Homegrown tomatoes are incredibly delicious, but what do you do when you do not have room for a garden? How about growing tomatoes in a container garden? Tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow in containers and even if the only space you have is a 12 inch square on your front porch, you have enough room for a tomato container garden.
Choosing the Right Container
Almost any container will work for tomatoes, but grow boxes are very nice. Grow boxes allow you to control the flow of the water to the tomato plants which improves the chances for growing healthy plants and producing wonderful, ripe tomatoes. If a grow box isn’t an option, try and find a container that is at least five gallons or larger. Ensure there are holes in the bottom for drainage.
You can also try using bushel baskets lined with plastic bags with holes in the bottom of the plastic bags for drainage. Bushel baskets will hold at least three tomato plants and they look very nice sitting on a patio or deck.
Selecting the Tomato Variety
The dwarf tomatoes work the best in containers. If this is your first tomato container garden, try one of the cherry varieties for a patio like a Pixie II or a Tiny Tim. These types of small plants produce very tasty fruit, but don’t need a lot of support in the container. They will also produce very early.
Planting the Tomato Plants
When selecting tomato plants for your containers, choose strong, stocky plants to transplant into the containers. Prepare the containers by filling them with a mixture of potting soil and compost, approximately 50/50, ensuring it is thoroughly mixed. Fill the container to within a few inches from the top. Place the tomato plants in the container, three or four per container with between 3 to 4 inches between plants. Water the container thoroughly, ensuring the soil is soaked all the way down to the roots and below of the tomato plant. Set the container in a location where it will get at least six hours of full sun each day.
Caring for Container Tomatoes
Water the containers more often than a traditional garden because container gardens will dry out more easily. It will be necessary to check the container garden daily to ensure it stays moist and does not dry out. During the heat of summer, it may be necessary to water the plants daily. Check the tomato leaves for brown spots or for insects. Apply fertilizer every other week or so and apply it around the base of the tomato plant. If the leaves begin to turn brown or the fruit begins to get brown spots, try placing crushed egg shells around the base of the tomato plant.
When the plants flower, shake the vines to release the pollen and help pollination along a bit. The tomato plants should start producing fruit within a couple of months.
When the growing season is over, bring the containers inside if you have a sunny place to place them. They will continue to produce fruit as long as they can receive six hours of direct sunlight each day. This can prolong the growing season quite a bit. Growing tomatoes in a container garden is a great way to get fresh vegetables and maximize the space you have available.
More farmers are getting into organic vegetable gardening because it is cost effective and they are able to produce almost the same yield of crops. You to can do this at home but first, you have to understand the principles of organic vegetable gardening.
First, organic vegetable gardening does not use any fertilizers, nutrients or pesticides. Nature is your partner here because you will be using two things to make it all work namely sunlight and water. We don’t produce these ourselves but you have to find the ideal area and provide adequate drainage.
Principles Of Organic Gardening
Aside from sunlight and water, you can help the crops grow by using compost heap from leftover food, chipped bark, garden compost, leaf moulds and manure. You can mix these all together and then spread this throughout your garden.
A lot of people are grossed about by manure. You don’t have to scoop this from the toilet because this is sold in stores. If you have a dog, put on some gloves and put it there. Chickens are also great to have. Just let them roam around in the garden.
Some people use dead animals or meat products. You don’t put these in the soil but leave it for a couple of weeks in the bin because maggots will soon appear and this is what you use to help fertilize your garden.
Another helpful creature is the earthworm because it digs deep into the ground and aerates the soil bringing various minerals to the surface which also provides better drainage. This long pink colored creature also leaves casting behind that experts say is five times as rich in nitrogen phosphorous and potassium. Again, this can be purchased from the gardening store.
Organic garden is challenging since you have to deal with unwanted guests. Some of these pests include armyworms, crickets, gypsy moth caterpillars, slugs and squash bugs. Before, people used fertilizer to kill them but in an organic setting, the best weapon is the toad that is known to eat more almost every type of insect. If you have caterpillars or spiders lurking in the garden, get a bird because this is not in the toad’s diet.
In some cases, you don’t have to buy a toad or a bird from the pet store. They may come in to your home as long as you set the ideal environment for them. You can put up a bird house or a small pond. Within days, you will have some new occupants protecting your garden.
Other insect killers which you can get to do the job include the preying mantis and the ladybug because they mark their territory and eat anything that dares enter their domain.
Plants can also be used to protect your vegetables. For example, the rosemary, sage or thyme is an effective deterrent against butterflies. Marigolds on the other hand are effective against nematodes.
But despite all the flowers and creatures that nature has to offer, crop rotation is seen as the best way to keep the soil fertile. If you planted this kind of vegetable for this season, change it with another and the return to the first after this one is harvested.
The principles behind organic gardening are very simple. You just have to be practice it so you can harvest the vegetables you have planted weeks ago.
Children love playhouses and creating one in the garden is fun and easy and the children will enjoy helping you create it. Your children will spend many happy summers playing in one of these and it will become one of their fondest childhood memories.
What You’ll Need
A nice sized section of garden area. Make sure there’s room enough for the kids to play inside.
Sunflower Seeds (various types, we like very tall ones and then smaller ones)
Various herbs (we like chamomile, lavender, mint, basil, oregano, marigolds and other similar herbs)
Decide On A Shape
Decide what shape you want your garden playhouse to be. You may wish to draw it out with string prior to planting your seeds.
Planting Your Playhouse
Plant your giant sunflower seeds as the outer “walls” of your playhouse. Space them far enough apart that children can go in between them, but close enough together that they make it appear like a secret garden.
Plant snow peas near the tallest sunflowers. They will grow and wind up the tall sunflowers. Children will enjoy nibbling on these while they’re playing so be sure to show them how delicious they are.
Intersperse the herbs throughout the sunflowers and plant smaller sunflowers in between as well. You want it to appear as if there is a quaint little garden fence along the outer “walls” of your playhouse so be creative and make the herbs appear to be a fence line or add pops of color here and there.
Plant the carrots along the inside “wall” of the tallest sunflowers. These make great snacks for hungry children while they’re in the playhouse.
Help your children water their playhouse every day. Talk to them about how some plants grow faster than other plants. Talk about how some plants have edible seeds (sunflowers) and some have edible roots (carrots) while some have edible flowers and delicious leaves.
Furnishing Your Playhouse
Depending upon the age of your children, you may wish to put some lawn furniture inside the playhouse area. We have a hammock we like in ours.
You could make the inside like a sand castle as well and have a sand bucket or some “earth moving” tools like toy dump trucks etc. Get creative and make this playhouse as personal as you can for your children.
Winding Down The Season
As the season winds down and the sunflowers begin to tip over teach your children about how to dry sunflowers. Remove the heads of the flowers and air dry your seeds. Then toast them with some sea salt and enjoy eating them.
Uproot the remainder of the sunflower stalks and put them in a compost pile. Save the herbs and dry them for eating with dinner in the winter months. Remind the children how the herbs grew in their own playhouse.
Oregano, lavender, chamomile and marigolds will come back year after year so there is no need to remove these. Basil will need to be replanted each year.
Enjoy playing in the playhouse.
It’s a good idea to choose your favorite vegetables to grow and plan beds for early, middle of the season and late varieties.
Most vegetables require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, some need 8. Some quick growers like lettuce and radish can be grown between the rows of plants that take longer to mature, like beet or corn, thus making full use of the area available.
Vegetable Gardens Need Extra Watering
Throughout dry periods, vegetable gardens need extra watering. Most vegetables benefit from an inch or more of water each week, especially when they are fruiting.
During the growing season watch for insect pests. If you discover a bug problem early it will be much easier, but be careful to not use pesticides once the vegetable are close to being picked unless it becomes an absolute necessity. Organic gardening is one healthy and environment-friendly option. Once you have reaped your crop, put the vegetable waste into your compost pile so that it can be recycled for next spring.
It is important to protect your vegetable garden from wild animals looking for a tasty treat. Make sure your garden is surrounded by a fence that will keep out dogs, rabbits, and other animals. The harm done by wandering animals during one season can equal the cost of a fence. A fence also can serve as a frame for peas, beans, tomatoes, and other crops that need support.
Protection is needed in order for your vegetable garden to yield a bountiful harvest. Hard work will pay dividends if necessary precautions have been made.
In the US, farming is $6 billion industry. To keep it that way and with the health and welfare of the public in mind, the Department of Agriculture has taken steps so farmers can shift to organic farming. This does not only save money but also has some health benefits.
But first, we have to know what organic farming is. This is a technique that has been practiced by ancient civilizations that simply relied on the land they worked on, the sun and the water to make the harvests grow.
Organic Vegetable Backyard Garden Chemical Free
It was only when scientists invented fertilizers and pesticides that we moved away from this technique because it was thought that this will make the crops bigger and harvesting faster.
Unfortunately, the use of fertilizers and pesticides has done more harm than good. The chemicals used are harmful but never in small dosages. But imagine what if somebody consumes this in excessive amounts and unknowingly develops an illness or their baby has birth defects.
Such threats are real which is why we have to do something before it happens. Before the Department of Agriculture wanted everyone to go into organic farming, tests were conducted.
The results show that organically grown vegetables have more nutrients and vitamins compared to conventional farming. The same goes for its taste.
Organic vegetables do not have hydrogenated fats, artificial flavor or coloring, sweeteners, additives, preservatives or residual antibiotics. This means that what you get is all natural. But don’t forget to wash these first before it is cooked to remove any residue from the compost used in helping it grow.
The government or the Department of Agriculture is not the only one who should push farmers to shift towards organic farming. You can do your share by talking to the farmers themselves as they are the ones who plant them. You can also start planting organically grown vegetables yourself because they cost a bit more in the supermarket.
Before you start planting, check how big is the area so you have an idea what kind of vegetables can be planted given your limited space. You then need to buy the necessary tools and make some of them yourself. This information can be found online, in books and from the gardening store.
If you don’t want to start making an organic vegetable garden using seeds, you can get starter plants instead but be aware that they cost a bit more and this takes the thrill out of gardening.
But if money is no object to you, by all means get this from the store. Just make sure that there is a stamp which certifies that this has been approved by the Department of Health, Quality Assurance International, California Certified Organic Farmers or the Oregon Tilth Farm Verified Organic.
If everyone does their share, no one will use chemicals and fertilizers anymore. Everyone can live healthy and eat healthy. At the same time, we are able to protect the environment so future generations will be able to use the land we have used to plant their crops in the future.
Organic vegetable gardening is truly the way to go. If you noticed, some restaurants have done their share as well by making people know that whatever they use is organic.
Just because you don’t have huge, elaborate gardens does not mean you cant accentuate what you do have with l garden bridges. Garden bridges could be just what you need to turn those mediocre garden areas into something quite splendid.
Garden bridges can add a touch of country or formal design to a garden. Small garden bridges are easy to find. There are many garden bridges that you can find in garden centers or home improvement centers. One of the best places to find small garden bridges may be online. There are lots of sites that have many ideas for small garden bridges.
Make Your Own Garden Bridge
If you are good with a hammer and nails you may even be able to make your own garden bridge. Plans are available at building stores and at online sites. You will find many choices for garden bridges at these online sites and you can also see photos of many different bridge styles.
A garden bridge can be a big benefit for your garden space. A small garden bridge will look attractive in a smaller garden and draw attention to a specific area.
You can choose the right small garden bridge if you do a little planning ahead of time. If you have a smaller garden you will want a smaller garden bridge. Look at the space you have and decide where a bridge would fit in. Consider more than one area and then choose your favorite.
There are some lovely gardens that are small in size but large in beauty because garden bridges have been added in just the right places.
Gardening is one of the oldest pastimes in the world. The healing nature of growing plants was recognized in ancient times. From the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the cultivated plots among date palms in the parched desert, ancient people have been enjoying the literal fruits of their labors in gardens for thousands of years.
Today, gardening provides beauty and the opportunity to both profit from from fruits and vegetables and the prospect of enjoying the calm surroundings that are part of modern gardens. The joy of caring for growing plants is one of the simple pleasures of modern life.
Backyard Garden A Simple Pleasures
For those who wish to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables the size of the area that is available for cultivation should be no barrier to putting food on the table. Even a window ledge can provide enough sunlight to grow herbs that will increase the enjoyment of any meal.
Aside from saving money and growing your own vegetables for the table, you can also use he vegetables you grow to provide the basis for nutritious and delicious energy drinks. Simply blend a mixture of root vegetables such as carrots and mix with other organically grown produce such as melon or even cucumber and you have the basic ingredients for a healthy and refreshing vegetable based power drink.
If you have access to a back or front yard with some space you can also plant fast growing fruit trees such as apple, which provide not only delicious juices, but also the raw ingredients for fruit salads or even a snack straight off the branch.
If you make the decision to start cultivating your own fruit and vegetables a bit of research can prevent a lot of heartache. Visit your local garden center and obtain the advice of an expert on which fruit or vegetable types are best suited for the climate in your area. You may have to change over to hardier varieties if your winters are particularly harsh or your summers blazing hot.
The advice that you receive will also help you cope with the almost inevitable insect infestations that can plague the gardens of even the most careful gardener. These experts will let you in on some secrets about the natural insect repellents that you can use to keep your fruit free from chemicals and preserve their natural flavors.
For those gardeners who want to simply enjoy the beauty of flowering plants or shrubs there is an almost limitless choice. However, make sure that the ornamental plants that you will be cultivating are suitable for your lifestyle. If you have young children or pets that spend time in the garden make sure that the plants you are growing are not toxic or harmful in other ways. Plants such as thorny bushes or cacti should also be avoided.
Planting and caring for your garden, no matter the size is one of the most rewarding hobbies for those who love nature. A bonus is that the pastime can be enjoyed by the whole family. Good wholesome fun in the open air, away from the distractions of video games or the stresses of modern life.
Every where you turn today people are talking about organic gardening and the healthy benefits of eating organically grown backyard garden fruits and veggies. However, are organic grown vegetables and fruits as healthy and safe as people claim? The information contained in this article will provide you with food for thought.
In a recent study, done by United Kingdom scientist, revealed that almost 33% of the food being sold in the UK had measurable levels of pesticide and chemicals used in crop enhancement, which are dangerous to the human body. In addition the same study indicated that almost all developed countries, through out the world, had approximately the same levels of contamination. Unfortunately this included organically grown food as well.
Is Organic Backyard Gardening Safe
The primary reason for this contamination was due to the ground water which the plants consume. This is from years and years of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer being dumped on the ground, to enhance the yield and speed the growth of the produce, then leeching into the ground water table. The only way your organic gardening can avoid this water is to use filtered water or distilled water. However using distilled water means your produce will be short on certain nutrients vital to the health of your body. In addition to the ground water the contamination is also caused by the wind currents.
Much of the pesticides and fertilizers applied to the crops are sprayed on. Consequently, the mist of chemicals is caught by the wind and can be carried a good distance before dropping to the earth. If your organic garden happens to be in the path of the wind your plants will become covered with the synthetic pesticides and fertilizer.
Other studies have shown that these same pesticides and other chemicals, over a period of years or even months can cause health problems in the human body. It is now believed that these chemicals can affect the brain development of unborn babies in the mother’s womb. In addition these chemicals have been linked to certain kinds of cancer, breakdown of the nervous system, weakening of the immune system and other diseases which can destroy the vital organs of the human body.
Perhaps you believe that washing of your veggies will protect you, but this is not necessarily the case. These same studies have also indicated that certain fruits and vegetables are susceptible to these same chemicals leeching into the meat of these veggies and fruits through the skin. An example of this kind or fruit would be lemons or grapefruit. In this case organic produce would really be much safer than the regular grown fruit.
As you can tell from reading the above information organic gardening may not be quite as safe as you thought it was. However, with the proper precautions, such as always washing the veggies and fruits prior to preparing or eating, will reduce the risk of ingesting dangerous chemicals.
There are just so many benefits to growing your own fresh organic vegetables, first of all it’s great fun, second of all it can save you money and third of all your vegetables will taste fresh and delicious just like they did in the good old days.
More and more people are coming around to the idea of growing their own vegetables but don’t know where to start so here’s where you can start – by reading this guide to vegetable backyard gardening for beginners. Growing vegetables just might be easier than you thought; after all, it’s really not rocket science.
Vegetable Gardening – What to Grow
Don’t get over excited and plant lots of different vegetables, start off small and learn as you go along. If you grow too many vegetables (or too many of the same type of vegetables) the chances are that a lot of them will go to waste which would be a crying shame. Think about your family and what they will actually eat – alternatively it doesn’t harm to hand over a few tomatoes to the neighbor every now and then, it can give you a real sense of pride.
Remember that vegetables like tomatoes and peppers will keep on supplying you with food for the whole season so you don’t need too many plants. On the other hand carrots, corn and radishes are a “one supply only” so you may need to plant more of them.
Vegetable Gardening – What about Space
You don’t actually need masses of space to grow your own vegetables, you can even grow many vegetables quite successfully in containers. A well tended garden will provide you with plenty of vegetables – a 10 foot square well tended plot will provide tons more delicious veggies than a 20 foot square plot which has veggies fighting against the weeds.
The Basic Needs of a Vegetable Gardening
Whatever size of vegetable plot you decide upon you must remember that all veggie gardens have three basic requirements.
” Full sun – the majority of veggies are sun loving and will need around six or eight hours of sunlight every day for best results – if they don’t get plenty of sunlight not only will you not get as good a crop but they are also likely to suffer from diseases and insect attacks. Leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce don’t need to be grown in full sunlight and things like peas prefer a little shade if you live in a particularly hot summer climate.
” Water – water, water and more water. Vegetables need plenty of water in order to grow so when you plan the location of your vegetable plot remember that it will be much easier for you if it is close to a water source – or if you have a very long hose!
” Soil – just like any other plants vegetables do best if they have good soil. The majority of vegetables will do better in well drained, moist soil which has plenty of peat moss or compost in it.
Follow those few basic guidelines and you will be able to look forward to eating delicious home grown vegetables for the whole summer.
Growing plants require a nearly endless supply of the best nutrients to maintain quality plant health. This is true whether the gardener is attempting to grow ornamental flowers, fruits or vegetables. Fertilizer is often added to the dirt as a way to replenish the depleting nutrients that are sucked up by the plant life during growing season.
Organic and chemical fertilizers provide essential nutrients including potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. Plant life requires these essential ingredients along with other valuable trace nutrients. Applying the right amount of fertilizer, and the correct percentages is based on a variety of factors, but are all highly dependent on each particular plant’s needs.
Testing the Soil
By taking a test on the soil, the gardener can easily determine its acidity, or pH factor. This will provide all the necessary information to determine which nutrients are deficient in the soil. The soil test can be used to help the gardener adjust the types of fertilization used to replenish the nutrients. Even the best testing provides only minimal results when determining how much nitrogen needs to be added to the soil.
Garden centers at the local home improvement store or hardware store will offer sample test kits. These types of tests can give the gardener significantly more information on the soil by analyzing its content. It is possible to achieve high quality soil without using a soil test, but requires significantly more guesswork in selecting the best fertilizer.
An organic amendment is often used in conjunction with strong chemical fertilizers. An organic amendment can be nothing more than compost. The organic matter will continuously decompose and leach out many of the essential nutrients it contains to provide vital ingredients for the soil.
Some gardeners choose to add bone meal as a natural organic substitute for blending in phosphorus with the necessary chemical fertilizers. Additionally, blood meal and manure can provide the necessary nitrogen, and pot ash can generate potassium. All organic amendment should be blended into the soils before planting begins.
When It Is Time to Fertilize
Each different type of fertilizer has its own unique time for application for blending into the soil. It is often listed on its bag. Traditionally, all types of fruit and vegetable plants will benefit greatly by having higher levels of phosphorus during the early part of the growing season. It is phosphorus that encourages the production of healthy stems and roots.
During mid-season, adding more nitrogen to the soil can help in the fruit and foliage production. However, too much added nitrogen will often create too many leaves and only a minimal amount of flowering buds.
For the consummate gardener, over fertilizing the soil can cause just as much damage to the plants as not applying enough fertilizer. When the gardener is in doubt, as to whether or not they should feed the garden plants more fertilizer, it is always advisable to wait until the plant life begins producing less. Only then can the gardener be assured that the proper addition of fertilizer is required.