Garden Seeds – Heirloom, Organic, or What?

First of all, “bargain bin” seeds are no bargain. If you see packets of vegetable seed marked down to a ridiculously low price, ask yourself why they’re marked down. It might be that the retailer is trying to get rid of seeds that didn’t sell well (maybe rutabagas aren’t all that popular in your area and the retailer bought too many wholesale, for instance)…but chances are, they’re old seeds that may or may not germinate when planted. Look at the date on the seed packet, and if it’s last year, don’t buy them. Only buy seeds that are meant to be planted this year.

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Garden Tools You Will Need: Garden Preparation

Our first garden was something of a miracle, really, considering the only tools we had were a shovel, 4 hands and 4 feet. Oh, and an old broom handle – helpful for drawing planting lines and digging planting holes. Yeah, we were that poor.

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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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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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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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Weed Control

Weeding your vegetable garden is a necessary evil. Healthy soil that supports healthy vegetables will also support weeds, and your job is to stop them cold. Not only do they compete with your vegetables for space and soil nutrients, they also attract pests and disease to your garden.

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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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Growing Crops: Broccoli and Calabrese

Going back to our high school biology lesson, wherein everything under the sun is classified according to kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species, we find that broccoli and calabrese both belong to the same family, Brassicaceae, as well as the same species, Brassica Oleracea.

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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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Smart Garden Ideas – Companion Planting

Companion planting is not an exact science, but certain combinations of plants grown together seem to be an effective way of enhancing food security by reducing the chances that crops will be destroyed by diseases or pests. The smell of certain pungent plants can repel pests. Other plants attract birds and insects that eat garden pests. One plant will feed the soil with the nutrients another needs, creating balance. A few specific examples follow.

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