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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Welcome!

You have reached The Learning Place of SunsetHostaFarm.com.  We're glad you stopped by!

Here you'll find a variety of articles about gardening, homesteading, growing food, and much more.  We are also a great place to read and learn about one of the most popular part shade plants, hostas! 

So come on in, sit a spell, and peruse lots of great gardening information. And if you love hostas like we do, visit us at SunsetHostaFarm.com to see some beautiful hostas at affordable prices.

Welcome!

Variegated Hosta Closeup








Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Versatility of Hostas!

The Versatility of Hostas

Hostas are not only beautiful, but they also come in a large variety of leaf colors, sizes and shapes.


But did you know that hostas are so versatile that there are other advantages to adding hostas in your garden other than their beauty? 


Here's just a few!


Halcyon Hosta for Sale


Hostas as Ground Covers


    Hostas can be planted en masse for an attractive ground cover to soften walls, corners, pavers, sidewalks, driveways, shrubs, and tall perennials.  They add beautiful curb appeal to your front yard.


    The best hostas suited for use as ground covers are ones with the following attributes:


    •  Less than 8" in height.
    •  Low-maintenance.
    •  Fast-growing.
    •  Blankets the bare ground with minimal fuss.
    •  Smothers out the weeds beneath.
    •  Keeps a tidy appearance through the season. 

    Here at Sunset Hosta Farm.com we grow and sell a number of hostas that make great ground covers.  See them by clicking here.



    Rain Forest Hostas for Sale


    Hostas as the Perfect Partner!


    Hostas are the perfect complement plant for other perennials. A hosta's earthy leaf color won't clash with a neighboring perennial's color or bloom which makes hostas the perfect partner perennial plant.



    Carolina Blue Hostas


    Hostas for Weed Control


    Once established, hostas are a great weed barrier.  They will smother out weeds as they grow and spread.


    If you plant hostas for their ability to squeeze out the weeds, your best bet is to buy a fast-growing hosta.  

    Here's a list of hostas that are known to grow faster than others.  To see them, click here.



    Blue Mouse Ears Hosta


    Hostas for Soil Erosion Control


    Plants that are best to control soil erosion are low-maintenance plants that grow at moderate to fast speeds, thrive in both shade and full sun (depending on the climate), and establish strong, sprawling root systems that give soil staying power.


    Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans


    Hostas sure fit the bill.  If they're planted on a slope, their roots will spread then knit together to help stop soil erosion.



    Tick Tock Hostas

    Hostas as House Plants


    With the sheer amount of beautiful hosta varieties available, it’s no wonder that so many people want to have them grace their indoor spaces as well as outdoor. 


    Indoor hostas will need more care than those happily planted in the ground outdoors.  

    Further Reading:   Hostas as houseplants.html



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    If you're new to hostas, feel free to read our Ultimate Guide to Hostas, a hostas 101 article, with detailed information about everything hostas - The Ultimate Guide to Hosta Care 

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    Where to go next!

    Hosta Articles - Full List
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    Blue Cadet Hosta

    Love hostas or know someone who does?
    Visit our website for great hostas at an affordable price!

    Monday, November 16, 2020

    Why Birds Aren't Using your Birdbath

    Bird bathing in birdbath


    Why B.irds Aren't Using Your Birdbath



    It’s been said that birdbaths attract more birds than bird feeders do. I believe that may be true as I know plenty of people who have several feeders but no birdbaths in their yard and they are wondering where their bird visitors are.


    If you have a birdbath that is open for business but no feathery customers are visiting, you may find the reason below.



    Field Guide to Birds Amazon



    Problems with Placement



    1. Birds simply don't see the birdbath.


    Even if a birdbath is clean and filled with sparkling water, it's not doing the birds any good if they can't find it. The birdbath should be easily seen from the sky.



    2. The birdbath is placed in full sun.


    The water may be too warm to be refreshing. Moving the birdbath to a shadier spot may be all you need to do. Some shade will also keep the water fresh longer.



    Cat watching bird perched on a teacup




    3. The birdbath was placed in an area that doesn't appear safe.


    Skittish birds feel safer if they can see in all directions while they drink or bathe. They also want to see a quick route to flee from danger or even perceived danger. A birdbath that is too far from cover may discourage your birds from landing there.


    Place the birdbath in an area where there are some trees or big shrubs nearby but not close enough that predators can hide near it.
    Birdbaths placed on the ground can be hard for the birds to see and be more dangerous than ones placed on pedestals. 


    If you must have the birdbath placed on the ground, be sure to place it at least six feet away from places where predators could lurk.



    Clean water in bird bath with rocks for bird support



    The birdbath itself.


    4. Slippery Surfaces.


    Many birdbaths, like ceramic ones, have a rather slippery coating that may force the birds that are trying to land there to make a rather unnerving landing.


    A simple solution to this is to arrange stones (or branches) in the water so birds can safely land on them then stand on them to drink without touching the slippery surface at all.



    Problems with the water.



    5. The water is too deep.


    The fact is that birds can drown in deep water. Birds prefer very shallow water where they can safely sip or bathe.


    As a rule, the deepest part of the bath in the center should be no deeper than about two inches.



    6. The water in the birdbath is not clean.


    It's pretty obvious that birds will not visit a birdbath that is full of decaying leaves or debris or has a growth of algae. Not only will birds generally ignore that birdbath altogether, but they could get very sick if they do visit.



    7. Clean water is not continuously supplied.


    Once your birds have become used to a water supply in your garden, you should ensure that you continue to offer it to them. If your birdbath is often empty, then birds will soon try to find another more continuous source of water.



    Those Sneaky Neighbors!



    8. The area birds have found a better option.


    Maybe your neighbor has a more inviting location for drinking and bathing!


    If this is the case you can one-up your neighbor's offering by adding a source of moving water to your birdbath. Not only does moving water attract birds, but it will also prevent mosquitos from breeding there. And a side benefit is that birdbaths with moving water won't need to be cleaned as often.


    solar fountain pump for birdbaths


    Above is a pretty inexpensive solar fountain pump that can do the work for you.


    If you're more a DIY-er, here is a great idea I wish I had thought of myself.


    Recycle an old bucket or plastic container by punching a tiny hole in the bottom, filling it with water, and hanging it above the birdbath so the water drips slowly down.



    Heated birdbath for winter use for birds


    Another way to outdo the neighbor is by making sure that your birds have water to drink, even in the coldest weather.

    The heated birdbath pictured above is the one that I use.  I like that it sits securely on my deck rail so I can watch the birds from the warm comfort of my window!   


    Deicer for use in bird baths for winter watering


    Or you can purchase an inexpensive deicer like the one above.  With either choice, you can expect some activity all winter year long!


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    I hope you found these tips helpful.  Here are some related articles about the care of your feathery friends:


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    This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases without costing you anything extra.

    Saturday, November 7, 2020

    Homestead Holidays! How to Save Money while Making the Kids Happy!



    Holiday Gift Envelopes and Tissue Paper


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    Homestead Holidays

    How to Save Money while Making the Kids Happy!

    Guest Post By  Brandi Goodnight
    goodnighttobadhabits.com

    ~~~~~~~~~~


    Holidays can be hard.


    Holidays can be hard, and this year is no exception. In fact, this year may feel harder than in previous years. We want to make our kid's holiday a special one, but our finances may say otherwise. Shopping for the family can be stressful but with a plan, it can be easier.

    Is it possible to save money during the Holidays and still make our kids happy? The quick answer is, yes. In many cases, you do not need to spend an arm and a leg to make kids happy. We will discuss multiple ways to save money without sacrificing the Holidays for our kids.



    Family and Christmas Tree




    The true meaning of the holidays.


    The holidays are a time of family and reflection. Bringing those values back to this time of year will provide love and happiness in the house. Kindness and Joy may be all around us year-round, but now is the time to make it a focal point.


    The holidays can be stressful, we become hard on ourselves, expecting everything to be perfect. Our inner perfectionists come out (I am totally guilty of this) and we run ourselves ragged. We need to remind ourselves that sometimes being there is what counts the most.




    Holiday shopping for the young kids.


    When I was a mom of young kids I was told about want, need, wear, read. This helps keep down on the number of toys the kids will have along with providing different, cheaper options for the holiday season.


    Amazon FreeTime Unlimited Free Trial


    Choosing one item off their holiday list can not only save you money but also let other family members have options as well. I have seen many people use the need option to give their kids a new toothbrush, new sheets, anything the child might be needing at the time.


    Something I wear could be those holiday pajamas they open the night before. Finally, something I read, can be a fun way to nudge your kids into loving to read. Find a book that showcases their interests. My sons were really into Minecraft, so I got them those books once upon a time.


     
    Wrapped Christmas Presents and Ornaments




    Holiday shopping for the older kids.



    As kids get older, they become more expensive. They want electronics, video games, and Money. You can continue that above strategy, but it was one I stopped once the expensive gifts came into play. There are many ways I figure out their presents.


    Sometimes it a matter of saving money through the year or finding the right deal. Black Friday will not always be the best deal. If I do shop during that time, it is all online. Another way is to spread out the buying throughout the year.




    Buying one present a month starting in January can help the feelings it comes with shopping for everyone on your list. Once kids become teenagers, their interests don't change as fast anymore so this strategy is a little easier to pull off. It also makes buying all those electronics a little easier on your wallet.


    Other options are gift cards. These allow the older kids to buy the things they want and leave the stress of guessing off your shoulders. My kids love gift cards. If the top of their lists has a big-ticket item, the entire family can pitch in with gift cards and the child can pick out their item that way.




    What can you do this year to make shopping easier?


    Start with a game plan.


    Always starting with a game plan and never falling into the retail deal death trap. This especially goes for Black Friday. The electronics your kids want may be an amazing deal on that day. However, as you walk through the mall, do not be tempted to go into retail stores that do not support your list. You could be tempted to buy something you did not need because of a deal you found in a store.



    Coordinate with other family members.


    Coordinate with other family members to go in on the big-ticket items. You can also plan less expensive items or fun trips for the kids to help give them more than one gift. Maybe the whole family goes in on the new Xbox Series X, and you plan a trip to the zoo or sledding with your kids. 


    You can even tailor those trips to be one on one to make it even more special.



    Start Early.


    Start next year's shopping in January if you buy for the whole family. Start with parents, siblings, and extended family and friends at the beginning of the year and your kids towards the end.


    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Go grab that pen a paper and start planning your holiday shopping with a strategy for gifts, shopping, and family time! Let me know how the holidays are treating you!   LiveLaughLoveHonestly@gmail.com.

    ~~~~~~~~~~


    Brandi Goodnight, Freelance Writer
    Goodnighttobadhabits.com

     

    Guest Author Spotlight
    My name is Brandi Goodnight, I am a mother to 3 teens and a wife of 16 years. When I had my oldest I became a SAHM, I went back to work 5 years ago. I have worked and continue to work on improving who I am as a person. I want to share my journey and help others on theirs.

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    This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases without costing you anything extra.











    Monday, November 2, 2020

    Best Homesteading Books for Beginners




    Best Homesteading Books for Beginners



    The word "homesteading" today has come to mean the pursuit of a rewarding and self-sufficient lifestyle. It can include everything from keeping bees, growing vegetables, composting, installing solar panels, creating a rain barrel, raising animals, canning your own food, and the list goes on!

    Have you been wondering what homesteading is all about?  Why homesteading has become so popular given the current climate of our world?


    Here are ten of our top choices for great books to get you started on your homesteading journey.


    Click on the book to learn more.

     

     

    1.



    Start with the basics of homesteading with this book. This book gives a general overview of what homesteading is for the complete novice.



    2.




    Turn your backyard into a sustainable mini-farm―grow food for your pantry, cut back on bills, and help the environment.


    Every day, more and more people are creating a backyard homestead to reconnect with nature and become more sustainable. The Beginner's Guide to Backyard Homesteading offers practical, step-by-step instructions to raise crops and small farm animals, maximize harvests, and even make some extra money.



    3.




    Countless readers have turned to Back to Basics for inspiration and instruction, escaping to an era before power saws and fast-food restaurants and rediscovering the pleasures and challenges of a healthier, greener, and more self-sufficient lifestyle.


    Now newly updated, the hundreds of projects, step-by-step sequences, photographs, charts, and illustrations in Back to Basics will help you dye your own wool with plant pigments, graft trees, raise chickens, craft a hutch table with hand tools, and make treats such as blueberry peach jam and cheddar cheese. The truly ambitious will find instructions on how to build a log cabin or an adobe brick homestead.



    4.

     


    Homesteading: A Backyard Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine.

    Whether you want to live off the grid as part of the modern back to nature movement, or simply learn new skills that will make your home more comfortable and your garden grow, this companion to the bestseller Back to Basics, is for you!



    5.

    .


    40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-on, Step-by-Step Sustainable-Living Guide (Creative Homeowner) Includes Fences, Coops, Sheds, Wind & Solar Power, Rooftop & Vertical Gardening

    Learn all about how to build sheds, feeders, fences, garden structures, chicken housing and other backyard structures to enhance your sustainable living!



    6.


    A Back to Basics Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, Water Conservation, Handcrafting items and much more.



    7.

    .


    Homesteading: A Comprehensive Homestead Guide to Self-Sufficiency, Raising Backyard Chickens, and Mini Farming, Including Gardening Tips and Best Practices for Growing Your Own Food.  Also includes the 11 essential homesteading skills and how to get the perfect piece of land without breaking any laws.



    8.


    This book includes what You Need to Know to Be Self-Reliant When STHF, Including Tips on Stockpiling, Growing Your Own Food, and Living Off the Grid.  



    9.



    In a world of mass production, intensive farming, and food miles, Seymour's words offer an alternative: a celebration of the joy of investing time, labor, and love into the things we need. 


    While we can't all move to the countryside, we can appreciate the need to eat food that has been grown ethically or create things we can cherish, using skills that have been handed down through generations. With refreshed, retro-style illustrations and a brand-new foreword by Alice Waters, this new edition of Seymour's classic title is a balm for anyone who has ever sought solace away from the madness of modern life.



    10.


    Reminiscent in both spirit and design of the beloved Whole Earth Catalog, Country Wisdom & Know-How is an unprecedented collection of information on nearly 200 individual topics of country and self-sustained living. 


    Compiled from the information in Storey Publishing's landmark series of "Country Wisdom Bulletins," this book is the most thorough and reliable volume of its kind. Organized by general topic including animals, cooking, crafts, gardening, health and well-being, and home, it is further broken down to cover dozens of specifics from "Building Chicken Coops" to "Making Cheese, Butter, and Yogurt" to "Improving Your Soil" to "Restoring Hardwood Floors." 


    Nearly 1,000 black-and-white illustrations and photographs run throughout and fascinating projects and trusted advice crowd every page.


    BONUS BOOK



    If you want the most comprehensive book on all things country/homesteading living, this is it. The Encyclopedia of County Living IS the definitive book of basic skills and country wisdom for living off the land, being prepared, and doing it yourself--whether it's on a farm or homestead, in the suburbs or city.


    From homesteaders to urban farmers, and everyone in between, there is a desire for a simpler way of life—a healthier, greener, more self-sustaining, and holistic approach to modern life.



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    I hope our top ten list of great homesteading books helped you find just the right one for you and your family.

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    This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases without costing you anything extra.






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