6 Ways to Preserve Fruits and Vegetables

When you buy fruits and vegetables online, it’s best to consume them within days of purchase. Online supermarkets can guarantee the quality of the produce they sell. Once you buy them and they arrive at your doorstep, however, it’s all up to you to maintain freshness. The same goes for any produce you buy from markets or ones you harvest from your garden or farm.

Cooking or consuming fruits and vegetables as soon as possible ensures that you get the highest amount of nutrients. If you store produce for a long time, not only do their nutritional value decrease. They also decline in flavour and texture. Worse, when the food goes bad, you’ll end up with a lot of waste.

If you happen to over-buy produce and/or won’t be able to consume them on time, one of the best things to do is to preserve them. Preserving fruits and vegetables also gives you new ways of eating or cooking them, which can make mealtimes more enjoyable. Kids will certainly be excited or at least more curious about fruits and vegetables.

Here are some easy ways to preserve the fruits and vegetables you buy:

Drying fruits and vegetables removes their water content, which means bacteria won’t be able to grow and survive. Do note that once you dry fruits and vegetables, their texture and taste will likely change. After drying, you may add a few spices like salt, sugar, or pepper to enhance the flavour.

You need to achieve about 95% dehydration before you can store fruits and vegetables in ambient conditions. The simplest way to do this is to use a dehydrator and pick the specific setting for the fruit or vegetable that you’re drying. You may also use an oven, although this requires more careful steps. A good way to tell if the fruits and vegetables are sufficiently dry is by touch. They should feel leathery, not soft and spongy.

Canning

There are two ways to can fruits and vegetables: through a hot water bath and pressure canning. The hot water bath method is for acidic foods, while pressure canning is for low-acid foods. This is because these foods don’t contain enough acids to stop bacterial growth. Make sure to sterilise the jars, lids, and cans that you are using as containers.

When done properly, canning can extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables by up to 12 months. What’s more, canning is also good for preserving both fresh and cooked foods.

Making Jams and Jellies

One of the best and most delicious ways to preserve fruit is to make jams and jellies. You can find plenty of instructions for various kinds of jams and jellies online. Your parents or grandparents may even have a secret recipe! The only “trick” is to pick the freshest ingredients you can find. You should also have a few lemons handy. Add some lemon juice to low-acid fruits and make them gel just right. If you’re concerned about sugar levels, search specifically for low-sugar alternatives. Do note that the sugar helps preserve the fruits and enhance the jelly texture.

Pickling

When you think of pickles, cucumbers and zucchinis are probably the first things that come to mind. However, pickling is also a great way to preserve fruits like apples and pears. Peppers and cauliflowers are also perfect candidates for pickling.

Basic pickling solutions often include white vinegar, salt, and sugar, which are all used in preserving various kinds of food. You may also add some ground black pepper to add a bit more flavour. Then make sure that all parts of the fruit or vegetable are submerged in the solution. Seal the jar tight and let it sit for at least a week. Proper pickling can make fruits and vegetables last for years.

Salting

For vegetables in particular, a good preservation method is salting. Due to the high concentration of salt, bacteria and microorganisms die or become “deactivated” through dehydration. What’s great about salting is that it’s also easy to do. Simply lay the vegetables on a large pan and submerge them in water. Then, continuously add salt until the salt doesn’t dissolve anymore. Refrigerate for about a week, drain the brine, then sprinkle more salt on top of the vegetables. After this, all you have to do is wait until the vegetables are dry.

Freezing

Freezing is an easy way to preserve fruits and vegetables. However, consider that not all fruits or vegetables can be frozen, such as strawberries, watercress, and radish. For those that can be frozen, freeze them on a metal tray first and then transfer into clean and airtight bags. If you want, you can already portion the fruits and vegetables for easier cooking. Starchy vegetables should be blanched with cold water and fruits that turn brown should be treated with ascorbic acid before freezing. Just remember that freezing doesn’t make your fruits and vegetables last as long compared to other methods.

What’s great about these preservation methods is that they not only extend the shelf life of produce. They also help ensure that you have a steady supply of fruits and veggies. Try one of these methods the next time you shop for groceries.

Why You Need 6×4 Greenhouses In Your Garden

It’s exciting to plant different crops in your yard, especially if you have a greenhouse. You can enhance your gardening skills, as well as fully enjoy and make the most out of your free time. Of course, you’ll also benefit from growing your own fresh herbs, spices, and other kitchen ingredients right from your greenhouse garden.

A greenhouse enables you to grow crops and plants requiring higher temperatures and more shelter. As season-stretchers, greenhouses allow you to grow fruits and vegetables even during winter. You can plant peppers, tomatoes, and aubergines during summer, and propagate plants even on chilly nights.

But, why do you need 6x4 greenhouses in your garden?  Below, check out the important reasons why you should invest in a 6x4 greenhouse.

Makes Use Of Limited Space

If you have limited space, 6x4 greenhouses can help you make the most of your grow space. Because this size of greenhouse measures six-feet wide, it means it has a full-sized door entrance with a spacious headroom inside.

Perfect Outdoor Living Space Addition

A greenhouse makes a perfect addition to your outdoor space. You can improve your home’s curb appeal by installing a 6x4 greenhouse. Also, it increases the value of your property because homeowners can plant different crops all year round.

A 6x4 greenhouse is a perfect addition to your outdoor living space, like your patio or garden. South West Greenhouses have a good 6x4 range online here that you can choose from depending on the overall curb appeal you want for your home.

Buying a new greenhouse can take time. You can choose a design that suits your budget. Whether you want a traditional greenhouse or an ultra-modern one, you'll find the best one for you. When finding a greenhouse supplier, most especially for a 6x4 greenhouse, you should choose one with a good reputation and top-quality products and customer support.

Durable Aluminum 6x4 Greenhouse

If you want to ensure the longevity of your greenhouse, it's important to choose a premium-quality material. Make sure to invest in top-quality construction instead of a cheap and flexible plastic greenhouse that can easily be blown away by the wind. You can select from a wide variety of aluminum greenhouses, which are top-quality make.

You'll find 6x4 greenhouse models with clear polycarbonate glazing. These greenhouses are beautifully installed for family gardens, wherein safety is a major concern or vandalism can be a potential problem.

Here are the advantages of using 6x4 aluminum greenhouses:

Aluminum greenhouses are rust-free and easy to maintain.

They are lighter than steel-frame greenhouses.

They are easy to install.

Polycarbonate glazing is tough. Polycarbonate glazing of a greenhouse is shatterproof. It won’t break even if balls bounce off of it.

Grow Various Plants And Crops All Year Round

Extending your growing season or planting all year round is possible with a 6x4 greenhouse. It provides a perfect environment for unlimited gardening. Choosing from the best 6x4 greenhouse options, you can start a better planting season.

Different seasons and climates offer you new options for planting in a 6x4 greenhouse. Check out these greenhouse plant recommendations suitable for all year round planting:

Winter To Early Spring: The best plants during this season include frost-tolerant plants, like spinach, lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage, in an unheated 6x4 greenhouse. Because these plants can endure lower temperatures, you can plant them earlier in your greenhouse without frozen ground. Once the evening temperatures lower down (but above 30 degrees), you can transplant plants from outdoors to your greenhouse garden.

Mid-spring: During this time, you can grow more tender plants that would require a more controlled and warmer environment. Cucumbers, melons, and squash need at least eight hours of sunlight. When transplanting these plants, make sure that they are not exposed to frost because it will kill them.

Summer To Late Summer: You can grow heat-loving plants, like tomatoes, eggplant, and hot pepper as the temperatures peak during summer. Overheated greenhouses invite mold and mildew, and dry up the soil. That's why it's important to have a vent kit in your 6x4 greenhouse for sufficient airflow. This way, your plants are kept comfortable even on very hot summer days.

Autumn: During autumn, the cool weather returns, and the summer heat dissipates, so it's better to grow cool-season vegetables, including snow peas, kale, and turnips. While the growth of your plants will be slow, their growth is steady, and you'll enjoy the plenty of new crops it brings, perfect for the holidays.

Bonus: Important Tips And Considerations When Buying A Greenhouse

1. Decide Between Lean-to Or Walk-in Greenhouse

Free-standing greenhouses are suitable for just any spot in your yard. They have four sides, and some are available in multiple geodesic dome types, having a door at one end or both ends. On the other hand, a lean-to greenhouse sits against a building or a sunny wall. It has a roof that slopes away from the wall.

2. Optimum Spot

It's important to find the optimum spot for your greenhouse, getting sunlight on all sides as much as possible. For a narrow and long structure, the best is east-west orientation. Make sure that the spot for your greenhouse is free from shadows. As much as possible, don't go near structures that cast shadows, like fences, walls, hedges, and buildings, as well as under trees.

3. Firm Foundation

Your greenhouse should stand on a solid and well-built base that is either made of concrete, timber, brick, or a combination of different materials.

4. Growing Space

If your 6x4 greenhouse is built on soil, directly grow plants into it. On impermeable surfaces, you can use grow bags and pots. Your greenhouse can have metal staging, raised beds, tiered timber, or a combination of all three.

Conclusion

When you’re planning on growing crops and plants, you might want to use a 6x4 greenhouse for your home's outdoor space or yard for safety and accessibility. This size of the greenhouse comes with durable frame and material, and is mostly made of long-lasting and rust-free aluminum material that can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Choosing a 6x4 greenhouse helps you reap good harvests all year round, providing healthy food for your dining table, and which you can share with your family and friends. It’s a perfect investment for every homeowner as it can last for many years, allowing you to enjoy your favorite hobby and hone your gardening skills.

When you should apply lime to vegetable garden

The lime, or calcium oxide (CaO), is an alkaline inorganic material (base) from the chemical transformation of the limestone under the effect of heat (> 900 ° C ). It comes in the form of a white powder.

Garden lime owes its name to quicklime because of its quick reaction, which gives off heat when it comes into contact with water, as opposed to slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) which is the residue obtained at the end of said reaction. Quicklime has been used for many years, by gardeners in the soil and in particular in the vegetable patch.

Let’s talk about when you should apply lime to vegetable garden or any other garden as well.

What is the best season for liming?

Lime is essentially crushed rock. It does not dissolve quickly in the soil.

For this reason, fall is the best season for liming. Lime will have enough time to dissolve and be effective during spring sowing.

You can spread the solution always outside the frost period by providing two rainless days (one for preparation, the other for application). The best time to do this is late winter, early spring or autumn.

Nothing prevents you from adding lime in the late spring or summer, but keep in mind that it takes two to three months for it to be effective.

Other times to use lime

1.Lime is used in gardens if the acidity of the soil is too high. Providing limestone modifying the pH of the soil, lime also provides a magnesium supply. Generally, this operation is to be carried out in autumn, in this way the lime can penetrate the soil, more calmly.

Thus, you can spread this lime on your soil, no other amendment will be necessary. During digging, this buried contribution will be very favorable to your land. It is true that quicklime was widely used by the older generations, it was then used as an antiseptic. Chemicals have replaced it, and currently it is very present in shelving with ready-to-use forms.

2.Most vegetables grow best in slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. These grow poorly in soils at pH more acidic from 4.5 to 5.5. The use of dolomite lime is recommended in these cases to neutralize the acidity and at the same time meet the calcium and magnesium requirements that the plant needs. Georgia soils are usually deficient in these nutrients. For best results, apply lime three to six months before planting your garden. A good time to apply lime is during the fall, before preparing the soil.

Remove moss from a lawn with lime

The use of lime to remove unwanted foam from the middle of the lawn is common. In reality, lime does not destroy the foam but changes the pH of the soil, making it less favorable for the development of the foam. It is used in October or February / March, at a rate of approximately 100 g / m².

Another calcium amendment, such as dolomite or ash, may also be suitable.

To amend acid soils

Lime can be used as a calcium amendment to increase the pH of acidic soils. This change in pH promotes the development of microbial life, the formation of humus, food and the development of plants.

It can be added every 3 to 5 years, at a rate of 50 to 200 g / m² depending on the acidity of the soil.

Things to remember

Treatment with quicklime must not be renewed for three years and must be reserved for plants which have major attacks of canker or parasites such as the cochineal.

Be careful not to abuse lime treatments because it kills all insects without distinguishing the good from the bad. In addition, it depletes soils and trees, killing the microorganisms and micro-flora necessary for their balance.

So be sure to compensate with large amounts of compost or manure the year after liming.

Lime should not be used the same time as ordinary fertilizers, so it is best to use it at intervals, at least two to three weeks in the middle, and it is best to use rainwater. The reason is that lime will neutralize when it comes into contact with nitrogen and even become ammonia, the effect completely disappears.

Conclusion

Lime comes back to the shelves of garden centers in ready-to-use forms. It is however advisable to know when to use it and take certain precautions when handling it because quicklime is very corrosive.

7 Parts Of The Cannabis Plant You Didn’t Know Existed

Just when you thought you know everything there is to know about cannabis plants, you stumble upon new bits of information that help you better understand how the plant works. Whether you’re a grower or just a plain cannabis patient, it is always good to learn new things about the plant you are taking.

Finding out more about the different parts of cannabis plants like terpenes, cola, trichomes, and more can make you become more aware of how the plant you’re taking or planting can affect you. Knowing about these things can also give you better insights that can make you identify what type of plant is best for your needs. Read on to know about the various parts of the cannabis plant that makes it such a wonderful healing alternative.

7 Parts of The Cannabis Plant You Should Know About

Terpenes

Ever wonder where cannabis gets its distinct scent? Or what makes each type of cannabis strain different from the other? Terpenes are the part of the plant that is responsible for secreting the oils that get you feelings of euphoria, relaxation, focus, and stress-relief. Terpenes are what gives certain strains specific effects. It’s what determines whether a certain strain will be a sativa, indica, or hybrid type.

Cola

Cola is the part of the cannabis plant where you will find female buds or flowers bloom. There are different types of colas to be found in one plant. Each bud or flower comes with its own cola, and each plant comes with several colas. The number of colas each plant can grow highly depends on its strain and how the plant was grown.

Calyx

The Calyx, bud, or flower is the part of the cannabis plant that is smoked or turned into oil. A calyx is made up of small pistils, nodules, and sugar leaves. It is also covered by crystalic trichomes that gives it its shiny shimmering look. This is the most consumed part of the cannabis plant for recreational and medical use. Just like the cola, the number of calyxes a cannabis plant can grow highly depends on the type of strain and how it was grown.

Pistil & Stigma

The pistil and stigma are two different parts of the cannabis plant, but both function to collect pollen from the plants. The pistils are these small hair-like parts that can change color. You will find that pistils can change into a range of colors including red, yellow, orange, purple, red, and brown. The pistil’s color is what can help you determine the age or stage or maturity of the plant.

Trichomes

If you have touched a cannabis flower or bud before, you will notice small crystal-like substances that coat the entire bud. Those small crystals are what you call trichomes. Trichomes are the resin that comes from the glands of the flowers, leaves, and stems. They also help produce the strong aromatic smell of the plant and they’re where you get those fine terpenes and cannabinoids that make you feel relaxed, focused, euphoric, and happy when you consume the plant.

Stems

The stems are the part of the plant that holds the entire plant together. It’s the part that connects everything together. Unlike the cannabis flowers and leaves, stems cannot be consumed through smoking or ingestion. Though cannabis stems are not consumed for recreation nor medication, they are still very useful materials. Cannabis stems are often processed into different materials like paper, canvas, clothing, and construction material.

Sugar Leaves

When you look at an entire cannabis plant, you will find that it has a lot of seven-fingered leaves. The large leaves you will find in a cannabis plant is what’s called fan leaves. Sugar leaves on the other hand are the small pieces of leaves you will find growing around colas. They are the parts that surround the base of growing buds or flowers. Sugar leaves got their name because they are coated with lots of crystalized trichomes that look like small sugar particles.

The Truth About Distilled Water For Plants

Whether indoors or outdoors, plants need to be watered. Unfortunately, the water that you're using to fill up your watering can, that is from the tap or from your water softening system isn't exactly the best solution and we’ll touch upon that in greater detail in this article.

So how do we water our plants without feeding them all those harmful chemicals? One answer to that is distilled water. But is distilled water good for plants? You're about to find out right here in this write-up.

What Is Distilled Water?

Distilled water is the result of a process known as distillation where evaporation and condensation occur to separate unwanted impurities and chemicals and produce water in its purest form.

But what about tap water? Well, that’s a big no-no. That's because tap water is filled with fluoride, chlorine and a host of other chemicals that can harm plants.

Besides tap water, hard water can also pose a threat to plants, especially those that are sensitive to minerals in this type of water. Hard water is typically a well water issue but it can also be a municipal water distribution issue as well.

So if you get your water from a well, then you might need to install a water softening system for your house. These systems remove the hard mineral buildup from your well water. As such, you’ll be able to use your shampoos and soaps for bathing and it won’t stain your sinks or appliances.

Unfortunately, water softeners aren’t exactly good for plants either. The reason for that is because water softener systems use salt like potassium or sodium to reduce hardness in the water. These types of salts can damage your plant if used consistently over time as they can trick your plants into believing that they absorbed water, which ultimately leads to dehydration. And since often water contains high levels of sodium, you must avoid watering your plants with it. Another reason why water softening systems shouldn’t be considered is because they get rid of two of the most important nutrients plants, including magnesium and calcium.

Distillation also occurs in nature when water from the river or ocean evaporates from the ultraviolet rays of the sun and then condenses in the air, creating rain clouds. Through this process, the following impurities for contaminants are removed:

  • parasites
  • bacteria
  • organic chemicals
  • inorganic chemicals
  • viruses
  • volatile gases
  • heavy metals
  • and other contaminants.

As a result, you are provided with something that is close to pure water from nature which is natural, clean, but most importantly healthy. 

Using Distilled Water for Your Plants

Whether you're using tap or distilled water, proper watering of plants is highly essential. If you don't water the plants properly, then it could lead to a weakening of the roots which deteriorates the plant, making it susceptible to diseases. That's why you need proper instructions and guidance on how to water your plants, whether indoor or outdoor.

Houseplants usually come with directions about proper care from nurseries. These directions are also printed on the plastic stakes which have been placed in your plant's pot soil. But not every plant comes with nurturing instructions, so you must look that information up in either a book or better yet, online. Some plants require more water than the others, such as blooming plants that have plenty of foliage on them. Of the ones that require less water are woodland and tropical plants than those in the dryer regions.

Seasons also affect the amount of water that your plants require. For instance, during warmer seasons, plants require more water. That’s because the hot temperatures evaporate water much more quickly. Plants are also impacted by temperatures indoors and also outdoors. Indoor plants, for example, will require more water even during the winters as the heating system in the house will cause the water to evaporate quicker.

If you’re going to use distilled water on plants, make sure that it is of room temperature. And If you're making your own home-made water and are leaving it outside to distill it, be sure to get it back inside your house and then have it adjust to your room's temperature. But make sure not to give your plants distilled water or any type of water of extreme temperatures, which is either very cold or very hot. Giving your plants extreme temperature water would not only shock their roots, but could even damage, or worse, kill them.

You can also acquire freshwater from a process known as reverse osmosis. To understand the differences between this process and that of distilled water, head on over to American Home Water and Air.

How to Make Some Distilled Water of Your Own

Getting your hands on distilled water isn't really hard, in fact, it is possible to make some of your own from the comforts of your home. Either boil tap water or catch rainwater in a barrel or bucket. By far the best candidate for naturally distilled water is rainwater, so long as it isn't too acidic. And if you find that the rainwater in your area is indeed acidic, then tapwater is your next best option as the acid can obviously damage the plants.

To make your own distilled water, you need to boil it in a closed vessel with a smaller bowl that's either floating or suspended above the water. You can cool the lid of the vessel using ice or cold water. From this process, the tap water that you collected will boil and evaporate, which forms a steam that rises to the lid. When the steam touches the cool lid, it will condense, forming pure water droplets that are then collected within the bowl. And voilà, you have your own distilled water. You can even use a chemistry lab distilling apparatus (tube) to achieve the same results.

So can you use distilled water for plants? Yes, you can. Even though plants require some minerals to grow helpfully, there isn’t much hope that we can put in the hands of the modern world where pollution runs rampant. So it’s best to take your chances with distilled water.

3 DIY Ideas That Will Take Your Garden To The Next Level

As gardeners, our plants are everything. They light up our lives and all we really want is to see them thrive. No frills are necessary. In extreme cases, nothing more than some soil with herbs can be good enough. However, that does not mean we can’t make the most out of our decorations.

Aside from the actual process of growing plants, creating a DIY garden that is the pride of the neighborhood is the most exciting part. There are so many ways to make your garden pop just by choosing a creative layout. With some DIY ideas, your creativity can go further.

Try the following 3 DIY projects to take your garden to the next level.

Raised Garden Beds

While raised garden beds may not be the most innovative project, the format provides room for infinite creativity. Every single gardener has raised garden bed ideas, whether they’ve decided to implement them or not. You can simply raise a section of your garden to make it a statement, or do something more exciting by using cool DIY materials.

Perhaps the most oft-seen raised garden beds are those with bricked perimeters. This touch really makes your garden pop, while retaining a hint of subtlety. But if you want to go even further, you can use unusual mediums, like corrugated iron, or even an old tire.

Whatever you use, having a raised garden bed should fit perfectly into any plans for sectioning different areas

Hanging Gardens

Hanging some plants is certainly an excellent way to make extra space in an already crowded garden. But it is also a simple way of making your garden more exciting. Instead of all your plants on or near ground level, you can weave between herbs and flowers growing right below your eyes.

The fun part of creating a hanging garden is figuring out the best platform to hang your plants from. If you're doing it in a small greenhouse, it’s easy enough, but in a general garden, you need to get creative for it to look good, as it could end up looking awkward and utilitarian.

This is where your DIY skills come into play, as you build hanging plants into the layout of your garden, uplifting the entire plot with this feature.

Signs

All good gardens need some signs to demarcate the different herbs and vegetables, if not the flowers and other plants. You can simply tie a tag to a stick. Or you could get your creative juices flowing and find a way to fit these signs into a theme for the whole garden.

Vintage signs are always eye catching, and you can do a lot with small chalkboards as well. Chalkboards are also great if you enjoy changing things up every so often, adding a small drawing or two.

If you're passionate about the stories behind your plants, you can go further and include some real information. This way, any visitors will get a feel for your passion (and learn something).

DIY ideas will uplift your entire garden. It is all about the plants, but the right decor will bring out the best in them.

The Best Spring Bulbs and How to Grow Them

As the weather is getting warmer and the holidays are long gone, you undoubtedly have started waiting for spring more and more impatiently. And naturally you are willing to spend more time outdoors in the backyard and are already considering your spring gardening and planting options. And surely, bulbs are always on the top of the list. 

What you need to know about planting bulbs?

Bulbs are the guarantee for a colorful and beautiful garden and their planting seems pretty straightforward. As with anything else, however, there are some hints that could help you make the most of the experience and the result. Here, we have all the necessary details summarized for you. 

Location and Timing 

Even the most qualitative bulbs will die, if not planted on the right location. And in most of the cases, sunny spots are required, so if your garden gets less than 5-6 hours of sunshine, then your endeavour would probably fail. Another key aspect is also the right timing. There are bulbs that would bloom in spring and have to be planted in the autumn. So if you haven’t started your preparation in September or October, don’t expect to have tulips this year. Either ways, most bulb packages come with detailed directions. Do not be overconfident, but take your time to go through them carefully. 

Planting pattern

The way you plant the bulbs also matters. The eternal question is how deep you need to plant your bulb and while there may not be a super clear answer, in general a hole three times deeper than the bulb may be just right. Another key aspect is putting the bulb in the soil with the pointed end facing up. 

Care

Once you’ve planted your bulbs, the success lays in the time you spend taking care. And by care here we generally mean watering and fertilizing. Especially when springs are rather dry, air pockets form in the soil and could leave your bulbs without enough moisture. So make sure, you water them regularly and enough. Luckily, bulbs do not require specialized chemical fertilizers, but adding some soil with organic matter would boost their growth. 

Top 5 best bulbs to grow this spring

Now that we’ve cleared the fact that there is a specific set of bulbs which must be planted in the spring to bloom in the summer, why not check the five best options here. 

Freesia

They come in a wide range of colors and have an amazing fragrance. In addition, freesias could be planted indoors first and moved in the garden only when the weather conditions allow. Plant them at least 2 inches deep and at least 2 inches apart and keep in mind that they look best when planted in masses. Once in the soil, they are expected to bloom in 10-12 weeks. 

Gladioli

With their large and ruffled blooms, gladioli never remain unnoticed. And they grow very well in the borders, as they tolerate partial shade and well-drained soil. Plant them at least 4 inches deep and at least 6 inches apart. The entire cycle of planting, rooting, and blooming takes approximately 60 days. 

Peonies

The best part about peonies is their long-lasting foliage. Another interesting fact is that they are perennials and may outlive you, as they require little care, once they are planted properly. The only thing to keep in mind is that they do not like transplanting, so choose your location carefully. Water them well and apply fertilizers only after they start blooming in summer. 

Begonias

They have rose-like blooms and come in any color. In addition, they are the exception and do prefer shady environments, so plant them where other flowers would not grow. Space them 8 inches apart, water them regularly and make sure to deadhead them regularly by removing the dead blossoms. 

Lilies

There is hardly a person with an interest in gardening who is unaware of the beautiful trumpet-like bloomed lilies. Unlike begonias, lilies adore sun, so 6-8 hours of sunshine are a must. Space bulbs 8 to 10 inches apart and for better results in groups of 3 to 5.

Mouse Control: Ways to Keep Rodents out of Your Garden

Mice are a problem, especially when they dig up and munch on your recently planted sweet yellow corn — that’s so darn frustrating! Aside from chewing your garden apart, rodents also carry bacteria and spread such diseases as salmonella, tularemia, leptospirosis, etc.

Have you noticed some eaten potatoes and carrots in your vegetable garden? Then you’re most likely dealing with the mouse problem. If you don’t do anything about it, chances are high that those pesky little critters will eventually switch from tunneling your lawn to breaking into your home.

If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, you’re welcome to read this post. Today, we will elaborate on mouse traps, along with other effective ways to keep rodents out of your garden space. Read on and make the most of the expert recommendations provided below.

Keep Your Lawn Mowed

If the grass in your garden is tall enough, be ready that mice will freely run around your property without even trying to hide (the perfect hiding place is already there). If you’re planning to start a war against mice, make sure you keep your garden grass mowed, and then switch to other ways of dealing with these pesky critters.

Relocate Compost Bins

Compost is great for gardening. However, it attracts mice to your garden like nothing else does. Make sure you relocate your compost bins from the border area of the house to the space across the garden. Also, do your best to avoid storing your compost in wooden containers. Otherwise, you’re simply inviting rodents to savor a nutritious meal (and potentially stay with you forever).

Dispose of Garden Waste

Stave off from keeping piles of shrub trimmings, fallen leaves, and/or cut grass in your garden. Transform your garden waste into compost or simply get rid of it as soon as you can. As an alternative, get it out of your garden space/yard where it is nothing but a standing invitation for the constantly-hungry rodents. This way, mice won’t have places to hide, which will contribute to the success of your pest control venture.

Keep Pet Food in the House

If you’re a pet owner, make sure that you store your dog and cat food (as well as birdseed) away from the garden. Have pieces of loose food thrown around your yard or garden? Pick it up, or you’re going to make your property look way too friendly and comfy for most types of rodents out there. Consider feeding your pets inside the house. If that’s not very convenient to you, always clean up after your dog or cat buddies finish their meals.

Focus on Sealing Holes

Mice are skilled at squeezing through the smallest holes ever, so make sure you work on sealing up any possible entrances. That way, you will prevent rodents from making themselves comfy in your home. Wood or metal are among the best materials for sealing holes.

Opt for Mice-Repellent Trash Bags & Containers

Mice easily chew their way through soft plastic, so opt for a metal trash can in the first place. There are even trash cans made expressly to keep out rodents and other pests. Make sure your trash can has a secure lid capable of keeping mice out. In addition to this, you can purchase mice-repellent trash bags to go with your bins for even more protection. Put the trash cans on concrete instead of the grass.

Clear the Base of Your House

If you want to keep mice at bay, cutting back ornamental plants and moving them away from your house siding is a must. Do your best to clear the space around your house from shrubberies, bushes, and all sorts of herbaceous borders. Plant them away from your house if you really need them. Paving the area with rocks/pebbles would be a fine (read as: mice-proof) alternative. That way, you will keep rodents from colonizing your home.

Set Store-Bought Traps

The time-tested traditional wooden mouse traps are invariably effective. However, it is recommended to use several types of mouse traps. The thing is, mice often learn how to avoid certain kinds of traps. As an alternative, get a cat. In many cases, mice can smell cats around the house and, therefore, want to avoid meeting the enemy at all costs.

Cutting to the Chase: It’s Time to Call a Professional

If you’re sick of mice roaming around your garden freely, call a professional. Before you do that, however, ask your friends or family members if they can recommend any reliable rodent control companies near you. Make sure you call them to learn about their prices and licenses. This is important since you need trusted pros who are good at the latest techniques and know the best ways of keeping mice out of your garden.

Should You Buy a 4-Cycle Weed Eater or a 2-Cycle?

A weed eater is a great tool for the yard or garden, especially when the summer months are approaching. Weeds, no matter how hard we try, can be very hard to control, and some grow aggressively and extremely fast. If, like many people, you don’t like to use chemical weed-killers, then the weed eater is a great choice. Easy to use, effective and versatile, these devices will soon recoup their cost in terms of time saved and weeds removed!

What is the best type of weed eater for you? There are electric weed eaters available that are suitable for very small yards and gardens. These are light and effective as long as your weeds are not too well-established. They are also limited in scope by the length of the cable or, if rechargeable, by the life of a charged battery. So, the better choice for an average to bigger garden or yard is a gas-powered weed eater. Then there’s the choice you have: 4-cycle or 2-cycle? Let’s explain what we mean and what the benefits are of each.

4 or 2-Cycle – What’s the Difference?

First, a bit of confusion to clear up: the ‘2-cycle or 4-cycle’ refers to the way an internal combustion engine – that’s a gas engine to you and me – works. It is often referred to as 2 or 4-stroke, which means exactly the same thing.

Such an engine works by pistons opening and closing, and in doing so, igniting the fuel at a certain ‘stroke.’ In a 4-cycle engine, there are 4 motions to go through every ignition; in a 2-cycle engine, there are just 2. Your automobile engine, for example, is likely to be a 4-stroke, as that is the most efficient for such engines. However, you may have power-tools that are 2-stroke, as they are less complicated. Let’s have a look at the factors that differ in terms of weed eaters.

Differences Between 2 and 4-Cycle Weed Eaters

Price - a 4-stroke engine is a more complex machine than a 2-stroke version, so you can rely on a 4-cycle weed eater being more expensive than a 2-cycle. However, there might not be much in it, and you should look around for deals, as you never know where bargains can be found!

Power – 2-cycle gas engines can be very powerful – more powerful, in fact – than 4-cycle engines of the same size. This is due to the complex way in which engines operate and dissipate their energy. For large areas, a 4-cycle weed eater will get through more space in less time.

Fuel usage – see above; as the 2-stroke engine produces more power, so it will use more fuel. It is also a less efficient type of engine, so this is exaggerated. Once again, there might be very little Difference, so check with the maker’s details.

Weight – you want to be handling a machine that is a comfortable weight, especially if you have large areas of weeds to clear. Due to the size of the motor, a 4-cycle weed eater will often – but not always – be heavier than its 2-stroke equivalent, so check with the manufacturer details for confirmation.

Noise – 2-stroke engines are, by their very nature, noisy. This is once again due to the way they do the job as opposed to the 4-stroke, which is smoother and therefore quieter. It’s up to you which you choose.

Eco-friendly – This is perhaps the defining factor for people who like to be green, as the 2-stroke engine uses oil as well as gas to power it and is more polluting as a result. If you’re an eco-friendly home, a 4-stroke engine is the one for you.

That’s a few of the important factors to look at, so which is best for you?

Our Conclusion

Whether you choose a 2-cycle or 4-cycle weed eater is purely down to the size of the area you need to clear, and the number of weeds that you have to deal with. There are merits to each, so we won’t single one out for recommendation here, but we will say shop around, check for the best deals and compare performance and price, and find yourself the best weed eater for your budget.