Tiny Homes

Do you want to learn more about tiny home, maybe build your own? This book will help.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Three Sisters

One of the oldest plant communities that we know of is the Three Sisters, beans, corn and squash. It is a First Nations planting method that goes back for several centuries and is often associated with the Iroquois.

Now corn is not often a crop that a backyard gardener, unless the backyard is a good size will plant but it can be a great community garden crop and the sisters can make an excellent shared garden within a community garden.

However, if you have the space or simply want to experiment then the 3 sisters will increase your yield and reduce your labour.

The three plants work together to help one another grow and help the grower get a healthy crop. The beans grow up the corm stalks and provide the nitrogen that helps the corn grow and the squash is planted between the corn rows and acts as living mulch and thereby reduces the need to weed and water.

Growing Corn:
If you are planning to plant corn then you will need a minimum of three rows (ideally four) of about four feet in length. You will also need to leave a three foot space between rows.
This minimum space allows adequate pollination for the corn. Corn is pollinated by pollen from its tassels (the tops of the corn plant). Corn usually only produces one or two ears per stalk.
Now consider corn and tomatoes; tomatoes, which are self pollinating so you only need one plant to produce a number of tomatoes.

The main reason that I am introducing you to the three sisters is to expand upon the plant community concept and to help you understand that your garden will achieve its best results when it grows naturally or at least when the design you choose is modeled on nature and not on an artificial construct.
When it comes to gardening, work and Life itself, we will thrive if we let Nature be our guide and teacher and model our activities after the lessons that nature provides each and every day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pollinating an Indoor Garden

Plants grown indoors have the same needs as plants grown outdoors,however, there is a major difference. Indoors, the gardener supplies the sun, perhaps in a brightly lit window, perhaps with artificial light, or maybe a combination of both.

The soil used indoors differs from what we plant our vegetables in outdoors and the plant roots rely on the gardener for water and food.

Perhaps the greatest difference between growing vegetables indoors as compared to doing so in your back or front yard is that indoors there are very few helpers. There are no earthworms in the soil, for example. Most significantly, there are no pollinators, no bees, butterflies, wasps and so on, or at least very, very few and most of us are happy that is so.


So what does the gardener, who wants to grow vegetables indoors do. Well, some plants, such as sweet peppers and eggplants, can be manually pollinated. A brush, a small art paint brush can work or even your fingertips. This is time consuming but it will get the job done.

Other plants, such as tomatoes and beans, can't be readily pollinated by hand and some recommend that the plants be gently shaken each day in order to release the pollen.

I have used a small fan for this purpose and been pleased by the results; also, an open window near the plants, lets the breeze in, should it be blowing. Obviously, this is not a good method in cold weather but has worked for me in the warmer months. I like the idea of working with the wind but a fall back method will be needed when the wind is not blowing.

I have heard that some gardeners use an electric toothbrush to create a similar vibration to a bee's wing, but have no direct experience with this technique. Experiment and keep a record of what works and what does not.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gardening Learn as You Grow

Gardening is a learn by doing experience that requires the gardener to take a chance and observe and record the results. Careful observation and interaction will allow the gardener to see what works and what does not so that the gardener can learn from the experience and make necessary changes to improve the process.
You cannot fail.
Not all you plant will grow but you will always get positive results if you know your garden, yourself and put the right plant in the right place.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Home Vegetable Garden News: October 19, 2014

"So how do you deer proof your garden? If you are growing vegetables, the safest way to do so is to build or buy a greenhouse. "



The Home Vegetable Garden News

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Keeping The Deer Out

So how do you deer proof your garden? If you are growing vegetables, the safest way to do so is to build or buy a greenhouse. This will keep the deer out and keep you food safe from their hunger.
A greenhouse will also help keep another unwelcome garden raider away, the rabbit. A greenhouse is more effective than a fence
Now you could put up an electric fence; however, the price of energy is arising and adding to that bill offsets any gain that you may get from growing your own food.
Of course, a small solar panel could be used to fuel the fence. Deer when properly motivated and food is a great motivator, can leap pretty high. However, for a small garden plot an electrified fence can be a good alternative to the greenhouse.
Deer cannot sense electricity but will come up close to an object before leaping it so if they receive a shock, they are unlikely to proceed and will turn elsewhere for their meal.
If you want to grow organic vegetables then either a greenhouse or a solar powered electric fence is your best option for success. There are other alternatives such as repellants and some of these will work but they do need to be applied more than once over the season so if you forget, you may wake up one morning and find the cupboard bare.
There are ornamental plants that are not on the deer’s favourite dining menu and if there is soemthign they like handy, your ornamental garden might be safe.Rittenhouse has put together a list of plants that are deer resistant, just rememebr that a hungry deer is not a fussy deer.
Humans have destroyed deer habitat and humans have expanded their territory so that deer-human conflicts are all but inevitable. If you live in an area that has a large deer population and are a gardener then you will need to plan for deer control when you plan your garden.
This means that your costs will be greater than they would if you were gardening where there are no deer. The fence may trun out to be low-impedance electric fence, for a small garden, may turn out to eb the cheaper option. It will last 25 years or so whereas a poly green house will not even come close to lasting that long.
If you build a glass green house your cost will be higher. However, the added advantage to ether greenhouse is that unlike the fence they will extend the garden season both in the spring and the fall and this increases the yield and variety of plants that you can grow.
The choice is yours to make.

Last Flowers



Friday, October 10, 2014

The Indoor Garden: Lights

The most important element of success in indoor vegetable growing is light. Light determines how long plants remain active and is essential for photosynthesis.

You need to pay close attention to light intensity as it affects the manufacture of plant food, stem length, leaf color, and flowering.

The intensity of light a plant receives indoors is dependent upon how close the light source is to the plant as you move away from the light source light intensity decreases.

This means you are not likely going to be able to grow much in the way ofvegetables relying solely on light from a window.

Before planting anything asses the area where you plan to set up the garden. Consider the factors, paying close attention to available light. If you are planning to grow vegetables, in quantity, indoors, you will likely need to add lighting.

Sweet peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes are vegetable garden favourites but they like other fruiting vegetables have high light requirements. There are other choices such as salad greens and lettuces whose light requirements are less.

After lighting the next most important choice is your growing medium which is basically either a soil mix or hydroponic. If I do decide to grow more than culinary herbs for personal use indoors I will use an appropriate hydroponic system.

When it comes to indoor lighting sources the illegal grow op has lead to the development of equipment that will assist you to set up an indoor vegetable garden.

It is possible to guide your garden from seeds to fruit under fluorescent lighting and the gardener who wishes to do has a number of options.

The standard fluorescent bulb can be used to start seedlings and for salad gardeners they can suffice throughout the whole season as long as the bulbs are close to the plant tops, say about four inches above them.

Compact fluorescent grow lights may be more efficient but will cost more and still may not provide the green peppers and tomatoes the gardener seeks.

The best solution for growing fruiting vegetables (tomatoes, peppers etc) indoors may well be a combination of metal halide which puts out an intense light that is high in the blue spectrum and ideal for vegetative growth and then switch to high pressure sodium lights.

The high pressure sodium lights favour the red and orange spectrum which is needed for the development of fruits.

To effective grow fruiting plants indoors under artificial lights you are likely to need to switch three times as the as the metal halide are too strong to start seeds.

Stage One: Fluorescent grow lights for getting started

Stage Two: Metal halide for vegetative growth

Stage Three: High pressure sodium for fruiting.

This may not be advisable for the home gardener who seeks to turn a basement into a vegetable garden, unless herbs and salad green are the desired output. A greenhouse in the yard may be a preferred alternative.
There is another option that is making some ground LED grow lights are reputed to be very efficient, my suggestion is do your research before buying anything.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

BOOK: Seed Libraries

Seed Libraries" is a practical guide to saving seeds through community programs, including:
  • Step-by-step instructions for setting up a seed library
  • A wealth of ideas to help attract patrons and keep the momentum going
  • Profiles of existing libraries and other types of seed saving partnerships

Get your copy here.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Forest Gardening: An Introduction

Forest Gardening: An Introduction


"Have you begun to feel that the time you spend watering and cutting your lawn is a waste and probably doing more harm than good? Tired of using poisonous chemicals to keep that lawn green and golf course ready?

Or are you longing for fresh fruits and vegetables?"