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Easy Garden Projects

Easy Garden Projects 2017

Easy Garden Projects helps readers create and maintain beautiful gardens and outdoor living spaces. This special issue is packed with more than 40 do-it-yourself, budget-friendly projects for both the newbie gardener as well as the veteran green thumb. This issue is packed with projects and makeovers that can be done in a weekend or even in an afternoon—no matter the size of your pocketbook.

United States
Meredith Corporation
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in this issue

1 min.
make it yours

Here at Easy Garden Projects, we believe your garden should reflect your passions, whether that is collecting bowling balls (page 78), eating fresh veggies (page 32), or infusing your outdoor living spaces with rustic decor like the twig arch (page 88). We champion spaces that are handcrafted and thoughtfully arranged without costing too much or taking too much effort. We also hope to inspire you to branch out in your gardening efforts. Get competitive with your vegetables and enter them in a local fair (page 14) or tinker with hydrangeas (page 10). For my part, I enticed my three sons to join me in the garden as we experimented with new mint flavors (page 18). And Sandra Gerdes, manager of the Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden®, planted containers of…

3 min.
seed starting with style

MINI GREENHOUSE Seedlings thrive in the ideal conditions of light, warmth, and humidity created under a greenhouselike cover. Upcycle a clear plastic dome, such as a sundae lid or soda bottle with the bottom cut off, that fits atop a 3-inch terra-cotta pot and includes a built-in opening for justright ventilation. Place under the lights on your plant stand or on a windowsill. Read seed packets to get seed-starting details for the plants you desire. GERMINATION STATION SEED-STARTING LADDER SHELF Here’s how to turn a 6-foot wood ladder into a spacesaving plant stand: Cut boards for four sets of shelves measuring 2, 3, 4, and 5 feet long, fitting the boards to the width of each ladder rung. (We used 1×8 boards.) Prepare shims for the shelves, see “Step Right Up.” Prime and paint…

2 min.
3 tricks for hydrangeas

1 TURN IT BLUE If your pink hydrangea lacks the heavenly blue color you desire, then your soil lacks acidity. To check the acid levels in your soil, use a pH meter (find them in garden centers). Dip the meter prong into the soil and look for a pH level between 4.5 and 5.5—the acidity level necessary to keep blue hues flowing on your hydrangea. To add acidity, work iron sulfate or a soil acidifier into the soil near the base of the plant. According to folklore, you can also bury rusty iron nails near the base of the shrub to achieve celestial tones. 2 DRY IT Hydrangea flowers are a cinch to air-dry. Cut the blooms at any stage, remove all leaves, and hang the stems upside down in a warm, well-ventilated…

6 min.
blue ribbon basics

Whether you’re competitive or not, you can grow champion produce. These guidelines, gleaned from Blue Ribbon Vegetable Gardening, will help you nurture quality specimens that you’ll be proud to take to any contest or to simply show off to friends and neighbors. KNOW YOUR SOIL The smart start for growing the best vegetables is to get your soil tested. A complete soil test, which involves taking soil samples and sending them to a lab, provides you with the levels of the major nutrients—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—in your soil. The test also reveals the pH level, which tells you whether your soil is alkaline (high pH), acidic (low pH), or neutral (just right). The results will help you amend the soil with the right nutritional requirements. DIG IN WITH COMPOST To grow prizewinning fruits and…

3 min.
garden of minty delights

GROWING MINT Mint grows like crazy in most garden conditions. And that’s the problem—it grows like crazy. Unless your goal is to replace your entire garden with mint, you need to take precautions by containing the roots. Do this by planting in containers. If you want to plant the container in the garden so it blends in with the bed, then do so. Simply place the pot (one that’s at least 5 inches deep) into a hole but leave the rim above ground so the plant’s runners don’t try to sneak over their barrier and run amok in your garden. To keep mint looking and tasting prime all season, harvest the stem tips before it flowers. When you see a flower starting to form, nip it in the bud. Give mint a little…

2 min.
focus on foliage

PERENNIALS CONTAINED The variegated form of Jacob’s ladder pairs well with the heucherella’s lime foliage. Both can be planted in the shade garden at the end of the season. 1)Polemonium ‘Stairway to Heaven’ 2)Heucherella ‘Fire Frost’ SUN-LOVING COMBO Provide a tall dash of color in the garden. The dark purples pick up the accent color in the coleus leaves. 1) Coleus ‘French Quarter’ 2)Alternanthera ‘Purple Prince’ 3) Sweet potato vine ‘Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Purple’ NO FLOWERS, JUST FANTASTIC FOLIAGE! Every summer, the Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden® features gorgeous containers. Lately, Sandra Gerdes, the Test Garden manager, has expressed her passion for foliage in container combinations emphasizing leaf colors and shapes, rather than flowers. To create elegant, attention-grabbing containers yourself, choose plants with a variety of leaf shapes, textures, sizes, and colors. Mix plants with varie gated or striped leaves,…