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A recent 15 week study in South Korea showed both physical and mental health benefits of spending time in the garden.
Interestingly, most of the women surveyed exhibited a “significant increase” in scores for depression, with symptoms progressing from normal before the intervention period to moderate depression symptom at the end of the study. “Meanwhile, the depression scores of elderly women in the gardening intervention group did not change during this period,” the authors said.
Women’s aerobic endurance was also affected; the intervention group showed increased scores in an aerobic endurance test; the control group showed no improvement in a step test for aerobic endurance. Women in the intervention group also demonstrated improvements in hand dexterity.
The women in the gardening intervention experienced benefits to cognitive and psychological functions as well. Assessments revealed that women in the intervention group showed “significant improvement” in cognitive function.
The researchers said their results demonstrate that the gardening intervention improved the physical and psychological health conditions of the elderly women who participated. “Moreover, satisfaction with the gardening intervention as a leisure time physical activity for health conditions of elderly women was very high,” they said.
So if you’re feeling sad or anxious, you might want to make some time to spend in your garden or walking in the woods!
The first step to keeping ticks out of your garden is proper landscaping. Ticks need high humidity to live and they love wood piles, leaf piles and any other yard waste. Gardeners often have this stuff lying around because we need “brown” material for compost. However, you need to separate it from your main gardening area or get rid of it to keep the ticks at bay.
Consider having a 3-foot wide perimeter of mulch around the entire yard and garden area. If you keep the grass cut short and the yard clear of waste, this acts as a perimeter defense against ticks. Like many insects, ticks hate mulch and we’ll use that against them.
Another effective method for keeping ticks at bay is to liberally apply cedar oil. Cedar oil is both a contact killer and an effective repellent of ticks. You can get it formulated in different ways. Consider using the lawn version in a hose end sprayer to treat the yard and garden every couple weeks during hot weather. Cedar oil is completely non-toxic to humans and it doesn’t bother beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, which is quite a trick on the part of Mother Nature.
Termites are not just a pest that’s found inside homes...they can wreak havoc in your precious garden as well. Not all termite control measures involve the use of industrial chemicals. If you’re an environment friendly chap, you’d be glad to know of the following “natural” ways of keeping these pesky critters at bay:
Biological Control methods involve the introduction of insects (ants) or microscopic worms (nematodes) that prey on termites. While both ants and nematodes are natural predators for termites, they do not offer as effective prevention or control as bait or termiticide treatment systems.
There are a few plants with insecticidal properties, such as sweet basil, that may help protect your garden from termites. In addition, vegetation and mulch should be at least six inches away from your home's foundation to reduce food, shelter and moisture sources for termites. Also, consider replacing wood mulch with mulch that termites do not eat, such as compost.
Non-toxic termite control methods include heat treatment, extreme cold and electronic methods. You could also consider “green materials” such as termiticides and baits that are made from botanical ingredients.
Soil erosion is BAD for your garden – now here’s a no-brainer. Why? Because loss of soil leads to
serious loss of nutrients and, thus, unhealthy plants! Also, erosion can result in floods and landslides.
Here are three simple ways proposed by wikiHow to prevent or at least minimise soil erosion...
Plant grass and shrubs.
Bare soil is easily swept away by wind and water, the two main causes of erosion. Plant roots hold the soil together, while their leaves block rain and stop it breaking the soil apart. Turf, ornamental grass, and low, spreading shrubs work best, since they cover the soil completely.
Add mulch or rocks.
By weighing down the soil, this protect seeds and young plants underneath from getting washed away. It also slows the absorption of water to reduce runoff. Grass clippings or bark chips work especially well .
Build retaining walls.
Badly eroded slopes will continue to collapse downhill until they are stabilized. A retaining wall at the base of the slope will block the soil and slow down the collapse. This gives grass or other plants time to grow and help the soil hold together. Give the wall a 2% slope on the side (perpendicular to the incline) so that water flows off to the side instead of pooling.
Agreed, snakes may be incredibly beneficial for the ecosystem; they control the population of several pests, including mice, rats, cockroaches and other insects. However, many species are venomous, so why take a chance having them slithering around in your yard? Here are some easy ways of keeping snakes away!!
Keep your yard free of clutter.
Clutter is an open invitation to snakes, giving them perfect hiding spots. Piles of leaves, compost piles, straw mulch, wood chip mulch, stacks of firewood, and piles of cut grass are all comfortable places that snakes like to hide in, so these should be removed from your yard. Instead of wood mulch, consider crushed stone. It’s not as comfortable or effective for snakes to hide in.
Avoid tall-growing plants.
Certain shrubs and other plants, if they are densely grown, provide the perfect hiding spot for snakes; so either remove or thin these plants! Also, keeping your grass mowed is a good way to prevent snakes from slithering around your yard.
Patch up any holes.
Besides allowing access into your home, any holes or cracks in your building’s foundations provide great hiding places for snakes. So, locate and patch up any holes (no matter how small the holes are) in your property’s foundations, the garage, or screen doors.
It’s official. The secret to a great garden is the soil, not the plants you grow on it.
The key to high-quality soil is lots of organic matter such as crushed leaves, grass clippings, or homemade compost. Healthy soil can also be maintained by avoiding the use of chemicals that create an imbalance in the soil.
No kidding. It’s so easy to drown your lawn. The general guideline for watering a lawn is to apply 1.0″ to 1.5″ of water each week. Overwatering doesn’t just waste water, it also can wash fertilizer into the area’s waterways, erode the soil, damage the structure of the soil, and make a lawn more vulnerable to disease. Water your lawn deeply 2-3 times per week, rather than daily. Water as early in the morning as you can, when possible.
Ok, now how do you know you’ve watered enough? If you can push a 6” screwdriver into your lawn up to the hilt just nicely, you've watered enough.
Rub and Soak
Studies at reputed Agricultural Research Agencies have shown that the key to removing pesticide residue from fruits and vegetables was friction!! Always rub the produce back and forth with your hands or with a scrubbing brush for at least 30 seconds.
After that, time for a good soak.
Fill a large bowl with four parts water and one part vinegar; preferably apple cider vinegar, but plain white vinegar will also suffice. Soak your fruits and vegetables in this for 30 to 60 minutes before rinsing and scrubbing thoroughly with cold water. This process will also keep your food fresh for longer and avoid spoilage. There you go…it’s a win-win!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been bitten by nasty mozzies whilst plodding away in your garden. Well, here’s one effective way of keeping those pesky critters away…just by wearing the right outfit!
Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, so wearing light coloured outdoor clothing will help avoid unwanted bug bites. It also keeps you cooler under the sun. Be sure that you cover as much of your skin as possible and wear clothes made of tightly-woven fabric so that mosquitoes cannot penetrate your first defense.
It is also a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothing, because if the material is not close to your skin, mosquitoes cannot bite through to you. Just make sure it’s not too loose, or else mosquitoes can fly up shirt sleeves or down collars to attack.
No surprise to any avid gardener, the downside of spending a day gardening is that your skin could take a battering. Here’s three simple ways of protecting your skin.
Wear a Hat Dummy!
Seemingly obvious, a hat is the gardener's best friend, especially when it’s a broad brimmed hat. This is because the sun comes in at all angles. And, wear your hat even when you’ve splashed on sunscreen.
Keep skin at sock line and wrists covered
Keen gardeners are at risk of coming into contact with poison ivy and insects. So, to avoid this, you should always wear socks and pull your sleeves down, and always, always, always wear gloves.
Don't wear fragrance while gardening
While your signature scent is no doubt gorgeous, it’s probably for the best that you don’t wear it while you garden. This is because it attracts bugs and can cause a rash when the sun shines on the area of skin where the fragrance has been applied.
Natural ant control may well be the least expensive method for keeping ants away from your garden. Here are a few effective ways...