Category Archives: Gardening

6 Fun Ways To Celebrate Earth Day With Your Family


Earth Day is Saturday! Do you have any special plans to celebrate our planet with your family? If you don’t, I have some great ideas to share. Earth Day is a special day to stress the importance of giving back to the planet we live on. Teach your children to respect and nurture the Earth and you will be making a difference not only in the next generation but our planet as well.

Go on a Litter Walk

Grab some trash bags and gloves and set off around your neighborhood cleaning up the trash that is around. Explain to your kids how littering like this is dangerous to wildlife. As you pass your neighbors encourage them to join in. Before you know it, you will have a parade of trash pickers and as they say; many hands makes the load lighter.

Plant a Garden

Nothing shows your kids where their food comes from better than planting a garden. From seeds or seedlings, they will see the entire process. Let them help with tending and caring for the garden all season. By the time of your last harvest, you will have some very experienced gardeners.

If if is too cold yet to plant by you, plan out your garden with your kids. You can start getting your garden ready by cleaning up last years plant remains, leaves, sticks and other debris. Then break up the soil. You should pick a soil test kit up and test your soil to see what nutrients it is lacking. The better your soil, the better your garden.

If you don’t have land to plant a garden, plant some container gardens or vertical gardens. There are some great ideas for maximizing your space on sites like Pinterest, so check it out.

Plant a Tree

This is a lot of fun, take a ride down to your local nursery and pick out a tree or shrub. Then go home and plant it together. Again, enlist your children to take part in the planting and care of the tree. Explain how the plants and trees give us something we need to live…oxygen.

Start a Habitat Garden

Did you know that our population of pollinators is dwindling? It is, and our food supply depends on bees and butterflies to thrive. Do your part by researching the types of plants you need to create a habitat garden.

The Monarchs main food source in the Milkweed plant but along with that you can plant native grasses, butterfly bushes, bee balm and so much more. There are also butterfly houses and feeders as well as bee houses you can add to help our pollinators. We visited a butterfly house last year with our kids and learned so much.

Start Composting

Do you compost? If not you should. It will not only cut down on your organic household garbage, it will enrich the soil in your garden. It is not hard and you have a lot of options.

There are countertop compost bins you can use to collect your daily vegetable peels, banana skins, egg shells, coffee grounds etc. Then you can take them out to a compost bin or drum. They have nice units you can buy that make it super easy or your can put up some wire fencing and make a bin of your own. You can read more about the process HERE.

Go For a Family Hike:

See the beauty of our planet by taking a family hike. It is good exercise for the body, mind and soul. Pack along a picnic lunch and make a day of it. There are resources for your state where you can find recommendations for great trails. Go somewhere new, you might be surprised at the beauty you find and did not know existed in your state.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?



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Filed under Family, Family Fun, Gardening, Holiday, Home & Garden, Outdoor Fun

5 Easy Spring Lawn Care Steps #ILoveMyLawn

This is a sponsored post through the Mom It Forward Influencer Network. As always my words and views are 100% my own.

We are transitioning into spring in New York and the massive snowfall we were buried under, is finally melting away. As the ground becomes visible, I am filled with excitement about being able to see green grass again.

Grass evokes so many emotions, there are songs about grass, we relish the smell of fresh-cut grass and love the feel of grass beneath our feet. Our yard has a large lawn and it is where we spend a great deal of time. It is a place where our children practice their baseball skills, we gather on a blanket for a picnic, our dogs happily sprawl out for an afternoon nap, we watch the squirrels and birds frolic, entertain our friends and family and sit at night gazing up at the stars.

Lawn games are fun too, our neighbor just gave us a bocce ball set and my kids cannot wait to play. Our lawn adds beauty to our home; it is like a gorgeous carpet that compliments my perennial flower gardens. I am so thankful to live in a community where lush, green lawns are plentiful.

Lawns are beneficial too! Living on a hill at the top of a mountain, our lawn helps prevent erosion from heavy rains and wind. Beyond that, grass is beautiful and naturally calming. The visual appeal of green grass helps our mental health and reduces stress levels.

Having a nice lawn does not mean you need to be a slave to it. Sure, lawn maintenance is important for a healthy-looking lawn, but it does not have to consume your life. Did you know that the best season to revive and repair your lawn is spring? If you follow five simple steps now, you will ensure an amazing, summer ready lawn!

Rake

I like to enlist the whole family for this. We each grab a rake and get to work removing old leaves, dead grass and other debris that accumulated over the winter. Raking allows us to easily see any areas that need attention as well as providing more soil contact when seeding, which helps grass grow more easily.

Aerate

This is very important if your lawn is like ours, and has been buried under snow which causes the soil to compact. My dad used to joke that by walking on the grass wearing his golf shoes, he was doing his part to aerate the lawn. Seriously, there are core aerators you can rent or you can hire a professional lawn service to do this for you. Aerating will pull small plugs of soil out of your lawn which allows increased movement of water, nutrients and oxygen into the soil. It will also help to promote growth of new seeds by providing more soil contact.

Seed

Spring is the ideal time to seed any spots that are bare or thin. If you are planning on expanding your lawn, spring is the best time for that too. When you start in spring, the grass has ample time to grow healthy and strong before summer. Selecting the right seed for your area is imperative, ask a turf specialist at your local garden store or university extension office for guidance. After seeding, water lightly and regularly to ensure the area stays damp until the new grass grows.

Control Weeds

Did you know healthy lawns will squeeze out weeds? They will, but damaged lawns that are overrun with dandelions and crabgrass may need some help. Talk with your local garden specialist to decide what weed control options are right for your lawn and your family.

Tune up That Lawn Mower

Get your mower in top shape with an annual service including changing the oil, replacing the spark plug, cleaning or replacing the air filter and sharpening the blade. When the grass is about 3 inches high, it is time to mow. Newly seeded areas should be mowed when they reach 2 inches in height until the new grass is established. Mow with a frequency that allows you to cut less than one-third of the height of the grass. An easy-to-follow rule is to not let grass grow taller than 3 inches and not to cut it shorter than 2 inches.

Following the steps above will leave you with a lush, green lawn to enjoy this summer. I can’t wait to kick off my shoes and feel that grass between my toes! What do you love most about your lawn?



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6 Ways To Save Monarch Butterflies With The #NWF

Living in the lush mountains of upstate New York, we are blessed to be surrounded by acres upon acres of lush meadows and fields.  My kids have always been around nature.  In fact, I still remember when my daughter was entering 3rd grade, we were to look at the milkweed plants to try to find a Monarch Caterpillar.  We did and we sent it in to her class.  Every year the third grade does this and they raise the caterpillars and set the gorgeous Monarchs free.

We are in a crisis though, since 1990 the Monarch populations has decreased by 90%.  I have noticed how rare it is to see a Monarch but was surprised to learn we lost such a large percentage.  The more I thought, I could not recall seeing  even see one last year.   The beautiful yellow Swallowtail butterflies are prevalent and feed on the many succulent perennials in my garden.  I have to do my part this year to try to bring the Monarch population back!

You may be wondering what we can do. It’s as easy as planting Milkweed.  Milkweed serves as a food source, nursery and home for the Monarchs.  The National Wildlife Federation says there is hope for the Monarch if we act now. Below you find 6 ways to save Monarchs with the  NWF.  This information and more is on their website so click the links below to learn more.

NWF-Save-Monarchs graphic

Six Ways to Save Monarchs with NWF

  1. Help Save Grasslands – America’s native grasslands are critically important for monarchs. They offer both milkweed for monarch caterpillars as well as nectar plants for adult butterflies (and many other pollinators too). Today, more than 90 percent of native grasslands have been converted to cropland and development. Grasslands are disappearing faster than any other ecosystem in North America, and that’s a big problem for monarchs.  Join NWF in fighting to save grasslands for monarchs.
  2. Support Highway Habitat Corridor – NWF and USFWS are working to create a coalition of agriculture leaders and highway transportation organizations to plant milkweed and nectar plants along monarch migratory flyways and in other important monarch breeding grounds along key Midwest and Texas corridors.  Learn more about highway habitat corridor plan and how to support it.
  3. Plant Milkweed – You can make saving the monarch personal by planting milkweed in your yard or garden. There are many milkweed species found in North America, so no matter where you live, there’s at least one species native to your area. You’ll be rewarded not only with he knowledge that you are making a difference, but by attracting monarchs to enjoy. Find out what milkweeds are from your region.
  4. Don’t Use Pesticides – Monarchs are insects, and so spraying insecticides will kill them. Make the commitment to avoid spraying pesticides in your yard. Find out how to garden organically.
  5. Create Monarch Habitat– NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program can teach you how to turn any outdoor space into a complete habitat for monarch. Just provide food, water, cover and places to raise young.  It all starts with what you plant and you can create a habitat garden in your own yard, at your office, your church or the local school grounds. Entire communities are launching efforts to create monarch habitat. Learn how to create a wildlife-friendly garden.
  6. Join NWF Affiliate Efforts in Your State — Eleven of NWF’s state affiliates are active partners in the Garden for Wildlife program, teaching people how to create habitat for monarchs and other wildlife. They offer regional expertise and resources, offering native milkweed seeds, running monarch tagging and citizen science efforts and even working on legislative solutions. Joining these efforts is a great way to get involved on the local level. Find out if your state’s NWF affiliate is working to protect monarchs.

Milkweed Seed Finder Graphic

I hope you will join me in doing our part to create a natural habitat for the Monarchs.  Please let me know if you plan to participate.  I am really looking forward to seeing more and more of these beautiful creatures.  I know we will if we all do our part.  So, are you in?


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Filed under Education, Gardening, Health, Life, Mommy Ramblings, Natural, Nature

Frieling Smart, Round Planter Review & Giveaway!

If you like fresh herbs for your cooking but can be a little forgetful with watering plants, the Smart Planter from Frieling may be just what you need.  Ideal for kitchen herbs and more – the Smart Planter lets you know that the plant needs water before it is too late.  No more chiding yourself about your brown thumb.  Now it’s easier than ever to cultivate tasty herbs right on your windowsill.

frieling smart planter green

Frieleng Smart Planter

FEATURES:

  • Innovative cotton wick irrigation system: Simply add water to the white flower
  • Integrated flower rises or drops down to indicate water level
  • UV resistant, ABS plastic pot (will not discolor)
 Frieling is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!  One lucky blog reader will win a Frieling Smart Round Pot Planter . Thank you Frieling  for the review product and for sponsoring this green and healthy giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

Frieling Smart Round Pot Planter Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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Build a Garden Tunnel with Extranet Shade Netting

An easy do it yourself project that you can do at home to enhance the yield of your garden and grow fresh fruits and vegetables all year round is to build a garden tunnel using 1.5m x10m extranet shade netting. This is a simple project that you can do in a weekend. There are several different sizes and styles that you can choose from. A garden tunnel is the perfect start for the amateur or professional gardener who is interested in starting a garden of their own, but may be a little unsure of how to get it started.

It is a simple exercise to start your garden. You just follow the simple instructions to construct your garden tunnel. Add dirt and fertiliser and plant your seeds or seedlings. In no time you will be reaping the benefits of gardening with the protection of a garden tunnel. The garden will need significantly less water than an unprotected garden. Your garden will be much less susceptible to weeds. This makes a difference in the time needed to maintain and care for your garden. Less time spent watering and weeding means more time to enjoy the outdoors relaxing.  

A garden tunnel provides total protection for your garden from a variety of threats all year round. The plants in your garden, especially the new ones, sometimes need a little extra protection until they are strong enough to withstand the full onslaught of nature’s elements on their own. Shade netting is the obvious solution.

The best part is that unlike tunnels constructed from PVC or plastic sheeting, it allows air and some sunlight to pass through. Shade netting gives your plants the exact amount of sunlight needed for them to be healthy and for processes such as photosynthesis and bearing fruits.

Another benefit of having a covered tunnel is the moderate temperatures that can be maintained under the tunnel. It can provide shade from the blazing heat of the sun, the driving force of the rain, windy days, and cold nights. Usually in some climate zones, there is a lot of variation between temperatures in the daytime and night time. The shade netting can help to minimise the difference so that it is not so drastic. These are essential elements for the success of your garden and to produce fresh green fruits and vegetables all year round.

The elements are not the only external threat to your garden. As a gardener, you know that a lot of things in nature, such as birds and insects will find your fruits and vegetables delicious as well. It is important to protect your gardens from hungry pests, or your efforts to grow your own produce will go in vain. There is also the risk of falling debris such as limbs that can fall and break the delicate stems of your seedlings or crush small plants. Extranet Shade Netting will provide the perfect barrier between the weather, pests, debris, and your garden.

To purchase 1.5m x10m extranet shade netting visit the Mega Trade Store.

Learn how to protect your garden from the harsh summer sun.

Lee Elwell works for Mega Garden Store. He is known for his knowledge in the field of gardening equipment. You can add him on Google Plus. Please add him to your circles.


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