Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Have a Thriving Gardening Business

If you love being outdoors then Gardening in general is one of the most wonderful occupation to have in any size form and shape. Weather it is on a small or large scale, as a hobby, as a source of vibrant fresh fruits and vegetables, or for that matter, as a business to generate a steady income.

Anyway you look at this gardening activity, if you are serious about gardening you can turn this most beautiful occupation in a nice thriving gardening business, and create a good source of income.

I remember years ago in my youth having an ardent desire to work outside and blend in with the wonderful elements that only nature can provide, to admire and observe the vegetation and to look and search for some way to start a nice garden, it was a real challenge to get started in the gardening field.

Gardening and landscaping is really what I love doing, and therefore I take it very seriously.

Where I come from, the information was so very limited, and I had to rely mainly on what I was able to find in some gardening magazines and catalogs, and some limited advise from the gardening people I knew. And of course from my mother who loved gardening!

But today with the abundance of information at our finger tips from the vast internet searches, it is so easy to find anything you can imagine just by using a few smart k-words in Google search, and you are able to learn anything you want any time. All you need is the desire, commitment,  and will to achieve whatever you put your mind to.

And the gardening field is absolutely one of the most rewarding in my opinion.

Providing that you are already involved in the gardening activity one way or the other, and you are already pretty familiar with what it takes to grow and tend to the plants, you can start planing for a thriving gardening business.

There are so many different situation that are specific to your location, the size of your garden, the demand in your area, as what kind of plant material are people looking for, and where to sell the trees, shrubs, herbs, vegetable plants, and the list can go on and on.

As you probably noticed or heard about the organic gardening and edible landscaping that are growing more and more in popularity, it would be a good idea that should be seriously taken in consideration.

So it is also a good idea to capitalize on these popular trends and take a closer look at them. More and more people conscious about healthy living are looking for fresh fruits and vegetables from local sources, like farmer's markets that started to multiply all over the country, fruit stands, road side stands, flea markets, and many other places.

That being said is pretty evident that the market is there, the demand will increase, and therefore it is time to take full advantage of the situation.

Another factor to consider is the fact that the economy does not show any promising signs of improvement anytime soon, the people is getting interested in "edible landscaping" to grow their own source of fruits and vegetables. So if you are able to bring fruit trees, berry bushes, vegetable starter plants at your stand, they will buy and your gardening business will thrive.

Once you find out what is the demand in your area, what is your competition selling, decide what kind of plants you want to grow and offer to your market. I personally was always for a large variety of plant material to grow, like ornamental shrubs and trees, bedding plants, house plants, tropical plants, herbs, vegetable plants, berry plants, and any other gardening related items.

But it all depends on what are you more comfortable to grow and sell, as I'm aware of the different situations from place to place.

If you don't have your own garden center or outlet yet, you can start by going to the local farmer's markets, to different ones if there are any in other close by towns or cities, and alternating the set-up in different days. Make sure that you are always there in the same specific days at those different markets, as not to confuse your customers.

Once they know that you are offering quality fruits and vegetable plants, as well as other plant material, they will come back looking for you. The buyers will expect you to be dependable so that they can find you in those specific days. That's how you build your traffic for your business.

Make sure you attract the customers to your stand with nice colorful, vibrant green and blooming plants and offer the best quality plants at fair prices.

Be friendly and answer to their questions even when you know they are not ready to buy yet. Give them free advice when they ask for, and that in itself will pay off down the road.

Building trust is one of the keys to have a thriving gardening business.

Mike Borlovan    



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How To Build Your Own Wooden Shed Like A Professional?

 How To Build Your Own Wooden Shed Like A Professional? It can be easier than you think, by following some simple common sense rules. I like simplicity, don't you?

If you are a homeowner and care about your landscaping and your yard maintenance tools, you need a good wooden shed plan to protect them from the elements, and to keep them locked up.

There are unlimited resources to accomplish that, but if you want to build it like a professional you will need a good solid plan, as well as a step by step guide to do it right.

In this article we are talking about wooden build sheds, that will not only protect your yard assets, but at the same time it will improve the looks of your property as well.

A nicely designed  architectural wooden shed, and strategically placed, will very much elevate the looks of your landscape as a whole.

Without a good plan and step by step guide, you might end up with an odd looking shed that would seem like an elephant in a room. Or too big, or too small and disproportionate to the size of the yard or the landscape. You don't want that.

Then the choosing of the right material could be tricky, if you don't have a clear plan from start to finish. That could spell trouble in the end by wasting your hard earn money.

So to build your wooden shed like a professional could be a challenge if you are not prepared to take the necessary first steps to do it right from the beginning.

But where and how would you start? Maybe your imagination could go wild contemplating in your mind what kind of wooden shed would you like to have.

Well, how about a resource of 12, 000 plans of wooden sheds and other woodworking projects, and all these in one single place?

All the plans, lists of materials and blueprints all in one place to get started anytime.  It cannot get any easier than that, isn't it?

Even if you are a good handyman and an accomplished do-it-yourself person, you still need some good and well organized plans for any project you want to take. Everything at your fingertips, step-by-step guide to achieve your desired wooden shed.

As for the value of your property, a well build wooden shed could make a lot of difference. The improvement and the image of your home could grow dramatically!

If you enjoy woodworking, you are most likely aware of the time and effort required to plan for a good project. And at the same time, you have probably come up against the same old brick wall like most of us have now and then. I don't know about you, but I like simple. The common sense way.

By applying these readily available wooden shed projects, you will save a lot of time and headaches.

If you are a woodworking enthusiast, you see better than most the value of a beautifully crafted piece of workmanship. Once finished you can be proud of a well planned and well executed project that will last for many years to come.

It is a great satisfaction and enjoyment to see your wooden shed coming up the way you like it, the way you probably imagined it for a long time.

So why postpone the project and why not start it right away? It is offered to you like on a plate, take it, and you'll be glad you did. To get started click here.

Mike Borlovan


Friday, October 22, 2010

How to Grow Japanese Red Maple Trees from Seed

How to Grow Japanese Red Maple Trees from Seed 

by Michael J. McGroarty

You are welcome to use this article on your website or in your newsletter as long as you reprint it as is, including the contact information at the end.  You must include an active link back to the author's website, as well as an active link back to

Most Japanese Maple seeds ripen in the fall. Watch the tree and wait for the seeds to turn brown. The seeds are ready to be harvested when they are brown and can be easily removed from the tree. 

The seeds are attached to a wing, it’s best to break the wing off before storing or planting the seeds. Japanese Maple seeds have a very hard outer coating as do many ornamental plants. Under natural conditions the seeds would have to be on the ground for almost two years before they would germinate. All that happens the first winter is the moisture softens the hard outer shell, and the second winter germination is beginning to take place. 

In order for all of this to happen in the proper sequence so the seedlings actually sprout at a time of the year when freezing temperatures or hot summer sun doesn’t kill them, takes a tremendous amount of luck. 

You can improve the odds by controlling some of these conditions, and shorten the cycle. Once you have picked the seeds and removed the wing just place them in a paper bag and store them in a cool dry place until you are ready for them. You don’t want to plant your seeds out in the spring until the danger of frost has past, here in the north May 15th is a safe bet. 

If May 15th is your target date you should count backwards on the calendar 100 days. That will take you to about February 5th if my math is correct. On or about the 100th day prior to your target planting date, take the seeds and place them in a Styrofoam cup or other container that will withstand some hot water. Draw warm to hot water from your kitchen faucet and pour it over the seeds. Most of the seeds will float, just leave them in the water overnight as the water cools down. 24 hours later most of the seeds will have settled to the bottom of the cup.   

Drain off the water. Place the seeds in a plastic bag with a mixture of sand and peat or other suitable growing mix. Even light potting soil will work. The peat or soil should be moist, but not soaking wet. Poke some holes in the bag so there is some air circulation, and place the bag in your refrigerator for a period of 100 days. 
After 100 days you can plant the seeds outside. If you have timed it correctly, you should be at or close to your target planting date. 

To plant the seeds just sow them on top of a bed of well drained topsoil or
sterilized potting soil, and cover with approximately 3/8” of soil. Water them thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry out completely before watering thoroughly again. If you water them frequently, not only do you stand a chance of the seeds rotting from being too wet, but you will also keep them cool, which will slow down the germination process. 

Once they start to germinate provide about 50% shade to keep the sun from burning them. Snow fence suspended about 30” above the bed will provide about 50% shade. Japanese Maples will tolerate some shade so it isn’t too important to transplant them too quickly. 

Depending on how close together they are, you might be able to leave them in the same bed for one or two growing seasons. Don’t transplant until they are completely dormant.

Michael J. McGroarty is the author of this article. Visit his most interesting website, and sign up for his excellent gardening newsletter.  Article provided by  If you use this article the above two links must be active.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How To Weed Control Your Garden By Cultivating

How to control the weeds by cultivating your garden, is an important task for any serious gardener, and it must be consistent for a real gardening success.

Those pesky weeds sometimes can get on your nerves. You put all your efforts and passion in planting your favorite flowers or vegetables, after you made your garden clean and neat looking, and when you check after a while to see how they doing, you find out that you can't hardly see your plants anymore, because of them awful weeds!

So, the thing to do is to cultivate the garden as soon as the weeds emerge, and keep doing it until most of the seeds in the ground has just about sprouted out. You will always have some weeds, as the wind is blowing, it will bring some new seeds in your garden. But at least the weeds are not going to be there to the point when they will just smother your good plants.

To cultivate your garden you can use a tiller if you have one, or if you prefer and enjoy hoeing by hand for a healthy and beneficial exercise, go for it! It is good for you. And stay on them weeds until you pretty much get rid of them.

It is always better to control by cultivation instead of using chemical herbicides, especially when you garden with vegetables. You don't want to poison your body, do you? Once those chemicals get in your system it can cause some serious health problems.

That's why I'm always for an organic way of gardening. Organic fertilizing, organic composting, organic pest control, organic weed control, etc. It should always be organic as much as possible.

As the autumn is coming upon us without even realizing how fast the time is passing, a good and beneficial practice would be to cultivate your garden plot periodically during the fall and in the winter, when and if the weather will permit. It all depends in what region of the world you live in.

As the climates are different, so are the circumstances, of course, but generally speaking the cultivating is a great way to control the weeds as soon as they emerge, and the sooner the better.

You should never delay the controlling of weeds until they go to seed. This will create a perpetual problem and it will make it so much harder to control and to get rid of them.

For a successful gardening and in the preparation for a new garden or just for the next season, the cultivating of the weeds should be a rather important task. It should also be a practice applied consistently, whenever the weeds are becoming to the point where they just are out of control.

Remember, the weeds are always growing faster than the good plants. It's just their nature to take over. But we will not going to let them, do we?

Buy controlling the weeds with a timely cultivation, you can give your plants a much better chance for growing and producing an abundant crop of vegetables, or blooms if you are growing flowers.

Controlling the weeds by cultivation is important and it will assure a successful gardening. Not withstanding the fact that you will have a clean nice looking garden ready to impress everyone.

Another way to control the weeds, once you have done your cultivating, is by applying mulch. We will be talking about this subject in a future posting.

To get inspired and to obtain an abundance of information related to the gardening field, visit the links on the right column of the page, and see what you can find of interest to you.

If you find this post helpful, please leave a comment and suggestions to help me improve my service to you. And I sure do appreciate it.

Until next time, Happy Gardening!

Mike Borlovan

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Composting Is A Must For Garden Soil Enrichment

For any successful garden, composting is an essential element for any soil improvement.

Especially when there are lacking nutrients, and when the soil in your garden is poor. Any kind of dirt can be improved. Be it loamy, sandy, or clay. This is done by adding amendments, mainly composted matter. The darker the dirt in your garden, the better success for an abundant and healthy crop.

Every serious gardener should consider composting, to amend and help the garden plot become nutrient again for the next season harvest. Once the nutrients are depleted, which it happens naturally, they must be replaced perpetually. Every year if possible.

If you don't have the time or the means to make a fast or active compost, you can easily go for a passive composting process. While this might be a slower procedure, nevertheless it will do the job. It can absolutely be implemented with less care and almost no cost.

Even in a kind of neglected pile of compost with organic waste, the organic material will decompose even if it does it slowly. But it can be done without any significant effort.

The compost pile can consist of leaves, and lots of them. About two thirds leaves and one third nitrogen material will assure a good and consistent organic matter. The leaves will provide the carbon necessary for decomposing. The nitrogen can be obtained by adding cow manure, chicken manure, fresh grass clippings, and blood meal.

When you have a garden, it just doesn't make sense to burn the leaves! It would be a waste of a very important source of organic matter that can make a world of difference in the improving of your garden soil.

Just rake the falling leaves and put them in a pile out of the way, in a corner and just turn them and sprinkle with water when it is not raining. The leaves are a very good and important source of carbon. The microbes, those hard working little creature, will do the job. They live on the decaying material and that's why it is important to turn the compost pile to allow the oxygen and the newly added leaves in contact with the invisible microbes that are working day and night. And they are working for free. You don't even have to pay them! He, he, he!

So all these elements must be considered when composting for a better gardening: the composition of the material by combining the right proportion as described above. Moisture (by sprinkling water), aeration by turning it now and then with a pitch fork. The mother nature will take care of the rest. Some material will decompose faster, others slower. But they will decay.

Once the proper conditions have been created, the micro organisms will get in action, as well as the earth worms. They will multiply and as you apply the compost in the garden, the worms will aerate the soil as they dig underground channels to allow the oxygen where it is needed the most.

Once the compost is decayed enough, spread it on the top of the dirt in your garden plot and till it in the ground to blend in. This way it will decay even more, and make the soil rich and nutrient with all that good organic material. Gradually will build up the humus, that nice rich, dark looking color of the soil.

This is the cheapest and the most economical way of composting. It would cost you hardly anything. By burning the leaves, you are burning your hard earned money. So why not put them to a useful purpose and save a bundle. Not withstanding the benefits of a successful gardening, to produce some nice, fresh, full of vitamins and minerals fruits and vegetables, with vivid, full of life colors for your healthy living.

Gardening is wonderful. If you are not gardening yet, you are missing out on a lot of amazing things, and on the satisfaction of having your own quiet little place of retreat, from this noisy and crazy world. You will soon discover the enjoyment of gardening, and how beneficial it could be for you.

Let's get our hands dirty. It is good for you.

Mike Borlovan

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to Landscape Your Back Yard To Look Great

This post about how to landscape your back yard to look great, is intended to give you some basic ideas as how to implement a project that will be not only beautiful and attractive, but also practical.

If you are considering very seriously to achieve a nice landscape that will provide comfort, relaxation, beauty and convenience, start by stepping outside from your house in the back yard. Since you have this new idea in mind, you are about to look to the whole situation with a surveying eye, with a different perspective, not just to take some fresh air, but like one who is about to start doing something very important.

Look at the present situation of the yard, and just try to imagine what kind of elements it needs to make a drastic change in the whole picture. Now there is no need to get intimidated, because it's not that complicated and it can be done. Let's just relax and get organized, step by step.

To bring these new ideas and elements to life, start by dotting them down on a sheet of paper or a note pad. If your back yard is on a slope, locate an area where you might want to install a retaining wall, for a nice little terrace, to place a table with a few chairs. You might also want to consider installing some steps to that area for easy access as well as appearance.

Weather the yard is in a slope or flat, it does not matter, except that each situation requires a different approach. But what you want to consider first, is to divide the yard in spaces, for practicality and other considerations such as beauty, convenience, entertainment, socializing, playing, relaxing, resting, etc.

It does not have to be too polished, but appealing enough for entertainment, with a friendly atmosphere and a friendly environment.

After you divide the back yard in separate sections, consider some essential elements that will make it work, and looks good to the eye of the beholder. No matter in what part of the property you are, it should look great from every angle, as well as practical.

Consider to install a brick patio, surrounded by your preferred shrubs and blooming flowers. Add some nice clay pottery of different sizes and shapes for accent and focal points around your patio. Set on the brick area some nice garden and patio furniture, for comfortable seating and dining area. From here install some stepping stones that lead to a gazebo, or a pavilion, to relax in the shade, in an intimate space.

As we go along, you will realize how nicely is your back yard landscape taking place. It is coming to life as we continue to add some essential elements. It will be awesome as we add and complete each new element.

Find a nice sunny area and plant a beautiful vegetable garden, and one for a flower garden of your choice. If you have children it will provide a great resource of educational activities, to cultivate in them the beauty of nature and recreation in the outdoors. It is healthy, beneficial, and it also builds character and a love for the environment. Gardening is wonderful.

We should never neglect to assign a special area for the children to play in safety, and give them the liberty to be in their own little playing universe. You can install a swing set, a sand box, slides, etc.

If you have a place to build a deck, with some nice benches on it, or garden furniture, surrounded with shrubs and small trees, will create a beautiful element as a main focal point in the yard. A place to entertain your guests and friends with some delicious barbecue, and other fine foods and drinks. Let the good times roll!

Divide the spaces with some trellises, hedges, retaining walls, small trees, for a sense of intimacy or delimitation of use. Like in your home, the same way as the rooms are divided, except that in the yard are wider and in the open air. Your celling is the sky, your walls are made of live plants, or a trellis, or a chain-link-fence, or a line of small trees, or some taller growing shrubs, etc.

Another area of relaxing could be a spa, hot-tub, swimming pool, a miniature fish pond, etc.

Consider planting along the fence some ornamental trees, like Crape Myrtles, Althea the Rose of Sharon, and other blooming trees, that will offer besides the beautiful blooms, the sense of enclosure, of delimitation of your property, your outdoor spaces.

For a more dramatic effect of soothing and appealing atmosphere consider installing some low voltage lighting. It is a very attractive and important element in landscaping. This will create an astonishing view of the whole picture at night. Strategically placed to bring out some focal points, and gives the impression of a fairy land at night.

Place some benches strategically on the side of a walkway, and have some spot light point to some garden statue, for an even greater impression.

After you have pretty much implemented all the elements so that each will serve its purpose, you can see that how to landscape a back yard to look great, was not really that hard, was it? By taking one step at a time, and with a careful planing, it can surely be easily achieved.

Now it is time for action, and to get your hands dirty. Just do it! It's a lot of fun.

Until next time,

Happy gardening!

Mike Borlovan

Friday, August 20, 2010

How To Grow Crape Myrtles The Easy Way

Growing Crape Myrtles, tips and ideas, is intended to provide information to the home owners and gardening and landscaping enthusiasts.

A popular tree in the South, the Crape Myrtle (Lagerostroemia indica) is widely used in the landscapes, due to the long blooming period. It blooms from mid-summer until late fall, sometimes until frost.

In the autumn before the Crape Myrtle is dropping the leaves, the color is turning reddish, and the exfoliating of the bark is simply beautiful, and very attractive.

Even so that it is so popular in the South, in the last few decades, with the introduction and development of new cultivars, the demand for the Crape Myrtle is expanding towards the Northern states, and it is used more and more in landscape projects by the professionals as well as the home owners.

The Crape Myrtles are planted along driveways, walkways, along fences, in group planting, accent focal points, and anyway you can think of. They are easy to grow, easy to propagate, and once established it does not require too much care.

They come in very many different color blooms, but the main ones are the red, white, pink, purple, lavender, some of the varieties in darker or lighter color tones.


The Crape Myrtle can be grown as a single trunk, or multi-trunk. To grow it as a single trunk, in tree form, you want to prune all the branches and leave only one as the main trunk. Usually you want to keep the one that is stronger and straight. If you prefer the multi-trunk, then leave all the branches to grow, and later prune only the ones that are not well developed. Just keep the strongest ones.

If it happens that you have a single trunk Crape Myrtle, and you want to change the shape to a multi-trunk tree, you can do that, very easily. Just have a little patience, and wait until next January or February, while the trees are still dormant, and cut the trunk all the way down, and leave about 2 to 3 inches from the ground level. The tree will start growing multiple trunks.

The pruning should be done while dormant, usually in January or February, before they start to put out buds. So, that is a good time to shape them any way you like.

Once the Crape Myrtles are well established, do not be afraid to prune them drastically. If you want them to grow more vigorous, you should cut them back, mostly where they are branching out. Just cut all the limbs to about 2 to 3 inches from the main trunk(s), and the little branches that are not well developed, and you want to cut them off.

The Crape Myrtle can grow about 20 to 25 feet tall, and they grow pretty fast.

They prefer full sun and a well air circulated area to keep them from getting powdery mildew. If it happens to get some powdery mildew, it is not a big problem. It comes and goes. Usualy the rain will wash it off, and the wind will play a great roll, too, to make it dissipate faster.

Too much shade will inhibit the blooming, and the flowers will not develop as they should. So full sun is essential, and the display is more spectacular in the landscape.

Keep them moist but not soggy. Once established they can pretty much tolerate some drought. If the soil is more alkaline, you can lower the pH to about 5.5 to 6.00, by mulching around the trees with pine-straw, to make it a little more acidic.

If the soil is rather poor in nutrients, fertilize lightly with a well balanced fertilizer. I prefer the slow released fertilizer, like Osmocote or Nursery Special. Apply a top dress, around the trunk of the trees. It always worked better for me. The flowers are more vivid and vibrant in color tones.

When planting the Crape Myrtles, like any other tree or shrubs, dig the hole at least one and a half the size of the root ball, and just slightly less deeper than it was in the original container when you have bought it. It is better to be a little above the line of the soil, to allow the water to drain away from the base of the tree.

Many diseases and other rot and fungus problems occur when the plants are planted deeper then they should.

Fill the hole with the dirt that you just dug out, and press around to eliminate any air pockets from around the roots. Water well and deep. Just a sprinkle on the top of the soil will never be enough! Mulch with about 2 to 3 inches of pine-straws to retain moisture, and keep it moist until the tree is getting established. After that the Crape Myrtle does not require too much care.


The Crape Myrtle is pretty easy to propagate.

1) By seeds, that you can pick from the pods in autumn, before the seed falls on the ground. Use some fine peat-moss based potting soil, with some micro-nutrients blend, and fill some 2 to 4 inch pots with the soil, and sow one seed in a pot. Keep evenly moist until it germinates. Keep them indoors in a place where there is some good light, preferable close to a window. If you have a little greenhouse, that is even better. Once they germinate, you can grow them in the same pot until spring, when you can plant them outside, after the danger of late frost is past.

2) By rooted cuttings. Cut some new young branches (semi-hardwood is preferable), and after you cut the lower end slanted with a sharp knife, pinch off the leaves from the portion of the stem that you stick in the potting soil. Pinch off the tips, and leave only 4 or 5 leaves. For best results, the cuttings (the stems), should be no more than 5 to 6 inches long.

Once you stick them in the soil, press around the cutting to eliminate any air pockets and to stabilize to little cutting stem.

Since the new cuttings have no roots yet, they feed through the leaves. Now sprinkle the leaves several times a day, with a fine mist, or even a spray bottle should do. Make sure that the soil is wet enough, so that the little cuttings are forced to reach down for moisture, thus growing the roots faster.

Some cultivars are more resistant than others on powdery mildew. But that is coming and going. Just keep an eye on the aphids, that leave a kind of a sticky excretions on the leaves that attracts the sooty mold fungus. If left un controlled it can become so thick as not to allow the plant to have its photothynseses, and that can create some problems, to the point that the Crape Myrtle will deteriorate.

The Aphids can be controlled by spraying with a dish washing soap solution mixed in water, and applied heavily on the affected leaves. Then after a while just rinse the soap solution off. An area populated and active with lady bugs and lace wings (those green beneficial bugs) could help a lot! They feed heavily on the aphids.

As you can see, the Crape Myrtle is easy to grow and it does not require too much care. It will give you many years of enjoyment, blooming year after year as well as improving and elevating the value and the image of your home.

In my many years of experience in the Nursery and Landscaping field, I had many projects that worked out very nicely by planting Crape Myrtles.

So, what are you waiting for? Let's get our hands dirty, it is good for you!

Until next time, Happy Gardening!

Mike Borlovan