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GROW MUSHROOMS OUTDOORS | MYCELIAL MÉLANGE:

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Growing your own mushroom fungi is not only amazing, but will save you the stress of foraging for them in the wild.

You only need just a few tools, mushroom spawn plugs, and following through its growth requirements while you await a bountiful harvest of your mushrooms.

If finding a particular type of mushroom to add to meals is very cumbersome, then you should consider growing your own colony.

MUSHROOMS ARE EVERYWHERE

There are millions of species of mushrooms growing in our world today. Some of which include: shiitake, oyster, turkey tail, reishi, lion’s mane, chanterelle, chicken of the woods and many others.

Mushrooms exist in the edible and poisonous species. The edible is known to provide various benefits, while the poisonous is so dangerous for human consumption.

Foraging for mushrooms although a dangerous sport is exciting and at the end satisfying because you’d eventually lay your hands on some to take home. In England, it is a common sport engaged in by many.

If you find some group of persons going for a hike, it is probable that they are also planning on foraging for mushrooms. They can be found growing in tall trees or at the base of the trunks, or along the perimeter of a perfect swimming hole.

However, you shouldn’t get carried away by the fun of mushroom hunting so as to not unknowingly hunt for the poisonous species. As such, it is very important that you always carry your identification book along to examine if the mushroom you are hunting for is poisonous or not.

There are many edible-looking mushrooms out there, but extremely dangerous to the extent of causing nausea, seizures, hallucinations and even death.

For example, there is the chanterelle, a well-known and used mushroom all over the world, that bears a striking resemblance to the Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca species, but very poisonous. You can easily mistake the real thing for the false one, and end up preparing it for dinner!

Therefore, it is advisable that you go along with your identification book, or a friend who is familiar with mushrooms so as to not confuse the edible for the poisonous ones.

To completely avoid such risk or confusion, it is better to grow your own mushrooms in your backyard, watch them grow and enjoy after harvesting!

WHY RISK IT? GROW A MUSHROOM AT HOME INSTEAD!

You can grow your own mushroom farm and save yourself the risk! Here’s how:

First of all look out for a company that sells the species of mushroom you intend to cultivate.

The company and vendor you’re purchasing the mushroom, mushroom spawn or plugs, must have a good reputation that can provide you with all the necessary information and material you need to effectively grow your own mushroom.

If you are new to growing your own mushroom, it is advisable to start with the species with less stress to cultivate. I’d advise you to go for oysters. This species of mushroom thrives and flourishes effortlessly in many different temperature ranges and climates, so it shouldn’t give you much trouble.

Shiitakes are another easy-to-grow species of mushrooms.

After selecting the mushroom you want to cultivate, the next thing to do is to gather tools and supplies that will be needed to cultivate them. They include:

  • Mushroom plugs
  • Freshly cut stump, or logs cut 3-4 feet in length
  • Drill
  • 5/16th steel drill bit
  • Rubber mallet
  • Soy wax
  • Small foam paintbrush

MUSHROOM PLUGS AND WOOD: A PERFECT MATCH

It is important to note that in nature, certain mushrooms grow better on a certain type of wood.

While some prefer to grow on hardwoods such as oak, maple, or elm. Others prefer softwood like spruce, fir, or pine.

After determining the species of mushroom you want to grow, also find out what kind of wood they thrive best on or in.

The logs you intend to grow your mushrooms must be cut from healthy trees showing no signs of deterioration. A good wood to grow on means healthy growth for the mushroom.

Recently cut logs should be left to age at least 2 to 3 weeks before growing mushrooms on them. Logs keeps more than six months cannot be used as they already have lichen and fungus growing in them.

Freshly cut logs, makes it easy for the mushrooms to settle and colonize.

LET’S DO THIS

Now that you have gotten a freshly cut stump, you can begin drilling holes all around the tops and sides for the plugs to fit in.

Drill about 1 ¼’’ into the stump to create enough space for each plug to fit in comfortable. A stump can hold up to fifty plugs.

If you are going for logs, drill holes all along the length of the logs in rows spaced inch apart. You can also fit in about fifty plugs into a 3 to 4 foot log.

HAMMER THEM IN

This process is known as inoculation.

Open up your bag of mushroom spawn plugs. Grab your mallet and gently put the tip of each plug into the drilled hole and hammer them in.

Whichever medium you choose to grow your mushroom whether stumps or logs, these mushrooms are healthy and ready to grow on them. That is after hammering in the plugs in the log or sum.

The dowels of the plugs are soft and may squish when hammering them in. as long as they all fit into the hole, it will work just perfectly.

SEAL THE DEAL

The next thing to do after hammering the spawn plugs into the drilled holes, is to cover the holes with wax. Wax helps to keep the mycelium safe, clean, and protected.

The wax must be first of all heated in a double boiler on a stove or in the microwave. Using a small foam or paintbrush, cover the holes with hot wax.

STACK  IT UP

If you are using logs, ensure to stack them up against a wall or something, somewhere where they can get enough ventilation and absorb moisture.

Do not place your logs in a spot that is always too sunny as it will cause your mushrooms to dry out too quickly.

THE POWER OF WATER WHEN GROWING MUSHROOMS

At the initial stage of the mushroom growth, which is the phase when the spawn is getting to colonize its new home (the log), water is very important.

You need to constantly water the log for the first few weeks until you’re sure they have absorbed enough water.

That done, allow the wood to seek its moisture. However, if you stay in a hot climate area with low humidity, ensure water every week.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GROW A MUSHROOM?

Mushrooms generally take a long time to grow to maturity. Depending on the species you decide to plant, they can take as little as six months or as long as two years.

Indoor cultivation is usually faster than planting outdoors because then you have to replicate natural growing conditions for the spawn.

Although it is a slow process, the wait is worth it!

MYCELIA MADNESS

After successfully cultivating your first batch of mushrooms, you may want to grow more by experimenting with other species and different growing mediums.

The most effective growing medium is using stumps or logs.

Other mediums include: using hardwood chips or hardwood sawdust, burlap bags or plastic bags with holes punched in them which allows the mushroom to grow through it.

HOMEGROWN MUSHROOM ON DEMAND

Edible mushrooms exist in a large variety of species, from shiitake to porcini, and reishi to blue chanterelle. Find out what type you like to eat and procedures to grow them in your backyard!

HOW TO GROW SWEET PEA FLOWERS AND CARE FOR THEM

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The sweet pea flower (Lathyrus odoratus) is an annual climbing plant from the family Fabaceae (legumes). With origins that can be traced to the Mediterranean and southern Italy, the Aegean Island region, Sicily, and Cyprus.

They exist in varieties and can grow to between 3 and 7 feet as a vine, provided they are supported by arbors, fences or walls.

Most people usually confuse the L. odoratus (annual), with the L. latifolius (perennial).

CULTIVATION AND HISTORY OF SWEET PEA FLOWERS

The first official record on contact with this plant was far back 1695, when a monk and amateur botanist, Francisco Cupani, stated that he saw the plant in northwestern Sicily.

Fascinated by the plant, the monk sent some seedlings off to botanists in England and Holland, where a formal article was documented about the flower. The article contained the first known description of L. odoratus. Due to his encounter with the plant, the name ‘Cupani’ till this day remains a popular variety of the plant.

The sweet pea flower is often considered to be old fashioned due to its long history. However, many are still of the impression that it is still a lovely flower to have around the garden.

PROPAGATION OF SWEET PEA FLOWERS

Sweet peas are mostly grown from seeds which were collected from the matured ones the previous year.

They are cool-weathered plants, meaning they thrive best under cool temperatures. For quality growth, they’ll need about 50 days of cool temperatures from the period of planting to blooming. Soil temperatures the seedlings can grow under ranges between 55 to 65°F.

They are cool-weather plants and can take frost without significant damage, but can be killed by hard freezes.

The best time to grow L. odoratus seeds especially for gardeners in the western United States, is from August.

For states with drier climates such as Midwest, and northeast non-coastal areas, it is advisable to start seeds indoors to transplant when the climate is cool enough. 

Gardeners in the south can plant in November or December. 

There’s a trick many gardeners use to have better germination rates by gently nicking the seeds with nail clippers. In the event you are starting seeds indoors, ensure that you use a quality potting mix in small pots.

Check the back of your seed packet to know the depth suitable for planting as different depths is recommended for different cultivars.

The planting pots should be placed under sunlight, sufficiently watered taking into consideration a good drainage.

GET THEM IN THE GARDEN

When your pot seeds begin to grow three or four pairs of leaves, then it’s time to take them out. At this stage, move your pots outside to a spot that gets direct morning sun and afternoon shade.

Then wait for another four days in which you’ll move them to another place they’ll get direct sunlight all day. Wait till another four or five days before finally transplanting the peas to your garden.

Ensure that the location for transplanting gets enough sunlight and prepare the soil by adding compost and turning the entire patch. This is done to enable the flower to grow stronger and deeper roots while feeding on a rich soil.

As mentioned earlier, sweet peas are climbing vines, however, you can change that by pinching. Some varieties of sweet peas are more bushy cultivars.

If you are planting climbers which can grow as tall as six feet, place the transplant near a wall, railing, or any kind of support you can adopt.

After placing your plants close to the rail or wall, you can also assist them climb up the railing by adding support rings and curling them through as they grow.

If you aren’t comfortable with using railings or support, you can allow them to grow uncontrolled forming a ground cover.

They need to be spaced out at least six inches apart so as to allow for proper air circulation and also ensure their roots don’t get tangled as a result of being crowded together. 

When transplanting from pots, ensure that the holes in which you are planting into is the depth as planted in the pot.

If you are planting directly outdoors, place one or two seeds per hole, and remember to space them six inches apart.

HOW TO GROW SWEET PEA FLOWERS: PINCH FOR MORE

If you prefer a more bushy shape, but do not want to grow a bushy cultivar, you can as well grow them into such form by pinching.

To do this, pinch off the stem tip and newly grown leaves above the matured set of leaves, using clean shears or the tip of your fingernails. You should only pinch back the plants when they have been established.

You can continue to pinch back the plants all through the season when the vines start growing out of proportion.

Planting on a well-nourished and dried out soil will enable the plants grow to seed quickly.

GROWING TIPS FOR SWEET PEA FLOWERS

  • Grow in cool weather conditions.
  • Thrives well under sunlight, but will tolerate a bit of shade
  • Keep the soil moist but not too watery.

PRUNING AND MAINTENANCE

Cut off faded flowers and emerging seed pods so as to prolong blooming and slow down the seedling process.

You can also prolong the blooming season by applying fertilizer to the plant regularly. Fertilizer mixed with compost will help nourish and keep the soil moist, helping them to grow strong roots and flowering.

Applying fertilizer to the plant should be done once or twice in the growing season. Use fertilizers rich in potash feed, or use compost tea.

CULTIVARS TO SELECT

There are a wide variety of L. odoratus cultivars you can choose from:

Royal Family Mix

The ‘Royal Family Mix’ is just the right plant for those who like a fancy mix of colors. It can grow to about 5 to 6 foot vines, and is available in various quantities.

High Scent

For fragrance lovers, consider growing the ‘High Scent’ flower from Burpee. They grow large white blooms edged in the lavender.

Cupani Sweet Pea Seeds

You can purchase them from Nuts n’ Conesvia Amazon.

Little Sweetheart Sweet Pea Seeds

If you prefer planting in pots, or do not have enough space to spread them around. You can purchase them from Hirts va Amazon.

MANAGING PESTS AND DISEASES OF SWEET PEA FLOWERS

INSECTS

Sweet peas are plagued by aphids, caterpillars and cutworms. For aphids, they can be blasted off with a stream of water, while sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the base of your plants will keep caterpillars and cutworms away from your plant.

For leafminers or thrips, use traps. Try neem oil for spiders.

Snails and slugs are another enemy, however, they do not pose too much of a big deal as they can be treated with a bait. Consider Sluggo available on Amazon.

DISEASES

Plants will only be vulnerable to diseases when they are packed or crowded together, or where they don’t receive enough sunlight. Mildew can also be a cause of plant diseases.

To control plant diseases, ensure to regularly thin the plants, or better still apply a fungicide.

BEST USES OF SWEET PEA FLOWERS

Sweet peas are climber plants, therefore you can decide to let them crawl against the wall like a wall covering.

You can grow it in a pot and let it trail over the sides.

VINTAGE BUT RELEVANT SWEET PEA FLOWERS

As much as some people find the L. odoratus old fashioned, the fact that it has been around for ages and still relevant is something to respect. Just provide the plant with cool weather, adequate sunlight, and moderate watering, and expect to see nice showy flowers in your garden.

Have you grown this lovely flower in your garden? Share your experiences with us!

FIG TREES | HOW TO GROW BEAUTIFUL FIG TREES

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The fig tree is quite a fascinating and very beautiful tree. With leaves that are well-shaped and large to provide enough shade, it is undoubtedly one of the best trees you can have around your yard.

However, as beautiful as the fig tree, the regular use of the term “fig leaf” in describing the tree is very derogatory and demeaning.

The Ficus carica known as the leaves of the fig tree as stated earlier are a beauty to behold, providing shelter, and delicious fruits. Such a tree is not one that should be belittled, but respected.

Let me tell you more about the fascinating fig tree!

ORIGIN OF FIG TREES

The fig tree was first grown in the Middle East and northwestern Asia, before it was brought down to North America by the Spanish missionaries far back in the early sixteenth century.

Figs are one of the earliest fruits to be grown by man with mentions even in the Bible (the instance where Jesus caused the fig tree). It comes from the Moraceae family, which includes the mulberry.

They are easy-to-grow trees and can be eaten in many delicious ways.

The fig tree grows fast and can reach heights of over 20 to 30ft tall, even in width. Its leaves can be four to eight inches wide and as long as 20 inches.

One thing that stands out among fig trees is the size of their leaves which provides enough shade for relaxation and in extreme weather conditions. It was even stated that the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, found enlightenment while meditating under the fig tree.

In some cases, certain species can produce two crops in a year. The first called “breba” crop, can be harvested in late May/early June, while the other other ripens in late September to early November.

According to the author of “Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves,” Linda Ziedrich, “Breba” or “breva” (Spanish), is derived from the Latin word “bifera” meaning twice-producing.

WHAT TO BUY FOR YOUR FIG TRE PROJECT

There are four main types of figs, three of which (Caprifigs, Symyrna, and San Pedro) are not usually grown in home gardens as they require complex pollination requirements.

The last which is the fourth in the types of figs is the Parthenocarpic. It is the commonest type of fig due to the fact that pollination in this case does not require fertilization.

In North America, one of the commonly planted fig trees is the “Celeste.” With large and well-shaped leaves, the Celeste has a fast growth rate, produces medium-sized delicious and juicy fruits, and comes in brownish-purple color. It is harvested in July.

Celeste

The Celeste does not produce a breba crop. The fruit can be eaten fresh and stored as well. It is also known as the sugar fig, hardy and peculiar to zone 6.

Brown Turkey

This is another common fig to northern gardeners. Its fruits are usually small and not as deliciously flavored as Celeste. Unlike the Celeste, the brown turkey produces a breba crop meaning just anybody can eat it. It is more cold-hardy, and mostly cultivated in zones 7-9.

Black Mission

Also known as “Ischia,” the black mission produces two types of crops, large and rich in taste. It comes in purple-black fruits which can be eaten fresh or dried.

The Ischia thrives well in coastal California, while the other “Green Ischia” is more grown in the South.

A SUN LOVING TREE

Most plants need sun for healthy growth. The fig is no exception, as it thrives well under adequate sunlight of seven to eight hours during the growing season.

One requirement you must bear in mind when growing a tree is space. Trees needs space to grow large, strong and healthy roots and branches. Planting a tree close to a wall or fence may stagnate such growth.

Figs are not soil-selective. However, a well-drained loam with lots of organic matter should do the job.

PROPAGATION OF FIG TREES

This species of figs are very easy to propagate. To do this, cut out an eight to ten-inch of wood in early spring, stick it several inches into a pot of good soil.

Leave cutting inside the pot for a season before transplanting.

PLANTING TIPS FOR FIG TREES

Figs are best planted when they are inactive mostly in spring. Set pot plants three inch deeper than the depth of the pot in which they are planted in.

For bare root plants, it is advisable to cut back the tops leaving about one-half left of their initial length.

They can thrive well under fair drought conditions, however, in extreme drought conditions, you should treat them to some watering.

It also does not require fertilizers as they can do fine on their own. In the event you feel your fig isn’t growing as expected, you can feed it to a half pound of balanced fertilizer such as 10 nitrogen, 10 phosphate, and 10 potash.

They do not also require pruning. You can remove any branch growing in the wrong direction if need be. Take off dead wood to allow healthy growth.

PEST AND DISEASES OF FIG TREES

Squirrels and some other wildlife find the fruits delicious so they keep coming back for more. Watchout!

Also be on the look-out for pests such as the root-knot nematodes, which are one serious threat to fig trees grown in some parts of the South.

This pest deposits their larvae close to the roots of plants, thus preventing them from taking in nutrients necessary for proper growth.

G.W. Krewer, an Extension Horticulturist, and Floyd Hendrix, Plant Pathologist, in the University of Georgia Extension Service, explaining the disastrous effect of these pests stated that trees once infected cannot be cured with chemical treatment.

They suggest pruning the root tops to balance the weakened root system, thereby prolonging its lifespan. However, trees infected by these pests eventually die.

Another enemy to figs is rust. If you find reddish brown spots underneath your tree leaves, then it is a result of rust fungus. However, it isn’t all that serious as spraying with a fungicide will do the magic.

AVOIDING FIG-FATTENED WILDLIFE

Just like some other fruits, figs can be harvested when the neck weakens and the fruit drops to the ground.

When rippen, the fruit is soft, their skin may split a little, while most varieties darken to a brownish-purple before harvesting.

It is important to collect at the right time as if picked too soon wouldn’t be delicious, and will not ripen at once.

You should however endeavour to harvest the fruits when they are just ripe, so as to beat other wildlife and birds to it.

Some gardeners hang nets over smaller trees to protect the fruits against wildlife, but same cannot be said for large trees. In the case of large trees, you just have to be on the watch out for ripen fruits and collect them before the others (wildlife) do.

FRUIT STORAGE

Once harvested, figs have a fairly short shelf life. Store them in the refrigerator for two to three days to preserve them.

You can dry the fruits by washing them and cleaning with a towel. Put them whole or halved on a wire rack in a baking sheet, and straight to the oven with a temperature of 140°F for 8 to 24 hours.

They can also be dried using a dehydrator, following the same procedures.

When fully fried, they become leathery on the outside with no juice on the inside.

The dried fruits can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer in airtight containers for 18 to 24 months.

FIG TREE RECIPE IDEAS

Apart from eating them like candies, the fruits can be added to a number of recipes such as:

TAHINI, HONEY-ROASTED FIG, AND BANANA POPSICLES

Prepared with figs, banana, and tahini, they are not too sweet but worth the taste. It can be served as both breakfast and dessert.

FIG AND GOAT CHEESE TARTS

Made with just five ingredients, easy to prepare and delicious, the fig and goat cheese tarts recipe is mouth-watering and a showstopper! 

You can’t seem to get over this delicacy.

PROSCIUTTO AND GORGONZOLA WRAPPED FIGS

Prepared with just four ingredients, this delicacy is best served as a last-minute appetizer for unexpected guests or eaten as a quick snack.

HOW TO GROW BRUSSELS SPROUTS IN YOUR GARDEN

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Did you ever think you would come to love Brussels sprouts after hating it as a kid? Interestingly, most of us can attest to the fact that while growing up, there was a mutual hatred for Brussels sprouts by kids.

Would you say the same now if served with the same Brussels sprouts spritzed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and  roasted in the oven. 

I’m sure you’re salivating to the taste already!

You can always enjoy the yummy delicacy of Brussels sprouts without any hassles. How? Growing your own Brussels sprouts not giving in to the generational hatred kids will have for them.

Unlike the category of heat-loving tomatoes and peppers grown in your backyard, Brussels sprouts thrives under a well-ventilated area. It is a perfect example of a cool-weather crop.

YOU’LL NEVER GUESS WHERE THEY CAME FROM

Brussel sprouts have been around for quite a couple of years now, although quite youthful. The Michigan State University Extension disclosed from its findings that there was no knowledge about the plant until about 400 years ago,

It was first noticed to have descended from wild Mediterranean Kale, growing near Brussels, Belgium- reason for the name.

The plant was roughly described by the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension as a cute green sphere when it was first recorded in 1587. Botanists in the seventeenth century could not say anything about the plant. According to the plant was never seen, only heard of.

It however, found its way into North America around 1800, and has since been hated by American children.

Brussels sprouts fall under the category of cole crops which include cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli.

CAN YOU GET TWO CROPS IN?

Most Brussels sprouts take an extremely long period to grow. The interval between planting and harvest could take as much as 130 days, while for some other varieties as few as 80 days.

As mentioned earlier, Brussels sprouts are cool-weather plants, which means that they require a little nip of frost to enhance their flavor.

This means northern gardeners can plant as of mid-June, and harvest them at Thanksgiving.

For gardeners down south, they can almost certainly get a harvest in fall. However, the sprouts might not be ready for Turkey Day.

Therefore, if you are able to plant a spring crop just in time to enjoy a bit of frost and have them vegging out before daytime temperature gets above 75°F then get started.

You can run your hands through varieties  of the plant types so as to ascertain the right time to planting and harvest, judging by your local weather patterns. According to Cornell University, a shorter variety of plants mature earlier and are more adaptive to cold temperatures.

LET’S GET GOING

To grow your own transplants, plant the seeds ¼-½-inch deep in small containers indoors for about 3 or 4 weeks before transplanting outdoors. At this time, the seedlings should be about 3 inches tall.

Take the transplants to your garden and plant 14 to 18 inches apart in full sun. They should be able to tolerate the sunlight, however, this will slow down their growth to maturity. Best advice is to plant in a well-drained soil containing lots of organic matter and pH of 6 to 6.8.

In order to retain the soil’s moisture, you can add a thick layer of mulch to the soil.

WATER AND FOOD

As mentioned above, the soil should be kept moist not soaked.

The cabbage mini-me is a heavy feeder and requires an application of  balanced fertilizer 2 to 4 weeks after planting, or when they grow to about 12-inches high. Apply a second round of balanced fertilizer 4 weeks after the first application.

Its roots into the ground are shallow, therefore great care should be taken with the hoe to avoid rooting them out.

WITH THANKS TO THEIR COUSIN, THE CABBAGE

Just like other plants in the category of cole crops, Brussels sprouts are vulnerable to the same bugs that attack them. In the event of an infestation of cabbage aphids, wash off with a hard stream of water.

You can use Bacillus thuringiensis to rid of cabbage worms, and spray insecticidal soap to destroy flea beetles. For cutworms, it is best to hand pluck them off.

The good news is that Brussels sprouts are fairly disease free. The only problem is powdery mildew which isn’t all that much of a concern.

Another method to help prevent plant infestation, is practicing crop rotation. This helps to revitalize the soil between the plantings.

CALL THE KIDS- IT’S TIME TO EAT

Some gardeners cut out the lowest leaves on the Brussel sprout’s stalk to speed up growth of the edible orb.

To harvest; twist, snap, or cut off sprouts when they are hard, compact, deep green, and have reached the mature size, depending on the variety.

Most cole crops are usually ready to harvest when they are 1 to ½ inches in diameter.

Collect after the veggies must have taken a nip of frost for best flavor.

The lower veggies are first to mature, as such, you should pluck them before they turn yellow. Reason is yellow leaves are not only bitter but unappealing,

Where you didn’t cut out the lower leaves to speed up the growth of the edible orbs, take them out after yielding its first harvest so as to encourage the plant to grow taller and produce more fruits.

When the planting season is coming to an end, and you know it’s going to get too cold or hot for the veggies, you can harvest the entire stalk.

And yes, the stalk is edible, however, you will have to remove the tough outer layer before consuming.

RECIPE IDEAS FOR BRUSSELS SPROUTS

You can try your hands on some of the yummy recipes, your kids will run coming for more this time!

CARAMELIZED RED CHILI BRUSSELS SPROUTS

This yummy delicacy gives Brussels a major makeover, and surprisingly it is simple to prepare.

It can be prepared with any type of protein which makes it a spicy and flavorful way to enjoy Brussels sprouts!

BRUSSELS SPROUTS SAUTÉED WITH BACON, FENNEL SEED AND DILL

For picky eaters, this recipe is just the right meal to try out. It is prepared still firm with bacon rather than being squishy.

The fat contained in the meal also helps your body absorb the nutrients packed in the sprouts.

FRESH SPROUTS IN MAY

Brussels are known to be tricky plants to grow. Notwithstanding, it can be grown and enjoyed in the home garden if you simply give them what they need.

Have you grown this plant? Let us know what zone or region you are growing in, when you plant, and when you harvest. We’d love to know.

MOSQUITO REPELLING PLANTS | HOW TO USE THEM

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PLANTS THAT CONTAIN CITRONELLA, AND WHY YOU NEED TO BUY INSECT REPELLENT

Personally, I don’t think there is any plant purchase from your local garden center that is able to repel mosquitoes from your backyard gatherings.

There’s no such thing, so wake up to reality.

Perhaps, you read or heard something online that outlines a number of plants that have mosquito-repelling properties. Some of which include:

  • Allspice
  • Artemisia
  • Basil
  • Cajeput
  • Catmint
  • Catnip
  • Cedar
  • Chives
  • Cinnamon
  • Citronella Grass
  • Garlic
  • Geranium
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lime basil
  • Marigold
  • Mint
  • Pennyroyal
  • Pine
  • Rosemary
  • Tarragon
  • Verbena

The truth is that to get the mosquito-repelling substance out of these plants, you’d have to crush or burn some part of the plant. Simply planting it in a pot in your backyard will not do the magic of repelling mosquitoes.

However, you shouldn’t write them off as useless, growing these beauties in your garden will attract the envy of neighbors. Only that you don’t expect a mosquito-free backyard by growing these plants.

Undoubtedly, these plants contain a substance known as citronellal, containing insects-repellent properties. Even so, they don’t just release the substance into the air, repelling mosquitoes, they have to be processed to be able to do so.

Let’s look at the contribution of some of these lovely plants towards repelling mosquitoes in your backyard.

THE FAKE CITRONELLA PLANT

This plant can be purchased from big-box stores labelled as “citronella plant” or “mosquito plant.” if it is a lacy-leafed thing that looks like a geranium, then it is probably a Pelargonium ‘citrosum,’ or P. “citrosum Van Leenii,’ a geranium with fragrant leaves that smells just like the citronella.

The plant was once said to be an experimentation which combined the genes of two other plants-citronella grass and African geranium. It was however debunked as it is simply a variety of geranium.

The P. ‘citrosum’ contains less than 1 percent of the insect-repelling substance, citronellal.

You can add this plant to your garden. However, don’t expect it to eliminate the bugs.

THE REAL CITRONELLA PLANT

One of such real citronella plants is the Ceylon citronella grass-like plant (Cymbopogon nardus), and Java citronella grass (C.winterianus). They bear the resemblance to a well-known Asian cooking plant known as lemongrass (C, citrate).

They are clump-forming grasses, can be perennial in zones 10-12, but annual in other zones.

The Cymbopogon nardus naturally contains an average of 14% citronellal, while the other, C.winterianus, contains about 22% citronellal. The citronella gotten from these plants are used to produce commercial citronella products, example candles.

MORE CITRONELLA IN SOUTH AMERICA

Citronella mucronata also known as Chilean citronella is another efficient citronellal plant which we unfortunately do not have enough information in English for.

The Chilean citronella is a long-existing tree native to Chile, and can grow to be 30 feet tall. It is one of the estimated 25-30 plants in the citronella family.

ANOTHER OPTION: LEMON BALM

The lemon balm Melissa officinalis is another citronellal-containing plant you get for your backyard. It is said to contain as much as 38% of the citronella substance.

Native to south central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Iran, and Central Asia, the lemon balm is a herbaceous perennial that is often used to make teas that helps with indigestion issues and promote relaxation.

OR, JUST BUY A SPRAY

I’m certain you now know about some types of mosquito/insect-repellent plants, and the fact that planting them in your backyard does not eliminate the presence of these bothersome bugs.

To get the most out of these plants, you would have to crush the leaves or stalks and rub the content on your skin. However, it is advisable to do a “patch test” to ascertain the compatibility with your skin.

HOW TO GROW CRAZY COLORFUL CELOSIA: A GROWING GUIDE

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The Celosia, also known as “woolflowers,” are members of the amaranth family. It is an edible ornamental that can be grow in your garden, having a taste like spinach. They contain same vitamins and minerals also found in deep-hued leafy leafs.

Now here’s the trick about the celosia, their leaves are tender and tasty when the plant is still young, but turn bitter after blooming. Normally, you’d want to harvest them and consume when they are still young, but then harvesting them young without blooming means losing their biggest appeal- their flowers!

They are colorful and uniquely-shaped- in the form of plumed candle flames or coral, available in a wide variety of colors.

Let’s take a look at an effective growing guide you can adopt to grow your own celosia at its best. Note: they love lots of sunlight.

GOOD LIGHT AND BETTER DRAINAGE

Woolflowers will also grow in partial sunlight, however, they blossom well under sunny and dry weather conditions.

So grow them in a space with abundance of sunlight and warmth, and the resultant effect will be crazy, colorful blooming flowers. However, most importantly, you must pay attention to their soil and watering requirements as it is much more necessary than the sunlight.

 Celosia plants should not be watered heavily, plus they require soil with  excellent drainage which won’t hold much water. If grown in soil with too much water concentration, they tend to look limp and unattractive, and then will practically melt away because of too much water stored up in the soil.

Frustratingly, these plants still need a well-watered soil to thrive. What do you do in this case? Trying  to balance watering and sunlight can be a very tricky task when grown in containers and raised beds. However, once they are planted in well-drained soil with enough sunlight, they will take care of themselves.

From my findings, woolflowers will prosper and thrive well with just an  inch of rain a week, but will whither off if it exceeds that.

They are generally grown as annual plants, but can be short-lived perennials in zones 9-11. Woolflowers also reseeds easily!

OH YEAH, ABOUT THAT DRESSING

In ensuring a proper dressing and arrangement of your garden of woolflowers, you should not leave them to complete their bloom cycle and start growing seeds in the garden. Instead, you must cut the spent flower heads just before they wither and start producing seeds in the garden.

This makes celosia an excellent filler plant for areas around your home you have difficulties maintaining, but can be messy for areas that are well-maintained.

The cut flowers are easily dried up and creates nce look to the garden.

TROUBLES AND PROBLEM GROWING COLORFUL CELOSIA? FORGET ABOUT IT

WoolFlowers are not only attractive but also are less-stressful plants, most especially because they are resistant to some pests and other problems. You don’t always have to bug yourself on plant infestation, as they have the ability to ward off most pests and illnesses.

However, woolflowers are exclusively affected by aphids and mites, an issue which occurs seldomly. They can also be affected by powdery mildew and fungal infections. Following the right watering procedures can help prevent illnesses or problems just as this.

The flower will need staking at some point along the growth cycle, to support its heavy leaves. Tie individual flowers stems to stakes so as to avoid a tangled mess.

In the absence of flower infestation, your celosia plant should bloom from june through the first frost.

GROWING A CELOSIA FROM SEED

The celosia relatively is temperamental when grown from seed. If grown outdoors, it can survive and thrives by producing a lot of seeds to counter the effect of lower germination rates. While, when grown indoors can be picky under the conditions they are grown in.

To ensure a good flower growth, start your indoors about four the last frost date as the seedlings are not tolerant to cold weather conditions.

Their seeds do not need sunlight to germinate, rather a good and consistently moist soil. To achieve this, you can use a greenhouse cover over your seed tray.

If allowed to dry out completely, the seedlings will die. Thus, the reason for keeping the soil moist.

You can transplant them when the hard frost is gone, else they will take a serious damage and may not recover. Only plant them once you find the weather convenient for their growth, spacing them eight inches apart,

THE BEST CULTIVARS FOR CELOSIA

There are three general types of celosia you can grow around your garden. They include: cockscomb, wheat, and plumed.

They exist in different varieties and share almost the same requirement for growing and good plant health.

COCKSCOMB CELOSIA

This is the most captivating among the celosia plants, it possesses broad and large blooms resembling the shape of coral. You would want to use staking to hold their flowers as they are quite heavy to stand on their own.

GYPSY QUEEN CELOSIA

The “Gypsy Queen”  comes in bold, dark maroon color and with a wide fan-shaped flower. Like the Cockscomb Celosia, it also bears a stunning color, making this flower an envy to the eyes.

It can get to heights of between 8 to 16 inches tall, and blooms from late summer into autumn. They also thrive well in pots and in cut flower gardens.

RED VELVET CELOSIA

They come in bold and beautiful flowers. Quite a fascination to the eye, the red velvet is a flower you’d want to place at the centerpiece of your garden. It can grow to about 3 to 4 feet in height with large blooms! Making them taller than most other cultivars. 

Their striking colors make them an excellent choice of flowers you can grow in your garden.

FAN DANCE SCARLET CELOSIA

This flower possesses broad and fan-shaped flowers just like the Gypsy Queen. Its colors are not all that catchy as it has a more restrained appearance.

It can grow to heights of about 3 feet, and can be planted as the rear wall color for your garden beds. The stems are strong enough, meaning there is no need for staking. They thrive best in hot and dry weather conditions.

KING CORAL CELOSIA

The King Coral is what you should go for if you’re looking to grow confident-looking colors in your garden.

They are modest in height and can grow as tall as about 10 inches, while the blooms can reach an incredible diameter of 12 inches.

CRESTED ARMOR CELOSIA

If you’re looking out for a mix of colors in your garden, then the “Crested Armor”

a mix of seeds is your best bet.

They come in red. Purple, yellow, and orange colors, which are captivating to the eye. The Crested Armor should be considered if you want to give your garden the right blend of colors.

The flower reaches 12 to 16 inches and works well as a bedding planting in mass groups, or for butterfly gardens. They also thrive well under hot climates.

WHEAT-TYPE CELOSIA

There are less selection of flowers in the wheat variety of celosia than other categories, the few available are no less striking having a limited spectrum of color.

The wheat variety can grow longer into and through the fall than either cockscomb or plumed types.

ASIAN GARDEN CELOSIA

These types of cultivar are excellent choices to line your driveways or sidewalks, and its foliage takes a purplish hue in cooler temperatures.

They are also tall flowers as it can reach heights of above 3 feet.

This selection is also suitable for plantings, cutting gardens, and dried flowers.

FOREST FIRE CELOSIA

The “Forest Fire” comes in a wonderful red, and a modest height of up to 30 inches. It develops a yellowish-green color that blends just perfectly with other colors in your garden.

FLAMINGO

The Flamingo cultivar is pretty much on the shorter variety with heights of about two-foot.

They react to extreme hot conditions by turning their flowers to shades of white before changing to purple as fall approaches.

It is a nice selection for cut flowers.

PLUMED-TYPE CELOSIA

They fit in just right in containers and mix well with French marigolds.

ARRABONA RED

The Arrabona Red is a plumed cultivar selection. It comes in a dwarf variety that produces strong and sturdy plants that can grow to about 16 inches in height, leaving a striking effect on whoever sees it. 

It comes in red and orange colors which creates a lasting impression on the mind of viewers, and thrives well under drought-prone and hot climates.

Also a great choice for cut flowers, beddings and borders, and in containers. It is perfect for drying.

FRESH LOOK

For a better appreciation of Arrabona Red, you can try the “Fresh Look Red.” they appear a bit bushier, but compensates in a richer color. It can also grow to about 16 inches in height.

PLUMED CASTLE

These are shorter cultivars growing just over 6 inches tall but offer the same variety of colors.

GET TO GARDENING

The celosis is an easy-to-grow flower as long as it is grown under the right conditions; sunlight and a well-drained soil. Their flowers not only give your garden a perfect look, but one that sure catches the attention of viewers.

If you have planted any of these lovely flowers, feel free to share your experience with us!

Garden And Lawn Restoration | Repair Bald Spots In Your Lawn | Bald Spots In Garden

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There is so much about a beautiful garden that many people do not know about. A beautiful garden or lawn has some days when the farmer has to input some extra efforts. Some of those extra efforts are not because of the routine farming practices, often time they are because of annoying bald spots in the garden or lawn

         Baldness or bareness is a part of having a perfect garden; during winter, things dry up, and when the phase is over, what is left is the bareness. The bareness’s effect might seem pretty normal until erosion becomes a thing, and the bare portions become a waterlogged area affecting the beautiful sight that your garden has. 

         The process of replenishing a bare portion could seem like an arduous task, but it pays up in the end, especially for gardeners and farmers who do not like their garden looking uncared for. 

REASONS FOR BARENESS IN THE LAWN

Everyone relates bareness in lawns and gardens to environmental factors, the best example being winter times, but the reason for bareness in gardens could be more than just environmental factors. To mention some of the other reasons for bareness in the lawn would include:

  • PET URINE: Many people have this notion that the defecates of pets could make some sort of manure for their lawn, hence, from time in and out, they allow them to go right ahead to defecate there. While this might seem harmless on the lighter aspect, the urine  of pets have chlorine and it could harm those plants a great deal. Hence, the bareness that is evident in the lawn. 
  • EXCESSIVE WORKING OVER LAWNS: It is always an amazing sight when one sees a lawn that is all green and well taken care of, but when those green portions are trodden upon repeatedly, it makes the plants weak and then they eventually die, hence the reason for carcasses in those slight and scattered portions over the lawn. 
  • PESTS: Pests are a normal phenomenon with green plants, and for a lawn, they could easily infest a portion since the planting style is not done in rotation. This is the more reason why there is sometimes some bareness in the lawn. 

STEPS TO REPLENISH A BARE GROUND

         The bare portion of the farmland is an area that would end up accommodating debris and carcasses because they are the dead parts of plants. The first and major step towards correcting the bareness on your farmland is to clear out all of those carcasses and debris in the affected area. The core reason for this is to ensure that you plant in new greens and that greens are not affected by what is in the bare ground.

The next step that needs to be carried out after the carcasses have been removed is to ensure that the soil is broken down because it would already be hard. The reason for this is to repair and prepare the soil for another planting phase. What you need to do at this point is to ensure that you find the best aeration mechanism so that the soil does not get destroyed. 

When the soil is well aerated, the next step to carry out would be to bring in new soil; in this wise, the loamy soil is the best option. This would be mixed with the already aerated soil in readiness for planting. 

         In other that you get the best result out of this process, you might want to plant the same kind of crop or plant like the one in the garden already. This way, there would be equilibrium with the rest of the garden. Just in case you are still in a dilemma regarding what kind of plant you would plant in the bald region, you might want to consider planting clover- the nitrogen gathering mechanism of this plant would aid in a fastened growth rate.

         There are times when you feel that the plants’ growth in the bald region is a little on the stunted side. In this situation, you need to make sure that you buy fertilizers that are adaptable to new plants. 

         Watering and allowing your plants to gain access to sunlight is also very fundamental in this situation. 

         N.B: If the affected region is a large garden area, you might want to try making use of the seed blanket which aids in keeping seeds together. This is mainly so that your seeds do not wash away in the event of a windy rainfall.

A QUICKER METHOD TO PATCHING LAWN AND GARDEN BARENESS

Often time, many gardeners do like to wait for the timing in which it takes seeds to grow and fill up the bare space; this is the reason why they prefer to go for a quick alternative where the option is open. In the case of lawn bareness, what needs to be done is to make sure that select grown grasses are cut into stems that could germinate. From the process of cutting, it is clear that the aim is to start a regrowth process, even as the cut stem dies.

Before the planting of the cut grasses, the first thing to do is to make sure that you use a hand spade or shovel to dig out the soil underneath the bare portion. The reason for this is so that you input the base of the stem into the moist part of the soil then cover up back so that the grasses are at the level of the healthy plants in the lawn or garden.

If what were planted into the soil were grasses, the best bet is to step over it at intervals in other to compress it into the soil. The aim of this is not to create another bareness, but to compress and ensure that the plant gets water immediately after. This step would require a total of seven days to yield expected results.

How To Cultivate Carrots Indoors | Growing Carrots In Your Basement

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I have always known that carrots had awesome healthy benefits in the total health of humans, but how they became something to plant indoor remains a memory with my family.         

My son has this bad habit of eating junks; I was worried at some point when he started to grow fatter. Of course, what did I expect? But his addition of pounds was so spontaneous that I began to fear for him.

The bubble burst, however, was on a certain day; he grew this strange likeness for carrots, and for some reason, I found myself wondering what led to the shift in the right direction.

After every healthy meal that we have together, he would add, “Dad, I wondered if I could have some carrot tonight again?” His tone made me realize that there was no way we were buying the fruit shop; I have to improvise and come up with ways to grow carrots from home.

This was much easier because I was keen on growing vegetables anyway. But carrots?

         My first and major attempt at growing carrots was not so bad, it was in summer, and I had a little garden outside my home. Meaning, it was the perfect reason to grow some carrots on the outside; the bedding and all of the rest of the planting and pre-planting stages were not the problems, but I was keen on my first harvest.

I mean, I had watered the beds that I had made for this group of plants, cleared out unwanted plants, and made sure that they had adequate sunlight, and some weeks afterward when I harvested, they looked lesser than the efforts that I had invested into the entire planting process. 

         It was painful to me, not because of my harvest alone, but because I had taught about getting my son’s attention into subsistent farming with my little garden, but this didn’t quite pan out the way that I wanted. “What do I do next?” I inquired, and it was then that I realized the essence of successive indoor cultivation of carrot vegetables. 

UNDERSTANDING THE ESSENCE OF CULTIVATING CARROTS INDOOR

         I was keen on making some findings as regards why my first attempt at cultivating was all bad. I realized on deeper research that it was due to exposure to excessive sunlight, given the kind of environmental condition in which my location was in at Clearwater, Florida. 

         I thought about an alternative measure to prevent a recurrence of this, and the one thing that came to mind was cultivating and planting carrots indoor. Someone might want to ask about how this changes anything, but the first thing that changed with my first harvest indoor was that I was able to balance the kind of exposure that my plants were getting to sunlight and water.

THE PRE-PLANTING PHASE

         A lot of people assume that planting carrots indoor means that you have to diver your carrot into a big bowl, and then in a few months, you have your carrots in place. This is a wrong practice, and it is more like giving room for probabilities when you could have easily gone for the best way to maximize your efforts. 

         The first thing to consider in the pre-planting stage is to ensure that you understand your space. If you have a small space, you might want to consider the 8 inches to 10 inches vases, which are porous underneath for soil filtration. You could go for a larger vase if you have a wider indoor space, but one pertinent factor to note is that the proximity to growth light matters. 

         At this point, you decipher whether you would be making use of growth lights or an area of your indoor space that allows for subtle sunlight penetration. Of course, the purpose of this is to ensure that the plant gets the needed nutrients for its growth. 

         When this is taken care of, the next thing to do is to ascertain how many carrot stems could fit into your vase. One other thing to note here is aeration and spacing; the reason is that it does matter to the vegetable’s eventual harvest. 

POPULAR CARROT TYPES THAT COULD BE GROWN INDOOR

         The list of carrot species that could be grown on the inside of the house is quite exhaustive, but there are a few names that are certain to produce juicy harvests. To mention but a few of them would include 

ð The Sweet Treat Hybrid 

ð Royal Chantenay 

ð Danvers

ð The Little Finger amongst others

N.B: The best way to understand which would fit your vase would be to understand how they grow and the inches of spacing they would require. After this is done, the planting stage involves the buying and planting of seeds in small light, privy containers to foster germination. When this is done, the next is to transfer plants into their respective vases, adopting typical carrot planting measures. 

COMMON PRACTICES THAT AID IN FACILITATING A QUALITY INDOOR CARROT HARVEST

         There are quite some practices that the indoor carrot farmer must adopt, but there are some that cannot be extricated from the entire process of indoor carrot farming. They include: 

  1. WATERING THE SOIL: When it comes to indoor carrot farming, one thing that would be glaring to the eyes is that the soil in the vases might seem drier than normal. It is also possible that carcasses of fallen leaves and stems get dried faster. In this case, an indoor carrot farmer musty endeavor to have a water timing. 
  2. MANURE: Everyone knows that manure or fertilizers are pertinent for the faster growth of plants, but for carrots, the low nitrogen fertilizers when they are a few inches taller could help work wonders in their growth. 
  3. WATCH OUT FOR PESTS: The fact that they are indoor grown does not mean that they cannot be affected by pests. This is the more reason why the carrot farmer must give a close eye to the blooming plants. 

Pavement Ants Infestation | How To Control pavement Ants In Your Garden

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If you’ve noticed little portions of soil seen mostly near the edge of buildings or next to pavements, you can be sure it is the perpetration of pavement ants.

With origins which can be traced to Europe, pavements ants have taken abode in most of the homes across the United States. It is very common to see them lurking around the edges of homes and on the side of walkways.

Just as the name depicts, pavement ants are mostly found wrecking havoc around concrete slab foundations of buildings and next to pavements.

This read will provide every information there is about pavement ants and how to control them.

IDENTIFICATION

Due to a similar body structure with the dangerous odorous house ant also found in the United States, there is largely a confusion between which is the pavement ant and the odorous house ant.

The reason for this confusion is that both ants exist in dark brown to black colors and are about 1/8-inch long.

There is however a distinctive feature between these two, the pavement ants for example possess two nodes in the front of their abdomen and fine grooves on their head and thorax. They can also be spotted as with clusters of hairs on the end of their abdomen and two spines on their backs.

Pavement ants can easily be spotted as they always leave a trail of soil as to where their nests can be found.

They can also be considered as nocturnal insects as you will mostly find them lurking around your kitchen floor, looking for sugar, food crumbs and leftover food.

DISTRIBUTION

Although pavement ants did not originate in the United States, it is believed that they were transported by ships from Europe in the 1700s and 1800s.

Back in the 1700s, soil was used to provide stability for ships and after berthing, the soil was removed and dumped in the United States to free up space in the ship. This turned out to be the first distribution route for pavement ants to the United States.

These ants have since colonized most parts of the United States, and currently can be found in New England to the Mid-Atlantic, parts of California and Washington lurking around edges of buildings and pavements.

BIOLOGY

The name pavement ant was earned as it was common to always find their colonies in pavements, sidewalks, or patios. They leave a trail of soil near their nests which makes it easy to locate them.

However, apart from pavements or sidewalks, the pavement ant also makes their abode in lawns, gravel pathways and under floorboards.

In their various colonies, the pavement ants have multiple queens and large numbers of workers.

To create new colonies, the ants swarm- send winged ants twice as large as the workers to go and create new colonies elsewhere. This activity takes place throughout summer, and through fall and winter.

The new colonies begin to develop when the queen first lays eggs which takes about 2-3 months to mature. After which the matured workers begin to look for food for the colony.

Pavements ants can eat almost anything ranging from fruit, nectar, honeydew from aphids, dead insects and even plant seedlings. Your leftovers in the kitchen and pet’s food are not spared too. These ants are attracted to meats, and dairy products.

COLONIZATION OF HOUSES

As mentioned earlier, these ants build their nests around edges, slabs and the foundation of the home.

They gain access into buildings through cracks in floorboards, slabs and foundation of buildings. Their presence in the building is announced when you find piles of sand and soil close to edges, cracks in floorboards and interior slabs.

CONTROL

The use of insecticidal baits still remains the best method to tackle the infestation of the ants.

Note that insecticidal sprays are not completely effective as it oftentimes kills the workers who in no time are reproduced by the queen. The only way to completely rid your home from these insects is by destroying the colony and killing the queen.

Therefore, the best method to tackle an infestation is by using slow-acting insecticidal baits which the workers can feed on and take back to feed their queen.

ANT BAITS

The ability of pavement ants to eat almost anything is its bane. This gives you an advantage over what type of bait you can use to lure them. Protein or sugar-based baits filled with pesticides are best used to tackle infestation.

You can use baits containing both sugar and protein for a best result.

Examples of slow-acting insecticidal baits that can be used includes: boric acid, fipronil and hydramethylnon.

Boric acid is less toxic to humans, but very toxic to insects.

Fipronil is used to treat fleas and ticks residing in dogs and cats

Insecticidal baits should be placed close to their colonies or next to the trail of sand or soil they leave. They are more visible at night which is probably the best time to set the insecticidal bait.

For cracks in floorboards or foundations, an insecticidal bait that comes in a squeezable gel form is recommended as they can be placed directly into the point of infestation.

Controlling infestation using insecticidal baits can take about two weeks or more as it is slow-acting but very effective.

SUGAR BAITS

Terro brand liquid bait station is a very effective recommendation for tackling ant infestation. It contains boric acid and can be used along baseboards, underneath kitchen counters, and on windowsills.

It is available in packets containing six liquid sugar-based stations.

For gel baits, the MaxForce FC Ant Killer Bait Gel is recommended. It is available in two boxes of 0.95-ounce tubes containing fipronil.

PROTEIN BAITS

The protein-based insecticidal bait also comes in gel and liquid bait stations.

For protein-based gel baits, the Combat Ant Killing Gel available in 27-0unce syringe applicators containing fipronil is recommended.

For protein-based liquid baits, the Combat Max Ant Killing Bait Station available in six child-resistant stations, useful for both indoor and outdoor use is recommended.

AN INVASIVE BUT CONTROLLABLE INSECT

Pavement ants although invasive are controllable. They can be easily spotted in the trail of sand or soil they leave on their path.

They gain access to buildings through cracks and openings in floor boards, interior slabs and foundation, and can eat almost anything. This can be used as a bait to control their infestation.

If you have encountered and conquered a pavement ant infestation, share with us the methods that worked for you.

Butterfly Attraction Guide | How To Attract Butterflies To Your Garden

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The bright colors of the butterfly are so fascinating that most gardeners go to the extent of planting plants that will likely attract the butterfly. Its ability to help pollinate flowers is a plus to most gardens.

Therefore, in order to attract these beautiful creatures, you need to know which plants attract them. This read will however intimate you on the type of plant you can consider to attract them.

BUDDLEIA DAVIDII

The buddleia davidii is a common Butterfly Bush that can grow to heights of between 6’ to 12’ if left alone to grow unrestricted. However, they must be pruned so as to maintain a nice size in your garden. It is tolerant to most soil types, especially those with high salt content.

It is a very hard plant with woody stems that keeps the leaves green year in year out. It grows small flowers which usually blooms in clusters. The buddleia davidii exists in purple, yellow, orange and white colors.

It can survive little watering, and can blossom under low to full sunlight. The best time to prune the buddleia davidii is during winter, a period after the plant has gone into hibernation thereby allowing a shorter and bushier growth when it is active in the spring.

CHRYSANTHEMUM

With roots in Asia, the chrysanthemum is a tropical perennial that is propagated through seeds or cuttings. They grow low to the ground, love sun, and can adapt in light drought situations. It is perfect for a small garden space.

They possess single-stem flowers that are round, pedal shaped, and varying in showy colors. It is the second most sought after flower, and can attract a large range of butterflies to your garden.

ASTER

The flower blooms of these plants take the shape of a star owing to its name “Aster” which means “star.” It exists in almost every color and having most of the colors in your garden will no doubt be a beauty to behold. They can grow in hard terrains and thrive effortlessly all over the United States.

It is largely considered a wild flower and grows no taller than a foot. The bright colors of the aster plant are a strong attraction to a wide range of butterflies.

COREOPSIS

This plant has flowers similar to the star-shaped aster. Its color is darker at the center of the bloom and brighter on the edges.

They thrive well in summer and are best grown in temperate climates. Their green colors are very attractive for both your gardens and to attract butterflies. 

Its bright colors range from white and scarlet to bright sun yellow, and can be purchased from most stores as seedlings or plants.

LAVANDULA

The age-long lavender plant has been useful for many reasons; serving as fragrance for foods and homes, and most importantly attracting butterflies. It is a hardy plant, and can be found in all zones in the United States.

The lavender overtime has been sourced after for its fragrance as well as its bright colors, adding color and a nice fragrance to gardens.

It is a bushy plant, and grows in low or taller bush. You can choose whichever suits the size of your garden.

It is mostly known with the purple color, however, it also has a “rose” variety that comes in pink color that attracts many butterflies to it.

ECHINACEA

The Echinacea also known as the coneflower has been widely used as an herbal supplement, taken to help boost the immune system.

However, it is not only relegated to be used for medicinal purposes, but has also been spotted among flowers in the garden over the years. It is a hard plant grown in almost all zones.

The plant blooms rising on stalks, and can grow as high as 2 feet to 21/2 giving your garden a bit of height. It grows straight upward, not crowding out other flowers

It comes in attractive purple, rich reds and even green colors. The Echinacea is highly recommended for gardens.

You can choose one or all of the listed varieties of flower plants to give your garden a bright and attractive look for neighbors and butterflies too.

These flowers can be purchased across most local and online garden stores in the United States.