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Posted by Bilazarian Group on 5/25/2017

If you keep a garden but find yourself throwing away leftover food, you're probably missing out on the opportunity to reclaim the nutrients of that food through composting. When you compost, you're essentially speeding up nature's process of breaking down organic matter into fertile soil. The compost†can then be used to nourish the soil of your garden or lawn. Today you'll learn how to make a compost bin, mix the compost, and then spread it into your lawn and garden so you can make the most of the extra waste you have at home.

Making a compost bin

There are endless ways to make a compost bin. In fact, a bin isn't even necessary to make good compost, and some people choose to just keep a pile that they turn throughout the year. Making a bin has many advantages, however: it keeps the compost pile warm and moist (two essential elements that speed up decomposition),†it keeps pests out of your compost, and it keeps your neighbors happy who might not want to smell decomposing†food when they go outside. Compost bins are commonly†made from wood, chicken wire or plastic. Some towns even subsidize compost bins to encourage people to compost rather than throwing their compostable waste in the trash. Old wooden pallets are a great product†to build compost bins from.

Adding†compost to your bin

People who are new to composting often worry about what can be composted. Once you get started, though, you'll soon realize that almost any organic matter will break down in a compost bin. Beginners often stick to vegetables, coffee grounds, grains, and materials from your yard. Greens and Browns Compostable materials are often broken down into greens (nitrogen-based materials) and browns (carbon-based materials). Your compost bin doesn't need a perfect balance to be effective, but using some of each type of organic matter will produce the best results. Too much brown matter in your bin will be hard to decompose. Too much green matter will make the compost slimy. Here are some examples of great carbon and nitrogenous materials to put in your bin: Brown:
  • dry leaves
  • straw
  • newspaper
  • sawdust
  • wood chips
  • fruits and vegetables
  • weeds from the yard
  • fresh grass clippings
  • flowers
  • coffee grounds

Maintaining the compost pile

To create a†good environment†for decomposition you'll need three things: heat, moisture, and air. This makes compost bins relatively low-maintenance, but here are some tips to speed up the decomposition process: Heat In the spring and summer, nature will provide this for you, but having an enclosed bin that receives plenty of sunlight will help you out. Moisture The bacteria that are doing the composting in your bin require water to live. But too much water will make your bin a slimy mess. Shoot for moist, not wet. Air A compost bin needs to be aerated to blend the ingredients together. You don't need to turn it often; once every two to three weeks is fine.   Now that you know all you need to about making great compost for the lawn and garden, it's just a matter of mixing it in and reaping the rewards. Mix compost into garden soil and lawns early in the spring and in the fall after harvest to keep the soil healthy year-round.

Posted by Bilazarian Group on 2/16/2017

If you've ever walked down the garden section of The Home Depot and were amazed at the amount of garden tools you're not alone. For such a simple pastime, gardening has become increasingly complex in recent decades. From small, gas-powered cultivators to electric grass shears, the tranquil art of gardening has been commercialized with all of the latest technology. If you're just keeping a small flower or vegetable garden, there's no need for all the gadgetry. Our ancestors made due for thousands of years with simple tools. Here are the five utilitarian tools that will prove useful in your garden today.

1. The Spade

Let's start with the basics. Every gardener needs a spade. You'll use them when the ice melts to till the soil, you'll use it in early spring to dig holes for your plants, and you'll reach for it in the fall when you're cleaning up after the harvest. A good long-handled spade†will last years, require zero maintenance if you keep it out of the rain, and help you multitask in the garden.

2. The Trowel

Like its big brother, the spade, the trowel is also going to help with tasks like digging and mixing soil. But a trowel's small size allows you to work up-close with the delicate plants in your garden. The trowel helps you†shape the rows and sculpt the finer details of your garden.

3. The Rake

There are rakes for every purpose. †But for our purposes you can get away with having two for your garden: one leaf rake and either a†hand or bow rake. If you're the type to kneel down in the dirt and work closely with your plants and soil, go with the hand rake. If you don't want to do a lot of bending and kneeling a long-handled bow rake is your best bet. Once you've tilled the soil in your garden with a spade, you'll want to rake it even and break up large clumps of dirt with the bow rake. Then throughout the season you can use the leaf rake to clean up debris from plants, nearby trees, and so on.

4. The Shears

Gardening isn't just a matter of putting plants in the ground and watching them grow. For a garden to flourish you'll need to take care of your plants, pruning dead leafs. Some gardeners even prune the first buds of certain vegetable plants to allow the plants more time to grow before they start devoting resources to producing fruit. Good garden shears must be taken care of. Clean them after use, oil the pivot area, and sharpen them once per year to keep them in good working condition.

5. The Watering Can

All would be for naught if it weren't for the watering can. It may seem like an item you don't need to put much thought into. But there are certain things you should look for in a watering can. Firstly, the can should strain water into small streams when you pour it out. This allows you to cover the soil evenly and to avoid dumping a heavy stream of water onto delicate plants. You should also be sure to pick a can that's both big and sturdy. Know your limits; if you don't think you're up to carrying 3-5 gallons of water for prolonged periods go with something smaller and elect to take more trips to the tap.   These five time-tested tools are all you need to keep a healthy garden.  

Posted by Bilazarian Group on 8/4/2016

Now that you have chosen the spot and built the raised bed for your vegetable garden, itís time to fill it with the correct planting mix. Dirt is dirt, right? Not so; if you want to reap the benefits of all your hard work, using the right planting medium is crucial for success. You will never need to replace the mix again, but you will need to replenish and refresh it from time to time. What kind of planting mix should you buy? For containers, it is often suggested to use potting mix versus garden soil, as the mix is looser and lighter. For in the ground planting, such as raised beds, garden soil is best. Miracle Gro brand is a good suggestion, as it has fertilizer in it, but any such soil will work. Choose a dependable source to buy your soil from and ask them how much you will need to fill your raised bed or beds. Bring the measurements with you; it can be very annoying and frustrating to get home with not enough or too much, and those bags are heavy! The workers at the garden shops are very helpful and will load your wagon in the shop and unload it into your car if you ask nicely. However, remember you will have to lug the bags to your site once you get home. Now, just dump the bags into the bed. Some people like to line the beds first with a liner made of polypropylene fabric that allows water to drain but retains the soil. Thatís your choice, but make sure not to use plastic, as the plastic will keep the soil too moist and the plant roots will rot and not thrive. After you have filled the box to your satisfaction, itís time to plant. Remember not to fill the box all the way to the top; you need to leave at least 5 or 6 inches for the plants to branch out. Make sure the soil is well watered before you start your planting. Now take a break and rest assured that the hard stuff is done; you can wait till the next day or so to start your garden. You did plan what you want and how it will all fit, didnít you?

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Bilazarian Group on 6/30/2016

Grow bags are a great way to have a moveable garden and to isolate large plants that would otherwise take up too much space in your raised beds. Gardenerís Supply Company (gardeners.com) sells attractive, heavy duty fabric bags in several colors and sizes that will allow you to expand your vegetable garden easily and conveniently. They are fun and easy to use and can be used for many years. They even fold flat if you empty them after the growing season is over. Potato grow bags are a clever and fun way to grow potatoes and the kids love to dig for them in the fall. Suggestion: buy seed potatoes at farm supply stores no later than April, as they sell out quickly. You do need to use seed potatoes, as regular grocery store potatoes are treated and wonít grow as well. Another effective to grow large vegetable plants, such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, is to use self-watering containers. Such containers can be obtained from Gardenerís Supply or you can purchase Grow Boxes at A Garden Patch (www.agardenpatch.com). The latter supplies a slow-release fertilizer patch that covers the soil for each container. In each case, the rectangular plastic container has a deep well on the bottom and itís only a matter of keeping the well full, eliminating the need to water daily. The roots of the plants reach down into the well and, combined with the fertilizer on the top of the soil, happily thrive in a sunny location. The grow boxes are sturdy and can be reused from year to year. You only need to buy new Grow Patches for each new season. This is a highly successful method to raise all the produce you will need and then some. Your neighbors and family will thank you, as you will be surprised at the bounty of vegetables you will reap. One final note: donít forget to water the containers each day, as they dry out more quickly than in ground gardens.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Bilazarian Group on 5/12/2016

A vegetable garden is the perfect addition to your landscape adding color and texture to your yard. †It is wonderful to grow and harvest your own fresh vegetables. If you are considering adding a garden to your landscape or you already have one, here are some tips you may find helpful. Location: Choosing the correct location for a vegetable garden is key. †You want to ensure the optimal growing conditions while complimenting your yard at the same time. †Stay away from the family's high traffic areas, avoid your children's favorite places to play, and be aware of the path the dog takes when running through the yard. †Raised beds and container gardens can compliment many areas of the yard as well as the deck and patio. Sunlight: Find an area in your yard that gets the maximum amount of direct sunlight. †Eight hours of sunlight per day is optimal, however many plants will still thrive with less. †Gardens that †encounter partial shade during the day can be planted according to the need of each plant. †Just keep in mind, the more sunlight the better. Planting: When choosing what to plant in your garden, you will need to take into consideration the length of the growing season, the amount of space you have to work with, and the potential yield of each plant. †Purchasing small, well established plants is a great way to get started, however sowing †seeds directly in the garden soil is preferred for some vegetables such as carrots, and radishes. †Be sure to leave the appropriate amount of space between plants to allow them to grow to their full potential. †Be sure to provide the proper support for plants that grow vertical such as beans, peas and cucumbers, and stakes for your tomatoes. †The professionals at your local garden center can help guide you to the plants that will best meet your needs. Feed and Water: As with every living thing, your garden plants will need food and water to grow. †Be sure the garden soil is kept loose at the base of the plants so the water will be absorbed. †It is most beneficial to your plants to water in the early morning or later in the evening. †There is a wide range of plant food available, organic fertilizer is always a great option. †Be sure to read labels carefully, and always use as directed. Maintenance: To ensure your garden grows to its full potential you will need to keep the weeds under control. †Pull out the weeds and loosen the soil with a hand scratcher or cultivator to inhibit re-growth. †Grass clippings, straw, and other organic matter can be placed around the plants to keep the soil cool and moist and keep weeds from growing. †There is also a variety of garden cloth and plastic sheeting for weed control available at your local garden center. A vegetable garden is a wonderful addition to any yard. †There is nothing better than being able to pick your own fresh produce. The more time you have to put into your garden the better your harvest will be.