and the composting fertilizer gets mixed in it. Herbs prefer a well-drained soil and a good fertilizer. For container gardening, select pots which are big and made of clay and have sufficient holes in it to allow drainage of water. It is important that you select big containers because smaller containers can stunt the growth of plants.

Planting and Caring for the Herbs
Select healthy and strong plants, bulbs, or seeds of the individual herbs. Plant them by maintaining approximately 3 – 4 feet diameter distance between each herb. Plant the herbs in their particular season and use a water can or hose for supplying water to the plant. Make sure you don’t over water the plants as it can lead to diseases. To check for the watering time, use a wooden rod or pencil and insert it in the ground, if you find the top 2 – 3 inches of the soil layer to be dry, then provide water. Also keep in check the temperature and humidity levels.

Follow the above steps you can grow herbs of your choice in containers or on a bed. For harvesting wait till the plant has reached to a height of six to eight inches, and then cut one-third of the branches.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/herb-gardening-for-beginners.html

How to Grow Herbs Indoors

Nothing beats the flavor of fresh culinary herbs. They have the potential to vamp up the most normal and boring of all dishes. While you can easily purchase them from groceries, adding home-grown herbs to the food makes a whole lot of difference. That is why, most people who reside in apartments still prefer growing their herbs to enjoy the flavor of just-picked herbs. Maintaining a culinary herb garden will not only satiate your culinary requirements, but will also create a cooling effect in your interiors.

Appropriate planning, sufficient knowledge about gardening basics, and a little bit of patience are all that you need. While almost all plants require direct sunlight for optimal growth, majority of the herbaceous cultivars perform well indoors and require less maintenance. For avid gardeners, environmental conditions that become unfavorable for maintaining an outdoor herb garden are no deterrent and they prefer growing herbs indoors. The following guide is a step-wise approach to growing and maintaining an indoor garden.

Choose the Location
The preferred area to start is a windowsill, or in areas near the door or window, where the plants can receive indirect sunlight. In case your kitchen window faces south and receives an adequate amount of sunlight, you can start a kitchen garden right there. That way, irrigating the herbs and harvesting the leaves (whenever you need), will become easy for you.

Gather some Containers
Using pots of the right size is mandatory for container gardening. The ideal pot size varies according to the herb that you want to grow. The logic behind this is that the plants should get adequate space for spreading. Say for instance, parsley and sage require a larger pot, while scallion can be planted in smaller pots. Also, to ensure good drainage, selecting pots with drainage holes is a must.

Prepare Potting Media
The potting soil plays a major role in maintaining a healthy garden. It serves as a medium for supplying water and nutrients to the plants. If you are using heavy garden soil, amend it with sand, vermiculite, and lime components for solving water drainage issues. And before you fill soil in the containers, lay, gravel, small rocks, and brick pieces at the bottom. Then, add soil to match about three-fourth of the pot’s height.

Select the Best Herbs
Be careful while selection of herbs and start with the local varieties that adapt well in your area. Once you get the hang of it, you can include other exotic herb species later to your project. Some of the cultivars that remain all-time favorites for gardeners are coriander, chives, dill, basil, oregano, mint, sage, bay, chamomile, rosemary, lavender, and parsley. Of these, dill and coriander are annual plants, while bay and parsley are perennial herbs.

Decide the Propagation Mode
Purchasing healthy seeds and plants should be of prime importance. Or, if you already have a herb garden outdoors, make cuttings out of the plants and root them. You can also start gardening using seeds. But, this requires additional efforts for seeding, germinating seeds, and transplanting the seedlings to individual containers. So, decide which one is a better option for you, and proceed accordingly.

Plantation of Herbs
This step will depend on your choice of method of propagation. If you purchase young plants, you can plant them directly. Take a pot and make a planting hole such that the root ball size matches with the hole dimension. Place the young plant, and fill the pot with soil. Likewise, you can transplant seedlings and rooted cuttings in the original pots, as per your plan.

Sufficient Care
Providing sufficient water is of utmost importance for your plants to grow healthily. Over-watering is a common problem occurring in winter gardening that beginners should be careful about. Excess soil moisture reduces air circulation in the underground parts, resulting in leaf-yellowing and root-rotting. Ideally, watering once in every two weeks is ideal for moisturizing the soil and proper maintenance.

When the temperature of the outdoors rises or becomes warm, place your potted plants in direct sun for some time in the morning. This will boost their growth and promote production of new leaves. You may add organic matter to the plants to supply nutrients, but should absolutely refrain from using chemical fertilizers. A plus point with indoor gardening is easy control over pests and unwanted weeds.

Gardening Tools for Women

download-7Gardening is a hobby, which a number of individuals enjoy since it is relaxing, and surely gives you happiness when you literally see the fruits of your labor grow. It is known to be something that both men and women enjoy, but you will always find women more affectionate towards plants and flowers. However, gardening doesn’t just mean planting a seed, watering it, and then waiting for it to bloom.

There are many other things involved in it like plowing, pruning, spraying pesticides, etc., which are needed to get a better yield or product. In order to practice all these important techniques, there are specific gardening tools, which are required for performing each of them. If you are thinking of giving a lady such a gift, it will surely be an excellent choice.

Best Tools to Gift

They can be classified into two types: hand and power tools. The hand tools are the basic ones used in gardening, which were used for agriculture in ancient times and are still effective. These include the spade, pitchfork, hoe, digging fork, plow, and a rake, which were made from bone and wood in the earlier times.

However, today there are some more power tools, which are used for cutting, pruning, and watering. These include cultivators, irrigation sprinklers, string trimmer, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, and weeders. If you are considering to use any of these, you can stick to the smaller power ones, or simply sophisticated hand tools. Following paragraphs will make it easier for you to find out what women would love to use while gardening:

For Digging
There are various types of tools, which are used for digging. These hand gardening implements don’t need to be heavy, but simple yet useful ones like light shovels and digging forks. The shovels that are to be used by women can be the ones with smaller blades for superficial digging. There are other shovels commonly used for transplanting, which have deep and narrow blades that can be used for deeper digging. Forks with long handles usually help in breaking hard ground, without bending or putting too much effort. Thus, they are ideal for older women.

For Pruning
For pruning of small shrubs and herbaceous plants, you can prefer various types of hand pruners. When it comes to buying the best ones, the sharpness of the blade always matters. Thus, make sure that you get effective ones. Another very important tool is the pruning saw, which is used to cut off the large branches that are thicker than the rest. Since you are buying these equipment for women, make sure that you purchase the lightweight ones.

Others
Tilters, spades, trowels, a hand cultivator, hoes for weed control, a rain gauge, and a soil pH tester are some other essential tools. These can be used right from starting a new garden, to maintaining one to get a richer yield. You can also find bulb planters, which help in planting large amounts of flower bulbs at once. Garden scissors, knives, and gloves are also some of the best gardening implements for seniors, as they don’t require to put in too much effort.

Thus, go and buy them out; you will surely help someone make a beautiful flower, or a fruit garden using all of them.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/gardening-tools-for-women.html

Garden Edging Ideas

Do you have a garden with different types of flowers and shrubs, but you think it still does not look great? Do flower beds seem to spill all over the place, and you just can’t put your finger on why your garden does not have that neat and appealing look? The answer to that might lie in the fact that you do not have any garden edging, a crucial factor if you want to give your garden a cohesive and neat look. Garden edging helps the eye to look at each element of your garden, and also adds symmetry and beauty to the garden.

Flower Garden Edging Ideas

Stone Edging
One of the best ways to add edging to a flower bed is with the use of stones or pebbles. There is something about the harmony of the rough texture of stones with the delicate blooms, that makes such an edging look modern and elegant. You can either stack river stones one over the other to create an enclosure for your flower beds, or you can use more flat-faced stones, like bluestones and flagstones, to create beautiful edging. Special stones are also available in nurseries; you can use these too. Stones are one of the most used garden edging material in formal landscapes, since it imparts a beautiful natural ambiance to a flower garden.

Brick Edging
If you are looking for cheap edging ideas, then go for brick edging. Bricks are relatively inexpensive and you can even use old mismatched bricks to make an edging. Traditionally, brick edging involves using paved stones set around the perimeter of the flower bed horizontally. You can modernize brick edging by laying the bricks at an angle so that only the top angle of the brick appears over the ground. To make this kind of edging, you do not require the services of a professional. Just dig up a trench and fill about 2 inches of it with sand. Now place the bricks diagonally so that only the top corner of the bricks are exposed. Lean the bricks against each other and then fill the trench with soil.

Plastic Edging
Another inexpensive idea is to use plastic. Plastic edgings are available at any good hardware and garden store, and they are quite easy to install. They come with grooves on the sides that fit into each other. All you need to do to install them is dig a trench about 2-3 inches deep, place the edging, and tap them in place with a wooden mallet. Although one of the least expensive options, plastic edging is not preferred by many home owners and gardeners because it looks unnatural in a garden, and does not have much aesthetic appeal. Nevertheless, it is a good option to consider if you want inexpensive but durable garden edging.

If you want to be more creative, you can use other materials, like old soda bottles, cobblestones, cedar shingles, wine bottles, and even pieces of wood fencing as edging, which will add a whimsical and personalized look to your garden.