Author Archives: Tris

Guard Your Garden From Invaders: 5 Ways To Sort Out Annoying Pests

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One fine morning, you were walking along your garden and you suddenly saw pests creeping in and out of your lot and worse, you found out that your crops have already been damaged. Probably, your initial reaction is to smash every single one of them and you’ll end up devastated of what happened to the fruits of your labor. Well, no one could blame you – if it happens to anyone, they would have the same reaction. It is easier to think about crushing them with your own bare hands just to end their acts of cruelty. However, it is not as easy as it seems – they also come in numbers, so you better prepare for it big time.


Now, while some resort to pesticides or insecticides to do the job fast, you can still opt for the natural way. Using organic or natural ways to get rid of these pesky pests are not only proven-effective but it’s also safe. Pesticides or insecticides may contain harmful chemicals that may affect the growth of your plants or crops and in some cases, it may cause them to wither and die. You wouldn’t want that to happen, right? So here are the five major pesky pests and how to sort them out organically.

1. Snails



Snails are the most common and troublesome garden pests. They may be small in size but they can create huge problems to gardeners like you. These slimy pests chew through the tender leaves of plants and at worst, it will kill your plants. Its closest family, the slugs, are also culprits so you better watch out.

What to do:

  • Beer pan trap – snails are attracted to beer, hence you can use this as a trap. Place beer in a shallow pan and leave it out overnight. Snails will be drawn to the trap and drown.
  • Grits – sprinkle gritty substances like crushed egg shells, sand or diatomaceous earth around the plants in your garden. This will injure them and eventually kill them.
  • Barriers – the use of barriers like copper wire, Vaseline, or any other stuff that snails hate could help repel them from your plants.
  • Water in the morning – always remember to water your plants in the morning. These slimy buggers become less active when the soil is dry at night.

2. Aphids



Aphids are tiny, pear-shaped critters which can usually be found hanging out on fruits, vegetables, flowers, and in trees. These pests cause foliage to distort and leaves to drop by sucking plant sap. It feeds on new plant growth, attacking the leaves, stems, flowers, buds and roots, and at the same time, it spreads viral diseases to the plants causing it to die.

What to do:

  • Use a strong spray of water hose to get rid of the aphids off the plants. Do this every day until there are no more signs of these pesky critters.
  • Make repellent sprays which contain pepper or garlic and spray it on the leaves of the infested plants. Aside from that, a repellent spray made out of orange or lemon rind mixed with boiling water is the way to go. Reapply as long as the aphids exist.
  • Plant onions or garlic around infested plants – the smell repels the aphids.

3. Caterpillars



Before they transform into beautiful butterflies, caterpillars cause garden problems first. They feed on the leaves or along margins of fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and shade trees. It even tunnels into fruits, causing it to rot from the inside. Some prefer to hand pick these pests but it’s inefficient and time-consuming.

What to do:

  • Spray the foliage of your plants with neem oil. You might also want to try Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) powder to dust plant foliage. It’s a natural bacteria that can effectively kill caterpillars but does not pose any harm against plants or other beneficial insects.
  • Use rigid collar to surround your plants – you can use toilet paper roll or plastic cups. This will ward off unwanted caterpillars.
  • Take a cardboard and place it around the base of your plants and leave it overnight. This makes it easier to capture caterpillars lurking under the board, so make sure to check it in the morning.
  • Plant herbs like lavender, mugwort and peppermint around your plants to repel caterpillars.

4. Japanese Beetles



Japanese beetles are small bugs but they are one of the major insect pests that cause huge damage to crops. Adult Japanese beetles feed on leaves, flowers and it defoliates plants while its larvae feed on plant roots.

What to do:

  • In the morning, put down a drop cloth and shake the off the plants. Then, soak them in a bucket of soapy water to terminate them.
  • Apply floating row covers to protect your plants from Japanese beetles.
  • To prevent the threat of Japanese beetles, you can use milky spore (a natural powder) that kills larvae before it can mature. It may take a year or two for the spore to become established in your soil, but it definitely provides long-lasting and effective results.

5. Cabbage Maggots

cabbage maggot


These pestsstick to cabbage-family crops, especially to Chinese cabbages according to experts. It kills plants by penetrating in the roots of plants and creating entryways for disease organisms. Cabbage maggots are very destructive which is why you have to pay attention to it if you have cabbage in your garden.

What to do:

  • To prevent cabbage maggots from destroying your crops, it’s important that you control the cabbage root fly from getting in your garden. To do this, place row covers over plants during spring.
  • Apply parasitic nematodes to the roots of your plants to avoid maggots from tunneling.
  • In cases where cabbage maggots have already penetrated in the roots, you have to destroy the crops to prevent them from returning. Burn roots from harvested plants and place a pile of wood ashes or red pepper dust around stems.

Overall, dealing with your garden’s pesky pests using organic method is not that difficult to do and you don’t have to look further or spend a lot of money for it. You can even find most of them in your own kitchen! They key factor here is patience and before you know it, those pesky pests are no longer causing any trouble in your garden, yay!

How to Grow Parsley in Your Herb Seed Garden

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3794151391_245cfb57ed_bWhether you have a small garden or a large balcony you may enjoy the pleasure of having your own parsley culture because you can learn how to cultivate it. If you are interested in the idea of always having fresh parsley all you need is a pot with wide mouth, some herb seeds and a bag of topsoil. It’s a very simple and a very pleasant way to have your own source of parsley at home. It is always fresh, green and chemical free.

Herb Seeds Grown Organically

Cultivating parsley is one of the simplest occupations!

This herb is a biennial aromatic plant. It is a general tonic, a powerful antioxidant and a purifier for the body. It is rich in vitamins, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, copper, amino acid and chlorophyll. The one which is grown in pots can have exceptional flavor if you follow few steps that will ensure optimal conditions for the plant.

Parsley seeds can be sown directly into the pot from early March until August.
The germination period is relatively long, so that the first shoots appear after two or three weeks. There is a solution for stimulating the germination: soak the seeds in water for a few hours before sowing them.
The seeds should be planted about 1 inch deep and they should be evenly distributed over the surface. Cover them with a thin layer of finely ground, possibly strained or mixed with clean sand.

Parsley germinates at a temperature between 5 and 20ºC . The plant is very resistant to low temperatures, but it can hardly bear frost.

A pot with 5 inch diameter, but taller, is suitable for growing this aromatic plant. It can sit on the kitchen windowsill, but in a place that does not get direct sunlight, parsley preferring a relatively shaded spot.

It should be watered constantly and the soil from the pot should not be allowed to completely dry again, because the leaves will soon turn yellow and the harvest will be compromised.

You will have fresh parsley for 4-7 months, depending on the soil quality, the intake of light and the quality of seeds.

The leaves can be harvested in about a month after sowing. If you pick the leaves in the first period, parsley bush will thicken and it will be not only useful but also decorative.

Parsley (officially named crispum) is a part of the carrot family and is native to southern Europe, being used by the Romans and Greeks as a medicinal plant. Parsley grown under organic conditions (which is something you can easily do, in the garden or in pots) is very rich in vitamins A, C and B, contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and iodine, and a number of unique antioxidants with antitumor properties.

How to Enclose Your Backyard with a Vertical Garden

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Building a vertical garden provides homeowners with an opportunity to be surrounded with lush greenery, thereby improving the scenery and air quality of their backyard.

Many homeowners are weary of building vertical gardens, simply due to a misconception that vertical gardens are difficult to build. In actuality, these unique gardens can be designed and built with relative ease.

The Building Process

The actual process of building a vertical garden incorporates building a frame, Attaching a liner to the frame, providing a plant environment fabric and creating an irrigation system.

Building a Frame

Elbows and four way joints made of 3/4 inch PVC will be used to create a solid frame that can then be attached to any preexisting fence. If you plan on having your vertical garden frame cover the height of your fence, you can easily use the same measurements as your fence. However, it’s suggested that you stop 4 to 6 inches below the top of your fence, to prevent overgrowth. To build the frame, simply cut PVC pipes to length and attach to the joints and elbows.

Attaching a Liner to the Frame

A sheet of plastic will need to be attached to the frame. It’ll provide protection, once the entire frame has been attached to your wood fence. Additionally, a plastic liner will will provide proper backing once, the fabric has been attached.

Providing a Fabric Plant Environment

Once you have the plastic liner in place, it’s time to attach a fabric to the frame. The fabric will become home to your plants, for this reason, it’s imperative that the fabric chosen can hold water and that it will be free from developing rot.

carpet-paddingIf you’re uncertain as to which type of fabric would be best, you can consult a nearby hardware or garden center.

However, there are several types of fabrics that can safely be used, including standard carpet padding.

Cut and attach three layers of fabric with stainless steel staples. After staples are in place, add galvanized screws for additional durability. While attaching the fabric, be sure to stretch the fabric so that it’s firm.

Creating an Irrigation System

The greatest challenge for vertical gardens is keeping plats irrigated, yet not soaked. By placing an irrigation system at the top of the frame, you’ll be able to ensure proper watering. The irrigation system will actually be providing water to the fabric, the plat roots will will pull water from the fabric so that they can flourish.

A simple irrigation system can be made using poly tubing with locking fittings. You’ll need to have a timer installed that can release water for 15 seconds every four hours, for a total of 6 drippings.

Though this may seem like minimal watering, you’ll have to keep in mind that the fabric is remaining wet, thereby providing plant life with a consistent amount of water. To keep plants healthy, you can add liquid fertilizer with a fertilizer injector, available at most garden shops.

Attaching Your Vertical Garden Frame to Your Fence

The frame can be attached to your fence with brackets. When attaching frame, be sure to use stainless steel screws and brackets to avoid rust. Once the frame is secured, attach the irrigation system at the top of the frame to allow consistent water delivery to your new vertical garden.

Picking Out Your Vertical Garden Plants

When choosing vertical garden plants, keep in mind that native plants will always thrive in your environment. If you want to expand beyond your locally grown plants, follow planting basic guidelines to ensure successful growing.


The best way to achieve this is to pick out plants that can handle environmental demands. For desert climates, you’ll want plants that can handle direct sunlight, high heat temperatures and cold nights.

How to Insert Plants into a Vertical Garden

Inserting the plant can be done by cutting a horizontal slice into the fabric material and placing the plant inside of the sliced area. Prior to inserting the plant, you’ll need to nock the majority of dirt off of the roots. Once the plant is within the fabric, attach the fabric to the plastic lining with stainless steel staples. Use staples to secure the roots by making a half circle around the plant roots.

How to Design a Plant Layout for a Vertical Garden

Garden Design Blueprint SketchingThere are a few choices when designing a plant layout.

You can plant several varieties that will grow to the same thickness, thereby requiring the same amount of expansion.

However, one plant layout that’ll expand your variety, is placing thick plants that will protrude from the wall by a foot to two feet at the top of your wall.

Doing this, will provide shading underneath, allowing you to plant several plant types that typically prefer shade.

How to Care for a Vertical Garden

Caring for your vertical garden is simplistic, as the irrigation system will do most of the work. However, you will need to occasionally add liquid nutrients through an injector. The timeline between fertilization will depend on the plants chosen. The best gauge, is to look for signs of poor health.

Often, people will want to spray a vertical garden wall, this isn’t necessary and doing so, can potentially damage the plants. If you absolutely must, keep it at a mist and only mist the wall for a matter of seconds.

Innovative Way to Landscape: Use Recycled Materials

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landscapingLandscaping can be a great way to showcase your creative side. In most cases, a sustainable environment needs to be initiated at home and your landscaping project is a good start. Recycling used materials and furniture at home seem to be a good choice. As most homemakers tend to change their home furnishings every now and then, instead of putting these items to waste, why not utilize them in something more productive?

Your garden and outdoor areas have great spaces for your used items as long as you know how to maximize them. You can either recreate or renovate them into something more useful and beautiful for your landscaping project.

Broken and Crushed Concrete

Bits and pieces of used concretes are perfect for your pavements and pathways. If properly maximized, they can be an asset in your landscaping venture. The contrast of colors and sizes can add character and appeal which can be of the same effect when stones or bricks are used. So instead of buying, why not consider them as replacement?

Old Drawers, Boxes and Many Others

Who said that those bulky yet lovely pieces of home furnishings are useless and has to be put on garbage trucks? They can still be used as a practical embellishment on your landscaped garden.

  • Colander – old strainers are great planters for your hanging plants. Their holes can give plant roots a space to breathe and serve as good built-in drainage.
  • Old Drawers – they are good planters which can be attached on your wall. It can create a unique and vintage look on your garden which can make it more appealing.
  • Mirrors – who said mirrors are just for indoor use? They can give an interest to a boring garden landscape. They usually have colored and intricate frames which will surely add impact.
  • Old Fences – you don’t need to throw all old fences, some of them can be built into great arbors and trellis for your crawling plants. They are not only giving different heights, they also provide varying dimensions and style as well.
  • Old Doors – try to imagine a garden with a door, isn’t that fairy tale-like? It is unusual to enter a garden through a door, but in your case you can do it. It can be great arbor with vines twisting and curling on its frame.
  • Old Figurines – a good landscape needs balance, and there has to be a focal point which these old figurines are ideal to be positioned in. You can create a mosaic in the middle of your garden with stones and figurine structured according to your choice of theme.
  • Old Chandeliers – more often than not, colorful beads and glasses of chandeliers are given away to garbage trucks. This time, why don’t you drape them in the center of your benches or outdoor furniture sets? They are surely an eye-catcher.
  • Old chairs – chairs are easy to complement to any themed garden or patio. You can paint them with vibrant colors and place your planters on top of it. This can be placed in several corners of your garden to blend in with the other embellishments used.
  • Glasses – almost every home have bits and pieces of broken glasses. They are not only colorful and sheer but they create a different appeal once struck by the sunrays. They can be constructed as anything you want to be a focal point in your garden or you can collect them together and create a privacy fence or wall.

landscapePerfect Edging for Character

A garden needs edging to have character. Also, this has to be done for weeds not to encroach the garden beds. Most of the time, stones and bricks are used for edging, but homemakers can make a difference this time. You can use your plastic wares and bottles at home. The contrasting beauty of each item will add glamour to your edging project.

Do not undervalue the use of old items at home. You don’t always have to spend money in order to have a distinct garden appeal. You can always look inside your home for some items and materials which can still be of use for your outdoor venture. Maximize the use of every resource that you have and don’t purchase immediately. Who knows? You may just have good replacements inside your home!