A mangeable garden that fits into a container

Photo credit: Herald Review

Dr. Robert Nyvall

Garden Olio

“The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible: The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.” – Sir Thomas More.

Olio means mixture. A garden and a library are everything you you might need. But within any library the subjects are a mix of art, science, and human experience. Attractive gardens are a mix of different colors and textures. Therefore, this last column of 2015 is an olio, a mix of garden thoughts.

Gardening at this time of the year evokes dual feelings. Spring anticipation has changed to autumn ennui. Perennials are dying back and vines and leaves are turning brown or white with powdery mildew. It’s a time to gather the rewards after a summer of planting, hoeing, and watering. It’s also time to think about next year.

Too much garden? Down size the unmangeable to a mangeable garden that fits into a container. Many colorful or delicious plants can be grown in the same container. A piece of “junk”? Gardeners in the country may have an unused stock tank or old buckets with holes in the bottom; as utilitarian as expensive pots. A broken down wheel barrow is perfect for many shallow rooted annuals, and a spent child’s wagon or charcoal grill serves the same purpose. Old toilets and bath tubs destined for the land fill become unusual but usuable gardens. Rusted out pickup in a wood lot? Fill up the back end with soil and plant away. Your gardening friends will think you’re very creative.

Now is the time of the year to deal with a dual conundrum. Too many plants in one area, too few in another. Dig up the crowded plants and plant them in the bare spots or compost them. Many perennials can still be planted at this late date. Dig up a large block of soil containing the roots, cut back the plant tops and water frequently. Plants may appear dead but they usually green up next spring.

Read the full story: Herald Review

Should you pee on your plants ?

Photo credit: Huffington Post


Discover the incredible benefit of urine in the backyard

by Jean Nick, for Rodale’s Organic Life

Depending on which gardening circles you hang with, the concept of urine in the garden may already have surfaced as a discussion topic. So what’s the deal? Should you seriously pee on your peas, tinkle on your tomatoes, and take a leak on your lettuce?

Related: Is People Poop Good For Plants?

Well, not on them, exactly, but if you aren’t using your urine in your garden and on your compost pile, you are, pardon my French, pissing away a free, valuable resource and missing out an easy way to help close the gaping hole in your household nutrient cycle. Using urine in the garden can help you cut your water use (less flushing) while also cleaning up the environment downstream (no water-polluting fertilizer runoff).

Your #1 Choice For Fertilizer
Recent scientific studies have shown urine is a safe and very effective fertilizer for cabbage, beets, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and pretty much anything else you want to grow. Urine boasts a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K) ratio of 10:1:4, plus more modest amounts of the trace elements plants need to thrive. The nutrients in pee are highly available to plants, too—an extra plus. One estimate suggests a family of four can produce the equivalent of more than 100 pounds of all-purpose garden fertilizer every year. Oh, and the best part? It’s free! Oh, be still, my nickel-pinching heart!

Related: The 10 Best Garden Crops to Plant This Summer

But ewwww…yuck! Is it safe? Yes! Unless you have a serious infection, urine is usually sterile, and the chances of disease transmission from it on the household level are very, very small. And any slight odor dissipates almost immediately once it’s applied to the soil. While we’re not suggesting you drink your urine, know that astronauts on the International Space Station do drink the stuff—after it’s purified. So comparatively speaking, sprinkling it on the soil in the garden is a pretty tame use.

How To Use Your Very Own Garden Gold (Free Deliveries Daily!)

Read the full article: Huffington Post

Some do it in glass containers (terrariums)

Photo credit: * Terrarium – Cloches – Photo Personal Garden Coach – 420426_10150611853419584_269973274583_9088575_1777227106_n.jpg


Terrariums offer introduction to gardening, extend season


Those over 40 can’t help but look around and see reminders of the 1970s: clothes and furniture in big bold prints, the rust, green, and gold tones of that time, the occasional Pet Rock, and even terrariums.

Otchids - * Terrarium - Phalaen,opsis - Photo Pinterest - 189573465534681854_6RsiiCLG_f.jpg
Otchids – * Terrarium – Phalaen,opsis – Photo Pinterest – 189573465534681854_6RsiiCLG_f.jpg

Wait … terrariums?

Yes, terrariums, and they’ve grown in popularity and are much like most of us remember them: glass containers that are sometimes enclosed and sometimes not, with tiny plants growing out of dirt with little stones or pebbles on top.

“They’ve made a comeback in the last two years,” said Mary Machon, the owner of Bensell Greehouse on Dorr Street in Toledo.

* Terrarium - Photo BHG - 101831979.jpg.rendition.largest.jpg
* Terrarium – Photo BHG – 101831979.jpg.rendition.largest.jpg

They’re a great way for gardeners to keep their thumbs green during the winter months, she said. They’re also a favorite way for parents and grandparents to introduce their little ones to gardening, she added.

Plus, students in classrooms and young people’s clubs, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, take up terrarium projects to learn how plants grow and thrive, she noted.

* Terrarium - Photo Etsy - 283304632778770611_YAHGWHf8_c_3.jpg
* Terrarium – Photo Etsy – 283304632778770611_YAHGWHf8_c_3.jpg

“It’s affordable, and they are tiny,” Ms. Machon said of the little plants and their companion small glass containers. “It’s such a great project for kids. They get to touch plants. It’s an inexpensive way to start [youngsters] off, to get them interested in plants.”

* Terrarium - Photo ETSY - il_570xN.224308546.jpg
* Terrarium – Photo ETSY – il_570xN.224308546.jpg

Before discussing the containers and the types of plants that go inside them, let’s be clear about something: Fairy gardens and terrariums are terms that some use interchangeably because they think the small gardens are one in the same.

Read the full article: Toledo Blade

Grow your own carnivorous plants

Photo credit: Balcony Garden Web

Venus flytrap


How to Grow Carnivorous plants | Care and Growing Information

Fancy about growing carnivorous plants? Well, in this article you’ll get basic and useful information on ‘how to grow carnivorous plants.’

Carnivorous plants growing information

Carnivorous plants are those plants that are capable of capturing and collecting the bodies of insects. Victims are small insects and crustaceans.

Carnivorous plants carry out photosynthesis process but due to the fact that they grow in poor soils that lacks nitrogen and other essential elements needed for proper development, they gain these elements by the bodies of insects they kill.

Carnivorous plants become dormant in winter in cold climate. This way they survive tough winters. Some of the plants simply drop off their leaves, while others show changes in foliage.

Benefits of growing carnivorous plants?

Species such as butterwort, drosera and pitcher can be grown as house plant. These rare plants looks beautiful and successfully lure and kill pesky house flies, mosquitoes and other insects.

How to Grow Carnivorous Plants

Read the full article: Balcony Garden Web

Jump from railing to railing

Photo credit: Balcony Garden Web


23 Balcony Railing Design Pictures You must Look at

Balcony railings not only provide protection from falling down but also beautify it. See these 23 amazing balcony railing designs pictures for inspiration.

While choosing the balcony railing always mull over following aspects: Do you want a closed look or open, Do you care about looks or safety? If you want to enjoy the view from your balcony then railings that look more open and wide are best, consider glass railing and if you care about safety, install concrete railings.

If you want to create a rustic feel or there are lot of trees growing in front of your balcony, you can go for wooden railings. Similarly, depending on your location, climate, safety and privacy concerns you can choose a perfect balcony railing.

Read the full article: Balcony Gardening Web

Don’t throw your wood ash away

Photo credit: Balcony Garden Web

Using Wood Ash in the Garden

Using wood ash in the garden is the best way to employ it, instead of throwing it away.

You can store it or apply readily to fertilize the garden and much more.

Wood Ash Fertilizer

Best way to dispose of the ashes at profit is to spread it on the garden beds. But you should do this with precaution of not exaggerating the doses, wood ash is alkaline.

Wood ash contains calcium carbonate around 25%, potassium 3% and other useful elements like phosphorous, manganese and zinc. In terms of commercial fertilizer, wood ash contains 0-1-3 (N-P-K).

Phosphorus is useful in the coloration of flowers and the flavor of the fruits along with potassium, which is useful in the growth and cultivation. There are several other trace elements found in wood ash such as magnesium, iron, copper, boron etc. These contents may vary according to the type of wood you use for combustion.


Type of Wood Ash to be Used

Ash from hardwood trees is most useful and contains more trace elements than softwood trees’ ash, softwood trees are coniferous with needle like leaves.

One more thing you need to know is ash produced from pruning of saplings contains more proportion of potassium and other trace elements, while older wood contains lower concentrations of nutrients.

Read the full article: Balcony Garden Web

How can I grow vegetables on my terrace ?

Photo credit: Balcony Garden Web


How to Make Terrace Vegetable Garden | Complete Tutorial

Make a Terrace Vegetable Garden on your rooftop, it is easy if you’ll do this with some planning. In this article you’ll learn which vegetables are suitable and how you can grow them on terrace.

Fresh home grown vegetables taste delicious, are good for health and safe from chemicals. You don’t need to acquire a regular garden to grow them, you can also grow these on a balcony or terrace.

Also read: Best plants for terrace garden


There are some really interesting ways to incorporate the vegetable crops on the terrace. These alternatives are space saving and also a real eye-catcher.

1. Creating a vegetable Garden in Pots