Beginner Gardening Series: September Edition

September is the month where you can look at your garden and take stock of what worked and what didn’t, harvest the remaining produce growing in the garden (except for a few frost loving plants, will talk about that later) and put your garden to bed for the winter.   If you live in some of the warmer climates, you can now restart your garden!   For the plants that like the heat (like tomatoes and peppers), start the seeds indoors or buy starter plants. I, however, live in zone 5-6, so no replanting of the garden here.  I will be taking the steps to put my garden to bed and do what I can to get it ready for next Spring.

T A K E  N O T E

Get yourself a cute little notebook (don’t we all buy one everytime we go into Target?!) and take note of your garden.  What grew well in the garden this season?  Did your tomatoes get enough sun?  Did your squash plant succumb to mildew?  These are observations that will help you in planning your garden for next year!  Your placement of plants may change based on your observations.  For me, I need to move where I planted my squash because it was affected by mildew.  So…I need to find a place that gets more sunshine to prevent this from happening again.


W H E N  T O   H A R V E S T

Are you daily looking at your peppers wondering if they are ever going to turn red??  While it is ideal to let peppers, like tomatoes, ripen on the vine, there does come a time when all the peppers and tomatoes need to be harvested from the garden and left to ripen indoors, out of direct sunlight.  So yep, harvest your tomatoes and peppers, even if they aren’t perfectly ripe and let chemistry do it’s thing indoors. Now with this said, if you have planted some “cool crops” you can leave them in the garden until after the first frost.  Some cool crops are Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Spouts, Spinach, Collard, Asparagus. A quick Google search of “cool crops” will provide a great resource if you are wondering if any crops you have planted are considered a “cool crop”.

 

 

 

TIP: you can leave carrots in the ground through the Winter (they may actually get sweeter as the carrot holds on to it’s sugar to combat the cold), however, you will need to harvest them before Spring as they will go to seed and not be edible.

P U T T I N G  the  G A R D E N  to  B E D

One thing I always need when going to bed is a blanket, your garden likes one too!   There are a couple of ways you can create a “blanket” for your garden.  You can grow a cover crop.  Stay with me here, this sounds much more complicated than it really is.  A cover crop is as simple as tossing some seeds on your cleaned out garden bed.  This helps create a barrier between the Winter elements and your garden soil.  Cover crops also give back vital nutrients that were taken from the soil to produce all your yummy veggies!  A seed that I recommend is Cereal Rye.  Sprinkle the seed ideally 4 weeks before the first hard frost, or as soon as you can after cleaning your beds.  Literally let nature do the work and watch it grow.  If planting another crop has you rubbing your temples, then a nice layer of straw or some other type of mulch will also provide a sufficient barrier for your garden soil against the harsh winter elements.

Categories

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Mums

mum flower care

If you have purchased a mum (or several 😉) for your front porch, you are not alone!  Mums are a fall staple and we have some tips to keep your blooms looking pretty all season long.

  1. Repot your mum when you get home.  Mums tend to be rootbound (their roots take up the whole pot) and will last longer if you plant them in a larger pot.  Break apart the bound roots before placing in the new pot.  It is essential that the new pot has excellent drainage, as mums are susceptible to rot.

2. Place your mums in a spot that will get plenty of sunshine! They love the sun, and you will get a longer bloom if you can find a sunny spot.

mum flowers

3. Make sure to keep the soil moist.  Again, mums need to be planted in well-draining soil, however, the soil needs to stay moist, as mums do not like to dry out, and may not recover well if they do.

4. Pruning your mums may help extend the life of the plant and give you more blooms to enjoy. When the bloom starts to droop or looks spent, get some pruning shears (or scissors) and cut at an angle just able the nest set of leaves. 

Hopefully these tips will help you keep those mums looking full and vibrant all season long! Now to choose which pumpkins to add to the front porch…

How to incorporate smaller mums into your fall pots.

3 Outdoor Plants To Keep The Flies Away

mint

If you have ever grown mint, you know that it will take over whatever space it is occupying, so best to plant it alone in a pot.  Pick a couple of decorative pots, plant some mint and place in your outdoor space. Not only will mint help repel the flies, you have the perfect garnish on hand for those summer night mojitos!

lavender
lavender

Lavender is a perennial plant that not only  smells amazing and is beautiful to look at, it can also help repel those pesky flies!  Again, I would recommend planting in a pot (if planting for the purpose of a fly repellent) and placing near your outdoor seating and entertaining space. Planting in a pot gives you the flexibility of moving the pot to different locations as well as moving the lavender into a protected space if you experience cold harsh winters. 

basil
basil

Basil is another natural way to help repel those unwanted flies during the warmer months. The oil that puts off the sent form the basil plant is what the flies do not like, and this can be even more effective when the basil plant is moved around to different spots within your outdoor space; another reason a pot is a great idea!

So keep the flies away with mint, lavender and basil, while at the same time having all you need to make your favorite summer cocktails.  Sounds like a win-win to me!

plants to keep flies away

Get Healthy-Get Gardening: 7 Reasons Gardening Is Good For Your Health

Have you gained an interest in gardening over the last several months?  Along with the benefit of knowing how and where your food is grown, gardening has several health benefits that can be enjoyed from everyone ages 10 to 100!
  1. Gardening Reduces Stress
If you are like many people, your stress level has increased over these last several months. Gardening is one of the best ways to reduce stress. “In one study, subjects were asked to perform a stressful task and then asked to either perform 30 minutes of gardening in their allotment gardens or 30 minutes of reading.

While both groups experienced a decrease in stress, the gardeners experienced a significantly greater decline in stress (as measured by salivary cortisol, a stress hormone), as well as a full restoration of positive mood; the readers actually experienced a further decline in mood.” Elizabeth Scott, MS Very Well Mind 

Maybe take a quick 20 min break from you favorite book and deadhead your flower pots or pull a few weeds, your stress level will thank you.

 

2. Gardening burns calories
Gardening has been shown to be an effective way to burn calories!  Yes, you can make your yard beautiful and fit into those jeans you have been dying to wear (who are we kidding, I may never wear jeans again)!  But all vanity aside, gardening is a great way to burn extra calories within your day. “Working in the garden restores dexterity and strength, and the aerobic exercise that is involved can easily use the same number of calories as might be expended in a gym. Digging, raking and mowing are particularly calorie intense; there is a gym outside many a window.” Sir Richard Thompson Royal College of Physicians
3. Gardening encourages healthier eating
If you struggle to get in the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day growing your own might be what you need!  “Backyard gardening can inspire you to take an interest in the origins of your food and make better choices about what you put on your plate,” says Dr. Helen Delichatsios, an internist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. “When you grow your own food, you savor it more because of the effort it took to get to the table.” Heidi Godman Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

There really isn’t anything that can beat the taste of a garden fresh salad, home grown tomato or a strawberry right from the vine.  Give it a try, we bet you will be eating more fruits and veggies in no time!

4. Gardening can boost your mood
If you are looking for a way to boost your mood, getting out in the garden might be just what you need.  The exposure to vitamin D, experiencing the sounds and smells of nature and getting your hands in the dirt have been shown to be a mood booster.  “Gardening is an activity that seems to help a lot of people get into a ‘flow’ state,” says integrative psychotherapist and couples counselor Hilda Burke. “This means that you don’t notice the time passing, aren’t simultaneously thinking over other things, making plans, or rehashing the past. It helps people switch on to the present moment — in other words, to be more mindful.”  source Sarah Garone Brit + CO

5. Gardening increases your exposure to vitamin D

Getting outside in the garden increases your exposure to vitamin D which according to Healthline helps fight disease, reduces depression, boosts weight loss and can help improve bone health.  So along with making your yard beautiful and growing healthy food, you also are doing your body a lot of good!

6. Gardening is good for your brain health

As we continue to move down the list of reasons why gardening is good for your health, this may be one of the most important; gardening is good for your brain.  In a study of 2,805 men and women, they found that daily gardening predicted a 36% lower risk of dementia.While there are no guarantees against dementia and Alzheimer’s, gardening has been shown to be a great way to get the recommended exercise to help ward off the disease along with encouraging healthier eating habits by growing your own food.

7. Gardening is good for your self confidence

Seeing a small seed grow into something beautiful like a flower or into something you can put on your dinner table can really provide a sense or purpose and achievement, both playing big roles in self confidence.  Even if your green thumb needs a little time to grow, give gardening a try and enjoy the confidence and purpose soon to follow!

why gardening is good for your health

5 Things To Do In The Yard & Garden During Quarantine

We have come up with a list of 5 simple things you can be doing in your yard and garden right now, during the quarantine.  With all the health benefits gained from yard work & gardening, really all of us would benefit from time spent outside.  Check out some of things you can being doing, no matter your level of gardening experience and how you can enjoy the benefits now and later.

 

1. Clean Up

Even if you don’t have a beautifully landscaped yard, a prolific vegetable or flower garden, you can still keep your outdoor space nice and tidy.  This may seem like a daunting task, but set a timer for 20 min and tell yourself that you are going work outside until the timer is done.  You will likely find that you have a clearer head than when you started and may even restart the timer for another 20 minutes.

Things You Can Do:

  • Rake flower beds
  • Weed
  • Clean out weeds along your sidewalk
  • Prune bushes

 

2. Plant Seeds

If you find that you have more time on your hands (🙋) now might be the time to build that raised bed you have been thinking about or cultivate an area of your yard and plant some seeds.  There are so many health benefits to enjoy when gardening becomes part of your routine; increased confidence, heart health, reduced stress, mental health, better sleep, increased hand strength to name a few.

Once you have created a space to grow either by building a raised bed or creating a space in your yard, plant some seeds.  Knowing what garden zone you live in is important to know what to plant when, so check out this link from Urban Farmer to find your garden zone and get to planting.

 

3. Order Product From Your Local Garden Center

This is hard time for so many small business owners, and supporting them is more important than ever.  You may not know, but your local garden center might be offering curbside pickup!  Checkout out your favorite garden center’s website or give them a call and see if they are offering this service.  

I have made several trips to Ritters, one of my favorite local garden centers, and they have been great to provide me with potting soil, seeds, trellises for my raised beds and more!  I have all I need to get outside and get to gardening.

 

4. Plant Some Herbs

If getting outside and enjoying the benefits of gardening sounds appealing to you, but you are not quite ready to commit to a vegetable garden, give herbs a try.  Pick out some cute ceramic pots, make sure they have a drainage whole, and pick out 2-3 herbs that you enjoy.  I would recommend buying herb starts rather than growing from seed.  Next grab some some basic well draining potting soil and begin to enjoy the benefits of garden to table right away!

 

5. Plant Some Flower Pots

Are you someone who likes to have fresh flowers in the house?  Then maybe you would also enjoy fresh flowers while sitting out on your deck or front porch!  If your weather permits, planting fresh flowers outside might be just what you need right now.  Pick out a pot (again, with a drainage hole is ideal) and measure the diameter.  Determine where you would like to place your pot, sun or shade works, there are gorgeous blooms for both.  Then give your local garden center a call, tell them the diameter of your pot, how many hours of sunlight you expect it to receive, your budget, then let them pick out some beauties for you to plant at home!

 

15 Gift Ideas for the Mom Who Likes To Garden

We have put together a collection of 15 great gift ideas for the mom on your list who likes to garden.  From candles with plantable packaging, to personalized gardening tools, to Roo and Joey aprons, we have you covered.  Click on the item number for the link to shop the product.

Charmingly crafted and painted by hand, these colorful planters are a whimsical gift for gardeners of all levels.

Handmade and handpainted stoneware / Wipe clean with a damp cloth / These pots do not have drainage holes / Imported

The Joey Apron is perfect in assisting you with harvesting your vegetables, weeding and deadheading your garden or collecting anything that needs to be put away. Simply release the ropes and everything you have collected funnels out the bottom.  Machine washable

Wear your love for gardening with this unisex tri blend t shirt.  Triblend fabric makes it wear-all-day soft to the touch. Available in xs-xl

Handmade in San Francisco, CA using organic cotton, this flower tote bag is a farmers’ market essential for getting your fresh bouquets home safely and responsibly. Aplat’s origami-inspired designs use geometry, eliminating negative spaces, achieving virtually zero fabric remnants for a more sustainable manufacturing process.

With unique Poppy design printed on luxe paper and a complimentary gift box, personal stationery is a chic way to stay in touch.

Wrapped in real moss, our decorative letters bring lively style to spring decorating.

Wire frame wrapped in moss and planted with Ivy / Letters A–Z are each backed with a burlap ribbon for hanging / Choose multiple letters to spell out a word or name / For both indoor and outdoor use.

The Roo is perfect in assisting you with harvesting your vegetables, weeding and deadheading your garden or collecting anything that needs to be put away. Simply release the ropes and everything you have collected funnels out the bottom.  O/S fits all.  Machine washable.

Wear your love for gardening with this women’s tri blend t ank.  Triblend fabric makes it wear-all-day soft to the touch. Available in xs-xl

Label herbs and vegetables in style with our glazed porcelain plant markers. Each one is hand painted with floral designs inspired by Ming vases in indigo and white. The reverse is solid white for labeling with permanent marker (not included). Base is pointed for easy insertion.

Decorative hand-painted design / Use with permanent markers / Set of four.

What’s better than a bouquet of cheerful spring flowers chasing away a cold, dark winter? A batch of chocolate flowers, of course! Made fresh in Vermont and delivered straight to your door, our gourmet chocolate flowers are individually wrapped in colorful spring foils, packaged in a gift bag tied with green ribbon. A delicious gift for any occasion, these chocolates are also right at home in your candy dish!

The Roo is perfect in assisting you with harvesting your vegetables, weeding and deadheading your garden or collecting anything that needs to be put away. Simply release the ropes and everything you have collected funnels out the bottom.  O/S fits all.  Machine washable.

Enjoy all the benefits of the Roo apron with the Joey waist apron. ideal for warmer climates and urban gardeners!

12. Plant The Packaging Floral Candles $28.00

Close your eyes, breathe deep, and be transported to a garden blushing with ruby-toned poppies and cheerful sunflowers with these botanical soy candles. Redolent with the rich scents of popular blooms, these lovely candles pack a powerful punch of aroma since they’re made from 100% domestically-grown soy, a biodegradable and renewable resource that burns longer and cleaner than paraffin. After these luscious scents have filled your home with their floral fragrances for 60 hours, the elegant packaging carries with it another treat: the boxes and petite paper discs that protect the candles’ surfaces are infused with seeds. After soaking the packaging and burying it beneath a layer of soil, a patch of sunny wildflowers and crimson flanders poppies will sprout in just a few weeks. Made in New York.

Personalized garden tool set makes a great gift for any gardener or flower enthusiast. Nice heavy duty steel set includes a trowel and raking/weeding tool. Each tool measures approximately 12″ in length. Also comes with a nice drawstring canvas bag to store the tools when not in use. Tools will be engraved on the wood handles with your choice of fonts, and include the name or short phrase you provide.

Get soft skin with our rich, hydrating formula made with shea butter, coconut oil, algae extracts and other soothing ingredients to moisturize from head to toe, with our lightweight and iconic Lemon & Sage scent that energizes and refreshes

100% FREE OF HARSH CHEMICALS including parabens, phthalates, SLS, SLES and more, as well as PETA-certified and cruelty-free

 

15. The Roo Apron – Leaf Green $34.00

The Roo is perfect in assisting you with harvesting your vegetables, weeding and deadheading your garden or collecting anything that needs to be put away. Simply release the ropes and everything you have collected funnels out the bottom.  O/S fits all.  Machine washable.

Enjoy all the benefits of the Roo apron with the Joey waist apron. ideal for warmer climates and urban gardeners!

 

How To Take Your Love Of Indoor Plants Outdoors

Are you falling in love with your new role as a plant parent and wondering how you can grow this role and possibly take it outdoors? It can be intimidating to think about starting to grow plants and maybe even vegetables outdoors, but you can do this! You are a proud parent of gorgeous indoor plants, and now its time to make your outdoor space just as lovely and maybe even enjoy a fresh fruit or veggie or two.

When starting to expand your love of caring for plants baby steps are ideal. Think pots, as many or as little as you like. You can grow just about any variety of flower in pots and most vegetables, herbs and some fruits will thrive in pots as well.

Let’s say you decide to go more “garden to table” and decide to grow herbs, vegetables or fruit. First step is pick something to grow that you actually like to eat! Do you cringe at the thought of eating a tomato, then don’t’ grow them! If you love tomatoes, good news; they are pretty easy to grow in a pot! Research your fav veggies to eat, and you might be surprised by how most can be grown in a pot.

Herbs also grow very well in a pot, actually this is where they thrive! The only thing to keep in mind is what herbs like to be planted together. Click here to learn what herbs grow well together. Strawberries are a fruit that love to be grown in a pot. Lemon and lime trees can also be grown in a pot, but are a little more unforgiving with temperature and sunlight.

Once you have decided what to grow, I recommend buying plant starts rather than planting from seed. Plant starts are more forgiving, which is a good thing for new plants parents. Most plant starts have been nurtured by garden experts and are off to a good start by the time they get planted in your space. They can be a little more expensive but the percentage of actually seeing a harvest or gorgeous blooms greatly increases when planting form starts verses seed.

So make this the year that you expand your plant parenting skills and make your outdoor space just as beautiful as your indoor space and start to enjoy all the joys and benefits of what the outdoor garden can bring.

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