Become A Better Locavore

The best thing of all is that in Ontario, the Farmers Markets are now coming to us! Markets are popping up in school and mall parking lots and city parks to name a few. This is creating a win win for consumers and farmers alike. Buying local fresh products has never been easier and the farmers are better connected with their consumers who love what they sell and appreciate their hard work.

Most Farmers markets are in our communities weekly from May to October. Check your local listings for one close to you.

Another related trend that I noticed is that more and more of my customers are interested in planting a veggie garden or at least incorporating some veggie or herbs plants in their gardens and back yards.

Garden-store retailers have reported increased sales in vegetable seeds over the past two years. “Our sales have skyrocketed,” said George Ball, chief executive of Burpee, one of the largest vegetable-seed retailers. For the first time in history seed sales for vegetables has surpassed seed sales for flowers.

If you are like me and find the idea of seed starting daunting, then buying your own veggie plants is a great alternative. Most nurseries stock a great variety. And you don’t have to commit to a large vegetable garden space either. They can be easily planted in a sunny part of your existing garden between existing plants or in containers. I have 2 containers in my backyard that I grow cherry tomatoes and chives and dill around the base.

My next goal in going local is garlic! We all love it and we all cook with it but did you know that most fresh garlic sold in grocery stores comes from China? Keep an eye out for locally grown garlic when you visit a farmers market near you. Or better yet plant some in your garden. It is easy to grow and nothing beats cooking with something you have grown yourself!

So whether your goal is to become a full fledged locavore or whether you are interested in making some small changes in your food planning to get some of your food closer to home, I hope this article gave you some ideas.

Garden Gazebo

Using a garden gazebo to any property is a wise step, it seems that what was true many years ago is even more convincing today. Some people use a garden gazebo to increase the value of their property, gifted gardeners can use a garden gazebo to create a division between parts of a garden. In some cases, a big enough garden needs a garden gazebo to hold all the tools that are needed to manicure the flowers and mown.

These days almost anyone can own a garden gazebo, and assemble a garden gazebo in the backyard, garden gazebo kits offer the beauty of a wooden gazebo, many gazebos are available in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from Victorian and Amish styles to small to party size in diameter. Garden owners can purchase a garden gazebo kit and build their own gazebo by themselves, the kits can range in price and in quality, but the concept of DIY and the average low price allows almost anyone to experiment and enjoy his own garden gazebo.

Garden gazebo kits differ not only in price but also in the material of which the garden gazebo is made of. These kits range in price depending on type of wood, which is generally either pine or one of a variety of types of cedar, and size. Each wood has its own benefits for your garden gazebo and once you have finished constructing the gazebo, you can choose to paint it, stain it or let it sit out and absorb the elements, allowing it to change to its naturally weathered color which is usually a light shade of grey. After you have decided on which wood to use for construction of your garden gazebo, you should figure what you need in terms of size.

Once you set your mind of actually getting a garden gazebo, you will need think about the material and the weather in your area, these will have a significant effect on your gazebo and what you can expect of it. Most garden gazebos are made of wood, pine or cedar or the most popular ones, but there are many different gazebo kits out there, and it is common to find metal gazebo kits made of vinyl or aluminum.

The huge advantage wood garden gazebos have is that they fit into a garden naturally, adding natural wooden quality that accents and compliments any garden. If you plan on purchasing a wooden garden gazebo, you will probably have to decide between pine or cedar wood. While pine is more affordable, cedar is less prone to rot.

Thanks to the modern design of gazebo kits, constructing your own fashionable backyard structure has never been easier. All you have to do is set out all of the parts the gazebo manufacturer sends to you and then assemble them according to the instructions. Once you have built each of the walls of your garden gazebo, you should bring over some friends to help you tilt up each wall and put on the roof. While it is not incredibly trying work, it will generally take a day or two to complete.

Drip Irrigation System

A drip irrigation system works by slowly releasing water through a series of plastic tubes to all your plants, hanging baskets, small planters, etc.

Since the water pressure is minimal there is no over watering and run off. In fact, a drip irrigation system is over 90% efficient in watering compared to a sprinkler system at 60%

Your plants will be healthier with this type of water system because they are not simply drenched all at once. Drip irrigation provides the right amount of water to encourage root growth and soil moisture.

Many commercial growers have used drip irrigation for many years, including orchards, nurseries, vegetable growers and greenhouses. Over the last several years it has become popular with homeowners as well.

In many instances, drip irrigation systems can water those areas that sprinklers can’t. For instance, an odd shaped area or narrow area of landscape. It also works great on landscaping that is mounded. Instead of the water from a sprinkler just running off, the drip irrigation will allow it to soak in.

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Design The Desert Landscape

Design your landscape

Think about the look that you want to create. Read through magazines and look at lots of pictures to get ideas of what you want for your backyard. Coming up with the design could be the hardest part of the whole landscaping process. Keep in mind how much space you have and the amount of time and money you want to put into your project.

Bring the desert into the landscape

Instead of having plan rocks and boulders in your yard, add some fun colored rocks with different shapes and styles. You can add original desert plants around the rocks to soften them up.

Gardens in the desert

It is possible to have a garden in your desert. You can add flowers as long as they are suitable for the climate and location. Add some texture with plants and flowers will give your desert landscape a whole new look. Remember to keep the lower plants in the front and the higher ones to the back.

The view from indoor

You want to place your garden of beauty where it can be enjoyed from the windows in your house. This way all you have to do is look out and see your paradise waiting for you. This is good also for guest to appreciate your new landscape even from indoors.

Bringing water to your desert landscape

If you live in a climate that is hot and dry, then you may want to think about adding a water feature to your landscape. This is not only fun and creative, but may also offer relief from the heat for you. You can add water gardens or ponds to your landscape. You can also go bigger and design the perfect pool for you and your family. This will defiantly bring more people over for entertaining.

Do not forget the lights at night

One great idea for your landscape is lighting. This is important to show off your new and improved landscape at night. The lights on the rocks will create different shadows and bring your new design alive at night.

Landscape Gardener and Tree Surgeon

Aside from making your garden healthy and alluring, there are also other benefits that you can enjoy from a landscaped garden. Maintaining a healthy garden will in fact give your home’s curb appeal a boost and a sense of tranquility. Landscape gardening is the art of transforming your garden area into a paradise. It assists an individual in creating his own retreat to relax and a comfort zone.

If you’re considering hiring professional landscapers for your home or corporate office, ultimately it’s a valuable investment. The professional landscapers can enhance the look of your home and add value that you can easily retrieve when time moves on. Coming home to a stunning yard at the end of a busy day is one of the best ways to make your life enjoyable. Hiring professional landscapers can save your time and effort, especially if you have a large property or an extensive garden.

Here are some of the key benefits of hiring a professional landscapers for your garden-

Aesthetic beauty

One of the notable benefits of hiring a professional is that they can completely transform the look of your garden. Landscapers are not just professionally trained to revamp the garden but also help you get a personalized look.

Increases the value of your property

Landscaping increases the value of a property manifolds. If you have an alluring garden it will definitely boost the value of your property. Additionally, it also helps to get a better price when you sell your property. When potential buyers visit your home, you can take pleasure in showing your beautiful landscaped garden.

Environmental benefits

The plants in your garden can cut down air pollution because of its potential to absorb carbon dioxide and to give better flow of oxygen. An alluring landscape attracts species like birds, butterflies and many delightful creatures. You will experience tremendous joy by seeing them wandering in your garden.

A garden needs proper maintenance, especially if it has large trees planted within the area. If you have a problem maintaining the trees in your garden, then you need the help of a professional tree surgeon. It is important to find a licensed and reliable surgeon of trees, to prove their credibility as a well qualified tree surgeon.

Concrete Pond Construction

Keep in mind that for suitable concrete pond construction, you need to pour the concrete to a thickness of four to six inches. After deciding on the dimensions and outlining the area, all soil (and rocks!) should then be dug out. Forms then need to be built and placed where concrete is to be poured, along with the proper placement of cut-to-fit reinforcement bars (rebar).

For digging out the area for concrete pond construction, you will need shovels, picks, a crowbar, and, of course, a wheelbarrow. Some other necessary items include a carpenter’s level, string, stakes, sheets of plastic, and a long two-by-four.

Pouring the cement in concrete pond construction should be done in one day, unless the pond is very large, and then it must be poured in sections. Pour cement in the bottom of the pool first, then the sides. If shelves have been dug out, pour cement there, next. Finally, pour cement for the top of the pond and for any coping that may be involved.

After you have completed these first steps of your concrete pond construction project, you need to let the cement cure for several days under plastic. Treating with muriatic acid at this stage helps prevent high pH levels in water later, which benefits fish and plants. After the acid treatment, apply several coats of paint made for pools or masonry sealant, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly.

Concrete pond construction can be a true learning experience. It’s best to start with a smaller pond, then if you meet with success, you can then move on to a larger project. But once you get the hang of concrete pond construction, there’s no limit to where you can go from there. So learn, build, and then build some more!

Art Of Landscape Painting

Amateur painters often chose landscape as a subject matter as they may not have access to decent studio space and therefore can more easily paint in situ. This was not always the case and the first Impressionist to take their easels outside were viewed as rather unconventional, as artists before them would have painted inside from memory or sketches.

Painting landscape is an art tradition common to many cultures, and it goes hand-in-hand with the popularity of the genre. This was especially the case in Japan, North America, the Netherlands, France and Great Britain until the latter part of the twentieth century as other forms of artistic representation, such as Surrealism and Cubism, for example, grabbed the artists and critics’ attention. Nowadays with the advent of video and installations landscape artists are becoming a rare, rather obsolete breed.

With all this being said, let’s note, however, that most people still rather like landscape paintings. They usually convey a sense of emotional connection to the subject matter, which does not necessarily occur when one looks at a portrait or still life. This is particularly the case when the painting in question reminds of times past.

A number of very famous landscape artists became well known for concentrating on specific areas. In some cases it could almost be tantamount to obsession if you consider that Paul Cézanne, for instance, painted around eighty versions of the Sainte-Victoire mountain located near his home in Provence, France. He wanted to represent it as it looked to him throughout the year, with different weather.

In the seventeen century Holland saw the first European painters representing seascapes, Vermeer and Rembrandt. Since this time there has been a noted recurrence of sky and water themes for some landscape painters, like for instance the well-known English artist JMW Turner. Turner was fist noted for his representations of the sea and skies in violent storm conditions. This said his later works point to the future development of abstract painting by blurring the previously clear line between the water and the sky. French artist Claude Monet’s developed his technique for painting landscapes involving water by doing so in close proximity to his subject matter, which would sometimes involve painting from a small boat. American painters Homer and Wyeth, both renowned landscape painters, were also noted for the admirable way they managed to represent the effect of light on water surfaces.

Pick the Mole Traps

First let’s talk about they types of traps you can use to get your mole. You may see

  • Spring traps
  • Harpoon traps
  • Choker loop traps

Luckily most any decent trap will do the trick as humanely as possible. Typically by crushing or skewering the mole and sending them instantly off to mole heaven.

Myself, I favor the choker loop trap. To me they’re the best mole traps. That’s because any mole that enters will be “eliminated” pretty darn quick. Guess that’s why they’ve been a mainstay in mole control for over 100 years. Which for my money makes it the best way to trap a mole. (You should be able to find one for around $15.)

How’s it work? Basically you slip the loops into the mole’s primary tunnel. As it burrows along, the soil is disturbed which springs the trap. Result? The mole is crushed instantaneously between the base and loops.

The trick to making loop traps work is finding which runs are the main mole thorough fares. That’s where you want to set your traps. (And notice I said traps. You’re going to want more than one.)

Finding the target runs isn’t hard. Stomp down all the mole runs you can see. Any that pop back up within a day or so tell you you’ve got a primary passageway. That’s where you want to set the trap. If you don’t have results in 72 hours you either picked the wrong tunnel, all your stomping caused the mole to set up another main run, or the mole detected the trap somehow. Obvious right?

Oh and the guy at the store? After he and I chatted a bit, he walked out with the trap I suggested. Confident he had bought one of the best mole traps available. And also confident he’d begin to get his mole problem under control in a matter of days.

Fix Standing Water in Your Garden

Add More Soil

Most often, if you have drainage issues, water will pool at the edges or center of the garden, but it can occur anywhere there is a low spot. The easiest solution to this is adding more soil.

  • In early spring, before planting, buy plenty of large bags of garden soil, gypsum, peat moss, compost (or make your own), and top soil.
  • This is also a good time to add your first fertilizer of the year to replenish your garden.
  • Dump your garden soil, peat moss, and compost and mix and spread it across your garden using a garden rake and hoe. Try to get it as smooth and level as possible.
  • Next, add your top soil.
  • To ensure a flat and level surface, drag a long 2×4 piece of lumber over your garden several times.

If you don’t want to wait for a good rain, use a sprinkler to thoroughly saturate your garden for a few hours. Look for pooling water and add more soil to those areas.

Dig a Simple Dry Well

If adding more soil doesn’t seem to help your water problem, the next solution would be to install a simple dry well. Dry wells take surface water and distribute it to the deep subsoil. First, you need to perform a percolation test to see if a dry well will actually work:

  • Dig a 8 inch wide, 4 – 5 feet deep hole in the area that pools water.
  • Pour 5 or more gallons of water into the hole and watch to see how long it takes for the water to drain from the hole.
    • A one-inch drop in water level in three minutes is considered good.
    • If the water drains very quickly, add another 5 gallons of water to make sure the ground wasn’t just very dry.

If the water drains very slowly or remains in the hole with no drop in level by the next morning, a dry well won’t work here.

If the percolation test works and you decide to do a full-fledged dry well, here are the next steps:

  • Assuming you already have the hole dug, line the hole with landscape fabric.
  • Fill the hole to the top with rocks and gravel.

You can put a simple dry well anywhere you see the need. Some people put plastic containers with holes drilled into it, like a trash can, inside the dry well to hold even more water.

Transplanting

Make sure you are doing the right thing at the right time of the year and make yourself a written schedule of what you need to do and when it needs to be done. Time flies! With that said you have to prioritize everything so as to not miss a window of opportunity to do something.

Regarding root bound plants, in this case we were talking about root bound Japanese Maples. If they are severely root bound you do need to disturb and possibly cut some of the roots. Since you already this they are probably going to be fine. However, when you have to start cutting the roots vertical to break that girdling habit you have to think about how much you are going to shock the plant.

Cutting the roots is akin to digging a plant out of the ground. It can be a devastating thing for the plant. So when that kind of “surgery” needs to be done, I would much rather see it done after the plant has gone dormant. That way you can cut away with confidence that the plant won’t feel a thing.

It’s really like surgery on a human. Serious injury when a human is awake causes severe shock. However, when sedated and put into a deep sleep (dormancy for humans) the same type of injuries (surgery) can be inflicted without the patient going into shock.

And that’s why I always say, timing is everything in this business.

If you have plants in a grow bed that have to come out, dig them in the early spring and get them all dug before they leaf out. Once they put on leaves, it’s game over until mid November.

If you have plants that have rooted through the pot into the ground, move them and trim off those roots in early spring as well. Doing so during the growing season can shock the plant depending on how many and how large the roots are. I have had plants wilt down because I moved the pot during the growing season and broke a lot of roots in the process.