plants http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3180/all en-US 10 Most Valuable Things to Plant in Your Garden This Spring http://www.wisebread.com/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-501121750.jpg" alt="Woman learning what to plant in her garden this spring" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With the days getting longer and warmer, I find myself looking out the window thinking about what to plant in my garden. I usually decide what to plant by choosing things that I like to eat, or things that grow well in my location. This year I decided to look at garden planting strategy from an economic angle. Considering the value of the produce, the likely amount of production, the garden space required, and the general desirability of the produce, here are the 10 most valuable things to plant in your garden this year.</p> <h2>1. Garlic</h2> <p>Since garlic is one of the <a href="https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/wa_lo100.txt" target="_blank">most expensive produce items to buy in-store</a>, growing it yourself is a much better plan. Whether you're buying the full cloves, the striped cloves that are pre-washed, or the pre-minced garlic, you're paying way more for this plantable item than necessary. To save even more money on your garlic harvest, you can <a href="http://www.onestrawrevolution.net/One_Straw_Revolution/Article_Garlic_Plant_Once.html" target="_blank">grow it as a perennial</a>, and not have to replant it every year.</p> <h2>2. Cilantro</h2> <p>Cilantro can be a relatively inexpensive item to buy, but how often do you use up everything you buy? It is also a plant that <a href="http://www.cheapvegetablegardener.com/most-profitable-plants-in-your/" target="_blank">produces the highest dollar value per square foot</a> based on typical production in good growing conditions. <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/cilantro-perennial-herb-67386.html" target="_blank">Cilantro is an annual</a>, but it seeds itself so well that you might think it is a perennial.</p> <h2>3. Lettuce/Mixed Greens/Spinach</h2> <p>Whatever green, leafy base your favorite salad requires, you would be wise to grow it yourself this spring. Spinach, mixed greens, and lettuce are all quite pricey in the produce aisle. You're usually paying for convenience with these items, so they're often found bagged or boxed, pre-washed, and free of stems. But if you plant them yourself, along with arugula and Swiss chard, you'll get the most value per square foot. Plus, you'll know exactly what you're getting and just how clean it is.</p> <h2>4. Chive</h2> <p>Like garlic, chives are a perennial plant, so you only have to plant once and can count on it growing back every year. It's also another produce item found on the list of <a href="http://www.cheapvegetablegardener.com/most-profitable-plants-in-your/" target="_blank">crops that produce the highest dollar value per square foot</a> based on typical production in good growing conditions.</p> <h2>5. Cherry Tomato</h2> <p>There's something particularly satisfying about biting into a juicy tomato you grew in your very own garden. And since cherry tomatoes are small, you tend to go through them quickly. You'll no longer be paying top dollar for each box when you can pick what you need from your garden.</p> <h2>6. Peas</h2> <p>Instead of shucking store-bought peas, why not experience the pride of shucking peas that emerged from the ground outside your house? Freeze the surplus from your harvest and you'll have peas to use year-round.</p> <h2>7. Bell Pepper</h2> <p>Have you ever watched a bell pepper grow in a garden? It's kind of amazing. They start small, then they gain some length and width, and then the finale is when the robust color shines through the pale green. Depending on how long you let them ripen, you'll get red, orange, yellow, or green. But when you buy these in-store, you're paying a premium. So why not save some cash and grow them at home?</p> <h2>8. Jalapeño Pepper</h2> <p>A spicey member of the pepper family, jalapeño peppers are also cheaper to grow than they are to buy. Just make sure you give them direct access to sunlight as these guys love to sunbathe.</p> <h2>9. Artichoke</h2> <p>Artichokes are another perennial gem. They are cheaper to grow, but they do need moist soil in order to thrive. Also, make sure you keep them free of surrounding weeds that could get in their way.</p> <h2>10. Onion</h2> <p>Onions might not be a produce item that you feel like you're spending a lot on at the store. But just because you're used to a certain, fairly low price doesn't mean you need to pay it. Grow your own onions and you'll be saving money over time. Plus, if you plant scallions, they could be ready for eating in 20-30 days!</p> <h2>Growing your own most valuable plants</h2> <p>You can grow these plants even if you don't have space for a garden. Start these plants in containers on a patio or balcony.</p> <p>Another factor to consider in selecting the most valuable things to grow is how much space is required per plant. Plants that take up less room work better in small gardens, and smaller plants allow more variety in whatever size garden you have to work with.</p> <h3>Check for hardiness, too</h3> <p>The hardiness of plants and the climate that they need to grow must also be considered when deciding what to plant in your garden. It would not work out well to try to harvest a high value crop from a plant that will not grow in your climate. You can check your <a href="http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/" target="_blank">hardiness zone using a map available from the USDA</a> and then check seed packets or listings in seed catalogs to make sure that the things you want to plant will grow in your area before you buy them. If you have more room available, you will be able to grow some of the larger plants such as squash, pumpkins, and large tomatoes.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring">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/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose</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-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too">6 Decorative Plants You Can Eat, Too</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/what-to-do-with-100-tomatoes">What to Do With 100 Tomatoes</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/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</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/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living gardening gardening tips growing plants healthy eating herbs plants vegetable garden veggies Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:00:13 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1913522 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 No-Fuss Plants That Will Brighten Your Home Until Spring http://www.wisebread.com/9-no-fuss-plants-that-will-brighten-your-home-until-spring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-no-fuss-plants-that-will-brighten-your-home-until-spring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_plants_succulents_537868672.jpg" alt="Woman getting no-fuss plants to brighten her home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This time of year, it's nice to bring something green home to help pass the gray days. Houseplants are a living reminder that spring is on the horizon. You don't need to be particularly good at keeping stuff thriving to enjoy them, either. Here's a list of some low-maintenance plants that are cheap or, in some cases, free! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-hardest-to-kill-houseplants?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Hardest-to-Kill Houseplants</a>)</p> <h2>1. Pothos</h2> <p>You can pick up a gorgeously green, 10-ounce pothos plant for less than $4 at Lowe's. If you're worried about it being high maintenance, don't fret. Chances are, you'll have this plant for the long haul. Even people who have green thumbs explain that this plant will withstand a hearty dose of &quot;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/golden-pothos.aspx" target="_blank">benign neglect</a>.&quot;</p> <p>And if your friend just happens to have this plant, you may be able to get one for yourself for free. Simply cut an existing plant into some individual segments above the leaf by about half an inch. Take 10 or so of these cuttings and place them in a pot (don't forget to water them) for about six weeks. Each cut should eventually make a vine that will turn into a full plant.</p> <h2>2. Spider Plant</h2> <p>The only plant I have ever had in my own home is the spider plant. And amazingly, it has withstood the test of time and countless messes along the way. Talk about indestructible. What about cheap? Yeah, it's that, too. This plant produces seemingly unlimited babies that you can either inherit or pass along to your friends with virtually no work involved on your part.</p> <p>Here's a tip: spider plants can sometimes get a &quot;burned&quot; look on their leaf tips. This is as a result of too much fluoride accumulation. If you want to avoid this tattered look, try using higher grade fertilizer and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/spider-airplane-plant.aspx" target="_blank">skipping tap water</a> when watering. It's a great excuse to try your hand at making a rain collection barrel.</p> <h2>3. Aloe Plant</h2> <p>Want a plant that does more than just look pretty on your shelf? Grow aloe! You can use its gooey center to ease irritation from cuts and burns. A 10-inch aloe vera plant costs only $4. Care is easy. Water well and then let the soil dry&nbsp;<a href="http://www.almanac.com/plant/aloe-vera" target="_blank">one or two inches</a> before the next watering.</p> <p>Another option is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/Aloe-variegata-tiger-02-26-2016.aspx" target="_blank">tiger alloe</a>. It is one of the smaller plants in the aloe family and only reaches about 10 inches tall. As a result, it fits well on coffee tables or other areas in compact apartments. Oh, and it gets some spikes with orange flowers in the middle of winter to help shake the cold-weather blues and add a burst of color into your life.</p> <h2>4. Jade Plant</h2> <p>Jade plants can last <a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/jade-plant.aspx" target="_blank">100 years or more</a> with proper care. It is a slow-growing succulent, so it doesn't need to take up a lot of space and can survive even if you forget to water it regularly. You can grab a jade of your very own for around $4 or $5.</p> <p>If your jade picks up mealybugs &mdash; a white, cottony mass &mdash; you can treat it with some rubbing alcohol.</p> <h2>5. Cactus</h2> <p>My neighbor bought a tiny Christmas cactus plant for around $5 a few years ago. It now sits proudly in her bay window and blooms late each fall with some really pretty flowers. You'll want to place this plant in a well-lit area and place it in a well-drained pot. You only need to move it to a new pot every year or so. In the summer, you can move it to your patio &mdash; just make sure to give it some shade during the hottest time of day.</p> <p>This plant is often called a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/holiday-cactus.aspx" target="_blank">crab cactus</a> in Europe. And in its native Brazil, the &quot;Christmas&quot; part of the name would be relatively meaningless, as its blooms in spring there (because it's in the Southern Hemisphere).</p> <h2>6. Mother-in-Law's Tongue</h2> <p>While a mother-in-law's tongue (otherwise known as a snake plant) may sound like something you'd want to stay away from, this plant is excellent for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality?ref=internal" target="_blank">indoor air quality</a>. It filters anything from formaldehyde to trichloroethylene to benzene out of your home's atmosphere. It's relatively cheap to boot. You can pick one up for around $15 at your local big box center. Experts recommend you place this plant in your bedroom because &mdash; get this &mdash; it can convert exhaled CO2 into oxygen.</p> <p>The best part? This plant is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/mother-in-law-tongue.aspx" target="_blank">super hard to kill</a>. They don't need much light either. Just some love, and little water, and an occasional dusting.</p> <h2>7. Cast Iron Plant</h2> <p>Don't have a lot of light in your home? The cast iron plant doesn't care. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/in-the-garden/reference-desk/perennials/cast-iron-plant.aspx" target="_blank">shadier, the better</a> for this happy plant. Actually, if it gets too much sun, its leathery leaves will start to burn. Otherwise, it's hearty and easy to maintain. A small cast iron will set you back around $12.</p> <p>If your plant's leaves do end up burning, you can simply cut them off, water well, and place it in a spot with better shade away from windows.</p> <h2>8. Rubber Plant</h2> <p>As one of the world's oldest house plants, the <a href="http://www.ourhouseplants.com/plants/rubber-plant" target="_blank">rubber plant</a> can grow quite tall and take up a bit of space in only a few years' time. But that's good if you want a houseplant as a feature of your home decor. It's also resistant to pests and diseases and can tolerate poor treatment. You can get a rubber plant for around $8 plus shipping costs. Not bad considering how big it will get.</p> <p>My mother-in-law keeps these plants, and she explains that if the leaves turn yellow, it's typically that they're receiving too much water. Back off for a while, and their usual color should return.</p> <h2>9. Peace Lily</h2> <p>Another easy-to-grow houseplant is the <a href="http://www.almanac.com/plant/peace-lily" target="_blank">peace lily</a>. It's quite common in houses across the U.S. and beyond, so you may be able to score one from a friend. Otherwise, you can buy this plant for around $8. Its pleasant white flowers prefer shade versus sun. Most peace lily plants grow to about 16 inches tall and bloom throughout the year. No blooms? Move your plant to a darker room.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-no-fuss-plants-that-will-brighten-your-home-until-spring">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/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods">How to Find the Best Stuff at HomeGoods</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/the-5-best-label-makers">The 5 Best Label Makers</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/6-affordable-home-remodel-tips-for-pet-owners">6 Affordable Home Remodel Tips for Pet Owners</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/the-5-best-cast-iron-skillets">The 5 Best Cast Iron Skillets</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/the-5-best-air-fresheners">The 5 Best Air Fresheners</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping buying plants easy plants green living home decor plant care plants spring Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:00:12 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1894769 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Decorative Plants You Can Eat, Too http://www.wisebread.com/6-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_artichoke_16187019.jpg" alt="Woman finding pretty landscaping plants she can eat" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to home landscaping, why not kill two birds with one stone? Up your home's curb appeal this summer with plants and vegetation that can also stock your pantry. Use strawberry plants as ground cover. Edge a garden with colorful rosettes of lettuce. Or infuse your backyard flora with some of the other beautiful and utilitarian plants on this list.</p> <h2>1. Sunchokes</h2> <p>A member of the sunflower family, sunchokes produce chirpy yellow flowers that can add a pop of color to any landscaping design. This staple food can also keep you well-fed through the winter. Alternatively known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are tubers that resemble a ginger root but taste more like a savory potato. Widely harvested in temperate regions, sunchokes are ready for picking after the first or second frost of the season. They make for a great base ingredient in purees, soups, hashes, and mashes. That&rsquo;s not all: When sauteed, sunchokes can contribute a&nbsp;<a href="http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014360-fettuccine-with-sunchokes-and-herbs">slightly nutty flavor</a> to any sauceless pasta dish.</p> <h2>2. Serviceberry</h2> <p>Native to every state but Hawaii, the serviceberry plant produces lacy spring flowers in white, pink, yellow, or red, as well as purplish-red berries infused with a <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-05-28/entertainment/0805230407_1_crust-pie-pan-serviceberry">tart flavor reminiscent of blueberries</a>. In addition to eating them raw, the berries, which fruit for about two weeks per year, can be tossed in salads, baked into pies, or smashed into jams. Also known as amelanchier or Juneberry, this member of the rose family comes in about 20 varieties of small trees and large, deciduous shrubs. To grow well, the plant requires moist soil with good drainage. Other than that, it&rsquo;s not particularly fussy, making it a great selection for the novice gardener.</p> <h2>3. Sage</h2> <p>With its silvery-green, low-to-the-ground leaves, sage makes for a wonderful front-row ornamental. Tricolor sage, which also has brush strokes of purple and white, is a particularly terrific variety for edging the garden. Not only is sage a delicious herb that can spruce up any meat, stir fry, or pasta, it&rsquo;s also deliciously fragrant &mdash; a welcome addition to any yard. Easy to grow, a backyard mound of sage is a chef&rsquo;s dream.</p> <h2>4. Small-Fruited Tomatoes</h2> <p>Small-fruited tomato varieties, such as the Cuban yellow grape, elfin, or sugar lump, produce plentiful yields of sweet tasting, gumball-sized fruit that can be eaten right from the garden &mdash; or added into salads, pastas, or veggie platters for dipping with vinaigrettes or hummus. Outside the kitchen, small-fruited tomatoes also make for a colorful, perky addition to the yard. Since keeping them on the ground will increase the risk of rotting, these attractive edibles can best be grown with stakes, in raised beds, or on trellises. Sunny spots are optimal.</p> <h2>5. Globe Artichokes</h2> <p>Easy to grow and <a href="http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/videos/techniques/how-prepare-globe-artichokes">easy to cook</a>, the globe artichoke is a perennial species of thistle that produces large flower buds with thick, tender, geometric scales that are both ornamental and edible. In flavor, the antioxidant-rich globe artichoke is nutty and tangy. You can prepare them raw, grilled, boiled, sauteed, or stuffed. Our recommendation: Chop the heart into pieces, then marinate and <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/local/recipes/2007/08/26/1993966.htm">toss them into a risotto</a> or salad &mdash; or simply eat them as they are.</p> <h2>6. Paprika Peppers</h2> <p>This mild variety of the pepper has a striking, shiny red color that can add a bit of flash to any home garden. In the kitchen, they can be dried, ground, and used as a spice in mayo-based salads, goulash, or chorizo, or as a deviled egg garnish. These vitamin C-rich peppers can also be eaten raw straight from the garden. Paprika peppers thrive in fertile, well-draining soil with plentiful access to sunlight. Harvest time extends from summer to fall.</p> <p><em>Do you have any edibles in your pretty garden?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too">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/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring">10 Most Valuable Things to Plant in Your Garden This Spring</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/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</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/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</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/what-to-do-with-100-tomatoes">What to Do With 100 Tomatoes</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/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home Cooking curb appeal edible gardening herbs landscaping plants vegetables Thu, 30 Jun 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1740460 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_gardening_000088044735.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to dress up her garden for cheap" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's spring, and you've had enough of being cooped up indoors. Outdoor living is experiencing a boom, with Americans now spending $60 billion a year sprucing up the space outside their homes, according to Garden Media Group. That's $200 for every American &mdash; even more when you consider all the people who don't have any outdoor space to spend on.</p> <p>So what if you don't have $200 or more, but you still want your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing" target="_blank">yard and garden to look nice</a>? There are lots of ways to brighten things up for free or cheap, especially if you're crafty.</p> <p>A word of advice before we start: If people start stopping by your yard asking how much your lawn ornaments cost, <em>you've gone too far</em>! Being mistaken for a yard sale is never a compliment.</p> <h2>Planters</h2> <p>You can spend anywhere from $20 to hundreds of dollars for pots to put plants in. But almost anything can hold a plant as long as you put drainage holes on the bottom. My uncle, the plumber, used to put his petunias in old toilets and bathtubs. It's not what I would choose, but it represented him.</p> <p>Start with these creative planter ideas, then think about what kind of containers would represent you. If you don't have the items around the house, many can be found free or cheap on Freecycle, at garage sales, or at thrift stores.</p> <h3>1. Give Pricey Planters the Boot</h3> <p>Have you got a single, outgrown child's boot in the back of your closet? <a href="https://feltmagnet.com/crafts/How-to-Make-a-Flower-Pot-out-of-an-Old-Rubber-Boot">Poke some holes in the bottom</a>, weight it with gravel, and you're ready to plant. If it's a plain old brown boot, you could always dress it up by painting on a design.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free to $5.</p> <h3>2. Tin Pan Garden</h3> <p>Instead of buying terra cotta or plastic bowls for hanging planters, repurpose thrift store metal bowls, cups, or even coffee cans. Macrame straps were the crafty way to hang planters in decades past; for an update, try <a href="http://2knitsters.blogspot.ca/2010/08/my-mom-bought-this-little-gem-on-one-of.html">beaded wire</a>.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free to $5.</p> <h3>3. Have No Seat</h3> <p>Use an old, broken-down chair to dress up an ordinary planter. These instructions involve <a href="http://gardentherapy.ca/outdoor-chair-planter-project/">removing the seat</a>, if the chair has one, and putting on a fresh coat of paint.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $10&ndash;$20.</p> <h3>4. Barney Rubble Planter</h3> <p>For a rustic look, <a href="http://www.tampahomebody.com/tree-log-planter/">hollow out a fallen tree</a> trunk or limb and put plants inside.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free, if you have tools for the hollowing and drilling drainage holes.</p> <h3>5. Pedal Planter</h3> <p>It's a classic that's perfect for bike enthusiasts or those who want to imagine cycling along the canals of Amsterdam while they sit in the yard: The old <a href="http://www.organizedclutter.net/2013/07/add-bike-to-your-garden-just-for-fun-of.html">bicycle with a basket full of blooms</a>. Organized Clutter explains how she plopped a coconut fiber liner into an existing bike basket to make her planter.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $5&ndash;$10 for the liner, assuming you can find a nonfunctional bike for free.</p> <h2>Lighting</h2> <p>Outdoor lighting can be pricey, but going without reduces the number of hours that you can enjoy your patio &mdash; especially if you live in a region where it's warm during the winter months when daylight is shorter. You're not going to get long lasting, quality fixtures with a shoestring budget, but these ideas can help you enjoy the evenings until you can afford something more permanent.</p> <h3>6. Tuna Can Lanterns</h3> <p>You wouldn't believe it, but you can make an <a href="http://inmyownstyle.com/2011/06/trash-and-thrift-store-treasure-outdoor-candle-lantern.html">elegant outdoor lantern</a> using an old broomstick, a tuna can, and a hurricane shade. A coat of metallic paint has the whole thing gleaming in a jiffy.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $5&ndash;$10 for hurricane shade, spray paint, metal adapter, and candle.</p> <h3>7. Repurposed Holiday Lights</h3> <p>Everyone has a string of old holiday lights in their basement, with only half the lights working, right? Instead of throwing those away, turn them into pretty outdoor orbs by combining them with another forlorn item: A round glass shade, frequently found in thrift stores.</p> <p>Ball up the light string and shove it in the globe. Once plugged in, you have a <a href="http://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/landscape-lighting/">mystical glowing ball</a> you can place anywhere in your yard for effect and illumination. Just be sure to use light strings meant for outdoor use.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $1&ndash;$15 for glass shades (cheaper for used, more for new).</p> <h2>Hacks and Crafts</h2> <p>These ideas will appeal to the makers among us &mdash; those who love finding new ways to use familiar materials.</p> <h3>8. Solar Renewal</h3> <p>When solar yard lights get old, the plastic covering their solar cells can cloud over, limiting the amount of energy they receive from the sun. One blogger figured out that you can rejuvenate these with a <a href="https://blog.kriegsman.org/2012/04/19/rejuvenating-solar-garden-lights-with-nail-polish/">coat of clear nail polish</a>, of all things.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $1.</p> <h3>9. Moss Graffiti</h3> <p>Did you know you can gather moss, stick it in the blender with sugar and buttermilk, and <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Moss-Graffiti">paint it onto a wall</a> to create a live, growing mural or sign? I sure didn't!</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $2&ndash;$3.</p> <h3>10. Hacker Couch</h3> <p>The author of <em>The Basement</em> created a <a href="http://kaylasbasement.blogspot.com/2014/07/diy-outdoor-bench-update.html">bench from cinder blocks</a> and two-by-fours in less than an hour.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> About $40; more for optional cushions.</p> <h3>11. Magical Marble Fence</h3> <p>With a drill and a handful of marbles, you can transform a boring backyard fence into a magical fairyland. Just drill holes into a wooden fence and <a href="https://gardendrama.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/garden-art-on-the-cheap-diy-glass-marbles-in-your-fence/">place marbles into the holes</a>; sunshine will provide the dazzle.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $1.</p> <h3>12. Key Chimes</h3> <p>What to do with those mystery keys that have been on your key ring for years? Paint them and hang them with string to make a <a href="http://giving.innerchildfun.com/2013/04/recycled-crafts-for-kids-diy-key-wind-chime.html">DIY wind chime</a>.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free to $5.</p> <h3>13. Rock Garden Markers</h3> <p>Use stones and paint to make cute <a href="http://craftsbyamanda.com/painted-rock-garden-markers/">labels for each row</a> of the garden instead of using store bought ones.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free to $5.</p> <h3>14. Mega Mushrooms</h3> <p>Turn a planter upside down and give it a paint job to <a href="http://www.birdsandblooms.com/backyard-projects/diy-garden-projects/diy-garden-%C2%ADmushrooms/">create cheery mushrooms</a>.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $5.</p> <h3>15. Owl You Need</h3> <p>Rolled strips of cardboard can be used to fashion <a href="http://empressofdirt.net/owl-craft-project/">a whole family of owls</a> to watch over your garden in an earth-friendly project.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free.</p> <h3>16. Step Right Up</h3> <p>Get the kids involved in making <a href="http://pinkandgreenmama.blogspot.com/2009/08/daddy-camp-cement-stepping-stones.html#.VyvTX_mDFBc">stepping stones</a> by pressing just about anything into wet cement: old toys or costume jewelry, marbles, and beads.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $5.</p> <h3>17. Gnome Home</h3> <p>A tree or even a stump in your yard can be turned into a <a href="https://snapguide.com/guides/make-a-gnome-home/%20">fairy house</a> that kids will love to discover. Twigs can be used to frame windows, and a small piece of wood can be shaped into a door. If your gnomes want their <em>own </em>outdoor living space, use found objects or dollhouse furniture.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free to $5.</p> <p><em>How are you dressing up your landscape for free or cheap this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-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-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/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</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/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — 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/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big</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/6-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too">6 Decorative Plants You Can Eat, Too</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/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home decorating gardening hacks landscaping lighting outdoor living plants Tue, 24 May 2016 09:00:03 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1711684 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Surprising Ways a Houseplant Can Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-ways-a-houseplant-can-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-surprising-ways-a-houseplant-can-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_watering_plant_000015068788.jpg" alt="Woman learning surprising ways a houseplant saves her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have considered adding a houseplant to your home or office decor, you may be surprised to find just how much they can improve your life and even save you money.</p> <p>Experts recommend investing in at least three houseplants &mdash; and up to four plants per person &mdash; to drastically improve your indoor air quality. Bayer recommends <a href="http://www.bayeradvanced.com/articles/5-benefits-of-houseplants">adding one large plant</a> to roughly every 100 square feet of space for maximum benefits.</p> <h2>1. Save Money on Your Electricity</h2> <p>Plants release oxygen and water vapor, which can help boost humidity in the air. This means you won't need to waste money buying a humidifier to improve your indoor air quality. You also won't need to waste electricity running the humidifier when houseplants do the same thing for free.</p> <p>The increase in moisture can also have a cooling effect, too. Adding houseplants during the summer can help you reduce your dependency on air conditioning, which will help further lower your electricity bill.</p> <h2>2. Save Money on Medical Treatment</h2> <p>Houseplants have a plethora of physical, mental, and psychological health benefits. In an 1989 report, NASA studied &quot;<a href="http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930073077.pdf">sick building syndrome</a>&quot; in relation to indoor air pollution, and found that certain plants are actually good for your health. Plants can help with ailments such as headaches, stress, respiratory problems, and even the common cold and cough. In fact, studies have shown that sickness rates throughout an office will fall dramatically once plants are added.</p> <p>They can also help produce more oxygen and clean the air you're breathing, which can further reduce airborne allergens and infections. Some indoor plants, such as the aloe vera plant, can even be applied directly to injuries in order to speed up healing.</p> <p>Researchers have found that adding brightly colored plants to hospital rooms dramatically lifts patients' spirits, which in turn helps to reduce the necessary treatment and recovery time. Patients in hospital rooms with plants have been shown to <a href="http://www.rodalewellness.com/health/plants-and-healing">require less pain medication</a>, experience less fatigue, and have lower blood pressure. One study also found that patients who are tasked with taking care of plants experience a shorter recovery time after medical or surgical procedures. This is called horticulture therapy and can be very effective.</p> <h2>3. Save Money on Allergy Medications</h2> <p>The American Society of Horticultural Science found that Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors, so indoor air quality is becoming an increasing health concern &mdash; especially when you consider that indoor air can be up to <a href="http://www2.ashs.org/pressrelease/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=1062:common-plants-can-eliminate-indoor-air-pollutants&amp;catid=1:hortscience&amp;Itemid=3">12 times more polluted</a> than outdoor air.</p> <p>Fortunately, indoor plants are scientifically proven to help improve air quality. In fact, according to the NASA study, some plants can help remove indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene.</p> <p>If you don't take steps to clean the air you're breathing, you may develop allergies. If you already have allergies, an indoor plant can reduce allergens and lessen your dependency on allergy medications. Air filtration systems can be expensive and ineffective. Instead, a houseplant provides an affordable alternative solution that can also complement your home decor. In fact, some suggest exposing your children to plants early in life so that they can begin building a tolerance for common allergens.</p> <h2>4. Save Money on Mood and Energy Enhancers</h2> <p>Houseplants just make you happy. They can increase self-esteem, reduce depression, make you feel more relaxed, and even increase your sense of stability. They have also been shown to improve mood, <a href="http://ellisonchair.tamu.edu/health-and-well-being-benefits-of-plants/#.VNzuCeddVfA">memory, mental capacity, concentration</a>, creativity, and productivity. Plants can also help lower background noise, which can improve your work environment and make any area more enjoyable to inhabit. Why waste money on mood and energy supplements when you can get similar benefits just by adding a plant to your space?</p> <h2>5. Save Money on Sleeping Aids</h2> <p>If you have trouble sleeping, try adding a plant to your room. Plants give off oxygen at night, which can help you breathe better. Houseplants also instill a feeling of calm and relaxation, and will help to keep your stresses and anxiety at bay.</p> <h2>6. Save Money on Indoor Decor</h2> <p>Home and office decor can be pricey. Houseplants, on the other hand, are an affordable, beautiful accent that look great, smell great, and can last for years. They can also mask any unpleasant odors and even hide the smell of smoke. Why bother with an air freshener that contains harmful chemicals when you can clean the air with an indoor plant?</p> <p>Indoor plants can also help improve your business image and instantly put your guests or clients at ease. Studies have also shown that people prefer to be in rooms that have plants in them because they tend to be perceived as cleaner and more expensive.</p> <h2>Choosing Beneficial and Affordable Plants</h2> <p>NASA found that there are certain air-filtering plants that clean the air along with releasing oxygen. Fortunately, most of these beneficial indoor plants are very affordable. Ferns, lilies, orchids, and chrysanthemums will look great in any room, won't cost much, and will continue to improve your indoor air quality all day and night. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality?Ref=seealso">The Best Cheap Plants for Improving Indoor Air Quality</a>)</p> <h2>Maintaining Your Plants</h2> <p>In order to get the best usage out of your houseplants, it's important to take care of them properly with routine maintenance. Along with regularly watering them, it is important to keep the leaves clean and dusted.</p> <p>Rubbing the leaves of your plants with castor oil or the inside of a banana peel can revive the shine. Banana peels also work as a natural fertilizer and pesticide. Keep plants away from drafty areas, choose the right container for your plant, and provide them with the right amount of light every day so they can continue to thrive for years to come.</p> <p><em>Do you know of other benefits associated with indoor plants? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-surprising-ways-a-houseplant-can-save-you-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Surprising%2520Ways%2520a%2520Houseplant%2520Can%2520Save%2520You%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=6%20Surprising%20Ways%20a%20Houseplant%20Can%20Save%20You%20Money"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Surprising%20Ways%20a%20Houseplant%20Can%20Save%20You%20Money.jpg" alt="6 Surprising Ways a Houseplant Can Save You Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-ways-a-houseplant-can-save-you-money">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/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</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/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill">34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill</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-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</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/25-beautiful-things-you-can-make-with-paint-sample-cards">25 Beautiful Things You Can Make With Paint Sample Cards</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/the-5-best-allergen-sprays">The 5 Best Allergen Sprays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Allergies decor Health plants pollution saving money sleep aids Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:00:08 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1642419 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Easy Ways to Prep Your Garden for Winter http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/children_gardening_000068058399.jpg" alt="Children prepping their garden before winter comes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your garden provided beauty and sustenance throughout the season, but now it's time to close up shop until next year. Or is it? Here's what you need to know about extending the life of your garden and preparing it for next year. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests?ref=seealso">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests</a>)</p> <h2>1. Enjoy the Harvest</h2> <p>There are plenty of crops you can plant at the end of summer. Try extending your garden enjoyment with <a href="http://www.almanac.com/sites/new.almanac.com/files/Succession-gardening-chart-cropped.pdf">radishes, beets, lettuce</a>, and other vegetables that do well in cooler weather. If you're gardening for the first time this fall, you'll notice fewer pests and other issues than you deal with in the spring and summer months. Missed this season's planting dates? Remember this tip for the future.</p> <h2>2. Clear It Out</h2> <p>At the end of each season (when frost hits), we take time to remove all the leftover plants in our raised bed and other garden spaces. We toss the old plants into our compost heap to create super rich soil for next year. Don't skip this step. Mary Lou Shaw at <em>Mother Earth News</em> explains that clearing out &quot;prevents the build-up of <a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/preparing-your-vegetable-garden-for-winter.aspx">disease and harmful insects</a>.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Prepare the Soil</h2> <p>Now is the time to beef up your soil's quality. You can add <a href="http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4dmg/Garden/longwint.htm">compost, peat, leaves</a>, and even well-rotted manure to your empty garden. Carl Wilson and Mary Hartman at the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension explain that &quot;Soil microorganisms and beneficial soil insects will help incorporate these materials into the soil before the ground freezes and in the spring after it thaws.&quot; A robust garden starts with quality soil.</p> <h2>4. Keep Hydrating</h2> <p>According to horticulturist Sharon Yielsa, you should keep <a href="http://extension.illinois.edu/gardenerscorner/issue_02/fall_07_05.cfm">watering your perennials</a> until the ground freezes. The extra hydration will help maintain a healthy root system and help the plant thrive next spring. The best way to water is by soaking plants just once a week versus giving them a light watering every day.</p> <h2>5. Cut It Back</h2> <p>Some perennials should be <a href="http://www.garden.org/regional/report/arch/inmygarden/4258">cut back before winter</a>, so get your garden scissors and check out a few guidelines from the National Gardening Association offers. Plants like heliopsis, purple coneflower, and black-eyed Susans are actually beneficial to birds, so don't cut them. Plants like bearded iris, peonies, bee balm, and garden phlox act like safe havens for insects and disease spores, so clip them clean.</p> <h2>6. Cover It Up</h2> <p>My neighbor is big into her roses. We have our own bush, so she explained to us that we need to cover it during the cold weather. Hardy plants like roses, hydrangeas, transplanted evergreens, and more can benefit from a <a href="http://www.finegardening.com/shelter-plants-winters-worst">burlap or styrofoam cover</a>. Tender plants get some added protection with mulch, shredded leaves, and even pine boughs.</p> <h2>7. Kill Weeds</h2> <p>If you have an area that's just covered in nasty weeds &mdash; cover it up with <a href="http://www.almanac.com/content/putting-garden-bed">black plastic</a>. You'll keep this sheet in place over the entire winter. This action will keep the seeds from sprouting so you can get a fresh start in the spring.</p> <h2>8. Use the Space</h2> <p>You can use your <a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/garden-yard/root-cellars-zm0z11zkon.aspx?PageId=1">garden as a root cellar</a> of sorts when you're not growing stuff in it. Of course, your root crops (beets, carrots, parsnips) are what will do best with this method. Just dig them up, cut their tops down to one inch, then dig a trench that's six to 10 inches deep and 18 to 24 inches wide. Replant those crops at the bottom of the trench and cover with soil.</p> <h2>9. Think Ahead</h2> <p>The fall season is a great time to plant bulbs for flowers like daffodils, tulips, and crocuses or plants like onions and garlic. <a href="http://www.americanmeadows.com/how-to-plant-flower-bulbs">Plant bulbs</a> around the time of the first frost. You'll want to loosen the soil and add any compost before planting the bulbs with the pointy end up. Big bulbs should be set about eight inches deep. Smaller ones should go in a shallow five inches.</p> <h2>10. Make Plans</h2> <p>While your gardening efforts are still fresh in your mind, make a plan for next year. What plants did well? Which ones didn't so much? Did you deal with certain garden pests more than others? Ask yourself a bunch of questions to find your strengths and weaknesses. Draft up a few dreams, too. Then when the weather is chilly and the snow piles high, try reading books like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591865484/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1591865484&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DP7LOH7EWFG6IUFF">Square Foot Gardening</a> to learn how to maximize space for next year's crops.</p> <p><em>How do you prepare your garden for winter?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter">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-4"> <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/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</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/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors</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-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</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/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green">How to Turn Your Black Thumb Green</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-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring">10 Most Valuable Things to Plant in Your Garden This Spring</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home gardening green thumb harvests planting plants winter Fri, 04 Sep 2015 15:00:29 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1542139 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garden_pest_snail_000015689543.jpg" alt="Learning how to deter garden pests on the cheap" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When we moved out of our urban neighborhood last year, we had no idea how our summer gardening efforts might change. Almost immediately, we discovered that living slightly closer to the country meant critters &mdash; lots of them. So, we've had to bulk up our pest-control efforts considerably. Here are some friendly ways to keep the fruits of your labor from falling prey to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-eliminate-ants-without-an-exterminator">bugs</a>, bunnies, deer, and more.</p> <h2>1. Insect Spray</h2> <p>Try this <a href="http://anoregoncottage.com/homemade-garlic-mint-garden-insect-spray-really-works/">DIY insect spray</a> on your plants and you'll see a huge difference in just a couple weeks. You may even have all the ingredients on hand. Combine two cloves of garlic with three cups of mint leaves, cayenne pepper, and biodegradable dish soap. This mix repels bugs, and it's best to spray on the leaves of your plants on a cloudy day so it doesn't burn them.</p> <h2>2. Soapy Solution</h2> <p>Are deer cramping your style? You can cut up bars of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KTB19K/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000KTB19K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=PCTRMYSS5AKFY5NF">Irish Spring soap</a>, attach to stakes using scraps of fabric, and scatter throughout your garden. The benefit here is that you don't need to reapply anything after rainstorms like you do with sprays and other methods. Plus, your yard will smell amazing.</p> <h2>3. Cornmeal Wonder</h2> <p>Get rid of ants and weeds with a simple <a href="http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/organic/cornmeal-in-the-garden.htm">cornmeal application</a>. Stow this tip away for next year because the gluten works against seed development, so it's best to sprinkle in the early spring before the weeds actually sprout up. If ants are your bigger issue, you're in luck. They will carry the cornmeal back to their homes. It disrupts their digestion, but it will take about a week to fully work.</p> <h2>4. Bunny Banisher</h2> <p>We were most surprised last year to find an entire family of bunnies nesting underneath our tomato plants. This season we're hoping to keep them away with this <a href="http://premeditatedleftovers.com/gardening/inexpensive-organic-rabbit-repellent/">organic rabbit repellent</a>. This frugal mix of garlic, red pepper, water, and dish soap works best after it has soaked in the sun for a couple days. Apply to your plants once a week continuous control.</p> <h2>5. Hair Helper</h2> <p>Save money by cutting your hair at home. Then use the clippings in your garden to keep deer and other animals out of your plants. This method is one I learned from my mother-in-law, and it's surprisingly effective. It should help <a href="http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/blogs/is-human-hair-good-for-your-garden">repel deer, rabbits, and snails</a> all while acting as a mulch and natural fertilizer. Summer is a great time for a shorter style anyway. Hair that isn't heavily shampooed works best.</p> <h2>6. Bird Netting</h2> <p>We can't forget birds in this list. Keeping them out can be as easy as installing <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004RA0P/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00004RA0P&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4WTVACWGDOBFZATM">bird netting</a> atop your raised beds. You'll need a staple gun to make the process go faster, but just secure the netting to the side of your box, stretch over your plants, and secure on the other side. Alternatively, you can use stakes to secure the netting in the ground if you don't have raised beds.</p> <h2>7. Scare Tactics</h2> <p>Pick up a few cheap aluminum pie plates at the dollar store. Then stake them up using some string to create a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScS-cqS0oX0">quick homemade scarecrow</a>. The sound and bright shine should keep birds and other animals away.</p> <h2>8. Easy Eggshells</h2> <p>Slugs and snails will steer clear of this <a href="http://mymerrymessylife.com/2014/06/organic-gardening-use-egg-shells-to-deter-slugs-and-snails.html">eggshell solution</a>. Place the shells in a large bag and crush using your hands or feet. From there, scatter the pieces around plants once a week. Those critters don't like sharp edges, so it should stop them in their tracks. Bonus: the calcium in the eggshells also fertilizes your garden.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite DIY garden protection methods?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">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/8-ways-to-eliminate-ants-without-an-exterminator">8 Ways to Eliminate Ants Without an Exterminator</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/snail-free-gardening">Snail Free Gardening</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/5-homemade-stain-removers-that-actually-work">5 Homemade Stain Removers That Actually Work</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/13-wonderful-household-uses-for-essential-oils">13 Wonderful Household Uses for Essential Oils</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/21-surprising-uses-for-vinegar">21 Surprising Uses for Vinegar</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks DIY Green Living bugs deer eco-friendly gardening pests plants rabbits repellent Tue, 14 Jul 2015 17:00:12 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1481951 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Hardest-to-Kill Houseplants http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-hardest-to-kill-houseplants <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-hardest-to-kill-houseplants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garden-178582440.jpg" alt="Christmas cactus" title="Christmas cactus" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people have thumbs so green that they can plant a dead twig in a pot of soil and watch it grow into a lush plant that's the envy of every neighbor. I am not one of those people. While I have many skills on the domestic front, gardening indoors has never been one of them. With the arrival of warmer weather heralding spring, I've started to daydream of flowers and foliage. In my tiny New York City apartment, I want to bring some nature into my living space and recently started to research houseplants that are easy to grow and maintain indoors. All of the plants highlighted below are <a href="http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants">non-toxic to dogs and cats</a> as well, an important point for all of us with pets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces?ref=seealso">Small-Space Gardening</a>)</p> <h2>1. Lucky Bamboo</h2> <p>You may have seen a plant named <a href="http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/growing-lucky-bamboo">Lucky Bamboo</a> in a number of stores and nurseries. It consists of a small set of what look like mini-bamboo stalks snuggled together, usually in a decorative pot with tiny stones in place of soil for good drainage. This plant isn't bamboo at all. It is a hearty houseplant with the scientific name <em>Dracaena braunii</em>. It is a snap to grow, nearly impossible to kill, and highly tolerant of indoor environments. In Chinese culture and Feng Shui, Lucky Bamboo is considered just that &mdash; lucky. It is also believed to bring peace, harmony, and health to any house where it grows. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality?ref=seealso">Best Plants for Improving Indoor Air Quality</a>)</p> <h2>2. Christmas Cactus</h2> <p>Of all the cactus varieties, the <a href="http://www.horticare.net/PDF%20Files/UsefulGardeningInfo/CHRISTMAS%20CACTUS%20CARE%20AND%20INFORMATION.pdf">Christmas cactus</a> is one of the most beautiful because of its attractive flowers that come in a variety of colors from bright fuchsia to pale yellow or white. They bloom all year and thrive in indoor settings. Christmas cactuses will be perfectly fine in dim light, although the brighter the light they have, the more they bloom. Like Lucky Bamboo, good drainage is important. It's not quite as drought tolerant as some varieties of cactus, but it needs much less water than most other houseplants.</p> <h2>3. Boston Fern</h2> <p>Many varieties of ferns make excellent houseplants because their need for light is minimal. Boston ferns are <a href="http://www.bhg.com/gardening/houseplants/ferns/9-top-ferns-to-grow-as-houseplants/#page=9">the most common of all house ferns</a>. There are a number of different types of Boston ferns that have many variations that affect the colors and shapes of their leaves. All Boston ferns can grow to be quite large. Some get as big as 5-7 feet tall and wide, though most that are grown inside reach about 2-3 feet tall and wide.</p> <h2>4. Dwarf Palm</h2> <p>While palm trees conjure images of Florida and Hawaii beaches for most of us, palms can be grown indoors and lend an exotic, dreamy look to any room. The dwarf palm, also known as the <a href="http://www.houseplantsexpert.com/pygmy-date-palm.html">Pygmy Date Palm</a>, is a smaller variety than those on beaches and typically grows to 4-6 feet tall. An average room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect for these palms, and they prefer a good mix of sunlight and shade, making them suitable for most homes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-great-container-garden-started-with-this-guide?ref=seealso">How to Start a Great Container Garden</a>)</p> <h2>5. Jasmine</h2> <p>If ever a plant could literally transport us to an exotic locale, <a href="http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/vine/jasmine/">jasmine</a> is it. It's well-suited for an area that gets mixed levels of light, and its gorgeous, fragrant blossoms whisk us to the Far East with their intoxicating scent that we experience the second we step into any room where they are placed. Though many flowering plants only produce blooms once per calendar year, some varieties of jasmine will flower throughout the year. Extraordinarily easy to care for, these plants give us much in return for the little effort they need to stay healthy and strong. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors?ref=seealso">Easiest Plants to Grow</a>)</p> <p>While I'll always envy people who are born gardeners, my limited gardening abilities and tiny apartment don't limit my opportunity to bring the outdoors into my indoor space. With some careful selections of easy-tomaintain plants that require little care and thrive in areas where light levels aren't always consistent, I'm able to green up my home without any additional burden.</p> <p><em>Have you had success growing plants indoors? What are your favorite, easy-to-care-for plants? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-hardest-to-kill-houseplants">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/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests</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/how-to-launder-money">How to Launder Money</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/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know">17 Things Car Salesmen Don&#039;t Want You to Know</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/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</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/12-smart-ways-to-organize-old-photos">12 Smart Ways to Organize Old Photos</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks easy gardening house plants plants Sat, 05 Apr 2014 03:55:45 +0000 Christa Avampato 1134183 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/plant-180195230.jpg" alt="spider plant" title="spider plant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The benefits of growing plants, whether inside or out, are numerous. Plants freshen and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">detoxify the air inside your home</a> while offering the added benefit of improving the decor of a room. Gardening outside, meanwhile, can provide therapeutic benefits to the grower. The time spent working in the outdoors with the dirt and in the sunshine can rejuvenate the body and clear the mind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way?ref=seealso">10 Gardening Lessons</a>)</p> <p>For those of us who would like to experience the wonderful benefits of growing plants but feel intimidated to start, here&#39;s a list of seven easy-to-care for plants for your inside your home and out.</p> <h2>Outdoor Plants</h2> <p>Spruce up your backyard or add a little color to your entryway with these no-fuss outdoor plants.</p> <h3>Petunia</h3> <p>Petunias come in a variety of colors including white, pink, purple, and many colors in between. They spread quickly on the ground and fill a container beautifully, as well. They can go more than a day without water unless it is excessively dry, and they flower throughout the growing season without needing extra fertilizer. Deadheading (plucking off dead blooms from their stems) does not need to be done for them to re-flower, making this a very easy plant to grow through the spring and summer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-veggies-to-plant-this-spring?ref=seealso">Easy Veggies to Plant in Spring</a>)</p> <h3>Coneflower</h3> <p>Like the petunia, coneflowers come in a wide variety of colors. This tough plant is native to the prairie, so they are hardy in the heat and the wind. They require regular watering and deadheading to encourage reblooming. They have the added benefit of attracting butterflies to the garden, as well. Coneflowers are a perennial plant and will return the following year if you cut them back to the base just before spring arrives.</p> <h3>Hosta</h3> <p>Hostas are the perfect plant for shaded areas of your garden. These hardy plants come in many varieties with many different shades of green, white, and even purple on their leaves. These plants can be split and replanted, cut back to deter overgrowth, and even neglected. They can tolerate heat if they are at least partially shaded and watered regularly.</p> <h3>Peony</h3> <p>Peonies thrive if left alone. These perennials are a great addition to a flower bed that receives full sun. Peonies may need to be staked if they get top heavy (and that should be done early in the spring), but otherwise, they can be left alone to grow. Regular watering when the weather dries will ensure that you have blooms well into the heat of the summer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-summer-garden-flowers?ref=seealso">Saving on Summer Garden Flowers</a>)</p> <h2>Indoor Plants</h2> <p>If outdoor gardening space is at a premium where you live or you want to freshen up the inside of your home, adding these low-maintenance indoor plants are sure to brighten your day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-great-container-garden-started-with-this-guide?ref=seealso">The Container Garden Guide</a>)</p> <h3>Chinese Evergreen</h3> <p>Don&#39;t let the name fool you; this isn&#39;t a small Christmas tree. The Chinese Evergreen is a plant with varying shades of green, white, and silver leaves. This plant likes low to medium light, which makes it perfect for apartments and rooms without direct sunlight. It can grow to three feet high and wide. This beautiful indoor plant should be kept moist. Like many other indoor plants, it does have poisonous leaves, so care should be taken to keep it away from children and pets.</p> <h3>Spider Plant</h3> <p>Spider plants are probably the plant you think of most when you picture an indoor plant. This easy-to-grow plant thrives inside in medium to bright light. It trails and shoots off new growth, called &quot;plantlets&quot; at the ends that root well in water to make new plants. The Spider Plant works well as a hanging plant and is not toxic to cats. It also has the added benefit of cleaning the air in your home by removing formaldehyde. (This harmful chemical is found in particle board, wood furniture, and insulation.)</p> <h3>Dracaena</h3> <p>There are many varieties of Dracaena that work well indoors. The &quot;Janet Craig&quot; has bright green leaves while the &quot;Warneckii&quot; has green and white leaves. In addition, the &quot;Massangean&quot; has yellow and green leaves that resemble a corn stalk. Regardless of the variety, dracaena grows well in medium to bright light making it a great addition to a bright room in your home. (If you are fortunate, these blossom once in a while. We had one blossom just once, and they were among the most amazingly fragrant and beautiful flowers we had ever seen!)</p> <p>Whether you are looking to beautify the landscape of your home, the decor of your rooms, or filter the air inside, growing plants need not be intimidating. Many plants are easy to grow, require very little maintenance and will return year after year!</p> <p><em>What are your favorite low maintenance plants? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">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-4"> <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-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter">10 Easy Ways to Prep Your Garden for Winter</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/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring">10 Most Valuable Things to Plant in Your Garden This Spring</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-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</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/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</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/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home easy to grow plants gardening indoor plants plants Wed, 05 Feb 2014 11:24:26 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1122571 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/catnip_0.jpg" alt="Cat with plants" title="Cat with plants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="153" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mosquitoes are incredibly common in my home state of Minnesota. Perhaps it's all the lakes and ponds &mdash; which make for great mosquito breeding grounds. Every summer it's another battle to keep these pests away. I've previously written about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">homemade mosquito repellent recipes</a>, but I've recently discovered something even easier &mdash; mosquito repellent plants. There are plants that you can grow in your background that naturally repel mosquitoes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pesky-pests-easy-homemade-mosquito-and-insect-traps-and-repellent">Pesky Pests: Easy Homemade Mosquito and Insect Traps and Repellent</a>)</p> <p>There is a full list of <a href="http://gogreentravelgreen.com/mosquito-repellent-plants-that-repel-mosquitoes/">plants that repel mosquitoes here</a> here, but below I've compiled the top plants based on price and what I call &quot;dual purpose.&quot; That is, besides just repelling mosquitoes, these plants also either look especially nice or serve some more functional purpose. For example, planting citronella is great, but you can't do much else with it. In contrast, marigolds are beautiful flowers and several of the herbs below can also be used to cook with.</p> <h2>Marigolds</h2> <p>Marigold flowers are not only relatively easy to grow, they also look nice and repel mosquitoes. They look great potted, which gives the added benefit of being able to move them closer to where you are sitting. You can buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/French-Marigold-Flower-Seeds-Packet/dp/B000Q81V86">1,000 seeds on Amazon for $4.50</a>.</p> <h2>Rosemary</h2> <p>As someone lacking a green thumb, I appreciate plants that don't require much work. Thankfully, rosemary is one of those plants that I've grown in my backyard every summer for years. If you plant it in a pot, you can also bring it inside in the winter to keep your herb garden up. Rosemary is a great dual-purpose mosquito repelling plant because you can also use it to cook. (I like it with potatoes or in bread.) <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Ferry-Morse-Rosemary-Seeds-Milligram-Packet/dp/B003V1WVVQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344265438&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=rosemary">100 Rosemary seeds cost just $1.79 on Amazon</a>.</p> <h2>Catnip</h2> <p>Catnip <a href="http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/news/catnip.html">has been found by researchers</a> to be even more effective than DEET (a neurotoxin found in most bug sprays). Like marigolds and rosemary, catnip can be planted in a pot for easy portability. But it's also a perennial, so you may prefer to plant it in your garden so it will grow year after year. And, if you have a cat, you have a treat for your pet as well as protection from mosquitoes. You can buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Catnip-Nepeta-cataria-Seed-Needs/dp/B003TILJDW/ref=pd_sim_lg_1">200 seeds on Amazon for $1.85</a>.</p> <h2>Garlic</h2> <p>Garlic repels mosquitoes and is used in almost all of my favorite Italian recipes. I recommend waiting until the spring to plant garlic, as the weather is better for growing it then, and it takes awhile to harvest. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Georgian-Fire-Heirloom-Bulbils-Hardneck/dp/B005OOUHUK/ref=sr_1_19?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344265881&amp;sr=1-19&amp;keywords=garlic">50 bulbils on Amazon cost $5.79</a>.</p> <h2>Ageratum</h2> <p>Ageratum is another flowering plant that produces small purple/blue flowers. The plant emits a smell that repels mosquitoes. I've never grown this plant before, but you can buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Davids-Ageratum-Horizon-houstonianum-Seeds/dp/B0042OTDRG/ref=sr_1_2?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344266137&amp;sr=1-2&amp;keywords=Ageratum">45 seeds for $5.95</a> and see for yourself how well it works.</p> <h2>Peppermint</h2> <p>Like rosemary, I found peppermint exceptionally easy to grow. During the summer I use the leaves to flavor water and at the end of the summer I dry the peppermint leaves to make peppermint tea. And <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Peppermint-Mentha-piperita-Seed-Needs/dp/B004FXWZ42/ref=sr_1_1?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344266315&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=peppermint">200 Peppermint seeds cost $2.15</a>.</p> <h2>How to Use the Plants</h2> <p>The best thing to do is to place these plants around your garden patio or the area you are most likely to sit outside. Then, when you are grilling, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/back-yard-barbecues-that-wont-break-the-bank">hosting a barbeque</a>, or just enjoying a book outside, crush the leaves. Crushing a few leaves will emit the odor that most effectively drives the mosquitoes away.</p> <p>Personally, as much as I hate mosquitoes, I would never plant plants just for the sake of repelling the pests. That's why I think these dual mosquito repelling plants are better choices to incorporate into your garden.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">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-5"> <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-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring">10 Most Valuable Things to Plant in Your Garden This Spring</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/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden 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/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors</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/10-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter">10 Easy Ways to Prep Your Garden for Winter</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/snail-free-gardening">Snail Free Gardening</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living gardening herbs mosquitos plants Wed, 08 Aug 2012 09:48:42 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 948714 at http://www.wisebread.com Snail Free Gardening http://www.wisebread.com/snail-free-gardening <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/snail.jpg" alt="Photo by mozzercork" width="224" height="146" /></p> <p>Green gardening should be cheap. Organic gardening was the way of the world before chemical companies found ways to create compounds that could destroy pests quickly and effectively. The thing that makes organic gardening less-favored than, say, using pesticides, is that it&#39;s not as efficient. You have to put more effort into organic gardening.</p> <p>But it&#39;s worth it. It&#39;s cheap, it&#39;s fun, and you can protect your water supply. Remember, whatever <a href="/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">we spray on our lawns</a> and gardens ends up in our drinking water.</p> <p>I haven&#39;t had too much luck with critter control where I live. Seattle is a very snail and slug-heavy area, and I have one very serious problem:</p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/snails/">I love snails</a>.</p> <p>I think snails are beautiful. I grew up in an area where there simply aren&#39;t any snails, and I was so taken with the little guys when we used to visit my grandmother in Pasadena. I was heartbroken when my father announced the ingredients to the escargot that I had just sampled while dining at my very first French restaurant. When I take my dogs out for their last walk at night here in the Pacific Northwest, I often have to tiptoe through the streets because the snails come out in droves and line the sidewalks - I can&#39;t bear to step on one.</p> <p>Thus, I can&#39;t stand the idea of drowning them in beer or setting traps and then throwing them in the garbage (although I don&#39;t suppose I would object to some one actually trapping and eating them - I wouldn&#39;t do it, but I can see why someone would).</p> <p>My mom used to drip some weird, sludgey black poison to protect her roses from slugs. I never liked this, and snail bait can be very <a href="http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&amp;A=1423&amp;S=1&amp;SourceID=42">dangerous to household pets</a>. But I&#39;m happy to report that there are plenty of ways to reduce the damage that slugs and snails do to your garden that don&#39;t involve pesticides. Sure, it take a bit more elbow grease than plain ol&#39; poison, but it&#39;s worth the effort.</p> <p>I should stress that there&#39;s probably <em>no such thing as a snail-free garden</em>, just a garden that snails don&#39;t really like to visit that much.</p> <p>Here are some tips from discouraging those mollusky visitors, courtesy of <a href="http://www.thegardenhelper.com/slugs.html">The Garden Helper</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Pulling the weeds from your garden is something you need to do anyway. As you pull each weed, you remove a potential slug outpost. </li> <li>Keep all decaying matter cleaned out of your garden beds. While leaves make a good mulch, once they begin to compost they become food and shelter for slugs and snails. </li> <li>Prune the branches of any shrubs which are laying on the ground. Keep the old leaves and such cleaned out. By doing this you will have destroyed yet another slug haven! </li> <li>Cultivate your soil regularly to keep the dirt clods broken up, and unearth any slugs which may have burrowed under the surface. </li> <li>The shaded areas beneath decks can be a slug arena: keep them weed and litter free. </li> <li>Keep the lawn edges trimmed. Slugs will congregate under the umbrella of unkept grass. </li> <li>Cedar bark or gravel chips spread around your plant will irritate and dehydrate slugs.</li> <li>Rosemary, lemon balm, wormwood, mints, tansy, oak leaves, needles from conifers and seaweed will repel slugs.</li> <li>Enlist allies... snakes, ducks, geese, toads, and [chickens] would enjoy helping you out as they dine on your slugs. </li> </ul> <p>Here are some other ideas that I&#39;ve gathered over the years:</p> <p><strong>Create as sunny a garden as possible</strong>. Now, this is tough, especially for those of us who live in the Land of Perpetual Rain, but put all of your snail-prone plants in a sunny area. If you have lots of shady areas in your garden, try to keep it free of ground cover like ivy, where the slugs and snails like to sleep during the day. I have a long strip of skinny yard that is VERY shady, and I&#39;m making it into a rock garden with some moss and a couple of tiny Japanese maples. It&#39;s low-maintenance and pretty, and snails just aren&#39;t interested in it.</p> <p><strong>Protect prone plants with copper barriers</strong>. For some reason, slugs and snails won&#39;t cross copper. You can <a href="http://www.glassmart.com/regular_foil.asp">buy copper foil online</a> for pretty cheap. I have a teeny courtyard that I use to grow tomatoes, so I put copper around the base and around the lip of the huge ceramic pots that I use. It looks pretty as an accent if you put it on right. You can also put a loop around the base of a plant.</p> <p>If you are a great big meanie, <strong>traps are easy to construct</strong>. Spray some beer on a board and place it, beer-side down, 1/2 inch off of the soil in a shady area of your garden. The snails that collect under there can be eaten, or thrown into your <a href="/is-this-job-worth-it">evil coworkers yard</a>. You can go out at night and collect them, as well. They are nocturnal, so day time collection is harder.</p> <p>Also, take note: <a href="/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">another use for vinegar</a>!</p> <p>&quot;As you wage your war on slugs and snails, you are almost certain to be &#39;slimed&#39; at least once. YUK! Mix up a little warm water and vinegar, and use this formula to remove the slime from your hands like magic!&quot;</p> <p>Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mozzercork/146787892/">mozzercork</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snail-free-gardening">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/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests</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/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring">10 Most Valuable Things to Plant in Your Garden This Spring</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/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</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/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs">The Only 4 Things a Vegetable Garden Needs</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-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter">10 Easy Ways to Prep Your Garden for Winter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living bugs compost flowers garden gardening organic pesticides pests plants slugs snail-proof snails soap top soil water Tue, 03 Apr 2007 20:17:27 +0000 Andrea Karim 446 at http://www.wisebread.com