Cool Crop – Lettuce and Cilantro

This is tlettuce_cilhe fourth head of lettuce I’ve gotten from our square foot garden. We thought it was head lettuce, but it’s looking more like Romaine. The cilantro has just started to get big enough to pick a little more to make a great taste in the salad – but ohh what a taste it is. LOVIN the first signs of summer – and the first of the cool crops! And, there are Tomatoes, Basil, Cucumbers and Mint growing in the ground now – I can’t wait!

My Favorite Peach Rose

I only have a few more roses left to bloom before Fall takes everything so I wanted to share these. I just LOVE the peach one and it smells really good too!


Tricks to Growing a Square Watermelon

It’s that time of season again when fruits and vegetables are plentiful and it’s time to eat a lot of them before they become scarce again. But would you want to cut into a prized square watermelon?

Just like the earth is not square, it really doesn’t seem like a watermelon should be square. But in Japan, farmers have been growing square watermelon for some time and the reason is that they’re different, and being different can bring you money! In fact, a nice square watermelon can sell for more than $80!

But why can farmers in Japan grow square watermelons and not those in the U.S. Well, I guess they just never thought about it – because it IS possible! Now, instead of just square foot gardening, you can be square watermelon gardening!

Imagine doing it in your own garden. Your friends will be amazed and confused. You could carve all kinds of things into a square watermelon. The main things you’ll want to know before you try growing your square watermelon next year are:

  • Can you do it in your Region?
  • What type of watermelon is best for “squareness?”
  • What tools are needed?
  • How old should the watermelon be before you shape it?

There are a lot of questions and a lot of things to consider if you really want a square watermelon – and not one that just looks deformed. If you’re interested, there is one person who has grown a square watermelon, and has documented it all!

Read more about the square watermelon here!

Jeff’s Purple Clematis Vine

The purple clematis vine that we have growing over an arbor is just beautiful this time of year! I think most of the flowers are now in bloom, but it has been blooming for almost a month. It’s one of the prettiest things in our back yard and showcases an area that Jeff calls his “park.” I like to call it the secret garden!

Pruning Clematis - Our clematis vine is summer/fall bloomer, which means it blooms on the current season’s growth. He wouldn’t HAVE to prune these clematis vines, but he does because if he didn’t, it would be an unruly mess. I can usually find him pruning clematis vines in the Fall, taking about 1/3 of the plant off. Also, if you don’t do some clematis pruning, you will NOT get as many flowers the next year. You can see that his strategy really pays off.

Pruning clematis that grow in the spring is a little different because spring blooming clematis flower on last year’s growth – you’ll need to do your pruning as soon as they finish blooming. Spring blooming clematis vines use the entire season to replenish themselves and set buds tor the next year.

At this point we prefer our summer clematis vine. It will be a real bummer when this beautiful clematis vine is done blooming.

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When to Plant Roses

Its important to the future health of your rose bush to know when to plant roses – you definitely need to watch out for just the right time. 

Actually, that’s easier said than done. Determining when to plant roses can be confusing. Ill go over a few pointers to help take the guesswork out of the timing for planting your roses.

First let me mention that if you order online garden supplies it takes the guesswork out. The online companies ship your order at the right time of year for planting in the climate zone you live in.

You can also use the zone finder on their sites to find out what climate zone you live in.

When planting bare-root roses, which are roses that are in their dormant state, youll need to consider your wintertime temperatures. If your minimum temperatures during the winter drop below -10 degrees you should only do your rose planting during spring and only after the danger of a freeze has passed.

If the area you live in has minimum winter temperatures between 10 and -10 degrees, you can plant in spring and fall, again only when there is no danger of a freeze occurring.

If you live in a climate zone where the minimum winter temperatures are above 10 degrees its safe for you to plant roses whenever the bare-root roses are available.

But keep in mind, no matter which zone you live in, do not plant when theres a chance for extreme heat, freeze or excessively windy conditions.

All of these can cause stress that can adversely affect your plants health.

If youre planting a potted plant or transplanting a rose from one location to another the rules are a bit different.

These roses can be planted any time of the year, weather permitting. That is, as long as the ground isnt frozen, theres no possibility of freeze, or no chance extreme heat, cold or wind.

Its best to plant roses in the spring or fall, but as I said, you can plant any time, weather permitting.

Be sure to follow the proper procedures on when to plant roses to ensure you have healthy rose blooms in the summer.

Organic Gardening Tips to Grow Naturally

Usually when people think of gardening, they think they are gardening organically. But unfortunately, there are a lot of things you can do unconsciously that make your garden not so organic.  These are the most basic and simple mistakes people make that can distroy the organic qualities of your garden.  So if you’re trying to do organic gardening, here’s a few organic gardening tips to guide you to the perfect organic garden. 

Don’t use just any compost! You can easily make compost from garden and kitchen waste, this way you know EXACTLY what’s in it. This way is a little more time-consuming than buying prepared chemical pesticides and fertilizers, but it helps in three ways:

  • puts garbage to good use
  • saves the environment
  • you can be certain that you have an organic vegetable garden

The best organic gardening tips tell you NOT to use chemicals that may have an adverse affect on your health. This is especially important when growing vegetables. Chemical companies tell us that the chemicals we use are safe if used according to direction, but research shows that even tiny amounts of poisons absorbed through the skin can cause such things as cancer, especially in children.

On the average, a child ingests four to five times more cancer-causing pesticides from foods than an adult. This can lead to various diseases later on in the child’s life. With organic gardening, these incidents are lessened.

Remember, pesticides contain toxins that have only one purpose – to kill living things.

You are also doing your part to save the environment. Poisons are often washed into our waterways, causing death to the native fish and polluting their habitat.  Organic farming practices also help prevent the loss of topsoil through erosion. The Soil Conservation Service says that an estimated 30 – 32 billion tons of soil erodes from United States farmlands every year.

And, of course, there is a cost savings. You will not be buying costly chemical fertilizers and pesticides with organic gardening. In fact, many organic recipes for the control of pest and diseases come straight from the kitchen cupboard. Sometimes other plants can be grown as companions to the main crop. An example of this is the marigold, which helps to repel aphids from vegetables.

Mixing 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap and 1 cup of cooking oil can make a cheap garden pest spray. Put 3 tablespoons of this mixture in 1 quart of water and spray on plants.

A simple mulch of pine needles will help to suppress the growth of weeds as well as keeping the moisture in.

These organic gardening tips will help to keep the environment safe for future generations, as well as keeping the organic gardener in the best health possible. Use this tips in any garden, and especially in a square foot garden where plants may be closer together.

If you enjoy organic gardening but need more tips, check out this valuable organic gardening guide today.


Begnners Maual for Organic Food Gardenig

Organic Food Gardening Beginners Manual

“103 Page Step By Step Gardening Manual
For Beginners To Learn How To Grow Your Own
Healthy, Organic Food – Saving Money & Eating Chemical Free.”

Plant Lawn Seed Easily With Creative Garden Tool

I went outside to see what Jeff was doing this weekend, and once again, he had devised another contraption to make his gardening work easier – and save some money with a creative idea on how to plant lawn seed.

Most of the time when people buy lawn seed, it comes in a very large bag that includes the lawn seed and the peat moss. You can’t easily just pour this on the lawn because it comes out of the bag in clumps; then you have to walk around and break down the clumps. This is also the most expensive way to plant lawn seed.

Others buy the seed and plant lawn seed using one of those hand crank seed spreaders.  This is a fairly good way to go but you still need to add the peat because it helps the seed retain moisture and germinate. And again, if you have to pour it out of the bag, it will go onto the lawn in clumps, adding more work to your day.

So, when Jeff decided to plant lawn seed he devised a plan to make it easier, and much cheaper, than the other methods.  And, of course, it involved a newly devised garden power tool! Here’s what he did:

 He took a drill and attached a paint mixer thingy to it.  Then he added peat moss and lawn seed (both purchased separately) into a five gallon bucket. Then he simply mixed the two together with the newly created lawn garden tool!

Now he had a light, fluffy mixture of peat and lawn seed to spread easily and evenly on the lawn.

By purchasing the peat and seed separately, you will save money, and by mixing them together before you plant the lawn seed you will certainly save time!

Mantis Attachments can replace many garden tools. Better than using a shovel.

Organic Food Gardening How To

Organic Gardening How ToOnce you start growing foods in your own garden, you might be considered an organic gardener! But wait, not so fast. Are you really doing all you can to make sure your organic garden doesn’t get accidentally un-organic’d.

It’s not hard to make mistakes – maybe you used some treated wood when you built your container garden, or a pesticide that wasn’t organically based.  And, although you may never know it, if you accidentally ruin your organic garden this way, you might as well just be buying your foods at the local supermarket.

Growing an organic garden requires special talent, and is something that’s learned in the process.  It doesn’t always come naturally.  But you can save yourself a few years by reading up on the subject.  One book that we can highly recommend is My Organic Food Garden.  It’s written by Jeff Serland and, with his help, you’ll soon be growing the best tasting food you’ve ever eaten.  And that’s what it’s all about! 

So why should you concentrate on organic?  Here are just a few things organic gardening food can do for you:

  • Increase energy and metabolism
  • Increase sex drive (really!)
  • Lower or eliminate depression – not just eating it, but the satisfaction (and exercise) you get from growing your own food!
  • Increase motivation – just wait until you put all that beautiful food on the table – you’ll want much more!

Now’s the time to start learning, before you need to rush into planting.  So brush up on your skills on using fertilizers, killing weeds, planting seeds, and much more.  Get a head start on your organic garden today!

Organic Gardening

Herb Gardening – Inside or Outside

aero growNow that Fall is arriving, I’m going to miss all of the fresh vegetables and herbs that I have been enjoying from the garden this summer. But maybe it doesn’t really have to be that way.

You see, herb gardening has become a very creative outlet for people, and no longer has to be done totally outside, now that Aero Grows’ AeroGarden® Pro-100 has been invented (thank goodnes!)

Before you do anything with herb gardening, decide which herbs to grow. You should thoroughly enjoy the herbs you decide to plant, since most herb plants are easy to grow, require little maintenance, and will reward you with an abundance of herbs! 

Here are some of the herbs we suggest you start with for your herb garden (whether outside or as a container garden). 

  • Strong Herbs – These consist of herbs like winter savory, rosemary and sage (best grown outside).
  • Accent Herbs – like sweet basil, sweet marjoram, tarragon and thyme (OK for inside planting).
  • Herbs for blending – Our favorites – chives, parsley and summer savory (make excellent inside plants).

You can always add a variety of herbs to your garden later on. When growing outside, you can have herbs growing with other vegetables or make a nice container garden with herbs.  You should keep annual and perennial herbs separate. And try adding a little color with attractive, and colorful, herbs like parsley and purple basil.

When you select the site for your herb garden, you should consider the type of soil used and the drainage system. None of the herbs will grow in wet soil; hence drainage becomes an important factor (this is one of the reasons the aerogrow has become so popular – it takes care of all of the drainage problems for you).

If gardening outside, improve the drainage by removing the soil up to a depth of about 15 to 18 inches. Next, place a 3 inch layer of crushed stone or similar material on the bottom of the excavated site. Before placing the soil in the bed area again, you should mix some compost or sphagnum peat and sand with it to lighten the texture. You should add fertilizer if needed.

This same process can be done in your container gardner, just use smaller amounts.  And, here’s a tip I just received from a friend of mine.

If you have a lot of wine corks collected and don’t know what to do with them, use them in the bottom of your container plant in the place of stones.  They make excellent drainage devices. 

Next you need to plant the herb seeds. If possible sow the seeds in shallow boxes in winter. If you want to transplant seedlings outdoors, sow in the spring.

A light, well drained soil is best for starting the seedlings indoors. The finer the seed, the shallower it should be sown.

You may find that you can cut and divide current herbs to re-propagate them.  Cuttings are the best choice when the seeds are slow to germinate. The fresh leaves on the herbs can be picked up as soon as the plant has enough foliage to maintain growth.

To ensure good oil content in your herbs, pick the seeds after the dew has disappeared, and before the sun becomes too hot.


Bug Zapping – Dont try this at home?

At our house, Jeff is the “King of Gardening,” and I seem to have been given the title of “Queen Bug Killer!”

We don’t have many bugs, but the wasps drive me crazy!  They love to come over and visit as we are trying to enjoy our bar-b-q’d meals outside.  They especially love seafood – it’s impossible to eat salmon outside without at least three wasps showing up for dinner.

I have those little yellow wasp catcher devices all over the place, and they seem to work, but I guess grilled salmon is much more attractive than whatever I put into the wasp catcher.

Anyway, Jeff was at the store the other day and found another device.  One that we could use to instantly ZAP those wasps (and any other bug) that wanted to join us for dinner. 

It’s called a BugZapper, and is not for the faint of heart.  Basically, you touch the bug with this tennis racket looking thing, and the bug is instantly electrocuted (we usually do this after we get done eating).  This thing uses two small AA batteries, and kills mosquitoes, flies, gnats, (wasps are a little big, but it stuns them enough so we can get rid of them).

Now for the reason I’m writing this story.  Jeff gave me the bug zapper, I read the directions, and told him how to use it.

Now, what’s the first thing a man will do when given a small electrocution device that he can hold in his hands – even if his wife tells him not to touch the metal wires. . .

He touches the metal wires!

OUCH!  He touched the wires – thinking that the two little batteries couldn’t have that much power.  WRONG – The BugZapper gave him a pretty good ZAP, nothing that would knock a person out or anything, but more than you would think for a small device like that (it’s just a little worse than that lightening reaction game where you get zapped if you’re the last one to let go of the handle)

Curiosity got the best of Jeff, and so did the BugZapper  :-)

I’m going to stick to using it on wasps, it’s kind of a fun “toy,” and it makes me laugh when I remember the look on Jeff’s face when he got zapped!

If you want to have some cheap fun with your bugs, go here and do a search for: Tennis Racket Bug Zapper.