Edward's Garden Center

Forty Fort, PA


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Gardening Money Pits to Avoid

We know you love to spend time and money on your garden as much as we do. Setting a budget for your garden each season can be tough. We have all made mistakes (and wasted money) on plants, tools and flowers that we shouldn’t have bought. We are not here to lecture, but we do want to give you a few tips on things to avoid, going in to the next gardening season.

Edward's Garden Center in Forty Fort has Pansies

Chose your plants wisely, so you don’t go over budget!

Only buy enough plants to fill your space and your time
This is a tough one for gardeners alike. Spring comes and we get so excited to see flowers and color that we buy everything in site! When spring comes, take a breath, determine how many many plants you need to fill your garden and plan out when you are going to plan them. If you know you won’t get to one part of your garden for a few weeks, hold off on buying the plants. You may not be able to care for them and you may change your mind when you see something else at the Garden Center the following week.

Leave the poor quality soil and plants at the store
It may be tempting to purchase the soil on sale or the flowers from the local super center. Our advice to you is just make sure what you purchase is worth putting in to your garden. Your flowers and plants will not flourish in poor soil.

Don’t plant flowers that flourish in a different zone
By most USDA maps, Northeast PA is split between zones 6 and 7. Before you purchase any plants online or at the store, make sure they are meant to flourish in your zone. Non-native plants (or ones that have not adapted properly) will struggle in the wrong zone, require too much pampering (and resources), or worse still, become invasive.

Don’t grow more veggies than you can use (or pawn off on others)
If you are the neighborhood tomato grower, please plant until your heart is content. If not, please think back to last year. Did you end up with so many left over vegetables that they went bad before anyone could use them? Plant enough that you can get a decent vegetable crop but not so many that you are throwing your harvest away.

Save on water by collecting rain
Keeping your garden hydrated is vital. It is however one of the most expensive parts of gardening. When you know it is going to rain, place a few buckets outside to collect some water. This will help cut down on some cost later in the week. Maybe will the savings you can buy more flowers 😉

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Sore back from Gardening? Tips on how to ease it

Sometimes our favorite past times cause our bodies a lot of pain. Sore knees, sore backs, sore necks are just some of the ailments we hear from avid gardeners. While your back is on respite during these cold months, start considering how you can make this coming gardening season a less painful one.

So where should you start? The garden certainly isn’t going to weed, groom and plant itself.

We recently read a great post about this topic on the Big Blog of Gardening and we thought you may want to consider some of their great tips.

  1. Start with small easy tasks first, allowing your muscles and joints to warm up and get used to the movements. You can start by pruning bushes and trees that are just above or below waist high so your body can get used to bending and reaching. Trying mowing the smallest section of your grass first. Pull weeds out of your vegetable garden or sit down and begin planning out some container gardens.
  2. Consider wearing braces or supports. If your knee bothers you when you cut the grass, it may need some extra support. Wearing a brace for an ache can help support the muscles around that area and allow you to be outside enjoying your work longer.
  3. Use tools designed to help you garden easier. Use kneeling pads, gardening seats, extendable tree pruners and whatever other gardening tools you can find that make work easier.
  4. Work in your garden in increments. We know this one is probably the hardest for everyone, but it will ease your pain later. Set a timer on your phone and work in the same position for no more than 90 minutes. Take a break and switch tasks. If you were sitting on the ground weeding, stand up and do some pruning or stand at a table and organize seeds. This will give different muscle groups a needed break and you won’t hurt as much later.
  5. Switch lead hand and foot. According to the Big Blog of Gardening: “The importance of this tip cannot be overstated. The single most common flaw in digging/raking/sweeping technique is that we continue to rock back and forth with the same leg in front, and the tool in the same hand. This means only one leg takes all the ground reaction force, our spine is twisted only one way, and one side of our core muscles fatigues very quickly.” Switching leads will help you fatigue slower and feel better later.
  6. Get help! Another tough one to remember for many of us. If a task is too difficult because it involves heavy lifting or lots of strength, remember to ask for help. Is it really important to say you did it all by yourself? No. You’ll get more gardening in if you are not injured.

 

We probably made you all long for spring and time for digging in the dirt. Just 63 days until spring! Remember to come back to this post when you start working in your garden 🙂


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Birds Who Visit Your Garden in Winter

The cold dead winter has finally arrived in Northeast PA. The garden is dismal, the weather is bitter and no one wants to go outside. The only glimmer of life that can be seen out your window are the few feathery friends that have not left the area due to the cold.

common_grackle_6

Common grackles can be seen all around Pennsylvania throughout the winter.

Of course we want to keep the little birds coming to our yard and brightening our days. But do we even know what kind of birds we are attracting or how to keep them coming back?

According to a study done by Penn State, there are about 35 different species that frequent bird feeders in PA during the winter months. Rural areas see the most diversity, while more urban areas may continue to see the same species all the time.

Penn State has this wonderful chart on their website to show what birds are around our area in the winter and what food they prefer. We provided a copy of that chart below. Take a look and then keep reading for more tips on how to get these guys to make a stop in your garden.

Species Food Preference Feeder Preference
Mourning dove Cracked corn, millet, sunflower seeds Ground, platform feeder
Red-bellied woodpecker Suet, sunflower seeds, peanuts Suet feeder, hanging feeder
Downy and hairy woodpeckers Suet, sunflower seeds, peanuts Suet feeder, hanging feeder
Blue jay Sunflower seeds,  suet, peanuts Platform feeder
Black-capped chickadee Sunflower seeds,  suet, peanuts Almost all feeders
Tufted titmouse Sunflower seeds,  suet, peanuts Hanging feeder, suet feeder
White-breasted nuthatch Sunflower seeds,  suet Almost all feeders
Red-breasted nuthatch Sunflower seeds,  suet Suet feeder, hanging feeder
Carolina wren Peanut butter, suet Suet feeder
European starling Peanut butter, suet, sunflower seeds Suet feeder, platform feeder
White-throated sparrow Sunflower seeds, millet Ground, platform feeder
Song sparrow Sunflower seeds, millet Ground, platform feeder
Dark-eyed junco Sunflower seeds, millet Ground, platform feeder
Northern cardinal Sunflower seeds, seed mixes Ground, platform feeder, tube feeder with tray
Common grackle Cracked corn, sunflower seeds Platform feeder, tube feeder with tray
Brown-headed cowbird Millet Platform feeder
Purple finch Niger, sunflower seeds, millet Niger feeder, hanging tube feeder
House finch Niger, sunflower seeds, millet Niger feeder, hanging tube feeder, gound
American goldfinch Niger, sunflower seeds Niger feeder, hanging tube feeder, gound
House sparrow Niger, sunflower seeds Platform feeder, tube feeder with tray

Each one of these birds may have different food and feeder preferences, but on thing they all require is fresh water.

Water is even more crucial to birds than food is during the cold months. Many of their usual watering holes are frozen over or dried up so if your backyard has a nice bird bath, they are very likely to come back over and over again.

Shelter is extremely important to winter birds too. Different species will gravitate toward different kinds of shelters. Some birds like the covering of a green bush while others like an empty bird house. Offering both is not a bad idea, because it will bring a variety of birds to visit with you.

Hopefully many feathery friends visit and brighten your winter days this season!


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Resolution Ideas for Gardeners

Resolutions have a bad reputation as starting out as good intentioned ideas and ending up as epic failures. We have a great idea to make 2016 different. Chose something you actually WANT to do as your 2016 resolution. Sure you want to lose weight, but maybe you don’t want to change your diet or exercise. You may want to save more money each week but you don’t want to give up your morning stop at the coffee stop.

Make your resolution something you want to do and you will stick to it. 

For all our garden lovers out there, here are a few resolution ideas that you will want to keep up with all year.

Spend more time actually enjoying your garden
We all spend countless hours each week (or day) working in our gardens. From planning to watering and from pruning to planting, we work and work and work. Of course it’s work we enjoy. But at the end of the day, how often is there enough time to just sit and enjoy what we created? In 2016, promise to spend more time relaxing and enjoying the garden you created.

Make a plan for the spring and summer seasons
This is something you can do starting today. Get out a piece of paper (or several depending on your garden) and begin sketching and labeling what grows in your garden. Make a plan for what plants you want to move and what you want to add. Think about any big projects you want to do and start planning them. In 2016, promise to have the best garden you possibly can.

Try something new
It’s easy as a gardener to stick to the same plants you always grow. Make 2016 the year of planting something new and learning how to care for it. If you have never grown vegetables, start a vegetable garden. If you have never tried a more exotic variety of flowers, go for it! You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Visit your favorite Garden Center weekly (hint hint)
You know you love seeing all of the new plants, shrubs and garden trinkets that your favorite Garden Center has to offer. Why not stop by each week to see what’s new? Here at Edward’s Garden Center there is always something new to discover. In 2016, stir your creativity by stopping by your favorite Garden Center weekly.

Wishing all of our readers the best 2016 possible! Hopefully, whatever your resolution is for the year, you are able to accomplish it.

Edward's Garden Center Resolutions