How to take care of your indoor seedlings

How to take care of your indoor seedlings

Spring is officially around the corner! Although the weather may not have begun warming significantly where you live, there’s no reason you can’t start your growing season a little early. After visiting my local nurseries for the past month now and repeatedly being told that no new herb or vegetable plants had come in yet, I decided to invest in a few simple tools and start planting some seeds indoors. Whether you’ve got the itch to grow right now, or you’re interested in getting a jump start on your gardening, there are a few things you can do today to start growing something good and make sure that it thrives well into the warm season.

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How to Safely Transport Your Plants

How to Safely Transport Your Plants

guest post by Tess Halpren

(image by Brina Blum on Unsplash)

There has been a ton of research to establish why plants have such a positive impact on the environment, and on our well-being. They add more than just aesthetics to a room. Some of their many other benefits include

  • Improved air quality

  • Improved humidity levels

  • Reduced stress and improved well-being

  • The ability to evoke a calmer, happier effect

  • Reduced negativity in the workplace and home

  • Ability to absorb noise

  • Help in saving energy

  • Aid in speeding up recovery from illnesses

  • Help in reduction of carbon dioxide levels

Based on these impressive benefits, it’s no surprise people hold their plants so dearly. And if you’re planning on moving or relocating in 2019, the thought of how to best transport your plants might have already came to mind. The Zebra created this helpful guide on how to effectively and safely transport your plants. It includes best practices, safety precautions, and helpful tips for before, during, and after your move.

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5 Things you can do now to have a winter food garden

5 Things you can do now to have a winter food garden

Most people who garden believe that the growing season ends when the weather begins to turn cold and morning dew turns to frost. This is absolutely not true, though. A few places (USDA zones 0-2) have extremely short growing seasons that make it very difficult to grow vegetables outdoors without using specialized techniques and growing plants that are uniquely adapted to grow in that climate. However most people, even those who live in places where it reliably snows every winter (like Ontario, Canada), can continue to grow fresh herbs, vegetables, and even some flowers all year round.

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The Five Steps to an Eco-Friendly Garden

The Five Steps to an Eco-Friendly Garden

Guest post by Katie Myers

Did you know that 44% of young people are unhappy with the current state of the environment? There are many ways that we can help to improve the state of the environment, and many of these we try to practise daily such as recycling and leaving the car at home when we can. However, whilst many of us often try so hard to make our homes eco-friendly, we often forget about our gardens.

Becoming an eco-friendly gardener is not nearly as hard as it sounds. There are just five easy changes that you can make to transform your outdoor space into an eco-friendly one. The right gardening techniques will not only help you to achieve your eco-friendly status, but will also attract a wider range of wildlife into your garden, help you save money on your water bills and can even help you to lose weight.

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7 things you’re doing wrong in your garden (and how to fix them)

7 things you’re doing wrong in your garden (and how to fix them)

If you have been gardening for a while, you’ve probably realized that making mistakes is a big part of the process of learning. Even the most experienced gardeners make errors of judgment that can lead to a failing or otherwise unsuccessful harvest. Some problems are inevitable when it comes to growing your own food: weather changes can ruin a harvest in a single day, so if you are not prepared (or available) to act fast in case of unexpected frost, heat wave, extended periods of rain or humidity, or sudden insect infestation, all of your hard work can be ruined very quickly…

Whether you’re a neophyte, a seasoned grower, or a business owner looking to make a profit from your harvest (or just earn a little extra cash on the side from your farm), you may be making some of these common mistakes that growers make, all of which affect the health, productivity, and viability of your garden in a major way.

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Preparing Your Bee-Attracting Garden for Winter

Preparing Your Bee-Attracting Garden for Winter

Guest post by Clara Beaufort

Bees, unfortunately, are disappearing at a rapid rate. Those of us who are already gardeners are doing their part to sole the problem by setting up a bee-friendly series of plants. The Honey Bee Conservancy offers some tips for those who are not aware of what makes a garden attractive to pollinators like bees. Bee-friendly gardening is a year-round task, and with fall approaching it’s important to prepare. Winterizing your garden and planting cool weather-blooming species that will keep the bees coming back are crucial steps in making fall adjustments.

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How to Build A Bug Hotel (Infographic)

How to Build A Bug Hotel (Infographic)

Guest post by Eamon Fennelly

For the environmentally-conscious gardener, building a bug hotel can be a wonderful and rewarding DIY project. Not only do bug hotels provide an attractive garden feature, but they also attract beneficial insects that provide natural pollination and pest control. What’s more, building a bug hotel is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy, and is a great way to teach children about the natural world.

Constructed from plant materials and common garden odds and ends, bug hotels offer a cost-effective and fun way to help preserve local wildlife by giving nearby insects a safe place to shelter. When it comes to designing a bug hotel, there aren’t any set rules, meaning you can get as creative as you want.

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Room to Grow: 8 things you need to do to make your container garden thrive this summer

Room to Grow: 8 things you need to do to make your container garden thrive this summer

Whether you have already begun your container gardening adventure or are just getting started, you’ve probably realized that container gardening presents many advantages over traditional in-ground gardening. Aside from being a great way to grow some of your own food in small spaces, as a container gardener you can exert more control over a number of variables that can sabotage an in-ground garden, like weather, pests, and soil quality. I covered these and other matters in last month’s post on container gardening. This post addresses some of the practical matters involved in not only starting your container garden, but helping it to thrive. Here are 8 things you should be doing to keep your container garden healthy, happy, and productive well into the fall season.

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10 Reasons to Plant a Garden This Fall (it’s not too late!)

10 Reasons to Plant a Garden This Fall (it’s not too late!)

Fall is here and soon after, winter, and while many of us have put away the gardening tools and supplies, picked our last harvests, and composted the leftover stalks and roots, there’s no need to wait until the spring to begin again. Growing your own food is something you can do year-round if you begin this fall. If you’ve been considering fall (and winter) gardening but haven’t done anything about it, here are ten reasons to consider it a little more seriously…

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What Gardens Can Teach Us about the Power and Challenge of Community

What Gardens Can Teach Us about the Power and Challenge of Community

(part 1 of 2)

There are many advantages to community gardens, but also a lot of misconceptions about them. Most studies have focused on their health benefits, with some citing reduced risk of obesity, improved mental health, and encouraging diets that are richer in fruits and vegetables. Other studies challenge these views, pointing out that people who engage in community gardening are already likely to maintain fairly healthy lifestyles. Some have also pointed out that community gardeners engage in gardening practices that create a high carbon footprint (using synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides and growing things that require large amounts of water are 2 such practices), and that most urban gardeners demonstrate a lack of agricultural experience.

Doubtless, community gardens can have a dark side, but overall, the consensus is that they are a positive development, improving the life and health of local communities and addressing problems like urban blight, food deserts, and stormwater runoff.

The view from history, though, suggests that there is another important aspect of community gardens that is hardly explored. My interviews with Brother Rashad and Pastor Willie Wilson of Union Temple Baptist Church in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, DC suggest that community gardens embody our collective pasts as well as enable us to build new relationships of trust and mutual appreciation. This post is the first of two posts that explore some of these aspects of community gardening in the Washington, DC area.

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How to Build a Sustainable Garden

How to Build a Sustainable Garden

Guest post by Matthew Smith

According to the Brundtland Report, created by the United Nations back in 1978, sustainability or sustainable development includes design, construction, operations and maintenance practices that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In other words, being sustainable means being able to recognize the importance of thinking ahead, not looking for and applying short-term solutions for benefit.

Nowadays, it is becoming even more important to be aware of the exact impact of your actions on your community and ways to minimize the possibility of further, unnecessary damage.

Even though humans are becoming well aware of the terrible influence they've had on the planet, green solutions are usually expensive. There are, though, solutions which are cost friendly.

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Spring planting: how to have an abundant harvest from late spring into late fall

Spring planting: how to have an abundant harvest from late spring into late fall

Growing some of your own food has numerous, scientifically proven physical, emotional, and mental health benefits. To anyone who has committed to a healthy lifestyle, it’s no surprise that eating a mostly plant-based diet is better for your health and can help you avoid some common pitfalls of aging, such as developing chronic inflammation and its associated illnesses. In the United States, food gardening is at its highest levels in the past decade, with the largest growth in participation among young households.

In my book, Go Green without Going Broke, I have written in detail about some of the benefits of growing your own food, and offered advice about how to do so, even if you’ve never grown anything before. Depending on the growing zone you live in, or the equipment at your disposal, you may have already started preparing your vegetable and herb garden by sowing seeds or transplanting seedlings. Today’s post focuses on a few key strategies that I have found to be very effective for reaping an abundant harvest that starts in spring and continues throughout the fall season, producing fresh food for you to enjoy for many months to come.

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Some unexpected ways that gardening helps fight chronic inflammation

Some unexpected ways that gardening helps fight chronic inflammation

Last week I wrote that switching your home cleaning and personal care supplies to non-toxic varieties is a good way to decrease your chances of developing chronic inflammation. This week’s post discusses another strategy – gardening -- that also helps with prevention, and brings relief from chronic inflammation in ways you might not have realized.

I know what you’re thinking: grow the food that prevents or remedies inflammation, and it will help you make most of the food you eat plant-based. (Mostly plant-based diets have been clinically demonstrated to result in a dramatic decrease in the symptoms, health problems, and end results of chronic inflammation.) Well yes, that is true, and this post will give you some tips on what to grow, along with advice from an expert gardener about how best to grow it.

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Trees and the Environment: Why Our Life Depends on Them

Trees and the Environment: Why Our Life Depends on Them

Guest post and infographic by Eamon Fennelly, Capitol Garden Services (Dublin, Ireland)

This fascinating infographic makes a compelling case for our interdependence on trees, with information about the role that trees play in our environment and on human health.

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Winter Garden Chronicle: What I’ve Learned from Winter Gardening

Winter Garden Chronicle: What I’ve Learned from Winter Gardening

If you read my post from last October 15, you’ll remember that I embarked on my second attempt at winter gardening this year. Happily, this attempt has been a lot more effective and (most of) my plants have so far survived the cold and snow outside. Although I’m far from confident in claiming this venture a success, it has taught me some valuable lessons about year-round gardening that I’d like to share with you.

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