5 Ways to Improve Your Garden – See Our Latest DIY!
Disclosure: We were given a few of the things below to experiment with for this post.
We are in full gardening mode here in central Oklahoma! April is officially half over and Easter is around the corner, both good markers on the calendar for when you can jump into gardening. Read about our latest DIY… our back yard is a work in progress but we hope you can get some fun inspiration for your own projects!
1. Use Good Soil
We put in the raised flower beds a while back. So our first project was what everyone needs to do this time of year: Cleaning and weeding. We have decent brown soil as you can see, but needed some potting mix for the top layer. In the past we had bought it from our local home store but we just weren't seeing the results we wanted.
This year we used PittMoss Organic Potting Mix. I was sent some to try and that fit in with our goals for our garden- keeping it Organic and using Natural Products! PittMoss® can be used in so many different ways. Whether you're an avid gardener, a specialty grower, or you like to mix your own potting or gardening soil to perfection, using PittMoss® can dramatically improve your results.
As you can see, the PittMoss soil does not look like your typical potting mix from Lowe's or Home Depot.
PittMoss® Organic Potting Mix is made from organic, recycled natural cellulosic fibers with added compost and mineral ingredients. Waste cellulosic materials that are normally land-filled are up-cycled into this valuable potting mix. In the short few weeks we have used it we have already seen an improvement in our plants and flowers. I can't wait to show you guys pictures of all of yummy vegetables this year.
For more information, head over to their website here.
2. Make a Composting Worm Bin
If you follow my blog you may have read about our DIY composting bin. You can get the instructions and read the full post here. I am excited about fresh compost to use, and also recycling things that would have gone in the garbage to waste. Composting is a great thing to add to your garden for vegetables, especially. This was a great addition to our garden and it was super cheap to make!
Try Companion Planting –
We learned so much by heading over to our local plant nurseries and speaking with the experts! We decided to try companion planting, adding marigolds in to keep bad bugs away. Companion planting can help with and providing habitat for beneficial creatures, pest control, pollination, There is so much information you can glean if you spend some time with local farmers and gardeners. Use your resources and know before you plant which ones work well together!
Marigolds – Help keep the bad bugs away from your garden.
Basil – Basil and Tomato Plants work well together. basil helps tomatoes grow a greater yield and it helps repel flies and mosquitos. Basil is also great to plant near your peppers as well.
Onions – Carrots should be planted near onions because the onions will help repel the carrot fly. Onions are also good for chasing away aphids. You want to make sure you keep your onions away from the beans, peas and asparagus.
Remember: Keep cabbage, beets, peas, fennel, dill, and rosemary away from your tomatoes. You will also want to keep your peppers away from beans.
These are just a few examples so make sure you do your homework!
3. Attract Good Insects –
You may have heard Praying Mantises are good bugs. Not only are they cool to find in the garden with the kiddos, they eat other pesky insects. I read that planting Dill can attract Praying Mantises, since they like the flavor. (We do too!)
Lady Bugs are another favorite for the kids to find, and great to have around. Plant Cilantro to attract these.
Dragon Flies eat a variety of insects, and are easy to attract to your garden. Include a small water feature or pond to attract neighborhood dragon flies. They may be more common if you have natural bodies of water nearby, so be sure to keep them in mind.
Bees and Hoverflies like sweet flowers such as Orchids, Honey Suckle, and Althea. If you want to attract bees, however, be sure to have these garden features located far from the house. We also love using a fun insect house to attract good insects.
4. Use Native Plants/Shop Local
Make sure to get a variety of plants that are actually grown in your area. If you are in Oklahoma we recommend Prairie Wind Nursery for south Oklahoma and Providence Farms for North Oklahoma residents. Both have staff that have been super helpful.
You also want to have an idea of what kind of sun your garden or lawn gets, and how moist your soil is. The staff will probably ask you basics about your yard, and also what you are going for… whether it be vegetables, a garden retreat, or something low maintenance!
For example, one of our team members has a north-facing house and large maple tree in front. The front flower beds get almost NO sun, which is not typical in Oklahoma. Most plants sold around here need at least full or partial sun. They ended up actually heading to the nursery to ask about available plants that would flourish in the shade full time.
After a good clean-out, the new top soil, and planting some great companion shrubs and flowers, I have high expectations for this year's flower garden. As you can see pictured below we have our composting bin peeking out above the soil line. 🙂
We have grown strawberries in the past, but haven't had such a large flower bed up to this point with so many options.
We did put in garden lighting last year, and if you're curious about you can check it out here. I have some pics of the garden at night, so you can check out the overall effect! We love them!
Stay tuned for future posts about our vegetable garden, which we have just started. The marigolds are already in place, along with a second worm composting bin dedicated to this flower bed. Exciting things ahead!
Thanks for reading!
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