Whether or not it feels like it yet, we are on our way into the fall and winter seasons, which means cooler weather. And depending on where you live, this could mean rain and snow—which may spell trouble for the plants in your garden! Plan ahead with these garden weatherproofing tips:
Space is an important issue in creating your own garden. However, there is always a solution if you know how to utilize what you have. One good example is the window box garden, which maximizes the potential of such a compact area in your home. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to conveniently pick fresh […]
Resolutions are as much a New Year’s tradition as champagne, fireworks, and the ball drop in Times Square. So while you’re making your plans for the New Year, why not include some for your garden? Whether you’re looking for a little plant pick-me-up or you’d like to start from scratch with a whole new garden […]
Wondering what’s hot in gardening for the new year? We’ve compiled some of the new year’s trends from top gardening experts for you so that you can start 2018 off right. Happy planting!
It’s that time of year again, the time for making resolutions. Whether your resolutions are to get to the gym more, go to sleep earlier, or save more money, we’ve complied a couple resolutions that will still fall in line with the classic ones and a couple that that will be trending in the New Year.
Here are 2015’s Top 6 Gardening Resolutions & Trends:
- Get outside more. Take a walk around your building at lunch, walk around the block with your family after dinner, or do a little spring prep in the garden to ensure for a prosperous garden come springtime. Try container gardening if you’re in a region of the country where it’s just too cold to be outside right now. Window boxes with a cleat hanging system make perfect containers for small space gardening. Plant whatever your heart desires (keep in mind the small space), keep the box inside until it’s warmer outside, and then hang it below your window once it’s warm enough outside. Click Here to find out When and How to Start Seeds Indoors.
- Use new gardening tools. If you’re an avid gardener or you’re just starting out, gardening tools are you best friends. Start off the New Year with new gardening tools. They’ll be all clean and shiny and you’ll want to get in the garden and yard ASAP to break them in. This is also a great time of year to order your garden trellises so they’re ready to use when you buy plants in the Spring.
- Improve your home’s curb appeal. This is a biggie. You’re lucky if this can be accomplished in one afternoon, but for the rest of you, this will be an ongoing but incredibly rewarding project! All it takes is some motivation (like seeing a gorgeous house on Pinterest), dedication, and a plan. You can improve your home’s curb appeal by simply mowing the grass, trimming the grass along the sidewalk, and pruning bushes and trees. But if you really want to differentiate your home from all the other houses on the block, think about installing exterior window shutters, window boxes, or flanking your front door with planters with tall topiaries. Click Here to meet Sage, she’s our curb appeal expert. Follow us on YouTube and we’ll let you know when she has her next curb appeal tips video!
- Try new plants. This may seem daunting as you are probably very comfortable in your current flower/plant situation. But isn’t that was the New Year is all about, trying something different? Add a more colorful arrangement of flowers to your planters, mix it up with different heights and densities of plants, and plant some veggies that you’d like to cook up later to go along with the next resolution.
- Eat healthier. This one can be a little difficult for those of you that work from sun up to sun down but there are small and also very affordable ways you can make small changes that will make a huge difference later. You can grow your own herbs in your kitchen. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love fresh basil and mint? With container gardening, you can even grow mushrooms, tomatoes, and micro greens right on your countertop. Click Here to view seed starters and tabletop grow boxes.
- Save more money. Isn’t this something everyone strives for in the New Year? You can accomplish this multiple ways this year. Save money on your water bill by using planter reservoirs in your pots and hanging baskets so you never need to worry about over or under watering your plants. You can also save money on your water bill by planting drought-tolerant plants that naturally require less water. Dramatically reduce your grocery expenses by growing your own herbs, veggies, tomatoes, and lettuce. You can even plan ahead and start growing your own lemon tree for delicious citrus in the coming years! Click Here to view planter reservoirs.
You can shop all of these great gardening solutions at www.HooksandLattice.com, or simply pick up the phone and call us for guidance: 1-800-896-0978.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Starting a garden is a fitting way to show your patriotism this Fourth of July. That’s right, fresh grown veggies and fruits are the very reason Cobb Salads and apple pies are so American. And, it just so happens, planting food for freedom is part of our nation’s history.
Victory, Garden Style
During the first half of the twentieth century, as our nation was entangled in World Wars I and II, growing fruits, vegetables and herbs was actually a part of the war effort. These civilian contributions came to be known as Victory Gardens.
By producing food locally, communities were able to subsist on their own harvests while easing demand on the national food supply. Plots ranged from small raised bed gardening on urban rooftops, to large suburban yards and rural fields. According to The National WWII Museum archives, at the height of the Victory Garden during World War II, there were more than 20 million individual plots operating across the USA. Now that’s what we call patriotic produce!
Local Food Fuels Freedom
While container and vegetable gardening obviously did not win the war outright, communities banding together for the common good rightly demonstrates the American Way. While soldiers sacrificed to fight battles thousands of miles away, their families were at home helping to free up food supplies needed overseas while boosting civilian morale.
In peacetime, the same idea of better living and stronger communities rings true. Things have changed a lot since the Victory Gardens of WWII, but the lingering sentiment is just as relevant today. When we have access to our food source and understand its workings, Americans emerge empowered.
Present Day Victory Gardens
Today, nearly 70 years since the Second World War ended, the United States has undergone rapid changes in the way our food is produced, packaged and sold. While supply shortages are no longer a concern as a direct result of war, our country faces new struggles tied to sustenance. As evidenced by childhood and adolescent obesity rates that loom higher than ever (see: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), many Americans have gone astray when it comes to basic nutrition. When did we lose touch with what we put on our meal table?
Many claim the reason behind this quandary is simple: Limited knowledge of or connection to our food sources. Detachment leads to choices based on what is available and affordable, even if that means frozen and processed goods with little to no real nutrition. But what if we could change all that and put American communities back in touch with agriculture and the food they eat?
Several community-based and grassroots movements are aiming to do just that. The Victory Garden Initiative is one such effort, citing in their mission statement that, “When everyone is a farmer, we will have a socially and environmentally just food system.” Kind of like farming for freedom.
Food For Thought this 4th of July
Working to ensure there is fresh and wholesome meals on the table at breakfast, lunch and dinner is about as American as it gets. And on no day is this more apparent than July 4th. This summer, though, rather than relying fully on big box stores for mealtime ingredients, show your local farmers a little love. Or, better yet, grow your own!
To get started on a small scale, raised bed gardening in cedar or redwood is a great way to go. It works anywhere, from the back yard to a downtown rooftop. Also, check out some tips tied to the modern-day Victory Garden, courtesy of the aptly named PBS program.
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:
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.
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.
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.