Month: March 2016

Gardens Of The Past

download (8)Gardening In Ancient Egypt

In the hot climate of Egypt, the rich liked to rest under trees for their shade. Gardens were created enclosed by walls with trees in rows. Sometimes they grew alternating trees. They grew sycamores, date palms, fig trees, nut trees, pomegranate trees, and willows. Vineyards were grown to make wine that only the rich drank. The common people drank beer.

A large variety of flowers including roses, poppies, irises, daisies, and cornflowers were grown. Also, they liked to grow fragrant trees and shrubs. Their gardens had rectangular ponds sometimes stocked with fish.

The Egyptians believed the Gods liked gardens. Gardens were usually around the Temples. There were different trees associated with different Gods.

The gardens were beautiful so they were used for pleasure and produce. Gardens were used to produce fruit, vegetables, olive oil, and to produce wine.

Gardening In Ancient Iraq

In the Ancient World, beautiful gardens were created in Iraq. The Assyrians came from Iraq and in the period 900 BC – 612 BC they ruled a great empire in the middle east. The upper-class Assyrians enjoyed gardens. Gardens were irrigated by water canals. They planted trees such as palms and cypresses. Trees were planted in rows by alternating the species like the Egyptians. Ponds were created and they cultivated vines and some flowers.

The Assyrian Empire was destroyed in 612. A huge empire was created there by the city-state of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar is supposed to have built one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Which is the hanging garden of Babylon. His wife missed her homeland so the King built a stepped terrace garden for here. Man-powered pumps watered it. (Probably a chain pump)

Greek Gardening

The Greeks weren’t very good gardeners. They used trees to provide shade around the Temple and other public places. You rarely saw gardens just for pleasure. When flowers were grown they were put in pots. Gardens were grown for practical reasons. They grew Orchards, Vineyards, and vegetable gardens.

Roman Gardening

Gardening was introduced to Egypt in 30 BC when they were conquered by the Romans. The rich Romans created gardens next to their palaces and villas. They were masters of any of the topiary. The gardens had statues and sculptures. They built homes around a countryard which had a colonnaded porch, a pool, and a fountain. There were beds of flowers in the courtyard.

The gardens are lined with hedges and vines. There were a lot of flowers such as acanthus, cornflower, crocus, cyclamen, hyacinth, iris and ivy, lavender, lilies, myrtle, narcissus, poppy, rosemary, and violet.

When Rome conquered Britain they introduced a number of new plants including roses, leeks, turnips, and plumbs. Once Rome fell gardening declined in western Europe. Churches made some gardens for growing herbs for medicine. Altars were decorated with flowers.


The Best Gardening Tips for Spring Preparation

download (7)With such a cold winter, many gardeners are delighted that the spring is finally here. Even better, it is time to plant seeds and cultivate gardens which will bring about the hot green attractiveness of the spring season. However, without early preparation, your gardening might not be successful. Below are some of the very best strategies to organize your gardens for the spring season.

Start looking for seeds and bulbs

If you’d like to plant flowers such as lilies, it is time for you to start ordering seeds and bulbs. Otherwise, you will miss out on the radiant summer display. You could get the seeds online or purchase them from the nearest store in your neighborhood. Make sure the seeds and bulbs are in excellent condition to avoid disappointments late in the season when the planting season has passed.

Cleaning the garden

If there are debris in the garden, it is time for you to throw them out. Don’t ignore the lawn and the pond. Remove any weeds from the garden and put them in a pile to create a compost that could be used when gardening. Dig up the soil in the garden and flowerbeds to make sure it doesn’t harden. If you cannot do this yourself, it is time to find a gardening service.

Cleaning the greenhouse

If you’d like to plant in a greenhouse, it is time to do tidying. If there are any leftover plant debris in the containers, clear them out. Ensure that the seats and floors are cleaned completely to avoid bringing in any pests. Look at the temperature and everything necessary to make sure the greenhouse is in an amazing condition when the spring season starts.

Repairing gates

If you would like to divide the plants in your garden, you need to start fixing the gates. If you are using wooden fences, make sure they’re properly treated to avoid pest attacks. Fix any broken latches and re-paint them accordingly to make your garden appealing when the planting starts.

Clean the gardening tools

Having thrown the gardening equipment in the shed during winter, it’s about time to take them out of storage. Clean, sharpen and inspect them to make sure they are functioning well. Change broken or damaged equipment so that everything is working before you start planting.

Prepare compost/manure

If you’d like your crops to grow completely when the spring season comes, you have to be equipped with a large amount of garden compost and manure. However, you need to avoid using fertilizers or pesticides that can harm your plants. As such, any unwanted weeds or plants picked from the garden need to be placed in a compost area. On the other hand, it is also sensible to collect any animal droppings in your garden and store it for use as a compost.

Last but not least, you should be prepared with plenty of water supply when the seeds are planted. Without water, the plants will die within a short time. Therefore, store big containers of water to ensure there is a sufficient amount of water for the plants. Use these ideas to prepare your garden in time for spring.


10 Tips for Planning Your Vegetable Garden

download (6)1. Decide What Vegetables to Plant

My first step in planning my garden is to decide which vegetables to plant.

This may seem obvious, but only plant vegetables you and your family like to eat and only plant the amount that your family can use – or that you can give away, can, or otherwise store for the winter.

Do you know anyone who plants tomatoes just because they’re a popular garden veggie, even though they either don’t like them or can’t eat them? I do and maybe you do, too! Or how about those four zucchini plants that someone I know planted one year – and then they tried to give away the surplus. Oops. (No, it wasn’t me!)

2. Decide Which Varieties to Plant

For each type of vegetable, I try to choose one variety that’s good for fresh eating (either raw or cooked), one that stores well in the root cellar, and one that is especially resistance to the type of insect pests and diseases I have in my garden. Sometimes a single variety will meet more than one of these criteria.

Your criteria are probably different than mine, so it’s a good idea to identify what qualities are important for you and then choose varieties that work for your situation.

3. Make a List of Vegetables to Plant

For each vegetable, I list the following:

  1. The vegetable variety (for example, Red-cored Chantenay Carrots)
  2. How many weeks it should be planted before or after the Last Frost Date in the spring (for example, 4-6 weeks before the Last Frost Date). You will find this information on the seed packet.
  3. Taking the last frost date for my area, I count back (or forward) to the actual day for planting – and write that down, too.
  4. Lastly, I write down the ideal soil temperature for planting that type of vegetable. This information should also be shown on the seed packet.

Listing Seeds to Plant Indoors

I make a separate list for seeds that I’m planting indoors. This list includes both the date for starting the seeds indoors and the date for transplanting them into the garden.

If I’m buying any seedlings (instead of starting the seeds myself), I put those on the list, too, so I won’t forget to go buy them.

4. Design Your Garden

Draw a sketch of your garden and where you plan to plant each veggie. Some people use graph paper for this and draw to scale, so it is easier to tell how much space is being taken by each vegetable. But using a plain piece of paper can work well, too.

Check the seed packets so you’ll know how much space to allow between rows and between plants.

If you prefer not to design your garden with pencil and paper, there are numerous software packages and websites that can help with this process.

5. Rotate Your Crops

When designing the layout of your garden, it’s important to take into account where the various vegetables were planted in previous years.

It’s generally advised to rotate your crops, so plants from the same family of vegetables are not planted in the same place more than once every three years. Some people wait five years, which is harder to do unless you have a fairly large garden or are only planting a few types of vegetables.

The two main reasons for rotating crops are 1) to help avoid insect and soil-borne diseases and 2) because different vegetables take different minerals from the soil. If crops aren’t rotated, insect pests and harmful soil organisms tend to build up in the soil and, also, the soil can become depleted of important minerals.

6. Successive Plantings

When designing your garden, take into account the possibility that you may be able to successively plant more than one vegetable in the same spot during the season.

For example, when you’re done harvesting your lettuce, you could plant a later crop of carrots in that same place.

7. Companion Planting

Some plants do well when planted next to each other and some don’t.

When deciding which plants to grow in your garden and where to put them, consider whether they will be good companions to each other. You may also want to plant some flowers and veggies solely for their role as companions.

For example, I plant marigolds in quite a few spots within the garden because of their tendency to ward off insect pests and soil diseases. They also attract some pests, which then keeps those critters from bothering other plants.

Other examples would be planting basil near tomatoes to help the tomatoes grow better or planting radishes near squash, melons and cucumbers to deter insect pests.

8. Plant Hybrids for Pest & Disease Resistance

I used to plant only vegetable varieties that were open-pollinated, that is, varieties whose seeds would grow “true” to the original plant.

Now I’ve found that it’s helpful to plant some hybrids that are resistant to the insect pests and diseases that tend to show up in my garden. If my garden gets severely affected by a certain type of pest or disease, this gives me a little insurance against my entire crop being wiped out.

For example, if powdery mildew hits my garden really hard, it could have a big effect on the productiveness of my squash, melons, and cucumbers. Having some hybrid varieties that are resistant to powdery mildew could save the day.

9. Consider the Plant’s Need for Sun & Soil Type

Some vegetables do better when grown in full sun and some do better with a bit of shade. You can find this information on the seed packet.

Remember that plants that grow tall will shade other smaller plants behind them, so put those tall ones on the north side of garden, if possible. On the other hand, if you have plants that don’t tolerate direct sun very well (such as lettuce), you can use tall plants to shade them.

So, when planning your garden, plant according to the needs of your veggies in regard to sun or shade. Also, be sure to pick varieties that are suited to your climate and soil conditions.

10. Buy Plant Supports Ahead of Time

For plants that use supports, such as tomatoes and peas, I find it best to put the supports in the ground before planting the seeds or, when transplanting seedlings, before they get very tall. Otherwise, the seeds may be displaced or the roots of the seedlings may be disturbed.


Things Plant-Crazy People Have at Home

download (5)It was my first time visiting the boyfriend at his home. I was so nervous that I think will pee or collapse on the floor, whichever will come first. While left along the in their living room, I look around. I wasn’t prepared to be amazed by what I saw. Can you guess what?

They say that curiosity killed the cat. But, I’m not a cat, right? But, I find myself standing and walking around their house.

I found myself standing in front of a magical crystal orb a size of a fish bowl. I peeked inside a saw layers of stone, pebbles, charcoal and soil topped with plastic looking plants. Later that day, I discovered it was a terrarium. I should have known by now that his mother is a plant enthusiast. I wonder where they bought it. I also want something like it on my bedside table. Perhaps one of these days, I can ask him to teach if how to create one.

Still, the boyfriend and the rest of the family is nowhere to be found. I moved deeper into their home and smiled because I saw a shelf full of books. From children’s storybooks to cookbooks to Harry Potter, I wonder why the boyfriend hasn’t told me that he likes Harry Potter. I have been a Potterhead since forever. I opened one of my favorite, the Goblet of Fire when I found dried and pressed flowers inside random pages. There are roses, chrysanthemums, daisies and many of those I couldn’t name. They were beautiful.

Finally, he emerged out of his bedroom. He said he took a shower. Yes, he did. How did I know? His hair is wet and he smelled of fresh flowers– some kind of lavender. Like the judgmental person that I am, it crossed my mind if he is not as straight as he appears to be. I was surprised that he said, “my mom buys our shampoo.” I really tried not to laugh, I was so embarrassed.

Going outside their backyard, this is where I connected all the pieces. His mother is a very big fan of plants and flowers. Their garden affirmed. It is a bed of various plants and flowers that are creatively planted and architectured. Recyclable flower plants like colored boots, crates, and creative clay pots are everywhere. On the center of the garden is a round table with lots of delicious looking foodstuff.

My smile couldn’t get any bigger when he offered me a bouquet of colorful carnations. I think I would keep this one.

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