Garden Pest Control – Organic Pesticides, Homemade

When should you use an organic pesticide? If and when everything else has failed. Start with homemade and work your way up to commercial if you have to.

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Growing Crops: Cranberries

Most gardeners do not realize that they do not have to live waist-deep in a bog in order to grow their own cranberries. Highbush cranberries (viburnum trilobum) come in several varieties, including Alfredo, Early Black, Howes, Stevens, and Wentworth, that have been specifically bred as shrubs, some of which can grow as tall as 15 feet. Hand-picking is all that’s required, rather than flooding a field and floating the berries like logs in a boom.

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Growing Crops: Black Eyed Pea

Also known as the Cowpea, this legume (actually a bean) is a staple of Southeastern American cuisine. A versatile food item, they can either be picked when immature like you would pick green beans or sugar snap pea pods and eaten whole, or allowed to mature like you would grow shelling peas or beans, removing the peas from the pods and eating them fresh or drying for later use.

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Raised Bed Gardening

Planting your garden in traditional rows at ground level ensures more labor. There will be much more tilling, weeding, mulching, and drainage issues – and a smaller overall harvest – than if you constructed raised garden beds.

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Growing Crops: Bay Tree

The Sweet Bay or Bay Laurel tree is…well, a tree. Not your typical herb, it is an evergreen whose leaves are used as an herb in cooking, often added two at a time to sauces, soups, and stews for a slightly bitter edge. The Latin name for the Sweet Bay/Bay Laurel tree is laurus nobilis, not to be confused with any other entirely different species commonly referred to as “bay.”

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Garden Tools You Will Need – Planting and Tending Your Crops

Whether you intend to start seeds indoors and then transplant outside, or purchase young plants to transplant as soon as you get them home, or you plan to sow seeds directly in the soil, these are the basics you will need to plant and tend your vegetable garden.

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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: Currants

Most people are only familiar with the dried version of the black currant, sold in boxes alongside raisins in the supermarket. Smaller and a little more tart/tangy than raisins, they make a flavorful addition to baked goods and hot cereals. The fresh fruits are a tasty alternative to grapes and are ideal for making preserves.

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Growing Crops: Chinese Cabbage

If you are an Asian foodie, then this is the crop for you! Chinese cabbage (often referred to as Napa cabbage) is a staple of many Asian dishes, including stir-fries, soups, Spring rolls, and coleslaw with a twist of Thai Peanut Sauce.

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Growing Crops: Angelica

Angelica can be grown as either a biennial or a perennial – although its existence as a perennial is short-lived, lasting only 3 or 4 years. It does not bloom the first year, and will die after flowering the second year. If you are unconcerned with the flowers and are growing it for the stems and leaves, clip the stems before the flowers bloom each year until it finally dies on its own.

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