Amazingly Simple and Cheap Garden Plant Resources

March 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Gardening Information

By Doreen Whitelock

Did you know here are some amazingly simple resources to get the best organic plants and seeds for your own organic victory garden? Interesting isn’t it and it may not cost you another penny… But what should you be looking for?

First of all you want to grow organic Heirloom, Non-Genetically Modified (Non-GM/GMO) or Non-Genetically Engineered (Non-GEO) seeds, plants or veggies. Did you realize the “O” in GMO and GEO actually stands for Organisms.

Many of these seeds and plants can be purchased from local plant nurseries, very good home and garden stores that have large garden centers, while the veggies are best if grown from local Organic Farms or Farmers Markets. You may also consider some large health food markets that sell Organic Locally grown veggies and of course there are also online sellers.

Again, the most important thing is to make the right choices! Make sure you get organic, heirloom, non-genetically modified food and plants.

Secondly, what’s amazingly simple and cheap is that some of your garden plants can be grown right from the organic veggies in your very own refrigerator, or, from your own kitchen shelves. That’s right you may already have some organically grown veggies right there in your very own refrigerator or cupboard that you can plant in your garden. I know I do.

To help you find some here is a list of some organic plants you may be able to grow from foods already in your refrigerator or on your kitchen shelves:

Leeks, onions, potatoes, ginger, dried beans, peas and other legumes, sprouting seeds, mint (in some schools the kindergarten classes grow these from a single leaf), and so many more.

And check this out, you can even get organic seeds from many of your organically purchased raw peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, different squash and pumpkins and many more that still have seeds inside. Many of these seeds can literally be dried and stored to plant in your next garden.

Another amazingly simple resource is Organic Fruit purchased from local farmers markets which can also produce some wonderful seeds for your own orchard. These however take much longer to grow from seed. I often save and dry some for my future orchard.

As a little girl my Grandmother instilled the love of growing flowers and veggies and I remember when she moved away I planted pinto beans from my parent’s kitchen pantry into my backyard and proudly harvested them. I did it, and know it can be done as it was fun and really quite easy even for me as a 9 year old.

Also important to remember as you start your Organic Victory Garden is to find out the best ways to protect your garden from pests in a nontoxic manner and grow it “non-toxically.” That is, without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers.

As an organic gardener your goal is to create a balanced natural environment for you, your family and garden. This entails healthy soil, the right beneficial bugs, such as beneficial beetles, worms, birds and even frogs to help you eliminate many veracious, plant eating bad bugs without the use of toxic pesticides.

Manually knocking off (usually into a can) the plant eating worms in your garden is another way to protect your garden. Many gardeners feed these worms to the birds, frogs and other beneficial critters that live in their gardens.

Still other gardeners create a hobby from this technique of manually picking off veggie eating worms. They actually protect the species by collecting them and putting them in a simple habitat which allows them to feed and grow into the butterflies and moths they were destined to be.

But, if absolutely necessary, you can make your own organic insecticidal soap which is still safe for you your family and the environment. But realize that it will also damage your beneficial bugs should they get sprayed, so please use only when necessary.

As you can see there truly are amazingly simple, easy and cheap ways to get the best organic plants and seeds to start your own Victory Garden. So it is now time to grow your own Victory Garden and to help you get started you can find many free gardening tips and videos at: http://www.VictoryGardentips.com to help you and your family become naturally sustainable.

Author: Doreen Whitelock, Be Well and Do Great

Article Source:  Amazingly Simple and Cheap Garden Plant Resources

Tips for a Healthy Vegetable Garden

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Gardening Information

The healthiest and best way to save money in today economy is to plant a garden for you and your family.  Fruits and Veggies can get expensive, but with a little time and effort you can have a garden full of your favorites at a fraction of the cost and very little work.  In fact, you’ll probably end up with more than you can possible eat in a season which then leads to canning and freezing for future use, saving you even more money!

Most vegetables need between 6 and 8 hours of sunlight,quick growers like lettuce and radish can be grown between the rows of plants that take longer to mature, like beet or corn, thus making full use of the area available.

Throughout dry periods, vegetable gardens need extra watering. Most vegetables benefit from an inch or more of water each week, especially when they are fruiting.

During the growing season watch for insects that will eat up your crops and kill plants. If you discover a bug problem early it will be a lot easier to get rid of them, but be careful not to use pesticides once the vegetable are close to being picked unless it becomes absolutely necessary. Organic gardening is one healthy and environment-friendly option. Once you have reaped your crop, put the vegetable waste into your compost pile so that it can be recycled for next spring.

It is important to protect your vegetable garden from wild animals looking for a tasty treat. Make sure your garden is surrounded by a fence that will keep out dogs, rabbits, and other animals. The harm done by wandering animals during one season can equal the cost of a fence. A fence also can serve as a frame for peas, beans, tomatoes, and other crops that need support.

All of this work will be payed back 10 fold with a season full of delicious and healthy veggies and fruits!

Organic Gardens

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Gardening Information

With all of the talk these days about the chemicals being used on our produce it’s no wonder more and more people are leaning towards Organic Gardens.

Organic gardening starts with the soil, it takes approximately 7 years to be able to deem produce organic. This means that no pesticides or chemicals were used either on the plants or in the soil for that length of time, this in turn makes the soil and anything grown in it “clean” and therefore can be deemed Organic.  Gardeners must add organic matter to the soil regularly in order to keep the soil productive.  In fact, compost is essential to the healthiness and well being of plants grown organically.  Compost can be made from leaves, dead flowers, vegetable scraps, fruit rinds, grass clippings, manure, and many other things.

The ideal soil has a dark color, sweet smell, and is full of earthworms.  Some soil may need more natural additives than regular compost can give, such as bonemeal, rock phosphates, or greensand.  A simple soil test will tell you the pH balance and which nutrients you will need to use.

One thing that makes even the most consciensious gardeners that are very serious about organic gardening reach for pesticides is insects on their plants.  The best way to defend plants against insects is to take preventative measures.  One thing that can be done is to make sure plants are healthy and not too wet or dry because insects usually attack unhealthy plants and if healthy, they can often outgrow minor insect damage.  A variety of plant types is a good idea to keep pests of a particular plant type from taking out the entire garden.

The best way to defend against insects is to make your garden enticing to insect predators, such as ladybugs, birds, frogs, and lizards.  You can do this by keeping a water source nearby or by growing plants that attract insects who feed on nectar.  Other ideas are sticky traps, barriers, and plant collars.  There are some household items that prevent against insects too, like insecticidal soaps, garlic, and hot pepper.

To help prevent plant disease in organic gardening, choose disease resistant plants and plant them in their prime conditions.  Many diseases will spread because of constant moisture and bad air circulation, so the site of your garden and the way it is watered can help ensure against diseases.

One of the best ways of weed control in an Organic garden is to  put a layer of newspaper, construction paper, or cardboard under the mulch.  Corn meal gluten will slow the growth of weeds if spread early in the season before planting, as does solarization.  There’s also the old-fashioned art of hoeing and hand pulling that always works.  Your best bet in weed prevention is persistence.  Mulch well and pull and hoe what you can; after a few seasons you can beat the weeds for good.

Organic gardening may take a little more time and care than regular gardening, but after gardeners get the hang of it and figure out all the quirks of their garden, it is definitely worth the extra time.

Japanese Garden

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Gardening Information

Very different from western or American sty gardens, japanese gardening is a cultural form of gardening that is meant to produce a scene that mimics nature as much as possible by using trees, shrubs, rocks, sand, artificial hills, ponds, and flowing water as art-forms.  The Zen and Shinto traditions are both a large part of Japanese gardening and, because of this; the gardens have a contemplative and reflective state of mind.  Japanese gardening is more meditational and soul soothing.

Japanese gardening consists of three basic methods for scenery.  The first of these is reduced scale,  this is simply the art of taking an actual scene from nature, mountains, rivers, trees, and all, and reproducing it on a smaller scale. An example of this would be using white sand to suggest the ocean.  Borrowed views refers to artists that would use something like an ocean a forest as a background, but it would end up becoming an important part of the scene.

There are essentially two types of Japanese gardening: tsukiyami, which is a hill garden and mainly composed of hills and ponds.  The other is hiraniwa, which is basically the exact opposite of tsukiyami: a flat garden without any hills or ponds.

Basicly Japanese gardening include rocks, gravel, water, moss, stones, fences, and hedges.  Rocks are most often used as centerpieces and bring a presence of spirituality to the garden.  According to the Shinto tradition rocks embody the spirits of nature.  Gravel is used as a sort of defining surface and is used to imitate the flow of water when arranged properly.  Stones are used to create a boundary and are sculpted into the form of lanterns.  Water, whether it be in the form of a pond, stream, or waterfall, is an essential part of a Japanese garden.  It can be in the actual form of water or portrayed by gravel, but no matter what form water it is, it’s crucial to a Japanese gardens balance.

Bonsai plants are the main part of a Japanese Garden.  Bonsai is the art of training everyday, average plants, such as Pine, Cypress, Holly, Cedar, Cherry, Maple, and Beech, to look like large, old trees just in miniature form.  These trees range from five centimeters to one meter and are kept small by pruning, re-potting, pinching of growth, and wiring the branches.

A Japanese garden is sure to bring about many different feelings and is definitely a transforming experience.

Flower Gardening

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Gardening Information, Gardening Tips

Flower gardens are becoming more popular every year.  The colors and variaties, not to mention the scents make for a wonderful and relaxing hobby.  Flower gardening is simple, inexpensive, and loads of fun.
There are some decisions that have to be made before even flower gardening can be started.  You must decide if you want annuals that live for one season and must be replanted every year, or perennials that survive the winter and return again in the summer. You might love certain Annuals and decide that they are worth the work and money to buy every year while still planting perennials that you won’t have to do much with the following spring, this is a great way to add variety to your flower garden.  When buying and planting, pay attention to what kind of flowers that will thrive in your climate as well as the sun requirements.
When flower gardening, you must decide what type of look you want before planting.  For instance, mixing different heights, colors, and varieties of flowers together in a “wild-plant style” will give your garden a meadow look and can be very charming.  If short flowers are planted in the front of your garden and work up to the tallest flowers in the back you will have a “stepping stone style”.
You can order seeds for flower gardening from catalogs or buy them from a nursery.  Most people will go to the nursery and buy actual flowers and then transplant them.  After you have prepared your garden area and bought flowers, it is a good idea to lay the flowers out in the bed to make sure you like the arrangement and that they will be spaced properly.
One of the easiest processes in flower gardening is the planting if you have seeds just sprinkle them around in the flower bed.  For planting transplants dig a hole just bigger than the flower, pull the container off, and set the flower in the hole right side up.  Cover it with the loose soil and press down firmly, then water.

Maintaining a flower garden is even easier than planting one.  Although they might make it on their own, a bag of fertilizer applied in the early spring is a good idea.  Pinch back any blooms after they start to fade and keep them good and watered.  To save yourself work during the next season of flower gardening, rid your garden of all debris and spread out organic nutrients like peat moss or compost.  Don’t forget to turn over the soil to properly mix in the fertilizer and rake smooth when finished.  If you have perennials planted be careful not to disturb their roots in this process.

Flowers are a great way to spruce up a plain area around your house, give you wonderful and relaxing hobby, and even allow you to have fresh flowers in your home each week! With a little work and planning you can have a gorgeous yard that most would be envious of!

Planet Enemies – Keeping them at bay

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Gardening Information

There are two basic ways to keep your plants enemies at bay:

Mechanical protection for the plants.

Applying insecticides and fungicides.

The first and most useful is the covered frame, such as a greenhouse. It consists usually of a wooden box, some eighteen inches to two feet square and about eight high, covered with glass, protecting cloth, mosquito netting or mosquito wire. The first two coverings have, of course, the additional advantage of retaining heat and protecting from cold, making it possible by their use to plant earlier than is otherwise safe. They are used extensively in getting an extra early and safe start with cucumbers, melons and the other vine vegetables.

For protecting newly-set plants, such as tomatoes or cabbage, from the cut-worm, there are stiff, tin, cardboard or tar paper collars, which are made several inches high and large enough to be put around the stem and penetrate an inch or so into the soil.

When applying poison powders, the home gardener should supply himself with a powder gun. If you are restricted to a single implement, however, it would be best to get one of the hand-powered, compressed-air sprayers. These are used for applying wet sprays, and should be supplied with one of the several forms of mist-making  nozzles, the non-cloggable automatic type being the best. For more extensive work a barrel pump, mounted on wheels, would be best, but one of the above will do a great deal of work in little time. Extension rods for use in spraying trees and vines may be obtained for either. For operations on a very small scale a good hand-syringe may be used, but in general it would be best to invest a few dollars more and get a small tank sprayer, as this throws a continuous stream or spray and holds a much larger amount of the spraying solution. Whatever type you choose,know that the cheaper the metal the faster it will corrode due to the chemicals used in them.

Just keep in mind, when using sprays and chemicals, these will also be getting into your fruits and veggies and into your soil and eventually your ground water, so be very careful as to which powders, sprays and chemicals you choose.  There are many variaties that are safer for your plants and your soil, many are all natural, so do you homework before you go after those pests and fungi!

Which Plants are Best for Your Garden?

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Gardening Information, Gardening Tips

Before buying plants carefully examine your garden to see how much sun and shade it gets, whether the soil is well drained or water logged and whether your land is sheltered or windswept. Once you have done this you’ll be better able to find the best plants for your situation; shade-loving plants for the sheltered areas, sun-lovers for the warm spots, drought-resistant plants for the parched areas which may be either sunny or shaded, and swamp plants for the poorly-drained parts.

Test your soil first, to determine the pH level of your soil and what kind of nutrients you need to add, if any. Is the soil acid or alkaline? Most plants prefer soil that is slightly acidic, but there are some that must have alkaline soil to grow.  You can alter the soil’s pH level, but it’s much easier to simply plant for the soil you have.

Now you are ready to plant, Well – almost, are you going to plant in groups or singly? If you buy ‘one of everything’ your garden may seem rather sparse, grouping plantings are organised, harmonious and you can vary the color for interest.

Before planting place your plants around the garden in their pots to see how they will look. Re-arrange them until you are satisfied, grouping plants in sets of threes or fives usually looks better than planting in groups of even numbers. Be sure that you have an interesting combination of colors and textures of plants. Tall plants should go in the back, or the centre if your garden will be viewed equally from all sides. Try to keep your plants away from trees, the roots of trees are fiercely competitive and will steal all the nutrients and moisture meant for your flowers.

The right color scheme is one way to maintain the harmony in your garden, imagine the color of the flowers when they are in bloom, some colors may clash with others, but can still be planted side-by-side if they have a different blooming season. Foliage color is also important, many flower plants have silver, grey or purplish foliage that is just as attractive as the flower. This means that they are still attractive well past the blooming season and so have added value.

Your Fall Garden

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Gardening Information

There are gardeners who don’t even consider fall gardening because of the winter frosts that might make an early appearance.  On the contrary, fall gardening will result in excellent vegetables and will extend crops long after spring plants are finished.  Vegetables produced from fall gardening are sometimes sweeter and milder than those grow in the summer and offer a brand new taste to the same old veggies.

What you choose to grow during you fall will depend on your available space and what you like to eat, just like spring plants.  Even the crops that enjoy the heat, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, and peppers, will produce until frosts hit, which can be pretty late in the year in southern areas.  However, there are some plants that will quit towards the end of summer like snap-beans, summer squash, and cucumbers.  If these vegetables are planted around the middle of the summer they can be harvested until the first frosts as well.  Hardy, tough vegetables will grow until the temperature is as low as 20 degrees, but those that aren’t as strong will only be able to grow through light frosts.  Remember that if you have root and tuber plants and the tops are killed by a freeze the edible part can be saved if a large amount of mulch is used.

When planning a fall garden, make sure and pick the vegetables with the shortest growing season so they can be fully grown and harvested before the frost arrives.  Most seed packages will be labeled “early season”, or you can find the seeds boasting the fewest days to maturity.  It is a good idea to buy your seeds for fall gardening in spring or early summer as they are usually not kept in stock towards the end of summer.  If stored in a cool and dry location they will keep until you are ready to plant.

To know exactly when the best time to start fall gardening is, you need to know about when the first hard frost will hit your area.  One of the best ways to find out when this is, is by a Farmer’s Almanac.  They will give you exact dates and are rarely wrong.  You will also need to know exactly how long it is going to take your plants to mature.

When getting your soil ready for fall gardening, first remove any leftover spring/summer crops and weeds.  Crops leftover from the last season can end up spreading bacteria and disease if left in the garden.  Spread a couple of inches of compost or mulch over the garden area to increase the nutrients, however, if spring plants were fertilized heavily it may not need much, if any.  Till the top layer of soil, wet it down, and let it set for about 12-24 hours.  Once this has been done, you are ready to start planting.

Fall gardening gives you the chance to enjoy your vegetable garden longer than most which of course for the avid gardener or canner is a major plus!

How to care for your house plants

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Gardening Information

There are just a few simply steps to ensure a healthy houseplant.

1.  Water
Looks can be decieving, so to see if your soil is dry enough to water, try the finger test.  Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil.  If the soil is damp, don’t water it.

2.  Fertilizer
Slow release fertilizers can be mixed with the compost, however, certain plants like cacti and orchids need special fertilizer,  feed plants during their most active growth period and check to see what the soil requirements are for each plant.

3.  Sunlight
Some plants such as Sanseveria and Aspidistra require no sun, so they can be placed away from a window.  Spider plants need semi-shade,  you can put plants like these near a window that does or does not get sunlight, check the label to see what your plants needs are.

4.  Temperature
Most houseplants do fine in cool or warm temperatures, but extreme fluctuations of temperature may harm them. Keep plant in neutral areas of your home away from direct air conditioning or heating vents. Many houseplants can be placed outside in the summer, just make sure to slowly “harden” them until it is safe to put them out, you can do this by putting them out on a porch during the day and bringing them in at night until the temperatures have steadied out and the threat of frost has passed.

5.  Humidity
Some houseplants require a humid environment, Ferns are one such plant, putting them in a bathroom once a week and turning on the shower for humidity usually does the trick. You can also maximize humidity by putting the pot inside a larger pot and filling in the gaps with stones or compost to keep in the moisture.  Grouping plants together often creates a microclimate that they will benefit from. If you want, you can spray them with water once or twice a day depending on the temperature.

6.  Re-potting

Some plants require re-potting for optimum growth but there are others that resent having their roots disturbed. Or their roots system may be small enough that they don’t require re-potting.  One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down.  Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots.  If roots are all you see, then re-pot. Sometimes the roots will come out of the pot. You should either cut them off or re-pot the plant.

With a little care and attention your plants will thrive and in turn, you’ll reap the benefits.  Indoor plants not only add to the beauty of your décor, but also give much pleasure to  the indoor gardener.

Tips for Container Gardeners

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Garden Care, Gardening Information

Container gardens are wonderful for city dwellers who don’t have the land to garden. Whether you arrange your pots in a group for a massed effect or highlight a smaller space with a single specimen, you’ll be delighted with this simple way to create a garden.

Container gardening allows you to easily vary your color scheme, and as each plant finishes flowering, it can be replaced with another.  Make sure there is variety in the height of each plant. Think of the shape and texture of the leaves. Tall strap-like leaves will give a good vertical background to low-growing, wide-leaved plants. Choose plants with a long flowering season, or have others of a different type ready to replace them as they finish blooming.

Experiment with different containers, you might have an old porcelain bowl or copper urn you can use, or perhaps you’d rather make something really modern with wood or tiles.  If you decide to buy your containers ready-made, terracotta pots look wonderful, but tend to absorb water. You don’t want your plants to dry out, so paint the interior of these pots with a special sealer available from hardware stores. Cheaper plastic pots can also be painted on the outside with water-based paints for good effect.  When purchasing pots, don’t forget to buy matching saucers to catch the drips. This will save cement floors getting stained, or wood floors rotting. Always use a good quality potting mix in your containers this will ensure the best performance possible from your plants.

If you have steps leading up to your front door, an attractive pot plant on each one will look wonderful. Indoors, pots of plants or flowers help to create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere.
Decide ahead of time where you want your pots to be positioned, then buy plants that suit the situation. There is no point buying sun lovers for the shady part of your yard because they won’t do well. Some plants also have really large roots, so they are best kept for the open garden.

If you have plenty of space at your front door, a group of potted plants off to one side will look much better than two similar plants placed on each side. Unless they are spectacular, they will look rather boring. Group the pots in odd numbers rather than even, and vary the height and type. To tie the group together, add large rocks that are similar in appearance and just slightly different in size. Three or five pots of the same type and color, but in different sizes also looks affective.

With a little determination and creativity you will soon have a container garden that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

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