Container Gardens Beautify Your Home + HM #230

Celebrate National Garden Month with container gardens and potted plants to beautify your home. Linkup at #HomeMattersParty #ContainerGardens #PottedPlants

Container Gardens Beautify Your Home + HM #230

Enjoy your garden indoor and out! Container gardens or potted plants are a great way to bring nature into your home. It’s also a perfect way to add color to your patio or deck. It’s National Garden Month, so help us celebrate with a fantastic roundup of Container Gardens from t he gals of Home Matters!
 

Avoid Beginner Mistakes in Container Gardening from Jill @ The Beginner’s Garden

 

The Best DIY Soil Mix Recipe from TiffanyThe Imperfectly Happy Home

 

Potted Plants Keep Your Deck Colorful and Festive from LorelaiLife With Lorelai

 

Container Gardens Beautify Your Home Blog Hop

Click through all the Hosts and Co-hosts blogs to see the complete Themed Roundup!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

 

A Home Matters Themed Roundup

Last Week’s Theme: Pecan, Pecans for Everything!

Next Week’s Theme: Mother’s Day



Welcome to the weekly Home Matters Linky Party. A great place to come, share your blog posts, and make new friends.

We would love to have you visit our blogs and follow us on social media!

Hosts

Lorelai @ Life With LorelaiFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Ashley @ Sweetpea LifestyleFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Donna @ Modern On MonticelloFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Co-hosts

Sahana @ VikalpahFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Emily @ Domestic DeadlineFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Nina @ Vintage Mama’s CottageFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

 

Check out more posts from the Hosts and Co-Hosts on our
NEW Pinterest Board, All Things Home Matters!
And, please do follow…

Follow All Things Home Matters Board on Pinterest.

 

Each week, we like to feature some of the awesome posts shared at last week’s party. We hope you will be inspired by these creative and talented bloggers who share their best recipes, DIY projects, crafts, home decor, organization ideas, and more. Enjoy!

Check out this week’s features below.

 

Easy Easter Decorating from Kippi at Home

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Sheet Pan Tuscan Chicken from Lou Lou Girls

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Pecan Cheesecake Pie from Liberty @ B4 & Afters

PIN here


Party Size Trail Mix Recipe from Our Homeschooling Journey Tips

PIN here


Slow Cooker Taco Chicken from Rebecca @ Strength & Sunshine

PIN here

 

Thank you to all who linked up at last week’s party. We look forward to seeing what you will be sharing with us this week!

Remember that every feature is shared on all Host’s and Co-Host’s blogs, as well as on the Home Matters Linky Party Pinterest Board! Don’t forget to follow…

Follow Home Matters Linky Party Board on Pinterest.

If you were featured this week, Please Grab our Featured Button to display proudly on your blog post, featured page, or sidebar! Share the joy…

Are you ready to Party?

The linky party starts when Friday begins and closes when Monday ends, EST.

We at Home Matters love meeting new people and discovering new blogs. Help us grow this party by sharing a link on your post or grabbing our party button for your sidebar or party page.

Stop by and VISIT as many OTHER BLOGGERS as you can. Leave them a message, and share their talents on social media.

Be sure to Please USE our Registered Hashtag

 

Home Matters Linky Party Guidelines:

We are thrilled that you came by to link up today! Here are a few rules that hosts and co-hosts of the Home Matters Party follow, and we ask that you follow them, as well.

  1. Please link up no more than THREE posts each week–try to make sure that they are new links that you have not shared here previously. (Exception: Holiday/Seasonal specific posts may be shared once per year.)
  1. Please take some time to poke around and visit some of the other links.
  1. Please take some time to check out your hosts and co-hosts on social media.
  1. We appreciate the variety of blogs on the www; however, the Home Matters Party is for links on matters of the HOME. Please link accordingly.
  1. We ask that you do not add other Linky Parties, Blog Hops, or Giveaways–unless you begin the party with a new project, recipe or post.
  1. On the same note, please do not add links of an extremist, political or strong controversial nature. (The hosts and co-hosts read each and every blog post linked and will contact you directly if you have linked something that does not fit into the realm of the party.)

With your help, we can continue to grow the Home Matters Party! Thank you!

Celebrate National Garden Month with container gardens and potted plants to beautify your home. Linkup at #HomeMattersParty #ContainerGardens #PottedPlants Click To Tweet

 

We are looking for Co-Hosts. Help us Rock this party!
If you are interested, please

Click Here for DETAILS!

 

Link Up!

By joining the Home Matters Linky Party you are giving permission for all hosts and co-hosts to use and share any part of your post, including pictures, for party promotion, as featured posts, in party photo collages, on blogs, and across social media, etc. All credits will be given to the original source. Also, you will receive a weekly email reminder regarding the new week’s Home Matters Linky Party.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Thank you for joining in the fun and excitement at the Home Matters Linky Party. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. We look forward to chatting with you in the comments.

 

Don’t have a blog, but want to Remember to Party With Us each week?
Forgot to leave your email while linking up your post?
You can still sign up for our Email Party Reminders. Click below for a form…

 

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Spring Gardening – Grow Your Gardens + HM #223

Tips and ideas for Spring gardening! Grow your garden. Plus, link up @ Home Matters w/ recipes, DIY decor, more. #Gardening #SpringGarden #HomeMattersParty

Spring Gardening – Grow Your Gardens + HM #223

I am not sure there is anything that saySpring more than a beautiful garden! Whether is is flowers, bushes, or vegetables seeing the ground come back to life is a spectacular view. We love to garden (with 23 rose bushes, we’d better! LOL). You can find lots of other garden tips on this blog. Since spring is getting ready to spring, the gals of Home Matters want you to be prepared. Enjoy!

 

Gardening Beginners: 11 Tips for a Successful Start from Sarah @ The Free Range Life

 

Spring Garden Prep + FREE Printable Planting Notebook from KristiHomestead Wishing

 

15 Vegetable Seeds to Plant in March from Tiffany The Imperfectly Happy Home

 

Lilac Bushes – How to Plant Healthy Shrubs from Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai

 

Spring Gardening – Grow Your Gardens Blog Hop

Click through all the Hosts and Co-hosts blogs to see the complete Themed Roundup!

Inlinkz Link Party

 

A Home Matters Themed Roundup

Last Week’s Theme: St. Patrick’s Day Fun Ideas

Next Week’s Theme: Spring Decor



Welcome to the weekly Home Matters Linky Party. A great place to come, share your blog posts, and make new friends.

We would love to have you visit our blogs and follow us on social media!

Hosts

Lorelai @ Life With LorelaiFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Ashley @ Sweetpea LifestyleFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Donna @ Modern On MonticelloFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Co-hosts

Sahana @ VikalpahFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Emily @ Domestic DeadlineFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Nina @ Vintage Mama’s CottageFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

 

Check out more posts from the Hosts and Co-Hosts on our
NEW Pinterest Board, All Things Home Matters!
And, please do follow…

Follow All Things Home Matters Board on Pinterest.

 

Each week, we like to feature some of the awesome posts shared at last week’s party. We hope you will be inspired by these creative and talented bloggers who share their best recipes, DIY projects, crafts, home decor, organization ideas, and more. Enjoy!

Check out this week’s features below.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Dessert:  Rainbow Mug Cake by Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom

PIN here


Crystallized Egg Vases by Melissa @ The Scrap Shoppe Blog

PIN here


Mermaid Jello Shots by Melissa @ Sparkles to Sprinkles

PIN here


Hello Spring Geo Style Hoop Art by Jennifer @ Busy Being Jennifer

PIN here


No Bake Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake by Jen @ Cincy Shopper

PIN here

 

Thank you to all who linked up at last week’s party. We look forward to seeing what you will be sharing with us this week!

Remember that every feature is shared on all Host’s and Co-Host’s blogs, as well as on the Home Matters Linky Party Pinterest Board! Don’t forget to follow…

Follow Home Matters Linky Party Board on Pinterest.

If you were featured this week, Please Grab our Featured Button to display proudly on your blog post, featured page, or sidebar! Share the joy…

Are you ready to Party?

The linky party starts when Friday begins and closes when Monday ends, EST.

We at Home Matters love meeting new people and discovering new blogs. Help us grow this party by sharing a link on your post or grabbing our party button for your sidebar or party page.

Stop by and VISIT as many OTHER BLOGGERS as you can. Leave them a message, and share their talents on social media.

Be sure to Please USE our Registered Hashtag

 

Home Matters Linky Party Guidelines:

We are thrilled that you came by to link up today! Here are a few rules that hosts and co-hosts of the Home Matters Party follow, and we ask that you follow them, as well.

  1. Please link up no more than THREE posts each week–try to make sure that they are new links that you have not shared here previously. (Exception: Holiday/Seasonal specific posts may be shared once per year.)
  1. Please take some time to poke around and visit some of the other links.
  1. Please take some time to check out your hosts and co-hosts on social media.
  1. We appreciate the variety of blogs on the www; however, the Home Matters Party is for links on matters of the HOME. Please link accordingly.
  1. We ask that you do not add other Linky Parties, Blog Hops, or Giveaways–unless you begin the party with a new project, recipe or post.
  1. On the same note, please do not add links of an extremist, political or strong controversial nature. (The hosts and co-hosts read each and every blog post linked and will contact you directly if you have linked something that does not fit into the realm of the party.)

With your help, we can continue to grow the Home Matters Party! Thank you!

Tips and ideas for Spring gardening! Grow your garden. Plus, link up @ Home Matters w/ recipes, DIY decor, more. #Gardening #SpringGarden #HomeMattersParty Click To Tweet

 

We are looking for Co-Hosts. Help us Rock this party!
If you are interested, please

Click Here for DETAILS!

 

Link Up!

By joining the Home Matters Linky Party you are giving permission for all hosts and co-hosts to use and share any part of your post, including pictures, for party promotion, as featured posts, in party photo collages, on blogs, and across social media, etc. All credits will be given to the original source. Also, you will receive a weekly email reminder regarding the new week’s Home Matters Linky Party.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thank you for joining in the fun and excitement at the Home Matters Linky Party. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. We look forward to chatting with you in the comments.

 

Don’t have a blog, but want to Remember to Party With Us each week?
Forgot to leave your email while linking up your post?
You can still sign up for our Email Party Reminders. Click below for a form…

 

 

 

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Garden Ideas, Tips and Tricks for Spring

Gardening is a fun and productive way to de-stress. Discover wonderful garden ideas and tips to plant, maintain, decorate, and beautify your gardens.

 

Garden Ideas

Tips and Tricks for Spring Gardening

 

Spring is fast approaching, and that means it is time to start thinking about your garden. So, I thought I would pull together a roundup of gardening ideas, tips, and tricks to help you along the way.

You will find a wide variety of information from planting; trellises; indoor, outdoor, and container gardens; disease prevention; pest deterrents; and more.

Planting and Growing

Sunflowers – How To Grow These Healthy Giants

Get a wow factor in your garden with these floral giants — sunflowers! Learn out to grow them from seeds and grow them to amazing heights.

Lilac Bushes – How To Plant Healthy Shrubs

Learn how to grow healthy Lilac Bushes. Lilacs are a gorgeous and fragrant addition to any garden and are one of the most carefree shrubs for maintenance.

5 Tips To Growing Gourds In Your Garden

Celebrate fall by growing gourds in your garden. Get 5 great tips. Use gourds for autumn decor, recipes, crafts, and more. Bird lovers will love them.

DIY Garden Projects

5 Metallic DIY Ideas For Your Garden

Check out these 5 Metallic DIY Ideas that are perfect for Your Garden! Easy DIY projects that add a little bling to your garden decor.

How To Create A DIY Rose Trellis

Roses come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Add a gorgeous DIY Rose Trellis as a focal point in your garden with a stunning climbing rose.

Indoor Gardening

How-To Create A Terrarium For Your Home

Bring the joy of gardening indoors with this fun and easy DIY Terrarium for your home. Add the beauty of plants to your home decor.

Container Gardening

Potted Plants Keep Your Deck Colorful And Festive

Keep gardening through the autumn and winter months with potted plants. get ideas for colorful and festive ways to make your deck a garden to enjoy.

Alternative Gardens

Aquaponic Gardening – Create A Self-Sustaining Garden

Ever wondered about an aquaponic garden? Aquaponics is a method of gardening that creates a system of self-sustaining gardening.

6 Ways To Create A Zen Experience In Your Backyard

Looking for quiet and tranquility? Take a cue from Japanese culture and create a Zen experience in your garden or a small Zen garden for inside your home.

Garden Maintenance

Shrubs – 5 Hassle-Free Trimming Tips

Great tips on how to take back control of your yard, and keep your plants healthy and beautiful with these how-tos for trimming your shrubs.

5 Most Valuable Home Improvement Investments

A garden beautifies your home. Get a few key tools to make the most of time and energy, and ensure you have the right tools for the gardening job.

Plant Diseases and Pest Deterrents

Plant Diseases – How To Identify Them In Your Garden

Keep your garden healthy and strong. Learn how to identify and care for common plant diseases. Plus get prevention and disposal tips.

Humane Ways To Keep Animals Out Of Your Yard

Animals can be destructive to gardens. Find humane ways to discourage and keep unwanted animals out of your yard with these great tips.

 

This post gathers a multitude of information and is a fantastic resource for garden ideas, tips, and tricks! PIN it to come back to for future reference.

I hope this spring and summer your gardens will be filled with beautiful flowers, shrubs, herbs, and vegetables. Take pleasure in the gardening experience, relax and enjoy!

 

 

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Potted Plants Keep Your Deck Colorful And Festive

Keep gardening through the autumn and winter months with potted plants. get ideas for colorful and festive ways to make your deck a garden to enjoy. Find out how from our regular contributor, Megan Wild.

Potted Plants

Keep Your Deck Colorful and Festive

Just because the autumn weather has set in doesn’t mean you have to put away your gardening tools until next year. In fact, there are actually loads of ideas to keep your deck looking bright and festive throughout the winter. With colorful, creative and decorative planters and the right choice of greenery, it can even be an activity for the whole family to enjoy.

Setting the Stage for Your Perfect Garden

Before you run out and buy out all the potted plants at your local greenhouse, make sure you’ve prepared your deck space properly. This can entail making sure the decking is properly sealed and prepared to handle multiple planters that will be watered periodically. Without adequately sealing, the constant watering of greenery on your deck can trap moisture in the wood and eventually cause the wood to rot.

To cut down on water use and make your garden more sustainable over the winter months, consider incorporating rain barrels or a rain garden to catch water runoff. This will be especially helpful during months when the snow melts and the spring thaw begins. You can also do research on which native plants in your area require less watering and can withstand heartier temperatures.

Now that you’ve prepped your space and have your plant ideas in mind, here are five easy and fun ideas to make your deck space vibrant and colorful for the autumn into the winter.

  1. Personalize Your Planter

Make it a family affair and repurpose an old cardboard letter to fill with your favorite plants in the shape of your family’s last name. Each member of the family can pick out their favorite addition to the planter, making it perfectly unique to your garden deck.

  1. Choose Bold Colors

One of the best things about fall plants is you have a great variety of succulents that have deep, rich colors of wines, greens and golds. Check this great list of thrillers, fillers and spillers so you have the best variety to put into your planter. They are sure to be eye-catching.

  1. Recycle Materials to Create a Unique Look

You can really make a statement and give new life to different materials by getting a little creative with your planter choices. For example, an old red wagon is great for succulents and will give your deck a fun conversation piece — and maybe a new purpose for old toys no longer in service.

  1. Get a Little Rustic With Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is such a versatile material and is another way to breathe new life into used materials. You can build your own reclaimed wood planter, or even put together a great little end table to display your recently potted bright chrysanthemums and deep Heucherella sweet tea. Make it fun for the kids too and add in a painting activity for the boards. You can personalize them each or just use solid colors — it’ll be a fun decision to make together.

  1. Utilize All Your Space

Even if you have a small deck space to work with, you can still find ways to have a great garden and utilize your available space. Grow bags are a great way to do this. They are a vertical way to grow anything from herbs to flowers and can add a homey look to any deck, especially in an urban setting.

Whether you’ve got a large or small space to work with, there are great options out there to make your deck garden unique and colorful. You can also do so while keeping the environment in mind with sustainable watering systems and responsible plant choice. And finally, it’s also an activity that can be fun for the whole family.

 

~Megan

Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!


 

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5 Tips To Growing Gourds In Your Garden

Celebrate Fall in your garden! Here are 5 great tips to growing gourds in your garden, brought to us by regular contributor, Megan Wild.

 

Growing Gourds – Celebrate Fall In Your Garden

Get 5 Great Tips!

 

Tips for Growing Gourds

You’ve probably started seeing them in fall décor, and in the spring you might have seen them put out for birds to nest in. You don’t need to shell out money for these decorative staples: Did you know you can grow your own ornamental gourds as a fun project with your children, or just to have a surplus for decorating next season? While they have a long growing period before the gourds can be harvested, they are very easy to start from seeds.

Here’s how you can grow your own gourds and enjoy them from season to season.

Getting to Know Your Gourds

Gourds are a vining fruit that actually includes watermelons, pumpkins, squash, melons and cucumbers. There are three basic types of gourds that are grown for decoration or for crafts and utensils.

  1. Vegetable sponge gourds (luffa) have an exterior shell that is removed after they are harvested. It is the center of the gourd that is used as a sponge. Once dried, the luffa sponge can be used as an exfoliating scrub when bathing. If you make your own soap, you can also slice a luffa and pour your homemade soap over it in a mold to make an exfoliating bar.
  1. Ornamental gourds are typically the ones used in decorating. They can be unusually shaped and brightly colored. Small ornamental gourds can be dried and preserved, but large ornamental gourds will not be suitable for drying.
  1. Utilitarian gourds will be green while they grow, but will dry to a brown color with a tough shell. These can be used for bird houses, crafts and if left to grow on the ground with a flat side, can also be cut in half to use for bowls.

Constructing Your Garden

Since gourds are big sun lovers, you should select an area in your yard that gets full sun with well-drained soil. You may also want to enrich the soil with compost or organic material. If you intend to use your gourds for decoration, you should construct a trellis that will support your growing gourds, unless you are planning to grow utilitarian gourds for bowls.

Preparing the Seeds

Gourd seeds can have a hard outer shell, which can cause them to take an extra-long time to germinate. To help speed up the process, you can scarify them by roughing up the surface with sandpaper or a nail file. You will need to gently rough up both sides of the seed. After you have done that, soak them in a bowl of lukewarm water for 24 hours, and then let them completely dry so they won’t rot before they sprout.

Caring for Your Plants

If you have a long winter, you can start your seeds indoors. Be sure to wait until all danger of frost is gone before planting them in your garden. Since gourds are a vine, they will need plenty of room in the garden if you will be letting them grow on the ground. If you will be using a trellis, make sure it will support the weight of your growing crop.

While they can be resistant to pests and disease, they don’t like weeds, so be sure to weed your garden regularly. If you are growing in a climate that tends to be extremely hot and dry, you will want to make sure your gourds get plenty of TLC and water.

Gathering Your Harvest

If you plan on drying, or curing, your gourds, you should start by leaving them on the vine as long as possible. Check them every few days to make sure they haven’t started to rot or have become a snack for wildlife. A good indication that your gourd is ready to cut is when the vine has turned brown. Curing gourds can take a while, so be patient and don’t try to rush them. You may want to plan on using your dried gourds the year following the harvest to give them sufficient time to dry.

If you are growing gourds for decoration, don’t seal them with any kind of varnish or shellac, since that will seal in moisture and cause them to rot. If you want them to appear polished, you can use a liquid floor wax instead.

Growing gourds for decoration and crafting can become a fun hobby for novice gardeners, bird lovers and children. It can also become a lucrative business depending on your creative skills and imagination. With so many different uses for gourds, as well as their various colors and sizes, the only limit to what you can make with them is what you don’t think of.

 

See what Lorelai does with her pumpkins. Click HERE!

 

~Megan

Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!

 

 

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How-To Create A Terrarium For Your Home

There is just something wonderful about having plants indoors, isn’t there? Well, regular contributor, Megan Wild, is here to show us an easy way to create a terrarium for your home.

 

How to Create a Terrarium for Your Home

An Easy DIY  to Beautify Your Home

If you’re a lover of the environment, it’s not as difficult as you might think to bring a little slice of nature into your home. Even the smallest apartment has room for a miniature garden, and the idea is actually pretty trendy these days.

Regular contact with nature is shown to help us de-stress and chill out, and having plants around can provide some of those same effects in indoor spaces. Not only that, but plant life can also improve the quality of your indoor air. Plus, this is a great activity for date night or an activity that can easily fit into your staycation schedule if you’re trying to stay within a budget.

So how do you bring a garden into your apartment, especially if it’s small? One cool way is by creating your own terrarium, a glass container for plants that is easy to put together and even easier to take care of.

Choose a Container

Before you gather your other materials, begin by deciding on a glass container. You can purchase one from a craft or antique store, or just use whatever interesting container you might have lying around. Fishbowls, old coffee pots, mason jars and clear vases are all viable options.

Consider whether you’d prefer an open terrarium or one sealed with a lid. Sealed terrariums are unique in that they have the potential to house a small-scale water system. The transparent glass lets in light and heat, which evaporates the water inside and causes it to condense on the walls of the container. Eventually this water will rain back down onto the plants and repeat the cycle.

What Kind of Plants Should You Use?

You really can’t go wrong with any type of plant as long as it’s small enough to fit inside your container. Make sure it won’t grow too tall!

Remember that different types of plants will need different amounts of water and different varieties of soil. Do a bit of research before you begin to put your terrarium together.

Make Your Own Terrarium

You will need the following materials:

  • Glass container
  • Small plants
  • Stones, pebbles, sand, glass chunks or aquarium gravel for drainage
  • Crushed activated charcoal to keep soil fresh
  • Soil
  • Optional landscaping pieces such as moss or decorative figures

  1. Prepare Your Container

Before you start filling your container with materials, it’s important to plan out your arrangement. Consider how your plants will fit inside and make sure they’re not overcrowded. You’ll probably want some negative space to fit in some decoration pieces.

Are you planning to hang your terrarium? If so, make sure to set up the proper hooks so that your terrarium is secure. Make sure to choose a spot that is sunny, such as next to a window. You should also thoroughly wash your container so there isn’t any unwanted residue that could potentially harm your plants or damage your soil.

  1. Add Drainage Layers

The bottom layer of your terrarium should be made up of rocks or sand. The exact amount will vary depending on the size of your container, but typically an inch or two will suffice.

This layer allows water to flow through the soil and into the bottom of the container to keep your plants from drowning.

  1. Add Charcoal

Activated charcoal can be found in gardening stores, in pet supply stores as a supplement for aquarium filters or online. It can come in shards or in powder form – either type will work for your terrarium.

Use enough to create a layer that covers your drainage layer. The charcoal reduces bacteria and fungi and keeps your soil healthy and smelling fresh.

  1. Add Soil

The type and amount of soil you should use will vary based on the types of plants with which you are working.

If you are replanting store-bought plants, your soil layer should be approximately as high as the pots your plants came in.

  1. Plant

Break up any large clumps of soil clinging to your plants’ roots. If your plants have multiple stems, you can choose to break them up into multiple smaller parts – just be gentle!

Use scissors, pruning shears or a sharp knife to trim and loosen the roots if they are particularly long.

Dig out a space in the soil to bury the roots, avoiding letting them touch the edges of the container if you can. This gives them more space to expand as your plant grows.

  1. Decorate

Finally, feel free to add a personal touch to your miniature garden. Moss or other groundcover can add a more natural touch, but you can also incorporate little toys and figurines, more stones or pretty much anything you can think of. Be creative!

That’s all there is to it. With a little bit of work, you can bring the beauty and benefits of a natural garden into your apartment or home.

 

~Megan

Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!

 

 

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5 Most Valuable Home Improvement Investments

A garden beautifies your home. Get a few key tools to make the most of time and energy, and ensure you have the right tools for the gardening job.

5 of the Most Valuable Home Improvement Investments

 

Working on the house and getting out in the garden is a great way to get some fresh air with a side of meditation. Plus, you get a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when a task is completed.

To help you make the most of the time and energy you spend on your home and garden projects, ensure you have the right tools for the job.

You don’t need to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of tools on the market, and you certainly don’t need to break the bank buying them all. Instead, get a few key tools and you’ll make your gardening easier and faster.

Here are five tools to start with:

  1. Work Gloves

There are many types, brands and price points when it comes to work gloves — the key is to get a pair. They won’t last forever and you’ll learn what style and size you like.

They protect your hands from thorns and thistles on plants, blisters from wear and tear, and they shield you from dangerous substances such as fertilizers and other chemicals.

If you injure your hands, you won’t be able to accomplish the tasks you set out to. So make sure to cover up your most useful tools — your hands! Then, you’ll be able to work harder and longer.

  1. Power Drill

No gardener and DIY-er should be without a power drill. These easy-to-use tools help make quick work of building a garden box, fixing a broken fence or hanging a trellis.

It’ll save your arms, wrists and hands from the laborious work of twisting in screws by hand, and can prevent wood from splitting when nails get hammered into place.

There are many options when buying a drill. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need a pink drill — just find a good, reliable, user-friendly one and you’ll be set.

  1. Hand Rake

This small hand tool is great for garden preparation and maintenance. It’s one of many kinds of rakes, but is probably the smallest one you’ll find.

It usually comes with three prongs on it, which you use to break up soil when you prep it for planting or for the winter. It also comes in handy with weeding, as it allows you to loosen and pull unwanted vegetation from around your flowers and veggies.

  1. Air Compressor

This appliance is versatile in its uses around the home and yard. When hooked up to the right attachment, an air compressor can become a pesticide sprayer, nail gun, a power washer, a paint sprayer and a tire pump.

As there are various models and sizes of air compressors, so make sure you rent one first to figure out which one fits your needs and space. While smaller models can be easier to move, larger models can accommodate more tools and have varying levels of power. So, make sure to do your research on its uses before making a final investment.

  1. Shovel

Get a shovel to help with jobs involving lifting and moving different materials, including gravel and dirt.

A shovel is handy when you’re building new landscaping or changing up what you’ve already got in your yard. It’s also helpful when you’re prepping a garden space for planting or getting it ready for winter dormancy.

Before you buy, check out your options and make sure you pick it up and try it out — seriously! You want to make sure the various parts of the shovel are a good fit for you. Ensure the grip is comfortable in your hand and the handle is the right length.

Getting a project done is a heck of a lot easier when you have the right tools for the job. Invest in these five key versatile tools and they’ll help to get you started. Although they aren’t the only tools you can use in your next project, they’ll assist you in making quicker work of your to-do list.

 

~Megan

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Homestead – Get Tips To Start Homesteading

Are you looking to start a homestead? Does a self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle seem appealing to you? Then check out these tips on how to get started from our regular contributor, Megan Wild.

 

Tips on Starting a Homestead

Do you pass by quaint roadside stalls brimming with delectable fresh produce and wish you could live a peaceful, self-sufficient farm life? Do you already have a small vegetable or flower garden in your backyard because the idea of homegrown sustainability is one of your family’s goals? If so, you may be ready to start your own homestead!

Homesteading is a lifestyle that includes small-scale farming, animal husbandry, food preservation and textile or craft making. Don’t worry, you don’t have to dive right into all of those elements at once. It really is a lifestyle change that takes time and practice, but will ultimately result in the pride and satisfaction that you’re moving toward a life of self-reliance.

Here are some tips on how to transition into starting your own small homestead.

Get to Know Your Surroundings

Is your property able to support a homestead? You don’t need hundreds of acres, but you will need to do research to make sure you have enough sunlit space for your garden and a big enough pasture for any animals you wish to raise. It’s also extremely important to check with your local zoning board to ensure that everything will be up to code.

Get in touch with nature and learn what plants and natural structures surround your property. Are the local shrubs poisonous, or are they a natural medicine you can use at home? Is there a clean stream perfect for keeping cows watered as well as backup in case your well dries? What wild animals are native to your area, and are they a threat to your produce? These are just a few things to consider, and you will have to build your homesteading activities based on the land you have available.

Chickens and Goats and Cows, Oh My!

One of the biggest reasons people turn to homestead living is the growing concern over ethical animal treatment. By raising your own animals, you are in control over their happiness and the many uses they provide for you and your family.

Chickens are often the first animal homesteaders start with as they’re easy to maintain and don’t require large pastures. Not only do many people tout the taste of free-range eggs over commercial eggs, but studies show that free-range eggs are healthier for you overall. Watching chicks hatch, or looking for fresh eggs, are fun activities everyone in the family can participate in watching and doing. For chickens that no longer lay, you then have a cruelty-free source of poultry and feathers to be used whenever.

When it comes to meat and milk, cattle and goats are great for both. Just make sure you’re completely read up on the proper care and handling of any livestock you choose to own before you buy any. Once you have their pasture and housing situated, you can start going to auctions. Even if you don’t buy the first time, this is a great way to get a feel for what other experienced farmers do and the types of cattle you could buy. Don’t be afraid to speak to the sales manager at the auction, as they will help acquaint you with how things are run.

After your animals are settled in their new home, make sure you continue to look after their care. Get in touch with your local veterinarian before and after making any purchases. They can tell you what vaccinations are necessary and which warning signs you should watch for.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Growing a vegetable garden is not so different from a flower garden. With careful planning, you can have both to utilize throughout the growing season. Tomatoes, squashes, peppers and beans are all easy starter vegetables. You don’t have to sacrifice the beauty of a regular floral garden — consider switching to colorful herbs such as lavender or chamomile or even rose varieties that produce large hips, which are great for brewing in tea. Let your children participate in the digging and planting when you first get started. It’ll make hunting for hidden vegetable bounty under the leaves all that much more rewarding.

You want to make sure you benefit from your garden year round, so dry or can your produce properly when you’re not eating it fresh. This will help you cut back on wasted veggies that aren’t eaten in time when your crop really booms. You’ll also stock your shelves for the winter.

Attitude Is Everything

Finally — and most importantly — remember that it takes patience and an open mind to change into this new lifestyle. You may make mistakes, and you may fall on hard times. However, the benefits truly outweigh the costs when you earn your self-sufficiency.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find homestead life to be extremely rewarding and you’ll thank yourself for all the hard work you put into it.

 

~Megan

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Plant Diseases – How To Identify Them In Your Garden

Learn how-to identify common plant diseases. And get prevention and disposal tips from our regular contributor, Megan Wild.

 

 

How to Identify Garden Plant Diseases

Identification, Prevention, and Disposal

 

Gardening can be a true pleasure. It gets you outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, but it isn’t always easy. Whether you choose to grow fruit, flowers or a little bit of both in a large vegetable plot, you’re dependent on the weather and soil conditions for a large part of your success. Even if you get all the rain you need and avoid ill-timed frosts and freezes, your garden can fall subject to insect damage and plant diseases.

 

Luckily, identifying plant diseases is easier than ever with the help of the internet. Early identification and treatment are the best way to save your plants from imminent disaster. Check out these tips for preventing plant diseases and treating the most common sources of distress for gardeners.

 

Basic Prevention Methods

 

Strong plants are less likely to succumb to disease, so your prevention plan should start from the moment you plant the seeds. Choose plant varieties that are disease resistant and well suited for your growing area. For example, if you live in a dry area, choose drought-hardy varieties. Consider selecting native plants that will work best in your soil and climate.

 

Once your seeds have been sown and transplants set out, make sure your plants receive adequate water and fertilizer throughout the growing season to keep them strong and healthy. Some plants are light feeders while others need extra nutrients, so do a little research to know how to care for each of your plants. Make sure to prevent invasive species from getting into your garden.

 

Common Plant Diseases

 

If your plants are wilting or discolored despite your best efforts, you might be dealing with an infection. Check your plants for signs of insect damage first — you’ll usually be able to see bugs, eggs or holes in the leaves. Once you’ve ruled out the creepy-crawlies, compare your plant’s issues to these common diseases to diagnose the problem:

  • Powdery Mildew: This fungal infection covers plant leaves with a white, powdery substance. It’s common in periods of high humidity when plants are stressed by drought. Keep plants watered and prune to improve airflow.
  • Black Spot: The bane of rose gardeners everywhere, black spot is another fungal infection that strikes leaves subjected to too much moisture. Water roses directly at ground level and remove infected leaves to prevent its spread.
  • Tomato Blight: This fast-spreading disease begins as dark brown spots on the leaves of tomato and potato vines. The fungus overwinters in the soil and spreads across plants from the ground up, causing it to lose leaves and eventually die. Remove infected plants to prevent its spread.
  • White Mold: This fungus grows in wet conditions and looks like a cottony patch on your plants blossoms or leaves. Use drip irrigation instead of overhead watering to keep leaves dry, and give plants plenty of space to increase airflow and keep white mold at bay.

 

Disposing of Diseased Plants

After carefully tending your garden all year, I know how painful it can be to have to say goodbye to once promising plants. Pruning off a portion of your favorite plants — or worse, uprooting them entirely — is never ideal. Disease prevention often requires gardeners to make hard choices to prevent infections from taking over your entire garden.

 

There are a few methods you can use when removing diseased plants from your garden; they include composting or burning. Many choose to avoid composting because if the diseased or invasive plant has ripe seeds, because in the right conditions, the plant could still germinate. If you choose to burn these plants, a wood grinder can make quick work of large of diseased plants, bush branches, or tree parts, making them easier to fit into your fire pit or burn pile.

 

In the end, it’s better to lose one plant than all of them. Each time you deal with a new disease or pest, you have the opportunity to do some research and learn more about your garden. Soon you’ll be armed with a wealth of experience and experimentation that leads you to the perfect, thriving garden for your particular microclimate.

 

~Megan

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Shrubs – 5 Hassle-Free Trimming Tips

Regular contributor, Megan Wild shares some great tips on how to take back control of your yard , and keep your plants healthy with tips for trimming your shrubs.

Shrubs – 5 Hassle-Free Trimming Tips

Take back control of your yard, and keep your plants healthy.

 

If you’ve ever gone out to give your shrubs a quick trim, only to find it so hard to keep them even that you end up cutting off way too many branches, you’re probably hesitant to make the same mistake twice. I know how that feels, because that’s how my first trim went. Unfortunately, under-trimming your shrubs can lead to just as many problems as over-trimming them, as you’ll end up with overgrown bushes with lots of deadwood and poor flowering.

Luckily, proper pruning isn’t hard to learn, and you’ll get good results if you take your time. Follow these tips for hassle-free shrub trimming:

  1. Know When to Cut

Different types of plants flower at different times of the year, and the timing of their life cycles typically determines when you should prune them. Evergreen shrubs can be pruned almost any time of year except the fall, when new growth will be vulnerable to dieback from the winter cold. Flowering shrubs should be cut back at a time when flower buds won’t be removed.

For early bloomers like lilacs, shape them immediately after blooming. Summer bloomers can be cut back in the winter. Hydrangeas are the exception: Shape these in midsummer so you don’t accidentally remove the flower buds.

 

  1. Start With the Dead Stuff

If you’re nervous about just how much to cut and where to begin, it’s always a good idea to start with the deadwood. Your plant will never miss these, and cutting out broken branches is a good way to prevent disease. Cut below the break to give your plant a clean wound that will easily heal. Your bush won’t miss dead branches, so don’t worry yet about shaping – just get rid of them.

 

  1. Shape Slowly

Sometimes, removing dead wood is all you need to make your shrubs look like their old selves, so stand back and look at the plant’s shape before making any more cuts. For a quick shape up, cut only the twigs and branches that are sticking out beyond the natural shape of your bush. Resist the urge to make a lot of cuts at once – it’s best to go slow and take a step back to assess so you don’t end up cutting too much at once.

 

  1. Avoid Right Angles and Odd Shapes

The best pruning allows the plant to grow in a natural way, so unless you’re Edward Scissorhands or work at Disney World, don’t try to form strange shapes with your shrubs. Right angles should be avoided, and this is true even of box hedges. These plants need sunlight for photosynthesis and good health, so make sure bottom branches are slightly wider than the tops so they also receive sunlight. Flat tops are also a bad idea, as the weight of ice and snow will break the branches.

 

  1. Do a Little Research

Because each plant has its own natural shape and growing habit, there’s no hard and fast rule about trimming shrubs that works for everything. Though you should consider that trimming shrubs helps increase curb appeal, makes your home a more welcoming place for guests, and can even increase your home’s market value. Your best bet is to do a little internet research about your plant to see what experts recommend.

You can also visit a local nursery or get advice from a neighbor with a green thumb if you need help identifying a bush or learning the basics about garden tools and techniques. Pruning is also good for the health of the plant, so give it a try – it doesn’t have to be scary! Once you know all about your plant, go ahead and give it a trim at least once a year to maintain its shape.

~Megan

Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!

 

 

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