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.

Safe Pest Control Tips

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Gardening Information

Pest control while an important step in any healthy garden must be done with utmost consideration to safety; safety in terms of the plants, animals and humans. This holds especially true for those with vegetable and organic gardens. The main purpose of growing vegetables organically will be defeated if they become tainted with pest control chemicals.

Here are some long-term tips to make pest control less damaging and more environmentally friendly.

1. Get Physical

This is the hands on approach to pest control, picking grubs off by hand, creating barriers and traps and plugging holes. Snails can be found hiding in damp places under rocks and towrds the base of those plants with straplike foliage.

2. Add more bugs!

Encourage predatory insects such as green lacewings and dragonflies to feed on aphids and other pests that attack your plants. You can do this by placing a shallow bowl of water in the garden. Dragonflies especially will hover around water. Bacterial insecticides such as B. thuringiensis could also be used against caterpillars.

3. As a last resort you can turn to chemical pest control.

Organic pest control methods can be successful and the ingredients for many of the recipes can be found in the kitchen cupboards. If chemical sprays are really necessary, try and find the least-toxic. These include insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, dehydrating dusts, etc.

4. Try Home Remedies

Recipes for alternative pest control include the following:

Against Green Aphids and Mites – Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and a cup of vegetable oil. Dilute a teaspoon of this solution in a cup of water and spray on aphids and mites.

Against Cockroaches – Dusts of boric acid can be applied to cracks or entry points of these insects. Bay leaves on pantry shelves could also help in warding off these critters.

Make sure that the chemicals you use are made specifically for the insects you are targeting.