Archive for the ‘Organic Gardening’ Category

Growing basil

You can grow Basil outside and inside of the house in containers. All you have to do is to provide plenty of sunshine and water. The technique of planting is the same for outdoors and indoors.
You’ll need watering can, potting soil, seeds or basil seedlings.
First of all, choose a high quality soil mix. I recommend to use organic potting soil. Once you filled the container with soil, you have to water it to give seeds good contact with soil. Water the soil and mix it around. After that sprinkle the garden seeds slightly over the soil. Try to space them up as best as you can. Tap down the soil and then ad some more soil on the top. Cover the seeds up with just about a quarter inch of soil. Water it again with a gentle steam of water. Don’t let the soil to try out until you see the seedlings.
When the seedlings pop up and are about 2-3 inches tall, you need to thin them to 4-6 inches apart. It will give them a plenty of space to grow.

How to make your basil bushy
Basil has so called opposite leaves – they come out on the opposite sides of the stem. They are called setup leaves. When you get 3-4 setup leaves, you can start pruning. You need to pinch off the top part of the plant right above the setup leaves. You’ll get some basil for kitchen use and setup leaves on the main stems will turn into the branches and continue to grow. When they have 3-4 setup leaves, you can pinch off the top of each stem. Buy doing that, you’ll have a plant with 4-8 branches.

How to preserve basil
Don’t put the basil into the refrigerator – it will make it black. Place them in the bottle or glass with water and put it on your window.


Read also:
How to grow herbs indoors

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Growing peppers

Growing peppers is very easy. Like the majority of plants, they require sun and warmth.  Plant them after the last frost as cold will kill them.

How to plant peppers

First of all you need to prepare a place. It should be well-tilled raised garden bed with a plenty of compost or manure.
Most peppers require about 6-12 inch of space between each other. Check the information on the sachet for your ones. If you want to grow Chili peppers, then the space should be about 1-3 inches between.
Make a holes about 0.5-1 inch deep and place one seed in each hole. Then cover them up.
Water the place after planting and keep them well watered aspecially during the time of flowering. Try to keep it weed free as well.
Each sort of peppers have different time of maturity. It can take from 2 to 5 months to get peppers.

Some advanced facts, that may increase your harvest: peppers like a soil Ph of 6.7 to 7, about an inch of water a week, and a dusting of Epsom salts worked into the soil for the magnesium needed to thrive. If the soil is very warm, mulch around the plants to retain moisture. Use a well balanced fertilizer when blooms appear and again a few weeks later.


Read also:
How to plant wild strawberries
How to grow carrots

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Growing blueberries in containers

Today I will write about growing blueberries.  You can grow them outside and in containers – excellent chose for your balcony garden! I will write about growing blueberries in containers.

First of all you have to prepare a soil: mix 1/3 acid based potting soil, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 medium sized bark. You can also add some organic fertilisers such as cotton seed meal, father meal, fish meal or soil sulfer.  Soil sulfer is a great to use for maintaining PH level in your container though the years. Add just a small amount of fertilisers – just 1-2 table spoons for 10-12 inch containers.  Now you are ready to plant. :)

Planting blueberries
Chose a container size to suit your plant (1 inch plants n 2-5 gallon containers)
Make sure your container has holes in the bottom for drainage.
Add some prepared soil first, then put a blueberry plant in the container and cover it by the rest of the soil. Press the soil firmly.

Care
Don’t let the container to dry out.
Place pots or containers in sunny location.
Don’t use fertiliser with nitrogen in nitrate form. It can kill blueberry plant.


Read also:
Growing morel mushrooms
How to grow garlic

How to grow garlic

Garlic is really easy plant to grow. Most people don’t realise how easy it is and buy garlic in the shop spending a fortune. :) It can be grown anywhere in your garden – garlic is not fussy. It needs the same conditions as onions to grow well (read Growing and planting onions) The best time to plant garlic is a late September (please note: these instructions may not work that well if you have different seasons like in India or other Monsoon countries).

How to grow garlic

1) Buy garlic bulb in the shop or on the market. Cut it down in the middle and separate the cloves. Try not to break or damage the cloves, just break them naturally. You can leave the skin on, it doesn’t matter.
2) Plant garlic cloves about 2 inches deep and give them 3-4 inches space between each one.
3) Put them in groups of 5-6 or more and plant them like any other bulbs – tip part should be up and the bottom part – down.
4) Cover them up and forget about them until the next fall. When the leafs are almost turning brown – dig them up and enjoy your fresh self-grown garlic! :)

Update here: How to grow bigger garlic cloves.

Read also:
Growing tomatoes in pots
Growing and planting pumpkins

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Growing morel mushrooms

Today I want to write about something very exotic. :) About growing morel mushrooms in your garden. Yes, you can grow them as you grow carrots or any other vegetables, but the preparation is a bit harder.
Before you start growing morel mushrooms you need either to buy Morel Mushroom Growing Kit or pick them up and get their spores. You can read how to do that on this site. I will write what you need to do after you get the spores/spawn.

First step: Site Preparation

1) Find a place for growing them in your garden. Morels require a shady site with a well draining soil.
2) Layout bed dimensions. The requirements are normally written in the instructions for growing kit.
3) Remove all weeds and grass from the site.

Site preparation is done!

The ascocarp of a morel contains numerous apot...Image via Wikipedia

Second step: Soil preparation

1) Burn some wood to get the ash. Leave it for 24 hours to cool down and then collect.
2) Mix it with topsoil, gypsum board, sand and peat.
3) Add morel spores. If you bought kit, check it: the spores should be brown or orange. If they are green, then the kit is bad. You won’t get any mushrooms. Break it up coarsely and mix it with prepared soil.

Soil preparation is done!

Third step: “Planting” morel mushrooms :)

1) Spread the soil with spores/spawn on top of prepared site.
2) Place some large burned logs on top (the best one is Elm tree).

That’s all. But the most hard bit here waiting. It is hard to predict when morels will grow up. It can be next season or 2-3 years later. So don’t be disappointed if you don’t see anything next season. Patience is a virtue. 😉

Read also:
3 things you must know before planting cucumbers
Growing tomatoes in pots
Growing Thyme
Growing and planting pumpkins
Growing and planting onions

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Growing and planting onions

You can buy onions in bulbs called sets in bags from the garden centres. They can be planted in Autumn or Spring and harvested 6 months later.

Planting Onions

Before planting onions you’ll need to prepare the site.
1) Loosen the soil with the fork and remove any weeds or large stones. Onions should be planted in sunny or partially shaded sites, protected from the wind. Do not plant them in a heavy clay soils. If you have poor soil, you may want to add organic matter before you start planting onions. Use your feet to form down the soil as onions grow well in a hard soil. Slightly loose soil after that.
2) Choose your onions. They should not be soft or too small.
3) Make small halls in a soil. Halls should be as deep as an onion bulb and leave the top exposed.
4) Gently firm down the soil around the tip with your fingers. The tips should be planted about 10 cm (4in) apart from each other.
5) If you plant your onions during the Autumn, then don’t water them unless the soil is very dry. You can harvest onions by late spring.

Read also:
Growing tomatoes in pots
Growing Thyme
Growing and planting pumpkins
Growing watermelons
Growing mint

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Growing and planting pumpkins

Pumpkins have been in cultivation for over 5000 years, there are hundreds of varieties and sizes available. From small ones which can be crown in container, to giants (the biggest pumpkin weighted 667 kilos and was grown in USA).

Growing pumpkins is almost the same as growing watermelons. They require a sunny location, a lot of compost, leaves or manure, well drained soil and protection from cold winds. In frost-free areas (tropics or subtropics) pumpkins can grow all year round.

Growing pumpkins

Pumpkins require temperature of 20˚C for growing. I recommend to plant pumpkins in exactly the same way as watermelons: use individual pots for each garden seed. It’s better to use paper pots (I sell next generation paper pot maker for the lowest price on the Web) as they can be planted directly in the garden. Plant pumpkins indoors about 3 weeks before the last frost. After the last frost plant them outside in the sunny location.

PumpkinsImage via Wikipedia

Pumpkins take 70-160 days to mature depending on their variety. Miniature pumpkins mature within 90-100 days and giant ones within 130-160 days.

Plant pumpkins in hills or rows. Follow the spacing instructions on the sachet as pumpkins can spread very far. Allow at least 5 feet between plants in each direction.

Pumpkins require a lot of water especially in the blooming period. Make sure the plants get 1 to 2 inches of water a week. They are a big feeders too so fertilize them on a regular basis.

Carefully rotate pumpkins from time to time to keep them symmetrical.

Harvest comes when the pumpkins are bright-yellow after the vines have died.

You can save garden seeds 1 month after harvesting pumpkins. Just scoop seeds from flesh, wash, dry and keep in a cool, dry place away from sun.


Read also:
Growing Thyme
How to plant wild strawberries

Tips for Growing mint

Growing Mint is easier then  growing tomatoes in pots. Mint grows better in a fertile, well drained soil, fair amount of moisture and moderately shady place in your garden or indoors. However mint is not fussy and can grow anywhere you plant it. Mint is one of the best herbs for beginners and it is suitable for balcony or container gardening.

Mint Propagation

Mint can be propagated in two ways: by garden seeds and by root division.

If you want to grow mint from garden seeds, then it is better to plant them in a recycled pots (have a look on  paper pot maker I sell here) and plant them straight into the soil with the paper pots when the time comes.

I recommend to propagate mint by root division. It is easier and quicker way. Mint doesn’t grow well from garden seeds.

It’s better to buy a small mint plants at the nursery or in the garden centre somewhere near you and then grow and propagate them.

How to plant mint

Lemon mint

I must warn you in advance: mint is very strong plant and can kill other plants in your garden by taking their territory. So it is better to plant mint in a container without the bottom to prevent it from spreading. If you grow mint indoors it should not be a problem – just plant mint in separate pots or containers. We grow mint in a small pot on the balcony and it looks like the plant is very happy there. :)

If you want to grow mint outdoors, then plant herb approximately 12 inches apart and keep the soil moist until the plants are established.

Please note: the plant stop growing after flowers appearance, so if you want it to continue it’s growth till autumn, you need to remove flowers.


Read also:
Growing watermelons

How to plant wild strawberries

Growing watermelons

Today I want to write about something exotic. About growing watermelons. The majority of us don’t grow watermelons because we think it requires a lot of space and sun that can be a problem in a climate with short summers. However growing and planting watermelons is almost like planting cucumbers: the same requirements and almost the same temperature is needed. But you have to know one secret: grow early and baby or “bush” varieties that requires just about 1/3 of the space and matures within 90 days.

Growing watermelons

If you have short summers you may want to start growing watermelon indoors. Use individual pots. I recommend to use paper pots (I sell next generation  paper pot maker for the lowest price on the Web) as they can be planted directly in the garden with minimal transplant shock. Plant watermelons outside after the last frost. Please note: watermelons are very susceptible to frost damage and even a small frost can kill them.

Before planting watermelons outside you have to prepare place and soil. They require a sunny location, a lot of compost, leaves or manure, well drained soil and protection from cold winds. Add some more compost if heavy rain occurs. Watermelons requires a lot of water. The soil has to be moist at all times.

Plant watermelons in a rows or hills leaving some space between the seedlings.

Watermelons harvesting

Watermelons should be ready to pick up about 35-40 days after they are in full bloom. You can tap on the fruit, and listen for a dull thump just to double check.


Read also:
How to plant vegetables upside down
DIY – Upside down tomato planter

Growing Thyme

Growing Thyme is very easy but before writing about that I would like to say a couple of words about propagation of Thyme.

It can be done by seed, from cuttings and by root division. The speedy way is to grow from root division, the longest – to grow from garden seeds.

Soil condition and requirements for growing Thyme

Thyme is not fussy, it grows by itself and you don’t need to take care of that plant. Thyme likes dry, lean soil and sunny locations as it is Mediterranean herb.  You can plant it indoors in container, in the pot or outside.

Growing Thyme using root division

You should divide roots of 3-4 years old Thyme plants in April. To do that, dig up the plant, clear away soil and carefully tear the plant into 3-4 pieces. Then plant them in the ground in the area you want. At the beginning of July they should be ready for harvesting. You should repeat this procedure every 2-3 years as Thyme becomes woody by time.

Growing Thyme using seeds

Thyme has to be sown in the middle of Spring (in March) indoors our in the green house first with temperature of 60F (16C). Cover seeds with a very thin layer of potting compost. Move Thyme plants outside when the danger of frost is over and plant them in the chosen area of your garden. Place them at about 12 inches (30cm) away from each other as they will spread later.

Read also:
Growing tomatoes in pots
DIY – Upside down tomato planter
A Few Words About Container Gardening
How to plant wild strawberries
How to grow carrots


Help the world! Use paper pot maker!
Have a look on my home garden seeds for sale!
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