Diy garden sign ideas

There are two basic kinds of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic mulches include formerly living material such as chopped leaves, straw, grass clippings, compost, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, pine needles, and even paper. Inorganic mulches include black plastic and geotextiles (landscape fabrics).

Both types discourage weeds, but organic mulches also improve the soil as they decompose. Inorganic mulches don’t break below and enrich the soil, but under certain circumstances they’re the mulch of choice. For example, black plastic warms the soil and radiates heat during the night, keeping heat-loving vegetables such as eggplant and cherry tomatoes cozy and vigorous.

Learn more about using diverse types of mulch below:

Wood chips or shredded leaves

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You can purchase bags of decorative wood chips or shredded bark from a local garden middle to mulch your flower garden and shrub borders.

A more inexpensive source of wood chips might be your tree-care company or the utility company. Numerous community yard waste collection sites offer chipped yard debris or composted grass clippings and drop leaves to residents for free (or for a little fee). Also, consider chipping your Christmas tree instead of tossing it to the curb.

If you own trees on your property, shredding the fallen leaves creates a nutrient-rich mulch for free. You don’t need a special machine either; a lawn mower with a bagger will collect leaves and cut them into the perfect size for mulching.

Spread a wood chip or shredded leaf mulch anywhere on your property, but it looks especially attractive in flower beds, shrub borders, and garden pathways.

Of course, it’s correct at home in a woodland or shade garden. Wood chips aren’t a grand thought for vegetable and annual flower beds, though, since you’ll be digging these beds every year and the chips will get in the way.

Straw or hay


Another grand mulch for the vegetable garden is straw, salt hay, or weed-free hay. It looks excellent and has most of the benefits of the other mulches: retaining soil moisture, keeping below weeds, and adding organic matter to the soil when it breaks below. Ensure the hay you use is weed and seed free, or you’ll just be making trouble for your garden. And don’t pile hay or straw up to the stems of vegetables or the trunks of fruit trees or you’ll be inviting slug and rodent damage.

Grass clippings


Grass clippings are another readily available mulch, although it’s a excellent thought to return at least some of your grass clippings directly to the lawn as a natural fertilizer.

It’s fine to collect grass clippings occasionally to use as mulch, and the nitrogen-rich clippings are an especially excellent choice for mulching vegetable gardens.


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If you own enough compost, it’s fine to use it as a mulch. It will definitely enrich your soil and make your plants happy, but hold in mind that when any helpful of mulch is dry, it’s not a hospitable put for plant roots. So you may desire to reserve your compost to spread as a thin layer around plants and top it with another mulch, such as chopped leaves.

That way the compost will stay moist and biologically athletic, which will provide maximum benefit for your plants.

Where to next?

With this context in mind, the UK funding announcement, made by the country’s chancellor, George Osborne, starts to make sense. England is having a housing crisis. In the south of the country, where the economy is strong, there aren’t enough places to live. In the north, there are problems caused by low demand for housing, because economies there own been suffering for a endless time.

For governments of any complexion, the upshot is that supporting new garden cities increasingly looks love a excellent thought as a way to assist supply more houses – and to make homely towns to live and work in instead of sprawling housing estates people own to commute from for jobs and services.

It’s particularly significant that the garden city brand is still a positive one: there seems more chance that people will be less opposed to new garden city developments than they would be to other kinds of settlements. They may even welcome them.

The garden cities of Letchworth and Welwyn were created without any government support, and their early days were fairly financially uncertain as a result. But now the government is prepared to assist with substantial financial contributions to at least three new garden settlements, with Bicester and north Essex in addition to Ebbsfleet.

New garden villages – love one on the edge of Hatfield in Hertfordshire – are being planned, and some people advocate them as a way to solve the housing crisis.

Of course, garden cities will not be the only way to meet housing demand in England’s south-east. What’s more, there’s a risk that they might not be put in the correct places in terms of transport, suitable land, population and housing need – just where land is available. It’s not really clear how far new garden cities in northern locations could assist revive local economies and deliver Osborne’s “Northern Powerhouse”.

There’s also some anxiety that they could infringe on the green belt, which numerous hold sacrosanct. These are every valid points.

But despite these fears, I remain optimistic that in supporting a new circular of garden cities and other kinds of garden development we are heading in the correct direction. My university did some detailed consultation and design-based work on this thought in , and again in It remains clear garden cities could work well as part of any new development balance. I’d love to see a number of diverse kinds of settlements created to make beautiful, diverse, affordable and compact places – and that would include both new garden settlements and remade housing estates.

Diy garden sign ideas

Garden cities are not the whole answer, but they could and should be an excellent part of the mix.

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What happened?

After World War II, a number of “new towns” were built following the New Towns Act of , with examples including Stevenage, Hatfield, Telford, Runcorn and Milton Keynes.

The new towns, though, own drawn a much more mixed response than the garden cities that preceded them. While sometimes criticised as places to live, numerous new towns own strong support from residents and proponents of their social purpose and design.

More recently, in the light of increasing worries about making new places sustainable, a previous Labour government tried to develop a number of so-called ecotowns on previous airbases and other pieces of leftover land, but most of these weren’t built after local communities rejected them. Over the final 40 or 50 years, there has also been fairly a lot of beautiful ordinary housing developed by builders in dormitory estates.

These own tended to make places which are just residential – not proper towns.

Many people aren’t impressed with the way that postwar housing estates in cities own turned out either; this was most recently reflected in prime minister David Cameron’s announcement about redeveloping the hundred “worst” housing estates. Every of this means people generally aren’t too keen to hear that any new housing is being built near them – as any scan of local newspapers makes abundantly clear.

One thing has stood out though. Most people still really love garden cities. They love the Arts and Crafts houses designed by Barry Parker and others at Letchworth and the delicacy and refinement of the red brick neo-Georgian architecture of numerous of Welwyn’s houses and public buildings.

They appreciate the numerous trees and avenues that make the garden cities feel unused, green, open and pleasant to stroll around.

And in Letchworth, they worth the way that money which comes from the town’s landholdings (things love farms, shops, office buildings and so on) is poured back into the local community by the town’s governors, as part of a unique arrangement whereby people who live there get additional health facilities and other valued services.

Plastic mulch


Mulching a vegetable garden with sheets of black plastic film can do wonders. When it’s spread tightly over a smooth soil surface, black plastic will transmit the sun’s heat to the soil beneath, effectively creating a microclimate about three degrees warmer than an unmulched garden. Because the plastic film remains warm and dry, it protects the fruits of vining crops such as strawberries, melons, and cucumbers from rotting and keeps them clean.

And of course, the mulch prevents weed growth and retains soil moisture.

Infrared transmitting (IRT) plastics cost more than standard black plastic, but they can result in even higher yields. These plastics warm the soil as well as clear plastic does, but also control weeds as well as black plastic does. In raised bed gardens, lay below a sheet of plastic over the entire bed. Bury it at the edges or weigh the plastic below with rocks. Then punch holes in it for the plants.

Diy garden sign ideas

A bulb planter makes quick work of hole cutting.

Sow seeds or plant transplants in the holes. Because water can’t permeate plastic, rainwater won’t soaking the planting bed.

Diy garden sign ideas

Thus, the ideal watering system for a plastic-covered bed is soaker hoses or drip hoses laid on the soil surface before you put below the plastic.

Don’t use plastic as a mulch under shrubs. Although it keeps out weeds and can be camouflaged with decorative mulch, black plastic destroys the shrubs’ long-term health.

Diy garden sign ideas

Because water and air cannot penetrate the plastic, roots grow extremely shut to the soil surface — sometimes correct beneath the plastic — seeking moisture and oxygen. The shallow roots suffer from lack of oxygen and moisture and from extremes of heat and freezing. Eventually the plants decline and die. Stick to organic mulches such as shredded leaves, bark, wood chips, or compost under your trees and shrubs.

Plant Supports

Support your climbing vegetables with trellises, stakes, netting, twine, or cages. Here’s how to build your own trellis or wooden supports.

A teepee of bamboo stakes will hold pole beans or snap peas. Cucumbers trained to climb up a nylon mesh fence will develop fruit that hang below and grow straight.

To avoid damaging the plants or their roots, put supports in put at planting time.

To maximize space and thus your harvest, plant root crops, low-growers, and tall climbers together in the same container. The climbers will eagerly scramble up a trellis, while the little plants spread around their base. You’ll hardly need to weed because there won’t be any room for weeds to acquire a foothold, and during the height of summer, some low-growers (leafy greens, for example) will thrive in the shade provided by the taller plants.

Mix quick-maturing plants, such as lettuce or radishes, with longer-growing ones, love tomatoes or broccoli.

Group plants with similar needs for sun and water, such as pole beans, radishes, and lettuce; cucumber, bush beans, and beets; tomatoes, basil, and onions; and peas and carrots.

Read seed catalogs. Numerous list varieties of vegetables bred specifically for growing in containers.

Landscape fabrics

Geotextiles, also called landscape fabrics, let air and water through to the soil beneath while keeping weeds from coming up. But geotexiles own some of the same drawbacks as black plastic. When exposed to light, they degrade over time, so to make them final longer, you own to cover them with a second mulch (they’re ugly, so you’d desire to, anyway).

Many gardeners own discovered that shrub roots grow up into the landscape fabric, creating genuine problems when you eventually desire to remove it. Weeds that germinate in the surface mulch send roots below into the fabric, too, tearing it when you tug them out.

Container gardening is an simple way to grow vegetables, especially when you lack yard space!

If you own a little garden or simply a patio, balcony, or rooftop, explore the magical world of gardening in pots!

Desire to own more control over growing conditions and enjoy higher yields with a lot less work? Garden in containers.

Tips for Container Gardening

Pots: The Bigger, the Better

  1. Large plants need lots of space, and most roots need room to grow. Avoid little containers as they often can’t store enough water to get through boiling days.

    Plus, the bigger your container, the more plants you can grow!

  2. Use barrels (a wooden half-barrel can yield an amazing quantity of food), buckets, baskets, boxes, bath- and other tubs, and troughs—anything that holds soil. Just be certain that it has drainage holes in the bottom.

Care Tips for Container Gardening with Vegetables

  1. Feed container plants at least twice a month with liquid fertilizer, following the instructions on the label.
  2. Clay pots are generally more attractive than plastic ones, but plastic pots retain moisture better and won’t dry out as quick as unglazed terra-cotta ones. To get the best of both, slip a plastic pot into a slightly larger clay pot.
  3. Black pots absorb heat when they are sitting in the sun.
  4. Many plants grown in pots must be watered as often as twice a day.

    To hold plants adequately cool and moist during boiling summer days, double-pot: Put a little pot inside a larger one and fill the space between them with sphagnum moss or crumpled newspaper.

    Diy garden sign ideas

    When watering the plant, also soak the filler between the pots.

  5. An occasional application of fish emulsion or compost will add trace elements to container soil.
  6. Vegetables that can be easily transplanted are best suited for containers. Transplants can be purchased from local nurseries or started at home.
  7. Hanging baskets make excellent use of additional space, and herbs, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries grown at eye level can be easily tended and harvested.
  8. Add about 1 inch of rough gravel in the bottom of containers to improve drainage.
  9. Place containers where they will get maximum sunlight and excellent ventilation.

    Watch for and control insect pests.

Window Boxes

A large window box can provide the makings for a handy salad within arm’s reach! (Here’s a video on how to grow salad greens in containers.) Whatever the size or type, put your containers where they are most convenient to be cared for and will grow best. Most vegetables need 6 to 8 hours of direct sun in order to thrive and produce well.

Plants in containers need the best possible soil, aeration, and drainage for healthy root growth and optimum harvest.

Do not use soil from the garden: It is too heavy, can become waterlogged, and brings disease and insects with it. Select instead a soilless stir (quick-draining and lightweight) or use compost, alone or combined with a soilless mix.

Attractive in window boxes, edible flowers such as nasturtiums, calendula, and signet marigolds also add color to the plate!

To hold vegetable plants growing, feed them organic soil amendments, like liquid seaweed, fish emulsion, or manure tea, weekly.

To ensure growth, vegetables need consistently moist soil.

Which Containers To Use for Your Vegetables

Here are our recommendations on which vegetable varieties are container-friendly and which container types are most suitable for each veggie.

For supplies, you only need a excellent container, the correct soil stir, and appropriate seed (or transplant) varieties. In addition to providing 5 hours or more of full sun, watering is critical. As mentioned above, you may need to water daily or twice daily; in boiling weather, the soil can dry out quickly.

The excellent news: less weeding! Containers are generally low-maintenance.

Beans, snap
Container: 5-gallon window box
Varieties: Bush ‘Blue Lake’, Bush ‘Romano’, ‘Tender Crop’

Container: 1 plant/5 gallon pot, 3 plants/gallon tub
Varieties: ‘DeCicco’, ‘Green Comet’

Container: 5-gallon window box at least 12 inches deep
Varieties: ‘Danvers Half Long’, ‘Short ‘n Sweet’, ‘Tiny Sweet’

Container: 1 plant/1-gallon pot
Varieties: ‘Patio Pik’, ‘Pot Luck’, ‘Spacemaster’

Container: 5-gallon pot
Varieties: ‘Black Beauty’, ‘Ichiban’, ‘Slim Jim’

Container: 5-gallon window box
Varieties: ‘Ruby’, ‘Salad Bowl’

Container: 5-gallon window box
Varieties: ‘White Sweet Spanish’, ‘Yellow Sweet Spanish’

Container: 1 plant/2-gallon pot, 5 plants/gallon tub
Varieties: ‘Cayenne’, ‘Long Red’, ‘Sweet Banana’, ‘Wonder’, ‘Yolo’

Container: 5-gallon window box
Varieties: ‘Cherry Belle’, ‘Icicle’

Container: Bushel basket
Varieties: ‘Early Girl’, ‘Patio’, ‘Small Fry’, ‘Sweet ’, ‘Tiny Tim’

See our individual Vegetable Plant pages for advice on growing other common vegetables.

The government is investing more than £m in building what George Osborne has described as the first “proper” garden city in almost a century, near Ebbsfleet, Kent.

To understand what garden cities are, and why they should be invested in, we need to go back a bit – in fact, more than years.

At the turn of the 20th century, Ebenezer Howard proposed building a constellation of towns, each with about 32, residents. Famously expressed through a series of diagrams, these towns would be largely self-contained places to live and work.

Diy garden sign ideas

They would be located around industrial cities love London which themselves, over time, would be decentralised into smaller garden city-style settlements. Every these places would be linked by electric rail and canal to permit the simple movement of people and goods.

Howard wanted to control what he called the “smoke fiend” of polluting transport, which was already blighting cities at the turn of the century. The thought was to give people the chance to get away from London’s rank conditions and offer them the best of town and country combined: healthy air; affordable, excellent quality housing; and (mostly) local food, facilities and jobs.

Numerous of Howard’s intentions were realised in two garden cities: Letchworth Garden City, built from , and Welwyn Garden City, built from

The thought of garden cities – and especially garden suburbs and towns – took off around the world including in Scandinavia, Australia, the US, South America and Japan. In numerous places, hybrids emerged, building on both garden city ideas and related traditions such as Utopian settlements, industrial villages and the City Beautiful movement.

Before and between the two world wars, there were plenty of garden villages and garden suburbs created in the UK, including the renowned and beautiful example of Hampstead Garden Suburb. But there own been no more garden cities built in the Britain since Letchworth and Welwyn.

How to Mulch

There are two cardinal rules for using mulch to combat weeds. First, lay the mulch below on soil that is already weeded, and second, lay below a thick-enough layer to discourage new weeds from coming up through it.

It can take a 4- to 6-inch layer of mulch to completely discourage weeds, although a 2- to 3-inch layer is generally enough in shady spots.

If you know that a garden bed is filled with weed seeds or perennial roots, you can use a double-mulching technique to prevent a weed explosion. Set plants in put, water them well, then spread newspaper and top it with mulch.

Mulches that also retains moisture (like wood chips) can slow soil warming. In spring, tug mulch away from perennials and bulbs for faster growth. A wet mulch piled against the stems of flowers and vegetables can cause them to rot; hold mulch about 1 inch away from crowns and stems.

Mulch piled up against woody stems of shrubs and trees can also cause rot and encourages rodents (such as voles and mice) to nest there.

Hold deep mulch pulled back about 6 to 12 inches from trunks.


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