Low Tunnels: Protecting Your Plants
Low Tunnels are a great way to protect your plants from frost and cold. Actually, they are incredibly effective when it comes to shielding your plants from frost and cold. In addition to this, low tunnels are great when it comes to getting a jump start on the growing season. They allow you to start your plants much earlier, while it's still snowy outside, and to prolong your growing season well into late fall or early winter.
Read more on how to build and use low tunnels: build a low tunnel
About Low Tunnels
Low tunnels are a great way to protect your plants from the frost and to make the most of the growing season. To ensure a good protection, a low tunnel has to have a good floating row cover.
They are usually made of various lightweight fabrics and are made to "float" above your crops, protecting them while allowing enough space for sunlight, air and water to pass through. Floating covers are very effective and they give you an easy access to the crops.
Making a Low Tunnel
The best thing about low tunnels is that it's relatively easy to make your own, homemade ones. It requires a bit of practice and craftsmanship, but it's relatively inexpensive and easy to do. Basically, low tunnels are very simple structures so they are not difficult to make.
All you need to make your own low tunnel is some materials, such as PVC pipes or water bottles. Luckily, most of the materials are very cheap so you can get them easily, even for free.
When building a low tunnel, it's important to make a stable frame (supporting structure). It needs to be sturdy but relatively lightweight. Another component is the cover. This cover will be put on the frame so it will create a convenient shield for your plants.
Typically, a frame is made of semicircular hoops while the cover itself is made of a lightweight fabric.
Attracting Butterflies in Your Garden
A garden full of butterflies is very beautiful so it's not surprising that many gardeners do their best to attract butterflies.
This relatively easy to do, but you need to understand that butterflies are very choosy. What they look for are specific nectar plants, as well as sunshine and a shelter from wind. Therefore, in order to attract butterflies to your garden, you need to provide favorable conditions for them. First and foremost, it means that you have to have some specific plants butterflies like. They are looking for nectar, so your garden needs to provide it.
Read more about attracting Monarch butterflies
Great Nectar Plants
Butterflies are looking for good nectar plants, so here are some suggestions on which plants to have in your garden:
Milkweed. It's probably one of the best nectar plants for attracting butterflies, especially Monarch butterflies.
Jupiter's-beard (Centranthus ruber)
Rosy-flowered ice plant (Hylotelephium spectabile ‘Carmen’)
The little Mexican daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus).
Asters (Aster novi-belgii)
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
These are just some of the nectar plants you might wish to use to attract butterflies.
Organizing Your Garden
Planting the above mentioned species is just the first step in attracting butterflies. Another thing you need to worry about are the general conditions in your garden (the amount of sunshine it gets, the presence of potential pests, etc.) Note that it's impossible to completely avoid some predators, such as birds - they like to eat butterfly caterpillars. However, these birds are favorable because they keep the butterfly population under control.
To make your garden into a perfect place for butterflies, make sure to provide some water. Butterflies like puddles so it's best to arrange a specific corner in your garden where they can find water. Places with lots of sunshine and trees are also great for butterflies. Ideally, your garden should have a lot of nectar plants in a combination with some trees, puddles and wooden structures to attract butterflies.
Growing Plants on a Shady Balcony
You may think it's impossible to grow plants in the shade, but this isn't entirely true. You need to know that certain types of container plans tolerate shade well and can thrive even in shade.
It's possible to have a gorgeous garden growing on a shady balcony: you just need to choose your plants carefully.
Different Types of Shade
The first step is to see how much shade you really have on your balcony. Observe your balcony for a day and make a note of sunny hours and shady hours. Also, keep in mind that some parts of your balcony can have a different kind of a shade than the others.
Depending the number of sunny hours per day, there are different types of shades:
* 3 to 6 hours of sun per day means that your balcony is a good place for partial shade plants.
* Less than 3 hours of sun per day means that your balcony is a good place for plants that need full shade.
* If your balcony receives continuous sunlight but filtered through the branches or nearby buildings, it's a good place for plants that thrive in a filtered or dappled light.
Choose the Plants
The next step is to choose the most appropriate plants depending on the type of shade you have on your balcony.
* If your balcony gets 3 to 6 hours of sun per day, good choices of plants to grow are: Blackberry Lily, Monkshood (Acontium), Primrose and Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra).
* If your balcony gets less than 3 hours of sun per day, suitable plants are: Astilbe, Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra), Trilium and various types of ferns (particularly Japanese Painted Ferns).
* If you have filtered or dappled light on your balcony, you may grow Trillium, Columbine (Aquilegia), Bluebells, Caladium and Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum).
Read More at Growing Plants on a Shady Balcony