i’ve been growing tomatoes for years, but when it comes to pruning, i need a step by step guide. sure, i pinch off the suckers and the wild ones, but am i really doing it right? check out this step by step guide.
so you have a crummy, shady area where the lawn isn’t doing it for you but just don’t know what to do with it? MAKE A SHADE GARDEN!!! there is a popular belief that you cannot garden without full sunlight. wrong! read the article at the link and learn. i’m doing this, myself.
My friend and I got together one night and made these. they were so easy I thought I would show everyone how to make them. Hopefully I am able to make it look as easy as it was.
click here for entire link: http://www.gardenstew.com/about22738.html
Best Seed Tape Ever
Planting tiny seeds is easy with this simple gardening trick.
It’s difficult to space tiny seeds, such as carrots, in the garden. The best way to solve this problem is to make homemade seed tape. Here’s how to do it:
1. Unroll a strip of toilet paper on a table (double ply works best), mist it with a sprayer, and place the seeds along the center of the strip. Be sure to space the seeds based on the seed packet’s recommendation. Tip: Alternate carrot seeds with radish seeds because when the radishes sprout, they help to mark the row and break the ground.
2. Starting along the strip’s long edge, fold a third of the paper over the seeds, then fold the other third over to cover the seeds completely. Lightly tamp the paper, misting it again to secure the seeds. Make as many of these strips as you need. Then carefully carry them to the garden.
3. Make shallow furrows in the prepared soil, lay the strips down, and cover them. In a jiffy, your small seeds will be planted and perfectly spaced.
I spent part of today talking to a retire Professor from the California University system. His expertise is in plants, particularly tomato plants. The subject we discussed was the long-term storage of plant seeds. Based on his many years of experience he said that the best method is to store seeds in a paper sack in the refrigerator. In his opinion, the preferred temperature to store seeds is 50 degrees. For practical purposes, a refrigerator works well. He recommended against freezing your seeds. High heat will also shorten the storage life of seeds.
He has germinated tomatoes seeds that were 50 years old that had been stored correctly. On one occasion, he received wheat seeds (wheat berries) from a cave in South America that were several hundred years old and they germinated.
If seeds fail to germinate, he said it is often because the seed coat has become hard. He said that you can soften the seed coat by soaking in them in a mixture of two parts water to one part chlorox for thirty minutes. Then rinse them in clean water and plant. This will not always work but is well worth a try. He told me the story of another Professor who had some tomato seeds that would not germinate so they were fed to his turtle. After going through the digestive track of his turtle, the seeds were then discovered to germinate.
The length of storage life varies from plant to plant. However, most plants seeds should last a few years. Legumes have a short shelf life compared to tomatoes.
The following is additional information that comes from the University of Colorado.
for the rest of the article, please click this link:
Coffee grounds can be an excellent addition to a compost pile. The grounds are relatively rich in nitrogen, providing bacteria the energy they need to turn organic matter into compost. About two percent nitrogen by volume, used coffee grounds can be a safe substitute for nitrogen-rich manure in the compost pile, explained Cindy Wise, coordinator of the compost specialist program at the Lane County office of the Oregon State University Extension Service. “A lot of people don’t want to use manure because of concerns about pathogens,” she said. Contrary to popular belief, coffee grounds are not acidic. After brewing, the grounds are close to pH neutral, between 6.5 and 6.8. The acid in the beans is mostly water-soluble, so it leaches out into the brewed coffee. Since 2001, Wise has trained and coordinated OSU compost specialist volunteers who have collected and composted nearly 200 tons of coffee grounds from 13 coffee shops and kiosks in Eugene, Springfield, Florence, Cottage Grove, and Veneta. That’s the equivalent of about 25 large dump
trucks full of coffee grounds.
Lane County alone is estimated to generate 1 million pounds of used coffee grounds per year, Wise said. “Recycling this valuable soil amendment and compost ingredient makes sense both economically and environmentally,” she said. Wise is encouraging gardeners and those that compost in other communities to arrange to collect coffee shop grounds for composting. But be sure to make prior arrangements with a coffee shop to collect grounds. Then, take a clean five-gallon bucket with a lid, label it with your name and telephone number on the bucket and lid and leave it at the shop and then pick it up at the shop’s convenience. Here are some suggestions for using composted grounds in the yard and garden from the OSU Extension compost specialists:
-Mix grounds into soil as an amendment. Make sure to keep them damp.
-Spread grounds on the soil surface, then cover them with leaves or bark mulch.
-Add grounds to your compost pile, layering one part leaves to one part fresh grass clippings to one part coffee grounds, by volume.Turn once a week. This will be ready in three to six months.
-Or, put them in an existing unturned pile. Just make sure to add a high carbon source, such as leaves to balance it.
-Grounds may be stored for future use. They may develop molds but these appear to be consumed during the composting process. Or a large plastic bag works for storage as well.
-Paper coffee filters may be composted with the grounds.
-Keep in mind that uncomposted coffee grounds are NOT a nitrogen
fertilizer. Coffee grounds have a carbon-to-nitrogen ration of about 20:1, in the same range as animal manure. Germination tests in Eugene showed that uncomposted coffee grounds, added to soil as about one-fourth the volume, showed poor germination and stunted growth in lettuce seed.
Therefore, they need to be composted before using near plants. Wise and her composting protagees have been conducting informal research on composting coffee grounds. So far, they have observed that coffee grounds help to sustain high temperatures in compost piles. High temperatures reduce potentially dangerous pathogens and kill seeds from weeds and vegetables that were added to the piles. They have noticed that coffee grounds seem to improve soil structure, plus attract earthworms. When coffee grounds made up 25 percent of the volume of their compost piles, temperatures in the piles stayed between 135 degrees and 155 degrees for at least two weeks, enough time to have killed a “significant portion” of the pathogens and seeds. In contrast, the manure in the trials
didn’t sustain the heat as long..
“We were amazed at the results we got with coffee grounds when we did thetrial,” Wise said. Jack Hannigan, an extension-trained compost specialist, is pleased with the results he gets from the coffee grounds he collects from the Fast Lane Coffee Company in Springfield to use on his farm in Pleasant Hill. “I make hotbeds that run about 150 degrees,” Hannigan said. “It kills the weeds. I can get the piles hotter and break down the compost better with coffee grounds than I can with manure. It works great.”
Coffee grounds also can be added directly to soil but the grounds need a few months to break down, Wise said. “We’re not certain about how coffee grounds act with the soil, but anecdotally people say they do dig it into the soil,” she said. An additional benefit of diverting coffee grounds from the landfill is that it helps cut greenhouse gas emissions, said Dan Hurley, waste management engineer for Lane County’s Short Mountain Landfill. “To keep organics out of the landfill is a good thing for reducing greenhouse gas emissions because organics decompose and produce methane. Methane is about 25 times as bad as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas,” Hurley said. Recycling coffee shop grounds also fosters interactions between community residents and local businesses. The coffee grounds stay in their communities, meaning that fuel isn’t being used to truck them from far-flung areas of the county to landfills.
As you can see from a prior post on building raised beds, this is how i garden. I build the soil under the plants so they are always fed. Lasagna gardening is the way to go. This article gives you a lot of good information explaining the importance.
I wouldn’t know how to begin a discussion on gardening without beginning with the soil. When I teach a workshop, I ask people what they think of when they think “garden”. Most often, the answer has to do with the harvest. And, of course, we wouldn’t garden if we couldn’t look forward to a bountiful harvest. But, I always encourage my students to think “soil” because healthy soil will result in a healthy, nutrient-dense harvest. A garden with poor soil may produce fruit, but that fruit can’t possibly contain the nutrients, or taste as good, as one grown in soil that has provided all that is needed for its health. And plants grown in healthy soil have less problems with disease and pests.
Components Of Healthy Soil
So, what makes soil healthy? Soil is so much more than dirt. One of the components is, of course, weathered rock. That is where our garden plants will receive many of the minerals that they need. Good soil also contains organic matter – things like worm castings, decomposed leaves, and even the remains of soil organisms like insects, fungi and bacteria. Replenishing organic matter is essential to soil care.
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Compost is simply decomposed organic matter, but it’s the best gift you can give your garden. Here are just a few of the many benefits of compost. (click link for article)
Dig a 4-to-6-inch-deep trench that is as long as your tomato seedling is tall.
Remove the seedling from its pot and gently massage the rootball apart. Snip off the leaves on the lower portion of the stem, leaving two to four sets of leaves at the top of the stem to ensure enough leaf surface for photosynthesis.
SEE THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: