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  • MaximillianGroup 5:34 PM on 21 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Top 4 Tips to Create a More Sustainable Landscape 

    As an avid gardener, you probably already know the good you’re doing your planet by maintaining a garden in your yard.

    But, did you know that there are things you can do beyond basic gardening to make your landscape even more sustainable? And, best of all, many of the things you can do are relatively simple and don’t require a ton of extra money or time?

    Keep reading to learn the top 4 things you can do to create a more sustainable landscape.

    1. Water Your Garden Wisely

    Likely, you water your garden when you remember, or when it is convenient.

    However, to create a more sustainable landscape, you should be mindful of when you water your garden. Typically, it’s best to water your garden early in the morning. This is because plants are more easily able to absorb water in colder temperatures because water runs down into the soil and reaches the roots of the plant without too much excess water lost to evaporation when it’s warmer later in the day.

    Not up for getting up super early in the morning? Consider investing in sprinklers that have timers so you’re able to stick to your watering schedule without even thinking about it.

    Also, in lieu of using overhead sprinklers, you should switch to irrigation or a soaker hose. This is because the water from overhead sprinklers doesn’t go straight to the roots, while other options allow you to go straight to the roots while still maintaining dry foliage.

    2. Choose the Right Food for Your Plants

    As you know, there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to feeding your garden.

    Even with all the options available, one of the best things to do to make your garden more sustainable is to create your own compost from your kitchen waste. Not only are you practicing sustainability by creating organic fertilizer via the use of unwanted scraps, you are also saving money.

    Also, many people forget about the importance of fertilizing indoor plants, but feeding is essential to keep them beautiful and healthy. Unlike an outdoor garden where nature provides rain and plants can spread new roots in the search for food, the nutrients available to a houseplant are limited by the amount of soil in the pot and what you give it as a supplement.

    3.  Save the Seeds for Next Year

    After you have grown your plants, think about the expansion and renewal of your garden. By saving the seeds of your plants you can reduce the need to buy new ones year after year.

    This is one of the most sustainable ways to garden! You can multiply new plants for free from the ones you are already growing in your garden. Moreover, if you make your own fertilizer, you’ll also get free self-sown plants popping up!

    3.  Take Your Landscape to a New Level

    To take your sustainability efforts to another level, you can add wire rails to your deck or porch. On one side, they are made from stainless steel, which is one of the most recycled materials across the globe, so they and are much better for the environment.

    They offer a durable and weather resistant solution for the garden because of their corrosion resistance and are easy to maintain with just a spray of water or gentle eco-friendly cleaners.

    On the other side, adding wire rails into your landscape gives you the opportunity to make the most out of natural views. The simple design allows an overview of your entire surroundings, maximum light and air to flow through the space and reduces the need for additional artificial light or AC especially during the summer.

    4. Reuse Old Materials

    Instead of buying new materials, or throwing away ones that have already been used once, find a way to reuse them.

    There are many ways to do this, such as:

    • Making plant protectors out of water bottles
    • Collecting free stones or other materials from construction companies
    • Using old tires as planter boxes
    • Creating a veggie patch out of an old bathtub
    • Making rustic plant pots out of old tin cans

    Wrap Up

    As you can see, there are many ways you can easily make your landscape more sustainable!

    Let us know in the comments which sustainable methods you’ve been implementing!

    The post Top 4 Tips to Create a More Sustainable Landscape appeared first on Gardening Know How’s Blog .

    Gardening Know How

  • El Jardín de la Magdalena 5:34 PM on 21 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Savory Mushroom Toast 

    I made this Savory Mushroom Toast for lunch the other day and it was just delicious! The recipe is for a project I am working on that I cannot wait to share with you guys in the next month or so. But this recipe was just too good – I had to share it now. Because you totally need mushroom toast on your menu this week.

    Ahead, I also share a few favorite ingredient accents when cooking with mushrooms – and a few other fave mushroom recipes…Read more »

    This is a summary, images and full post available on HHL website!

    Healthy Happy Life

  • El Jardín de la Magdalena 12:28 PM on 21 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    12 Plants That You Can Grow To DETER Mosquitoes 

    Mosquitoes can quickly ruin the enjoyment of your outdoor garden experience. Ordinary repellents are full of nasty chemicals that you probably don’t want to put onto your family, and bug zappers are annoying. It also can be debated, how effective candles or incense really is.The threat of contracting a disease from a mosquito is very real. Not only are humans being infected with dangerous illnesses, so are animals including household pets. Over one million people are said to die each year from contracting diseases from mosquitoes. In the US, the most common disease is West Nile, but they also carry diseases like malaria, dengue fever, dog heartworm, chikungunya and the recent Zika Virus, which is responsible for outbreaks in tropical areas throughout the world and was found in 2015 for the first time in the Western Hemisphere. More can be learned about the Zika Virus, here .

    To help keep mosquitoes from using your yard as a breeding ground, make sure you eliminate all standing water, trim back un-needed vegetation, and consider planting these mosquito repelling plants.

    1. Basil
    In addition to repelling mosquitoes, it’s also quite an attractive plant to grow.

    2. Catmint
    While the catmint plant does repel mosquitoes that are close, you can try adding crushed leaves or oil for even stronger protection. Watch out though, if you own cats they will probably respond to you the same way they respond to the plant itself. If you’re a cat owner, you might want to try other natural ways to deter mosquitoes.

    3. Garlic
    “If you have a high allicin (garlic’s active anti-microbial ingredient) blood count, mosquitoes will refuse to engage with your blood. If you are infected, garlic can eliminate the virus because it is a proven anti-microbial, killing both viruses and bacteria. According to the good people of, a friend of theirs had lost a couple of horses to WNV.”  -source “

    4. Lavender
    Lavender repels mosquitoes because mosquitoes dislike the scent of the lavender plant.
    For an easy homemade repellent, crush lemon balm leaves and then rub them onto your skin. Keep the plants growing near doorways where the leaves will be readily available when you need them.
    Mosquitoes do not care for the fragrance of lemon grass. Grow these attractive “grasses” near walkways and near seating areas to deter them. 
    The leaves and their extracted juices will help to repel mosquitoes from feeding on you.

    8. Marigolds
    “Potted marigolds can be positioned near entrances to your home and any common mosquito entry points, such as open windows. The smell may deter mosquitoes from going past this barrier. While marigolds can be used as border plants around the patio, we do not advise putting marigolds on the patio table since the bright blooms may attract wasps.

    Besides repelling mosquitoes, marigolds repel insects which prey on tomato plants, so you may want to plant a few marigolds in your tomato bed for added protection.” -source “Learn.EarthEasy.comshutterstock_174218558

    “Crushed pennyroyal stems stuck in your hat and pockets really will repel gnats and mosquitoes. Dog owners often see their dogs rolling in pennyroyal patches, and dog instincts can usually be trusted.”

    10. Rosemary
    A Recipe for a Simple Rosemary Mosquito Repellent:
    “A simple repellent spray is made by adding 1 cup dried rosemary to a quart of water, boiling it in a pot for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour a quart of cool water into another container (that holds at least half a gallon), then strain the rosemary water into the container. Pour small amounts of the blend into squirt bottles to apply directly to skin and outdoor pets. Store the unused portions in the refrigerator; discard it when it no longer smells strongly of rosemary.” – source “
    11. Tansy
    Tansy is a strong herb, beautiful & yet suitable for growing around doorways to act as an mosquito deterrent.
    Wormwood can make a lovely, unique border and the strong odor does a good job of keeping mosquitoes at bay. Note: Do not rub on skin.

    Urban Organic Gardening

  • MaximillianGroup 12:28 PM on 21 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Power Weeding: A Fast And Easy Way to “Spin” Your Weeds Away 

    There are few chores more arduous in the garden than weeding. The little buggers keep coming back about as fast as you can rip them out by the root. And, of course, digging them out by the root never seems to be enough; they always find a way back into your beds. But there’s a new weed removal tool in the war against weeds that every home gardener who wants an easier way to eliminate these pests needs to check out – the Weed Spinner .


    Weeding with Power Tools

    Everyone enjoys wielding a power tool, and they aren’t just for carpenters and handymen. Gardeners can get in on this too, using a cordless drill to spin their weeds away. The spinning motion of the drill, along with the attached tool, gets under the weed, down to the root, and lifts the entire thing out of the ground.

    You simply attach the Weed Spinner to a cordless drill (the best type to use with this weed removal tool is a standard 3/8 inch variable speed drill) and spin the weeds out of the ground.


    Give Your Back a Break with the Weed Spinner

    The inventor of the Weed Spinner, Vern Ader, is 88 years old. He wanted to create a device that anyone could use to easily and safely weed in the garden. The 30-inch (76 cm.) weed removal tool is long enough that you don’t even have to bend over or squat down to use it.

    Just insert the tool in the center of the weed and use the drill trigger to pull it up with the root. One of the best things about the Weed Spinner (also known as Greener-De-Weeder) is that it saves your back, your knees, and whatever other part of your body aches after a day spent pulling weeds out by hand.


    Avoid Herbicides

    While the comfort of using the Weed Spinner is a major reason gardeners are trying it out, another benefit is avoiding the use of harmful chemicals. Gardeners generally don’t want to turn to chemicals to get rid of weeds, but if you can’t physically do the work yourself, what other weed control choice do you have?

    Now you have a better option. Just “spin” those weeds away. The Weed Spinner weed removal tool spins out weeds in one whirling motion. Almost anyone can use it without any aches or pains, and can avoid using herbicides to eliminate weeds from the garden or yard.

    The Weed Spinner is a great tool for taking care of the problem of weeds, but it is also multi-functional. Use it to dig holes for bulbs and transplants; use it on any surface, including turf, beds, and walkways; get dandelions out of your yard for good; and remove tricky weeds, like thistles.

    Removing weeds can be a big hassle, and a chore that seems like it will never end. But with this drill driven lawn and garden tool, the chore is faster, less painful, and maybe even a little bit fun. Weed Spinner takes the work out of weeding so you can enjoy your garden even more!

    The post Power Weeding: A Fast And Easy Way to “Spin” Your Weeds Away appeared first on Gardening Know How’s Blog .

    Gardening Know How

  • MaximillianGroup 7:34 AM on 20 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Q&A with Val Bourne, author of The Living Jigsaw 

    Val Bourne is a celebrated garden writer, photographer and lecturer. She has won multiple awards including Journalist of the Year from the Garden Media Guild.  She is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph, among others, and she gardens on the wind-swept Cotswolds at Spring Cottage, high above Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire. Val is an Ambassador for the Hardy Plant and a member of several RHS committees. Val is a hands on gardener and a committed plantaholic and she manages her third of an acre garden without using any chemicals at all – something she has always believed in. Her newest book, The Living Jigsaw , explains how it all works.   Read on to learn more and enter below to win one of two copies from The University of Chicago Press .

    What inspired you to write this book?

    About 14 years ago I wrote a book called The Natural Gardener, published by Frances Lincoln. It came about because in the mid 1990s I was on a radio program called Dig It, a question and answer phone in. I was on with three other gardeners and we popped up at random in pairs. I was completely horrified by their answers, because they treated every problem in exactly the same way. The standard advice was to go down to the garden center and buy a chemical produce. I was on the program for about six weeks and steam came out of my headphones when I heard my colleagues constantly mentioning some chemical or other.

    Many of the problems we got on our call line were due to things being planted in the wrong place, or down to a bad variety. To make a long story short, after six weeks I was taken aside and told that, although I had a wonderful radio voice, no one was interested in organic answers. Everybody wanted a quick fix.

    I was so cross and I decided to write a book about gardening naturally, but I had one huge problem. I didn’t know why I had so few pests and diseases in my own garden, so I set about analyzing what was going on. I started with ladybirds because they’re so easy to identify. I found a mating pair of 7-spot ladybirds in April 1999 and set about trying to photograph them. They were perched on Potentilla also known as “Gibson’s Scarlet.” Unfortunately, every time I pushed the shutter my camera made a whirring noise and this prompted the amorous pair to set about their business once again. I used three rolls a film and took over a hundred shots, but only four were in focus. It was definitely Tantric sex.

    Having seen mating ladybirds I set about looking for ladybird eggs and frisked the garden looking for batches of yellow eggs laid on end. I was getting dressed one day, when I noticed some yellow eggs on an aphid ridden Euphorbia characias. I was pretty sure that they were ladybird eggs and so it proved. It was a Eureka moment, because I realized that natural gardening is a Catch-22 situation. The ladybirds had only laid their eggs on the euphorbia because there was an aphid colony thriving on the foliage. It gave me an insight into how a natural garden work. Whatever people tell you, organic gardening has nothing to do with compost heaps, although they are very useful. It’s a series of interactions between different creatures.


    What is the meaning or significance of the book’s title, The Living Jigsaw ?

     The title came about following a visit by some small children. They were seven and nine and this was in the late 1990s. They noticed some blackfly on a white achillea and began to ask questions. I explained that the blackfly were feeding on the achillea using a feeding tube called a stylet. I explained that the plant sap flowed through the creature, through osmotic pressure, and came out of the aphids bottom. They giggled, as  bottom is a word young children like. On cue some ants began to march up and down the Killian stems and feed on the honeydew, the sticky waste substance produced by the aphids. I explained that ants farm aphids for their honeydew and go to great lengths to keep other predators away.

    While we were there, a parasitic wasp arrived and started to lay eggs on the blackfly. I explained that the wasp, which was rather like a blackfly with wings, would lay one single egg in each aphid and that a new parasitic wasp would emerge from the aphid through a perfectly round hole. We could see some evidence of this and they were fascinated by the explanation.

    We also saw a ladybird lava, a seven spot. It was a warm day and we sat on a seat to have a drink and they were talking about what they’d seen. I went over these interactions and used the phrase living jigsaw, because I thought the children would understand how a jigsaw fits together. This conversation occurred before I wrote The Natural Gardener, but I remember the phrase and I thought it was a very apt description of how the natural world interacts. I wasn’t happy with the title of The Natural Gardener, because I thought there were too many other books with similar titles. I would have preferred to have called that book Gardening with the Planet but the publisher thought this was too pretentious.

    After The Natural Gardener came out I carried on looking at my garden and trying to learn more about what went on. I gathered a lot more information on the creatures within it. As I was doing this two things happened. There was a recognition that the natural world, both flora and fauna, were in decline and many gardeners noticed this. A video taken in my previous garden in Hook Norton in the mid-1990s clearly shows lots of insect life above the flowers. That has all gone sadly. There are fewer bees, fewer wildflowers and fewer insects and this has occurred for several reasons. Gardeners have become far too tidy now that they can use strimmers etc, so there are fewer refuges for wildlife. They’re far too quick to use a toxic substance, a pesticide or an insecticide or an herbicide, because horticulture is telling them that’s what they need to do. The accelerated use in gardening and farming has decimated wildlife, particularly in the countryside. Although I’m talking about Britain in my book, this is true in many countries.

    There were litigious issues regarding the content of pesticides and herbicides and their effects on the natural world and that includes us. The EU began a Pesticides Review which saw lots of chemicals withdrawn from the market. Others were reformulated, to make them more eco-friendly. It was a lengthy process and there was a lot of annoyance in some quarters that certain products were no longer available. However many younger gardeners realized there were real problems in the natural world and they wanted to embrace a different style of gardening.

    In 2006 I moved to a new garden called Spring Cottage, high in the Cotswolds. The garden had been treated with lots of different chemicals, judging by the number of tins in the old shed. There were no plants to speak of and consequently very little wildlife. No birds visited the garden and the first year I planted broad beans, always a martyr to blackfly, no predators arrived to eat them.

    I set about reviving the garden and making it much more wildlife friendly. The whole process is described in The Living Jigsaw and I probably wouldn’t have written this book if I hadn’t moved gardens. It was a game of snakes and ladders. I moved from an eco-friendly garden that was full of wildlife and insect life to sterile environment and I really had to think about how to plant it up. It’s all in the book.

    I’ve tried to include new scientific research, on what eats slugs for instance, and explain how to plant up a garden that’s self-sustaining. I’m a committed organic gardener. I’ve never used chemical props, not even for slugs, and yet my garden is healthy, lovely to look at and it offers something throughout the year.


    Your book champions natural gardening.  Why should we embrace natural gardening?

    When you hear that there are no wild bees left to pollinate the apple crops in China, because the habitat is no longer there to support them, it sends a shudder through you. Apparently small children have to go up a ladder with a paintbrush instead and the results aren’t that brilliant. Bees do a much better job. It’s one instance how dependent on the natural world we are. We have time to change and improve and although this book is written about a British garden, it’s a global problem. Wildlife is threatened by what we do. We have a responsibility to conserve our wildlife and gardeners, who are a nurturing bunch, can do an awful lot to help the planet.

    None of us garden in a bubble, or live in a bubble. Everything we do has implications and this book attempts to explain the nitty-gritty of the natural world. It points out that the lower orders of life underpin our world. Unfortunately. The lower orders are the very creatures gardeners often target. However, they are part of the living jigsaw and, if you stand back, and let nature do the work for you, you’ll get an eco-friendly garden. I spend as much time watching insects as I do looking at flowers.


    Has it been really difficult convincing people to adopt a chemical-free gardening lifestyle and to get them to let nature takes its course?

     Well it’s hard for me to say because I’ve always been an organic gardener. However when I looked back at the radio questions going out and buying and applying a chemical was often more time-consuming then a hands on organic solution. Often gardeners were growing things they couldn’t really sustain, or planting them in the wrong place.

    Sometimes a gardener growing phloxes had suffered mildew, a water stress disease, purely because they were growing these moisture-loving plants on thin, dry soil.  Putting your plants in the right place and growing what you can is an integral part of natural gardening.

    Sometimes the plant was a poor example and in Britain we have an AGM system of awards given to excellent plants.  Roses were particular problem because many highly bred roses suffer from blackspot. The solution is to find roses there are healthy and resistant and there’s a section in the book on bombproof roses.

    Chemical solutions aren’t particularly time-saving and they are undermining your ecosystem and cause greater problems in the long run. It’s far easier to look at your garden carefully and assess the problems and target them very specifically. If you have slugs and snails eating your hosts what’s wrong with going out at dusk and picking them off? Wear gloves if you’re squeamish. Slug bait will kill all your slugs and snails, even the ones that eat detritus and clean up for you.


    What advice do you have for those willing to give natural gardening a go?

     My advice would be the set about planting your garden so that its self-sustaining. Grow wide range of plants that includes trees, shrubs, herbaceous, annuals, grasses, ferns, bulbs and annuals. These will attract more insect life and an abundance of insect life will attract more birds etc.

    Layout your garden so that your plants are in the right place. Spring flowering plants do well under a leafy canopy. Midsummer plants tend to be sun lovers. Autumn flowering plants benefit from catching afternoon sun as the year fades. You’ll avoid disease and you’ll always have something to attract and sustain a pollinator and lift your spirits.

    Create some wild areas in corners of the garden or against a wall and leave them largely undisturbed. This allows creatures a refuge, whether it’s shrews, voles, toads, beetles or hedgehogs.

    Don’t know and strip everything down to the ground. Areas of longer grass can be made in to highly fashionable mini meadows. Longer grass allows more beetles and other insects a home and ground beetles are the best predators of slugs.

    Win one of two copies of “The Living Jigsaw “!

    To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Sunday, May 27, 2018 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:

    Why do you want to pursue natural gardening?

    Be sure to include a valid e-mail address. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See rules for more information.)

    The post Q&A with Val Bourne, author of The Living Jigsaw appeared first on Gardening Know How’s Blog .

    Gardening Know How

  • El Jardín de la Magdalena 1:13 PM on 19 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Growing Tomatillos: Enjoy Salsa Verde All Summer Long 

    The post Growing Tomatillos: Enjoy Salsa Verde All Summer Long is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening , the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

    Have you ever tried growing tomatillos? Often used as part of salsa or Mexican cuisine, this relative of the cape gooseberry is a popular fruit. But what are tomatillos, really? The Mexican husk tomato, sometimes called jamberry but more commonly called tomatillo, is a strange little plant. Its fruit grows within a natural papery lantern-like … Read more

    The post Growing Tomatillos: Enjoy Salsa Verde All Summer Long is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening , the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

    Epic Gardening

  • El Jardín de la Magdalena 6:50 AM on 19 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    March Against Monsanto 2018 

    March against monsanto

    HAPPENING TODAY– “Hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens will hit the streets May 19th, 2018 for the 7th international March Against Monsanto grassroots campaign. The global events will take place in hundreds of cities on six continents with the objective to further educate and raise awareness about Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds and the increasingly toxic food supply, as well as its merger with the German pesticide, GMO and pharmaceutical giant Bayer.”

    Extensive protesting will happen across the world and related online coverage can be found on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by using the hashtags #marchMay19 and #MarchAgainstMonsanto (#MAM).

    What are GMO’s?





    Gardening Know How

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