Sunday, 23 April 2017

Super Foods You Can Grow in Your Garden

If you have a garden, there is nothing that should stop you from growing your own super foods. These pristine gifts of Nature, straight from your garden to your dining table in a jiffy, offer your family the purest foods available that assure the best health benefits. No middlemen, super market counters, preservatives, exorbitant prices and doctor visits!

Kale

Bake kale into chips, make smoothies or put in salads and soups. This ingredient is full of antioxidants and fiber; it absorbs free radicals and fights cancer.

Micro-greens

These are normally seeds, which are a combination of herbs and greens that you harvest in fifteen days. They have a dense concentration of minerals and vitamins, almost six times the nutrients as found in the full-grown variety.

Blueberries

Types of blueberries include small, tall, semi-green, deciduous and the like. Said to reduce risks of cancer and heart disease because of their phytoflavinoids and antioxidants, blueberries help keep your mental sharpness too.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potato outranks all other veggies as the most healthy and nutritious. It is full of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Pumpkins

From a three-pound pumpkin to a hundred-pound one, you can grow this veggie as big as you want. Both the seeds and the flesh have amazing nutritional value. It is believed that two cups of pumpkin serving gives you more than the daily need of alpha-carotene. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, which assists the immune system in defending against viruses.

Beetroot

Another veggie that is considered a super food is beet. Although beets are known for their high sugar content, you can afford to consume them a couple of times a week. They tend to lower blood pressure, ward off inflammation, increase stamina, and the greens contain phosphorus, protein, zinc, vitamin B6, fiber, and several other nutrients.

Cabbage

Use cabbage in slaw, stir fries, ferment or soup. Cabbage contains antioxidants that help prevent cancer, offer an energy pack and avoid premature aging of your skin.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds germinate after two to three weeks of planting. Dry the pods and separate the seeds. Being a part of the mint family, chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids that lower cholesterol and stabilize your blood sugar.

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower is extremely resilient and drought-tolerant. The seeds contain great amounts of vitamin E and magnesium, making them excellent for your bones, skin and heart.

Peppermint

Use it in tea, blend it into a smoothie or add to the casseroles for a little flavor and boost your overall health. In addition, being rich in chlorophyll, peppermint ensures smooth functioning of the endocrine system.

Parsley

There are varieties of ways you can use parsley in your food. Make pesto with it, use it in hot tea or add it to green salads. It is rich in vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin A and K. Parsley assists in building strong bones, healing the nervous system and relieving you from joint pains.

So why wait? Take your seeds today and get started on the road to perfect health by eating foods straight from your yard! You will do well to consult a reputed landscape service company in creating a yard you would love all your life!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Adding Curb Appeal : Do’s and Don’ts

Curb appeal is the visual charm of a house when observed from the road. It is the lure of the exterior of a property. Start making your landscape and exterior enticing, not only to add to the beauty of the house but also to increase its property value.

Things you should do

1. Enhance the look of the front door

Painting a door afresh in green, red, blue or any favorite color adds a distinctive vibe to the ambience of the house. A generic wreath can embellish its look in contrast with the lackluster appearance of many a front door. Polish the metal knockers, doorknobs, or bells.

2. Shape the front yard

Trim bushes, hedges, and any grass that has developed over the paths or sidewalks. Fill containers with colorful, bright, blooming flowers.

3. Add mulch

Decorate the flowerbeds with protective covering and beauty barks.

4. Add lights

Prospective buyers and visitors like a well-lit path. Choose solar lights to add to the appeal of the house.

5. Change numbers

It is best to install numbers that are big and pretty enough for making a good impression on responders in terms of visibility and appeal.

6. Driveway

Upgrade the concrete if the old floor is cracked, and apply a new load of gravel to get a fresh look.

7. Install a new mailbox

It is time to get rid of the old mailbox if it’s chipped, dented or doesn’t close correctly. Try to get one that locks so that the mail stays safe.

8. Installing art

Add objects such as wind chimes, water feature, birdbaths, or sculptures that fit well into your garden. Make sure you add weather-resistant pieces.

Remember, not everything you do enhances the appeal of your curb. Therefore, make sure you plan your strategy for avoiding distracters.

Things you should not do

1. Providing a confusing entrance

You do not want visitors or potential buyers to get confused about which door is the front door. It is important that you provide an entrance, which is warm, obvious, and inviting.

2. Planting Annuals

Make sure you do not plant annuals that bloom just once. Plant instead a mix of perennials for evergreen foliage and blooms that can beautify and power up your landscape all year round.

3. Following bizarre trends

Hardscaping the whole yard, using mulch and trimming the hedges into weird shapes are all turnoffs for potential buyers.

4. Deviating from the neighborhood style

Do not deviate too much from the neighborhood style: it is good to build something that harmonizes with the rest of the surroundings. You do not want to be the odd one out.

5. Planting too close to the house or walkways

Hedges that hang over walkways or paths look messy. Trees that appear small when planted can grow large and may disturb the foundation.

Adding some appeal to your curb should not mean breaking up the ground. With the tips given above, you can add to the beauty of your yard without literally breaking the ground. Do you need assistance with a curb appeal project? Consult a reputed landscaping expert for professional help in embellishing your yard.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Repelling Bugs the Natural Way : 10 Herbs for Planting in Your Garden

Do bugs and insects get on your nerves and play havoc with your plants? Rather than reaching for an insecticide or a bug repellent, plant these herbs as natural fixes in your garden or yard, or in containers so that you can move them wherever you need them.

1. Mint

Mint repels effectively fleas, ants, moths, aphids, beetles, and mice; it can help you keep your pets healthy, too. Once you plant mint, it will automatically grow every season. Apart from repelling bugs, mint leaves can be used for preparing tea, cooking Moroccan-inspired dishes, and making mint juleps or mojitos.

2. Basil

Basil helps in keeping away flies and mosquitoes. By planting basil, you can rest assured that you won’t have annoying bugs around you when you hang out in the garden. You can also use basil as a topping with some fresh cheese.

3. Bay leaves

You can drive away roaches with bay leaves. Moreover, you can use the dried bay leaves in stock for stews and soups, or find use for them in an herb wreath.

4. Catnip

A mixture of rosemary and catnip oil can act as an amazing mosquito repellant. You can also mix in some lemon balm for boosting potency.

5. Dill

Dill is more than just an ingredient for preparing pickles; it can scare off squash bugs, aphids, and spider mites. You can also use it on salmon while grilling or baking, or in dips.

6. Lavender

Lavender not only adds to the beauty and nice fragrance of a yard, but also helps to repel fleas, moths, and flies. You can dry it and utilize it as well in little bags made of cloth as sachets inside your drawers.

7. Rosemary

Rosemary is a hardy herb, and once it’s planted, it will grow all year round in milder climates. You can use it to keep off carrot flies, cabbage loopers, slugs, Mexican bean beetle and snails. Apart from this, you can use the hardy stalks on the grill as skewers, in meat dishes (especially lamb) for flavor, and even put some on hot coals for a sweet-smelling grill.

8. Thyme

Get rid of cabbage maggot, cabbage looper, corn earworm, tomato hornworm and whiteflies with this herb. Use it in seafood or poultry dishes when you wish to take them in an Italian or Greek direction. Thyme is also a great idea when creating Provencal dishes such as ratatouille.

9. Garlic

When you grow garlic, you can ward off a host of different pests including carrot flies, aphids, rabbits, codling moths, root maggots, snails, Mexican bean beetle, cabbage loopers and peach tree borers. Utilize fresh garlic to add flavor and depth to just about any dish: sauces, soup stocks, crushed fresh for marinades and bruschetta.

10. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm can be added to make a natural mosquito repellent. Apart from this, you can brew tea with this ingredient to relieve stress.

So, why use harmful chemical repellants when natural herbs can do all the tricks for you? If you need exciting ideas of growing these herbs, it is best to get in touch with a landscaping expert for advice.

Monday, 23 January 2017

10 Easy Steps for You to Clean Rain Gutter

It can be a tedious chore for you to clean out your rain gutters, but it is important and necessary that you keep them free of debris. Your entire house, walls and foundation may suffer serious water damage and flooding because of dirty and clogged downspouts and gutters.

Here are 10 easy steps for you to keep clean the rain gutters:

1. Wear protective equipment

There can be invisible hazards or harmful bacteria lurking in the gutters. Therefore, make sure you protect yourself by wearing safety goggles, thick gloves, and a dust mask.

2. Begin near a downspout

Make use of a stepladder for safety and place yourself by the downspout. Use a garbage bag or a bucket to collect debris.

3. Remove debris

Using a plastic scoop or a trowel, shove debris into the refuse container, working your hands down the gutter.

4. Flush with the help of a hose

There can be dry and sandy coating of materials, or exceptionally sticky gunk still left behind; in such a case, flush your gutter by using a pressurized hose.

If you are unable to clear out everything, scrub the hard spots with a stiff brush and flush the gutter again. If water backs up, it could be due to clogging.

5. Detach the pipe

When you clean the downspout, detach the pipe running underground to prevent the pushing of the clog even further down.

6. Get rid of the clog

Begin by loosening the blockage by running a hose up the downspout. If this technique does not work, call a plumber to get rid of the clog.

7.Reattach the pipe

Make sure you prevent leaks by reattaching the pipe securely.

8. Rinse the downspout

For cleaning, run water out of the downspout from the top of the gutter. This way you can make sure that the clog is removed.

9. Install or clean strainers

If you have strainers, it would be better to clean them to prevent future clogging. In case you don’t have any strainers already installed, do so now to stop large fragments from blocking your pipe.

10. Follow a regular maintenance schedule

Clean the gutters at regular intervals, and check the flow of water. If you observe still water, or if it is not draining properly, it could be because the slope is off. The gutter must drop one-fourth an inch every ten feet.

If there are no missing parts or visible damage, detach hangers and work section by section; rectify the slope to proper draining and reattach. Make sure that you look for leaks with every storm. Gutters may also form rust. If you observe leaks or paint chipping through the metal, substitute the defective section with a new one.

It is important to take seriously regular gutter cleaning. The longer you ignore it, the more likely you are to make matters worse.

You can call your landscaping expert for getting the gutters fixed, if things are beyond your control. That would protect your precious landscape and plantings, and prevent hundreds of dollars of harm to the foundation of your house.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Harvesting Rainwater for your Gardens and Yards

We have all heard about the prolonged drought in California. While some places experience low stream flows, others suffer seasonal dryness.

Even if you live in a state that is safe from elevated drought levels, your city or state may require you to restrict use of water as a precautionary measure. One major method of preservation of natural resources is rainwater harvesting.

Benefits rainwater harvesting

There is no wealth to match the bounty of the rain god. After an inch of rainfall, you gain almost 900 gallons of water from your barn or house if the structure is 30 x 50 feet.

Rainwater is healthier as it has no trace of any of the chemicals that you normally find in tap water. You can collect it very easily and use it to water your indoor plants, and garden, and do anything else that is beyond the essential needs.

One of the simplest ways to harvest rainwater is to install a water diverter on the current downspout of the gutters, and keep there a container for water storage beneath the downspout. You can easily do this for your house.

Different ways of rainwater harvesting

Surface runoff harvesting

Local authorities can construct a well-planned network to save every drop of runoff water and utilize it for recharging aquifers for the entire city.

Rooftop harvesting

This is a system of saving rainwater from where it falls first on a city: the roof is the catchment area here. The water thus collected can either be stored in a tank or sent to an artificial recharge system. The method is a lot less expensive and extremely effective; if implemented properly it helps augmenting the ground water level.

Rainwater collected from the rooftop should be directed down via water pipes or drains to the harvesting/storage system. The pipes must be UV-resistant. Water from roofs can also be channelized through down take or gutter pipes. The mouth of every drain on the terrace should have wire mesh to filter floating material.

First flush is an instrument that serves to get rid of the water collected during the first shower. It is necessary to do this in order to avoid any form of contamination of rechargeable/storable water due to possible atmospheric contaminants.

This helps as well to clean silt and other forms of dirty material deposited on the roof over a period. Provisions for a first flush rain separator must be made at the mouth of every drainpipe.

Harvesting through percolation tanks

Percolation tanks are surface water bodies created artificially, immersing a land area with acceptable permeability; this provision enables sufficient percolation for recharging the ground water. Such tanks are created in big campuses where plenty of land is available and the geography is suitable.

Most of us take water for granted and overuse it without any thought of a terrible water crisis that is slowly building up. A day might come sooner than later when life on earth may face a serious threat in the form of unprecedented water scarcity.

Rainwater harvesting is one of the most cost-effective and necessary steps to ward of this situation, and try to maintain water availability at normal levels.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Killing Weeds in your Garden : 11 Natural Ways

Weeds are inevitable nuisance almost in every garden. They play havoc with your plants starving them of the nutrients and water that you supply. Weed killing chemicals are harsh and expensive; there are, however, eleven natural ways listed below through which you can effectively get rid of the weeds – saving thus your time and money!

1. Starve them of sunlight

Plants require sunlight to produce their own food and this process is known as photosynthesis. You can get rid of weeds in just a matter of a few days by covering them with newspapers and literally starving them of the essential sunlight.

2. Use boiling water

Boiling water tends to kill weeds by burning them. Use the water leftover from cooking to get rid of all the garden weeds.

3. Use alcohol

Spraying weeds with 4 cups of water mixed with 5 tablespoons of alcohol will poison to death the weeds. However, take care not to spray the mixture on other plants.

4. Salt

The same salt used on sidewalks and driveways during the winters can also help kill weeds. However, carry out the exercise with caution since it will annihilate as well anything else around exposed. Sprinkle carefully salt into gaps that have no other plant in them.

5. Baking soda

In case you have crevices that you do not wish to fill, but have weeds you wish to get rid of, you can make use of baking soda. Apply baking soda the same way. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the ingredient on wet weeds and make sure you cover the entire plant that you grow.

6. Vinegar

Mix vinegar and water in equal proportions and spray the mixture on weeds for a few days.

7. Dish soap

If the smell of vinegar makes you feel nauseous, make use of dish soap in the same way you would use vinegar.

8. Other plants

Plants tend to compete with one another for nutrients and water. By filling up any empty space with more plants, there will not be enough nutrients or space for the weeds to grow.

9. Corn meal gluten

This is a great technique to prevent weeds from growing but may not work in killing current weeds. Sprinkle corn meal throughout your garden; as it starts to break down, it becomes nitrogen and fertilizes the soil, and at the same time, it prevents the germination of weed seeds.

10. Burning

Another simple way of killing weeds is to burn them. It is dangerous to set weeds on fire especially when surrounded by dry grass; instead, you can use a weed scorcher available at garden stores. The burnt weeds will die for sure in a few days.

11. Weeding

One of the most effective and fastest ways of getting rid of weeds is to take them out by hand. Dampen the whole ground and start pulling them one at a time with all the roots. In case you need help, make use of a trowel for best results.

If weed growth in your garden is getting out of hand, do not postpone seeking expert help. Call up your landscaping expert to help you fix the issue.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Landscaping with Gravel: Great Ideas for you

Gravel is durable enough to cover terraces, paths, and driveways. It helps create a softer mood and a feel more organic than those of pavers or bricks do. Gravel works very well in every climate. In regions that are arid, it makes a great ground cover for garden areas that resist irrigation and planting.

3 Ways you can use gravel

To blur the boundaries


You can let your plants spill onto the gravel to soften the edges of the path. A perfect plant to use is 'Tom Thumb.' It spreads its delicate branches on the path. The branches turn red during fall.

To combine with larger stones

Mix rocks with gravel to add an interesting look. This technique may also solve the drainage problem. Gravel path, bordered on the right with maidenhair ferns and 'Libelle' hydrangea, and straddled with a bunch of flat, large stones creates a bridge over a runoff channel.

To add a rock border

When the adjacent planting beds and the gravel path are new, the transformation from plain soil to gravel can make a garden look unfinished. A good solution is to define the edges of the path with bigger stones. As plants begin to grow, they will automatically tumble on and hide the bigger stones.

Basics of gravel

Gravel comes in a range of different sizes from ⅛- to 1½-inch. They are available in two forms: natural river rocks (also called natural pebbles) or man made crushed rock with irregular edges.

Choosing the right kind

It is best to consult a landscaping expert or visit a local landscape supply yard for experiencing the feel and look of different kinds of gravel. Consider the ideas given below for choosing the right kind for your garden.


  • For areas that are high in traffic, such as patios and paths, use manmade crushed rock. The pieces bind together and create a more stable walking surface. One of the most popular sizes is ⅜ inch. It is all-purpose gravel, serving indeed any purpose you can imagine. To create a softer surface under feet, make use of finer natural pebbles.
  • For areas that are low in traffic, an attractive choice is river rock. Its smoother, larger pieces are less stable underfoot in comparison to crushed rock. However, they have a better presence.

Laying the groundwork

Several people suggest excavating six to eight inches for creating a gravel path and layering sand, crushed rock, and gravel; however, most landscaping designers do not recommend this method. This is because the smaller pieces start to make their way up, spoiling the look of the gravel. It is best to lay a two- to three-inch thick gravel layer right on the weed-free, bare soil that has been compacted with a roller or tamper.

Make sure to rare the gravel regularly and keep it tidy. This will ensure that the path remains beautiful all year long.  Several people may suggest several landscaping ideas, besides your own. You would do well to consult an experienced landscaping expert before you launch your project.