Category Archives: Gardening

No Room for a Garden? Find a Community Garden

Not everyone has the space for their own garden. While you can do a little kitchen garden and grow some herbs and perhaps some tomatoes, it’s really hard to do a serious garden if you don’t have the space. You might be fortunate enough to have an option in some areas.

Some neighborhoods have community gardens set up. These may be many individual plots that you can sign up for or a single plot that anyone in the community can help with. It’s a chance for you to garden even if you don’t otherwise have the space. The American Community Gardening Association is a great place to start learning about community gardens.

If there’s a community garden already in your area, go find out how to join. There may be fees associated, as there are costs to running a community garden, from leasing or buying the land, to the cost of insurance, to the cost of water.

If you can’t find a community garden in your area, you might be able to start one with others in your area who would like to garden. Start talking about it in your neighborhood. Look for empty lots that could serve. Start talking to sponsors to help with the costs once you have enough people to get things going.

It can be challenging to start a community garden. You may not find the support you were hoping for. There may be some people flat out opposed to the idea. The only way you’re going to find out if things can work, however, is to give it a try.

It helps to remind people that a community garden isn’t just about giving people a place to grow flowers and vegetables. It’s a way to bring the community together. It’s a way to teach children about where food comes from and give them real experiences with growing food. It’s a way to make healthier foods more accessible.

Community gardens can even help to deter crime. They get people out into the neighborhood and helps them to get to know each other. There are more eyes outside, so to speak.

The people who participate in the community garden may even be interested in getting together on other topics of concern. You have one point of interest in common. You may be able to get members of the community garden group to work on other activities as well. It’s great for making needed changes in the community.

You will find being a part of a community garden to be a fair bit of work. That’s reasonable, as any sort of gardening takes significant effort. But you may have to add into those efforts the work needed to make the garden function for everyone, deal with disputes and cope with troublemakers. But you’ll be joining in efforts to really improve your community.

Plant Trees Around Your Home – Green Step By Step

Want to make your home more beautiful and save energy at the same time? Plant trees around it!

Trees help your home to use less energy in the summer by providing shade once they’re big enough. That means less sunlight heating your home.

You can take it up a notch by planting fruit trees. Most don’t grow as tall as other types of trees, but you get fruit out of the bargain, which isn’t a bad deal. Just find out what grows well in your area. You can’t get more local than picking fruit from your own yard.

Alternatively, consider planting a tree that will eventually be good for kids to climb. It will take years to grow it tall and strong enough, but a good climbing tree is one way to get children outside and enjoying nature. You may end up gritting your teeth and worrying as kids climb, but that’s one of the parts of parenthood. But if you climbed trees as a child, you know how wonderful a feeling it is.

Are You Watering Your Garden Efficiently?

In most places in the United States we’re lucky. Clean water is readily available. It means we can easily garden and not worry so much about if we’re being efficient about it. But many areas are increasingly dealing with stressed water supplies, and it’s expected to get worse in years to come.

Now is a great time to get into the habit of watering efficiently in your garden.

A simple way to water garden plants more efficiently is to use a soaker hose. Rather than spray water up into the air, it delivers water directly to the ground. It’s slow, of course, but you lose much less water to evaporation. You turn the water on a very low setting, so even though it takes more time to water the plants you’re using less water. Just set a timer so you don’t forget what you’re doing.

Another step you may be able to take is to catch rain water. Some states have very strict rules about rain water capture, so you have to do research to ensure that your rain barrel system is legal. But if you can legally capture the water, it’s a wonderful way to keep watering your garden.

It’s also a good idea to look at garden plants that are right for the climate in your area. You don’t want a garden that needs tons of water if you live in an area that is prone to droughts or water restrictions. Know the planting zone you live in and pay attention to that when you buy seeds and plants. And don’t ignore any local issues that may make it wise to be still more cautious with your garden.

Mulching the soil around your plants also allows you to water less. The mulch will help slow evaporation, so once again you can save water.

If you’re planting a food garden, there’s only so much you can do about water use. There aren’t many people who can successfully plan a xeriscape vegetable garden. You’re probably going to need to use water to get a good harvest.

But if it’s more decorative, take a good look at native plants. Look at drought resistant plants if you live where that’s likely to be a problem. Really think about what’s going into your soil.

This kind of planning is a help in decreasing how much water you use for the more decorative parts of your garden. Plants whose water needs are more in line with what comes naturally to the area will thrive with much less effort on your part. You can find beautiful native plants in most areas.

Don’t give up entirely on gardening if you have the space just because you want to save water. Gardening is a wonderful way to keep in touch with nature and to help children to really appreciate nature. You can maintain a lovely garden and be wise in your water use.

Would a Kitchen Compost Pail Help Your Composting Efforts?

For some people, composting is something that just comes naturally. For others, it’s quite a challenge. Somehow it just doesn’t click into their kitchen routine.

How can you make it easier?

A simple way to make composting something you don’t have to go out of your way for is to keep a composting pail in your kitchen. It’s just a container where the food scraps go until you can take them all out to the compost pile.

You can keep this very simple if you like. My mother uses old coffee containers as compost pails. She keeps three or so under the sink. They seal tightly enough that smell is not a problem so long as the lid remains shut. They work great and she didn’t have to buy anything.

Other people may prefer to buy a compost pail. There can be advantages to buying something made for the job. Many come with carbon filters to help ensure that the smell is kept under control, for example. They can also look better so that you don’t have to keep them out of sight if you will do better having them in sight.

Some pails are designed to do the entire job of composting. This is handy if you don’t have the space outside for a compost pile. They use an anaerobic fermentation to break down the compost without a major stink. The product that helps with this process is called Bokashi.

In either case, you’re going to have to make some effort. Basic kitchen composters need their contents added to your main compost pile regularly. Anerobic containers need to be closed up for about two weeks after being filled before you can move the compost out, and so you may need more than one container.

One fear many people have about composting indoors is that flies or other insects will be attracted. This should not be a problem with a properly cared for compost pail. Keep the lid sealed tight when you aren’t putting scraps into it. Wash it inside and out periodically. With the proper care you aren’t likely to develop any problems.

Composting is a simple way to improve your garden and decrease the waste you throw in the trash. It’s one thing you can do for the environment that takes a fairly basic change in your routine and a low cost to get started. You’re going to have to do something with those veggie scraps anyhow, even if it’s just throwing them in the trash. Makes more sense to throw them into a compost pail.

We Finally Have a Reel Mower!

I’m very happy right now. My husband finally tired of using his electric weed whacker to mow the lawn and bought a reel mower. I’ve only been suggesting this since we moved into this house and opted to do lawn care ourselves rather than pay a service.

He was a bit worried about the reel mower being hard to push. It’s more work than an electric or gas powered one, certainly. But he was quick to agree that it’s still easier than swinging the weed whacker over the whole lawn.

Even where the clover had gotten a bit tall and thick.

We chose one that has the catcher in the back. Love to just leave clippings there, but we do live in an area with a homeowner’s association, and don’t need to be hearing from them on that issue.

The salesperson at the store tried really hard to talk us into an electric mower. He pointed out that it was zero emissions too. Sorry, wrong! Just because it’s zero emissions at my house doesn’t mean it’s zero overall. The power comes from somewhere, and that’s where the emissions are.

I think my husband is pretty content with the new mower. He’s even talking about getting a manual edger.