Tag Archives: backyard

Pests

All About Vertical Gardening: Protecting Vertical Gardens from Pests

One great advantage of having a vertical garden is the limited exposure to soil-dwelling pests. Your vertical garden has less direct contact to the ground, after all. But don’t get lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to pest control – it will still be an issue.

Any insect or other critter that could infest your traditional horizontal garden can still gain access to your vertical garden, particularly if you’re using an in-ground plot for planting. Keep in mind that many notorious garden pests begin to fly at later life stages. They’re happy to leave eggs on your eggplant or helping the kids to gorge on your green beans.

To limit the potential destruction by garden pests, you’ll want to take many of the same measures you would to limit disease – clear yard debris from your planting areas, make sure to rotate crops, and use well-turned soil that’s been fortified with clean compost.

Still, you might find pests worm their way into your vertical garden.

Two vertical garden pests

  • Squash bug: Squash bugs are gray or brown and prefer pumpkins and squash, typically toward the end of the growing season. Rotating crops and cleaning fall debris will help discourage them come planting season. During growing season, check the undersides of leaves for egg masses and destroy any that you find.
  • Cucumber beetle: Usually black or yellow spotted or striped, these critters love your cucumbers. Larvae go after the roots while the adults gnaw on leaves, so your attack should be two-pronged as well. Products such as Safer®Brand 3-in-1 Garden Spray can help discourage both from overtaking your garden in either stage. A floating row cover will help protect from beetles in their flying stage.
Assorted squash

ALL ABOUT SQUASH: Squash Varieties

Squash Varieties

Originating in Mexico and Central America, people have been eating squash for more than 7,500 years. Native Americans shared squash seeds in different varieties with European explorers, who then took the new crop back to their lands to grow. Continue reading

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Backyard Entertaining for Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend is right around the corner… the perfect end-of-summer, beginning-of-fall weather for campfires!  Perhaps you have been traveling all summer long and are ready for an extended weekend at home without any travel plans!  Here are a few tips and ideas for getting the most use out of your backyard this weekend:

1.  Incorporate a Fire Pit in your Backyard

Relatively inexpensive and easy to move around, a fire pit or fire ring can bring an extra element of excitement to your backyard, bringing friends and family together without all of the technology and toys you may be used to throughout the day.
Shop Fire Pits

2.  Use your Backyard for Family Camping

Family camping can be one of the best ways for families to bond while having fun in the backyard. Pitch a tent, light a fire in a fire pit or campfire ring, and enjoy some treats under the stars before bed.
More Camping Ideas
Expert Camping Tips
Backyard Camping FAQs

3.  Have Dinner (and Dessert!) in your Backyard

Instead of the typical family dinner indoors, take your meal time outside!  Try a new recipe on the grill, and get the kids involved with dessert by making S’mores!
Grilling Out FAQs
Expert Tips on How to Make S’mores

Still need some more inspiration?

Check out these two blog posts from blogger GOODeness Gracious who recently used an Avant Garden Decor Fire Pit for some family fun!

GOODeness Gracious: Ring of Fire
GOODeness Gracious: The Great Marshmallow Debate

What are your plans for this Labor Day weekend?
Will you be spending time outdoors around a campfire, perhaps?

Expert Tips on How to Make S’mores

how to make smoresThe original recipe on how to make s’mores appeared in the American Girl Scout Handbook in 1927. This recipe utilized Graham crackers – first invented by Sylvester Graham way back in 1829, before anyone knew how to make s’mores – plus chocolate and marshmallows.

If you ask anyone today how to make s’mores you might get the original recipe that tells you how to make s’mores, or you might be told how to make s’mores a completely different way.

Here are some tips on how to make s’mores the traditional way:

•    Use Graham crackers which are more like cookies than crackers.

•    Get the crackers and chocolate ready before you toast the marshmallows.
You can ‘roast’ them over a stove burner or use long metal forks for roasting
over an outdoor fire pit or grill.

•    Marshmallows are ready when slightly brown outside and runny inside.how to make smores

•    Sandwich chocolate with a toasted marshmallow between a halved cracker and squeeze together gently.

Other fabulous s’mores recipes:

The Mexican S’more: use flour tortillas with crunchy peanut butter, chocolate chips and marshmallow.

The Chilled S’more: spread peanut butter and instant chocolate pudding on Graham crackers and add whipped topping instead of marshmallows.

The Elvis S’more: spread peanut butter on the Graham cracker, add chocolate and banana… marshmallow is optional!

Tell us… what is your favorite recipe for making a s’more?!