Loving Geraniums

How could someone NOT love geraniums. There is just something so comforting about this old fashioned flower. My grandmother… all of hers were planted in my grandpa’s tobacco cans.

Watching Your Geraniums Bloom

Now can you find a prettier flower than this and the blooming time never seems to stop!

Did you know…
…that there are meanings associated with every flower? Comfort is the word associated with the geranium. Does that fit for you??

It’s been a really rainy summer where I live and obviously the flowers don’t like all that moisture. They are beginning to look really bedraggled. Tomorrow I’m going to move them to a spot in the garden that receives the most sun. (They are in planters in case you are wondering). Hopefully a few days to dry out will bring them back.

Most types prefer full sun and will bloom at their best in these kinds of conditions. Geraniums prefer a pot (or in the ground) that offers loose soil that drains well.


What you need to know about geraniums

You can call me frugal or plain sentimental, but I have been overwintering the same geraniums for years now. I love their colour; I love that come spring they are landscape-size and full of blooms.

A reader emailed to say she was saddened to see a huge pot of geraniums, given to her when her Mom passed away, blacken and die when Jack Frost arrived. The reader spends several weeks in Florida, so bringing the potted plants indoors for the winter is …


Bring new life to geraniums

“Geranium” is now reserved for the hardy perennial geraniums. Pelargonium are frost-tender “geraniums.” The most commonly grown, for a long season of summer flowers in sunny garden sites and containers.
Geraniums, echeverias and other tender succulents, flowering Maples or Abutilon and tropical plants like bougainvillea, Mandeville and jade plants will all suffer and die when the weather turns frosty.

Our women’s group sold geraniums for Mother’s Day a few years ago and we were quite surprised at the response. There didn’t seem to be any middle ground. People either loved them or hated them.  Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.

Tips for growing healthy geraniums

1. Geraniums can be poisonous for some individuals. Symptoms to look for are skin irritation, redness of the skin and skin swelling. Severity of symptoms vary depending on how much is ingested.

2. The roots of the plant have astringent qualities and have in the past been made into salves.

3. Geraniums can be removed from the ground and stores in a cool dark basement during the winter months, and then replanted the following spring.

4. Geraniums don’t like to get their feet wet, so you might not want to plant them in clay soil, but if you do, be sure to add plenty of stones to the whole to aid in drainage.

5. Chocolate Mint geraniums unfortunately don’t smell like chocolate mint. The term refers to the colour pattern.


Growing Geraniums : Problems with Geraniums

Using fertilizer and pesticides will prevent many problems with your geraniums. Get tips for avoiding common geranium growing problems in this free landscaping video about how to grow geraniums. By ail Thompson Contact: gardenstogrow.googlepages.com


Wooden Fence Design Options

Take a look at what these wooden fence options have to offer and you can be a weekend or a few hours away from starting your very own wooden fence project.

Every fence needs a gate and this wooden fence gate is a great idea when you have the occasional wide passage needs. Consider a wide gate when you have a riding lawn mower or if the kids have a wagon.

You can open the gates during high traffic times (unless you have pets in the yard) and then close them after the company has gone for the day.

More Most Budget Popular Wooden Fence
One of the most convenient and flexible forms of wooden fencing is the expanding modular fence kits you can buy online.

I have a couple of expanding lattice fences that are free standing. I love that I can move them around wherever new plants need a wind break or a sun screen. They are similar to this design, but I paid three times the price of these, so you can grab a bargain here: Wooden Expanding Fence

The are also really good for keeping pets contained in their areas when guests are at the house, and also to corral your guests and aim the traffic flow in the directions you want for BBQ and garden parties.

They are not supposed to actually constrain anyone, as they can be knocked over or pushed aside by anything bigger than a cat, but they are a great visual deterrent or guide for where you want everyone to stay on their own side of the fence!

If you need to firmly keep baby, kids, dogs etc in or out of a specific area inside the house, you are better to use the gateway kits that fit in doorways of the house.

Choosing the Wooden Fence for your property
Find the most suitable rated Wooden Fence of all. When you want a fence for design and partition rather than privacy, then this visit the link http://homeguides.sfgate.com/styles-privacy-fences-54787.html for a great range of options.

You can create a ‘section’ in your yard where you can set up a dining table or a conversation area.

Why not partition a spot for a bed swing or a hammock. You can keep the high traffic down in areas where you have delicate plants.

You can also use a partition fence to distract from the eyesores in the yard such as the air conditioning unit or the water reclamation system.
Which Is The Best Wooden Fence For You?
The Different Types of Wooden Fence you can buy or build can be compared online.
If you are not sure yet just what kind of fence you think will suit your property and garden best, you should consider getting a couple of top quality books with plans and illustrations to help you make a better informed choice.

Fencing is a big investment if you are creating it for the property boundaries, so its worth the time and money invested to make sure your choice is one that you will still love in the years to come, and that improves the value of your property.


Wood Fence Installation Tips: Installing Posts and Pickets

Wooden Fence Maintenance:
Save money by protecting your investment. Cleaning your wooden fence is an important part of maintenance. Long life to your fence is partly about treating the wood and partly about a routine cleaning. You can add years of life to your wooden fence by keeping it clean and well treated with a water resistant treatment (stain, paint, wax).

Choose the right cleaning technique for the treatment you use. See the label on your wood treatment (stain can for example) to find the best way to clean the wood treated that way.


Easy Vegetable garden planning

Some measuring involved

Getting your vegetable garden plan on paper or on the computer will give you direction, help keep you focused, and help you to be able to allocate space for all the vegetables you wish to grow. Start by drawing a rough plan of your block showing the outline of your house and any other buildings such as garages, sheds, pergolas etc or any permanent features such as a pool, decking, driveways or trees etc. Now you will need to write measurements on this drawing. You can get this information from your title or measure it yourself using a long tape measure or a piece of string marked off in feet or metres. It’s easier to have two people if you need to measure your block – one for each end of the string or tape measure.

Planning the size of your Vegetable Garden

Next you will need to plan how much space in your yard you want to allocate to your vegetable garden. You may wish to leave space for:
the children to play
the dog to run
the clothes to dry
picnic table
views from the house
compost bin
rubbish bins
dog kennel
sand pit
chicken coop
rabbit hutch
butterfly garden
or whatever.

If you are just starting out, it may be a good idea to start with one small vegetable garden bed and then add more beds at a later date, if you have the room . So even if you start with just one garden bed, remember to allow room for expansion. As your confidence, ability, and love for fresh, home-grown veggies grow, you may wish to add more.

Don’t fret if you only have a small space for your vegetable garden. Think vertical. Many vegetables can grow up on a fence, trellis or tepee to make your available space more productive. Up is good. After all, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are one of the seven wonders of the ancient world!

Draw your vegetable garden beds plan on paper or on the computer screen

Make a grid of squares on paper or use graph paper. If you have a large garden, each square could represent 5 feet (1.5 metres – or 1 metre). If your garden is small, each square could represent 1 foot (30cm). Transfer your rough plan of your yard onto the grid or graph paper using a ruler to draw your straight lines.

You can now decide where is the best place to put your vegetable garden. Don’t think that this needs to be restricted to your backyard. A couple of years ago, I created a vegetable garden, also containing flowers, in my front yard. Bear in mind that you will need to take into account the direction of the prevailing wind and how much sun the position receives.

Do you want to incorporate any other elements into your vegetable garden – a seat for daydreaming, a sundial, a scarecrow, some urns, statues or a pond (resident frogs can help provide insect control)? Once you have made your decisions, draw your vegetable garden beds on the graph paper in your desired veggie garden layout or use the vegetable garden planning software (like I did here) which will make this process even easier.

Planning which vegetables you want in your garden

choosing vegetables to growNow you will need to decide on which vegetables to grow in your garden. If you are new to vegetable gardening, you may like to start with some of the easier to grow vegetables. Easy vegetables to grow include beetroot, swiss chard (silverbeet), broad beans, carrots, lettuce, shallots, peas (including sugar snap and snow peas), green beans, radishes, potatoes and tomatoes. But don’t plan to grow a particular type of vegetable in your garden that you don’t like and so won’t eat.Picture courtesy of cooee on morguefile. (Why anyone would bother planting broad beans is beyond me….) And don’t be afraid to try other vegetables. Read the packet or the punnet information carefully and give them a try.

It is a good idea to make a list of the vegetables and herbs you eat and cook with on a regular basis and maybe even add a few you would like to try. You could look at the seed packets or seedling punnets available at your garden supply centre to get new ideas. Sort this list into columns: “Essential”, “Would Like” and “If I have room”. If you are a new gardener, try to include some of the easier vegetables to ensure at least some success.

Be sure to check on the back of the seed packet to find the correct season for planting in your area.

If you only have space for a small vegetable garden, you may choose to grow vegetables and herbs which produce a decent harvest in a short amount of time and do not take up much space (such as carrots, radishes, lettuces, chives, parsley, leafy greens, bell peppers, tomatoes and bush snap beans). You may wish to avoid those that take up a lot of room and time only to return a small harvest (such as sweet corn, pumpkins and melons).

When deciding of how many of each plant to grow, you must take into account how much of that vegetable you are likely to eat and also the average yield for that vegetable. Some plants may yield a prolific crop. If you plant too many, you may find your family getting tired of your creative ways of cooking zucchini (boiled zucchini, stir-fried zucchini, scrambled zucchini, broiled zucchini, baked zucchini, poached zucchini, zucchini burgers, zucchini soup, zucchini pancakes, zucchini muffins, ……)

Help with choosing which vegetables to grow

Choosing which vegetables to grow is part of planning your vegetable garden. Your choice will depend on what you like to eat, your level of expertise, where you live, the time of year, the size of your vegetable garden and your reasons for wanting a to grow your own vegetables.

Now plan where to plant the vegetables from your list, starting with the “Essential” veggies. (If you are using the same vegetable garden planning software as I did, this is easy: just select your veggie then drag and drop into position.) Bear in mind the following points:

Different vegetables have different space requirements. For example, one broccoli plant will require more room than one carrot plant and one pumpkin plant can ramble all over your back yard. Make sure you leave enough space for the mature plant. The gardening software I used makes it easy to see the space needed for the fully mature plant.

You don’t want taller vegetables such as sweet corn and tomatoes blocking the sun from the lower varieties such as lettuces and spinach.

Some vegetables such as sweet corn do better if they are planted together so they can easily cross-fertilize.

It is important to practice crop rotation. If you plant the same family of vegetables in the same plot each year, it may encourage the build up of pests and diseases in the soil. Crop rotation will also avoid depleting the soil of nutrients. The main vegetable families for crop rotation include:

brassicas: cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, kale, swedes, turnips, radishes, salad rocket, kohl rabi, mustard

potato: potatoes, eggplants, capsicums, tomatoes

legume: beans, peas, broad beans

onion: onions, garlic, shallots, leeks

carrot: carrots, parsnips, celery, celeriac

… for example – don’t plant broccoli in a spot one year, then cauliflower in the same spot next year since they are both from the brassica family. The vegetable garden software I used will keep track of where you position each vegetable and will give you a warning in subsequent years if you try to plant something from the same family in that spot. (Check out my crop rotation vegetable garden.)

It will make cultivation of your soil easier if you separate your perennial crops (which live for three years or more) such as rhubarb, Jerusalem artichokes, globe artichokes, asparagus, oregano, rosemary and sage from your other vegetables which are mostly annual (living for one year or less).

How to Plan & Design Your Vegetable Garden Layout

A well planned vegetable garden is a productive vegetable garden. In this video we guide you through the process of producing the perfect design for your garden, including 5 key questions you should ask as you plan what you will grow.

What’s next?
So now you’re off to a good start with planning your vegetable garden. There are several other factors to consider, such as sunshine, wind and drainage. But don’t worry too much about detailed in-depth planning. Just get a few of these basic factors sorted out and you should succeed and get many hours of satisfaction and enjoyment from your garden – not to mention the great taste of your own freshly harvested home-grown vegetables.

Tell us about your plans for your vegetable garden this year in the comment box below.