Best Organic Vegetable Gardening Techniques For Conserving Water

The use of organic vegetable gardening techniques operates under the presumption that resources are precious and they should be used as effectively and efficiently as possible. After all, this is what nature does every day. One of our most precious resources is water. With the extremely dry conditions experienced by much of the United States this summer, it’s an issue that is of foremost importance. Here are two articles that appeared in the Rockford Register Star recently that I believe brought the issue home. Though I live north of Illinois, it’s been a brutal summer in my vegetable garden as well. It got me to thinking about next year and what I can do to make the best use of all the water my garden needs without using any more than absolutely necessary. Writer Meghan Bowe highlights some basic techniques for water conservation.

Best Organic Vegetable Gardening Techniques For Conserving Water

Using techniques like deep mulch, vertical gardening, sheet composting and no till improves soil tilth while also expending fewer

organic vegetable gardening techniques

The best organic vegetable gardening techniques naturally conserve precious resources such as water. Photo by Chris Bence c/o Photos.Com.

resources to have an abundantly producing vegetable garden. Though some watering has been necessary this very hot, dry season our garden is looking beautiful due to the sustainable techniques used.

The conditions this growing season have been challenging due to the lack of rainfall. It is very important that home gardeners start integrating water and energy saving methods into their gardening practices, as well as making smart plant selection choices that will weather drought conditions.

Read the original article here at blogs.e-rockford.com:

Writer Margaret Larson has added a few very useful and important tips for using water that conserves it but still puts it to best use in her own organic vegetable garden.

Vegetables cannot go dormant in times of drought like your typical lawn does, says Extension Horticulture Educator, Candice Miller. Therefore additional watering is necessary to sustain a productive vegetable garden in these times of drought.

In the vegetable garden, there are certain periods of growth in particular where having moisture is especially important. As a rule of thumb, water is most critical during the first few weeks of development, immediately after transplanting, and during flowering and fruit production.

Anytime there are fruits (squash, cucumber, eggplant, tomatoes for example) or pods being filled (peas, snap beans), water needs to be uniformly available. In addition, sweet corn requires even moisture from the time flowers (silks) are pollenated through kernel fill. Therefore, gardeners should be monitoring their garden right now to see what is producing fruit at all times in order to properly water.

Make sure you read about all of Margaret’s watering recommendations here:

The best organic vegetable gardening techniques always seek to maximize the use of scarce resources. This is in keeping with what nature does, and is always sustainable over the long run. As our climate shifts due to natural or man made causes, we’ll all have to become more conscious of the resources we do have stewardship over and how we all need to make the best use of them.

Let me know what you think and whether you are doing anything to conserve water in  your area. Please feel free to click on the like button to share this with a like-minded friend.

Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.   —  Marcelene Cox

 

Best Tips For Late Season Container Vegetable Gardening

I must admit that I truly enjoy container vegetable gardening. On the one hand, it does present a few potential challenges, what with the pots drying out faster than planting in the ground, or even in a raised bed setup. But I think some of those (minor) points are more than offset by the fact that you can bring your vegetable garden in much closer to the house, or even inside it for that matter. Since we’re getting into late summer and, dare I say it, early fall, I thought this article would be instructive. Writing for MySA in San Antonio, Texas, Calvin R. Finch gives us some tips and tricks about what we can plant and when we can plant it using containers during this time of the growing season.

Best Tips For Late Season Container Vegetable Gardening

Do you like gardening but don’t have the time or space for a full-sized raised-bed vegetable garden? Consider raising your favorite vegetables in containers.

container vegetable gardening

Best tips for fall container vegetable gardening. Photo by Kbirsa c/o Photos.Com.

Tomatoes, herbs, carrots, beets, radishes, onions, lettuce and greens can all be grown in containers as small as five gallons.

Plant your tomatoes in August. There are “Patio” tomatoes marketed specifically for containers but I don’t recommend them. The plants are very attractive, but the fruit is low quality.

Select a regular recommended variety such as Surefire, Solar Fire, 602, Tycoon, Celebrity or Dwarf Cherry Surprise (BHN 968).

Tomatoes require a container that is at least five gallons in capacity. Half of a whiskey barrel is ideal. The larger the container, the more room available for roots, moisture and nutrients.

Container vegetable gardening started in late summer provides an opportunity to significantly extend your growing season well into late fall. One of its most significant advantages is that if you do have colder weather earlier than anticipated, you can drag the whole show inside your house and not lose all of your hard work. How about that! So this season, why not try some container vegetable crops and see how it goes? You might be pleasantly surprised and well fed this fall.
Please feel free to leave a comment below and share your experiences with us. Click on the like button to share this with a friend.

To create a garden is to search for a better world. In our effort to improve on nature, we are guided by a vision of paradise. Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece or only a modest vegetable patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future. This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening.                                                                      —  Marina Schinz

Elevate Your Planting With Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

So what is it about raised bed vegetable gardening that’s all the rage? Well, when you think about it, there are several advantages. The first and foremost is that it’s much easier on your back. More importantly for your plants, the soil warms more quickly, it stays fluffy because you aren’t walking all over it, vegetable crops are easier to get to and there’s less area to take up weeds. Now there is one major drawback, and that is raised beds dry out more quickly. If you take some measures to arrange for drip irrigation and proper mulching, it can be made into a minimal problem. An article by Susan Mulvihill written for the Spokesman-Review highlights a recent experience between a student and her teacher.

Elevate Your Planting With Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

Talk about your fast learners. In February 2011, Ann Windham attended a class I taught on raised-bed gardening and another one on drip-irrigation systems.

raised bed vegetable gardening

Elevate your planting game with raised bed vegetable gardening techniques. Photo by Audaxl c/o Photos.Com.

A few months later, she sent me an enthusiastic email, saying she and husband Bill had “the best garden ever,” thanks to their new raised beds and the drip-irrigation system. She included several photos of their beautiful, productive vegetable garden.

For many years, I’ve been extolling the virtues of growing veggies in raised beds. I’ve been gardening in them since 1981 and am absolutely sold on them. It was gratifying to get such positive feedback from a new convert and even more gratifying to be invited to their garden to see the results firsthand.

The Windhams live in Colbert. They have a sunny backyard with a view of Mount Spokane and their raised-bed garden is certainly a focal point. They primarily deal with deer in the area so the garden is fenced.

Ann admits she’s the main gardener but is quick to say Bill has been a hardworking partner. After all, he helped with the construction of the raised beds, filled them with many yards of soil, and built trellises and a garden bench.

“The bench was particularly important,” Ann said recently, “because we love to sit out in the garden each evening and watch things grow.”

They have 14 beds: nine are 3-by-9-feet long, and five are 3-by-14-feet long.

“We made them out of 2-by-10 common lumber,” Bill said, “and we screwed the boards together with decking screws. I wouldn’t make the beds any wider than 3 feet because otherwise it’s really a stretch when you’re tending the plants.”

They chose untreated lumber for their beds because Ann had learned in class that the chemicals used to treat wood – to make it weather better – will leach into the soil. Once that happens, vegetable roots will take up those chemicals. Because of this, gardeners should avoid using pressure-treated lumber, railroad ties or any wood treated with chemicals or sealants.

To read about all of their suggestions and tips, go to spokesman.com:

Try your hand at raised bed vegetable gardening as soon as your growing season permits. You will find that the overall control you can have over your garden will be much greater and there will actually be less work. Let’s see…more produce and less work. Works for me.

Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Have you planted raised beds before? If so, let us know what you ended up with and how it all went.

Weather means more when you have a garden.  There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.                                                                                                                             — Marcelene Cox

Organic Vegetable Gardening Rises To New Heights

Those of us who begin a basic, step by step organic vegetable gardening program usually worry most about all of the pests that want to enjoy all of our hard work for lunch. One thing we here in the U.S. don’t worry about much is space. But what about those like minded organic gardeners in Hong Kong? Not a lot of room to grow, if you know what I mean. Here is an article I ran across on the Mother Nature Network, originally written for AFP by Sam Reeves, that describes what challenges they face and how they go about tackling them.

Organic Vegetable Gardening Rises To New Heights

On the rooftop of a tower block above the hustle and bustle of teeming Hong Kong, dedicated growers tend to their organic crops in a vegetable garden.

Organic vegetable gardening in Hong Kong is literally up on the roof. Photo by Ablestock.com c/o Photos.Com.

Against a backdrop of skyscrapers and jungle-clad hills, earth-filled boxes are spread out on the roof of the 14-storey building, where a wide variety of produce including cucumbers and potatoes are cultivated.
It is one of several such sites that have sprung up in Hong Kong’s concrete jungle, as the appetite for organic produce grows and people seek ways to escape one of the most densely populated places on earth.
“I am happier eating what I grow rather than food I buy from supermarkets,” said Melanie Lam, a 28-year-old nurse, who comes to the “City Farm” in the Quarry Bay district of Hong Kong’s main island about twice a week.
“Compared to vegetables from the supermarket, vegetables that I plant are sweeter and fresher. It gives me a greater sense of satisfaction.”
With most of the southern Chinese territory’s 7 million people living in tower blocks and land prices sky-high, unused roofs are some of the few places in the most heavily populated areas for budding vegetable gardeners.
Pretty encouraging to know that your step by step organic vegetable gardening can be done almost anywhere. Knowing what you’re growing and where it’s coming from is very reassuring and the best thing we can do for our own health.
Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts and opinions. You can also click the like button to share this with a friend.
I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green.
                                                                                               — Nathaniel Hawthorne,  Mosses from and Old Manse

Grow Herbs on Your Balcony

Grow Herbs on Your Balcony

It’s easy and fun to grow herbs in a small space like a patio or balcony. When you grow herbs, remember that for the most part they are very hardy plant species and tend to grow where the conditions are pretty rough. They will do just fine in your vegetable garden, especially in between your other plantings, but they also grow well in less favorable settings. These are ideal plants for small spaces and also for raising in containers.

Grow Herbs You Enjoy In Your Cooking

First you need to decide which herbs you’d like to grow. Think about what herbs you like to use in your cooking. You can just grow them for their visual appeal, but why not get the most out of your efforts and be able to include garden fresh herbs in your cooking, too. Of course, some will die back during the winter if you leave them outside. Just remember to put a tag where they were growing so you’ll remember what was planted there next season.

Always Grow Herbs in the Proper Container

If you’re planting in small pots, choose terra cotta because it dries quickly and allows your plants to grow without getting overly wet. Herbs can tolerate having their soil dried out much better than being too soggy. If you decide to grow mint, remember to containerize it within the pot or bed, otherwise it will take over the area it’s planted in. With a minimum of effort, anyone can easily grow herbs almost anywhere.

How To Grow Corn In A Raised Bed Garden

You Can Grow Corn In A Raised Bed Garden

You can grow corn in many different ways, because there are so many different variations on how to grow vegetable crops in your garden. Onegrow corn normally doesn’t think about growing corn in a raised bed, but there’s no reason that you can’t grow corn by that method. If your space or soil conditions aren’t ideal, you can always modify them to suit your needs to grow corn, and raised bed gardening is one very simple way to do it. Going to a raised bed garden to grow corn gives you a great deal of control over your soil composition as well. Corn is what’s known as a heavy feeder which means that it needs a lot of nitrogen in the soil. Amending your soil with compost and blood meal gives you a very organic way to grow corn.

Use The Correct Spacing

If you decide to grow corn in a raised bed vegetable garden, have at least two rows next to each other and place them each about ten feet long so that your corn plants can efficiently pollinate each other via the wind. Place a single corn seed about an inch into the soil and 8-10 inches in from the edge of the raised bed, while keeping about one foot of space minimum between adjacent plantings. This will give your plants enough room to spread out as they grow. This is what you can do when space is at a premium, otherwise you could spread them out to between 1 to 3 feet between each plant if you were in an open field and planting them into the ground.

Use Enough Water and Fertilizer to Grow Corn in a Raised Bed

Water your seeds in very well and keep the soil moist but never wet over the succeeding weeks. Adding in some nitrogen from blood meal every two weeks will keep your corn plants properly nourished. Planting later in the season will help you avoid many common insect pests. Just make sure that if you plant 90-day corn (30 days to germinate plus 60 days to reach maturity) you can count on being able to harvest before the first frost of the fall season. Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, once you taste the sweetness of what you’ve harvested you’ll definitely want to grow corn again next season.

 

How To Grow Corn The Tallest It Can Be

Grow Corn The Tallest

So you want to grow corn and have it turn out the best and tallest it can be. Like our children, the plants in our vegetable gardens need lots ofgrow corn TLC when they’re young. This is especially true for sweet corn. What you do (or don’t do) when you grow corn very early on will dramatically affect how tall it gets. One of the most critical things you can do to grow corn plants their tallest is to prune away the suckers from each plant.

How To Grow Corn Without Suckers

“What are suckers?’ you might ask. Well, they’re the growth of any secondary corn stalks that happen to emerge along side the main stem. Naturally, letting suckers continue to grow this way would divert nutrients away from the main stalk and limit its ability to grow as tall as possible. Simply break them off or you can take a sharp knife and cut them away at ground level. Doing this will allow you to grow corn plants so they will develop 3 to 4 or more nice, fully developed ears per stalk.

Grow Corn Taller To Grow More Ears

The taller the stalks can grow, the more sunlight they’ll be able to receive. This also keeps the corn stalks from getting too crowded next to each other. By the end of the season, you should have nice rows of tall corn plants with an abundant yield of long well developed ears of corn. Watch this video to learn more about how to grow corn to its fullest height.

Best Tips To Grow Carrots

Grow Carrots Throughout the Season

Backyard gardeners can easily grow carrots. There are in fact a tremendous number of carrot varieties, and each one can be harvested at different times during the growing season. Before you start to plant and grow carrots, you’ll want to check the time to maturity that’s printed somewhere on the seed packet.

Generally, carrots can be harvested about 20 days before their listed maturity date. If you do pick them very early, you’ll get the more tender baby version of that carrot variety. Harvesting carrots more towards their full maturity date gives them more time to develop higher concentrations of sugars and more flavor.grow carrots

Pulling your carrots out of the garden soil couldn’t be simpler. Just firmly grasp the green top foliage and gently pull it up out of the soil. You can give yourself some help using a small garden trowel along side the carrot root, especially if your soil isn’t very loose. If you accidentally pull too hard and yank the top off, just remain calm and gently dig it up with a small garden fork. Once you have some experience and grow carrots for a few seasons, this will become second nature.

Harvesting should be done early before the soil gets too hot in summer. For instance, carrots planted in March can usually be harvested in late April or early May. Once they’re harvested, plan to replant that same area with a different vegetable crop like lettuce. When you grow carrots you’ll make a wonderful addition to your backyard vegetable garden.