Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 2/26/2017

If you plan to plant a home garden, it is important to start off with good soil. Both experienced pros and novice gardeners know that the condition of the soil is integral to success. Test The Soil Test your soil to determine the nutrient content and pH levels before you cultivate, plant or fertilize. You can obtain a simple pH testing kit from online garden supply stores or your neighborhood hardware store. If you want a complete soil analysis, take a sample of your garden soil for testing to you local county extension office. If you have a large garden plot, take random samples from several areas of the garden. For testing at the county extension office, place about a cup of soil in a sealable plastic bag. If you are submitting multiple soil samples, be sure to mark the bags to indicate the location in the garden from which they were taken. A large garden plot may contain soils that differ greatly from location to location. Established gardens likely have a history of fertilizer use or soil enhancement. A diverse array of nutrients, such as phosphorous and potassium, can build up in the soil. In this case, you are in luck. The only added growth-enhancing ingredient your garden soil requires is nitrogen. If you unwittingly added unnecessary nutrients and fertilizers to established garden soil, you can disrupt the pH levels and cause toxic accumulations of salts and other harmful ingredients to build-up in the soil. Conditioning The Soil If you are not blessed with organically rich, loamy, dark, moist, and fertile soil, you need to condition the soil if you want to produce optimum results. Your first decision is whether to practice eco-friendly organic gardening methods or to put your faith in chemical products. It is important to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of chemical versus natural fertilizers. The Advantages Of Organic Fertilizers Environmentally conscious gardeners prefer organic fertilizers that they feel are safe for people, pets, and the planet. However, plants do not know the difference between organic and chemical fertilizers; nutrients are nutrients, no matter the form. However, if you choose to “grow organic”, you will never have to worry about measuring, mixing and applying noxious chemicals nor will you be storing poisonous products in the garage or potting shed where they could be a danger to children or pets. Natural fertilizers are unlikely to burn tender, young plants in that they are not as concentrated as chemical formulations. In nature, as organic material decomposes, a natural fertilizer is created. When you apply well-aged herbivore manures (cow, sheep, horse, mule, lama, or goat) to the garden soil, you not only add nutrient-rich organic matter, you improve the soils texture and ability to retain moisture. Organic fertilizer costs less than expensive chemical products. If you live in a rural area, you likely have a kindly neighbor with farm animals that is happy to give you all the manure you can use. You can also start a compost bin to create your own organic fertilizer from grass clippings, leaves, shredded cardboard, landscape debris, newspapers, and household food waste. When you choose to use only natural products in your home garden, you can rest assured knowing that the fruits and vegetables you produce for the family table are free of noxious chemicals and potentially dangerous by-products.




Tags: gardening tips  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/17/2016

Growing your own vegetables is a wonderful thing. You get to choose which seeds to sow, spend time outside, put in some hard work and then reap the rewards all summer and fall. In spite of this, many new gardeners find themselves planting too much or too little of different vegetables. There's much appeal to going to the store to pick out seeds. It almost seems like magic: these little seed packets will turn into baskets full of food, all for just a few dollars. Follow these tips to learn how to grow what you want the first time around so you won't find yourself begging neighbors to take all those extra zucchinis off your hands. What do you like to eat? Experimenting with new recipes is great. And so is the temptation when you see seed packets for an exotic vegetable you've never tried before. But before you dedicate a whole row of your garden to hybrid turnips, think about whether or not you'll really eat all of that. Instead, plant the veggies you and your family love to eat consistently. Before you start planting, think carefully about the amount of space you have in your garden (I usually draw a diagram and label the rows). This is going to involve some necessary research on your part. If you love summer squash, you may think you need a whole row. Squash plants, however, tend to creep outwards vigorously, producing a ton of fruit and also encroaching on other rows if you're not careful. Similarly, you may find that you simply don't have enough room for some vegetables. We all love the first sweet corn of the season, but most of us don't have enough room in our backyard gardens to feasibly grow corn. Plan for next year Once you've tilled the soil, planted the seeds, and taken care of your plants all spring, you may think the only thing left to do is harvest the vegetables. This is a crucial time, however, to think about next year. What did you have too much of? Too little? Did you find that some vegetables simply wouldn't grow in your garden? (I tried twice, with little luck, to plant pole beans but found that they just didn't like my soil.) Take note of these findings for next year. If one part of your garden receives more sunlight, try rotating crops to see if you get different results. Don't worry if your garden isn't perfect the first time around. In fact, it's best to just let go of that image of the perfect garden. Tending a garden isn't another chore to cause stress in your life, it's a simple and relaxing way to get outside more.  





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 9/27/2015

Flowers, if properly planted add color, style and allure to the look of the home. They are a cost effective way of giving your home and yard that desired face lift. However, to optimize the benefits that flowers provide, there are a few basics that should be understood in order to give the flowers what they need. Sun is fundamental Planting and growing flowers requires some hard work and consistent maintenance. However, it is important to recognize that the energy from the sun is the key element in keeping flowering plants in full bloom.  The recommended sunlight exposure to plants requiring full sun is between 6 to 8 hours daily.  Shade tolerant plants do not have the same sun requirement, therefore it is important to know the needs of your flowers prior to planting. Good Soil Is Critical The quality of the soil is very important as this is where the success of your plant lies.  It should be rich in organic matter to increase the mineral availability and the diversity of other microbes.  The texture of the soil will vary depending on where you live. Your goal is to provide a rich, PH balanced soil for your plants that will allow for easy expansion of their root systems.  Healthy soil is equally as important to vegetable and flower gardens. Feeding your garden soil is an ongoing process. Annuals and Perennials As far as planting is concerned, this needs to be taken into consideration as these are the two major types of plants. For annuals, their entire life cycle is in a single growing season. The plant sprouts, grows leaves and roots,  produces flowers, and dies at the end of the season.  Some gardeners prefer them because if properly taken care of, they will bloom all season. Perennials are flowers that stay alive all season and come up every year.   Even when the part above the soil dies back, the root systems stay alive and sprout again the next growing season.  Most perennials spread and multiply making them a gardener's delight.  However, spring and fall transplanting is often required to maintain a well manicured perennial garden. Which is preferable? The choice of which type of plant to use in the garden is relative as they all serve a different purpose. If you desire lots of flowers, annuals are great, however, they will require lots of care and watering to keep them alive. Be ready to replace them after one year. For perennials, they provide a steady structure for the look of the garden. Depending on your preference, you can go for either. For perennials, whether they are bought as plants or seeds, they may require up to a year or more to get established and bloom. If you desire flowers right away, annuals are recommended, however, some gardeners combine perennials and annuals to ensure full color throughout the season. Seed or Plant Annuals and perennials can be sown directly from seed. It will take time for them to sprout and develop. The duration for this depends largely on the plant variety and environmental factors.  You need to provide the optimal growing conditions in order to produce healthy plants.  The other option is to purchase plants from a greenhouse that were grown by a professional.  Choose plants that are strong and healthy looking and hardy to your area. Selecting a plant that is in the budding stage will typically provide a longer flowering season than one that is already in full bloom. Cost of Labor Taking care of flowers requires a commitment to regular watering and fertilizing. Plants that produce flowers throughout the season require a lot of nutrients, water, as well as sun light. Perennials are not totally carefree either, depending on the season, they may require some measure of attention. However, perennials tend to need the least amount of basic maintenance. Here is a list of 5 annuals that can be grown from the seed.

  • Carpet of Snow Alyssum
  • Jaguar Marigold
  • Sonata Mix Cosmos
  • Cleome Queen Series
  • Heavenly Blue Morning Glory




Categories: Yard Improvements  


Posted by Thomas Murphy on 6/21/2015

With the recent scrutiny being placed on food quality in America, many people are looking to starting their own gardens. While there's no denying that keeping a garden can be a lot of work, the benefits of growing your own produce are hard to ignore. If you are thinking about trying out your green thumb, there are a few things to consider. What would you like to grow? Would you prefer a garden that you can keep indoors, or do you want an outdoor garden? How much time are you willing to dedicate to your new project? Herb gardens are a good start for anyone interested in growing useful plants. You can grow any combination of herbs indoors. Many herb kits exist, and can be purchased from your local gardening store for relatively cheap. These kits take the guesswork out of picking a complementary combination of herbs, and come complete with full instructions on how to maximize your little garden's potential. If your ambitions are bigger, you can opt for an outdoor garden. Outdoor gardens give you much wider selection of plants to choose from. Living in New England, you can count on about 120 frost-free days, so pay attention to the plants that you choose for your garden. You'll want to choose fruits and vegetables that can survive the occasional frost, and are considered relatively hardy. Here's a few ideas to get you started. Plants that do well in the climate of New England include tomatoes, asparagus, snow peas, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers. Tomatoes in particular offer a lot of variety, from the smaller cherry tomato, to more robust varieties like beefsteak. A newer variety of tomato called Glacier does fairly well in colder climates, and packs the same zest as the more fickle, hot-climate tomatoes. If you want to add a more unique fruit to your garden, you might also want to consider one of the heirloom tomato varieties. I've heard of a tomato called "White Wonder", which is a nearly all-white tomato that packs a whallop of flavor. Many types of berries do extremely well in New England summers. Why not try your hand at strawberries? Cavendish are a large, sweet variety of strawberries that do extremely well here, despite the harsh, unpredictable nature of our climate. For more information on gardening in New England, please visit the following link. http://www.gardeninginnewengland.com/index.asp Good luck!