Slugs and Snails and What to Do About Them

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Brown Slug Hiding

If you live in a climate that’s even the slightest bit rainy or wet, then you know all too well about slugs and snails and the damage they can inflict on a garden. The wetter, rainier and more temperate your climate is the more likely you are to have an issue with slugs. Slugs like to hide in dark shady spots in the daytime and then come out in the evening and through the night. They’ll even come out in the daytime if it’s cool, rainy and wet enough. They have a voracious appetite for your garden. You’ll need to have …


What Is Basic Tropical Plant Care?

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Tropical Plants

The tropical plant displays are always so beautiful when you go to the nursery. So many of them would look just great in that empty spot in the office or at home. The plants are so beautiful in the store because they get wonderful care from a knowledgeable staff of people all the time.  They usually live in a pristine and perfectly tropical environment of a greenhouse or indoor store area.  How do you keep them that way once you get them home?  Basic tropical plant care is quite a bit easier than it first appears. The first thing that most people …


Flowers That Hummingbirds Love

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Hummingbirds are beautiful, fast, fascinating and elegant all at the same time. Generally, hummingbirds like flowers that have a downward hanging “spout” type flower shape. So if you plant these type flowers you’re sure to attract these lovely birds. Here’s a short list of more varieties of flowers and flowering shrubs in zone 7-8 that will draw many hummingbirds from all around to your garden and from the neighbouring trees.  They are tough perennials that can withstand just about all you can throw at them from dry conditions to poor soil to the restricted environment of a container. Agastache (Texas …


Tropical Plants for Low Light

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Varigated Rubber Tree

Typically tropical plants like bright locations, like the tropical sun. But there are some types of tropical plants that will tolerate a low light environment. If you have any amount of natural light in your home then there is a tropical plant variety available that will suit the conditions you have. Try out the ones listed below and you’ll see that some plants can handle less than ideal lighting conditions. Generally if you chose something with all green leaves then it will do better than a variegated variety. Skylights and sun rooms are the best and tropical plants just love them, but …


Best Recipe for Hummingbird Food

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Hummingbird Resting

One of the biggest things I want to teach people how to do is make your own hummingbird food. It’s so easy, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before. I don’t recommend feeding the hummingbirds that red liquid the stores sell as “hummingbird food”. The red dye is not part of their natural diet and may cause health issues, including birth defects in baby hummingbirds.    I don’t want to have any part of damaging a generation (or more) of hummingbirds. When it’s so easy to make your own sugar syrup for them, there really is no reason to buy the red stuff. If you can measure …


How to Make Hypertufa Planters

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Round Hypertufa Planters

Hypertufa is a mixture of peat moss, cement and sand that you can sculpt and make into your own garden decor pieces and planter pots. You can create statues, birdhouses, planter pots, stepping stones and more. The choices are limited only by your imagination.  For this project you will need some space, if you are limited in your own yard or only have a balcony then ask to borrow a friend’s yard or driveway. Lay down a tarp first to keep the mess under control. Use a picnic table if there is one. Before we even get into the recipe …


How to Use Tanglefoot

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Tanglefoot is a very effective, natural pesticide product for trees that helps them combat the over-wintering bugs that cause damage to your trees in the spring. These insects include gypsy moths, canker worms, weevils, ants, caterpillars, moths, cutworms and more. If you’ve never used this product before then I’ll share with you a few helpful tips on how to use Tanglefoot to make it an easier task. Tanglefoot is OMRI rated and certified for organic gardening. “The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is an international nonprofit organization that determines which input products are allowed for use in organic production and processing” What …


Seed and Bulb Sources

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Richters Herbs and Plants

Organic and Non-GMO Seed Sources Eternal Seed (Canada Only) Stellar Seeds Two Wings Farm Dam Seeds Full Circle Seeds Sugar Shack Seeds Florissa Eagle Creek Seed Potatoes


Perennials That Need to Be Cut Down in Fall

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Purple Centurea

As the gardening season nears the end and the flowers have faded, most perennials get a little straggly looking and not so pretty anymore.  Some perennials and many herbaceous plants like to be cut down in the fall due to mildew and other issues in rainy areas.  There are also some perennials that prefer to be cut down in the spring because they use their dead summer foliage for winter protection usually for the crown of the plant. Here is a list of common perennials to cut down in the spring. There are many other plants that are perennial in other …


Getting Ready For Winter

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Snowflake

The warm summer season is fading and now it’s time to start getting ready for winter. Depending on the specific climate of your region, the winterizing tasks for your container garden are going to be different. The biggest thing you can do to minimize the amount of work you needed at this time of year is to buy plants specifically suited for your climate zone. Rain If you live in a very temperate, warm and rainy area then you can get away with minimal fuss and not too many things to worry about. Your biggest concern will be protecting your plants from …


NPK Simplified

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NPK

What is NPK? All plants need all nutrients in various amounts, but increasing certain ones can boost a particular area of the plants physiology.  Figuring out NPK can get very mathematical and scientific but for this moment we’ll keep it simple and easy to understand.  N is Nitrogen Feeds the “greens” of the plant and helps speed growth P is Phosphates (Phosphorus) Promotes root and new shoot growth K is Potassium (Potash) Promotes flowering and fruit bearing Organic Sources of NPK Choose a good quality fertilizer that’s intended for the type of food or flowers your are growing. I recommend using organic fertilizers, there …


Perlite or Vermiculite?

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Vermiculite

For Drainage: Choose perlite For Water Retention: Choose vermiculite For planters, I suggest using a little of each as they have complimentary properties. The ratio should be 25% of one or both of these total to potting soil. So that means ¾ of the volume of potting soil and the rest (¼ of the volume) can be any balance of perlite and/or vermiculite. Perlite white granular particles a form of volcanic glass containing about 6% water neutral pH surface area of the particles are covered with little indents that hold nutrients and water clean, odourless, sterile and non-toxic will not rot or mold better for drainage …


Hosta

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Field of Hosta

The Hosta is a fantastically popular and easy to grow perennial plant that’s commonly used in home gardens and containers. It’s another really good one for beginner gardeners. The Hosta is suitable for a wide range of growing zones, all the way from zone 2 to zone 10. This is just one characteristic that makes them perfect for beginner gardeners, they’re almost guaranteed to grow in any region of the country and climate zone! The very tough and weather hardy Hosta is probably the most recognizable herbaceous plant that you’ll see in the nurseries and garden centers.  They’re easy to …


Pear Slugs

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Pear Slugs aka Cherry Slugs 2011

What the heck is a pear slug?? These are not your typical, large ground sliding, slimy slugs. Despite their name, Pear Slugs are actually an insect. They are the larva of the Sawfly and are also known as cherry slugs. These are tiny little creatures that pupate and become very similar looking to a regular fly. In Latin they are known as Caliroa cerasi. Pear Slugs aka Cherry Slugs have a maximum size of ½”. These little guys are tiny but very destructive. Pear slugs prefer your pear trees and cherry trees but will also eat other similar varieties too if they are available. Among the …