Tips for Container Gardening in Cold Climates

Container gardening becomes a challenging task in the winter and during cold weather because soil in a pot could potentially freeze. This is why you have to follow several important rules when trying to create a container garden in a cold climate.

Choose the Right Containers
There are so many possibilities for plant containers, how do you choose the ones that will withstand the effects of the cold weather?

Every container that you pick should have drainage holes that allow the moisture to leave the soil. Adding some rocks, sand or gravel at the bottom of the container before adding the soil will improve the drainage even further.

Choose a material that will remain intact despite low temperatures. Ceramic pots, for example, will possibly crack. Thin plastic is a bad idea, as well. The best materials for cold climate plant containers include metal, stone, concrete, fiberglass and thick plastic.

Choose the Right Plants
Some plants are very sensitive and incapable of surviving in cold climates. Whether you want to plant flowers or vegetables, the selection of the right plant species will be determining for the outcome of your efforts.

Regional plants are the best ones because they are accustomed to the climate. Refrain from trying exotic species because they will need a lot of heat and sunlight.

Hardy plants that will thrive in cold climates include ivy, coral bells, sedum, smokebush, winter pansies, heather, aster, chrysanthemum, dwarf hemlock, flowering kale, sedge, licorice plant, hens-and-chicks, fountaingrass and strawflowers.

These plants are tough and capable of surviving during the autumn and the winter. Make sure you follow the plant care instructions for optimal results.

Taking Care of Your Plants in Cold Climates
The manner in which you fertilize, water and protect your plants from the cold will determine their growth.

Start fertilizing a few weeks before the first frost date is expected in your region. All of the new growth should take place while the weather is still relatively mild. The cold and the frost will otherwise kill the delicate new leaves and stems.

There are several things you can do to winter proof your containers and to prevent them from freezing. Wrapping the pots in an old blanket is one of the easiest ways to keep the plant roots inside warm. Refrain from placing your pots on a concrete surface. When the weather is cold, concrete will drain away the warmth from the pots.

A plant lamp will provide your garden with the light needed for plant growth during the cold, cloudy months. The plant lamp or grow light stimulates essential processes by emitting a spectrum of light that is suitable for plant photosynthesis.

Finally, consider moving the pots indoor during excessively cold days. When the temperatures are too low, your attempts to keep the pots warm may be inefficient.

Gardening in a cold climate requires more preparatory steps and care than growing plants in containers during warm months. Still, you will achieve success by following a few basic steps. Good drainage and making sure that the containers are warm enough will ensure the wellbeing of your plants. The selection of hardy species will enhance your gardening efforts even further.

Tips For A No Weeds and No Bugs Urban Permaculture Garden

Soil Preparation

To produce delicious fruits and vegetables in an urban permaculture garden, all starts with the soil preparation. This easy method helps minimize weeding and requires minimal watering.

1. Lightly sprinkle the complete grass or soil area that you want to make into an urban garden with fresh compost. This attracts the worms to come to the surface and find all the delicious layers you put on.

2. The most important first step in creating your urban permaculture garden, is to cover the grass or soil thoroughly with wet newspaper, at least 5 pages thick, making sure there are no colored ink pages included.

3. Then cover the newspaper with plain flat cardboard and water it well. Flattened cardboard boxes are good to use for this.

Raised Garden Beds

1. Use untreated 8″ x 1″ or 12″ x 1″ timber to make square or rectangular garden beds, no wider than an arm span from each side to the middle. This allows you to work your permaculture garden from all sides without stepping on the growing area. This way, the worms and insects do all the hard work for you, and their habitat is not overly disturbed or compressed when you plant or weed your crops.

2. Lay out your raised garden boxes on the prepared area of cardboard, leaving wheelbarrow width walkways all around them. Peg the boxes to the ground.

Filling Your Raised Garden Beds

1. Cover the wet cardboard inside the raised boxes with a thin layer of coffee grounds. This benefits fruits and vegetables in a similar way to what nitrogen does. Coffee grounds obtained at no cost, from coffee shops can also be used later as a top sprinkling to enhance growth.

2. Next add any layer of manure at this stage but not too thick. Horse manure from quality stables is good, as these horses have a very good balanced diet. Alternatively, use sheep pellets or chicken manure. The soil that chickens have turned over in their yards can also be added here.

3. Next you can add a thick layer of compost dirt. See the compost section to learn how best to make this, otherwise, buy some from the garden center.

4. On top of that, you can add a layer of potting mix if you are planting seeds or want a finer soil to plant your seedlings directly into.

5. A layer of organic wood chips, leaf mulch, or year old calf shed cleanings tucked in between plants after you have planted, keeps the top soil darkened to allow the worms to come up around all your plants and stops weed seeds germinating. The worms leave their fresh worm juice right there beside your plants.

6. Prior to planting anything in your new garden boxes, give these layers of soil a gentle soak with the best water you can find, and leave them to settle for a week or so, watering daily. This encourages the worms, insects and bug life to take up residence and work their magic in your soil.

Beneficial Additions To Your Soil Layers

1. If you have access to them, a thin layer of wilted comfrey leaves laid on top of the coffee grounds provides valuable nutrients. We grow two large controlled clumps of this, so a source of compost material lays under our fruit trees. This is a prolific, powerful medicinal plant but needs cutting to wilt in the sun first to stop it taking root and spreading throughout your garden.

2. Then to tune into the magnetic field of the earth, you can sprinkle a thin layer of paramagnetic rock dust on the compost. Paramagnetic rock dust can also be added to compost mixes in about 1:10. You may need to search for a supplier near you.

3. Liquid chicken, sheep or cow manures, worm juice or diluted seaweed liquid are all very beneficial manures to add to your garden. The dilution needs to be weak to avoid burning the plants. These dilutions and rates of applications are easily found on the web.

4. We watered our cabbages twice a week with liquid cow manure (one cow pat to a large bucket of water), when we were dairying in the perfect growing climate of Wairoa and grew giant species of cabbages. The outer leaves reached waist height and the hearts were huge! We felt like we had unlocked a secret from Eden!

Pest Control And Ways to Provide For Beneficial Insects And Animals

1.When you plant your cabbage, cauliflowers or broccoli, make a bamboo A frame shape and drape fine white mesh over the plants, to save having to spray for white butterfly.

2. Keeping ducks on your walkways ensures the snails and annoying bugs are eliminated, but you will need to cut some plastic mesh to make a small fence inside the garden boxes, that the ducks can’t get over, to protect the vegetables in your garden boxes. You may need to clip one wing on your ducks if they fly. Feed the ducks kibbled maize, after they have eaten from the walkways.

We have a drake and three ducks and rear the ducklings for meat and have eggs for baking. Peeking and Muscovey are good eating ducks and make a beautiful feature in the garden when they float in the pond. The water they bathe in is excellent to water the gardens with. We give them clean water every day.

3. Make a space full of rocks to encourage frogs and geckos to come to live in, as they can deal with bugs and pests also. Frogs love a small pond.

Insect Life

1. If you really want to be kind to your insect friends, you can make a watered down molasses solution to sprinkle on top of your newly created garden. Do this after your garden’s first watering. This will feed all the worms, bugs and the bee colonies that are going to do the gardening for you, as they love that little bit of sugar content..

2. Bees have a memory of where they get good water and the sweetest nectar, so if you cater for their needs it ensures you get good visitation when you need them for pollinating. They have a good memory and will bring their friends back with them. The wonderful tasting fruits you grow will also attract the bees, thus ensuring pollination when you grow fruits all year round.

3. Plant many blue and purple plants like lavender and make sure you grow colorful flowers to attract the bees throughout the season. Provide a water bath for both birds and bees for resting and drinking. Planting lavender under the windows of your house helps keep those pesky mosquitoes at bay and brings the bees across. This ensures they find all the plants that need polination as they fly back out of your garden.

Water Retention Walkways

1. Box up the far sides of all the walkways around your garden beds enabling them to hold 8 to 12 inches deep of either untreated sawdust, calf shed wood chips, or tree and leaf mulch from your local tree removal firm. Avoid pine mulch.

2. Another way to get a good walkway filler is to ask to clean out horse boxes at stables. You will receive unlimited access to good untreated woodchips, complete with horse urine.

These walkways become large worm breeding areas and the next year are ready to become the compost material for your garden beds. You then just refill your walkways annually.

3. The rain water is held in the fibrous wood materials in the walkways and seeps into your garden beds as they need it. When it rains you collect all the run-off across your section in these walkways and this way you are collecting water for your garden for a future drought.

When we made our walkways, we spirit leveled them to hold water evenly along their full length. The paper and cardboard being thicker in the walkways and up the sides keeps the water in for as long as possible.

4. The outside edges of your planned garden area planted with fruit trees close to the walkways enables them to enjoy the wonderful moisture from your walkways too.

5. Lay any tree branches, mulch or grass clippings under your trees and watch the wonderful forest floor develop there. Better still, feed the grass clippings to the chickens first and watch them make beautiful compost soil out of it.

6. This forest floor soil is excellent to grow seedlings in, mixed with potting mix. Mushrooms can also grow in this rich moist atmosphere under the trees.


1. Soils love compost that have a 1 part nitrogen to a 25 part carbon ratio. Making compost in this ratio, ensures your stack will not sink down to half the size, but stay the size you made it. Just add layers and layers in this ratio, and cover the stack until it is ready. Properly made it will be ready in a couple of months but it is more common to leave it six months to a year.

2. Nitrogen equates to the hot things such as manures or road kill and the carbon equates to the dry wood based matter such as dry grass clippings, dry wood chips, paper, cardboard, or dry tree mulch.

3. A compost made in this ratio is a source of hot water for a shower. Wrap black polythene pipe around and through your compost, connect it to a hose and shower head and there you can have a shower in the garden before heading home.

Leaf Curl and Fungi

1. Copper tacks in the trunks of your fruit trees stops leaf curl and flea collars around the base of your apple trees can stop the apple moth that climbs up the tree before it mates with the ones that flies into the tree.

2. Fungi send out a filament underground, like an internet connection to every tree and plant in your garden so anything you do anywhere in your garden affects the entire area. Your garden is a living, communicating entity.

Harvesting and Replanting

1. Only cut the tops of vegetables like cauliflowers and broccoli when you harvest. Leave the roots in the ground for the soil life to break down, as the rotting roots make good water walkways deeper into the ground.

2. When replanting, just make a small hole, add a bit of compost dirt, then plant your new plant or seeds without disturbing the soil life too much. The soil stays soft and workable if you keep adding mulch to the top and keep the moisture levels right.

3. Your garden will be very lush using no dig, no spray, no weeds, no bugs, urban permaculture garden technology and needing only minimal watering to produce delicious fruits and vegetables. The mulch on the top of the soil slows down the evaporation rate of the available water.

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A Few Simple Things That People Can Do For The Care For Their Lawn And Garden

Having a nice family home is a wonderful thing compared to just having the family live in a big condominium in the city. Now having a big family home is even better because it provides enough living space for all of the family members. Now when we say big family home, one of the features it will surely have is a big lawn and garden. This feature of a family home provides a nice space for rest and recreation, and like they say “the family that plays together, stays together”. Therefore, proper care for lawn and garden is a definite must.

To be able to keep the beauty of a lawn and garden so that the family can have a nice space for rest and play, here are a few simple things that people can do.

For the lawn, it is essential to also keep in mind that the top soil also needs care and protection. When mowing the grass, it will be good to make sure not to cut it too short that the top soil will be partially exposed. This is very important for the top soil so that it will be less susceptible to erosion because having the grass at a good or right length will give the top soil good cover from the harsh sun. This is especially important for those who live in places where the hot months can truly be – hot. Keeping the top soil healthy will help the grass and all of the plants in the garden to grow healthier because a healthy soil will encourage the roots to grow deeper.

For watering your lawn and garden, one of the best practices for this is to give water in the morning and not in the afternoon. Giving the plants and the grass water in the morning will give them good protection later on when the sun gets very hot. Watering the plants and the grass in the afternoon can actually cause damage to the greenery. Although the plants and especially the grass can survive really hot days, giving them water when they are overheated can be a shocking experience. Remember these are also living things.

Doing these things should be a good help to your lawn and garden especially if you live in a place where the weather can get really hot. You can also find other tips from other people that may also be of great help in keeping your greens at home very healthy.

You can also get help and advice from professionals to ensure that your lawn and garden will be as pretty as can be. After all, getting help from professionals in lawn and garden care is a good way to guarantee that your greenery will get proper treatment.

How To Save Worms And Soil Life During Flooding Of Your Garden

An interesting discovery enabled this article on how to save worms and soil life during flooding of your garden. Two years ago after learning urban permaculture gardening, and turning a whole town property into a food forest, something very interesting happened that shed light on a wonderful way how to save worms and soil life during flooding of your garden.

After adding a lot of local natural materials, like horse manure, wood chips from calf shed cleanings, tree and leaf mulch, hen manure, sheep manure, seaweed, and many other organic nutrients to the gardens, setting up water retention walkways filled with mulch, and vegetable filled, no dig, no weed garden boxes and planting many double grafted fruit trees, delicious fruits and vegetables grew prolifically.

Following urban permaculture tips, covering soil with straw, wood chips, or leaf mulch, this encouraged worm activity to the very surface, and held the soil moisture in. This year a very thick layer, nearly two feet thick covered all the garden beds, tucked in around plants and trees.

The indoor pot plants also had worms and mulch added, and just before every flood, the indoor worms would leave their pots and go walkabout along the carpet. Interestingly, they were in tune with the outdoor worms who were migrating to a safer place with the impending weather conditions.

After a very long drought this year, the rain finally came and then came the flooding. The difference this year was all the worms had somewhere to go that was above the level of the surface flooding! They were in tight balls in the very top of the straw and hay, about a foot above the soil and water. They were dry, warm and safe. No doubt many other beneficial bugs and insects found refuge there too. This year it seemed no worm or soil life was lost to rain or surface flooding.

When the rain stopped and the ground dried, our worm life simply slipped quietly back to their homes underground, and as the ground continued to dry out, beneficial watering by hand kept the worm and soil life healthy.

We now wonder where do the worms and soil life go in serious flooding and how often have we lost many beneficial creatures by our old ways of gardening? And how much top soil do we lose to flooding and how many nutrients washed away through not covering the ground with mulch?

Forests live for many years without any intervention from man, simply through recycling waste materials. A forest floor is thick with leaf mulch which keeps in the moisture and feeds the ground. This layer provides a wonderful haven for all soil life in any weather.

We only need to copy nature in this way, and water with the best water we can find, to reap great rewards from our gardens. We invite you to take a look below if you want to learn more. It is so rewarding, you will be glad you looked.

I hope you enjoyed learning how to save worms and soil life during flooding of your garden, as much as I did sharing it with you.

The writer is a health and well-being enthusiast and has discovered that structured water as produced by the best water filter does miracles to people’s health, delivers an amazing yield from self grown fruit and vegetables and reduces overall usage.