Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Alpine Strawberry vs. The Traditional Garden Varieties

The Alpine Strawberry is one that has it's on unique qualities and characteristics. It's delightful sweet taste and an inviting fragrant puts it in a class of it's own. Relatively easy to grow, they can add beauty to your edible landscape and to your garden.

Alpine Strawberries are larger than the wild strawberry you see growing freely in woodlands, on the side of roads and even in yards, but still considerable smaller than the the modern hybrids you purchase from the local garden center, that most are use too. They are well worth growing, their delicate, succulent flavor is a treat that is like no other strawberry. With these berries, you won't get a huge crop, but they do fruit continuously throughout the growing season.

There are varieties of the alpine strawberry that don't send out runners as aggressively as the traditional hybrid strawberry, making them easy to maintain. They are plants that will reseed themselves and readily. Preferring partial shade, at least 4 hours, they will grow into a compact plant about 10 inches high and spread about 8 inches wide. A good healthy organic soil structure, full of organic matter will have these strawberry plants thriving, along with mulching to keep the soil moist, suppress weeds and protect there shallow root system.

Coming in varieties that range in colors from white, yellow to red. These strawberries can be as much of a treat for wildlife like birds as they will be for you and a great choice to be used as a ground cover along walkways or even around trees in your landscape.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Eastern Bluebird

The Eastern Bluebird is a pleasant site when they decide to make your backyard there home. They are about 7 inches long with a wingspan of about 13 inches. The male has a blue back, head and wings, with an orange throat and breast. The female basically has the same features, with the exception of it being duller in color.

These birds nest in birdhouses that are in the open, not near the edge of woods. They are a bird that like open land, like backyards or fields. The female will lay her eggs between March and June, four to six, pale blue in color.

There diet consists of insects, berries and live mealworms. This bluebird is sitting on a post of my compost bin.

Every year we have the pleasure of enjoying this spectacular sight of the Eastern Bluebird in our backyard.

Backyard Birding Supplies at Gardeners Supply

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Full Compost Bin

Now that all the yard trimming is done and the flower beds have been cut back my compost bin is full and ready to be turned for the first time this year. I used most all the compost that I had made and need more to finish mulching around the yard. You can never have to much compost.

This bin had all the garden debris that I cleaned from the garden last fall to start. I added all the cuttings from the daffodils around the yard that were dried, weeds from the garden, kitchen waste and raked leaves from the edge of the woods to mix together. Once I turn this bin into the bin next to it I can start over with filling it again. I should have three full bins by the end of the growing season. Once they all decompose, there will only be one full one to use next spring.

There is no better way to improve the structure of your gardens soil than with a good, nutrient rich humus from your compost pile. It adds the organic matter needed to keep the soil full of the microorganisms needed to have a healthy garden soil. A healthy garden soil is the best way to control insect and disease problems in your organic garden and give your plants the nutrients they need to thrive.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Organic Gardening - Create a Rain Garden and Help the Environment

Water runoff from rainfall can be a bigger problem to our environment in certain areas than you can imagine. In area where there is a lot of pavement, either asphalt or concrete, the water that runs into the drainage or off the edges of a road or parking lot can carry contaminates like metals, oils and even pesticides to name only a few. Eventually these pollutants will ending up into a natural water supply, mainly from storm water drainage systems.

Creating a natural organic rain garden can help this problem. Plants and the soil can absorb and clean many of these toxins naturally. Plants can help purify by absorbing toxins and a good healthy organic soil is full of bacteria that can keep the harmful nitrates from reaching the water supplies by turning them into a nitrogen gasses.

When building a water garden, they only need to be a shallow depression, they are not deep ponds. The soil in your area will determine the size needed. You don't want water to stand in the garden for a long period of time, 48 hours should be the maximum time it sits before it drains into the soil, evaporates or is taken up by the plants.

Organic gardening is a great method to choose for your garden. It is the same method that nature uses to grow plants naturally and to clean the air we breath along with water we drink. When using these practices in your home garden, you will be doing your part in helping to keep these natural resources clean.