Planning How To Build A Garden Pond

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by Mary Ann

From time to time, I also get gardening-related questions submitted to us, so every now and then I’ll give you some general gardening tips and strategies too.  Since us plant lovers need to stick together!  So here’s a gardening-related article you should enjoy…

Almost all farms and settlements would have a type of pond and it would most definitely be different in what we think of a garden pond to be today. Most people’s impression of a backyard pond is a small area of water with some fish and plants and a pond pump running a small fountain.

A modern day pond is nothing like a village or farm pond was centuries ago. A pond was a vital source of water in communities and farms. The water would be used by both animals and humans. When water supply and drainage became available everywhere many ponds were neglected and were either filled in or became overgrown.

This article is about how to plan to build a garden pond. The natural environment for pond life to survive is reducing every single day because of land shortages and pollution. To entice wildlife into their backyard many people build a pond.

This guide can help you with the planning stage. The planning stage of pond building is the most significant thing that you need to do. Its well worth the investment in time to get it right.

You really do need to sit down with some pen and paper and decide what your finished pond should look like. Without doubt the location of the pond is the most crucial thing to consider.

The location of the pond should not be exposed to direct sunshine for more than 5 hours per day. If your home does not have shelter from the sun consider purchasing a number of plants and bushes to provide some protection.

In countries that are cooler then the amount of direct sunshine exposed to the pond tends to get slightly less important. The pond should if possible be seen easily from your home as it will hopefully immediately grab your attention when you go out into your back garden.

A natural balance is more stable in larger ponds, and therfore much easier  when maintaing a garden pond, the size is calculated from water volume. If you are limited to size in your back garden then to gain more water volume then you will need to either construct a deeper pond or a raised pond.

The pond size will also have to match the type and quantity of fish that you plan to keep. It is vital that the pond is deep enough so that it can never totally freeze. During winter fish will spend most of the time in the deepest part of the pond.

It is a good idea to work out the actual water volume during the planning stage. When adding water remedies it is necessary to know the exact volume of water in your pond.

If you want to appeal to wildlife like frogs and newts to your pond you will have to build it at ground level. Design the pond so that other animals like hedge hogs can climb out if they fall in.

A good pond will have three areas, a shallow marshy, middle and deeper areas. This is ideal if goes around the whole circumference but this is often not practical for example if you want to create a waterfall. Roughly 20% of a ponds surface should be shallow.

One way of gaining this is to have a tiered pond design. Having a shallow area will enable you to have a variety of different pond plants. The middle region should be deep enough for planting water lilies and must give plenty of room for your desired fish to swim freely.

The final portion will be to deeper area, as mentioned this is critical for fish survival in winter months, typically 20%-30% of the surface area.

The shape of your pond is also a consideration. It is thought that fish favor a rounded shape rather than a square shape, but there is very little evidence to support this opinion. If the pond is built with a pond liner then you will be get a bigger pond if you make it an oval shape than if it was square or rectangular.

Finally if you have small children then make sure you build a pond surround to keep them safe.

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Beginner Gardening Made Easy

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by Mary Ann

From time to time, I also get gardening-related questions submitted to us, so every now and then I’ll give you some general gardening tips and strategies too.  Since us plant lovers need to stick together!  So here’s a gardening-related article you should enjoy….

If you are new to gardening , but have seen wonderful gardens around where you live, it can be scary to even get started. You will, however, get better with it over time. . You just need to know some basic things to get started with gardening .

Start the gardening process by planning what kind of garden you would like . Do you want herbs, vegetables, a flower garden, or a mix of all three?

If you choose flowers, do you want annuals that need to be planted every year, or do you want a perennial garden with flowers that have a shorter blooming period but will come back next year?

Also consider the region in which you live. Some plants are more likely to thrive in certain areas of the country . Often seed packets indicate which areas of the country produce the best results. Your local gardening center will also be able to help you make the right choice .

After you decide what you want to plant, you need to find the best spot in your yard.

Look for a place with easy access to water, proper drainage and direct sunlight. Consider putting the garden in a spot that you look at every day, such as outside a kitchen or bath window. It will not only be a lovely sight, but will also help remind you when the garden needs water and weeding.

Now that you’ve chosen the spot , it is time to start digging.

It is important to find the right time for this job – you can ruin the soil’s structure if you begin digging when it is too wet or too dry. One simple idea is that you should dig only when the soil is moist enough to create a dirt ball in your hand, but dry enough that the ball will fall apart when dropped.

Use a spade or spade fork to turn over eight to twelve inches of soil, and mix in organic matter as you work. Mix organic matter with the soil for approximately three weeks before planting your seeds. This will improve your soil’s water store and soil buffering.

Test your soil’s pH before you plant. Some plants prefer more acidic soil, some prefer more alkaline, and some are happiest in neutral soil. Pay attention to your soil’s pH levels – it really may make the difference between a thriving garden and one that fails .

After beginning the process of improving your garden’s soil , start shopping for plants. Visit your local gardening center, read magazines and brochures, or use this gardening guide to find inspiration for what you would like to plant in your backyard.

There are plenty of annuals, perennials and vegetables that are perfect  for beginning gardeners. Cosmos, marigolds, impatiens, geraniums, sunflowers and zinnias are perfect first-time annuals.

Beginner’s perennials include lambs ear, lazy susans, coneflowers and daylilies. If you are interested in vegetables, consider planting lettuce, peppers, tomatoes or cucumbers in your first garden since these grow quite well and are relatively easy to care for.

If you bought small plants instead of seeds, gradually enter them to bright sunlight. Many greenhouses and gardening stores keep their plants inside and away from direct sun.

Start by putting the plants on a covered porch , then move them to an area that gets sunlight for a portion of the day and finally plant them in the ground.

Water your plants only weekly, at first. Use a soaker hose in the mornings for the best results – this is also the eco-friendly thing to do.

Any more water and you will run the risk of drowning your plants. Once they start growing well , water according to the guidelines for each plant, as well as your area’s rainfall.

Don’t forget to keep your garden tools clean ! While this may may not seem to make any sense since you use the tools in dirt, it is very important. Dirty gardening tools can attract microbes that will harm your plants. Using clean gardening tools is one of the easiest ways to keep your plants free from disease and infestation .

If a full-blown backyard garden sounds too challenging , consider a kitchen garden, a container garden or a square foot garden.

Container gardening simply involves making use of containers like old porcelain bowls, and things like tires or other items you no longer need.

First, decide whether you would like to keep your plants inside or outside, then you can choose the containers that seem to be best for the need .

When picking a container, there are a few things to consider . The height of the plant when it is fully grown and mature , whether it needs partial or full sun and the length of the bloom time are all factors that will help you decide which kind of container you will need.

Square foot gardening is another great option . These are small gardens with lots of plants nicely packed in them . It is a form of organic gardening done in closely planted, raised beds.

Square foot gardening is a fine option for people who live in areas with bad soil, newbie gardeners or those with disabilities that keep them from caring for a traditional garden. Square foot gardens necessitate less weeding, less water and fewer pesticides than conventional gardens.

Now you are ready to begin planting just what you want! Gardening is a fun way to connect with nature and to give your family fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers to enjoy all summer long.

Families are always trying to save money any way they can, and gardening may be one of the best ways to do that!

You can grow healthy food right in your backyard. Not only will you be able to walk outside for fresh vegetables or flowers, you will know exactly what has gone into the food your family is eating.

And if you follow some of the elementary principles of organic gardening, you can grow safe and healthy organic food just steps from your kitchen window !

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7 Ways to Guarantee Healthy Orchids

by Mary Ann

It is not as hard as many people think to grow orchids or to have healthy orchids.

Orchids do require attention weekly and if you are completely new to growing orchids, you will want to acquire some basic knowledge about them from information sites online, books, magazines or even by joining a club or society dedicated to growing orchids.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways to guarantee your orchids will be healthy.

1. You need to provide enough light.

Orchids should receive on average ten hours of medium light every day.

If growing in your home, a window exposed to the south is an excellent choice. Windows facing north usually do not give or receive enough light and those to the east or west have too few hours of good light.

In the summer, you may need to use drapes to defuse light that is too bright.

2. No sudden temperature changes.

Orchids don’t have very much flexibility at all for temperatures which have sudden fluctuations.

If you are growing your orchids outside in the garden, temperature is going to be critical to whether you have healthy flowering orchids or not.

If a front should come through and raise or drop the temperatures by ten degrees, the orchids may not survive.

This sudden change in temperature can upset their cycle of growth, cause anemia and allow them to acquire diseases, such as rot.

Make sure you only purchase orchids which can do well in your location and that you grow them inside if there is often rapidly changing weather.

3. Select orchids which do best in the temperatures you can provide.

Do some homework before purchasing orchids.

Different species of orchids have very specific temperature ranges.

Don’t try to grow an orchid that needs 80 to 90 degree day temperatures if you do not have that temperature range each day where you live. Orchids grow everywhere from the tropics to snow-covered peaks.

Know in advance the requirements of the orchid you purchase and stick to these, whether inside or outdoors.

4. Keep your orchids clean.

If you are one of those people who goes weeks without cleaning your house, you may not have the right personality for growing orchids. In order to be healthy and thriving, orchids need to be clean.

In their natural environment, which in most cases is tropical, orchids are cleaned daily by rain showers which get rid of dust and insects. You should wipe the dust and dirt off your orchids at least once a week.

Occasionally, you should combine several drops of vegetable oil emulsion insecticide (not mineral oil) with a pint of lukewarm water and sponge it onto the orchid foliage. It will give the plant a polished look and protect it from pest damage.

5. Fertilize orchids appropriately.

Manures are the most dangerous orchid fertilizers to use and often the most used. If you are a beginner, you might want to try other fertilizers first.

Overall, the best fertilizers to use are liquid: manure water, commercial concentrates, and nutrient solutions.

Manure water is made by putting two cups of ground manure into a gallon jug and then letting it sit for a week or so.

Then you should dilute it even more by pouring one-fourth cup from the jug into a quart of water. This solution is to be carefully poured at the edge of the pot and should not come in contact with foliage, pseudo bulbs or rhizomes.

There are many synthetic fertilizers you can buy for orchids and you can also make nutrient mixes, the recipes of which have been handed down from gardener to gardener through the years.

6. Do not over-water orchids.

An over-watered orchid is going to become sick and die.

On the other hand, occasionally forgetting to water an orchid will rarely result in sickness or death.

When an orchid’s roots are healthy and dry, they will be white.

Check frequently to make sure your orchids do not have green roots, as that is an indication of over-watering.Other indications of over-watering are growing scum, moss or weeds.

7. Repot your orchids when necessary.

This is the scariest step of all for most new orchid gardeners, but orchids do need to be repotted if the plants are too large for the pot or if the compost is worn out or too alkaline.

Leaving an orchid in old compost is worse for it than disturbing the roots.

Repot with care and your orchids should suffer no ill effects.

Get some help the first time by reading about it, watching videos of how to do it, or by getting someone more advanced in orchid care to help.

For more proven orchid growing tips, tricks and secrets, click here to visit

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