Getting to Know Your Sweet and Hot Peppers

Sweet and hot peppers are heat-loving plants that come in a dazzling array of shapes, sizes and colors. Peppers need moist soil to flower and set fruit, so keep soil moist around the plants, covering with mulch if necessary and watering the plants regularly in the height of summer. Sweet peppers you may recognize from your local grocer are bell peppers which are available from green, to yellow to sweet red, but why buy when you can grow your own?

How to Stake a Tree

Staking provides a young tree with the support it needs until the trunk is strong enough to hold it’s canopy upright. Careful attention must be paid to the way a tree is staked – if improperly done, staking can weaken a tree and cause serious damage and deformity. Though, most newly planted trees will grow better if they are not staked. By leaving the young tree to move freely in the wind, it will develop a better root system and a stronger, more tapered trunk. However, protective staking may be required on sites where lawn mower damage, vandalism or windy conditions are of concern.

How to Plant a Tree

Dig a shallow, broad planting hole. Make the hole wide, as much as three times the diameter of the root ball, but only as deep as the root ball. It is important to make the hole wide because the tree roots on the newly establishing tree must push through surrounding soil in order to establish. On most planting sites in new developments, the existing soils have been compacted and are unsuitable for healthy root growth. Breaking up the soil in a large area around the tree provides the newly emerging roots room to expand into loose soil to hasten establishment.

How to Care for Roses

Most modern roses, even some heirloom varieties, will bloom all summer if properly groomed. “Deadheading” refers to the process of removing old or spent flowers from the bush. Whether you’ve been cutting the flowers to enjoy indoors or have left them on the bush to beautify the garden, proper trimming ensures strong reblooming. By deadheading roses instead of allowing them to form seed hips, you’re signaling the plant to produce more flowers. It’s also a way to continually prune and shape the plant.

Nature’s Pest Control

Natural enemies are living creatures that eat pest insects. Spiders, birds, geckos, or even insects such as the Lady Bug or Praying Mantis are known to keep pest insects under control. Encouraging natural enemies makes sense because it saves money, energy, and is better for the environment because it reduces the amount of pesticides you need to apply. Here are a few easy ways to encourage natural enemies in your garden: