Growing Crops: Bok Choy

Also known as Pak-Choi, this vegetable is a staple of Asian stir-fry dishes. It is frequently referred to as Chinese Cabbage (several varieties of which we will cover as well), though it is a stalk-forming plant much closer to celery in appearance and use. The leaves and stalks of the Bok-Choy plant are both edible, and more flavorful than celery.

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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: Cabbage

This post refers to common cabbage that you would put in coleslaw, rather than Chinese Cabbage – which we will cover soon! There are so many cabbage varieties, it’s difficult to know where to begin. The varieties you choose to grow will depend on when you want to harvest them – because cabbage can be harvested year-round.

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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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Garden Pest Control – Barriers

While companion planting, introducing beneficial insects, and attracting pest-killing birds to your vegetable garden will certainly help control garden pests, you may need to go a step or two further and install some barriers for plant protection.

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Growing Crops: Cress

Cress is a catch-all term for three very different delicate yet spicy little salad greens. Despite the name, all three are entirely different species. Watercress (nasturtium officianale) is probably the one you’re most familiar with. It requires an aquatic environment to properly grow (such as the banks of a stream or pond), therefore is not recommended for the urban organic garden. Winter Cress (barbarea verna) – also called Upland Cress – will grow in regular soil and is a cool-season plant that can be harvested clear through the winter.

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Growing Crops: Apples

Apple trees are tricky things. They often fall victim to diseases such as apple scab, powdery mildew, and fireblight. Apple tree propagation is done by grafting particular varieties onto specific rootstocks that determine the disease resistance, growth rate and eventual size of the adult trees. We do not recommend that you plant from seed – you may put in a lot of effort for nothing. Instead, buy live trees that are at least 2 years old, the more disease-resistant the variety the better.

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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: Artichokes

Artichokes, also called Globe Artichokes, can be grown as an annual or a perennial (ideally as part of an edible landscape feature), depending on how much space you have available and how you prefer to grow them. Annual artichokes require a minimum of 100 days without frost, are planted in the Spring and harvested in the Fall. Perennial artichokes can be planted in Spring or Fall and harvested during either season, as well. Every 3 or 4 years carefully pull them out of the ground with the help of your garden fork, divide them, and then replant.

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Garden Seeds – Planting Outdoors

Seeds need properly prepared soil, moisture, plenty of air, and mild temperatures (at least 45 degrees F) in order to grow. Presuming you have double-tilled – and hopefully raised – your garden bed, removed chunks of debris, and smoothed the soil with your garden rake, then your soil is ready. If your soil is dry, water it thoroughly about an hour before you intend to plant your seeds in order for it to drain. Use a fine spray so that you don’t have to go back and re-smooth the soil. You don’t want it water-logged, just good and moist.

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