Posted in Green Living
on January 16th, 2013 |
Organic gardening does not utilize any artificial agricultural chemicals such as pesticides or any processed or artificial fertilizers. People who garden organically view soil as a living system and provide it with supplemental nutrients via natural sources. This prevents food from having pesticide residue and eliminates the negative environmental consequences of artificial chemical and fertilizer use.
Select a spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. If soil conditions are poor, provide soil with minerals and nutrients by adding compost or other organic matter. For the best results, select plants that are relatively disease-resistant. Look for this information on plant tags, seed packets, catalog descriptions, and from professionals.
Though it is not necessary to fertilize vegetables in most soils, doing so will speed growth and improve quality. Use a prepackaged organic material or rotted animal manure from a plant-eating animal such as a chicken, sheep, horse, or rabbit. To help prevent disease, plant each vegetable in a different area of the garden each year. Avoid planting a related plant where one was located during the prior one or two years.
Placing a one or two-inch layer of mulch on top of soil helps reduce weeds and provides a barrier to spores of fungal diseases. Use mulch comprised of an organic, decomposable material like weed-free straw. During breakdown, this gives soil with beneficial organic material. Weed the garden and remove dead or diseased foliage at least once a week. Water the garden during early morning with a soaker hose.
Adding some flowers to an organic vegetable garden will attract beneficial bugs that attack pest insects. Marigolds, daisies, zinnia, and black-eyed Susans are good choices. Leave enough space between each plant and vegetable so air can flow between them to prevent fungal diseases. The garden will soon be full of ripe vegetables and beautiful flowers grown and maintained without chemicals.
Posted in Garden & Gardening
on December 26th, 2012 |
It may be December now, but it is never too early to start planning how you are going to get your garden ready for spring. You can begin gathering the equipment needed as well as develop a checklist for the different tasks that will need to be done in order to have a beautiful garden again this spring.
Even if it is still a bit chilly out, you can begin the process of cleaning up your outside garden area so it will be ready for planting once the winter weather breaks. When the leaves fall, you will definitely want to get out there and remove them from the area. If the leaves are allowed to sit, they can become damp and create mold and a musty smell in the area.
This is also a great time to weed the garden. Remove any weeds you see and treat the soil so new weeds do not sprout up. Some gardeners love to use the winter as a time to fertilize their garden. After a snowstorm, sprinkle soil nutrients on top of the snow and allow them to seep into the soil as the snow melts. This is a trick that can have your soil rich and ready for planting come spring.
Winter weather can be very harsh on existing plants, assuming you have plants that are left in the ground all winter. You may have to tie them up after severe weather. Check the area for debris and dead wood that has been blown into the garden. Prune any dead stems by cutting just above the bud at a 45-degree angle.
As spring arrives, you will need to make sure your soil is safe and ready for planting. You can buy a test kit to check it for things such as nutrient content and pH levels. You will also have to turn the soil or aerate it before planting. Once the soil is tested and prepared, you are ready to plant your spring flowers!
Posted in Trellises
on December 18th, 2012 |
Whether you are space-challenged or just prefer vertical plants, a trellis is a great way to grow your garden. Numerous plants and crops will embrace vertical growing, giving you plenty of options for your new “vertical” garden. Here are just a few of the benefits of going vertical with a trellis.
- The plants will have better access to the sun. In fact, you just may think they are trying to climb up and out of the garden to get to it! New gardeners are often amazed at the reaction of plants to the newfound source of sunlight once they get going.
- Problems such as fungus from leaves will no longer be a problem. Since your plants are no longer are ground level, they will not be affected by a condition that may have actually killed them in the past.
- If you are growing crops in addition to your plants, some gardeners will say the harvest often tastes better in vertical crops than it does in earth grown crops. This may be a matter of opinion, but who are we to argue?!
- Something that older gardeners or those with bad backs will readily admit is that caring for the garden is far easier with a trellis than a traditional garden. You can work standing up or on a ladder instead of being forced to get down on your hands and knees. You many end up spending more time taking care of your plants simply because you are able to enjoy it more and feel less of the after-effects.
- In addition to the problems we mentioned earlier with leaves, you would no longer have to worry about contamination from various soil issues. For instance, a stray piece of fruit on the ground that has attracted dangerous bugs or that has spoiled will not affect your plants.
If this sounds like something you would like to try, here are some rather colorful plants that will absolutely love climbing up a trellis!
- Morning Glory
- Climbing Rose
- Black-eyed Susan
Posted in Raised Beds
on November 29th, 2012 |
Many gardening enthusiasts are choosing to use raised garden beds instead of working with their existing soil. There are several benefits in using a raised garden bed, such as better drainage, using specific soil that most benefits the type of garden you are planting, and the soil warms quicker in the spring, allowing you to plant your garden much earlier. Creating one is easy and we are going to tell you how do it yourself!
- Choose the site – for herbs, you will need an area that will see at least eight hours of sunlight every day. Find an area that allows plenty of working room as well as an area that is as flat as possible.
- Size - figure out how big you well need your garden to be. With a raised garden, you want to avoid ever having to actually set foot in the garden, less you compact the soil. You should be able to access every section of the garden from its perimeter.
- Prep your site – now that you have the site and know how big you are going to make it, it is time to prep the area for the garden. Dig out the area to roughly ten inches deep to make sure your plants have plenty of room for the roots to settle. Make things as easy as possible and purchase some landscaping fabric to lay down over the existing soil.
- Build your perimeter – you will need to use treated lumber so it does not rot from the moisture. 2×6 pieces are ideal for a raised garden. After the frame is built, make sure it is level so you do not experience excessive runoff or over oversaturation on one side of the garden.
- Once the frame is leveled, you can fill the area with your chosen soil. Once the frame is filled, rake out the area to loosen the soil. Now your garden is ready for planting!
Posted in Greenhouse
on November 23rd, 2012 |
A greenhouse may seem like it is out of your realm, but they can actually pay for themselves in a very short period of time. Individuals that once used their garden as a hobby are finding greater rewards by using a greenhouse for their garden. Here are just a few benefits enjoyed when converting from an outdoor garden to a greenhouse garden.
Protecting Your Plants – if you live in areas that see severe winds or harsh and sudden weather changes during the spring and summer, you have probably walked outside on more than one occasion to find your garden in complete shambles. A greenhouse protects your garden from not only the elements, but also from people and animals.
Save Money – if you are going to use a greenhouse, you might as well get the most of it. Plant herbs, vegetables, and fruits to save money on your grocery bill. If you do this, your new greenhouse will pay for itself in no time at all!
Ideal Environment – since your garden will now be protected from outside elements, you can create the perfect environment. That unexpected frost or cold front will do nothing to harm your plants this year!
Plant Earlier – while everyone else is waiting for the seasons to change, you will be able to get a head start on the season. The quicker your vegetables and herbs come in, the quicker you are able to start saving money!
Organization – you will be able to keep everything regarding your gardening in one location. You will no longer have to worry about leaving something around the front of the home that you need for your back garden or worry about misplaced gardening equipment. You can keep everything organized and together in your greenhouse.
As you can see, the benefits are numerous to having a greenhouse. Now, all you need to do is decide where you are going to put it and how big you want it to be!
Posted in Greenhouse
on October 30th, 2012 |
Winter is right around the corner, but that does not mean growing season is over. If you want to keep your garden going during the cold weather months, why not use a cold frame? This will enable you to continue growing season into the winter as well as let you get a jump on planting next spring. You can also use a cold frame to slowly integrate your outdoor plants to the indoors.
In its simplest terms, a cold frame is a four-walled structure that traps heat to help plants grow. The lid of the structure must be transparent to allow sunlight to still come through, creating natural heat. The walls of the cold frame can be created from anything that will maintain its integrity, such as wood or concrete.
There is no need to go to great expense to create the lid of the cold frame. Any old window will work well. However, keep in mind the size of the window is what will dictate the size of the structure. If you do not have a window big enough to create a structure of at least 2′x4′, you can go to the local home supply store for a piece of Plexiglas.
Keep the size reasonable enough so you can reach everything inside when you open the doors of the frame. You will also want to build the frame in a downward slope. The back of the frame should be about six inches higher than the front of the frame. This will create natural drainage for snow or rain during the winter.
When choosing a location for your cold frame, it should be a location that receives the most sun throughout the day. Ideally, it should be facing the south and have some natural protection from the wind as well as good drainage. This will help keep the structure sound during harsh winter weather.
Posted in Garden & Gardening
on October 23rd, 2012 |
Summer has gone, but your time out in the yard is far from being done. Just because the grass is starting to turn does not mean there is no work left to do. Now is the time to get your lawn ready for next year as well as maintaining it for the remainder of the fall season. A little care now will go a long way in making sure that your lawn comes back in green and plush next year.
What You Need:
- Water supply
- Lime or sulfur (see below if actually needed)
The first thing you need to do is to find out if your lawn has cool or warm season grass. Depending upon the type of grass you have will dictate the watering and fertilizing methods. For example, cool season grasses will require watering to last throughout the winter, as well as fertilizing treatment (one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft of lawn).
If the grass is warm weather grass, you can use winter ryegrass seed in the area. This will give the warm weather grass color throughout the winter. When mowing the lawn, extend the height of the mower blades by half an inch.
For cold weather grass, keep the mower height normal and spread the ryegrass in bare spots to fill in bare areas.
If you notice any broadleaf weeds, apply the herbicides as needed.
If the lawn did not grow properly during the summer months, there may be a problem with the acidity or alkaline content of the soil. To lower the acidity, apply lime. To lower the alkaline content of the soil, apply sulfur.
Use your rake to remove any leaves that have gathered. If leaves are allowed to sit on a lawn, they can cause deterioration. This will also help toss the soil. If the dirt is compact, you may need to aerate the lawn. You can do this yourself with aeration shoes or hire a landscaping professional to do it for you.
Posted in Garden & Gardening
on August 20th, 2012 |
Gardening is a fun activity that many people love to do. Gardening can be enjoyed by all types of people – men, women, kids, grandparents, etc. It is an activity where people of all ages can spend quality time outdoors. When you are gardening, you do not only enjoy the environment. You are also being productive, because you are working to grow your own crops for the future without the expense of purchasing products from overpriced grocery stores and markets. In addition, gardening is an activity which can be enjoyed all year long; from winter to spring, and summer to fall. All you have to do is be knowledgeable enough when choosing the right plants to grow during a certain time of the year. One of the most popular types of gardening is spring vegetable gardening. If you are interested in making one for your home, here are some tips for designing your own spring vegetable garden.
First, do some research on spring vegetable gardens of other people. If you have tried it before, evaluate the efficiency of your spring vegetable garden and look at the pros and cons of the garden you have built. See whether there are things which need improvement. Make a list of all the things that have worked in the past, and what tweaks you need to make in the future to improve your garden. Now, you can start drafting a design of your spring vegetable garden based on your evaluation. Cabbage, beets and asparagus are some wonderful choices when it comes to plants for a spring vegetable garden.
After choosing what you wish to plant, start growing seedlings indoors. Give them the proper amount of sunlight and water. It is advisable to put them near your window where they can have the direct sunlight. It is better to keep your plants indoors until the season can provide the right amount of heat for their growth. Then, start placing them outside for a few hours each day to prepare them for the permanent outdoor environment. After that, when the soil has reached the appropriate temperature, you can transfer them to your garden bed located outdoors. Make sure your garden bed will receive enough hours of sunlight each day, and gets watered daily as well. Put up some chicken wire or some type of fence to keep out garden pests such as rabbits, and steadily watch your garden grow. All you need to do now is pick your bounty when it has ripened, and enjoy!
Posted in Garden & Gardening
on August 8th, 2012 |
Many people truly enjoy gardening. For them, gardening is not just a hobby which can keep them occupied. It’s also a hobby which can be productive. Even if you live in a city, there are still ways to can enjoy gardening. Gardening provides the benefit of growing your own food in your own backyard without paying high grocery store costs. However, if you have a garden at home, you must still be responsible while taking care of your plants. This becomes especially important if you are trying to produce organic vegetables and fruits. You must take utmost care of your plants, and make sure you are not using harmful chemicals while growing them.
First and foremost, if you want to be able to produce organic fruits and vegetables, always remember that “Prevention is better than Finding a Cure.” If you don’t want to spend lots of time killing insects, first make sure you aren’t attracting them. Clean up dead or rotting food from your garden. Ants, beetles, and other bugs can be easily attracted by your plants. If you have ants or other bugs near your garden, which many people do, make sure you spray an all natural insect repellent to keep them at bay. Even though you are buying products that are all natural, they can still cause damage, and must be used with care. There are even certain plants you can buy that act as a repellent when used in your garden. These are just a few tips to remember when using organic insect control.
Posted in Garden & Gardening
on July 12th, 2012 |
Gardening is a very popular hobby for a lot of people. They enjoy doing this because the feeling of being able to raise plants is very fulfilling. Also, being able to raise plants can help you reduce the global warming that the world is experiencing today. They also give a very nice look to your place, especially flowering plants. They can make your place really colorful and attractive. Just by looking at them and just by being able to feel the fresh air they can give, you would automatically feel relaxed and relieved of the stressful things you are feeling. Unfortunately, there can be obstacles you might encounter when you are gardening and an example is having weeds.Keeping your plants away from weeds is very important. Weeds are unwanted plants which normally grow near your plants. The bad thing about weeds is that they eat up the nutrients that your plants are supposed to be having. As a result, your plants may wither and die if you do not remove them. To help you deal with this problem, here are some steps which might help you achieve successful weeding.
Make sure that you visit your garden regularly to see whether weeds are growing. If you see weeds starting to grow, pull them up immediately before they spread out all over the place. No one would want this to happen. Also, when weeding, make sure that you are careful when pulling them. You have to make certain that you are pulling the weeds and not the plants. Be able to identify which one is a part of the plant and which ones are weeds. Pulling weeds while they are still young is easier so it is better to pull them as soon as you see them developing. The weeds would be able to develop roots ones they weeds grow older. It would be harder to pull them up once this happens. Pouring water over the area where the weeds are growing can make the job easier for you, too. By doing this, the soil would become softer. If you are up for prevention, mulching is a very good process which can avoid their growth.