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Hard-to-Kill Plants for Your Fiberglass Flower Boxes

As a self-proclaimed “brown thumb gardener” (somewhere between green and black), I am always looking for low-maintenance gardening tips and tricks to make my greenery look—and stay looking—great with little care. That is why I’ve compiled this list of plants and flowers that are as hardy as they are pretty, and perfect for fiberglass flower boxes.

Hooks & Lattice Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Top Ten Gardening Gifts for Christmas 2014

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

 

Hello, holidays! ‘Tis the season to discover wonderful and unique holiday gift ideas for family, friends and Secret Santa trades. Check out these home and garden decorations to delight a range of loved ones and colleagues on your shopping list this year.

This set of mini garden statues fit gardens of any size.

This set of mini garden statues fit gardens of any size.

1. Gorgeous Garden Statues 

Price range: $30-$70

These pretty little toadstools make great gardening gifts all-around. Whether planting in small containers or a large back yard, statuettes lend an element of surprise to botanical arrangements. In addition to bright, whimsical colors our selection also features metallic styles like pewter statues for more minimalist gardeners.

 

Glittering with fresh 'snow' this live pine wreath welcomes everyone warmly.

Glittering with fresh ‘snow’ this live pine wreath welcomes everyone warmly.

 


2. “Whispering Winds” Winter Wreath

Price range: $50-$60 with shipping

Delicate snowflakes, noble fir sprigs and silvery frosted accents – it doesn’t get more wonderfully wintery than that! This living evergreen wreath makes an elegant front door hanger for the holidays. Great for party hosts, office gift trades and next-door neighbors.

 

Fun and unique for the gardener who has everything.

Fun and unique for the gardener who has everything.


3.Decorative Moss Obelisk 

Price range: Starting at $46

Although these garden decorations are not officially holiday-themed, they certainly feel seasonal. Each cheerful wire obelisk is embellished with lifelike moss-mat material. Gift recipients will love them for front steps or the holiday hearth. Available in three sizes.

A complete DIY kit for indoor gardeners.

A complete DIY kit for indoor gardeners.

 

4. Hanging Teardrop Terrarium Kit

Price range: $25 + shipping

Whisk life and color into someone’s wintertime decor this season. Terrarium kits are among those unique holiday gift ideas with a “green” spirit. And anyone can assemble and enjoy with this easy all-in-one package – kids and growing-novices included!

 

Fun and modern, terrariums fit in windowsills and on desktops for a pop of color.

Fun and modern, terrariums fit in windowsills and on desktops for a pop of color.

 

5. Bottle Terrarium Kit for Tabletops

Price range: $39 + shipping

Just a touch more advanced than our #4 gardening gift suggestion, this tabletop terrarium kit lets indoor growers start from seed. Again, we love this as a Christmas gift idea for eco-inclined youngsters. Terrariums also make memorable ideas for holiday gift exchanges with a $50 spending limit.

 

Rolls come in 4, 8, 16 and 33 foot lengths.

Lengths: 4, 8, 16 and 33-foot

 

6. Coconut Coir Liner Rolls

Price range: $25 and up

This may not seem like the most exciting of garden gifts, but we guarantee container growers who use coco husk will love you for it! Want to spruce up the presentation? Add fun wrapping paper and tie springtime seeds onto the roll with a festive bow.

 

Urban dwellers love these modern hanging planters.

Urban dwellers love these modern hanging planters.

 

7. Lunar Hanging Bowl Planter

Price range: $24 and up

Know someone with an eye for modern details? This indoor hanging basket is oh-so sleek and stunning. Potted with simple green grasses and herbs, it’s the ultimate addition to minimal-chic home decor. Also available in sphere and oblong shapes for a modern mix-and-match.

 

This should spice things up!

This should spice things up!

 

8. Hot Pepper “Foodie” Growing Kit

Price range: $22 + shipping

Help friends and family heat up cold winter nights with some spicy, homegrown peppers. Ideal for lovers of cuisine or as a creative $25 gift exchange idea. All materials and instructions included. Foodie Seed Kits also come in tomato and basil varieties.

 

Eco-conscious giving never looked so stylish!

Eco-conscious giving never looked so stylish!


9. Lavender Seed Kit and Bamboo Planter

Price range: $20 + shipping

Looking for Secret Santa ideas in the $25 range? Tap into the appeal of lovely lavender for your lucky recipient. This handy growing kit is made in the USA and totally eco-friendly. Great for windowsills and work desks. Not into purple? Check out green herb alternatives like mint and parsley.

 

A green & recycled gift for small space gardening.

A green & recycled gift for small space gardening.

10. Basil Seeds & Recycled Bottle Planter Kit

Price range: $40-$45 with shipping

Calling this the ultimate “green” Christmas gift isn’t a stretch. A re-purposed wine bottle turned into eco-friendly growing space? Um, yes please! Add some basil seeds to the equation and you’ve got a delectable pesto-producing plot that doubles as attractive home decor. A no-brainer for anyone on your holiday shopping list. Check out more ideas like this one here.

 

For more unique, garden-centric holiday gift ideas be sure to visit us at http://www.hooksandlattice.com and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Early snowfall doesn't stop this Great Lakes Region school from getting involved!

Changing Habits – Farm to School Month

Early snowfall doesn't stop this Great Lakes Region school from getting involved!

Early snowfall doesn’t stop this Great Lakes Region school from getting involved!

What do kids know about food? A lot more, these days, thanks to Farm to School Programs. Educators nationwide are helping young people to break free of the kids’ menu mentality. No more chicken fingers, fries and fish sticks – we’re talking real, garden-fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, farm to table style. It’s National Farm to School Month, everybody!

Changing Habits

Americans love to eat! It’s undeniable. Just stroll through the aisles of any grocery store and take in the view. The myriad of options is telling of our food obsession. Unfortunately, many of the items also reveal a simultaneous misunderstanding of what real food actually is. Here’s a definition, courtesy of Dictionary.com, to get us started:

food [noun]: any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.

Simple, right? Maybe not. Because many of the choices Americans make fulfill none of these basic criteria. We’re not naming names, but here’s a hint: If it’s neon orange and leaves a sticky film on your fingers of the same color, it does the opposite of create energy – it zaps it. Which can eventually contribute to this staggering statistic:

More than one-third of adults in the USA are obese.

That’s no joke. So, where does the disconnect begin? And why are so many families dealing with obesity in both children and parents?…

It’s all about habits.

Consider these lines from MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

“For many people, changing eating habits is very hard…You may have had certain eating habits for so long that you do not realize they are unhealthy. Or, your habits have become part of your daily life, so you don’t think much about them.”

This is where Farm to School Programs come in. Getting American kids on the right nutrition track early in life means less bad habits to bust later on.

This little gardening tyke is well on her way to a healthy understanding of where food comes from.

You can start big or small – try seed and herb growing kits for an easy start!

A Healthier Next Generation

Remember that overwhelming grocery store aisle we were talking about earlier? The idea is to give kids the tools necessary to make smart, nutritious meal decisions while bypassing the neon orange stuff. Education and community outreach is the essence of Farm to School Month and the movement overall.

Each region is different, and both public and private schools are encouraged to build out initiatives that make sense for their students, teachers, districts and communities as whole. This can include everything from student-tended gardens and visits from local growers, to fieldtrips to the farmer’s market and crafting school lunches around seasonal ingredients. This allows children to create an up-close-and-personal relationship with the food they eat, empowering them to make informed, healthful decisions.

The easiest way to start a garden at home is with raised planter boxes like these.

The easiest way to start growing your garden at home is with raised planter boxes with liners.

Food-Smart Kids for Food-Smart Communities

Children take what they learn home with them. Parents and teachers see it every day. Remember when your first-grader demonstrated how to take a sip of milk and shoot it out of their nose? Let’s make sure that same 7-year-old knows their milk bubbles came from healthy, hormone-free cows at a local dairy (or at least from a cow!). That’s the sort of knowledge that rolls up to siblings, parents, and then families and communities as a whole. It feeds young bodies and minds while bolstering local economies and the environment.

Want to get involved in Farm to School Month from home?

Make your yard, patio or balcony an extension of the food knowledge your kids are gaining in class. Container gardening on any scale is a great lesson in growing herbs and other edibles. For small spaces try window boxes and railing planters. If you have a yard, traditional ground beds are great, or try raised garden plots to grow and harvest fruits and veggies right outside your back door.

Photo: FarmToSchool

Sign up for our email list and we'll deliver can-do curb appeal tips right to your inbox!

Introducing ‘Can Do’ Curb Appeal Ideas with Sage!

We all love that friend with the creative, easy curb appeal ideas. The DIY-savvy type who makes us say to ourselves, “I want to try that!” Wouldn’t it be great to have that type of thrifty pal at your beckon call?

Now you can.

It’s with pleasure that we introduce Sage – the newest member of the Hooks and Lattice community. Like our customers, she can’t get enough of a good home and garden project. From window shutters and flower boxes, to indoor terrariums and home decor, Sage has tried it all! And now she’s here to share her tips and tricks with you.

No project is perfect.

And that’s part of the fun! Because the only way to know which home and garden ideas will ultimately succeed is to try. With the right tools, products and tips, more curb appeal ideas can be transformed into gorgeous results. Sage is no stranger to the bumps that sometimes surface along the way. Take advantage of her knowhow to help make your DIY projects smoother and more enjoyable.

Really, it’s about sharing the curb appeal love.

At Hooks and Lattice, we’re passionate about all things home and garden. We want Sage and her “Can Do Curb Appeal” ideas to serve as a useful extension of this enthusiasm. Ultimately, it’s about a sense of community to improve communities. Because when a house is truly a home, people and families tend to be happier and healthier.

Sign up for our email list and we'll deliver can-do curb appeal tips right to your inbox!

Sign up for our email list and we’ll deliver can-do curb appeal tips right to your inbox!

Get in on all of Sage’s home and garden adventures.

Whether you’re looking for new ideas, help with an ongoing project, or just comparing notes, Sage is your collaborator. And she’s not afraid to offer her opinion! Her “Sage” advice also includes notes on what not to do, which is something every DIY’er can appreciate.

So, you ask, what can I expect? All sorts of goodies. In each “Can Do Curb Appeal” segment Sage will be working on a new project. And it could be anywhere! From small space balcony gardening, to projects out in the yard. She also has ideas for sprucing up interior design, growing plants indoors, and much, much more!

How can I find the latest curb appeal tips and tricks?

Let Sage come to you via your Facebook and Twitter feed, or check in with us on the Hooks and Lattice website and blog. Have an idea for what Sage’s next project should be? Give us a shout on social media or drop us an email at info@hooksandlattice.com. And don’t be shy! We love it when our customers share their curb appeal trials, triumphs and inspirations! It’s the reason we do what we do.

The sulfur compounds in garlic make it a tasty ingredient and great way to lower your blood pressure.

Growing Garlic in Containers

There aren’t many scents more delicious than garlic-laden food simmering in your kitchen. This bulbous plant is used around the world as a seasonings and condiment. Its popularity has made it a staple in modern grocery stores and specialty markets.

Still, store-bought garlic can’t compare to fresh garlic grown right in your own home. Garlic is a very hardy plant that can even be grown in the winter, so you and your family can enjoy its savory goodness all year long. Growing garlic is similar to cooking with garlic, because both beginning chefs and seasoned cooks can excel at it. And here’s the best part: when you’re growing garlic in containers, no garden is necessary.

The Best Containers for Growing Garlic

No matter what container your select, make sure that it can withstand long exposure to sunlight. Here are two that are perfectly suited for the task.

Tinley ceramic planters. Designed with a tree-bark texture, these planter pots come in black, white, or brown. They are 13″ in both diameter and height, so they’re compact enough for any area of your kitchen, windowsill, or patio.

– Vertical garden with containers. This multi-use product can be used to grow garlic or virtually any herb or seasoning you could imagine. The tough fir frame holds 16 small terra cotta pots that are as cute as they are functional.

The sulfur compounds in garlic make it a tasty ingredient and great way to lower your blood pressure.

The sulfur compounds in garlic make it a tasty ingredient and great way to lower your blood pressure.

How to Grow Garlic

If you’re not sure about what variety of garlic to plant, DigginFood has some great tips about selecting local garlic varieties.

Step 1: Choose a high-quality potting soil. Garlic is known to develop root fungus when grown in subpar soil. Fill your container with your soil, leaving approximately two inches of space at the top.

Step 2: Select the largest cloves and break them apart. Make sure not to break the paper-like wrapper that encases each clove. Plant them 3″ deep within the soil, and 5″ apart from each other. Fill each hole back up with soil, leaving 1″ between the tip of the clove and the surface.

Step 3: Gather straw or bamboo. During cold months, cover your garlic with these materials to keep them warm. Remove them immediately when the weather heats back up.

Step 4: Wait for your garlic to grow. Keep the soil moist at all times. Begin fertilizing it every three weeks with a liquid fertilizer.

Step 5: Harvest. When the bottom third of the leaves have yellowed, it’s time to pick your garlic!

There is an endless amount of recipes you can prepare with garlic. From sauces to meat, your home-grown garlic is sure to be a hit with your family, friends, and guests.

 

Photo: EcoLibrary

Railing Window Boxes on a Brownstone in New York City

Drip Irrigation for Window Boxes

Irrigation Through the Ages

When it came to irrigation, the farmers of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Rome had geography on their side. Civilizations have always sprung up around large bodies of fresh water because of the fertile farmland they produce.

Today’s farmers have invested their resources into modern, high-tech irrigation systems that provide hydration to crops being grown across plains, mountains, and even deserts. Urban farmers aren’t lucky enough to have access to large tracts of land, or proximity to the undisturbed freshwater lakes and rivers that make irrigation simpler for traditional farmers.

The Benefits of Drip Irrigation

Growing fruits, vegetables and flowers in your window box can feel like a daunting task if you haven’t done this before. Window box planters are made from artificial containers that don’t allow for proper water drainage. Hot climates, especially in cities, make shallow soil dry out faster. This is especially true when your window box is exposed to direct sunlight.

Railing Window Boxes on a Brownstone in New York City

Drip irrigation has revolutionized urban farming
 The balcony drip kits listed below are perfect for beginners and seasoned farmers alike.

The solution? Look no further than drip irrigation. This form of irrigation allows water to slowly drip into the roots of your plants. Water application efficiency becomes very high, and your foliage itself can remain dry. Below are three of the top drip irrigation systems for flower boxes on the market.

  • Balcony drip kit with variable timer. This is an excellent irrigation choice for urban farmers who grow in a variety of different containers in the same vicinity. The circuit system can be set up to water window box planters, flower pots, and hanging baskets all at once. Once turned on, this drip kit exudes a water pressure of an even 14.5 ps, perfect for urban gardeners who strive to conserve water.
  • Oasis self watering kit. Are you worried that your urban garden may require numerous drip irrigation systems? If you have less than 20 plants, don’t fret. This kit operates on one 9V battery and is ideal for balcony, patio, or small-scale gardening in city plots with other farmers.
  • Basic drip kit. If you’re not in need of a timer, then you may want to consider this simpler version of the balcony drip kit. The amount of water dispersed throughout each planet can still be calibrated – you can choose for plants to receive between 0 to 1.59 gallons of water per hour.

All of these drip kits come with instructions for urban farmers who may be setting up drip irrigation systems for the very first time. As with all irrigation techniques, make sure to calibrate each planter box according to the specific watering needs of each plant.

Seedlings Sprouting

Growing Herbs in Containers: Light, Life Cycles and Planting

There’s nothing quite like fresh herbs. Instead of making a run to the store when a recipe calls for some extra zing, what if you could just head to your herb garden to get that fresh rosemary, basil, or mint? Growing herbs in containers is a simple project that can yield big rewards. Below are a few things to consider before planting your herb containers:

You can sprout seedlings in just about anything. Invest in long-term solutions for best success growing herbs in containers.

You can sprout seedlings in just about anything.
Invest in long-term solutions for best success growing herbs in containers.

Light

Herbs require strong light to grow, which can be a problem if you’re trying to harvest chives during the short, dark days of winter. The best herbs to grow can be planted in indoor containers. Planting in herb containers, either indoors or outdoors, allows for the pots to be moved around according to the sun. If you plant an herb that needs less sun, like parsley, simply move it out of the sun in the middle of the day. On the flipside, you can move a sun-loving herb around your yard or house for optimal growth. The Glendon Tapered Round Planter can be used indoors or outdoors, allowing you to give your herbs the light they need.

Life Cycles

A good understanding of plant lifecycle helps when growing herbs. Allowing your herbs to go to seed and turn into flowers signals that their lifecycle is about to end. The best thing to do is to harvest your herbs frequently. Luckily, with something as delicious as fresh herbs, you will most likely be plucking it often. If you see a flower forming, just pinch it off to keep your herbs happy, healthy, and productive. A good herb container for keeping an eye on your plants is the Tinley Ceramic Low Bowl Planter, which has a short profile so your herbs and their progress are always in view.

Planting Herbs

A successful herb garden starts right from the beginning with strategic planting. You may be tempted to cram lots of herbs into the herb container, but make sure to read the plant tag carefully and allow enough room for the fully grown herb – overcrowding can stop plants from expanding their root system and be harmful in the cold winter months. The best herbs to grow will easily fit into your pot now and when they are full size. A good option for an herb container that allows room for plenty of plants is the Danbury Round Planter, which has a wide diameter for plenty of planting room.

With a little research and a little planning, a container herb garden will be spicing up your kitchen in no time! For best results, shop smaller containers that fit on countertops or tables.

Kids Gardening – How to Get Everyone Involved at Home

Forget the TV, smart phones, and other gadgets-this summer get your kids outdoors with fun garden activities for the whole family! Gardening is a fun project for kids and teaches them useful skills, all while they enjoy time outdoors with the family. Here are three easy garden projects to get your kids involved:

Terrarium

A terrarium is small enough that it is manageable for a child, and the great growth conditions ensure that nearly everything they plant will thrive. Terrariums are great year round, or if you live in a climate that makes outdoor gardening difficult. It also creates a conversation piece and allows your child to show off their work! To begin, pick out a terrarium container. A great option is this fun apple shaped terrarium. Next, have your child help pick out the plants. Because terrariums act like mini-greenhouses, plants like succulents and cacti are great options. Pair with some river rocks and soil, and soon the plants will be growing. Terrariums can be placed indoors or outdoors and work on nearly every surface, even hung from the ceiling.

Photo Credit: tienvijftien

Give the kids a breath of fresh air this summer with fun garden projects that are just their size!
Photo Credit: tienvijftien

Window boxes

For a project that will always be in view, have your child take charge of a window planter. Wooden planters are great options because they are durable and will match whatever your child decides to plant inside. This redwood planter can be used as a window box or even as a standalone planter. Your child’s creativity can run wild when picking flowers and plants for the box-just remember to take into account the location of the planter in regards to sun and water needs. By picking a variety of colors, heights, and textures, your child can create their own masterpiece in plant form and it will be right outside the window to enjoy each day!

Outdoor planters

A large garden can be intimidating for children, but many outdoor planters come in sizes that are perfect for little fingers. If your child needs a little gardening motivation, consider giving them a uniquely shaped planter to pique their interest. These volcanic rock planters are a fun option. For a larger project, this vertical pot garden allows kids to be in charge of just a few small pots that will still have a big impact. Help your child choose the right materials for planting, such as soil, fertilizer, and plants. Be sure to choose plants that will work in your climate and that are durable enough to withstand a novice junior gardener.

Gardening is a perfect family activity and a great chance for kids to get their hands dirty in a comfortable environment. With these fun kids gardening ideas, your family will be growing their green thumbs in no time!