Home Gardening

Over the last few years home gardening has become an increasingly popular past-time and hobby. In fact, studies show that home gardening is at an all time high in America right now. In the United States 8 out of 10 households take part in some type of home gardening activity. Obviously from the number of people that are doing it, home gardening is one of the most popular recreational activities in nation.

Most people that try their hand at home gardening plant flowers; at least they start out planting flowers anyway. Roses will probably be the first thought into any gardeners mind, but roses will take extra time and work, and should probably be left to those who have gardened before. When planting flowers many choices are available, such as bulbs, perennials, and annuals.

Edible plants are another big thing in home gardening. Perhaps the best thing about edibles is the reward of eating them. The list of edible plants that gardeners can grow at home is endless. Some of the most common edible plants in the vegetable arena are, potatoes, peas, corn, carrots, squash, and cucumber. Many gardeners opt for fruits, such as, watermelons, tomatoes, peaches, plums, apples, pears, and apricots. Small fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries usually require less work and less space, making them much more feasible for home gardening. Herbs, most often used as spices in cooking, are growing in popularity every day; some of the most grown include basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, and cilantro. One of the most important things to watch for when planting edibles is insects and disease, after all, you dont want to miss out on the feast you will get to enjoy from healthy plants.

Many people dont realize it, but landscaping is a form of home gardening. Landscaping covers many different areas and forms of gardening. You can even classify mowing your lawn as landscaping! Keeping in the line of grasses, landscaping nearly always involves decorative grasses, and the great thing about them is they dont take much work for upkeep. Types of grass include monkey grass, pampas, buffalo grass, flame grass, and ornamental millet. Landscaping is not just limited to plant life, but also includes anything done to a yard for decoration, such as adding rocks or stones, putting a small pond, statutes, or a waterfall.

There isnt much difference between home gardening and gardening anywhere else. Plants still need to be planted in a good location. The plants still need water and they still need the same nutrients. Home gardening shouldnt cause anyone to get nervous. If you do decide to try homing gardening and finding out that you dont have a green thumb, dont get discouraged. Get some information, read up on gardening, and try it again the next planting season.

Why Are Country House Weddings Becoming Highly Popular

Though there are many styles in country weddings like western style wedding and county chic wedding, the venue that you choose for this special event has a lot to say about your big day’s celebration.

Why people prefer Country House weddings?

Being one of the highly acknowledged wedding type and most treasured ones by those who married in this style, it gives a feeling of warmth, to both the guests and the couple who are exchanging their wedding vows. In addition, the Country House weddings are gaining popularity in the recent times as it helps the couple to decorate the venue in a romantic and innovative manner to offer it a personalized touch and a different feel on this special occasion in their lives. This is a casual type wedding that does not require too much of a decoration and can look very impressive to the eyes of the onlooker as it can offer highly relaxing atmosphere. If you wish your friends and relative to be merry, comfortable and lively then choose a best country house in your preferred location and decorate it based on your wedding theme and stay relaxed on your big day.

Decorating the country house on your wedding

Though most people are of the idea that country house wedding venues are very difficult to decorate, the real thing is that it is much easier to decorate than any other venue for the wedding. Another advantage of having country house wedding is that you need not look for a separate area to hold your wedding reception as you are at liberty to convert any area of the country house according to your preference. You can make it have a rustic look by arranging interiors with metal furniture or wooden furniture. You can also add a bright look by hanging disco lights, shiny balls or other features with embellishments to add a heavy dose of bling. You can also put some chairs, bright lights and stunning centrepieces to make your reception area look wonderful. Just let out your imagination go wild and see how much difference it can make to the venue when you wish to hold a country wedding.

Points to remember

As the bride of the wedding make sure that the dress you wear on your special day is designed in country style to go well with the theme. Also make sure to choose a lacy dress in ivory shade or yellow shade. You can adorn your gem jewellery and make sure your hairdo is decorated with pearls to go well with your dress. Also select similar dresses for your bridesmaid in knee length and loose fitting style. You can order red coloured bridesmaid dresses and make sure the country house has flowers in red and white to compliment the dresses. You can also opt for other shades of dresses if you find it fit or opt for pastel shades to compliment the entire wedding set up and theme.

Also make sure you convey the theme to your guests to ensure that they come dressed to the occasion in a perfect way.

For one of the most memorable and cost effective wedding venues choose Huntsham Court. This a manor house in country with a beautiful picturesque location.

Gardening Review ???…Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers on Gardening

Question #1
How to Test Soil For Magnesium Level

This question is in response to last month’s emailed gardening tip. You mentioned to make sure to do a soil test to see what your magnesium level is before adding any Epsom salt to outdoor plants. You said, “Without knowing your current magnesium levels, you shouldn’t apply Epsom salt at all to outdoor plants. Many areas have almost toxic proportions of magnesium present in the soil, and continually adding more will end up poisoning the plants and the soil.” That’s great, but how do I test for Magnesium levels?

Jim Trueman, UK

ANSWER:
Hi Jim! Great question. Since most home “do-it-yourself” soil testing kits only test for pH, Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous, in order to find out your calcium and magnesium levels you’ll have to take a sample to a local soil testing lab. Every county has one, and the cost is usually around $10 (5). It’s fast and very accurate.

The weekendgardener…

Question #2:
Out Of Control Weeds

We have recently moved into our house, and the gardens are full of weeds. We have tried pulling them out, we have tried both chemical and organic weed killers, and tried solarization. Is there any other way. We just can’t seem to contain them.

Brad Martin, Lismore, NSW Australia

ANSWER:
Hi Brad! I can hear and understand your frustration. Nothing is worse than a battle of the weeds. Unfortunately, the best advice I can give you is diligence, and try mixing up your techniques a bit more.

The problem with a lot of chemical weed killers is they do a great job of killing what’s there, but if you simply leave that area bare, and don’t do anything else, new weed and grass seeds can blow in and take root in the now clean and open area.

You also have to realize there are perennial and annual weeds, which means that at any time of the year, some kind of weed will be growing. The trick is to keep after it year-round and in a season or two, you will see a huge decrease in the problem as you kill each weed’s growing cycle and start to get the upper hand.

So what I would suggest is to pick a general weed killing method, I like solarization because it’s chemical free, but many people opt for RoundUp or another systemic weed killer.

Once you have killed everything back, come back in and put down some corn gluten, I mentioned this up on question # 6, see above if you didn’t read it.

Corn gluten is great because it will keep any new seeds from germinating. Keep in mind, it will keep all seeds from germinating, so if you are planning on starting a vegetable garden from seed, this will be a problem.

If that is the case, and you can’t put down a pre-emergent, put down a good layer of mulch, 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) to keep any new weeds smothered.

Hang in there, you have the right idea, and in time, your garden is going to look great.

The weekendgardener…

Question #3:
What Is Heavy Soil

I want to start a water garden. I went and bought a Papyrus plant. I was told to repot plant and to use “heavy soil” and water plant fertilizer. Can you tell me what “heavy soil” is? And what type of fertilizer to use that can be used with fish in pond?

Ramona Diorec, Honolulu, HI, USA

ANSWER:
Hi Ramona! Good question. Soils come in various “textures” meaning there sandy, loam, and clay soils, which some people can refer to as light, medium, and heavy soils.

Heavy soils (the same as a clay soil) are called that because they contain more clay, are sticky, and have little pore space, drain slowly and retain water and nutrients longer, which tend to make them more fertile than other soils, and are ideal for pond plants.

A medium soil (the same as a loam soil) which is considered the ideal garden soil (not for pond plants, but general gardening), because it has a nice balance of 3 particle types, clay, silt, and sand, giving it a combination of large and small pore spaces allowing it to have air for healthy root growth, and to drain well and lose nutrients at only a moderate rate.

Lastly, a light soil (the same as a sandy soil) contains particles that are fairly large and irregular, and have large pore spaces between the particles giving the soil lots of air, which drains very quickly losing nutrients and water. That’s why plants in sand need watering and feeding more often.

In your situation, you will want to use a heavy clay soil, and there are such soils packaged specifically for aquatic plants, so ask for that. In a pond situation, using the wrong type of soil can cause numerous problems, so start your plants out correctly with the right soil.

Now, just a few extra tips for you. One of the problems with ponds is that they can get a brown tinge to the water. This is because the soil has come out of the pot, which can happen in a high wind when the pot blows or falls over spilling soil into the water, or the soil washes out of the bottom of the pot. To avoid this problem here are a couple of things you can do:

1. Use a shorter wider pot (sometimes called a “pan”) because it is less likely to blow over than a taller pot, especially if it is a taller growing plant (like some Papyrus); and make sure that you add some medium sized stones on top of the soil to keep the soil in the pot. The stones will also add extra weight which will keep the pot from tipping over in the pond in the wind.

2. Line the pot with burlap, weed barrier mat or a few layers of damp newspaper. After the bottom of the pot is lined then add your soil and plant. This helps keep the soil from washing out the drainage holes into the pond. Once the plant is potted up, soak the entire pot in a bucket that is large enough to cover the top of the pot for about 24 hours. This will allow any loose soil to be washed off into the bucket of water and not in your pond.

3. When you are putting the plant in the pond make sure that you slowly lower the pot into the water rather than just plunge the pot into the water. By lowering the pot slowly this will keep the force of the water from washing the soil out of the pot and into the water.

The final part of your question was about fertilizer. There are many made especially for ponds, just ask for fertilizer for Pond Plants. It will be safe for all aquatic life, and it won’t turn water green from algae growth.

The weekendgardener…

Question #4:
Leafminers on Tomatoes

I have 5 pots of “patio” tomotoes growing in large pots on my balcony. All 5 plants have tan “schrigely” marks on them, as you can see in the picture. Not all leaves have these marks. Also, the newest growth leaves on top of plants do not have these marks (yet??). Any suggestions as to the problem? Thanks.

Bob Coyne, FL, USA

ANSWER:
Hi Bob! First of all, thank you for sending a picture with your question. It always is so helpful to be able to see exactly what you are talking about.

What you have are called Leafminers. They like to feed on bean, beet, cabbage, chard, lettuce, pepper, tomato, and other vegetables; also many ornamentals, especially chrysanthemum and nasturtium.

The larvae tunnel through the leaf tissue making hollowed-out, winding mines. They can kill seedlings, but the good news is that on older plants, such as your tomatoes, the larvae are more of a nuisance, and a cosmetic issue, than a serious problem.

There are a few things you can do:

1. Handpick and destroy mined leaves.

2. Remove any egg clusters you may see on the undersides of the leafs as soon as they are visible in the spring.

3. You can also spray neem oil. Read more about neem oil.

The weekendgardener

Diversifying Your Carpet Cleaning Business

If you own a carpet cleaning business you know that it is a business with ups and downs. It is definitely a seasonable business. It is on average 6 months of boom, 3 months of average and 3 months of slow times. It does not have to be this way however. Read this article for some tips on diversifying your business.

The first way that you can diversify your business for more stability is to add commercial business. Commercial carpet cleaning unlike residential carpet cleaning is not seasonal. They have to get their carpets and upholstery cleaned year round and they often set up regular cleanings. This makes it business that you an depend on. Once you get a commercial customer they are more than likely yours for years if you treat them right. Another way to diversify is to add on other services that residential home owners need. I am sure you already do upholstery cleaning but there is much more to clean in the average home. You can add wood floor cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, drapery cleaning, air duct cleaning, window cleaning, maid service, make ready cleaning and the list goes on and on. Usually all you need to do to add these services is purchase a little equipment and take a few training classes. Talk to your local carpet cleaning supplier and see what courses they have coming up. If they do not have one, consider traveling to a nearby city that does. The expense of the trip is well worth it and you can of course write it off. Lastly you might consider doing water or smoke damage restoration. Many cleaners do this but keep in mind that there are a few pitfalls to entering this area of work. There is a large amount of equipment you need to buy so you need to be committed. You also need to have good insurance and you will need to take many classes to learn how to dry structures and clean up fire damage. Being on call twenty four hours a day can also drive some people nuts so be aware that the money is good but the work can be hard.

As you can see there are many ways for you to diversify your business. You do not have to put up with the slow times if your business performs a variety of different services. Just be sure to research your decision before you jump into anything. Good luck.