Category Archives: organic gardening

How To Grow Garlic

Growing garlic is a very rewarding project for your garden.  Garlic is a tasty good-for-you plant.  Plus, it is one of the easiest plants to grow in the garden.  If you have not tried growing your own garlic you are in for a treat.  Much like the vegetables in your garden home grown garlic is full of flavor.

Choosing the Right Garlic to Grow

There are two major classifications of garlic, softneck and hardneck.  The softneck are better for the warmer areas and the hardneck for the cooler climates.  The tops of the softneck are more pliable when ready for harvest and can be braided.  Maybe, that is why they are called softnecks?  The hardnecks turn brown, but cannot be braided.

So, the type to grow depends, somewhat, on where you live.  I live in the Mid-west and raise German white.  I have tried others, but this variety seems to produce the best. 

That is a good tip for you.  

Try different things in your garden.  I am always experimenting with different vegetables, varieties and growing methods.  Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Planting your garlic                                                                                                        

Planting garlic is easy.  I usually do not till the soil unless it is a new plot and is firm.  I just clean off any weeds, add some compost, loosen the soil with a fork, level the surface and plant.  Separate the bulbs into individual cloves, open the soil about with a trowel, plant each clove one inch deep and cover, space garlic about 4 inches apart in double rows, or even triple rows if you have the room.

I like to mulch with a little straw just in case they start to sprout before winter and to keep the ground from freezing and heaving.  The cloves will start to set roots over winter and be ready to grow in the early spring.

How to plant garlicIt is a joy to see the sprouts coming up through the mulch.  That let’s you know  spring is on the way.  Plus, the mulch will make a good weed barrier the next summer. 

 Fertilizing

My garlic seems to respond well to good compost.  I like to put on about 1 inch of compost in the fall at planting.  Then in spring, if I think they need it, I will top dress with liquid seaweed and fish emulsion.  

If you have mulched well in the fall they will need little else until harvest.  You may have to pull an occasional weed that makes it through the mulch, but that is it.

Garlic Scapes

Scapes are the tender tops on the hardneck garlic.  They are good for salads and stir fry.  Be sure to pick them early as they can get strong as they mature.  It is a good practice to remove the scapes anyway as the garlic bulbs will get more energy and grow larger with the scapes removed.

Harvesting

When the tops of the plant have turned brown it is time to harvest.  To harvest garlic simply pull them out of the ground if you have loose soil.  If they resist then take your garden fork and gently lift them from the soil.

Shake off the loose dirt and hang, or lay, in a protected area to dry.  The softneck garlic tops can be braided to hang, which makes a nice decoration.

Curing and Storing

Let the plants dry and brush off any remaining dirt.  You may clip the roots or leave them on.  The ideal way to store is in an onion or potato mesh bag.  I put mine in a paper bag and they seem to do fine.  

Keep the bulbs in a cool place in your home.  The ideal temperature is 55 to 70 degrees with moderate humidity.  Mine keep until late spring in my back room.

I use a lot of garlic powder, so I slice the cloves into thin slices, place in the food dryer and chop into a course powder in a nut grinder.  The result is a very tasty garlic powder that is more course than what you buy, making it easier to use.

Give garlic growing a try.  You are sure to enjoy many meals from what you grow.  This is just one more step in getting closer to growing what you eat.  By following the above easy steps you now know how to grow garlic in your garden.  Give it a try.

I wish you the best of health for you and your family,
Steve
 

 

Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century.  Gardening is a great way to, not only grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul.  It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.  

Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family.  Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.
 

Drought – What Can You Do About It?

I do not know how much rain you got for your garden this spring, but we were about 2 inches short in May and had the driest June ever and the second driest month of all time.  We just did not get any moisture, but the garden looks pretty good.

Some things did not fair as well as possible, but overall it looks good.  The peas did not last long.  They just dried up, and they were mulched.  I assume that the heat was too much for them.  The early potatoes matured too quickly and were small.  

The beans in the hoop house were doing great (I watered them every other day) until we had several days over 100 degrees.  I guess it was just too much heat.  The beets and cabbage in the hoop house are still growing.  Well, the shrew did eat a few beets.  Hey, shrews have to eat too.

It seemed the plants had a hard time until I mulched them and soaked the ground under the mulch with the soaker hose.  Since then, the plants have looked really good, even in the hottest heat.  Officially we had 104°, but our thermoter said 110°, that’s hot.

I have mulched every thing, but the newest beans and will do that soon, as they get tall enough to stick up through the mulch.  I use straw as it is readily available in our area.

On the hottest days I run a misting hose over the tomatoes and put a piece of row cover over the top of the cages.  I have had the blooms on the tomatoes dry up during hot spells, no bloom no fruit.  But, the blooms look good and there are several nice green tomatoes on the vines.

The flower garden is not doing as well.  I do not water the flowers unless they are really suffering.  I just redid a section of the flower bed, this year.  They are getting just enough water to keep them alive and barely growing.  As soon as they get tall enough they will get mulched with bark mulch, that should help a bunch.

The reason I am telling you all this is to let you know you can garden during a drought if you take extra care of your plants.  The mulch is the key.  Use whatever you have to cover the ground, and use plenty of it.  Mulching cools the ground and retains moisture for the plant.  It is hard to put enough water on plants without the mulch.  So, find what you can like straw, newspaper, leaves from last fall, grass clippings you saved from before the drought started, cardboard, etc.

Row cover is another tool for a drought.  It seems to shade the plants enough to make a difference.  Be careful with green beans.  The row cover will stick to the leaves of the beans and the sun will cook them.  I use a hoop made of number 9 wire to keep the cover off the leaves as much as possible.  If you are not troubled by bean beetles you can get by without the row cover, if you mulch and water good.

If you plan ahead and catch the rain water early from your roof, you can use it to save some on the water bill, if you are on city water.

Hope this will help you if you are as dry as we are here in Indiana.  The other suggestion I have is to take care of your bird friends.  Put out some water for them and start feeding them, if you have stopped.  I do not feed the birds in the summer, usually they will just stop eating out of the feeder.  But, I filled one of the feeders the other day and noticed several birds making trips to it, so I guess they were hungry.

One good thing about the drought is the lack of bugs.  I have not had any serious bug problems this gardening season, thus far.  This is the third year in a row that we have been dry sometime during the summer, so the insect numbers may be down in general, with one exception…cabbage worms.  They have been terrible.  Row cover helps, but when the broccoli gets tall it is hard to keep it on and those darn butterflies get under it.

The dry weather is really hard on the bees.  If you can, keep whatever flowers going for the bees.

Best of luck with your gardening this summer.  Hope you are putting away a bountiful harvest.

Great gardening,
Steve

Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century.  Gardening is a great way to, not only grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul.  It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.  

Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family.  Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.
 

Kinda’ Honey Mustard Recipe

Last week I posted my recipe for an oil and vinegar salad dressing to the blog, so this week I thought I would put up my other recipe I use a lot.  This one is a honey mustard type of salad dressing.

It has over a cup of mayonnaise so be careful with it if you are trying to lose weight.  I do not use this dressing a lot, because of the fat that is in it.  You need fat in your diet, but most mayo is made with soybean oil, which is not the best.

But, the upside to this recipe is it tastes sooo good.  Here is the recipe:

11/4 cup mayonnaise

¼ cup local honey (local honey has the pollens from your area that you are used too)

¼ cup organic yellow mustard

1/3 cup Braggs Organic Apple Cider vinegar

Garlic to taste, I use about a teaspoon of powered garlic.

I just mix all the ingredients in a bowl with a spoon until it is of even consistency.  I keep it in a salad dressing bottle that can be found at a cook ware store.  Store it in the refrigerator and do not keep it to long.  This dressing can go bad if kept to long.

This is a simple recipe that does not take much time to whip up.  I think you will like the taste.  Remember, you can adjust the recipe any way you like to fit your palate.

Hope your garden is growing great.  It has been very hot and dry here all through May and June.  Next time we will talk about growing the garden in a drought.cool

Great gardening,
Steve

Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century.  Gardening is a great way to, not only grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul.  It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.  

Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family.  Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.
 

Here is one of my favorite salad dressing recipes

Salad made from your own lettuce, and other veggies, has much more taste than one from the grocery.  It just does not seem right to go to all that trouble to grow your own salad and then pour a commercial salad dressing on it.

I have been experimenting for some time now with different salad dressings.  The one I will give you today I made without a recipe, but it is very similar to a lot of other recipes.

This is a very simple recipe and easy to make, plus it tastes good.  The ingredients are as follows:

3 Tablespoons of cold pressed virgin organic olive oil
¾ Tablespoon Braggs organic apple cider vinegar (or you can use Balsamic vinegar)
1 Tablespoon honey (preferably local honey)
½ Tablespoon Dijon organic mustard

Now, all the measurements are “close”.  By that I mean I make it to taste.  The measurements given are approximately what I use.  When I am making the dressing I just add it together and taste. Then, I add a little more of whatever it seems to need.

If I do not have any made ahead I will just add the ingredients above in a small bowl and mix it with a fork.  It does not take very long and everything is fresh.  If you want to make some ahead, or are feeding more than one, just multiply each ingredient by whatever factor you want.

You can make a batch ahead and keep it in the frig.  I have kept it for some time without any trouble.

So, now you can run out to your garden and pick some fresh lettuce and give it a try.  Let me know what you think.

The other recipe, that I like, will be revealed later.  It is a honey mustard type of recipe.

Enjoy your summer.

Great gardening
Steve

Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century.  Gardening is a great way to, not only grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul.  It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.  

Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family.  Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.
 

More On Weeds

Most gardeners could talk a long time about weeds.  They are kinda’ like relatives,

everyone has them.  We talked about getting rid of the weeds in your garden last time but, this time I want to talk more about the psychology of gardening with weeds.

Actually, a weed is only a plant that is growing in a spot you do not want it in.  A food producing plant may become a weed if it is growing in the wrong place.  Like volunteer tomatoes.  Every year I have some tomatoes volunteer to sprout in the row from last year’s tomatoes that now has beans, or whatever I planted there this year.  That tomato is now a weed.

So, what to do with this weed.  Now, usually we are not talking about a food plant, but bear with me we will get to the other forms soon.  Sometimes, if I think I know what variety the tomato is, I will dig it up and move it to a more appropriate place.  But, if not I will simply pull it like any other weed, even if it hurts a little more.

Now, for a little about my mindset on gardening and weeds; weeds are only a problem when we are not doing everything else right.  

Here’s how I handle the weeds in my garden.  My normal routine is to set out the plants or sow the seeds and wait until the plants are established before doing anything else.  

Once, the plants are up and growing, usually, the weeds are starting to emerge.  At this time I will go down the row and hoe the weeds between the plants and pull the weeds near the plants, to keep from cutting the plant or its roots with the hoe.

When this is done I mulch the plants with straw, last years leaves I saved for this purpose or grass clippings.  Note: If you put chemicals on your lawn do not use grass clippings.  The commercial composters are having trouble with carry-over herbicide in their raw materials.  When consumers buy their product they are seeing their plants not do well or die outright.  

I even mulch my pathways between the rows so there are no bare soil for weeds to grow.  Now, as I walk through my garden I will pull any weed that sticks its head above the mulch.  There are seldom very many and it is an easy thing to do while checking the fruit of all your labor.

This way, once my garden is mulched, I spend very little time weeding and more time enjoying the peace and quite of the garden.  I even take a little time to get a picture of that beautiful butterfly sitting on the spider plant.

There you have a simple, and relaxing, way to keep the weeds at bay in your food plot.

Great gardening,
Steve

Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century.  Gardening is a great way to, not only grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul.  It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.  

Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family.  Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.
 

6 Easy Steps To A Weed Free Garden

You may have problems with pests through the gardening season, but weeds are always there.  It is usually the weeds that dishearten the new gardener and make a long time gardener cuss.  Since we are getting into the growing season I thought it would be a good time to talk about weeds and how to get rid of those pesky devils.

I am going to list these 6 easy steps pretty much in order of effectiveness.  Some need to be started earlier in the season than others, but most can be used at anytime you are growing a garden.

1.  Grow a cover crop to smother the weeds.  

This is a practice you can begin the fall before you garden, or you can do it in the summer when you have a row or corner of the garden that you are not using.

A cover crop can actually be most any type of plant that will suppress weed growth.  I will typically use rye in the fall, because it will grow all winter and can be turned under in the spring, and will help add nutrients to the garden.

During the growing season I will plant buckwheat.  It grows fast and sends down a deep root pulling up minerals from deeper in the soil.  Just till it in, or turn it under, before it goes to seed.

2.  Send the weeds to the sauna.  

Wet the soil first and then put down a piece of black plastic over the area you want to rid of weeds.  This works best with the soil moist and the temperature hot.  The moisture and the heat will “cook” the weeds.

3.  Till to kill the weeds.  

I know you are already tilling the soil so you can plant, whether by hand or with a machine.  But, we are going to do this a little different this time.  Till like you normally would, but this time wait to plant for a few days.

Let the weeds start to poke their heads up out of the ground and do a shallow tilling to just nip the new sprouts off just below the surface.  This will stop weed growth and give your new plants a head start.

4.  Our old friend mulch.

Mulch is great for many reasons.  This time we are using our old friend, mulch, to suppress weed growth in our garden rows.  I like to get my plants up and growing and cultivate a couple of times before I put down the mulch.  

Sometimes it is hard to much around a tiny plant and they can get damaged.  Plus, I will often add a little compost just before I mulch to give the growing plant plenty of nutrients for the growing season.  If a weed sticks it head through the mulch it is easy to pull it up, because it is moist under the mulch.

5.  Cultivate during a hot, dry spell.

This does not mean you have to be out in the hot sun to till the soil.  I recommend that you do the tilling in the early morning or late evening when the weather is hot, and protect your body with a wide brim hat and long sleeves when out in the sun.  We want you around to enjoy your garden for many seasons.

It is best to till weeds when they are small and do not have a lot of root to support them.  When they get bigger it is hard to get that root out of the ground.

The reason for tilling when it is hot and dry is the plant will not have the reserves to keep growing if its roots are still in contact with the soil.  I have seen weeds continue to grow, during a wet spell, even after being up rooted by the hoe, just by laying on the soil surface.  A weed is a determined plant.

6.  Pull ‘um when it is wet.

If you have a few bigger weeds, that you will have to pull by hand, either wait until after a rain, or wet the garden and then pull the weeds.  This loosens the weeds grip on the soil and can, more easily, be pulled.

During the warmth of the summer I will sometimes go out in a gentle rain and pull weeds.  It is refreshing and fulfilling.  Not to mention quiet, because not one else will be out there to bother you.

Hope these 6 tips help you deal with that ever present weed problem.

Great gardening,
Steve

Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century.  Gardening is a great way to, not only grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul.  It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.  

Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family.  Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.
 

There’s Healing In The Garden

“When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and

health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think you will discover, as Ralph Waldo Emerson did, that digging in the garden has more benefits than just the produce that you grow.  There is just something about getting your hands into the soil.  All life, that we know, comes from the soil.  So, it only makes sense that we would feel a connection with that soil.

The most obvious connect is with the healthy, great tasting food you get to enjoy from all your labor.  If you grow your food organically, you are not only eating food that taste good, but food that will maintain and restore good health to your body.

It is a proven fact that conventionally grown food has far fewer nutrients in it than was present several years ago.  And, organically grown food has much more of those nutrients than the conventionally grown food.  More food value equals better health.

Another really big plus to working your garden is the sunshine and fresh air you are taking into your body.  It has been determined that people are grossly deficient in vitamin D since all the media hype about staying out of the sun because of skin cancer.  It seems that vitamin D fights skin cancer and a number of other health problems.  Mankind has shot himself in the foot again.

Think about most people’s lifestyle.  You work in an environment with noise, bad air and no exercise, with people who are giving off carbon all day long.  You get in your car after it has been sitting in the sun all day long giving off toxins from the materials inside, drive down the highway filled with exhaust fumes and rush into a home that is expelling toxic fumes.  You do not have a chance.

But, when you get home, change clothes and walk outside into your garden it is like someone moved you to another planet.  The extra oxygen for the plants makes your feel good, the sun on your skin feels warm and is producing vitamin D, and that warm breeze lets your shoulders relax and you feel so good.

Just taking care of your garden goes a long way in keeping you fitter and healthier.  There is work to be done in your garden, but it is enjoyable and rewarding.

After your work in the garden you feel relaxed and your soul seems to be a little more at peace.  All people want in life, when it is distilled several layers deep, is to feel happy and at peace.  Working outside and seeing something accomplished with your own hands gives you those feelings.

Great gardening,
Steve
Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century.  Gardening is a great way to, not only, grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul.  It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.  

Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family.  Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.
 

You Have No Excuse For Not Gardening

Today I was thinking about the food situation in our society today.  I could write a book on that topic, but I will try to keep it within the bounds of this article.

If you have read much of this blog you already know I am passionate about everyone taking the responsibility of their health into their own hands.  The best way to do that is by growing your own organic food.

Many times the argument for not gardening is the space and the amount of work involved.  As I was thinking about this I remembered an article about an experiment a person made in their own yard.  It is amazing what goes on in people’s minds.  Luckily I found the article.

The article was printed in Mother Earth News and was written by Rosalind Creasy with Cathy Wilkinson Barash in the December 2009/January 2010 issue.  You can find the article by searching on Mother’s site.

They started with a 5 by 20 space in the yard.  I do not know how good your math is, but that is only 100 square feet of space, smaller that most rooms in your home.  The area was spaded up, amended, fertilized with organic fertilizer and planted.

The garden was planted with vegetable plants from the local nursery that most people use in their homes, and could be raised by most people in the US.  This lady is a gardener, so she knew how to care for her garden, but that is something anyone can learn, hopefully from reading this blog.

To keep this short we will get to the bottom line.  They grew 77.5 pounds of tomatoes, 15.5 pounds of bell peppers, 14.3 pounds of lettuce, 2.5 pounds of basil and 126 pounds of zucchini.  Doesn’t everyone grow too much zucchini?

The value of all this produce came to $746.52, subtract the $63.09 for the expenses and that leaves you with $683.43 worth of good organic food for your family and lots of zucchini to share with all your family and friends.  The value of the food was computed by comparing with the present (at that time) price of the same type of organic vegetables.

Can you believe that?  And that was in 2007!  All of this food was grown on 100 square feet of yard.  But, you may be thinking…what about all that hard labor?  They reported it only took about 8 hours to prepare the garden and set out the plants, set up the tomato cages, install the drip irrigation and mulch.  

After that it only took about three times of weeding during the first month, but as soon as the plants grew large enough they did not need to weed anymore with the mulch smothering out the weeds.

At the end of the article they give some very interesting statistics.  For instants, if half of the households in our country planted a 100 square food garden like this it would total 96,419 acres of food.  The saving of groceries by these family gardens would be $14.35 billion.

That just blows my mind.  But, let’s take this a little farther.  What would the savings in health costs be if all those gardens were raising organic food for their families?  Forget the health costs, how would all those folks feel?

Hope this frees up your mind to think about the possibilities of raising your own good tasting veggies.

Great gardening,
Steve

Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century.  Gardening is a great way to, not only, grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul.  It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.  

Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family.  Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.
 

Growing Lettuce

LettuceA fun and easy (most of the time) thing to grow is lettuce.  Lettuce can be planted almost any time of the year.  But, the best times are in the spring and fall.  Lettuce is a crop that can be raised during cold weather that will kill out most other garden plants.  The biggest problem comes with hot weather.

Let’s start with the beginning, that’s always a good place to start.  With lettuce the place to start is with the soil.  Lettuce will grow just about anywhere.  It is best to give it a fertile well drained soil.

I like to mix a quarter to half inch of fine compost into the place where I plan to plant.  The compost needs to be fine as lettuce seeds are tiny and can get lost in cloddy soil.  I have sifted compost to get the fine quality that is needed.

When ready to plant I will take a small piece of wood, about 1 x 1 or 2 inches and make an impression in the soil with its edge, so it is like a mini row you make with a hoe.

Lettuce seeds are so small they are hard to handle.  I have one of those little hand seeders that makes it easier, but you can plant them by hand by taking a pinch of seeds and rubbing them out between your fingers.  You can always thin the plants after they come up, but that is more work.  As they grow you can pull the ones that are crowded and put them in the salad.

If you do not care if the row is not real straight you can just sprinkle the seeds on the soil surface and work them into the soil with your fingers.  They do not need much soil cover to sprout and too much will prevent them from making it.

Water the ground well before and right after they peek through.  If the weather is dry or hot keep the growing plants watered as they will stress easily.

In hot weather it is best to plant under a shade cloth or next to a larger plant that will give shade to the lettuce.  Lettuce will bolt in hot weather, that is, go to seed, which gives the plants a bitter taste.

The best strategy is to make secession plantings to keep some young tender lettuce on hand for your salad.  I try to plant more lettuce through the summer as the last batch comes through the ground.

You can use most anything to shade the lettuce.  I have covered it with a double layer of floating row cover, planted it under corn, tomatoes, next to the cucumber trellis and a lot of other places.  At times I have even planted lettuce in a large flower pot under a tree.

The secret is to just keep planting in a place that will give the lettuce the protection it needs and you will be rewarded with fresh tender salads all year.  We will talk about growing lettuce in the winter at another time.

Please let me know what you think about today’s article by leaving a comment.  Come join me on facebook and we can talk.

Great gardening,
Steve

Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century.  Gardening is a great way to, not only, grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul.  It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.  

Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family.  Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.
 

How To “Successfully” Plant Garden Plants

Knowing how to plant garden plants and have them survive, and thrive, is one of the most important skills to learn about gardening.  After all, if your plants do not produce you a good tasting bountiful crop what’s the point?

The most important ingredient in starting plants is water, but let’s go through the whole process from the beginning

1.  If you buy plants, be sure they have a healthy appearance.  The plant should be a good green color and have upright leaves.  Stick your finger in the pot to see if it is moist and squeeze one of the plants out of the container to see if it is root bound.  There will be a lot of roots and they will be wrapped around the potting soil.  Roots are good, you will learn by experience when to many roots are bad.

If you raise your own plants put them in the ground before they become leggy.  Leggy is when a plant outgrows itself.  It will look spindly and sickly.  The height of the plant will be out of proportion to the stalk of the stem.  

2.  And, get the plants accustom to being outside.  Set the flat or pots outside during the day to get them used to the sun and the wind.  This will toughen up the plant for the rigors of life in the open.

3.  I will set out plants in any weather, but it is easier when the soil is dry.  I will dig a hole the size to match the plant.  A tomato will take a much larger hole than a cabbage.  Dig the hole extra large and dump some compost in the hole.  

The amount of compost depends on the plant.  Again, the tomato will get a couple of shovels full of compost and a cabbage will get less than one shovel.  Mix the compost with the soil around the hole and make a hole the size of the root ball on the plant.  

4.  Fill the hole with water and set the plant in the hole.  A tomato will root anywhere the stem touches the soil, so if you have a tall plant set it with the top 3 or 4 branches sticking out of the soil.  The more roots the more fruit.  A plant like cabbage will set at just below where it was in the post.

5.  Now, soak the soil with water.  This will settle the soil around the roots, protecting them from being in contact with air that you mixed in with the soil while working with it.

Come back every day to check on the new plants.  If the soil has dried on top I will give them another drink.  If they wilt down on a hot day you may still be ok.  Just give them a big drink and a lot of them will come out of it just fine.
Setting out plants is not complicated, but you need to pay attention to details.  The amount of care you take now will determine the kind of harvest you will get later.

Hope you have great plants this year.

Great gardening,
Steve

Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century.  Gardening is a great way to, not only, grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul.  It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.  

Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family.  Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.