Archive for the ‘Cold Weather Gardening’ Category

What Seeds To NOT Start Indoors

Onions started indoorsStarting your garden from seeds is a great way to save money, grow interesting varieties you can’t find in the nursery, and can be a rewarding experience. When just starting out, gardeners tend to learn by trial and error. In fact much of gardening is figured out that way because everyone has different soil, light, and weather conditions. So one thing might work great for one gardener and it might not work so well with the next. That being said, there are a few things that can be universal to most gardens.

Today I want to talk about what seeds do better when started directly outdoors vs starting inside in a pot.

  1. Corn- top of the list. Partially because they are so easy to start out doors, and grow so quickly that why bother starting and transplanting? But also those big seeds don’t like to be transplanted and will more likely get transplant shock and possibly die when transplanted. Rather to get a head start on them, I soak and then sprout them just slightly before planting them. This gives them a better chance of growing. Soak for a day or so or until they no longer look shriveled up. Then sprout them in a sprout-er, or covered with a damp paper towel. Making sure to moisten them about twice a day. Extra tip: try growing pop corn- So fun!!
  2. Peas and Beans. Also being such big seeds they just don’t do well when transplanted. I use the same method of sprouting before planting directly outdoors. It speeds up their growth and you also know which seeds are duds and which ones not to plant by sprouting. Plant right after they start to open up- don’t wait too long. Its a good idea to have the garden bed where they are going to be planted ready before hand so that you are not scrambling to get it ready when the seeds are.
  3. Carrots, radishes, onions, beets- actually lets group all root veggies in here. Root veggies grow mostly a big tap root and very little side roots, thus the soil around them will not be held together much when planting, thus makes it hard to transplant. Onions do ok if they are transplanted very young as they act a little bit like a grass right at first. But they grow so well just directly planted even in early spring, that I don’t bother planting indoors. You can ever through some onion seeds out in the fall and as soon as the conditions are right, the onions will just start growing themselves. Its fun when you see little baby onions poking up through the snow!
  4. Squash family plants. This one is a little bit tricky. In our area, it actually is best to start them indoors, and CAREFULLY transplant being sure not to disturb the roots. But the key to this is not to start them too early. Generally 2-3 weeks before the last frost. Then plant outdoors after the last frost. You want them very small and immature when planting outdoors or else they will directly die or get transplant shock so bad it stunts their growth. They like it warm, so putting them in a wall of water or a hot cap over the top of them might help speed up their growth. They do well when directly sown outdoors, just need to make sure the soil temperature is warm enough for them. One of the things we have to watch out for in our garden, is those tender, tasty little plants get gobbled up in one bite by snails and slugs. The whole plant disappears! So be sure to bait or prevent snails from eating your little plant before it even has a chance.

There you go! Now I only know all this because I learned from my experience. So if you have found that something works for you, PLEASE share, it might help someone out there! Happy Gardening!

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How to Grow Herbs Indoors!

Don’t let winter’s dreadful temperatures and constant snowfall keep you down. To add a bit of greenery and pizazz to your life, try growing an indoor herb garden!

Fortunately, growing herbs year-round for fresh use is easy and enjoyable, ando help you get  growing, Birds & Blooms—America’s # 1 Bird & Garden Magazine—has put together a list of easy steps on how to grow herbs in the winter.

Start your indoor garden with these seven basic steps:

 

·         Choose the right location: Although many think that herbs need direct sunlight, indirect sunlight will also work fine. Look around your house and make sure to choose the best location—don’t limit yourself to the kitchen. East, South and West-facing windows should all give your herbs more than enough light.

 

·         Buy the right pot and soil: One of the most important steps in growing herbs is choosing a high-quality potting soil. Buy soil that feels nice and moist when you take a handful. The type of pot you use is also extremely important. Clay pottery or unglazed ceramic pots seem to be the best for growing plants.

·         Plant with loose soil:  It is very important to loosely fill the pot with soil and not to press down too hard. Once the soil is in place, remove the starter herb plant from its pot and gently loosen the soil around the bottom inch of the roots. Scoop out a hole in the planting pot and settle the plant in its new home. Carefully fill soil back around the roots and water the plant moderately.

 

·         Learn how to water: Learning to water herb containers is what takes the most practice. Until you get used to how fast your plants dry out, check them every couple of days. To keep plants and soil from drying out too fast, avoid placing them near furnace vents or hot, sunny windows. Plan to water plants every three to five days or so.

 

·         Add organic fertilizer:  Fertilize herbs once a month with organic fertilizer. Since you’ll probably be using the plants for cooking or tea, you don’t want to be eating chemical fertilizer residues.

 

·         Prevent insect pests: Whenever you grow plants indoors, insects can come calling. You can prevent most problems by making sure your soil doesn’t get soggy. If you notice a few pests on your herbs, take action right away by spraying with a soap- or neem oil-based plant product.

 

·         Harvest for good health: Be sure to pinch back or harvest your plants regularly. Pinching back the top couple of inches of growth helps plants stay bushy and healthy, and the harvest is perfect for cooking, making tea or adding to your bath.

Thanks Birds and Blooms for the great idea!

Happy Gardening!

Growing Sprouts!

sprouts, how to grow your own sprouts, home grown sprouts, what seeds can I sprout to eat? Do I need anything special to grow sproutsI have wanted to grow my own sprouts for eating for a long time now, but I was nervous to do it. I didn’t want to do it wrong, or use the wrong seeds. It was enough that I just have not tried it. Then I received this book to review called, “Homegrown Sprouts” by Rita Galchus. This book is a great how to guide to growing sprouts. It covers all different kinds, and all different ways! It made it seem very simple, so I took the plunge and grew my own sprouts. I decided to buy a little sprouter because growing them just in a jar seemed like it was limiting. So I found a sprouter at my local health food store, along with some seeds. They were a mix of seeds- one jar with small grain type seeds and the other with bigger ones.

I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy and fun it has been. The hardest part is just remembering to rinse them night and morning.

The small seeds/grain mix is great to add to sandwiches and salads. But by far my families favorite is the large seeds mix. It tastes like eating fresh peas from the garden! My little 2 year old did not want her salad for dinner last night, but decided to finish off all of the sprouts instead. So Yummy! It is such a great way to add fresh, raw food into your diet during the winter!

This book is a great way for someone who has never sprouted, but who wants to get started and even someone who wants to expand their knowledge of sprouting. Great information on safe food handling practices and how to properly mix your own mix of seeds to how to remove the hulls after they are sprouted. Then there is a great section on using your sprouts. Even including a raw sprouted hummus recipe! Yum!

Consider me addicted. I LOVE sprouting and eating sprouts!

Happy Gardening (or should I say Sprouting)!

5 Things You Should Be Doing in the Garden Now

what are some things I should be doing in my garden right now to get a good harvest, how do i start my garden, what are some things to do in the garden, how do you grow the best garden, to do list for garden, important things in the garden, What should you be doing in your garden right now? There are many things you could be doing in your garden right now and really it depends on what your particular garden needs but here are a few ideas for you.

  1. Adding organic matter. I add organic matter AT LEAST twice a year. One is in the fall we grind up our leaves with the lawn mower and spread them all around the grow boxes after they are all cleaned out for the winter. Then we also add a nice thick layer of mulch around

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How to Keep Your Seedlings Growing Strong

what is wrong with my seedlings, why did my seedlings not grow big, why did my seedlings die, why are the seedlings spindly, tips to grow healthy seedlings, what are some things that go wrong when growing seedlings, Growing your own vegetables, and even your own flowers from seeds is very fun, and also can save you money. However growing them from seed might seem a little tricky at times. One of the keys to getting healthy starts is keep them growing fast. There are a few simple tricks you can use to keep them healthy and growing fast.

  1.  After all of the seedlings have their true leaves, with a very light fertilizer, feed the seedlings.
  2.  Thin them out with a pair of scissors or something that will not disturb the roots. However if you are growing onions, they will grow back if thin them out with scissors so they have to be very carefully pulled out. Thinning out will make it so they are not competing for light and nutrients.
  3.  Lightly brush the plants with your hands everyday or as often as you think about it. This will help them build up stronger stems. It is what the wind dose for them out in the real world. You can even keep a fan on in that room to help the plants get good air circulation and it helps so that no fungus or mold grows on the soil.
  4. If you seedlings are spindly and look as though they are stretching to reach the light, they are not getting enough light. This can happen if you are using a window seal to grow them, or if the fluorescent lights are not close enough to the plants. I keep them just a few inches and move them up as the plants grow.
  5. Water the plants from the bottom. This encourages the plants to extend their roots downward and gives them a better foundation.
  6. Transplant the seedlings when they start rubbing leaves with the next door neighbor plants. Root bound plants if left long enough, can cause the plant to be stunted it’s whole life.

Happy Gardening!

 

How to Easily Start Vegetable Seeds Indoors


Watch this video to learn how easy it is to start your own seeds inside!

Happy Gardening!

Check out our video about making your own light garden.

How to Start Seeds Indoors Using a Light Garden