24 Mar

9 Beautiful Examples of Apartment Gardening

If you are living in a high-rise apartment or condo building or have small space for gardening, you just have to be a little bit creative to grow a beautiful garden. Need examples? Here are 9 beautiful examples of apartment gardening.

Apartment Garden

Apartment Garden / Image via globo.com

Condo Garden

Condo Garden / Image via Pinterest

Apartment Gardening

Small Garden/ Image via shelterness.com

Indoor Apartment Gardening

Indoor Apartment Garden/ Image via parentingpatch.com

Little Garden

Little Garden / Image via nashmadethat.blogspot.ca

Small Apartment Garden

Small Apartment Garden / Image via apartmenttherapy.com

Small Space Raised Garden

Small Space Raised Garden/ Image via apartmenttherapy.com

Small Garden

Small Garden / Image via Pinterest

Small Terrace Garden

Small Terrace Garden / Image via apartmenttherapy.com

These beautiful examples demonstrate that even small spaces can be utilized to grow wonderful gardens. All you need is the right selection of plants,  the right-sized planters and a little creativity is managing your precious space. In fact, a careful garden in your apartment’s balcony can grow your favourite show plants, vegetables, seasonal bloomers, as well as all-season specimen plants like ferns, succulents, and other foliage plants.

19 Mar

New to Gardening? Do it with ‘Sprout It’ iPhone App

I just came across a nifty iPhone app, Sprout It, that is built around the idea of providing step-by-step guide to growing a great kitchen garden.

Sprout It iPhone app provides with step-by-step guide to planning, growing and harvesting your vegetable and herb garden. I am writing down my initial experience with Sprout It.

The application has a built-in database of plants and varieties. You can read about the plants, their growth requirements, methods of growing, and care instructions.

Sprout it Library

Sprout It – Plants Library

Once you have selected plants that you want to grow, you can create a growth plan. The growth plan is customized according to your climate and growing conditions. Sprout It provides tips, tutorials, and resources for growing your selected varieties.

Sprout It Grow Plan

Grow Plan

After you have sown your selected plants, you can compare the growth and health of your crop with the virtual growth plan that Sprout It provides. While you can track and compare health and growth of your crop, the application provides you all the necessary alerts and reminders as your crop ripens.

Sprout It Crop

Crop Progress

Sprout It also provides interesting ideas for gardening experiments and interesting recipes that you can cook with your own herbs and vegetables.

Sprout It Gardening info

Tips & Guides

Sprout It is available as free iPhone and web application.

08 Mar

Composting: Turning Trash into a Garden Treasure

Have you ever thought about compost? As a gardener, compost is a great source of organic matter as well as fertilizer which can be mixed into the soil when planting. Whenever you do some gardening or planting, using organic fertilizer is a great idea.

The great thing with a compost is that it is cheap and helps the soil in water retention where it’s needed. So what makes up a compost pit or what is a compost pit made of? A compost is made up of organic matter like the fallen leaves, trimmings of plants, clippings of grass or remains of other plants. There are fruit peels, kitchen and household wastes, coffee grounds, egg shells and so much more. Did you also know that you can also use shredded papers into the mix? Well, we do know that paper decomposes – just limit the amount of paper added in the compost because the more you add, it will clump together and the longer it will decompose.

Though we mentioned that the compost is made up of organic materials, here are some of those organic materials that should not be added in the list: grease, dairy products, meat scraps, or those materials that produces bad odor because these will attract wild animals. It is also a ‘no-no’ to add cat litter or dog and other animal droppings into your compost as they may contain parasites and other harmful organisms.

Knowing which organic materials can be used for your compost, you now need to locate where in your yard that you need to allocate for your compost pit project. Keep in mind that the area should be level, have a good drainage and can be hit partially by the sun. Make sure there is a good water source near because you will need that for your compost.

Basic Steps for Preparing Your Own Compost

1. Building your compost pit – structure. You can use wires woven together, big barrel, concrete blocks or treated lumber (1 by 4 inch dimensions). If you don’t want to make your own compost structure, you can buy prefabricated compost bins in hardware stores or turf suppliers.

Compost Bins

Compost Bins / Image by London Permaculture

2. Starting your pile. This is where your materials that you collected come next. You need to arrange them in layers.

3. Keeping the pile moist. Always keep a constant check of your pile by squeezing a handful – make sure to wear garden gloves for protection.

The compost takes 4-7 days before you are able to turn the pile and mix the materials. Make sure that the pile should heat up and that it should be moist enough.

When the compost is done which usually takes six weeks to a year, it should look dark brown and crumbly – soil consistency with a sweet and musty smell. Then you can use them in your garden bed.

29 Jan

Border Plant for Low-maintenance Gardens: Yucca filamentosa

If you are looking for a low-maintenance plant for garden borders, consider Yucca filamentosa – an evergreen, hardy and drought-tolerant plant.

Yucca filamentosa

Yucca filamentosa

On local nurseries, Yucca filamentosa is available with many different names: Adam’s needle, Spanish bayonet, Bear-grass and Needle-palm. The plant is known for its lovely white flowers and architectural structure that makes it a nice accent plant.

Yucca filamentosa thrives in a well-drained soil under partial sun. However, it can easily adapt itself to different types of soil and light conditions. For this reason, it makes a nice plant for gardens and landscapes where it forms small groups of shrubby plants with stem-less structure. A mature Yucca filamentosa can grow up to 1 meter in height and spread across 1.5 meter (however it takes around 20 years to attain this size).

Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard'

Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’

Yucca filamentosa is characterized by its sword-shaped, spine-tipped green leaves that form a tight rosette. The leaves change many shades from winter to spring. In spring, Yucca filamentosa produces a long stalk of beautiful white flowers. The flowers last for a long time and attract bees and butterflies.

Yucca filamentosa also offers a couple of popular cultivars that include:

Yucca filamentosa ‘Golden Sword’ – similar to ‘Bright Edge’, but larger.

Yucca filamentosa ‘Ivory Tower’ – creamy white flowers tinged with green.

Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’ – broad yellow stripes all year, plus red stripes in the winter.