Tag Archives: Gardening

Thermacell® is for Nature Lovers

Now that summer is in full swing, most of us want and try to be outside as much as possible. The best time to do that is in the morning and in the evening when the sun is least harsh and the heat most bearable. Even though that’s also the time mosquitoes are out in force.

Worst!

Swarms of mosquitoes gather to talk strategy near waterbodies and shallow pools across the country. [Image: pixabay.com]

Thankfully, we have our trusty Thermacell® appliances! We’ve been given back not just a 15’ x 15’ bubble of mosquito-resistant bliss, but the freedom to work in our yards or gardens, enjoy the onset of dusk from our back porches, perch in a tree stand, relax with a rod and reel, and pitch a tent without the constant buzzing and biting we might otherwise encounter.

“How?” you might ask. We’ve addressed that here. Thermacell® has made a name for itself providing the best in non-topical mosquito repellents. Through the effectiveness of simple design and allethrin, the devices make the air—the very way mosquitoes sense and alight on you—work to their benefit. The mosquitoes are driven off before they can make a meal of you and others within the device’s “mosquito protection zone.”

"Ah, this is the best!"

“Not being eaten alive by mosquitoes is my favorite!” “Ha ha, me too!!” [Image: www.wideopenspaces.com]

It’s often said that the best defense is a good offense, and there are researchers who are looking at eradicating (certain disease-carrying) mosquito species, while exploring the ethics and deeper consequences of manipulating ecology. But consider for a moment that the best defense against mosquito-borne discomfort and illness is just the best defense. Thermacell®’s “mosquito protection zone” is 98% effective in repelling those pesky flying, biting insects. Oh, and you don’t need an advanced degree in biology to fire it up!

Thermacell® Gets You Outside

If you’re a hunter, angler, camper, hiker or someone who generally likes spending time outdoors, Thermacell® appliances allow you to put your energies into the tasks and leisure activities you stepped outside to enjoy. And nature lovers can enjoy the sweet smell of their surroundings, rather than smelly DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus lotions or sprays, or ineffective citronella candles or torches. You can obtain one at many sporting goods stores, or directly from www.thermacell.com, where you’ll also find more information about the company’s products and refills, as well as user reviews!

Thermacell logo.

[Image: www.thermacell.com/]

Finally, if you’re looking for new places to use your Thermacell® appliance, head on over to your phone’s app store, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® mobile app, and start exploring!

Five Tips for Beginning a Garden

Spring is finally here, making this the absolute best time to finally start that garden you’ve been meaning to get around to. Whether you’re looking to plant a lush garden full of wildflowers or you want to grow some of your favorite veggies, this is the prime time to lay some seeds down and watch your beauties grow. Here are five tips to get you on your way toward your dream garden.

A huge flower garden near a lake.

A gorgeous flower garden to get you inspired. [Image: theunboundedspirit.com/the-sacred-art-of-gardening]

1. Find the perfect spot.

Sunlight coming through trees.

Make sure you find a sunny spot for your garden. [Image: skyway-es.com/sunlight-therapy-heliotherapy]

When deciding on the perfect spot for your garden, you’ll want to use a place that’ll give your plants everything they need to flourish. Most flowers and vegetables need between six and eight hours of full sunlight to grow to their fullest potential. When choosing your spot, make sure trees, buildings, or any other types of obstructions don’t block the sunlight. Similarly you’ll want to ensure that the plants will be protected from windy days as well as the impending cold. Some plants are able to survive in a shady spot, but make sure you check the tags or with a local garden just to be certain. Make sure you can easily bring water to the spot—if it’s easily accessible, tending to your garden will be much more enjoyable and more difficult to neglect doing. Additionally it’s helpful to have your garden in a place that you’ll be able to easily notice if there are any issues. Put it right outside a window you look out of every day or right near your back door for instance.

2. Get to know your dirt.

A hand holding soil.

Get acquainted with the soil you’ll be using in your garden. [Image: www.urbanfarmonline.com/urban-gardening/backyard-gardening/building-super-soil.aspx]

The soil you use in your garden is the most important factor that determines whether you’ll have healthy, abundant growth or if your plants will perish. Before anything you’ll have to clear the present sod and any large rocks, which will prevent your garden from becoming immediately overgrown with various weeds. Make sure to dig when the soil is moist so as not to ruin the structure of the area.

From there you’ll want to start improving the quality of your existing soil. Soil tests can be done through your county cooperative extension office or at a nearby nursery where they’ll tell you exactly what your soil needs and how to remedy the situation. The best course of action is to mix compost (dry glass clipping, decayed leaves, etc.) or mulch in with the soil, ensuring a healthy starting point for your garden. Don’t be confused between fertilizer and compost—fertilizer feeds your plants while compost feeds the soil.

3. Choose your garden.

Vegetable and flower garden with a scarecrow.

Maybe this could be in your yard! [Image: www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/containers/designing-your-container-vegetable-garden.htm]

Now is the time to finally decide on what type of garden you want to cultivate. Before you start buying plants, make sure to educate yourself on what can/cannot grow in your local environment. There’s a lot of research required in this step of the game, but it’s also the best part! Look into drought tolerant plants, annual plants that need to be replanted every season, perennials that come back year after year, easy care plants, plants that will attract the most amount of bees, and any other specifications you can think of. What it’s going to boil down to is choosing the types of plants/vegetables that you like the most and bringing them home to your garden.

4. Purchase your gardening gear.

Various gardening tools.

A list of must-have gardening tools. [Image: gardeningtoolsplus.com/garden/garden-tools-their-meaning.html]

It’s important to at least have some basic tools on hand, but try not to go overboard on a purchasing frenzy. You’ll want to have a spade, garden fork, shears, hose, hoe, gloves, rake, shovel, hand weeder, and a basket for moving around your soil/mulch at the very least. After awhile you’ll develop a preference for certain tools and will have a better idea of what you absolutely do and do not need.

5. Set a schedule.

A drawn gardening schedule with pictures of various vegetables.

However you want to draw it up, a schedule is incredibly helpful when gardening. [Image: urbangardencasual.com/2012/04/11/successful-gardening-101-how-much-do-i-need/]

After you’ve planted your seeds and the seedlings start to peek their faces out from the soil, you’ll want to solidify a schedule as to properly care for your new plants. From weeding to staking to trimming to watering, you’ll always find something that needs to be done in your garden. As time progresses it’s important to keep a record of your garden successes and failures. In this way, you’ll be able to learn what’s working and what isn’t. A concrete schedule will help you remember what time of the year certain plants will bloom so you know when to give what plants your attention.

This list should at least put you on the path toward developing your own dream garden. Get down and dirty, and embrace spring with open arms. Make sure you download our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps to visit a local park near you for some inspiration!

Spring Flowers

Flowers blooming is an early sign of warmer weather. Here is a list of spring flowers to look out for during your state park adventure!

Pansy

Blue Pansy flower in a garden with soil

Image: www.deviantart.com

Pansy flowers grow in early spring and last until fall. These flowers need cool weather to grow to their normal size of 10 inches high and 12 inches wide. They also need sun, part shade and moist soil. Pansy flowers grow in many bright colors and sometimes they are even two-toned!

Tulip

Colorful tulip spring flowers in bunches

Image: www.fanpop.com

Tulip flowers are perennials, and they come in many different colors and sizes. In the beginning of spring, they grow between 6 to 18 inches tall. Spot these flowers in a state park while wildflower viewing!

Hibiscus

Bright Pink Hibiscus flower with green leaves

Image: topiarygarden.info

These beautiful, exotic flowers have large leaves and can be in the form of a tree or shrub. Some species of this plant are used for medicinal purposes. They can be edible, often used in herbal teas or food, but viewing them may be more enjoyable than consuming them. Hibiscus flowers come in red, pink, white, purple and yellow.

Bleeding Heart

Pink bleeding heart spring flowers on its stem with green leaves

Image: wwno.org

This unique flower is a pink-rose color and sometimes come in white. The leaves are sometimes a blue-green color and the flower hangs off the stem. This flower grows between 2 to 2 ½ inches and they also need space to grow. The bleeding heart flower is considered to be one of the most romantic flowers!

Basket of Gold

Basket of gold flowers in a bunch

Image: www.lifeseedcompany.com

These flowers really own up to their name! Their bright yellow color is sure to brighten up any spring garden. These flowers need a lot of sunshine to grow up to 6 to 12 inches tall. They grow best in the mountains and rock gardens.

Forget-Me-Not

The Forget-Me-Not flowers on a branch

Image: outlandishobservations.blogspot.com

The Forget-Me-Not flower is a tiny, pretty flower that is a light blue color that spreads over green leaves. They grow best in partly shaded areas, and grow beautifully in damp soil. According to an old legend, these flowers got their name from a knight who threw a bunch of them to his love and yelled, “Forget me not!” Unfortunately, legend says he then fell into a river and drowned because of his heavy armor.

Candytuft

White Candytuft flowers in a bunch with green leaves

Image: www.folksbutterflyfarm.com

These flowers come in white, pink or lavender. They’re flat on top and almost resemble umbrellas! Candytufts grow best in areas with plenty of sun and can grow up to 6 to 12 inches tall.

While you are planning spring activities for your entire family, don’t forget to use your state’s Pocket Ranger® app to make your day run smoothly.

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