Spice up your summer with a DIY garden

Summer is officially upon us, which means it’s time for tons of fun in the sun and a lot more time on your hands. What better way to spend that time than starting a DIY garden in the backyard?

At Aqua, we’re committed not just to providing water, but also celebrating the (sometimes literal) fruits of its labor. Planting an at-home garden this summer is not only good for the environment, but it also might even get the kids interested in eating their veggies.

In order to start you off on the right foot, we’ve laid out all of the best tips for planning your summer garden, watering it with care, and supporting Mother Earth at the same time. Grab your shovel—let’s dig in.

Selecting your seeds


Before you can enjoy your home-grown produce, consider which plants are best suited for your local environment and, of course, for your tastebuds.

While greens like lettuce and arugula thrive with 3–4 hours of sun exposure per day, broccoli and carrots require 4–6 hours, and summertime favorites like watermelon and tomatoes are happier with 6–8 hours of sunshine.

Keen on getting the kids involved? Impress the little ones with the ease of planting strawberries or the various shapes and sizes of potatoes. (Purple french fries, anyone?) Harvesting beets, digging holes, or even weeding can give children a sense of responsibility and pride at having contributed to a memorable summer.

When and what to water

Once you’ve picked which plants will work best in your garden, it’s time to lay down some ground rules. What’s most important is consistency. In order to ensure healthy, developing plants, it’s best to establish a routine in the frequency with which you water them and the amount of water you use.

For warm-weather plants, plan to do your watering in the early morning so the plants can soak up the water ahead of the afternoon heat. Overwatering can lead to fungus and other plant-related diseases, so an ideal watering will penetrate the soil but not leave it soggy. Don’t forget that the root systems of newer plants are not fully developed and will therefore need to be watered more frequently.

Using your green thumb


If organic produce and family fun isn’t enough to convince you to start digging, consider your impact on the environment. While it may seem like a small contribution, community gardens compose more than 25 percent of the trees in non-forest environments. Plus, growing your food at home means less air pollution from grocery delivery trucks.

Think back to elementary school science: Every plant undergoes photosynthesis, which actively converts carbon dioxide to valuable oxygen molecules. That means that more plants result in more oxygen and less carbon dioxide. Sounds like a win-win to us!

Don’t forget about the small critters that keep our ecosystems alive. Without gardens—even small, DIY ones—we run the risk of endangering essential insects and wildlife. Gardening plays a small but vital role in preserving our planet and the species that we know and love.

Planning an at-home garden this summer? Let us know how it goes on Facebook or Twitter—we want to hear all about your gardening adventures.

 

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Five Tips for Keeping Your Christmas Tree Fresh

 

Christmas is right around the corner and you may be getting ready to put up the perfect Christmas tree in your home, if you haven’t already. While taking care of a Christmas tree seems as though it should be a fairly simple task, keeping a tree hydrated and fresh through the holidays can become a challenge. That’s why we at Aqua are here to dispel a few Christmas tree hydration myths and answer your frequently asked questions. 

Q: Does my tree still need to be stored in water if I do not plan on installing it right away?

A: Absolutely! Whether or not you plan on putting your tree up immediately, a freshly-cut Christmas tree should be placed into a bucket of water as soon as possible. If the tree will not be installed until the following day immediately, make an effort to keep it stored in a cool, dry place.

Q: Will trimming down the bark around the base of my tree aid in water uptake?

A: Trimming the bark of a Christmas tree does not assist in water absorption. In fact, it may even be detrimental to the tree’s health. The bulk of a Christmas tree’s water uptake is done through its bark so shaving this precious material away is absolutely not recommended.

Q: How do I know exactly how much water my tree needs to stay fresh?
A: As a general rule, tree stands should provide one quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Make sure to supply a new tree with water on a daily basis, since freshly cut Christmas trees absorb the most water within their first week of installation. Keeping your tree properly hydrated will increase its longevity and help it stay looking lush.


Q: What is the proper cutting technique for trunk trimming? Are angular cuts more effective?

A: Contrary to popular belief, tactics such as making angular cuts or drilling holes into the trunk of a Christmas tree will not have any beneficial influence on water absorption. The most effective technique for proper water uptake is a traditional, straight cut through a tree’s stem, like slicing off a nice chunk of provolone cheese.

Q: How many inches should be trimmed from the stem of my tree to keep it healthy?

A: We recommend that ¼ to ½ of an inch be trimmed from the tree’s stem to prevent sapping, which may drastically disrupt water absorption. However, these numbers do not take into account trimming for ceiling space. At the end of the day, any cut will suffice as long as it is at least ¼ of an inch thick.

With proper care, a Christmas tree can stay fresh for up to four weeks. Keep the above hydration tips and tricks in mind during your Christmas tree installation and watering processes this holiday season to get the most life and beauty out of your tree.

 

Happy Holidays from all of us at Aqua!

 

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