Tag Archives: growing vegetables

Easy Practical Tips For Do it Yourself Container Gardening

The idea of container gardening has been catching on – it being aesthetically pleasing and easy on the pocket. Green in all its pleasant shades and color dotting motley urns can be a veritable feast for the senses. For the novice easy tips will come of practical use. One can layout the personal urn garden in urban surroundings with the individual touch – unique and distinctive.

The first step is to plan out the niches where containers would be placed – selecting the best points that will expose the green artistically. It is not necessary that the pots have to be expensive. Anything can be improvised – shopping bags, juice cans and even shells of eggs. All that is required is innovative ideas to make dreams about gardening nursed over the years into a reality.

For those planning a herb garden the sunny places have to be selected. Herbs require the maximum sunshine all through the day. Colorful plastic shopping bags filled with the required nutritious soil would be idea for growing the herbs. A couple of holes would have to be punched in the bags to allow drainage of water; care has to be taken regarding the size of the holes so that the soil does not get washed out. Lining the bottom with a paper towel or piece of tissue paper would also suffice. Fertilizers of the slow-release variety would be ideal for herbs.

Tomatoes would be a good choice for growing in urns – it being available round the year. Soil placed in a paint bucket of fiber glass or a plain plastic pot would be ideal for it. Tomatoes require plenty of soil and thus clay pots that tend to break easily would not be suitable. Other factors are sunlight, water and fertilizers – plenty are required. It is best to pick the variety that does not branch out too much and yet is perennially fruit bearing.

Orange boxes are often used in box gardens. The boxes can be painted in raging colors prior to planting flowers like violets and pansies. These boxes would be ideal for petite flowering plants. Another classy way of showing off plants is placing them in glass containers. Plenty of deals are available in the flea market – glass bowls or even one meant for gold fish would be excellent for the purpose especially in those places where sunlight is scarce. These bowls are beautiful and require very little maintenance.

For the dash of variety one can collect clamp shells and keep them on the soil together with ferns as well as moss. These add the touch of wild variety to the container garden bringing nature right into urban settings.

Why not create your own containers garden with Containers, pots and Planting boxes which are easy to maintain but still yields great results.
I’m a garden lover for many years. Always had a beautiful garden and always looked for ways to improve it. After my children the garden is my number one priority. Self-maintained colorful garden is a dream of almost every house owner. We all want our house to look nice and be decorated with colors and fragrance.

3 Easy Steps to Growing Plants from Seed

Growing your own plants from seed can be one of the most
exciting and worthwhile gardening activities. And of course
it is a really inexpensive way to grow the number of plants
you need for your garden or containers.

In this article I am going to deal with growing seeds from
packets purchased at a garden centre – as this is the
easiest way to start. These packets will have a picture on
the front and growing instructions on the reverse, including
germination times and the best time of year to sow. The
instructions are important so do keep the packet safe even
if you have used all the seeds!

1. Equipment you need:

– Clean pots or seed trays, with drainage holes and not too
flimsy

– Seed compost or multi-purpose compost is just as effective

– Clear plastic bags or cling film or propagator

– Vermiculite – can be used to give the seeds a light

covering instead of compost
– Dibber or pencil and widger or teaspoon

– Small watering can with fine rose

– Plant labels – white plastic ones are cheap

2. Sowing the seed:

– Fill your pots or seed trays with the compost to about
1 cm below the rim and water the compost well

– For small seeds, tip them into the palm of your hand and
then lightly tap it with your other hand to sprinkle the
seeds thinly on to the compost

– For large seeds, push the seed into the compost until it
is just covered by its own depth of compost

– Cover the seeds thinly with a little compost – do not
cover very fine seeds

– Seal the pots or trays inside a large loose plastic bag
or propagator, or cover with cling film

– Place them in a warm, light place – on a windowsill but
out of direct sunlight

– Water gently if the compost starts to dry out

3. Germination and pricking out:

When the seeds start to germinate, the first thing you will
see growing are the seed leaves – two small round leaves
that look very much the same on all plants. Then the first
pair of true leaves appear and you can recognise that these
tiny leaves are like those on the mature plant. This is the
time to move the seedlings into new pots.

– Fill clean 9 cms pots or seed trays with fresh compost
and water well

– Gently loosen each seedling from its pot/tray with a
widger or the handle of a teaspoon, holding the seedling by
its seed leaf

– Make a hole in the new compost with a dibber or pencil and
gently lower the seedling into the hole, making sure that
all the roots are tucked into the hole and the seed leaves
are just above the surface

– Carefully fill the hole to cover the roots

– You can space the seedlings in a seed tray about 3-4 cms
apart; otherwise plant them individually into pots

– Water carefully, either by soaking the pot or tray, or
using a small watering can with a fine rose

– Place in bright light, but not direct sunlight, and check
regularly

– Keep watered, but not too wet

– Once the roots fill the pots or trays, then it is time to
plant them either into your containers in the garden or
into the garden border.

It’s not as complicated as you might think, but it does
require a little thought and care – the equipment must be
clean to prevent disease or infection; don’t over-water;
provide enough light; handle gently; and check regularly.

And that’s all there is to it!

Fran Barnwell is a self-taught gardener, learning through experience in her own garden. Fran understands the difficulties that face new gardeners, and has written The Ultimate Guide to Gardening for Beginners, a successful eBook that helps anyone new to gardening to get started, explaining the basics in easy to understand terms. To find out more and to sign up to receive a free series of articles, go to http://www.NewToGardening.com
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Gardening With Kids: A Perfect Recipe for Success

The Perfect Recipe
Take one energy-filled youngster. Provide subject with a cup of seeds and a shovel. Infuse with dirt and sprinkle on healthy dollops of fresh air and sunshine. Mix with a shovel. Yield: One happy kid and the beginnings of a summer long project for the domestic unit, otherwise known as THE FAMILY GARDEN.
Sharing Traditions
I had fond memories of gardening as a child- my family shared a large backyard garden with a neighbor. Each spring, every willing youngster old enough to hold a spade was assigned a vegetable. Through the spring, summer and early fall, she was responsible for the weeding, watering, sowing and distribution of her yield. Over the years, we had a variety of crops: summer squash, horseradish, leaf lettuce, corn, beans, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, chives and rhubarb. As a result, I grew up with an appreciation for the process and consumption of fresh produce. For me, gardening is a relaxing escape from the pressures of an urban environment, and I wanted to pass that tradition on to my children.

Cooperative Extension : The Mother Lode of Gardening Guidance
After poring over books on design, composting, and organic gardening, we consulted local experts. Our first stop was Cornell Cooperative Extension, which proved to be the mother lode of gardening guidance. Cooperative extension programs are located throughout the U.S., and in each state are affiliated with land grant universities. They provide research-based educational resources through a network of educators and extension offices.

Our local office provides soil analysis and maintains a hotline staffed by Master Gardeners who answer consumer questions. New this year is an online home gardening database that provides user-friendly instruction and information, including vegetable growing guides, fact sheets, and a virtual visit to a family garden.

According to Cornell Master Gardener Bob Eller, a soil pH of 6.8-7.0 is ideal for growing vegetables. “Choose a sunny spot, with well-drained soil that is compatible with want you want to grow. Almost anything can be grown if the soil is right” he said. In order to reap the benefits of the analysis, you must plan in advance! “Don’t wait until May to get it tested,” Eller advises.

Since we began planning the garden in early May, we did not have time to send in soil for analysis. Not knowing what areas of the backyard were most fertile, we opted for a raised bed garden. Raised bed gardens are an ideal option for both new gardeners and city dwellers without a lot of space.

Local Garden Centers
Our next stop was local garden centers, where we received advice on starting a vegetable garden and kid-friendly vegetable varieties. Upstate New York has an abundance of garden centers, and each has unique offerings for families. Stores in our area offer everything from free gardening classes for kids and adults to play areas with jungle gyms and sandboxes full of oats. Chances are, you will find similar offerings in your hometown.

Community Supported Agriculture Projects
Families whom desire a growing experience but lack space, time or other resources should check out community supported agriculture projects. Besides being a great place for families to get hands-on gardening experience, the fruits of your labor are rewarded! Here’s how it works: community members sign up and purchase their shares, either in one lump sum before the seeds are sown in early spring, or in several installments through-out the growing season. Production expenses are thereby guaranteed and the farmer or grower starts receiving income as soon as work begins.In return for their investment, CSA members receive a bag of fresh, locally-grown, typically organic produce once a week from late spring through early fall, and occasionally throughout the winter in northern climates.

At Peaceworks Organic Farm in Newark, NY, a typical week’s bounty for a full shareholder, is 7-11 fresh vegetables which might include the following: one head of lettuce or 2 of leaf lettuce, 1 lb. spinach, 1 lb. carrots, a bunch of greens or herbs, 2 lbs. potatoes, 1 head of broccoli, 6-8 ears of corn, 1 lb of shelling peas. “Exotic vegetables, such as bok choi, mizuna and komatsuna are grown for variety, but we emphasize popular ones – tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, onions, broccoli and lettuce,” Farm Director Elizabeth Henderson explains.

Tips on Gardening with Kids
Following are some tips from local experts on gardening with your kids from Carol Sorbello, a 20 year employee of Wayside Garden Center in Macedon, NY, Bob Eller, a Master Gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Sarah VanEnwyck of Grandpa’s Nursery and Gardens in Sodus, NY:
1. Pick a spot for your garden where you know things grow. If you don’t know about the soil, have it tested.
2. Pick a spot that receives 6 hours of filtered light (sun) per day (necessary for crops such as tomatoes, lettuce, beans, carrots, beets, etc.
3. Plant a few things in the garden that germinate quickly, such as lettuce and sunflowers.
4. Give the kids an area of their own in the garden and make it fun. For instance, construct a teepee for pole beans.
5. If you can’t wait until after the last frost (predicted date is May 3 for Rochester, NY), you can start seeds indoors. Sorbello recommends using a mini greenhouse, priced at about $5.
6. Suggested seed-starters for eager growers: beans, peas, lettuce, radishes, marigolds and zinnias
7. Vegetables that are especially popular with junior gardeners: corn, beans, peas, tomatoes
8. Flowers that are easy to grow: marigolds, impatiens, and petunias.
Make your Hometown a Great Place to Live and Grow!
This spring, with a lot of enthusiasm, we will prepare and plant our crops. Then, we’ll hope for the best. With a fresh dose of sunshine and a few sprinklings, we’ll have the makings of cost-effective meals all year long and some happy kids (one in a 40 year old body). Whatever you decide to grow this year, and wherever you decide to do it, enjoy! Make your hometown a great place to live and grow!

* according to information provided by UMass Extension service

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Resources
For assistance with your backyard garden, including soil analysis, contact the cooperative extension office nearest you. Consult the USDA Cooperative State Research and Education directory at http://www.reeusda.gov/

For information on home gardening in general:
Cornell University Home Gardening Database: http://www.explore.cornell.edu/homegardening/

Print publications available:
Garden in the City
Designed for youth and adults who have had little experience with gardening and limited space. Covers the garden box, starting seeds, planning the garden, cleaning the site, breaking ground, planting, weeding, thinning, and harvesting. Lists supplies and tools you’ll need; suggests activities for groups. 40 pp.

The Home Vegetable Garden
A popular how-to reference. Planting schedules, recommended varieties, pest control, and more. 31 pp.

To find the predicted last frost in your geographic area, consult the Old Farmer’s Almanac Gardener’s Companion Frost Chart at http://www.almanac.com

To find a garden center near you, consult the American Landscape and Nursery Association at http://www.anla.org/

For more information on Community Supported Agriculture Projects in your area, visit the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center CSA Farm Directory at: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/csa/.

Jackie Perron

jperrin@rochester.rr.com

The Home Garden

The garden should be near the house and away from trees. If it’s some distance away from the house, it will not be as well looked after, nor will most use be made of vegetables grown. Vegetables near trees cannot get full sunshine; even more important, tree roots will rob them of water and fertilizer they need to do their best.

If you can, move the garden spot every 10 years or so to help keep down diseases. Proper rotation and use of disease-resistant varieties will help, but sooner or later the old garden spot becomes so full of various disease spores and nematodes that you cannot grow a good crop of many vegetables without use of special soil fumigants.

Soil should, of course, be well drained. Few vegetables can stand “wet feet.” A sandy loam with a clay subsoil is best. Heavy clay soils may be made quite suitable by adding heavy quantities of stable manure or compost, or by turning under cover crops, preferably legumes such as vetch, clover soybeans.

Since the best quality quantity of vegetables cannot be duced on anything but a fertile soil, do whatever is needed to make it fertile.

Requirements for growth.

1. Proper degree of heat.
2. Moisture.
3. Oxygen in the air is essential for seed germination and good growth.

English peas, for example, will sprout when soil temperature is only a few degrees above freezing, while seed such as tomatoes will not germinate at all.

To start these tender vegetables for early crops, artificial heat, as in hotbeds, is needed. Otherwise, for early crops, buy plants from commercial growers, or from local growers who produce them with artificial heat. Tender vegetables that do not transplant such as melons, cucumbers, cantaloupes, and squash, should not be planted outdoors until soil has warmed up. These may, however, be started earlier in small pots in a hotbed.

To make the most out of your gardening efforts, take time to do some planning. Also keep a record of weather you had too much or too little of certain vegetables at any time during the season for a continuous supply. Don’t trust it all to memory.

Things to consider when planting.

1. How much of each vegetable to grow to supply your family needs.

2. Which vegetables are most need for good health.

3. How much extra to plant for storage

4. Which varieties are best to plant.

5. When to plant for continuous growth and supply.

6. Which pesticides are best for control of insects and diseases.

7. Supplies needed such as, sprayers, dusters, tools, fertilizer, or mulching material.

Jotting this down on paper, plus any notes made during the season about special pest problems or how a new variety or practice turned out, will be valuable the next season when planning and planting time roll around.

Charles French

Decorating Country Home
http://www.decorating-country-home.com