Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Grow Bulb Plants? Very Useful and Practical Tips here!

Bulbs are underground plant stems. They provide food for a shoot. Some bulbs produce flowers year after year. Gardening experts say tulips, daffodils and other bulbs are not very difficult to grow.

Bulbs do well in climates with a cold season. They are placed in the ground about the time of the first frost. But, with the right preparation, they can also grow well in places where the ground never freezes.

Before you start, you need know whether to plant tender bulbs or hardy bulbs. If you live in a cold area, a tender bulb will need special care when the growing season is over.

If you want that bulb to survive or come back, you would need to literally dig it out of the ground and bring it inside to a warm area because it just -- it will not survive, or it would get killed by the cold temperatures, and a hardly bulb can stay in the ground all year.

A hardy bulb is one that prefers cold temperatures. So therefore it can be left in the ground, such as a daffodil or tulip."

* Suggestions to get a Good Start on Planting Bulbs

First, the most important thing is to choose a place with soil that drains well.

How wet the soil is, that ends up being a big issue. For certain areas, if you have a lot of clay in your soil, you may find that bulbs do not last a long time for you, as in just a couple years. Or you may find they just do not do very well at all, and they actually rot in the soil.

Second, planting most big bulbs like tulips or daffodils about fifteen to twenty centimeters deep. Smaller bulbs can be planted about seven to ten centimeters deep. She says she enjoys planting smaller ones like snowdrop bulbs.

Bulbs should be planted with their pointed end up, toward the surface. But some bulbs do not seem to have a pointy end. In that case, Ms. Mason says, look for an "eye" that might have a stem. But don't worry if you cannot find one.

The good news is, the bulbs will figure it out.

Third, do not use fertilizer for the first year. After that, if you do fertilize the bulbs, do not mix the fertilizer in the planting hole. It could burn the roots.

There is a trick people can use to grow bulbs in places where the ground never freezes. Keep the bulbs cold in a refrigerator for about three months, then take them out and let them get used to the warmth. Now the bulbs will be ready to develop normally, colorful blooms and all.

* Original post: How to Grow Bulb Plants?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to Grow Blueberries?

When the topic comes to blueberries, my saliva begin to flow out beyond my consciousness, because I love blueberries when I still was a child. As United States is the world's largest country of blueberry production and consumption, who also has it own methods on blueberry cultivation. Today, let's learn more about blueberries from how to grow blueberry and its varieties.

Blueberries are generally grown in northern climates with cool winters and mild summers. But some newer varieties do well in very cool or very warm climates.

The major kinds of blueberry plants are highbush, half-high, lowbush and rabbiteye. Highbush plants can grow almost two meters tall.

Rabbiteye plants like warmer temperatures. Some of these bushes grow three meters tall.

Blueberry plants do best in soil that is acidic.

Plant expert Steve Renquist at Oregon State University says blueberry plants can grow well in containers. He says dwarf varieties are a good choice. These plants are often less than half a meter tall.

Steve: "Blueberry plants have a pretty shallow root system. It is not particularly vigorous. And so that is why they do well in pots, because of the light soil mixture. But they also require, then, fairly frequent watering because they are going to dry out a little faster. With any plant, a pot dries out faster, the pot does, than any plant that is in the soil."

If you consider growing blueberries at home, you might think about placing some shorter plants in pots. Steve Renquist says potted blueberries should be watered almost every day if temperatures are twenty-one degrees Celsius and above. He says potted blueberry plants should also be given fertilizer.

Blueberry plants do not need a lot of pruning. Instead, just a little thinning is needed, or as Steve Renquist puts it, "a stem here and a stem there."

Steve: "We've had a number of them growing in our master gardener locations both in the ground and in pots. And we notice that we need to reinvigorate and repot them about every four or five years.”

Blueberries are sold fresh, frozen and processed, and used in baked goods and other foods. Major production states include Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida on the East Coast; Michigan in the Midwest; and Oregon, Washington and California on the West Coast.

Maine produces wild blueberries, but most commercial growers in other states use cultivated highbush plants. The North American harvest runs from the middle of April through early October.

The United States and Canada are the world's largest producers and consumers of blueberries. But South America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe have also developed highbush blueberry industries. And demand is growing in other markets as well, especially Japan.

The US Highbush Blueberry Council points out that the blueberry is one of the few fruits native to North America.

* Original post: How to Grow Blueberries

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Barrier of Soil - Windbreaks

Flowers have guardians, so the soil that nourish flowers is also a need to spend a barrier. Today, windbreaks have become to the big guardian to protect the soil from being blown away, the big defender. The barrier consisting of a number of plants in soil conservation, and the same time they can provide better growing conditions for crop, it is a good idea be achieved by one of the coup!

Soil conservation methods help farmers protect their land from the damage caused by farming and the forces of nature. One method of soil conservation is the use of windbreaks. Windbreaks are barriers formed by trees and other plants. Farmers plant these barriers around their fields.
Windbreaks help prevent the loss of soil.They stop the wind from blowing soil away. They also keep the wind from damaging or destroying crops.

Windbreaks can be highly valuable for protecting grain crops. For example, studies have been done on windbreaks in parts of West Africa. These studies found that grain harvests were as much as twenty percent higher in fields protected by windbreaks compared to fields without them.

But here is something interesting about windbreaks. They seem to work best when they allow some wind to pass through the barrier of trees or plants around a field. If not, then the movement of air close to the ground will lift the soil. Then the soil will be blown away.

For this reason, a windbreak works best if it contains only sixty to eighty percent of the trees and plants that would be needed to make a solid line. An easy rule to remember is that windbreaks can protect areas up to ten times the height of the tallest trees in the windbreak.

There should be at least two lines in each windbreak. One line should be large trees. The second line, right next to it, can be shorter trees and other plants with leaves. Locally grown trees and plants are considered the best choices for windbreaks.

Studies have shown that some kinds of trees can grow well even if the quality of the land is not very good. One kind of tree is the white pine. Another is the loblolly pine.

Windbreaks not only protect land and crops from the wind. Surplus trees can be cut down and used or sold for wood.

Trees reduce the damaging effects of wind and rain. Their roots help protect soil from being washed away. And trees can provide another service for agriculture. They can provide grazing animals with shade from the sun.

* Original post: The Garden of Eden for Gardeners

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vegetables Also Need Sun Shades

Guide: We love and hate the sun, and no exception for vegetables. Vegetables growth requires a lot of sunlight supply, but if you give them too much sun exposure, the plant will be injured, too. Their plant tissue will be affected, and their leaves and fruits will be covered with yellow spots. So, although sunshine is good, but do not be too greedy.

Do you how to protect vegetables from too much sun?

Shading plants from intense sunlight in hot weather can increase production. Vegetables can suffer damage when their temperature rises above thirty-two degrees Celsius.

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and okra and other members of that family drop flower buds and young fruit when the plant temperatures exceed thirty-two degrees C."

Vegetable plants can get sunburn. Yellow spots may appear on their leaves and fruit. These areas can become thin and white as plant tissue is affected, and shade can help correct these problems.

What it does is, it actually allows the plant to give off adequate water, which cools the tissue.

So we suggests shading plants with bed sheets, shade cloth or brush -- in other words, sticks and branches. Cut them about a meter long and stand them in the ground on the south and west sides of plants.

Anything you can put over the plant. A lot of people can cut brush at the edge of the field and stick that into the soil on the south and west side of the plant and provide some shade.

If you use cloth sheeting, suspend it at least five centimeters above the plants. That way there is enough space for bees to fly around. Be careful not to cover plants too closely, which could trap heat and defeat the purpose of shading.

People can also buy canopies to shelter their plants. Some canopies have narrow strips of metal or wood to provide either sunlight or shade, depending on the position of the sun.

Shading works with field crops as well as vine crops like squash. People sometimes plant shrubs or trees to shade their vegetables. But tree roots compete with the vegetable roots. The veggies may not get enough nutrients and water.

Digression: Never give up on anything or anybody. Miracles happen every day.

* Original post: The Garden of Eden for Gardeners

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grow Onions Yourself, It's Healthy and Delicious

I always there are many people who favorite with onion very much, and they love the special taste of onion. Today, as the prices rising a lot, and a variety of toxic vegetables appeared in the market endlessly. Why not try to grow onions ourselves? And try the pollution-free vegetables grow under our own hands, isn’t it very interesting and meaningful? So, let's start right now! and looking forward to eating healthy and delicious onions!

Onions come in different sizes, shapes, colors and flavors, from mild and sweet to hot and strong. A full-grown onion plant has roots, bulbs and leaves. The leaves are long, thin and hollow. They stand straight up and thicken at the bottom to form a bulb.

Onions are biennials; their life cycle is two years long. But they are usually picked during their first year after flowers form and the bulbs stop growing.

Onions grow best in loose, fertile soil. They can grow in many different climates. In cooler climates, onions may need fourteen to fifteen hours of daylight to start forming bulbs. In warmer climates, onions can begin developing bulbs with fewer hours of daily sun.

Barbara Fick is an extension agent at Oregon State University in the northwestern United States. She says a faster way to grow onions is to plant what are called sets.

"Well, onion sets are actually small plants, versus starting with a seed. So when you have a set, onion set, it actually is, you know, the small bulb. So it does not take as long to grow." said Barbara.

Organic material like compost or leaf mulch can help onions grow in heavy soil.

The bulbs can be pulled from the ground once their tops have dried and fallen over. Onions can be stored for months. But Barbara Fick says stored onions need to be cured first.

Curing is a way of making sure those leaves on the outside are nice and dry.

Here are some directions from editors at the National Gardening Association.

First, dry the onions in the sun for a day or so. Then bring them out of direct sun for two to three weeks. Spread them out in any warm, airy place that is covered. Or cover the onions with a light cotton sheet held in place with stones along the edge.

The sheet will keep the sun from burning the bulbs. Don't worry about rain. And do not use a plastic or canvas sheet. Heavy coverings will trap moisture and keep the onions from drying fully.

Turn the bulbs a couple of times to help them dry evenly.

After curing the onions, you can hang them indoors in mesh bags to dry even more. There should be no wet spots on the onions when they are put in storage. Editors at the National Gardening Association say the longer onions are cured, the better they will keep.

Some people cut off the top leaves before curing onions. If you do that, do not cut the leaves any closer than two and a half centimeters from the bulb.

* Original post: The Garden of Eden for Gardeners

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Want to Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden? Follow me Now! (Step V)

GUIDE: Successful vegetable gardening involves far more than just popping a few seeds into the ground and waiting for a tomato to appear. Now I’d like to give you some gardeners’ tips for a successful natural vegetable garden with three steps as Planning your garden, Preparing the soil, and then... Planting your vegetables!
Step I: Planning Your Vegetable Garden

Step II: Preparing the Soil
Step III & IV: Planting Vegetables & Sowing Vegetable Seeds

Step V: Setting in Vegetable Starts
If you purchased bedding plants, or started your seeds indoors in pots dig a small hole which is slightly wider and deeper than the root ball of the new plant. Water the plant thoroughly prior to planting it out in the garden to lessen the shock of transplant. Gently tap the pot to loosen the roots and remove the new plant. If the root ball is tangled and compacted, use your finger tips to gently loosen the outer roots.Set the plant into the hole sightly deeper than it was growing in the pot, and firm the soil in around it, making certain that there is good soil/root contact.

Water in well.....

Maintain as your garden grows...

During dry periods, vegetable gardens need extra watering. Most vegetables benefit from an inch or more water each week, especially when they are fruiting.

Mulching between the rows will help to control weeds, conserve moisture in the soil, and provide you with pathways to access your plants. Black plastic may be used, or you can utilize grass clippings, straw, wood chips, or garden debris.

Throughout the growing season be vigilante against insect pests. Discovering a bug problem early will make it much easier to take appropriate action and eliminate the pests. Do not use pesticides once the plants have fruited unless it becomes an absolute necessity, and be sure to follow the manufacturers recommendations.

Weeds rob your vegetables of water, light and root space. Keep them pulled out regularly (try to get the entire root) and the job isn't too bad. If they are allowed to go to seed, you may be dealing with thousands of weeds instead of a few.

Once you have harvested your crop, put the spent plant and other vegetable matter into your compost pile so that it can be recycled into your garden again, next spring.

* Original post: The Garden of Eden for Gardeners

Monday, May 23, 2011

Want to Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden? Follow me Now! (Step III&IV)

GUIDE: Successful vegetable gardening involves far more than just popping a few seeds into the ground and waiting for a tomato to appear. Now I’d like to give you some gardeners’ tips for a successful natural vegetable garden with three steps as Planning your garden, Preparing the soil, and then... Planting your vegetables!

Step I: Planning Your Vegetable Garden

Step II: Preparing the Soil

Step III: Planting Vegetables

Using your garden layout map which you created in the planning stages, use stakes to mark out where different rows will be planted. Build your trellises or set in stout stakes for climbing plants such as peas and beans.

Create mounds on which you will put in the vining plants such as cucumbers, pumpkins and melons. Don't forget to establish your pathways early so that you won't be walking across areas which will be planted. You don't want to be compacting the soil which you have worked so hard to fluff up.

You are now ready to sow your seeds, and to put in your vegetable bedding plants. Planting depths and spacing are critical, so don't crowd to many plants into the allotted space or you may end up with spindly plants and no food.

Be sure to place a tag or marker on each row or area so that you will know what to expect will sprout there and when! Water your garden thoroughly the day before you intend to plant.

Step IV: Sowing Vegetable Seeds

Stretch a string between the two stakes you set to mark the row, or use a straight piece of lumber, and use it as a guide to open a 'V' shaped furrow with the corner of your hoe. Set the depth to the recommended requirements on the seed packet.

Tear the corner of the seed package off and use your finger to tap the package lightly as you move down the row, carefully distributing the seeds evenly.

Larger type seeds may be placed individually in the row. You will want to plant extra seeds in each row to allow for failed germination, and for thinning. Cover the seeds with fine soil (no clods or rocks).

Firm the soil over the seeds to insure good moisture contact, and to help retain the moisture in the soil. Water thoroughly using a gentle spray so that you don't disturb or uncover the seeds. Seeds need moisture to germinate, so it is important to keep the soil moist until the seedlings are up.

When the seedlings have emerged and developed their second or third set of true leaves, thin them as needed so that you keep the strongest plants, leaving the remaining ones spaced as directed on the seed package. It is best to thin while the seedlings are still small, so that you aren't disturbing the roots of the plants which will remain.

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Step V: Setting in Vegetable Starts

* Original post: The Garden of Eden for Gardeners

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Want to Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden? Follow me Now! (Step II)

GUIDE: Successful vegetable gardening involves far more than just popping a few seeds into the ground and waiting for a tomato to appear. Now I’d like to give you some gardeners' tips for a successful natural vegetable garden with three steps as Planning your garden, Preparing the soil, and then... Planting your vegetables!

Step I: Planning Your Vegetable Garden

Step II: Preparing the Soil

Fertile, well drained soil is necessary for a successful garden. The exact type of soil is not so important as that it be well drained, well supplied with organic matter, reasonably free of stones, and moisture retentive. The subsoil also is very important. Hard shale, rock ledges, gravel beds, deep sand, or hardpan under the surface may make the development of garden soil extremely difficult or impossible.

On the other hand, infertile soil that has good physical properties can be made productive by using organic matter, lime, commercial fertilizer, and other soil improving materials. Soils should not be plowed or worked while it is very wet unless the work will certainly be followed by severe freezing weather. If the soil sticks together in a ball and does not readily crumble under slight pressure by the thumb and finger, it is too wet for plowing or working, because in this condition it will cake as it dries, making it unsuitable for young plants.

If your garden has already been cultivated and used in past years, there is little to do other than to plow in additional organic material, and fertilizers. The fertilizer may be in the form of composted manure or any good commercial complete plant food distributed at a rate of 3 or 4 pounds for every thousand square feet of vegetable garden. Infertile soil will often benefit from even larger proportions of chemical fertilization, but care must be taken not to add too much because of the danger of fertilizer burn. When manure is added to the soil, it must be composted prior to planting, because fresh, hot manure will also burn your plants.

Different types of vegetables require varying degrees of soil acidity. The acidity or alkalinity of the soil is measured by pH, and must be adjusted according to which crop will occupy that area. Generally, soils in moist climates are acid and those in dry climates are alkaline. A soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil and one with a pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline.

You can buy an inexpensive pH test kit at most nurseries, and many good garden centers will gladly test a soil sample for you. Once you have determined the pH you can amend the soil as needed. The pH requirements of different garden vegetables will determine what steps must be taken next.

Only after the site has been prepared, and the soil and conditioners mixed, watered well and settled should you test the pH of the soil. The tested soil should be dry.If a soil test reveals that you need to make corrections to your soil pH, you can use materials commonly available at your local garden center. If your soil needs to be more acidic, sulfur may be used to lower the pH.

For raising the pH, lime is most commonly used. The amount of either material used will depend on the amount of change you need to make. The recommendations provided on the product label will help you determine how much to use.

A general rule of thumb is to add 4 lbs. of lime per 100 sq. ft. of garden for every pH point below 6.5, or 1 lb. of sulfur per 100 sq. ft. for every pH point above 7.5. Sawdust, composted oak leaves, wood chips, peat moss, cottonseed meal, and leaf mold lower the pH, while ashes of hardwoods, bone meal, crushed marble, and crushed oyster shells raise the pH.

The best way to adjust pH is gradually, over several seasons. Most garden vegetables do best on soils that are slightly acid and may be injured by the application of excess lime. For this reason lime should be applied only when tests show it to be necessary. If the soil is excessively alkaline, you may find that you are better off to build a raised bed using topsoil purchased from a nursery.

Once your soil structure, fertility and pH have been established, the soil should be tilled one last time, and then raked smooth.

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Step III & IV: Planting Vegetables & Sowing Vegetable Seeds

Step V: Setting in Vegetable Starts

* Original post: The Garden of Eden for Gardeners

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Want to Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden? Follow me Now! (Step I)

GUIDE: Successful vegetable gardening involves far more than just popping a few seeds into the ground and waiting for a tomato to appear. Now I’d like to give you some gardeners’ tips for a successful natural vegetable garden with three steps as Planning your garden, Preparing the soil, and then... Planting your vegetables!

Step I: Planning Your Vegetable Garden

Planning a garden requires that you take a number of variables into consideration. The sections found below will help you select garden enhancements, grow a container garden, grow a garden indoors, plant seeds properly, select plants for your climate zone, create a theme garden, and attract birds and butterflies to your garden.

As you sit down to plan your garden, please consider adding a few extra plants and donate a little of your bounty to your local food bank or second harvest organization. Give a helping hand to those who may not have the opportunity to grow their own food.

For the best success, a vegetable garden should be well planned out in advance. The site location is of the utmost importance. A spot near the house in full sunlight is the normally the most convenient spot, however, drainage, soil quality, and shade from buildings or trees may mean the garden must be located in an area farther from the house.

A good vegetable garden must have at least six hours of full sun each day in order for your food crops to mature properly. No amount of fertilizer, water, or care can replace needed sunshine.

The soil should be very fertile and well draining so that water never puddles after a rain storm. While good air movement around a garden is important, windy areas should be avoided because winds can dry out or break plants. Choose a spot close to a water supply for convenience, and to avoid having to use long lengths of hoses.

Planting a vegetable garden where it can be visited frequently will allow you to monitor plant pests and the general health of the garden more easily.

Your choice of vegetables will be largely determined by the likes and dislikes of your family. If you expect to consume large quantities of a type of vegetable, it is usually more cost effective to start your plants from seeds indoors. Some types of plants resent transplanting and must be sown directly into the garden where they are to be grown.

In other instances it is best to purchase bedding plant starts to extend the growing season long enough to insure the maturity of the crop. As you plan and map out your vegetable garden, be sure to consider the information found on Vegetable Growing tips in your criteria of what and where to plant.

When planning your garden, consider what and how much you will plant. It is better to have a well maintained, small garden than a large one neglected and full of weeds. Usually, the garden should be surrounded by a sufficiently high fence with close mesh to keep out dogs, rabbits, and other animals. A fence also can serve as a trellis for beans, peas, tomatoes, and other crops that need support. It is helpful to draw a diagram of your prospective garden, mapping out each row according to height, plant requirements and other criteria.

The direction of the rows isn't necessarily critical, but often it is a good idea to have them running east-west, thereby allowing you to plant your tallest crops on the north end of the plot, and successively shorter crops in front. This prevents shading of the shorter plants.

If you must plant your garden on a hill, cut your furrows on a contour with the land, so that the water won't run quickly down the hill, taking with it the valuable topsoil, and the nutrients needed for your plants.

Perennial vegetables such as rhubarb and asparagus should be planted off to the side where they won't interfere with future plowing. Early producing crops (radishes, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, onions, etc.) should be grouped together with extra space for successive plantings. After they are finished for the season, this will allow you to easily rework the area for later season crops.

(not finished to be continue)

Step II: Preparing the Soil
Step III & IV: Planting Vegetables & Sowing Vegetable Seeds

Step V: Setting in Vegetable Starts

* Original post: The Garden of Eden for Gardeners

Monday, February 28, 2011

How to Plant Herbs Indoors?

The grow-your-own movement is all well and good if you’ve got a great yard, but tons of people don’t have access to an outdoor space. So we spoke with gardening experts to figure out what it takes to grow herbs indoors.

Part I: How to grow herbs indoors?

Make sure you have a sunny windowsill or other place indoor where your herbs will survive. A south or southeast window would be perfect if it gets at least 5 hours of sun per day and is away from drafts.

Purchase some of your favorite small herb plants from your local nursery.

Get a container that is at least 6-12 inches deep. You can plant multiple herbs in a wide or long container or use at least a 6" pot for individual plants.

Use a soilless potting mix to avoid soil born diseases. Be sure the mix is light and will be well draining.

Put a 2-3 inch layer of potting mix into the bottom of your container.

Position your herb plants in the container.

Finish filling in with the potting mix, firming gently around the plants. Leave about an inch at the top of the container for watering.

Water sparingly. Herbs don't like to sit in wet soil.

Feed once a month with a fertilizer labeled for use on edibles.

Allow the plants some time to acclimate. Once you see new growth, you can start using your herbs.


1. Choose herbs that don't grow too wide or tall. Chives, basil, lavender, parsley, mint and thyme are good choices.

2. Fluorescent lights can be used if you don't have a sunny window. They will need to be placed close to the plants (18") and kept on for about 10 hours/day.

3. Snip and use your plants often to encourage them to grow full and bushy.

4. Never trim more than 1/3 of the plants foliage.

What You Need:

- Herb plants
- Pots or containers
- Soilless potting mix
- Fertilizer

Part II: What Kinds of Herbs that Suitable for Planting Indoors


Oregano is one of the most popular herbs for Italian cooking. It goes well in soups and pasta dishes. If you are buying oregano for cooking use, purchase Greek oregano rather than common oregano. The common type has attractive flowers but offers no real flavor. Oregano grows only 6 to 8 inches tall, making it ideal for indoor growing.

Bay Tree

A very slow grower. Be sure you pick up a Laurus nobilis, cautions Rose Marie Nichols McGee, coauthor of Bountiful Container and co-owner of Nichols Garden Nursery in Albany, Oregon; the Laurus nobilis is best for cooking with. Bay tree can become infested with scale if it gets too dry --- use dishwashing detergent to wash off the leaves, then rinse them thoroughly.


Basil leaves are a main ingredient in pesto sauce and are prized by gourmet cooks. Indoor herb gardeners can choose from many varieties to grow, such as lemon, anise or cinnamon flavored basil. Basil can be harvested as soon as the plants have a few sets of leaves on them, and harvesting the leaves actually encourages the plants to get bushier and sprout more leaves.


Doesn’t require as much light as some other herbs. The Grolau variety was bred for growing indoors.


Sage is a perennial that produces leaves that are tasty in omelets, sausage dishes and stuffing. The woody-stemmed plant can grow up to 2 feet tall. The gray-green leaves make an attractive contrast with brighter leaves of other herbs. Gardeners who want a smaller plant can grow the "Compacta" variety which only grows 10 inches tall.

Kaffir Lime Tree

Kaffir lime leaves are often used in Thai cooking. Be sure you give this plant special citrus food.


For foodie gardeners who are interested in creating their own herbal teas, mint is a worthwhile addition to the indoor garden. Mint is so easy to grow that many gardeners insist on only growing it in containers, as it has a habit of taking over an entire garden otherwise. Mint growers have a large variety from which to choose, such as peppermint, spearmint, apple mint and pineapple mint.


A good way to cheat, because it requires no soil; you can just use a stalk you get at the market. Make sure it has a good amount of stem and the bottom is intact; trim the top and put it in a container with a couple of inches of water. Connie Campbell, a New Hampshire–based master gardener, says, “It will send out roots and new sprouts and many, many new stalks from the bottom, and you can just cut those off and use them.”

Vietnamese Coriander

Almost identical in taste to cilantro, says Campbell, and “very, very reliable.”


Cilantro is the name for the stems and leaves of the coriander plant. It often bolts, meaning it starts growing flowers and seeds instead of leaves. Leslie Land, gardening columnist and blogger, sows coriander seeds in a shallow flat (a plastic tray), then eats them as sprouts, root and all. “Sow the coriander seeds quite thickly, like almost paving but not quite. Only let seedlings get about four to five inches tall, then pull them up, roots and all, and wash them.” To make this economical, she says, just pick up coriander seeds in bulk at a health food store.

However, growing anything isn’t easy (and yes, you may kill off a few plants before you get the hang of it); just start with the simple stuff. Even if you won’t be able to brag about your heirloom tomatoes, you can still feel the satisfaction of putting your own basil in a cocktail or stir-frying with some fresh lemongrass.

You can bring your herb garden indoors for the winter, by planting a windowsill garden. Many herb plants grow quite easily in containers and require only minimal care. You'll be snipping fresh herbs in your kitchen throughout the winter.

* Original post: The Garden of Eden for Gardeners

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to Pick the Best Garden Tools?

Ask any gardener worth their salt if they have their own particular favourites when it comes to garden tools, and the answer will almost always be a resounding yes.

For some, the tool in question might be a very well-used shovel or spade, its metal tip rounded and razor-sharp from long years of regular use. For others, it's a favourite hoe, a special hand-trowel, a much-loved rake or a weeding implement that they've owned forever and would now hate to be without.

These are the special tools with which the gardener has formed an affectionate bond, the dependable ones that go straight into the wheelbarrow at the beginning of a hard day's gardening, to be used again and again. And then there are the rest of them...

The "rest of them" are the tools found hidden at the back of most garden sheds, festooned with cobwebs, coated in a layer of rust, their handles cracked and their blades broken. They're the tools that never really did what they were supposed to do: the secateurs so blunt that it would barely cut so much as a blade of grass, the garden fork so flimsy that it crumpled on contact with the first large stone, the spade so short-handled that only a child could use it without getting an aching back.

Bought long ago, on impulse or in a sale, they are now heartily despised. Bitter experience and hard effort has taught their owners that there's nothing like bad gardening tools to turn the already-arduous tasks of weeding, digging, hoeing, raking and pruning into a series of hair-pullingly tedious, tantrum-inducing chores (having a hissy fit about a broken spade/fork/shovel/hoe while ankle-deep in mud is, as some will know, a peculiarly dispiriting, undignified, experience).
Now do you know how to pick the best garden tools thus to grow you garden perfectly?

* Original post: The Garden of Eden for Gardeners (Garden Tools World)