Plant Culinary Container Herb Garden Right Outside the Kitchen Door

Don’t plant herbs way out. Plant a container herb garden right outside your kitchen door so that you may quickly run out and snip some while you are cooking dinner. If you set it in a decorative container, then you can feature it on your deck. Show your guests how to “scratch and sniff.” Most people are amazed and thrilled when shown how to rub the leaves of herbs between their fingers and then “sniff” them.

You may plant a culinary container herb garden virtually any time during the growing season, providing you can get the potted herbs.

Here’s a simple, quick “kitchen” herb garden you can put together in a day.

Get the containers. Begin with a 12 inch outside planter. It’s OK if it is a little larger, such as 14 or 15 inches. Also get a 6 inch terra-cotta pot and enough regular potting soil to fill them both up. Don’t get the sort of potting soil with fertilizer or plant food in it; herbs prefer soil that’s not too rich.

Here’s my list of seven culinary must-haves: chives, cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

Transplant the rosemary to the 6 inch terra-cotta pot. Place the entire pot directly into the middle of the ground from the 12 inch (or larger) container. Push it down so that only the fatter part near the peak of the pot is showing. Planting the rosemary in its own pot makes it effortless to bring it indoors for the winter. In addition, it uses the space in the middle of the larger container.

Plant the remaining herbs in a ring round the potted rosemary. If you pretend the container is an analog clock face, plant the remaining herbs from the following positions:

Plant the herbs near the edge of the huge container so that the low-growing thyme and dispersing oregano can cascade over the sides.

Set the container herb garden in a sunny place with the parsley in the 12 o’clock position at the northern-most point. Cilantro and chives will be on the east side, oregano and sage on the west and thyme on the south.

Water the herb garden two or more times per week and more frequently in warm, dry summer weather.

Before it stinks for the first time in autumn, bring the potted rosemary to the house so that you can keep it in a south-facing window over the winter. Don’t over water it but do not let it dry out either.

But for the cilantro, the remaining herbs in the container garden will keep growing outdoors even after a few light frosts. (Cilantro is a tender annual which has a tendency to go to seed. It’s likely that it’ll be finished for the season long before the first fall frost.)

You can store the larger container garden garden in an unheated garage, closet or basement, depending on the severity of your winters. Give it a little water during the winter months if the soil appears dry. There’s no guarantee that each of the herbs will endure winter, but some might.

In spring, place it back in sunlight when temperatures stay in the forties during the day, even if it gets chilly at night. Water well. If they lived, they’ll begin growing in just a few weeks.

And if they didn’t, begin a new container herb garden. You already have the container and the rosemary from last year. And because herbs are rarely bothered by pests, it is OK to re-use the dirt.

Copyright Sharon Sweeny, 2009.

Sharon Sweeny is a creative copywriter, specializing in gardening and self-sufficient do-it-yourself lifestyles. She divides her spare time among her garden in Minneapolis, alternately juggling half a dozen creative endeavors and blogging on gardening while pondering the specific place of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.

How To Plant A Vegetable Garden

Vegetable gardening is a great hobby to get into, can relieve a good deal of stress, and is excellent for saving money during those spring, winter, and fall months. It is quite fun! By growing your own food, you’re limiting the amount of money that you’re spending at the grocery store. However, many men and women who could be interested in growing their own vegetables may turned off by the fact that it “seems” hard to do. What these folks are unaware of, however, is that vegetable gardening is in fact quite easy to do.

The first thing you will need to do when beginning your own vegetable garden is to set aside a small plot of land to use for planting. It really doesn’t have to be anything big, depending on what you plan on growing naturally, so don’t think it does. A foot by 10 foot area is a lot. Be sure not to pick a shady area, as vegetables will need sunlight to grow full.

Next, you’re going to need to till the land. You can do this with a garden ho and weeds or grass. You can even use a gas. These work great and can save you a lot of time if you’re going to be planting in a large area. They aren’t suggested for small areas however, since they can cost upwards of a few hundred bucks, so they wouldn’t be worth it. Bear in mind while tilling that you ought to be creating crests and troughs (high points and low points) in the dirt.

The next step is to get seeds out of the regional grocer, produce store, hardware store, and even a local farm. Simply take these seeds and plant them according the instructions on the package. Most vegetables have some different instructions, i.e. to plant the seeds at different depths in the ground, so make sure to follow them precisely.

Now you will be ready for watering. Watering once a day should suffice. So long as you keep the ground moist enough; don’t let it get too dry. At the same time, do not drown the plants. If a puddle begins to form around the base of the plant, it means that the ground is already saturated, and additional watering is not required; so stop watering it for the time being.

With these suggestions in mind, you will soon be on your way to a healthy vegetable garden that can bring you great tasting and healthy meals for a great 6 months from the year!

Tony McGuigano is the Dental Insurance NJ website’s owner, along with a website Named Philadelphia Shuttle Service.

Flying Ants 101

Flying ants only appear once a year, usually in the spring after a rain and warm temperatures. Most species of ants will produce flyers. They are both male and female and are the reproductives of the species. Their sole purpose is to mate and perpetuate the world of ants. The 1 day the flyers appear is known as “Flying Ants Day.” The fling ants swarm from the ground and fly for breeding purposes, when conditions occur. The swarms can be thousands and thousands of ants, and they are very visible as they fly in a mob.

The flying ants often mate with ants from different colonies. A male ant will only mate with one female, but the female may mate with a number of ants. After mating, the males lose their wings and a short time after they die. The female flyers find the right landing area and shortly after lose their wings or sometimes, they break off their own wings. The feminine flying ants dig into soft soil and start laying eggs to establish another ant colony. That female becomes the queen and begins the task of building a colony. Sometimes, two female ants will establish a colony together, but within the year, just 1 queen will remain.

The ant colony needs a couple of years to grow and sprout reproductive flying insects. The colony needs to generate several thousand workers before breeding flying ants. The workers look after the colony. They supply food, take care of the young and warn the colony of trouble brewing. The employees borough the way for the remainder of the colony and build intricate tunnels for the ants to travel. They also protect the queen and the rest of the colony in case something attempts to intrude into their colony. If their holes into the surface are covered over, they will re-establish the holes immediately.

Birds, other insects such as spiders and toads and frogs gobble up the little critters. Large swarms offer protection from the predators, but if the flyers are not paying attention to their surroundings, they might find themselves that day’s entree.

Flying ants will sometimes infest a structure. They can be seen in walls and will emerge through cracks and crevices. Flying ants are not much of a problem as they will disappear, but their presence could be a sign of a larger problem.

Stewart Wrighter recently reviewed cost effective methods of managing flying ants and hunted for organic flying ant treatments to include in his report. He discovered easily available household remedies to deal with the pest control issue.

The Pine Beetle in Canada

For a while now, the extremely destructive Pine Beetle ( Dendroctonus ponderosae ) is ravaging huge areas of Canada’s forestlands and its destruction is so virulent, that it is leaving massive and readily visible scars across differently green foliage landscapes.   In numerous areas in which the pine beetle is active, various solutions for its eradication have been tried and some of these in themselves, are so toxic in nature that they would normally be classed as being a bigger risk than the beetle they’re attempting to destroy.

These beetles have an average life span of about one year and generally, their eggs are put through the bark of a tree where they develop into larvae that remain under the bark all through winter.   During the remainder of the summer and into fall, the new adult pine beetles leave the infested tree through emergence holes they create and drying themselves in the warm sunshine, they take off to mate and commence a new cycle by placing another generation’s eggs under the bark of trees that are new.  

During the time they remain under the bark of a tree, they’re known to transmit a fungus type substance that stains the sapwood of the tree a blue colour.   Aside from discoloration, this blue colouring seems to have no adverse affects on the true structural integrity of the tree. However, we must remember that the damage is already done and like a rolling snowball, it gather momentum and variety of spread with each summer that comes.   These beetles prefer mature trees such as lodge pole pines that are considered mature after eighty years of expansion and in the Province of British Columbia, current statistics show that there are three times more mature lodge pole pines than they had over ninety years back.   Dry and hot summers make the trees more stressed and thus more susceptible to infestation and attack by this ravenous little monster.   Trees that have been attacked will turn red roughly 1 year following the infestation and then, between one and two years after the affected trees will turn grey and all of their needles will fall off.

Another interesting fact about these little guys is they do not like it too cold!   Their eggs, larvae and pupae are very susceptible to very cold temperatures and when these temperatures remain below minus 35 Celsius for a lengthy period of maybe a week, then this will kill off the eggs, larvae, pupae and generally sizeable portions of the beetle population in that area of cold weather.   Yes, there are action plans prepared and in place and the Canadian Ministry of Forests and Range are really hoping to get to grips with finding a solution to this costly problem but to date, the efforts and methodology used has had little or no impact on the overall issue.

The fantastic news is that an answer to this gigantic problem does exist and better still, it is an answer, which consists of no chemicals, no toxins, no toxins and no danger to the forest or to the men and women who would apply the solution.   This answer can be found right now in the kind of a gold all natural organic fluid formulated around a lavender oil base.   This fluid can totally eradicate the pine beetle and a few other nasty insects at exactly the exact same time.   It is not cheap but then again it is not as pricey as some of the other therapy which have been tried.   It is non hazardous and will not harm the environment in any way and it is here and available right now.   Unfortunately, for now it seems that here it must remain as the Ministry of Forests and Range are continuing their quest with what they believe they know best.   Maybe someday, hopefully soon, they will realize that we can defeat this organic pest by using an entirely natural substance.

Michelle Obama and Gardening

This past week I was amazed to see from the Dallas paper that Michelle Obama will plant a vegetable garden and a number of herbs. Two thumbs up for her. I was also thrilled to see on TV that the fifth grade class was able to become involved in the planting of the garden. I just now hope that they will continue to oversee the watering, weeding and expansion of the garden. This is terrific for Michelle and stress relief with her hectic schedule. For a child it is educational. There is nothing like watching plants or seeds that you planted grow. (It is more fun for the kids while waiting for that first vegetable to grow , they see a little vegetable and then you keep telling them it is not ready to pick yet.) They are so excited that when the vegetable is ready to pick that they will actually eat the veggies.

I brought my kids up with little vegetable gardens and largely grown in pots. You will get the same reaction whether the vegetables are in a pot or the ground. I am also so excited that she is bringing her up girls to eat healthier. These days it’s so important for the health and wellbeing of our children. Obesity is rampant and there are people such as myself that want to change things.

Just imagine if everyone started to grow at least one vegetable in a pot or in a small portion in their yard and then shared veggies with their neighbors. Or even better yet get schools involved (some are already doing so) taking a small portion of the school yard and planting little gardens and each course taking a turn once a week to weed and water. When the vegetables are grown, because the kids have had hands on, they are more apt to attempt if not enjoy what they grew.

Just remember all of you gardeners out there or people who want to start planting don’t forget to stretch later. Gardening is truly working your muscles and that’s a fantastic form of exercise, so if you do not stretch afterwards there’s a good likelihood that you will wake up sore and tender the next morning. We all have good intensions but muscles do tighten when they are put to work and they need to be re -elongated to avoid soreness.

Ellen Miller is a Fitness Practitioner/personal trainer and the originator of the IsoBreathing program. She has been instructing lifestyle changes for almost 30 years. Subscribe to her newsletter at Her email address is and she does answer all mails herself.

Ellen Miller is a Fitness Practitioner/personal trainer and the originator of the IsoBreathing program. She has been instructing lifestyle changes for almost 30 years. Subscribe to her newsletter at Her email address is and she does answer all mails herself.

Pond Flowers Enhance Your Own Backyard Water Garden

Pond flowers are those beautiful flowers and plants that bring color. Most varieties of pond flowers will not be able to survive in another kind of living conditions.

Water lilies, for instance, tropical and hardy types, are the most vibrant flowers that one sees in a water garden. Both tropical day flowering and the tropical night blooming lilies are capable of being robust and hardy but only in a climate that’s frost-free. They’ll grow in the areas that receive frost; this means they must be replaced by you annually. The hardy water lily can flourish all year long as long the roots of the plant have sufficient dirt or water covering them so they do not freeze. The flowers of this lily and the leaves will float on the waters surface. These flowers close up in the middle of the afternoon sun and open up on sunny days. You can purchase water lilies in any color.

Some water plants which float on the surface but the roots of these plants aren’t in any soil will most likely replicate at a high rate of speed forcing you to thin them out in order to keep them under control. You’ll need oxygenator plants and floating plants to maintain a balance of both vegetation and animal life.

Some water plants that grow in shallow water can give you a visual progression between the water plants and the rest of the plants and flowers in the remainder of your garden beds.

A pond that’s just for the sounds of bubbling water or decorative fish can be placed in the shade and it can do very well. If the backyard pond is for growing colorful plants and beautiful water lilies or for both the plants and ornamental fish you’ll have to have an area which receives as much sun as possible. The fish and water flowers must have a perfect equilibrium if both are to survive. You might not have a choice but to put your pond in an area that gets minimal sun, you just need to realize that your collection of plants will be limited but you can still enjoy all of the color and beauty you desire.

Some water garden maintenance will be required for a delightful pond. When winter season is finished you want to remove plants which are just lingering around and mulch your water garden with well composted peat. The organic material contained in the mulch helps improve the condition of the soil each year. The mulch should be low in nutrients, if it is too large an algae bloom will occur once it seeps into the pond.

Backyard ponds and water gardens with all those beautiful pond flowers will also attract wildlife for your pleasure besides adding value to your home and landscaping.

Barbara enjoys sharing new ideas like pond flowers and other gardening tidbits. Her website Gardeners Garden Supplies also has several articles on gardening supplies.

Kitchen Compost Containers

Kitchen Compost Containers-ponder the choices…

Many gardeners are missing out on joys of composting in the kitchen because they do not need to manage the mess and do not know that there are ways to have no clutter compost containers.There are ways to reduce or even eliminate odors and fruit flies from the kitchen compost containers. Any large plastic covered tub work well. If you have 3-4 of these- you can just pop it in the dishwasher once it gets dirty. As long as the container is sealed when inside- insects shouldn’t be attracted, and the odor will not escape.

Use Kitchen Compost Containers-feel good-reduce waste

Organic matter that will decompose naturally constitutes a large part of trash. Approximately 30% percent of all municipal solid waste is made up of yard trimmings and food scraps. Instead of sending billions of tons of waste into the landfill, you could compost it to make nutrient-rich compost. . .free fertilizer!

If you can get by the fear of having a stinky mess and find the right kitchen composting containers… Composting is really easy because you don’t have to do anything! Many composting gurus will tell you your need to aerate, or you need to turn the debris- this will hasten the procedure– but its not mandatory.   When you recycle your organic waste- you gain by lessening your garbage and add nutrients to the soil for healthier plants that are disease resistant and will yield more create.

Kitchen Compost Containers can be appealing

Many kitchen enthusiasts pride themselves on a trendy and attractive kitchen. They cringe at the notion of “garbage” sitting on the counter. There are solutions to that problem. There are several different attractive kitchen compost containers available online.

Kitchen Compost Containers-An easy way to store kitchen scraps and cut down waste

Many homeowners do not bother with composting because they do not need a heap of food scraps stinking on the counter. A Stainless Steel Kitchen Compost Pail is a practical and environmentally friendly kitchen accessory that is fantastic for convenient, clean and trendy recycling of organic food bits, and contains charcoal filters to help keep you kitchen fresh and odor-free.
It is attractive and durable- it will probably last a lifetime.

Read more about composting and “Kitchen Compost Containers”. Start composting your food scraps instead of tossing them in the garbage. Recycle kitchen waste that has potential for fertilizer. It is a way to give a little something back to our beloved earth!

All Yellow Flower Garden Wows Your Neighbors

Would you like your flower garden to be noticed by passers-by?

Start with annuals as little transplants in the garden center and you’ll see results in a few weeks. There are many varieties of yellow or gold annuals to choose from.

Place a few tall sunflowers at the back of the flower bed. Sunflowers come in several heights; aim for a variety that is four to five feet high. This will form the background of your garden. Add tall yellow marigolds in the front of the sunflowers; choose a variety that grows 3 to 4 feet high. Mix in a few yellow or gold zinnias.

In the front of the zinnias, put another, shorter variety of sunflowers and also another shorter type of yellow marigold. Sprinkle in some calendulas–they come in a mixture of yellow shades–and maybe yellow petunias.

For the front of the bed, choose either Milkmaid or Moonlight nasturtiums, both yellow varieties. Helenium is a daisy-like blossom that grows 12 to 15 inches tall. There’s a variety called Dakota Gold whose feathery foliage will contrast nicely with the bold leaves of the nasturtiums. Put some helenium near the front of the bed.

There is even a yellow selection of snapdragons, but they’re usually part of a multi-colored mix. You could sort them out if you found enough blooming at a garden centre. Yellow rudbeckia daisies are heat tolerant and will bloom all summer and into fall. Varieties are available in heights from 18 to 40 inches high.

Keep in mind that all the flowers don’t have to be the same shade of yellow, as long as they’re in the yellow family. Flowers in colours from the palest yellow to the deepest gold will combine to create a stunning display in your yard. The warm yellow tones really “pop” in the landscape.

Since you’ve used annuals, you can plant the same garden next year or alter it around. Or if you are really in love with the yellow garden, plant among all perennials.

But that’s another article.

Sharon Sweeny divides her free time among her backyard in Minneapolis, alternately ignoring or juggling half a dozen imaginative endeavors, and blogging on gardening while pondering the exact location of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.

Chia Herb Garden

A chia herb garden is essentially a container garden. Containers come in several forms, and chia is a form of container gardening that uses small containers and those green sponges from which the herbs grow. Having a chia herb garden is a very clean and effortless way of gardening, and you can place them anywhere in your house or have multiple small herb gardens in various parts of your home.

When establishing your chia herb garden, make certain the containers you purchase are food safe, particularly if you would like to harvest your herbs for cooking and tea. Do this is you don’t intend on using the chia container. If a plant container is not food safe there will be a label. Colorful containers tend to have iron and other chemicals used to make the glossy and pretty, which is great for different plants but can influence a plant made for human consumption. If you want your chia herb garden containers to have your personal flair, you can decorate them yourself with non-toxic paints. Make this a day activity with your children, and maybe you can assign them their herb plants to decide on the herb container that they painted.

Like all container gardens, many stores sell them growing to present their gardeners a jump start. Many gardeners want the reminder of an actually growing plant so that they can tend to it. This gives you a crash course at taking care of your plants, and being able to harvest from your herbs straight away.

Some herbs grow quite quickly though, and in the event you are going to be maintaining your chia herb garden indoors then the warmth of the indoors will be a fantastic environment for seeds. That’s one of the best things about the chia herb garden, it can grow inside! Grassy herbs grow faster than others, so that you can invest in these if you want to start from seeds, and the gratification will come sooner than many!

Chia herb gardens are not only pretty because of the herb plants you put in them, but the arrangement that you set them in can be part of the layout as well. With smaller herb gardens, it’s really easy to have fun with layout and change it up every month or two if you get bored.

Pick the herbs for your chia herb garden well. You don’t want your herb plants growing to tall or too bushy or within a design you will get tired of. Check at how tall and wide your herbs will grow so that you know where to place them around your garden. You don’t want your plants cramping one another and stifling one another’s growth, usually pruning will do the trick, but positioning them well can save you from a great deal of pruning trouble.

Remember to place your chia herb garden by windows or outdoors from time to time so that they get a nice and healthy quantity of sunlight. The requirement will state so on the box. Finally, make sure that you water your chia herb garden every few days, and if you are afraid you’ll be forgetful look to determine whether there are a few chia containers which self-water. Just make certain to check the condition of the sponge for moisture and also the condition of the leaves for wilting.

Want to learn more about herb gardening and how to get started? Begin by studying the basics on herb gardening at dawn to Herb Gardening, and start your herb garden today!

Pest Control – Ants

Has your house been invaded by tiny little black ants? Mine has and I know how difficult it is to find a pest control product that works for them. You spray them they come back. You squash them they come back. You wash every inch of the area they’re in and they just keep coming back.

What are these items?

They are Argentine ants. Coffee ships from Brazil brought them here in the 1890’s and they liked it so they stayed. They are a control nightmare. These tiny tiny black ants terrorize another insects. They could beat up even wasps by out numbering them and wreak havoc on all the other ants around disrupting the natural eco system in a place.

Why are they in my house?

They are shopping for food and your house is the best grocery store in town. They also like to come in for water as well and you might find them roaming all over your sink and toilet. The fantastic news is they do not actually like to live inside of your home. They come in on a regular basis. Much like a teenaged boy they’ll wander all over your house and eat everything in site then scamper out again without even doing the dishes. The bad news is they are a pest control issue.

Argentine ants do not reside in a single colony like fire ants do so getting rid of them is not as simple as killing a single queen. These ants frequently have several queens with satellite nests. As a matter of fact that there are usually so many that these tiny rodents can overwhelm an adult bird to kill and eat its own young.

How do I get rid of those tiny terrors?

As you already know Insecticide sprays do not work. Really the only way to eliminate these ants is by using a pest control bait especially made for them. They’ll then take the bait back to their many queens and finally kill the colony.

Do you want to eliminate ants?