Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening Easier On The Elderly

Raised bed vegetable gardening is a very good approach to help alleviate some of the drudgery of gardening. As we are all getting older (I should only speak for myself at this point), finding ways to lessen the need to bend, stoop and kneel while tending our plots is a welcome idea. As the young lady in the featured article has just turned 92, she certainly does appreciate being able to actively garden since her raised beds were built for her recently. In this short piece by Amy Menery for the Rapid City Journal, be sure to take a good look at the beds in the photo.

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening Easier On The Elderly

When gardening has been not only a passion but a lifestyle, getting older shouldn’t hold you back, which is why Della Colman’s garden got a lift — about two feet off the ground.

raised bed vegetable gardening

Raised bed vegetable gardening makes for less work. Photo by George Doyle c/o Photos.Com.

Colman found it was getting difficult to work in her garden, which is laden with vegetables and flowers, so she had a raised bed built a few years ago. At 92, she can still get around the narrow garden passages behind her Gallery Lane home while using her hoe as a walking stick.

“Oh honey, I’ve been gardening all my life,” Colman said, when asked about her interest in growing things. “I was born in the mountains in North Carolina and all my folks were gardeners — they raised everything we ate.”

Onions, carrots, beets, corn, peas, cabbage, grapes and even raspberries fill the raised beds, but among them are also some colorful, less edible growths.

“There’s larkspur,” she says, pointing out purple flowers along the garden path, “and look, the little birds, they planted them in a row.”

Other cheery flowers have found their way into the garden, and, though pretty, Colman said she didn’t plant them.

Original article here at rapidcityjournal.com:

Raised bed vegetable gardening techniques can save us from a great deal of strain and unpleasantness by simply changing the way we relate to our plants. Bringing them up and letting more sunlight in and keeping more unwanted plants (aka. weeds) out gives you more time to enjoy your vegetable garden and lessens the amount of time you’re forced to spend doing the things you don’t enjoy so much or have a harder time doing physically. Get more pleasure out of your vegetable garden by eliminating some of the pain of maintaining it by setting up a raised bed.

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Gardeners are–let’s face it–control freaks. Who else would willingly spend his leisure hours wresting weeds out of the ground, blithely making life or death decisions about living beings, moving earth from here to there, changing the course of waterways? The more one thinks about it, the odder it seems; this compulsion to remake a little corner of the planet according to some plan or vision.                    

                                                                                         — Abby Adams

Planning And Planting A Fall Vegetable Garden

Planting a fall vegetable garden requires planning. You have to know when the first frost is likely (going to) occur. You also have to know the time to maturity of each of your plantings so you can beat that date and have time to harvest your crop. Here is an article by Karol Kelly for The Telegraph that covers some of the basics you should know before planting.

Planning And Planting A Fall Vegetable Garden

August is filled with hot days and wilted plants. While we have been fortunate to receive afternoon showers the past few weeks, it is

fall vegetable garden

Planning and planting your fall vegetable garden. Photo by Jupiterimages c/o Photos.Com.

usually only a temporary respite for our lawns and gardens. With the promise of cooler temperatures blowing in during the next couple of months, this is an ideal time to begin planning for a fall vegetable garden.

As with spring gardens, till the soil and add lime and fertilizer as recommended by your soil test. In the absence of a soil test, start with 10 pounds of 10-10-10 per 1,000 square feet. Follow the label directions if you are using a liquid fertilizer. Crops such as cabbage, lettuce, onion, greens, peppers and radish are considered heavier feeders and require more fertilization.

Fall vegetables vary in the number of days required to reach maturity. A radish plant can take as few as 25 days to maturity, while carrots, lettuce and cabbage can take up to 80 days. To maintain a constant supply of lettuce and radish, seed every couple of weeks through early October. Transplants can be set out later.

A fall vegetable garden is easy to start and to grow once you know when to plant and when to harvest. By growing later in the season you can extend your growing season and make the most of your garden space.
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CABBAGE, n. A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head. The cabbage is so called from Cabagius, a prince who on ascending the throne issued a decree appointing a High Council of Empire consisting of the members of his predecessor’s Ministry and the cabbages in the royal garden. When any of his Majesty’s measures of state policy miscarried conspicuously it was gravely announced that several members of the High Council had been beheaded, and his murmuring subjects were appeased.”          — Ambrose Bierce

Fall Vegetable Gardening

So you’ve decided to do some fall vegetable gardening this year. Well, there are a few things you should know. You can in fact get certain crops going late in the regular growing season. In fact, some are really ideal for starting out late in the summer or very early fall, depending on where you happen to be living. Many crops thrive in the fall coolness and will take a frost or two and come back for more. Here is a short piece by Neil Sperry written for the Star- Telegram that gives a short primer on what to do for a great fall season, and how to protect your investment.

Fall Vegetable Gardening

Mid-August might not pop to mind as a prime planting time, but for several important vegetable crops and for three popular

fall vegetable gardening

Fall vegetable gardening extends the growing season and provides new crops to enjoy. Photo by Stockbyte c/o Photos.Com.

annual flowers, it’s their turn for the spotlight.

You’ll find the various “cole” crops at the top of the mid-August vegetable planting list. Cabbage is the most popular, but the list also includes broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. All thrive in fall’s cooler weather. In fact, all are capable of withstanding light freezes prior to harvest. But they need to be planted now.

The biggest challenge in growing these plants in the fall might actually be in finding the transplants. You’ll want fresh and vigorous plants of well-suited varieties, and your best chance of finding them now will probably be through local independent retail garden centers and feed stores.

Set the transplants into well-prepared garden soil. All of them will need 18 to 24 inches of space between plants within their rows, and the rows should be 36 to 42 inches apart to permit easy access. If you’re careful to select transplants that have been in full sun in the nursery, setting them into the garden now should present no problems. Plant them into small “wells” an inch or two deep to facilitate watering. Soak them every day for the first week or two, to allow them time to develop good roots.

Cabbage loopers are the bane of our spring cole crops. The larvae chew multitudes of holes in the leaves. They render cabbage useless as a leafy vegetable, and they weaken the growth and productivity of the other types. They’ll probably also find your fall plantings, so be on the lookout for the white butterflies that serve as your early warning signal. They seek the cole crops and lay their eggs on the leaves.

As soon as you see the horseshoe-shaped caterpillars starting to feed, apply the biological worm control Bacillus thuringiensis, known more commonly simply by its initials, “B.t.” It’s available as a dust or a spray, and it’s the only control, organic or inorganic, that works on these pests. It stops their feeding immediately, and they will die within 24 hours. It can be applied within 24 hours of harvest.

Fertilize all of these crops with a high-nitrogen food similar to one you might use on your lawn grass. Most of our soils test too high in phosphorus (middle number of the analysis) anyway, so nitrogen will be the prime need.

Read the entire article here at star-telegram.com:

Fall vegetable gardening can be both an adventure as well as a very enjoyable and delicious enterprise. Make sure you protect your veggie investment from those bugs and pests who want to get a free lunch at your expense. Try it and see what you can grow. You just might surprise yourself.

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When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it.  If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.                                                                                                                                            — Author Unknown

Start A Fall Vegetable Garden

When it comes to trying to start a fall vegetable garden, many beginning gardeners tend to have a few questions. Like, when should I start my plants, where can I start them, and how should I start them? Most vegetable crops that grow well in the fall when it’s cooler tend not to do so well when they’re just starting out in the full eat of summer. There are a few tricks to getting around that problem. Go ahead and pretend that it’s early spring and start them indoors. Why not! If the temperature isn’t right (too cold or too hot) just start them where they like it better and where you can control the growing conditions better. If inside isn’t going to work out, then work outside. Try getting them started in the shade of taller plants that are already established. Here’s a short (really short) take on the topic, as well as some other vegetable gardening tips, from Ellen Nibali written for the Baltimore Sun.

Start A Fall Vegetable Garden

One way is to start them indoors, even leaf crops like endive. A cool basement works well. When they’re a few inches tall, you’ll need

fall vegetable garden

Start a fall vegetable garden indoors. Photo by Comstock c/o Photos.Com.

to acclimate the transplants to sun and heat conditions before you put them in the ground. A good time to transplant them into the soil is when a few days of overcast weather are forecast.

You can also start fall veggies in your garden in the shade of taller vegetable plants that will be removed at the end of summer. If your fall vegetable choice tolerates some shade, then you can plant in a semi shade location. Mulch them to keep roots cool as well as moist.

Read the entire article here at baltimoresun.com:

Sure, it’s an adventure to start a fall vegetable garden. Why not get going now? You can have another wonderful crop of fall veggies all ready to eat by late October and even into November.

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Last night, there came a frost, which has done great damage to my garden…. It is sad that Nature will play such tricks on us poor mortals, inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her, and then, when we are entirely within her power, striking us to the heart.

                                                                            — Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks

Best Tips For Fall Vegetable Gardening

Well, here we are again, time to talk about fall vegetable gardening. I ran across this short article by Danielle Carroll writing for the Anniston Star that has some really good tips and tricks to get some more life out of your late summer garden.

Best Tips For Fall Vegetable Gardening

As hot as it is, it seems pretty silly to start thinking about cool season vegetables right now. But guess what? It’s time!

fall vegetable gardening

Fall vegetable gardening extends the productivity of your garden.

Just a couple of weekends ago, I started a second planting of tomatoes. Last weekend, it was squash and beans for a fall harvest. This weekend, I’m making room for some of the “other,” oft-forgotten vegetables. I’m thinking broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots, turnips, spinach and a few more.

These cool-season veggies are grown a lot in the spring. But depending on the weather, they will often grow and produce better in the fall.

A blast of quick, hot temperatures in the spring can bring cool-season vegetables to a screaming halt. When those hot temperatures come in early and decide to stay, vegetable plants like turnips and cauliflower will bolt. “Bolting” is when the plant starts sending up flowers and going to seed; the plant can also become woody and unfit to eat.

When planted in the fall, however, there is plenty of time for harvesting before inclement weather. Last year, the mild winter meant year-round gardening, without having to offer protection for any plants. If you like collards, they are better with a little “frostbite.”

Read the entire post here at annistonstar.com:

Well, some more advice for fall vegetable gardening in your backyard plot. Go ahead and try something new and different to help extend the life of your vegetable garden. You’d be surprised at the amount of produce you can get out of it, probably right up to Thanksgiving.

Please share your thoughts and any late summer, early fall vegetable gardening experiences with us by leaving a comment below. You can also click on the like button to share this with a gardener friend.

Pray for peace and grace and spiritual food.  For wisdom and guidance, for all these are good. But don’t forget the potatoes.
                                                                                                                             —  John Tyler Pettee

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.
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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

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.

 

The Best Sweet Corn And How To Grow It

The Best Sweet Corn And How To Grow It

Face it, everyone just loves that taste of the best sweet corn during the summer months. It’s one of those experiences you just never get tiredbest sweet corn of. It is easy to grow corn in your vegetable garden and it’s remarkably simple, but you do have to understand some basics about the plant itself to have it turn out the best.

Grow Corn Without the Birds and Bees

Corn plants are actually in the grass family. Each plant has both male and female reproductive elements. The tassel is the male portion of the corn plant. Corn is wind pollinated. The tassel will shed its pollen grains into the wind. These pollen grains then find their way to “silk”, which is the female flower’s connection to the outside world. Just one grain of pollen has to find a silk in order to fertilize the flower part of the plant.

Once fertilized, this will ultimately give rise to an ear of corn. It helps fertilization if you plant your corn in blocks to ensure that no matter which direction the wind blows from, there will always be corn plants down wind to receive pollen. You can even pollinate and grow corn by gently bending the tassels down and manually fertilizing the silks on each stalk.

How to Grow Corn and When to Harvest

When the silks are brown and dry, peel away just enough of the outside of the ear near the top to test the kernels. Puncture them with your thumbnail. If the juices run clear, leave them a bit longer. If the juices are milky and white, they’re ready to harvest. See this interesting video to learn more about how to grow the best sweet corn.

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.