Growing Garlic

If you have ever tasted home grown or local farm grown garlic you know it is far superior in flavor to what you can buy in the grocery store. Garlic is an easy crop to grow and planting it in October/early November will ensure you a bountiful harvest next July – which will keep you in home grown garlic for the entire year. Get your soil ready and give it a try.

Garlic should be planted between October 1 and November 15 to give the clove a chance to develop some roots before it goes dormant for the winter.

• Separate cloves from the bulb and plant root side down (pointed side up) about 2-4 inches deep, 6-8 inches apart in the row and 12-18 inches between rows. A bulb planter used for tulips and daffodils is an excellent tool to get a number of cloves planted quickly. I just push them down with my thumb- that is just about 2-4 inches.  Continue reading “Growing Garlic”

Droopy Hydrangea?

Is your hydrangea droopy?  Are the flower heads kissing the ground?  I will tell you this… The majority of the time it isn’t about the lack of water and most likely you are over watering thinking it will help perk up those lovely hydrangea heads.  What is really going on is the fact that the hydrangea blossoms are too heavy for the young pliable stems of your plant.   Over time your hydrangea will age (as we all do) and become a stronger version of our younger self- able to carry heavy loads under added stress.   What I am trying to say in the garden world-  the stems over time will become woody and stronger, allowing the stems to hold up the heavy flower heads.   So, give the plant some time to mature and grow.

In the duration, you could always stake up a few of the stems to make the plant more presentable.

Rules of Container Gardening

-There are no rules!  kinda, sorta, well a couple…

When it comes to container gardening and rules I usually say, “rules schmoolz!  You do what you want.”   Well, that is not entirely true.  Just as in life there are rules, guidelines if you will.   Always use your directional when making a turn,  look both ways when you cross the street, do not eat yellow snow.  Blah, blah, blah…  So as in life, here are a couple rules to follow to keep you on the straight and narrow:

  1.  Choose the right plant for the right sun condition.  I will never let you choose a plant that needs shade for you to put it in the sun so that it can fry and turn crispy.  Same goes for a plant that loves the sun and you want to plant it in the shade.  That poor little baby will go limp and never flower for you.
  2. Choose plants that compliment each other.   Those plants that are drought tolerant and can go days without water like a camel should not be planted with someone who likes a cool drink everyday.
  3. Adhere to the rule of height.  Do not plant someone that only gets 8 inches behind someone that gets 18inches.  You’ll never see it!

That’s it!   As far as color goes-  YOU DO FOR YOU!   You aren’t planting to make your daughter or your neighbor or your mommy happy.  At the end of the day it is you that has to come home to your planters.  When you pull up into your driveway and see your window boxes, containers or flower beds you want to smile, not feel deflated.   If you want to put pink and red together- GO AHEAD!  If you want to plant all foliage, if you want to put red and yellow together- GO AHEAD.   At the end of the day, its all about YOU!

BASIL- the world’s most popular herb

What to and how to-

 

Basil likes it hot, so wait to plant it until the daytime temperatures are above 70 degrees and night temperatures STAY above 50.  Any chill will cause the leaves to blacken and curl

 

Basil needs rich organic well drained soil, and basil loves the sun.   To harvest, take off whole stems by pinching just above any pair of leaves further down the plant.   Another key tip is to pinch off any flowers-  this helps promote more growth.

Basil is best used fresh, but any extra that you have can be set inside a vase with water for a week or so.  You can also preserve through freezing in ice cubes.

Use Basil to:

  1.  BUST STRESS:  Add some basil leaves to your bath along with Epsom salt to help you relax.
  2. SOOTHE YOUR STOMACH: For digestion, steep three or four basil leaves in a cup of boiling water.  Drink in between meals throughout the day.
  3. ENHANCE BUTTER:  Place 1/4 cup finely chopped basil, 1 clove of chopped garlic and 1 stick of salted butter in a bowl.  Stir until combined.  Place on wax paper, roll into a cylinder and refrigerate.
  4. KICK UP YOUR COCKTAIL:  Make a simple syrup by combining 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar and a handful of basil leaves in a pot and bring to a boil.  Stir until sugar dissolves, pull from heat and let cool.  Strain, refrigerate syrup for up to a week/10 days.    You could also muddle basil to release the oils then add your favorite mixers…
  5. BATTLE AGAINST BITES:  Rub a drop of basil oil or leaf on a bug bite to get rid of the itch.

Basic Veggie Gardens_Part 1

Where do you start?  From the ground up of course!

Growing your own vegetables can be the most gratifying hobby you do and also the most flavorful.  Believe it or not it is also relatively easy as long as you start correctly from the ground up.  There are three basic ways to grow edibles: containers, raised beds or the ground.  Choosing a spot has to be right for you first and foremost.  Once gardening becomes a chore- it isn’t fun anymore.   If you start out with a 50ft bed and no time to manage it, you leave the garden behind, left to collect weeds, never to be tended to again and you decide you hate gardening and it is too hard.  That’s not fair to you or your garden.   So, you need a site in your yard that has the most sun.  Veggies require 6+ hours of sun. Then you can choose the way you will grow your veggies.

Containers:
Pros- They’re perfect for small spaces. Just make sure they’re deep enough for roots to grow and wide enough so the plant doesn’t blow over in the wind.  They are also easy to move and place elsewhere if they are not getting enough sun.
Cons- When it is hot and sunny they need frequent watering; almost daily.

Raised Beds:
Pros- You can customize size, soil and correct problems easily.  *use untreated wood to prevent chemicals from leaching into the soil.
Cons-  Since you need to fill the beds with soil, initial costs could be higher than growing in the ground.  You may also need to water and feed more frequently because they drain so effectively.

In Ground:
Pros- This method is most economical and requires less work in the beginning.  You can water less.
Cons-  You have to work with what Mother Nature has provided, which could include poor soil or lots of inconveniently placed tree roots or rocks.  Therefor adding to the cost.