Archive of: Tips and Guides
Organic Materials You Can Use To Keep Your Garden Pest Free
Written by admin
If there is one thing we have learnt from the recent court case involving ‘Roundup’, it is that using toxic chemicals on your garden can be extremely detrimental to your health, in a variety of ways. Firstly, if you are administering the chemicals to the garden personally, there is a good chance that your health may be damaged from inhaling the chemicals. Secondly, the plants and vegetables that are exposed to unnatural chemicals could then be eaten by you, which would then put those chemicals directly into your body. Thirdly, any animals or insects that come into contact with the plants could also experience the ill-effects from exposure to the chemicals.
The important thing to remember is that there are other ways of assisting with weed and pest management, so it is worth it to do your research and to use alternative methods. The fact is that the Earth is more intelligent than we think, and it usually has all of the resources available for keeping it in good health. It is simply a matter of doing research and assembling the right ingredients at the right time, in the right place.
A quick internet search will give you access to a variety of recipes for natural home-made insecticide sprays that are useful for treating for mites, aphids and other bugs. These can be vegetable oil based, soap based, neem oil based, garlic based, chilli pepper based, or even made from diatomaceous earth (which is a natural insecticide.)
A key aspect of keeping your garden health and pest free is in applying preventative measures to discourage pests from stopping by to sample the merchandise. These might include removing weak plants, interplanting and rotating crops, ensuring that your soil is as healthy as it can be; also water early to avoid wet foliage for long periods of the day. Other methods include clearing the garden of areas where pests would set up camp and move in for the long stay, cleaning your tools regularly to prevent cross infection of pests and using a seaweed spray to discourage slugs.
Coffee Grounds, Copper and Citrus Rind
Believe it or not, but coffee grounds are an excellent deterrent for slugs and snails. They hate them almost as much as they hate copper. Lay a ring of copper around the base of plants or sprinkle coffee grounds on the soil to keep slugs and snails away. Alternatively, you could create a trap for attracting slugs away from your plants with a simple piece of citrus rind from a grapefruit or orange. The slugs will be attracted to the rind where they will feast until you remove them to your compost bin or another area away from your plants.
Gardening: DIY vs Professional Landscape Artists
Written by admin
Creating your own garden from scratch sounds like a romantic idea but the idea does not always go according to plan, which is why many people cut to the chase and hire a team to do the job for them. However, there are factors to take into consideration when deciding if you have the skills necessary to create a landscaped garden that both survives and thrives.
Some people have the time, money and inclination to landscape their garden themselves, but for others they just want a product that is going to look fantastic for the foreseeable future, without too much work on their part. Let’s have a look at the factors to consider before making that decision.
If you are a horticulturalist by either hobby or profession then it is likely that you will know a lot about plants, including what they need to thrive, how their root systems grow and where to best place them in a garden. In this case, your extensive knowledge would be an advantage if you were to landscape your garden yourself.
Having said that, industry knowledge is what you would be getting if you hired a team of landscaping experts, and this is a different arena entirely. Firstly, by using a landscaper who does landscaping for a living will enable you to get the best price on materials. Additionally, they will usually keep abreast of developments in their industry and will be able to advise you on modern gardening techniques and styles of which might not be aware. Last but not least, they would know exactly which council permits (if any) are needed.
Size of the Job
The size of the area that is to be landscaped is definitely a factor that needs to be taken into consideration. If there is a small landscaping job to be added to an existing garden, repair work, or if your idea is for a small garden with a simple design, you would most likely be able to do this yourself. But if there is a large area, or a detailed plan with bold additions that you may not be sure how to execute, you will find that the benefits of hiring a team will outweigh the costs involved.
Budget and Time
If you are a person who has a large budget (in case costs blow out), which often they do if you are doing it yourself, and have a lot of time on your hands, then doing it yourself is likely to be a very rewarding experience and worth the trouble. However, if you are on a limited budget, and are very time poor, hiring a team will ensure that the work is done in a reasonable time, according to your own specifications and within budget.
For landscaping ideas or for help with finding a landscaping team to make your garden beautiful, come and have a chat with our friendly staff at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre today.
Environmentally-Friendly Tips For Keeping Your Garden Pretty
Written by admin
There are so many different ways of using eco-friendly gardening practices for keeping your garden pretty as well as in good health, but here are some important ones to get you started. Be sure to come in to visit us to talk about other tips for keeping your garden beautiful.
The best rule of thumb for having a well-functioning garden space is to choose plants that are native to the area where you live. These plants will thrive in the climate, as well as blend well with each other, and attract pollinators and be beneficial in other ways. Plants that are not native may not integrate well into your garden. They may not thrive, and could be detrimental to other plants in your garden.
Group Plants Mindfully
It matters where you place your plants. Look at the needs of each individual plant and try to group them according to what their specific needs are. Take into consideration factors such as how much sun they require to be healthy, as well as how much water they like and what sort of soil suits them the best. During the planning stages of your garden, look at your garden as a whole and divide it into different zones for the different needs of your plants.
Welcome the Bees and Insects
You may have heard the story that Morgan Freeman has made his ranch in the United States into a bee sanctuary but may not understand why this is a very important thing for him to do. Most people do not realise that birds, bats and bees are important pollinators for all of the other plants, across the world. Much of the food that you eat comes from pollinators doing their job to keep the plant world humming along (and not just in your backyard, but also in every backyard).
One way that you can assist the longevity of both your own life and the lives of every other living species, is to create a sanctuary for pollinators. This can be done by planting specific plants that attract them. Additionally, insects such as wasps, ladybugs, flies and beetles will eat a lot of the nasties that attack your plants so be sure to add plants that are food for them too! Speak to some of our garden experts at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre for more information about which plants will attract native friends to your garden to keep it in top shape.
Birds Are Your Friends
Creating a space that feels like home for different bird species is another important way of keeping your garden naturally beautiful. Include a bird bath where they can have a drink and play in the water, as well as a bird feeder. Birds will eat caterpillars and grubs, which would eat the leaves of your plants and cause them to become sick.
From The Ground Up: Knowing The Importance Of Soil In Landscaping
Written by admin
When landscaping your garden there is much to consider. What sort of plants you want to grow, how you want to design your garden, what you plan to use your garden space for, how much money you want to spend on it, what you need to build to complete the space and who is going to do the work. One area that is of the upmost importance is having a healthy foundation for your plants in which to grow. The health of your soil is one of the fundamental considerations because it can make a huge difference to the longevity of the space and how much maintenance work you will need to do, to keep it at its best.
Healthy plants cannot grow in unhealthy soil, the same way good ideas cannot grow in a negative headspace. We all know that keeping your soil in balance is imperative to ensuring that your plants get the best start in life, and that they continue to flourish as the days, weeks and years roll on. But even more important than that, is to ensure that your soil is alive with life and vitality. Your soil is a living breathing organism, so get it into shape before you even think about buying plants. Talk to one of our garden gurus at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre about how to get your soil into shape.
Reduce Pests and Disease
Believe it or not, but the health of your soil will have a big impact on the amount of pests and disease that frequent your garden. Pests and disease are a natural part of the way that Mother Nature cleans up after herself. They come in to clear away anything that is not healthy, to correct the imbalance in the garden. Healthy soil keeps your plants in optimal condition so that your plants are thriving and there is nothing to clean up.
Keep Weeds at Bay
If there are key nutrients missing from your soil, the weeds will come in to provide the missing ingredients that your soil is lacking. They also come in to fill in the spaces that are not covered, which is why mulching is such a great weed deterrent. Creating that balance yourself means that your garden does not have to take matters into its own hands, leaving more of your energy to enjoy your garden, and focus on the fun stuff, rather than fighting weeds, pests and disease.
How To Start Designing Your Garden
Written by admin
Like any project, creating a garden space will be more successful if you start with a plan and follow the steps to create a space that suits your vision for how you want to use it. Rather than leaping in and throwing your energy around before you have assessed the situation, a plan will make things a lot more manageable and organised. It will also help you to stay on budget, as well as to give you the space to make changes on paper, rather than when you already have things in the ground.
What Have You Got?
The first step is to draw up a map of the situation as it stands. This means drawing the current landscape, including its surrounding areas as well as what you already have growing there. You may be able to incorporate some of the existing garden attributes into your new design. If there are existing hard structures such as pergolas, paved areas and water features, your design plan could work in harmony with them.
How You Want to Use the Space
The next and probably most important question is how you want to use the space. Do you want a quiet Zen Space where you can relax, walk quietly and spend time sitting out in the garden? Would you prefer to use the space for growing food plants and creating a vegetable garden? Or do you want a bit of both? Knowing what you want to do with the space and how you plan to spend your time in there will assist you in creating a design that will work the best and deliver the results that will be most pleasing to you.
Combine the Existing Picture with Your Vision
Once you know what you have got, and what you want to create, start creating. This means drawing up a few different designs about where you want everything to go and what will work best for the vision you have in your mind. Pay attention to which parts of the garden get the most sunshine, and where there are shaded areas at different times of day. Certain plants will thrive best with full sun, while others prefer to have sunshine in the morning, and shade in the afternoon, or vice versa.
Choose Your Plants and Materials
Once you have your design ready to go, now you can make a list of the plants that you will need, what materials you are incorporating and start preparing for how you are going to tackle it. You may find that it is easier to manage if you do a section at a time, but really, it is up to you what feels right, and what will work best for your timeframe.
Tips To Make The Most Of Your Backyard
Written by admin
We’ve all heard of the tiny house movement, but have you ever considered the joy that can be found in a tiny garden? Those who do not have the luxury of a large garden space to do with, as they please, will be presented with the interesting challenge of making the most of the space that they have. This will mean thinking outside the box, which is always the best place to get the creative juices flowing. The good news is that by implementing some creative gardening methods, a small space can be more than enough for the garden of your dreams.
Create a Focal Point
Even though your garden is small, it doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. If you are putting in an effort to create a garden, you will likely be planning to spend a bit of time in there, so make sure that you create a space that is aesthetically pleasing. Begin by creating a plan of how you want it to look and what you want to include; then draw up a design of your vision. Include a focal point such as a water feature, ornament, large rock or a bench for the garden.
Use Creative Garden Techniques
Make the most of a small space by creating more efficient garden areas. One way to use a wall area is to create a vertical garden. This can be done quite easily and it allows you to grow a variety of different plants along the wall. Vertical gardens are not only economical on space but also on water consumption.
Another technique is companion planting, a Native American tradition that allows for different vegetables to use the same space, assisting each other to grow together. One example of this is corn, beans and squash, which complement and support each other as they grow. There are many different garden techniques that you can use to maximise the space available, so talk to our gardening experts at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre for more ideas.
The joy of sharing your garden with birds and bees is definitely worth the effort of providing a space where they enjoy. This means planting natives and food plants for them as well as providing a water source where they can come to cool off and wet their whistle on a hot day. A bird feeder invites birds to come into the space so that you can enjoy their company, and the sound of their sweet singing creates atmosphere in your garden.
Four Tips On How To Water Your Plants The Right Way
Written by admin
Like you, if your plants do not get enough water, they start to dry out and will begin to wilt and look unhealthy. Plants need a balance of both water and oxygen to their roots for them to be in optimal condition and have the best growth. Finding that balance is important to ensure that your plants are looking good and in good health. Different planting methods will need a different watering schedule, so do your research and, most importantly, get to know your plants!
Use a Soaker or a Drip Irrigation System
The first tip is to use the correct system for watering. The idea with watering is for the plants to get a thorough watering, evenly, but not too often. It is actually better to do it less often and give them a really good water, than to do it often and give them a quick sprinkle. As the root system benefits from drying out a little, a good soaking after they have been dried out will promote growth of the roots.
Focus on the Roots
When you water, stay away from the leaves as much as possible and focus on the roots. This includes watering evenly around the root area of the plant, to ensure that there is even growth. The roots are the part of the plant that draws all of the nutrients from the soil up and into the plant. Watering the leaves makes your plant much more susceptible to diseases so stick to focusing on the roots.
Water in the Morning
The idea is for the plant to get as much moisture as it needs from the soil around its roots, and then for the soil to dry out enough so that there is not too much water left overnight when the temperature cools down. Watering your plants in the morning allows for the water to be absorbed throughout the day and does not leave too much dampness in the soil overnight, when it can cause problems. Another benefit of watering in the morning is that if the leaves do get wet they will have enough time to dry out before the temperature cools down in the evening, and so prevent disease.
Use Quality Soil and Mulch
Know your soil and ensure that it is in good health before planting. Different types of soil will retain water or allow it to run off and be lost before the plant can get what it needs. You may have to prepare the soil by adding particular fertilisers or organic matter to get it into optimal health before planting. Use mulch to prevent water running off and drying out your soil.
If in doubt about any of these tips, or if you need more information, pop by the Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre and have a chat to one of our friendly gardeners.
Five Tips For Spending Less On Your Garden
Written by admin
Gardening is a relaxing and enjoyable pastime that not only gives you a chance to recharge your batteries as you potter around in the green spaces, but it can also provide you with food that you can eat.
The benefits of spending time in a garden have been recognised by the mental health profession for many years as it is extremely therapeutic to while away a few hours getting your hands and feet into the soil. The costs of raising a garden can sometimes blow out though, which can cause people to think twice before they embark on the adventure of growing their own garden space. Here are some tips for spending less on your garden:
1. Make Your Own Compost
Why buy from outside when you can make your own very simply by using kitchen waste, garden clippings and any other garden waste including sticks and other bits and pieces. Most organic matter can go into your home-made compost, except for a few items of which you need to be aware. Talk to our staff at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre for more information.
2.Grow Your Own Seedlings
Rather than spending your money on seedlings and raising pots from garden shops, make your own out of newspaper or egg shells. Both of these are biodegradable so you can simply put the seedlings in them in the ground, and they will help the soil as they break down.
3.Propagate from Existing Plants
Buying plants can prove to be quite costly, which is why it makes sense to propagate from plants you already have, rather than to go through the expense of buying new ones.
4. Mulching Saves Money and Time
Mulching your garden not only saves you money on water but it also stops weeds from growing, which then reduces your need to work on removing them; this could be costly if you choose to go the chemical method.
5. Do I Really Need This Plant?
Impulse buying, whether it be on miscellaneous items or on plants, can end up costing you quite a penny and in some cases – wasting money. As is often the case, if you buy a plant that you don’t actually have a space for in the garden, yet, you may leave it in the small pot that it came in, while you decided where to put it, and it may end up drying out and dying. Plan where you are going to put your plants before you buy them, so you do not lose money on impulsive purchases!
How To Create Your Own Stress-Free Garden At Home
Written by admin
If you are looking for a quiet place to escape from the world at the end of the day, look no further than your own garden. This is a place where you can invite the birds and the bees to take up residence by planting accordingly, as well as possibly creating a food source for yourself, and somewhere that you can relax and unwind. Making it a stress-free experience will have a lot to do with your planning and preparation, as well as how you choose to work with the space.
Make a Plan
The first thing you need to do is to work out exactly what your expectations are of your garden and prepare it accordingly. If you want to grow food to eat, you will likely design the garden differently from how you would if you want simply to have somewhere to sit and relax with a good book. Your plan will assist you in working out what sort of plants you want to get, as well as where you are going to plant them. The most stress-free way of growing food plants is to companion plant, that is, plants that complement each other, which keeps pests down, utilises the space well and assists your plants to be happy and healthy.
Preparation is Key
Organising all aspects of your garden will help immensely in keeping the place as stress-free as possible, because you will know where everything is, and be able to find it easily when you need it. Create a board for your tools to hang and organise your seeds so that you know what is what and where to find them when you want to use them. Prepare the soil to accommodate the plants that you are choosing for your garden, and plant them in places that are conducive to them surviving.
Make Plant Tags
Part of being a happy gardener is having the knowledge of what you have growing in your garden. Research your plants and learn all about what they like. Make sure that your plants have tags so that you can easily identify them later. Often when we are planting our seedlings into the ground we imagine that we will remember what they are, but sometimes things can get mixed up and we may forget.
Choose Appropriate Plants
For stress-free gardening, you need to plant items that are going to be happy where you are planting them. Putting a plant or vegetable that likes the shade in full sun is not going to lead to stress-free gardening because if your plants are not happy you won’t be happy either. Ensure that the plants you are choosing are going to thrive in your garden and deliver the results that you are seeking. If you aren’t sure about a particular plant or need more information about complementary planting come and talk to our gardeners at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre.
Sustainable Gardening Tips You Should Know
Written by Michael
‘Sustainable’ – it’s the newest buzz word, but what does it mean? The Oxford Dictionary defines sustainable as ‘being able to be maintained at a certain rate or level’. When it comes to gardening, this relates to the methods that you choose to use in your garden. One of the key ideas that is encompassed in sustainable gardening is that the focus is on natural methods of production. Sustainability involves looking at the big picture, and employing forward thinking. It is about preserving natural resources and protecting them from any harm that may be caused by your choices and actions, either now, or in the future.
Keep Your Garden Chemically Clean
With the idea of preserving natural resources for the future in mind, the use of chemicals in your gardening would not be a sustainable practice, because chemicals alter the eco system dramatically, affecting it in all areas. Chemicals do not only kill the nasties, but they also destroy the goodies too, and are somewhat akin to napalm for your garden. Even if you used them in one particular area with a mind to ‘keeping them away from the vegetables’, there is a likelihood of possible contamination into all other areas.
Compost, Compost, Compost
Composting is one of the best practices you can use in terms of sustainable gardening, because it encompasses everything that sustainability is about. It both recycles your garden waste, and enriches the soil. Using it in your garden also means that it is not joining the tonnes of other stuff that contributes to landfill in your community, so in the long term you are benefitting your family as well. Composting techniques can include raking the dead leaves and using them on garden beds, to using a composting system or growing a worm farm. It reduces waste and produces strong, vibrant plants and vegetables.
Take Care of Business
The topic of using chemicals and compost leads us to the important topic of taking care of business in your garden. Many a person has had the exciting idea of growing their own vegetables and spent their money to create a garden, but then do not maintain it. Being in your garden and spending time watering, weeding, pruning, composting, turning the soil over and doing what needs to be done will not only maximise your garden’s productivity but it will be beneficial to you as well.
Choose Appropriate Plants
Another important tip for sustainable gardening is to choose native plants and plants that are appropriate for the climate that you are living in. Different plants need different conditions to survive and thrive. If you are living in a warm climate, choosing plants that like cold temperatures is not going to be a wise decision. For more information about plants that are suited to your local area, talk to one of our plant whisperers at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre.