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In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
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Available online and at your local retailer May 2014 Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
Much of our state has red clay, a great medium for bricks, but not productive for plant growth. In fact, when you dig a hole in clay soil, you are creating a nice bowl for your plant’s roots to drown. Clay soil can be improved, but it takes time, and you can spend an exorbitant amount of money and energy doing it. Or, you can build a raised bed or a burm by piling up soil and organic matter, and have the garden of your dreams in no time.
Besides bad soil, there are other good reasons to build raised beds. Perhaps you want a vegetable garden, but vegetables need sun and good drainage. Creating a spot within your lawn with beautiful raised beds can give your yard structure and grace. An entire landscape design can be created around raised beds.
Say you want to grow carrots. The soil in raised beds is often less compacted, and you are able to better control amendments. To develop long, strong roots, carrots love loose soil. I never succeeded growing carrots until I planted seeds in my potager; i.e., kitchen garden. Although it isn’t necessary, vegetables are often grown in raised beds because they are mostly, hungry annuals. In a smaller raised area, you can concentrate your soil amendments and use them to your best advantage.
Aching back? A raised bed might be the answer. Most are built six to eight inches off the ground, but there are no rules about situating them higher. In fact, in nursing homes, beds are often built on stilts to make them wheelchair height. Stone or tumbled brick or concrete can be stacked to whatever height you desire. Make the edge wide enough so that you can sit upon it and work giving your back time to rest from hoeing and digging.
Raised beds heat up faster in the spring making it possible to plant earlier than the rest of the landscape. With row covers, you can also extend the season.
Plus, any raised area of the garden generally has better drainage. If your climate is extremely wet, raised beds will help.
As for soil, many suppliers now have soil specifically mixed and tested for the garden. Instead of purchasing bags of soil, once you create your framework, it is often cheaper to have soil delivered. Delivered soil is like Christmas, instant gratification. Then, keep that holiday feeling by creating a compost pile to continue improving your soil each season.
When building your beds, be sure to leave enough room between them for your garden cart or lawnmower. Even if you’re going to use gravel or mulched paths, wider pathways are more esthetically pleasing. If you build the beds from wood, use untreated lumber which can be replaced when it rots. Even though newer types of treated wood are not considered as potentially harmful as CCA was, I would still not use either treated wood or railroad ties soaked in creosote for vegetable beds. Also, raised bed kits, which made bed building simple, are now available online and at many hardware stores. Because I was creating a formal kitchen garden last year, I built my latest beds out of tumbled concrete, but stone would be another beautiful option.
Line your beds with chicken wire or galvanized hardware cloth to discourage burrowing voles and moles. Rabbits are less likely to hop into and devour your kitchen garden if you build the sides of the beds high enough. If you want lower raised beds, fence the area around them to discourage rabbits. As for deer, well, that’s a whole other article.