Friday, February 26, 2010

How to Grow Bush Beans in your Home Vegetable Garden

The bush bean family has a lot of options to choose from. They range in different shapes, sizes and yes, even color. They make for a nice addition to the home vegetable garden because they are fairly easy to grow, do not take up that much space and are determinate plants meaning you know exactly how much space each plant will consume. Here are some steps you can follow to add these great tasting vegetables to your home garden.

The first step is to always make sure the site where they will go is at its optimal condition. Since it’s not recommended that you start bush bean seeds indoors, we want to pay extra special care to our soil. Start by making sure the pH level in your soil is in the 6.5 to 7.5 range. This can easily be done by using a home soil test kit available from any home or garden center for just a few bucks. Make adjustments as necessary to get your soil in that range.

Bush bean seeds will germinate best when the soil temperature is 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also pick up a soil thermometer at the local home or garden center for a couple of bucks as well. If the soil needs to be warmed up, just put down a layer of landscaping plastic or cover to bring the temperature up.

Now that your soil is ready, plant your bush bean seeds no closer than 4 inches apart to make sure they have enough room to grow and thrive. Keep your watering low in the early stages and when the beans are at harvest stage water them heavily to help retain their flavor.

Follow the instructions on your seed packet to determine when they are ready to harvest. Because each variety of bush bean can be harvested at different times there is no one technique that fits all.

Bush beans get along with beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, leek, parsnip, radish and sunflower so make sure you optimize the space in your garden by implementing good companion plantings with any of these.

Also, bush beans get along real well with marigolds. With marigolds planted close by the bush beans, insects are less likely to go after them.

As you can see adding bush beans to your home vegetable garden is not that hard and since they produce a high amount of return, they are a vegetable that will be well worth the time and effort.

About the Author
Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC is the exclusive home of the seeds of the month club where you can sign up and receive 4 packs of vegetable, fruit and herb seeds every month.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Preparing Your Home Vegetable Garden to Grow Corn

Although, according to the USDA, corn ranks four spots behind tomatoes as the most popular vegetable to grow in a home vegetable garden, it still is a very popular item because of its taste, texture and availability. You may not have the budget of a commercial corn grower to make your life easier, but you can take some steps to make your corn harvest much more successful. Here are some steps you can follow the next time you decide to grow corn in your home vegetable garden.

Just as if you were building a house it all begins with a great foundation. In this case the foundation is the soil or site where your corn will grow. Preparing the site and laying that foundation begins long before the first corn kernels go in the ground. In the fall mix in plenty of compost and manure and work it in thoroughly with a pitchfork. This will help increase your worm presence in the soil which has a number of varieties from vermicompost to soil aeration.

In the spring as soon as the fear of frost has passed, put down a one inch layer of finished compost. This will supply the nutrients young corn kernels will need to germinate, thrive and survive.

About out a week out from planting, put down over the soil, black or IRT plastic. This will help heat the soil up as well as eliminate some (not all) of any weed seeds they may have found their way into the bed. Monitor the soil temperature with a soil thermometer, and take accurate readings. You want the soil temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now that the soil is ready, remove the plastic and plant the corn kernels about one inch deep and no further than eight inches apart. To increase pollination plant the corn kernels in blocks of four and sow new blocks every ten to twenty days so that you get corn throughout the season.

Corn is great vegetable to grow and with so many varieties to choose from there is sure to be something out there for every home vegetable gardener.

About the Author
Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC is the exclusive home of the seeds of the month club where you can sign up and receive 4 packs of vegetable, fruit and herb seeds every month.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How to Control Flea Beetles in your Home Vegetable Garden

When most people hear the word flea they readily think of the small insect that affects their dogs and cats. What a lot of people may not know is that there are a variety of insects labeled fleas for similar characteristics such as jumping. One such insect directly related to and affecting home vegetable gardening is the flea beetle.

The flea beetle, so named because they “jump away” just like a normal flea would, are usually brown or black in color and very small, about the size of a pinhead. Do not let their size fool you though. If left unattended, they can rip through the leaves of your vegetable plants in no time and because they jump around they can easily spread plant disease very quickly.

Here is what you can do to curtail these little pests.

Ensure the environments in which your plants grow are conducive for proper growth. Mix in compost in your soil throughout the year and make sure the soil maintains a neutral pH level by testing it with a home soil test kit which costs just a few bucks at your local home or garden center.

Spray affected plants with a neem oil soap. Don’t let the name fool you, it is an organic, healthy and safe way to treat plants that won’t inhibit their growth or do any damage to the underlying ecosystem that makes it possible for a great garden.

Finally, apply beneficial nematodes to your garden. These small creatures will help with long term control as they will “go after” the flea beetles. Check with your local home or garden center, or call a local co-op in your area to find out what the beneficial nematodes are. It is a low cost solution for what could be a destructive problem for future growing seasons.

Flea beetles can be a problem to your home vegetable garden, especially your tomatoes. If you are like me and treat your tomatoes like they are gold, then you want to make sure you are doing everything you possibly can to prohibit and deter flea beetles from being a problem. Follow the steps above, and you will be well on your way to a flea beetle-“less” home vegetable garden.

About the Author
Mike is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC where you can sign up for their Seeds of the Month Club and receive 4 packs of vegetable, fruit and herb seeds every month.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Least Favorite Vegetables to Grow in the Garden

Vegetable gardening, just like anything else in life, is comprised of people from all walks of life and culture and because it is so vast, we wanted to get a better handle on what people grow and more importantly what they don’t grow. So we went ahead and asked our thousands of subscribers on our vegetable gardening fan page on Facebook this specific question. What is your least favorite vegetable to grow? One that you avoid like the plague and can't understand why anyone else would want to grow it in the first place

We received a tremendous amount of responses, some of which were a surprise to us since we grow that vegetable ourselves and some we never heard of. Here is a portion of that list.

The biggest surprise on the list to us was zucchini. We absolutely love zucchini. You can make breads with it, soups, steam it, you name it. But apparently as one Facebook member put it, “it grows like a weed”, it is not as popular with others.

This next vegetable we agree with and that is brussel sprouts. We do not grow them ourselves and as one Facebook member put it, “lots of plant for little return…takes up space that could be better used for something {else}”. But dot not fret sprouts fans, there were plenty of defenders of the veggie, we just weren’t one of them.

Another shocker to us was eggplant. Many wrote not liking it more for the texture of the vegetable when you eat it rather than growing it. We shared some recipes for eggplant parmesan in hopes that those members that are against it would change their minds. We shall see.

Cabbage, hot peppers, chicory and mustard, were about a tie but mostly because some didn’t like the taste of cabbage, others did not know what to do with cabbage once harvested, many do not like the heat from hot peppers and one person was allergic to mustard, which we found unique.

With all that said, the number one crop that people “avoid like plague”, drum roll please, is okra. One person wrote in saying it gave him nightmares from his childhood when the school lunch cafeteria person would put it in everything and tasted horrible, to another person that says growing okra made her “itch like crazy”. The bad results for okra came in like wildfire that we started feeling sorry for it.

The poll, albeit unscientific of course, was a fun question to ask and gave us real insight into the vegetable gardening world of what vegetable gardeners won’t grow.

About the Author
Mike is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC where you can sign up for their Seeds of the Month Club and receive 4 packs of vegetable, fruit and herb seeds every month.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hydroponics Gardening

Hydroponics gardening is a new wave and revolution in a dirt free gardening. As the population has grown and the available space on the earth to grow plants has shrunk and in such a situation, hydroponics gardening has come as a new technique of plant cultivation.

Hydroponics is the art of growing of plants through a mixture of water and nutrients. It is an easy and an efficient way of plant cultivation. Plants grown hydroponically are much healthier as compared to soil based plants, as all the required nutrients are fed directly from the roots, without the need for big bags of gardening soil.

Do you remember your childhood summer holiday assignment in which you had to grow a sweet potato tubers in a water jars. By just providing essential nutrients through water, you could see it grow in a water jar. The hydroponics gardening also works the same way.

Steps that you need to follow to grow plants correctly in a hydroponically garden are given below.

Step 1# Choose right containers to plant crops for your hydroponic garden. You can consider using plastic containers, if you wish to use a hydroponic system with plants in water only.

Step 2 # Select appropriate plants according to the size of your containers. You can choose from almost any of the vegetable or fruits such as lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers to grow.

Step 3 # Allocate a sunny location for hydroponic crops. Crops grown hydroponically need the same amount of sun light as plants grown in soil need.

Step 4 # To construct your hydroponics garden, you need to order hydroponic kits from any garden suppliers. You would require a simple hydroponic system, a plastic mesh tray, an air pump, and a soilless growing medium to support the roots of the plant. You can choose from sand, gravel, coconut husks as your growing medium.

Step 5# To prepare the container for planting the crop, add one to two inches of sand or coconut husks at the bottom of the container.

Step 6# Place the air pump and add plant nutrient solution is sufficient quantity to fill the container to a reasonable level and then place the mesh tray to cover the container top.

Step 7# Place your plants in the tray, allowing the roots to hang down from the top.

Step 8# Start the air pump when you have finished inserting the plants on the tray. The air pump will provide the required oxygen to the plant from its roots.

Step 9# Monitor the level of nutrient solution in your container.

Prashant T Verma is working as a Technical writer in one of the reputed I.T. companies. He has total 3 years of an experience in writing and has written articles on many different topics. Please visit and to find articles on different topics.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Italian Herb Garden - How To Establish Your Own One

If you enjoy Italian cooking, you will know that the Italians are not shy with their herbs. This is one of the best known secrets of Italian cuisine. It is not surprising either, since we can trace most of the herbs that we use today to the early gardens of Italy that were established centuries ago. But what if want to establish your own Italian herb garden?

It is not just the herbs that we identify with Italy. It is also the way that these herbs were grown in traditional gardens that is so appealing. Italian garden design, with its firm lines and symmetry, its use of water and use of sculptured foliage and statuary, has also made its mark.

So if you want to grow popular Italian herbs in a traditional-style herb garden, you will need to firstly design your garden in a formal and symmetrical way, and then plant those herbs that are commonly used for Italian cuisine. If you look at photographs of famous Italian herb gardens, you will see that there are often hedged parterres, which are ornamental beds that look just as good as the herbs that grow in them. Clipped hedges were planted to create geometric patterns, and then low-lying herbs were planted in between.

If this approach does not appeal to you, do not worry too much. There are many Italians today who favor a more casual and informal approach.

Whichever type of Italian garden you decide to plant, you do need to be sure you prepare your soil correctly and pay attention to the needs of all the herbs you are going to grow. Here are some hints that will help you to succeed.

Rosemary, which can be successfully clipped to form hedges, or grown into a bush, is a perennial, half-hardy evergreen shrub that is easy to plant from cuttings. In the right conditions, you can break off a twig, stick it in the ground and it will quickly grow into a pretty shrub. It does like well-drained soil, and it should be protected from frost.

Oregano is another perennial herb, and one that also grows in well-drained soil, in a sunny position. There are various types, all of which grow close to the ground and seem to creep. Origanum majorana (often called marjoram) is sweeter than ordinary oregano, and a popular variety for Italian food.

Sweet basil, a delicious annual herb, is a must in Italian cuisine. It is not difficult to grow and will thrive alongside rosemary and oregano. To promote new growth you will need to pinch out the little flowers before the plants mature. There are also various perennial basil plants, but they are not quite as flavorsome or soft-leafed as the annual type.

Parsley comes in a variety of guises, some of which are easier to grow than others. Flat-leafed parsley is common in Italian cuisine, but curled leaf and other types may also be used. Parsley is a biennial species that grows best in a sunny position. It should be harvested before the plant begins to flower.

Sage is yet another perennial herb, and it also likes a sunny position in well-drained soil. It is not always that prolific as the other herbs, and it should be harvested before the pretty purple flowers appear.

The perennial fennel is often grown primarily for the use of its seeds in Italian cooking. It is not a difficult herb to grow, but should not be grown near dill, because they can cross-pollinate. The fennel seeds should be gathered when they are hard and a grey-green color, and they should be left to dry indoors before you use them for cooking.

Garlic is part of the onion family and is grown from a bulb. Once you get the plant going, it will continue to produce new heads for quite some time.

Once you have established your Italian herb garden, why not learn a bit more about Italian cooking so that you can reap the full benefits from your labors?

By: Henry Thomas

Henry Thomas is an herb gardening enthusiast who has grown herbs for over 15 years and enjoys helping others get started in this amazing activity. For great information on "Italian herb garden" go to, or visit His newest book, "Herb Gardening - Ultimate Secrets", teaches beginners herb gardeners everything they need to know about.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Gardens With Children In Mind

Making your own backyard child safe can be fun to do. It may also be a pleasure to see delighted children playing securely in it when it is finished.

Just what you'll be able to complete relies on the space you have out there, the type of back garden that you have plus your imagination. Budget need not be too much of an obstacle when you maintain an open and imaginative mind.

Youngsters prosper through spending time in a well thought out back garden which suits their needs, has their safety planned and which promotes positive and rewarding activities that may help them to grow alongside the garden in heart, assurance and understanding.

The pleasure and wonder associated with tending to seedlings and bulbs and watching them develop can teach youngsters that caring and effort can produce beneficial results. This can help them later on in life to tend to their human relationships, work and activities in order to produce growth, stability and satisfaction.

Plants that are child friendly and easy to grow range from simple vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes and strawberries to brightly colored sunflowers or herbs which can also be used in the household and encourage early cooking skill development and craft-work.

Supervision is important so that children may carry out the fun task of gardening successfully, and to make sure that they use their own child friendly tools that you can supply them with rather than adult tools which can be heavy and dangerous in little hands and which are best locked away.

Another idea you may decide to incorporate with the growing of plants may be the inclusion of a fairy backyard, or similar theme. Children love to wander around backyards with little statues of elves and fairies peering out at them from various positions. Adding wonderment and magic to the job of gardening can achieve lasting emotionally positive links between the act of gardening and pleasure that can last a lifetime.

Backyards may also have areas designated for childrens recreation. These may encourage either tranquillity and rest or rip roaring fun. Any water based activities should, again, be supervised and open water, even when not intended for use, should be covered adequately in-order to prevent accidents.

If you're concerned about the addition of water, apart from for plant growth of course, to your back garden then you may prefer to consider having a trickeling waterfall that can gently run down backyard rocks providing the pretty sound of falling water, as well as the joys of the fun that it can bring for children.

Sandpits where children can make sand sculptures and indulge in castle making can be great fun and may provide an opportunity for adults to join in with the fun, or give them some time for rest as youngsters happily create works of art by themselves.

Trampolines in the backyard can encourage exercise and the partaking of fresh air whilst kids have some fun. They could be ordered with safety supports to his or her edges so that accidents will not happen and grownups can feel at ease that playground equipment users are safe.

If you have little space available then you can still involve kids in your back garden by having them help you grow plants in containers and pots. Even a windowsill can provide children with an opportunity to experiment and enjoy growing flowers, ornamental vegetables, hanging tomatoes, herbs and flowers.

Lastly, you can encourage imaginative creativity in children by assisting them with a craft project to be produced within your back garden and which is to remain in your garden when finished. A mosaic can easily add appeal to a back garden and can keep tiny hands occupied for many joyful hours.

By: Ashiro

If you're looking for a great kids wooden sandpit then you can't go far wrong with Plum Products range over at Old Fashioned Toy Shop.

Friday, February 5, 2010

How Do I Grow Tomatoes with Limited Space?

There is no more popular vegetable (actually a fruit) to grown in the home vegetable garden today then the tomato. With over 2,000 varieties to choose from the tomato gives you many options on size, taste, color, texture, you name it.

For those of you that may live in a condo or an apartment where your space is limited, do not fear you still have plenty of room tomatoes. The bigger problem you will have is choosing which tomato you actually want to grow.

So as long as you have access to adequate sunlight and the means to water your tomatoes you then have everything you need.

The first method is using raised beds. Raised beds are great because you can build them up anywhere and on top of anything. So for example, lets say the only backyard you have is a concrete slab of patio, not to worry, build up a raised bed by using cedar wood and build a box. The length and the width should be no less than twelve inches in both directions and the height should be no less than twelve as well.

Simply fill your new raised garden with good gardening soil, available from any home or garden center for a couple of bucks, plant your seeds and you are ready to go.

If building a box does not excite you or interest you then you can always rely on the good old pot. Just like you would grow flowers in your pots, tomatoes grow great in them as well. Pots also give you the added freedom to move them around to ensure that they receive the most sunlight. Just make sure your pots are at least ten inches in diameter and twelve inches deep with holes in the bottom for proper drainage.

Implement either one of these methods this year and you can be well on your way to great tasting tomatoes fresh from your own garden in no time.

About the Author
Mike is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC where you can sign up for their Seeds of the Month Club and receive 4 packs of vegetable, fruit and herb seeds every month.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tips to Successfully Growing Kohlrabi your Home Vegetable Garden

When you mention the word kohlrabi to novice home vegetable gardeners they are not one hundred percent sure what you are talking about. That is because kohlrabi is not a very popular vegetable to grow. I am not sure why though, because this cousin to the cabbage can be added to a variety of traditional recipes to make them taste better and more importantly kohlrabi is an easy vegetable to grow.

If you live in a part of the world where you will experience cooler temperatures, and have an area that receives full sun throughout the day, then you have everything you need to grow kohlrabi in your home vegetable garden. Here are some tips to increase to productivity of your kohlrabi plants.

Kohlrabi seeds are fairly small therefore you only need to plant them about a quarter to half inch beneath the top soil. Make sure you space them out at least eight inches to give the plant plenty of room to grow and expand when the weather is cool outside.

Kohlrabi likes the soil pH level to be near neutral as possible. A 6.0 to 7.0 reading is ideal. You can obtain the pH level of your soil by purchasing a soil testing kit for less than five dollars from your local home or garden center. If you need to adjust the pH level, follow the instructions that come with the tester.

As stated earlier, kohlrabi likes cool weather, but it also grows best when it receives full sun. So make sure you pick an area of your yard (or patio for those container gardeners), where the sun will be the most abundant.

Give you kohlrabi an even and moderate watering (do not overwater) and you will be well on your way to healthy productive kohlrabi plants.

Because kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family avoid following cabbage in a crop rotation. However, bush beans, beets, celery, cucumber, lettuce, onions, potatoes and tomatoes all make great companion plants for kohlrabi, where as pole beans make for a terrible companion plant.

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to great tasting kohlrabi.

About the Author
Mike is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC where you can sign up for their Seeds of the Month Club and receive 4 packs of vegetable, fruit and herb seeds every month.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Homemade Compost

Making homemade compost is a great idea. It is environmentally friendly, saves you money and improves the quality of your soil. Synthetic fertiliser is made from petroleum and is hazardous to the environment. The oil used in fertiliser has to be extracted from the environment, the material has to be processed to make the fertiliser and then finally, the finished product has to be transported to a retail outlet.

To make homemade fertiliser, all you need is a container which is suitable to be used to hold the compost and you can begin. Suitable containers can be purchased from garden suppliers or alternatively, you can make your own. To make your own compost container, you can drill holes in a rubbish bin, which will allow oxygen to help with the decomposition process. A further method would be to use wooden pallets arranged in a suitable fashion, so as to hold the decomposing material. A benefit to use wooden pallets situated on top of soil, is that the earth worms can gain access to the compost and aid in the composting process.

To start the compost, you can layer dry leaves, shredded paper, straw, twigs or dead plants, with a layer of weeds, grass and kitchen scraps on top. The primary layer will add carbon and the secondary layer will add nitrogen, however, it is advisable to leave out any meats, fats or anything that has been cooked, due to the risk of attracting vermin. It is best to combine this layering affect, to try to combine the right ratio of nitrogen to carbon. Too much nitrogen will result in a foul smelling compost heap and too much carbon will slow down the composting process.

To aid with the decomposition, cow or horse manure can be added. You can then add water to the mixture, however, it is unnecessary to saturate the mixture. The compost can then be turned using a fork or shovel. You can move the outer layers in to the centre and vice versa to keep the mixture aerated. If new scraps are going to be added to the pile it is advisable to bury them in the centre of the mixture, this way you are reducing the risk of attracting pests.

The amount of time required for the compost to be suitable to be used as a fertiliser will vary according to the climate. A warmer climate will speed up the process and a colder climate will increase the timeframe. As a rule when the mulch has started to turn brown and crumbly, it should be ready to be used.

By: Ryand

For your garden equipment go to World Of Mowers.