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Most recent posting below. See other articles in the column to the right.

Pot or plot? 'Right-size' Plant Picks for Gardening Success

(BPT) - Have you ever walked into a room that was so full of over-sized furniture it made an already small space feel miniscule and unusable? Or tricked your tummy into being satisfied with less food by using a small plate to make a modest portion look huge? Scale makes a decided difference in many aspects of life, and gardening is no different.

Whether you’re gardening in containers or have a big plot in your backyard, right-sizing your plant picks to coincide with your available garden space can yield a more productive and pleasurable gardening experience. More than a third of all American households now grow some type of food themselves, making food gardening the third largest yard activity after landscaping and lawn care, the National Gardening Survey shows.

Whether you aim to trim grocery bills by growing your own produce, add your own fresh herbs to your summer cooking, or just plain love to garden, choosing the right plants for your gardening space – pot or plot – is your best bet for great success.

Get your garden growing

Veggie and herb gardens need plenty of sunshine and water, no matter what you’re planting, or growing them in. Six to eight hours of bright light every day is best, so choose a sun-drenched spot in your yard for raised beds or larger gardens, and place pots and containers on sunny porches, decks or patios.

Use a good potting mix for containers and raised beds; it should be light weight and provide fast drainage. For garden plots, till soil, test for quality and work any necessary amendments into the soil before planting. All food plants need to be fed. Consistent and frequent watering, good drainage and a quality plant food such as Bonnie Plant Food are needed for good plant health and harvest.

Cultivating in containers and raised beds

Gardening doesn’t require a huge plot of land for hefty harvests and good success. Planting in containers can solve space problems and raised beds allow you to enjoy a garden if you’re short on space or have poor soil quality in your yard. Place containers in a sunny spot, whether it’s an apartment balcony or backyard patio. Make sure the pots are large enough for the plants you’ll put in them and have good drainage holes. Consider container color; dark containers will absorb more heat, so try using lighter colored containers.

Plants suited for containers include:

* All herbs.

* All greens. Add flowers to the same pot for an ornamental touch.

* Tomatoes like Bonnie Plants’ popular Husky Cherry Red, Patio, Bush Early Girl, Bush Goliath and Better Bush. For larger varieties, use a large pot, at least 5 gallons for each plant and support plants with a cage.

* Smaller eggplants such as Patio Baby Mini Eggplants.

* Peppers, like Lunchbox Sweet Snacking Peppers, that are smaller in size and high in yield.

* Cucumbers if you add a trellis to the pot and train them to climb.

Raised beds can host bigger veggies like Beefmaster Tomatoes, or varieties that require more room to spread on the ground like zucchini. They’re also great for greens like collards, lettuce, mustard and Swiss chard, and a variety of peppers, beans and eggplants.

Planting plots

In-ground gardens allow you much more room for larger plants. Even if your plot isn’t huge, it can accommodate plants that require more room, like watermelon and corn. In addition to staples for your table like greens, tomatoes and peppers, a garden plot allows you to incorporate a greater variety of veggies, like beans, peas and squash, in your garden plans.

No matter where you live or how much or little space you might have, you can enjoy growing your own food. Be sure to right-size, according to your space and need. Once you get growing, you’ll love the homegrown flavor of your harvest and the enjoyment gardening brings.

For more gardening tips, how to’s, trouble shooting and to learn about plants that fit your garden environment, visit


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Garage Trend 2015 - Carriage House Garage Doors

(BPT) - The carriage house garage door is to your house what the little black dress and strand of pearls are to your wardrobe; classic style elements that never go out of fashion.

At the dawn of the automobile age, those who were affluent enough to own a car kept it in the carriage house, where the horses and buggy would have been stored. But this cohabitation became a little, well, smelly, and the need for separate storing structures was soon realized.

Enter, the garage. Built in the style of the original carriage house, the garage’s sole intent was to store the car away from the animals and elements. The word garage actually comes from the French word, garer, which means to shelter and protect. Naturally, the garage needed a door to offer protection to the automobile. The ensuing “carriage house door” was a hinged, double door that swung outwards, and can be considered the original garage door.

In the early 1920s, the kickout door was invented and progress continued from there, bringing homeowners the modern convenience of today’s overhead garage doors. Today’s carriage house sectional garage doors open overhead and continue to gain in popularity, constituting 35 percent of the volume in the garage door industry with projections to remain a huge trend.

When it comes to the style of garage door chosen, most homeowners want something classic, that won’t fade in popularity over the years and will also enhance curb appeal. This is especially true if home resale is a factor.

The carriage house door also offers a myriad of design elements. For example, the Classica Collection by Amarr offers a dual-directional wood grain design that provides the realistic look of wood with the practicality and low-maintenance upkeep of steel. With a three-section design and the option of larger windows, this door offers a more authentic carriage house look with the benefit of additional natural light flow into your garage. Two-tone looks are also available with many color combinations and panel designs, and hardware and window choices are plentiful. These different design options can be tailored specifically to your home’s façade and will further enhance curb appeal.

If you’re thinking of replacing a tired garage door in an effort to boost your home’s curb appeal, consider the classic carriage house door whose popularity has only continued to grow over the last century. With a timeless design that can be specifically tailored to your house, it’s a choice that both you – and future owners of your home – can happily live with for a long time.

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