Posts Tagged ‘Plant’

3 Essential Tips for Selecting Seeds for Your Garden

selecting seeds. how to choose seeds, seed terminology, It is a great time to start selecting seeds to grow in your garden this coming spring. There are a few things you should think about when choosing which seeds will do the very best in your garden.

  1. First, you should find out how many average growing days are usual for your area. This can be done by looking up what the average first and last frost dates are in your area. For my area in the Salt Lake Valley, UT the last frost date in the spring is around May 10 or an easy way to remember is around Mother’s Day. The first frost of the season in fall occurs usually the first or second week in October. So we have around 145 average growing days give or take a week or two.  This will make a difference especially for the warm veggies like tomatoes and squash. You want plenty of time to harvest from your garden. If you plant a vegetable that will start producing around the same time of the first frost in the fall that will really limit how much you will be able to harvest before the frost kills your plants. So when looking at seed catalogs or packets, there is a number that is for the days to maturity. Be sure to choose varieties that will work well with your growing season.
  2. Next to the plant name will have either OP or F1. OP means Open Pollinated. This means the offspring of these plants will be very similar to the parent plants. Heirloom varieties are considered open pollinated. You can save the seeds from these plants to plant in your garden the next year. F1 means there were 2 different but similar varieties bred together to get this variety. You wont want to save these seeds as they will be inferior to the parent plants.
  3. Remember to watch for specific qualities you want in the description. If it dose not tell you what you are looking for chances are they do not have that quality. For example a tomato that is good for sauce will say so. The description also usually tell you size, if it is disease resistant and any other special features it has.

Choosing the varieties and planning out your garden can make the cold months more bearable and even fun! (at least at my house.)

Happy Garden Planning!

How to Plan a Drip Irrigation System For Your Grow Box

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Brown line in a grow box

Having an automatic watering system set up for your garden can save you many hours over the course of the year. I love watering my garden by hand, but it takes dedication and consistency. It also makes it very hard to go over night anywhere during the summer.  It is well worth the few hours of work it takes to install the system. I would highly recommend doing a drip system vs a sprinkler system. Sprinklers do not conserve water as much of it evaporates, but also the leaves of the plants get wet opening them up for

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Battery powered timers in a box that is run with lines run underground.

disease.  Your drip system can be run entirely over ground, partially under ground  or all the way under ground until you get to the grow box of course.

For example, if you do not have the infrastructure set up for the system to be under ground with the timers and pressure reducers already in place, you can do it from the hose sprocket! Simply connect the reducer, and the battery powered timer at the hose then run the hose over to the grow box, then run the drip lines around the grow box. That is the fastest way to install a system. The problem is the hose and pieces exposed to the sun and elements will deteriorate faster than if they are protected out of the elements.

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Close up on how to connect brow line at the head of the box.

Drip Irrigation System for Vegetable Garden

Reducers and timers in a system planned out and set up before the yard and garden was installed.

Or you could dig some trenches around the boxes, and up into the boxes and connect into your water line. Then you can install in line timers for each box that are battery powered. The draw back to battery powered is they will need battery changes and you would need to watch for the batteries to need to be changed. But the nice thing about this is you can set each timer differently for each box so that if one box needs more water than another, you can customize it for each box.

The best method is to plan ahead, trench and run all the lines for each box ahead of time, then install the garden after. This will last the longest but will also take the longest initially to install.

Drip Irrigation System for Vegetable Garden

This is a one gallon dripper that we used to use for our tomato plants. We changed over to the brown line for everything as it is less work than to adjust this to accommodate our garden changes every year.

We used to customize our drip system every year depending on what we had planted there. For the tomatoes and squash plants we would install 1 or 2 gallon drippers and some would have the brown line with drippers every 6 to 12 inches. But after doing this a few years realized that it was not cost or time effective and the beds with the brown drip line seemed to work for even the tomato plants. So now we just do the brown drip line in all of the boxes. Then we don’t have to worry about  changing it each spring depending on what we have planted.

How to Prevent Powdery Mildew in the Garden

what dose powdery mildew look like, how do you prevent powdery mildew, what is the disease on squash plant that  make them turn white or gray called? how dose powdery mildew spread, Nothing can be more frustrating than disease killing those plants in your garden before you have gotten a good harvest. It is one of those things that gardener’s dread. How can you prevent the disease from happening? Or can you?

There are several different kinds of diseases or fungus’ that can kill your garden plants. One of them is powdery mildew. This one is particularly frustrating because it is spread by the air and can be spread through water. This is what can kill off the squash plants half way through the season. It is not entirely possible to totally prevent it however there are measures you can take to keep it from happening early in the season and maybe even stop it from happening all together.

  1. Just like a home needs to be built on a solid foundation, the plant needs great soil to withstand all that comes it’s way. Adding plenty of organic matter every year, and mulching around the plants to keep their roots moist and from drying out too much in between watering. This will help your plant be healthy. A healthy plant will be able to resist disease better than a stressed plant will. Your plant is only as healthy as the soil it grows in.
  2. Be sure to water it enough- according to its needs. This too is to keep it healthy.
  3. Powdery Mildew can be spread by water droplets, so watering your plant at the soil level will help the disease to not reach the leaves as easily. Put away the sprinkler and get out the drip hose or better yet get your garden plumed for drip irrigation.
  4. There are some varieties that are resistant to Powdery Mildew. By choosing those varieties dose not mean they will not get the disease, but they will resist it longer and you can usually get a good harvest from them before it succumbs to the disease.
  5. Plant in an area that gets good air flow so the the disease is not sitting there circling around the plants and spreading quickly to your whole harvest.

Remember- a healthy plant will produce more and resist disease so do every thing you can to keep them healthy and growing and you will be rewarded with a great harvest.

Happy Gardening!

How To Grow Vegetables To Save You Money

Tomato, vegetable garden, how to save money growing your own food, best crops to plant to save money, I don’t know about you, but it seems like most people have thought allot about ways they can save money the past few years. More and more people have turned to growing their own food as one way to do that. That is a great idea, however, if that is your primary purpose of growing a garden, then you might want to consider that not all plants are going to produce equally for the amount of work, time and water involved. So to save you the trouble of figuring out which ones will give you the most bang for your buck here are a few ideas for you.

  1. What is the #1 home grown crop in America? That’s right: Tomatoes. These not only produce extremely well for planting just one crop, but pay off in taste too. You can make many expensive products at home from growing your own tomatoes too, like salsa, tomato/spaghetti sauce, and tomato soup. In my opinion, every home should have a tomato plant or two.
  2. Squash. Particularly winter squash. They are easy to grow as long as they have sufficient water and room to sprawl. They produce very well, but the thing that puts them over the top is that it is so easy to store the produce for later use! After they ripen, simply wash the outside of them with a little chlorine water to kill any bacteria growing, and put them in a cool room and store for later use. You can easily grow enough winter squash for your family for the winter by just growing one or two plants!
  3. Lettuce is such a great crop to grow and you can use the leaves so soon after they are planted, that it is a must in my garden. Not only do home grown salads taste so much better, it is so much cheaper than constantly buying the expensive bags and boxes of lettuce. Makes dinner easy too- just run out to the garden and pick some lettuce to make a great salad as a side or main dish for dinner. Love it!
  4. Root veggies like beets, radishes, and carrots take up very little space and can be grown quickly for a quick harvest. Buying beets in particular can get expensive from the store, so growing your own can be a great place to save money.
  5. Beans, pole or bush produce very well for the space they take up in the garden and are very easy to grow. They too can get expensive to purchase at the grocery store.

These are just some of the crops that can save you money by growing them in your garden. I hope this has given you some ideas for your garden, and that you will be able to plant a cash crop for yourself next year!

If you have any ideas of great money saving plants, please comment and let us know.

Happy Gardening!!

The Secrets of Growing Huge Garlic

Home grown garlic, how do you plant garlic, when do you plant garlic, when do you harvest garlic, how much water garlic need,

curing the garlic

Growing garlic can be somewhat of a mystery to some people, especially those who have tried to grow it, and it just didn’t turn out right. However, once a few key things are learned about growing garlic, it becomes a very easy thing to do! I love to grow my own garlic and never have to buy garlic. It is NOT hard to grow enough to last you the whole year. Here are the 3 main secretes to growing nice large bulbs of garlic:

  1. Plant the cloves in the fall. You only want to plant one little clove- not the whole bulb when growing the garlic. This will produce a bulb by the next spring. If you plant more than one clove in a single hole, then you will get 2 smaller bulbs the next year. By planting one clove, you will get a nice big bulb.
  2. Space them about 6 inches apart. Garlic dose not like competition so planting them too close to each other or to other plants will prevent the bulb from growing to the maximum size. We made the mistake of inter-planting them in the strawberry patch the first year we grew them, and they did grow, but the end results were very small bulbs the next spring.

    what dose garlic look like when planted too close together, what dose garlic look like if it is left every year and not harvested

    This is what happens when the garlic is left and not harvested, or planted too close.

  3. Keep planting them every year. Over time, your garlic bulbs will get acclimated to your yard and by planting mostly large cloves, you will harvest nice big bulbs. Our bulbs have gotten bigger each year. I harvest them in June- dry them by hanging them over the cucumber trellis then in October I take a few bulbs and separate the cloves and plant enough to last all year the next year.

I do not worry about watering them through the winter and spring- just when it starts getting hot. However some warm dry climates might need to water them if there is no source of moisture for the bulb through the winter. Growing garlic is so easy and fun to do once you understand these three essential things, just remember to plan ahead as you are harvesting last years planting with garlic.

Happy Gardening!