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2 comments | Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Recycling Christmas Trees | Christmas Tree Disposal Tips



Christmas has come and gone and many folks are trying to make room for their New Year events. In doing so you may want to dispose of your Christmas tree quickly. Instead of placing your Christmas tree out on the curb for disposal, there are a few ways you can use the tree around your home. Making mulch out of your Christmas tree is the first thing that comes to mind. If you have a chipper/shredder, or maybe your neighbor can let you borrow their chipper/shredder, you can make a fine mulch for your garden plants with your Christmas tree. If that won't work for you, you can still recycle the tree in other ways. Placing the tree upright in a protected spot will give birds a place to seek shelter through the rest of the winter. Several pieces of rope can be used to secure the Christmas tree to a neighboring tree or T-post to prevent the wind from blowing it over. If you have a forested area, you can just pitch the tree out into the woods and let mother nature take care of the rest of the work. Some local governments offer Christmas tree recycling programs for their citizens so you may want to keep an eye out in your local newspaper for such a program. Most of these programs shred and make mulch from the Christmas trees and then offer the mulch back to the citizens for a small fee. This is usually by the truckload. You can also use branches from your Christmas tree to make a wreath that you can hang on your fence or gate for the rest of the winter. If you're the creative type, you're sure to come up with a few more ways to recycle your Christmas tree.








Related posts: Staking Trees - Cutting Down a Tree - Feeding Wild Birds


Gardening Tips

0 comments | Friday, December 22, 2006

Garden Pictures on a Rainy Day


butterfly-bush

On days like this when it's rainy out and I get to feeling blue, there's no better medicine for me than to browse through pictures of the garden taken in the past. I guess I live for playing in the garden. I started planning for next Spring when the leaves began to fall in Autumn. I'm working on building a bigger vegetable garden every year. We started canning [pictures taken] and drying [pictures taken] some of our own vegetables this year. Actually, we would have started sooner, but the size of our old garden [pictures taken] just wouldn't have made it worth it. My next big project is running a water line underground [pictures will be taken] to our new vegetable garden. It's located quite a ways from the house and I get tired of dragging the hose all the way out there. We try to document everything we do with pictures. Every new plant in the garden beds gets a mug shot [picture taken]. They also get their annual picture taken [picture taken??]. It makes it so much easier to keep track of the growth rates of the plants. And it gives me something do on rainy days like today. Now if only my hard drive were larger....







Related posts: Garden Tools - Common Garden Weeds - Garden Tiller Maintenance







Gardening Tips

1 comments | Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mimosa Tree | Silk Tree


mimosa tree

A beautiful tree, whether in bloom or not, the mimosa tree, also known as the silk tree to some, creates quite a spectacle in landscapes across the country. The mimosa tree's biggest drawback is it's a little too prolific in propagating itself by means of seed. The mimosa trees can be seen in bloom in our part of the country along the Interstate 65 in central Kentucky around mid June. It doesn't take long to see why it is making its way onto more and more state noxious plants lists. Mile after mile, these trees are quickly crowding out the space where native tree & plant seeds lay hidden in the dirt below. If you are considering growing this tree, please keep in mind that there are many native plants that are just as beautiful when in bloom and without the invasive habit.





Related posts: Staking Trees - Cutting Down a Tree - Planting Trees - Buy Trees





Gardening Tips

1 comments | Monday, December 18, 2006

Recycling Sod | Reusing Lawn Sod



Since it was so nice outside I went ahead and planted a few trees and plants today. Whenever I dig a new hole for a tree or plant, I'll remove the lawn sod first and recycle it by either filling in bare spots or dips in the lawn or tossing the sod into the compost pile. You can do the same thing when digging a new garden bed. Just stick the shovel into the sod and then tilt the handle back towards you and push the blade forward a few inches under the soil. It doesn't take long to get the hang of removing sod. We had a ditch on a steep slope that was always washing out when it rained. I used my old noggin and after digging sod from planting holes, I lay the sod down in the ditch over the dirt and stomped it down a few times. It took awhile, but I finally got the whole ditch covered in sod from the lawn. That ditch hasn't washed out since.





Gardening Tips

0 comments | Friday, December 08, 2006

Weed Control | Corn Gluten Meal



The organic weed control we know as corn gluten meal has been around for several years now. Corn gluten meal is used organically to control sprouting garden weeds. It will not suppress established weeds. Corn gluten meal works by drying out emerging weed seedlings as soon as they begin to grow. Corn gluten meal will work for about 4 - 6 weeks before reapplication is needed. Length of time between applications of corn gluten meal will depend on the weather conditions and amount being applied. We have several gravel walks and paths that we use corn gluten meal on and it works perfectly for us. Very rarely will a weed get established in the gravel walks. So if you want to keep weeds from growing in your gravel and even your garden beds, corn gluten meal is your answer.







Related posts: Garden Weeds





Gardening Tips

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Use for Old Halloween Masks



Here's a great use for your old Halloween masks. When the crows are snitching your freshly planted corn from the garden next Spring, put your scary Halloween mask over the face of your scarecrow. Be creative! Throw an old straw hat over the head of the Halloween mask. If this doesn't scare the critters, it will surely have them laughing so hard that they forget where your corn is planted.





Gardening Tips

0 comments | Thursday, December 07, 2006

Benefits of Landscape Lighting



There are many considerable benefits of landscape lighting. Landscape lighting reveals the hidden architectural aspects of your home in the darkness of night. They cast dramatic silhouettes of your trees and plants against the walls of your home creating a spectacular show for the curious passerby. Landscape lighting also acts as a security measure in your overall home security plan. Dark spaces can be lighted to reveal any potential hidden dangers thus making you feel more secure entering your premises late at night. With correctly positioned landscape lighting, ripple effects on a pond or base of a water fountain can glamorize a rather unexciting spot in the still of the evening. Potential home-buyers will relish the fact that your home is as charming in the evening hours as it is in the day time. Consider these uses and benefits of landscape lighting when making your next purchase of lighting for your landscape.






Related articles: Solar Garden Lighting





Gardening Tips

0 comments | Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cooperative Extension PDF Files



Many cooperative extension publications available online are sometimes available only as PDF files. This is especially true when searching through agricultural cooperative extension sites. For some people using older computers with little memory and small processors, these PDF files can put a serious strain on your computer resources, sometimes bringing about the dreaded blue screen. Without knowing if the gardening information you seek is contained within the PDF file, you may pass on opening it or downloading it to your desktop. There is a way to preview what is in the Cooperative Extension PDF file without having to use your PDF viewer. For example, say you are on the Purdue University site looking through their fruits and nuts garden publications, you'll notice all of the PDF files. Take this one page for example on: home storage of apples - http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-95.pdf. If you go to the google home page and type in the URL without the http://www. then you will get this result. If you look under the page result, you will see this link: View as HTML. This is google's cache of the PDF file from the Purdue website for that particular PDF file. Note that some images or graphs that are in the original PDF file may not show through this cached page. Just thought this might come in handy for those with older computers that don't want to miss out on some excellent information, but usually don't like waiting for a PDF file to open.

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Organic Pest Control



What chemicals, if any, do you use in your garden? When you are presented with a pest control problem on your plants, do you reach for a bottle of toxic chemicals or opt for a more ecologically responsible alternative? Granted, there may be more work involved with organic methods. Picking bugs off your prized plants can be tedious and time consuming. But don't you really believe its worth it to do your part for our environment? Below are a few organic pest control strategies from the University of Maryland.

Organic Pest Control Strategies


  • Learn to tolerate some damage - Most healthy herbaceous and woody plants can tolerate 20-30% leaf defoliation without suffering long-term damage or yield reduction.
  • Wait for beneficials - Aphid feeding in the spring alarms many gardeners. Natural predators and parasites usually clean up local infestations in a month or so.
  • Timing of seeding and planting - Some pests can be circumvented by growing vulnerable plants when damage is least likely. For example, late summer squash crops are less troubled by squash vine borer. This requires knowledge of pest life cycles.
  • Late fall or early spring tillage - Many pests over-winter in the crop debris of host plants or in the soil around host plants. Tilling can disrupt pest habitats.
  • Use a spray of water to dislodge pests - A strong hose spray may temporarily dislodge mites, aphids and other pests. Be careful not to damage plants.
  • Hand picking garden pests - Pick off adult and immature insects and egg masses. Pests can be squashed or dropped into a jar of soapy water.
  • Grow pest resistant or tolerant plants - Check with the nursery or gardening catalogs when selecting plants for those with resistance or tolerance to pests and diseases. Many native plants are good choices.
  • Do not overfertilize plants - Aphids and spider mites will produce more young on overfertilized plants.
  • Plant Pest Barriers - A floating row cover is an excellent material for excluding insect pests. Other examples are paper collars for cut-worms and diatomaceous earth for slugs.
  • Rotate crops to prevent localizing pest colonies - Rotate crops that are prone to pests and diseases. However, it is often very difficult to rotate away from disease problems in small gardens that over-winter in soil or garden debris.






Gardening Tips