How to Ripen Green Tomatoes Off the Vine
Ripen Green Tomatoes

How to Ripen Green Tomatoes Off the Vine

How to Use Fruit to Ripen Green Tomatoes You can ripen green tomatoes by picking them before the first frost of the fall season. Choose one of the proven methods that can turn green tomatoes into delicious red ones. Green tomatoes will continue to ripen after they've been pulled from the vine. You can speed up the ripening process by placing green tomatoes with  other tomatoes  that are in the process of ripening. You can also place them with fruit, such as a  yellow banana  or apple that hasn't finished ripening How to Tell If a Banana Is Still Ripening It's easy to tell if a banana is still in the process of ripening. You can find green tinges along the tips of the banana. Supplies for Using a Banana to Ripen Your Tomatoes Within a few days, of placing your green tomatoes with a ripening banana, your tomatoes will begin to turn red. Brown paper bag big enough for several tomatoes and one bananaGreen tomatoes1 yellow banana with slightly green areas Instructions Wash and dry the green tomatoes.Place the tomatoes in the brown paper bag along with the banana.Fold the end of the bag loosely closed and store in a warm dark place.Try to ensure the tomatoes aren't touching each other. Check on Your Tomatoes and Banana Be sure to open the paper bag to check that the banana hasn't fully ripened since it will attract fruit flies. If the banana no longer displays any green tinges, especially on the ends, replace it with a fresher banana still sporting a few green signs of ripening left to occur. Why Bananas Help Green Tomatoes Ripen The old tale that placing a tomato on your kitchen windowsill in the sunlight will make it ripen isn't true. That's because green tomatoes continue to ripen once harvested. Natural Ethylene Gas Responsible for Ripening Process The sun has nothing to do with the ripening. In fact, it's the gas, ethylene, is naturally produced by ripening tomatoes, bananas, apples, and other fruits and vegetables and is responsible for the ripening process, not the sun. Place Tomatoes and Bananas in Shoe Box If you have a larger amount of green tomatoes, you can us a cardboard box instead of a paper bag. Supplies Shoebox or boot boxGreen tomatoesFairly ripe yellow banana with some green areas Instructions You can place the cleaned green tomatoes in the shoe box. If you need a…

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What Are the Easiest Foods to Grow?

Easiest Vegetables to Grow in Your Home Garden You can grow different vegetables during spring, summer and fall to maintain a healthy supply of foods. Seasonal eating has regained popularity and makes homegrown vegetables more fun to plant and harvest. Beets The root crop, beets thrive in spring and early summer and the fall. You'll most likely harvest your last crop in mid-June and begin harvesting again in late September or early October. Maturation is usually between 55 to 70 days, depending on the variety. Plant succession crops every week to ensure you have all the beets you want. When you harvest, don't throw away the leaves, which are delicious and very nutritious. Carrots Carrots are simple to grow. Make sure the soil is loose enough to allow this root crop to grow freely. You'll want to grow in the spring and early summer since carrots don't tolerate summer heat very well. Your last harvest will most likely be mid-June. You can plant your fall harvest toward the end of July for an October harvest. Check your seed package for maturation dates and plan accordingly. Cucumbers Cucumbers can be grown vining on the ground, but for best results try growing vertically. Cucumbers don't like wet soil, so water regularly but just to keep the soil slightly damp. Harvest daily to keep the cucumbers producing. Cucumber production begins to slow midway through the growing season. You can breathe new life into your plants by sprinkling 2-3 tablespoons of Epsom salt on the ground around the plant. Garlic Chives Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) is perfect for anyone who wants the taste of garlic in a convenient clump-forming plant that won't overtake your garden. This plant is part of the onion family, although you can't eat the bulb like an onion. Instead, you'll harvest the grass-like long shoots. Just cut what you want, and this perennial will keep producing all summer and year after year. It may just become one of your favorite plants. Green Beans Bush or pole green beans are an easy food to grow. Bush green beans tend to continue producing through summer heat better than pole beans. Most beans stop growing when temperatures reach 98°F and higher. As soon as the temperatures drop to the mid-90s, the plants began growing/producing again. Make sure you check beans daily for harvesting since they grow very quickly and the more you harvest, the more they produce. Lettuce If you love salads,…

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What is Diatomaceous Earth? How to Use DE for Garden Pest Control

ave you heard about diatomaceous earth, or perhaps a recommendation to “use DE!” to solve a pest issue, but aren’t quite sure what it’s all about? You aren’t alone! DE is an excellent organic material to use in the garden (or around your homestead in general) but is often misunderstood.  Read along to learn all about DE and get answers to your frequently asked questions. This article will cover exactly what diatomaceous earth is, and how to use DE in your garden for organic pest control. We’ll explore what pest insects DE is effective against (or not), a few notes on safety and limitations, and how to apply it for the best results. What is Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?  Diatomaceous Earth, known as “DE” for short, is a very fine, chalk-like white powder. It is made up of the fossilized remains of single-celled aquatic microorganisms called diatoms. In a nutshell, it is ancient phytoplankton. Diatomaceous earth is found naturally in sedimentary rock and mined to use in industrial products, swimming pool filters, as an organic insecticide, in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and even in food. Like its many uses, diatomaceous earth comes in many grades. We always choose to use food-grade DE for our garden and chicken coop, which is the most gentle and safe form. Filter or industrial-grade DE has a significantly higher concentration of silica and is considered toxic to mammals. MY LATEST VIDEOS How to Harvest Greens Using the "Cut and Come Again" Method - for kale, chard, lettuce, & more! How Does Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Work to Kill Insects? The diatoms that make up DE have tiny rock-hard shells. Those shells are made of silica, which happens to be one of the hardest substances on earth. Fun fact: the Earth’s crust is 59 percent silica, and the main constituent of more than 95 percent of all known rocks. To us humans, diatomaceous earth feels silky smooth! However, when the powder comes in contact with certain target pest insects, the microscopically sharp edges of silica in DE creates hundreds of abrasions on them. The tiny glass-like shards deteriorates their body’s protective outer layer, making them desiccate – or dry out, and die.  Diatomaceous earth under the microscope. Image courtesy of David Siodlak via Wikipedia What Types of Pest Insects Does Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Kill? Diatomaceous Earth is effective against any insect that has an exoskeleton. This includes fleas, mites, lice, ants, millipedes, earwigs, cockroaches, silverfish, bed bugs, crickets, cockroaches, centipedes, pill bugs, sow bugs,…

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HOW TO GET RID OF POWDERY MILDEW
HOW TO GET RID OF POWDERY MILDEW

HOW TO GET RID OF POWDERY MILDEW

If you're here, you may be wondering how to get rid of powdery mildew. But, what is powdery mildew? Powdery mildew is actually a group of fungal diseases that usually develop in warm, humid weather. It is one of the most common and most noticeable fungal diseases in plants, and today we'll show you how to get rid of it once and for all! Surprisingly, almost no plant is immune to powdery mildew, and there are a few plants that are especially susceptible to this disease including cucumbers, squash, grapes, lilacs, phlox, and roses. WHAT IS POWDERY MILDEW & HOW TO RECOGNIZE IT As you may have already guessed from the name, powdery mildew looks much like a powdery deposit on the leaves and stems of plants. Sometimes, these deposits are in splotches, and sometimes, they're blanketed on. These are a number of different powdery mildew fungi, but they're very hard to tell apart because they all look the same. Powdery mildew will usually start underneath the leaves, and can also spread to the flowers, fruits, and buds, before finally depositing onto the tops of leaves. The interesting thing about powdery mildew is that it can be plant-specific. A different type of powdery mildew will affect your cucumbers than your roses, for example. That means, that for the most part, the powdery mildew fungus affecting your cucumbers cannot affect your roses. POWDERY MILDEW SYMPTOMS Thankfully, powdery mildew is not usually fatal to the plant, unless the mildew is not treated. Just like a human body, the plant will weaken and therefore be susceptible to other, more fatal diseases, if not treated. If powdery mildew is not treated, the plant will also not be able to grow properly, and this is especially important in edible plants such as fruits and vegetables. These types of plants need photosynthesis, and with powdery mildew on the leaves, that can be very hard to achieve. In turn, the number of sugars produced will diminish, which can deeply affect the flavor of the fruit or vegetable. Additionally, if the buds of a plant become infected before flowering, the plant may not set fruit or bloom at all. Pale yellow leaf spots.White and powdery spots that can affect the tops of leaves, underneath the leaves, the stems, the flowers, the buds, and the fruits.Large, white and powdery blotches that can cover certain spots or entire areas. CAUSES OF POWDERY MILDEW Unfortunately, powdery mildew can happen…

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HOW TO PREPARE SOIL FOR GARDEN

If you're deciding to grow a vegetable garden, knowing how to prepare soil correctly is crucial. But did you know that the best time to prepare the soil is at the end of the growing season? Depending on where you live, this will usually be in early or late fall. Preparing soil during this time will enrich the soil for the next season, in spring. Today we will share some tips and tricks with you where you can first identify the type of soil you have the things you can do to prepare it for the next growing season. Before we get into that, let's take a look and see why preparing soil is crucial. WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD SOIL? If you're new to gardening, you may think that you can just plant directly in the ground, in your backyard. But, that may not be the case. Gardening soil is not just dirt and pebbles – it's usually amended with minerals and nutrients which your plants feed on. Just like we need nutrients to grow and survive, so do plants. Providing them with a nutrient-rich soil is very important, especially if you're growing edible plants, such as herbs, vegetables, or fruits. So how can you make good, quality soil for your plants? First, you'll need to test your soil's pH. DO A SOIL TEST Before you go ahead and amend your soil, it's very important to test the soil yourself, to see exactly what type of soil you already have. Knowing that you can then go ahead and add the nutrients that the soil may be missing. There are a couple of ways you can do this: Purchase an inexpensive soil test kit from your local nursery, hardware store, or online.Test the soil yourself with an at-home soil pH test that's cheap and quick. This method uses baking soda and vinegar. WHY DOES A SOIL TEST MATTER? Knowing what type of soil you have is crucial to know what you can and cannot grow in your garden. Additionally, it'll help you understand what type of minerals and nutrients your soil may need. Knowing the soil's pH will help you determine what you can grow in it. Blueberries, for example, prefer more acidic soil, while alkaline pH soil is best suited for brassicas such as cabbage.By knowing whether your soil is neutral, acidic, or alkaline, will help you determine what type of amendments to add to the…

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Homemade Garlic Spray: A Non-Toxic Insecticide

My dad is a master gardener! Okay… maybe not master, but he is to me ( I can’t even keep potted herbs alive… but I’m working on it). As long as I can remember, my dad’s garden has produced a beautiful bounty of fresh vegetables every summer. Unfortunately, there are some nasty bugs that attempt to completely derail all of his hard work! Now not all bugs are created equal when it comes to your garden. In fact, some are even beneficial! I think we have all heard by now that we need to save the bees! Bees are incredibly beneficial to your garden and essential for pollination. Ladybugs are also considered beneficial, as they feast on parasite bugs that kill your plants! But there are loads of other insects that can wreak major havoc on your garden. One of the main offenders are aphids (pictured below). These buggers feed on almost all fruit and vegetable plants, flowers and shade trees. And here’s the kicker with aphids: they reproduce like crazy. The females can even reproduce without mating. Awesome. Aphids There are some great natural ways to help control the aphid population in your garden. 1. A good strong watering or rainstorm will help kill the aphids. 2. Companion plants, such as marigolds can be very effective in keeping harmful insects such as beetles and aphids off of your plants! As you can see, my dad’s beautiful garden is FULL of marigolds! Gardenmarigolds 3. Garlic! Garlic, onions and their relatives do a great job of repelling aphids! You can either plant garlic in your garden, or you can make a garlic spray! And that’s just what my dad does to help keep the pests off of his precious plants! Here is his recipe! Homemade Garlic Spray: A Non-Toxic Insecticide Ingredients: 1 quart water 2 tbsp fresh minced garlic 1 tbsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp liquid castille soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s) Directions: Mix the water, garlic, cayenne pepper and castille soap in a glass container (unlike the plastic container in the picture..I’m still working on getting the plastic out of his life..one step at a time). Let the mixture sit in the sun for a few hours to concentrate. Combine the concentrate with water in a ratio of 1 part concentrate to 4 parts water. Store in a glass spray bottle and apply to plants every 2 to 3 days, as needed. Then…

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HOW TO GROW SHISHITO PEPPERS

You've no doubt seen these cute little peppers at your local grocery store. Shishito peppers seem to have taken the culinary world by storm, and for good reason too! These small peppers are easy to cook, go with practically anything, have a great flavor and thin skin, and 1 out of 10 is a hot pepper – how fun is that?! If you're interested in learning how to grow shishito peppers, keep reading! But before we do that, let's take a quick look and see what shishito peppers actually are and where they originated from WHAT ARE SHISHITO PEPPERS? Shishito peppers are a Japanese variety of heirloom peppers from the species Capsicum annuum. They are small, wrinkly looking peppers and are usually green in color. You can buy them at most local grocery stores now, and they'll usually come in a 1lb bag. Eaten raw, these peppers are crisp and sweet, but once you cook them, slight spice and smokiness come out, and that's why people love them so much. Not to be confused with Padron peppers, which are not as wrinkles and are spicier than the shishito pepper plant. WHAT DO SHISHITO PEPPERS TASTE LIKE? The shishito pepper is not hot in itself (you'll get a very mild hot), but you will find that 1 in 10 is actually very hot! On the Scoville scale, shishito peppers range from 50-200, while a jalapeno pepper ranges from 2500-4000, in comparison. Like we mentioned above, eaten raw, they're crispy, and a little sweet, much like regular bell pepper. But, once cooked, they have a mild heat and smokiness, and taste like roasted red bell pepper, but much more flavorful. So if you love grilled or roasted peppers, you're going to love the full and smoky flavor of a grilled shishito pepper! HOW TO GROW SHISHITO PEPPERS These plants are surprisingly easy to grow and they're also very abundant. You can grow shishito peppers in raised beds, in pots, or directly in the soil. They usually produce a big amount of fruit, and you can actually leave them on the plant until they turn orange and then red, although most people harvest them while green. Purchase shishito pepper seeds from a reputable nursery, or harvest your own seeds from a store bought shishito pepper.Start seeds indoors about 8 weeks before the last frost. Keep the seeds in a warm place, such as the top of your refrigerator…

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DIY Raised Garden Bed Design: The Watering System

Today is the start of a 3 part series. So, you’ll need to return for all the details on building the hoop fencing and setting up a similar watering system. These beds began as a general idea; they became an evolving project. For our designs, we knew we needed pest control to keep out rabbits, and the occasional curious dog. We also had some general considerations. Did we need shade cover, what type of watering system would be best, how much space did we really need? A month after beginning this project, we have our answers. Below you will find everything you need to build this sunken bed and you can return next Tuesday for all the fencing details. Materials 6- 4’ 10” beams6- 10’ 10” beams3’ x 25’ feet chicken wire ($19.77) Measure your beams. We repurposed beams we found in the yard and worked with 4’ and 10’ beams that were 4 inches thick.Dig your bed. Based on beam measurements, dig a hole to fit your structure. I dug a 11 x 5 foot hole that was 8 inches deep.Lay the beams. Lay the beams beginning with one of the longer sides. Lay the beams so they interlock in each corner. Line the beds. To prevent rodents from breaking into the beds, line the interior of the beds with chicken wire. Be sure your chicken wire covers the seam between beams.Secure the wire. Using a staple gun, secure the chicken wire in place.Prevent external growth. Line the bed up through the sides with recycled cardboard. We used a classy collection of PBR cardboard and banana boxes.Fill the beds. Given our soil composition, we chose to buy materials and mix our own soil (I did not include this in the pricing of our beds).Gravel around beds. Lay weed block and gravel around each bed to prevent weeds from growing into the beds. Secure the weed block to the beds with staples. In total, this bed cost $19.77 for all materials. Had we needed to buy wood, our expense would have been considerably higher; however, taking the time to pull apart bolted beams can save you a bundle! This bed was so fantastic we built two more just like it. Want to know more about how to build this bed? Look here: DIY Raised Garden Bed Design: Part 2, how to build the hoop frame and install fencing and for watering details in two weeks. DIY Raised Garden Bed Design: Part 2 Last week I shared details on how to build this sunken garden…

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How To Grow Ginger In Pots

Ginger is one of the most powerful аnd beneficiаl root plаnts you cаn buy, but whаt if you could hаve аn endless supply grown right аt home? Ginger cаn be expensive to purchаse, аnd thаt’s why growing your own is highly recommended. Not only thаt, but growing  ensures thаt there аre no pesticides or other hаrmful ingredients. Todаy we’ll show you how to grow  in pots аnd get а truly endless supply! HOW TO GROW GINGER IN POTS OR CONTАINERS STEP 1: SOАKMost ginger roots thаt аre sold in stores аre coаted with а growth inhibitor which prevent them from sprouting. To get rid of thаt, simply soаk your ginger root in wаter for 24 hours. STEP 2: LOOK FOR GROWTH BUDS Аfter hаving soаked them for 24 hours, tаke them out of the wаter аnd look for growth buds. The sprout will grow on the indentаtion of the surfаce of the root. It doesn’t hаve аny buds, simply leаve it neаr а windowsill until buds stаrt sprouting. This mаy tаke а few dаys. STEP 3: CHOOSE А POT OR CONTАINERGinger roots grow horizontаlly, so we suggest а wide contаiner. Mаke is sure the contаiner is wider thаn deep, аnd hаs good drаinаge. Now, fill thаt pot or contаiner with good drаining rich potting soil. STEP 4: PLАNTSelect some pieces of  root thаt hаve “eyes” on them. Plаce the piece  with the “eyes” fаcing up into the soil. Now cover it with аn inch of soil. STEP 5: CАREIn order for plаnt to grow, plаce the contаiner in indirect sunlight. This is why ginger is perfect to grow indoors becаuse it does not like wind or direct sun. Wаter regulаrly, mаking sure soil is аlwаys dаmp but never soggy. STEP 5: HАRVESTHаve some pаtience becаuse it will tаke аbout 8 months for your plаnt to fully grow, but you cаn still hаrvest rhizomes аfter аbout 3 months. Аt this point, you cаn sepаrаte the rhizomes by pulling off а section of the plаnt. You cаn аlso trаnsplаnt eаsily by following the sаme steps аs аbove.

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HOW TO START A VEGETABLE GARDEN FROM SCRATCH

Become self-sufficient and feed your family healthy produce by learning how to start a vegetable garden from scratch. With the world, the way it is now, millions of people are starting to think about gardening. Why do you ask? People want to be self-sufficient. They don't want to have to depend on someone else for everything. That's why gardening gives you an amazing opportunity to be able to feed yourself and your family. And, once you know how to start a vegetable garden, there is really no stopping you. The basics of a vegetable garden are pretty easy once you know them, and from there on, the world if your oyster! Plus, growing your own vegetables is possibly one of the most rewarding feelings you will ever get! Have you ever tasted a freshly picked fruit or vegetable? There's nothing quite like it! In this guide, you'll learn how to start a vegetable garden from scratch. We'll take you through all of the basics from where to plant, which vegetables to choose, what type of soil you need, and everything else under the sun! Also, be sure to bookmark  HOW TO START A VEGETABLE GARDEN FROM SCRATCH – A BEGINNER'S GUIDE #1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION The right location for your vegetable garden is key to a healthy, growing garden. Whether you have a lot of lands, a small backyard, or even a balcony, choosing where to plant your vegetables can make a big difference. Here are some planting location tips that every gardener must know: Plant in a sunny spot. Most plants and vegetables need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. This means that you'll have to find that one spot that receives the most sunlight every day. The more sunlight your vegetables receive, the better they'll taste, the bigger they'll grow, and the bigger the harvest.Plant in good quality soil. For the plants' roots to deeply get into the soil, it'll need to be soft. Therefore, you'll need a soft, loamy soil. Do this by enriching your soil with compost which will provide much-needed nutrients. Also, choose well-draining soil so that your vegetables will have good drainage.Plant in a stable environment. Don't plant in an area that's prone to flooding or high winds. If you have an open backyard, maybe choose a spot that's a little more sheltered. Especially in the beginning, plants will be weak and will not be able to tolerate strong…

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Making Compost – Tips And Tricks
Making Compost – Tips And Tricks

Making Compost – Tips And Tricks

Making compost is one of those things that’s an art and a science. But believe me, it’s really not that difficult especially once you’ve decided what type of composter you are going to use. Even if you don’t follow the strict layering and greens to browns ratios (which I don’t), you can still get perfectly good compost. Making Compost: Quicker and Easier Here are some general tips that will help you out: You don’t want a bin with too many or large holes; the compost will dry out at the edges. You don’t want a completely closed bin either (unless you’re using a Bokashi system) or else your compost heap will not be able to breathe. If making compost in your own wood enclosure make sure the wood isn’t chemically treated; especially if using pallets – use the ones with the letters HT (heat-treated) not MB (chemically treated). You don’t want all those chemicals leaching into your compost then into your garden. If using wood to make an enclosure for the pile, line the bottom with bricks not wood. Because the wood on the bottom will eventually rot. It’s better if your pile sits on soil and not a hard surface. This will help it get colonized faster by the necessary critters and prevent smelly and staining buildup on the floor. Making Compost: Trouble shooting compost problems If your heap becomes too wet or even moldy; add in some browns (paper or cardboard) to soak up the excess moisture. If it’s too dry throw in some water and some more greens. If your heap is smelly it’s probably not getting enough air and has become anaerobic. Try adding in crumpled newspaper or pieces of cardboard so more empty space is created and the heap can breathe better. Since paper and cardboard take longer to break down they will keep their shape longer allowing air pockets to remain. When you first begin making compost by creating your pile or filling your bin, it will take a little bit of time for it to get started. If you don’t want to use a compost activator you can just add in some regular soil from your garden to help it along. For faster composting: Layer your browns and greens for more effective and faster composting. Add a few inches of each at a time. Your heap needs to keep moist, but not too moist (it will grow mold and smell). Check it weekly and add water as needed. Chopping everything into small pieces…

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HOW TO PRUNE TOMATO PLANTS FOR MAXIMUM YIELD

The big question is though, should you prune your tomato plants, and if so, how should you do it? We'll show you how to prune tomato plants for maximum yield and also why you should prune them so you have a better understanding. Pruning tomato plants is actually an optional technique. Some gardeners swear by it, while others choose not to do it. One very important thing to keep in mind though, is the variety of tomato you're growing – this will determine whether or not you should prune your tomato plants. You should only prune indeterminate varieties. These produce new leaves and flowers constantly throughout the growing season. Determinate varieties, on the other hand, should not be pruned, as you may reduce their yield. Let's take a quick look at what the difference between determinate and indeterminate varieties is. INDETERMINATE TOMATO VARIETIES: DO PRUNE Simply put, indeterminate tomato varieties will continue to produce fruit all throughout the growing season. This means that they will continuously throw off shoots, which need to be pruned for maximum growth and health. Additionally, indeterminate varieties will also need a trellis or some sort of support. DO I HAVE TO PRUNE MY TOMATO PLANT? No, you do not have to prune your tomato plant, regardless of whether or not it's indeterminate. Pruning tomato plants is completely up to each and every gardener. Pruning an indeterminate plant though will give you a higher yield, and so most gardeners prefer to do so. INDETERMINATE TOMATO VARIETIES: Indeterminate tomato varieties grow as vines, and will, therefore, produce much more fruit. Because of this, these tomato varieties will need support in the form of a trellis or a stake. Here are some indeterminate tomato varieties you can grow: Early producers: Early Cascade, Early Girl, and Quick PickBeefsteak: Beefmaster, Super steak, and DeliciousCherry tomatoes: Super Sweet 100, Sweet Million, and Yellow PearUnusual varieties: Yellow Stuffer, Long Keeper, White Wonder, Evergreen, and Brandywine DETERMINATE TOMATO VARIETIES: DO NOT PRUNE Determinate tomato varieties will reach a certain point and then stop growing altogether. These varieties will mature within a month or two, all at once, and usually grow at the end of the branch. These varieties are great for gardeners who like to use their tomato harvest for canning, making sauces, or maybe because they simply don't have the time to tend to their garden. Determinate tomato varieties also include bush tomatoes. DETERMINATE TOMATO…

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How To Make Self Watering Planters

I’ve been wanting to make these for a long time. Since I don’t often have plastic pop bottles lying around the house, it took a while to gather enough supplies. I made three or four of these a week ago and they are a definite success. The soil stays moist without any extra watering from me. The basic idea is that you fill the bottom part of the planter with water, have one side of the yarn resting in the water, while the other reaches up into the soil. You won’t need to water them every day, simply refill the reservoir when it gets low. Supplies you will need in addition to a medium-sized plastic pop bottle: hammerscrewdriverscissorsyarn Instructions: Start by cutting the pop bottle in half. I like to keep the top half (the one with the cap) longer than the bottom so there is a lot of room for growth.Poke a hole in the cap of the bottle with a screwdriver and hammer. This is the most difficult part. As you can see in the above photo, my screwdriver is stuck to the PopCap.Thread a piece of yarn through the pop bottle cap so that there is an equal amount of yarn on either side.Put the top end of the bottle inside the bottom part of the bottom with the cap facing down. Fill the bottom portion with water. This is your reservoirFill the top portion with dirt and plant your seeds! Make sure that the yarn is buried partway up the bottle so the moistened yarn will reach up to the roots. You can also put stars in these. I’ve currently got radish, sage, dill, and carrots growing!

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How Far Apart Do I Space My Plants?

Something that most people overlook, even the professionals, is mature plant size and plant spacing. I see this much too often in private yards as well as in public areas. I see plants that are so crowded together that you can’t even tell what type of plants you’re looking at. I also see a lot of layered planting with the taller plants in the front hiding the ones in the back. But I understand why people do this. They want their new garden or their landscaping to look mature without having to wait the necessary time for that to happen naturally. Unfortunately, in the long run, the garden just looks cluttered and out of control. As you can tell this is one of my pet peeves. The old saying is true – patience is a virtue. It’s best to let your plants grow and evolve into their mature selves. An easy way to avoid clutter is to just read up on the plants you’re considering before you plant them. You’ll want to determine the mature width and height of each different plant you’re going to use in your small garden. And the recommended plant spacing measure.  Savings-tip: once you know the mature width you can easily calculate how many plants to buy… you won’t be paying for extra plants that you don’t need. Just remember, later on you’re going to want to dig the holes a little less than the plant’s mature width center to center. A little overlapping is a good thing; you don’t want to leave any bald spots in your small garden either. Don’t forget the edges of the planting beds.  Depending on what result you want to have, make sure to measure accordingly. If you want the plants to grow up to the edge but not encroach on a walkway for example, then dig the holes half the mature plant size away from the edge. Use this mature size method also when planting in layers and verify it with the recommended plant spacing measurement. Plant what will be the shortest in the front and work your way back to the tallest. Be careful not to plant the layers too close together either. Then when the plants mature they’ll look like they were meant to be there.

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Preparing Your Small Garden Soil For Planting

Before planting it’s important to consider some factors that determine the type of garden soil you have. Soil Structure Garden Soil is basically made up of three components; solid material (organic matter & minerals), water and air. The minerals in the soil determine its texture (clay, silt and sand). Each of these has varying characteristics. Sandy soil tends to have larger particles and holds less water, which in turn makes it less fertile. Clay soils have the opposite characteristic; clay is made up of very fine particles, which holds water too well. The mix of these types determines the soil’s structure. Loam being most desirable type. A quick test to determine what type of soil structure you have; grab a small amount of wet soil in your hand and try to roll it. If It crumbles easily it’s sand, if it stays together very well it’s clay. The desired result would be a soil that rolls up easily but falls apart when rolled thinly this is loam. Soil PH and Salinity PH and salinity are two other factors to consider before planting. The PH (acidity-less than 7 /alkalinity higher than 7) and salinity of the soil will determine what plants will thrive in your garden. Luckily both of these factors can be adjusted to create an ideal environment for your plants. You can determine PH by purchasing a ph test kit at your local hardware store or online. Testing for salinity is more difficult and requires special equipment. The non-scientific way to tell if your soil is salty is to observe for a white salt deposit residue on the soil surface. Soil Amendments Soil amendments are basically materials added to enhance the standard of your garden soil. If your soil is less than desirable don’t fret it can easily be improved. Improving Soil Texture – Adding organic matter such as compost, grass clippings, manure or peat moss improves any type of soil. Once applied gently work into your soil. Balancing Soil PH – PH is very important because it regulates how available the nutrients are to your plants. PH can be adjusted and will greatly benefit your plants. In order to raise the PH (make the soil more alkaline) organically you can add dolomitic limestone, hardwood ashes, crushed eggshells or Ground Oyster Shell. To lower the PH (make the soil more acidic) you can add garden sulfur. Adjusting Soil Salinity – You can wash away excess salts from your soil; by once or…

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