Monthly Archives: April 2013

DIY: Homemade Organic Pesticides for Your Garden

Homemade Pesticides

Organic farming includes the use of organic pesticides – those that are not chemically-prepared. It is the one of the key elements of organic farming. This comes hand in hand with the use of other natural products like organic herbicides, organic fertilizers and more.

The best thing about the use of organic pesticides is that it comes from nature and is not harmful to human and animal health when consumed, and is not harmful to the soil as well. Unlike artificially-prepared or chemical-based pesticides, it comes from nature itself. It is also as effective as chemical pesticides when used and prepared correctly.

You can actually make your own organic pesticides at home. This will save you money and you will be guaranteed that it has the right mixture or the things you need. You can also use teach other farmers and promote organic farming in your community.

Organic pesticides are proven to promote safety and preserve the health of your plants against harmful insects and pests that bring various plant diseases without the use of harmful synthetic pesticides. You can also ensure the health of your family when they eat the vegetables you have harvested in your garden.

Here are a few DIY tips to make your own version of organic pesticides that are guaranteed to work:


You can start making your own organic pesticides by the use of garlic. 10-15 cloves of garlic will do the trick in making your safe and environment-friendly pesticide. Put it in your blender or food processor and chop it finely, then place it inside a glass jar with cover. Add up about ¼ cup of mineral oil and let it sit for about 8-10 hours.


After 8-10 hours of waiting, put back your mineral oil and garlic mixture to the blender or food processor and add some water into it. 2-3 cups of water is enough to make your mixture. Emulsify the mixture.


Peppers are known to be an effective irritant – this is the reason why we have pepper sprays. Ouch! Pound or mince until the peppers are liquefied. After that, add up pepper in your emulsified solution. This will discourage animals from eating your plants and vegetables because it is very spicy and irritating most especially to the eyes and nose.


Vinegar will make your mixture acidic and pests do not like this. Blend in vinegar to your mixture until mixed well. When this solution with vinegar is used, it makes the soil slightly acidic which discourages pests to lay eggs in it and also kills the pests.


Just like using chemical pesticides, you can put your mixture into a clean spray. Be sure to shake your mixture well before you use it. This will ensure you that the mixture is still as effective as it should be because some parts and ingredients of the mixture may settle down as time passes. Shaking the mixture will retain its efficacy.
I hope that these tips I shared with you will help you in your journey to organic gardening. You can now be assured that what you and your family eats are healthy and not sprayed with harmful chemical pesticides. You can also make sure that your garden will grow healthy and be safe from pests or insects that may cause plant diseases.

Organic pesticides are the best way to ensure that your family is having a safe meal. You can also enjoy the pleasure or having a great garden and a fruitful produce. Enjoy your garden the organic way – the healthy and natural way!

DIY Guide to Garden and Landscape Lighting

garden lighting

A well-made and maintained garden or landscape is a beautiful sight to see – but not in the dark. The best thing to be done when you have this problem is simple – you just need to install proper lighting. But with gardening or landscaping, installing and putting up lights should be done with creativity and style.

When we install lights in our garden landscape, it should be done appropriately to create a more wonderful scene. Adding lights improve the view of your garden or landscape and add a touch of drama. This will make your garden or landscape even more beautiful to watch at night because of the lights that gives it a more dramatic feeling, and highlighting the features that need to be highlighted.

Light installation in your landscape is an easy task. You do not have to hire people to do this stuff because you alone can handle this. All it needs is for you to have the basic ideas when it comes to the correct way of doing it.

I will be chopping down this task of installing and setting up lights in your garden or landscape so that it will be easier for you to do it. This will also enable you to do this task all by yourself. Yes, you alone will be able to do this lighting job and improve your garden or landscape view at night.

Be sure to practice safety at all times when doing this task. After securing everything and getting ready with the correct tools, you are good to go. Here’s how you should do it:

LED Lights

LED lights are a little more expensive when compared to other types of light bulbs but you can save more using them because it lasts longer compared to the latter. Also, be sure to use low-voltage lights to be able to conserve electricity and not inflate your electric bills.

Light up What Should Be Highlighted

The key in the correct installation of lights to your garden or landscape is simple – when you have focal points, highlight them. Points of focus in a garden or landscape are those that have high impact when seen by people. These are also considered as the “main attraction” in your landscape like ponds, fountains, etc.

walkway lighting

Pathways and Walkways

The purpose of installing lights to your garden is not just for beautification and addition of “drama” alone, it is also for safety purposes. Light up the walkways and pathways to your garden or landscape using lights that are softer compared to the lights in your focal points. Safety and drama rolled into one!

If in Doubt, Call an Electrician

If you have doubts with your work, it’s best to ask assistance from a licensed electrician to have your lighting checked and secured.

Ultimate Soil-ution: Compost


Whenever problems regarding soil arise -may it be having clay soil type, sandy soil or soil fertility and inadequate soil nutrients- there stands one ultimate and most recommended solution, compost.

The compost is also known as organic matter. Compost is the decayed or decomposed organic matter or remains of once-living organisms like plants and animals. It can also be define as the mixture of various organic substances that has gone through decomposition. Compost is the key ingredient in the practice of inorganic farming or farming without the use of anything that is inorganic or chemical in nature. When compost or organic matter is fully or has undergone or have gone through full decomposition process, it is called humus.

The Problem Solving Compost

Compost is the number one solution when it comes to problems regarding the soil. It has various uses and it gives wonderful effects on the soil and can make or has the potential to make soil healthy. It has also effects on plant’s healthy growth and is guaranteed to have no side effects because it is “organic”.

Here are a few ideas on what compost is used for:

  • Fertilizer. If you want to make your soil healthy and filled with nutrients, for your plants to grow in a convenient and cheap method, use compost! It is guaranteed to improve soil fertility and increase nutrients in the soil, making it healthy and very manageable. You can buy compost in organic farming centers or you can avail it for free by making your own composting pit in your backyard.
  • Management of Sandy Soil. If you are having trouble with having sandy soil in your garden because it cannot hold on to water and the plants that can thrive well in your garden are cactus, the best thing to use is compost. Compost increases the soil’s capability to hold on water. You just need to mix compost to your sandy soil well and voila! problem is solved.
  • Say Goodbye to Clay Soil. Compost is not just used in the management of sandy type of soil but is also used in dealing with clay soil. The problem with clay soil is the exact opposite of having sandy soil, it holds on to water too much. The idea of mixing or applying compost with clay soil is that it pushes apart the particles of clay and creates a gap in between them and will improve water drainage in the process.

It is truly important to make sure that you use soil which will keep your plants healthy and beautiful but keep in mind that it doesn’t mean that you need to spend a lot of money. There are cheap or even free solutions to your gardening needs like compost. Give it a try and you might find out that going organic is a wise move after all.

Water for the Better: How to Make Sure Your Plants Aren’t Thirsty

watering the plantsSome people think that after years of gardening, they would have a fairly good idea about how to grow most plants. In reality, some of them can grow well and others, well, you need to learn tricks because gardening isn’t always as easy as it seems. There is a fine line between having a good garden and having a great garden. Often times, doing the right technique draws that difference.

Like for instance, when watering a vegetable garden. You might think that it can be as easy as watching the rain or as ridiculous as feeding plant limbs intravenously. It’s like taking the hospital-bed approach into the garden. That’s just the weirdest idea.

Each garden has its own idiosyncrasies that should be observed. I mean, keenly. Without being in your garden, no one can tell you how much water it will need. You really need to have the effort to learn and to do it right.

Here are a few things to do when deciding how and when to water your beds.

Plant Irrigation Needs

You really need to figure out how much plant irrigation you need, especially if you live in areas like Houston, Texas which gets lots of rain and a wide range of temperatures from winter to summer.

If you don’t need a lot of water, then a simple hose might do the trick and it won’t take up much of your time. But if you live in a dry area, you might consider an automatic system which waters everything for you so you can go on about your day watching your favorite football game without missing a moment.

Investigate Your Soil

Dig into your garden. Find out what type of soil you have (clay or sandy). This certainly makes a difference in your drainage. Clay soil drains water slowly whereas sandy soil makes water flow more easily. Both clay and sandy soils can be turned into a preferred loam by mixing organic material such as compost.

Choose Your Time Wisely

Cool temperature means that less water will evaporate. This is why it’s best to water during early morning or late afternoon. It would be a good idea to limit your watering time if you use overhead sprinklers. It’s also safer not to do your watering activity at night because it’ll cause the leaves to be wet for a long time -thus plant diseases might be encouraged.

Get a Hold Of Your Bucket

Deep, less frequent watering works best. Once plants are established, more harm than good is done by giving them a daily sprinkling. Watering should be reduced as the crop matures to keep the vegetables from splitting.

Always Take the Initiative To Look At Every Part Of Your Plant

It’s like looking at someone you love from head to toe. You make sure that every part of them looks good. In a plant, remember to look at the leaves. Watering this part more often causes a variety of fungi that develops under moist conditions such as mildew and blight.

Some gardeners are small enough to water by hand. The large size of others or a lack of time may require more elaborate arrangements, including sprinklers or drip-irrigation systems. You have to balance your commitment with the needs of the plants and the results you expect.

Soil-utions: Improving Clay Soil


We all know that clay soil is the type of soil that can identified from other soil types because of its ability to hold more water, making it stickier than other soil types. When water is dried up or removed from this type of soil, it becomes hard and fragile. There are gardens that have this soil type. So the questions is, is clay soil good or bad for gardening and how can you make clay soil work for your garden?

Most gardeners consider having clay type soil in their gardens as both a curse and a blessing. We can consider clay type soil as a blessing in the sense that this soil type holds on to more nutrients compared to other soil types and is very good for plants in order for them to grow healthy. Having more nutrients in the soil means that you don’t have to fertilize the soil more often, making it more cost-efficient and saves you time.

The problem with clay soil is it does not just hold on to nutrients – it also clings to water more and this is how it becomes a curse. The main problem with clay soil holding more water is drainage. When a garden has inadequate drainage, it can lead to various plant diseases and pest problems. It can also be damaging and harmful to plants and animals in the soil because clay particles are tightly bonded together that air is squeezed out from it, so it is inevitable that this soil type will suffocate these living organisms.

Turning Clay Soil into a Healthy Soil

Soil drainage, when done correctly, is one of the main keys to a successful gardening. The problem in having clay soil in your garden is inadequacy in water drainage. Here are a few tips on dealing with clay soil and how to make or turn it into a healthy soil type:

  • Organic Matter. Adding organic matter or compost on clay soil is considered as the best method or way of dealing with the problem. Organic matter, when added or mixed with clay soil, pushes apart the small particles of clay and opens or creates spaces in between them. It also improves soil fertility.
  • Plant Watering Needs. A gardener with clay soil type should study the water requirements of the plants in his garden. In this manner, you can schedule the watering in the garden. When we maximize the water removal of plants in the soil, it will not be able to hold too much water because they have already used it up. Just be careful and always check for signs of over-watering or drought on both the plants and the soil to make this technique more effective.

So there you have it, simple soil-utions to your clay soil needs. If you feel frustrated or hopeless having clay soil in your garden, don’t lose hope yet because these tips will surely help you have a healthy clay soil for your healthy garden.

Hot and Green: Tropical Gardening 101

tropical garden

A tropical garden is a garden that features tropical plants, literally. This type of garden requires a good irrigation or water supply for the plants to grow well and healthy because of the weather condition in tropical countries. It is usually hot and humid in these countries.

The tropical garden showcases plants that usually have large leaves or those that grow in height which makes maintenance quite difficult and time consuming. Like any other garden types, tropical gardens need specific attention and meticulous care to be healthy and beautiful.


As mentioned earlier, the maintenance for a tropical garden is quite hard. There are various aspects and features of the garden that should be well-maintained and taken care of in order for the garden to be healthy and will not stunt the growth of the plants or the plants will dry up and die. The conditions of the garden should be adequate or much better if at the optimum for the types of plants you plant.

Water is very essential for the survival of living organisms, may it be plants or animals, in this planet. Because of the humid and hot weather conditions in tropical countries, plants dry up easily. The water requirements for tropical gardens are quite higher when compared to other types.

Keeping a Lively Garden

Keeping the health and beauty of your garden plants is the key to an awesome garden. Every single plant in a garden serves as its life. Therefore, it is a must that we should focus on how to make the plants healthy to achieve a successful and gorgeous-looking tropical garden.

Consider the Soil

First of all, we should always consider the soil where our plants are in. Tropical plants need some big amount of water and still requires a soil that is well drained and can hold or retain moisture for quite some time after watering. It is also best to measure the acidity of the soil for purposes like fertilizer application.


Water is essential for the plants in a tropical garden because they need water for photosynthesis to take place and they can be able to produce their own food. The hotness, dryness, and humidity in tropical regions require plants in a tropical garden to need more water to prevent them from drying up.

Adequate Sunlight

Plants have the ability to manufacture its own food through the process called photosynthesis. The main “ingredients” for photosynthesis to take place are carbon dioxide, water and sunlight. When one is not sufficient or is absent, the process of photosynthesis is greatly affected. It is best that the plants receive enough sunlight throughout the day to make it healthy and growing.


Sometimes the soil in our garden does not contain enough nutrients for the plants to grow healthy or if the minerals have been depleted and consumed by the plants. Manure or compost is organic fertilizers that can be used in place of commercial chemical fertilizers if you want to go natural.

May these tips be helpful to you in maintaining and keeping a beautiful, healthily green and blooming tropical garden.

Slope-Fistication: Hillside Landscaping

hillside landscaping

Not everyone has or can find a house with a plain, flat land area or lawn. Some home are located in areas with slopes or at hillsides and beautifying or improving that piece of land is quite a problem. Slopes in the yard are also the problems for gardeners because of issues associated with it.

But there is always hope in making your view beautiful. With the help of creative ideas and hard work, there are no slopes too steep for you to create a living art. Hillside modification is the answer to that!

Issues with a Slope-Y

There are issues that gardeners with hilly, sloping land area or yard are trying to deal with. These issues are the main reason why modifying and landscaping hillside areas are quite a difficult job to do. These issues are commonly associated with the health and growth of the plants that are placed or planted in it.


Because of the slope, water is being drained out from the soil by the pull of gravity. Water is needed by plants in order to survive, grow and reproduce and without water, plants will not be able to do these. The lack of enough water or ability of the soil to hold and retain moisture is the main reason why gardening and landscaping is difficult in the hillside compared to the flat areas.


This is the process wherein soil and rocks are removed from the surface of the Earth, particularly the top soil, and is transported or deposited in other locations. Erosion is caused mainly by wind and water flow.  Hillsides and sloping lands are prone to erosion because of the soil type or lack of plant roots that can hold the soil in place.

Nothing is Impossible

As I have mentioned earlier, there is still hope when it comes to landscaping in the hillside. You must always remember to counter the things that hinder you from making the sloping area in your yard beautiful. Soil erosion and water drainage are the main reason why most people are discouraged in landscaping it.

Here are a few tips on how to solve these problems:

Choose Your Plants

There are plants that can withstand little amount of water but are also good and appealing to the eyes. Shrubs are good plants to plant on hillsides. It can also help with water retention and erosion because its roots can hold both the soil and water.

Build Walls

Walls are also good in retaining the soil by blocking it from going down, thus solving the issue with erosion.


Terracing might sound so intensive when it comes to labor but through this, you can solve greater erosion problem and will make your hilly land area easier to walk on.

Never Leave a Hillside Barren

It is best to plant plants in hillsides because a barren land, especially those that have steep slopes, hastens the process of erosion. Covering the hillside with plants is still one of the best ways to prevent soil from being eroded.

Sandy Soil-utions: Gardening in Sandy Soil

sandy soil planting

Sandy soils are very rough and often provide a lot of drainage for water to pass through – which makes this soil type unable to hold many nutrients. Sand particles are estimated to be about 0.05 mm to 2 mm in size which gives it a rough texture and makes it unable to hold water and nutrients. Most plants that thrive in these types of soils are those that require low levels of nutrients and water.

Desert plants like the cactus are known to grow well in these types of soils. These plants mostly have succulent leaves and body parts where they store or retain water and moisture. They are also known to survive in deserts and hot climates where water is scarce and require little amount of water in order to survive.

Adjusting the Soil

In order for other plants to survive in sandy soil, there are a few things that must be adjusted or added in it to make it a “healthy soil”. The characteristics of sandy soil that has little amount of nutrients and inability to hold water are the things that should be fixed. If these characteristics are fixed or eliminated, then you do not have to plant cacti in your garden anymore and you can start planting flowers or vegetables instead.

We can add better texture to the sandy soil which will increase the nutrient level in it and its ability to hold or retain water, making it suitable for other non-desert plant to thrive in. Here are a few tips that can help you manage the problem associated with having sandy soil in your garden:

Adding Organic Matter

Organic matter like compost will help bind the loose particles of the sandy soil. By doing this, we increase the amount of water that the soil can retain or hold. Added organic matter will increase and improve the amount or level of nutrients in the soil and will make or turn the once sandy and loose type of soil into a healthy soil that other plants can grow into.

Mixing Well

You do not simply add organic materials or compost in sandy soil types. Mixing thoroughly the newly added materials is the key to the successful merging of the materials into the soil. Tilling is an act that helps aerate the soil which also speeds up the decomposition of the organic materials added to it. Furthermore, this process also helps not just by mix the soil amendments but also by improving soil deeper or in greater depth.

Once you are done with improving the soil condition, you will be ready to plant any plant that you like and you will be assured that the soil where you have planted them is no longer loose but can retain sufficient amount of water and moisture and most of all, contains high level nutrients because of the organic matter or compost added to it.