Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



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 5/4/2014

Old and dried out PointsetaAre you a plant killer?  If so, don't feel discouraged.  Many people looking to add a touch of green to their homes end up on the "most wanted" list.  Luckily for them (and perhaps you as well), plant killing isn't a crime.  Also, there are a few plants that can survive even the most neglectful of plant keepers.  If you think that keeping houseplants healthy is out of your league, then give these hardy friends a chance to shine in your home. Air Plants - Also known as Epiphytes, these plants derive most, if not all of the moisture and nutrients they need from the air.  They can be put almost anywhere in your home, and are virtually indestructible.  These plants don't even need soil.  At most, they'll need a light mist every few months. Succulents - These plants are known for their large, fleshy, unusual appearance.  A common misconception about Succulents is that they are cacti.  While it is true that most cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cacti.  They are relatively cheap to purchase, and once rooted, can be a beautiful addition to your home.  Given the abundance of varieties to choose from, odds are you'll be able to find a succulent that complements any home style. Aloe - Not only is aloe a succulent, it is one of only a few plants that can be kept for not only decorative purposes, but medicinal as well.  The gel in aloe vera plants has been used for skin irritations, such as cuts and burns.  The gel can also be processed into soaps. Jade - Jade is also a succulent, and can be a beautiful addition to your home.  Many jade plants are purchased as bonsai trees, and upkeep is minimal.  While not as hardy as the other plants on the list, this is a good plant to take a shot at after you've managed to keep a few air plants and hardier succulents alive. Golden Pothos - Not only is this plant incredibly hardy, it also qualifies as an "air scrubber", removing toxins from the air in your home.  Trimmings can easily be cultivated into plants, and the rate of growth can be incredibly fast.  Care should be taken to avoid ingestion by pets and children.