Few Things About Oregano Seeds and Herb Gardens

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Oregano is an aromatic plant native to the Mediterranean area. It can be used fresh or dry in foods, salads or as a natural remedy (gastrointestinal or respiratory problems).

The plant likes to grow in places with a lot of sun, but it also can be grown indoor in pots as long as it receives enough light. Oregano needs bright light, so when it is cultivated indoors it should be kept near eastern or southern window (but with filtered light in the afternoon).

It needs to be watered regularly but not excessively; the soil shouldn’t dry out between waterings, but even if it does, this will not cause any harm because oregano is very resistant to drought.

The soil must be aerated, well drained. If needed, use a diluted liquid fertilizer.

Oregano is multiplied by seeds, cuttings or seedlings if you want to have it all the timet.

The organically grown herb seeds germinate hard. A healthy plant will quickly consume the soil from the pot, so it’s possible that it needs to be transfered into a larger pot. Transfer should be done at about 6 months, if needed. The pot needs to have up to 6 inches diameter.

The oregano leaves can be used fresh, but they do not have a very intense flavor, so they have to be dried as the aroma is stronger. They can be stored in sealed jars.

The taste is slightly bitter and the flavor is complex, with a spicy-bitter touch.

At the beginning of autumn, oregano is in full splendor, all good to harvest and laid out to dry. Harvest in nice, warm weather, between morning and midday, after disappearing the last drops of dew.

Cut 9 inch sprigs with scissors or a knife, and let them dry in thin layers, in a well ventilated room. Turn the plants on the other side 2-3 times daily, otherwise they blacken and lose the aroma and healing qualities. Drying mistakes lead to decomposition of the vitamin C, and the loss of nearly all of the essential oil that evaporates pretty quickly.

It can be used successfully, both to flavor oils and vinegars as well as salads.

Its aroma is suitable for any kind of cheese and steak, grilled meat, meat and pasta sauces. Adding it to egg preparations make them more appetizing and digestible.

Butter rubbed with oregano leaves is excellent in combination with boiled fish, rice with scallops or crayfish and sauteed vegetables. It is best associated with broccoli and other green plants, carrots, zucchini, lentils, potatoes and tomatoes.

Together with basil oregano is characteristic to Italian cuisine. Pasta sauce will receive a special taste if you add oregano.

Pizza is the most known oregano dish, which made it famous and universally known.

Moreover, oregano is considered indispensable in Mediterranean cuisine, as in the Mexican one. Its popularity is due to the fact that it enhances the taste of the tomato soup, beans, grilled sirloin, roasted lamb, salads and other shrimp dishes, cooked in typical spicy style of the Mediterranean area.

How to Make the Most Out of a Small Garden Space

Who wouldn’t love to have their own version of the secret garden or a miniature replica of The Garden of Versailles in their own backyard?

Most of us do want to have that magical and peaceful sanctuary even at the back of our homes but some of us can’t achieve it simply because our place is too small to accommodate our chosen landscape setting.

Many garden design books have shared tips on how to achieve that dream garden – the principles, rules and elements that all contribute into creating a really wonderful garden you can be proud of. However, most tips provided are only applicable for those who have a huge space to work on.

Gardening in a small space has many limitations but it shouldn’t be a hindrance in transforming a small piece of land into a landscape masterpiece. The key is just to use the available space and use it well.

The advantages of having a small garden include the following:

You can give attention to every garden detail

Having a small garden can actually give the gardener a chance to fully explore the depths of the garden. You can give full attention because you don’t need to check on a very large space and every area can be checked even just in a short period of time.

You can keep up with the maintenance

Maintaining a garden can be very hard at times, especially when you’re on a budget. Having a small garden lessens the chances of having to spend too much on garden maintenance. Instead of spending a lot of money maintaining the garden, you can invest instead on more pieces or ideas that can further improve and beautify the garden.

You can make it as an entertainment or leisure space

Having a small garden in your backyard can actually give you that quiet space you will eventually need. Having a large garden requires a lot of work but a small space for a garden can provide you leisure while you tend to it personally, without having the need to hire gardeners, lawn-mowers and a large creative team for its landscape because you can all do it on your own.

The real task in making the most out of your small garden space, however, is to face the challenge of landscaping that comes with it.

Making choices of what to accommodate

Having a limited space also means having to choose what elements to include in your garden. You can have everything in a very small space so you have to choose carefully what plants to include, what garden ornaments to put, and among other decisions, you have to make to ensure that your garden may be small but it won’t be trashy.

Your garden is seen as a whole

Having a small garden means that people can see whatever is in it in a glance. Visitors don’t have to explore too far just to see what plants and elements you have included on your garden and so, the challenge lies on having people see your garden as a whole, including all of its compositions. So you really have to be careful not to miss on certain things that can really destroy the balance of your small garden space.

Every feature should serve a purpose

Every little part of the garden must have a purpose why it was included there because nothing should ever go to waste on your small garden space. So ignore that impulse to buy a plant or a garden ornament, thinking you will just find a place for it just to have. Every acquisition must have a purpose.

So, having that limited garden space should not hinder you from having a landscape masterpiece. Instead, you should take it as a challenge – a challenge to go out of the box and make the most out of your small garden space.

What to Consider in Buying Plants for Small Gardens

So you want to have that dream garden but don’t have the luxury of space? You want to have a magical and peaceful sanctuary even at the back of your home but can’t decide well what to include in your garden because you have so little space?

Well, the difficulty of the problem actually lies in choosing the plants you will actually include in your garden. You really need to choose the best plants that would serve their purpose in your garden and not just simply decide what plants to have on an impulse and without proper discernment.

Before you decide to buy plants or plant those needed things in your dream garden, you need to come up with a checklist or a guide for you to be able to choose wisely and for you to achieve the transformation of your small piece of land into a landscaping masterpiece.

Does it suit your budget?

Maintaining a small garden should be less costly than its bigger counterparts and so, you should have that idea of not having to spend more on the less space that you have. You have to check whether you have the budget for the plants you will buy or whether you have what it takes economically speaking to maintain them.

Does it suit your planned design?

If you plan on having that Zen garden style incorporated in your garden, then it is only proper that you buy plants that are also related to your theme. Buying plants that don’t actually suit your garden style might destroy the balance and the overall composition of your garden and so you must be careful in conceptualizing what style you want to incorporate, more so, be more careful on what plants to include.

Does it fit in the size of your garden?

Having a small garden also means choosing to put small plants or plants that won’t appear oversized in your little space. The challenge of putting up with a small space lies in having to position your plants accordingly without making your garden look cluttered. And so, the size of the plant you must buy must also be in sync with the size of your garden.

Does it have to be so colorful?

You can start with choosing plants according to three color classifications only. Do you plan on having a garden dominated by red, yellow and white? Then choose plants that would also be classified in your color preferences. Having a theme is so much better because you can break down what kinds of plants you can actually put and there won’t be too much diversity. Too much diversity on your color preferences will make your garden look cluttered and less refined. Instead of having a wonderful display, you might just end up having a garden of mess.

Does it have the ability to survive your setting?

Before buying your plant, one important thing to consider is the plants adaptability to your setting. You should really know what plants will thrive in your area and decide on buying those plants. Buying a plant that can’t survive your area might just cause harm to your plant until it eventually withers. So spare yourself the hassle of spending on a plant that can’t survive in your garden setting and start looking for plants that will have that long lasting appeal.

If you are even serious about having a garden with just little space, now is the time you start conceptualizing and thinking what plants to include, keeping in mind that you should be able to create a landscape masterpiece with the little space you have. Choose your plants wisely and achieve that garden you’ve always been dreaming of.

Fall Gardening Tips for the San Diego Gardener

fall gardenSummer is ending soon and for many gardeners, fall is not their favorite season of the year. After all, springtime is the favorite season of the year. It is the time when humans and plants alike love to welcome the warm rays of sunshine. Every living object seems to joyously sprout in this time of the year. However, fall should not hinder you from continuing to nurture a garden. In fact, fall season can have its perks when it comes to gardening.

Take Advantage of Deals in Farmer’s Markets and Garden Centers

Since many people do not find fall as an ideal season to plant, many remainder plants are put up on sales in farmer’s markets and garden centers. Yes, they may look lonely and forgotten in racks but you can always have the choice to take them home and find them a good pace to grow. These plants need nurturing and would do better if planted in gardens than for them to be left on racks.

End of season sales are numerous by late summer. You can find annuals and perennials on sale. Although annuals are good, it would be best to choose perennials instead. They would have greater chances of surviving and thriving during fall season compared to annuals. The good thing about buying plants during sales is that you can always haggle for the price especially if the plant does not look as healthy as it should be.

In addition to plants, many garden tools are also on sale during this time so it would be a good way to invest on several gardening tools especially on expensive ones. You can expect to save as much as 50% or even bigger. Some sellers would even offer “Buy one, get one” deals on plants and small gardening tools.

Fall is Actually an Ideal Season for Planting

autumn gardenNot many people realize this but fall actually makes an ideal time for re-planting, transplanting and planting bulbs. During this time, the ground is warmer and the heat of the sun is not that scorching. When the soil is warm, it is easier to dig and it encourages root growth. Since the heat is not that intense, it would not easily leave the foliage to dry quickly. Plants do not require to be watered as frequently as during summer time.

Young trees, when transplanted during end of summer up to fall, would have greater chances of thriving. Same goes when perennial plants will be divided and re-planted. Bulbs should be planted during falls season in order for them to sprout just in time for spring season. It would be good for perennials and trees to be planted during fall so their roots can have ample time to take hold before winter season freezes them.

Cold Frames and Hot Beds to the Rescue

There are always ways to nurture your plants no matter what the season of the year is. For instance, cold frames can be employed to protect plants from too much cold or from excessive exposure to wet season. It looks like a mini greenhouse with transparent covers or walls to let the light penetrate in.

A hot bed, on the other hand, uses fresh horse manure topped with soil as a garden bed. The decomposition of fresh horse manure releases heat in the ground which protects the plant’s roots from excessive cold. Hot beds are commonly used from fall to winter seasons to help plants survive.

If you want to know more about gardening tips and tricks, it would be best to ask local gardeners in your area. They are familiar with your area’s climate and can also refer resources you need for fall gardening.

Photo Credits: kbowenwritersharon_k

Fertilizer 101: Keeping Your Plants Healthy

plantingIn order to maintain a beautiful-looking or productive garden, you must know that it also takes a lot of effort and patience. You have to put an extra effort in your garden and assess what your garden needs are. Unlike animals and human beings, plants manufacture their own food.

Plants undergo the process called photosynthesis in making their own food. They harness the sun’s rays, water and minerals from the soil for photosynthesis to occur. Plants needs to nourish themselves too with minerals and nutrients but sometimes these things are lacking or have already depleted from the soil that plants have an insufficiency of it.

If these nutrients and minerals are lacking from the soil, your garden plants will not look as healthy as they were supposed to be. This is the part where we put or apply fertilizers to make the soil “fertile” again with the minerals and nutrients that plants need. By doing this, you will be sure that your plants are taking sufficient nutrients for them to grow healthier and greener and more productive.

Fertilizers: Need to Know

It is not as simple as you think fertilizing is. You have to consider some things first before you apply a certain fertilizer, when is the right time in applying it, the process of fertilizer application and most of all, the type or kind of fertilizer to be used.

There are 16 primary elements that plants need in order to grow and be healthy and productive. These primary elements include nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and are called macronutrients; the 13 other elements that plants need are called micronutrients. These elements are found in different percentages in different types of fertilizers available in the market today.

Basic Tips in Fertilizing

In applying fertilizers to your garden you should consider these tips to make it easier for you:

  • Soil testing kit. To make sure that you are to go on the right track, it is best that you purchase a soil testing kit to test the soil in the soil bed after it has been tilled.
  • Soil pH level. This is very important to know before you apply fertilizers. If your soil pH is acidic or has a pH of 5.8 or lower, add lime to your garden to balance it. If, on the other hand, your soil is basic or alkaline or has a pH level of 7.2 and higher, you should add aluminum sulfate to the soil.
  • Fertilize when needed. Fertilize your garden depending on the level of nutrients present in the soil. Apply fertilizers to the base of the plants to get it directly to the roots.
  • Go organic. You can use organic fertilizers if you want or prefer. Follow the directions for use in each pack or bag carefully to achieve desired effects and balance nutrients in the soil.

How To: Gardening in San Francisco Soil

soilPlants need more than just water and good temperature to survive. Anyone who has ever gardened knows the importance of a good soil. Whatever it is that you decide to plant will be more likely to thrive if you know the type of soil it should be planted into.

Dealing with San Francisco soil offers lots of challenges for the San Francisco gardener. Basically, the type of soil in San Francisco is greatly affected by the environmental climate.

If you live in a particular area with a soil type that already contains lots of organic matter, then you are lucky enough to start your own garden. If you reside in San Francisco and plan to create your own garden, it is important that you are knowledgeable of certain details such as the following:

Certain Rules Apply

Decide on which type of garden you would want to create. It mainly depends on the location and what type of garden activity you would like to pursue. Home garden, Rooftop garden, Garden on privately-owned land, etc. Research on the codes and regulations governing gardening in San Francisco. Some require a permit before starting certain operations.

San Francisco has Micro-climates

Some of them are known as sunny, foggy, and transition. That’s just to name a few. Choose the right types of plants to grow by researching first before buying.

Watch Out for Fungal Diseases Due to the Cold Weather

The damp condition causes powdery mildew, a fungal disease which a particular problem in edible crops. Be prepared for certain conditions by reading and knowing how to prevent or cure such occurrence.

Keep an Eye on Garden Weeds

Some of the weeds that grow in your fences can be very difficult to remove. It is best to get rid of them in the earliest time possible. Make sure to be blanket mulching as well.

Growing Flowers in San Francisco Requires Patience and Caution

Watering roses should always be underneath and never over head to minimize fungal diseases.

Growing Vegetables Issues

Growing veggies such as broccoli, carrots, and radishes won’t be much of a hassle even when the climate gets foggy. Whereas tomatoes, basil, and corn require sunnier areas.

Growing Tropical Plants Take a Long Process

Growing tropical plants such as bamboo, ferns, orchids, palm trees and banana leaf plants require a process. These should be planted early in early spring time (on the last cold day) so that they can adapt in the coldness of winter. Always choose to grow this type of plants in a sheltered location. Cover these plants when winter season comes.

These are few of the things that you need to know when planning to pursue a gardening activity in San Francisco. From the rules, the cold summer fog, to the lack of summer heat, every San Francisco gardener should be ready to face these challenges.

Beautiful Asymmetry: Zen Garden

Japanese Zen GardenIf you are a fan of oriental culture, you can actually make it close to you or in other word, within your garden. Asian culture inspired gardens are paving its way to the rest of the world today. For example the Japanese inspired Zen garden.

If you want to create a landscape or scenario that has a taste of the orient with it, you have to consider a few things first. There are basic elements that can be found in a Zen garden and will create an environment like that of old age Kyoto.

The primary focus in an oriental inspired garden is nature. A Japanese garden mimics and follows the designs of nature. Simplifying this, geometric shapes and presence of artificial stones and structures are not common in an Asian or more specifically, a Japanese Zen garden.

The Elements

The Japanese garden focuses on nature, as earlier discussed. Thus, this also focuses on the basic elements found in nature. There are four essential elements found in an oriental gardenrocks, water, plants and ornaments. When assembled together, these elements will bring your home just like in the sceneries of Japan.

Design Formation

When making your landscape look like that of a Zen garden, it is always best to put in mind the basic principles in making it. The Japanese garden includes things and principles like asymmetry, enclosure, borrowed scenery, symbolism and most of all balance. Asian and oriental gardens are a great example of balance.

Points to Remember

These are few Japanese Zen garden inspired landscaping tips for you to apply in your garden:

  • Stay simple. Japanese gardens are a highlight because of the use of natural paving materials like stones and gravel that will make your garden look more natural.
  • Be free. In making or landscaping a Zen inspired garden, avoid straight lines and emphasize free-form and non-geometrical shapes.
  • Good plant selection. Choose plants that are of evergreen varieties and in various shapes and sizes and even texture.
  • Trees. A Japanese garden has trees in it which symbolizes endurance and strength.
  • Add-ons. You can install bamboo water sprouts or waterfalls and even Koi ponds and other water features to make your garden look more Japanese.
  • Infrastructures. If you have a wide and have a Koi pond, you can make or build a bridge that is made up of wood that creates an arch over your pond. This will make your garden even more oriental and has a space for you and your visitors to look around and appreciate the garden.

Always remember the key elements and principles in making and landscaping an Oriental or Japanese Zen inspired garden and you will be in the right track.

The Zen Garden

zen gardenDid you know gardening and landscaping is also very helpful in keeping a sound mind and a healthy body? Some research show that those people who indulge in gardening tend to live a healthier life that those who do not. Landscaping is not just for the satisfaction of people’s eyes, it has also has other benefits.

Would you believe that you actually get healthy or healthier when you do your favorite past time? And it’s not just that, you are also making your surroundings beautiful. We will reveal the magic in gardening that you are enjoying or will be enjoying (that is if you are not into gardening but will be into gardening once you finish reading this article).

Keeping a Healthy Body

Yes, in gardening and landscaping you are also maintaining a healthy body. We all know that a garden and landscape maintenance requires a lot of effort and hard work. By maintaining the aesthetic value and beauty of your garden, you, as the owner, would be required to do the maintenance or else you would be spending money on hiring a gardener to do the job.

We exert effort in gardening and landscaping in a regular basis that it has become a routine for some people. This routine of putting effort and working hard is like exercising while you enjoy your garden. And here’s the magic in it – you don’t even realize that you have been doing rigorous exercises the whole time.

Stress Buster

At times when you think that life is just too complicated or when you have tons of problem at home or work, you become so stressed. Most people, especially women, tend to go to their gardens and pour out all the frustrations in garden work. And it’s like magic that they tend to forget and much better think of solutions to their problems.

It can be explained that when a person is into gardening, his or her concentration is poured into the work and not into the problem. Adding up to that is the fact that the landscape or scenery is beautiful and relaxing which also helps calm down a person’s feelings and emotions. If this happens, stress is released and the mind and brain is relaxed.

Beauty to the Heart

Stress relief, as discussed earlier, helps calm our system. When a person maintains or does gardening, he or she is most likely to be freed from that stress. A stress-free mind helps maintain a healthy heart.

As science explains, the human body is interconnected. A person’s emotions can trigger other body parts to function abnormally, like the heart. When someone is stressed out of is having a bad and stressful day, the brain triggers the heart to pump harder and thus elevating blood pressure that may sometimes be fatal.

Keeping a garden or staring at a beautiful landscape can help relieve these problems. Plus, it also helps the environment by cleaning the air we breathe!

It’s so beneficial to keep and make your own landscaped garden!

The Thrifty Gardener: Learning the Third Letter of the Environmental Mantra

thrifty gardening

Photo Credits: (1) anarchitec’s Flickr photostream
(2) No Drips! By ajourneytoadream.blogspot.co.uk

There are three letters in this popular mantra: Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. We are about to learn the depth of the third word, Recycle. But read along and learn how all three can be applied in the basics of gardening.

Some of us might be a little hesitant to head out and make our own dream garden probably because we find it financially impractical. But hey, do you know that all we need are a few tips and tricks to ignite our creativity and imagination? We can find them almost everywhere!

Creating a beautiful garden doesn’t have to put a hole in our pockets. It is true that we can’t avoid spending for gardening materials, but it doesn’t mean that we have to be extravagant when making choices on what to purchase. With these simple tips, we will surely enjoy our simple nature-loving hobby without emptying our wallets.

Start Up by Gathering Resources

Find helpful tips and suggestions in the internet, magazines, books, or from people who are experienced in gardening.

  • A lot of unused household items can be recycled for functional and decorative purposes in the garden. Look around the house. It’s would be an excellent idea if you can use anything that you can find within your surroundings. This would mean that you don’t need to spend extra cash in buying things that are already present in your own backyard.
  • It’s okay to use second-hand gardening equipment (like pots and tools) which you can get from thrifty shops. However, if you plan to buy new materials make sure to have store options for comparison of prices.
  • Plastic bottles are recently on the top spot of every gardener’s recycled tool. They happen to be very useful as pots and watering containers. Besides, bottle garden seem to be trending nowadays.

Add Character To Your Garden

  • “Garden blings” are those that add color and fun to a garden. Unused CDs and aluminum plates are also useful as reflective objects, which can also help in scaring birds if you don’t want them anywhere near your garden.
  • If you love seeing birds in your backyard; recycled lumber or wood, cans, and other household cast-offs can be used as bird cages.
  • Garden fences can be made out of scrap wood. Make it look vibrant by applying in some paint.
  • You can use different rocks and form them into stepping stones or mosaics. For garden paths, the easiest available materials are broken concretes. Lay the pieces together like a puzzle or create patterns depending on your interest.

Plan it Out

If you are a beginner, plan out for easy and simple gardening strategies. What’s important is that you take time to figure out something attainable so that you won’t end up frustrated and empty-handed. It takes creativity and resourcefulness to make your dream garden a reality.

Gardeners are believed to be creative people. More than being nurturing individuals, gardeners are also practical in terms of their resources. The act of recycling in the world of gardening plays a vital role in the conservation of the environment.

Who would ever think that the 3R-mantra (Reduce – Reuse – Recycle) would be this efficient? We have fun, we learn and most of all we become productive people by practicing these simple tips. So what are we waiting for? Let’s build our own dream garden now.

Landscaping 101

GardenThe process or activity which includes creating an environment that has been modified to look beautiful in a piece of land area is called landscaping. This art requires a lot of skill patience to achieve the desired outcome. Imagination and creativity is also very essential qualities that a landscapist, a person who does landscaping, need to have.

Getting Started

At this stage of getting started in landscaping, the skill that is most important would be your imaginative skills and creativity. This is very essential in planning and conceptualizing what your supposedly modified area would look like. The look and appearance of you landscape depends on how you think and imagine it to be.

Planning on getting started also requires the landscapist to be very resourceful. This is essential because various materials and plants would be needed to complete and accomplish the process of landscaping. Without good resources, the landscape you would be accomplishing would look so bare and lifeless.

Putting into Detail

This is the next step in the process of landscaping. Once all materials and resources you would need in your modification and gardening is ready, you are good to go. This step in here requires patience and hard work.

Sometimes you would also need help in accomplishing a project if you think that you can’t do it by yourself or if you think that you are not skilled enough to do the work required to make beautiful scenery in your backyard or lawn. If you do this, you would also be assured that what you put in your landscape is the way you want it to turn out.

Maintenance Madness

Completing a beautiful landscape can never be achieved in an instant. It requires time because some of the elements you place in your garden need time to grow like plants. Also, other elements you install may need more time to look like it was just there naturally and not installed. This is the most essential part in keeping and accomplishing a successful landscaped garden.

Maintaining a landscape is not an easy task. You have to check on your garden on a regular basis and see what is needed like watering the plant and pulling out weeds that may destroy the look of your garden.

The Satisfaction

When you accomplish a beautiful garden, there exists joy and satisfaction in your part. This feeling comes from the pride of having done or created something that is very aesthetically beautiful. Much more satisfaction and feeling of pride would be achieved when people appreciate your garden. That would mean that you are successful in what you finished.