Garden Beds That are Raised

Garden Beds That are Raised

Raised garden beds make gardening easier when it comes to growing vegetables and flowers. Many people use these garden beds because they do not have very much space for a regular garden. They are quite reachable for those with disabilities, arthritis and the older gardener. You can build them at your preferred level to help reduce the discomfort caused by kneeling or bending.

We are all much more aware of food safety and more of us want to raise our own food because we know we prefer organic foods and because of the economy. Even if we have a very tiny backyard, only have a patio, a balcony, or just a backporch we can grow herbs, vegetables, flowers, or plants. This method can also be called container gardening, but if we raise the containers above the ground the drainage will be much more efficient.

Plants will do better in elevated beds than in the ground because the soil will not become compacted. Elevated garden beds will warm up quicker in the spring and stay warmer longer in the fall. This usually means our growing season becomes longer. The sun and air will warm up the soil because the beds are raised above the ground. This gives you the opportunity to plant earlier in colder climates.

There are some other benefits to think about when deciding on raised garden beds besides being able to reach them easier. Because they are easy to reach, maintaining and harvesting vegetables is a lot easier. The good drainage prevents the soil from becoming waterlogged and you the gardener will probably be using more organic materials as soil instead of ground soil. Now that the garden beds are raised and you find it easier to maintain, your garden will look very attractive.

Raised garden beds are just container gardening that is above the ground and it will give you the chance to terrace your garden. Framed wooden structures can be built or purchased as raised garden bed kits from your local nursery or home and garden center. You can also build one from bricks, concrete blocks or any material you can find.

Planting companion vegetables and herbs in your raised vegetable garden helps to control insects and improve the garden’s health. Companion plants that are good for tomatoes are parsley, onions, and carrots. You also need to remember to rotate your vegetables every year. The raised container you planted your tomatoes in this year needs to have something completely different next year. The pathogens and pests in that soil will stay there all winter long and infect that same crop next year. Another way to eliminate the problem is to remove all the soil from the raised bed and place new soil the following year.

Pest control can be handled easier with raised bed gardening. The burrowing rodents will not be able to get into your garden beds because you can line the bed with hardware cloth or chicken wire. You are able to control weeds because you can walk entirely around your raised garden beds and pull out the weeds; you will not worry about trampling your plants or bending over.

Barbara and her husband have thought about starting a garden using raised garden beds. They are always looking for new ideas to use in their garden. Visit their website Gardeners Garden Supplies for some interesting things for the garden.

Who should set up an ecological garden?

Who should set up an ecological garden?

Absolutely everyone from farmers to inner-city townhouse dwellers.  It may seem strange, but if you have never grown food before then you are, in some ways, at an advantage.  Experienced gardeners may like to see themselves as adopting some ecological gardening techniques, but find it difficult to let go of the need to control the system.  Like all industries, the gardening industry can get stuck in doing things a certain way and most seasoned gardeners will inevitably over-work the garden.  As a species, human beings prospered when we learnt to cultivate food using tilling and other traditional agricultural methods, so it’s difficult to turn back to where we came from – nature.  It might even feel like a step in the wrong direction.  But if we can let go of our need to control every living thing on the planet, and start to work with nature, we actually gain more control by being able to grow food more efficiently than ever before.  It’s a paradox – but it works!

 

Setting up an ecological garden

Any existing vegetable garden can be converted into an ecological garden.  Firstly, get your pathways laid out so that you never have to walk on your garden beds again.  After that, get a good composting system going and apply it to the soil surface.  Then plant densely and diversely.

 

If you don’t have a vegetable garden, my suggestion would be to create a classic Esther Deans ‘no dig’ garden to get you started.  Once erected, simply follow the ecological gardening method.

 

Mini-ecological garden

If you live in a unit or townhouse with no soft ground you could create a mini-ecological garden using a series of containers.  Polystyrafoam boxes with drainage holes are ideal.  Fill them with good potting mixture and arrange them side by side using as many as you can fit onto your verandah or patio.  Rather than developing a large composting system, you could purchase a worm farm and add the worm casts to the soil surface as fertilizer.  Once the boxes are set up, simply adopt the ecological gardening method.

 

The Ecological Gardening Method – the key principles.

 

1. Plant densely

2. Plant a diversity of plants within a given area

3. Get a good composting system set up and use the compost as a surface mulch on bare patches

4. Allow some plants to go to seed

5. Only interfere with the system when a single species of plant over-dominates and simply scratch out excess plants when they are small.

 

Growing food is not hard work, especially when you have nature helping you 24/7.  A small area can provide you with such a bounty of food, saving your family thousands of dollars per year.  Most of us don’t have much time to spend in the garden, including me.  I only invest around eight hours of time per year to growing my food, and although I live on a small farm I only use a space of around 6 x 6m.  That’s an area that could fit into many suburban backyards several times over.  The most wonderful thing about this method is that I know I can ignore my vegetable garden for months and it won’t miss a beat.  So, if you believe growing food is only for tough bearded warriors with lots of land and time, think again.  Ecological gardening could be just the thing for you.

Learn how to set up an organic vegetable garden that requires only 8 hours work per year! Discover how to plant an organic vegetable garden you can harvest ever day regardless of where you live HERE.

How To Keep Pests Out Of Your Garden- Naturally!

How To Keep Pests Out Of Your Garden- Naturally!

 

Everyone is always looking for a natural way to keep pests and animals out of their garden. There are some wonderful natural pest and animal deterrents that are available right in your kitchen, and they are all safe for children and food gardens.

 1. Kitty-B-Gone- To keep cats out of the vegetable garden, you can use a combination of different natural substances. Cats abhor the smell of citrus and black pepper oil. Next time you eat an orange or a grapefruit, peel the rinds and toss them around in your vegetable garden. Sprinkling a large amount of black pepper also works well, although it can get expensive. Black pepper works best in areas that will not be getting a lot of water. You can also use black pepper underneath the porch or other spots in order to prevent a “litter box” area. Chili flakes work well, also, but are probably not a good idea if you have small children.

 You can also try planting the Coleus-Canina plant, a weed originating in Europe. It is also known as the “Scardy-Cat” plant because it emits an odor that felines hate. You can request this plant at your local nursery and plant it around any garden that you want cats to stay out of!

 2. Natural Aphid Killer- Did you know that you can kill aphids on roses and other plants simply by spraying them with a diluted solution made with household dish soap and tepid water? It’s true! Just put a small amount of dish soap in a squirt bottle with some water and spray away! The aphids die instantly and the plants are usually just fine. This method is so much safer than using pesticides, especially with food plants.

Investing in some ladybugs is also a great way to kill aphids. Ladybugs have a voracious appetite for aphids and other soft-bodied pests. They can help your garden become pest and insecticide-free.

3. Seaweed Mulch- Mulch made from seaweed is good for the soil and also deters pests. Seaweed mulch contains loads of vitamins and promotes healthy plant growth. An added bonus is that it deters slugs and snails.

There is lots of valuable information on the internet for gardeners that wish to plant and maintain gardens naturally. Your garden will become a more natural and balanced place for the healthy production of vegetables and flowers. Attracting and promoting beneficial insects, mulching techniques, and little bit of research can help you have the organic garden of your dreams.


Christy Pinheiro is an Enrolled Agent and holds a Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University. She was a staff accountant for a private CPA firm and also for the State of California before going into private practice. See her website at http://www.ChristyPinheiro.com.

 

Grasshoppers in Your Garden?

Grasshoppers in Your Garden?

Summer is when Grasshoppers can have a population explosion, decimating the yield in your garden with their constant eating. Fortunately there are several easy and natural ways to keep them away from your plants.

In this article I’ll be talking about organic methods of Grasshopper control that will also be beneficial to anyone growing a traditional garden.

Grasshoppers In Your Garden

1. Attract Insect-Eating Birds.

Bug eating birds can eat an unbelievable amount of grasshoppers in a day. And they’re simple to attract by just giving them someplace to perch.

Use trellises, posts and other upright structures to give birds a perch, this will help them feed more efficiently. Birds in the garden will be especially effective in early summer when they need to gather high protein food for their young.

2. Use a floating row cover.

Floating row covers are a light cloth that lets enough light through for plants to grow and creates a physical barrier insects can’t get through. Use some stakes or hoops to keep the row cover from touching the leaves, if it does touch the leaves insects might chew through the fabric to get to the plants.

A floating row cover is also useful in the early spring, it can protect your delicate plants from a light frost.

I have just given you two ways to control grasshoppers in your garden without having to use any kind of chemicals. These two methods are also inexpensive and have multiple uses. Both traditional and organic gardeners can put these methods to use.

Using methods to control grasshoppers is great if you have a good garden. But if you don’t enjoy all the digging, weeding and other kinds of work that come along with traditional gardening, there is a different method that requires far less work.

 

Click HTTP://SECRETSOFORGANICGARDENING.INFO if your interested in a simple, no digging and very little weeding method of growing a garden.

 

Brandon Wilkinson

Advantages of Using Organic Graden Fertilizer in Your Garden

Advantages of Using Organic Graden Fertilizer in Your Garden

The synthetic and the chemical fertilizers most people use today is only a modern invention. Before this invention people used organic garden fertilizer in their farms. And even before people got the idea to use a fertilizer, plants depended on their falling leaves and other matter as compost. Chemical fertilizers may have had instant and unbelievable returns but now the health hazards a chemically modified foods poses is a fact. So many people are switching back to the healthier choice for fertilizers.

Chemical fertilizers are now found out to affect the human body and as well as the ecosystem. Organic fertilizers are much more economical and are definitely safer than their synthetic counterparts. While a synthetic fertilizer may give instant results, organic ones give long-lasting ones which also protect the environment, especially the soil.

Organic fertilizers are better for the gardens in the house as it helps both the plant to grow and prevents the side effects that maybe caused by a chemical one. Organic fertilizers are available almost everywhere where gardening supplies are sold.

Organic fertilizers are very cheap compared to the chemical ones as it mainly made from kitchen and animal waste. The expensive chemical ones may give impressive initial results but it damages the soil and the plant in the long run.

Chemical fertilizers need to carefully sprayed and coming in contact directly is dangerous to health. It also robs the fertile soil of its nutrients and making it useless after regular usage. Organic fertilizers do not pose any of these harms.

They do not cause any damage to the human or the plant. Organic fertilizers also help soil which has been leeched by chemical fertilizers to regain its lost nutrients. Organic fertilizers are mostly insoluble and the plant absorbs the nutrients gradually thus effecting for a longer time.

Organic sea-weed fertilizer helps the plant to grow and yield better. Switching to an organic garden fertilizer is a better idea as it would make the vegetables healthier and so making the people who consume it healthy as well.

Clint Sidney is a gardening enthusiast and enjoys giving information about Organic Garden Fertilizer. You can learn more about gardening at GreatGardener.eHelpshome.com.

How to manage an ecological garden effectively

How to manage an ecological garden effectively

Managing an ecological garden is different to managing a traditional vegetable garden.  With an ecological garden, there is far less to do.  As you become the observer and allow nature to take over as head gardener, you will notice that the garden is in a continual state of gentle change, just like a natural ecosystem.  It can be difficult for the traditional gardener to stand back and observe as we, human beings, like to control things.  This style of gardening calls for a great deal of faith in natural laws. Sure, there will be times when you need to step in and direct the system in a certain way; however that is almost always because a certain plant species is getting too successful and the system is at risk of losing diversity.

 

Natural Pest Management

The dense mixed-up nature of the ecological garden creates a natural form of pest management.  Pests generally locate their target plant species using sight or smell.  Imagine how much more difficult it is to see your target plant when its outline is blurred by a sea of green.  And how on earth could you smell your target plant when there are so many conflicting smells.

 

No More Need to Rotate Crops

Crop rotation is practiced by dedicated gardeners for a very good reason.  Different plants require different minerals from the soil, in different proportions.  After an area has been planted with a certain species, the soil can be left depleted of certain minerals.  To lessen the effects of this depletion a different crop will be planted in the area the following year.  In addition, many gardeners rest their garden beds periodically and grow a green manure crop, usually a legume such as Lucerne or field peas.  These plants add nitrogen from the atmosphere through a process called nitrogen-fixing.  However, crop rotation simply isn’t necessary with ecological gardening because the mixed-up planting arrangement counteracts the effects of mineral depletion because a single species doesn’t dominate a single area.  Likewise, green manure crops are not necessary as nitrogen is topped up in two ways.  Firstly, through planting edible legumes such as peas and beans within the jungle-like mass.  And secondly, by the addition of compost to the surface of any bare areas.

 

Composting

Compost is an important part of the ecological garden and is a very valuable commodity.  To me, composting is a way of building valuable nutrients that will, one day, feed me and my family.  The average person buys food from a shop, consumes it and then sends the waste away.  This is simply buying nutrients, taking what you need for that precise moment, and disregarding the remainder.  It’s a nutrient flow that only flows in one direction, like a fancy car roaring down the road.  You admire the car for a moment, but after a second or two, it’s gone.

 

My goal is to slow down the car and then get it to do a U-turn.  I want to keep the nutrients within my property where I can capitalize on them.  By doing this, I am able to use the nutrients again, so I don’t have to buy them for a second time.  In effect, I am creating a system that is self-sustainable.  Composting is a vehicle in which we are able to create a nutrient cycle within our property.  We are part of that cycle because we consume the nutrients when they are, for a brief time, in a useful form.  Then they return to the compost and slowly make their way into another useful form where we consume them again.  This cycle can go on and on indefinitely.

 

Throw away the hoe

Natural ecosystems don’t require gardeners with shovels and hoes to come along every season to turn their soil, and neither does an ecological garden.  However, it is best not to walk on the garden beds as this will cause unnecessary compaction.  Of course, this requires the installation of permanent pathways that are positioned in a way that the gardener can obtain access to the plot.

 

Digging soil upsets the soil structure which, in turn, reduces the soil’s ability to pass on valuable nutrients to plants.  The loss of soil structure also reduces the soil’s ability to hold water.  Developing good soil structure is actually the best water conserving technique I know, and when practiced in conjunction with a dense planting arrangement creates a holistic soil ecology management plan.  A dense planting arrangement will shade the soils surface, stopping surface crusting which causes runoff and nutrient depletion.  Developing good deeper structure will allow soil organisms to do what they do best – turn organic matter into available plant nutrients.

 

Self Seeding

If you are lucky enough to visit a pristine rainforest you will probably be awestruck by the towering canopy.  However, the future of the rainforest lies in the soil in the form of seeds – tiny cells of life waiting for their opportunity to prosper.  If we are going to create an ecological garden then we have to make sure it too, has a future.  By allowing some plants to go to seed, we can build up seed stores, just like the rainforest.  And like the rainforest, we should aim to have thousands of seeds of many varieties spread right across our plot.  Most of these seeds will never germinate because in the ecological garden the niche spaces are so tightly filled that opportunities for new life are limited.  However, eventually a plant will be eaten and an empty niche space will appear.  If we have thousands of seeds lying dormant, the chances of the niche space being filled with something desirable are pretty good

Learn how to set up an organic vegetable garden that requires only 8 hours work per year! Discover how to plant an organic vegetable garden you can harvest ever day regardless of where you live HERE.

Garden Supplies Online – the Choices are Wider

Garden Supplies Online – the Choices are Wider

Some people prefer to go to a local home store or nursery to purchase their gardening supplies but you may be surprised to learn that when you look to buy garden supplies online you will find such a wide variety of products available. I just recently realized that myself.

With the current First Lady promoting having your own vegetable garden more and more people are becoming interested in doing so and are starting out by purchasing their garden supplies online. I think you will be excited when you start your search as you see the variety of stuff available.

Are you aware of the benefits of having your own garden? Apart from the fact that it is a very relaxing activity for you to do, you will also have fresh fruits and vegetables to consume for you and your family if this is what you choose to grow. This can be excellent for your long term health and that of your family.

There has been so much talk about residual pesticides on the fruits and vegetables we buy at the store so by having your own backyard garden you control what goes into growing your fruits and vegetables.

Even if you do not plan on growing fruits and vegetables but instead plan on growing regular plants you still have to consider your own exposure to pesticides or fertilizers as well as your pets if you have any.

My suggestion would be to only use organic gardening supplies to keep that concern about residual pesticides as a non-issue. You can get organic soil, organic pest control products, organic fertilizers so everything you need to grow anything organically is available for you.

Certain things you will always want to purchase at your local garden supplies store but for a wider variety of stuff check for garden supplies online.

Get your garden supplies online here, including organic gardening supplies.

Grab your FREE report on Disease Prevention,10 Natural Ways (valued at ) visit http://www.TopNaturalRemedies.com.

Vegetable Garden – Fertilizing – Tilling – Planting

Applying fertilizer, tilling, making rows, planting and watering. Visit “The Bayou Gardener” in South Louisiana at www.thebayougardener.com
Video Rating: 4 / 5

our February garden

Easy Recipe For Making Your Own Organic Insect Killer Soap for Your Garden

Easy Recipe For Making Your Own Organic Insect Killer Soap for Your Garden

Many home plant pest problems can be easily solved by using a little insecticidal soap.  It is easy and inexpensive to mix up your own organic insect killer at home.  You will be saving money on pesticides and won’t have to worry about dangerous chemicals on your food.

This recipe works best on soft-bodied pests like aphids, thrips, white flies and spider mites.  These are among the most common garden pests.  Insecticidal soaps kill insects by entering the pest’s respiratory system and breaking down internal cell membranes.  It is only effective when it is wet, so aim well.  After it is dry it will not harm your beneficial insects.  For heavy insect infestations, it is best to spray your plants again in a few days.

Here’s a really simple recipe for insecticidal soap.

1 tablespoon of soap

2 cups water

Mix thoroughly and add to spray bottle.  Spray directly onto the insects on your plants.

Be sure to check the label on your soap first.  The key to this recipe is to use regular dish soap, not detergent or anything anti-bacterial. You can also use pure liquid castile soap.

You can super-charge your organic insecticidal soap to make it stick to hard-bodied pests like fleas. It also damages the protective waxy coating on insects.  Add either one tablespoon of mineral oil or a vegetable oil to your mixture.  Sunflower or olive oil will work well, any vegetable-based oil will break down faster in your soil.  Oil will help the mixture stay on these pests so the soap has a chance to begin working. But it will also stick to your ladybug beetles so be careful where you are aiming.

Some plants (especially ferns) are sensitive to soaps.  Do not use a soap mixture on ferns. New growth on plants may be too tender for soap, so apply sparingly art first. Plants under stress may have a bad reaction to any insecticide.  Plants that are under stress from drought should be soaked with water the day before you treat them.  You should always test your mixture first on just one leaf on your plant.  If it is fine the next day, your solution should be OK to use.  It is better not to spray your plants in the middle of the day.  Full sun (especially on hairy plants) can turn the water droplets into little magnifying glasses which can burn the leaves.

Many garden pests like to hide underneath the leaves of plants.  For best results aim upwards and get under that foliage.  Aim directly at those bugs.  You may need to spray your organic pesticide again in a few days if you have a heavy infestation of pests.

Making your own insecticidal soap is a great way to save money on your landscaping budget and keep your vegetable garden organic at the same time.  Visit http://www.thegardenpages.com for more organic gardening tips.

Laura Zinkan is a writer in California. She cultivates a gardening site at http://www.theGardenPages.com with plant profiles, growing tips about succulents and native plants. Or visit the new garden blog at http://thegardenpages.blogspot.com for up-to-date seasonal information. 2009 by Laura Zinkan. Article may be reprinted if author credit is given with a website link. All rights reserved.

vegetable gardening and shade.

Secrets to Weed Control in Your Organic Herb Garden

Secrets to Weed Control in Your Organic Herb Garden

Growing your own organic herb garden probably means you are devoted to herbs that are healthy for you and gardening practices that don’t hurt the environment. But what do you do when the weeds start coming in? Herbicides are definitely against the spirit of organic gardening, but when you see swathes of weeds start growing, you might not know what to do! Taking care of the weeds in your organic garden is a process that takes time and effort, but once you get started, it is easy to keep on going.

One cheap and easy way to make sure that your weeds don’t get out of control is to put newspaper on top of them and then straw on top of the newspaper to make sure that it doesn’t blow away. This means that the weeds underneath will die while your herbs, which were left uncovered, will be just fine. You can also use mulch for this, though you should be careful not to inadvertently help the weeds along.

Just because you cannot use herbicides doesn’t mean that you can’t use anything at all. For instance, when you are fighting a particularly stubborn clump of weeds, hot water can kill them, as can normal white vinegar. Remember to be careful when you are using this method, though, because these are not selective forms of herbicide. You need to be okay with killing off plants that might be nearby. With the vinegar, you are essentially acidifying the area and making it tough for things to grow at all. It’s a bit extreme, but if you have tried everything else, it might be something that you need to do.

When you go out to fertilize your herb garden, make sure that you take your time and that only the herbs get fed. It takes more time, but it can be well worth it to make sure that only your herbs are getting nourished. You may also want to avoid methods of fertilizing your garden that broadcast the substance all around. It can give you more weeds than you know what to do with!

Remember to be proactive. The easiest time to get rid of weeds is when they are very young and easy to pull up. Depending on where you are and what your garden is like, you will find that this means that you are out in your garden every day or every other day. Even if you take all the measures listed above, there is a chance that you are going to be pulling weeds regardless. It’s essentially the price that you pay for organic gardening, but you will find that it becomes a habit before you know it. Even if you let it go for a few days at a time, remember that some wedding is far better than none at all!

Remember that your organic herb garden takes time and that the benefits of your harvest are well worth the work of weeding!

Carl Olsen is a teacher and herb enthusiast. For more great information on organic herb gardening, visit The Herb Garden Guide.

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