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Aphids, Fungus Gnats, & Fruit Flies

Originally published at The Suburban Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Aphids feasting on a hot pepper plant.

Aphids feasting on a hot pepper plant.

I’ve been hearing the same questions over and over, and thought perhaps it was time to do a post about common household pests.  I’ve written a post about aphids in the past, and this post will include all of that information, as well as information on fungus gnats and fruit flies.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty about each pest, it’s important to differentiate between the three in terms of appearance, so that you know what you are dealing with.  Aphids are tiny white flies, and their larvae has small, clear-green bodies.  Fungus gnats are tiny, slow moving black flies, and their larvae is a clear-brown colour.  Fruit flies are tiny, quick moving black flies, and their larvae is a clear-yellowy-brown colour, similar to maggots (only smaller).

This article will provide information and suggestions on how to rid your plants and homes of each of these three common pests.
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Spring Begins With Peppers!

Originally published at The Suburban Garden. Please leave any comments there.

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We started our peppers about a week ago using the baggie method:
1.  Put the seeds between paper towels.
2.  Wet the paper towels.
3.  Place paper towels in a baggie.
4.  Label the baggie.
5.  Place the baggie on a heat mat or other warm surface (the top of a fridge works well).

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This year we planted Mixed Habanero (hot), Black Hungarian (hot), Bulgarian Carrot (hot), Sweet Chocolate, Gypsy Red (sweet), and Sunrise Orange (sweet).

After just a few days, the pepper seeds started to sprout.

 

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Once the seeds sprouted, we placed them in loose compost mixed with perlite (to help with drainage).  It took a couple of days before the first sprout emerged from the soil.

Now we’re well on our way to having some very happy pepper plants in this year’s garden!


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Digital Garden Blog Poaching

Originally published at The Suburban Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Whenever I think of my fellow gardeners, I think of them in a positive light.  Friendly, good people who enjoy helping nature create beauty.  Down-to-earth types who are oh so willing to share their knowledge (and often, their seeds).  The type of people who go to seed swaps, attend garden meetings, and join earthy social networking groups.

At least, that’s my personal experience with gardeners.  Almost all of the people I have met with this shared interest can be described with the words above.  I enjoy the interactions I’ve had with them, both in person and online, and I’ve never had to kick a person out of a gardening group due to social drama.

Then I learned about how garden blogger and author Niki Jabbour, while recently looking for a photo she had included in one of her blog entries, ended up finding her garden blog entries in someone else’s blog.  Not just her articles, but articles that actually pointed to things that Niki does professionally.

Now, it should be pointed out that Niki is not some small time blogger who does this in her spare time like I do.  She has already published one book and has another one coming out in the spring of 2014.  She is a professional in her field and is to be taken seriously.

So when I heard about this,  ”taken aback” doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.  As a (very small time) garden blogger, I always thought, “I don’t have to worry about content being stolen.  It’s a garden blog.  Who would steal content from a garden blog?”  After all, people who talk about gardening are, by nature, honest and nice people, right?

These people, who steal content from various sources and pass it off as their own are poachers of the digital variety.  Their motives are diverse.  Some use the content to gain advertising revenue.  Others do it for notoriety.

I’m told that this is a common problem on blogspot.com, making me wonder why blogspot is such an easy target.  Is it so easy for people to write a script which goes out and targets specific other blogspot users, automating the theft of their intellectual property?  And if this is the case, why has blogspot not done something about it?

Whatever the case, this has put two separate thoughts in my head.  First, I’m glad I have my own domain and that I don’t use blogspot to power my blog.  (Hooray for WordPress!)  Second, I may start taking the time to watermark all of the photos I include in my blog.  Because, while I may not make any money on my content, it is still that:  my content.  I spend a lot of time researching and writing much of my content.  And in this age of digital piracy, the reality is that I must take the steps necessary, however small they are, to protect my intellectual property.


Plant An Ice Garden

Originally published at The Suburban Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Winter doesn’t have to be miserable if you plant a colourful ice garden!

Ice Balloons UnfinishedFill balloons* with food colouring and water, then tie them up.  If you hang them upside down while they freeze, they create a beautiful teardrop shape.  If you’re going for the egg shape, lay them down (with the open end down) in the snow.  They take about 2-3 days to freeze completely in -15°C to -20°C, depending on their size.

Ice GardenOnce they are frozen, remove the balloons and plant your garden!  They can be admired from your window, or up close.  This is also a fun experiment to do with kids.  (If you’re feeling creative, you can also try different shaped balloons.)

Tip:  If you make them smaller, they are less likely to crack while freezing.
*I use the helium quality balloons, they’re less likely to break under the weight.


My Virtual Garden

Originally published at The Suburban Garden. Please leave any comments there.

When I"m not pre-planting, this is how I make it through winter.

When I’m not pre-planting, this is how I make it through winter.

 


Building an Indoor Greenhouse Frame

Originally published at The Suburban Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Small suburban gardens usually mean no space for a roomy outdoor greenhouse.  This tabletop greenhouse works great indoors.

Small suburban gardens usually mean no space for a roomy outdoor greenhouse. This tabletop greenhouse works great indoors.

After a couple of years with our previous indoor greenhouse, we’ve decided to improve the design by rebuilding the frame. Our first version had a few issues that needed to be addressed:   Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Up-cycled Mini Seed Starters

Originally published at The Suburban Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Up-cycle take-out containers as mini-greenhouses for seed starting.
Used yogurt cups also make excellent pots for seeding,
and can be written on directly with a Sharpie.

Upcycled Greenhouse Upcycled Greenhouse


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Online Seed Orders

Originally published at The Suburban Garden. Please leave any comments there.

2014 Seed Order

This week I was delighted to receive all three of my 2014 seed orders.

The first, and largest, was from Veseys.  A sprout mix, Kaleidoscope Swiss Chard, Evening Glow Impatiens, Seaside Impatiens, Siam Queen Thai Basil, German Winter Thyme, Sweet Marjoram, Stevia, and Rosemary.  There was a tiny mix-up with the Stevia, the product numbers got mixed up when they filled the order and sent Cabbage seeds instead.  When I contacted them to swap them for Stevia, they told me to keep the Cabbage and they’re sending the pack of Stevia immediately.  I received confirmation that they shipped today.

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