7Mar

In this in-between time for gardening and while waiting for the Spring, use container gardening, even indoors. Grow a mix of seeds like radishes and kale, or maybe sprout some mung beans or beets. They can produce healthy young plants quickly, and you can harvest the tender shoots as they grow, allowing them to continue to produce for several weeks. I like this easy how to page for growing salad in pots:

http://bit.ly/1bDM560

Do you need a container for your deck or patio that would hold more plants than a single pot? Try a compact and efficient UrBin Grower garden container, which has great drainage and water-from-below trays to make your plants grow deeper roots and last even longer.

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20Feb

As the days get longer, I start thinking about planting my garden for Spring and Summer. With the cold weather in much of the country, it is a good time to plan for more successful growing, trying new things or just tweaking from lessons learned. I always aim for healthier soil – starting from the ground up. This begins with my composting. I have a couple of options – my older mix from a large bin I used last year and the new compost that isn’t quite ready yet. Turning this into the basic part of my garden soil, the “juice”, is exciting. And I love that my kitchen vegetable waste gets to be recycled into next year’s garden soil.

What can I do to accelerate the process, to make even better composted soil? Fortunately I have been using great worm composters, red wiggler worms. They are the most efficient composting “machines” I’ve found. Using them outdoors in my first bin was OK for awhile, but the worms don’t like temperature extremes. Using a clever worm bin set-up called the Worm Factory can be a great way to bring the process indoors, since it is attractive, compact and portable – and there’s no smell!! It’s easy to keep in a corner of the kitchen or a mudroom. Kitchen to compost in a few steps.

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18Feb

Last summer I changed my composting methods to use my kitchen scraps and plant debris straight into an indoor worm composting system. Yes, INDOORS!!

Using a worm composting compact tray system for making healthy and rich soil is actually fun and very efficient. The Worm Factory 360 makes this really easy and the instructions are very clear. Check out the video below:

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5Feb

Do you have a small backyard for gardening or want to grow vegetables near your kitchen? A flexible way to start a garden is to use ready-made garden containers, so you can shape your plot to fit around a patio or lawn and to use the sun as it changes over the growing season. Put your seeds or small plants into these easy-to-manage beds, called UrBin Growers, and when plants get going, just adjust the location or angle of the bins once you see if they are now getting more shade in the afternoon or early morning.

This flexibility is a great help for a new gardener or in a new home location. Add more of these bins with different plants as you can, working around your available space – a great landscaping idea and pretty sustainable. Another plus is these containers make watering very efficient.

Here’s a short video to demonstrate how easy an UrBin Grower is to use:

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30Jan

I have been wondering how the birds are faring with the extraordinary weather this winter. I happen to be in the balmy SW desert, and we are all connected by the birds migrating. I imagine it is tough to think about our feathered friends when the power is out or the fuel is low, and maybe we can offer some suggestions for easing the situation.

Basically, birds need food, water, and shelter, just like we do. Food with a higher fat and protein content is best, so offering suet and high-quality seeds or bits of tree nuts is better than the drier grains and seeds. They also need a flat and non-frozen water source for keeping their feathers clean and un-sticky. If adding hot water every few hours isn’t how you want to spend your days and nights, try a heated birdbath on your deck or add a plugged-in deicer.

If you can minimize the attraction of non-native birds by using these measures and not throwing out bread crumbs, then the wild birds might find shelter in tree cavities or even nesting houses you provide. For more information here is a helpful article from our friends at Songbird Station.

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3Jun

Do you have a small backyard for gardening or want to grow vegetables near your kitchen? A flexible way to start a garden is to use ready-made raised beds, so you can shape your plot to fit around a patio or lawn and to use the sun as it changes over the growing season. Put your seeds or small plants into these easy-to-manage beds, called UrBin Growers, and when plants get going, just adjust the location or angle of the bins once you see if they are now getting more shade in the afternoon or early morning.

This flexibility is a great help for a new gardener or in a new home location. Add more of these bins with different plants as you can, working around your available space – a great landscaping idea and pretty sustainable. Another plus is these make watering very efficient.

Here’s a short video to demonstrate how easy an UrBin Grower is to use:

9May

Would you like to see some bluebirds in your garden or patio? Help them find a nesting place as they are moving around in Spring and early Summer – your yard and trees could be a haven for bluebirds if they have a comfy house to nest in and raise their young. The bluebird house could also be part of your lawn and garden decor – what a concept! And there are bluebird houses with different size openings, since Eastern and Western varieties of bluebirds have different preferences…who knew?

This is prime time to attract birds that are moving north for the summer, wherever you live, and they are such a help in nibbling on insects and providing hours of enjoyment for our viewing pleasure. A bird house is a great accompaniment to our bird feeders and lawn and garden decor – practical and decorative at the same time.

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7May

How many times do you look at your garden as if it is the first time you see it? As we mentioned last blog, we can often enjoy our time outside – even when weeding or preparing soil for planting – if we see something new. Hanging a decorative garden hummingbird swing can increase the movement of the hummers coming to your feeders. Watching hummingbird feeders may be one of your favorite things – it can also be part of your garden and lawn decor.

Maybe adding a solar water fountain to a simple and decorative birdbath could give you another way to bring songbirds into your lawn and garden. You can take a break sitting on your patio bench and watch them splashing around – a great way to take advantage of your small additions to decorating your lawn and garden.

 

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2May

Does your garden or lawn need a decor pick-me-up, maybe a new focus for your outdoor activities this summer? After a long winter with storms and freezing temperatures beating up your plants and trees, it might be time for a (new lift.) Decor for the garden or lawn can give you a lift, too, helping you see things anew and enjoy this Springtime of renewal and rebirth. How would a new decorative hummingbird feeder or rain gauge (or outdoor thermometer) spruce up your lawn or garden? Yes, decor can be practical, bringing you joy and also giving you helpful information or attracting hummers to your garden and lawn.

Maybe this idea can help you see new possibilities, so go outside now to look for those key areas where a small change of garden and lawn decor might make your home new again.

 

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24Apr

Every week or so there is another news brief about organic food, and often they report that it doesn’t matter. I wonder who is sponsoring this research. Most of us have grown up to expect perfect-looking fruits and vegetables, no bruises and ready-to-eat. How did they come thousands of miles with lots of handling and look so good? They were probably picked green, had lots of spraying to kill any insects or worms, and then were held until they looked ripe, in some warehouse.

Have you ever tasted a fresh-picked tomato or salad greens that still have the dew on them? If so, you know how great they are. The food value is also higher, more vitamins and minerals, when fresh. Look for a Farmers’ Market near you, with local growers selling their produce once or several times a week, go visit and strike up a conversation. Buy their fresh and nutrient-rich veggies and experience the community sharing. They often will sell baggies of seeds or starts that you can grow as well. A great way to enhance whatever soil you have is to use coconut fiber soil amendments. Experiment with your garden space and eat well!

 

 

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