Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Gardening is fixing to start

How is everyone's plants coming along? Is everyone ready to plant their gardens because I know I am however it is still a few weeks to early (where I live) before you can plant everything in your garden. On the positive side, it is time to plant your onions, potatoes, asparagus, strawberries, and other underground based plants though because they some of the more hardy plants that can survive light frosts.
Recently I have been talking with people about building garden boxes and how to build them properly; now I am no expert on this matte but I have been letting people know what I have heard and experienced first hand and this is what I am going to be talking about today.
When you are building a garden box, first you must decide either you want to buy a kit or build your own from scratch. Personally, I am fan of building one from scratch because you can build your box any length and width you desire. Before you start building or buying your garden box you must first decided what you are you wanting to grow because that will determine how deep your box needs to be, for example potatoes and carrots need their soil to be deeper than tomatoes or peppers. In my personal experience with growing potatoes you honestly need at least a foot and half of dirt to allow the potatoes to grow properly; however for plants like tomatoes or peppers I have always found that about a foot of dirt deep should always been plenty (I have grown peppers in as little as 6 inches of dirt before). After deciding on what you are going to grow in your box its time to build your garden box to the proper depth, width, and length; be sure and do not start filling the garden box in at this time. This next step with involving everyone's favorite subject weeding, cover the bottom of your garden box with a weed barrier and secure the barrier to the sides of the garden box securely. This will allow the garden to grow however not easily allowing any grass to grow into your garden box from the rest of your yard or underneath the garden box where you are going to have your garden.
Next you will need to decide where you wanting your garden's final location; my only recommendation would be to to try and pick a place that doesn't get a lot of evening sunlight. This is because in the summer time (July an August) its the evening sun that causes the plants to burn up and die. After you have decided where you are going to put your garden box then the final step is filling in it with soil. My recommendation for this is to check with your local city or county to see if you can buy their top soil/compost because it will be a lot cheaper than it would be to buy individual bags at your local gardening store.
Once your garden box is filled with soil its now time to start planting your more frost proof plants and preparing to plant all your other plants.

Good luck gardening.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year Farmers

Hey farmers, who is dying to start their gardens already? I know I am. I have become so eager that I have went ahead and bought the little plastic greenhouses (germination station) and have planted my tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, and banana peppers in them. I am even trying to use some heirloom seeds I extracted from tomatoes last year; fingers crossed they come up.

You do need to be careful what you plant in those little greenhouse (germination) kits though because I have discovered that beans, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, corn, and plants that grow underground (onions, carrots, potatoes, etc) don't do well in those greenhouses. I will say though tomatoes and peppers do exactly well in them though.
Something else to watch out for when using these little greenhouses is to have them in a warm place that gets a lot of sunshine. You will also need to start these at least 2 months ahead of when you plan on planting your garden this will allow your plants to get big enough to survive adjusting to outdoor life.

My useful tip of the week
For anyone looking to get heirloom seeds I made a very interesting purchase this week, I went to Walmart and actually found some heirloom bell pepper and onion seeds. So if you are wanting to try out heirlooms seeds, like me, you can find them at your local retailers however you might have to do a little bit of extra looking.

Side Notes
If I can find any really good deals of garden products and I will pass on that information as soon as I get it.
My greenhouse habernos are still alive and growing really well. I hope to be able to get them planted this spring (outside of course).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Picking before the first Frost of the Season

Now that we are starting to enter the time of the fall and winter months we are going to need to start worrying about frosts and freezes. These both can be very devastating to your plants and produce however there are ways to help keep your garden alive and producing during these cold days ahead.
The first possible to solution to this idea is to convert your garden box into a greenhouse. This has its positives and negatives and if you are growing the majority of your vegetables and fruits you will need to create a greenhouse that way you are continue through these cold months producing produce. I haven't ever built one myself however you can find several how to guides on the internet by searching "outdoor garden box greenhouse." For someone like me who is just getting into gardening, I wouldn't recommend this approach for starters because of the cost behind the creating the greenhouse, heating the greenhouse, and the time spent every fall and spring. In the spring you will be needing to tear down the green to avoid storms tearing up the greenhouse. While in the early fall you will need to remember how to put it back together and.put the green house together before the first frost but not to early otherwise you rise burning up your plants.
The other approach is more of temporary solution for the first frosts of fall and the last frosts of spring. This approach is very simple, during the nights of frosts you will need to create a fire up wind from your garden. This will allow for the heat off of the fire to keep the air around the garden warmer than normal. I haven't ever tried this way however I know my grandfather has done it several times in the past.

My useful tip of the week
This weeks useful tip resolves around the first frost of the year and what you should pick from your garden before the first frost and what you should pick up. You will want to pick all of your peppers, tomatoes, and more sensitive vegetables before the frost otherwise the vegetables will start their rotting process. This rule does not apply to vegetables growing underground like turnips, onions,..... This is because they have more insulation around them due to the dirt covering them. Don't get me wrong this won't protect them from a hard freeze but they will last longer with the occasional light frost in the mornings.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gardening using Pottery Part 3

First off I know I sound like a broken record continuing talking to talk about gardening your pottery even though I have told you can't product as much fruit and vegetables in pottery like you can in a raised bed or traditional garden (at least in my experiences).
This week I have learned one thing that I thought was interesting and wanted to spread it to you though and yes it involves gardening your pottery. This is something I should have put together a while ago but didn't. Did you know if you are using a pot that using a dish to hold the extra water that you can actually cause your dirt to rot and cause root rot if the dirt is always sitting in water. In my case this explained why when I tried transplanting plants into bigger pots the dirt always smell rotten and the plant never seems in good shape (on the edge of death). Since I have start switching over from pots and water saucers underneath now to these new pots (new to me) I am actually seeing better looking plants and overall healthier plants too.
I would recommend only using these kind pots for indoor use though because if you keep them outside you can temporary flood (rains) your plant which can use your plant to die. This is because it will take the pot longer to drain out the liquids that it would the traditional pot with several holes in it.

On a side note
The reason I am bring up gardening using pottery is because I now using this technique to grow my habernos and other plants for my greenhouse.

Fact of Week
In terms of gardening I have learned that pepper plants seem to grow a better in spring and fall than in summer including habernos, bell peppers, and jalapenos.

Greenhouse fruit of my labors

I just had to post that I have now officially received my first gotten my first haberno from my greenhouse. Now I am trying to figure out what to do with it... If anyone has any ideas please let me know.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Building and using an indoor greenhouse

This year I have decided to try my hand at having an indoor greenhouse; now this doesn't mean that I am building one in my backyard or anything crazy like that. Instead I am taking over a closet my house and converting it over into an indoor greenhouse. I am starting small and hoping to maybe one day go big. The reason I have decided to try my hand at building a mini greenhouse is because I think I can long term be able to grow some simple vegetables (tomatoes and peppers) and always be able to grow my plants for my garden from seeds instead of having to buy the plants from places like Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot,....etc
In order to build a greenhouse like this all you will need is metal or plastic shelves, greenhouse "growing" lights, and a timer (if you don't want to be in charge of always turning on and off the lights everyday). You should be able to get all of these products for less than a hundred dollars at any warehouse or super center store. I would also recommend getting some cheap plastic pots and something to put underneath the pots so when you water then the water does spill onto your floor.I personally bought the cheap aluminum throwaway pans used for cooking and put the my pots in them.
After you assemble your shelving you will need to attach the growing lights on the underside of each shelve excluding the very first shelf of course because it will just have plants on it and nothing below it. I then plugged in all of my greenhouse/growing lights into a surge strip and plugged that into my timer. I would personally recommend you have you timer set to on for 18 hours on and off for 6 hours a day.

This year I am growing to try and grow habernos, tomatoes, and a lemon tree. Below is what my indoor greenhouse looks like:

On a side note:
If you are thinking about building a garden next spring, try and start buying all the material you will need for in the late summer and early fall. The reason for this is because you will be able to buy the material while its on sale and the companies are trying to get rid of the materials and ready for the holiday season.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fall Gardening

Now is the time of year that we start thinking about fall gardening and what we can grow in a fall garden. I will be the first to admit that this the first year, I have tried to fall garden so I will be learning right there beside everyone else. I have always been told you need to grow fast growing plants and ones that are more suitable for cool weather too.

For my first time growing a fall garden, I am sticking more with the basics like green beans, turnips and radishes. I planted these plants because they have some of the fastest seed to produce times of any plants. You can also grown broccoli, cauliflower, and others. I planted my seeds/plants around the middle to late August and so far I am seeing the plants acting healthy and growing very well. The green beans are veining out wonderfully, the radishes and turnips are starting to produce bulbs (hoping for a bunch of turnip bulbs, they are one of favorites). You will want all of your plants to be producing vegetables by the end of September at the latest (depending on where you live in the nation or world).

You will not want to try to plant anything that is picky about the temperatures otherwise the plant will more than likely not make it during the fall season. Another good rule of the thumb is don't buy "baby" plants is because it will become incredibly difficult to make your money back on these plants. I would recommend planting your seeds into the garden and letting them grow naturally in your garden.

My useful tip of the week
If you are wanting to build a garden box next spring now is the time to buy all the products needed especially timber like landscape timbers. For example landscape timbers are normally around 4 to 5 dollars however because its the end of the season you can get them for a dollar a piece at certain stores. I bought 35 landscape timbers for 35 dollars which is a savings of over 100 dollars.

Side notes
I am starting to get an indoor greenhouse working inside of my house. I will keep you updated on how it goes.