Backyard Living

Once spring arrives, it's rush hour on the backyard patio, flower beds, and lawns. Yet tidying up around the outside of the house is usually not a priority.

After all, planning gardens and pool parties is a lot more fun than preparing the yard and garden before them.

But since a summer fresh outdoor area is a necessary part of making the fun stuff really fun, why not get the kids to pitch in and maybe teach them a thing or three about how things grow? 

You'll get all the basic prep work done so that your family can really enjoy the spring and summer outdoors.

backyard gardening: how to grow a year of bulbs.

To every season - turn, turn, turn.

The soil, that is, with flower plants for every season so your garden is always blooming flowers.

It's surprisingly simple to plant annual flowers. The key is to begin growing bulb plants in the right season. 

how to make compost happen.

Leftovers provide the perfect starting ground for creating a nutrient rich mulch in just three months, that can then be added to your backyard garden to make it healthier and happier.

Does recycling get any better than this?

Oh yes, you don't like worms. Worms are usually an essential compost component.

It will take a few weeks longer to cook (become compostable material), however, but you can compost without worms.

testing garden soil.

Not all dirt is created equal.

You want soil that drains well, yet retains enough moisture to keep the roots from drying out.

You want it to have a lot of organic matter for nutrients; yet you want dirt that does not compact; and does allow roots to spread easily.

When soil has that precise mixture, it is called "loam". But how do you know what you have?

These two simple soil tests can help you find out.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.