What Is Hydroponics Gardening and How to Do It Indoors

You may have heard of hydroponics gardening before and got either interested or turned off by its gibberish sounding moniker. What exactly is hydroponics you may ask.

Hydroponics was derived from the Greek word hydro, which means “water” and ponos, which means “labor or water-working”. Hydroponics gardening involves growing plants with their roots in other nutrient solutions and without soil.

Hydroponics gardening is as simple as ordinary gardening. Both of them necessitate sufficient light, water, temperature, light, and humidity. However, with regular gardening, several plants could not survive being indoors. On the other hand, when gardening indoors using hydroponics, growing plants indoors can be a cinch.

In setting up and planning for hydroponics gardening, one may consider these simple guidelines on how to do hydroponics gardening:

1. Hydroponics gardening means that no soil is used but fertilization is required.

Be aware that even if hydroponics gardening does not require the use of soil, your plants need their supplement which they get from water or their food. This is one of the major considerations in hydroponics gardening since it sustains the plants. One has to make sure that this nutrient solution maintains a pH level of 5 to 6 after dilution. In hydroponics gardening, the plants should be watered more than three times a day by using a pump and a timer.

2. Untampered temperature required.

If your hydroponics garden is located indoors, the most suitable temperature is between 71 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, this temperature may change depending on the different types of plant you are working on, e.g. tropical plants.

3. Don’t be light on lighting.

Place your plants somewhere they can receive ample amount of light. If you will place your hydroponics garden where there is not enough light, you could use a High pressure Sodium lights or bulbs, which emit artificial illumination.

4. Humidity is a necessity.

In hydroponics gardening, a little amount of air will do. When the room’s temperature rises, the air will be able to hold the sufficient amount of moisture your plants will need.

Another convenience the hydroponics gardener can enjoy is being able to fully automate this kind of gardening system. Since it is water-based, the gardener don’t have to attend to his plants that much. This is because water can be reused.

With hydroponics, an excellent yield of quality plants can be easily achieved. Hydroponic systems are also very easy to make from common materials that are readily available in most hardware stores.

The Law of Attraction: Ways to Invite Butterflies to Your Garden

There are few things in life as beautiful as the sight of butterflies darting and fluttering around a garden. These winged creatures not only provide little splashes of color and splendor, they also pollinate flowers and play an important role in garden cultivation. Given the flitting behavior of these insects, attracting butterflies to your garden may seem like an insurmountable task. There are, however, a few things you can do to draw their attention and welcome them into your garden.

Plant Native Flowers in Bold Colors

Each geographic area has flowering plants native to its locale. Butterflies and native plants have a symbiotic relationship and have evolved to a degree that they depend on one another for survival. Nutrients in the nectar and petals of native flowering plants are essential to the development of the butterfly. They are naturally drawn to these plants via a sort of internal GPS system designed by Mother Nature herself.

It is equally important to plant your native flowers in colors that will attract butterflies. Like humans, butterflies have specific color schemes they prefer. The most popular include:






In general, bolder, brighter colors will be more enticing to butterflies. A garden full of these colors will likely attract a larger number of butterflies. They are also drawn to flat-topped flowers and flowers grown in clusters.


Plant Safe, Sheltering Havens

Butterflies are instinctively drawn to gardens that provide a sense of shelter and safety. Typically, this means they go for plants that are in close proximity to trees. The canopy of overhead branches and the walls of tree trunks and other flowers offer a kind of “safe room,” where the butterfly can visit, find nectar, and pollinate without fear of outside creatures or prey waiting in the lurch. They can also find refuge and a protective cover from high winds and rainstorms.

The sun is vital to butterflies maintaining their orientation with the earth. They are attracted to gardens offering shelter, but they also need the sunlight to stay on course. A few flat rocks placed in full sunlight will be sure to catch a butterfly’s eye.

Offer “Puddling” Space

The sand-like soil that collects after a rainstorm is a natural draw for butterflies. Because of the moisture, the dirt becomes sandy in texture and gathers to create tiny puddles. Butterflies enjoy congregating around these puddles to drink and mine nutrients. You can also create your own puddling space by filling a shallow pan with moist, coarse sand and gently pushing it into the soil of your flowerbed.

Go Organic and Don’t Use Insecticides

While insecticides can keep the annoying or damaging pests away, they also keep the butterflies away. Insecticides are designed to kill any and all insects with which they come in contact. By growing your flowers naturally, you are inviting butterflies to your garden and providing that safe, sheltered space they seek. And don’t worry if you get a few more insects of the peskier variety: the allure of the butterflies will make it all worthwhile.

Safe Pest Control Tips

Like parents trying to protect their children, surely, gardeners would like to protect their plants from the bad bugs. How else could they do accomplish this but with the help of pest control measures? But as the same parents-children analogy, a certain kind of protection might be dangerous. Pest control must be done with utmost consideration to safety; safety in terms of the plants, animals and humans. This holds especially true for those with vegetable and organic gardens.

The main purpose of taking care of vegetables and organic gardens will be defeated if they become “tainted” with pest control chemicals. Plants are extensions of the beauty and privileges given by Mother Nature. What good could anyone get from chemical-laden vegetables and flowers?

Here are a few tips to make pest control a less damaging or more environment-friendly endeavor. These tips consist of the steps taken for long-term maintenance of your pest control system.

1. Use the physical pest control process.

This may be accomplished through picking by hand, creating barriers and traps and plugging holes.

2. Apply biological pest control.

Breed predatory insects such as Green lacewings to feed on the pesky aphids that just can’t get enough of your foliage. Bacterial insecticides such as B. thuringiensis could also be used against caterpillars.

3. Finally, resort to chemical pest control.

Organic pesticides or the least-toxic pest control chemicals must be considered as only the last resort in warding off those menacing pests. Some of these not-so-toxic chemicals include insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, dehydrating dusts, etc.

4. Consider the use of safer pest control substitutes.

Recipes for alternative pest control include the following:

Against Green Aphids and Mites – 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and a cup of vegetable oil must be mixed. Dilute a teaspoon of this solution with a cup of water. Then, you can spray this mixture to those annoying aphids and mites.

Against Cockroaches – Dusts of boric acid can be applied to cracks or entry points of these insects. Bay leaves on pantry shelves could also help in warding off these critters.

Make sure that the chemicals you use as pest control are specific for the insects you are targeting. This could be assured through intently checking on labels. If the insect you would like to kill is not included in the list of the chemical’s target insects, most probably it will not work on that insect.

With these bits of indispensable pest control advice, as a responsible steward of the environment, you are taking care of your plants as well as others.

Promising a Flower Garden

Flower gardens come in different styles and varieties, their appeal can be very addicting to any flower gardener. As a gardener, knowing how to improve your flower garden can make a big difference in the aesthetics and over-all health of your garden.

Here are simple ways to make your flower garden bloom more for your gardening heart’s content:

1. The essentials must always be given major consideration.

Just like with any gardening endeavor, a flower garden must have its adequate supply of water, light, and fertile soil. To lack one of these gardening necessities is almost preparing the death bed of your flower garden. Water the flower garden more frequently during dry spells. Also, make sure that you plant the flower bulbs deep enough to provide sufficient room for the rooting.

2. Mix and match perennials with annuals.

Perennial flower bulbs need not to be replanted since they grow and bloom for several years while annuals grow and bloom for only one season. Mixing a few perennials with annuals ensures that the show goes on with your flower garden.

3. Deadhead to encourage more blossoms.

Deadheading is simply snipping off the flower head after it wilts. This will make the plant grow more and produce more flowers. Just make sure that you don’t discard the deadhead on the garden or mildew and other plant disease will attack your plants.

4. Know the good from the bad bugs.

Do you know that most garden insects do more good than harm? Butterflies, flies, beetles and bees are known as pollinators. They fertilize plants through unintentional transfer of pollen from one plant to another. And 80% of flowering plants rely on them for survival. Why do you think flowers are that colorful and pretty? I’ll be you thought it was to make humans more fond of them? It’s actually to lure more insects.

Sowbugs and dung beetles together with fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms make the soil friendlier to plants. This is because they subsist on dead materials, breaking them into simpler molecules that fertilize the soil. These bugs are known as the ever trusty decomposers.

Now you don’t just shoo away bugs whenever you see any. Choose your enemies.

With those loads of information in mind and practiced, your flower garden will surely thank you with a breath taking view when it’s time for them to bloom again.

Healthy hands are the Gardener’s Best Tools

The importance of gardening gloves and how to choose the best ones is as important as getting your plants watered on a hot summer day.

Here are the major reasons why one should consider getting a pair of trusty gardening gloves:

Protection from injury

It protects your hands from blisters, thorns, cuts, bruises and rough work. You don’t want to get your hands dirty and wounded first before you realize that healthy hands always do better a job than damaged hands. Investing in a pair quality of gloves is always a good decision.

You surely don’t need to be reminded that it’s not your hands that you are supposed to prune. Pruning necessitates the protection of durable gardening gloves. Also, you don’t want to be stung by nettles, right? So better wear a pair of those protective gloves.

Promote Dexterity and Comfort

Remember that moment when you don’t want to use your other hand because you want to use it for other a lot less dirty activities? With gardening gloves on you don’t have to think of that burdening dilemma anymore. Moreover, what more could make you feel comfortable than knowing that you can always take off your gardening gloves anytime you choose to hug your kid for a while or flip your wife’s hair?

Now here are some tips on how to choose the pair that will suit you best:

1. Look for quality leather gloves with a cloth back; this will let the gloves breathe and keep your hands dry, cool and comfortable.

2. If what bothers you is the mud, select rubber gloves with cotton lining.

3. When spraying pesticides or chemicals choose gloves that are made from neoprene. Gloves made from latex or any type of plastic may not offer the best protection.

4. When pruning roses, choose gloves that reach up to the arms.

5. If you usually operate large garden machineries, buy gloves in old brown instead of red as the latter may dye your hands.

6. During cold weather, select finger-less gloves for doing gardening jobs such as transplanting seedlings or any job that requires contact with the soil.

7. And of course, make sure that the gloves you buy actually fit your hands.

Your gardening gloves must both prioritize comfort and protection to best serve your gardening needs.

Vegetable Gardening Tips in your Backyard

Would it be possible for you to grow a vegetable garden in your backyard? Consider this option, healthy foods just within your reach. Even your children can help and cultivate their own vegetables. Having fun while learning is not a bad idea right? But you have to plan ahead before you start.

Which Veggie?

Plan which vegetables you would like to grow in your garden. Choose early, middle of the season and late kinds of these vegetables, which you like best.

Against all veggie odds

You have to know the odd characteristics of certain vegetables and use them to best advantage. Some vegetables bloom even in partially shaded positions, while others require lots of sunshine.

Goodie veggies

Good vegetables are of exceptionally slow growth during the seedling stage of development. You have to take advantage of this by using space between rows for quick-growing crops. For example, propagate beet seed by middle of April and position young lettuce plants between the rows.

Don’t let the water run dry

Throughout dry periods, vegetable gardens need extra watering. Most vegetables benefit from an inch or more of water each week, especially when they are fruiting.

De-pest the infested

During the growing season be attentive against insect pests. If you discover a bug problem early it will make it much easier to take suitable action and get rid of the pests. But be careful to not use pesticides once the vegetable have grown unless it becomes an absolute necessity. Organic gardening is one healthy and environment-friendly option. Once you have reaped your crop, put the used up vegetable matter into your fertilizer pile so that it can be recycled for next spring.

Animal appeal not needed

It is important to protect your vegetable garden. In most cases, the garden is surrounded by a fence adequately high and close-woven to keep out dogs, rabbits, and other animals. The harm done by wandering animals during a season can equal the cost of a fence. A fence also can serve as a frame for peas, beans, tomatoes, and other crops that need support.

Protection is needed in order for your vegetable garden to yield a bountiful harvest. Hard work would pay off if necessary precaution has been made. Learning is a process, vegetable gardening needs time. See to it you have patience and dedication to it.

8 Tips to Get Your Kids Enjoy Home Gardening

Dirt has always been one of the kids’ best toys, so home gardening could just be one fun activity for your children. Excite them by allowing them to pick whichever plant they want to grow. Here are some tips to help you make your little ones become enthusiastic with home gardening.

1. Choose the right plants

Kids will more likely choose plants and flowers with bright colors, so have a load of varieties of plants. Examples of bright flowers are zinnias and cosmos; these will keep your children fascinated. Don’t forget the sunflowers. Anything that is tall and fuzzy will surely overwhelm a kid. Make sure these plants will not cause any allergic reactions from your kid.

2. Starting seeds

Give your children the freedom to help you with the staring seeds. Some seeds might be too small for the tiny fingers, but their digits can be of help in covering them with dirt.

3. Home Gardening Memoir

To last the kids’ enthusiasm until the plants grow, make them create a home gardening journal. This activity will allow them to use their imagination to sketch on what the plants will be like and write down when they placed in the ground the seeds and when they first witnessed a sprout pushing up.

4. Make sure that the garden is somewhere very visible for the kids.

Before you start home gardening, pick a spot where the kids often play or walk by. Every time they see and pass by their garden, the more they will sight changes.

5. Dirt playing

Always remember that children are fond of playing with dirt or mud. They can help you ready the soil, even if what they are only doing is stomping on the clumps. To make home gardening with the kids more fun, you can provide them with kid-sized tools to make home gardening very engaging for them.

6. Your kids own the garden

A picture of each plant will enable the children to foresee what the flowers will look like. You can also put your child’s name on a placard, so everyone can see that it’s their garden.

7. Playing with the water

Playing with water is right up there with playing with dirt. Look for a small watering can that they can use to water their garden. You can show them how to let the water go right to the roots of the plants. Hoses want only trouble. They are simply formidable for little hands to control.

8. Kids commit mistakes

Adults, too, are sometimes impatient. Give the kids full control to their garden. If they create a mess, let it be, it’s their mess. Allow them to get pleasure from it and take dignity in their own piece of territory. Just don’t forget to tell them how to clean up that mess.

Growing Fruits and Vegetables the Way Nature intended them to be

Gardening can add more quality to the way you live and even to some extent may also add quantity to one’s life. There are many benefits of gardening, particularly organic gardening that can make one can forget about whatever is bothering him or her.

Organic gardening is the way of growing vegetables and fruits with the use of things only found in nature.

Why would one want to indulge in organic gardening?

1. Organic gardening is less boring.

One can easily make his own compost from garden and kitchen waste. Though this is a bit more time-consuming than buying prepared chemical pesticides and fertilizers, it would surely be one rewarding activity.

2. Less health harming chemicals on the food that you and your family may consume.

Pesticides contain toxins that have only one purpose kill living things. One of the best known benefits of organic gardening is the zero tolerance for pesticide use. This is the most widely know reason for the boom of organic gardening and is also the best of what we get from the benefits of organic gardening.

3. Less harm to the environment.

Organic gardening has residual effect on ground water. The Environmental Protection Agency says that 38 states have cases of contaminated ground water.

The protection of the topsoil from erosion is another concern dealt with the practice of organic gardening.

The Soil Conservation Service says that an estimated 30 – 32 billion tons of soil erodes from United States farmlands every year. Commercial farming causes this.

4. Cost savings

One does need to buy costly chemical fertilizers and pesticides with organic gardening. One example of organic fertilizer that one could make use of is as lowly as the stale coffee and coffee grounds. If one wishes to attract off aphids from vegetables, plant marigolds.

One frugal garden pest spray could be concocted through mixing 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap and 1 cup of cooking oil. Put 3 tablespoons of this mixture in 1 quart of water and spray on plants.

Mulch, which is used to keep moisture in and weeds out, could be in the form of grass clippings and pine needles.

5. Organic gardening makes one feel better knowing he is doing his part in safeguarding the future of the next generations.

On the average, a child ingests four to five times more cancer-causing pesticides from foods than an adult. This can lead to various diseases later on in the child’s life. With organic gardening, these incidents are lessened.

When is the Best Time to Fertilize the Grass?

You bought a new house in the fall. Winter came and went and now it’s time to haul out the lawn mower. As you’re doing laps in the yard, you can’t help but notice all the interesting patches of pseudo-grass. You have crabgrass; you have weeds; you have clover; you have a boatload of dandelions. Contrarily, your neighbor’s garden looks like a golf course. Sometimes you sneak over there sans shoes just to run your tootsies through the lush greenery. No worries; can you turn your sparse excuse for grass around in one season; and it won’t cost you a fortune. Put the yellow pages away, you’re not calling a service. If you fertilize at the right time of the year, you can have your own gorgeous thick green grass.

Let’s cut to the chase. The optimum time to fertilize your lawn is in the fall. The time of year when most people are considering putting away their lawn mower, is when you should be getting out the spreader. It’s also the time of year when you can get an accurate picture of your lawn’s health. After the summer stresses, you will be able to see where the dead brown grass is and where the crabgrass is. Changes in lawn appearance in October can reveal whether appropriate lawn care is being practiced. Properly fertilized lawns tend to improve in appearance, while the opposite takes place for improperly fertilized lawns.

A November application is ideal. Although the air temperatures will have cooled considerably by this time, soil temperatures will remain warm enough for some primarily-root and tiller-grass growth. This late fall fertilization facilitates winterizing the grass and sets the foundation for the grass to make a quick start in the spring. Although be prepared that fertilizing at this late date can result in an additional mowing. However, the payback is that the grass will have a dark green color going into winter that returns early in the spring.

Many new lawn aficionados are under the false impression that spring is the best time to fertilize their grass. Actually, fertilizing at that time may be detrimental to the long-term health of the lawn. Sure you’ll get expedited top growth and a beautiful lush appearance, but at what cost? Spring fertilization discourages grass from storing food reserves for the hard times to come during the summer. Akin to having a chocolate snack in the afternoon to perk you up; it works for a short while, but then you crash, and crash much harder than if you would have maintained your blood sugar throughout the day.

Not only will the chocolate cause your glucose levels to sky rocket and plummet, it’ll also wreak havoc on your teeth. Same holds true for the grass. Not only does March-April-May fertilization discourage storage of food reserves, the lush top growth also provides an environment conducive for diseases to take hold and sweep through a yard. Therefore, when summer comes, the spring-only fertilized lawns are often more susceptible to the summer stresses of disease and moisture stress. Not exactly the look you were going for.

The irony of lawn care is that at the end of August when the appearance of one’s lawn hits an all time season low, it is actually the best time to fertilize or renovate a lawn. By then grasses have endured the summer stresses and the coming cool fall temperatures will provide an opportunity for recovery. Fertilizing in the fall also encourages the plant’s recovery by providing nutrients when the plant really needs them to build food reserves going into the winter. As a rule of thumb, Labor Day weekend is a good time to make the first fall fertilization to lawns, as the cool temperatures are soon to come.

Though it may be spring and you’re envious of your neighbor’s yard, don’t try to take a short cut and apply a boatload of fertilizer just to jump start your lawn. Ignore your seasonal urges and follow responsible soil management practices. Just do it. Then start fresh this fall. This time next year, you’ll be the envy of your neighbor on the other side!

How to Water Your Houseplants Wisely

Over watering ranks first in causes of houseplant demise because it causes roots to rot. Most plants are tough so they can recover from under watering with only the loss of a few leaves — unless you wait too long and pass the point of no return.

Watering schedules depend on the kind of houseplant, its size, container, and environment. No two plants have the same water requirements, so you’ll need to know what your particular plant(s) require.

Generally, it’s best to water during morning hours. Most flowering plants require more water than their non-flowering counterparts. Since the needs of individual plants vary greatly, you should research your houseplant’s requirements.

Test dryness of soil by probing the top inch with your finger. Tapping the side of the post also indicates the degree of wetness. If the tap sounds hollow, the plant needs water. If it sounds solid, wait a day or two to water. If a plant begins to wilt and its soil looks dry and cracked, it needs water immediately.

For plants that require moderate watering, allow 1/2 to 1-inch of soil to dry out before re-watering. If a plant needs light watering, let two-thirds of the soil dry out. For plants that need heavy watering, the surface should always be moist.

You can water in several ways. A quick and easy method is to water from the surface with a watering can. Use a long-spout water can and water at room temperature. When water escapes through the bottom of a pot, the houseplant has had enough.

Pots also may be placed in a tray of water for about half an hour. This allows the soil to draw water in from drainage holes. Some plants, such as ferns, especially like this watering method.

During each watering, use enough water to completely soak the soil in the pot rather than simply wetting the surface. (Keep in mind when watering that hairy plants, such as African Violets, can be damaged if their leaves get wet).

Tap water is fine for plants, but it’s a good idea to let the water stand in an open container overnight to allow it to come to room temperature and allow chlorine to evaporate. If your tap water has a high fluoride content, it is wise to use water from another source — spring, well, rain water, distilled water, or water that has collected in a dehumidifier. You also can add perlite or limestone to your plant’s soil to neutralize fluorides.