garden planning http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11898/all en-US 10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009967460Small.jpg" alt="Young gardener" title="Young gardener" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am proud to announce that, as a novice gardener, I no longer wear the &quot;black thumb of death&quot; badge. Stuff is actually growing, and we can eat it! Here are ten tips from my (ongoing) experience. (See also: <a href="http://getcurrency.com/design-home/the-urban-dwellers-guide-to-gardening">The Urban Dwellers Guide to Gardening</a> via Currency)</p> <h2>1. Check Out Your Dirt</h2> <p>Last year, we took a soil sample to our local university&rsquo;s agriculture department. For the low cost of $12, we received a soil analysis report. Based on that report, we were able to add nutrients that were noted to be deficient in our soil. This service is also frequently offered at agricultural or cooperative extensions and is well worth the small fee. Take your report to a farm supply or co-op (where we have found bulk nutrients for much less) and load up on the needed supplements.</p> <h2>2. Be Realistic</h2> <p>They get me every year &mdash; glossy packets of seeds at garden-supply stores. The little voice in my head says, &ldquo;Wow, wouldn&rsquo;t it be neat to grow my own broccoli?&rdquo; and I succumb. The problem is, my climate stinks for growing broccoli, and the heads grow to about the size of a quarter. That is just one example &mdash; I have tried many seeds over the years, only to be disappointed. Find out what grows well in your area, and stick with that. My climate is wonderful for growing beans, squash, kale, Swiss chard, and bok choy, but I have learned to fight the urge to waste space, money, and energy on the wrong plants. If you don&rsquo;t know, ask employees at garden centers, your neighbors who garden, or your co-workers. People who grow vegetable gardens are very willing to help those of us who are learning. Also ask yourself &quot;is somebody in my family going to want to eat this vegetable?&quot; If&nbsp;no one likes cabbage, why bother?</p> <h2>3. Fence It</h2> <p>My husband fenced our garden area, and thank goodness he did. I don&rsquo;t have to worry about dogs, kids, or feral pigs wrecking the patch. If you live in an area with deer, you probably already are familiar with the aggravation &mdash; they just mow everything down. If you have a gopher problem, you may need to either plant your garden in raised beds with bottoms screened with &frac12;&rdquo; hardware cloth, or go to the more drastic measure of installing an underground fence surrounding your garden plot. Save yourself the grief and make sure your garden area is protected to the extent practicable.</p> <h2>4. Fertilize It</h2> <p>Every gardener has his or her own <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-mulch-a-beginners-guide-for-the-lazy-composter">fertilizer</a> preference. Manure stinks, but it works. Using a commercially composted manure product helps ensure that no pathogens will survive to contaminate your vegetables. I use composted chicken manure; a co-worker swears by composted steer manure. My neighbor only uses Miracle-Gro. Whatever you choose, your plants will love it.</p> <h2>5. Make Weed Control Easy</h2> <p>While I do enjoy going out to the garden after work to pick vegetables and pull some weeds, I do not enjoy it when the weeds get the upper hand. Then you are looking at a lot of work and a sore back. While I am not crazy about the way it looks, weed-control cloth saves a lot of work. I keep strips of this in between rows, and it is a great detriment to weeds.</p> <h2>6. Water It</h2> <p>Initially I thought I would just water the garden every day with a hose. That was unrealistic. If I am late getting home, there goes the garden. My husband installed a simple sprinkler system so that I could just turn a handle near the house and water. While there was a small cost, the convenience was well worth it.</p> <h2>7. Annihilate Slugs</h2> <p>There is nothing so disheartening as going out to the garden, where there had been a row of beautiful seedlings, to find them chewed to the ground. All that work! I am currently using Corey&rsquo;s Slug and Snail Bait, which works very well. A co-worker swears by the beer-in-a-shallow-dish organic method , but my slugs apparently have been to AA and are not interested. Chemicals are a must for me.</p> <h2>8. Record Your Progress</h2> <p>When we started the garden, I started a garden journal. I have also taken photos over the years, which gives me encouragement. I have a record of which plants worked, which didn&rsquo;t, and what soil implements we used.</p> <h2>9. Give It Some Sun</h2> <p>Before you plant, make sure your patch isn&rsquo;t shaded from the sun. Over the years, we have hacked back many of the trees that prevented sunshine. I can even grow tomatoes now, which love sunshine.</p> <h2>10. Share It</h2> <p>Something I find joyful is being able to share vegetables from the garden. The favor always comes back &mdash; either in the form of something from that person's garden or fruit tree, or in the form of a &ldquo;thank you&rdquo; treat.</p> <p>Before embarking on a vegetable garden, I would recommend reading <em>The $64 Tomato</em> by William Alexander. A humorous and realistic account of a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-your-garden">beginning gardener</a>, it will help you stay frugally &ldquo;in check&rdquo; when you start.</p> <p><em>Readers, if you have any tips for beginning vegetable gardeners, please share!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper - Updated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/use-beer-to-get-rid-of-pests">Use Beer to Get Rid of Pests</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-bathroom-purchases-for-under-10-that-are-well-worth-the-money">10 Bathroom Purchases for Under $10 That Are Well Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> DIY Home garden planning gardening natural pest control Thu, 09 Jun 2011 10:24:08 +0000 Marla Walters 567602 at http://www.wisebread.com Landscaping for Energy Conservation http://www.wisebread.com/landscaping-for-energy-conservation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/landscaping-for-energy-conservation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/858409_84677485.jpg" alt="house" title="house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Until alternate forms of energy become inexpensive and widely available, heating and cooling costs are going to continue eating up a large portion of our monthly budgets.</p> <p>While it may take some time to fully experience the benefits of energy-conservative landscaping, the long term benefits may well be worth it. Trees, shrubs, vines, and man-made structures can modify the climate around your home to reduce heat gains in summer and heat losses in winter.</p> <p>Over time, investing in green landscaping can reduce your heating bills as much as 25 percent and summer cooling bills by 50 percent or more.</p> <p>Here are six factors to consider for energy-efficient landscaping.</p> <h2>1. Air Infiltration</h2> <p>Air infiltration is the passage of outside air driven by the wind through cracks around windows and doors. This forces an equal amount of interior air out of the home through openings that face away from the wind.</p> <p>In winter, air-filtration can represent up to half your total heat loss on the windiest, coldest days. Fortunately, properly placed plants can reduce air infiltration by reducing wind velocity near the home.</p> <h2>2. Conduction</h2> <p>The amount of heat conduction depends on the insulating property and thickness of your building materials, the surface area available for heat flow, and the temperature difference between inner and outer surfaces. Landscaping can help reduce this heat conduction.</p> <p>Exterior surface temperatures are controlled primarily by the outside air temperature, wind velocity and solar radiation. In summer, trees and shrubs can reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the outside surfaces of a home, and thus reduce heat conduction into the house. In the winter, blocking cold winter winds will reduce conductive heat loss.</p> <h2>3. Solar Radiation</h2> <p>Large expanses of east- or west-facing windows will admit undesirable solar radiation in the summer, while large south-facing windows can help heat a home in winter. Planting vegetation around your home can regulate solar radiation during different seasons of the year.</p> <p>Strategically planted greenery along your home's sunny borders will shade south-facing roofs and walls that receive the most direct midday sun. You also can place plants to shade east- and west-facing walls that receive direct sunlight.</p> <h2>4. Planting Shade</h2> <p>If you live in a region with a great deal of sun, plant deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves each fall) in an arc on the east, southeast, south, southwest, and west sides of your home. Plant shade trees based on their mature height, shape of tree crown, position of the sun, desirable views, and roof and wall height. Remember, small trees grow faster than large trees and will provide early protection. Taller trees should be planted so they won't shade smaller trees when they reach maximum height.</p> <p>Summer shade for a south-facing roof generally depends on overhanging tree crowns. You'll want to plant shade trees as close to the home as practical so the crowns absorb the maximum sunlight. Select a species that won't easily break and promptly remove diseased or damaged limbs.</p> <p>In colder climates, planting trees for maximum summer shade can reduce your home's winter sun exposure by up to one third. However, the winter sun is typically less than 45 degrees above the horizon, so tree trunks will provide the most shade. For this reason, it's best to plant shade trees along the southern edge of your home. Remember to prune the lower trunk for maximum solar heating in winter. You may need only two or three large deciduous trees with well-developed crowns.</p> <p>Also, trees aren't the only way to create energy-saving shade. Consider covering east- or west-facing walls with vines or shrubs.</p> <h2>5. Wind Protection</h2> <p>Windbreaks can save you up to 25 percent in heating costs. Evergreens planted upwind will divert cold winds away from your home. The optimum distance for reducing wind velocity is about one to three times the tree height. However, a windbreak can provide reasonable protection at a distance of six-times tree height.</p> <p>Because windbreaks can lead to snow drifts, extend a row of trees 50 feet beyond the ends of the area being protected. Where space is limited, a single row of evergreens should do it. However, up to five rows of several evergreen species is more effective for larger properties. If you're planting several rows of trees, leave at least six feet between trees. Remember to consider the mature shape of the tree and how it will ultimately grow.</p> <p>Because it takes time to establish an effective windbreak, you might want to construct a fence with an open weave pattern until trees reach their optimum heights.</p> <p>Windbreaks have the additional advantages of protecting your privacy and improving the aesthetics of your home. Some greenery also will attract wildlife and provide them with winter protection and food.</p> <h2>6. Landscape Plan</h2> <p>Before you begin planning, it greatly helps to develop a scaled sketch. Measure the height of your home, and create a plan using one-quarter inch for each foot. Mark compass directions, doors, solar collectors, windows and other glass areas. Observe how the sun and wind affect your home during a winter storm through snow-drift directions and patterns. Sketch in windbreaks to block this wind flow.</p> <p>Next, you'll want to check out sun exposure during different seasons. How does the light strike the house between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the winter and summer? Incorporate into your plan measures to reduce this exposure.</p> <p>To determine the best vegetation for your home, consult with your county Extension agent.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/landscaping-for-energy-conservation" class="sharethis-link" title="Landscaping for Energy Conservation" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by the <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/">Coupon Sherpa</a>, a source of reliable online, printable and grocery coupons. You can download the free <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/mobile-coupons/">Coupon Sherpa iPhone app</a> with in-store mobile coupons, or check out more great tips from the <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/ask-coupon-sherpa/">Ask Coupon Sherpa blog</a>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/ask-coupon-sherpa/6-tips-to-shopping-consignment-stores/">6 Tips to Shopping Consignment Stores</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/ask-coupon-sherpa/5-ways-to-sell-your-stuff/">5 Ways to Sell Your Stuff</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/ask-coupon-sherpa/9-steps-to-shopping-for-gluten-free-foods/">9 Steps to Shopping for Gluten-Free Foods</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coupon-sherpa">Coupon Sherpa</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/landscaping-for-energy-conservation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-washing-your-clothes-too-often-what-to-do-instead">You&#039;re Washing Your Clothes Too Often! (What to Do Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breathe-easy-10-natural-air-fresheners">Breathe Easy: 10 Natural Air Fresheners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">Household Cleaning Hacks That Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Green Living Home energy costs garden planning landscaping Tue, 20 Apr 2010 13:00:02 +0000 Coupon Sherpa 32068 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Plan Your Garden http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-your-garden <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-plan-your-garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3646621989_8cffca015f.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Our family has made a major <a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/10/26/when-our-grapes-come-in/">life change</a> in leaving the corporate world to begin a vineyard in west Texas. With a large family (10 children, 8 still at home) living on savings until our house in Alabama sells, frugal living is a necessity. Having never been a gardener, I have learned from those who have had successful gardens by asking many questions. One piece of advice repeated many times is the importance of planning before starting.</p> <p>So, here it is, time to start thinking about and planning your spring and summer vegetable garden! Yes, it is still cold outside, but now is the time to begin. Before we know it, we will be having fresh-from-the-garden produce, fresh tomato sandwiches, and fresh cucumbers and...I know what you are thinking, to get to that point there is a lot of hard work. But, even before the hard work comes the all-important planning stage. There are several factors to consider before planting your garden.</p> <h3>Space Availability</h3> <p>One consideration when beginning to plan is the amount of space which is available for your garden area. If space is limited, priority should be given to family favorite vegetables which would afford the most savings. If space is not an issue, then what vegetables does your family enjoy? Which do you like to eat and cook!</p> <h3>Growing Zone</h3> <p>Certain plants are adapted to particular areas of the country more so than others. Charts are available from various seed companies and on the backs of individual seed packets. These charts specify in which growing zone that particular seed grows well. These growing zones are based on temperatures, daylight hours, and general climate. It is important when making your selection to keep in mind your growing zone.</p> <h3>Seeds vs. Plants</h3> <p>Do I buy seeds or plants? In many instances, time is a key factor in deciding between seeds and plants. Some seeds may be sown directly into your garden soil. Others must be started indoors and once established, transplanted to your garden. These seedlings must be started early enough to be transplanted in a timely manner to your garden (usually after all danger of frost is past). Although more expensive, if indoor space for starting seeds is limited and time is short, plants are probably the better choice.</p> <h3>Where to Purchase</h3> <p>Once you decide upon seeds, plants, or a combination, the decision must be made as to where to purchase them. Local stores often carry seeds and plants specific to your local growing area. They may also be ordered from various companies. The advantages of ordering from a &ldquo;seed company&rdquo; are several. They deal exclusively with products specific to gardening thus the quality tends to be better. Also, often their customer service is available to answer any questions you may have and guide you in your decisions so that you will be a loyal satisfied customer. Once satisfied with service, you will be a returning customer.</p> <h3>Experience</h3> <p>Have you ever gardened before? If not, you might want to start small with easy to grow vegetables such as <a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/10/22/pumpkins-pumpkins-and-more-pumpkins/">pumpkins</a>, squash, <a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/10/31/the-last-pickin/">tomatoes</a>, cucumbers, corn, and beans. I had no experience, but asked questions of those who did. As a result, I had a large successful garden which has provided food for our family.</p> <h3>Resources</h3> <p>Search out resource persons among your friends, family and acquaintances. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Most people are more than happy to provide information about a subject they are familiar with and even expert in. Read books on the subject of gardening. These are readily available at your local library, bookstores, and online. Another great resource is your local county extension agent. They often have quality information on all areas of gardening and are also willing to answer questions.</p> <h3>Crop Rotation</h3> <p>Crop rotation is generally thought of in relation to the large farmer. However, it is also important to the backyard gardener also. Some plants are more susceptible to certain insects and viruses. Rotating the crops discourages these from being harbored in an unnatural concentration. An example of this is the squash bug. Different crops also use nutrients from the soil in different amounts. Rotating the crops helps prevent soil depletion.</p> <p>Are you ready to get started planning your garden?</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-your-garden" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Plan Your Garden" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Dina-Marie. She can be found at <a href="http://dimes2vines.com/">Dimes2Vines</a> where she shares her family's adventures starting a vineyard in west Texas. Read more by Dina-Marie:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/11/05/fit-to-be-or-not-to-be/">Fit - &quot;To Be or Not to Be&quot;</a></li> <li><a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/10/26/when-our-grapes-come-in/">When Our Grapes Come In...</a></li> <li><a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/10/27/how-do-you-do-it/">How Do You Do It?</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dina-marie">Dina Marie</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-your-garden">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way">10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper - Updated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-display-your-art">How to Cheaply Display Your Art</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-free-hbo-or-showtime-just-ask">Want Free HBO or Showtime? Just Ask.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-more-places-to-buy-sell-and-trade-books">17 More Places to Buy, Sell, and Trade Books</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Art and Leisure garden planning gardening Tue, 09 Mar 2010 15:00:02 +0000 Dina Marie 5704 at http://www.wisebread.com