Fertilizers and Soil Amendments – The Organic Way to Feed Your Garden and Build Your Soil

There are a number of natural fertilizers and soil amendments available to either add to your soil before planting, or to feed your fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season. Soil testing before planting will give you the information you need to add the correct soil amendments, and observing your plants while they are growing will help you determine which fertilizers will best serve their needs.

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Garden Tools – Care and Storage

If you’re going to spend the money on the proper tools for your garden, you will certainly want to make sure and take excellent care of them while they’re actively being used, and properly clean and store them while they are not.

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Growing Crops: Chicory, Radicchio, Endive, Escarole…and Frisee, too!

Why so many different plants in one post? Well, they’re all members of the same family (asteraceae) and genus (cichorium) and have remarkably similar planting requirements and growing conditions. Chicory belongs to the species intybus, and radicchio is a chicory variety. Endive belongs to the species endivia, and escarole and frisee are endive varieties. All of them are cool weather vegetables that tend to bolt during the heat of summer. They make it possible to enjoy salad all year long.

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Garden Pest Control – Organic Pesticides, Commercial

If your homemade sprays have proven ineffective, the next step is to bring out the big guns, or in this case, the commercial organic pesticides. Chemicals are chemicals, so what is the difference between organic (natural) pesticides and non-organic (synthetic) pesticides? While both are indeed chemicals, the organic chemicals are made from natural mineral or plant substances, and most are quickly broken down and do not harm the environment over the long-term like the synthetic varieties do.

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Growing Crops: Brussels Sprouts

Mini-cabbage-on-a-stick pretty much sums up Brussels sprouts. There are several varieties to choose from, including Jade Cross, Long Island Improved, Prince Marvel, and Rubine. Lightly steamed with a bit of butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper, they are a surprisingly tasty vegetable.

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Garden Tools You Will Need – Harvesting

Simply yanking your vegetables off the branch or out of the ground is not the proper technique for harvesting your crops. Unless we’re talking about corn. Then it’s pretty much twist and yank the ear off the stalk. The rest of the time, however, using the proper tools is the safest way to harvest your crops with minimal damage to not only the remaining plant but to what you just harvested. You don’t want to bruise or crush your produce.

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Planting Vegetables – Hardening Off and Transplanting

You cannot simply take your seedlings from their warm, protected place indoors and put them in the ground outside. They’ll die. They need to be introduced to the outdoors gradually.

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Growing Crops: Cauliflower

Cauliflower is rather polarizing vegetable – either you love it or you hate it, there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. It always seems to be the last vegetable left on the veggies-and-dip platters. There’s the “brainy” appearance, the odd texture…however, we like it – with plenty of Ranch or Blue Cheese dip, thank you very much.

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Garden Designs – What You Need to Plan For

Your garden design will depend a great deal on the space you have available. If you have a large yard, you have nearly unlimited choices as to the layout of the garden. If your yard is small, you will have to be a little more creative, perhaps using an edible garden landscape approach. If you live on a steep hill, you will need to terrace.

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Container Gardening 101

Not everyone has a yard in which to plant a garden. They might live in a high-rise overlooking a major city skyline with only a deck or a large sunny window. They might live in a tightly-packed condo or apartment complex that has small “yardlets” that get no sun. They might rent a house or duplex from a landlord that won’t allow them to dig up the yard for a garden – after all, if they move away, will the next tenant do anything with the garden or will it end up being a big muddy hole?

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