Provides guidance and tips on creating the garden of your dreams, without the normal troubles, and on a budget that you can be proud of.
Be honest: you’ve got a shady patch of ground and you have no idea what to do with it. The good news is that even these areas can be productive – when you know what to grow. As someone who has tried to grow all sorts of vegetables in the shadier parts of my plot […] The post Vegetables to Grow in the Shade appeared first on...
Be honest: you’ve got a shady patch of ground and you have no idea what to do with it. The good news is that even these areas can be productive – when you know what to grow.
As someone who has tried to grow all sorts of vegetables in the shadier parts of my plot over the last 5 years here are the top choices I have found…
This crunchy vegetable loves the shade and cool weather. In fact, broccoli can withstand temperatures that go down as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit! While it occasionally enjoys a small ray of sunshine every now and then, it prefers to hide in the shade.
Peas do like the sun, but they also grow pretty well in shady conditions. While they do need partial sun, they can be grown in some shade without problems. You can have your peas twisting up a trellis to help them grow better.
Just like peas, beets like the sun but can be grown in the shade as well. However, beets will take a little longer to grow in the shade. It will take them about 50-60 days to fully develop.
One thing to keep in mind when growing these roots is that they need to be in a soil that is not filled with clay. The clay soil will prevent them from growing well which can result in mediocre beets. The soil should be slightly acidic and moist.
Brussel sprouts love the shade. These vegetables can be planted in the early spring for a fall harvest. Brussel sprouts enjoy cool weather so if you want to grow these in the shade during the cooler months they will sprout up rapidly.
This vegetable though is one you need to make sure doesn’t get to be too hot when outdoors. If it receives too much sun and heat, it won’t grow sprouts.
Potatoes are grown in the ground, so they make great shade plants. Make sure the potatoes are growing in warm but moist soil for a successful harvest. While they like an occasional sunbeam they don’t need much of it. In fact, if the potatoes receive too much sun they can turn green, which results in poisonous potatoes.
Garlic can be grown in the late fall when the temperatures are a little chilly and there isn’t as much sunlight during the day. Well-drained soil will also help the garlic to grow successfully when in the shade.
Leafy greens like arugula adore the shade. The shade is a cool spot for them to hide in and will encourage these greens to sprout quickly. While they don’t mind the sun, arugula will end up growing out of control if introduced to large amounts of it.
Similar to arugula, spinach will grow massively if grown in direct sunlight. The shade is something that helps to prevent the spinach from getting out of control. Make sure the spot you choose to grow your spinach in has well-drained soil that is slightly mixed with some compost.
This is one vegetable that absolutely thrives in partial shade and needs less than 2 hours of sun per day to thrive. Bok choy is also known as the Chinese cabbage and grows long stalks with large, delicious leaves.
Kale grows well in cool weather, such as late fall. The shade actually helps kale leaves to have a more flavorful taste. The leaves also tend to be softer than those that are grown in hot and sunny conditions.
If there’s one vegetable that grows in complete shade well it’s celery. Celery enjoys hiding in shady spots while growing in moist soil. While it does need some indirect sunlight in order to grow, it doesn’t require much of it. Celery does need some very fertile soil to grow well so be sure to mix some compost in with the dirt around it.
While it might look like broccoli, cauliflower is a completely different vegetable. Its white crunchy heads have a slightly mellower taste compared to broccoli. While these vegetables do need some sun, they can still thrive in the shade. Make sure to plant them about a foot apart from each other as they can get to be pretty big.
There are plenty of vegetables that you can grow in the shade. If you don’t have much room in your garden or are looking to grow more leafy vegetables to enjoy, you have many choices available. With these shade-loving vegetables, you won’t have to rely on the sun to help them grow which means you don’t have to worry about them being burned by the sunlight or having to water them constantly. If you’re looking for some easy vegetables to grow in a shady spot in your yard, definitely try some of the ones mentioned above.
Diatomaceous earth is a fine dust made from the bodies of fossilized prehistoric crustaceans called diatoms. The cell walls from these organisms are made from silica, which makes each particle abrasive and sharp. The nature of these particles, in turn, can make them tremendously effective as a natural and organic form of pest control. For […] The post Using Diatomaceous Earth for Pest Control appeared first on...
Diatomaceous earth is a fine dust made from the bodies of fossilized prehistoric crustaceans called diatoms.
The cell walls from these organisms are made from silica, which makes each particle abrasive and sharp. The nature of these particles, in turn, can make them tremendously effective as a natural and organic form of pest control.
For example, diatomaceous earth can not only physically damage the exoskeleton of invertebrates crawling over it, but it can also dry out pests from the inside out if swallowed or inhaled.
What Kind of Diatomaceous Earth Should I Use?
There are different kinds of diatomaceous earth (or DE for short), and you want to make sure that you buy the correct type for insect control.
Pool Grade DE is used for swimming pool filtration systems. This isn’t the kind you want because it isn’t safe to consume, so can be dangerous in your garden.
Food Grade DE, in contrast, is safe to eat. That means you can use it in a vegetable garden because it can be consumed after being used on vegetables.
Food Grade diatomaceous earth is a product which is all natural. It is classified under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act as being safe for gardens and homes.
How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth to Your Garden
There are two different methods to use DE in your garden, the dry or the wet method.
The Dry Method
- To start off, you’ll want to select an empty container with holes in the lid, such as a garden duster. Since diatomaceous earth can harm your respiratory system, you should wear a mask and gloves. This is especially true if you have breathing issues.
- Either in the morning or evening, when the plants have some dew on them, dust the plants. The moisture from the dew will help to hold the powder onto the plants. When wet, the powder isn’t active, but once it dries, then it will start the process of killing pests.
- When the powder is applied to garden beds, it will help to kill insects before they spread further too.
- You need to also place a thick layer of diatomaceous earth around the base of plants. This helps to keep squash bugs, snails and slugs from climbing up the stems. It will help also if you apply the powder on the underside of leaves. Be sure after it rains to re-apply the powder.
The Wet Method
- Dissolve four tablespoons of diatomaceous earth into a 1-gallon jug of water. Screw the lid on tightly and shake the jug until all the powder is dissolved. Then fill a spray bottle or a sprayer with the mixture of diatomaceous earth.
- Put on a mask, gloves and preferably goggles before spraying. You need the gloves because the diatomaceous earth will dry out your skin if contact is made. Spray your plants with the solution until wet but not dripping. Make sure you spray the underside of the plant leaves too for the maximum benefits.
- When the plants have dried, it will look like there’s a powder coating on the leaves of your plants.
A Warning When Using Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth doesn’t discriminate between insects which are harmful to your plants and the ones which are beneficial. As a result, try to avoid areas where beneficial insects frequent. If not, you’ll damage your population of ladybugs, bees, butterflies and other insects which do good to your garden.
Fertilizer can make the difference between success and failure in your garden; especially if, like me, you grow an array of fruits and vegetables each year. More nutrients means healthier plants and better yields. Unfortunately artificial fertilizers can be expensive, heavy to carry and can come with a wealth of safety warnings. In this article, […] The post How to Make Comfrey Fertilizer appeared first on...
Fertilizer can make the difference between success and failure in your garden; especially if, like me, you grow an array of fruits and vegetables each year. More nutrients means healthier plants and better yields.
Unfortunately artificial fertilizers can be expensive, heavy to carry and can come with a wealth of safety warnings. In this article, however, we’re going to look at one of my favorite alternatives: comfrey fertilizer. Its organic, its quick and easy to make, costs nothing and yet produces fantastic results. What’s not to like?
Supplies For Making Comfrey Fertilizer
Comfrey fertilizer is so simple to make that very little is needed in the way of equipment. You will, of course, need some comfrey plants to start with. Fortunately comfrey is a vigorous, fast-growing plant which can spread like wildfire in the garden. It is therefore easy to grow from seed, or you may well find that one of your friends is over-run and will gladly give you some unwanted plants.
Besides the comfrey itself you’ll also need a large container (like a trash can) and plenty of water.
Making Your Comfrey Fertilizer
Remove the Leaves
The first step to making liquid comfrey fertilizer is to remove the leaves from the comfrey plant. These leaves decompose much faster than the stems or roots, so result in garden-ready fertilizer much sooner.
Crush or Chop the Leaves
To speed up the decomposition yet further many gardeners opt to chop up the comfrey leaves, or to crush them.
Add Water to the Leaves
Place the crushed leaves into your chosen container and just cover them with water. Over time the leaves will rot down, releasing their nutrients into the water.
Position the Container Correctly
To prevent contamination or unpleasant smells it is a good idea to place a lid over the container. Placing your container in a warm area – such as one that receives plenty of sunshine during the day – can also help to speed up the decomposition process.
Monitor the Mixture
Every now and then check on the progress of the fertilizer. Eventually, you’ll start to see a brown colored liquid collecting at the bottom. This is the liquid fertilizer you want. Once you see that brown liquid remove it by pouring it into a small container.
Dilute Before Use
Once you have enough comfrey fertilizer you can dilute it. You’ll want to have about ten parts water for every one part comfrey fertilizer liquid. It’s vital that you dilute the fertilizer because it will otherwise only end up being too powerful for the plants you plan to pour it around.
Apply the Fertilizer
When you make or apply the comfrey fertilizer to your garden it’s a good idea to wear gloves because the comfrey leaves can irritate some people’s skin. Comfrey plants have some long, spiky hair on their leaves which can cause scratches and cuts. So, to be on the safe side, wear some tough gardening gloves.
Rhubarb is a plant that enjoys summer-like weather. Sadly this weather typically doesn’t last for long in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Forcing rhubarb is a way to “trick” your rhubarb plants into fruiting earlier in the year, extending your harvesting season. Just as importantly forced rhubarb tends to have a sweeter flavor, and […] The post How to Force Rhubarb appeared first on...
Rhubarb is a plant that enjoys summer-like weather. Sadly this weather typically doesn’t last for long in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Forcing rhubarb is a way to “trick” your rhubarb plants into fruiting earlier in the year, extending your harvesting season.
Just as importantly forced rhubarb tends to have a sweeter flavor, and can be less stringy, making it an even more welcome culinary treat.
While forcing rhubarb isn’t difficult, there are some crucial steps you need to understand to get the very best results…
How Forcing Rhubarb Works
Rhubarb can grow quite slowly in spring as it basks in the warm sunshine. When you force rhubarb you’re taking away that cherished sunlight, keeping the plant in complete darkness.
Your rhubarb plant, however, is desperate for that all-import sunlight. This encourages your plants to sprout quickly as they search for any trace of light. It grows rapidly in its search, which means you end up with longer stems and a larger harvest.
Supplies You Need
To force your own rhubarb you’ll need a large container and some warm insulation. Here’s what you need to bare in mind to kick-start your rhubarb into growth…
Containers for Forcing Rhubarb
All sorts of containers can be effectively used to force rhubarb. The two most important considerations are that your chosen container effectively blocks out the light, and that it is suitably sized to not only fully cover your plant but also to allow room for growth. Examples can include large buckets or an old plastic plant container.
If you want a more stylish covering then special rhubarb forcer pots are commonly available. These pots are typically made from terracotta, and feature decorative patterns to add a hint of style to your vegetable patch.
Warm Insulation for Rhubarb
While insulation isn’t essential in warmer parts of the country, in many cases adding some insulation can encourage faster growth, leading to more successful results.
Some simple examples of effective insulation can include straw (the traditional option) or more modern alternatives like fabric (burlap). For a simpler option, some people opt to use well-rotted manure or compost, which not only produces warmth as it rots, but also releases all-important nutrients into the soil.
How to Force Rhubarb
After gathering your supplies, you can start to work on forcing your rhubarb crop. There are just three steps for success..
Put the Insulation Around Your Plant’s Crown
The first step to forcing rhubarb is to put some insulation around the crown. This should be placed loosely to create a warm and cozy ring around the growing rhubarb crown.
Put the Container Over the Plant
With your insulation in place, next place the container over it. Make sure the container is secure around the plant so wind or animals don’t knock it over. Also, ensure be careful to ensure that no light can make its way into the container. If necessary consider gently pressing the container into the earth to create a decent seal against spring sunlight.
This step is probably the hardest. But if there’s one thing gardening can teach us it’s that good (and delicious) things come to those who wait. You’ll want to wait a few weeks before checking on your rhubarb which, when you do, should have sprouted up significantly.
Harvesting Forced Rhubarb
As your rhubarb plants start to touch the sides of their container it is a good idea to get harvesting. Trip and pull the stems away from the plant, starting with those on the outside of the crown.
Forcing rhubarb can be a reasonably stressful experience for your plants, so it is important to give them a chance to recover thereafter. Consequently it can be a good idea to remove the forcing pots once your plants are growing vigorously, and to feed them well with an organic fertilizer, allowing them to build up energy reserves for the following year.
The guava tree is native to Central and South America and grows to around 20-33 ft in height. While the tree itself is reasonably attractive, it is most commonly cultivated for the delicious fruits. When sliced open, guava fruits can look very similar to watermelon, however the flavour is much stronger, often said to be […] The post How to Grow a Guava Tree appeared first on...
The guava tree is native to Central and South America and grows to around 20-33 ft in height. While the tree itself is reasonably attractive, it is most commonly cultivated for the delicious fruits. When sliced open, guava fruits can look very similar to watermelon, however the flavour is much stronger, often said to be a heady cross between pears and strawberries.
If you’re interested in learning how to grow a guava tree then this guide is for you…
Methods for Growing Guavas
There are a number of different ways you can grow a guava tree. Two of the most popular methods are by seed or from a cutting taken from a mature plant.
Growing a Guava Tree from Seed
Guavas can easily be grown from seed, though of course it can take some time for your tiny seedling to begin bearing its own fruit. Like many thick-shelled seeds, guavas tend to germinate most successfully when they are allowed to soak in lukewarm water before sowing. An effective solution is to fill a clear container such as a glass jar with water, drop the seeds in, and then place the container on a sunny windowsill to keep it warm.
After 24 hours or so the seeds can be planted into containers filled with rich compost. Covering the flower pots can help to keep the seeds warm and prevent the growing medium from drying out. Both can increase the germination rate while keeping your ongoing care to a minimum. I like to place my pots into clear plastic bags, which permit a great view of germination while creating a mini greenhouse for the plants.
Guava seeds can grow surprisingly quickly so try to ensure that each seed has plenty of space. To minimize regular transplanting it is often to place just one or two seeds into each pot, permitting them plenty of room in which to grow.
Growing a Guava Tree from Cuttings
If you have access to a mature guava tree then a quicker way to start your own plant is to take some cuttings. Look for young, healthy branches of at least 20 cm in length. As with all cuttings, one of the most important steps to success is removing the cutting with a very sharp knife or razor blade to create a clean cut. For best results aim to cut the stick at the very end of the branch’s node.
After cutting the stick, place it in a warm glass of water in a sunny position. You can keep it here until you start to see roots growing out of the bottom. Once these roots reach a few inches in length your cuttings can be removed from the water and potted up like proper plants. Just as with seedlings, you should avoid the risk of your cuttings drying out by regular watering them and/or placing them into a propagator until they become established.
Tips for Growing Guava Trees
Once established, whether from seed or from cuttings, guava trees can be planted outdoors (if your climate permits it) or can be transplanted into large containers to be grown in greenhouses or conservatories.
Guava trees tend to grow best in a spot that has full sun for most of the day and one that has a nice sandy, acidic soil. This soil will help to remove excess water to prevent root rot, allowing your guava tree to flourish.
Guava trees are tropical plants so they don’t do well in cold conditions. If you garden in more temperate areas then your tree is likely to benefit from some additional insulation during the cooler months. Horticultural fleece can be wrapped around your tree, with straw stuffed inside for further warmth. Guava trees grown in pots can be easier to manage, as these can simply be brought indoors as the season starts to turn.
Pruning guava trees are important as they can grow very tall, making them unmanageable in all but the largest gardens. Tall branches can also block sunlight from the tree which can result in limited fruiting. Pruning once a year is a quick and easy way to keep your plant in good shape while maximizing fruiting.
Rosemary is one of my absolute favorite herbs. I never tire of that heady scent when I brush against a rosemary bush while gardening, or the flavour of rosemary when added to recipes. Just as excitingly, however, rosemary is super-simple to propagate from cuttings when the conditions are right. Whether you’re looking to expand your […] The post Growing Rosemary from Cuttings appeared first on...
Rosemary is one of my absolute favorite herbs. I never tire of that heady scent when I brush against a rosemary bush while gardening, or the flavour of rosemary when added to recipes. Just as excitingly, however, rosemary is super-simple to propagate from cuttings when the conditions are right.
Whether you’re looking to expand your own collection of rosemary bushes or you’d like to take cuttings from someone else’s plant here’s exactly how to do it…
Cut New Growth from a Mature Plant
The first step to growing rosemary from cuttings is finding the right stem to start off with. The very best sprigs to are the new shoots from a mature plant. These sprigs will have green stems, unlike the older stems which are brown.
Use a sharp pruning knife to make a tidy cut, aiming for several inches of stem. To prevent your cuttings drying out it can be wise to take them early in the morning or in the late evening before rapidly proceeding to step two.
Remove the Lower Leaves from the Cuttings
Once you collect your cuttings the next step is to then remove the lower needles from them.
This part is pretty simple as you can just pluck them off or rub your fingers from the top to the bottom of the stem.
The goal is to make sure that roughly the bottom 1-2 inches of leaves have been removed, which prevents the cuttings from drying out too much during the rooting phase.
Place the Cuttings in Water
After taking the needles off the lower portion of the stem, place the stem in water. A small vase-like container tends to work well, as you want the bottom of the stem underwater so that it can soak up water, while the upper part of the cutting should remain above the water to photosynthesize.
Keep a close eye on the water levels in the container, and refill it as necessary to keep the bottom part of the sprig wet. This process may take some weeks, so placing the seedlings into semi-shade can reduce the evaporation rate, minimizing your workload.
Plant the Cuttings Once Roots Appear
Some days or weeks later all your patience and effort should be rewarded by the sight of tiny hair-like roots. Initially these will be barely perceptible, but they should start to grow rapidly over time. Once the roots are an inch or so in length it should be safe to transition your cuttings to a compost substrate.
Rosemary tends to best in compost that is well drained and gently acidic in nature. They also appreciate bright sunlight, so aim for a reasonably sunny area of your garden for best results.
While it might take a little bit of time for these new rosemary plants to become established in their new compost, once they start they tend to grow surprisingly rapidly.
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