With Spring Approaching, Are You Thinking of Your Home Vegetable Garden?

I am beginning to seriously study the seed catalogs (online) and read about all the new varieties. This gives me plenty of food for thought. Since no garden is perfect, I made a list last fall of all the things that did or didn’t work last year and the things I had to change, even if it was the position in the garden plot. I am pouring over my notes from last year and striving to do better this year.

If you made notations on your garden’s successes and failures, think at this time if you grew what your family likes to eat. Did you keep up with the harvesting of those plants or do you need to grow less of something this year? Did you use your whole garden plot productively? Personally, I like to seed in wide rows or square beds because I have the space to utilize. Some of my neighbors have reduced the size of their garden permanently now that their children have grown up and moved on. (If you have children like mine, they don’t grow their own gardens and tend to raid my garden when they come home all summer long!)

Let’s get realistic here though – it’s time to decide which crops you truly want to grow, and in what quantity. Do you need just enough to eat fresh, or do you want a surplus to freeze, can, or dry? After you have made some decisions about your home vegetable garden, it is definitely time to lay out your garden on that piece of paper.

If you’re like the author, you will only order enough seeds to match your plan and your needs. Make sure to choose disease-resistant strains of seeds. I tend to try new varieties of vegetables in my home garden based on the experts.

This time of year (cold as it may be) is the time to get as much done as you can before planting time arrives. Organize yourself (even if it’s just your thoughts) in order to prepare. Gather your momentum so you are ready for the joy of placing that first seed in the moist earth!

Before ordering your vegetable seeds, if you are like me, you have half-used packages of seed left over from last year. Most gardeners are hesitant to use these. This is normal, but you can test their germination in an easy way before you decide.

To test their germination, dampen a paper towel. Lay about ten seeds on it (from the same variety) and cover this with another damp paper towel. In order to keep this paper towel moist, either spray mist occasionally with water or roll the towel gently and place it in a plastic bag. Keep this in a warm place. After the germination time (stated on the package) has elapsed, count the number of seeds that have sprouted. If fewer than 50 percent of your seeds have germinated, order new seed.

Now is the appropriate time to ask if it is really worth the trouble to start seedlings indoors, or is it more practical to wait until spring and purchase the few transplants and annuals you need? If you decide that you want to start the seedlings, be sure to order these seeds along with the rest of your seeds. I tend to purchase all my seeds from the same company every year, but this can be your choice.

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The blog posts are ongoing and a great source of information. What you thought was impossible is not really impossible!

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Loretta_Crowder/787769


Home Kitchen Garden – Twelve Tips to Help You Grow a Successful Organic Garden the First Time!

As a novice in home kitchen gardening, there are a few things that you must learn and understand. Here are some tips to help make sure that your attempt at gardening is successful right from the beginning.

* Look for a space that catches a lot of sunlight, plants need sunlight to produce their food to help them stay alive. 
* Make sure that the soil is fertile and well cultivated, most of the nutrients are found in the soil so this is really a must. 
* Plant crops that is in season, this will help you maximize your yield. 
* Water the crops on a regular basis; water is needed in photosynthesis just like sunlight 
* Protect your plants from stray animals by setting up defense such as fences or walls 
* Remove weeds and unwanted grass for they steal the nutrients that should be going to your plants. 
* Fertilize the soil by adding natural fertilizers; this will make the soil healthier due to the abundance of nutrients.

* Over water the plants for they may wither and die 
* Eliminate all insects for most of those found in the home kitchen garden help the crops grow 
* Do not use chemical based fertilizers, make your foods as safe as it can be, there are a lot of organic fertilizers that you can use as substitute 
* Forget to harvest the crops regularly; this will help them become more productive 
* Despair if you fail on your first try because as they say, practice makes perfect, so just keeping trying.

A home kitchen garden is very beneficial for it does not only provide fresh, healthy and safe foods on your table, it can also be a means of recreation for you and your family and a source of additional income. So, considering all of these benefits it is well worth the time and effort!

Melissa McKyler is a work at home mom and has been organic gardening for several years. She loves having fresh safely grown veggies to feed her family and enjoys sharing her knowledge about how to do that with others. For more information about starting your own home kitchen garden [http://www.organicgardenanswers.com/home-kitchen-garden-4] be sure to visit [http://www.organicgardenanswers.com]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Melissa_McKyler/291330


3 Ways You Can Perserve Your Herbs From a Home Herb Garden

Having a home herb garden is awesome for somebody who likes to spend time in the kitchen. In no time at all, you’re able to easily add herbs and spices to your meals without having to run to the grocery store every time you are in preparation mode.

Home herb gardens take a little bit of work to get started, but once you’re that far it’s relatively painless.  In order to use herbs from your garden, you need to harvest them first.  You need to make sure there isn’t too much when wind or heat as well, because it will disperse all the essential oils of the plant.

There are three ways that people preserve their herbs for later use; drying, freezing, or preserving them in some sort of a medium like salt or vinegar. 

In order to dry herbs, you need to bundle 6 to 12 stems together, remove any foliage near the base of the stems, and secure the bundle with a string.  Then you hang the bundle in a cool location away from sunlight.  There are also appliances like dehydrator’s, ovens and microwaves to dry herbs.

Freezing a fairly simple way of preservation. All you have to do after harvesting is place the herbs on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Once the herbs are frozen, put them in a bag and store them in the freezer.

The third way of preserving herbs is through a medium. You can bundle herbs with salt or vinegar and put them in an airtight container.

The most common way though of using herbs from your home herb garden is adding them to your recipes fresh. Just make sure you clean them before you place them in your cooking.

Each different type of herb has its own special preservation instructions and should be harvested and used in certain ways.  Make sure that you research them before you start working with them too much and everything will be fine.

Tailor Bigsby is an herb expert. For more great tips on building your home herb garden [http://miniherbgarden.com/home-herb-garden/], visit [http://miniherbgarden.com].

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Tailor_Bigsby/391307


How to Start a Home Herb Garden – A Great Stress Reliever

You had a hard day at work, and now you are home and you need to relieve some stress. Well, having an herb garden is a great stress reliever. If you don’t have an herb garden yet, let me tell you how to start a home herb garden and why this is a great stress reliever.

When I get into my garden I am in my own world. The only things that matter in life while I am gardening are the plants in front of me. One of the things I like about having a home herb garden is the herbs don’t talk back.

You really don’t need a lot to start an herb garden; all you need are some basic tools and a little know how. But once you get your garden going you will find that it is a great stress reliever. A few days ago my wife had one of those bad days and she came home all upset and mad at the world. I told her that after dinner we would go out into the garden and she could vent with the herbs. I think another reason why having an herb garden is so relaxing is because when you plant your seeds and see the fruits (or in this case the herbs) of your labor you have a sense of accomplishment.

It is also rewarding when you have people over for dinner and someone compliments you on the way a meal tastes and they ask you what type of spices you use to get that great flavor.

Herbs have many benefits, such as they give flavor to the food, cure your cold and flu, and also get rid of insects from your home. When you get ready to start your home herb garden, remember you can grow all types of herbs. One of the first things you need to do is decide where you will place your garden. Keep in mind that you will need a good drainage system for your herbs; otherwise you will be taking away the change of planting a healthy plant due to saturation.

Dig one foot deep and insert a layer of crushed rocks, this is so that the water can just escape from the area, thus keeping the plant healthy.

Next, you need to select the kind of herb that you want to plant. You can make this by essentially examining what you use the most in your kitchen.

By doing this, you can have your own fresh herbs and can also save money. These are just a few starting tips on how to start a home herb garden.

Sean Templeton is home herb garden expert. For more great information on home herb garden [http://www.ezherbgarden.com/herb.html], visit http://www.ezherbgarden.com [http://www.ezherbgarden.com/herb.html]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Sean_Templeton/397985


4 Crucial Tips For Your Home Herb Garden

What do onions, garlic and pepper have – in a home herb garden – in common?

They are all herbs used to add flavors to our favorite foods and dishes. Herbs are a good-tasting and attractive-looking part of our daily meals. These plants are easy to grow even with our own efforts. We don’t have to buy anything that we have to add to our foods. Why not starting your own, simple home herb garden? Or, for that matter, even a tiny window-box garden in the city? You do not need a great deal of space to raise herbs. More and more people, wanting to be more nearly self-sufficient, and concerned about rising prices and the use of chemical pesticides in commercial herb growing, have begun to realize that their small backyards can be used for herb growing.

A good first step is to consult your state department of agriculture to learn what herbs grow best in your area, and what the usual planting and harvesting dates are. Now carefully plan your garden. Choose a sunny place, marking off an area at least 3 by 3.5 meters. Test the soil and see that it has a moist, crumbly consistency. Then it is time to go to work.

First turn over the soil with a shovel or a garden fork. This is the equivalent of plowing on a commercial farm. If you find any roots or stones, dig them out. If the turning of the soil has left big chunks of soil, break them up with the garden fork or the back of a rake. At this point spread some of the well-decayed compost, or some commercial fertilizer, over the garden. Mix it in well with the soil, raking back and forth until the soil is smooth.

Now you are ready to plant – seeds, following the instructions on the seed packets, or any small, immature herbs you may have bought or raised indoors from seed. In a few weeks, given proper weather conditions, most herbs will start to sprout.

As growing progresses, the new herbs require much care. They must be thinned out, as directed on the seed packets. If no rain falls for a while, the garden should be watered thoroughly every evening, or more often, depending on weather and soil conditions.

The garden should also be kept free of weeds. Weeding by hand, using a simple hoe to get at underground stems and roots, is sufficient. Weeds can be kept down and moisture held in the soil by covering the earth between the herbs with a thick layer of straw, old hay, or sawdust. This covering, called mulch, also keeps the soil temperature steady.

Insects frequently pose a problem. A herb gardener will want to remove many of them and their larva by hand. A dusting of ashes and ground limestone can be used to deter many kinds of beetles. But some gardeners don’t do something because the herbs have their own skill of driving insects away.

You will be able to harvest and eat your herbs all summer long, but by fall only a few herbs will still be growing. After you pick the last of these, don’t simply forget your garden patch. Bed it down for the winter.

First pull up all remaining stalks and add them to the compost heap. The turn the soil over lightly and cover the whole garden with a thick layer of compost, hay, or leaves. Last, lay a few evergreen branches over the garden to keep the topping from blowing away. In that way you will have a head start in next year’s home herb garden project.

Jack Grant is an herb garden lover and cultivated his skills in Italy. Get the secrets on how to cultivate your own Home Herb Garden [http://www.herbgardensolution.com/home-herb-garden] and get even more crucial tips for FREE. Click here [http://www.herbgardensolution.com].

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jack_Grant/410997