Welcome to the July issue of Garden Ramblings. This month there are again three articles by guest authors with hints and tips on various aspects of gardening.
Our first guest is Marion Stewart who was featured in last month's issue. Although I would not normally include an article on the same subject so soon, I do think that her ideas on "Theme Container Gardens" are an inspiration and particularly appropriate at this time of the year.
"Growing Tomatoes: How To Stop An Earwig Party On Your Tomato Plants" is the full title of the contribution by our second guest author Diane Palmer. If you've suffered from these pests then this is article a must read. She also has a helpful tip on ripening green tomatoes.
"Seven Tips to Successful Composting" by Geoff Wolfenden is a useful reminder of the essentials of successful compost making.
As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find this month.
As an introduction to Marion Stewart's article the video is all about creating a container garden.
Creating your own container garden can be so much fun, especially if you think of using themes. Consider showing off your style with a small kitchen garden, or create an outdoor pot designed to attract hummingbirds or to welcome butterflies. Our beings are drawn to beautiful scents, what about a container giving off wonderful fragrances.
Culinary containers or kitchen gardens are especially handy as a source of herbs, leafy lettuce or parsley, or even edible flowers. You may wish to combine many edibles to create your own miniature garden at the door. Combining edibles with your flowering or ornamental plants can be so attractive - imagine Beefsteak Tomatoes surrounded by basil or oregano. For foliage color, use green and purple leaved basils, leaf lettuce and Swiss chard. Parsley is especially great, goes anywhere, and adds attractive texture and rich green color to any container combination. Nasturtiums are grown for their showy, spurred flowers and trailing ones are sensational in your planters - they are edible and give a finished look to the container.
Herbs that work wonderfully well in culinary containers are chives, lemon balm, rosemary, different sages and oregano. Lemongrass is wonderful in soups and adds a nice vertical accent to any planter or outdoor pot.
And then of course there are those peppers, both colorful and hot. Cherry tomatoes should not be forgotten, they look pretty in your arrangements and the spectacular patio tomatoes are there for the picking. Don't forget arugula and of course golden thyme for another theme.
The best place to use your fragrant plants is in garden pots on your deck or patio. This is where we can enjoy their lovely scents when relaxing in the evening. Mix scented plants with foliage or flowers and see what you can come up with. Some plants, such as heliotrope, can be enjoyed once they begin to bloom and for the rest of the summer. Lilies that have been forced in your pots can be moved to the garden after they bloom. Others such as tuberoses may have to be moved indoors before frost and then brought out again next year. Dahlias and of course geraniums make a great show and a delightful addition to your container gardens.
Hummingbirds will arrive right on your deck or patio if you give them the proper encouragement. Along with your hummingbird feeder, some of the best container plants to attract them are annual sages. They come in so many colors from bright red to shades of mauve and purpose to creamy white and pink. Try out one or more of them in your garden pots. You may also use Nicotiana plant, petunias and dwarf dahlias too.
To keep all of our container plants going all summer, deadhead regularly and of course water and feed on a timely basis. When plants become scrawny or leggy, just cut them back hard in mid-summer and then they will produce more new flowers and foliage within a few weeks. Your containers will be beautiful right into the cool Fall weather.
In summary, create theme container combinations. They can be ones either for the kitchen, to give off wonderful fragrances and of course to attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
About the Author:
Marion Stewart is an avid gardener. She loves sitting on her deck surrounded by so many varied flower-packed and herb planted containers. In her continued research she has found some spectacular fine quality resin planters and garden containers and now offers them in numerous colors, sizes and styles. Find your best planter at the GardenPlanterStore.com
Growing Tomatoes: How To Stop An Earwig Party On Your Tomato Plants
by Diane Palmer
Tomato Plants suffer from pests, just like any other plant in your garden. But personally, I found Earwigs to be the biggest pain.
They love to eat the leaves of a tomato plant, and if there are enough of them, this can kill the plant. If you are just battling a few, then, picking them off by hand may work.
But most earwigs, tend to form a crowd, and head into your tomato garden between 2 and 4 am for their buffet snack. Some are brazen enough to eat during the daylight as well, but the night is their perfect setting for some midnight snacking.
Here is what worked for me. If you are a beer drinker, then this is good for you and the tomato garden!. Earwigs love yeast, and guess what is in the beer?. Yeast!
You can do this a few ways, you can pour some beer in a tinfoil pie plate and leave it in the garden overnight. The earwigs are attracted to the yeast and fall in. This will get rid of quite a few.
But if you have a windy area, like me, then this might not work so well. You will wake up to pie plates everywhere and beer spray! Find a container you can bury, or better yet, buy beer in cans, drink about 1/2 of the beer, then bury the beer can, leaving about 1 inch of the top of the can sticking out of the ground.
The earwigs will crawl into the can. Make sure you have finished your watering of your tomato plants, then place the can. Every couple of days, replace the can with a new batch of beer.
So, now you get to enjoy the tomato garden even more, as you will now need to drink a 1/2 beer, or have a party if there are a few rows of tomato plants that need to be protected. You will be happy and so will your tomatoes!
About the author
Click here for tips on growing the best tomatoes on the street. Article and website by Diane Palmer
PS Diane Palmer also has a useful tip on dealing with green tomatoes such as those that may have been blown off the plant in a storm or just fail to ripen on the vine. Place the tomatoes in a cardboard box together with a banana, preferably one that is just turning from green to yellow. The banana will give off a gas that will help ripen your tomatoes.
Composting gives you the ultimate fertilizer, and it's all free. Here are a few tips for producing perfect compost within a few short weeks.
Turn your pile every few days to once a week. A compost pile has to be turned every few days to get it aerated.
Get the mix right. "Green" waste refers to fresh ingredients-grass clippings, freshly-pulled weeds, and vegetable kitchen scraps all qualify. Green waste is high in nitrogen. "Brown" waste is high in carbon, and refers to dried ingredients including leaves, hay or straw, wood shavings, and so on.
Use chopped ingredients. Your ingredients will degrade more quickly if they're not left to decompose in large chunks.
Don't use animal waste. Using meat or dairy products in your compost attracts flies and other animals, and can cause a foul-smelling mess.
Keep the temperature high. Your compost pile should maintain a fairly consistent temperature of about 65 to 71 degrees Celsius at the center.
Use the right container. You can use any container or no container at all for composting. But a closed bin gives a less messy appearance and keeps out animals, and a tumbler is the easiest to turn consistently.
Pile in layers. You should start your pile by layering different materials so that they come into contact, avoiding any large clumps-especially large chunks of green materials, which can quickly decompose into anaerobic clumps.
Composting isn't just a great way to recycle your garden clippings and kitchen scraps. It can also provide you with plenty of dark, rich soil that will nourish your garden. Follow these tips, and you should be able to produce plenty of fertilizer on your own-saving you money in the long run.
Yet another month when I have little to report. One sale has ended but another has just begun. Otherwise bargains are few and far between and it is back to the basic offers of free shipping and $$$ off when you spend $$$.
Gardener's Supply Company are claiming "The Biggest Savings of the Year - Up to 72% Off" at their Hot Summer Sale where you can choose from over 150 items. Click here for the sale. As you see from the banner there is also a 10% reduction on orders of $50 or more.
Although the Spring Clearance Sale at Dutch Gardens appears to be still on they seem to have sold out of virtually everything so that is not worth bothering with. They are now featuring bulbs for fall planting, but at least you get free shipping on orders of $55 or more.
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