Monday, April 23, 2018

Method to Grow Tomatoes

Bury tomato slices
You read that right. This method, is cheap and easy. All you need is some potting soil, an overripe tomato, and a few pots.

Fill a large pot most of the way full with potting soil. Then add a few tomato slices (about 1/4 inch thick) on top. Make sure the slices you choose have plenty of seeds and cover them with just enough soil to bury them. Wait a week or two for them to sprout. ​

After about a week, your tomato seeds will start to sprout. You may get as many as 60 seedling sprouts in one pot! Look for about four or five of the biggest (strongest sprouts). Remove those sprouts and replant them in another pot. 
Watch the new plants for a few weeks. You'll likely notice that one or two of the plants seem to be growing bigger and stronger. Remove the other two plants to give your stronger plants more room to grow.


Tea Bags in the Garden

The bags decompose: Did you know that most British tea bags are made from a relative of the banana? Manila hemp is made from the fiber of abaca leaf stalks. The bag itself will break down and the very little plastic they use to seal the tea bags virtually disappears within six months

Tea adds nutrients to the soil: Tea leaves contain tannic acid and nutrients that are natural fertilizers for a garden. As the tea leaves decompose, they release nutrients into the soil, creating a healthier growing environment

Tea bags keep pests at bay: Used tea bags (and coffee grounds) will help keep bugs away from your plants. The odor deters pests from chewing on your flowers and veggies. 

The smell of tea works on cats too: Sprinkle coffee grounds or used tea grounds around your garden to keep Fluffy from urinating on your favorite plants. You can do use this with indoor plants as well.

Tea bags do wonders for the garden. They enrich the soil by increasing nitrogen levels, and also give earthworms (fertilizers) something yummy to eat.  Just be sure to remove the tags first. They take a long time to break down and might be plastic coated.

Your tea bags can grow a garden: Believe it or not, you can grow your own garden with used tea bags, seeds, a plastic tray, water and a paper towel. You'll germinate your seeds with the tea bags and then plant them in the garden,

You will need:

21 used tea bags
A paper towel
A small plastic tray
Seeds. Try pansies, lettuce, broccoli or marigolds.

What to do

Fold the paper towel, put it in the tray and wet it.
Soak the used tea bags and pack them together like pillows in three rows on the paper towel.
Make a hole in each bag and poke in a seed.
Put the tray in a warm place out of the sun. Take care to keep the paper towel wet. It will keep the tea bags moist. This is VERY IMPORTANT.
When the seeds germinate and the seedlings are about 2 cm tall, plant them in their bags in the garden.

Tea increases the decomposition of other items: If you use tea bags in your soil or compost pile, the acid in the tea can speed up the decomposition process of other things in the compost bin, which means you can use the compost faster.

Worms eat the tea leaves: Worms can safely consume tea leaves. Once they digest the leaves, they produce a more "nutrient-rich fertilizer output," making your soil healthier for growing plants.

Water retention: Bury your tea bags near the root of your plants, flowers and veggies to help the plants retain more water and stay healthier.

Tea bags help keep weeds at bay: When you bury your tea bags in the garden, they can help impede the growth of weeds


Cinnamon in Your Garden

With origins dating back to as early as 2700 B.C., cinnamon is a popular spice all over the world for uses in cooking and medicine. Once a very valuable trade commodity, you can find ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks at most grocery stores at a fair price.

1. Deter ants
Cinnamon will actually kill ants. The powdery substance will suffocate the bugs when inhaled. The aroma can also make it hard for ants to smell food sources, but it's nontoxic for kids and pets. 

2. Defeat fungus
When you sprinkle ground cinnamon on soil, it kills fungi. The cinnamon targets surface-level fungi, so you might need to use other solutions in addition to this one, according to Indoor Gardening. You can use cinnamon to kill wild mushrooms too.
How to do it: dust a layer of cinnamon on the top of the soil; cinnamon is known to repel female gnats (rather than lay eggs on the cinnamon they'll fly around to try to find somewhere else).

 3. Protect seedlings from disease
The antifungal properties in cinnamon make it a great tool for protecting seedlings from rot and disease, also known as damping off. Keeping moisture at bay is key; dusting the seeds with cinnamon and using a doming tactic can protect the seeds until they grow. Check out a comprehensive how-to from The Rusted Vegetable Garden.

4. Root and graft plants
You can make your roses (or other plants) sturdier after cutting and replanting by first dipping them in cinnamon powder, which works like a rooting hormone, a bit. The cinnamon kills off the competition, so to speak, so that your flower can grow better. 

5. Heal sick plants
Try sprinkling cinnamon on a plant wound (from cutting or other damage) to speed up the healing process and protect it from further damage or disease.

6. Keep mosquitoes away from the garden
Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon around your plants to keep mosquitoes and other bugs away. They don't like the strong smell of cinnamon, so you can enjoy your garden (even at night) in peace.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Garden Tips

  • Put up bird houses and the birds will build nests there and help to keep your garden free of bugs and insects.
  • Put your garlic and onion skins into a gallon jar, cover with water, and seal tightly. Leave the skins soaking for a week and then strain off the water. Spray this water anywhere you have aphids or spiders and it will get rid of them quickly.
  • If you have a slug and snail problem, put out small saucers of beer at sunset and they will crawl in overnight and drown. Simply discard the contents of each saucer the next morning.
  • Sprinkle cabbage heads with cinnamon and the cabbage worms will stay away.
  • In the spring, before you start using your shovels or hoes, coat them with car wax. If you do, the dirt will come off them easily and won’t cling. Repeat this about every month and the hoes and shovels will be so easy to use. You can ask for used peanut oil at local restaurants and cafes and use it for the same purpose. Apply a heavy coat in the fall to keep the tools from rusting over the winter. 
  • If you’re going to turn ladybugs loose in your yard, be sure to plant sunflowers and marigolds to provide a home and a place to lay eggs. 
    Sprinkle the top with powdered cinnamon. This keeps away fungus that can cause damping.

    Natural Ways to Control Bugs and Insects

  • Consider putting up bat houses and provide them with a bird bath to get water from. Bats also eat huge amounts of bugs.
  • Plant mint and marigold to repel unwanted insects.
  •  Always plant marigolds in your garden, especially near tomatoes and cabbage, because the marigolds will keep garden pests away.
  • If you want to root a plant or cutting in water, add an aspirin or two to the container.  
  • For sweeter tomatoes, put two tablespoons of baking soda in the bottom of the hole. Cover the baking soda with an inch or two of dirt before you put the plant in the hole.
  • Always put leftover tea, tea bags, and coffee grounds under your azaleas. You will end up with healthy plants with bright flowers.  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Garden Guilds

Guilds are more or less just a step beyond well-established companion planting arrangements, moving from useful pairings onto functionally, ideally self-sustaining polyculture systems. In guilds, many plants are serving one another en route to a stable co-existence in which the garden is mulched, the soil fertilized, the pests controlled, the pollinators attracted, the nutrients accumulated and the cultivators feed.

Basically, to guild a classic combo like carrots and onion, we’ll look at what else we might supply for this mutually beneficial relationship, as well as what’s missing. In this case, both carrots and onions like to grow along side lettuces, which could supply a great ground cover to the mix, which would help keep the soil moist and the soil life safe and provide a steady harvest in the meantime.

Peas work really well with carrots but not so favorably with the onion family, so vining peas could be trellised near carrots but separated from onions for nitrogen-fixing and to add a vertical element to the combination.

Rosemary is a great perennial herb that helps deter pests and could act as another taller element in the mix, perhaps the centerpiece. Now we’ve got a pest deterring upper layer, root crops, edible ground covers, and nitrogen-fixing vines to provide shade for the lettuce. We’ve added a lot more diversity with a lot of function.

Corn, beans, and squash are the classic example, and while these three work great together and could be considered a guild as is, we might be able to improve it. Corn is already providing a stalk for the beans to climb, beans are provided nitrogen to feed the others, and the big leaves of clambering squash plants are creating a moisture-retaining ground cover.

In this combination, comfrey might be another great addition, adding a deep-rooting nutrient accumulator, an attractant for pollinators, and chop-and-drop mulch.

 Sunflowers might work well as productive deterrents to pest, sources of nutrient-rich seeds to eat, but their allelopathic characteristics don’t mix well with beans (so be aware). Amaranth might work better. Traditionally, the three sisters would often also be accompanied by chilis, sweet potatoes and more

Creating garden guilds just takes a little guile. Do some research. Find out what likely makes good companions. From there, start considering the characteristics of the individual plants and how they might interact. Use this checklist to help you consider what’s going on:

Compatible water needs: If everything likes water, no worries. If everything is drought-tolerant, wonderful. Start mixing it up and that might be a problem.
• Different root systems: Try to vary root systems such that plants aren’t competing, and try to think about including a root crop in the mix. Carrots also work well with tomatoes.
• Plant arrangement: Piece together plants of different sizes and shapes, envisioning how they might work in close proximity. What’s that vine going to grow up? Stuff like that. Think of the vertical spacing.
• Insects, good and bad: Plants for attracting beneficial insects and deterring pest need to be in the mix. Often, as in the case above, many additions are performing this function.
• The soil: Something needs to always be covering it. Something needs to always be feeding it new nutrients. Get a ground cover. Get something to chop and drop. Hopefully, a nitrogen-fixer is in the cards.
• Use the rule of three: Have at least three reasons for including a plant in the mix. It attracts bees, provides food, accumulates trace minerals in the soil,