soil-thermometerA vegetable gardener must have an inexpensive tool i.e. a soil thermometer.

A good quality soil thermometer helps throwing all guesswork away. As an experienced vegetable gardener knows , soil is the best indicator of when to plant a particular vegetable in the garden. Measuring soil temperature is the best and easiest way to determine timing for planting irrespective of the climatic conditions.

During the early spring season, you can plant cool-season vegetables such as peas and kale. This would not be good time to plant warm season varieties. Better keep them off.

Here is a brief description about the particular crop that will germinate at a particular soil temperature;

1. Below 40 degrees:      arugula, fava beans, kale, lettuce, pak choy, parsnips, peas, radicchio, radishes and spinach seed. Read the rest of this entry

Perfect Soil Preparation Tips for Your Garden

rich-soilFirst thing you need to do with your garden soil is to get a soil test. Results of the soil analysis will guide you for what you need to add to correct the pH and boost deficient nutrients.

A soil rich with organic matter is considered to be best for plant growth. It is a good gardening practice to mix compost into soil at the start of the gardening year. It enhances the soil’s physical condition, resulting in improved drainage, increased moisture retention and better aeration. Compost compliments soil with organic matter that contains plant nutrients and act as fertilizer.

Based on specific plant requirements you should add extra nutrients, fertilizers and additives. For indoor as well as outdoor plants bat and seabird guano provides fast- and slow-release nutrients. It is a nematocide. Bone meal is high in phosphate and good for bulbs and root crops. Blood meal is nitrogen-rich dried powdered animal blood and builds leafy green plants. It also helps in controlling moles, squirrels and deer. Cottonseed meal is a high-nitrogen, slow-release fertilizer that also adds organic material to the soil. Read the rest of this entry

Epsom Salt Helps Plants Grow

epsom saltEpsom salt is actually magnesium sulfate and contains key nutrients for plants and vegetables. It helps seeds germinate, makes plants grow bushier,produces more flowers, increases chlorophyll production and deters pests, such as slugs and voles. While it is not intended to replace your regular fertilizer, it will provide vital nutrients to supplement your regular fertilizer.

Following tips are useful for using Epson salt to grow the plants:

  • Garden Startup: Sprinkle 1 cup per 100 square feet. Mix into soil before planting.
  • Peppers: Mix 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt with a gallon of water and apply as a foliar spray at bloom time, then again 10 days later.
  • Tomatoes: Add 1 tablespoon diluted in water per foot of plant height per plant; apply every two weeks.
  • Houseplants: 2 tablespoons per gallon of water; feed plants monthly.
  • Roses: Add 1 tablespoon diluted in a gallon of water per foot of plant height every two weeks. Also scratch 1/2 cup into soil at         base to encourage flowering canes and healthy new basal cane growth. Before planting, soak bushes in 1/2 cup of Epsom salt per gallon of  water to help roots recover. Add a tablespoon of Epsom salt to each hole at planting time. Spray with Epsom salt solution weekly (1 Tbsp per gallon of water) to help discourage pests.
  • Shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron): Add 1 tablespoon per 9 square feet by diluting in water. Apply over root zone every 2-4 weeks.
  • Lawns: Apply 3 pounds for every 1,250 square feet with a  , or dilute in water and apply with a sprayer.
  • Trees: Apply 2 tablespoons per 9 square feet by diluting in water. Apply over the root zone three times annually.
  • Sage: Do not apply! This herb is one of the few plants that doesn’t like Epsom salt.

Although magnesium and sulfur occur naturally in soil, they can be depleted by various conditions, including heavy agricultural use. Unlike most commercial fertilizers, which build up in the soil over time, Epsom alt is not persistent so you can’t overuse it.

“Magnesium and sulfur are building blocks for plants,” said Hill, the Epsom Salt Council’s president. “We think you’ll see a real difference.”

How To Select Trees For Clayey Soil

mapple treeStress affects plants and landscapes equally. Plants become susceptible to insects, diseases and environmental problems when under stress. The best way to control stress in plants is to go proactive and prevent or mitigate the stress factors.

There are specific environmental conditions that work as stress factors include drought,  wind, low humidity, light, and clay soils.

Soil is critical to the plant health. Soil is primarily responsible for majority of the plant problems.

Clayey soil should be considered as a factor while selecting suitable trees for your garden and landscape. Clay soil tends to hold onto iron, and some trees are not able to absorb the amount iron needed for their health because of this clay-iron affinity.

One solution is to select a tree that requires less iron for its metabolic processes. Some trees that do well in clay soils include green ash, white ash, bur oak, English oak, tartarian maple and big tooth maple. Most of the other maples, along with flowering dogwoods, crabapples, boxelders and pin oaks tend to suffer from some level of iron chlorosis, or yellowing of leaves, caused by iron-deficiency stress. Read the rest of this entry

Perfect Eco-Friendly Spring Gardening Tips

As the spring season approaches days are getting warmer and longer and that gives more time to spend outdoors in the gardens.

It may be a little cold and even snowy on the ground with sub-freezing temperatures in some parts but it is also the perfect time to start planning your eco-friendly spring gardening regime.

Have you ever thought about whales ever? Why not saving some water for these creatures this year? You can do that easily with more consciousness and effectively in your water usage. It would be great if you invest in some quality hoses and sprayers tto spread the water through the plants, shrubs, and flowers evenly. If you use an automatic timer for your sprinklers, be vigilant in turning them off after a good rain shower.

eco friendly gardeningToo much watering will not only cause damage and stunt the growth of the plants but also dilute the soil and render the fertilizers.

Pest control issues must be handled more carefully. Be gentle with use of sprays on the sensitive flowers. Better adopt practice of  using eco-friendly pest sprays to keep your garden organic.

Harsh chemicals may promise extraordinary growth but cause more damage as well. Adoption of natural and organic gardening solutions could help the environment at the same time.  Read the rest of this entry

Perfect Tips To Control Garden Moss Growth

garden mossGarden Moss quite often starts developing when soil is compacted, wet or in too much shade. Growth of garden moss is technically attributed to the imbalance in the soil pH value.

It becomes extremely important for a gardener to determine as what are the conditions that are causing the problem and then it would be best to take the next step toward eliminating the garden moss.

Have your soil tested again to see if the nutrient content and pH level have changed since your last test three years ago. If the soil is deficient in nutrient content or needs lime, the test report will indicate how much fertilizer and lime to apply and when to apply it.

Moss growth usually starts in early winter and reaches its peak in early spring. This growth is caused by excessive rainfall. Moss growth normally declines in summer as conditions become drier and the grass growth increases. In shady areas, the moss may continue to grow through the summer. Read the rest of this entry

Perfect Succulents Caring Tips

Succulents make amazing additions to a garden. Their shapes, colors, flowers and textures can add variety to any planting bed or container.
Although succulents are durable and tough you need to take proper care and pay due attention.
Succulents typically originate from the semiarid regions with irregular rainfall.
Forthcoming winter will require your special attention to protect succulents from frost. If you are growing succulents in containers, move them under a tree or the eaves of your house. Succulents grown in open garden can be protected overnight with a cover no heavier than a sheet; but be sure to remove that cover in the morning, so no moisture gets trapped underneath it to cause disease or pest problems. Keep these plants on the dry side. Read the rest of this entry

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