FIRST VEGETABLE GARDEN
THE OZ VICTORY GARDEN
GARDENING TO SAVE MONEY
INCREASE YOUR BOTANY SAVVY
TILLING VS CULTIVATING
THE PERILS OF PEAT
THE DIRT ON SOIL
TINES, TINES, TINES
WHY AND HOW TO TILL
RENT OR BUY
HOW TO RENT & USE A BACKHOE
FALL LANDSCAPING TIPS
ECO FRIENDLY TIPS
USING GOOD PESTS TO FIGHT BAD PESTS
BUYING A LAWN MOWER?
MY NEW TILLER
Increase your Botany Savvy! Find Online Gardening Courses
Most people wouldn’t associate planting flowers and seeds with online technology, but, the Internet is rich with tools to help your garden grow beautifully. Of course just Googling 'garden tools' may not get you the best information by the most knowledgeable gardeners. It’s helpful to know what you’re looking for.
According to BlogRank, Garden Rant is the top-ranked blog for gardening. It includes many posts on gardening topics, but it also has forums and places to ask/answer questions. You can join Facebook groups, follow Garden sites on Twitter, and subscribe to sites that post gardening topics. Along with some of the other sites mentioned above, other popular sites include MyFolia, Garden Web, and Dave’s Garden. There are even groups on Reddit for gardening!
Clearly, gardening via today’s websites and courses is no longer such a solitary hobby. Between blogs and social media, gardening can be just as social as going to college online! You can figure out your specific niche, build up your online learning library and enter online contests and joining education forums for whatever gardening pursuits you desire. Let's looks at some unique areas in the gardening universe.
If you will be planting perennials, the first thing you’ll want to do is determine your planting zone. A quick search for the USDA Hardiness Zone Finder brings up a US map divided into eleven zones. These zones are based on the average winter minimum temperatures for areas. This helps determine what plants will survive in which areas. Knowing your planting zone is important because you don’t want to plant a tropical flower or fruit in a zone that freezes all winter.
Sites like Fine Gardening and Better Homes and Gardens have sections devoted to choosing the right plants for your soil type and zone. On the Better Homes and Gardens site, you can use their Encyclopedia feature to choose plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables, or herbs and find out what works best for your personal garden.
Garden Layout and Design
Now that you know what you can grow, you need to plan a layout for your garden. It’s tempting to just cram as many plants into the area you have reserved as possible, but for maximum productivity, you will want to pay special attention to spacing and arrangement.
- If you’re planning a perennial garden, Garden Planner Online is a great tool that you can use to see what your garden would look like.
- If you lean more toward vegetable gardens, then GrowVeg is the tool you want. It will help you arrange veggies, fruits, and herbs in raised beds with just enough space for each to flourish.
- Successful Garden Design has online tutorials and a number of videos about how to measure (including cross-measurements) and how to structure a successful and beautiful garden.
- Better Homes and Gardens has a tool that helps you choose what kind of garden you would like to plan, and how to plan for the space available.
- The USDA has a useful site for garden prep as well. You can find everything from zone charts to lists of plants in your state as well as lists of endangered or threatened species. Extension.org has a horticulture section that will answer any question you could possibly have, and if the can’t, they have an “Ask The Expert” tool.
Sourcing Seeds and Plants
Once you know what you are able to plant and how to structure your garden, you need to actually get seeds and plants. Gardening catalogs can be good ways to order if your local greenhouse doesn’t have what you are looking for. To find out where you will get the best service and product, Dave’s Garden has a directory called The Garden Watchdog that lists more than 7,500 mail order gardening services with real comments on quality, price, and customer service.
The worst mistake you could make at this point would be to plant too soon. Check out last frost calendars, but keep in mind they can vary by a week or so depending on the source you choose. The Farmer’s Almanac is an old reliable source, but seed sites like Victory Seeds have more cities available and a more specific date range for your area.
An easy way to dip your thumb into gardening is to start with a simple herb garden. Herb gardens can be grown outside as well as inside and are fairly accessible for first-timers. Plus, growing herbs is a great way to boost flavor in your food without the extra cost of having to buy them at the market.
Better Homes and Gardens has an entire section of its site devoted to herbs. Many herbs, like chives and basil, are versatile enough to plant right alongside flowers. They are easy to care for and in the case of chives and dill, also produce lovely flowers. Some herbs, such as garlic, even help your flowers. Garlic is said to repel aphids from roses, for instance.
Herbs can also be easily grown in pots or even indoors. Mint and Oregano are two that do well in container planters, and there are many others. Keep in mind, however, that most herbs prefer full-sun locations, so if you are going to attempt an indoor herb garden, make sure you have a sunny window to put it in.
If you have any comments, I’d really like to hear from you.
The Garden Of Oz
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