Plant a Water Saving

  • Plant Your Vegetables Early: Plant cool weather, short season vegetables in March. That way, crops will be ready to pick before the summer heat when vegetables require more water. Cool weather vegetables include beets, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, garlic, leeks, onions, peas and turnips. You can also plant carrots and radishes, which do well year round.
  • Plant Vegetables That Need Less Water: If summer vegetables are still desired, plant vegetables that do not require a lot of water. These include corn, mustard greens, spinach, certain types of tomatoes, some zucchini, chard, arugula, jalapenos, pole and snap beans and eggplant.
  • Prepare Your Soil: Soil is the key to a garden’s success. Mix compost into garden soil so the soil retains moisture better. Make sure the compost is designed for garden planting and for soil type (sandy or clay). Add a layer of mulch to the top of the soil to keep water from evaporating.
  • Place Plants Close Together: When possible, place plants close together so you are watering less square footage. The plants can then better “share” water.
  • Water Thoroughly, Less Often: Water only as needed in spring. There is still a chance of rain before summer. When rain is no longer in the forecast, however, give plants a good soak early in the morning no more than twice a week. This watering schedule forces plant roots to look for water deeper in the soil, which helps keep plants hydrated longer.
  • Replace Hard-to-Water Areas With Ground Cover: Some yards contain areas that are awkward to water, so often, water sprays onto patios, fences and walls. To avoid wasting water, replace these hard to water areas with drought-tolerant plants, rocks or wood mulch.
  • Fertilize trees and shrubs: Feed trees and shrubs with nitrogen fertilizer. Plants usually need to be fertilized twice a year–once in March at the beginning of the spring growing period and again in September. Feed avocado, citrus trees, fruit trees and roses with a well-balanced fertilizer. For fruit trees and roses, wait until the first sign of new leaves before fertilizing.
  • Mow lawn to the right height: cool season grass blades (bluegrass, ryegrasses, fescues) should be kept about two inches high. Mow regularly to keep weeds at bay and to promote thicker lawns. When the weather warms considerably in the summer, increase grass blade height to three inches. Warm season grass (Bermuda, St. Augustine and zoysia) should be cut at a steady two-inch level throughout spring and summer.

Get Rid of Bugs in Organic Garden

One easy way to get rid of bugs is by first identifying what type they are. Some bugs are extremely easy to get rid of if you know what they hate. For example, if you are dealing with insects such as grasshoppers, all you have to do is to spread some powdered flour over the leaves of the plants. Why does this work? When the grasshoppers ingest the flour, it causes all sorts of problems with their digestive system. Hence, they eventually die after their digestive system fails. A simple search on a search engine will tell you the best natural remedy against specific insects.

Another easy way to get rid of bugs is by introducing natural predators to you garden. For example, it may help a great deal if you have birds in your garden. To give them an incentive to stay in your garden, you can set up a small platform where the birds can relax. You might also want to provide some food here and then. Birds aren’t the only natural predators. It may also help to have small lizards in your garden. In southeastern countries such as Cambodia, it is normal to have geckos and lizards around the building. They do an extremely important job of eating all the pesky mosquitoes and flies.

Overall, the best way of getting rid of bugs in organic gardens is by preventing them from entering in the first place. For example, it may help to set up a small cage around your plants. It may also help to clear out any dead logs around your garden. Dead logs and damp rocks can attract all sorts of insects so it is in your best interest to get rid of them as soon as possible. Garden preparation is a very important step to creating a successful organic garden.

Orchids in Ancient Greece

Beautiful and delicate Orchids are seen everywhere in the history of the world. You can find them in traditional Chinese medicine, Darwin’s explorations, and in Ancient Greece. The Greek’s believed that Orchids could influence fertilization, depending on the size of flowers you ate. This theory came from classic mythology, which they based most of their beliefs.

The story was about a child named Orchis, the son of a nymph and a satyr. He was torn apart by wild beasts after attempting to rape a priestess. The story says that he metamorphosed into an Orchid after his death. This became the basis of how Ancient Greeks looked at fertility and sexual reproduction.

Ancient Greeks were the first to pen the name Orchid, which is translated to the Ancient Greek word for testicle. They picked this name because they believed that the psuedobulb that Orchids produce look like a testicle. From the story of Orchis and the name testicle, sprung many beliefs about how Orchids could influence sexual reproduction.

They believed that a male could east large orchid pedals to influence the conception of a boy over a girl. This was a very popular belief that was considered a proven fact in the Ancient Greek Culture. On the other spectrum, they believed that females could eat small Orchid petals to encourage the direct opposite. This theory could never be completely ignored because in most cases the woman would eat small petals at the same time as the male ate large, making It impossible to eliminate.

Other than sexual reproduction, the Ancient Greeks used Orchids to produce many other commodities. The most common product being Vanilla flavoring, produced originally from Vanilla Orchids. Other products that contained Orchids were food, medicine, aphrodisiacs, and perfumes. Over history, Orchids have been used to produce a wide range of products, covering just about anything that you can think of.

Use a Grub Hoe

Using an Azada is simple. Place your dominant hand on the top of the hoe and the other hand 1/3 to 1/2 of the way down, with both thumbs facing down towards the head. Lift the hoe to hip height and let the weight of the tool, gravity, and a little acceleration from your arms plunge the hoe into the ground in a chopping motion like a pick or mattock. Then use your body weight and arms to pull up on the slice of dirt you just cut. Two or three small chops can remove as much or more earth as a typical spade or shovel with 1/3 of the effort.

I can remember spending over an hour trying to cultivate a small garden plot with a shovel and a fork. My sore back and blistered hands led me to seek other solutions. The following year, I used an Azada and I was able to accomplish the same workload in about 20 minutes and back and hands felt great. In fact, because the Grub Hoe uses so many more muscle groups than a shovel or fork, I felt like I had just received a full body workout. The natural and ergonomic motions of the Grub Hoe made it an absolute joy to use.

A final important aspect of making the Azada work well for you is maintenance. Make sure that the blade is sharp! A sharp blade allows the tool to do its work properly. You wouldn’t want to work in your garden with your legs tied together would you? Using a dull tool is similar! After using your Azada, make sure to wipe off both the head and the handle and seal it with a rust-proofer at least once every season to prevent rust and wear.

Acacia Floral Beauty

Early shelters for the European settlers in Australia were made out of wattle branches from the black wattle or Acacia mearnsii and mud. Allowing protection from the elements in our harsh sometimes unforgiving climate. Later they would discover that this particular wattle also produces high amounts of tannin in its bark, which is widely used for the tanning of leather. An industry in high demand at this stage in history.

The Acacia varies greatly in size from species to species, they range from ground covers, shrubs to small & large trees. Almost all distinguishable by their golden yellow globular flowers except for a few, two of those are the Acacia purpureopetalain North Queensland Australia has mauve pink flowers and another from South Australia Acacia gilbertii which flowers white. This fascinating plant only has soft feather like leaves when it is young, as they mature they form phyllodes, losing their leaves all together. The foliage is generally either a blue-green or a silver-grey.

Although there has been an on going botanist debate concerning the reclassification of some species into five separate genera due to structural differences, ( a lot of species in Africa for example have thorns etc. ) it is still on going.

Acacia trees have a few fascinating defense systems in place, one of these is to produce gum from its bark when animals graze against them for protection. The scent of the gum travels through the air, causing other acacias in the vicinity to start excreting gum a very handy early warning system.

Another strange Acacia phenomenon is located in Coast a Rica these swollen thorn Acacia offer the Acacia ants a home, protein & carbohydrates in their hollow thorns and in return the ants defend the plant against herbivores. The plant controls the ant population by how much sugar it excrete’s for them to feast on.

Indigenous Australian’s had many uses for the wattle, most of the plant is used to make a variety of things including, sticks for digging, clap sticks, spear throwers, ax handles, shields, boomerangs, firewood, glue from the bark, dyes, spiritual ceremonial headdresses, seeds were ground with water to make a paste eaten fresh or cooked to make a damper like food.

Medicinal uses: teas could be brewed from specific parts of the roots, leaves & bark to treat cold, flu, sore throats, fever, headaches, stomach pains toothaches.

The gum excreted from the bark was also used, put in water with a high nectar flower such as the bottle brush to make a natural cordial like drink. The acacia kempeana is also the native home of the witchetty grub a great source of protein for the indigenous people.

Commercially today the Acacia family has many uses. It is used for erosion control revegetation programs and landscaping. Used in gums, soft drinks, candies, foods, paints, inks cosmetics & hair dyes just to name a few. The wood is used for firewood and furniture, the flowers for perfume and the bark produces tannin.

This awesome plant can not only thrive in arid climates and bush fire prone zones, it also naturally absorbs nitrogen and bacteria from the soil allowing a natural cleansing. An amazingly tough and resilient plant. Definitely appropriate for Australia’s floral emblem.

Grow Mushrooms

  • Determine the type of mushroom that you want to grow: Three types of mushrooms that can be grown easily at home are shitake, oyster and white button. The method used for growing all these mushrooms is similar. However, source material differs. White button mushrooms grow best in composted manure, oysters grow best in straw while shitakes grow best in sawdust. Which type of mushroom you choose to grow depends completely on your preferences of taste and health.
  • Buy mushroom spawn or spores: These are the “seeds” for growing mushrooms. Mushroom spawn serves as the root structure of fungus. Basically it includes sawdust permeated with mushroom mycelia. Several online retailers sell it or you can purchase it from your preferred offline gardening supply store too. On the other hand, spores also do the same but require a bit of practice and expertise in comparison to spawn. In short, if you aren’t a seasoned mushroom grower you should always avoid the spores and opt for spawn instead.
  • Spread mycelia into the growing medium by heating it: Before you start growing your favorite nutritious mushrooms, you’ll need to spread the mycelia equally and thoroughly in growing medium. Heat can help you out in this matter. For doing this place your preferred growing medium into a pan and mix mycelia into it from your hands. After mixing it place the pan on a heating pad that has temperature set to 21° C (or 70° F), which is the finest temperature for encouraging growth of mushrooms. After this you can leave the whole setup in a dark environment for 3 weeks.
  • Fuel the growth by providing proper environment: After 3 weeks you’ll have to place your setup in an environment that’s dark and cool. Your basement may work fine in many cases, but in winters a cabinet in unheated room will also be able to do the same job. Cover your growing medium with potting soil and spray of water. For preventing moisture loss you can place a wet towel over the pan if necessary. The key thing worth remembering here is that your medium should remain moist and cool as mushrooms grow. Keep checking them periodically and spray water if necessary.
  • Harvest them when they’re grown: Finally, by the end of a 3 weeks long period your mushrooms will be ready for harvesting. At first you’ll see small mushrooms appearing… keep encouraging their growth by keeping environment dark, moist, and cool. Harvest them once their caps get separated from the stems. You can easily pluck them from your fingers. Rinse them with water and they’re ready to be cooked!

Water Garden Ideas

If a pool is well constructed, if care is taken with the planting, and if the right planting compost material and aquatics (water plants) are chosen, water is easier to manage than grass. But with no other feature in the garden is the margin between success and failure so delicately poised. Great care is needed to hold the balance between clear water and a well-managed pool on the one hand, and smell, slime, green water and rank aquatics on the other.

The position of a water garden is very important, for water-lilies and most aquatics love the sun. The warmer the water, the more luxuriant the growth and the greater the number of blooms will be. The best position for a pool, therefore, is in the open, as far as possible.

The shelter of trees or a hedge to the north or north-east of the water garden can break the force of driving winds and will considerably extend the flowering season, but be sure to build the pool some distance from the trees or hedge, so that dead leaves do not fall into the pool and foul the water. Alternatively, if your water garden is close to trees or a hedge, you can spread wire-netting over the surface of the pool during the few weeks of the autumnal leaf fall.

A very deep pool can be a disadvantage since depth controls the temperature of the water, but the water must not be too shallow or it will freeze up in winter. Fifteen to 18 inches of water above the crowns of plants is shallow enough to induce free-flowering and yet sufficiently deep to safeguard the roots in winter. Rock garden pools are often only 1 foot or even less in depth, and should be protected during very bad weather, but such precautions are impracticable for larger pools.

Water gardens are either formal or informal, and should fit in with their surroundings. The formal water garden is usually the dominant feature of a garden – in a central position or perhaps the key point of an area to which all paths-lead. It is regular in shape (a circle, square, oblong or some geometric form) and its outline is defined with a raised kerb or flat, paved surround. Fountains can be placed in the water garden, but as a general rule running water is not desirable, especially if the water supply comes from a natural spring or similar low-lying source, because it will constantly lower the temperature and also destroy the calm on which water-lilies thrive.

Formal pools look better in conventional surrounds and do not blend with natural features such as wild or rock gardens or alpine meadows. Keep the vegetation in them low, using water-lilies and submerged and floating aquatics rather than marginals and bog plants.

An informal pool should not disclose its origin. The concrete or other material of which it is made can be hidden by keeping the outer edges below the level of the surrounding ground, and by the skilful use of marginal plants – bog and marginal aquatics being used to bridge the gap between the water and dry land. The informal pool blends with any natural setting, and is not, therefore, the best type of pool for a formal rose garden or similar tailored feature.

Plastic Greenhouse Panels

While many repairs can be undertaken fairly cheaply or easily, repairing your greenhouse can be a whole new matter entirely. Whether they’ve been damaged by a tree branch, strong wind or even a stray football, it can be difficult and expensive to do. However, it is important to keep on top of greenhouse maintenance to ensure that the plants you keep inside are properly cared for.

At this stage the majority of keen gardeners will think about replacing their old glass panel with yet more glass. However, more and more people are turning to alternatives as a way to keep costs down and prolong the life of their greenhouse panels. Glass, often thought to be a strong and reliable material, is actually very susceptible to cracking and it encourages the growth of moss when wet – neither of which is preferable for greenhouses.

The alternative that many are turning to is plastic – either in the form of acrylic or polycarbonate. These materials are incredibly suited to being used for outdoor applications and in, many ways, offer a better solution than glass. For one, they are impact-resistant to a greater extent than glass, making them less susceptible to breakage at any time. For instance, polycarbonate is used to make CDs which are incredibly tough – and it has even be used for bullet-proofing in some instances. Despite this, it is heavier than glass; in fact it’s much, much lighter which makes it better for the supporting structure and easier to install.

Rose Rosette Disease

Here are common symptoms of Rose Rosette to look for:

  • Stressed growth in leaves, canes, and blooms. This appears as growth that doesn’t look normal. Stunted, dwarfed growth in canes, narrow leaves, and odd looking blooms.
  • Bunching of stems, clustering, broom like appearance of stems giving it the name of witches broom of roses.
  • Bright red leaves and stems (not always abnormal, as in many rose cultivars, fresh new growth can be red or crimson). Look for mottled coloration and redness that doesn’t go away. This growth will also appear unusual.
  • Overall decline and eventual death of the plant.

Rose Rosette Disease is caused by a virus that is spread by a mite that feeds on roses called eriophyid mite also known as the rose leaf curl mite. These are not spider mites, but much smaller mites that are almost impossible to see with the naked human eye. They move on wind currents from rose to rose. It’s thought that this virus first showed up in wild, native rose populations in the US. It then spread to multiflora roses which are considered invasive, imported from Asia to serve as a plant solution for windbreaks and screens. From these invasive roses, the virus spread to infect landscape roses including the once thought to be disease resistant Knock-Out Roses series, and the Drift series.

Because gardeners and landscapers have relied so heavily on both the Knock-Out and Drift series of roses for their ease of care and beauty, the Rose Rosette Disease has done a lot of damage in wide areas. It’s not known why some roses still seem resistant to Rose Rosette, but it’s been shown that Knock-Out and Drift roses are not immune.

What do you need to do if your roses have the Rose Rosette disease?

  • Destroy the plant – dig up plant and roots, then bag and destroy
  • Limit use of the surrounding soil
  • Remove multiflora roses within 100 yards of roses – if cannot then try not to plant roses downwind from the multiforas
  • Watch for regrowth from any remaining roots and remove
  • Avoid planting any new rose varieties back in the same soil

My ag inspector who lives down the road, stopped by recently and we talked about this rose issue. Her information said the soil where diseased plants were located could be tainted for up to 5 years.

Preventing Rose Rosette Disease

The mite is extremely difficult to kill, as typical mite killing chemicals don’t often work well on this species of mite. However, some pesticides may offer some protection such as Sevin, bifenthrin, horticultural oils and insecticidal soap when applied weekly during June and July.

The best course of action is prevention. When receiving your roses, inspect them carefully and look for the above signs of Rose Rosette. Only plant disease-free rose plants. When planting, give your roses plenty of room to breathe and allow air to circulate, as this can help keep the mites from spreading from one plant to another, although this isn’t very foolproof. And finally, don’t rely on one type of rose in your landscape. We’re not referring to color. Instead choose different species. If there are multiflora roses growing wild nearby, consider destroying them if possible as the mite can catch a summer breeze to your roses.

We hope this helps you avoid and end your infestation of Rose Rosette. It’s a heartbreaking disease, but with proper prevention and planning, you can avoid or diminish its effects on your garden and landscape.

We are committed to monitoring the new growth of our roses coming in from different growers. The Knockout and Drift Roses are anticipated to be in short supply over the next couple of years as many growers will be discontinuing their growing rights for these plants due to this terrible disease.

Growing Flowers and Fruit in Greenhouse

Growing both flowers and fruit may be as simple as designating a set of benches for flowers and another set for fruit trees, or as complex as creating independent zones in your greenhouse. The designation of greenhouse zones should take place during the greenhouse planning phase to prevent complications in the future. Zones are areas within a greenhouse that have their own specific temperature and climate; they are created by using interior walls to form sections in the greenhouse. Various temperature and humidity levels can be maintained by an automatic control system.

The use of grow lights can assist in the propagation of both flower and fruiting plants. For example, strawberries thrive when grown under a grow light; just be sure to utilize the “everbearing” strand, as “June bearing” strawberries will not grow indoors. High pressure sodium (HPS) grow lights are ideal for both fruits and flowering plants, and provide a high efficiency yellow glow with a life expectancy of approximately five years or 24,000 hours.

Every plant has its own growing requirements; some key factors to take into consideration when growing both flowers and fruit in your greenhouse include: lighting, humidity, and temperature. Lighting requirements for plants can range from full sunlight to heavily shaded environments. Some fruit, such as strawberries, need direct sunlight to grow while flowers, such as begonias, do well in shaded areas.

The level of humidity required by plants can differ greatly throughout the year. At first glance, growing calla lilies and tomatoes in the same area may seem like a good idea because they both require a similar humidity range of 80 to 90 percent, but a second look shows that tomatoes require a lower humidity level (65 to 75 percent) at night in order to thrive. Temperature range should also be taken into consideration. Most fruits will grow best in the warmer temperature ranges, while flowers can flourish in cooler temperatures.