About Seriously Flowers

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Seriously Flowers has created 139 blog entries.

Periwinkle Flower

Periwinkle (Vinca Minor)

The common periwinkle flower, also known as vinca or myrtle, is most often grown as a ground cover and works exceptionally well as an erosion control specimen.

It gets its name from the striking blueish-purple blooms that appear on the dark green foliage in mid spring.

Periwinkle Flower

Scientific Name:  Vinca minor

Life cycle:  Annual, Perennial in warm climates

Soil pH:  6.0 – 7.5

Plant hardiness:  USDA zones 4 – 9

Light requirements:  Full or partial shade

Water requirements:  Low

Fertilizer demand:  Low

Planting date:  After last spring frost

Flowering season: April – May

Height:   4″ – 6″

Colors:  Blue/purple, white

Pests:  Aphids

Propagation: Cuttings, seed

Periwinkle Flower Care

Vinca plants are low to the ground and compact with a tenacious root system, which is what makes them work so well for erosion control. They typically grow 4″ – 6” tall and a single plant can spread up to 8’ across.

The arching stems of the plant will root wherever they touch the ground. Periwinkle grows well in USDA zones 4-9 – which encompasses most of the continental United States – and prefers slightly acidic, well-drained soil.

In the Northern most zones where climates bring colder winter weather, it is grown solely as an annual plant and needs to be replanted every year. In warmer climates it grows exceptionally well as a perennial plant.

Will Periwinkles Grow in the Shade

Periwinkle plants prefer partially to fully shaded garden spots to keep their growth low and dense if they are to be used as a groundcover.

Periwinkle can be grown from seed, or propagated from stem cuttings. The fast growing plant generates new roots quickly when taken as a cutting.

periwinkle groundcover

Growing Periwinkle Flowers

To establish new plants especially in areas where periwinkle is grown as an annual – it may be easier to start them from seed than to overwinter plant cuttings for planting in the spring.

Sow seeds after the danger of the last frost has passed; this will vary depending on your hardiness zone and latitude. Periwinkle seed is extremely light so it’s best to mix seed with builder grade sand when sowing to improve the seed distribution.

Water newly planted seed well and keep the soil damp until seeds germinate in 2-3 weeks. Mature plants should be established 3-4 months after planting.

One of the benefits to growing periwinkle is that it requires very few inputs, thus making it incredibly easy and desirable to grow.

After seeds have germinated, the plants are considered drought tolerant and need very little water for growth. They will grow well if watered in a garden setting if the soil drains well.

Why Do Periwinkle Leaves Turn Yellow

Over watering periwinkles can lead to yellowing leaves and poor looking plants.

Periwinkle Plant Fertilizer

Fertilize plants with a complete, balanced fertilizer in the spring to encourage a jump start in growth and then every two months during the active growing season.

Occasionally shear plants off close to the ground to encourage new growth.

pink periwinkle flower

Periwinkle Flower Pests

There are few pests that affect periwinkle flowers, adding to how simple they are to grow in a garden or landscape. In the summer months aphids may become a concern.

Spray infected plants with a heavy spray of water to knock them off, or apply an insecticide such as neem oil if absolutely necessary.

With little care needed, periwinkle plants make a great groundcover option for most areas in the United States. The characteristic bluish-purple flowers add a pop of color to the landscape while the tenacious root system helps to prevent soil erosion.

Periwinkle Flower2019-08-02T21:06:22-04:00

Best Weed Eater

Best Weed Eater - Black and Decker Weed Eater

Black and Decker Weed Eater

What is the Best Weed Eater

When it comes to the Best Weed Eater also called a Weed Wacker or String Trimmer, they are a necessary and great tool for around the yard.

Weed Eaters come in three varieties, Gas Weed Eater, Electric Weed Eater (using a cord), and Cordless Weed Eater (using rechargeable batteries).

Best Weed Eater Battery Powered

This list consists of what I think are the best cordless weed eaters. If you are looking to do some trimming higher up make sure to check out the Best Pole Saw reviews!

The Benefits of a Cordless Weed Eater

A gas weed eater is messy, you have to deal with gas and oil. They are usually difficult to start and they are much heavier.

An Electric Weed Eater uses an extension cord that you have to haul around the yard, why would you want to do that?

A Cordless Weed Eater uses a rechargeable battery. Trying to start a gas powered weed eater can be a miserable experience. You will not have to worry about how to start a weed eater or why your weed eater won’t start. There is No gas, No oil, No Cords. They start with a push of a button and work great!

What is a Brushless Weed Eater

Electric tools use a motor that is either brushed or brushless. A brushless tool uses a motor that does not have brushes.

The benefits of a brushless tool are that the motor will last longer, run more efficiently, and the batteries will hold a charge longer.

You also never need to worry about replacing worn out brushes.

A brushless motor is always going to be better than the same tool with a motor that uses brushes. The trade off is brushless tools are more expensive than brushed tools.

Top 5 Best Weed Eater List

Keep reading to see why these are picked as some of the best weed eaters available.

The BLACK+DECKER LSTE523 20V Max Lithium POWERCOMMAND Easy Feed String Trimmer/Edger makes the best weed eater list because it has many great features.

Black and Decker Weed Eater Features

The Black and Decker weed eater features a PowerDrive Transmission, allowing the motor to transfer more power into the cutting string. This means that the trimmer will cut grass and weeds faster.

This is an especially handy feature if your yard is large and you don’t want to spend a whole day cutting grass. Thanks to its power, this model is ideal for light and medium jobs.

Light Weight and Easy to Use

Compared to other models on the market, the Black and Decker cordless trimmer is lightweight and easy to control.

This makes it an ideal choice for those of you who don’t want to feel like they had a workout after doing some yard work.

Comfortable Handle and Height Adjustment

Thanks to a Comfortable handle and height adjustment, you can easily adjust the string trimmer the way it best suits your needs.

Cordless Design

What also contributes to its ease of use is the cordless design. A corded string trimmer limits the size of the area you’re using the trimmer on, and is very hard to move if you have a lot of trees and obstacles in your yard or in front of your house.

And that’s where this cordless string trimmer comes in handy. The Black and Decker weed wacker gives you better flexibility and mobility, as you won’t have to worry about the length of the cord.

Also, you can easily reach places around trees, and other obstacles, leaving them neat and perfectly shaped.

Rotating Head

The head rotates enabling you to switch swiftly between hedging and cutting tasks.

However, when the head is rotated, it will be in an awkward position. You won’t have the best view in front of you, because of the shield.

No Bumping

Easy Feed Spool makes sure that there is no bumping, so that you can get the job done much faster.

Black and Decker Weed Eater Battery

This Black and Decker cordless weed eater comes with a 20-volt battery.

A useful feature is the PowerCommand dial, you can choose whether you want to maximize run time or want to maximize power for cutting through thick weeds.

Why it is on the Best Weed Eater List

The Black and Decker makes it on the best weed eater list because it is a well known brand with a lot of history and works great.

Another reason why it is on the best battery powered weed eater list is that the batteries are interchangeable with other Black and Decker rechargeable battery operated tools.

Many other brands offer this feature as well, but with the large range of tools Black and Decker has to offer it makes general around the house jobs much easier.

BLACK+DECKER LSTE523 20V Max Lithium POWERCOMMAND Easy Feed String Trimmer/Edger


The DEWALT DCST920P1 20V MAX 5.0 Ah Lithium Ion XR Brushless String Trimmer makes it onto the best weed eater list because we think it’s powerful, reliable, precise, and easy to use.

This string trimmer is an ideal choice for those who want only the best. Let’s see why this model is considered one of the best models on the market.

Dewalt Brushless String Trimmer Features

Brushless Motor

The DCST920P1 Dewalt Brushless String Trimmer excels in performance. Why? Well, because it features a brushless motor.

Brushed motors make too much noise, restrict maximum speed of the motor and at last, brushes will wear out. But, these motors are cheap and setup is simple.

On the other hand, brushless motors are pricey but are certainly worth the money. These motors are more efficient and more precise since the computer controls them instead of mechanical brushes.

Moreover, a brushless motor produces far less electrical noise than a brushed one. Also, it will cool down easily.

All this means that the motor will last much longer. So, thanks to a brushless motor, this trimmer is highly efficient and is also very durable.

Ideal For Trimming and Edging Tasks

Because of the powerful motor, you can use this trimmer for light or heavy-duty work. It is ideal for edging, trimming hard-to-reach areas in your yard, and for cutting through weeds and tall grass.

Obviously, the unit will take longer to cope with thicker weeds and long grass, but it will still get the job done and will do that properly.

What also contributes to great performance is the 13-inch cutting swath that makes fast work of cutting and edging.

Powerful

Just to point out, this is one powerful cordless string trimmer. This means, that you have to wear protective glasses, gloves, boots and long pants because the trimmer will kick up debris.

The last thing you need when trying to make your yard stunning are legs covered in scratches. So, your safety comes first.

Dual 0.080″ Line With Bump Feed

Since this Dewalt weed wacker comes with two lines, it will cut more grass (compared to single-line models) which means you will get the job done much faster.

Also, the Dewalt cordless weed eater comes with a bump feed. Meaning, a bump-feed will release the line from a spool only when you knock the head of the trimmer on the ground.

Models with an auto-feed perform better, so it’s no wonder that a bump feed on this trimmer doesn’t perform so great. Apparently, from time to time it tends to get stuck.

Quiet

As already mentioned, the Dewalt weed eater comes with a brushless motor, therefore it is very quiet.

Needless to say, this feature is just priceless especially when taken into account that most models are very noisy.

Outstanding Battery Life

Battery life is where cordless string trimmers usually fail. But, that’s not the case with the Dewalt string trimmer.

This model comes with a 20V MAX 5.0Ah Lithium Ion Battery (along with charger) allowing you to do cutting and edging tasks on a single charge or two charges (depending on work area).

Moreover, a Variable trigger with speed control allows you to choose ideal speed so that the battery won’t empty too quickly. When on the lower setting, the battery can last up to one hour, which is pretty impressive if you ask us.

Similar models can work for about 30-40 minutes per single charge. On the high power setting, the unit will perform for about 30 minutes, which, again, is quite notable.

However, a slight issue is that the battery tends to get hot, so you’ll have to wait for it to cool down in order to connect it to the charger. On the bright side, charging time is just amazing.

Easy to Use

Finally, you will love using this remarkable cordless string trimmer. It is super-light as it weighs only 8.5lbs.

Additionally, the unit is well-balanced, which means there won’t be too much pressure on your arms and your back.

Obviously, this results in easy maneuvering and enhanced control over the unit.

DEWALT DCST920P1 20V MAX 5.0 Ah Lithium Ion XR Brushless String Trimmer

Greenworks Trimmer Features

Straight Shaft

First, let’s talk about the design. There are trimmers with straight and curved shafts.

Shaft refers to the transmission of power from the motor to the lines (lines do the cutting job). Now, a trimmer with a curved shaft is lighter, therefore, it’s a whole lot easier to control it.

On the other hand, a trimmer with a straight shaft is a great choice for tall users and for those who don’t have any difficulty to control the unit, due to weak arms.

The Greenworks weed eater that we’re reviewing here has a straight shaft, thus you will easily reach beneath bushes, and around trees.

Well-Built

Another thing worth mentioning is that the Greenworks weed eater is extremely well-built.

It’s sturdy and reliable, therefore will keep your yard in perfect condition for years to come.

The price is reasonable, so this unit is a smart investment and will certainly pay off in the long run.

Sturdy Handle

Also, the Greenworks trimmer has a sturdy handle, so you shouldn’t have any trouble with maneuvering, whether it be trimming or edging.

Even though the Greenworks string trimmer is not as light as other models on the market, it’s a good choice for people who have strong arms.

Cordless Design

Lastly, this model is a cordless weed eater. Thanks to this, you won’t have to worry about how long the cord is, because there is none.

Moreover, the Greenworks trimmer is great for edging and trimming hard-to-reach areas, as there won’t be limitations and you will be able to move freely.

Performance

Now, let’s see how the Greenworks weed wacker performs. If you need a trustworthy cordless string trimmer to keep unwanted grass off your sidewalks, driveway and cut grass in your small yard, the Greenworks trimmer is one of the best trimmers on the market.

However, if you need a trimmer that can handle thick weed and tall grass, this model may not be a good choice, simply because the battery will empty too quickly, and you will have to charge it too many times, in order to get the job done. Needless to say, this won’t be efficient at all.

Pivoting Head

The Greenworks trimmer excels when it comes to edging and reaching beneath bushes.

Thanks to an amazing pivoting head that can be rotated in three positions, you’ll easily maneuver the trimmer when edging your lawn in points where it meets a sidewalk, or when trimming around the trees.

So, if you have to do a lot of edging, you’ll definitely appreciate the spinning head.

Single-Line Model

Since the Greenworks string trimmer is a single-line, it won’t cut as much grass as two-lines models.

However, it still performs great when it comes to cutting moderate-length grass.

Auto-Feed Head

Another handy feature that we love about this string trimmer is an Auto-feed head. While some models feature bump-feed that will release line only when you bump the head of the trimmer on the ground, some models come with a fixed-line head that uses short lengths of line in order to prevent line getting tangled.

Why waste precious time on releasing line, when you actually don’t have to? The G-MAX 40V comes with an auto-feed head.

This means that it will automatically release the line when needed, so you won’t have to worry about that.

Easy To Use

You shouldn’t have any trouble controlling and using the Greenworks trimmer since the unit is well balanced.

Plus, the model comes with an instant electric start, which makes using it a whole lot easier. Just press the button and the unit will turn on, without wearing your arms out.

Less vibration offers ease-of-use and better control over the weed eater.

Battery

When it comes to the battery life, the Greenworks trimmer comes with 40V 2Ah Battery, but you can also use 4AH battery.

The average run time is around 30 minutes per charge, which is pretty solid run time.

Charging time for a 2AH battery is 60 minutes, and for a 4AH battery, it is 2 hours.

Greenworks also makes it on the best corded electric lawn mower top 5 list as well.


Greenworks 13-Inch 40V Cordless String Trimmer/Edger, 2.0 AH Battery Included 21302

The Toro 51484 Cordless 12-Inch 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Electric Trimmer/Edger with Bare Tool has many great features that puts it on the top 5 best weed eater list.

Toro Weed Eater Features

Extended Shaft Length

The Toro weed eater comes with a straight shaft, which is ideal to enable you easy reach beneath small bushes and other hard-to-reach areas.

In addition, this shaft offers extended reach, to make this kind of trimming even easier and faster.

So, if you have many obstacles in your yard, you will easily trim around them and won’t even get tired.

Rotating Head

The Toro weed eater is not only capable of trimming, but it’s also great when it comes to edging tasks.

Thanks to 90 degrees rotating head, with the Toro weed wacker you will get rid of annoying grass around your sidewalks, along sides of your house, and anywhere else where you want to have a neat green area.

The trimmer is easily converted to an edger with the simple push of a button.

Cordless Design

The 20v Lithium Ion Battery (not included) is a great feature which makes it easy to get around your yard. Naturally, since there is no cord to get in the way of making your yard beautiful, you’ll move without limitations.

That’s why this Toro weed wacker is great for small yards with a lot of trees and obstacles.

Auto-Feed Trim Line

As you probably already know, many models come with bump-feed, which requires that you hit the trimmer’s head on the ground In order to release the line.

That can be time-consuming, making trimming a tad longer than expected. But, you won’t have to worry about that with this handy trimmer in your yard.

It features an auto-feed function, so the line is automatically released when needed.

Better yet, there is a trigger and when you pull it, the line will give you just the perfect cutting length.

Quiet

Since it is battery powered you (and your neighbors) will surely appreciate is that this model is quiet, allowing you to have more relaxing time while trimming your yard.

Easy to Maneuver

As far as ease of use is concerned, the Toro string trimmer is lightweight and well-balanced.

Additionally, the unit features a 14 inch adjustable handle.

You won’t have any difficulty with controlling it so you can fully concentrate on getting the job done quickly.

Toro 51484 Cordless 12-Inch 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Electric Trimmer/Edger with Bare Tool

The WORX 32-Volt GT2.0 String Trimmer/Edger/Mini-Mower with Tilting Head and Single Line Feed is well-built, and easy to use. It easily makes it on the best weed eater list.

Worx Trimmer Features

Well-Built and Reliable

Made of high-quality parts, the Worx weed eater is durable and won’t break. Moreover, a 3-year warranty only adds to the reliability of this model, making your purchase worry –free.

No doubt that buying this amazing string trimmer is a good and smart thing to do, especially if you want to have the most beautiful garden on the block.

Thanks to the adjustable spacer guard – you can use this machine to trim grass and weeds in your garden, without worrying whether you will accidentally cut your favorite flowers.

Also, this handy feature is ideal to protect decorative items in your garden and yard from getting damaged during the trimming.

Easily Reaches Hard-to-Reach Areas in Your Yard

Thanks to the straight shaft, the Worx weed wacker is a good choice for tall users, as you won’t have to bend over when edging or trimming.

The straight shaft is also great when it comes to reaching hard-to-reach areas, such as beneath bushes.

No Limitations in Movements

Additionally, the Worx weed eater is cordless. Compared to corded models, which heavier limit your work area (due to the cord obviously), with cordless models you will have much more freedom and flexibility.

This means, you can move however you like, and can easily reach any green area in your yard, whether it be around your house, garage, or simply around the trees.

Easy to Use

It seems like the Worx weed wacker is designed with convenience in mind. It is easy to use, allows for quick work of trimming, edging and mowing.

What about comfort? Let’s be honest here, a lot of trimmers are not very comfortable. But not this one. Luckily, Worx thought of the users’ experience and wanted to provide them with a good and comfortable grip.

And they definitely succeeded in that. Thanks to the front auxiliary handle that has seven locking adjustments, you can adjust the trimmer just the way you like it.

You can adjust the angle, rotation, and shaft length, to make the most out of your work. Whether you plan to do some trimming, edging or mowing, fatigue in your arms won’t stop you from getting the job done.

Furthermore, the Worx trimmer comes with a MAX lithium battery that weighs less than most batteries, making this unit easier to control and use.

3-in-1 Capability

What makes the Worx trimmer stand out from the crowd, is its 3-in-1 Capability. If you need to trim grass or cut weeds, you can do that without any problem.

If you need to edge sidewalks that will also be a breeze. You don’t need any tool to convert the trimmer to an edger.

What’s more, when you want to do some thorough trimming around hard-to-reach areas and landscape, this model won’t let you down.

Dual-positioned in-line wheels are not only designed to make edging easier but to also be used for a mowing-like function.

Auto Single Line Feed

What also makes the Worx trimmer so good is an auto feed.

Thanks to this useful feature, you won’t have to deal with releasing the line and untangling it.

The auto feed function makes sure that the right length and amount of line is released when needed.

Effective and Consistent Results

The 12-inch cutting diameter makes trimming much faster.

Plus, the trimmer head can be easily adjusted for edging.

Battery

The Worx weed eater features a MAX lithium battery, which provides up to 35 minutes of continuous work.

This means that the battery life is good, even better than some similar models. Of course, don’t expect to use the Worx trimmer for thick weed and tall grass for 35 minutes, because that won’t happen.

Obviously, in that case, the unit will draw more power from the motor in order to handle them, so the battery will empty much faster.

Charging the battery is where this model fails to impress. Charging time is about three hours, which is disappointing.

If you can trim your yard on a single charge, then you won’t have to worry about this.

WORX 32-Volt GT2.0 String Trimmer/Edger/Mini-Mower with Tilting Head and Single Line Feed

After reading this long article take a break. Maybe make a snack? Cooking with an air fryer is always a great choice.

Best Weed Eater2019-07-01T17:12:50-04:00

Hydrangea Plant

Hydrangea Plant (Hydrangea sp.)

The Hydrangea Plant is a shrub that is known for it’s affinity for acidic soils, and it’s stunningly large flowerheads, the hydrangea plant is a popular perennial ornamental flower in many gardens.

They are easy to cultivate and grow in a range of conditions making them a great choice for landscapes. With blooms lasting into the fall it also means they add color to a landscape when most other plants have finished blooming for the season.

Hydrangea Colors

The Hydrangea plant comes in a variety of colors. Hydrangea colors include:

  • Blue Hydrangea
  • Green Hydrangea
  • Purple Hydrangea
  • White Hydrangea
  • Pink Hydrangea
  • Red Hydrangea

Hydrangea Plant Info

Closeup of Blue Hydrangea Plant

Closeup of Blue Hydrangea Plant

  • Scientific Name:  Hydrangea sp.
  • Life cycle:  Perennial
  • Soil pH:  Acidic to neutral
  • Plant hardiness:  USDA zones 3-9
  • Light requirements:  Full sun/part sun
  • Water requirements:  Moderate
  • Fertilizer demand:  Low to moderate
  • Planting date:  Spring or fall
  • Flowering season:  Early summer to fall
  • Height:  3-6’
  • Colors:  blue, green, purple, white, pink, red
  • Pests:  Aphids, Slugs, powdery mildew, rust
  • Propagation:  Cuttings, ground layering

Hydrangea Plant Care

The adaptability of hydrangea plants suits them for many hardiness zones. Plants overwinter well even in the colder climates though they will benefit from an 18” covering of mulch or straw to help protect them through the cold.

The hydrangea flower prefer spots that receive full sun earlier in the day and some mottled shade during the heat of the afternoon.  This helps to prevent the large flowerheads from losing too much water to evaporation in the hottest part of the day.

Hydrangeas are typically sold to homeowners as premium container plants. Bare root options can be found at times, but keep in mind the planting window for bare root plants is much narrower and can be easily missed.

Plant new hydrangea plant specimens in spring after the danger of frost has passed or in fall, about a month before the first hard frost. When preparing the planting site dig a hole 2-3 times the size of the root ball to give the plant ample space for roots to grow.

Also keep in mind the importance of proper plant when planting; make sure that full grown plants will not touch neighboring plants to allow for good air movement.

Purple Hydrangea Flower

Purple Hydrangea Flower

Hydrangea Plants will do well when fertilized in the spring, just as new growth begins, with a fertilizer higher in phosphorus and then again every 8 weeks during their active growing season. Phosphorus will help encourage beautiful blooms; avoid fertilizers high in nitrogen as they promote vegetative growth over flowering.

Water plants frequently after planting to help encourage establishment in their new location. As the temperatures begin to climb, make sure soil surrounding hydrangea plants is kept moist but not overwatered as this will hinder blooms.

One of the most unique characteristics of the hydrangea plant is the ability to change the flower color on a plant by adjusting the soil pH. This isn’t something that happens instantaneously but is a gradual process that can take weeks or months. The change in flower color is related to the amount of aluminum available for plant uptake, which is directly related to soil pH.

The soil needs to be lowered to a more acidic level to get blue hydrangea flowers. Adding sulfur or peat moss to the soil can help accomplish this. To get red hydrangea or pink hydrangea flowers, apply ground limestone to the soil around the plant raising the soil pH. It is easier to change flower color from blue hydrangea to pink hydrangea (changing the soil from acidic to more neutral or slightly alkaline) than vice versa, and the soil pH should be monitored closely with a home testing kit to ensure the change isn’t too drastic, too quickly.

Pink Hydrangea Flower

Pink Hydrangea Flower

To avoid harming the plant, make sure it is at least two years old before trying to change the flower color. This gives it time to completely recover from the initial shock of planting.

Hydrangea Plant Pests

Hydrangeas are typically pest and disease free, but like so many other plants, they can be susceptible if the conditions are right. Some common garden pests to infest hydrangeas are:

  • Aphids
    • Water plants with a heavy spray of water to rinse insects from the infected plants. Apply neem oil or other insecticide if absolutely necessary.
  • Slugs/Snails
    • The most productive method of control is hand picking slugs from the soil and plants about two hours after sunset. If the infestation is severe, trapping may be a more convenient solution; an easy trapping method is sinking shallow pans of stale beer into the ground – the yeast acts as an attractant, and the slugs fall into the liquid and drown.
  • Hydrangea scale
    • If possible, remove as much of the scale insects and their egg masses as possible by scraping them into a container. Then spray infected plants with a systemic insecticide.

Rusts and mildew are common to many garden plants, with hydrangeas being no exception. Cultural methods are the most effective methods of control/prevention of rusts and mildew: keeping garden bed weed free, allowing good air circulation around the base of plants, watering early in the morning, removing infected leaves when the disease is spotted.

An application of neem oil can kill rust spores on the plant and works well if the disease is caught quickly. Plants infected with mildew should be removed from the garden and destroyed to prevent spread.

With stunningly beautiful, showy flowerheads in blues and pinks, the hydrangea plant makes a gorgeous addition to gardenscapes. Their easy to care for nature makes them well loved by many gardeners.

Hydrangea Plant2019-07-01T17:31:17-04:00

Best Fertilizer For Gardens

The best fertilizer for gardens make flowers and vegetables grow healthy and strong. There are many types of fertilizers so picking the right one is an important first step.

For a new gardener it’s easy to think that after you’ve planted some veggies in the garden, making sure they get plenty of sunlight, and are watering them regularly, that should be all it takes to grow great plants and reap a successful harvest, right?

In theory it would be nice if growing a garden was that simple but it’s not.

best fertilizer for gardens

Nutrients Essential for Garden Plants

Plants are constantly feeding on nutrients found in the soil. Over time, they can deplete even the most fertile soil, making it necessary to add plant “food” to grow strong, healthy plants. Thankfully there is a variety of fertilizers available on the market to meet the needs of all garden plants and “restock” soil reservoirs.

Certain nutrients are essential for all plant growth:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Sulfur
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Boron
  • Chlorine
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Molybdenum
  • Nickel

Three Most Important Plant Nutrients

These nutrients aid in the basic functions in the plant, without them, plants can’t grow. Fertilizers add these nutrients to the soil and are classified based on the three main elements that are needed in much higher amounts than the others

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

Nitrogen is listed first on the label since it is considered the most key nutrient needed for plant growth. It’s main responsibility in the plant is regulating vegetative growth. Nitrogen is assimilated in the plant into amino acids, the building blocks of protein; it is also a major component of chlorophyll and helps to keep foliage green; and nitrogen is necessary for many of the plant’s enzymatic reactions.

Phosphorus is a structural component in DNA and RNA (the genetic building blocks within plant cells) and is needed for root growth and flowering.

Potassium works more indirectly in plants than nitrogen and phosphorus. While it isn’t a component of any plant parts, it functions by activating the enzymatic reactions that occur, making it imperative for the overall health of the plant.

What Do the 3 Numbers Mean on Fertilizer

The 3 numbers on the fertilizer label are known as the N-P-K ratio (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium); this ratio tells the percentage, by weight, of the three main nutrients in the bag. The ingredients are always listed in the same order. First is Nitrogen then Phosphorus and last is Potassium (N-P-K).

For Example – In a 10-10-10 formula the bag mixture is

  • N – 10% Nitrogen 
  • P – 10% Phosphorus
  • K – 10% Potassium

In other words a 10 pound bag of fertilizer would contain 1 pound of nitrogen, 1 pound of phosphorus (in the form of P2O5), and 1 pound of potassium (in the form of K2O). The other 7 pounds is just filler, typically crushed limestone or sand.

The N-P-K ratio of organic fertilizers is typically lower than inorganic products. By law the ratio can only include the nutrients that are immediately available for uptake.

Test Your Garden Soil

Before you start adding garden fertilizers it is always a good idea to test the soil first. You don’t want to inadvertently add too many nutrients to the soil. Testing will tell you the PH level of the soil whether it’s alkaline or acidic.

The test will also give you good information on soil nutrient levels. With this information you will know exactly what types of fertilizer will be best for your plants. You can easily buy a soil test kit and do it yourself.

The other option is finding a laboratory that performs soil testing. Lab tests typically will provide more information than a do it yourself test kit.

Best Fertilizer for Gardens

Much of the nutrients in organic fertilizers are considered slow release, and need to be made available by soil microorganisms before the plant can take them in through the roots.

A quick look in any garden center, or a fast internet search, will provide you with a plethora of fertilizers to choose from. This may seem overwhelming but can be navigated by thinking about a few main concepts:

  • Do you want conventional or organic products?
  • A general purpose fertilizer or plant specific food?
  • A granule product or a liquid fertilizer?

You can then narrow down the selection based upon these personal preferences.

Conventional Inorganic Fertilizers

Fertilizers are made completely, or sometimes partially, from synthetic, man-made materials. These inorganic fertilizers contain nutrients in a specific blend that are quickly available for the plants.

Quickly available nutrients mean plant deficiencies are fixed more rapidly, minimizing long term damage to the vegetable, tomato plant etc… Inorganic fertilizers are cheaper to buy, and readily available for purchase.

One of the drawbacks to conventional fertilizers though is these quickly available nutrients have a greater chance of leaching out of the soil and causing contamination of water sources.

Organic Fertilizers

Made from natural ingredients, they consist of the broken down remains of organisms, or are a byproduct (i.e. waste) of the organisms themselves.

After organic fertilizers are applied to the soil, microorganisms and bacteria in the soil ecosystem break these materials down, making the nutrients they contain available for plant uptake.

Due to this natural composition, organic fertilizers have benefits over traditional conventional fertilizer products. The application of an organic fertilizer adds organic matter to the soil which in turn:

  • Increases water retention
  • Improves soil structure and better for the garden soil
  • Promotes microbial activity

The downsides to organic fertilizers are:

  • Higher price tag
  • Nutrients are more slowly available for plant uptake after application

General Purpose Fertilizers

Usually a complete fertilizer, meaning they contain all three of the key nutrients (N, P and K) and are balanced (the ratios of each nutrient is equal). A complete fertilizer is probably the best fertilizer for gardens.

They are formulated to meet the needs of most plants during a typical growing season, and work well in most gardens. Plant specific formulas are available for some plants and are formulated to meet the specific needs of that plant (or plants).

This is beneficial when plants have certain micro-nutrient needs that might not be met by just a general purpose plant food.

Granular vs Liquid Garden Fertilizer

Choosing to use a granular or a liquid fertilizer is entirely up to you.

Granules

These can be sprinkled on the soil around the base of plants. Keep the granules away from the plant stems and leaves. The granules can be worked into the ground surrounding the plants, or watered to make them dissolve into the soil faster.

Liquid Fertilizers

Need to be diluted in water and then applied when the plants are watered. Special hose attachments are available to dilute the product for you, as the hose is on and running.

Composting For Fertilizer

Composting using organic material is a great way to fertilize your garden bed. Grass clippings, dead leaves, table scraps make good compost. Just make sure they are fully decomposed, dark, dry and fall apart easily before using them. As compost continues to break down in your garden it will add nutrients to the soil, compost also helps soil to drain better and retain nutrients.

If you don’t have any compost materials or don’t feel like making them you can always buy compost which can be much more convenient.

Container Gardening Fertilizer

When planting in containers it’s a good idea to use a fertilizer. Nutrients are quickly lost in containers either because the plant uses them up or they are washed away from watering. A small amount of liquid fertilizer works well in containers.

Wrapping Up Best Fertilizer For Gardens

After you decide what the best garden fertilizer is for your plants you might ask yourself how do I apply a garden fertilizer? The best advice is to simply look at the detailed instructions on the fertilizer package regarding how often to feed garden plants, and the rate at which to apply fertilizer. These rates will vary according to the fertilizer used and it’s N-P-K ratio.

As plants consume nutrients in the soil, it becomes necessary to replenish the soil reserves to grow strong, healthy plants. Commercially available fertilizers are intended to do just that.

A gardening market flooded with fertilizer products gives you the ability to tailor a fertilizer schedule/program to fit specific growing needs and philosophies. Knowing these basics about the best fertilizer for gardens will hopefully help make this choice less daunting.

Best Fertilizer For Gardens2019-06-30T23:47:13-04:00

How To Make Your Garden Look Nice On A Budget

how to make your garden look nice on a budget

Trying to figure out how to make your garden look nice on a budget is actually quite easy. One of the best things about planning a garden is that you can take it in any direction that suits your fancy. You have the flexibility to basically do whatever you want. A garden can be designed in any manner you want it to be, it is a blank slate waiting for you to get started.

Want a landscaped space comprised solely of gorgeously fragrant, blooming plants? Go for it.

Want a garden that is full of vegetables and herbs? Perfect.

Dreaming of a space that wonderfully melds vegetables, herbs, flowers and native plants? Go all out.

The limiting factors are your creative imagination and the space (and budget!) you have available to use. Even in small spaces you can make a gorgeous garden in fact you’d probably find it cheaper if you have less space to work with.

Don’t limit yourself to just your backyard either. You can learn how to landscape your front yard yourself as well. Making a cheap front yard garden that looks great will certainly add to the curb appeal of your home. You can even put a small garden around your mailbox, that can look really nice.

If you are in need of a new mailbox I wrote up an article about what I think is the best mailbox and a great and unique way I found to install it.

Now to get the most of your garden space on a budget but still making it look nice, it is important to sit down and do some planning before going out and spending any money on garden plants. Taking a few minutes or days to think about a couple of concepts will help make the most of your garden space and your money.

Pick a Spot With Available Light

Available light is one of the key factors in growing a beautiful garden, regardless of the plants chosen, or the care given to them, is making sure they receive the proper amount of sunlight needed. Plants need full sun, partial sun/partial shade, or full shade.

Full Sun – Full sun means the spot receives 6 or more hours of direct sunlight per day. It doesn’t have to be a continuous 6 hours, and can be broken up throughout the day, with some occurring in the morning and another chunk in the afternoon.

Partial Sun / Partial Shade – These two terms are fairly interchangeable and mean a spot receives 4-6 hours of direct sun over the course of the day. Both would prefer to receive early morning or evening light, being shaded from the most intense sun in the mid to late afternoon.

Partial sun plants need a minimum of 4 hours and will do better the closer to 6 they can get. Partial shade plants need a maximum of 6 hours of sun but prefer the lesser amount.

Full Shade – Full shade means less than 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. This doesn’t mean the plant never receives any sunlight. Full shade plants will thrive with filtered sunlight, or some early morning direct sun.

Types of Plants for Your Garden

Plants can be classified in one of three ways Perennials, Annuals and Biennials. Make sure to take into account their growing tendencies:

Perennials

Perennials return year after year with little to no encouragement, providing continuous garden blooms. These plants tend to have a higher price tag up front but can be more economical in the long run.

Annuals

Annuals only live for one growing season and need to be replanted every year. They can add color to small sections of a garden and be switched out year to year.

Biennials

Biennials are a hybrid of the two; the first year is spent focusing on vegetative growth, the second year the plant blooms and completes its life cycle.

flower garden

Raised Beds or In Ground Planting Look Nice on a Budget

A raised garden bed is in essence a large planting box used for gardening instead of the traditional method of sowing plants directly in the ground. The raised beds, or “garden boxes” add an aesthetic appeal to the landscape, while also providing many advantages to the homeowner: portability, ease of use, handicap accessible, better weed and pest control, extended growing season, and higher yields.

They are pretty inexpensive and adding a few around your yard would like really nice. If you are somewhat handy you can save some money by simply heading down to the local home improvement store buying some cheap supplies and making your own raised garden bed yourself.

Obviously this requires much more physical work but it might save you some money, which is always nice.

After you look at those garden ideas, you can get into the fun part! Sitting down and designing a plan that will make your garden look nice on a budget but that also allows you to express your creativity and come up with an idea that is perfectly suited to your personality.

Traditional Garden Layouts on a Budget That Look Nice

I think this is the stereotypical image of what a garden looks like when most people think about a garden. It is extremely popular and the easiest to plan and implement. A traditional site is designed in either a rectangular or square shape with plants forming neat, tidy rows within the garden site.

Plants can be grouped based on height, companion planting benefits, or by the types of vegetables/flowers grown. Space between the rows allows the gardener easy access to plants and weeds can be controlled by hand or using a roto tiller.

Watering and fertilizing is simplified due to the uniform garden shape. Raised garden beds work well in a traditional garden design.

Non-Traditional Layout

A design can be created that incorporates garden space into an established landscape. Sometimes a homeowner doesn’t wish to dedicate a large, rectangular/square space to a garden but still wants the benefits of a large garden.

Instead they can add garden plants along the perimeter of a yard, nestling vegetables and herbs amongst flowers and shrubs. A great option with a non-traditional layout is to add undulating landscape curbing throughout the yard.

This curbing creates a border, separating the garden from the lawn. You can then plant small chunks of vegetables or herbs in this perimeter bed. This works best if there is an irrigation system in place to reduce the time spent watering by hand.

The biggest benefit to this system is if down the road the desire for a garden diminishes, it is easier to fill the spaces with landscape shrubs or even rocks/mulch versus having a chunk of ground that needs to be reseeded, or turned into something more useable.

container gardening

Container Gardens Look Nice on a Budget

A container garden is also another extremely popular idea, especially if you are just beginning to garden or don’t want to spend a lot. Of course you might need to buy some containers and they can very from really expensive to really inexpensive. You can always buy cheap containers or you can even find containers just lying around that can be used. You certainly do not need to spend a lot of money on a container.

Vegetables and herbs can be planted in containers and then placed on a patio or scattered around the yard, creating visual appeal to the landscape. Containers can be moved as needed and are easy to tend to. Containers are a great, easy and cheap way to make your garden look nice on a budget.

Buy Seeds

If you really don’t want to spend much money on anything just go to your nearby big box store and buy a few packs of plant or flower seeds. These are very cheap and will only cost a few bucks. It is a little more work because you have to plant them and nurture them a bit and hope they grow. This is certainly cheaper than buying fully grown plants or flowers and it can be more fun.

I love planting seeds and watching them grow from nothing into a beautiful flower. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

Rock Garden Ideas

Another inexpensive way to make a nice looking garden on a budget is to create a rock garden. Rocks are certainly cheap and you don’t have to worry about watering them or giving them plenty of sunlight.

Rock gardens can look really great, and it doesn’t have to just be rocks you can plant a few flowers here and there which will help give the rock garden a touch of color and make it feel a bit more vibrant.

This would definitely be cheaper than filling a large open area with nothing but flowers and plants, and it would require much less maintenance. If you just have an empty space that really doesn’t get much sunlight and you don’t know what to do with it, maybe try a rock garden.

On a Budget Make Your Garden Look Nice with Additional Garden Elements

No matter the design layout, remember that many budget friendly elements can be added to a garden to increase its aesthetic appeal. Water features will encourage butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden, which in turn will then pollinate garden plants.

Flowering shrubs and garden flowers bring extra color to a space, breaking up the solid green. Garden centers and nurseries also have a huge selection of wind chimes and other decor to help personalize a space.

I also like those little solar powered landscape lights, some aren’t so great but others look really nice and really spruce up a pathway or driveway or anywhere around a garden and you can get them for a good price.

A garden should be a reflection of you, an extension of your personality. Adding a variety of plants, decor, and other landscaping features can help create a unique space that will be well enjoyed. If you do a great job it will make your yard look so much nicer and much more enjoyable to look at everyday.

These are just a few of my ideas but I am sure you can think of many more that will give you the garden space that is perfect for you and at the right price.

How To Make Your Garden Look Nice On A Budget2019-06-24T01:36:47-04:00