Friday, May 30, 2014

My Tips for Gardening

Today I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner Blog where gardening tips are the topic.

Since this is one of my favorite hobbies while being at home with my boys, I thought it would be fun to snap some pictures around our Homestead.

I love landscaping, and starting with the bare bones. When we first built our house I shopped around, and drew up some plans on how I wanted to landscape our new home. 

So I went to our local greenhouse and just looked around for a LONG time. I thought about what plants would go well in the front of our house with the morning sun, and what plants would do better in the shade. That is a BIG factor when deciding what to plant. I have wasted a lot of money, simply because I wasn't careful about reading the tags and just stuck it anywhere because it was pretty.

One of my favorite things about our home, is the front porch. One of the first flower purchases I make each spring are ferns. I just love them! I had my husband put hooks in each of the openings, and then hang a white chain. Ferns require a lot of water. Some good boost for them are miracle grow (once a month) and also Epsom salt. That is a trick I've learned over the years. I mix it up with water and let it dissolve. Then use a mason jar to give a scoop to each fern, just like I would with Miracle-Gro.

Here are some shots from our front flower beds. This weeping willow tree has pink blooms in the spring, but only for about 1/2 weeks.

Finding an edging is also key to a great landscape. It helps keep the grass out when you mow, and keeps the mulch neat and clean.

I don't plant annuals in my actual flower beds. I've found that I was spending too much time and money taking them out and fixing the mulch when they died. Now, I only plant annuals (not coming back each year) into pots on my porches. I find a good dirt with fertilizer in it, and they grow like crazy!

Winter/Spring Pansies 

Knock out rose bushes are a big hit here in West Virginia. They are good for height and for color. However, you MUST dead head them after they have bloomed. It is almost June, and I only have a few blooms. They are really a summer blooming bush. I try to plan my bushes/flowers around how & when they bloom. Then I will have color year round in my flower beds.

I love petunias, but they do require a lot of water. I have tried many times to grow them and I've found that the smaller ones are easier. I found this old galvanized bucket in my parent's barn, and thought it would be great to use as a pot. It has a country look to it. I found this star pick at a local country store. I love to stick them in different pots around the house.

The boys and I have really become bird watchers. O how life has changed :) 

Out back of our house I have many potted flowers on the porch, and some bushes to give height. A Crape Myrtle sits on the corner and gives lots of greenery.

I just found this interesting oriental grass this year at our local greenhouse. It's fiber optic grass. It has little white balls on each piece of grass and lights up. So COOL!

Each spring, we do a big garden in the back area of our property. It keeps getting bigger and bigger with each passing year. Normally my husband tills it up in March, and adds horse fertilizer. He tills it up about 3 or 4 times before we plant anything. Each year we get wiser about how and what to plant in our garden. 

This year we have 5 rows of corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. 

We also have pumpkins planted, but this past year I learned that pumpkins will take over your vegetables. So I've gone with a different plan, to move them completely away from the vegetable garden. Pumpkins do like sandy bottoms. It's good to plant them near a creek where sand may be, or even bring in bags of sand and till it in with your dirt.

I think pumpkins are very hard to grow because deer, chickens, and birds all like to peck them. Last year I planted over 100 seeds, and got 3 pumpkins. But I was pretty proud of those 3 pumpkins!

You can see here how I use my egg shells in the garden.

Here are my TOP 5 TIPS for growing a garden:

1. Use egg shells around your plants. Break them up into tiny pieces and sprinkle them around the roots of your vegetables.

2. If you have chickens, let them peck around in your garden. This is free fertilizer :)

3. Use your left over coffee grains and put them around your vegetables. This is an all natural way of giving your plants an extra boost without using harmful chemicals. I'm all about NATURAL!

4. Till up your garden 3 or 4 times before you plant anything. Add in any type of compost you can from the winter. Dried up leaves, horse/cow manure, chicken poo, store bought soil, and even sand.

5. Use a plant food like Miracle-Gro every month or so. Mix a scoop with a gallon of water and go around with your bucket and give them a little drink. It really helps get them growing in the right direction.

I hope these tips have helped. Gardening is so fun, and can really be therapeutic. 

Hope you'll come back to visit our Homestead soon!


The Yarbrough's said...

Very nice. Thanks for sharing.

Stopping by from Kelly's Korner. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. :)'

Teresa @ Simply Farmhouse said...

You have a beautiful place. It looks so private and quite.

Mike Gurung said...

Gardening can be a very fulfilling hobby and pastime. And all that tilling and landscaping can be a good form of exercise for some. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone. And thanks for sharing some of your tips. It pays to know how to take care of different plants, so that they'll flourish more when it's time for them to bloom.

Mike Gurung @ Bay Area Tree Specialists