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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

postheadericon Could I feed my family if I had to?

survival seed vault I am not one to run around like Chicken Little yelling “the sky is falling.. the sky is falling”. But I do believe in being prepared…Just in case. It is always a good idea to have a backup plan.

I have one question for you to ask yourself…. Could I feed my family if I had to?

The concept of a survival seed vault has become more widespread over the last several years. More and more families are gaining food independence by growing their own survival heirloom seeds. The health benefits of  non-gmo, survival heirloom seeds are more widely known now than in years past, and people are taking a stand against high supermarket prices.

But what if disaster strikes, and you have to ask yourself some questions:

Could I feed my family if I had to? Do I have the right kind of seeds for my region? Can I save the seeds from my harvest to plant the following year?

It is always a good idea to have a backup plan, and having a supply of premium heirloom survival seed to have on hand just in case would be a good thing to do NOW.

My Patriot Supply is a premium heirloom survival seed supplier located in the United States. They are a group of folks with a passion for self-reliance and freedom.

They have many wonderful items available on their site… but one that everyone should consider having on hand .. just in case… is their Survival Seed Vault. The Vault contains only the highest quality heirloom vegetable survival seeds. These Patriot Seeds are 100% Non-GMO, open-pollinated and placed in specially sealed packets allowing for long term storage.

The Patriot Survival Seed Vault is packaged for long term storage (5+ years) but priced for planting this year! Because of the affordable pricing, the majority of their customers buy for both planting and storage!

They offer a special, you can buy a bulk pack and plant seeds now and you will have extra if you need them…. or you can plant those seeds next year. Next year, plant the seeds and replenish your stock that you had for backup…. It just makes sense to me to be prepared.

Survival Seed Vault features only the finest survival heirloom seeds for a robust and hearty garden, even in the toughest of times.  Check out My Patriot Supply… poke around their website. They offer many items but the Survival Seed Vault is first on my list… just in case.

You might also enjoy this article about Straw Bale Gardening. You could plant your seeds in straw.


postheadericon The Garden Gnome

While I was doing a bit of research for an article I came across the history of the Garden Gnome. I have seen these charming lawn ornaments for years. People also place them in their gardens. I found the article so interesting I had to share it with you.

I would love to give credit to the author but I have no idea who wrote this.

The Garden Gnome is not just another yard figurine. It has it’s own distinguished history, culture and controversy attached to it. Before you buy a Garden Gnome for your home be sure to know all of the factors that go along with it.

For starters the history of the Garden Gnome dates back to Germany in the 1800’s. The original statues were made out of clay and were hand crafted. They then made their way to England in the mid 1800s. Around the late 1800’s to the 1900’s they made their way into America. During WWII production of these figurines came to an abrupt halt. The German factories were commandeered and converted to support the war efforts. In 1960’s the gnomes picked up popularity again however, they were mass-produced using plastic. Because so many of them were produced they gained the stigma for being a tacky lawn ornament. The clay hand carved Garden Gnomes have been family heirlooms for many families. The Clay figurines are making a come back of sorts, more companies are reviving the old tradition.

Any Garden Gnome enthusiast will tell you that Garden Gnomes are wonderful creatures that are very good luck to have in your garden. They are primarily vegetarians, joyful little people who enjoy having fun and helping out with things. It is believed that having one in your garden will be helpful in the day-to-day activities that are necessary to proper garden management. It is believed that they have an excellent ability to be able to reflect on history and an even better perspective on the future.

Not all people have such a jovial perception of the Garden Gnome. There are some that disagree with the use of the Garden Gnome. They believe that to have a Garden Gnome in the home is slavery and that the Garden Gnome should be freed. There are groups that will take a Garden Gnome from a yard if they see it. Relocating it to the forest where they believe they find their freedom. A few of the groups choose to operate under the radar, sneaking into people’s yards and stealing these figurines. There is a political group that actively lobbies for the ban of Garden Gnome slavery.

Whether you are a follower of the Garden Gnome culture or just someone who thinks they are cut enough to go in your yard these figurines have a lot of history behind them and can be a wonderful addition to your yard. Just be sure to keep them away from the gnome liberators if you would like to keep them for a long period of time.

postheadericon No Dig Gardening

 Learn the basics to creating a no-dig organic vegetable plot. There are many benefits to organic gardening, especially when you don’t have to turn over the soil. It is far better for your soil structure – and your back…

This method of vegetable gardening is what I prefer. As you might have guessed, it doesn’t involve digging. This method is particularly suited to older people or people with physical disabilities. But I just prefer it because I think it’s better for the soil.

When soil is turned over it destroys the soil structure. When you create a no-dig plot you are not disturbing the topsoil at all, this means that the soil microbes, worms and creatures can continue doing what they do best in your garden.

For the best results in your garden, you want to aim for no compaction of the soil. Water, air and nutrients travel through the soil by pathways made by worms and plant roots. When soil is compacted these pathways are destroyed.

By designing you plots to be no more than say 1.25metres (4 feet) across (and however long you want) you can avoid having to stand in it. If you start with a small bed, (1.25m x 2.5m / 4’ x 8’) you can plan it so that you can expand when you are ready.

No matter what your location, no dig vegetable gardens are a great option for you. It means that it doesn’t matter what sort of soil you are starting out with as the layering of materials over the surface will continue to feed and condition your soil. Eventually you will end up with dark, nutrient rich soil.

A No Dig garden bed is made on top of the ground. It can be built over existing garden beds, lawns and even hard or rocky ground – even concrete. It should be situated in an area that receives at least six hours sun (preferably morning sun) a day and that has good drainage.
When preparing the plot it is not necessary to pull up lawn or an existing garden, you will be ‘smothering’ what is already there.

Building your plot
I like to install irrigation before building my plot as I find it saves me so much time and trickle irrigation (on a timer) is a far better way to water than by hand or sprinkler.
One thing to always remember when handling manures, soil or any organic matter is to always wear tough gloves to protect you from bacteria getting into any cuts. Then wash your hands thoroughly when you’re finished in the garden.
1. Form the outside walls of your plot. You can use logs, old planks, pavers, bricks, stones, sleepers etc. If you have disabilities you might want to get help with this.
2. Lay down a thick layer of wet newspaper (I use an old baby bath filled with water to soak the newspaper), making sure it completely covers the enclosed area. It should be at least 6mm (quarter inch) thick and overlap by about 75mm (3inches). This will kill off any weeds and more from growing. Only use newspaper and glossy, coloured paper has chemicals.
3. Lay down pads (or biscuits) of lucerne hay or pea straw, making sure there are no gaps between pads.
4. Add a 20mm (¾inch) layer of good organic fertilizer (chicken manure is great).
5. Cover with about 200mm (8inches) thick of loose straw.
6. Add another 20mm (¾inch) layer of good organic fertilizer (blood & bone etc).
7. Finish off with a top layer of compost, about 100mm (4inches) thick.
8. Water well and allow to settle.
9. Plant out seedlings after 2 or 3 weeks (not seeds).

Some of the benefits of creating a no-dig, raised plot include:
– can be built anywhere, any time to any design
– keeping your garden tidy, with easy access
– stops birds from scratching your mulch everywhere
– it mirrors nature by create a rich, organic environment for your plants
– once set up, it’s virtually maintenance free
– helps prevent destruction from snails, rabbits etc.

In your new garden the best veggies are potatoes, lettuce, brassicas and cucurbits (cucumber family). Root crops are better once your plot has matured.
It is better to have mixed plantings of vegetables and herbs, rather than long rows or a whole bed of one type of plant. Companion Planting benefits your garden in many ways, including pest and disease prevention and growing healthier, more vigorous plants.
Keeping your beds topped up with compost and/or mulch helps prevent weeds, retain moisture and promotes steady healthy growth.

There is also another wonderful way to garden, it too is perfect for older people because it involves little bending. Not having to crawl around on your hands and knees is always a plus. Your able to use less space than with a regular garden, and there will be very little weeding. It is called Straw Bale Gardening and you can read more about this wonderful way to garden by clicking <<HERE>>

postheadericon Companion Planting

Companion planting is the practice of using ‘old-fashioned’ methods of gardening and farming. This article discussed this process as an important part of an integrated pest management system.

Companion plantings of some kind have been practiced throughout agricultural history. Some of the earliest written documents on gardening discuss these relationships. Early settlers discovered American First Nations people were using an interplanting scheme of corn-bean-squash that balanced the requirements of each crop for light, water, and nutrients. In the 1800’s, hemp (cannabis) was often planted around a cabbage field to keep away the white cabbage butterflies in Holland. In many parts of the world today, subsistence farmers and organic gardeners grow two or more crops simultaneously in a given area to achieve a certain benefit.

Companion planting is the practice of locating particular plants near one another because they enhance plant growth, discourage pests and diseases, or have some other beneficial effect. When selecting your companion plants consider more than which pests are deterred. Think about what each plant adds or takes away from the soil and what effect the proximity of strong herbs may have on the flavor of your vegetables. Avoid placing two heavy feeders or two shallow rooted plant types near each other.

Does your garden have worms? Worms keep the garden ariated…. worms are beneficial in many other ways as well. Worms just seem to make the garden grow better… having worms in your garden is a sign of having a healthy garden. This is a great book about worms… Worms are the perfect companion for your garden. ‘The Business & Biology Of Raising Composting Worms’ is the most comprehensive and up to date guide for productive and successful worm composting.

Many gardeners find that they can discourage harmful pests, without losing the beneficial allies, when they use companion planting as an important part of an integrated pest management system. For example, chives or garlic planted between rows of peas or lettuce help control aphids. Marigolds planted throughout the garden discourage many insects. Rosemary, thyme, sage, catmint, hyssop, or mixtures of all three between rows of cabbage helps deter the white cabbage moth. Horseradish planted at the corners of potato patches deters the potato beetle. Garlic planted near roses repels aphids and Nasturtium planted around the garden also deters aphids.

As the limitations and ill effects of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and other modern practices become more apparent, scientists and researchers have begun to look at the ‘old-fashioned’ method of gardening and farming. Companion planting can combine beauty and purpose to give you an enjoyable, healthy environment. In essence, companion planting allows us to help bring a balanced eco-system to our landscapes, allowing Nature to do its’ job.

Here is a great book about container gardening… Container Gardening Secrets

postheadericon How to Make Hypertufa

Did you like making mud pies when you were young?……As I recall I would play for hours making  pies… and sand castles was another fun thing to do. If you too liked mixing mud and sand and forming things I bet you will LOVE hypertufa.

Hypertufa is just the grown up form of making mud pies and creating sand castles. Instead of mud you use Portland cement as well as a few other things mixed together. Hypertufa is better than making pies because your wonderful creations will last.

Just because you are using “cement” does not mean that your works of art will be EXTREMELY HEAVY…. That is one of the many nice things of creating with hypertufa. Not only are you able to make art objects but your also able to make wonderful planters. Since your the one that is creating.. your able to make them any size or shape. Your able to make them especially for your specific area.

This short video will give you just a few ideas of all your able to do making grown up mud pies…
You can also read more about it by Clicking Here

postheadericon Quail Sod Cutter Tool

I had to share with you what a friend of mine used to create a new outdoor living space at her home in Florida. She wanted a pathway in her backyard, but she didn’t want to hire someone to do it for her.. She…. being the creative and that “do it yourself kind of gal” that she is…… She used a Quail Sod Cutter tool.

I followed her progress on her Facebook page for her newly transformed backyard. She raved about this handy new sod cutter tool. Here are some of the pictures that she shared on her page….
Quail Sod Cutter Tool
She did this all using a Quail Sod Cutter tool… Quail is the maker of the manual “Kick-Type” sod cutter since 1953. All of the Quail Manufacturing products are made 100% in the USA. Quail cutters are enjoyed by many professionals; Landscapers, Parks & Recreation, Cemeteries, Baseball & Softball field maintenance, Rental Centers and Cement Contractors. They are lightweight, easy to use and need no gas or oil to operate.  This garden tool reminds me of the old push style lawnmower. All that’s required to operate the cutter is a simple kicking motion on the green cross bar while using the handles to push and direct the cutter’s path.

In addition to creating paths and walkways the “do it yourselfer” could also use this Quail Sod Cutter tool to cut in a new garden area or trenching for Fido’s new invisible fence, just use your imagination to this how this lightweight cutter could be used… I am not sure what her next project will be but I am sure she has plans to use this handy new garden tool for something.
You can find out more about the Quail Sod Cutter tool here.

postheadericon Unusual Containers to Garden In

Containers for planting come in all shapes and all sizes…. Here are just a couple of pictures that may just spark your interest and give you some ideas…. Don’t they look great?
Container Gardening Secrets

This is a great book all about Container Gardening. I am sure you will enjoy it.

Or.. have you heard about straw bale gardening…. it is perfect for those who hate to bed over.. there is also less weeding and your able to plant more in a smaller space. What is not to like about Straw Bale Gardening….. Make plans now for your next garden using the Straw Bale Gardening method.

postheadericon Growing plants in a container garden

container gardening 1You do not need a lot of space to have a garden. For some people having a HUGE garden may be nice but for others a small garden grown in containers on a desk or patio might be the right way to go.

Few people have lots of space or the time for a HUGE garden. A HUGE garden does indeed take time…There is so much more to growing a garden than just preparing the soil and planting. Weeding and watering are 2 things that you really must keep up with in order to have a bountiful harvest. Many people find planting in containers is a much better way to go.

Growing herbs to have  handy for cooking is one of the easiest things to grow in your container garden. Your able to have a few containers dedicated to holding nothing but herbs or you can do what I do and plants the herbs in the same containers that I have flowers and/or vegetables.

Most herbs look great while they are growing.. so this would simply add charm as well as beauty to your container garden.

Tomatoes are probably the easiest to grow… cherry tomatoes, roma, or even big boys all do well planted in a container garden. Just make sure that the size of the container is going to be big enough for the roots to be able to expand and grow… and don’t forget to have drain holes in your containers.

What are some of the vegetables that you like to eat? That should be one of the first questions that you ask yourself and then plan your container garden accordingly.

When you are thinking about what to plant in your garden you really should read about the plants that you intend on growing. Some are much easier than others to grow. If your just starting out it would be very depressing to of started with a plants that is known to be hard to grow… I think it would discouraged you quickly from continuing your new hobby of container gardening if your garden was a bust!… I know it certainly would for me, though I am sure I would try again.. I hate to be defeated in ANYTHING that I attempt to do.

You will want to determine what plant will be for what container. Since I am a junk store shopper….. I usually have the container FIRST and then I think about what I am going to plant in it.

You will want to be aware of how much sun the area where you are going to have your garden gets. If it is full sun you will not want to buy plants that will do best in the shade or vise versa…. The area that I have my container garden in has a combination of both sun and shade. I always look for plants that say partial shade.

I can not stress enough to make sure your containers have drain holes. You don’t want your plants to be soaked with water. They must have drain holes to be able to grow properly. Good drainage and proper watering are 2 things you will learn as you progress with your new hobby of container gardening.

A container garden is able to get the same pests that any other type garden gets. When you have a container garden your able to put in a good potting soil. Might be a nice idea to add a bit of gravel or rocks to the bottom of your containers broken pots work well too. I mix diatomaceous earth to my soil before I fill my containers. Diatomaceous earth is one of natures miracles. You can read all about this wonderful product here…. .  This product is also excellent for keeping those nasty bugs off your plants leaves too. You will be amazed at all that it can do… Can you tell I love that stuff?

Container gardens can contain what ever it is that you want to put in them. Keep in mind how much sun the plants will need.. try to keep those that need FULL SUN together as well as lots of water and only water when dry. Your able to learn all of this by reading the tags on the seeds packets or on the plants that you are buying from the nursery…. They put those tags on EACH plant for a reason READ THEM!

Container gardening is not that hard but it does need some planning. It is a great way to be able to have a nice juicy mouth watering fresh picked tomato fresh from your own garden. You can also have an abundant supply of fresh herbs for cooking as well as any thing else that you planted…. Just out the door .. FRESH!

I enjoy my container gardens that I have on my backyard deck and on my front porch. I have flowers, herbs and vegetables all planted together in the same pots. Here is a wonderful book about container gardening…

postheadericon Growing Moss on Your Pots

This is a wonderful video about how you can grow moss on your pots. It gives them such a wonderful aged look.

You can buy Moss online here from Moss Acres

postheadericon Salsa In Your Container Garden

Do you love salsa as much as I do? Why not grow your own ingredients to make your own salsa in your container garden?

All of the vegetables that you put in salsa are easy to grow and what better spot than in your own container garden.

Tomatoes, onions, jalapenos peppers, garlic, chili peppers, cilantro all are very easy to grow. Not only that but what a beautiful site they would be to look at.

I would suggest that you don’t put the peppers with the other plants they might transfer the heat.

When the plants are ready you can enjoy fresh salsa whenever you like. Mix up a batch and store any left over in the refrigerator. Be sure to eat it within a few day. It will take so fresh you probably won’t have to worry about that.

Grow the fixings for salsa in your own container garden for it’s freshness but also for your own satisfaction.

This is a wonderful eBook called Container Gardening Secrets that you may enjoy, It offers lots of information about container gardening. Has lots of how to tips and helpful hints to make your container garden the best one around.