LIVE PICTURE GO FEATURED ON CITYLINE!

CityLine has redesigned a front porch for a lucky viewer who won the “Patio Primp” contest. The premise of the design is that even in the city, where every square inch of floor space is precious, there are ways to make a huge impact. The winner entry was sent in by the homeowner’s grandmother who wanted surprise her newlywed granddaughter with the makeover.

CityLine designer Shai Deluca approached Devron in order to find a solution that was small in footprint but also offered a “wow” factor to the homeowners front yard. There is a privacy wall between the two semis where CityLine wanted to feature an ingenious way to make the most of your vertical and often unused space. As the project was in a smaller area, the innovative self-watering Live Picture GO came to mind as the ideal solution.

During the day of installation, Devron provided and installed two of our brand new LivePicture GO – White on the winning viewers front porch. These are two self watering units that immediately beautified the look of the front porch all while providing a green accent that will only need to be watered about once a month!

Take a look below for the result of the installation and keep your tv’s tuned to CityLine on July 11th for the full episode!
Click here to read more on CityLine’s Website!

SAVE TIME AND MONEY IN THE GARDEN

A garden doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, there are many ways a garden can save you money. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your garden in top shape without draining your bank account. Supplement them with your own creative ideas!

Grow from Seed:Image result for free gardening photos

It makes good sense, and saves dollars to start easy-to-grow plants from seed rather than buying started seedlings from a nursery. Here are some vegetables and flowers than can and should be sown directly in the garden: Lettuce, arugula, and other salad greens: Sprinkle the seed in wide rows. You will get at least three cuttings of salad greens, which can sell for upwards of $6-$7 a pound atthe local supermarket.

All root vegetables like carrots, beets, radishes and turnips are also very easy-from-seed vegetables. Garden mainstay veggies such as beans, peas, squash, cucumbers and corn all come easily and quickly from seed as well as long as you wait until temperatures are warmed up into the 50° range both day and night.

Sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, alyssum, sweet peas, morning glories and nasturtiums are some of the e beautiful and popular flowers that can be had for the price of a pack of seeds. If you want to have cut flowers, a pack of seeds will produce lots and lots of flowering plants so that you can enjoy bouquets all season long.

Share-starting:

And while you’re at it, consider joining with friends in a seed-starting cooperative for plants that need a head start indoors (peppers, eggplants and tomatoes all need to be started indoors in the US except in the warmest areas.) One person starts eggplants, another tomatoes, and at planting time, just divide the started plants among the participating members.

Compost:

Don’t give your leaves away! Chop them with your lawnmower and put them in a pile. Or make a simple compost bin with chicken wire and four stakes. Add vegetable trimmings, prunings, weeds (but no weed with seeds), and other compostables.

Stake with Reused Materials:

Scavenged materials make very serviceable stakes. Political signs stakes (minus the actual signs) are a good size for propping up peppers or small pea varieties or vining cucumbers – but wait until after the election before collecting them! Scrap wood or old broomsticks or rake handles can be fashioned into tomato supports. An old stepladder can be repurposed as a bean or flower tower.

Fertilize your Vegetable Garden with Living Plants: Image result for free gardening photos

Planting a cover crop in your vegetable garden when the weather is not conducive for growing edible plants is a sure way to improve both the structure and the fertility of your soil. Winter rye, mustard and clover are widely available good choices. For more information, consult your Cooperative Extension, or go to http://hort.uwex.edu/articles/using-cover-crops-andgreen-manures-home-vegetable-garden

Get Creative with Weed Barriers:

Laying down 3 to 4 inches of bagged mulch, at considerable expense, has become almost a rite of spring for many homeowners. There are many materials that will perform the same function at a fraction of the cost! Newspaper, cardboard, or shredded paper, topped with straw, pine needles, or chopped leaves, will make a very effective weed barrier between plants. If you don’t like the look of these alternatives, try using shredded wood mulch in the front of the garden, and paper or cardboard topped with straw in less visible parts.

Clover fixes nitrogen, fertilizing your soil!

Water with Rain:

Use rain, as much as possible, to water your plants. Rain barrels need not cost a fortune. Check out this EPA instruction sheet for a low cost, DIY version: http://www.epa.gov/Region3/p2/make-rainbarrel.pdf

Seed Pots come in all Shapes and Sizes:

Seeds can be started indoors in any container. Orange juice cartons (sliced in half), yogurt containers, takeout containers – the list is endless. All you need to do is poke holes in the bottom for drainage to make them useful.

Mark with a Stone:

One attractive way to keep track of what’s where is to mark the names of your plants with indelible ink on flat stones.

See our entire line of Live Solutions here!

Gardening Keeps You Healthy

Thomas Jefferson famously wrote to Charles Willson Peale in 1811 at age 68, “But though I am an old man,I am but a young gardener.” Any gardener who has planted peas on a brilliant spring morning or cut zinnias on a sunny summer day knows the feeling of a lightened step, a younger mood. There is mounting empirical evidence that gardening is both good for the spirit & for the body as well.

Of course, you knew this all along.

  1. Gardening Helps You to Stay Lean

You can expend calories by going dutifully to the gym, or you can simply live an active life: “Non-exercise activity thermogenesis” or NEAT, is now officially recognized as an effective way to keep incoming and outgoing calories in healthy balance. According to Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic, engaging in everyday activities can overcome a propensity to gain weight. “NEAT includes all those activities that render us vibrant, unique, and independent beings,” says Dr. Levine. Gardening, for instance, expends 200-400 calories per hour!

Planting, pruning, and pushing a wheelbarrow not only burns calories, it helps maintain strong bones.

  1. Gardening Keeps Your Bones Strong

Women aged 50 and older who garden weekly have stronger bones than those who engage in jogging, swimming, walking, or aerobics, according to a 2000 study by Dr. Lori Turner at the University of Arkansas” We hadn’t expected yard work to be significant … But there’s a lot of weight-bearing motion going on in the garden—digging holes, pulling weeds, pushing a mower,” concluded Dr. Turner.

  1. People Who Garden Are Less Likely To Be Deficient in Vitamin DImage result for gardening healthy

Vitamin D is widely recognized as the sunshine vitamin. A deficit has been linked to an increased risk of a number of ailments, including common cancers, type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Absorbing enough sunlight to allow your body to produce sufficient vitamin D but not so much that you risk skin cancer can be tricky. Age complicates the situation, as a person over 65 years of age exposed to the same amount of sunlight as a 20-year-old person makes only about 25% of the vitamin D.

According to Harvard Health Publications, a little sunshine can go a long way: 10 to 15 minutes of sun on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the vitamin D the average person needs—assuming its rays are at a fairly direct angle. And regardless of age, time of year, and other factors, regular gardening has been shown to reduce the likelihood of inadequate vitamin D.

  1. Gardening Makes Us Happy

People who engage in green exercise, that is, activity while out in nature—even if its just for just a few minutes a day—enjoy greater self-esteem and improved mood, according to an analysis by researchers at the University of Essex. And actively playing in the dirt can offer extra rewards. A 2007 study suggests that contact with a common soil bacterium can increase the release of serotonin in parts of the brain that regulate mood. In other words, gardening makes us happy.

  1. Gardens Build Healthy Communities

Image result for gardening healthyThe networks and social support that come from being involved in a Community Garden brings a whole other set of mental health benefits. Shared experiences with others growing traditional ethnic foods can be a starting point for understanding between cultures. The entire community benefits from a Community Garden in multiple ways: better nutrition, enhanced mental health, social ties, and an increased appreciation of social diversity.

Bok choy is rich in vitamins C, A and calcium. For the highest benefit, prepare it straight from the garden, stirfried very quickly until just tendercrisp.

  1. The Fresher the Food, the Greater the Nutrient Content

Get the most out of your vegetables by eating them fresh from the garden. Vitamin C content can decline rapidly, particularly in leafy greens like spinach, after just three days of refrigeration. The best way to be sure your vegetables offer maximum nutritional benefit is to grow them yourself.

It Is Clear That The Evidence Is In!

For a healthy life, garden often, and garden smart. Warm up your body by stretching, lift with your knees bent and your back straight, change tools often to reduce strain on your joints and wear protective clothing: gloves, a sun hat, and shoes that grip the ground.

 LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR LINE OF GREEN PRODUCTS HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:
•University of Arkansas Newswire. 2000. Got Weeds? University Of Arkansas Researchers Say Yard Work Builds Strong Bones.

http://newswire.uark.edu/articles/10028/got-weeds-university-of-arkansas-researchers-say-yard-work-builds-strong-bones
•University of Bristol. 2007. Getting Dirty May Lift Your Mood. Science Daily
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402102001.htm

•Home and Gardening Tips and Information:
Homeandgardenseedassociation.com
•Barton J., Pretty J. 2010. What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Energy for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis.
Environ. Sci. Technol., 2010, 44 (10), pp 3947–3955
•De Rui, M. and others. 2014. Vitamin D Deficiency and Leisure Time Activities in the Elderly: Are All Pastimes the Same? PLoS One
10;9(4):e94805.

•Favell D. 1997. A Comparison of the vitamin C content of fresh and frozen vegetables. Food Chemistry 62(1) p59-64.
•Holick M. 2004. Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 80 (6).
•Wakefield S. and others. Growing Urban Health: Community Gardening in South-East Toronto. Health Promotion International
22(2). http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/researchWakefieldYeudallTaronReynoldsSkinnerGrowingHealth.pdf

 

5 Garden Tasks to Complete Before Summer Arrives

Our gardens don’t get as much attention during the winter as they do in the warmer months, and spring is the right time to start preparing your garden for the growing season.

Beyond using an electric grass trimmer to prune your perennials and larger plants, you’ll want to check up on your garden tools to ensure you’re ready to take on the growing season. Ensure your small tools like trowels and rakes are in good shape, as well as larger ones like your electric lawn mower or wheelbarrow, are ready to go before you begin planting.

The projects you finish at this time can help your plants achieve more growth later on, so it’s important to start thinking about them early in the year. These are some of the gardening tasks you should prioritize in the early spring and summer.

Add Lime to Acidic Soil

Soil with a low pH can cause a number of problems for your garden, and adding lime to acidic soil will make it more alkaline and more conducive to growth. We recommend using lime on soil with a pH anywhere below about 6.

It takes time for new lime to have an impact on plants, so we recommend adding it to your soil at least a few weeks before you plan on planting. You should cover any soil that contains recently added lime with a plastic tarp during heavy rains to retain as much of the lime as possible.

Repair Fences and Trellises

It’s easier to fix these structures using your favorite multi tool and oscillating tool blades during the spring than at any other time o f the year, as there won’t be as many roots or as much growth to obstruct your work. That said, we recommend waiting until the end of spring to set new fence posts, as spring rains can raise the water table and make this job much more difficult than it needs to be. If a brand new, beautiful feature piece is what your looking vs. the traditional wooden or chain link fences, take a look at the unique Green Living Fences to do the job.

Remove Debris and Dead Growth

Raking your lawn isn’t the most enjoyable gardening project, but removing these obstructions will promote grass growth and prepare your garden for the summer. This is also the time to re-seed any bare patches you notice and apply any non-toxic herbicide you use in your garden.

Look Out for Slugs

Slugs are annoying garden pests that can cause significant damage to seedlings if left unchecked, and they often begin to come out during spring rains. Make sure to check regularly for slug damage.

If you’re having trouble with slugs, you can take more steps to keep them out of your garden. Check out these natural methods for ideas to get rid of slugs—many of them are possible with common household items.

Start Planting

Once your soil no longer contains any ice crystals, you should be able to begin planting seeds for your earliest crops! Some of the most common plants that should be planted early in the spring include lettuce, spinach, and peas.

Planting a range of crops with a variety of maturation dates will allow you to continue harvesting throughout the summer and fall. Make sure to cover any seedlings during hard frosts, which can cause irreversible damage to young plants.

Spring is the most exciting time of the year for gardeners, and these early-season tasks are even more rewarding when you consider the effect they’ll have on later growth. Start with these simple projects in the spring to prepare your garden for the summer and fall. Worx / Rockwell Tools

Want more information? Check out our line of green products to help get your next gardening task done.

Guest Editor: Rae Steinbach
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.

SPRING MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

Spring is a time of change for our gardens and being prepared helps keep us ahead of the game. Take a look at these 10 tips from HGTV to get your garden and tools all ready for summer!

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  1. Revive Garden Decor
    In cold winter zones, kick off the garden season by taking decorative items out of winter storage and replacing them in planting beds. Gazing balls, colorful glass stakes, wind chimes, whirligigs and other décor can add color to the garden before plants are doing much more than sprouting. In warm zones, clean up garden décor to remove last year’s dirt.
  2. Plant Summer Bulbs
    Get warm-weather bulbs, like dahlias, off to a solid start by planting them in pots before the ground is warm enough for planting. In the coldest areas, you might want to start bulbs indoors. In many regions, you can give bulbs a head start on the season by sprouting them in black nursery pots set on a sunny patio or driveway—somewhere that solid surfaces can retain heat and help warm soil.
  3. Add Compost to Beds
    Some perennial crops, like roses, clematis, bramble berries and delphinium benefit from an early spring topdressing of compost. Apply a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer around the base of plants. Take care not to bury any new sprouts. If possible, apply compost before rain, which will help settle it into place.
  4. Clean Up Beds
    Remove any leaves that accumulated in planting beds over winter. Take care when clearing beds after perennial shoots are pushing through soil. New shoots are tender and easily broken. It’s usually better to work with your hands than to use a rake—of any type.
  5. Prune Ornamental Grasses
    Tackle pruning dormant ornamental grasses before new shoots appear. Hand pruners work well on small grass clumps. For larger ones, use bungee cords to wrap the clump, then cut through it easily with electric hedge clippers. Cut micanthus clumps to a cone shape, so that the center remains higher than the edges. This helps keep the center of the clump from dying out.
  6. Fill Birdbaths
    Fill birdbaths once temperatures are reliably above freezing. If chances of freezing temps still threaten, slip a basic birdbath heater into water to keep it thawed and available for birds.
  7. Prune Fruit Trees
    Tackle dormant pruning of fruit trees before buds break. Research your particular fruit trees to make sure you know what steps to take. For tree forms, you’ll prune to have an open canopy with good air flow. Beyond that, certain trees require specific pruning steps. Study a bit so you can prune with confidence.
  8. Inspect Paths
    Check stepper and flagstone paths for frost heave. Uneven stones are a tripping hazard. If soil is too wet, don’t try to reseat stones. Wait until soil dries a bit to lift stones and settle them back into place.
  9. Clip Perennials
    Remove last season’s remaining dead growth on perennials. While it’s tempting to pull dead stems away from the crown, that’s also an easy way to yank the entire plant out of the soil, especially moist spring soil. Use pruners instead to clip stems.
  10. Repair Structures
    While planting beds are too wet or too cold to work in, take time to look over trellises, arbors, pergolas and other supports. Check hardware at joints and tighten or replace as needed. Early spring—before plants have grown tall—is a great time to paint or stain structures.

Get your garden ready for spring with some of our live products!