Home-and-garden

Great Gifts For The Garden Guru

Don’t give your gardener yet another plant! We’ve done the homework for you, hunted through cyberspace and come up with 5 top picks for your gardening guru. They are guaranteed to suit any budget and are highly recommended by people who genuinely love gardening!

Tubtrugs and colanders

TubTrug and colanderMost gardeners have ditched their old buckets for Tubtrugs. They are so versatile, tough and convenient that there really are hundreds of uses for them around the home and garden. If you are looking for a highly versatile gift that fits most budgets, this is it. They come in heaps of colors and sizes.

Luckily, someone has used their noggin and come up with a way to make it even better by adding a colander. It’s basically a giant strainer. It’s great if you want to wash freshly picked produce, garden tools, pots, whatever!

End-of-hose floFlow controlw controller
There are so many different attachments for hoses, but anyone who uses one will love you for this little beauty. It provides users the control of the tap, but it’s conveniently located right where you need to use it, at the end of the hose. Once it’s attached, users turn the tap on and never need to touch it again. For under $10, this is possibly the best gardening gift you will ever buy. It saves time, energy, water, money and the possibility of getting soaked when changing nozzles.

Vertical gardens

vertical gardensAs land becomes more precious, gardens are growing up instead of out. That’s why these are becoming a massive trend world wide. Even people without a green thumb are able to manage a vertical garden with a few favorite herbs for their kitchen.

They are excellent for small spaces, like inner city apartments to large country farms. They require minimal care for maximum effect and labor output, plus there are varieties for all budgets; starting at under $10 and going up to the thousands.

Good gardgood gardening-glovesening gloves
Boring right? Now, being a gardener I can tell you that not all gloves are created equal. There isn’t a gardener alive who wouldn’t love a pair of decent sweat-free, second skin gardening gloves. You know, the type which you can actually feel what you’re doing, pick up a drink while you’re working and can be thrown in the wash after a hard day’s work.

Yeah, I know it’s asking a lot out of a pair of humble gloves, but there are some great ones out there. They aren’t going to break the bank, so you can either wrap them up alone or team them up with some other ideas.

Strawberry rocks/protectors
Growing fruit and veggies is back in gardening trends in a big way, so these little things are a must have for anyone who grows strawberries. Instead of the birds hoeing into their nurtured fruit, these rocks deter them by changing tStrawberry rocksheir behavior.

When the strawberry rocks are placed around the plants as they grow, the birds peck at them thinking they are nice and ripe. They aren’t of course. They are hard rocks. Birds will try pecking a few more times and then give up, knowing that if they peck at them they will hurt their beaks. By the time the real strawberries are ripe, they won’t bother touching them. Violá! Cute, mini strawberry protectors.

Now, they can be a bit tricky to buy. They aren’t usually available at major garden retailers, so  check on-line. Alternately, what a great gift idea for the kids to make for the grandparents. It’s cheap, easy and will keep them entertained for ages!

Images via presenciapr.com, pinterest.com,1001gardens.org, gardeners.com and telegraph.co.uk

How To Care For Sickly House Plants

There are a lot of people who have great intentions when they bring a plant into the house, only to watch it slowly die. Even people with the greenest thumbs outside can kill off indoor varieties. Rather than watch your cash wilt away or murder a totally savable life, there are some ways to assess what’s going on and turn your plants life around. 

There are a few plausible reasons your plant is dying. Too much water, not enough water, poor positioning, not enough light, or too much light are all possibilities. So how do you tell what’s the problem with your plant?

Leaves reveal a lot about the health of the plant. A common problem is when leaves turn brown or yellow and fall off. In some cases, this is a natural occurrence in the life of the plant. However, there are several fatal reasons why this is happening. Where and how it is occurring can be a key indicator of why this is happening. For example:

  • Lower leaves or leaves on one side of the plant turning brown and falling off indicates lack of light.
  • Wilting leaves which curl, turn brown and then fall off, indicate too much heat and possible lack of water. Also try to increase airflow to reduce heat stress.
  • Wilting leaves which turn brown and fall off, usually starting from the bottom and working their way up, indicate lack of water.
  • Brown leaf tips or black spots on leaves indicates lack of humidity. Many house plants are tropical varieties and require a degree of humidity. If you move the plant into the bathroom, it will probably thrive.

If any of these things are happening to the leaves on your plant, correcting the conditions should improve the life of the plant. It won’t happen overnight, so give your plant time to heal. Apart from these indicators, there are a few other factors which could identify poor health of your plant which will eventually lead to its death. These include: the plant being oversized for the pot, the pot sitting in water, diseases, pests and fungus.

If the plant has outgrown the pot, it will be unable to retain water. The best solution is to upsize the pot or if possible, separate the plant and place it into different pots. For pots sitting in water, place some stones or pebbles under the pot to lift it away from the water run off. This will reduce the chance of root rot, which will effect your plant.

Disease, pests or fungus will require more work and some further research. As each problem differs, take a photo of an affected area and either take it to a nursery or search for it on the internet to identify the problem. There will be a particular care plan, including a specific spray or home remedy for each issue.

Remember that plants need food as well as water, so don’t forget to fertilize. Be careful to place your plant in an appropriate area and be aware of temperature differences due to heating and cooling, inside the home.

The last essential tip is to follow care instructions on the purchasing tag and keep it for reference should illness strikes your plant. With a little care most plants can bounce back to life and will thrive in correct conditions.

By Kim Chartres

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