Archive for March, 2014
In a time when saving money and being healthy are of equal importance, more and more people are returning to their own gardens to grow their food. However, once the soil has been turned and prepared there are a myriad of often confusing choices when it comes to varieties and seeds. While modern hybrid varieties are faster growing and often seen as less expensive, the benefits of heirloom seeds can be seen in the growing trend toward its use.
What are heirloom seeds?
Heirloom seeds are defined as coming from an old or original cultivar and which growers continue to maintain. For many organic gardeners, the ultimate goal is to have a truly unmodified plant that has genetically withstood generations of cultivation. For others, it’s the novelty of experiencing colors, flavors, and types of plants we are no longer accustomed to.
Tasting the difference
How often have you tasted an apple or a tomato from a supermarket and complained about the lack of flavor? The ability of modern varietals to withstand long term storage often comes at the cost of flavor, texture, and scent. Heirloom seeds generally give rise to full flavored fruit that are intended to be eaten (or preserved) when they are at their best.
Collecting and using heirloom seeds is a very simple way to preserve our environmental history. As our society becomes more and more technologically driven and the borders between countries disappear, the plants our ancestors grew are beginning to disappear as well. Preserving the plants – both edible and non-edible – of our past help us to ensure our future.
Pleasure of produce
One of the greatest benefits of heirloom seeds, is perhaps one of the least recognized. There is a lot of pleasure to be derived from a hobby that involves such hands-on involvement. Once you have grown and consumed the vegetable – or enjoyed the flower – you should preserve the seeds for the next season.
Many gardeners split their seeds into two lots. One group of seeds is intended for pure preservation – the idea is to not allow any type of cross pollination in order to retain the strains historical genetics. The other group are planted outside and allowed to cross pollinate naturally via birds, insects and wind. Considered natural modification, this can result in new, hardier strains while retaining the plant’s integrity.
Some gardeners, new to heirloom seeds, complain about the lack of hardiness in the resulting plants. More often than not, however, the problem revolves around suitability in the location. If a plant does not grow ‘naturally’ in your area, perhaps it is the climate and soil that are the problem and not the seeds. After all, in natural circumstances, you would not try to grow a pineapple in Antarctica.
Most gardeners, however, find the benefits of heirloom seeds far outweigh the challenges. Moreover, once they realize purple carrots and yellow tomatoes are not only beautiful, but delicious, they are no longer satisfied with the offerings in their local supermarket.
Homeowners tend to pay more attention to their front yard’s design over their backyard. True, it’s on the frontline in adding beauty to your home’s exterior but there are merits in making sure your backyard gets properly landscaped as well.
With a good design idea in mind, proper planning and quality construction, you can make your backyard space an excellent multipurpose area for entertainment, recreation and relaxation.
You don’t have to stress out too much on the cost once you decide to overhaul your backyard since there are many ways to tackle a landscaping project while sticking to a budget. After all, you can always go for a DIY approach, but more on that later. Right now, here are helpful landscaping tips to get you started on your backyard design.
Come Up With a Design
Before you can transform your backyard into an enjoyable space, it’s important to first come up with a design. It doesn’t matter if your backyard space is small or big, there’s always a design to fit your requirements.
Know that inspiration is everywhere; you can go online and browse for backyard landscaping tips, read home/yard decorating magazines, consult a landscaping artist, involve your family or friends in the project and gather their suggestions, or perhaps, take a quick look at your neighbour’s yard for concepts.
Nowadays, many homeowners go for unique and playful themes while others stick to a traditional, laid-back vibe. It’s ultimately up to you how you would want your backyard to look like although it’s recommended to have everything in cohesion and in proper placement.
Go for Quality Materials
Expert landscape professionals recommend timeless backyard designs. To do that, you have buy durable yet low-maintenance materials. Be sure to canvas several reliable suppliers in your area and compare their prices before making a purchase.
Because backyards commonly come with a garden, you may want to consider growing organic food and herbs. Organic produce are expensive to purchase so if you have some in your own yard, you can definitely save on your food shopping expenses. Start by growing those that you and your family eat the most.
Complete your Backyard Landscape Project in Stages
Don’t rush landscaping; doing it in stages is more beneficial not only to your budget but also to your backyard’s design.
A backyard overhaul is naturally costly, even if you’re doing it on your own, you will still be spending a rather large amount of money to turn your yard into a functional and impressive space. When you do it one step at a time, you will find time to recuperate your expenses and save up for the next addition – a swimming pool, a barbecue grill, a decorative pathway or maybe a fountain.
Also, a phased completion will give you the chance to step back and check out your progress. You may have invested enough planning time and effort onto your design but still, it’s advised to break free from the project every once in a while. It would allow you to notice design flaws you will probably miss if you’re too absorbed in finishing your backyard’s landscape.