Fine Garden from a contanier to a botanical garden

I love flowers. I think that a spot of lovely flowers are a piece of heaven on earth.                                                                                           I started gardening at a very young age. My first adventure was in a burned out metal drum with minimum success,  but that was all I needed to get started.                                                                                                                                                                                      When I was about 12, I had a small garden that didn’t do well until I went to camp for 2 weeks. I could not believe how much it had grown in my abstinence. I was trying to love on it too much. I needed a larger garden to pour my love on.                                                                    I tried several jobs trying to find my nitich. It was not until I got a job at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, that I really found it.They were putting in new gardens for an expansion.I worked with some of the best, and I learned a lot..                                                                         I have been in business for a while now and my love for a beautiful garden is sweet as ever.                                                                         Now I am not one to travel,so my expertise in in the mid south US.I am sure that I could garden anywhere because of what I have learned. My concept to a garden is ” A living flower arrangement. Their is no rule set in stone with gardening. what makes you happy is a success.  

Vegetables

The 12 Easiest Vegetables to Grow in Home Gardens

A lot of people, myself included, are growing our own vegetables to beat the credit crunch. And why not? Planting a few seeds in containers, in your backyard or in your garden will yield delicious, organic vegetables – and can save money, too! Growing organic vegetables is easier than you think. Here are the 12 vegetables you will have no problem planting, tending for and harvesting in your own garden, even if you are a first-time gardener!

#1. Radish

These are particularly easy to grow and can be intercropped with rows of lettuce to take up a minimum amount of space! Great thing about radishes is that very few pests bother them. Choose a sunny, sheltered position in soil, well fed with organic matter. Sow the seed thinly, evenly at ½ inch below the soil’s surface with one inch of space between each. Water the soil thoroughly before sowing and after the seeds emerge water them lightly every couple days. Radishes are a great source of potassium, folic acid, magnesium and calcium, and are perfect in salad dressings or as a garnish for salads. Radishes are fast growers and should be ready to pull in several weeks.

#2. Zucchini/ Squash

Zucchini and squash do well in most climates and they need very little special attention. If you plant zucchini you’ll could end up with way more than they can even eat!

Zucchini and squash are very low in calories but full of potassium, manganese and folate. Sow several zucchini seeds in a heap pile of composted soil a foot high and a couple feet wide. Space each heap pile approximately 3 feet apart, water them heavily every other day and wait for them to sprout in a couple weeks. They should be ready to harvest about a month later. For any early start sow the seeds singly about 1/2 in (1.25cm) deep, in small pots and place in a temperature of 65-70F (18-21C). After germination of seeds, grow on in a well lit spot, harden off and plant out after the last spring frost when the weather is warm.

#3. Carrots

Carrots tend to be pest free and need little attention. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, antioxidants, carotene and dietary. Dig a hole less than an inch deep and plant a couple of seeds in each, and leave several inches in between holes. Thin out in stages to 4-6in (10-15cm) apart. Keep the soil moist but remember to water the carrots less as they begin to reach maturity.

#4. Spinach

A highly nutritious and easily grown crop, high in both calcium and iron. Spinach can be eaten plain, cooked, and made into a chip dip. Turn over the soil with compost and plant seeds less than an inch deep, placing them at least 4 inches apart to give room for growth. Pick young leaves regularly. Sow the soil a couple more times in the first month and keep this area well-watered.

#5. Peas

Peas are another high-yield crop, both sweet peas and sugar peas. Other than fruit flies, these guys attract very few pests. A good source of vitamins A, B and C. Cultivate the soil just prior to sowing top dress with a balanced fertilizer. Keep in mind that your soil must drain well in order for peas for flourish. Space each seed several inches apart and sow them one inch deep. Freshly planted seeds require 1/2 inch of water every week, while more mature plants need a full inch. Any surplus peas can be frozen very successfully.

#6. Peppers

Peppers contain nutrients like thiamin and manganese. Peppers can be stuffed with meat and rice or used in salsa and pasta, and raw in salads. Till the soil with compost and Epsom salts, this will make it rich in magnesium to help the peppers develop healthily. Peppers can be produced outside in growing bags, large pots etc. Since they grow best in warm soil, sow the seeds a foot or more apart in raised beds or containers. Water them frequently, keeping the soil moist, or they may taste bitter once harvested.

#7. Lettuce/ Baby Greens

Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow; you just have to plant the seeds, water and watch how fast it grows. Lettuce is a good source of folic acid and vitamin A, used as the main ingredient mostly in salads, but also can be stuffed with various ingredients to make a lettuce wrap or top sandwiches, hamburgers and tacos. When cultivating the soil with nutrient-rich compost, break up any chunks and remove debris. Make sure that seeds are planted between 8 and 16 inches apart and water them every morning. Avoid doing so at night because this could cause disease. Loose-leaf varieties are ready to start cutting about seven weeks after sowing.

Baby greens are simply greens that are harvested while they are still young and tender. They are true instant gratification vegetables – you’ll be harvesting your first salad in under a month! Sprinkle the seeds as thinly as possible across the soil in a 2- to 3-inch wide band. Space rows of baby greens 6 to 8 inches apart. Or plant baby greens in a pot, and cut your salad fresh every night!

#8. Onion

Rich in dietary fiber, folate and vitamin C, onion need little care – just give them plenty of water. Plow the soil a foot deep and get rid of debris. The easiest way to grow onions is from sets which are small onions. Plant sets so that the tip is showing about 5in (13cm) apart in rows 12in (30cm) apart. Or, plant the seeds a couple centimeters deep and several inches apart. Weed this area frequently but gently and provide them with about an inch of water every week.

#9. Beets

Beets (beetroots) can be peeled, steamed, and then eaten warm with butter; cooked, pickled, and then eaten cold as a condiment; or peeled, shredded raw, and then eaten as a salad.. Betanin, one of the primary nutrients in this deep red or purple vegetable, can help lower blood pressure. Clean and strengthen the seeds by soaking them in water at room temperature for a day. Plow the soil and remove any stones from the top 3 feet. Plant each seed 2in (5cm) apart, thin out to 4in (10cm) apart and water them at least once every day.

#10. Broccoli

For the most part doesn’t need a lot of special care, broccoli is easily grown vegetable that gives the best return for the space it occupies and is cropped when other green vegetables are in short supply. One row of 15ft (4.5m) will accommodate six plants to give self-sufficiency for a family of four. Sow broccoli seed in spring in a seed bed ½in (1.25cm) deep and transplant when the seedlings are about 4in (10cm) tall 2ft (60cm) apart each way.

#11. Tomatoes

There are many benefits to growing tomatoes – they’re tasty, they9re good for you, and the dollar value of the yield can be very significant. Tomatoes are rich in nutrients like niacin, potassium and phosphorous, antioxidants like lycopene, anthocyanin and carotene, and vitamins A, C and E.

Sow the seed just below the surface in a tray of peat-based compost. When the seedlings have made two pairs of true leaves prick them out into 3in (7.5cm) pots and place them in a light, warm place indoors (like windowsill). After the last danger of frost has passed, pick a spot in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight and test the soil’s pH level – it needs to be between 6 and 7. (To decrease pH level add sulfur, to increase it add lime). Spread compost over this area and mix it with the soil. After hardening off, set tomato plants 2ft (60cm) apart in rows 3ft (90cm) apart, bush plants 3ft (90cm) apart. Water them a couple times per week.

Tomatoes do need a little more attention then the other vegetables on the list. However, for the little bit attention that tomatoes do need, you get an incredible reward in the large amount of fruit that they produce. To help you get started, here is a complete guide to growing tomatoes

#12. Herbs

There are many herbs including thyme, rosemary, basil, mint, sage, chives, parsley and oregano that need very little attention and can be grown successfully in containers on a patio, balcony or terrace. Purchase some of your favorite small herb plants from your local nursery and get a container that is at least 6-12 inches deep. You can plant multiple herbs in a wide or long container or use at least a 6″ pot for individual plants and you will enjoy not only their fragrance and beauty but also their culinary benefits. Water sparingly because herbs don’t like to sit in wet soil.

If you are a first time gardener, start slow with any of the vegetables I’ve mentioned. Soon, you will gain confidence and have a beautiful organic vegetable garden!

Source by Jane T. Thomas

Container Gardening

How to Establish Your Container Gardening

How to Establish Your Container Gardening

Vegetable production is not only applicable in the countryside or in the gardens but can be grown now within the heart of the city or just in your home even with only a limited space.

If your home has an area with ample sunlight – a requirement for growing vegetables, you can grow them successfully. What are the locations that can be used for container gardening? You can use your patio, balcony, terrace, rooftop, deck, window sill, pathways, etc.

Be aware of the sunlight requirement for each kind of crop. For leafy vegetables, the required sunlight should be about four hours the whole day, for fruit vegetables, at least 7-8 hours sunlight is needed daily, and root vegetables requires around 6 hours of sunlight a day.

And besides of producing your own vegetables in a safer way, the attack of common pests and diseases can be greatly minimized. You can also improve the soil conditions by adding some soil amendments; like manure, compost, and other essential food nutrients needed by the plants.

Everything in your home that are considered as garbage can be utilized to the maximum by making them into compost. Even your household waste water can be used to irrigate your plants.

In other words, container gardening is considered to be the practice that makes use of useless things.

What Containers Are Ideal For Container Gardening?

Growing vegetables can be executed in any type of containers such as; cans, plastics, pails, split vehicle tires, cement bags, feed bags, bottle water plastics, gallon cans, cylinder blocks, milk container, bamboo cuts or any containers that have been thrown away. Even coco shells, banana bracts, leaves of coconut is ideal as potting materials especially for short season vegetables, like, pechay, lettuce, mustard, etc.

Good growing containers should possess the three important characteristics as suggested by Relf (1996);

1. They must be large enough to support fully grown plants.

2. They must have adequate drainage.

3. They must not have held products that are toxic to plants and persons.

Containers that drain poorly can affect the success of a container garden. It is therefore vital to have your containers above ground or any support that would raise the containers such as; slats, hollow blocks or anything to provide space below them to allow excess water to drain freely.

For bigger plants, you should use big containers and for small containers use small plants.

Small containers (1-2 gallons) are suited for lettuce, spinach, mustard, pepper, radish, green onions, carrots, beans, and dwarf tomatoes. Medium size containers (3-10 gallons) are best for eggplants while for larger ones (bigger than 10 gallons) are good for cabbage, cucumbers and tomatoes.

For most plants, containers should be at least 15 cm deep minimum especially for shot season vegetables.

Recommended Container Size and Type/Crop

5 gal. window box – Bush beans, Lima beans

1 plant/5gal.pot, 3plants/15 gal. pot -Cabbage, Chinese cabbage

5 gal. window box at least 30 cm deep – carrot

1 plant/gal. pot – cucumber

5 gal. pot – Eggplant, tomato, okra

5 gal. window pot – Lettuce

1 plant/2gal. pot; 5 plants/15 gal. pot – Onion

5 gal. window box – Pepper, spinach

Soil Media Composition – Container Gardening

Plants grown in containers will depend on the kind of soil mixture to provide a maximum growth development. It is a must that you should provide the best soil media composition to give the possible return of your toil. Failure to give the plants with the necessary food nutrients in their growing period would results to poor growth, lanky, and stunted plants that will results to your failure.

The ideal soil mixture for container-grown vegetables crops are as follows:

1. It should be light in weight and porous.

2. It should easily drain excess water.

3. It should have high water holding capacity.

4. It should be free from soil borne disease, nematodes and insect pests.

5. It should supply the right and balance amount of nutrients for the plants.

The best mixture of soil media should compose the following; synthetic mix of horticultural-grade vermiculite, peat moss, limestone, superphosphate and complete fertilizer.

Compost can also serve as an excellent growing medium.

In your country where the above media are not available, you can make your own potting media by mixing 1 part loam soil or compost manure, 1 part fine river sand, and coconut coir dust.

If your country is producing rice you can replace coconut coir dust with the rice hull charcoal (carbonized). But this should be thoroughly sterilized to kill some deadly microbes that are detrimental to the plants.

Sawdust is another medium that could be used in preparing your growing medium in the absence of coco coir dust and should also be sterilized.

In other words, container gardening is considered to be the practice that makes use of useless things.

Sowing Seed and Transplanting

Before going into the sowing procedure, give your utmost attention to the selection of seed you’ll use as planting materials. Good quality seeds should be your first concern.

Good quality seeds possesses the following characteristics:

1. damage free

2. free from other mixture with other varieties

3. free from seed borne diseases

4. and with good vigor and germinating capacity.

To get a quality and reliable seeds, you should buy from certified seed producers or seed suppliers.

All vegetables that undergoes transplanting are excellent for container gardening. Transplants can be purchased from local nurseries or other successful gardeners in your locality.

Before transplanting, fill plastic or germinating tray with the growing media preparation using the following ratio: 60% rice hull charcoal(carbonized), 30 % coconut coir dust, 10% chicken manure (60-30-10 ratio).

In the absence of the above materials in your country, you can use the old soil media preparation – 1 part sand, 1 part compost, and 1 part garden soil (1-1-1 ratio). Make sure to sterilize them before the seed are sown. This is to kill some microorganisms that may cause damage to the seedlings.

You can also purchase a prepared growell medium sold in local agriculture stores in your respective country. Inquire from your agriculture experts available in your area.

Once the growing media is ready, fill the holes of the germinating or potting containers. Press the soil medium lightly with your fingers in every hole filled with the medium. Then follows the sowing of seeds.

In sowing seeds some techniques should be followed to insure germination:

Watermelon (Seeded) (Citrulis lunatus). Soak seed 30 min.- 1hour in top water. Incubate by using moist cotton cloth. Spread the seeds and cover. Place in an improvised cartoon for 24-36 hours. After this period, sow the seeds at I seed per hill. Seed must be level in the soil guided by a finger or stick at 1 cm deep. For the seedless type the procedure is the same as the seeded but the tip near the embryo should be cut with the use of a nail cutter before inserting to the soil. Cutting the end portion of the seed hastens germination.

Bitter Gourd/Ampalaya (Momordica charantia). Soak seeds for 30 min.-1 hour. Cut the tip near the embryo and sow with the seed deep of ¾ of the soil at 1 seed per hole.

Upo ( Lagenaria siceraria ) and Patola ( Luffa cylindrica ). Cut the tip covering only near the embryo and sow seed at 1 seed per hole.

Squash (Cucurbita spp). Soak seeds 30 min.-1 hour. Then pinch the tip near the embryo and sow seed at 1 seed per hole.

Pepper (Capsicum annum L.), Eggplant (Solanum melongena), and Tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum). Sow the seed directly to the germinating tray at 1-2 seeds per hole.

Pechai /Pechay (Brassica pechai), Lettuce (Lactuca sativa), Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis ), and Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. Italica ). Sow seed directly to the germinating at 1-2 seeds per hole.

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus), Honey Dew / Muskmelon (Cucumis melo). Sow the seed directly to the germinating tray at 1 seed per hole.

Carrot (Daucus carota) and Raddish (Rafanus sativus). Directly sow the seed to the field at 2-3 seeds per hill.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis ) and Beans (Phaseolus limensis ). Sow the seed directly to the field at 1 seed per hill.

Corn (zea mays). Sow the seed directly to the field at 1 seed per hill.

Papaya (Carica papaya). Soak the seeds for 30 min.-1 hour then sow to the germinating tray at 1 seed per hole.

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus ). Directly sow the seed in the field at 1-2 seeds per hill.

Container size for specific crops.

o Medium – Beans, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, broccoli

o Large – Cuccumber, eggplant, tomato, pepper, okra, squash, papaya

o Small – Onions, parsley, radish

Light Requirements

o Sun – Beans, cucumber, eggplant, tomato, pepper, carrots, okra, squash, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, broccoli papaya

o Partial shade – Lettuce, onions, parsley, radish

Fertilizer Requirements

To get the right amount of fertilizer for your vegetables, you should analyze your soil media mixture. And if you can do it, organic or inorganic fertilizer should be used.

Fertilizer combination of organic and inorganic would be much better with the correct proportion depending on the plant requirement.

When using inorganic fertilizer you should prepare a base nutrient solution by dissolving 2 cups of complete fertilizer in 1 gallon of warm water.

A growing solution is prepared by diluting 2 tablespoons of the base solution in 1 gallon of water.

Application starts by pouring 2-3 tablespoons of the growing solution on the soil media around the plants at the time of transplanting.

The frequency of application may vary from one crop to another, but one application per day is adequate. It is advisable to leach all unused fertilizer out of the soil mix once a week by watering tap water to cause free drainage through the holes in the bottom of the container.

This practice will prevent buildup of injurious materials in the soil media. If you want to use organic fertilizer, you should use pure or 2/3 compost in the growing media.

If both the organic and inorganic fertilizer will be used, at least one part of the growing media should be compost and one tablespoon of the growing solution applied at least once a day.

If you’ll use synthetic mix growing medium, which is already enriched with superphosphate and complete fertilizer subsequent fertilization may not be necessary for early maturing crops.

For late maturing crops, daily application of the growing solution is necessary until maturity or shortly before harvesting.

Water Management

Water is the life for container garden plant. It’s important that you should not neglect this requirement. Proper water management is vital for a successful container gardening.

Basically, one watering a day is enough for container-grown crops. But for vegetables grown in small containers may require 2 times of watering a day.

Plants grown in clay pots needs more frequent watering since pots are more porous and extra water is allowed to drain out from their sides.

If the growing medium appears to be excessively dry and as the plant shows signs of wilting, the containers should be grouped together so that the foliage creates a canopy to help shade the soil and keep it cool.

Poor drainage of the growing media or container can lead to water-logged condition that may results to plant death due to lack of oxygen.

To make sure you have a vigorous plants, always check the containers at least once a day and twice on hot, dry, or windy days and to feel the soil to determine whether it is dump.

To reduce water evaporation for container plants, you should apply mulching materials such as plastic mulch or putting windbreaks.

You can also install trickle or drip irrigation system to the plants base if you think you can’s attend to your plants daily.

Pests and Diseases Control

Control of pests and diseases in containers needs your careful assessment because wrong use of pesticides may cause damage to the environment, especially children who may often come closer to your container plants.

To be safe, you should implement the Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This approach is focused on the so called systematic pest management which means to prevent problems before the pests and diseases appears.

How you can do this?

It is done by monitoring pest population, identifying pests, and choosing a combination of control methods to keep pests population at a minimal level. These methods includes cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods.

Recommended Practices…Container Gardening

o Select insect and disease-resistant varieties of vegetables. Avoid insect attracting plants in the garden or those that are susceptible to pests. Beans, peas, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce and squash are more resistant to insect pests.

o Water the plants adequately to keep them healthy. Fertilize and thin plants to reduce competition for moisture and nutrients.

o Remove weeds to conserve soil moisture and eliminate hiding places of pests.

o Encourage natural enemies of insect pests, such as predators and parasites. Attract beneficial insects like; Western Damsel Bug, Lady Beetle, Green Lace Wing, and Minute Pirate Bug into your garden by planting small flowered plants such as; daisies, cosmos, marigold, and clover. Be sure they are in flower bloom throughout the growing season.

o Avoid growing the same types of vegetables in the same spot year after year. A 4-year rotation cycle is recommended.

o Exclude pests from plants by using fiber materials, row cover, and other barriers such as plastic bottles and plant collars.

o Remove infested part of the plant right away. Remove all plant residues from the containers after harvesting all the crops.

o Use traps to disrupt mating cycles of insects. Yellow sticky boards catch winged aphids, whiteflies, and leafhoppers.

o Handpick pests or knock them off plants with a stream of water from a garden hose. Kill the insects by putting them a soapy water.

o If all other control methods fails, the least toxic insecticides includes botanical control such as neem and pyrethrin. Insecticidal soap, horticultural oil may also be used for insect control. Always identify the pests before choosing a pesticide and use according to label directions.

Harvesting

Harvesting varies with vegetables. Leafy vegetables may be harvested when the desired leaf size is required for every use they are intended. Others harvest leafy vegetables after the required age is meet. For fruit vegetables such as, Luffa, Cucumber, Eggplant, beans, Okra, and Upo they are harvested when their size are big but tender. For squash varieties, they are harvested either matured or big but tender depending on the preference of users.

Cabbage, cauliflowers, and broccoli should be harvested when their heads are already compact. Peppers and tomatoes may be harvested when their fruits have started to ripen.

If you’re growing container-grown vegetables just for home consumption, you can harvest only some part of the plant and retain the rest for future use. But if you think you have more than enough for family use, you can harvest them all and sell or give them to your neighbors.

Never allow your vegetables to bear flower before harvesting them except when your purpose is to collect the seeds for future planting.

Maturity Indices of some Vegetables

o White potato, onion, garlic – Tops begins to dry and topple down

o Cowpea, sitao, snap beans, batao, sweet pea, winged bean – Well-filled pods that really snap

o Okra – Full-sized fruits with the tips that can be snapped readily

o Lima beans, pigeon pea – Well-filled pods that are starting to lose their greenness

o Upo, luffa – Immature (if thumb nail can penetrate easily)

o Tomato – Seeds slip when fruit is cut, or green color turning pink

o Sweet pepper – Deep green color turning dull

o Musk melon – Color of lower part turns creamy yellow, produces dull hallow sound when thumped

o Cauliflower – Curd compact (over mature if flower clusters elongates and begin to loosen)

o Broccoli – Bud cluster compact (over mature if loose)

o Cabbage – Heads compact s (over mature if heads cracks)

o Sweet corn – Exudes milk sap when thumbnail penetrates kernel

o Eggplant, ampalaya – Desirable size is reached out but still tender

o Honey dew – White color cream with aroma

o Squash – Big enough with dried leaves

o Watermelon – Dull hollow sound when thumped and lower color part turns yellow

o Water spinach – Leaves at their broadest and longest

Problems Encountered in Container Gardening

In container gardening you’ll meet some problems that may hinder your daily operations. This is sometimes discernible when you’ll not attend the plants due to negligence.

However, you can prevent these problems if you’ll religiously observe your plants closely. Small pests and diseases can’t be seen visibly if you’ll not see the plant appearance closely. You’ll only see the affected plants once you come closer and actually touch them.

Some symptoms, causes, and corrective measures you should observe in Container Gardening

o Tall, spindly and not productive. The plants receives insufficient sunlight and excessive supply of Nitrogen. To correct them, you should transfer the containers to a place where there is sufficient sunlight.

o Yellowing from bottom, poor color, and lack vigor. The plants receives too much water and low fertility. To correct this, you have to reduce watering intervals and check the pots for good drainage.

o Plants wilt even with sufficient water. The plants has poor drainage and aeration. To correct, you should use a potting mix with high percentage of organic matter. Increase the number of holes of the container for good drainage.

o Burning or firing of the leaves. The soil medium is high in salt. To correct this problem, you have to leach the container with tap water at regular intervals.

o Stunted growth, sickly, and purplish color of leaves. The temperature is low and low phosphate. To correct, you should relocate the containers to a warmer area. Increase phosphate level in base solution.

o Holes in leaves and distorted in shape. The plants are pests infested. To correct, you should use non-chemical insecticides or other biological control for insects.

o Spots on the leaves, dead dried areas or powdery or rust occurrence. The plants are affected with a disease. To correct them, you should remove the disease affected parts or the whole plant in serious condition. You can use non-chemical pesticides if the disease is in the early stage of infestation in Container Gardening.

How to Establish Your Container Gardening

Source by Crisologo Ramasasa

Fruits

Gardening – Grow Your Own Vegetables and Fruits

You can grow your own Vegetables and Fruits in your garden for this you no need to own a big garden to cultivate your favourite vegetables and fruits. With the availability of small area were good sunlight and rainfall shower exist you can grow your vegetables and fruits. No need for dedicated land even you can grow them in bags,hanging baskets and containers. Choose a place which is close to your sight may be close to your window or door so that you can take good care of your garden. If you choose to grow a specific vegetable are a fruit try to know the growing condition and normally for vegetables it takes 6 hours of sunlight exposure to maintain its moisture content inside. The same condition level is not applied for other types of fruits or vegetables as it sometime grows under partially shaded site. So decided on which one to grow is also depends on the place you select.

Once you decide where to cultivate your fruits and vegetables you need to check out the strength of your soil and this can be done by soil testing. It will give you the information on soil pH i.e.how much alkaline and acid present in the soil. Plants require acceptable pH range which helps them to take nutrients well and some plants are more specific soil pH range. You should also try to know the information on how much nutrients and minerals contained in the soil, which can be known by seeing the texture of the soil. The texture of the soil means whether it is rocky, sandy, sandy loam or heavy clay and if the soils losses its texture you can improve it by adding a organic materials such as compost.

Before you start your gardening work the planting area should be cleared off without any grass or weeds which can be effectively removed by sharp flat-edged spade. This should be carefully done without losing good top soil while removing sod. If you likes to grow vegetables for the first time then try to cultivate which can be grown easily and available fresh locally. Corn takes lot of space and long time to cultivate and tomatoes, beans and lettuce takes small garden and gives longer harvest. Find 3 to 5 best combination of plants which you plan to grow and make sure that all those plants have the same requirements of water, sun and pH level.

If you have limited space then limit the variety of plants you grow. The suitable time to plant is at overcast day and water the pot where you want to plant the previous day so as to make the place available with enough moisture before planting. If the root is densely packed and grows without spreading around the soil then you must spread the roots across the soil. You need to plant the root deep in to the soil to avoid the drying of the root. As soon as you plant the root in to the soil water the plant and make sure it has enough one inch of water per week.It needs water more often in the hot summer days.

Source by Fredrick Joy

Wet Season

Best Vegetables to Grow During the Wet Season

Best Vegetables to Grow During the Wet Season

Tropical countries typically have the wet and dry seasons. From where I live, the wet season starts from late May and carries on until November (sometimes it even goes on well over December). This season will be quite harsh for the vegetable grower since only those that have thicker stalks will remain at the end of the season. Also, there are plenty of flowers and vegetables that grow well during this season, but only when they are properly prepared and when they are placed against a wall to shield them from high winds.

A helpful tip (probably, because what works for me may not work for others) is to plant upright vegetables on containers and recycled tin cans so you can easily relocate them when a typhoon hits. Last February, I grew some tomatoes on the ground but were immediately damaged because I placed them in an open space. Moreover, they had bacterial spots on the leaf that looked like the one you see when you click the link at the bottom of the article. The reason for this probably was because I was too excited to sow tomato seeds in February that I didn’t bake the soil much. As a result, bad microorganisms that remained on the soil took over my food!

I just have to have those perfect tomatoes and that is why I am trying again. If anything, gardening has taught me how to be patient–and to grow stuff on containers so I can easily move them anywhere I please. Also, some species of plants are actually better off contained and separated from the rest. A good example of these is the pepper, which is actually very toxic to other plants. Another advantage of veggies planted on tin cans is that you can move them around to catch rare sunlight during the wet season.

Where I live, when there is a typhoon, the house becomes so cold, damp and misty inside. Flowers love this kind of weather but only if their roots are not soaked with water. It is the same with vegetables, I think. Here are the types of seeds that I plan to sow today on two separate 20x15x4 inches containers: aurugula and lettuce–that according to the packet, grow well when the temperature is cool. I have successfully grown each of them in February, although they had thin leaves and stalks, which was probably because I used a soil-less medium instead of, uhm, well… , soil. I don’t think there was any problem with having too much sunlight. On the contrary, my aurugulas must have loved sunlight since they came out well before the suggested period on the packet.

Another thing that I have learned from my February experience was to plant only one or two seeds (even if they’re very small) on one hole and to stop saving space and follow the recommended spacing in between the seeds. This will allow the seeds to grow properly. Aside from aurugula and lettuce, I am planning to say goodbye to my diseased tomatoes and try again. This time, I am buying “sterile” soil to grow my tomatoes in. Oh, and maybe I will plant three more peppers, too. I just love red vegetables! I will grow them on tin cans that I have collected since my baby was born. Six months worth of cans! Woot!

Best Vegetables to Grow During the Wet Season.

Source by Karen P Gabato

Vegetable Gardens

Advantages and Disadvantages of Vegetable Gardens

Not everybody is lucky to have a yard at the back or a big garden. But it is heartening to know that with the help of container vegetable gardens, garden enthusiasts have the option of growing vegetables at their own sweet will. The box vegetable garden is a gift for all who have a passion for gardens but do not have the required space.

The indoor garden for vegetables is not only a secondary option to the yard but it is a positive choice for a variety of reasons. Firstly these containers or urns are easily found in the kitchen making the whole show environment friendly and safer for the little ones in the family. Apart from being productive these box vegetable gardens serve two other purposes – they add to the décor of the home and also makes it look stylish The small garden pots can be arranged around the porch giving it a verdant look to the dull urban image.

Understandably there are some restrictions to the expectations from a pot vegetable garden – the first one being the size of the plant that will grow in it. The best choices are radish, carrots, lettuce and the like. Small crop plants can also be grown in an indoor garden. For instance tomato and pepper do not require much space. A plus point is that one container about 24″ to 30″ can grow at the same time plants like tomato, parsley and cucumber without requiring extra sunlight or moisture. The urn thus doubles up as a veritable fresh live salad bowl.

No extra arrangement is required for these urn vegetable gardens. The containers can be anything – a jug, pail, basket, wooden box or the typical flower pot. Discarded bushels, washing tubs, big food cans, window plants as well as nursery flats can also suffice to build up the indoor vegetable garden.

Following the same principles of a indoor gardens, water plants too can be grown. The prime purpose however of the indoor green patch is decorative. Depending on the size of the pot, sweet or yellow flag iris combined with a giant arrowhead of calla lily can be planted. Unlike the vegetable gardens there are no fixed specifications for water gardens. Both of these – water gardens and container vegetable gardens are fairly easy to grow and are definitely worth giving a try for those who have a passion for gardening.

Source by Karash Gila

Outer Hebrides

Growing Vegetables In The Outer Hebrides

Growing Vegetables In The Outer Hebrides

This is the second year I have been working on getting vegetables growing on my croft here on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It’s a steep learning curve and not so straight forward as raising vegetables in England or places with more favourable climates.

First – there is the problem of constant high winds. The Outer Hebrides, or also known as the Western Isles, is one of the windiest places in Europe. Winds are regularly recorded at the Butt of Lewis in excess of 100mph during the winter. While temperatures don’t go to extremes here, it’s the wind that gets to plants. Anything over a few inches will get blown over or ‘wind-burnt’. So first and foremost, a kind of windbreak needs to be thought of.

Windbreaks can come in many forms: traditional stone dyking, sheep fencing with “50/50” mesh, hedging started with quick growing species such as willow or leyland cypress and polytunnels. Here on Lewis, one can see the old stone dykes all over the place, particularly in more remote parts of the island such as Great Bernera on the west coast. With the old black houses, the folk used to build ‘planticrues’, which is basically a walled garden next to their houses. We have a derelict black house on our croft in Great Bernera and it has one of these next to it – just the right size for a vegetable patch. While there are more than enough stones in the soil here to build walls, the problem is knowing how to build the things as it’s a ‘traditional craft’. On Lewis, there are the odd evening courses offered in ‘dry stone dyking’.

Barring the stone dyking, many people opt to go the sheep netting with the green “50/50” mesh sewn to it. This is the first course to take, but it by no means permanent. It will give just enough of a windbreak until you can get the leyland cypress or willows established. Ours ended up shredded eventually, such is the power of the wind here! But it held long enough…

So, as I mentioned before, Leyland cypress or willows (salix viminalis) are good, quick growing trees to start off a shelter belt. Once you’ve got them established, you can then plant more deciduous trees behind them (such as larch and rowan). While I would never recommend Leyland cypress down in places like England due to the fact that they grow so huge in a very short space of time as well as dry out the soil excessively, they seem to do better here for hedging for that very reason! We planted a hedge here over 7 years ago and it’s still barely more than 4 ft high! – whereas in England in that same amount of time, they would be over the top of a house!

Polytunnels are widely used here on Lewis and the other islands to help protect the plants more from wind than from frost. We’ve sited our next to a shelter belt of trees. Some people have constructed strong fences with 50/50. The polytunnel itself needs some protection. But they do stand up better to the gales than conventional glass greenhouses, which end up in shatters – the shards flying around dangerously onto other people’s places, not to mention your own. The greenhouses that seem to do better here are the geodesic dome types as the wind just goes up and over the round shape.

Secondly, the question of soil acidity. Due to the fact that the Western Isles is basically rock and peat bog, this makes the soil quite acidic. Some places are more fertile if they are what is known as ‘machair’ which is basically sand dunes. As the sand is made up of shells, it’s calcium-based or ‘lime’. This helps to neutralize the acidic peat to make quite fertile soil. But the majority of places don’t have this, so liming the soil is necessary. This is of course, adding sand. Also adding sea weed is a good additive – the local garden centres sell seaweed soil conditioner which is seaweed composted down. It’s quite expensive. Another alternative is to actually go to one of the beaches and collect up seaweed to put directly on the soil in the winter time. This makes a good mulch for overwintering plants such as rhubarb or cabbages, but it also adds in calcium and minerals, which are so depleted in the Hebridean soil. It’s a good idea to put it down in the polytunnel too! We are doing this in addition to adding organic compost and horse manure.

Thirdly, The Outer Hebrides, or also known as the Western Isles, is one of the windiest places in Europe. The wet and boggy conditions. It’s not so bad in the summer, but in winter it’s a real pain! We’ve got drains under the ground in quite a lot of places on our place. It helps so much, but the water always seems to find somewhere else to gather… As for the polytunnel – we had problems with dampness inside causing the tomotoes, peppers, aubergines and courgettes to wilt with mould and mildew as well as the ground being covered in green algae. Unlike in a greenhouse where you can put in roof ventilation which you can open and close at will, it’s more difficult with a polytunnel. Our doors have the mesh on them, which helps a bit, but the problem is more along the ground. On our next polytunnel, we are going to do what they’ve done at the Shrub Stall in Tolsta – put mesh about a foot or two high around the bottom to let in air flow.

Finally, the midges. There’s no getting away from them in the summer – they are worse in the polytunnel! The only way to make gardening half-way pleasurable is just to wear a midge net, long sleeves and plenty of insect repellant.

Growing Vegetables In The Outer Hebrides.

Source by Holley Mccoy-petrie

Gardening

Basic Gardening Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

Before you start your home garden activities, it’s a must to provide yourself with the needed tools and equipment in your nursery. These tools and equipment must be available all the time to make your gardening works easy and convenient.

You can work peacefully and efficiently if you have a complete tools and equipment in your nursery. You would not be worrying where to borrow because you have a complete sets of them always at hand when eventualities so arises.

You don’t need big amount to start collecting your tools and equipment. You can visit some agriculture stores for garden tools and buy at bargain those that are not so costly, especially during yard sales. As a gardener, you’ve to follow this slogan ” Use the Right Tool to the Right Job” to make your gardening work successful.

Some Basic Tools and Equipment

• Shovels – A round-ended shovel should be preferred for digging especially for planting trees and smaller shrubs.

• Garden Hoes – A garden hoe is useful for weeding and cultivating soil surfaces to allow for deeper plant root penetration of nutrients and water.

• Bow Rake -Provide a good heavy duty bow rake, which has short tines on one side attached to a metal frame or ‘bow.’ This tool is vital for leveling the soil to make it ready for planting, or for removing large clods of earth or rocks from the soil.

• Spading Forks – The spading fork is needed to open and improve the soil. It looks like a pitchfork but has a shorter handle and wider tines. It is used to dig down into hard soil and break up the ground.

• Dull Bolo – This tool is common in the Philippines, its uses is similar with a garden used for weeding and cultivation.

• Sharp Bolo – A sharp bolo is used to cut some grasses and small branches or generally for clearing operations prior to soil cultivation.

• Garden shears – Select a pair of garden shears that fits comfortably in your hand. Shears, sometimes called clippers, are used for pruning, shaping and removing foliage or branches.

• Garden Hose – Hose is necessary to water your garden. Depending on how much there is to water a sprinkler is also a good addition to the watering garden equipment list.

• Sprinkler Can – This is essential for watering your plants. Long nozzles allow the water to come out at a very gentle flow rate and are useful for reaching across long distances. Select a watering can that has a detachable spray head – this type of watering can is perfect for watering young seedlings.

• Hand Sprayer – Hand sprayer is useful for spraying some minor insect pests that are easily managed for minor insect attack in the garden.

• Spade – Similar to shovel, but it has a square end point used for digging and making a straight plots and beds.

• Carts and wheelbarrows – are necessary to transfer some gardening tools and equipment used in your garden works. Some other uses for carts and wheelbarrows are to collect and remove your full grown vegetables from your garden and carry dirt’s and grass clippings away from the garden. • Garden Pruner – When you want to shape and cut back longer plants you will use the pruner garden tool. Pruners come in two styles. One is the bypass style and the other is the anvil. Pick up a couple of varieties to see which style is best for you. Pruners that have changeable blades and parts that are possible to sharpen will assist in extending the life of this piece of gardening equipment.

• Garden Trowel – A garden trowel is also used for weeding and cultivation. Select the one with a steel blade to make it last longer in use. There are different types of handles to choose from. You can either select the one with rubber handles that make them easier to grip while using them and there are some that are designed to relieve stress from your wrist during use.

There are still some equipment to be purchased in your gardening operations, but these tools and equipment mentioned are the basics you should purchase. If you have already your bigger capital, Roto-tiller or Tractor is also important in your garden. For the meantime, be satisfied with the basic garden tools and equipment identified, you can already start you garden operations. Happy gardening!

Source by Crisologo Ramasasa

Vertical Gardening

The Pros and Cons of Vertical Gardening for Beginners

The Pros and Cons of Vertical Gardening for Beginners

There are many different types of gardening one can take on as a challenge. Today, the most common types include raised garden beds, lasagna gardening, container gardening, and hydroponic gardening. In this article, we examine the pros and cons of using a vertical gardening system.

In general, you don’t really see this type of gardens at home. You will see most of them in public places such as airports or in private hotels. The reason for this is because vertical gardening is pretty expensive. Compared to other types of gardening methods, plants that are grown vertically usually incur larger expenses. It also requires a lot of time and effort. For example, you need to make sure the soil is kept a specific condition. Otherwise, the soil will fall off easily from the structure.

One should also note that a vertical garden is not suitable for every plant out there. This type of gardening is generally done for decorative purposes. Therefore, if you were planning on growing plants such as vegetables and fruits then you are better off using other methods such as container gardening. So what exactly do people grow on a vertical base? In general, people stick to small things such as flowers and herbs. As you can probably tell, one can create a beautiful board of flowers by mixing flowers of different colors and sizes.

Although it may seem really difficult to grow this specific type of garden, there are certain benefits that comes with it as well. For example, you can save on a lot of space since you are growing the plants vertically. This works well for people who live in small spaces. If you have one of these gardens in place then you will also improve the overall environment of the surrounding area. The plants will clean the air and improve the aesthetics of the environment.

If you do want to try out this gardening method then make sure you invest in the right tools and equipment. The most important tool you will need is a solid vertical base. The material does not really matter. If the structure can withstand the weight of the garden then you are good to go. For beginners, it is highly recommended that you start off with something small. Once you have mastered the techniques for this particular type of gardening, you can move onto something bigger. When you build the garden structure, don’t forget to have a drainage tray at the bottom. There will be a lot of excess water so you don’t want to ruin the floor by not having a proper drainage system in place.

The Pros and Cons of Vertical Gardening for Beginners

Source by Benita Vickers

How to Grow and Care For a Heather Plant

Heather plants are hardy, colorful, low-growing perennial shrubs native to the heaths, moors, and woodlands or Europe and Asia Minor. Well suited to marginal pastures, heathers are low-maintenance plants that can thrive in acidic soil with little fertilizer in and near-drought conditions.

The evergreen plants provide year-round displays of color from flowers and leaves. Depending on the type of heather plant, the flowers bloom between July and November and come in pink, lavender, white, magenta, amethyst, purple and red. If a gardener plans it right, a field full of different types of heather will remain colorful for a longtime, with new plants blooming just when others begin to fade.

Just as important as flower color is the foliage color, which can be found in pink, red, copper, bronze, gold, silvery gray, and every shade of green imaginable. They keep their color though the winter, breaking up the dreary tans and browns of winter landscapes.

CLIMATE: The colder, damper climates of the New England and the Pacific Northwest are well suited to growing heather, however, and gardeners in the northern Midwest, Great Plains, and Rocky Mountain areas should have fair success.

SOIL: The heather plant will do just fine in rocky soil, making them good candidates for coastal hillsides where few plants grow. Slightly acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 – 5.5 will work well for this plant.

SUN: As a general guideline, heather plants should get four to six hours of sunlight daily. So it is best to plant it in a place with enough sunlight throughout the year. The more sunshine this plant receives, the brighter are its leaves and flowers. Not enough sun will cause the plant to look leggy and dull.

SPACING: When you are ready to start growing a heather plant, consider the space a mature plant needs to fully develop. On average, these plants grow up to twenty inches tall and three feet wide.

PLANTING: The best time to plant the heather is in the spring or beginning of fall. Seed, division and cuttings can start new heather plants. If starting by cuttings, the best time to take them is in summer when the wood is half-ripe.

WATERING: After getting the plants into the ground, water them until the ground is moist. Follow this watering ritual twice a week for a few months. As with most plants, do not over water them. If the soil remains too wet the plant will suffer and possibly die.

The heather plant is hardy and resistant to insects, common diseases, and small burrowing rodents.

Source by Steve Charles Habib