organic gardening-Learn to create a beautiful organic garden – The Complete Guide-step by step.
DO YOU WANT TO EAT A HEALTHY FOOD?
in this organic Gardening Beginner’s Manual-i will teach you step by step and with clear and simple explanations how to create an organic garden, even if you know nothing about gardening.
If you want to eat healthy vegetables. If you are concerned with you and your family’s health and don’t want vegetables filled with poisons and chemicals to enter your body, then this is the book for you.
“ A very well written informative book full of helpful information! ” Cindy
“ A great book for the beginner gardener, or someone wanting to become more organic with their garden. ” Noemi Buttler
Growing vegetables, spices and fruits allows you to avoid using chemical composts, insecticides, hormones, and antibiotics. All of which have been found in non-organic crops.
you are going to learn many simple tips and techniques which will help you start your own organic garden
In this step by step guide,I will teach you:
- What the best place is to start your organic garden
- Which vegetables are good for organic gardening during each season
- Setting the ground for an organic garden- learn how to do it right
- Tips and techniques for the right composting for an organic soil
- Why is it important to use organic fertilizer?
- What nutrients are needed by the soil?
- A lot of Essential Tips for Planting And more…
In this manual I gathered tips and techniques from over 20 years of experience , to help you in your organic garden with simple explanations and illustrations.
so,in this guide i will teach you…
- Chapter 1-Benefits of having your own Organic Garden
- Chapter 2-what are the plants that you can grow on your organic garden?
- Chapter 3-Knowing about the Perfect place for your Organic Garden
- Chapter 4-Preparing the Area for Your Organic Garden
- Chapter 5-Fertilizing the Soil of your Organic Garden
- Chapter 6-Essential Tips for Planting
- Chapter 7-Irrigation Systems for your Organic Garden
- Chapter 8-Recycling Water for your Organic Garden
- Chapter 9-Removing Harmful Pests in your Organic Garden
- Chapter 10-Picking of your Organic Garden Yields
- Chapter 11-Summary
are you ready?so lets go…
Benefits of having your own Organic Garden
Are you worried about what your family eats? Are you worried about what will happen in the future if there will be continuous depletion of the earth’s natural resources because of the conventional way of producing your foods? There may be a solution for that, organic gardening! Organic gardening is done by many environment enthusiasts and people who simply love gardening nowadays; there are many benefits of having one especially if you want to help mother earth in regaining its natural resources.
- What is an organic gardening?
Organic garden is almost the same with your typical garden. However, in having your own organic garden, you will not use chemical based substances such as pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers for your plants to grow healthy and strong. You need to meticulously check that you won’t be using chemical based products. Instead, you will only be using fertilizers and pesticides that were made up from organic materials. Don’t worry, you can easily make some or you can even buy from your local gardening shops, they will surely have some of these stuffs for you.
- What is organic garden for?
Organic garden has many benefits for you and your family; you will surely love to have one! The following are the benefits you can get from having your own organic garden.
Benefits of having your own organic garden:
- Fresh fruits and fresh vegetables will make your salad pleasurable.
Yes! By having your own organic garden, you can have fresh fruits and vegetables. Going to the supermarket or to your local grocer doesn’t mean that what they sell you is fresh. Sometimes, those fruits and vegetables were stocked on their shelves long enough that you can visibly see the yellowing leaves. Through having your own organic garden, you can have your favorite mainstay for homemade veggie salad readily available! Try to picture yourself harvesting your vegetables in your yard, the taste will surely be a lot better. So, what are you waiting for? Start digging up!
- Fetch, dig and harvesting? It’s exercise!
Exercise is important in having a healthy body. It will help in strengthening your body against diseases. So what do you think about organic gardening? It may be true that having your own organic garden is taxing. With the constant need of checking your plants one by one for worms and grubs, watering your plants, making an organic pesticide, doing compost as your fertilizer and many other tiresome chores. However, think about this, with all of these menial tasks, you are assured that you will not be easily toppled down by illnesses. Organic gardening can be a form of exercise. It is a weapon that will surely help you in preventing high blood pressure, stroke and obesity.
- Saving mother earth.
The frequent use of chemicals in the soil will surely strip the nature of its natural nutrients. Imagine the nutrients in the soil that are being removed just because of the continuous use of chemicals in growing your plants. Where would the next generations plant their sources of food if all of our lands will be stripped with nutrients? There will be none. Organic plants will use the nutrients from the soil, while organic fertilizer will serve to replenish the nutrients, in this way, you are assured that your plants will grow healthy and fully. If you want to start saving mother earth, then, you might as well start with having your own organic garden.
- Save money!
Saving money is probably one of the best benefits of organic gardening! How can you save money? Simple, instead of buying vegetables and fruits from your local shops, you can easily handpick them from your garden. You can surely save money from this. Aside from that, you don’t need to go to the grocery or supermarket to buy vegetables and fruits. Think about the money that you will save from not using fuel for your car. You can breathe easier just by knowing that you can save a lot for your other house bills.
- Tastier and healthier meals!
Researches revealed that organic fruits and vegetables are tastier compared to those which were conventionally made. The chemicals from the soil will not alter the composition producing now a tastier harvest. It is said that having natural or organic materials as fertilizer can make your crops scrumptious. You might also want to know that through eating foods that were conventionally planted; your family might ingest the toxins present from the soil.
- Healthy hobby.
Organic gardening can be your hobby. Not only that, you can include your spouse and even your children. By including your husband or wife in your gardening activities, surely he/she will not turn to other unhealthy hobbies. As for your children, at a young age, they will already know the importance of helping the environment. Aside from that, if they have gardening as a hobby, they will not be tempted to do hobbies that children nowadays are addicted too. No too much partying or even substance abuse. Organic gardening can help in maintaining a solid family foundation. It can help as you can consider this as a family bonding.
- Safe food!
The substances from chemical based products are proven to be harmful to humans and pets. Are you not worried that your kids might just accidentally ingest some of your pesticides residues? These residues are proven to be dangerous. Aside from that, your pets who are innocently strolling along your garden might accidentally inhale some of your pesticide dregs. Would you make them suffer just because of a preventable occurrence? Do not wait for these unfortunate events to happen. Switch to a chemical free gardening. Switch to organic gardening.
With organic gardening, you can eat fresher fruits and vegetables. You are assured that you are providing your family healthier and tastier food. You help in saving mother earth. You are saving money. You are decreasing your health problem risks by exercising. You and your family can have a great hobby. Don’t you think it’s time for you to start one? With organic gardening, you live a healthier and fuller life!
what are the plants that you can grow on your organic garden?
A patch of garden or even a pot of soil in your backyard can provide you and your family a source of fresh vegetables and fruits. It is a simple job to do but a great opportunity to bring hale and hearty foods on your table. Organic gardening will help you achieve this. It is a simple and yet an innovative way towards a healthy living.
You can grow different plants on your garden. However, certain plants and vegetables prefer a certain season where they can grow fuller and healthier. If you plant your favorite vegetables on the wrong season, surely, the seeds will not grow. Sometimes, if the seed will grow, it will eventually wilt. Therefore, there is a need for you to choose the right vegetables or herbs or even fruits to plants in different seasons.
Summer is the season of the year which is marked with hot and sweaty days. It is between spring and autumn. As the days are hot, you must plant vegetables and fruits that can survive the humid days or can grow abundantly under the warm rays of sun.
Tomatoes can grow up to six feet tall! What is the secret? It’s the warms rays of the sun. This fruit needs the heat to develop fully. You can consider that tomatoes are sun lovers. You can buy seedlings from your local gardening shops or greenhouses that sell them and transplant it to your garden. Tomatoes needs direct sunlight so avoid putting them under a shady place. With proper spacing, water and lots of sunlight you will surely harvest tasty and delectable organic tomatoes.
Dreaming of sweet corns? Hmm m. That dream is not impossible. With a sunny disposition, you can see your corn stalks shooting up in no time. Researches revealed that corns survives and grow more fully under the sun. Aside from that, do not forget that corns need space to grow, water and a lot of time to ripen. Once your corns are ripe, go straight to your stove and boil them. You’ll definitely enjoy a hearty snack!
The fleshy and succulent flavor of cucumber would never fail to amaze your taste buds. Just like your tomatoes, cucumbers are most delicious when grown to direct sunlight! Either the slicing or the pickling type of cucumber, both needs enough sunlight, lots of water and nutrients from the soil. Enjoy a crisp taste of your very own organic cucumbers.
What about eggplants? Do you hate the taste of these vegetables? You’ll surely change your mind once you grow your own. The taste of organic eggplant is very far from what you’ve bought from the supermarket. You just need a patch of moist soil and a lot of sunshine then you’re good to plant.
Organic summer squash or zucchini
Do you think all of the zucchinis in the world taste as bland as what you’ve always bought in the supermarket? Have you tasted home grown ones? Zucchinis love sandy loam soil and up to eight hours of sunlight. It is the perfect vegetable to grow during summer. Try eating them raw or harvesting them when they are still immature, you’ll surely taste the difference!
Organic bush beans
Bush beans are super easy to grow on your organic garden! You can just sow them on your garden patches and let them grow. They just need full sunlight and continuous watering system. You don’t even need fertilizers and pesticides. They can grow with enough nutrients from the soil and have continuous harvests!
This native plant from Africa is great for soups and gumbos. It is a sturdy plant which grows steadily during the hot summer. These plants love it when the soil is slightly damp and if they receive uninhibited sunshine.
Spring is the season between winter and summer. It is the season of rebirth from the quiescent months of winter. There are many plants that are best grown during spring, especially if the ground is still frosted from the winter days.
The root and even the leaves of beets can be eaten. The root can be sliced and cooked with a bit of oil and salt while the leafy part can be boiled or eaten raw. Beets need to grow in a cool climate that is why spring is the perfect weather for them. They can grow in raised beds or even in pots. And with just enough compost for a nutrient enriched soil, full sunlight and shade, they will grow robust and ready to be handpicked.
Organic broccoli and cabbage
Who can resist the rich taste of broccoli? Broccoli is easily grown even if you’re new to organic gardening. It grows fast aside from the fact that it is overly nutritious. They are best grown during the not so hot weather during the spring season. They are both from the same Brassica family of vegetables. One of the noticeable characteristics of these vegetables is their great need for soil nutrients. They will literally rob your soil for their much needed nutrients that is why it is better for you to enrich the soil where you will plant these as much as you can. These vegetables also prefer well drained soil and a proper spacing so that they can spread their roots uninhibited. You can enjoy a delicious meal especially if you cook these two avoiding sogginess which will alter the taste!
So what do you know about this orange root crop? Aside from the fact that nobody will mistake this for another root crop because of its distinctive color, carrots are sturdy crops. However, there are varieties of carrots; they come in different colors such as yellow red and purple. They love cool weather and they can even survive light frosts. They definitely need loose soil, damp soil and you can enrich the soil by putting fish emulsion.
Organic English peas
English peas are charming plants. These types of peas definitely loves water however, bear in mind that they do not like their soil to be too steeped with water. They prefer mist and well tilled soil. They need cool weather to prevent them from rotting especially during the time when you’ve just finished planting the seeds. They are vines that gives a palatable taste of its oh so nourishing peas!
Whether you prefer the onion leaves or the onion bulbs, both are widely used as an essential ingredient to recipes. Onions prefer living on cool weather to avoid rotting of the crop. However, they prefer a well-drained soil to grow fuller.
Knowing about the Perfect place for your Organic Garden
After learning what to grow in your organic garden the next thing that you should learn about is the most strategic place to have your organic garden
Where should I place my organic garden?
It is important for you to know where to place your organic garden. There are certain factors that you should consider to be able to have a fruitful harvest. Remember that the health of your plants do not depend just on your fertilizers and pesticides and watering. It also depends on the place where you built your garden.
Factors to consider when choosing the right spot for your organic garden:
What will happen to my plants if they don’t receive enough rays from the sun?
Think about this example. What about if you placed your organic garden in your backyard under a shady spot? What will happen to your plants? Remember that plants depend on the sun to be able to produce their own food. If you put them in a shady place, you’ll have a sickly patch of plants and a bland harvest. It is important to consider the most appropriate place for your organic garden.
Why is the sun important to the growth of my plants?
The warm rays of the sun are very important to your plants. Remember that the energy that was gathered by your plants from the sun will be converted into food. Plants like humans need food to grow and develop. Many plant especially your vegetables needs up to 6 to 8 hours of sunlight to grow. Aside from that, even cool weather crops such as your lettuce and cabbages still need the sun to mature. That is why; you should consider a spot where your garden will receive direct rays from the sun.
What can be done about it?
You can place your garden on a spot where it is not covered by bushes or tall trees. This is to avoid having a shade for your plants during the day.
- What will happen to my plants if I don’t have an easy access to it?
Picture yourself looking out the window and you’ve seen some of your neighbor’s chicken scurrying on your garden? What about your dog carelessly running over your garden patches? How can you decrease the damage that these animals will cause if your garden is far from where you are?
Why is it important that I have an easy access to my garden?
Your accessibility to your organic garden is very important. Build your organic garden in a place where you will have an easy access. Aside from that, having an easy access of your organic garden from your kitchen would be lovely! If you need an additional tomato, you can just go to your garden and pick the ripest ones. That would be very easy and fast.
What can be done about it?
It is better to place your garden in your backyard, front yard or in anywhere that you can have an easy access. It is preferable to place your organic garden near your home.
What will happen to my plants if they don’t have access to water?
Think about yourself running to and fro fetching water to water your plants. Aside from the unnecessary exhaustion, you should be worried that your plants might not be getting enough water for its sustenance.
Why is it important for my plants to have a good access to water?
Water is very important in your plants. Easy access to water is essential. That is why you need to choose a spot where your plants can have an access to water. Water is important for your plants to develop. When your plants receive too little water, they are more susceptible to damages from pests. The best thing to do is to have just enough water for your plants. Too much can cause your plants to rot.
What can be done about it?
You can place your garden beds on a place where water is abundant. If not, you can install sprinklers over your organic garden. You can also have a long hose installed near your garden so that whenever you need to bathe your plants with water, then you can reach every crevices on your garden.
What will happen to my plants if they don’t have the appropriate soil?
Plants will have difficulty to grow in inappropriate type of soil. Can you imagine you lettuce growing in a sandy soil? Can you imagine your favorite cabbage grow in a clay soil? Plants need the appropriate soil to grow. Plants need soil which are rich with nutrients and well drained.
Why is it important for my plants to have the appropriate soil?
The soil is the most important factor in choosing the right spot for your organic garden. Plants are hefty feeders of nutrients from a nutrient enriched soil. A rich soil will help in the growth and development of your plants. Aside from that, it can help in preventing destruction from pests and plant diseases. For your organic garden, it is important to apply organic matters regularly as a start. It will help in enriching and replenishing the nutrients from your soil. There are different types of soil texture namely: sand, silt and clay. However, the best soil for your organic garden would be the sandy loam. Sandy loam is the mixture of the three soil texture. This type of soil texture is very important in your plants since sandy loam is crumbly, it will help the root of the plants to have proper aeration and it allows the drainage of water.
What can be done about it?
If your backyard soil is sandy or just plain clay clumps then the best thing that you could do is buy a premixed soil. You could also buy the three basic soil textures and mix it yourself however, it is not recommended because there is a must to produce just the exact texture.
What will happen to my plants with too much wind?
Envision the young cucumbers and squash scattered under your trellises which is caused by the wind. Your effort will be wasted as well as the money you spent if your garden is placed in a windy location.
Why do I need to choose a non-windy location?
Your plants need wind. However, a windy location is not that good for your plants. Trellised plants such as cucumber or squash and your tomatoes and eggplants which in time will be top heavy cannot survive in a windy location. That is why, in placing your organic garden strategically, you must consider the wind. It is a very important factor to prevent hazards for your plants.
What can be done about it?
There is not much that you can do. You need wind as much as you don’t want it to destroy your plants. However, you can still place your trellises and top heavy plants in a location where there can be a barrier such as a tree or even a wall.
In building your own organic garden, the location is very essential. The location is one of the most important factors for your plants growth and maturity.
Preparing the Area for Your Organic Garden
Preparing the Area for Your Organic Garden
Now that you’ve finished finding the perfect location for your garden, it is time for you to prepare the soil. It is essential to learn the basics and start with enough knowledge on organic gardening. One of the essential things that you should learn is preparing the ground or area where you chose to place your garden.
Why is it important to prepare the area?
Other people may think that digging up the soil, planting up the seeds or seedlings and watering the newly planted seeds would ensure their growth. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. There’s more than just carelessly digging up a hole and plopping up your seedlings. You need to prepare the area. There are certain procedures that you must do to be able to have the perfect beds for your plants. Preparing the area is very important because a well primed area will ensure not only the greenest foliage but also the palatable taste of your yields.
Problems that comes from an unprepared area for your organic garden:
Picture yourself in a garden that was unprepared. Can you see the ghastly look of your organic garden? Can you imagine the weeds towering over your plants? Can you imagine tilling the ground and yet you’re efforts are being blocked by numerous rocks? These are some of the problems that you might encounter without preparing the soil. Would you like these to happen? Undoubtedly, NO! If you don’t want then, take a look on how you can prepare the area.
Preparing the area
- Making a layout of your garden
Get a pencil and a paper and draw a layout of your garden. Now that you’ve chosen the appropriate plants to sow on your garden, you must estimate the space each variety will use. Some plants require a lot of space to grow while some do not. Consider the space so that you will be able to plant all your target vegetables and other plant varieties. Aside from that, consider where you will put your sprinklers or other tools that you might need on your garden. These tools are very important to be placed strategically so that there will be no need for you to exhaust yourself in doing your garden chores when you will already start planting.
After finding the finest spot for your organic garden, the next thing to do is to clean the area from any dirt or debris. Also, remove the rocks and weeds that are scattered. It is important to remove the rocks since it can block up the nutrient absorption ability of your plants. Weeds should be eliminated too because it will surely compete with your plants for nutrients. Remember that weeds are opportunistic and will always try to gather all the nutrients from the soil for themselves. If this will happen, then, expect to see weeds growing healthier while your plants are withering as time passes by. To ensure that no further weeds will grow on your garden before planting, place black weed paper. Make sure that you do this a week before planting
- Evaluating the soil
You must also consider the texture of your soil. There are three basic types of soil namely: sandy, clayey and silt. To be able to determine if the type of the soil on your area is sandy, grab a handful and let it slip from your fingers, sandy soil easily slips. If your soil is clayey, then try to grab a handful and clomp it together, if that handful will turn into a clump, then you have a clayey soil. However, as was mentioned before, the most suitable soil texture for your garden is sandy loam. It is the mixture of 20 percent of sandy soil, 40 percent of silt soil and another 40 percent of clayey soil. Nevertheless, some areas are most fortunate for having the perfect and nutrient enriched soil without the need of buying other materials to have the perfect mixture.
Consider also the pH of the soil. You can check the pH of the soil by buying kits on your local gardening shops. The pH of the soil is very important since some plants prefer alkaline soil while some prefers an acidic environment. If your soil is too acidic, you can place sulfur to make it less acidic. If you want your soil to be at least alkaline, apply lime.
- Tilling the soil
After evaluating the soil, the next thing to do is to mulch or till it. Mulching or tilling the soil is very important to be able to integrate oxygen. You can use a tiller or a shovel to dig, however, if the area is bigger, there are mechanical tiller that you can try. Dig until you can for better aeration of your garden beds, some organic enthusiasts recommends that you till for at least 16 inches deep, this will be enough for your plants to live on.
- Adding organic matter
Organic matter came from a living organism and is now on the process of decaying. It is important to add organic matter. This is perfect for those who don’t have the appropriate soil for their organic gardens. Organic matter can help in preparing the structure of the soil. It can help in making your soil drain better or hold an increased amount of water. However, always remember that you should only put decaying organic matter and not the fresh ones. There isa chance that the fresh organic matter may still contain organisms that can be absorbed by your plants which will induce diseases.
Planning and knowledge about organic gardening is very important especially if you are a novice in the world of organic enthusiasts. Doing all the above mentioned things is very essential to have a well prepared garden. A well prepared garden would ensure a productive and healthy harvest. Organic garden is a fun and healthy hobby!
- Raking the soil
After improving the soil, it is a must that you turn over the soil again to spread the added organic matter. Then rake the soil with a bow rake to remove the clumps and to level the surface of your garden.
Fertilizing the Soil of your Organic Garden
Fertilizing the Soil of your Organic Garden
After preparing the ground for your organic garden, then you must know more about fertilizing the soil. The use of fertilizers in growing your plants is important, aside from that; the use of organic fertilizer makes the general difference in organic gardening and your typical gardening. That is why, it is important for you to learn more about fertilizing the soil of your organic garden using organic fertilizers.
- What is fertilizer?
Fertilizers are substances that are added to the soil to supplement the lacking or absent nutrient on your soil that is needed for the growth of your plants. It can be categorized into organic and inorganic. Inorganic fertilizer is made from chemical based resources while organic fertilizer came from resources that usually from a living organism.
- Why is it important to use organic fertilizer?
It is important for you to use organic fertilizer because your plants cannot survive various problems associated with growing your plants. Your plants need nutrients from the soil. Nutrients will ensure the proper growth and development of your plants. Aside from that, organic fertilizer can help in increasing the resistance of your plants against diseases. It will also help fight pests that will surely leave nothing behind if no fertilizer is used.
- What problems will arise if you do not use organic fertilizer?
There are many problems that will arise if you do not use organic fertilizer. Use of organic fertilizer is advocated nowadays because chemical based fertilizers can cause:
Contamination of the underground water
- Chemical based fertilizer can cause contamination of the underground water because the soil will absorb the chemicals. If this will happen, these chemicals will go to the underground resources of water. Eventually, it can even lead to the springs, rivers and other body of water. Therefore, you can say that not only the underground water will be affected but also the nearby sources of water.
Hazard to you, your family’s health and your pets
- The chemicals from your inorganic fertilizers are proven to be detrimental to you and your family’s health. Inhalation and even bodily contact of these chemicals may cause severe reactions. Aside from that, these chemicals are not good for your pets too. There is a chance that your cute little dog may inhale the chemical residues which may cause unforeseen reactions.
- What nutrients are needed by the soil?
Before learning about how to fertilize the soil, it is important for you to learn about the nutrients that are needed by the soil. Generally, the soil needs 20 nutrients; oxygen, hydrogen and carbon are the most essential since they are required in the functioning as well as the growth of your plants. These three are being supplied by the air and water. As for the remaining nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium is the most important of all the remaining 17 nutrients. These three should be present in greater quantities.
- How can I fertilize the soil?
In fertilizing the soil, it is important for you to know first about the different organic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are divided into three categories namely: plant organic fertilizers, animal organic fertilizers and mineral organic fertilizers.
Plant organic fertilizers
The organic fertilizers that can be derived from plants primarily have low and some has moderate amounts of nitrogen phosphorous and potassium. However, this type of fertilizer is commonly used because these nutrients are easily obtainable. Aside from that, many of the plant organic fertilizers contain other needed nutrients which will further increase the nutrients available for your plants. The most common plant organic fertilizers are derived from alfalfa, corn, cottonseed, seaweed or kelp, soybean, humus and compost.
Animal organic fertilizers
Animal organic fertilizers are potassium enriched. That is why it can be used with plant organic fertilizers. Products from land, air and even aquatic animals can give you organic fertilizers. The most commonly used animal products that are turned into organic fertilizers are manure from cows, chickens and even pigs however, in using animal manure, make sure that you will only use the composted ones. It is important to use the composted ones because fresh manure may still contain organisms that can cause diseases, aside from that; it can also burn the roots of your plants. Fish by products such as fish emulsion, powders and meals were also used because of its high nitrogen content. Blood meal (powdered blood from animals) and bone meal (powdered bones) are also commonly used. The excrements of bats and seabirds were also used as fertilizers.
Mineral organic fertilizers
Mineral organic fertilizers are also used however; it is not the most common. It is used because the effects take months and even years to be evident. The nutrients are released slowly. However, many gardeners are discovering the effects of minerals on the growth of their plants nowadays so why won’t you try one? The most common used mineral organic fertilizer is the lime. Lime will help you raise the pH of your garden. Other minerals such as Epsom, gypsum, greensand, Chilean nitrate of soda and phosphate are also used.
- Making your own compost
Now that you have basic knowledge about fertilizing your soil, it is imperative for you to learn more about making your own compost. It may be true that you can buy compost from your local garden shops however; doing your own is more fun and its free! Compost adds organic material to your soil, so expect a greater yield for free!
In making your own compost, you need three basic ingredients namely the:
- Greens are mostly those which came from your fruit peelings, fruit leftovers, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, manure (from cows, pigs and chickens) and even weeds you pulled from your backyard.
- Browns are mostly dried leaves, branches, twigs, papers and sawdust too.
- Moisture and not exactly water is the most important ingredient as this will hasten the composting process. However, you should remember that you should not put too much water. Just make sure that the greens and browns are damp enough. Too much water can cause bad bacteria to multiply which may cause more damage than benefit.
- Consider the place where you will place your compost. You may create, buy or recycle a bin or you could also dig a pit. Whichever you choose, just make sure that you have a proper covering.
- Place the greens and browns on your bin or pit and mix the two. Just make sure that the ingredients are shredded in small sizes.
- After mixing the browns and greens, add water just enough to make the compost moist.
- Cover the bin or pit to ensure that the moisture will not evaporate which may cause drying of the compost.
- Turn the compost every week placing the composted materials above while placing the above materials below for its turn to decompose.
Learning about organic gardening is truly fun and rewarding!
Essential Tips for Planting
Essential Tips for Planting
Planting organic plants is a non-expensive, fun and healthy hobby. It is a way to cut cost on your household needs and a way to keep healthy foods available on your table all year round. Now that you have finished learning about the benefits, preparing the area and the soil and learning how to do compost, it is time for you to learn about how to plant.
Many people are hesitating to start their own organic garden. It maybe because they think it is too taxing because of the activities needed to be done. They may think that it is a very expensive hobby because the price of organic vegetables in the supermarket is a dollar or two more expensive than those which were commercially grown. Unfortunately, they are wrong in this aspect. Starting an organic garden is not expensive and not exhausting if you just know how to properly plant.
- Why is it important to learn on how to properly plant?
Knowledge on how to plant is a crucial need for you to learn in organic gardening. It is very important because failure can be the result of having no knowledge about this. Even the greatest inventors and those who were bestowed with prestigious awards know what they are doing. They have the knowledge about what they do and they do not just rely on their instincts. Knowledge is a weapon. Knowledge about gardening will ensure you the most delicious and healthiest yields.
- How do I plant?
Seeds and Seedlings
Seedlings grow from seeds. In order to know how to plant seedling, you must first learn about how to plant seeds. Seeds are usually grown indoor.
- In planting seeds, you must first gather all the materials that you need. You need to have containers (egg cartons, pots, plastic cups), soil (garden soil or premixed soil from your local garden shop), seeds of your choice, covers (plastic bags), water and a source of light
- Put the soil on a large container and mix it with water. Make sure that the soil is not too wet or too dry. Loosen the soil making sure that there will be no large clamps.
- Place the loosened soil on your containers (egg cartons, pots, plastic cups). You can fill the containers for at least ¾ full. Then gently level the soil with your hands.
- You can now start planting the seeds on the containers. Read the label of the seeds and follow the instructions. Generally, you can place 2 to 3 seeds in one container to ensure that one will at least grow into a seedling.
- Cover again the seeds with your leftover soil following the instructions on the seed’s label.
- Sprinkle the planted container with water.
- Cover the container with a plastic bag to trap heat and moisture.
- Place the container on a warm spot inside your home or you can buy heating pads which are specifically made for seed germination.
- If you already see a newly sprouted leaves, it’s time for you to remove the plastic covering. And put the seedlings to your light source.
- This time, you can place organic fertilizer such as compost or fish emulsion to your seedlings.
- Seedlings need up 14 to 16 hours of light that is why you need to have a constant source of light. If you have a windowsill which can hold your container, you can expose your seedlings their however the light is not constant and your seeds may not grow as planned without enough sunlight. You can buy a fluorescent light or any plant lights that are usually bought from garden shops.
- Seedlings prefer 60 to 70 F. It’s better for you to choose a spot with this temperature in the germination of your seeds.
- Follow the instructions written about the seeds that you bought. Certain seeds have different preparations. It is best to follow those instructions.
The best time to apply fertilizer is after the appearance of true leaves on your seedlings
Transferring the seedlings:
Seedlings are the newly sprouted plants from seeds. They are very delicate that is why there is a need for vigilant care. Seedlings which are grown indoors should be accustomed to the different environment before transplanting them to the garden. Here’s what you need to do:
Hardening off – Gradually expose the seedlings for 2 to 3 hours in a shady spot on your garden beds then get them back inside. Do this activity for a few days then gradually increase the time you expose the seedlings outside. After a week, you may place the seedlings on direct sunlight for a few hours and increase the time the seedlings are exposed until you are sure that your seedlings already adapted to the environment of your garden.
- Transplant your seedlings to the garden but ensure that the climate is not too hot when you transfer the plants.
- You can also cover your plants to protect them from wind and heavy rain.
Building raised beds
Building raised beds for your plants are one of the activities for your organic garden. You can choose to buy pre made ones but isn’t doing it yourself is more fun? It will make your gardening chores a lot easier. And there are benefits of having raised garden beds namely:
- Decrease back strain.
Having raised garden beds will decrease the need for you to bend over while watering or weeding your plants, hence, the decrease of having a painful back after an hour or two of tending your organic garden.
- A better drainage.
There is better drainage of water. Aside from that, there is a larger space for your plants roots to spread and absorb nutrients.
- Prevents your soil and nutrients to be washed away by heavy rain.
The sides of the bed will serve as a barrier to avoid the soil and nutrients to be washed away when it rains.
- It gives your garden an organized appearance.
Do it your own raised garden beds:
- Choose the right spot in your garden area.
You can choose different spots on your garden to place your garden beds. You can place the beds in the middle or inclined in a wall or fence.
- Decide on the size and design of the area.
You can choose any design or shape. Just make sure that you can reach the middle area of your garden. For the size, any size that your beds can occupy is okay as long as you see fit that you can easily reach all the parts of your garden.
- Prepare the materials needed.
Once you’ve decided on making your own garden beds, gather all the needed materials. You can use wood or cement as the barrier. You can use screws and drills or another piece of wood to connect the joints. Prepare a shovel for digging and a saw for cutting the wood if you prefer to use woods.
- Mark the site.
You can mark the site by digging the sides where you will put the barriers. You can also use flour, straw, ties and stones as a marker.
- Prepare the site.
Dig the parts where you will bury some part of the woods or cement. You should have a depth of at least 6 inches to make sure that the frame (which will serve as the barrier) will not fall easily.
- Bury the frame.
After digging, bury the frame up to the depth you made and finish by connecting the joints of the frame. Make sure that the frame is secured and the height of the sides of the frame is level with each other.
- Fill the frame with soil.
Fill the frame with premix soil or garden soil. Make sure that every crevice is filled with soil. It is better for you put loosened oil mixed with organic fertilizer already. After filling the frame, you can now level the surface.
Every now and then, apply organic fertilizer on your garden beds. Also, don’t forget to mulch or turn over the soil every time you plant. This is very important because a garden bed easily drains leaving now your soil dry. With all of these in mind, you can now enjoy a neat and organized way of planting on your very own garden beds!
Irrigation Systems for your Organic Garden
Irrigation Systems for your Organic Garden
What is irrigation system?
An irrigation system is a method to provide water to your plants. As mentioned before, water is a crucial need of your plants. It contains two of the basic needs for functioning and development of your plants namely oxygen and hydrogen.
Why is it important to have a proper irrigation system?
Envision your garden on mid-summer; try not to water your plants for a week. You will surely see the importance of an irrigation system. Fertilizers, sunshine and good soil does not ensure a thriving harvest. Proper irrigation is one of the main ingredients in having a healthy and alive organic garden.
There are different types of irrigation system. You can have a well or a pond or even an automatic garden irrigation. You can use the irrigation systems that you prefer however, there are certain factors that you must first consider such as the size, budget and your time in choosing the most efficient irrigation system.
Tips in choosing the proper irrigation system:
- Consider the size of your organic garden
The size of your organic garden is very important. If you have a large garden area or even a small farm, then you must have an automatic garden irrigation. A twist of the controller would give your plants the water that they need. If you have a tiny space, then you can use a soaker hose irrigation system or even the more traditional ones.
- Consider the budget for your irrigation system
The budget you are saving for your irrigation system is very important. If you can afford to buy for the more sophisticated ones then there’s no problem about it. However, if you plan to spend more on buying certified organic seedlings, then you can opt to buy those which are not costly or you can just grab a pail of water and a dipper and start watering your plants.
- Consider the time you plan to spend on your organic garden
If you are building an organic garden for a hobby while working, you must consider having an automatic type of garden irrigation such as the use of sprinklers or a drip irrigation system. With the use of this type, you can just switch your controller and water will immediately be disseminated to your plants. However, if you have all the time in the world and you can visit your garden for an hour or two, then you can use the more traditional ones such as a bucket or your worn kettle
Types of irrigation system:
There are certain types of irrigation system ranging from the old-fashioned ones up to the more sophisticated ones. Whatever you choose to use, the most important thing is to be able to have a proper water supply for your plants.
- Bucket and dipper
The use of bucket and dipper is probably the most traditional way of water irrigation. Although it is traditional, you cannot fault the efficiency of its use. It is affordable and more importantly, you can control the amount of water you provide your plant. Remember that not all plants require a lot of water; some prefers a well-drained soil. Aside from that, the bucket and dipper is considered as a low pressure type of irrigation system. Low pressure types are good for the plants and will not cause any damage to your plants especially to seedlings.
- Soaker hose irrigation system
Soaker hose irrigation system is traditional but a bit advanced than the use of bucket and dippers. As long as the length of the hose is long, you can reach or cover a wide area. This system is not expensive and you don’t need an expert to install this for you. It is a do it yourself method. If you have the basic knowledge, you’re good to go. However, it also has disadvantages. It can again cause disease to your plants because of the risk of having water on your plant’s foliage. Aside from that, if the water pressure is too high, it may cause damage to your plants especially to the delicate seedlings.
- Place a rain nozzle to the end of the hose to decrease the pressure of the water.
- Water your plants with soaker hose irrigation in the morning.
Sprinkler system is a more advanced way of irrigation. It is widely used because gardeners tend not to work manually in providing a supply of water. A controller can be used to open the system. There are also automatic controllers that are set in a certain time of the day to automatically sprinkle water. There are also types of sprinkler system namely: overhead sprinkler and oscillating sprinklers. Overhead sprinklers are good for those plants which do not require too much water. Oscillating sprinklers are favorable because it can cover a larger area.
In using a sprinkler system, try to operate these sprinklers early in the morning. Avoid using your sprinkler system in the afternoon because retained water in the foliage can cause plant diseases. You would not want that to happen on your garden right?
- Drip irrigation system
The drip irrigation system is probably one of the most efficient methods of water irrigation. There are various benefits from using this type of irrigation. You can save time and effort by letting the system run itself. This system gives the exact amount of water that plants need reducing now wasting of water. Aside from that, there is reduced chance of acquiring plant diseases since it operates under the surface. However, this type of irrigation system is more expensive and more complex to do. You can try to make your own drip irrigation system on your garden; however, you may need detailed instructions. If you really want to have a drip irrigation system, you can go and ask a professional about guidelines. You can also pay some expert to install a drip irrigation system for you.
A drip irrigation system works by permitting water to drip gently and consistently to the soil. This will allow equal dissemination of water along the roots of your plants. This method would decrease the amount of damage that the typical irrigation systems cause.
Water is important to our life as well as keeping your organic garden flourishing. You can say that irrigation is the lifeline of your garden. That is why take heed of the important tips on irrigating and enjoy an afternoon stroll to your buzzing garden!
Recycling Water for your Organic Garden
Water is life. You certainly cannot live without water. And that fact is also true to your organic garden. You have recently learned about the proper irrigation system. Now, is the best time to learn on how to recycle water for your organic garden.
What is recycling of water?
Have you ever heard of the government programs about recycling? What about your papers with a label “recycled”? Recycling means using a certain thing or idea or just using that thing again. You maximize the potential use of those things so that you won’t need to throw it or just waste it. In recycling water, it is of no difference. You can recycle your used water for your organic garden.
What is the importance of recycling water?
Recycling water is very important especially nowadays. It may be true that a larger portion of the earth is composed of water, however, water resources even the underground ones are gradually drying up. In US alone, 25.6 billion liters of drinkable water is wasted on garden irrigations in a day. So, what about if you sum up every droplet of water that is wasted on the whole world in just a day? Surely, you will be surprised! Are you going to wait for all these resources to be totally depleted? If not, then start recycling your water now!
There are various ways to recycle water. You can help Mother Nature. You can educate your family about recycling water while serving healthy foods to your family. You can save money by decreasing your water bill. Recycling water for your organic garden is both rewarding and pleasurable!
How can I recycle water?
There are certain ways that you can do to recycle water.
- Use of grey water
Grey water are water that are derived from your kitchen sink, bath tubs and washing machines. You can also use any water as long as it does not have any fecal particles or chemicals. Fecal matters and water which may contain chemicals is not recommended because it may cause diseases to your plants and is equally dangerous to you and your family’s health. Water with fecal particles and with chemicals is known as “black water.”
- You can use water that are derived from your kitchen sink such as the water you have used after rinsing rice and the water you have used after washing the dishes (take note: you must use environment friendly dishwashing liquids).
- After taking a bath, you can use the water in your tub. It would be better for you to ask the cooperation of your family members, in this way, you and your family are building ways to reduce your water bill and are helping the ecosystem. You can use a bucket to fetch the water from your tub. It is better for you to use this bucket for this purpose only.
- If you are using a washing machine, you can place a drum nearby and connect the hose and drain the used water in. However, you should always remember that you should use environment friendly detergents. These types of detergents are already gaining fame and are widely used by environment conscious people.
- Use of rain water
Rain water is also a good source of water for your organic garden. There are even “rain gardens” where they primarily use rain water for their plants. These rain gardens are also known as rain runoffs. You can gain benefits from the rain water that runs off the roof of your homes. This is a type of irrigation system that produces a flood type of irrigation. It is used for gardens in low lying areas. This can help in providing water for your organic garden. Aside from that, you can actually save rain water by catching the water from the spout of your home. You can save this rain water in a barrel or drum and use it to water your plants.
Tips in using grey water:
- It is recommended to use grey water for your flowers and shrubs only. It is still better to use fresh water for your organic vegetables to decrease the risk of contamination from unknown microorganisms on grey water.
- If you still want to use grey water for your vegetables, use it on vegetables that grow above the surface. Do not use it on root crops and green leafy vegetables.
- Never use grey water in drip irrigation systems.
- It would be better if you water your organic garden simultaneously with fresh water and grey water.
- Grey water are alkaline, you can add sulfur in the soil of the plants that prefers to live in an acidic environment.
- Always use cooled grey water in watering your plants.
- Never use grey water that is used to bath your pets.
- You should also never use grey water that is used to wash clothes soiled with fecal matters (e.g. reusable diapers)
- Use filters. If you use a watering can, put a rain nozzle on the spout to filter large particles.
- Always check the labels of your detergents, make sure that it does not contain harmful chemicals for your plants such as salt, chloride, sodium and boron. It is recommended that you use detergents labeled as “environmental friendly.”
- Have a dram or barrel where you can contain the used water from your tub. In this way, you can also cool the tub water.
Recycling water is a simple but innovative way of helping the environment. You don’t need to go rallying with environment enthusiasts in front of a city hall to prove that you want to help the environment. In your own little ways, you help the environment
Removing Harmful Pests in your Organic Garden
Removing Harmful Pests in your Organic Garden
Are those harmful pests kept eating their way through your organic garden? These pests will leave holes on the leaves and on the fruits of your plants. You may have a thriving organic garden but it will never be pests free if you do not take any actions against them. There are pesticides available but remember, you can never use chemically based products on your organic garden.
Grubs, worms and earwigs are pests that can cause a substantial damage to you garden. That is why you need to do various methods in removing pests from your garden. There are many ways that you can eliminate these harmful pests without using chemical based products. There are also ways on preventing pests on amassing on your garden.
Ways on how to prevent pests from your garden:
- Bird baths
Birds are natural pesticide. They can help in eliminating the pests from your garden. Building a bird bath near your irrigation system would help. Birds help by eating the pests thereby, getting rid of them.
Artificial ponds can provide an attractive highlight to your organic garden. Looking at it provides relief from a stressful day’s work. Aside from that, it can be used to have a healthy ecosystem of aquatic animals. Lizards as well as frogs can help in getting rid of pests. They eat slugs, aphids and other varieties of insects. Animal eating insects will help in reducing the population of pests from your garden.
- Plant nasturtium, marigold and mint
Nasturtium, marigold and mint are natural pesticides. Nasturtium repels beetles from beans and cucumbers. The smell of mint will also keep white flies at bay. Marigolds will also help in keeping animals away as well as insects. Aside from that, marigolds are conducive for the growth of beneficial insects such as lacewings, centipedes and ladybugs. Lacewings and their larvae and ladybugs eat a significant number of aphids from your garden.
- Healthy plants
This is one of the best prevention of pest controlling techniques. Healthy plants are more resistant to insects and pests. Insects and pests usually targets sickly looking plants that is why you better take care of your organic garden!
Handpicking is probably the most traditional way of removing harmful pests on your garden. You can do this by manually checking your plants every day. In this way, whenever you see a tiny pest or an insect behind one of the leaves of your plant, you can just pick them and kill them right away! However, this method is tedious and time consuming.
Also, you don’t need to use expensive sprays as pesticides. There are many organic substances that you can use as sprays.
- Tobacco mixture
You can use tobacco to kill a respective number of pests including root lice, fungus gnats, flies, worms, spider mites, aphids and thrips. It can be prepared by mixing tobacco and water or doused tobacco. However, it can be hazardous to other plants and to you as well, that is why you need to take caution in using tobacco.
- Hot pepper spray
You can crush peppers and dust it on the foliage of your plants. You can also use hot sauce as a spray. With the use of any hot pepper preparation, animals and foliage eating insects will leave your plants alone.
- Neem oil
Neem oil is a very effective solution for your pest problems. It works not by eating other pests. It works in an entirely different way. Neem oil actually modifies the way insects think. Because of this modification, the insects will not eat nor mate which will reduce their lifespan.
- Spearmint spray
A mixture of spearmint, water, hot pepper and green onions is proven to be a good insecticide. With this mixture, insects and pests will literally run away from your plants. You can bath or spray your plants with your own spearmint spray.
Spinosad is an all-natural pesticide. It can be fatal to insects which ingests leaves or crops treated with spinosad. That is why it is one of the most efficient ways in getting rid of pests. Because of these characteristics, spinosad is said to affect a wide variety of insects. It is best to read the directions and follow them. Spraying spinosad in sunrise or sunset is proven to be very effective.
- Beauvaria Bassiana
It is a natural growing fungus in the soil. It causes a disease to insects called “white muscadine disease.” When the insects’ skin comes in contact with the spores of this fungus, Beauvaria Bassiana will cover the entire skin until the inner body of the insect. This would then cause the insect to die. It works differently than spinosad because unlike the latter, Beauvaria Bassiana is fatal in contact!
- Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is a sedimentary rock that is milled and refined to produce a powder. This powder is then dusted to the foliage of your plants. The dust is coarse causing cuts on the body of an insect especially of worms. If this will happen, the dust will surely get inside the cuts causing dehydration to the insect and eventually, killing these pests. It surely is an agonizing way to die!
- Bacillus thuringiensis (BT)
Bacillus thuringiensis is a biological pesticide. It is now being incorporated to other pesticides to potentiate its effect. It is an all-natural pesticide and is very popular to organic gardeners. Aside from that, it has no harmful effects on your pets and children and even with beneficial insects. It works when insects eat leaves and crops that are cured with BT.
With all of these alternatives in mind, are you regretting doing an organic garden? Of course you don’t. Organic gardening is a step towards healthy living and removal of harmful pests is a part of this step. Making do it yourself insecticides and pesticides as well as building or making a way to prevent amassing of pests in your garden is truly a worthwhile experience!
Picking of your Organic Garden Yields
You’ve prepared the area for your organic garden. You’ve raised garden beds for your plants. You’ve chosen the appropriate plants for the season. You’ve decided on the type of water irrigation. You’ve fertilized the soil with organic fertilizers. You’ve finished planting your crops. You are done dealing with pests. Now, what will you do next? The answer is simple, HARVEST!
Months of digging, toiling, mulching, weeding and watering your plants are not very easy. In all fairness, for the sake of your organic garden you have endured all of these. That is why, your efforts deserves to be awarded. You will be awarded by harvesting your own plants and vegetables! There is nothing more fulfilling than a taste of the harvests you’ve tended with your own sweat and blood! That is why; it is time for you to learn on when and how to pick your yields!
What is the importance of knowing how and when to harvest?
It is very important for you to have knowledge because an improper way of harvesting would lead to decrease yields. Aside from that, it can cause your plants to wither.
How to pick summer vegetables:
Pick tomatoes when the color is red wherein it is truly ripe. Pinch a tomato slightly and check if they are slightly soft. This would mean that your tomatoes are prepared to be eaten! In picking, gently twist the tomatoes from the stalk.
Picking sweet corns
Harvest corn after the silks turns dry and brown. Then check for the maturity of your kernels, slightly open the top and squeeze one kernel and if a milky white liquid came out, it is ready to be gathered. Encircle the top of an ear with your hands and gently pull it up. It is better to cook freshly harvested sweet corns because they exude the sweetest taste at this time. Enjoy the sweet taste of your corns with melted butter or milk!
Gather cucumbers when they are still young. Gathering cucumber when they ripens or when they turn long is not good. They may taste bitter and curt at this time. Pinch the base of the cucumber vine using your thumb away from the vine body. You can now use these cucumbers on your salads or just eat them as they were. Enjoy a crisp and healthy veggie salad!
Eggplants taste best when they are still young and shiny. Reap eggplants by cutting them instead of pulling. Avoid reaping eggplants that are already brown or have lost their gleam. Relish your eggplant with glee!
Picking summer squash or zucchini
You can harvest zucchinis while they are still young. Avoid harvesting them when they have grown to behemoth size. To harvest, have a nice grip on the fattest part and gently twist that part. Enjoy the behemoth taste of your zucchinis then!
Picking bush beans
Gather your bush beans while the seeds are still immature and slender. It is better to gather bush beans while they are young to ensure crispness of your yields. Gather bush beans every now and then because this will encourage further production of crops.
It is best to gather okras when the pods are about 2 to 3 inches. Make sure that you gather okras where the seeds are still half mature. Use a knife in cutting and cover your hands with gloves while cutting because the skin of okras is prickly and may cause itchiness. Appreciate the sweet, slimy taste of your home grown okras!
How to pick spring and autumn vegetables:
You can pick beet greens whenever you want and you can pick beet root crops when you see a part of the beet slightly bulging from the soil. Pull or you can also dig up the root crops. As for the greens, you can just snap them from the body. It is better for you to use the greens upon harvesting.
Pick the first sprouting offshoots as this encourage thicker and more broccoli tops for the next harvests. You can harvest by cutting the heads. Enjoy the taste of your broccoli in soups or you can just plainly steam them!
Gather the heads of cabbages when you think they are already ready to be picked. Remove by cutting them from their body while avoiding the destruction of leaves. If you do this, more heads will surely shoot up from those leaves. Have fun gathering cabbages!
Carrots are an all healthy root crops. You can reap them if you see a protuberance from the soil. Reap them when they are 1 – 2” thick to ensure the appropriateness. Just dig up the root and you are ready. You will surely adore the healthy taste of fresh carrot juice!
Picking English peas
In picking English peas, choose those that are 2” long. You can pick the peas by pinching the between your fingers, twist gently and pull away from the vine in a swift motion. You can also use scissors to be able to pick peas. Hmmm. You’ll surely revel on a pea flavored soup!
Gathering onions? Hmmm. In gathering the bulbs, you must first wait until the onion leaves turns brown and shriveled. When the leaves turn brown, it means that the onions stopped growing and they are ready to be picked! Pickled onions are just perfect for the winter days to come!
What about potatoes? You can already harvest new potatoes after 60 to 90 days. You can harvest up to two potatoes in each plant. In harvesting, dig or mulch the potatoes from your raised beds carefully as not to destroy the other potatoes.
Do you love the taste of turnips? After months of toiling your garden, you can now enjoy your organically grown turnips! Gather turnips while their diameter is still 1”. The taste of turnips are much sweeter in a light frosted environment, however, do not let them stay under the ground too long. Turnips might turn woody if you will let that happen. As it is a root crop, carefully dig them.
Spinach is the legendary veggie that gives Popeye his invincible strength. It turned out that he was all correct! In gathering spinach, cut the stem making sure that it is near the base. Avoid cutting leaves from the center to encourage more growth of leaves. Take pleasure from your new found source of strength, spinach!
Lettuce anyone? Lettuce is the mainstay of veggie salad. That is why it is fitting to grow them first on your organic garden! In gathering lettuce, just cut off the leaves. When you see a lettuce leaf seeding, remove it fast because it can trigger other leaves to seed. You can never resist the palatability of fresh lettuce!
The crisp flavor of celery on soups and salads made this a favorite on organic gardens. You can already pick your celery after 85 to 120 days from planting. Celery will taste sweeter and crisper when you blanch them!
There is nothing more fulfilling than eating your home grown veggies! These veggies are all nutritious, scrumptious and delicious! You can now enjoy a hearty salad or soup or just even eat these vegetables raw!
Alas! The time of harvesting is already finished. You need to prepare your garden again for another year of planting. Preparation is very important. This is the time where you can correct the mistakes you’ve committed in the past months of planting. This is also the time to try other techniques in planting and decide on which methods to use. However, don’t be afraid of committing mistakes. Organic gardening is not just about producing the best harvest; it is also about learning and healthy living.
- Sit back, think and decide
Now is the time for you to assess your previous performance. Grab a pen and a paper and list all of the activities you’ve done which produced a good result while listing down the activities which produced bad results. Doing this, you would be able to evaluate everything. You can now retain the activities that produced worthy outcomes and you can do an alternative for those which brought bad outcomes. Then, decide on things that you can do for your organic garden.
- Garden Clean-up!
Cleaning up your garden is also important. You need to remove the stumps and left over from your garden. Eliminate the weeds. You can use spades and shovels to remove weeds and old root crops. Chickens are also helpful in removing perennial weeds. They will keep scurrying around your garden leaving your garden toiled in no time! Use rakes to remove masses of dead weeds and grasses.
Collect the dead weeds and vegetables and place them on your compost pit or bin so that you have something to use during planting. While doing this, don’t forget to place the newly collected dead weeds and vegetables on the bottom of the compost. This way, the bottom compost will be at the top which will be effective for better access when needed.
- Toiling the soil
After removing all the dead weeds and plants from your organic garden, it is time for you to toil the soil. Turn over the soil so as to make the soil at the bottom go over the top. This way, the nutrient enriched soil will be maximized by the next rotation of plants for the next season of planting. Toiling the soil will help in aeration of the beds. With proper air circulation, there will be proper drainage and proper absorption of nutrients from the soil.
- Amending the soil
After toiling the soil, you can now add amendments. Apply compost to your garden beds from your compost bin. Make sure that the compost is well mixed with the soil. This is to provide adjustments for the type of soil you have and to be able to add nutrients.
- Mulching the soil
You can also start mulching the soil. Put some dead weeds and leaves on your garden beds. Do this especially if you are planting during the cold months. Do this a week before planting as this will also help in preventing growth of weeds. Mulching the soil will help in trapping the heat on your soil which will encourage the growth of beneficial microorganisms from your soil.
- Securing your garden beds
Now that you are done with the soil, you should check for the durability and security of your garden frames. Make sure that the garden frames are still standing firmly. Make sure that there are no rotting frames, if there are, you may need to change it now so that there will be no need for tedious work after you’ve already planted on your garden beds. You must also secure the joints of the garden frame. Make sure that the joints are fastened tightly.
- Building trellis
If you are planning to plant vines, then you might as well start building trellises. Make sure that the trellises are strong and sturdy so that it can carry the heavy fruits of your vegetables. You can maximize your trees which can act as trellises however; you must consider that plants need sunlight. If you use a tree as an alternative for trellis, your vines might not receive the sunlight that they needed so much.
- Checking water irrigation system
Do not forget to check your water irrigation system. If you have a drip irrigation system, check for faulty pipes and clogs. Also, if you have an automatic controller, change the timer in accordance to the needs of the plants you are going to plant. If you are using a bucket and a dipper or even a watering can, check if these tools have holes.
- Keeping garden tools
Also, it is important for you to assess your garden tools. Check for any nicks and cuts. If needed, buy new ones. You may as well oil and sharpen your tolls every now and then and keep your tools in a dry and neat area so that you won’t have any difficulties with regards to rust and finding them. Your tools are considered as your weapons in the battlefield of organic gardening that is why it is very important for you to take care of them!
- Crop rotation
Crop rotation is used in acres of farm. It is a type of planting wherein they use different crops each season to plant. For example, farmers will plant corns for this season, on the next season, they will grow rice. This type of planting will encourage soil nutrient enriching. Growing the same crop every season will deplete the soil from nutrients. Applying crop rotation method would help in replenishing these depleted nutrients. Crop rotation is good for your garden too. You can utilize this type of planting to enrich the nutrients in the soil of your organic garden ensuring now healthy and productive yields.
Preparing for the next season of planting is important for your plants to maximize their full potential. Preparation is the pillar of the next season’s productive yields that is why it is very important. Give your best all throughout the season and your harvests will surely be the greatest!
All the best.
denny hemlin-doctor gardening
How Growing Vegetables Can Save You Money
If you are like most people, you are looking for a way to cut corners and save some money. There are a few things that you can do to save money today. You can travel less and use less gasoline. You can cut down on utility expenses by not using so much electricity and heat. You can eliminate eating out and eat at home. Perhaps you are already doing this but need to save more money. One way that you can save a lot of money is with your food bill. And with food prices going up, this may end up being a necessity. Not only can you save money on your food bill, but you can also start eating healthier.
You have probably heard about organic foods. These are foods that are all natural and do not contain any chemicals or preservatives. Organic vegetables are in your local supermarket and usually cost a lot more than the other vegetables that are grown using chemical pesticides and other toxins. You have probably heard that organic vegetables are better for you, but do not want to spend the extra money. After all, the idea is to save money – right? So spending extra money on organic vegetables, that are usually smaller than other vegetables can seem like a bad financial deal. And if you are like most of us, you are looking to get more bang out of your buck. Especially at the supermarket.
The way to really save money and eat healthy at the same time is to grow your own vegetables. This can trim your food bill substantially, depending on the amount of vegetables that you grow. If you have a patch of ground, you can save money by growing your own vegetables in the soil and wind up with vegetables and fruits that are healthier than those that you buy in the store. You can save at least $100 a month by growing your own vegetables and this savings, if you take the tips in this book, can be used after the harvest time if you learn how to preserve the various vegetables and fruits.
Think of what you can do with $100 a month. It can pay a couple of bills for you or just ease the burden for you a bit. And this savings can continue to blossom. You will see savings in your food bills every month when you start to grow your own vegetables. Of course, you will have to wait until harvest time to start to really start saving the money, but after your first harvest, you can save money all year long using the tips in this book. There are also tips that I will give you that will enable you to start saving money relatively soon with herbs.
It takes work to plant and harvest a vegetable garden, but it is good work. Working in a garden and planting vegetables or fruits is actually therapeutic. Many people enjoy being outdoors and gardening just for the heck of it. When you are saving money because of your endeavors, it makes the experience even better. The hard work is getting your garden started and harvesting as well as preserving the foods. Breaking this down, this consists of about 4 days out of the year. The rest is just maintenance. Four days is not much to ask when it comes to saving $100 a month on your grocery bills.
And best of all, you can start right now. Spring is the perfect planting time for a vegetable garden. By harvest time, which will be in July or August, you will be well on your way to start saving money.
If you are ready to start saving $100 a month in your food bill by growing your own vegetables, take the tips in this book and put them to use. Eat healthy foods and stop wasting your money at the grocery store.
Vegetables Gardens – An Old Idea
Most of us today do not remember victory gardens. These were gardens that people planted during WWII to supplement rations during the war. During WWII, just about everything was rationed, including food. So people began to supplement that rationing with food from their own garden. Because the country was at war, the gardens that people used to supplement their war rations were dubbed Victory Gardens.
The country is currently at war with a recession. A war that requires a victory. Isn’t it about time for Victory Gardens again? Just as our grandparents and great grandparents created victory gardens during WWII, we can do the same today. We aren’t on food rations, although some of us might as well be. With an increasing number of people losing their jobs and facing home foreclosures, some of us may be rationing ourselves.
We don’t have to feel helpless in the face of recession. We can do something about it. We can declare victory against the recession by planting our own victory gardens. All you need is a plot of soil and plants. The cost to prepare a garden is minimal, especially when you consider that it can save you $100 a month or more by growing your own vegetables.
Growing Vegetables From Seeds Or Plants
If you are planning on starting a vegetable garden to save money the first thing that you need to consider is whether you are going to start from seeds or plants. Seeds are much less expensive, but take longer to grow. You need to grow plants from seeds in an indoor environment if you live in a four season climate. If you are planning on planting your garden soon for a late summer harvest, then you need to use plants. You can buy vegetable plants at any gardening center. They are much sturdier to put into the ground and have a better chance of taking root and producing vegetables. There are pros and cons to using both seeds and plants when it comes to growing your own vegetables.
Seeds – Pros and Cons
Seed come in packets and you can purchase them at most gardening and big box stores. The best aspects about using seeds is that you can grow them yourself into plants in your own home and make sure that the soil you use as well as any plant food used is organic. The seeds are also much less expensive than plants. There is also the satisfaction that you will gain when you are growing your own seeds for your plants.
The negative aspects about seeds is that you need more time to grow them so that they can take root. If you live in a four season climate, you need to grow the seeds indoors so that they can grow into sturdy plants before you can put them in the ground.
If you live in a climate that is warm, you can put down seeds and get them to grow into plants after sowing them in the ground. Seeds are also used for larger garden areas as it would be impractical to use plants.
Plants – Pros and Cons
You can find plants that can be used for your vegetable garden in any garden store. They are ready to plant and will produce fruit or vegetables. Plants are easy to use and if this is your first garden, they can be easier to space. Plant are already sturdy enough to be transferred to the ground and will bear fruit or vegetables.
The negative aspect of using plants is the cost. They tend to cost more than seeds. They are also often grown in soil that is filled with pesticides. If you decide to use plants instead of seeds, look for those that have been grown organically.
If you are a first time gardener, you may prefer to use plants over seeds. What many gardeners do, and what I did, is to use plants in your first garden so that you can get the garden seasoned and become familiar with planting and harvesting. Then the next year, you can cultivate your own plants from seeds.
Remember that if you live in a four season climate, you will want to use plants for your first garden as they have already taken root and are easier to grow. As you become more adept at gardening, you an start to easily grow vegetables from seeds.
What To Grow
After you have figured out the concept of planting with seeds or plants, you can then decide what you want to grow. Naturally, for your first project you will want to make it easy on yourself. Some of the easiest fruits and vegetables that you can grow include the following:
- Squash (including pumpkins)
- Lima beans
These are all easy fruits and vegetables to grow. As we all have been told hundreds of times since childhood, tomatoes are a fruit and not a vegetable, so we will call them what they are, although for all intent purposes, they are treated and eaten as vegetables.
Tomatoes are the easiest of all of the fruits/vegetables to grow. Not only that, but they are also easy to can. We will talk about preserving vegetables for use throughout the year in later chapters. Suffice to say, that tomatoes, because they are fruits, are easy to can using a hot water bath.
You can find a garden store close to home or one that is online. If you live in a four season climate, chances are that you will be able to grow all of the above and more These are the vegetables that you want to get started with.
Of course, if you plan to grow all of these vegetables, you will need a sizeable garden. You can choose the vegetables that your family eats most of all of the time and grow them. You should also consider storage. Growing lettuce, for example, is great for salads and relatively easy to do, but it does not freeze or preserve. Turnips, carrots, onions and potatoes will keep well in a root cellar and will store for the winter. If you do not have a root cellar, you can make one when you follow the instructions that are in this book. It’s not hard and just takes a bid of digging and keeping an area water proof. If you have your own cellar, you can save the trouble.
The worst thing that you can do when you are starting your own garden, is to get overwhelmed by planting too many vegetables. Think of those that you buy often, or would like to buy often, and go with them. As for me, I chose the root vegetables, tomatoes, peppers and broccoli. This year, I will grow squash and corn along with the vegetables I grew last year. I am also growing several vegetables from seeds.
Start out with a few vegetables that you eat often and each year, add a new vegetable to your garden. By growing the vegetables that you use often, you can save a lot of money every month on your food bill. The amount of money that you save each month will depend on how large the garden and how many vegetables you consume. Remember that you will be saving some of them, in various ways, to use for the winter months spring before the next harvest.
Space is a factor when you are planning your vegetable garden. Some vegetables or fruits, such as tomatoes and peppers, do not require a lot of room for growth. Root vegetables are also easy to grow as they grow down into the ground and do not take up a lot of room. Corn and squash take a lot more space so you may have to clear more room for them.
Another factor that you have to consider when you are growing vegetables to save money is that they may not look like those you see in the store. Many vegetables that are grown for mass production are aided with food dyes and waxed so that they look more attractive in the store. Your home grown vegetables are not likely to be as large, or as colorful, as the vegetables that you grow in the store. But they will be organic and healthier. And when it comes to taste, they will also taste just as good if not better than those that you purchase in the store.
Once you have established the vegetables that you are planning on growing, you must then learn the planting and harvesting times for these vegetables. Most vegetables are planted in the early to late spring, after the weather breaks and it is not likely to have a frost. Harvest time for most vegetables comes in early to late summer to early fall, depending on the vegetables. Tomatoes, for example, will be harvested early. As will peppers and cucumbers and some squash, as zucchini. Other vegetables are harvested a bit later such as the root vegetables. Usually, the longer you can keep them in the ground, the better. When the leaves start to get brittle, it is time to dig them up. Corn and squash are autumn harvest, such as pumpkins and butternut squash. Lettuce and eggplants are harvested in late summer and early autumn.
Much depends on the region where you live. In some areas of the country, you can get corn in August. Tomatoes are usually harvested from July to August, but can be later in some parts of the country, especially in the warmer weather. There are different rules for harvesting on the East Coast than there are in the Midwest regions of the country. Here is a list of when you can (roughly) expect to harvest the above mentioned vegetables:
- Tomatoes – Harvest in early summer to late summer (July and August).
- Peppers – Harvest in mid summer to early autumn (Late July to September)
- Cucumbers – Harvest in mid summer to early autumn (Late July to September)
- Onions – Harvest in mid to late summer (August to early September)
- Eggplant – Harvest in mid summer to late summer (Late July to August)
- Potatoes – Harvest in early autumn to late autumn (September to early October)
- Lettuce – Harvest in Late summer (August to early September)
- Squash – Harvest in early to late autumn (late September to mid October)
- Turnips – Harvest in mid autumn (September)
- Carrots – Harvest in mid autumn (September)
- Lima Beans – Harvest in mid summer (August)
- Corn – Harvest in late August (in some areas) to September
- Broccoli – Harvest in mid to late summer (August to early September)
Once you have an idea of what you want to grow and when you can expect the vegetables (or fruits) to be ready for harvest, you can then start getting your garden ready to grow.
Measuring the Garden Area
The amount of garden area that you need depends on what you plan to grow in your garden as well as the amount of space that you have in which to create a garden. While some people make do with a small patch of land, you have most likely seen others who have an entire back yard devoted to gardening. My advice to you is this – use up as much space as you can spare. The tips given in this book will not only help you save money because you are growing fresh vegetables instead of buying them, but it will also save money when it comes to storing them.
A friend of mine decide one year to have a tomato garden. This was a long time ago, before I knew anything about gardening or how to preserve certain foods. She and her husband planted 40 tomato plants in their garden. The entire garden consisted of tomatoes.
If you have never grown anything, you should know that tomatoes are the easiest of all of the garden vegetables (even though it’s a fruit) to grow. Her tomatoes came out in full bloom and then started producing fruit. Pretty soon, my friend was giving tomatoes to just about everyone she knew, including the mailman. The entire neighborhood was tomatoes out and she vowed not to do this again. A great many tomatoes went to waste and a great deal of bunnies were happy. But this didn’t have to be the case.
Had my friend known that canning tomatoes is one of the simplest of all garden fruit and vegetables preservation, she could have had tomatoes, sauce, salsa and just about anything for the entire year.
IF YOU HAVE THE GROUND – PLANT THE VEGETABLES
If you have the ground, plant the vegetables. Always consider that some plants may not do well. Despite your best efforts, some crops will be eaten by sneaky critters like rabbits (although I will give you tips on how to deal with that) and some will just not work out. Every garden has duds.
While you do not want to start out with a garden that is overwhelming and takes up your entire backyard, you do not want to have a small garden that only produces a few fruits and vegetables and does not really save you any money. Remember, your victory garden should be one that will save you money not only in the months of the harvest, but for the year afterward. So you need to have plenty of room.
Section off a piece of land in your yard where the garden will grow. Bear in mind that certain vegetables, like corn and potatoes, take more room in which to grow. Tomatoes grow up and can be confined to a smaller space. Others, especially the root vegetables, need a foot between them to grow properly and not get entangled in the ground.
Also keep in mind that you need to have space between the rows of crops in order to maintain the garden. A friend of mine had a great idea to build a tomato garden in a small patch of ground on the side of the house. She figured she could get 10 tomato plants in their easily. She planted them, watered them, made sure they climbed their cages, but had no where to walk. Once the tomatoes had grown, she couldn’t get into the garden without stepping all over the plants. Do not let this happen to you. You need to have rows between the crops where you can work so that you can properly maintain the growing crops and, when harvest time comes, harvest them as well.
After you have marked off the area where you are going to plan your garden, you need to then start to prepare the supplies you will need to get the garden going. You can get the following supplies from the garden store, or borrow them from a neighbor:
- Garden gloves. You will need these throughout your gardening, so be sure to get a good pair.
- Garden Hoe
- Garden Spade
- Garden rake
- Chicken wire or some fencing material to keep the garden contained and the animals out.
These are the materials that you will need to dig up the garden and get it ready for planting. Some people rent a rototiller to turn over the soil in the garden. This does the job quickly in a large vegetable garden, but costs money to rent. It is also a heavy piece of machinery and can be difficult to maneuver. I always preferred using the old fashioned garden tools, but if you are strong enough to use this battery operated or electrical power device, then you might want to go for it. You are going to need to turn the soil over in order to get it prepared for gardening.
Also, take a look at the dirt that you have under your lawn. Chances are it is black dirt, like clay. This is difficult soil in which to grow crops. You need to have good soil and may want to pick up some bags of potting soil for your crops. If the dirt is hard and seems like clay, then you need to mix in some good top so that your vegetables will grow. As you continue to grow the garden, the more nutrient rich the soil will become. As years go on, the garden soil takes on a life of its own so that you will not need top soil.
It is a good idea to stake off where you want to have your garden with some stakes and string. This way you know where you plan to dig and will have an even looking garden. After you have prepared the area by sectioning it off and getting the necessary supplies that you need to prepare the garden, you can then start digging.
Preparing The Soil
This is the hardest part of growing your own vegetables. It is hard labor to dig up the soil and turn it. It is even more difficult if you have grass or rocks in the place where you want to have your garden. If you have grass, for example, you will want to dig up the grass and put it in the wheelbarrow, taking it to a compost heap in your yard and getting rid of it. You are going to need a lot more soil in the area as you will have several inches dug into the ground when you are finished.
Use the wheelbarrow to transport the grass or weeds that you did up and get rid of them. The soil for your garden should be as pure as possible and devoid of any weeds, rocks or clay. If you are stuck with clay under the grass, you can turn it over with the spade and mix in some good top soil.
START BY DIGGING
Start by digging out a small section of the ground and continue going until you have dug up the entire garden. It is best to do this a day after a rain. Not just after a rain, otherwise it will be very muddy. But if you do this after it has rained within a few days, the ground will be a lot softer and easier to manage.
Once you get rid of all of the rocks, weeds and grass, you can then start to turn over the soil. You do this by using the spade to dig up the soil and then flipping it over. You should do this throughout the entire garden. You can use the end of the spade to chop up any clumps in the soil. The soil needs to be as smooth as possible before you plant.
After you have turned over all of the soil, use the garden hoe to chop up the soil even more. You can make the soil have a fine consistency if you so choose, but you have to work at it. You have to keep chopping and tilling the soil.
If you want to have the best results with your vegetable garden, you need to get the soil to the point where it falls easily between your hands when you pick it up. The two ways to do this is to dig out the garden a half a foot down and fill it with top soil, or use the soil that you have, chopping it up as much as you can before you plant. The latter is the least expensive option and, despite the fact that it sounds difficult, is just as hard as digging into the ground and pulling up clay.
USE TOP SOIL
Once you have the soil to the point where it has all been turned over and chopped up, is rid of clumps of dirt, rocks and weeds or grass, you can then add several bags of top soil to the mix. Top soil is a fine grain of soil that will enable your plants grow even better. You can also choose fertilizer soil. This will also allow your plants to grow well. You want to give your plants a boost by adding in a store bought soil as this will make it easier for them to adjust to their new home. Fertilizer may not seem like something that you want to handle, but it is organic and does work very well to allow for plants to grow to their maximum potential.
After you have added bags of top soil or fertilizer, take the garden rake and then smooth the ground over. You should use the rake to mix in all of the soil and make sure that the soil is flat and easy for planting. It should be loose but even.
CREATE ROWS FOR WALKING
Once you have done this, you can make rows between the areas where you want to plant the crops. The crops should sit up higher than these rows that will allow you to walk between the crops for maintenance, and also allow any rain to fall off into the rows. Creating mini-drainage ditches in your garden is not absolutely necessary, but can help you if you live in an area where there is a lot of rain. While water is naturally important for crops to grow, too much can end up flooding out your garden. In most areas, there is not a lot of rain in the summer months, so this is not crucial. Be sure, however, to visualize a row between the planting rows where you will be able to walk and take care of the plants as well as harvest the vegetables that grow in the garden.
PROTECT YOUR GARDEN FROM ANIMALS
Once you have properly tilled the soil and prepared it for planting, you need to use chicken wire or some sort of fencing around the garden area. This will keep the rabbits and other critters out of your garden. Rabbits will have a field day with your crops if you do not protect them. If you are growing vegetables to save money, it hardly makes sense to give away half of your crops to the rabbits.
Chicken wire will keep out any animals such as rabbits, raccoons or possum in the area. It may not look attractive, but you can always back it up with a more attractive looking picket fence if you feel the need. Just remember that the wooden fences are useless when it comes to keeping out rabbits and other creatures as they gnaw right through. Chicken wire will protect your garden from animals.
After you have quartered off the garden with your wire and the soil is ready for planting, you are ready to start planting your vegetables.
Proper planting for your garden is needed for your vegetables to take root and thrive. You must space them apart the proper distance in the soil and also take any other precautions that are needed to get them to grow. You should have a foot between each of the plants that you are planting in your garden, and a foot and half between corn and pumpkins. It may look silly at first, when you plant your garden, to see the plants so far apart. But as the plants grow from tiny plants to large plants, you will start to see the difference.
Before you start planting your vegetables in your vegetable garden, make sure that you have the following:
- Garden gloves
- Hand spade
- Potting soil
If you are borrowing a wheelbarrow from a neighbor, you are going to want to borrow it again for planting. You can transport all of your plants at once to the garden area and then plant them. A wheelbarrow is not a very expensive investment for a gardener and can help you even when it comes time for harvest. Assuming that you have a place to keep the wheelbarrow, you will have many uses for this product.
If at all possible, you should schedule your planting for before a rain. You want to make sure that the weather is on an even keel and that there should not be any more frosts. Ideally, the ground should be dewy when you get up in the morning so that the crops will get plenty of moisture. As the weather gets warmer, you will most likely not have this dew in the morning and you will have to pay close attention to hydrating the crops.
When you are planting from plants, you will need to dig a hole in the ground with a hand spade that is deep enough for the plant. You want to leave as much of the original soil around the plant in which it grew so it can get used to the new earth. Planting takes time and patience and you want to be sure that you are spacing the plants properly. Use potting soil around the plant to make it even more fine and inviting for the plant.
Depending on the size of the garden, planting the garden can take you a day, or at least the better part of the sunlight. For the most part, the preparation and planting of the garden can be done in one nice weekend. Once you have planted the plants into the ground, you will then want to water them and also feed them.
FEEDING THE PLANTS
You can buy plant feeder for vegetables at your local gardening store. You put it in a container and then squirt it onto the plants. Look for all natural, organic products that will help your plants grow even stronger. For the most part, however, the vegetables will grow as long as they get sunlight and water. These are the two main components to healthy plants. And each year, the soil will become even more enriched with vitamins and minerals and easier for plants to grow.
You can also use spikes in the ground that can add as plant feeders. Spikes can be a bit more costly, but they can add the necessary nutrients to the soil that your plants need to get the most growth. You can add spikes to the plants once a week to keep them growing strong.
Some plants, such as tomato plants, need to have sticks or cages around them so that they can grow up. While most vegetables grow close to the ground, tomatoes are a fruit that grows on a vine. You need to put special cages or sticks to get the tomato plants off of the ground and growing up. This will enable the plants to blossom and them form the fruit.
Get some cheap tomato cages at the gardening store. These are made of wire and will last for years. Place each of these cages around each tomato plant. As the tomato plants continue to grow, you can use twist ties to fasten the plant to the cages, forcing it to grow upright instead of laying on the ground. While you can use sticks for the same purpose, cages are easy to use, easy to put into the ground and work better. Sticks only offer one way up, but cages allow the plant to flourish. Put the tomato cages in the ground, surrounding the plant, after you plant them. It will then be easier to start to get the vine to creep up the cages as the plant continues to grow.
Once you have completed your planting, water your garden. You want to water it so that the water puddles a bit in the garden, but not so that it is drenched. You should also look for the weather report to see if you expect rain. If rain is expected, water the garden a little bit and then let Mother Nature take its course and water the garden for you. Once the garden has been planted, you need to make sure that it remains hydrated, fed and secure from animals.
Caring For Growing Plants
Caring for growing plants require that you look after them on a daily basis. Not only do you have to make sure that they are watered, but you also have to remove any weeds that grow in the garden that will choke the nutrients from your plants. In order to care for growing plants, you need the following equipment:
- Plant feeder
- Watering can or hose with gentle spray
- Hand hoe
- Gardening gloves
Each day, you will want to take a look at your garden to see how your plants are doing. You should pull any weeds that are in the ground as well as water the garden. While you will not need to water the garden after rain, obviously, you will still want to look at the garden after a rainfall to see if the plants are stable and to pull any weeds. Remember that weeds will grow just as much if not more in the setting you have created.
If you look at your garden every day and tend to it, you will have less of a problem with maintenance. Your routine should be to take a look at the garden each night, just as the sun goes down and it is settling into dusk. It is best to water the garden at this time, rather than in the hot sun as the plants can burn. The plants should always be hydrated, but not soaking. While there is nothing that you can do about rainstorms, you do not want to always be soaking your plants.
Feed the plants regularly with plant food that is organic. You can get a plant food spreader that looks like a plastic bottle with a hose attached to it to spray your plants. This will give them additional nutrients and provide you with better vegetables. Feed the plants once a week for best results.
GET RID OF INSECTS!
Insects can play havoc around your plants and rabbits are very ornery creatures that tend to go through great extremes to get at those vegetables. One way that you can scare off rabbits is to trick the creatures into thinking that their natural predators are around. Rabbits are afraid of cats and dogs, two animals that prey on them. You can buy a spray that smells like the scent of dog or cat urine and put it around the area surrounding the garden. This should keep rabbits and other animals at bay.
Insects can be more problematic and many people resort to using pesticides to get rid of insects that will eat the leaves and can harm the plants. Pesticides are usually a bad idea. While commercial farmers dust crops using pesticides, they contain benzene, a carcinogen, and are not something that you want to have around. You are better off to use either a natural spray to get rid of bugs such as a citronella. Some bugs, like the hornworm, a bug that attacks tomato bushes, are hard to get rid of even with pesticides. Natural sprays will help get rid of some bugs and keep others from doing too much damage. While you naturally want to grow as many crops as you can and save as much money as you can when it comes to buying vegetables for your grocery bill, you do not want to do it at the expense of your own health or that of your family. Accept the fact that some crops will get attacked, but not many if you are out there diligently using all natural products to rid the plants of bugs and remove weeds.
GET RID OF WEEDS!
Remember to pull weeds as soon as you see them. If it is too difficult for you to pull weeds every night when you get home from work, you should make it a habit to pull them once a week. Again, it is better to pull weeds after the rain as they will come up easily. The weeds must be pulled by the roots in order for it to make any difference. Use garden gloves and a garden hoe to pull up weeds and get rid of them. Put all weeds into a compost pile.
If you see earthworms while you are tending to your garden, do not kill them. They are actually a gardener’s best friend, despite the fact that they are slimy and not much to look at. They do not harm the crops. In fact, they turn the soil so that the crops aerate even better. Earthworms are often found in bags of top soil.
MAKE SURE SOIL DOES NOT ERODE
Speaking of soil, check the soil around the plants to see if some of it has eroded. In some cases, rains will erode some of the soil around your plants, making it difficult for them to grow. You should always have a bag of top soil or potting soil on hand to put around the plants, especially after the rain, so that they can continue to grow.
If you tend to your garden on a regular basis, you can expect good results. One of the problems that most people have with gardens is that they plant them and then forget about them. Or they see bugs and think that the entire garden is infested. Or they don’t want to pull weeds. Despite neglect, some vegetables will still grow, but you will not get the results that you need and certainly not be able to save substantial amounts of money on your food bill if you do not maintain your garden regularly. You will find that this not only allows you to save money for your family on the grocery bill, but it will also give you a sense of peace.
FIND PEACE IN THE GARDEN
One of the things that the bad economy has brought out in people is anxiety and stress over money. An increasing number of people are going to the doctor for anxiety and stress and are worried over money. Most people who find themselves sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office will end up walking out of that office with some sort of prescription. Instead of taking drugs because you are worried about the economy, you can actually do something about it and start gardening.
Gardening is more than just a useful hobby that can help you save money on your food bill by growing vegetables. It is actually a way to relieve stress and find peace. Most people who garden report that they lose themselves in the gardening process and find peace. This is not only a way to grow vegetables, but also a way to get outside, do something physical and get relief from stress. You cannot lose when it comes to gardening in your own vegetable garden.
Take care of your garden regularly and it will take care of you. By looking after it, watering it, making sure that the weeds are pulled and that it remains insect and bunny free, you can look forward to a nice harvest.
How To Harvest Plants
All of your hard work has paid off and you actually have a bunch of vegetables grown in your garden. You can look to the chart written earlier as to when you can expect them to come in, although you will know when they are ready simply by looking at them. Root vegetables are a bit more difficult to tell when they are ready, although you can usually tell by the maturity of the leaves and vines on the ground. Onions, for example, will have very firm stalks.
Tomatoes will continue to keep coming. They are different than other vegetables in that they tend to produce more rapidly. You can start removing tomatoes from the vines as soon as you see them grow a bit red. One way that you can allow them to get red is to pick them when they are slightly orange and then leave them in the sun. They will grow a nice shade of red.
Start looking towards your early to mid summer harvest vegetables right away and taking them out of the garden and into your home. If you are like most people, you will have an abundance of tomatoes. The early summer vegetables need to be preserved quickly as they will not sit around for months on end. You should use bushel baskets to collect your vegetable harvest and plan how you want to preserve them.
Harvest time entails a lot more work than planting time. While preparing a garden and planting can easily be accomplished in a weekend, a proper harvest takes more than just pulling vegetables off of the vines and out of the ground and cooking them. It means preserving them for the winter. Remember, the purpose of your “victory garden” is to gain a victory over the bad economy and save $100 a month on your food bill. You may even save more if you plant more.
As soon as the vegetables start coming in, start to use them in meals. In order to save as much money on your food bill as possible, you should incorporate as many vegetables as you can in every meal. You can prepare them in a number of different ways in order to provide your family with treats that are good for them, totally organic and filling. In the next chapter we will deal with how you can preserve these vegetables for later use. For now, we will talk about the harvest.
WHAT IS A HARVEST LIKE?
The harvest of the vegetables is not like you see on TV. The crops come in at different times and you will most likely always be pulling something from the garden. You will have a ball coming up with exciting summer recipes that incorporate the use of these crops. But despite the fact that you and your family are eating more vegetables and you are saving on your food bill, you are still going to have some left over.
Keep the harvested vegetables in a cool, dry place until you are ready to preserve them for future use. Many people choose to use weekend time to “put up” vegetables so that they can be used throughout the year. Until you are ready to deal with the vegetables, you should be sure to harvest them as they grow so that you can continue to reap the harvest and more vegetables will grow in their place. When you are cooking vegetables to eat, be sure to use the first picked so that you keep the freshest vegetables for canning, freezing or pickling.
Tomatoes are the fastest growing and are the most versatile when it comes to meals. You can make spaghetti sauce, salsa or salads – just to name a few things – with tomatoes. As time wears on and you continue to garden, you can even learn to make your own ketchup and tomato paste using the tomatoes from your garden.
Green tomatoes can be a tasty treat if you fry them. Wash a green tomato and cut it in round slices. Dip each slice into a beaten egg and then coat it with bread crumbs mixed with shredded Parmesan cheese. Fry in olive oil until brown on each side. This is a tasty treat and filling.
You can also do the same thing with eggplant that you grow from your garden, although you will want to peal the eggplant first. Eggplant can be used as a meat as it is so thick and filling. You can make an eggplant veggie burger for a meal.
Use the vegetables that you harvest from your garden and store those that are not in use in a cool dry place. On weekends, you can start to can or preserve vegetables so that they are ready for the upcoming months. Two of the earliest vegetables that you will be canning or preserving will be tomatoes and cucumbers. Others early vegetables that will need to be preserved early, while you are still harvesting the later summer vegetables are peppers and onions. You will most likely be working to preserve each weekend in the months of August and September. This is all part of the harvest and will allow you to make the most of your vegetable garden and save money on future food bills. Once you get used to doing this, you will be able to save even more money as you will most likely branch out and grow more vegetables and fruits.
The harvest time is a time for much work, but it is all worth it. Preserving vegetables and fruits may seem daunting at first, but is really easy once you get the hang of it. You can also just freeze vegetables as well, making it very simple to preserve them.
One of the reasons why people had parties after a harvest was to celebrate the crops they harvested that year as well as treat themselves for a job well done. Once your harvest is over, you will have plenty of vegetables to last you until next year and you and your family can not only save money each month on your food bill, but will also be eating healthier.
Preserving Vegetables And Fruits
There are many ways that you can preserve vegetables and fruits. Fruits are often cooked and then canned, such as jellies, jams and preserves. Fruits are easy to can and only need to undergo a hot water process that seals the wax on the ring of the canning jar. This is easy to do. Tomatoes can be canned in this manner.
Preserving vegetables, however, is another matter. Canning vegetables requires a pressure cooker and a lot of knowledge. You can get Botulism from not canning vegetables properly. Unless you have experience with using a pressure cooker, you are better off to preserve vegetables in different ways such as pickling or freezing. Each vegetable and fruit has different ways that are ideal for preservation. Here is a run down on all of the different ways that you can preserve vegetables that you have grown in your garden and save money:
This process works best with tomatoes. You need to use sterilized canning jars with wax rings and lids. Wash the jars in the dishwasher before adding the tomatoes. The tomatoes should be washed and peeled. To peel a tomato, put it in hot water and it will easily peel in your hands. You should put the tomatoes in the jars and fill up with sterile water. Put on the rings and lids and boil the jars in a canning pot for 20 minutes. After you remove them from the canning pot, you should hear the lids making a slight pop noise that means they are sealed.
You can also cook the tomatoes and add spices to make salsa or spaghetti sauces, or just cooked tomatoes, and also use the same process. The main concern is to make sure all instruments and jars are sterile. You can buy canning jars and pots at your grocery store. Once sealed, the jars should be stored in a cool, dark place and can be used throughout the year.
Pickling is used for cucumbers and onions and involves using sea salts and vinegar to preserve the vegetables for a period of time. Pickling can also be accomplished using alcohol, although this is rarely done with vegetables. In order to pickle any vegetables, you need to follow the same process as in canning with regard to sterilization, and then do the hot water bath. Because they are preserved in alcohol, you do not have to worry about bacteria forming. Use the hot water bath to make sure the jars are sealed and then sore in a cool, dry place.
Freezing is one of the easiest ways that you can preserve vegetables. Many people who want to save money on their grocery bills invest in a deep freezer. This can store all of the vegetables for you. You need to use containers or freezer bags that will lock out air and preserve the vegetables. Place cleaned vegetables in the freezer bags or containers and stick them in the freezer after sealing. This only takes a few minute and works well with corn, peppers, eggplant, broccoli and carrots. It does not work for lettuce or potatoes. Lettuce will turn to mush in the freezer and potatoes will get black.
Root vegetables such as onions, potatoes, turnips and carrots can be stored in a root cellar for the entire year. If you do not have a root cellar, read the next chapter and you can learn how you can create your own root cellar to store your vegetables. You can also store them in a basement, provided it is cool and unheated. Root vegetables can last a year if properly stores, but it has to be in a cool and dark place.
By preserving as many as the vegetables as you can, you will be able to continue to save money throughout the year with the vegetables that you have grown in your own garden.
Creating A Root Cellar
A root cellar was used to store vegetables as well as other food supplies long before electricity came along. Today, because so many people are looking for a way to save money and eat healthier, organic foods by growing their own vegetables, many people are creating their own root cellars. This requires a parcel of ground where you can dig down and line with rocks. Many people create roots cellars in their back yards under a shed. You would have a latch door in the floor of the shed that opens and allows you to step down a small ladder into the root cellar.
The root cellar has to be covered to avoid any type of accidents or any animal getting into the cellar. You should line the walls and floor of the root cellar with stones to prevent bugs from getting into the cellar. Products that are stored in the root cellar should be stored in brown sacks to further protect them from rain or insects. The root cellar should be covered at all times when not in use.
Before you start digging on your property, call out your local utility companies so that they can mark out where your utilities are located. You never want to dig on your property unless you know where the utilities are located so that you do not uproot a wire or cable.
A root cellar will enable you to store turnips, carrots, potatoes, onions and squash for longer periods of time. If you live in a house where you have a cellar, you can usually use this as your root cellar. You can even create your own root cellar indoors by using a wood container that you make yourself to store the vegetables. This container can be kept in a cool, dark place (preferably the basement) to store your vegetables. There are “build your own root cellar” kits online that you can use for this purpose. You will probably find this easier than digging your own root cellar on your property.
If you do not have room for a root cellar, you can cook potatoes and freeze them instead of storing them in a root cellar. Turnips and carrots can be frozen uncooked and will be fine. Be sure to peel them before freezing.
A root cellar is the ideal place to store all of your preserved foods as it is cool and dark. Whether you decide to quarter off part of the basement to build a root cellar for your vegetables or build your on, you will find that all of your root vegetables have much more staying power when you store them in a cool, dark place.
Indoor Gardens For Herbs
While you’re saving a ton of money by growing your own vegetables, you can even save more money by growing your own herbs. The beauty about growing herbs is that you can grow them indoors and all year long. Most herbs just need a little bit of sunlight and water and will grow just fine.
Herbs will flavor your foods in a totally natural way and can also be dried or frozen for later use. Fresh herbs, when mixed with the vegetables from your garden, can make for delicious and healthy meals for your family. Not only will you save money at the grocery store, but you will find that fresh herbs taste better than the freeze dried variety that you find in the store. And they are completely natural, organic and have no preservatives.
You can grow herbs from seeds in your own indoor herb garden. You just need to find a place where you will keep your garden and where it will be safe from spilling due to children and pets. You can purchase a kit to grow herbs or just grow them yourself. You just need potting containers, soil and seeds. Plant the seeds deep into the soil, or as directed on the seed packet, and water. Put the container in an area where it can get the most sunlight and water every day. As the herbs begin to mature, you can harvest the leaves from these plants and use them in different foods. They contain no pesticides and are completely natural. You do not have to preserve them as they can grow all year long. If you would like, you can always put them in a freezer bag and stick them in the freezer. Fresh herbs taste best and cost only pennies to grow.
GROW VEGETABLES FROM SEEDS
In addition to growing your fresh herbs indoors, you can also grow vegetables from seeds using the same concept. Growing vegetables from seeds can be done in the winter months so that the plants are ready to be transplanted into the garden in the spring. Every vegetable has a different growth time period, so follow the directions on the package of seeds as to when you plant. If you set aside an area in your home that gets an adequate amount of sunlight and is safe from children and pets, you can have an indoor garden for growing vegetable plants from seeds to save you even more money. Furthermore, because you grew them yourself, you know that they are free from any pesticides or toxins.
Growing vegetables from seeds is not difficult. Just make sure that you follow directions as to how much sunlight they need as well as the amount of water that they require. If you take care of the plants every day, chances are that you will have quite a few healthy, sturdy plants for your garden when it comes planting time.
GROW HERBS OUTDOORS, TOO!
While we talked earlier in this chapter about growing herbs indoors, they are not only for the indoors. You can grow herbs outdoors in the warm months as well. Many people enjoy growing herbs out of doors because they will grow larger and yield more benefits. It is always a good idea to plant a few herbs in your garden that you can harvest when you harvest the rest of the vegetables. If you are the type of person who dislikes growing any type of plant indoors, has small children and pets or just does not have adequate sunlight in your home, you can grow herbs outdoors and harvest them in the same way you would vegetables. Fresh herbs can be dried or frozen for preservation and use later on.
How Much Can You Save?
Once you get into vegetable gardening, you will find that you are not only having a good time, but saving money. Last year, I ended up saving $100 a month off of my food bill, but this year I plan to save even more.
After discussing my savings and techniques with friends who also like to garden, I found that they are saving even more money. One thing that all gardeners have told me is that the soil continues to get richer with each passing year, yielding better crops. You also get to know what your family will eat and won’t eat when you are vegetable gardening and can skip some vegetables that are not very popular with the family.
Another thing that you learn as you go on with vegetable gardening is how much each crop yields. This is something that you have to see for yourself. I was unprepared as to how many tomatoes and cucumbers I was going to get last year, but this year, I know to plant less plants and more broccoli, as those plants did not yield as many vegetables. This will enable me to save even more money.
By growing my vegetable plants from seeds, I will also save more money. I discussed my techniques with those who have been growing their own vegetables for years and they laughed when I told them of my idea for a book – as they have known these secrets to gardening their entire lives and have always saved money. It amazes many who were brought up in the country to know that there are people out there like you and me who do not know that you can save money by growing your own vegetables.
The tips that you read in this book have been practiced not only by me, but by my mentors. They are easy enough for anyone to follow, but they do take work. The work will pay off for you when you see how healthy your family is eating as well as how much money you are saving.
While I saved $100 a month growing my own vegetables, I spoke to a friend who said she saves about $300 a month growing her own vegetables. Her family tends to eat a lot of vegetables because she has been growing them for a few years and they prefer to eat home grown products.
DECLARE VICTORY WITH YOUR OWN VICTORY GARDEN!
If you are fed up with the ever rising cost of food and the constant worry about the economy and job security, it is time that you do something about it. Instead of worrying, take action and declare victory against the recession with your own victory garden. Just like your grandparents or great grandparents did during WWII, you can supplement your food budget by growing your own vegetables at home and save at least $100 a month off of your food bill!
Growing vegetable gardens can be very rewarding. This ebook will give you some tips on growing some common fruits and vegetables.
SETTING UP YOUR GARDEN
The first thing that you need to do is decide how much space you need to plant your garden. Depending on this space, figure out how many plants to plant.
Vegetable gardens need plenty of sunlight. Generally speaking, the more sun the better. Don’t plant your garden too close to trees or anything else that will shade it too much.
3. Raised Beds
Vegetables need good drainage when they grow, so it’s a good idea to plant them in raised beds. You can make these out of cement blocks or wood. If you don’t have these resources, you can plant on raised mounds of dirt.
There are so many varieties of tomatoes to choose from. It’s a good idea to plant tomatoes when the soil is warm, after danger of frost is over.
If you’re planting dwarf plants, place them 12 inches apart in the row. If you’re planting staked plants, place them 15 to 24 inches apart.
Tomatoes need plenty of water, especially during dry summers. Water them thoroughly every couple of days. Tomatoes in containers may need daily or even more frequent watering.
You’ll know when your tomatoes are ready when they’re firm and fully colored. In hot summer weather, pick your tomatoes every day or two. Even after they’re picked, they’ll continue to ripen slowly over the next several weeks.
Like tomatoes, there are lots of different varieties or corn. Sweet corn needs warm soil. You should plant corn just before the frost-free date.
Place the seeds 1/2 inch deep in cool, moist soil. Space the kernels 9 to 12 inches apart in the row. It’s a good idea to plant two or more rows side by side to ensure good development. Allow 30 to 36 inches between rows.
Fertilize around the tomato seeds right when you plant them. When your corn reaches almost 10 inches, fertilize aga1in. Corn will be ready to harvest 3 weeks after the first silk appears.1. 11.Harvesting
Your corn will be ready to harvest in 60-85 days. To pick them, break the ear from the stalk close to the base so as not to damage the ear or the stalk.
Radishes need a fine, well-prepared seed bed. It’s a good idea to apply animal manure or compost about 6 weeks before planting. This helps build up the water-holding capacity of the soil, and it balances the nutrient supply.
Plant small radishes 1-2 inches apart, and larger varieties 6 inches apart. You can grow several rows of radishes in a bed as long as you keep your beds at least 2 feet apart.
Radishes need consistent moisture. If they dry out during their growth, they’ll become bitter. Keep your radishes plenty moist throughout the growing season. You can use straw mulch to help retain moisture in your soil.
Most radish varieties mature in 25 to 35 days. They’re only mature for a short time, so if left in the ground too long, they can become pithy and mealy. It’s a good idea to watch them closely, and pick a radish every so often to determine their maturity.
Carrots grow well in well drained, sandy soil. Make sure the soil is nice and loose down to 12 inches or more to allow for good root development. Make sure your soil doesn’t have any rocks and twigs.
Carrots don’t require much space. It all depends on how big the roots are at harvest time. If you’re growing baby carrots, spacing them between ¾ of an inch and 2 inches. If you want bigger carrots, thinning to a final spacing of 2 inches-4 inches is about right.
Carrots need a good moisture supply to become well established and to produce good root development. Carrots need at least 1 inch of water each week during the growing season. Remember to soak the soil thoroughly when watering.
Carrots are very easy to harvest. Simply pull up the plant by the tops (the green leafy part). You can basically harvest them any time, depending on the size you want. For baby carrots, harvest them at 4 to 5 inches. For bigger carrots, harvest them at ¾ to 1 ½ inches.
Peas need nutrient rich soil produce a good crop. Peas planted in early spring do well in raised beds that have good drainage. They can be started as soon as the soil can be worked.
Peas need to be planted 1 to 1 ½ inches apart in all directions. The rows should be 12 to 18 inches apart. If you are planting a large bed of peas, you can plant them in a zig-zag pattern with 12 to 18 inches between the plants.
Peas need lots of even moisture throughout the growing season. They like soil with good drainage and if they stay too wet, they will get root rot.
You know your peas are ready to harvest when their pods are plump but not bursting. Harvest them every 2-4 days to encourage them to keep growing.
Green beans are easy to grow, and will thrive in almost any soil. They need to have good drainage though, or the seeds will rot. To prepare the soil, break up large clods of dirt and rake the area smooth.
Plant your beans 1 to 1 ½ inches deep, and 2 inches apart within rows. Space the rows about 24 to 36 inches. If you want lots of beans, plant beans every two weeks, until a good month and a half before first expected frost date.
Peas need lots of moisture during germination. Water them deeply once a week, making sure the soil drains well. Once your peas have started to sprout, you don’t need to irrigate them as much.
Fresh beans are usually ready for harvest about 8 to 10 days after flowering. They will be pencil thin, and the beans will be bright green. The bean pods will snap easily when bent. Pinch or cut the beans off rather than pulling them.
Potatoes need well-drained soil. It’s a good idea to mix compost into your bed to make sure there are plenty of nutrients in the soil.
Plant your potato seeds in early spring, about 3 weeks before the last frost. Space your potatoes between 6 and 12 inches apart, in shallow holes (about 3 inches deep). Make the rows between 30 and 36 inches.
Keep your potatoes evenly moist and water them deeply during dry spells. If you plant your potatoes in a hill, they will dry out quicker so watch the soil moisture carefully.
You’ll know your potatoes are ready to harvest when their leaves die back. Some people prefer “new potatoes.” These are immature potatoes that are picked several months after planting, but before the potato plants reach maturity. You can find these new potatoes when the potato plants blossom.
Bell peppers need nutrient rich soil. They do best in well drained soil, and lots of sun. Raised beds are great for bell peppers, with good topsoil, compost, and rotted manure mixed in.
Your bell peppers grow into small bushes, and need lots of air circulation. Give them enough room by spacing them between 12 and 18 inches apart, and in rows at least 24 to 36 inches apart.
Bell peppers need lots of water during germination. You’ll need to keep them moist but not soggy. If they don’t get enough water, they’ll have a bitter taste. You can use mulches to help keep the soil moist.
You’ll know that your bell peppers are ready to harvest when they turn their final color. They can be red, orange, yellow, green, or purple depending on the variety. The more you harvest, the more will grow, so pick them regularly.
Plant your watermelon after the soil is warm and there’s no danger of frost. Watermelons grow best on a sandy soil, and it’s important to plant them on raised mounds.
Watermelon vines need lots of space. Plant seeds one inch deep in hills spaced 6 feet apart. Make your rows 7 to 10 feet apart. After the seedlings start sprouting, it’s a good idea to thin them to about three plants per hill.
Watermelons have deep roots, so you seldom need to water them. In cooler areas, you can get floating row covers, drip irrigation and black plastic mulch to help produce a great crop in a short season.
Watermelons can be hard to tell when they’re ripe. Here’s a list of things to look for: • Light green, curly tendrils on the stem • Surface color of the fruit turns dull • the skin is tough and resist the thumbnail • The bottom turns a yellowish color.
Pumpkins are sensitive to grow. The seeds need warm soil, and frost can really injure the seedlings. If you want pumpkins for Halloween, plant the seeds from late May in northern locations to early July in southern places.
Pumpkins need a minimum of 50 to 100 square feet per hill. Plant seeds one inch deep, and four or five seeds per hill. Allow 5 to 6 feet between hills, spaced in rows 10 to 15 feet apart. Once they have sprouted, thin each hill to the best two or three plants.
Pumpkin plants need to be kept weed-free by hoeing and shallow cultivation. They do okay with short periods of hot, dry weather.
You’ll know when your pumpkins are ready to be harvested when they are a deep, solid orange, and the rind is hard. This will usually be in late September or early October, before heavy frosts. Cut the pumpkins carefully, using pruning shears or a sharp knife, and leave 3 to 4 inches of stem attached.
Summer squash needs warm, fertile, and aerated soil. They do well with soil that has compost or well-rotted manure added to it.
One way to grow summer squash is to plant them in a corner of the garden and train the vines to grow outside of the garden. Plant them about 2 feet apart and in rows that are 2 feet apart.
Summer squash need lots of water throughout the growing season. Water them deeply during dry spells. Only water the roots; not the foliage. Watering them early morning helps prevent mildew.
Summer squash are ready to harvest when they turn their mature color (usually green or yellow). Straightneck, crookneck, and zucchini summer squash are ready when they reach 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter, while scallop summer squash are ideal at 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
Plant your strawberries in the spring. If you’re planting young plants, be sure that they’re certified and disease frees. Select plants with large crowns with healthy, lightcolored roots. Prepare your soil with 1-2 inches of organic matter (like compost, or well rotted manure).
To plant your strawberry plants, make a hole big enough to spread the roots. Make the center of the hole into a hill, and place the crown at soil level. Spread the roots downward, and bury the strawberry plant so that the soil goes half way up the crown.
Your strawberries will need 1 to 2 inches of water per week. This is especially important during the formation of the strawberry, from early bloom until it’s time to pick them.
Pick your strawberries when they’re fully ripened. This means leaving the berries on the plant for a day or two after they are fully colored. To pick them, snap the stem directly above the berry, rather than pulling on the berry itself.