Successful Indoor Outdoor Gardening Guide for Absolute Beginners

Learn how to grow plants indoors with tips and guidelines. Growing one tomato plant outdoors would produce up to 10 pounds fresh tomatoes, but in small pots you can grow herbs for cooking, there is nothing better than fresh. 

 So, your last experience with indoor gardening concluded after trying to grow basil on the windowsill of your kitchen, which ended tragically for your plant? Herbs-that-will-grow-indoors-basil-rosemary-thyme-parsley-oregano Don’t feel frustrated, you can learn how to look after plants at home pretty easily if you follow several important guidelines and with some basic knowledge about indoor gardening.

Why bother starting an indoor garden in the first place?

 Everyone-Can-Be-a-Successful-Indoor-GardenerThere are so many reasons for adding plants to your home décor. First and foremost, home plants will add beauty to your home and are actually pretty easy to grow and look after. They also keep the air indoors fresh, they give off oxygen at night, so this is a plus.

Also, you can grow your own clean and luscious and fresh herbs which you will take pride upon and can add to your meals. Trust, me you will feel great every time you add a few of those green basil leaves to your homemade pasta. This will also help you save money for buying herbs from the store too.

Speaking of which, remember last time you bought tomatoes and the price tag on them? By planting a single tomato plant in your home garden you can grow about 10 pounds of fruit per season. Imagine the savings you will be making if you plant more veggies at home.

What are the basic guidelines to follow in order to successfully start up your own indoor garden?

Here are the basic rules to follow if you want to successfully plant and grow your own herbs and plants indoors.

Choose suitable containers

Remember that the size of the pot or another container you choose will affect the growth and size of your plant later on. Avoid using tiny pots for planting herbs and edible plants. The tight space will constrict the growth of the roots and thus will hinder the development of your plant.

As a rule of the thumb, choose a container which is at least 6 inches wide and 6 inches deep. In case you want to use your windowsill, you can choose a deeper but narrower container which fits the space you have allotted for your plants. Note about plain terracotta pots are porus and plant will need more watering, but a painted pot would be a better choice. You can even plant several different plants in a larger or longer container to add to the variety and save space.

Always make sure that the container of your choice has at least one drainage hole on the bottom. This will allow for the water to flow freely through the soil instead of getting stuck inside the pot, drenching the soil and possibly damaging and even killing the roots, in other words, drowning the roots.

In case you don’t have a good spot in your house you can consider grow tents for your plants.

Rejuvenate soil in your indoor-outdoor containers for plantsReplacing-the-soil-in-flower-pots-before-new-plant

In order to keep your indoor garden blooming and producing food year after year, remember to repot your plant every year. The reason is that most soil mixes are peat-based, and they tend to decompose and compress over time. This can cause problems with the proper drainage of the water, as well as the build-up of salts which can lead to less space for the plant to grow, slowing down of the growth, stress and even death of your home plants.

You can add some perlite to peat based bagged soils in order to improve the aeration necessary for the proper growth of the plants.

Also, remember to flush out the soil at least once a month. You can do that under the faucet or outdoors. By flushing the soil in the pot with water you will wash away any salts which have built up from the tap water deposits and the fertilizers. Note about water: If you live in a hard water area you might consider using a cheap bottle spring water, I’ve found the plants do better for me.

It is a good idea to insert wicks in the drainage holes of your pots which will help wick away any excess water and reduce the risk of the roots rotting. This can be something as simple as yarn.

If you are determined to do your best for your home garden, you may want to mix your own potting soil or rejuvenate old potting soil. You can use perlite, coconut coir, composted bark, pumice, peat, vermiculite or other additives like a time release amendment to improve the soil at home. Rejuvenating soil in pots will almost guarantee good results for your newly potted plants.  All amendments can be found at your garden center, if you need help just ask.

Ensure that your indoor garden gets sufficient light

Light is essential for the growth of plants, and edible plants, in particular, love a lot of light. So, choose a spot where your plants will get at least 12 hours of direct light if you want them to grow strong and healthy.

For places with limited light, you can choose some easy to grow plants which are not so pretentious about the lighting such as basil, mint, scallions or arugula. They will grow in limited lighting conditions pretty well.

If necessary, you can use grow lights to mimic the sun or another type of artificial lighting to ensure the light needed by your plants at home.

Water the indoor garden in moderation 

The most common mistake which novice home gardeners make is over-watering their plants.  More does not mean better when it comes to watering plants. In order to avoid making this rookie mistake get into the habit of checking how dry the soil in the pot is. Insert your finger in it at about an inch and a half and if the soil is soggy and drenched then abstain from watering the plant and if necessary try to drain out the excess water. In case the soil is dry, it is time to water the plants. After watering your garden, the soil should feel nice and damp.

On the other hand, pouring too little water in the pots and containers can also hinder the growth of your garden plants. Make sure you add enough water so that it starts seeping out of the drainage holes. Shallow watering can lead to shallow root development which results in the growth of smaller and weaker plants. If you have a deep sink or pot you can submerse your plant once a week, be sure to drain before placing back in its favorite spot.

There is no strict schedule or rule for watering the plants. Check the soil and also keep the season and weather conditions in mind as well. In the summer, when the sun is bright and hot, your plants will need more water, as it will evaporate much quicker than in the colder days and seasons.

The best time to water the plants in the summer season is before sunrise, or at least before noon when the sun is high. This will help prevent the water from evaporating too quickly and leaving the soil dry.

Choose the right plants for your indoor garden

Chosing-the-right-container-for-new-plantsBest Plants to grow at home
Some of the best edible plants to grow at home are also the healthiest and tastiest ones and less expensive than purchasing those small packages of herbs. You can grow  garlic greens, scallions, microgreens, mushrooms, salad greens, tomatoes, chives, cilantro, ginger, and all kinds of aromatic herbs such as mint, basil or rosemary. 

Not only will you be saving money and producing the healthy and organic food you want to feed your family, but with a home garden you will find a hobby which grows pretty quickly on you, so pretty soon you will be enjoying watching your plants grow and picking the fruits of your labor to use in your cooking.

So, good luck with your indoor gardening, and remember that apart from light, water and nutrients, plants need a lot of love too, so give them your love and they will pay you back with fresh delicious fruits and veggies. And if you have a question I would be glad to help. 

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3 Ideas To Update Any Backyard

3-Ideas-To-Update-Any-BackyardThey say home is where the heart is. It’s where countless memories are made with special people, where you come for solace and peace and where you go every night to rest and rejuvenate. Homes are truly special places for homeowners and families.

However, the inside of a home isn’t the only part of a home where memories are made. Your home’s backyard space has just as much potential for creating special moments with patios, conversation seating sets and other outdoor living accessories. If you’re on a budget but also want to add a new spark of character to your backyard, here are three ideas to update your backyard.

1. Make A Tree Bench

Adding a tree bench to your backyard
Source: Pinterest

Seating is essential in any place you want to spend lots of time in. While people may enjoy running around and standing for some time, having enough seats for family and guests is also important. You can create a unique seat by making a bench out of a tree. You simply have to build around the tree with the trunk serving as a base to build out from. Investing in wood isn’t super expensive, and you’ll have a seating arrangement that’s very unique.

2. Create A Trellis

Creating a Trellis in your backyard
Source: Pinterest

A trellis will transform your backyard to a fairytale spot for photos and flowers. You can make your own trellis with wood or metal and plant flowers or ivy on it that can grow all over the trellis to hide the structure. You’ll take your backyard to the next level with a secret garden vibe from a trellis.

3. Add Shade With A Pergola

Adding a Pergola to your backyard
Source: Pinterest

If your backyard soaks up the sunshine, that’s an awesome feature but not super ideal for all hours of the day. A pergola is an inexpensive investment that will let you escape from the sun’s beams while still staying outside.

If home is where the heart is, then you should do what’s good for the heart. Adding simple updates to your backyard can take any home to the next level.

3 Ideas To Update Any Backyard

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 Gardening for kids: 5 Links to get your child more involved outdoors

Gardening-for-kids-5-links-to-get-your-child-more-involved-outdoorsIt would be fair to say that we are firmly in an era that is dominated by PlayStation’s, the internet and everything else that involves tech.

It means that gardening is often forgotten about. This is despite the fact that it has countless benefits associated with it, including:

  • First and foremost, it’s fun
  • It gives children responsibility
  • It provides them with information on nutrition (key in today’s world)
  • Allows them to develop cooperation skills
  • The list could go on!

Bearing this in mind, today’s article is a collection of links that we have stumbled across through the internet over the last few months. Hopefully, by the end of proceedings, you’ll have a much better understanding of how to get your child more involved in gardening, whilst keeping it fun at the same time.

House Beautiful – How to make gardening fun

For those of you who perhaps don’t quite know where to start with your child’s new hobby, let’s direct you to House Beautiful. They have collected just five points which provide an excellent starting base and show what you need to do to get your garden adventure started for your little ones.

Avas Flowers – Go bright and colorful

As we all know, kids love bright colors. This is where the  Avas Flowers Pinterest page comes into the picture, so kids can see photos of colorful plants and flowers. Your little ones really will be enticed outside if your garden is decorated with such plants, so take a look at the Avas Flowers website to read more about what you should be turning to.

Life Hacker – The easiest vegetables to grow for beginner gardeners

Little else needs to be said about this next suggestion. Put simply, the article tells you some of the easiest vegetables to grow for beginners. Children obviously fall into this category and if they can see that the garden is producing something tangible (which they can taste!) it can make all of the difference.

Express – How to create a children-friendly garden

This next article comes courtesy of the Express, although it has been written with Alan Titchmarsh (a leading gardener in the UK, for those not aware).

It goes into all sorts of ways to make your garden child-friendly, which should be your main focus as you integrate this new hobby in your family life. It doesn’t just touch upon the obvious but also talks about some of the lesser-known safety factors such as avoiding poisonous plans etc.

BBC – How to set up a wormery

Granted, most parents are going to wince at this final suggestion. Unfortunately, like it or not, kids love worms. A wormery provides them the perfect reason to get out to the outdoors and get up close and personal with these fascinating bugs.

Over the weeks they’ll see all the little tunnels these creatures create and it really will provide the perfect excuse to get out more.




Green stalk


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7 Tips For Protecting Your Garden From The Weather

7-Tips-For-Protecting-Your-Garden-From-The-WeatherFor those of us lucky enough to live in a continent with all four seasons, getting outdoors in all weathers is of top concern. One of the best ways to make the most of your own backyard is through gardening. Setting up a garden for your family, or yourself means getting to know your outdoor environment and familiarizing yourself with DIY tools and tricks. With a wide variety of weather to worry about, new plants are at risk of being flooded out, while certain fruits and vegetables could dry out in hot summers if they don’t get enough shade.

Properly weatherproofing your garden takes the right tools and some planning. With these tips, you’ll be able to protect your garden, as it grows.

Know When To Prune

Pruning back trees and bushes helps you control how much shade there is in your yard. If you’ve got delicate flowers in your yard, planting them next to large, thick trees protect them from wind, rain, and frost. If you’ve got plants that need a lot of sunlight or space, pruning back the larger trees is a good way to make better use of sunlight. If you’ve got older trees with complicated root systems, they could be crowding out younger plants as well. You’ll want to use pruning shears on bushes and brush, but a chainsaw often works best for bigger bushes, or old trees. You can use the pieces you’ve pruned in a compost heat, or for firewood. Make sure you do your research into the best chainsaws for firewood, when you need to prune older trees without risking their health. pruning-shears-on-bushes-and-brush-but-a-chainsaw-often-works-best-for-bigger-bushes-or-old-trees

Add Wind Barriers

Even if your weather report doesn’t include snow, winter weather like high winds, and frost, can still cause soil erosion. If you can’t raise your beds, adding wind barriers can make the difference. Whether that means sandbags in your flower beds, a rock wall, or staking and tying down young trees or vines, or creating covered beds, your options for wind barriers depends on your space, budget, and weather conditions.

Create Raised Beds

Creating raised flower beds with a rock wall or wooden planks has a variety of benefits for weatherproofing your garden. Raised beds allow you to minimize access for garden pests, and protect against various types of extreme weather. They warm up faster in the spring, making it easier to resist frost. Raised beds are easier to irrigate, so they won’t be exposed to too much or too little water. You can also create beds that are much more portable, which makes it easier to move them when they are crowding out other plants, or if they’re more exposed to cold, wind, and rain.

Build Cold Frames, Or Green Houses

Young plants tend to be the most vulnerable to everything from erosion by excessive rain, to high winds. One solution is to build a cold frame structure, a temporary garden bed to give your tender young winter plants a chance to thrive. There are different ways to construct a cold frame, but ideally, you want a weather-resistant wood treated with copper naphthenate, a good ventilation system (you can get a kit at your local home and garden store) and a sash that slopes southward to maximize exposure to sunlight as the temperature drops. Warm beds, heated with copper wires are another option, and if you’re particularly handy, cold frames equipped with solar panels or a full greenhouse can also help keep your garden toasty in colder weathers, and keep plants healthy. It all depends on your space and budget.

Know Your Plants

If you’re going to garden, you need to know which plants do best in your area, at various times of the year. If you’re in a city, where sidewalk salt is in common use, you’ll want salt-resistant varieties like Russian sage and butterfly weed. If you’re living in an arid climate, choose drought-resistant cacti and succulents. Planting frost-sensitive varieties at the foot of the bigger, hardier plants can also help keep them protected from frost and wind.

Protect Young Trees From Wind And Frost

Planting and shaping smaller trees is a good way to protect your home from the elements, provide shade, and improve the air quality in and around your home. But slim, sapling trees are vulnerable to strong wind and frost, which can kill them before they’ve had a chance to grow the needed root structure. Using stakes and ties to protect young trees and shrubs can help, but a garden fleece can help keep the soil warm and allow the tree to grow.

Toughen Plants Up With Good Mulch

The best defense for hardier winter plants against both frost and the heavy downpour is good mulch. Before winter, take the time to clear away the dead or dying plants, and add them to your compost heap, putting down new, rich compost, and covering with a layer of mulch, woodchips and leaves can help keep hardy plants warm, as well as soaking up excess moisture from heavy rains. A good three-inch layer will protect your garden from anything the winter season could throw at it.

Gardening is a relaxing pastime that can help get you out in the great outdoors in all weathers. But not all plants are created equal, and some may struggle with the more extreme weather patterns, like downpour rains, extreme heat, and humidity, or high winds. With a little DIY know-how, you can learn the tricks and tools to keep your garden thriving all year round.
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