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Recycling nature

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Friday, March 21, 2014 3:05 AM EDT

Recycling nature
Decorate with garden ‘debris’


David Hughes created this 4-foot-tall garden gate using native Eastern red cedar and Moravian tiles. (Courtesy David Hughes via Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT)

David Hughes, a Doylestown, Pa., landscape architect with an affinity for native flora and natural landscapes, often finds himself ripping out dead, overgrown, or otherwise undesirable plants to make way for new.

But he doesn’t haul that nasty Japanese honeysuckle, Chinese white mulberry, or Norway maple to the dump, curb, or chipper. Hughes is that rare soul who prizes what other designers and gardeners despise, more so if it’s scarred by deer browsing, insect damage, or disease.

That’s because, in addition to designing ecologically responsible landscapes in the Philadelphia region, Hughes, 46, is a skilled woodworker who makes rustic furniture from garden “debris,” a kind of plant-world Dumpster diver.

“To me, it’s a nice marriage, landscaping and woodworking,” says Hughes, whose five-year-old business, his second, is called Weatherwood Design. It comprises about 70 percent landscaping and 30 percent woodworking.

Storm-felled trees and gnarly vines make good raw materials. So do pruned branches, old barn boards, and stuff plucked, with permission, from the side of the road.

An arborist friend scouts out intriguing branches and discarded trunks. Hughes helps the Natural Lands Trust and local preserves thin out invasives or dead trees. And every July Fourth, again with permission, he rescues unwanted driftwood from death by bonfire at a public beach on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The wood might sit for years on the one-acre property Hughes shares with his widowed dad, Merritt Hughes, a retired English teacher. Logs, planks, oddball sticks and scraps are stacked along the driveway, in the yard, and in and around Hughes’ densely packed, unheated 8-by-12-foot workshop.

“It’s hard to throw anything out,” he says a bit sheepishly of the jars of nails, screws, and bolts, the bits of this or that, and the saws, planes, and other tools of his trade.

Drying wood outside is challenging. But if rain and snow are his nemeses, water is also a friend. “My best ideas come in the shower,” he says.

Those ideas — for chairs, tables and benches, garden gates, and screens, trellises, arbors, railings, and birdhouses — are time-consuming. A simple-looking chair can take 35 hours to make, at $45 an hour, not counting time to find and dry the wood and do research.

“It’s like putting together a big jigsaw puzzle. There are no square edges to anything,” says Hughes, who is itching for some land of his own so he can grow hedge rows of the native trees — alder, sassafras, Eastern red cedar, black locust, Osage orange — he likes to work with.

He also wants to live off the grid and build native plant, meadow, and woodland demonstration gardens. Four acres, at a minimum, would do it, though so much real estate would involve a lot of deer-fencing.

But fenced it must be; deer are plentiful, and Hughes has had Lyme disease 14 times since the early 1990s. That he has worked through such a scourge reflects a lifetime of loving plants.

Growing up in Glenside, Pa., Hughes was “always out playing and getting muddy and dirty,” often in Baederwood Park. Foreshadowing the landscape architect he would become, he spent hours in the attic constructing vehicles and buildings with Legos and Lincoln Logs.

As an 8-year-old, guided by his handy grandfather, Sylvester “Cookie” Cook, Hughes built metal cladding to reinforce a toy castle, and carved sticks to support a leather-covered tepee.

“I loved the outdoors,” he says, including time spent at his family’s vacation home outside Wellsboro, Pa.

Hughes is a graduate of Abington High School and Pennsylvania State University, where he knew almost instantly “I was doing the right thing” in studying landscape architecture. He also did graduate work at the University of Massachusetts.

His resumé includes jobs at plant nurseries, landscape architectural and planning firms, and the U.S. Forest Service. He has restored wetlands and woodlands and worked on suburban subdivision landscapes, meadows, and residential projects, including a highly idiosyncratic Bucks County, Pa., second home belonging to New Yorkers Todd Ruback and Suzanne Schecter.

The couple’s 2½-acre property, overlooking the Delaware Canal in Upper Black Eddy, Pa., features a converted century-old barn that backs up to a gravelly 200-foot red shale cliff that was choked with exotic vines. Hughes cleared the cliff and literally carved a landscape into it, choosing wildlife-friendly plants such as Eastern prickly pear cactus, the region’s only native cactus, that grows almost exclusively along the high cliffs of the Delaware River.

“He’s not bringing in eucalyptus trees,” Ruback says. “He’s making use of what local, Bucks County nature is giving us.”

And much of what Hughes takes away from “Bucks County nature” goes toward his rustic furniture. The results, says a mentor, Daniel Mack of Warwick, N.Y.

Both sturdy and playful, and demonstrate “a poetic sensibility.”

“Nobody actually needs any of these chairs. There are plenty of chairs in the world already, thank you,” says Mack, a rustic-furniture teacher and author. “You’ve gone beyond need, and you’re into another realm.”

It’s a realm, Mack says, that “engages us with the landscape in a way you don’t see with more-anonymous furniture.”

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Article source: http://www.rep-am.com/articles/2014/04/01/lifestyle/outdoors/792351.txt

Tried drought proof irrigation?

Normally, that used water is piped straight to a wastewater treatment facility, where it is filtered, kept in a pond and disinfected ­— all at great expense. But if the ideas of a small-but-growing minority take hold, it could be diverted to water a backyard fruit tree instead.

This is “graywater,” a term used to describe water that is not fresh but not toxic either — such as the used water coming from a bathroom sink, shower drain or laundry machine. It’s not potable, of course, but plants like it just fine.

With that in mind, why shouldn’t residents of single-family homes, especially those living in dry climates like Petaluma’s, be watering plants while they do their laundry?

According to James Johnson, a senior environmental health specialist for Sonoma County’s Permit and Resource Management Department, graywater is an idea whose time has come. Although the concept has been around for several years — the East Bay’s “Greywater Guerilla Girls” were rebelliously installing not-to-code plumbing systems in the late 1990s — California only recently updated its building codes to make it easier to install such systems legally.

According to Johnson, the state updates its codes every three years, and new rules that took effect at the beginning of this year have “given us a little bit more to work with.”

Today the regulations include a whole section devoted to graywater, which the state says can come from numerous sources including swimming pool backwash, foundation drainage or cooling runoff from an air conditioner. Such water, once captured, can be stored only briefly and used for specific purposes.

“You can even bring it back into the house to flush the toilet,” Johnson said. If done properly, a typical household can reduce water use by about one-third using a graywater system.

In this time of sustained drought, such recycling techniques are considered a good way to recapture precious water. County leaders know this, Johnson said.

“My director came to me, about two weeks ago, and he provided the Board of Supervisors update that tells people in the county what’s going on,” Johnson said. Their motto: “Retain it! Don’t drain it!”

According to the county’s website, “We can respond to the drought by installing graywater systems in our yards to irrigate plants and keep them thriving.”

The City of Petaluma has been on board with this plan from the start, due in no small part due to Daily Acts, a nonprofit group headquartered downtown. Dedicated to furthering sustainability in the city and county, the group has been spreading the word about graywater for years.

Indeed, Trathen Heckman, the group’s founder and executive director, “installed the first permitted single-family-residence graywater system in the county, way back in 2009,” said Daily Acts program coordinator Ryan Johnston.

That was in his home near 8th and G streets. Soon after, a few neighbors took up the idea, then a few more. Today, Johnston said, more than 30 Petaluma households are using the simplest type of graywater system – basically a pipe or hose diverting used water from the laundry machine to landscaping outside.

In Petaluma, such a system requires no permit and is easy to install with about $150 worth of materials. The city has “a really wonderful incentive program,” Johnston said, in which it will give interested residents all the parts necessary, free of charge, “to install a laundry-to-landscape graywater system.”

Daily Acts then follows up with residents to make sure they’re able to install the system properly.

By some estimates, a typical family of four uses at least 7,000 gallons per year on laundry alone — meaning that a few hundred Petaluma families switching to graywater would save millions of gallons per year, while also relieving the city’s overburdened water treatment facility. In both cases, water and sewer rate payers can save money.

Such a setup “recharges groundwater as well,” Johnston said. “It’s putting back into the piggy bank that we’re drawing out so heavily.” He also recommended that residents remove thirsty lawns and plant gardens instead (graywater is not appropriate for vegetables where the water touches the food directly, such as carrots, but is perfect for woody perennials and trees).

Carrie Pollard, principal program specialist for the Sonoma County Water Agency, remains optimistic on the prospect of recycling water at the single-family-home level.

“I would say graywater is more predominant in Sonoma County than in other regions. But there’s definitely an opportunity for expansion,” she said. And as Sonoma County weathers a years-long drought, “This is a source of water that’s readily available.”

Pollard is co-chair of the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper, or QWEL, program, which offers training to contractors, plumbers and landscapers in “how to appropriately manage landscapes.” A subset of that training is installing graywater systems.

Anyone can take advantage of the several-day, 10-hour program. “We do have homeowners come and participate in all of our classes,” she said. Those interested can sign up at qwel.net.

These are all baby steps, perhaps. But from the perspective of someone who’s been following the movement from the beginning, graywater has come a long way.

“Compared to what it was and what it is now, it’s totally different,” said Laura Allen, an Oakland resident and one of the original Greywater Guerrillas.

Today, for example, “You can legally install a graywater system with no permit,” she said, referring to the basic laundry-to-landscape model.

Allen praised both county efforts and Daily Acts. She also spoke highly of cities like Petaluma, which “has a really great rebate program,” she said.

It seems some local leaders have come to realize that, in the long run, “It’s cheaper for them to provide an incentive program than to buy more water,” Allen said.

Article source: http://www.petaluma360.com/article/20140331/COMMUNITY/140339932/1428?Title=Tried-drought-proof-irrigation-

Help Squad: Here’s the dirt on lawn, landscape care

It’s been covered with snow for the past five or six months, but now that your lawn and landscaping are in full view again, it’s time to think about getting them ready for summer.

But how much do you know about fertilizers and weed killers? Are they safe? How do you know which types are effective for your yard?

Help Squad reached out to Dr. Aaron Hager, associate professor in crop sciences and weed science Specialist at the University of Illinois, who gave us the dirt.

• There are certain elements required by all plants and many can be supplied by the soil, but overtime, there can be deficiencies in these elements, causing a need for fertilizers. If you have deficiencies and you choose not to fertilize, the plants may never reach their full growth potential, or they could die.

• Weed killers, also known as herbicides are pesticides, are used to kill unwanted plants that can grow in your sidewalks, driveway, garden or grass. There are several different types of weed killers, so be careful in what you select. Some are broad spectrum and others are more specific in what they kill.

• All herbicides used in the U.S. go through extensive tests by the EPA and the industry is highly regulated. Therefore, if you use the products according to their directions, they are safe.

So, should you hire a landscaper to do the job, or head to Home Depot and do it yourself? What are the advantages of having your yard treated professionally and what’s the cost difference? For these answers, we talked to Highland Park-based landscaper, Gary Bregman, whose company, Bregman Landscape Group has been treating yards on the North Shore for more than two decades.

 

5 tips in treating your yard this spring:

1. Timing is important. Lawns and landscaping should be treated four times during the season, and Bregman recommends spacing it out. He suggests two applications in the spring, a summer application and a late fall or early winter application.

2. Be careful to use the right amount of the product. Using too much can burn your lawn and applying too little will prevent you from getting the desired effect. Professional landscapers have equipment that is calibrated to put down the intended amount.

3. Different lawns require different types of fertilizers and pesticides. In other words, what’s right for one yard might not be right for another. Choosing the right product is based on the type of grass, how much sun the lawn gets, and if the property has an irrigation system affecting how much water it’s getting. Bregman said certain landscapers use the same product on every lawn, so make sure to ask if the project will be customized.

4. Small jobs, such as treating minimal driveway cracks that have some growth, or spot spraying your dandelions and clovers can be done easily using store bought products. Just make sure you always wear gloves while handling the products, and don’t treat the areas on days when the weather is extremely hot or when there are high winds.

5. The average cost of each treatment of either fertilizer or herbicides done by a landscaper is $65-85. A bag of Vigora Lawn Fertilizer from Home Depot that will fertilize 5,000 square feet costs $12.78. A 32 ounce spray bottle of Spectracide Weed Stop costs $9.47.

 

Need help?

Did a utilities company overcharge you? Did a boutique deny your request for a return? Are you the victim of fraudulent business practices? Is someone just exhibiting bad business behavior? Let Help Squad make the call for you. Send your letters, your complaints, your injustices and your story ideas to HelpSquad@pioneerlocal.com and we will be happy to help you.

Article source: http://lakeforest.suntimes.com/people/voices/hel_psquad-PPN-04032014:article

Grieder Sod and Landscaping

Grieder Sod and Landscaping

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“You’ve just gotta get to Grieders”

1804 N Towanda Barnes Rd , Bloomington, IL 61705

309-662-8527

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Grieder Sod and Landscaping offers the very best in landscape materials, installation, and maintenance.  We are extremely skilled landscape architects, designers, and horticulturists.  We have professionally been serving the Bloomington/Normal area for over 30 years.

We invite you to browse our website, contact us at 309-662-8527, or stop by our location at 1804 Towanda Barnes Road in Bloomington, IL.

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Outdoor Lifestyle Design Center for Spring Season

As Central Illinois residents dig out their homes and gardens from an unusually cold winter, enjoying the warmth and comfort of the outdoors is on everyone’s mind. We are excited to announce the expansion of our Garden Center. Grieder Sod and Landscaping is now offering a full-service Outdoor Lifestyle Design Center to showcase landscape displays and much more for this highly anticipated spring season.
 
The new Outdoor Lifestyle Design Center provides visitors the unique opportunity to see several examples of exterior landscape design inside the showroom all year long. The center features the season’s most popular option, including patio displays complete with outdoor LED lighting, fire pits, water features and outdoor entertaining areas. Guests also can sample specialty pavers, including TruStone Premium Travertine, Unilock and Romanstone displays as well as Versa-Lok planters and Brussels and Euroblock mailboxes. In addition, the showroom houses the 2014 collection of Summer Classics Furniture, as well as a diverse selection of annual potting options and decorative accents.
 
Overseeing the initiative is Grieder’s new Outdoor Lifestyle Design Center Manager, Melissa Haas. With over 15 years of experience as a store manager and specific knowledge in visual merchandising, Haas will bring her sales experience and inventory management skills to the Grieder team while enhancing the overall customer experience in the process.
 
“We are excited to introduce an outdoor showroom indoors for our customers,” stated Dale Palmer, registered landscape architect. “We are happy to welcome Melissa to the Grieder team, as her experience will certainly help grow the new center.”

Grieder focuses on providing quality work and quality service. For more information on the services Grieder offers, visit www.grieders.com or call (309) 662-8527.

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Article source: http://www.pantagraph.com/places/grieder-sod-and-landscaping/business_1108007529.html

Third annual garden fair scheduled in Tavares

Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014 6:00 am
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Updated: 12:39 pm, Mon Mar 31, 2014.

Third annual garden fair scheduled in Tavares

Staff Report

dailycommercial.com

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From master gardeners to children, Lake County’s 3rd Annual Central Florida Landscape Garden Fair has something for everyone. The fair will be May 3-4 at Discovery Gardens, at the Lake County Agricultural Center, 1951 Woodlea Rd.


The fair will be open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on May 3 and from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on May 4, Elisha Pappacoda, the county’s public information officer, said in a press release.

Saturday’s presenters include Teresa Watkins on Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Steve Earls on Square-Foot Gardening, Tom MacCubbin on Edible Landscapes, Anne Keller on Geocaching and Jonathan Squires on No-Turf Landscapes. On Sunday, presentations include Native Plants by Karina Veaudry and Hot Plants, Cool Looks by residential horticulture agent Brooke Moffis with the UF/IFAS Extension in Lake County.

The free event will provide visitors an opportunity to browse and purchase goods from dozens of exhibitors specializing in landscaping, gardening, irrigation, fertilizer, composting, hardscapes and more.

This year’s fair brings back the popular Children’s Passport, which children can fill in by visiting designated locations on the map.

Exhibitor booths ranging from 10 feet by 10 feet to 10 feet by 20 feet and food vendor spaces are available, as well as sponsorships ranging in cost from $250 for silver level to $750 for platinum level. Vendors and sponsors may register at www.lakecountyfl.gov/gardenfair. The deadline to register is Thursday. For information, call Tina Chavez at 352-343-9647 or email tchavez@lakecountyfl.gov.

Discovery Gardens is nestled on over 4 acres behind the Lake County Agricultural Center and features 20 themed gardens, including a string of lush courtyards and six specially designed children’s gardens.

More about Tavares

  • ARTICLE: Lake County looks to become major beach volleyball destination
  • ARTICLE: Dragon Boat Festival hits Tavares this weekend
  • ARTICLE: Pet adoption carnival planned in Tavares
  • ARTICLE: Fisherman’s Cove changes approved

More about Landscaping

  • ARTICLE: Choosing the right color combination for your garden
  • ARTICLE: Gardeners welcome spring with annual plant sale
  • ARTICLE: Cutting and layering techniques for plant propagation
  • ARTICLE: Replace winter annuals with colorful summer plants

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Monday, March 31, 2014 6:00 am.

Updated: 12:39 pm.


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Article source: http://www.dailycommercial.com/news/article_d80a3feb-83b4-5e3f-bf94-84176645f61e.html

Los Angeles Landscaping Company, Neighborhood Gardening, Offers …


GDF Suez confirmed to speak at Oil and Gas Cyber Security | 3-4 June, Oslo, Norway
PR

GDF Suez will join an already impressive speaker line-up that includes Total, Tullow Oil, Salalah Methanol Company, Cairn India, and Saudi Aramco among others.

OSLO, NORWAY, March 31, 2014 /EINPresswire.com/ — The oil and gas sector is rapidly evolving …

Article source: http://world.einnews.com/247pr/381613

Tips from a renegade gardener

undated_CXL_vanmullekomrenegade1By Kathy Van Mullekon
Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) (MCT)
Don Engebretson, aka the Renegade Gardener and writer/scouter for Better Homes Gardens magazine, travels the county, dispensing his brand of no-nonsense landscape design.
His name, Renegade Gardener, comes from his willingness to “tell it like it is, and sometimes that runs contrary to what the gardening industry sells and espouses,” he says.
“No one is born with a green thumb,” he adds.
“If you have trouble getting plants to grow and remain healthy on your property, while a friend of yours plants stuff and it grows like Jack and the Beanstalk, it may be as simple as you having bought property with lousy soil, while your friend got lucky and has much better soil. Gardening has a massive and sophisticated learning curve. Learn how to garden and you will turn your thumbs green.”
Don’s just beginning his spring sprint of gardening shows, where he typically does a stage program and then offers one-on-one consultations with people who bring in photos of a current or potential landscape project.
“I can give some good suggestions in a brief consultation at the show, mainly concerning bed size, shape, and placement,” he says.
“Tree placement also, and placement of landscape features such as patios, pathways, water features. It’s difficult to get very involved in actual plant types and varieties. It’s up to the homeowners to decide what they like; my opinion in that regard does not take precedence over theirs. They need to visit nurseries and go online and choose the plants they like.
“A common thread through many past consultations I have done with homeowners is their reluctance to remove existing plant material that negatively impacts future design. Very often the start of a new landscape involves removal of old material.”
A landscape designer for 20 years, Engebretson has published five books on gardening and landscaping. For four seasons, he was the gardening expert on HGTV’s “TIPICAL MaryEllen” show, and in 2002 served as landscaping consultant to the PBS TV series “Hometime.” Online, he’s at www.renegadegardener.com.
“I see a continuation of the trend toward growing food, vegetable gardens, fruiting trees, etc.,” he says. “Container gardening and using containers as artful accents is also going strong. Unfortunately, I also see a trend toward the continuation of the quest toward ‘low-maintenance’ landscapes, which do not exist.
“I do see a move toward sustainable gardening, even if the definition is somewhat muddled. Water conservation, gardening so as to cut down on the use of organic and synthetic chemical products, reducing lawn areas, planting more trees – these are all good and important things to move toward. But yes, many in the media are writing and talking over their heads. Sometimes you need to control insect pests, and fungal diseases, but far too few realize that it’s never a choice between an organic product and a chemical product. Your choice is between an organic chemical product and a synthetic chemical product. Either way, you are always using a chemical. Some organic chemicals are safer for the gardener and for the environment than some synthetic chemicals, and some synthetic chemicals are safer and better for the environment than some organic chemical alternatives.
“Homeowners should always be leery of gardening trends. Do what you like and what serves your needs.”
“I’m famous for not liking daylilies (Hemerocallis). I think they are fabulous in flower, but their foliage brings nothing to the party and they soon grow into this large, mounding eyesore for much of the growing season.
“Americans are afraid to cut down trees in their yards, often trees that are on their last legs and already in decline. I often recommend tree removal of trees that are going to be dead or felled in a storm in 10 years anyway. There’s nothing wrong with removing an old, battered, ugly tree – or even a healthy tree that looks fine, but is planted in a really dumb spot. We can always plant new trees as a part of the redesign, while using the opportunity to plant new, properly sized, disease-resistant varieties in better spots than the old ones.”
“Perennials, I love lilies – true lilies, not daylilies – as well as iris, heuchera and sedum,” he says. “Shrubs, I love rhodendrons and azaleas, junipers, fothergilla and Physocarpus (ninebarks. Flowering trees, I love magnolias (yes, we grow them in Minnesota), cherries and redbuds.
Kathy Van Mullekom is garden/home columnist for the Daily Press in Newport News, Va. Follow Kathy at FacebookKathy Hogan Van Mullekom, Twitterdiggindirt and Pinterestdigginin; her blog can be read at DigginRoomandYard.com. Email her at kvanmullekomaol.com.
©2014 Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Photo from MCT Photo Service, 202-383-6099: digging-in

Article source: http://blogs.rep-am.com/garden/2014/03/31/tips-from-a-renegade-gardener/

Tips for Jackson Hole Gardeners

Join Al Yooung for ideas and suggestions for high altitude gardening in Jackson Hole and Teton Valley. Site selection, site preparation, garden maintenance, harvesting and common gardening pitfalls will be discussed. She will offer suggestions for what plants do well in the mountain climate zone, and discuss growing season, cool weather crops, companion planting and transplanting.

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Website:
tetonparksandrec.org

Article source: http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/calendar/community/tips-for-jackson-hole-gardeners/event_61cbff0e-aada-11e3-95ab-101f742c0dee.html

Tips for a Bountiful Backyard Garden

MISSION, KS — (Marketwired) — 03/31/14 — (Family Features) The benefits of having your own backyard vegetable garden are plentiful, and can include significant lifestyle impacts, such as healthier eating habits, money saving perks and more.

A Relaxing, Healthful Hobby
Looking for a hobby that allows you to contribute to the health of your family? Take up gardening. Beyond producing nutritious foods, it can help you teach your family about local agriculture, all while basking in the tranquility of the great outdoors. Though starting your own home garden can be intimidating, there are a few simple steps to get you started. Once developed, it can yield fruits and vegetables from early spring and into the fall.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

1) Do Some Research
Find out what vegetables grow best in your area and when is the right time to plant and harvest. Many local university extension programs have this information readily available online. For each plant, consider the amount of water needed, how much sunlight is required and if it should be started from seed or a transplanted seedling.

2) Choose a Good Spot
Keep in mind vegetables need at least six hours of sun each day, so plant away from the shade of buildings, trees and shrubs. Planting close to your house may make you more likely to bring your harvest right into your kitchen, and will help you remember to weed and water. Including rain and irrigation, your garden needs at least one inch of water per week. Make sure you can easily access a water supply nearby. Some products, such as an Ames NeverLeak hose reel, provide convenient hose storage and can easily reach all parts of your yard. Be sure to choose a level area of your yard so when watering it will not pool in lower areas.

3) Clear the Area
Use your garden hose or a string to mark the area for proper placement of your garden. Use a sod lifter or garden spade, keeping the area level and removing as little topsoil as possible. Next, use a round point shovel, such as the True Temper True American Round-Point Shovel, to dig into the soil about 12 inches, breaking it up and removing clumps. To encourage proper drainage and escape light freezes in early spring and fall, construct a raised bed by creating a border with wood slats and filling in with soil.

4) Prepare the Soil
Use a rake to create a smooth finish and remove debris or stones on the surface. You may want to add manure, compost or soil additives to provide additional nutrients in the soil.

5) Plant Your Seeds
Determine if you will be starting your plants from seeds or transplanting small seedlings. Be sure to research how much room each plant will need and plot the layout of your garden. Dig V-shaped furrows using a warren hoe or the edge of a garden hoe. Carefully distribute the seeds in the furrows evenly and in accordance with the instructions on the seed packet. Cover the seeds and pat down gently, then water thoroughly.

Use this information for a fruitful harvest this gardening season. For more tips, visit www.AmesTrueTemper.com or www.Facebook.com/TrueTemperTools.

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Article source: http://www.einnews.com/pr_news/197868301/tips-for-a-bountiful-backyard-garden

Tips for planting lavender in New Orleans gardens. There’s a trick to it. – The Times

Last Friday, I wrote about a new hybrid lavender, called ‘Phenomenal,’ that, according to Southern Living magazine, reportedly grows well in the South. New Orleans-area gardeners took note — and flooded my inbox.

There is definitely a pent-up desire for lavender plants that can stand up to South Louisiana’s heat and humidity.

Most of the local garden centers I called haven’t heard of ‘Phenomenal,’ and several sources said it wasn’t really the type of lavender that was the problem in local gardens — but how it’s planted.

“I have French lavender that I’ve had planted in my yard for two years, and it does well,” said Chad Harris, owner of the Garden Gates nursery and boutique in Old Metairie. “If you want to grow lavender in New Orleans, you have to plant it in gravel. Mine is in all pea gravel, with no soil at all. That’s the secret.”

Audrey Driscoll, a member of The Herb Society of America, New Orleans Unit, said her group offers a similar “prescription” for planting lavender and other Mediterranean herbs here.

“We suggest a layer of pea gravel at the bottom of the container, followed by coarse sand, then potting soil,” she wrote in an email. “Finish the top surface with a thin layer of the pea gravel. This can work in the ground as well. The gravel at the bottom followed by the sand provides drainage. These plants want water but want the water to drain off. The gravel on the surface keeps the plant’s underside away from a ‘wet’ surface. A little lime can be added to the potting soil. Think of when you see lavender growing in the cracks of buildings in Europe. It is the lime in the mortar that nourishes them.”

Harris, though, doesn’t think lavender should be watered at all. “There is more than enough water in New Orleans to keep those plants alive,” he said.

Harris’ Garden Gates nursery sells lavender in the fall, not the spring. “If you plant it in the fall it has a better chance of surviving,” he said. “Our falls tend to be cooler and dryer than our springs, so if you get it established you have a better chance of it making it.”

Article source: http://www.nola.com/homegarden/index.ssf/2014/03/tips_for_planting_lavender_in.html