Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Home Vegetable Garden News- July 29, 2014

An excerpt : "A raised garden bed allows backyard gardeners more control over the environment in which they grow their flowers, herbs and vegetables."

The Home Vegetable Garden News

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gardening For The Birds

Are we heading for another Silent Spring? Gardeners can make a difference.

"Birds that were once common as little as a decade ago are becoming increasingly scarce today. The evening grosbeak, in fact, has taken a drastic nosedive in numbers, plummeting by 78 percent in the past 40 years. Pesticide use, climate change, pollution, and even cats—both feral and domestic—have taken their toll, but a reduction in birds' most basic need—habitat—is critical."


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Salad Greens- Container Gardening

Container gardening is an ideal way for those, who enjoy the wide range of tastes and textures that you can get from a salad greens garden, to grow their own food. A 24 inch wide container will let you grow a range of those come and cut again leafy delights that make the backbone of many a salad.
For example, if you enjoy a piquant taste experience you can grow mesclun, arugula, mizuna, chicory and kale. All will do well in a container. Mesclun is a mix of assorted small, young salad leaves and containers allow you to grow you own mesclun mix.
Pick the greens you like and then as they beginning to grow, cut a selection of leaves for that meal’s salad.
The salad garden is a come-and-cut-again garden and you can enjoy fresh young greens for your salad throughout the season.
Your choice of soil is very important I use an organic potting soil that I buy at the local plant nursery. This way I know that the plants are getting what they need.
Now tomatoes go great with salad greens as do cucumbers. You can grow both in a 24 inch diameter container.
I favour cherry tomatoes and can grow three plants in one 24 inch container. Plus I can add basil pants to this container and get one of nature’s perfect combos, basil and tomatoes.
I find that I can interplant my three cherry tomato plants with four basil plants and this will supply me with all the basil that I need. I simply snip a leaf or six when needed.
Two 24 inch containers are able to provide me with all I need to make a great salad so depending upon how much space you have there could be room on a patio or even in your front yard to grow your own salads.
Cucumbers have many uses, as garnish or for soups, salads and sandwiches. They will also do well in a container. You can set a trellis into the container and grow the plants up the trellises, which I suggest.
This way you can place two or three cucumber plants in one container, be sure each plant has its own support and be ready to pick them as needed when they grow.
So, three 24 inch containers will give you ample produce for all your salad needs. So as always, your first step is to determine what you need.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wild Foods: Stinging Nettle

Nature provides. We do not have to plant all that we eat.

Urtica dioica is best known by its common name stinging nettle, a name that is well deserved. Stinging nettle is so called because of the burning pain that you can get when you brush up against it.
Stinging nettle loves abandoned properties and can be readily found where the people have moved on and let the plants have a free rein.
Stinging nettle may be found in Europe, Asia, N Africa and N America.
This is a wild crafters plant. A few sensible precautions can reduce your odds of getting stung. One wear long sleeves, long pants and gloves, the garden variety are fine. This actually makes sense no matter what plants you are collecting on abandoned lots, fields or in the forest.
The long sleeves and pant legs will protect you from a variety of plants and small wildlife, like ticks.
Two, use a good sharp pair of scissors to make a quick and clean cut and be sure to hold the plant by the leaf and in the middle, the video gives a good demonstration of how to harvest.
The nettle is vibrant green in colour and it is said that this indicates that the plant has a high iron and chlorophyll content. Stinging nettle is also reputed to be a very good source of the minerals calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulphur, copper, chromium, zinc, cobalt, potassium and phosphorus as well as containing high amounts of vitamins A, C, D, E, and K as well as riboflavin and thiamine.
The nettle fiber has been in clothing instead of cotton and flax, In Europe, the plant was gathered while young approximately a foot in height. It was then used as a vegetable not all that different from spinach, another under appreciated food source. In fact, if you find the taste of spinach to strong, you may prefer the milder tatse of nettle.
Apparently, nettle was used to treat scurvy and as a spring tonic. It ahs also been used as animal fodder as when the plant is cut and left to dry, it loses its bite.
Historically, the Germans have used nettle this way, as fodder for horses and have fed nettles to chickens with an increase in egg production.
Another traditional use of this versatile plant was to keep flies out of the larder which was accomplished by hanging a bunch of fresh nettles there.
It is claimed that the entire plant, that is the stems, leaves, flowers and roots possess strong medicinal properties.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Bird Garden

Bird song brightens the day, even when the birds get up much earlier than you do. Song birds are a delight to the eye, as well as, the ear. A bird feeder is one way to bring these colourful charters to the yard. Add a bird house and a bird bath and all their basic needs are met.

However, once they birds are making use of the house, feeder and bath, it is the home owner's responsibility to keep them clean and full. Birds will become dependent upon this source and will suffer if the food is neglected.

Know your Birds:

It is not all that difficult to design a bird garden. Start with a little research; what birds are native to your region and what migratory bids will drop by, perhaps only for a short visit during the spring and summer. A trip to your local public library can be useful.

Once you know who your visitors are likely to be, then it is time to design the garden. Select plants that appeal to them. This is similar to accepting guests in your home, you want them to feel comfortable, but unlike your human guests you want the birds to hang around as long as possible.

It is not necessary to convert your whole yard into a bird sanctuary, although if that is possible. There is room for the home vegetable garden, cut flowers herbs and an area that is for the birds.

A bird garden will provide food and shelter as well as a look out point, exactly what plants will do the job depends upon where you live. However, regardless of your location, tall and medium size shrubs can provide a nesting place and a food source for many species. An herbaceous ground cover can provide a fine habitat for species, which prefer to feed on the ground. They are among the most vulnerable of birds because they are easier prey than birds up in a tree or on a feeder, so give them some protection.

Plant Choices:

Use plants that are native to your area when designing your bird garden. Native plants are adapted to the growing conditions in your area and birds and other beings have been using them for shelter and to find food for many generations so the plants and the birds are well matched.

Using native plants not only attracts birds but also helps preserve the natural habitat of your region so you are helping to preserve regional bio-diversity when you use native plants.

If you have only a small space to set aside for the birds that is fine, two or three shrubs, a few wildflowers and some low growing herbs can be all you need, as long as you do your homework first and match the plants to the birds.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


The hollyhock enjoys being in the sun but is happy with some shade. Make sure the soil is rich and somewhat moist, if you want the plant to thrive. Just before you plant be sure to add well-aged manure or compost as this will help the plant grow.
You can sow the seeds outdoors just slightly beneath the surface of the soil one week before last frost. It may take 10-14 days for the seed to germinate. Be sure to space the seeds 18-36 inches apart.
If the weather is dry it is vital to provide water if you want them to flower. You can plant hollyhocks near a rain barrel if the site gets sufficient sunshine. They can help beautify the spot and this will make regular watering easier, provided, of course, that it rains.
The hollyhock flower is edible and would look great in a salad. I prefer to leave them on the plant and enjoy them visually but it is good to know that they have a secondary purpose.
The hollyhock is an ideal plant for the back of the border along the fence and especially with chain link fences can help serve as a privacy screen.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Eat Dirt: It is Good For You

Good gardeners grow soil because when the soils is healthy, the food grow in it is healthy. Why, read on.

"For example, using DNA sequencing technology, agronomists at Washington State University haverecently established that soil teeming with a wide diversity of life (especially bacteria, fungi, and nematodes) is more likely to produce nutrient-dense food. Of course, this makes sense when you understand that it is the cooperation between bacteria, fungi, and plants’ roots (collectively referred to as the rhizosphere) that is responsible for transferring carbon and nutrients from the soil to the plant—and eventually to our plates."

he Surprising Healing Qualities ... of Dirt by Daphne Miller — YES! Magazine

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Home Vegetable Garden News: July 1, 2014

" Do you have the summer gardening blues? Has the heat wave turned your cucumbers vines into rope and left your tomatoes as brown as the cracked dirt they're growing in?" read on in

The Home Vegetable Garden News

Native Plants

There are two projects happening here in Campbellton that have me turning to the subject of native plants. When we are discussing native pl...