A GARDENING expert has 10 easy tips for success with raised garden beds and planters.
Raised garden beds are elevated structures built to hold plants above ground and if you do it right, they can make gardening a little easier.
According to landscape designer Carson Arthur, who outlined his 10 tips for raised garden beds for the website Eartheasy, one of the key tricks is to keep things simple.
Simple plants like herbs will be much easier to care for and to get right when you’re just starting out with your raised garden.
Some herbs you could start with include thyme or mint, and remember to plant them in rows so that you can pull weeds easier.
It’s also important that you have a good grasp on what your plants require, so stay up to speed on how much water and sunlight they need.
While you’re gardening and trying out these tricks, try to keep a log of everything you plant each year and how they performed, that way you’ll remember for next year.
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Best places in the US to grow tropical fruit
Fruits like mangoes and pineapples grow best in warm climates with considerable rainfall.
Hawaii and Florida are the best locations in the US for these fruits.
While some midwestern states are warm enough, they do not receive enough rain to grow tropical plants, according to Hunker.
Best places in the US to grow vegetables
The top five states for vegetable production are California, Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, and Florida, Hunker also reported.
According to USDA Economic Research Service, California produces 60 percent of US fresh vegetables.
Idaho and Wisconsin produce the most potatoes, the outlet reported.
Best places in the US to grow fruits
If you are looking to grow fruits such as oranges, apples, lemons, avocados, peaches, and grapes, California is the best state to do so.
The state ranks highest in the production of many fruits, Hunker reported.
Florida is ranked second for orange production, and New York is second for apple and grapes.
Save money with vegetable gardens
With a packet of seeds costing just a few cents on average, growing your own produce can save you a considerable amount of money on groceries.
For those who do not have the backyard space for garden beds, container gardening on a porch or balcony is also a possibility.
Worst flowers for allergies
Seasonal allergies can start swirling with new dust and pollen in the air, but some specific flowers can make things worse for those with hay fever:
- Baby’s breath
How to make cut flowers last longer
Cut flowers can last for weeks with just three simple household items: sugar, bleach, and optional fresh lemon juice.
It’s also important to change the water often and trim the stems.
About a teaspoon of sugar and a drop of two or bleach will combine with the flower’s water to help the plants stay fresh.
Best time to remove weeds revealed
De-weeding after a spell of rain could save you a lot of time and hassle and lead to a healthier garden, according to One Good Thing.
You’ll have a much easier time removing weeds when the ground is wet because damp soil is more flexible and should allow you to rip out the root of a weed intact.
Yes, there is an extra mess but it’s much easier than trying to dislodge weeds when the ground is rock hard.
It also minimizes ripping the body from the stem, getting a clean sweep instead.
Regrow celery or lettuce
Another common vegetable that you can regrow is celery.
Chop off the bottom of the stalk and put it in a bowl with a little water, being careful not to fully submerge the scrap. Then let it grow in the water for a week or so before transferring to soil.
According to the folks at Farmers’ Almanac, it’s sensible to try this one out in the Spring because it grows better in cooler weather.
You can use a similar process to regrow Romaine lettuce from scraps.
If you want to grow your own garlic, all you have to do is save one of the cloves from the bulb you bought at the store.
The gardening experts say you can just plant the bulb directly in your garden and watch it grow.
Regrow your green onions
Green onions are one of the easiest veggies to test your kitchen scrap gardening skills.
Take the white end of the onion, with its roots intact, and re-plant it in potting soil.
The place it in a sunny window and keep it watered, the publication says.
It can take less than two weeks until the plant will be tall enough to snip the top off and add to your next meal.
Grow your own food with kitchen scraps
The kitchen scraps you usually toss in the trash can actually be used to grow your own food, according to a gardening expert.
In an online post, the gardening experts at Farmer’s Almanac say you can build a surprisingly robust garden by regrowing vegetable scraps into plants.
“Kitchen scrap gardening is the ultimate in recycling,” the Farmer’s Almanac writes.
“It’s environmentally friendly, can save on grocery bills, and it’s a fun, hands-on science lesson for young children.”
The periodical lists a dozen veggies that are great for kitchen scrap gardening, with tips for how to blossom them into fully growing vegetables.
Container gardening tips
While gardening in containers is generally easier than doing so in the ground, here are a few important tips to help keep your plants healthy:
- Make sure the container has drainage holes
- Clean the container before use, wash out soil from previous seasons to avoid disease
- Avoid using toxic containers
- Place gravel at the bottom of the container to make sure soil doesn’t drain
Advantages of gardening in containers
In addition to saving space, there are several other benefits to gardening in containers:
- Can move plants to fit their sunlight needs
- Minimizes spread of disease
- Less work is involved
- It’s cheaper
Worst flowers for hay fever sufferers
Experts say some of the most problematic flowers for hay fever sufferers are:
- Baby’s breath
Best flowers for those with hay fever
Chris Bonnett from Gardening Express recommends the following plants for those who suffer from allergies:
- Fruit trees
Keeping squirrels out of your garden: Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may be used to generate a homemade insect repellent, according to Master Class.
Fill a spray bottle halfway with peppermint oil or cayenne pepper and spray it around your plants or wherever else you want squirrels to smell it.
The greater the number of smell deterrents in the combination, the better.
Keeping squirrels out of your garden: Repellent
Repellent spray formulated with the urine of squirrel predators such as hawks, weasels, raccoons, snakes, owls, foxes, and others is sold in home improvement and gardening stores, per Master Class.
To keep the squirrels away, spray the garden area with repellant on a regular basis.
Keeping squirrels out of your garden: Peppermint
Peppermint oil isn’t harmful to plants or squirrels, but it does keep them away from your garden, Master Class says.
Apply a few drops of essential oil to the plant leaves and the soil.
To keep squirrels away, combine peppermint oil with petroleum jelly and spread the mixture on plant stems.
Keeping squirrels out of your garden: Take out your trash
Master Class recommends keeping a tight lid on garbage cans and don’t leave food or other debris out to attract attention to your home.
Squirrels are attracted to the smell of food and trash, which motivates them to look for more food sources nearby.
Keeping squirrels out of your garden: Use your flowers
Plant allium flowers, such as daffodils, snowdrops, and hyacinths, as well as marigolds, to naturally repel squirrels, according to Master Class.
Avoid planting tulips, crocuses, and geraniums because they attract squirrels.
Keeping squirrels out of your garden: Sprinklers
Squirrels are famously wary of humans, according to Master Class.
Install a few motion-activated sprinklers near your garden to frighten a squirrel if it approaches too closely.
After a few encounters like this, the squirrel will most likely avoid the area entirely.
Keeping squirrels out of your garden: Scare them off
Squirrels are scared away by plastic or resin owls or rubber snakes in the garden, which keeps them from coming too close to the plants, Master Class says.
Every day, move them and, if feasible, add some form of noisemaker to the decoys.
Keeping squirrels out of your garden: Squirrel-proof feeders
By changing the feed, you can squirrel-proof bird feeders.
Squirrels prefer sunflower seeds over safflower seeds, therefore switching will be helpful.
Master Class recommends you install a squirrel baffle to keep squirrels away from the bird feeder.
A baffle acts as a barrier that the squirrel cannot overcome.
Keeping squirrels out of your garden: Row covers
Install row covers, bird netting, or chicken wire to keep squirrels out of your garden, or line the bottom soil with hardware cloth, Master Class says.
All of these methods will keep squirrels out of the plants while yet allowing for sunshine and simple watering.
Keeping squirrels out of your garden: Mothballs
A fragrance that is contentious among people is also a natural repellant for squirrels.
To deter squirrels, use mothballs near your plants or on top of the dirt in a potted plant, Master Class recommends.
Replacing them every few weeks or when the fragrance disappears is a good idea.
Keeping squirrels out of your garden: Hot peppers
Squirrels despise the smell and taste of capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers.
Sprinkle some cayenne pepper, spicy sauce, or chili pepper flakes on top of the soil to use as a natural squirrel repellant.
Grow fiery chili peppers instead—the squirrels won’t touch the plant.