GARDENING

Easy ways to create your personalized garden 

(BPT) – All around the country, first-time gardeners and seasoned pros are jumping into the growing season. No matter where you live, whether it’s in an apartment in the heart of the city or a house with a spacious backyard, vegetable and herb gardening is a fun, relaxing hobby that is easy to enjoy.

What makes vegetable and herb gardening such a popular pastime is that each person can make their own space to fit their needs. Whether you’re into growing the most unique plants, a foodie looking for exciting new veggies, or just want more green in your life, you can create a unique garden just for you.

For a look at the top trends, and how you can garden to fit your needs, the experts at Burpee Plants offer the following insights to help spark your own edible garden creativity.

Trend No. 1: Fresh herb flavour

There’s nothing like a fresh-cut sprig of parsley, basil, rosemary or any number of other herbs to liven up a meal. With Burpee’s indoor herb collection, gardeners get to enjoy the convenience of having a selection of popular herbs on hand and ready for any meal, no matter the season. The fresh flavours and scents of home-grown herbs can be enjoyed in so many ways, even in infused waters or DIY projects. The indoor herb collection is a perfect solution for those who might not have outdoor gardening space but crave the benefits that fresh herbs provide.

Trend No. 2: Fun and inventive veggies 

Vegetable gardening is a great way to explore foods you may not have heard of, like Dragon Roll Shishito Pepper, which has become a hit on menus across the country. Milder than a jalapeño with great umami flavour, 1 in 10 peppers is spicy-hot for an intriguing meal experience. They’re easy to grow in planters on patios or in the ground, making them the perfect choice for foodies.

Trend No. 3: Organic vegetable and herb gardening

It’s common for people to look for organic food when grocery shopping. Likewise, more gardeners want to be sure the food they are growing is organic. This means using organic fertilizer and plant food, as well as growing certified organic vegetables and herbs. The organic label means these plants are free from chemical additives, which is better for the environment and for you. From sweet bell peppers and ripe tomatoes to crisp cucumbers and juicy strawberries, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing the source of your food.

Whether you’re new to growing your own food or a seasoned gardener looking to expand your tastes, Burpee has unique and exclusive flavours to make your vegetable garden a success. And now is the perfect time of year to get started.

Are you a gardening fanatic?

Do’s and don’ts of attracting hummingbirds and getting one to land on your hand 

(BPT) – Watching a
hummingbird is enchanting. Their tiny size and incredible speed make them a natural wonder. Flapping their wings an estimated 70 times per second, they can move in every direction, or simply float majestically in midair.

You may have observed hummingbirds in the wild, but you can increase your chances of seeing these delicate dynamos at home. You can even get one to land on your hand, with patience and persistence. However, before that can happen, you need to transform your backyard into a hummingbird haven.

Smart strategies for feeding hummingbirds

The National Audubon Society says to sustain their supercharged metabolisms, hummingbirds must eat once every 10 to 15 minutes and visit between 1,000 and 2,000 flowers per day. When you provide a safe, reliable food source, it’s like putting out a welcome mat for hummingbirds.

Some flowering plants are particularly attractive to hummingbirds, such as trumpet honeysuckle, bee balm and sage. A hummingbird feeder is a must-have and one of the most effective ways to consistently entice and encourage hummingbirds to visit your yard.

Keep in mind, not all feeders are created equal. The Cole’s Hummer High Rise Feeder is a smart choice. Scientifically designed with elevated perches, these feeders make hummingbirds feel safe and comfortable, which encourages them to consistently return. Hang in a tree, patio or garden spaces.

Although other hummingbird feeders tend to attract bees and ants, the Cole’s feeder is uniquely designed to keep pests at bay. It does not drip so large bees can’t get to the sweet stuff. What’s more, the Cole’s feeder has a built-in ant moat. Keep it filled with plain water and ants won’t be able to reach the nectar.

As for food, you can use traditional sugar water to feed hummingbirds, but to mimic the nectar they eat in the wild, you’ll want a liquid feed that replicates the natural sugars found in flowers. Then, you’ll be giving your favorite avian visitors a true treat.

Do’s and don’ts of attracting hummingbirds

It’s easy to make a few common mistakes when you start welcoming hummingbirds to your yard. Here’s a few tips:

* Be conscious of beneficial insects: Small insects are an important part of a hummingbird’s diet, providing essential protein to complement the nectar they drink. Try using manual or natural insect control in the afternoon when insect populations decrease.

* Do provide a water feature: Hummingbirds adore bathing. If you add a drip fountain or mister to your yard, they’ll bask in the wet wonder.

* Don’t put anything but plain water into the ant moat: Water alone will stop ants on the Hummer High Rise Feeder. Other birds may stop and take a drink from the liquid in the moat, so never use any type of repellent or additive to the water.

* Do check feeders regularly: Check at least bi-weekly to ensure a steady supply of fresh food. Clean the feeder as needed with one part white vinegar to four parts water.

* Don’t add red coloring to food: While hummers are attracted to red, adding dye to their food is unnecessary and could be harmful to their health.

* Do hang feeders in the shade: Too much sunshine and warmth can cause fermentation of sugar-based liquids. To prevent this, always hang feeders in the shade.

How to get a hummingbird to land on your hand

Once your feeder is in regular use, it’s exciting to try to get one to land on your hand. Sit near your feeder when typically in use. Remain still as the birds must realize you’re not a threat. Repeat this several times a day for a few days, wearing the same clothing. Move a little closer each day until you’re sitting right next to the feeder.

Once the bird is comfortable having you nearby, you can try holding the feeder or cupping your hand to use as a perch underneath the feeding ports. This can take several weeks, but with consistency and patience, you’ll be able to enjoy a close-up encounter with the uniquely exquisite hummingbird.