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blogsmallGeneral gardening articles from experts and friends of the Mulch.

How to Start Seeds Indoors – Six Short Tips

Written by Ryan Schmitt

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I love seeds! I love growing things from seed. I love the idea of turning something that looks like a scrap of dirt into something beautiful and productive. That being said, I tend to jabber on about it at length. Getting a short answer out of me is often tough when I’m talking about anything related to plants.

Well, sometimes people want short answers, beginners and experts alike. They help make topics look as easy as they really are. So, as it IS time to start seeds indoors, it IS time for the short, easy list of how to do it.

There are 6 things that will make seed starting easy (especially for beginners):


The Importance of Sustainable Gardening

Written by George Vidal

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Sustainable gardening involves actively seeking to cause neither harm to the environment nor depletion of natural resources, thereby pursuing an ecologically balanced activity that supports the ecosystem for the benefit of humans and organisms both today and for future generations. A sustainable garden is important for a variety of reasons, including benefits to the environment, to one's physical and mental health as well as economic and social well being.

Organic fertilizers have been around for thousands of years. They have been added to the soil in order to improve the quantity and quality of plants being grown. It was long ago discovered that when a plot of land was being used for the cultivation of plants, the first yields were typically the best, with subsequent yields decreasing in both quality and quantity. It was discovered that by adding certain substances to the soil, such as animal manure, ashes, vegetable waste, seashells and clay, a growing plot's output could be not only maintained but enhanced. Plants thrive when fed certain nutrients, namely nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

While these are available in various organic fertilizers, most fertilizers used today are man-made with chemically saturated additives that produce a host of harmful byproducts. Ammonium nitrate is used as an explosive. Adding this substance to a garden will kill the naturally growing microbes, insects, fungi and bacteria that are essential to healthy soil and plant growth. Chemical fertilizers leech into the water supply, which is then consumed by animals, causing further harm to the environment.

garden1Growing food organically, without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, produces a more resilient, healthier crop, allowing a person to feel better eating and sharing it with others. Using water that has been collected from rainfall rather than depending on water from a local utility or a private well (which requires the use of electricity) contributes to sustainable gardening. Using renewable and biodegradable growing medium, such as coconut peat, helps in many ways. Coconut peat is a renewable resource that helps against pests, weeds and diseases, reduces watering frequency and promotes strong root growth.

Coco peat is an easy and inexpensive way to contribute to sustainable gardening and a better environment. Use coco peat as an additive in your potting soil and see the difference in your garden. For more information on coco peat, please visit CocoEnviro.com.

Garden Media Reveals 2013-2014 Trends Report

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Garden Media Reveals its 2013-14 Garden Trend Report: Finding "Bliss" by Channeling the Forces of Nature
Look around. In this day and age of smart phones, apps and texting, people have become dependent upon a "wired" lifestyle for everything from news to socializing and keeping current.

In its 12th annual Garden Trends Report, Garden Media Group spots a positive trend revealing people are searching for ways to be happy. 

According to the report, people are re-evaluating values, re-defining "happiness" and re-considering how gardening and caring for Mother Nature brings joy and satisfaction.

"People today are searching for ways to find bliss in everyday life. Being in nature - either in a garden or park or filling your home with indoor plants - adds immeasurable happiness and wellness to our lives. Connecting with nature is a necessity, not a luxury," says garden trendspotter Susan McCoy, president of Garden Media.

Global trends expert Li Edelkoort agrees.  When looking at the future of fashion and home décor, she explains the 'Year of Bliss' takes its cue from nature, finding expression in bright colors, nature inspired products and tactile experiences. She notes as a society we're slowing down, seeking authenticity and well-being, and tuning into "now".

"A shift is happening," explains McCoy. "People are voting with their wallets, and the winning brands are the ones that enhance lives and give back to communities."

What's next? Looking ahead, Garden Media sees 12 influences or "forces of nature" shaping the lifestyle choices people are making for their homes, gardens and landscapes.

Have a look at some of the forces of nature here, and be sure to read the full story and all 12 forces by clicking the link below!
Lifestyle Forces
A big shift in where we are living.  New "home pioneers" are influencing urban planning and "re-suburbia" with easy access to services, connectivity, self-sufficiency and sustainable lifestyles.
Wellness Forces
Health and wellness are the #1 reason people select the products they buy, according to the international research group TrendWatching, and herbs are topping the list in the edibles category.

Natural Forces
From eco-scaping to native plants, there is a need for natural ways to conserve. Additionally, solutions for weed and pest control that are safe for the environment, people and pets are in high demand.
Color Forces
From bright metallic, energizing blues and shades of green, colors mimic nature and in turn, evoke positive emotions. Pantone's palette for 2013 forecasts a wide range of bright cheerful colors.

Inner Forces
Our need to connect with nature is inspiring a variety of green interiorscapes such as living green walls. Live indoor houseplants add instant green beauty, freshen spaces, reduce stress, speed healing, lower blood pressure and bring peace of mind.
Micro Forces
Anything tiny is flying off the shelves, plus they make great gifts. The growing demand for miniature containers and plants, like mini cacti, succulents and lucky bamboo in 2 inch pots from Costa Farms® are fun and foolproof.
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Completed Plant Care Requests - Sorted By Username

We've been busy creating monthly plant care reminders for our members. Here's a list of the completed plant care, they are FREE to use by any member of The Mulch! Just make sure the plant care is for the right climate zone (find your zone here).

Scroll down this article to see the list of FREE Plant Care Reminders.

Growing Tomatoes from Seed

Written by Renee Shepherd

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Renee_new-smAt Renee's Garden, I offer only the varieties that are very special for home gardeners, based on great flavor, easy culture and exceptional garden performance.  This seed line is my personal selection of new, exciting and unusual seed choices of time-tested heirlooms, the best international hybrids and fine open-pollinated varieties. I  harvest and use the vegetables and herbs in my kitchen to choose the most delicious, and cut the flowers for bouquets to select the finest colors, forms and fragrances. Our varieties are tested and guaranteed for every major US climate zone.


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