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Category: Gardening

Easy Ways To Get Started In Gardening

Gardening is a hobby everyone can enjoy, and it offers so many amazing benefits. Gardening reduces stress, anxiety and depression. It can boost strength and improve memory. It brings beauty into your life and puts delicious and nutritious food on the table.

You can enjoy the quiet, solitude of gardening or make it into an activity the whole family can enjoy together. Whatever and however you choose to garden, you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for easy ways to get started.

Potted Plants

Growing potted plants, both large and small, is a great entry point into gardening. Taking care of plants in pots lays the groundwork for all future gardening endeavors because many of the principles are the same. Successfully growing potted plants increases your confidence and prepares you to take the next step whenever you’re ready.

Growing herbs on a windowsill is an easy garden project. Parsley, thyme, basil, mint and chives are common herbs used in the kitchen. These herbs also do well in a sunny south- or southwest-facing window that has direct sunlight or under a grow light for 12-14 hours of light each day. Timers make the use of grow lights easy. Your plants will need water when the top half-inch of soil is dry. Position the plants so that their leaves don’t touch the windows themselves.

Turn your cooking into gourmet fare with fresh herbs you’ve grown yourself.

Self-Watering Indoor Gardens

Self-watering indoor gardens such as those sold by Aero Garden and Click and Grow make indoor gardening extra easy. After placing plant pods into the gardening system, seeds soon sprout and grow into vegetables or flowers.  These self-watering indoor gardens give the plants everything needed – food, light and water. All you have to do is provide a little TLC and soon you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Microgreens

Get quick gardening results with microgreens. Microgreens are fresh, delicious and nutritious superfoods grown and harvested in as little as 2 to 10 days. Microgreens are the plant stage between sprout and baby greens. They add a punch of flavor and nutrition to salads, sandwiches and smoothies. Growing kits and supplies can be purchased from companies such as True Leaf Market, Hamama and Urban Leaf.

Regrowing Vegetables

Some common vegetables you can eat and regrow, again and again. Vegetables regrown for greens include scallions, onions, beets, carrots, lettuce, bok choy and celery. When preparing these vegetables initially, you typically cut off and discard the roots. Instead, place the roots in a shallow amount of water in a tray or suspend them with toothpicks in a jar of water and place them on a windowsill. The plants will produce new growth, both leaves and roots. The leaves can then be cut and grown over and over again, providing you with a continual source of nutritious greens. Regrowing vegetables is easy, thrifty and fun.

Happy gardening.

Is composting hard? Here’s how to get started

Composting has a lot of benefits. It keeps food waste out of landfills and serves as a source of nutrients for gardens and other plant life.

Getting started with composting is easier than you might think. You can get started with composting by following these easy steps.

First, you need to decide what kind of container you want to use to compost. If you have the space, you might want to consider using an open backyard compost. This type of compost is either in a large bin or a pile in your yard. Compost piles can work well, but they are messy. A bin is often easier to maintain and looks nicer.

You can find smaller bins to compost on a smaller scale as well. This type of compost does not require any special equipment, but you might want a rotating compost bin to help you move your compost around from time to time.

You could also try vermicomposting. This variety of composting uses worms to help break down the food and other materials in the compost. You can do this type of composting either indoors or outdoors.

Lastly, many areas have compost pickup available. You can simply place your food scraps in your compost bin, and a city or local government service will add them to a large, local compost area.

The most common type of compost is one that is in an open area or bin, so that is the type we will focus on.

Once you have picked out the type of composting you want to do, the next step is to simply start collecting waste. You can compost any food scraps from your kitchen, but you should avoid meats and most bones as they will often attract animals. Scraps that work well include any vegetables, fruit scraps and cores, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags. Leave out dairy products and pet droppings.

Simply add your food scraps to your compost bin as they come up in your kitchen. These food scraps are often referred to as "green material."

You also need "brown material" for your compost to work properly. Brown material usually comes from your yard. It includes things like leaves, grass clippings, and sticks. Paper and sawdust are considered a brown material.

As a rule, your compost should be about two or three parts of brown material to one part of green material. Having this mixture will help the compost break down faster.

You can also buy compost "starter" from some stores, but it isn’t necessary.

To maintain your compost pile, you should turn it or mix it up from time to time. Moving the compost around once per week is usually enough to maintain the mixture. Some compost piles also need additional water to work properly, depending on the type of green material you are using. If the pile seems dry, adding a little water occasionally can go a long way.

Composting correctly takes a lot of trial and error, but the process isn’t hard! Once you understand how great your garden will look using your compost, you will realize it is worth the effort.

How Ordinary People Are Helping Fight Climate Change: Inspiring Stories

How Ordinary People Are Helping Fight Climate Change: Inspiring Stories

Climate change is rapidly worsening, and government policies aren’t changing at the same pace as the world. Many individuals are taking direct and immediate action, though. Here are inspirational stories of how ordinary people are helping fight climate change right now.

Xiye Bastida: Led School Strike

Xiye Bastida was a 17-year-old student when she organized her high school’s first student climate change strike. The initial strike made a statement and gathered news attention, but this effort wasn’t just one day. 

Bastida and fellow students continue to strike on Fridays, and she travels to speak about the imminent need for action. She’s personally suffered because of her strikes. Gym is on Fridays, and she doesn’t have a high grade. Some things are more important than passing physical education, however.

Bastida showed that climate change is something many people are concerned about. When everyone is shown a practical way to make a statement, many will join the collective voice.

Kelsey Juliana: Suing the Government

Kelsey Juliana led a coalition of students who sought to effect national change. They sued the federal government, claiming that its policies violate their right to a liveable environment.

The lawsuit has taken years, and the federal government has tried to get the kids’ lawsuit dismissed multiple times. The group stood fast all the way up to the Supreme Court, which stood by them and said they could sue.

The outcome of this lawsuit is still being decided, but they pioneered legal strategies in two ways. First, they established that people can sue the government over long-term climate change problems. Second, they removed the stigma of lawsuits filed by kids.

Phil Powell: Learning What He Could Do

Phil Powell was well into his professional career when he decided to learn about climate change. He went to a protest, but found that people in that setting weren’t interested in having collaborative conversations. As a result, Phil decided to focus his energy somewhere that the conversation was more productive. But, he wasn’t well informed and didn’t have much to contribute.

Phil chose to educate himself about climate change by going back to school. He completed a bachelor’s degree in environmental science as an older adult. After graduating, he combined his newfound knowledge of climate issues with a long-held knowledge of his local area. 

In 2009, Phil co-founded Gwent Energy Community Interest Company. The company has engineered and now manufactures low-cost solar panels. These are then offered to struggling community organizations throughout South Wales, which is where Phil and the organization are based.

Because of Phil and his co-founder’s work, communities that reach 400,000 Wales residents now have solar power. They estimate that 4,000 tons of carbon emissions have been saved by bringing solar to organizations that otherwise couldn’t afford it.

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Garden More Impressive

A garden is more than a collection of plants and flowers. It should be an escape from the world. A place to go to find a little peace, in the midst of chaos.

Creating that kind of oasis doesn’t have to be hard.  And it does not require any kind of special skill. Just a willingness to look at your garden a little differently.

Get started creating a beautiful landscape that your friends and neighbors will envy with these 5 easy ways to make your garden more impressive.

 

5 DIY Hydroponic Gardens to Grow Fo...
5 DIY Hydroponic Gardens to Grow Food All-Year-Round

Step # 1:  Make a Statement with Color

Sure, gardens are meant to be colorful, but how can you use that color to make a statement? Here are a few easy tricks:

  • Stay within the same color palette. This does not mean using the same boring colors over and over again. Instead, stay within the same palette with different shades and contrasting hues.
  • Use complementary colors. A pop of unique color here and there will help complement your garden, creating a beautiful rainbow of color to enjoy.
  • Add some variegated foliage. Flowers are not the only colorful plants in a garden. Variegated foliage adds interesting texture too.

 

Step # 2:  Avoid Clutter

Yes, it’s true, you can have too many plants and flowers in a garden. Keep it simple. The most impressive gardens feature a more streamlined look. Instead of jamming every nook and cranny with plantings, leave some space to make your garden offerings easier to see – and enjoy.

 

Tip #3:  Offer Seasonal Appeal

Who says you can only enjoy garden offerings in the spring and summer? Think about what is available for every season of the year. Fall foliage can add a beautifully rich backdrop to dying summer plantings.  Be sure to add a few trees and bushes that highlight the rich ness of the season. Winter too offers some beautiful contrast to otherwise dreary months. Look for bushes that change color with the seasons or offer colorful berries during fall and winter to highlight the landscape.

 

Tip #4: Go Bold

Nothing makes a garden look more impressive with a few bold offerings.  Don’t be afraid to use bushes with bold shapes; tall grasses and flowers of different heights for a more interesting look. Or consider adding a bold piece of art to draw attention and complement your beautiful flowers and plants. Using arches to frame a certain area can also add interest, without taking away from your plantings.

 

Tip # 5:  Use a Staggered Approach

Nothing is more boring than a garden planted with all straight lines. Add depth and interest to your garden oasis by staggering plantings. Layer grasses, and flowers for a more eclectic and natural look.  This lets your garden look like it has always been there, which is more natural – and interesting.

 

It doesn’t take a master gardener to create a beautiful landscape that everyone will want to enjoy. Try these 5 easy ways to make a more impressive garden and see what masterpiece you can create in your own backyard.