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7 Mistakes New Gardeners Make – And How To Avoid Them

Everyone is trying to find ways to save money on their food bill these days. Gardening can be a wonderful way to add variety and flavor to your menu. If you’re just starting a vegetable garden for the first time, watch out for these mistakes.

1. Planting Too Far From the Water Source

Water is the key ingredient you’ll need to add to your garden again and again. Make sure your garden beds have easy access to the hose. If you need to, get longer hoses or install a rain barrel near your garden to make it easy to keep the soil moist.

2. Planting in a Place Without Enough Sun

Water and sun are the two most vital elements to growing vegetables. When you’re planting your garden, it’s early spring, so the leaves on the trees may not be fully developed. That could mean too much shade once the leaves do fill in. You also may not realize that the sun’s trajectory may change over the summer. Check the plant tags to see how much sunlight they need. If you’re concerned about a shady garden, set your plants in containers that can be moved around to ensure they get enough sun.

3. Crowding Plants

When starting a vegetable garden, you get excited and want to plant everything you can imagine growing. However, putting too many plants in your space can reduce your harvest when vegetables don’t have room to expand. Check the space that each plant needs and make sure to give them plenty of room in your garden bed. A gardening guide can help you plan out your space more effectively.

4. Planting Your Garden Out of the Way

Putting your garden in a hidden corner in your yard might make you feel as if the clutter is out of the way, but it’s very easy to forget about it. Instead, plant your vegetables where you can see them when you sit on the patio or look out the window. A garden is a commitment, and putting it somewhere accessible helps you keep up with the day-to-day chores.

5. Not Checking the Soil Before You Plant

Plants need to be in healthy and nutritious soil. You can add fertilizer and other nutrients, but you have to know what your plants need and what is lacking in the soil to have healthy growth. Get your soil tested at your local university extension office or get a home garden soil test kit. Use a nutrient-rich soil additive to improve your dirt. You should probably check your soil annually to have the information you need each year to get a better yield from your garden.

6. Planting Too Soon

Even seasoned gardeners get cabin fever and want to get their seedlings into the garden. Many gardeners plant too soon because the warm, spring-like days make us want to get started growing. Unfortunately, the nighttime temperatures have to be warm enough to avoid a frost that can kill new plants. If you’re anxiously awaiting the day you can get your hands dirty, instead of setting out plants, keep yourself busy getting your garden beds prepared by aerating the soil or installing irrigation.

7. Forgetting to Harvest Plants

Beginners often want to wait to pick their harvest to ensure ripeness. Unfortunately, waiting too long to pick that cucumber or squash can lead to unsatisfactory produce. Some plants turn bitter and flavorless as they grow bigger. Those smaller zucchinis may not look impressive, but they will taste wonderful. Check your garden daily. Harvest vegetables and learn from your mistakes, whether it's picking too soon or too late. Your garden can enhance your meals. Let Red's Home & Garden help you get your garden started right. We have annuals, vegetable plants and potting soil to make your garden more successful. Shop today for unique greenhouse selections.

Landscaping To Beautify Your Yard

A backyard is a great place to relax or entertain friends and family on a nice day. There are many ways to enhance the appearance and functionality of your yard to make it an even nicer location to spend time all year-round. This includes long-term projects as well as projects that a homeowner can complete over a weekend. Here are some landscaping ideas to help beautify your backyard.

Install a Fire Pit

A fire pit is an excellent addition to a backyard and can make the outdoor space a more enticing spot to hang out when the weather is cold. Fire pits come in many sizes, so consider how many people would be using the fire pit at one time, as well as how much time you are willing to put into its upkeep. Four common types of fuels used in fire pits are propane, natural gas, gel fuel, and wood. Each of these options comes with pros and cons, such as price and ease of use. For example, some people like the authenticity of wood-burning fire pits, while others prefer gel fuel because it does not give off any wood smell or smoke. There are also a wide variety of blocks that you can purchase to build a fire pit that looks nice in your backyard.

Build a Patio

An outdoor patio can seem like another room and is a great addition to both your house and your backyard. Many patios can be enclosed or semi-enclosed with large windows, allowing you to enjoy the ambiance of the outdoors without being exposed to the elements. If you choose to have a full outdoor patio, you can still opt to put a covering over the space to shield you and your guests from harsh sun and rain. Outdoor patios are an especially good option if your backyard is uneven, since patios provide a flat surface for tables and chairs. In addition to adding furniture, other ways to make your patio look pleasant and integrated with the rest of the yard include:
  • Placing plants and flowers around the patio space 
  • Installing lighting throughout the area
  • Hanging curtains for ambiance and additional privacy
We can help you decide on the materials you need to build the perfect patio for your backyard.

Create Pathways and Steps

Especially important if you have a large backyard, creating pathways can significantly improve the appearance and functionality of your yard. Some simple materials to use are gravel and wood chips. To make more permanent and elegant pathways, you can use stone, wood, brick, or concrete. With paths, people can enjoy walking through your backyard without worrying about stepping in mud or getting their shoes dirty. If you decide to use wood to build a trail, make sure it is of a variety that will not rot quickly due to dampness or other factors. If you prefer something more natural, there is the option to create a green pathway. This involves making a grass path and ensuring that it is mowed and well-maintained. You can always add stones or other markers on the side of the path to distinguish where the walkway ends. If your backyard is uneven, consider building steps to further add to the ambiance and make getting around the yard easier. Like pathways, steps can consist of stone, wood, brick, or even old car tires. Ensure that the material you use for the steps goes well with the materials you use to build any pathways on the lawn.

Let Us Assist You

The professionals at Red's Home & Garden can help you with all of your landscaping needs. Give us a call today if you need assistance with purchasing materials or have any other questions.

Update Your Home With 2022 Decor Trends & Themes

The new year is in full swing, and contemporary design themes for the home are freshly trending. Whether you’re in the market for a brand-new look or want to add a few finishing touches to finalize a project you’ve already been working on, Red’s Home & Garden has both interior and exterior products that are on trend and affordable. Learn about the new 2022 design trends and discover how Red’s selection can help make your design dream a reality. 

Implement Comfortable Design Over Everything 

When you visualize what comfort means nowadays, it may be necessary to rethink previously held ideas. No longer do you have to reside in an English cottage a la “The Holiday” for your home to be a cozy haven.  Imagine well-worn couches that still have their shape and a dining table made entirely of hand-hewn wood. Plush pillows and chunky throws add a warm layer to your living spaces. You have plenty of soft bedding, both on the bed and nearby in stylish round woven baskets for storage. The lighting can be drawn primarily from lamps with warm bulbs, but candles and a fireplace are also at your disposal. These details match the cottage design trending in 2022; comfortable and cozy is the name of the game. 

Bring the Outside Indoors

Building on the idea of cottage coziness, nothing adds an organic touch to a space like living accents. Greenery, dried florals and potted plants really help to ground a space while adding life and personality.  Floral additions from the outside garden can help brighten the indoors no matter the season. White-washed lanterns or decorative boxes in varying sizes can be filled with bouquets of fresh or faux flowers to add accents to the room. 

Brighten and Warm Spaces With Soft Colors

To help add even more depth to your space, compliment white-washed wainscoting to the walls with elements of delicate patterns and light-colored greens and greenery.

Blues 

Light blues used in transitional spaces, like bathrooms and hallways in your home, create a palate-cleansing effect for movement between busier and more decorated areas. Light blue colors are calming and mimic the outside air, and we will continue to see them being used frequently in 2022. When used in a pattern combined with neutrals, blue can be either light or dark and is efficient at adding movement to a space. 

Materials 

While cottage flair is soft and relaxed, there’s still room for a little metallic accenting. Gold and brass pair well with light greens, peaches, pinks, and neutrals. Wood and metallic votive centerpieces can provide warm lighting while showcasing fresh eucalyptus that emits a soothing fragrance as it dries. 

Incorporate Patterns and Natural Elements 

Create a more authentic feel to your version of cottage comfort with patterns and natural elements in your home. Delicate designs subtly move the space and add interest. Earthy additions create a balance between the soft patterns of the interior and the rustic outside world. Common natural-material accessories include:
  • Speckled containers  
  • Dried botanicals 
  • Rattan furniture 
  • Terracotta 
  • Ceramic pottery
  • Wicker bowls 
  • Galvanized accents
  • Plumes and feathers 
  • Wooden carvings 
  • Oil paintings and prints 
  For more information on bringing more outdoor elements inside your house or adding your finishing touches to the 2022 design trends, visit Red’s Home & Garden for inspiration and unique pieces that can change the look and feel of any room. 

6 Tips To Keep Your Indoor Plants Happy All Winter Long

During the cold, dry months of winter, you've probably noticed that your houseplants struggle. Thanks to low-light conditions and a lack of humidity, it can be a challenge to keep your leafy friends looking their best. However, the following indoor plant tips can ensure that your plants look green and healthy throughout the winter season.

Increase Humidity

When the temperatures drop, you turn your home's heater on, which is good for keeping you warm and toasty but bad for the health of your plants. Your heating system dries out the air in your home, and most houseplants are tropical and prefer humidity. If you notice droopy or limp leaves, you need to find a way to increase the humidity in your home or at least in the vicinity of your plants.   There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can run the heat less often and utilize a humidifier, or you can place your plants' pots on a tray of pebbles covered in a shallow layer of water. As the water evaporates, it creates humidity that your plants will love.

Avoid Repotting

During the winter, your plants are working hard just to survive, so they become stressed and stop growing. This is normal and not a cause for concern, but you should avoid repotting your plants until the spring. Repotting in the winter adds even more stress and can be too much for even the hardiest of houseplants to handle. If you find a new pot at the store that you just have to have, either slide the plant, existing pot and all, into the new one or simply wait until conditions are better to repot.

Wait To Fertilize

In a similar vein, houseplants do not need fertilizer during the winter, since they are not pushing any new growth. Most plants that are kept in homes are native to other parts of the world and have adapted to conditions in which they do not have access to nutrients during a portion of the year. It can be tempting to want to feed your plants in the winter, especially if they start looking a little sad. However, be sure to hold off until spring when they're ready to take off again.

Check for Drafts

If you have plants on a windowsill or shelves near a window or door, be sure to check for drafts. The cold air can damage the plants and cause them to lose leaves or even die altogether. Remember that glass gets very cold in the winter as well, so make sure that no leaves are touching a window.

Cut Back on Watering

Overwatering your plants is just as bad, if not worse, than not watering enough. Excess water can lead to root rot and a mushy, dead houseplant. During the winter, your plants do not need nearly as much water as they did during the rest of the year. A good rule of thumb is to water your plant thoroughly and then wait until the top inch or so of soil is completely dry.

Find the Light

Because the days are shorter and your plants will have less light during the winter, you may need to move things around to give them as much light as possible. If you normally have them near a north-facing window, move them to a south or west-facing window so that they can soak up the sunlight and stay happy. These indoor plant tips should be enough to keep your collection of houseplants happy all winter long, whether you have one plant or 50. You'll be glad that you have something green to look at when it's cold and gray outside, so take good care of them! If you need a new plant, check out the selection at Red's Home & Garden.

What Makes a Retaining Wall Work?

Allan Block retaining walls make it possible to build homes and achieve landscaping projects in some of the most unlikely places. These walls can support foundational structures and significantly reduce soil erosion. Builders have relied on them for millennia, but how exactly do they work?

What Are the Main Types of Retaining Walls?

Before determining the secret to how a retaining wall works, it’s important to understand the two main types. These types bring different structural components and mechanics to the table.

Gravity Walls

Gravity walls require a precise weight and setback to work properly. Setback refers to the angle at which the wall leans to keep the soil in place. The weight of the wall and the degree of leaning from the vertical upright position are the two secrets behind how this type of retaining wall works.

Reinforced Walls

These walls are a little more complicated and require three components: weight, setback and geogrid. The geogrid refers to woven material used to weave soil and other materials together. Geogrid makes it possible for the walls to push back against the strong forces of the heavy soil bracing against them.

What Are Additional Components of Retaining Walls?

Weight, setback and geogrid serve as the core factors behind how these walls work. As well, there are additional components to consider.

Positive Interlock

In a retaining wall, the strength of each component is essential for the overall strength of the wall. To ensure full strength, Allan Block uses a rock-lock connection. Years of experience and experimentation have proven that this is the most stable and reliable block-to-grid interlock. It provides additional strength beyond the materials used to hold each component together.

Internal Stability

The soil and the retaining wall work together to create internal stability. When built correctly, the soil and the retaining wall function together like one cohesive unit. When the internal stability of a retaining wall fails, it can manifest as bulging, pullout or grid rupture.

External Stability

External stability depends on how well designers calculated the force of gravity and the weight of the soil. Proper analysis and accurate execution allow the soil and wall to function as one unit. Engineers achieve external stability by satisfying sliding, overturning, bearing capacity and global stability considerations.

What Are Crucial Design Considerations?

When building a retaining wall, Allan Block must review several factors and how they might affect the strength and functionality of the wall. Planning for these in the initial design phase ensures your retaining wall stands the test of time:
  • Water Drainage: Water can move more than just soil. It can also move walls and foundation structures, so drainage is crucial to maintaining stability.
  • Embedment: Engineers need to determine how deep the grid length should extend beyond the wall. This is crucial for meeting gravity mass requirements.
  • Layers: Retaining walls require enough layers to ensure the internal strength can handle the load created by the soil mass. Layers also need proper spacing to distribute internal forces.
Our home and garden center has everything you need to build a beautiful and functional retaining wall for your home. Find out more about how our trusted partners at Red's Home & Garden, such as Allan Block, can help you achieve your vision.

Make Christmas Easy: Browse Our Hand Selected Themes That Make Decorating a Breeze!

If you're ready for top gift-giving ideas for friends and family this year, why not make it easy and browse by theme? In this article, we share the top picks from our seven seasonal themes this year. 

1. Christmas Eve

The magic and anticipation of Christmas Eve light up Red's Home & Garden in the “night-before-Christmas” category. Ornaments, hand towels, figurines, and stockings are the hallmarks of this popular category.   Stock up on various sizes of posable elves! Position them on fireplace mantels, library shelves or kitchen spice racks and add a dash of seasonal whimsy to any flat surface with these adorable figures that have a rich Christmas history. If you're looking for tree ornaments, consider red pine cones that add a festive punch of color and texture to any real or artificial fir tree.

2. Gnome for the Holidays

There really is no place like gnome for the holidays! All things gnomes dominate this beloved Christmas store category, including free-standing gnomes and Santa gnomes and hats.   Perhaps you need a 30-inch standing gnome for your entryway? How about a set of reclining gnomes that can brighten up any flat surface, from stair treads to TV consoles and mantelpieces?

3. Have a Beary Christmas

Rustic is the name of the game when it comes to having a very beary Christmas. Pine cone, sledge and ski lodge ornaments are just some of the goodies you can expect when you browse this winter wonderland category.   Small or large wood and metal sled candleholders are a great way to add whimsy and spirit to any dining or coffee table. Add festive votives to the candleholders to imbue your living space with festive spirit, color and warmth. Resin pine cones are another great way to bring the outdoors indoors. Choose from 9-, 11- and 13.5-inch free-standing options. 

4. Holiday Homestead

All the comforts of home and life on the farm inform the Holiday Homestead category. Browse ornaments, kitchen towels, prints and crates, and find the pieces that lift your seasonal spirits.    Bright red cardinals, the state birds of North Carolina, make naturally stunning Christmas tree ornaments. Choose from a cardinal on a branch or with a wreath ornament. If you love adorable farm animals, put a furry baby goat ornament or a doorstop Christmas donkey in your shopping cart.

5. Juniper Grove

The Juniper Grove Christmas theme pays homage to the great outdoors with this line of tree- and animal-adorned products. In addition, many of the ornaments and decorations feature natural materials.   Choose from various sizes of a cement planter with pines, an earthy and robust way to display your tree or poinsettia. If you seek a touch of whimsy for your tree, go for an animal in a birch bark tree ornament. Choose from an owl, raccoon or squirrel.

6. Merry & Bright

Red, white and green products dominate this Christmas theme that allows you to instantly add vibrant color and shine to your home or office.  Add a cheery 30-inch Santa portrait to your home's entryway and include Saint Nick in your family and friends' events. If you're interested in adding more subtle dashes of color, buy some cedar or berry sprays for your mantelpiece or front door. 

7. Snow Much Fun

Let it snow outside and inside your home! Browse this popular theme to find the winter wonders that bring energy and joy to your festive season. Toss an 18-inch Let It Snow pillow on the couch and stay comfortable when it's time for the post-Christmas dinner nap, or add a snowman with skis ornament to your tree for color and humor. Have these delightful Christmas themes given you a festive feeling? Visit Red's Home & Garden and stock up on Christmas gifts in Wilkesboro. 

Pansies or Violas? Key Differences & Planting Advice

Flowers that are tolerant of cold weather are not that plentiful, but luckily both pansies and violas offer a range of colors when the weather cools down. They can even be mixed and matched in a garden to create a wider spread of color across your early-blooming flower bed. The two flowers look so much alike that many people mistake one for the other. Some even think they are the same flower.

Pansy Flowers Are Violas... of a Kind

It's understandable why some people would think the two flowers are the same because pansy plants are scientifically known as Viola wittrockiana. They are a species of the viola family, but not the same as the plants commonly labeled violas at flower nurseries. Pansy varieties started as a cross between the common viola and the wild viola. There are a few notable differences.

Identifying Pansies vs Violas

Both flowers have five petals, but the telltale difference between species is the orientation of the flowers. The pansy flower has four petals pointing up, with one that typically dips down toward the ground like the flower has a little pout. Violas, by contrast, have two petals that stretch up and three that stretch down, giving it a little more horizontal balance in its visual presentation. There are also differences in the colors available. Lastly, pansy flowers run between six and 12 inches tall. That makes them significantly taller than most viola varieties.

Planting & Care Instructions

Since the two plants are cousins, they have very similar care and watering needs. Pansies tend to be a little more cold tolerant and will even bloom during winter in some locations. Violas are also very tolerant of the cold compared to most flowers, but not quite as much as the average pansy. This is because of the pansy's relationship to the hearty wild viola. Depending on the type you choose to plant, you may need either coarse or normal soil, so check the instructions and make sure you pick plants with similar soil needs if you are mixing and matching. Here are a few other basic care requirements:
  • Both flowers need soil that drains well, making raised beds or containers ideal
  • They can thrive in sun when the weather is cool, but prefer sites that provide full, direct morning sun, yet shield them from intense afternoon rays
  • Both die off as the spring turns to summer heat, so shade during the hot part of the day extends their blooming times
  • Plant them at least six inches apart, but no more than ten, to avoid empty patches in the bed
  • Put violas in front when mixing flowers to make sure they are visible next to their taller cousins
Plant either flower for the first time after the danger of snowfall has passed when there are no longer hard freezes at night. They will bloom as long as the temperature stays cool.

Popular Varieties of Pansies

There are so many types of pansies to choose from that it is not possible to list them all, but there are a few common series they are organized into with telltale traits. Violas come in a wide range of varieties including tri-color options, but do not have the same set of definitive series lines.
  • Delta series pansy flowers have many presentation styles and 32 colors, making them the broadest category
  • Majestic giants come in as extra-large flowers, over four inches across, with most types presenting with a dark center blotch and only a couple of solid colors to choose from
You will find the popular and novel colors when they are seasonally available, so it is a good idea to check out your options when you know replanting is due soon. You may find something new that you want to add to your beds. Learn more about what you will find in stock at Red's Home & Garden when you visit and then plan your supply run to take advantage of the current planting season.
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