Improving your soils structure and nutritional levels is of utmost importance in today's gardening world.
Many DIY gardeners love to go to the local nurseries and big box home stores and buy pre-mixed bags of potting soil, compost, and other soil improvement products. We must all be aware of what we are bringing into our gardens and understand the value or lack of a particular soil amending product.
Many of the bagged potting soils are made up of a lot of wood based ground up products, fillers like perlite to help suspend and hold moisture in the soil mix and other nutrient enriched products to supply needed food to what ever tree, shrub, or vegetables you have or plan to install.
Keep in mind, plants grow in natural soil best,so it is my opinion incorporating natural top soil along with the bagged planting mixes, provides the needed natural minerals and nutrients that nature produces via biological actions.
Using organic compost like Malibu compost and other local brands which can be purchased at most of your
nurseries will add the needed boost to your planter mixes that will produce fantastic results.
I use compost in my soil blends especially when doing any containerized gardening as this technique guarantees soil quality and consistency in our mixes and gives all our plant materials a great start and environment to reside in.
Basic soil test are encouraged to be done so that you will know your actual nutrient levels in your soil when planting in the ground. By contacting your nursery professional or your local county extension office, you can find out where plus how to take some samples of your soil where you are planning to plant and see what you may be lacking in nutrient levels or have in excess and need to modify your soil to achieve maximum positive results for your gardens.
This may seem like a lot of effort to plant a garden but, the effort now is worth more than the mental stress later of trying to figure out why your fruits or vegetables aren't performing well.
* Be sure to click on the Hydretain logo at the foot of my website introduction page to take advantage of the special discount code on exclusive Ecologel Solutions products especially the Hydretain soil moisture managing products that we use on a professional basis.
With the availability of water to water landscapes becoming more challenging each day, being aware of what you can do to maintain a healthy, low water usage landscape is possible if you take a little time out to educate yourself on the products and technology available today to address the challenges. I will share a short list of valuable tools that you can include in your " Landscaping Toolbox " to deal with many irrigation related challenges When it comes to your landscaping.
By incorporating these suggestions and tips mentioned you can feel confident that you have done your part top help save water and the water you use on your landscape is being used efficiently.
With today's restrictions on many aspects of our lives due to the recent covid pandemic, many home owners, apartment, town home, and condo residents are turning to gardening to help ease the stress and feed the body fresh, fruits and veggies.
The latest trend that is underway is the establishment of Edible Gardens. These gardens are made from various construction materials and pre-made gardening bins, tubs, and containers. Something as simple as a cut whiskey barrel, to a stainless steel raised planter that will add not only fresh food to your table but a positive accent to your landscape are available online and at your local garden centers.
Developing small planters with various herbs, lettuce, and other greens will keep your soups tasty and your immune system in tune. Adding dwarf fruit trees and berry bushes to a deep well planter or stainless steel planter will provide you with fresh fruit and elements for your energy smoothies and dried fruit snacks.
By adding a composting bin if space allows, will allow you to complete your edible garden arrangement and provide you with rich home made compost to enhance your yields and save you money on fertilizers.
Do your research, check out the many suppliers online and local garden centers for various types of garden planters that will fit your space and production needs and 'GET GROWING'
2020 produced some of the most stressful and challenging times for us all around the world.
Being able to share living spaces within our home and business environments has become a art form and to be able to find that special 'space' where one can retreat,refresh, and renew has become the new norm.
Outdoor living rooms, additional remote outdoor office spaces, entertainment centers and speciality gardens are being requested and desired to help us relax and renew our spirits and create a positive environment for our family and friends.
By adding a inexpensive patio pergola, you can create a shady spot for those hot and humid summer days ahead. The use of fiberglass as aconstruction material for the pergolas and patio covers have proven themselves worthy of the investment cost when looking at the long term durability, beauty function, energy and resource saving advantages of utilizing fiberglass componets.
Creating sensual gardens with an array of fragrant, locally sourced) plant materials are the hot ticket to comfort and 'Zen' for many residential , business, and assisted and retirement living establishments. The use of aromatic salvia clevelandii, and lavandulas relax the mind and cleanses the soul.
The lacy shade of the acacia trees and forrest green splendor of upright rosemary shrubs releaves one from the hot sun rays and produces columns of woodsy fragrance to that small front yard coffee bustro 'Zen Zone'
Create a peaceful Garden this year as we all shelter in place for just a little while longer God willing and release that stress in our lives which we all deserve less of.
Water restrictions are in effect in many cities and counties around the country. Massachusetts MWW: Auburn, Dover, Foxborough : Limitations on the hours of the day you may water.
Southwest Florida / SWF WMD: Phase I water shortage restrictions apply to portions of Hillsborough,Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties.
Calif Water Services: Waste water penalties for customers when water-use restrictions are found to be violated: Antelope Valley, Bakersfield, East Los Angeles, Rancho Dominguez.
By using common sense and advanced technical research tested products to help reduce and effectively utilize available water for our outdoor landscapes, we will be able to enjoy those landscapes and create environmental harmony with nature.
Weather based Wi-Fi irrigation controllers are available not only for residential and commercial properties but, there are now Wi-Fi based hose bib attachments for those that use the water hose as their basis of watering their plants, veggies and landscapes.
Products that retain available moisture such as compost, mulch, humane based products, organic matter and soil moisture management products like Hydretain, help effectively manage available water smartly.
Go to your local nurseries and garden centers to purchase your compost, humate based products, organic soil matter and mulches. You can purchase soil moisture management products by going to the website (www.hydretain.com/unique-environments.com ) and save 5% by using the discount code available.
Be sure to contact your local LICENSED landscape irrigation professional for help and advice on having an efficient, operating irrigation system at your home or business.
With spring already underway and various regions of our USA getting warmed up finally, the interest to get out and do some container gardening is encouraging gardeners to purchase gardening pots, containers, and various vegetable and flower starts to grow.
One of the things that is most important and a somewhat time consuming task to the gardener of the 21st century is properly watering the potted plants they have purchased. Various brands of potting soils tout the benefits of this ' special soil additive ' or that special 'water retention' ingredient but beware ! Not all potting soil mixes are really advisable to be using with your container plants because of proven scientific data that shows an ingredient used in some of those 'Water Retention Soils ' 'Polyacrylamide Hydrogels or other wise known as 'root watering crystals' are constructed of Acrylamide which is a lethal neurotoxin.
Acrylamide has been found to cause cancer in laboratory test * It can pass through the skin and also be inhaled as dust.
Years ago 'Cross-Linked Polymers' were the craze of most gardeners and landscapers. I used the polymers in various landscaping projects with the hopes of reducing water usage on lawns and my most interesting experience was installing too many polymers within a front lawn turf installation and once the polymer's hydrated, the lawn was like walking on a 300 sq, foot sponge ! So much for landscape use of polymers for me after that experience.
There are safer products that are available today that do not have the chemical dangers as the before mentioned Polyacrylamide Hydrogels that break down naturally in the soil after so many months and have no ill health effects on humans or pets which makes them safe for food production and around the home use.
Also by practicing safe 'Old Style' gardening practices such as compost use and mulching, today's busy gardener can have productive and enjoyable container gardens that will add good health and social benefits to their homes and communities.
Please check out this link to learn more about a product we use in our award winning projects that help our clients reduce and improve water use in their container plantings.
* Research notes derived from a great article by Linda Chalker-Scott, PH.D., Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Washington State University. " The Myth of Polyacrylamide Hydrogels "
There are various landscape rebate programs available that pay home owners and commercial property owners cash rebates on upgrading their existing landscaping to reduce water use and to contain valuable rain water runoff onto the existing properties via rain gardens, bio-swells, etc..
Here in Southern California we have a state wide website: ( www.bewaterwise.com ) by entering in your site location the website will link you into available rebate programs and their requirements if they are available within your area. I encourage you also to check with your local water supplier or to whom you pay your water/utility bill to as they may also offer generous rebates on retro-fitting your existing landscape irrigation system and landscaping to become more water conservative.
Water thrifty landscaping does not always mean getting a 'Desert Look' or installing a bunch of cactus all over your old lawn areas. ( even though some of my clients love this look ) Incorporating native shrubs, trees, and ground covers will improve the over all look and environmental sustainability for beneficial insects and birds that help keep our living areas safe, beautiful, and economically sustainable.
I will be sharing in future blogs tips on the basics of native plant selection, wild life and local ecosystem health, growing native plants in containers , lawn substitutes, growing native food gardens, and much more so be sure to check back here at Ed's Blogs and be sure to leave your comments on suggested topics and questions on any of my postings.
Thank you !
Rain water in Southern California is a very precious resource. We usually only receive it during our winter months ( November through about Februry or March ) and in the past couple years, we have not really received that much rain at all.
Retaining rain water on-site is not only a wise move but it is also a great sustainable move too. By retaining rain water on-site by methods such as dry stream beds, rain barrels, and rain water gardens, we can keep that precious water on site and provide water for our landscapes plus reduce storm water run off and possible pesticide and herbicide pollution.
Rain gardens also provide useful needed environments for beneficial insects and bird habitats. By doing our part creating these gardens, this helps keep our ecosystem running smoothly.
You can create your own water garden by designing your current rain water down spout gutters to drain off the house into man-made bio-swale areas leading away from your home or business. The job is a lot easier to design when your down spouts lead down into an adjacent flower bed or grass area as it will be easier to design a natural, right sized, efficient water retention space . Go to your local nurseries, licensed landscape professionals and water supplier entities ( Who you pay your water bill to ) that provide needed supplies and information on where and how you can get help building your rain garden.
Also go to the Metropolitan Water Districts (MWD ) website: www.bewaterwise.com for more information on building water gardens and to learn more water thrifty and sustainable landscaping ideas at their informative website.
With the availability of livable working spaces in todays environment, it is exciting to see new improved varieties of flowers and vegetables that do not require a lot of growing space.
Burpee , the age old vegetable and flower seed producer ( They have been producing quality seeds since 1876 ) has a new line of vegetable varieties called the Spacer Saver line.
These vegetables are suited for the end con Sumer who loves to grow their own food and want healthy fresh foods for their families to consume.
The 'Space Savers' collection provide plants that thrive in small areas and containers which is is very hot with the increase in his rise condos and town homes in a large number of big cities around the U.S. I am listing some of the favorites I feel will be big sellers for the coming year ahead and for those of us that live in the sunny states like California, Florida, Arizona, and other warm winter southwest states we can take advantage of some of the varieties now.
Here's my top 10 'Hot List'
1. Jungle Parrot Pepper : grows 12-18" hgt. x 12-18" width.
2.Atlas Tomato : 24-36" hgt. x 24-36" width.
3. Red Robin Basil : 18-24" hgt. x 18-24" width.
4. Sweet Dani Lemon Basil : 22-24" hgt. x 22-24" width.
5. Seascape Strawberry : 12-18" hgt. x 24-36" width.
6. * Gold Standard Cucumber : 8-10" x 48-60" width. These cucumbers can produce 5 times the amount of beta carotene of other garden cucumbers. A member of the 'Boost Collection' of vegetables selected for their higher levels of antioxidants.
7. * Beanaza Bean : 15" hgt. x 10" hgt. Great small space gardening choice. Heavy producer.
8. * Big Flat Head Cabbage : 12-18"hgt. x 24-30" width. Speciality cabbage with mid tasty leaves. Very sweet dense interior, great for sandwich wraps.
9. * Bloomsdale Spinach : 10-12" hgt. x 6-8" width. Withstands heat better than other varieties. Heavy producer, sweet non bitter taste.
10. Quickstar Kohlrabi : 8-12" hgt. x 9-12" width. Slow bolt can be stir-fried in strips, grated for salads or eaten raw like a carrot. Wonderful source of dietary fiber, and vitamins C , B , and minerals.
Check out online at burtpeehomegardensbrand.com for even more varieties and be sure to check back at 'Eds Blogs" for more unique tips and ideas for your home garden or business roof top garden.
Did you know that there are a number of shrubs, ground covers, and trees that can be utilized within your landscape that will not only look fantastic but also give you back in return beneficial medicinal healing properties that have been known and used throughout history ?
I have been receiving quite a number of request for various landscape designs that incorporate natural, herbal, medicinal, and otherwise people and pet friendly plant choice's to beautify one's landscape. The use of shrubs like Rosemary, Lavander,and Roses have brought not only beauty to my client's landscape but medicinal value to their projects also.
I have listed what I call the " Simple 7" landscape shrubs,trees, and ground cover that is simple to grow and in most cases easy to grow in various climates within the United States and other parts of the globe.
Here is my list:
Aloe Vera: The gel from this plant is good for burns, wounds,dry skin, insect bites, and fungal infections, anemia, poor digestive function, and liver disorders.
Apple: Consume fresh apple slices for constipation, sour apples as a diuretic, infusions for rheumatic pains, feverish colds. The juice used undiluted or mixed with olive oil as a household standby for cuts and abrasions.
Lavender: Take the flowers and dry them in bunches covered with paper bags to harvest the flowerets as they fall. Also harvest towards the end of the flowering of the plant.
Applications include use as a essential oil, massage oil, and as a infusion for feverous exhaustion.
Mint: Infusion for nausea, travel sickness, indigestion, migraines.
As a wash for inflammation, repel mosquitoes, scabies.
As a massage oil for headaches, and fever.
Rose: Cream for dry or inflamed skin.
Lotion as a moisturizing lotion.
Rose hips for diarrhea, stomach weakness.
Massage oil to relieve stress and exhaustion.
Rosemary: As an essential oil, stimulant in feverous exhaustion.
As a massage oil for aching joints and muscles.For the scalp for hair growth. and around the temples for headaches.
Yarrow: Use as an infusion wash for eczema, inhalation for hay fever and mild asthma. As a poultice for cuts and grazes. As a compress, infusion of diluted tincture to soothe varicose veins.
As you can see, there are many beneficial uses of numerous commonly used landscaping plants, shrubs, and trees that will not only provide you with years of horticultural beauty, but also with years of beneficial medicinal uses.
* I researched the excellent book by Penelope Ody " The Complete Medicinal Herbal" to obtain my above mentioned information