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.

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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

 

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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

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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!

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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

 

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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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Sunflowers – How To Grow These Healthy Giants

We’re back in the garden with regular contributor, Megan Wild. You’re going to love these floral giants — sunflowers for your garden!

How to Grow Healthy Sunflowers

Add some wow factor to your garden!

 

One of the greatest joys of gardening is watching something you planted from a tiny seed grow and reach amazing heights – even towering over you. There’s no better way to get that wow factor in your garden than to plant sunflowers. Some varieties can reach 10 to even 16 feet high! To grow large, healthy sunflowers, though, it pays to follow a few best practices to give them the best chance to thrive.

 

Choose the Right Location

 

It should come as no surprise that sunflowers do best in a sunny location. They need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day – the more the better. Sunflowers also need a soil that drains well, so planting them on a slope will often help keep their roots from becoming too waterlogged.

 

Another advantage of planting sunflowers on a slope is that picking the right plants can help reduce soil erosion and minimize flooding in other parts of your yard. Sunflowers have long taproots that anchor deeply and soak up a lot of excess water, which can help preserve the rest of your landscape.

 

Plant in Mid-Spring for Best Results

 

Sunflowers aren’t frost-hardy, so it’s best to wait to plant until all danger of frost has passed in your area. Prepare your soil by adding a low-nitrogen fertilizer and lots of compost. Turn these into the soil with a spade to loosen the planting area and allow roots to flourish. Press sunflower seeds into the prepared soil to about an inch in depth, making sure to plant seeds in rows 6 inches apart. Cover seeds with soil and water well.

 

If garden pests like birds, chipmunks or squirrels disturb your seeds, cover your planting bed with bird netting or chicken wire to protect them. Water seeds daily until they sprout.

 

 

Support Your Sunflowers as They Grow

 

Once your sunflowers sprout, they don’t need much care unless you are experiencing a drought. An inch of rainfall per week is the right amount, but if you get less, water your sunflowers deeply once per week to make up for the deficit.

 

When your sunflowers reach a foot in height, it’s time to thin them. For a row of dwarf sunflowers, you should pull out the weaker seedlings and leave the strong plants at a spacing of about one per every foot. For giant sunflowers, thin to one every 30 inches or so. It’s important to create enough room for your sunflowers to reach their full potential, so don’t skip this important step – even if it seems sad to kill half of your seedlings.

 

As your sunflowers bloom, they will need staking to keep them upright. Sometimes the seed heads get so heavy that the stems bend or break, so use strong bamboo stakes to hold them upright. Simply insert the stake into the ground a few inches from the stem and use garden twine to tie the stem to the stake every 6 inches or so. This will also help your sunflowers if you live in a windy area.

 

 

Protect Sunflowers From Predators

 

Sunflowers are tempting food sources for local garden critters, so you may need to protect them, especially if you are interested in harvesting the seeds for yourself. To do this, you can spray plants with a hot pepper spray or other squirrel deterrent. You’ll need to reapply ever few days, or after a rainfall.

 

To keep birds away from your sunflower seeds, tie a paper bag over the flower head as the seeds begin to develop. This won’t allow you to enjoy your flowers for their beauty, but it’s usually the only way to keep the local birds from making off with your crop. If you’ve planted a whole bed of sunflowers, you can select just a few to protect and allow the birds to eat the rest while you enjoy the flowers for their decorative features.

 

Once you get the hang of growing sunflowers, you‘ll never want to be without them. They are a brilliant feature in any garden, and they’re loads of fun for kids to enjoy – especially if they get to snack on the seeds in the autumn. Give these giant beauties a try for a fun garden project this summer.

~Megan

Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!

 

Have you grown sunflowers before?

Do you have any tips or tricks for growing sunflowers in your garden?

 

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