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Best Garden Box For You

Fuchsia flowers on black pot

Some gardening purists out there will tell you there is only one way to start a garden. They will tell you about the joys of breaking new grounds, testing and amending the soil, and rotating crops between seasons and years. And if you were to mention you were considering a garden box or raised bed, you'd be shamed right out the door of Tractor Supply.

But, rest assured, there is a movement, and you aren't along if you haven't been considering switching to garden box gardening. While it is smaller in scale, it provides so many benefits to the casual gardener or anyone who is trying to grow some crops with less weekly responsibility. After some upfront work getting things going, you'll find a garden box to be less work and more productive than a comparable plot of earth.

What's The Benefit Of A Garden Box?

There are a few downsides to using boxes. There is more work at the outset designing and building boxes and planning within those limitations. But after a box garden is set up, you can sit pretty for most of the growing season. 

Less Weeding


We've always found that if there is a way to sell a gardener, novice or veteran, on a new method, it's to let them know how much weeding they won't be doing. With garden boxes, you have way more control over your soil and what types of compost or fertilizer you use. You also get to fill the space tightly with desirable crops, leaving little space for weeds once the garden is in full swing. Also, the boxes can be set up anywhere, so there's no need to weed the spaces between long rows of a traditional garden. You can plant grass between boxes or lay down mulch or stone to keep those weeds away.

High-Quality Soil


Anyone who has started a traditional garden from scratch knows the pain of having no control over your soil. You begin with a vision of tomatoes in bountiful abundance with hot peppers to one side and a row of sunflowers gracing the other, only to find out your soil is far too acidic for this and doesn't have enough nitrogen for that. With a few garden boxes, you can have complete control over soil quality. A single load of quality topsoil is an affordable purchase that can get the garden growing right. Add in your desired mix of compost and fertilizers and rest assured your soil quality isn't going to just leach away into the earth. You can try a different combination for different crops and fine tune each box to the desired product.

Abundant Harvest


A garden box isn't a complete pass on caring for a garden, so this one is by no means ensured without some legwork on your part. However, garden boxes allow for easier planning, and it's a no-brainer to take advantage of every square inch of your garden. With vertical planting, trellising, a high density of plants, and more control over succession planting, you can really maximize the output of your garden.   

Do You Need A  Garden Box

Wood garden box
Image source: Unsplash

For many people, a garden box is an unnecessary project. If you already have established gardens, understand your terrain, and have learned the secrets to being productive in your gardening niche, more power to you. But for many of us just setting out in the gardening world, it can be daunting to think of all the variables and costs associated with breaking ground.

Location Limitations


Some people just don't have the land needed to start and maintain a full-fledged garden. In these cases, a garden box can turn a building roof or a patch of hardpan into a garden. If you have a portion or driveway or a portion of yard you aren't just willing to tear up, garden boxes slot in beautifully.

Soil Control


We've talked about it before, the benefits of getting to choose and manage your soil. For some, this is a nice perk, but for others, it is a necessity. We've seen people who live in areas with bad quality soil turn to garden boxes knowing how difficult or pointless it would be to try to amend the soil. If you live in an area with steep topography and lots of rain, why waste money on amendments that are just going to run-off in the next hard rain? Similarly, gardeners in the high desert or hardpan know that cutting into their ground is like digging into asphalt and that any attempts to amend the soil on a large scale would be futile. Always keep your environment in mind, in all aspects of gardening, and soil control is of utmost importance when starting out.

Ease And Aesthetics


Garden boxes, once established, require much less attention over the course of the season. While for some this is a luxury, for others this is the only way they can garden. Those of you who just don't have the time to be watering and weeding and mulching and pruning every day will find garden boxes more efficient in most ways. Also, for the aged gardener, it can be murder on the knees and back to get down and plant and weed at ground level all the time. Raised beds, especially higher beds further off the ground, can eliminate bending and kneeling entirely from your daily gardening experience.

Garden boxes can also have a wonderfully full and bountiful look to them as well as feeling organized and maintained. Traditional gardens tend to get out of hand, especially when they are doing well. Also, depending on your choice of material for the box, they can be quite aesthetically pleasing even before the crops start to grow.  

Types Of Garden Boxes

Person digging on soil using garden rake
Image source: Unsplash

When considering what material to use for your garden box, there are many factors at hand. Not only does it need to look good, but you should also choose a material you understand and are comfortable working with. There's no need for this to be your first foray into pouring cement when you could simply find some lumber to work with. There are pros and cons to each type, and we'll be looking at a few different types of boxes.

Rock


Many of you might not even consider this a garden box in the way you've been picturing. Even before boxes started trending, avid gardeners have been using rocks at hand to hem in flower beds and build up terraces on inclines. However, for some of you with a surplus of rocks in your garden, this might just be the cheapest option as well as a way to use up those rocks you've been hauling to the tree line for years. Rock beds can have that nice pastoral look to them, but they aren't the easiest material to work with, so don't break your back over them. Also, keep in mind that if you aren't sealing up the gaps in a rock bed, you can expect weeds to find their way into the crevices which can often look unkempt and can add more weeding than necessary to your garden.

Brick And Cinderblock


This is again a cheap option as many of you probably have some brick pavers or cinderblocks sitting around. Even if you don't, both are usually cheap purchases and can be found at any hardware store. These are an extremely durable option, and it's easy to repair if anything does go wrong. Keep in mind that you can expect weeds and unsightly gaps if you aren't diligent in the building process. Also, keep in mind that some blocks tend to heat up in the sun and store that heat for a long while. This might be useful for Spring and Fall gardens when frost is an issue or you're trying to start seeds early, but in Summer, it can raise soil temperature unnaturally high and damage fragile seeds and seedlings.

Concrete


With a concrete bed, you won't have any nooks for weeds to take hold, and they can be more durable and long lasting of all the options here. This is not a good choice if you're just starting out and aren't sure about garden boxes long term. Also, they are expensive and difficult for anyone trying to DIY without prior concrete experience.

Wood


Wood is probably the most classic and common choice out there. Wood boxes are easy to install, are probably more in-line with home gardener expertise, and can be quite durable depending on the wood choice. Be certain that the wood you choose isn't chemically treated wood. The EPA banned such lumber for commercial growing purposes, and there's no reason you want to take the chance of chemical leaching into your home products. This means you need to be wary of pallets and scrap lumber when choosing your material. We would recommend using untreated redwood, cedar, or black locust for a durable, safe, and long-lasting wooden garden box. 

Conclusion

Green leaf plants
Image source: Pixabay

Garden boxes are not just a fad for casual gardeners. They come with a diversity of looks and benefits that any gardeners should want to take advantage of. Take some time to see if garden boxes are right for you and pick one that has the longevity, aesthetics, and potential to enhance your gardening experience to the fullest.

Balcony Garden | Grow A Perfect Oasis

garden in the balcony

image source: pixabay

A natural green space can bring peace, tranquility ,and solace to any environment. Municipalities invest millions of dollars in developing green spaces because lush green areas make a city more pleasant, more welcoming and calm. When people in the densely populated cities around the world want to create an oasis of their own, they have to get creative. A balcony garden can be a great solution for those wanting to grow food, flowers and foliage but do not have a yard to start a garden in.

The following ideas we discuss on balcony gardening can be applied to interior spaces as well. You do not have to have a lawn nor a balcony to grow plants. If you desire to scratch the itch in your green thumb, we have some tips and tools for being able to grow plant life anywhere using simple tools and successful methods.

No Space? Don't Worry

It is possible to grow plants, flowers, herbs and food in a room in any house or living space. Do not be discouraged by tight spaces. You can have a 300-square-foot studio/efficiency apartment in the heart of New York City and still grow your own foliage.

If you have the will to grow and the imagination, then we will provide you with the information you need to grow your balcony garden. Don't worry if you do not have a balcony, however, as your main challenge will be to in supplying sunlight to your plants.

Many plants actually do not require direct sunlight, so they do not have to be near the window to absorb the UV rays needed for the photosynthesis process so vital to the plant's health. When you choose an area for plants, it should, above all, have access to a window.

If you have a window to let light in, you can start an indoor garden. Sun exposure is a given for a balcony garden. Since light and access to it is key, it is not advisable to attempt growing plants of any type in a basement. To do so, you would need to buy lights that emit the same UV rays as the sun, and this not only means spending more money, but it also makes your job a lot more work. 

Evaluating Your Space


plants in the balconies of building

image source: unsplash

Planning is essential when you only have a tight space within which to work. First, consider the type of plants you want to grow, the climates they need to grow in, the amount of light they need, and how you will make this all work in your space. Do not feel overwhelmed, as this is a natural part of the process.

When you've decided on the general area for your balcony garden, measure it to get its dimensions. Most balconies are sitting spaces, and some do not even have enough space to sit. This type of balcony was designed so users could stand and gaze at the sun, moon and stars.

For regular balcony gardens, you need to decide if you want to sit and relax among your foliage or if you want to maximize the space growing plants that yield food so you can pick seasonally to supply your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables. Either way works, and you must decide what will work best for you and your balcony garden vision.

Things To Consider On Your Balcony

  • Will you have hanging plants?
  • Will you mount containers to railings or walls?
  • Will you install a shelving system?
  • Can you reach everything on the balcony?
  • Can your balcony support a lot of weight?
  • Do you plan on entertaining guests in your balcony garden?

Measuring Your Light


Your plants will not determine your lighting, but rather your lighting will determine the kinds of plants and foods you can grow. It is wise to get a good measure of your balcony’s sunlight. There are species of plants that will wither and die in direct sunlight. There are others that will not grow unless they have direct exposure to the sun.

Once you have monitored where you light comes in and how long it shines directly on that space, you can begin your research into what plants need to go where. (Also note the places where sunlight is not direct because many plants can grow without direct sunlight.)

Things To Measure:

  • How long your balcony garden gets direct sunlight
  • Areas where there is indirect light
  • The direction your balcony faces

How To Get Started

Study


Start by studying. There are two ways to go about your research. The first way is to visit your local nursery. If you live in a major city, the closest nursery may be a big brand store. You want to seek out a local nursery because it will have the plants you seek and because it has the experts who can help advise you.

You will want to avoid exotic plants because buying vegetation that isn't native to your environment will stack the odds against you being able to grow them on your balcony.

Ask


Pick the brain of the person working there and let him or her know what you are embarking upon. Ask for advice about which foods or plants you should get and which ones you should start from seeds or seedlings. Most importantly, find out which plants are annuals and which are perennials. This will help you select the proper plants and then organize where they will be placed. Some plants will need to be out in the sun, so they should be situated more toward the outer regions of your balcony.

Browse


You can also research what plants you may want and how to get started with your balcony garden online. This website is a great resource. Make comments on articles and interact with our community as much as you like. Searching an inquiry specific to your city or region will give you a good idea about what plants grow in your climate.

Keep Notes


Look for plants and foods that do not need to be deeply rooted. Also find some nice, fragrant flowers and herbs to create a well-rounded experience in your balcony garden. Always take notes. If you have specific plants in mind you definitely would like to include, then research those plants first.

Your notes should be detailed enough to where a child can pick up your notebook and know exactly how to care for your garden. This is important if you ever take extended vacations, and must rely on a plant sitter to keep your greens alive. You would hate to return to a dead, dry, unkempt garden!

You need to have instructions for your own reference and comprehension as well as that of others. Consider that everyone in your home may not be as green savvy as you are. Provide an outline so easy that anyone could read it and care for your garden properly. You'll thank yourself for going through the trouble now.

Container Selection Key

potted plants

image source: unsplash

The containers must suit the plants that will go in them. You do not want to suffocate your plants by keeping them in too small pots for too long. Always remember that plants grow. They can outgrow pot and containers.

When purchasing containers, have an itemized list of the plants you own and how deep, long, or wide their roots will grow. You can sometimes keep similar sized plants in the same container. Research if the two specific plants can grow together and coexist in the same soils ecosystem. This is tricky and you do not want to kill any of your plants or accidentally crossbreed them.

If your containers will be held on shelving units or in a small, pop-up greenhouse, then the containers you use must be able to fit and still provide space for blooming. With shelved plants, put the plants that bloom at later times up under one currently blooming to make sure it gets the sunlight it needs.

Tips For Making A Balcony Garden Grow

  • Use organic potting soil
  • Get a greenhouse shelf
  • Fertilize monthly
  • Join home garden forums

Unique Design Ideas

house with balcony  plants

image source: pixabay

There are so many unique design ideas out there. The key to designing a balcony garden you will love every day is to be patient. You do not have to deck out your garden with flowering plants and herbs all at once. Take the process day by day.

Go onto your balcony and think about where you like to stand. Build the garden around that spot. Look to your left and right and decide how you want it to feel when it is full of foliage. Pick one plant you want to your right. Then pick another for your left. Tend to these plants until you feel it's time for you to add another one. Let the process be organic. The purpose of this garden is not purely decorative; it is for detoxifying, and the feel is more important than the look. Trust your instincts and you cannot go wrong.

Conclusion

You are transforming a space with no life into a space that will live and breathe. Start today. Get your notebook ready and search for nearby nurseries. Look up the plants you would like to have in your garden and start your balcony garden care guide. Enjoy the process and most definitely enjoy the private oasis you'll ultimately have.

How To Get Started With A Wood Stand

book and plant above wooden table
book and plant above wooden table

image via: pexels.com

If you own a home, then you understand how important it is that everything has a place. Clutter can build up easily, so you need to have a place for everything you own from books to your TV and especially any knick-knacks you might have. That's usually where you run into trouble though since you more than likely have some knick-knacks or specific items that don't fit on traditional shelves or other holders. Don't worry, there is a solution to this problem, a wood stand.

Now, before you run out to IKEA to find a wood stand, you should know you don't have to deal with customer service or instructions in three languages. You can actually build a wood stand yourself.  Don't worry if you don't know how, or aren't good with tools. This guide will show exactly what a wood stand is, how it can benefit you, and give a beginner's look into how to make one.

What Is A Wood Stand?

two heart symbol in a furniture

Image via Pixabay

So, what is this wonderful thing you're going to build? Well, a wood stand is just what it sounds like - a stand made out of wood. Its main advantage is that it can be formatted to several different things. Whether you need to store tools, plants, or anything else, you can build a wood stand to fit any need you may have.

While a wood stand provides functionality, that doesn't mean it can't be stylish too. Obviously, a wood stand will vary from need to need, but there are still plenty of things you can do to make it look great while it stores your stuff. You can stain the wood to match your decor or use a creative design (check out Pinterest for ideas). Regardless of what you can build, a wood stand can provide a wonderful touch that's both stylish and functional. 

Is There A Benefit To Utilizing A Wood Stand?

canvas on top of desk

Image via Pixabay

We've spoken about how a wood stand can both store items and add to a home's decor. However, that can be far more than what you think. Sure, it sounds like a great, nice looking storage tool. However, stop and think for a moment about the things you are looking to store.

How easy are these things to store? Do they fit on shelves, or are they awkward to place? What do you really need to house them properly? And, how is it going to affect the look of your house?

The truth is, you've most likely got some things that are either difficult to store, or don't fit well with traditional storage devices. Before, that would mean you'd have to go to furniture stores and pray you could find something that could fit your needs. With a wood stand, you can skip all of that. Instead of searching for something that fits your object, you are designing one that is made to fit around your needs.

Now, that may sound a bit daunting. You may not have a lot of building experience, and the idea of working around a difficult to place object may make it seem more daunting. Don't worry; that's what we're here for. While there are a lot of different woods stands you can make, we're going to go over basic steps and give insight into basic wood stand construction.

A Beginner's Guide To Wood Stands

blue wood stand with plant

Image via Pixabay

When you begin your wood stand, no matter what type you make, you should understand how to select the right wood. Remember, this is the basis for your entire project, so you need to understand how to choose what you need. Common pine or whitewood is good for these types of projects because it is inexpensive and a soft, easy to cut wood. Plywood is also a good choice, but keep in mind the kind of weight you'll be putting on your finished product. One thing to be aware of is that the name of the wood size doesn't actually equal the size you may need. This can work to your advantage, however. Having extra wood means you can make mistakes, but it will still be more wood than you will need. So, you should be prepared to use cutting tools as well.  

Tools

In some cases, the store where you buy the wood will also cut it for you. However, if that's not an option, you'll need to look into some tools for yourself. A couple of important tools for first timers are a handsaw and clamps. Later on, you can look into an electric saw, but if this is your first time, stick with the handsaw! After the wood is cut, you'll need a way to place them back together to form your wood stand. Again, there are a number of different options for this.

construction tools

Image via Pexels

We've selected a few popular ones below. Remember, make sure that you select a tool that works for your needs.

  • Drill- A basic tool for all home improvements jobs. You can use this to screw your wood stand together.
  • Brad Nailer- similar to a nail gun. These are preferable to screws as they don't leave as much to hide.
  • Sander- another vital tool for home improvement. You won't be able to finish (smooth over) your wood stand without it.
  • Tape Measure- essential for measurement. This should be one of the first tools you buy.
  • Clamps- you need these to hold the wood in place as you cut. Don't start without one.
  • Safety glasses and hearing protection-you may not need hearing protection if you use a handsaw. However, the goggles are vital for any home improvement project.

Now that we've described exactly what you need to start making a wood stand, we'll get into a sample project. While this may not be the kind of stand you need, it should give you an idea of what you're in for. Remember, there are plenty of examples, on sites like Pinterest, that may be closer to what you need. Regardless, this will help you be more prepared to build.

Building a Wood Plant Stand

Cut Platform Pieces

Once you have the height, you'll need to determine the width. Measure the widest part of the planter to get this measurement and then cut two dowels to this size. Cut out the center of one, and use the intact dowel, to place them together in an X. Mark where your cuts should be with the pencil and then make the cuts.

Drill Holes for Pins

Clamp a scrap dowel to the platform piece you are drilling, then mark the center of the length pieces and drill a 1/4 inch hole. Measure half a dowel pin, then tape off the drill bit so you know how deep to drill. Now, drill a hole into both ends so they meet up with the longer pieces to form an X. Finally, drill a hole into the center of the four points of the X, so they will connect to the legs later.

drilling wood using driller

Image via Pixabay

Assemble The Stand

To start finishing up, put some wood glue on two dowel pins and insert them into either side of the center hole. Attach the two pieces to form your X platform, which should have pins sticking out of the four ends. You'll need to determine the height where your platform will connect (this will vary depending on your project), then mark a dot on the legs where they will connect. Drill a 3/4 inch deep hole into the legs at that height, then use wood glue and dowel pins to connect the legs to your X platform.

Drying And Staining

This last step is somewhat up to you, but it can help make your stand look great. Let the wood glue dry for a few hours before sanding. You can choose to stain the wood here as well. Once you've completed these steps, you can put the planter inside the stand. Remember to place it somewhere where it will get light.

Conclusion

apple at the top of wood stand

Image via Pixabay

You will have to decide exactly what kind of wood stand is right for you and your needs. However, they are an excellent way to deal with excess stuff in a decorative way. You'll also be able to expand your home improvement skills. So, if you think you can use a wood stand, check out Pinterst and see which one works for you!

Miniature Garden: Everything You Need To Know

basic miniature garden
japanese dwarf bonsai

image via: pxhere.com

Are you a fan of miniatures? We are too. There’s something just so innocent and cute about a miniature set. One of our favorite sets has to be the miniature garden.

A miniature garden is something you can have both inside and outside. It’s such a fun choice because of the wide range of versatility you have to create it. Not to mention, the best part about miniature gardens is your ability to incorporate relevant, living elements.

What Is A Miniature Garden?

miniature garden with cats statue

Image via Flickr

A miniature garden is a great way to create an adorable pint-size world of your own creation. Miniature gardens are enjoyed by both men and women of all ages. These little sets often feature creative themes and it is not uncommon for most miniatures gardens to incorporate fairies.

There are no rules when it comes to creating your small universe. Add anything into your little garden that makes you happy, whether it be beach themed, mystical, magical, or vibrant. A wide range of accessories can help make your vision a reality.

Is There A Need For Miniature Gardens?

Miniature gardens are a great way for people to express themselves and add a little bit of fun into their surroundings. Miniature gardens are easy to make yourself and they’re often an eye-catching piece to any home or yard. Miniatures gardens are great because they incorporate real plants and flowers into their artificial world.

Miniature Gardens vs Fairy Gardens

A miniature garden can often be confused with a fairy garden due to its size. Fairy gardens are miniature gardens with less structure. You can recognize fairy gardens by the presence of fairies. However, many people love the idea of the secret fairy garden.

A secret fairy garden is a garden that only hints at the presence of fairies. You may be hard-pressed to find a physical fairy in a secret fairy garden because they are likely hiding away in little whimsical homes or trees. It was once believed that creating fairy gardens helped bring kindly fairies to your property and would help encourage crops, plants, and flowers to grow in the springtime.

How To Make A Miniature Garden

miniature garden with white stones

Image via Flickr

In order to make your miniature garden more realistic, you’ll want to add real elements into your design. Plants and shrubs such as small-leafed perennials, groundcovers, and dwarf trees are great choices for living additions. We always suggest placing one mini accessory in your garden to show that the world you’ve created is miniature. Try opting for a small birdbath, light post, or fence to showcase scale.

The Importance Of Scale

One of the most important things you’ll want to remember when creating a miniature garden is the scale. Scale is so important here because you’re creating a universe as realistically as possible. That’s the fun part about miniatures. It’s a mini glimpse of a world similar to ours — just smaller.

The first thing to keep in mind when purchasing accessories for your garden is that the accessory determines the scale of the entire set, not necessarily the plants or shrubs around and within it. Make sure each accessory is appropriately scaled individually and together to add the most enchantment and realism to your miniature world.

Container Size And Accessory Size

miniature garden with mini shrine

Image via Flickr

If you’re not placing your miniature garden directly in your garden, then you’ll most likely be using a container of sorts. It is also not uncommon for some miniature gardens to sit in unused birdbaths or even indoors on dressers. Wherever you put your mini set, be sure you’re not overwhelming the space. We use the following guide:

  • Containers 10 inches in diameter, or larger, use 1-inch scaled accessories
  • Containers 10 inches in diameter, or smaller, use 1/2-inch scaled accessories
  • Containers 2 to 4 inches in diameter, or smaller, use 1/4-inch scaled accessories

Recommended Indoor Plants

False cypress plant

Image via Flickr

If you plan to keep your miniature garden indoors, there are certain plants and shrubs you’ll want to consider over others. First and foremost, keep an eye out for small shrubs that resemble small, full-sized trees. You can always cheat the look of a full-grown tree by trimming back some of the lower foliage to create faux trunk space.

You may be tempted to use a bonsai tree as an option here, and you can. We simply recommend using caution. Bonsai trees are a great option because they look full grown and always remain relatively small in size, depending on the species. However, bonsai trees are tricky and picky shrubs that may be more difficult to maintain than you would like. Below is a list of small plants we recommend for mini gardens:

  • English boxwood
  • False cypress
  • Parlor palm
  • Norfolk pine
  • Ellwood’s blue cypress
  • Dwarf mondo grass
  • Baby tears
  • Corsican mint
  • Sugar vine
  • Zebra haworthia

Recommended Outdoor Plants

daisies flowers

Image via Flickr

If you’re keeping your fairy garden or mini garden outdoors, then you’ll want to consider selecting the best plants for your setting. We recommend that you use a bedding plant of sorts to create a soft groundcover. Always do your best to match any trees you select for your garden with the groundcover. Don’t be afraid to combine a few different types together to create the exact look you’re going for. Here are some of our favorite outdoor plants for mini gardens:

  • Just dandy dwarf hinoki cypress
  • Jean’s dilly dwarf spruce
  • Miniature juniper
  • Dwarf mugo pine
  • Sky pencil Japanese holly
  • Miniature daisies
  • Platt’s black brass buttons
  • Cranesbill
  • Small hens and chicks
  • Irish moss

Planting Miniatures

fairy garden sign on miniature garden

Image via Flickr

When you go to plant your miniature shrubs, plants, and flowers, make sure the location has decent drainage. We suggest using standard potting mix recommended for planters and window boxes. To prioritize which plants to plant first, always start with the one with the largest roots. Make sure you’re mindful of where you plant them and what each individual species will require in terms of full sun or shade.

Assembling Your Garden

After you’ve selected your combination of plants, shrubs, and flowers and have shopped for appropriately scaled accessories, you’re ready to start assembling your garden! Laying out your garden is probably one of the most fun parts of this process, aside from shopping for tiny trinkets. Don’t be afraid to take your time and truly plan out your little universe.

Before you plant anything, keep everything above the soil so you can arrange and rearrange the set to your liking. Don’t be afraid to experiment with gravel, grass, and other types of terrains. Here is some additional decor you can experiment with adding to your scene:

  • Waterfalls
  • Bird houses
  • Cottages
  • Signs
  • Mushrooms
  • Arbors
  • Tools
  • Walkways
  • Lights
  • Fairies

Where To Buy Miniature Plants

white sink miniature garden

Image via Flickr

If you’re trying to figure out where to buy your miniature plants, there are a number of locations. You can also use seed to grow them yourself. If you’re comfortable using the internet to order things online, we suggest the website: twogreenthumbs.com. Two Green Thumbs is known for a wide range of both plants and accessories for miniature garden sets.

You can also always check out your local plant nursery. Make sure to take a list with you of plants you’re looking for. It can become confusing, if you’re not familiar with many plants, to try to select a miniature plant on your own.

Miniature Plant Tip

Always make sure you do your research before buying any unknown, small plant at the store. You, and even the store associates, may not know how tall or how invasive it might grow. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect shrub only to find, in a few months, it's taken over and destroyed your fairy garden.

Where To Buy Miniature Accessories

miniature garden with archway

Image via Flickr

You may be okay with finding miniature plants and shrubs, but do you know where to find mini accessories that are both realistic and not overpriced? The miniature world is vast and has been surprisingly popular for years. Some people even spend thousands of dollars on their miniatures to enter them into competitions.

The essential part of making a miniature set realistic is appropriately scaled, realistic mini objects. You may be hard-pressed to find a dollhouse store, but this is one of the best places to find small, realistic, everyday objects. As we mentioned above, our favorite place to purchase mini accessories is online, on the website called: twogreenthumbs.com.

Conclusion

A miniature garden is a fun and creative way to add a bit of magic back into your life. Not only are these little slices of heaven great for kids  — all ages smile when they see a tiny universe that has been intricately created.

When it comes to making miniature sets, there really are no rules besides to pay attention to besides scale. How large or small you make your world is up to you. We’ve seen precise masterpieces that span entire yards, and we’ve seen one or two accessories placed perfectly in a small potted plant. However you decide to make your fairy garden, always make sure you have fun and stay safe. The only thing left to do is enjoy your newly created little universe!

How to Make A Worm Farm: A Guide for Beginners

compost with earthworms

For the uninformed, worm composting is the practice of using worms to recycle food scraps and other organic matter into worm compost, also called vermicompost. Worms eat the organic material, which then passes through the worm to become compost. This compost can then be collected and used to improve soil quality, usually to aid in growing plants and vegetables. To effectively use worm compost, you'll need a worm farm. You don't have to be a master gardener to take advantage of the benefits a worm farm offers the good old USA. For the environmentally conscious person, worm composting is a must. It reduces waste, creates a quality organic fertilizer, requires little upkeep, and can be maintained just about anywhere. If properly kept, it doesn't even smell bad. Keep reading to learn how to make a worm farm for your home.

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What Is a Worm Farm?

We've already given you most of the answer but to be thorough, a worm farm is a community of worms kept as a way of recycling food and other organic matter into natural fertilizer. A worm farm can be purchased or homemade and is a great source of compost for those with vegetable gardens or small fruit gardens.

Depending on the size of your garden, additional worm farms can be added, since they are inexpensive and easy to maintain. Vermicompost is also used in the farming industry across the United States.

earthworm on dirt

Image via Pixabay

Advantages of Having a Worm Farm

  • Provides an all-natural fertilizer
  • Eliminates waste naturally
  • Produces better quality plants and vegetables
  • Inexpensive to build and maintain
  • Great for the environment

How to Make a Worm Farm

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Though you can purchase a pre-made vermicomposter, we're going to show you how to make a worm farm for a lot less. It's easy to do, with very little "building" involved. Keep in mind that worms hate the light, so use materials that will keep it nice and dark for them.

Needed Supplies

These are the essentials for how to make a worm farm. As you progress in your vermicomposting, you'll add a thing here or there to make the process easier. A trowel, for instance, makes arranging the compost a breeze. But for now, these are the things you'll need.

blue plastic bins

Image via Flickr

Two or Three Plastic Bins

  • The top bin(s) need to rest inside the bottom bin
  • The top bin(s) need to keep light out; with the uppermost bin having a snug-fitting lid
  • The bins should have a volume of around 10 gallons 

A Drill

  • A 1/8-inch or 1/4-inch bit
  • A 1-inch bit

Shredded Newspaper

  • Dampen and fill the top bin with about 3 inches
  • Needs to be replaced each week (at feeding time)

Damp Soil

  • About 1 pound

Container for Scraps

  • Collect fruit and vegetable scraps for once per week feeding

Worms

  • A pound of red wrigglers is a good starting point because they consume waste quickly, but earthworms also work. Red wrigglers are available online, from the local U.S. Department of Agriculture office or from another worm bin owner. There are clubs and organizations who meet to discuss worm farming, and they are usually an excellent source of information.

Preparing the Bins

small garbage can

Image vis Pixabay

Follow these steps to prepare your bins. If you use three bins, the top two, the composting bin(s), will be home to the worms and need to be identical.

Drill a 1-inch hole a couple of inches from the top of the uppermost bin on one side. Drill another 1-inch hole in the opposite side. Drill a pattern of ¼ inch holes across the base of each bin for ventilation, drainage, and to allow upward migration of the worms. These holes should be regularly spaced about two inches apart. It's not necessary to drill holes in the lid since worms prefer the dark, and there will be plenty of ventilation through the sides and bottom of the bins.

The bottom bin, called the sump bin, is there to collect excess fluid called worm tea. No holes should be drilled in this bin.

Setting Up

Once the bins are drilled, you're ready to put them together. An important decision for how to build a worm farm is where to put your worm farm. You must keep it from freezing and protect it from extreme heat. Indoors is always the best option or perhaps in a basement or garage. Remember, with the proper setup and maintenance, your worm farm will not have an odor. Set up the bins as follows:

The top bin or top two bins are "nested" within each other and dropped into the sump bin. Place some "spacers"—bricks or a small clay flower pot, for example, between the bins to improve drainage and ventilation. Ensure your bins don't jam together, decreasing ventilation and making it harder to harvest the compost. Your spacers should help with this, or you can add wooden blocks to the edge of the second composting bin and the sump bin.

Starting Production

composting

Image from Pixabay

Now that you've mastered how to make a worm farm, let's put it to work.

Set up your worms in the top bin with a damp bedding such as shredded newspaper. Put in a little compost (household organic scraps) and a handful or two of damp soil with the worms. You only need a small amount of the dampened soil because the worms will start producing their own soon enough. After a few days, you will be ready to add more organic scraps. Cover the food with more shredded paper to discourage unwanted insects and keep the lid tightly closed.

Never allow the worm farm to dry out. Sprinkle water over the bedding occasionally if necessary, but don't soak it. After your worm farm has been active for a while, the worms will reproduce and compost will start to build up. When the amount of compost is significant, and if you're using a second composting bin, change the positions of the upper two bins so that bin number two is now on top of the stack.

Give the new top bin clean bedding, a small amount of compost material and immediately start putting organic scraps into it. Over a few days, the worms will move upwards towards the new food. Only a few worms will lag behind in the lower composting bin, and it will be ready to harvest your compost within about three weeks after swapping the bins.

To access a specific bin, in order to add food, bedding, or to remove the worm compost, just lift off all the overlying worm bins, one by one until the desired level is reached. Be sure to replace them in the same order that you had them in.

Repeat the process of alternating the top two bins on a regular basis. Take out the worm compost whenever it builds up to the desired level. You'll also want to siphon the worm tea, known as vermitea, from the sump bin occasionally. Worm tea is a valuable, highly concentrated liquid fertilizer that can be diluted for immediate use in your garden.

Dos and Don'ts of Worm Farming

harvesting earthworms

Image via Flickr

As you can see, the lessons about how to make a worm farm were pretty easy. The continued operation of your worm farm will be as well, with just a few things to remember.

The Dos in Worm Farming

  • Know that this is a great thing for the environment and it's fun
  • Make this an inexpensive venture because there's no need to get fancy; simple is better
  • Keep your worm farm dark and cozy
  • Use the worm compost and worm tea in your garden; you'll increase production and quality
  • Give some away if you produce more than you need
  • Teach a child how to make a worm farm

The Dont's in Worm Farming

  • Allow your worm farm to get too dry; sprinkle it if necessary
  • Allow other insects to infiltrate your worm farm
  • Allow your bins to jam together too tightly; your worms need good ventilation
  • Forget to dilute your worm tea; a 50:50 mix with water will do wonders for a garden
  • Fail to reach out to other worm farmers for advice, they're usually a friendly group
  • Turn worm farming into a chore; it's easy and doesn't take that much time

Conclusion

Now that you know how to make a worm farm and that it's pretty easy, there's no excuse not to give it a go. The environmental benefits are well established, and the effort required is minimal. It produces a great product that you can use to grow bigger and better-tasting fruits and vegetables, and more of them. Even if you don't have a garden, it's a natural way for you to eliminate household waste and make the USA a cleaner place.

Knowing how to make a worm farm is something you can make a hobby out of while sharing and teaching others of its benefits to planet earth. It's an easy, inexpensive, and fun way to make a small difference in your community. Now, go grab yourself some worms, build them a place to live, and enjoy watching them go to work for you.

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