A Sweet Potato Growing Guide

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Sweet potatoes make for delicious and filling side dishes, especially during the winter season with its savory and rich table offerings. The irony is that they are extremely frost-sensitive tubers that grow best when it’s warm.

There’s good news, though. You can grow your own sweet potatoes in a relatively easy way. You don’t even have to worry about spoilage with a generous sweet potato yield per plant – they can go unrefrigerated for months without going bad!

 

Choosing the best sprouts to plant

 

You can get sweet potato root sprouts – or slips – from quality gardening supply stores or nurseries. You can also save the roots from previous crops. If you’re buying, remember to get only untreated roots, because some stores use wax on sweet potato slips to prevent them from sprouting.

Determine the best time for planting outdoors in your location by consulting a frost-free gardening guide. This will help you plan out a growing and harvesting timeline and list, including when to buy sweet potato slips, soil, and the gardening peripherals you’ll be needing.

 

When, where, and how to grow them

 

Summertime is still the best time to plant sweet potatoes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow them indoors during winter. Count backwards six weeks from the time it’s warm enough to plant outside, and get root sprouts for planting (they are best planted ASAP).

Put some moist sand in a pot or any container of your choice. You will need a warm environment – around 75 degrees – to plant the slips. Place the slips in the moist sand. Wait for the shoots to sprout to about six inches long before cutting them off at the root.

Check outdoor temperature to see if it’s warm enough to transplant the sweet potato sprouts. Dig holes six inches in depth and 12 inches apart from each other. Bury the sprouts up to their top leaves – make sure to do this under a full sun and not when it’s overcast. Tamp down soil firmly over and around the sprouts before watering. After two weeks, use dark-colored rubber mulch to help keep weeds away, and to retain moisture at the roots. An inch of water a week is enough to keep sweet potatoes thriving.

 

When to harvest and store

 

Sweet potatoes mature between 90 to 170 days, so check for tubers around that time. If they’re still too small, leave them for a week more before checking. During this time, you can already use the young shoots and leaves for other dishes, but take care not to disturb the tubers too much. Bruised tubers can easily get diseased.

As with planting them, sweet potatoes are best harvested on a warm day when the soil is dry. Use a small spade or gardening fork to dig around 12 inches away from the main tuber, at an angle so as not to damage the sweet potato. Go around six inches in depth before gently lifting the freshly-dug potatoes. Dry them in the sun for a couple of hours before curing.

Keep the tubers you won’t be using for wintertime dishes in a well-aired space for about two weeks. The temperature should be around 80 degrees. Afterwards, you can keep your harvest of sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place (such as a pantry) for months.
sweet potatoes

The Low Down of Garden Fencing

garden chair and table

Pets like cats, dogs, and rabbits are adorable…until they mess up your garden, that is. The bane of gardening maintenance usually involves critters (not just your beloved furbabies). Wild animals, rodents, and other creatures should be discouraged from eating or messing around in your yard with the help of an effective garden fence. Not sure how to go about it? Here are some practical tips.

Out of sight, out of mind

In most cases, animals can’t have what they can’t see. Blocking your garden from view is an effective technique for critter-proofing. A solid fence will hide a garden and its delectable offering, and consequently, the desire to feast on them. This is especially true if you live somewhere with wild animals like deer, foxes, rabbits, and others roaming about.

You don’t have to invest in an expensive solid brick wall to protect your garden. A fence of wooden planks or bamboo poles in the appropriate height (make sure to check building codes in your area for height restriction) should do the trick.

When it comes to your pets, it’s best to keep them indoors. Provide a different outdoor venue for them to run around and exercise, such as an enclosed “catio” for your cats, or a backyard with no vegetables, flowers, or fruit that dogs can trample on.

Make it dig-proof

If they can’t go over it, they will go under it. Rabbits and other burrowing animals can still get through to your garden by digging under your fence. Prevent this by installing a chicken-wire fence with holes no bigger than one centimeter in diameter. The bottom of the wire mesh should curve 90 degrees outward before being buried in the soil at least half a foot deep. That should discourage Bugs from stealing and feasting on your carrots.

Make it jump and climb-proof

Animals are wily and determined if they’re after a food source. Raccoons and opossums will climb a chicken-wire fence if they see that your garden yields something they can eat. Deer can jump over fences, too. You can install a solid wooden fence not shorter than 6 feet, and then string electric wire at the top. Angle the wire to further deter jumping and climbing over.

Regularly check for holes and gaps

Apart from keeping them out, you wouldn’t want any animal to get stuck in a hole in your fence. Those YouTube videos of dogs peeking out from below wooden gates or poking from holes in privet hedges may be cute, but extracting them could cause lots of effort and risk. Some animals like deer and foxes could also get hurt when they’re stuck, or lash out at rescuers with kicks and bites. Avoid these scenarios altogether by regularly mending holes and gaps in your fence. You can grow climbing plants to cover your chicken wire fence, or board up holes in wooden fences. Keep the soil around and under your fence packed and firm to prevent animals from digging.

 

Five Different Types of Gardening

balcony garden

Gardens can be as unique as a person’s fingerprint – from the typical backyard vegetable plots to the manicured gardens of Versailles. They’re born out of different needs: beautification, as food source, for recreational pursuits, and others.

Gardens are as diverse in looks as they are in purpose, as evidenced by the following different types of gardening. Which one is for you?

Vertical

This kind of garden uses not just the plant beds and horizontal surfaces of a yard, but also its walls and other vertical spaces. Vertical gardening is popular among those who don’t have space for a full garden, like apartment dwellers. It also allows a creative way to enjoy the benefits of a perennial garden while beautifying an unattractive wall or fence.

A vertical garden usually has a frame to hold the fabric layer, the plants, and the garden’s entire irrigation system. Many homes are employing this space-saving technique to gardening, but a lot of public spaces like building facades and the walls of parks and thoroughfares also showcase it.  

Container

Tiled patios, wooden porches, and other surfaces that can’t accommodate vegetable plots and flower beds are well-suited for container gardening. Containers can range from plastic to ceramic pots, and even organic vessels like coconut husks and eggshell halves. It’s the garden type of choice for many beginning gardeners, or those who want to grow a select group of plants, like herbs or blooms.

Raised plant beds framed by wood, plastic, stone, or rubber borders also fall under the container gardening category. Those who prefer their outdoor garden space to feature landscaping elements and wish to segregate their vegetable, herb, or curated plants use this technique to mark them off as separate from the ornamentals.

Indoor

This type of gardening has become an integral part of interior decorating in the same way landscaping has with outdoor design. Many homes have incorporated “indoor-friendly” plants in their living spaces to help purify the air, add a touch of nature, and also as statement pieces.

On a more practical note, windowsill gardening and plants grown on a dedicated ledge, table, bench, or counter help supply kitchen pantries while keeping the temperature even for the plants no matter what the season is. Some plants need to have their seeds sown and take root indoors before being transplanted outside, as they can be too fragile for chilly or hot weather, or could develop rot quickly if unsupervised.

Water

Water gardening combines decorative and botanical elements to create a whimsical touch to exterior and interior spaces. Ponds, fountains, and tanks are some popular examples of this type. Those who want their water garden to be permanent have it integrated in their outdoor design by a contractor, as with constructions of elaborate ponds and waterfall features. However, a tub or a tank will work fine on porches, patios, and other outdoor spaces, as well.

The secret to a successful water garden is to make it look as natural as possible. The water also has to be protected from freeze, algae, and pests. Popular plants for water gardening include many types of water lilies and lotus, hyacinth, duckweed, and other floating types.

Community

A community garden is a single piece of land tended to by different people. They are often found in special sections of public parks and other spaces, or in the middle of an apartment complex or shared living facility. Its main purpose is to bring people together through cooperation and the shared benefits of a garden – whether it’s the beautification of a public space, for social gatherings, or to share the “fruits” of a harvest together.

Vegetable and fruit gardens are popular for community gardening because people can see just how successfully they’ve grown their own food. Flower gardens are ideal for quiet spaces like parks, hospitals, libraries, and other public spaces where people come to sit and think. Community gardens bring people together and give them a sense of purpose and pride, which is why many local cause-oriented groups include them in their list of projects.

Protect your garden during the warm winter

seed pods frozen in winter

Because of climate change, we’re looking at an unseasonably warm winter. This affects many things about the coming season: your wardrobe, outdoor activities, and yes, even garden upkeep and care.

 

Warm winter and weed growth

reeds

Many gardeners agree that winter weeds are relatively easier to control than those that grow in other seasons. Autumn is the best time to treat weeds since September to October are the peak months for their germination period. Neglecting to treat them could mean a garden overrun with weeds come springtime. It’s best to avoid this, since it’s harder to get a neglected garden back in shape than if you actively try to keep it weed-free before the winter.

 

In the cold, weeds hardly germinate and most die once chill sets in. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security that you will find your garden weed-free come springtime, though. With a warm winter, expect the weeds to act as they would in the spring and summer. Not only will they germinate and spread in the same manner as summer weeds – you can also expect other types of weeds to find their way into your garden if you aren’t careful.

 

Weeds to watch out for

grass

Winter weeds come in two general types: grass and broadleaf. Grassy weeds are distinguishable by their longer leaf blades and parallel veins. They can be annual like bluegrass, or perennial like quackgrass.   

 

Broadleaf weeds also have annuals and perennials. They come from seeds that have two leaves, and are identifiable by veins that look like nets. Some broadleaves have distinct flowers like dandelions. Annual broadleaf weeds exist in twelve-month periods – meaning they germinate, grow, and then die within a year. Some winter annuals include chickweed, deadnettle, white clover, and bluegrass. Perennials are those that grow for two years or more. They’re the products of tubers or bulbs, and rarely, seeds. They’re harder to control, so take extra care to look out for their kind: white clover, dallisgrass, and buttercups in winter. However, because of the unseasonable warmth, there could be dandelions and plantains – typical summer broadleaf weeds – in the mix.   

 

How to arrest weed growth

plants getting overrun with weeds

Temperature plays a big role in weed management. Never neglect to mulch as it helps insulate roots and keeps nourishment where it’s needed while protecting from the onslaught of seasonal weed. Mulching also helps soil temperatures remain even during frost or heat, but always check soil temperature to determine the depth and amount of mulching needed. You may have wintertime mulching scheduled, but unpredictable weather could change some of those activities.

 

In normal winter seasons, a herbicide typically takes two to three weeks to be effective, as opposed to just a week during summer. With warm winters becoming more apparent, it only makes sense to constantly check the temperature to determine the proper application and timing of weed killers. You can hand-weed recognizable weeds first.

 

You might need to introduce watering to your gardening itinerary for a warm winter. The soil will be thirsty, and so will your plants’ roots. Irrigate properly and regularly (every three to five days, again depending on the temperature) to keep roots properly moist and nourished.

 

Common Plant Diseases

common plant diseases  Common Plant Diseases

There are many diseases that can threaten your garden’s safety. Every good gardener must see to it that aside from giving his plants water, sun, and nutrients, diseases are kept at bay. Here are some of the most common types of plant diseases to look out for and how to treat them.

Blights

plants with blight

Leaves or branches that suddenly wither or brown and stop growing is a sign of a type of blight. It is bacterial disease that causes chlorosis or insufficient production of chlorophyll – causing the plant to die. The common types of blight include fire blight, alternaria blight or early blight, and phytophthora blight or late blight. Blights are common during humid weather or after a period of heavy rainfall. Once you spot these black-brown spots on your plants and leave begin to turn yellow, immediately remove and destroy affected leaves. They can be treated with fungicides and biofungicides but quickly become resistant to it-so treat fast and treat hard, ensuring all affected plants are treated. Ensure plants have good drainage and prevent overhead watering. Mulching with black plastic or rubber mulch prevents the fungus from spreading onto the leaves. You can also opt to use disease-resistant hybrids especially if blights are common in your area.

Cankers

Can be caused by bacteria, fungi or other organisms, cankers usually form on woody stems, causing them to wither and die. While some plants with cankers look similar to blight damage, but some cankers ooze, may look sunken and leaves lesions on tree barks. Man-made or natural wounds are the usual entry point for many fungal cankers and usually does not manifest until the plant or tree is under stress. There are cankers that aggressively affect some plants and have no cure. In cases like these, the entire plant must be removed to prevent nearby plants from being infected. To prevent cankers, use proper pruning techniques to only create small wounds so they can heal quickly. Do not prune during wet seasons as this is when cankers and other fungi are most active. Promote plant health and vigor by watering and properly, moderate fertilizing, and mulching- this way your plants have the ability to protect themselves from disease.

Rots

decaying tree trunk

These are diseases that decay part dog the plant. The rot can affect roots, stems, leaves, and even fruits –  leaving them soft and slimy or hard and dry. They can be caused by various types of bacteria or fungi. The best defense against rots are ensuring good drainage. Make sure the roots are completely dry before watering again. For already infected areas, make sure to remove and dispose them and apply compost tea or add beneficial bacteria to your soil.

Rusts

rusty plants

A powdery coating or a rust-colored coating is one of the easiest ways to identify plant rusts. These are kinds of fungi that attacks healthy and vigorous plants unlike other plant diseases that take advantage of weak plants. Rusts will take advantage of new sprouts, leaves and tender parts of a plant. Severe infection of rusts will cause stunted growth and yellowed or discolored leaves. For small infections, areas where pustules (orange, yellow, brown, black, or white spore producing structures) are visible must be removed and disposed.  Applying neem oil can kill spores on the leaves and is a good organic alternative to fungicides.

Wilts

wilting plants

Leaves wilt when they are not properly hydrated. In many cases, a small amount of wilt in between watering is healthy and prevents root rots. But when wilts continue to show even after replenishing your plant supply, your garden may be infected with fungi or bacteria that prevents your plant’s water conducting system from functioning properly. Some types of wilt like the verticillium wilt are very destructive and can stay in the soil for a long time. In many cases just removing infected areas may not work and it is better to completely remove the infected plat including the soil to prevent further damage to other plants. Do not use previously infected soil or include infected leaves to compost.

There are many diseases out there that may affect your plants. Your best defense is to make sure they are healthy so they have a chance to fight illnesses. Proper watering, good drainage, adequate sunlight, consistent pruning, mulching, and fertilizing at the right time will go a long way. It also helps to look out for certain disease-resistant crops to lower their chances of getting infected

 

Ten Great Water-Saving Gardening Ideas

picture of a dripping sink in a garden

In these times of drought, we all need to be smart about keeping our plants healthy – and not waste water at the same time. A thriving garden doesn’t require tons of water. It simply needs a smart gardener armed with practical ideas and frugal techniques.

 

To retain water, add compost to your soil

Organic composting helps amend your garden soil with nutrients so it can be fertile. It also traps moisture to help plants take root. Composting can be done even without an expensive bin. As an example, you can collect food scraps from your kitchen and take them straight into a compost pile.

 

Apply mulch to your soil

Mulch provides a protective layer that can prevent up to 70% of moisture from evaporating, especially on a hot day. After composting, apply an adequate layer of mulch to avoid water runoff. Mulching also keeps weeds from taking over precious soil space and vying for water and nutrients, which your growing plants badly need.

picture of brown rubber mulch

Have a strict AM and PM watering schedule

Keeping to a fixed routine can help you save water while optimizing root and plant growth. Gardens are best watered from early morning up until temperature begins to rise before noon because there is less evaporation then. If your plants are in pots and containers, they tend to dry out quickly so water them at noon and into the early afternoon.
Avoid watering at night – this can cause fungal growth because there is no sun to help evaporate excess moisture.

watering plants when there's sunlight

Know which plants to water at specific times

Of course, observing your plants for any sign of drought stress means you have to customize your watering schedule specifically around it. Knowing the types of plants and their developmental stages can also help you incrementally reduce watering. For instance, squash, melons, cucumbers, and other vine crops only need ample watering during their flowering and fruiting stages. Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants also do not need excess watering as they love the heat, and tend to bear more fruit in warmer weather.

 peppers

Avoid “thirsty” plants

If you’re starting a garden from scratch, it’s wise to go for plants that don’t “guzzle” water and require a lot of maintenance. Low-maintenance plants like succulents are ideal because they thrive in drought-like conditions, such as in deserts. Go for small plants and those with narrow leaves instead (ferns are a good example).

If your garden already has established plants that are slow-growing, fret not because those don’t require a lot of watering, either. Thirsty plants include big-leafed ones, ones that need constant fertilizing, and those that grow at a rapid rate or are newly-planted.  

 

Save kitchen and fish tank water

After boiling vegetables, don’t throw away the water in your pot. Let it cool before using it to water your plants. There are added vitamins and minerals in this water that can help nourish your plants. The same goes for water from your fish tank- it’s rich in phosphorous and nitrogen that can aid plant growth.

water in a pot

Choose drought-tolerant plants

In times of drought, think small. This means the smaller the produce, the bigger its chance of surviving hot weather. Think miniature bell peppers, eggplants, cherry tomatoes, and other vegetables that are tiny yet rich in nutrients, and actually flourish in heat.

someone holding cherry tomatoes

Other tried-and-tested drought-resistant produce include okra, Swiss chard, legumes like chickpea, lima beans and cow beans, mature rhubarb, chiles, cantaloupe, and herbs such as rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, and lavender.

 

Collect rainwater in your garden

You can harvest water when it rains by using a plastic or metal barrel to collect roof runoff. You can place the barrel directly beneath a downspout so it collects most of the water and fills up quickly. Use a dipper to water the plants with, and keep the barrel covered to prevent insects and debris from getting into it. Doing these can significantly reduce your water bill, as opposed to relying on a garden hose for regular watering.

rain barrels collecting water

Select practical plant containers

The kind of pot or container you put your plant into can have a great effect on its growth and your gardening habits. Avoid metal containers because they will just take away the moisture from the soil in the container and create an overheated environment. Use them as decorative outer containers, instead.

 

Go for glazed pots. If you choose unglazed terra cotta ones, chances are the soil will dry faster in them because they’re porous. If you need to transplant seeds and starts outdoors, you buy coconut husk pots that decay when roots start taking hold, or biodegradable plant pots that allow you to bury them whole into the ground without replanting.

 

Group plants with similar water needs

In a drought, it’s no longer practical to plant in rows. It makes better sense to do block and grouped planting. The logic behind this is that the plants provide much-needed shade and nutrients for each other without competing for moisture and nourishment. A water-efficient garden layout can have blocks of similar-needs produce like cucumbers, squash, and zucchini – these vegetables require the same amount of watering. It may be tempting to add some cauliflower or broccoli into the mix, but as they need more room and are thirsty plants, they will create a problem with watering and nourishment.

 

Container Gardening for Dummies

 

gardening with containers

Container Gardening for Dummies

“Necessity is the mother of all invention”. With the rise of smaller spaces for urban dwellers, container gardening is probably one of the most creative alternative the modern gardener has come up with. It is flexible, portable, and can work with whatever space you have available. You can grow both ornamental and edible plants. One of the perks of container gardening include not having to do tedious preparations and weeding that the traditional garden calls for. Sounds interesting? Here are a few fail-safe suggestions on how to start and maintain your very own container garden:

flowers planted in containers

Tools for Your Garden

Since you will not be tilling the land and will not buse a lot of space, container gardening does not require a lot of tools. Most of the time, a trowel, a hand fork and some gloves will be all you need. When you get bigger plants that need pruning, this is when you’ll need a pair of sharp shears, for smaller plants that need trimming, a pair of sharp kitchen scissors can do the trick. You will also need potting mix. You need something that is already premixed instead of just soil as your plants will need all the nutrients it can get.

trowel for gardening

How to choose container garden pots

The fun part about container gardening is that it can be very affordable. You can use empty plastic bottles, you just need to poke holes in it for drainage. Or you can purchase specialty containers that can match your home’s interior design, your balcony or patio. Containers come in all shapes and sizes, what you need to put into consideration is the size of the plant as it grows and transfer to bigger pots when necessary.

How to choose your location

Sunlight is an important factor in gardening–even for container gardening. Find a suitable area in your home the gets an adequate amount of sunlight. The amount and strength of sunlight you can find available will determine what kind of plants can thrive in your environment. Spend a day in your home observing which areas get full afternoon sun, which ones get partial sun and areas with very little to none. If you find that you may have inadequate sunlight to properly grow plants, try looking into artificial light to substitute natural sunlight.

potted plants receiving sunlight

How to choose your plants

One of the most popular choices for container gardening are potted herbs. They’re compact, easy to grow, can be a good ornament to your kitchen, and are very aromatic..Some of the easiest herb to grow include basil, mint, rosemary, and thyme. Lettuces, tomatoes, and cucumbers are also a popular choice when you have a little more space to spare. It is also possible to grow dwarf varieties of trees such as apples, pear, and fig.

potted herbs

How to fertilize

As your plants are isolated from a big body of soil, your plants will need more consistent fertilizing. Start with a slow release fertilizer in your potting soil to ensure your plants are not starved. To complement this, you can add a fish emulsion or a diluted liquid fertilizer every few weeks. It is also wise to add a kind of mulch on top of your plants to prevent erosion.

Container gardening is not only for the urban gardener, it is also a good option when soil in your area can be problematic or have been exposed to diseases.  When in doubt, consult your local nursery or gardening shop on what seeds/seedlings they have available for your garden that can thrive in your area.

Basic Gardening Tools

woman with basic gardening tools

Gardening can be beneficial in a number of ways. It’s therapeutic, meditative and brings us closer to Mother Nature. Some studies even show that getting your hands in the dirt can help boost the immune system.

 

The daunting part comes when you start getting the tools and products you need. “Will it be expensive?”, “What if I don’t have all the tools?” are some of the questions that make many soon-to-be-gardeners a little apprehensive. Some of us may have a limited amount of budget and that’s not a bad thing. Look at it this way, you can focus on the basics and build your way from there. With a limited budget in mind, here are 4 basic gardening tools that can help you get started.

Gardening Trowel

gardening trowel

One of the best multi-purpose tools that your garden can have. Usually a made with a forged blade with a wooden handle, this tool can be used to dig hard, rocky soil. The good thing about a good garden trowel is that it can double up as a shovel for small gardens, a weeder, and as a substitute for soil knives.  Look for pointy, scoop-shaped stainless steel blades that is sharp enough to function as a soil knife that is shaped well to sweep and gather soil properly.  

Gloves

 

Gardening without the proper equipment can leave you susceptible to allergens, bacteria and cuts from sharp rocks, thorns, or pointy foreign objects that may be in the soil. This makes a good pair of gardening gloves a good investment to keep your green hands safe. Look for a pair that is well knitted and lightweight. Leather is also a good material to look for as it helps provide a good grip.

gardening glovesFork

 

Another multi-purpose tool for the newbie gardener. A fork can work as an aerator and a soil cultivator. This also works great for mixing compost, wood chips, organic mulch and rubber mulch, wood chips, and manure. A smaller fork works best for small shrubs and flowerbeds. Looked for forged steel as they are stronger and more suitable for digging through compacted soil and hard rocks. This works hand in hand with your garden trowel.

Garden Shears

From pruning, trimming vines, cutting herbs, and even grass – just make sure to keep it clean in between uses. A good, lightweight pair of garden shears can go a long way. Sharp is the best trait your pruning shears can have. Sharp enough to create clean cut stems or vines to prevent diseases from infecting your plants. If you are suffering from arthritis, carpal tunnel or other physical ailments, many garden shears are designed with adjustable tensions and ergonomic grip to make the task easier.

 

Watering Can

watering can

A portable container with a spout is your best bet to make sure you water you plants deeply and evenly. The best part? You don’t necessary need to spend with this tool. All you need is some creativity to upcycle items that can be found at your home. You can piece hole on a used plastic bottle or recycle an old can and you’re set

That didn’t sound so expensive right? From there you can start building your tool collection as your garden grows. Looking for more tips to save on gardening? Here are 10 gardening hacks that can help without creating a huge dent on your wallet.

 

Will Rubber Mulch Hurt Plants?

plants in mulch

Rubber mulch has been around long enough to become a mainstream option for gardens and landscaping, but people are still debating about whether or not it’s actually beneficial to plants. Before investing in it, it’s perfectly fine to ask yourself if it will hurt your plants or actually enhance your garden. Let’s look at some important points regarding rubber mulch.

Rubber mulch protects plants from insects and weeds

Wood attracts termites, and other organic matter such as sand, leaves, or grass clippings can easily become homes and food to insects and rodents. Because rubber mulch is synthetic, it is unattractive to pests. It also doesn’t offer anything for weeds to thrive on – they will dehydrate before they even have a chance to wreak havoc on your plants.

It insulates the soil and regulates plant temperature

Even in very cold weather, rubber mulch can help keep your plants snug and warm down to the roots. On the other hand, it also does a good job of protecting the soil and roots from too much heat in high temperature weather.  

It enhances the potency of fertilizers and water

Since it doesn’t absorb water or fertilizers the way organic mulches do, your plants and soil get full nutrients. The soil under the mulch doesn’t dry up but stays moist for your plants to thrive on.

It can help neutralize soil with high alkalinity

Alkali soil have low infiltration capacity so it needs zinc for plants to grow. Rubber mulch can offer a solution by way of its inherent zinc content which the soil can absorb in increments. This is especially beneficial to long-rooted plants, which can get both zinc and all the fertilizer they need.

No tree is killed to manufacture rubber mulch

It might sound trite, but the very purpose of shredded rubber infill is to recycle old tires and prevent overflowing landfills after all. Trees and plants don’t have to be sacrificed to become mulching material. Recycling is the heart of rubber mulch manufacturing – an environmentally conscious move that is hard to ignore even with all the controversies surrounding it.

The bottom line is, doing careful research can help you decide if rubber mulch is the best option for your garden. More studies are being done on it, so it’s wise to keep yourself updated on the latest findings.

 

Termite Home Invasion Timeline

everlast termite

  • Termite Invasion Timeline

Swarming

  1.      Termites turn into larger, sexually mature “swarmers” with wing buds.
  2.      Swarmers leave the nest by flying through mud tubes.
  3.      These mud tubes connect underground colonies to food sources such as wood materials in houses.
  4.      Termites called supplementary reproductives “back-up” the primary queen by producing extra eggs & expanding the colony’s foraging territory.
  5.      If the colony queen dies or if a part of the colony is isolated from the queen, supplementary reproductives take on the role of the queen.
  6.      As a colony increases in size, foragers form satellite colonies: They create tunnel systems in the soil.
  7.      These tunnels connect colonies to food sources such wood materials in houses.

Budding

Not-So-Fun-Facts

  •         Termites swarm throughout the warm season, but not as much as during springtime.
  •         Colonies may swarm multiple times. Later swarms do not match the intensity of the first swarm.
  •         Subterranean termites swarm during the day, although Formosan termites (a species of subterranean termite) swarm at night.
  •         Swarm flights are brief, aided by prevailing winds.
  •         Winged termites do not fly too far but can be carried great distances by strong wind.

3 ways to get rid of termites…

  1.   Set up a cardboard trap.

Take a couple flat strips of cardboard, wet them, and stack them on one another in an area where termites are likely to be. Because termites feed on cellulose (cardboard), this makes for an excellent spot trap. When the cardboard is infested with termites, take it out in a safe area and burn it. Repeat multiple times, if necessary.

  1.   Try beneficial nematodes.

Beneficial nematodes are small unsegmented worm species that are natural parasites to garden pests, including termites. These nematodes search for hosts, such as termite larvae, and burrow into them, usually causing death within 48 hours.

  1.      Use rubber in lieu of wood mulch. Zero food source=zero termites.

http://thebugskiller.com/termite-infestation-detection-solution-and-prevention-tips/

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/05/26/realestate/your-home-coming-to-terms-with-termites.html

http://www.termites101.org/termite-basics/colonies