How to Control Garden Weeds Organically

It’s the classic gardener’s dilemma—you want nice, fertile soil for your plants to grow, but it never fails that weeds shoot up right alongside your precious sprouts. Weeds are arguably the most prevalent garden nuisances, and they will single-handedly destroy your plants unless you take swift action to rectify the situation.

If your plan is to cultivate an organic garden, then harmful pesticides are simply not an option. Luckily, there are other ways to win the war on weeds without using chemicals.

Control Weeds with Physical Barriers

The best way to keep weeds out of your garden is to use some form of weed barrier. Weed barriers prevent weeds from growing and will help you keep your precious flowers from being suffocated.

A popular weed barrier is landscape fabric. It’s a biodegradable sheet you can cut to fit your garden’s space. Stretch it over the length of your garden and slit holes to guide your plants carefully through the material. Then, use a rake to smooth the fabric. This creates a physical barrier that blocks weeds from sprouting while maintaining the integrity of your plants.

Another commonly used weed barrier is mulch. Select organic mulch and add it to your garden very cautiously to prevent your plants from harm. As you spread the much, remove any rocks, debris, or weeds you discover along the way.

Till Your Garden’s Soil to Protect against Weeds

Tilling your garden is a necessity for healthy plants. Till early and often to encourage your seeds to sprout. This will also properly oxygenate your soil. After tilling, water thoroughly to give your seeds a good foundation for sprouting.

Keep a close eye on your garden for the next few weeks as you wait for your plants to sprout. Then, once they do, use a good garden rake to extract any weed roots you find growing near your new seedlings. Till again at this point – but this time, do it more gently, taking care to keep your digging shallow.

Home Remedies for Weed Infestation

Boiling water kills plant life. It’s also an effective tool to fight weeds – if you’re extremely careful. Pour boiling water directly on the weed to kill the roots and eliminate the weed from your garden. Use extreme caution, however. If you get the water anywhere near your plants, you risk killing them, too.

Vinegar is another great alternative to harmful chemical weed killers. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray the weeds in your garden. This will kill them at the root as well, but similar to boiling water, use great care. Vinegar can kill your plants if you get it anywhere near them.

It is possible to win the battle against weeds without resorting to chemicals. Perseverance and vigilance are your main weapons, so check your garden every day and remove weeds before they grow out of control. In time, you will have a beautiful weed-free garden to show for all of your efforts.

Landscape Lighting Design Tips to Get the Creative Juices Flowing

Contrary to what you many people think, a large number of homeowners do not know where to begin when it comes to landscape lighting design. They know they want to illuminate their yard but they don’t know what will work with their landscape and how the entire design will mesh together.

Landscape lighting design should be a fun experience even though it requires some work. Regard the process as a learning experience and a chance to create a new atmosphere for your landscape. The end goal will make the entire process worth everything you invested into it.

If you are feeling a little creatively challenged, try some of these pointers:

Features

Observe your landscape during the day and notice the features that would look beautiful when illuminated. Remove your bias about what you see in catalogs and in pictures and imagine each feature with a soft glow or a spotlight.

Here are some places where lighting will enhance the landscape:

  • Walkways
  • Driveways
  • Pathways
  • Patios
  • Decks
  • Steps
  • Rocks
  • Trees and shrubs
  • Borders

Evening Research

Once you complete your daytime research, observe your landscape in the evening and use a flashlight to illuminate the areas you listed from the previous step. Notice how they look when lit and the shadows and glows they cast on objects around them. Use varying beam widths if you have them and different light strengths. Play around with colors as well.

Position the flashlight in different areas and uplight a tree or spotlight a water feature. Add a glow to water to see the reflection it casts. Shine a light on one feature and observe how nearby elements are affected. You may notice you prefer a stronger beam in certain areas and a weaker beam in others.

Write your ideas as soon as possible so you don’t forget. It will be helpful to have someone to assist you since you will be in the dark. Have your helper follow you around the yard and write your thoughts. Walk around your landscape several times since you are bound to miss an important feature if you are not concentrating. Step back after you complete this step and have someone shine the flashlight on the areas you chose so you can view how the lighting looks from more than one angle.

Draw a blueprint of your yard and place a marker at each area you chose to illuminate. List the type of light as well, whether spotlight, solar, low-voltage and the direction the fixtures will emit the light. This plan will aid you during your purchase process.

More Research

If you need more ideas, consult with a professional or search online. Visit DIY sites and related forums where homeowners will be more than happy to share their experiences. Ask a lot of questions before you dive in. Be prepared before you tackle the project so no unnecessary mishaps try to steal your flow. Good luck!

 

3 Eco-friendly Outdoor Holiday Lighting Ideas

When the holidays come around, you want to make sure your outdoor lights are perfect for the occasion. Even if you don’t celebrate, there’s something about “I survived 12.21.2012” that will give you something to be glad for! Besides, everyone is in a festive mood, so it’s a great time to light up your yard and join in the festivities.

Today, more people are conscious about not wasting electricity than ever before, and they are constantly on the look-out for better ways to help the environment on a personal level. Let this be your final contribution to the earth for the magical year it has been.

Use LED

You definitely saw this one coming, didn’t you? Light-Emitting Diodes are prolific in today’s technology – televisions, computers and nearly all types of electronic gadgets carry these in one form or another; so why not your outdoor landscape lighting for the holiday season? Serial mini-lights are typically used to adorn your landscape components, and they can make your garden sparkle at night.

Drape them around trees or garden statues and ornaments, or use them to line your driveway or garden path. They are very versatile and lend themselves to creativity easily. But be careful of wiring or overloading your circuits with excessive use.

Use a Programmable Timer

This is a very efficient way of saving electricity and the environment. Change the settings according to the social events you host throughout the holidays. The idea is to only use the lights when people are either in your yard or you can see them from the outside. For New Year’s Eve, for example, set them to run a little longer – maybe until about 2 or 3 am. On the other days, time them to go off exactly at midnight. You might want them to come on as you turn on the inside lights in the evening, or any time you prefer. A timer is efficient and a great way to save power, and it will help keep your light bill down – considering the season.

Use Solar Lanterns or Natural Covered Candles

Investing in solar lanterns can help you year round – not just for the holidays. To add a little color, consider colored gel papers that are used in theaters and music concerts. You can also try natural candles inside a lantern dome so it’s suitable for outdoor use. Both these options are very creative and will impress your guests much more than traditional lighting. Hang them on tree branches; set them along your porch, or create a magical garden pathway to the party area. But be careful of fire hazards and make sure the kids can’t get to them if you’re using candles.

These three ideas can make “conservation” the focal point of the festivities. When coupled with other green ideas, they make for a great holiday theme, too.