Gardening is one of the oldest pastimes in the world. The healing nature of growing plants was recognized in ancient times. From the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the cultivated plots among date palms in the parched desert, ancient people have been enjoying the literal fruits of their labors in gardens for thousands of years.
Today, gardening provides beauty and the opportunity to both profit from from fruits and vegetables and the prospect of enjoying the calm surroundings that are part of modern gardens. The joy of caring for growing plants is one of the simple pleasures of modern life.
Backyard Garden A Simple Pleasures
For those who wish to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables the size of the area that is available for cultivation should be no barrier to putting food on the table. Even a window ledge can provide enough sunlight to grow herbs that will increase the enjoyment of any meal.
Aside from saving money and growing your own vegetables for the table, you can also use he vegetables you grow to provide the basis for nutritious and delicious energy drinks. Simply blend a mixture of root vegetables such as carrots and mix with other organically grown produce such as melon or even cucumber and you have the basic ingredients for a healthy and refreshing vegetable based power drink.
If you have access to a back or front yard with some space you can also plant fast growing fruit trees such as apple, which provide not only delicious juices, but also the raw ingredients for fruit salads or even a snack straight off the branch.
If you make the decision to start cultivating your own fruit and vegetables a bit of research can prevent a lot of heartache. Visit your local garden center and obtain the advice of an expert on which fruit or vegetable types are best suited for the climate in your area. You may have to change over to hardier varieties if your winters are particularly harsh or your summers blazing hot.
The advice that you receive will also help you cope with the almost inevitable insect infestations that can plague the gardens of even the most careful gardener. These experts will let you in on some secrets about the natural insect repellents that you can use to keep your fruit free from chemicals and preserve their natural flavors.
For those gardeners who want to simply enjoy the beauty of flowering plants or shrubs there is an almost limitless choice. However, make sure that the ornamental plants that you will be cultivating are suitable for your lifestyle. If you have young children or pets that spend time in the garden make sure that the plants you are growing are not toxic or harmful in other ways. Plants such as thorny bushes or cacti should also be avoided.
Planting and caring for your garden, no matter the size is one of the most rewarding hobbies for those who love nature. A bonus is that the pastime can be enjoyed by the whole family. Good wholesome fun in the open air, away from the distractions of video games or the stresses of modern life.
Walking through the garden center of your local store, it is easy to get caught up in all the beautiful colors and textures of the plants. With so many choices available, you might fall into the trap of buying plants on impulse. Instead of thinking about how they fit into your garden design, you start filling your cart with any plants that catch your eye. Then, when you get them home you realize that there is no place in your garden that is well-suited to the types, sizes or styles of plants that you bought.
To avoid this problem, it is best to be prepared before you head to the nursery. Instead of just winging it, you should take the time to consider the growing conditions in your yard. Is your soil densely-packed or filled with sand? Do you have a lot of shade, or does your yard get sun most of the day? Pay attention for several days, taking notes about soil type, sun exposure and moisture levels for each of the areas you plan to plant.
If you really want your garden to flourish, you should also consider testing your soil. Most county extension offices offer soil testing for a small fee. Understanding the overall pH of your soil can help you determine which types of plants are best. Keep in mind that it is possible to alter the pH of the soil by adding certain amendments. However, it is almost always smarter to choose plants that grow well in the soil you already have.
When you go to the garden center or nursery, take your notes with you. Instead of picking and choosing flowers solely based on color and appearance, pay attention to which types of plants will thrive in your unique growing conditions. After all, there is no point in buying a beautiful plant only to have it die once you plant it because it can’t tolerate the conditions in your yard.
Once you get your plants home, it is time to arrange them. Before you start digging and placing them in the soil, it is a good idea to play around with different arrangements. With the plants still in their pots, experiment with different planting arrangements. Try grouping several plants in small clusters, or spreading them out in even rows. Pay special attention to the height of each plant when it reaches full maturity. Taller plants should go in the back of your flower beds, while shorter plants should go up front. Once you have an arrangement you like, you can go ahead and put the plants in the ground.
Taking the time to understand the growing conditions throughout your yard and garden can help you choose plants that will flourish. Rather than wasting money on flowers that are poorly suited to your location, you can focus on buying plants that are guaranteed to thrive. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can have a show-stopping garden that will add beauty and depth to the outside of your home.
The summer is a busy time for gardeners – some plants will grow like wildfire and others will be liable to perish under the hot summer sun. With a little TLC and plenty of water there is no reason why every plant shouldn’t flourish and bloom in the summer months – extra water and fertilizer is really the key to having a beautiful backyard summer garden.
Here are a few more backyard garden tips to help you get the most from your garden this summer.
” It can be a little tempting to over water lawns during the summer months, I know, you wouldn’t think it possible but a lawn only really needs two – three inches of water per week.
” Watering your lawn (and the rest of your garden) early in the morning will reduce the amount of water which is lost because of evaporation.
” You need to treat your lawn every 4 or 6 weeks with some lawn food – the slow release food is the best choice.
” Don’t forget to mow your lawn quite regularly. You should mow the grass every time it has grown around a half an inch to an inch for the best results.
” Flower beds need to have plenty of organic mulch to help them retain as much moisture as possible.
” Give your flower beds plenty of water – the soil should be always moist but never soggy.
” Your flower beds will also need to be fertilized quite regularly through the summer – at least every three or four weeks.
” Dead head flowers to promote more bloom and new growth – pinch back any stems which are becoming leggy.
” You may need to water newly planted flowers more than once per day until they become established and settled in the flower bed.
” Trees also need lots of fertilizer to encourage rapid growth during the summer, especially citrus fruit trees, deciduous fruit trees and desert trees.
” When you water these trees make sure that they have plenty of water to around 3 inches of depth.
” If you want to plant any citrus, fruit or desert trees now is a good time to do it.
Summer Gardening Pests
The plants may be glad to see the summer but it is also the time when you have to be most vigilant against diseases and insects.
” Keep an eye on your trees and shrubs for foliage which suddenly begins to wilt
” Branches which begin to die at the end (around 6 – 8 inches at the end) may be victims of the female cicada – she may have selected to lay her eggs. If you can see slash marks measuring around ¼” that’s probably the culprit – you can’t do anything to control it but the damage is usually pretty limited.
” Prickly pear cactus is extremely susceptible to cochineal scale – white fluffy globs – blasting them off with water jets is usually sufficient to sort them out.
Summer is the time when most people can really enjoy their garden and following a few of these summer gardening tips will ensure that you have a beautiful garden to enjoy.