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How to grow lima beans in a cup

Lima beans originated from South and Central America’s and do well in temperatures over 60 degrees. They also grow easily indoors and even in cups. Today, we will learn on how to grow lima beans in a cup.

Read on if you want to become a guru in growing lima beans indoors.

For lima bean recipes this link will come in hardy.

First, let’s start with the basics…acquiring the seed:

Where to buy lima beans to grow?

The seeds are available from a number of vendors. Here we list a few;

  1. Amazon

As you would expect, Amazon is your go-to solution whenever your neighborhood stores are not forthcoming.

They stock a number of Lima beans seed varieties.

Here is a link to Amazon.com on Lima beans seed varieties   section

  1. EBay

The other online store we found Lima Beans seeds on sale is Ebay. You can check their options.

  1. Individual Farms, Garden Supply Stores or Local Nursery

There is also a sprinkling of a few stores, nurseries and individuals who pack certified Lima Bean Seeds for sale. The variety and packaging differ so it’s advisable to contact them directly.

You may actually find one in your locality so start there.

Lima bean plant life cycle.

Gardeners cherish lima beans due to fast growth and minimal maintenance.

Understanding its life cycle stages will help you care for this awesome vegetable and ensure optimal success plus a big harvest.

The 4 keys stages are:

  1. The lima seed

The cycle starts with you planting the flat, round Lima bean seed.  Remember that every bean has 2 identical sides with the embryo (tiny plant) at the centre.

Plant it in your planter of choice and water.

Your seeds should germinate within 7-14 days.

  1. Lima seed Germination

After watering, the seed will germinate.  The hard shell around your lima bean will burst open with the root now starting to grow downwards (from your bean towards the ground).

This paves way to the seedlings..

  1. Lima Seedling

Gradually, the Lima bean moves above the ground with a stem now appearing on the fledgling plant.

Its roots are now anchoring your plant firmly to the ground.

After a couple of days, leaves will appear on the plant’s stem and start growing towards the sunlight.

Your plant is now a seedling.

It takes around 2-3 months for the seedlings to reach their mature height of approximately 24 inches when they also start producing the pods

  1. Adulthood and Lima harvesting

Lima pods duly grows from around 60 days and will start to ripen.

Finally, the ripe pods crack open and “throws” the Lima seeds out and away.  Each of the seeds may be harvested or left to again germinate (provided conditions permeate)

It will be between 75-80 days from planting, before your lima bean plant is ready for harvesting.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is the lima bean plant life cycle.

Let us now have a look at how to grow lima beans in a cup….

Growing lima beans indoors

First, why would you want to grow Lima beans in a cup?

There are a few compelling reasons…

First, it’s a great method to demonstrate Lima bean’s growing process in a classroom setting…. justification being that the plants sprout quickly, and need very little care.

Then, if the outdoor conditions are presently harsh, gardeners will use this method to commence growing plants as the wait for the growing conditions to improve.

So, that’s why..

Here are step-by-step procedures on how to grow Lima beans in a cup

Step 1

Get the seeds for your favorite bean plant from your chosen seed supplier. Be advised that dried beans don’t germinate well since the may have been preserved to be eaten, not grown.

Step 2

Pick a cup and fill soil to its top.

Step 3

Make a hole in your soil at the mid of your cup by inserting one finger 1-inch deep into the soil

Step 4

Push the Lima bean into the bottom of your hole then cover that hole with soil.

Also, compress the soil slightly to ensure it isn’t too loose. Do not over- compress as you may block its roots and those of other growing parts.

Step 5

Water your seed gently. You may just sprinkle enough water since the idea is to moisten the soil- remember beans grow better in moist soil (not wet).

Step 6

Now Place your cup in a spot with lots of sunlight. It will need plenty of light for between 6-8 hours daily. Also remember to water it on demand

Step 7

Over the following few days, your seeds will sprout! And also begin growing roots. This should be between 3-5 days after step 6.

Step 8

When its roots reach around 1 ½ inches long, transfer it to clay pots.

Fill your pot with soil, and then create 2 holes using your finger in the soil.

Then, place the beans- roots side down- in the pot, still using your finger. Then cover with more soil.

Continue watering the plants so that the soil remains damp.

It will now be approximately 6-9 days since you planted.

Step 9

Your plants should break out of the soil and grow leaves a few days after planting.

Now, you can now transfer your seeds to the outside garden, – in case you want to grow real Lima beans- or watch them mature indoors by or making use of urn planters and vegetable grow bags!

This should be 10-11 days from the planting.

So, how much water do lima beans need?

To do well, the soil around the plant should always be moist, never wet or soggy. Problems like poor seed germination, diseases and pests arise if you let the soil soak at any given time during the process.

Round Up

So, thats how to grow lima beans in a cup and as you can see, it’s so easy- everyone can do it.

The other important thing is to remember to take care of the plant during the various stages of its life cycle.

As usual, drop us a comment and also share this!

Your fellow gardener…

How to harvest leaf lettuce so it keeps growing

We have recently been receiving occasional emails asking how to harvest leaf lettuce so it keeps growing.

 Well, here is my story:

As a first timer, I thought that once you pick your loose leaf lettuce, that’s it. That was because I used to think that you should dig out the entire head when harvesting lettuce.

Imagine I actually did it once with my first batch? (I can see you laughing…)

Well, friends there is another method.

Aptly named “cut and come again”, this method will extend your plant’s growing period and supply you with greens throughout the summer months. You literally cut, leave it and return for more healthy greens. For this reason, lettuce is among the popular cut and come again vegetables

In this article, I will lay out in the open all facts about this convenient lettuce harvesting method.

I will also show you exactly how it’s done.

Shall I show this method?

When to Harvest Leaf Lettuce

First, let’s talk about when to harvest leaf lettuce.

Lettuce grows well in cool weather and will even excel in partial shade. Now, unlike other lettuces like iceberg, loose leaf lettuce will never form a head. Instead, it grows loose leaves.

So, what does this mean?

It means that harvesting this lettuce simply involves picking the leaves.

Now, when should you start harvesting?

Well, you can start as soon as the leaves form- but ensure it’s before the formation of its seed stalk.

Although it may vary from one variety to the next, generally look for leaves that are starting to get crisp and those beginning to look fully grown.

These are the ones ready for cutting.

Remember that older leaves will have a poor or bitter flavor, regardless of how well they are harvested.

But, your timing can have an impact on the quality you get

It’s like this:

Leaves harvested earlier in the morning, like around 7 a.m., have approximately double the plant sugars available in the leaves harvested at around 2 p.m.

Also, early morning wounds start to heal well before they are exposed to hot sun- which is known to scorch tissues

In short, Cut it early –it sweeter and convenient!

Is your child interested in gardening? This popular gardening tools for kids will help you raise a young gardener.

How much and how frequently should you harvest lettuce leaves?

Another question is that of yield.

Now, cutting down the entire plant down to approximately 1 inch normally yields a larger harvest of loose-head greens.

You can repeat harvest 2-3 times. After this, expect the quality of your leaves to decline.

Even the romaine and butter head lettuce varieties can still be cut to 1 inch though for them, the remaining stubs will often generate a weaker but still edible second growth.

  How to Harvest Leaf Lettuce using the “cut and come again” method

with the basics tackled, let’s see now the “cut and come again” method step-by-step

  • step 1: Prepare your scissors

Get and wipe clean a pair of scissors (sharp).

This ensures you do not contaminate the lettuce leaves when harvesting.  And it’s important since a contaminated plant cannot continue growing.

  • step 2: Harvesting (cutting)

Cut your outer lettuce leaves approximately 1-inch above the crown. This will protect the crown for continued growth.

Then, cut off the required amount of lettuce leaves. Cut leaves at between 3 & 6 inches.

  • step 3: Watering

To encourage further growth, Water your lettuce regularly- even after the first harvesting. Stop when the soil is moist and avoid standing water (or soaking the soil).

The water also discourages bolting- that is the plant starting to seed, which means your plant will have more time to yield additional lettuce leaves.

  • step 4: Removal of ‘bad’ plants

If you have a lettuce plant that starts to grow tall, remove its center before just before it begins bolting.

You’ll slow down bolting and in turn harvest, more greens before your lettuce plants eventually go to seed.

Guidelines on how to Harvest Leaf Lettuce

  • Strip older leaves first, so that the younger leaves can continue to grow.
  • Ideally, your lettuce garden should have multiple rows of growing lettuce- Some at the maturity stage and some a bit behind (with a week or two). This guarantees a continued supply of greens.
  • Harvest different rows at a time. The picked rows will be re-growing as you pick from another set next time.
  • Covering the rows with a row covers or a shade cloth slows their bolting tendency especially in hot weather.
  • If your lettuce bolts, Wait until next fall before planting another crop

Now we are looking at the specific varieties:

Useful tips on How to harvest red leaf lettuce

If you want to realize all the red leaf lettuce benefits, observe the following additional steps:

  1. Harvest about 45 days from planting. The outer leaves should be 6 inches or more in length. Cut your outer leaves from the base of the plant using a clean knife
  2. Cut the fresh outer leaves either once or twice weekly based on how quickly it grows
  3. Remove the entire top third of your plant with your knife or shears when it reaches full size. This encourages further fresh growth.
  4. Harvest the whole plant before it bolts by Cutting off the whole plant at the ground level

 Also read how to grow broccolini your family will love.

Useful tips on How to harvest romaine lettuce without killing the plant

Finally, let’s talk about how to harvest romaine lettuce. Here are some special tips for this variety;

  1. The maturity date is between 55-65 days for romaine lettuce. Estimate the harvest date and mark your calendar
  2. Keep Pinching off the outer leaves of your romaine during growth for more baby lettuce leaves. This ensures you can harvest for a longer duration
  3. Keep an eye on your romaine as it nears maturity date. Squeeze its heads to check. If it’s immature, its head is loose while a hard head means its overgrown
  4. Harvest when it reaches about 6-8 inches tall, and when leaves begin to tighten.
  5. Always harvest in the morning
  6. Cut the romaine’s head off just above its soil line but below its lower leaves to grow additional lettuce. You can as well dig up the entire plant if not interested in a further crop

Summary

So, that is how to harvest leaf lettuce so it keeps growing. I hope you won’t make the same mistake like I did those early days.

Otherwise, Let us know how your lettuce planting is taking you from the comments section.

Happy gardening!

 

 

 

 

 

Growing vegetables in clay soil: Improving clay soil with gypsum

Growing vegetables in clay soil can be punishing if you scarcely know where to start.

Yes, you can call Clay all the bad names- frustrating, heavy, stubborn and even stupid.

But in my opinion, clay is indeed a fertile growing medium- if you understand how to massage it!

And today, I will show you how to make your garden look like a real garden and not a pottery studio!

Look:

Most people dismiss clay as not good enough for veggie growing.

But in my experience, with a little bit of soothing, clay soil can be insanely friendly to vegetables.

First, here are some tips for clay earth ….

Top tips on handling clay soil

  • Keep off your clay soil when water-logged. Walking over it –when in a wet state- causes more compaction and ends up making it heavier.
  • If possible, put down some wooden boards to step on so that you can distribute your weight evenly.
  • Never dig or even plant in wet clay soil.
  • The best time to dig over is in the autumn. Incorporating organic matter helps nutrition-wise.
  • Leave it in ridges over the winter. Frost will get in and destroy the clumps.
  • Planting woody varieties such as trees plus shrubs on small mounds help to keep plant roots clear of deeply wet soil.

Now that you have digested the master tips, let’s move on…

It is true that clay soil has a number of weaknesses that make it look hostile to plant but is it the very worst type of soil for crop planting? Not really. Trust me. There are worse soils! (This will be a story for another day)

Allow me to justify this a bit.

The good side of Clay Soil

As I said, even the much-maligned clay soil packs some wonderful qualities…

Let’s look at some of them;

  • Clay is highly dense. So, it retains moisture very well making it great for some plants.
  • It tends to attract more nutrients-than competing soil types. Why?

The particles making it up are negatively charged. So, they pull and collect positively charged minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Can you believe this?

 When crops land on clay, two things are possible:

They either wilt and die right away…

…or they say “Hmmmmh, this taste nice” and hang around.

Actually, some vegetables are at their happiest- when planted on clay! Yep- you heard me right…they would rather hang around;

  • Lettuce, snap beans, chard, and all vegetables with shallow roots love clay soils because of high moisture retention.
  • Cole crops such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbages are fond of clay for its superb root support
  • Squash and pumpkins grow almost anywhere. Plant them even when your clay soil is driest and they warmly embrace growth.

For more on this, check out this article on vegetables that grow in clay soil.

This Is How You Go about Growing vegetables in clay soil

Like every other soil, clay also has some negatives:

  • Slow draining
  • Warms Slowly in spring
  • Compacts easily (so plant roots can hardly grow)
  • Heaves in winter
  • Tends to be alkaline

Now:

To grow your beloved vegetables in clay, you must fight some of the aforementioned negatives..

In short, your success is pegged on whether you succeed in improving it.

So, in this section, I will be showing you how to break down clay soil fast, and also answer one of the most common questions-“how to make clay soil drain better?”

You will also find this useful if you have ever asked “how to amend clay soil for vegetable gardening/?”

Let’s get down to business…

Improving clay soil

For best results, start amending your soil a year before planting..

Step 1:

Cover the chosen ground with around four inches of organic/humus materials- including aged manure, straw, grass clippings, shredded bark, sawdust, and leaves/leaf mold.

Mix both brown and green materials 50:50 to avoid nitrogen/carbon imbalances.

Do this in spring- a year before starting your garden in the subsequent spring.

Remember that humus materials decay quickly and need be added more frequently to see change.

 

Step 2:

Still on how to break down clay soil in garden, now add 3-4 inches of compost over your layer of organic materials.

Since compost is already broken, it helps to stabilize your clay soil’s structure.

Step 3:

You might have heard about adding sand to clay soil

Well, now distribute 2 inches of rough sand over your compost layer. This increases porosity and drainage.

Fine sand creates a cement-like compound, so only add coarse sand to your clay.

 

Step 4:

It’s time for the fertilizer- very important especially if your humus materials are not in a 50:50 balance (brown and green).

Take a complete fertilizer, like 12-12-12, and broadcast into your soil. Apply 2 pounds for every 100 square of your garden area.

 

Step 5:

Till the amended layers of clay soil using a rototiller (at least into the very top 8-10 inches).

Don’t till when wet because it may form difficult-to-break large clods.

Step 6:

Apply more layers of humus/organic materials, compost, and rough sand once per month over the summer.

Similarly, till the amendments again (into the top-most 8-10 inches of your clay soil.

Remember that the rate of your clay soil’s improvement is consistent with the frequency at which you add amendments.

Step 7:

Mid – late fall, scatter seed for a covering crop such as alfalfa, rye, barley, and clover. 1/3 pound of seed should be enough for 100ft2 of garden area.

Your cover crop should be left to grow naturally and untouched over winter. This way, your ground is protected over winter.

The additional humus from your cover also improves the overall soil structure.

Step 8:

To further improve your clay soil, add around 2-inches each of your aged manure, finished compost, and coarse sand over your cover crop.

Step 9:

Till your cover crop, and your added amendments roughly 10 inches into your soil.

Do this after all frost has passed (around late winter up to early spring) and when your soil is dry.

Step 10:

You should now break up any remaining soil clods using a spading fork.

Wait 2 weeks for the soil from your clods to dry before tilling your soil for a second time.

Step 11:

Use a leaf rake and a bow rake to rake your ground to its smoothest.

Step 12:

Now, Work your soil into unbending (straight) rows. You will use your garden hoe to create furrows going as deep as your vegetable transplants-specifically, their root balls and which rarely exceed 6 inches.

If you choose to direct sow seed, follow the applicable planting instructions to the latter.

 Step 13:

Finally, loosen the soil lying between planting rows using the rototiller. Avoid disturbing the plant roots.

You can even use your garden hoe – to be safe.

This keeps your soil loose and also prevents compaction.

Then, if you can, place some stepping stones in the rows to help minimize foot traffic around your garden, as it can still compact your soil.

Improving clay soil with gypsum

The above process works- but as you have seen, it will take your time and energy.

Luckily an easier fix would be to apply gypsum- it aerates all clay soils by binding the fine particles found in clay together thus creates clear air channels throughout your soil.

This allows space for vegetable roots to grow. Air and moisture will also move throughout.

How to apply gypsum to clay soil?

Well, let’s see the steps:

Step 1:

Setup your lawn spreader or even a hand-held/manual garden spreader to exactly 40 pounds per 1000ft2 for current lawns or gardens.

For unplanted soil, it should be set to 20-30 pounds per one thousand square feet.

Then take granulated gypsum and add to your spreader hopper till the gypsum tops the fill line.

Step 2:

Spread the added gypsum evenly all over your targeted surface- even over plants since it doesn’t harm them

Step 3:

Add compost or any organic matter to your garden soil then Mix with your gypsum using a rake or a hoe.

Step 4:

Water the gypsum with your garden hose or sprinkler into the soil. Remember to clean your spreader as necessary

So, how long does gypsum take to work?

While your clay soil will start improving within a few months, apply it each year for a minimum of 3 years.

That will give you the very best results.

 

Wrapping it up:

So, have you seen how to loosen clay soil? And that growing vegetables in clay soil is very possible?

It Simple- just answer the question “how to improve clay soil for vegetable garden?” and you are ready to go.

Lastly, do you have more tips on how to break down clay soil in garden? Feel free to share with our readers by leaving a comment!

 

 

How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of your Gardens: natural chipmunk repellent

If chipmunks are eating your flowers or tomatoes and digging up your plant bulbs, you are probably at your wits end. A number of options are available on how to keep chipmunks out of your gardens and away from your cherished plants.

Before you can begin to take into consideration the best option to help you keep chipmunks off your garden, you need to keep some issues in mind.

First, chipmunks are nimble and small. They can tunnel, they can climb, and they can squeeze into tight spaces.These traits in the furry animals have a tendency to complicate the options at your disposal for their deterrence.

Second, they are fuzzy and diverse media have implanted this pleasant impression of how cute they are. Trapping them or using fatal repellants against them therefore feels so appallingly cruel.

Third, you must remain aware that they are protected animals in some states. As such, you need to look up your local laws prior to choosing which method to apply in keeping them away from your cherished plants.

With these issues in mind, below are eight ways in which you can go about protecting your garden and beloved crops from chipmunk attacks.

How To Keep Chipmunks From Eating Tomatoes

Spread around your tomato crop items whose smell chipmunks despise.

Sprinkling some blood meal around the root stems of your tomatoes, or placing un-chewed fragrant gum sticks within your tomato garden, go a long way in keeping these animal pests away from your tomato crop.

Give your pets freedom to roam outdoors particularly around your tomato crop. Letting your cat or dogs out in the garden yard often frightens chipmunks away.

You can also prepare a hot sauce or pepper concoction solution and spray it on to the surfaces of your tomato plants.

As an alternative, you can sprinkle cayenne pepper on your plants. This way, you will keep the furry animals away from your tomato crop.

Remember, however, that capsaicin, an active chemical ingredient in cayenne has toxic traits against beneficial pollinators, such as bees. As such, if your tomato crop relies on such pollinators, apply something else rather than a hot pepper spray, chili powder, for example.

You can keep away chipmunks by attracting their predators, a method to work with nature to protect your tomatoes.

Put up an owl box in order to attract the owl predators to your garden. This way, you will have owls taking care of, not only chipmunks pests, but also rats, mice, moles, and voles.

How To Keep Chipmunks From Digging your garden

One way to go about preventing chipmunks from digging up your garden and crops is to remove features that provide them with cover as they dig for food.

As such, remove rock or woodpiles near your garden and trim back plantings.

In addition, these animals love rock walls and shrubs since they provide convenient venues in which to hide.

They love to hide within such venues until the coast is clear for them to start digging up your garden for food.

In this regard, removing these types of structures and plants from around your home garden makes your yard less attractive and more dangerous to the furry animals to dig in peace.

To keep the fuzzy animals from digging up your flower bulbs, plant them in bulb cages or beneath a plastic or wire screen ground cover.

How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of Potted Plants

The most basic methods at your disposal to keep chipmunks away from digging up your potted plants involve putting up physical deterrents. These work through curtailing their digging instincts.

One method involves placing a woven hardware mesh around your potted plant in its container. Remember to make provision for enough room to allow your plant stems to grow without the sharp woven wire mesh edges causing any damage.

Cover this woven hardware mesh with a thin layer of mulch or potting soil, whichever one that you prefer.

Another method involves spraying or sprinkling squirrel repellants around or on the plant container. Remember to follow the manufacturer instruction manual recommendations keenly to avoid mishaps.

Finally, keep away or remove anything that could attract the fuzzy animals to the vicinity of your potted plants.

Spilled birdseed, for example, presents chipmunks and various other small pests with a major attraction.

Plants That Repel Chipmunks And Squirrels

Squirrels, like their smaller chipmunk cousins, are avid foragers and can be a massive nuisance to a gardener. They spend inordinate periods gathering food, eating it, and storing away some of this food for future consumption.

They are quite persistent, will dig holes, and chew their way through nearly anything that stands in their path as they pursue a tasty meal. Rather than nibble on shoots or flowers the way rabbits and deer do, squirrels tend to dig downwards to pull up and munch bulbs.

Fortunately, there exists plants and plant bulbs that squirrels tend to avoid. Planting plants that squirrels detest can give you respite from their annoying onslaught.

Such plants have tastes and scents or odors squirrels and chipmunks abhor. In that regard, when it comes to methods involved in keeping squirrels and chipmunks away from your beloved garden, a good idea would be to think with your nose.

The lists of plants squirrels abhor include galanthus, fritillaries, alliums, and daffodils. Others are lily-of-the-valley, geraniums, and hyacinth.

Besides repelling various animals away from your garden, these plants are lovely border plants.They also provide early spring bursts of color around your yard trees and between your shrubs. A number of them are hardy perennials in several climates. They will add colorful drama to your garden.

The animal repelling plants will also thrive in those shady sections around your garden. Furthermore, their scents may be abhorring to foraging pests but extremely pleasant to the human sense of smell.

Chipmunk Resistant Plants

There are certain plants that chipmunks tend to avoid, despite the nuisance they are. These plants also tend to be pollinator friendly and grow well within diverse climatic environments.

Plants that chipmunks do not eat come in two general categories. These are perennials and annuals. The traits that these plants have that chipmunks detest include perennials with fragrant foliage. Such fragrant plants include bee balm, lavender, catmint, and hyssop.

Another trait in plants the furry animals detest is hairy leaves. Toxic traits in plants too, such as foxglove, mean chipmunks leave them alone.

Perennial plants you can grow in your garden that chipmunks will not eat include monarda or bee balm, Echinacea or purple coneflower, goldsturm or black-eyed Susan, hyssop, phlox, delphinium, spiderwort, and milkweed.

Other perennials are sneezeweed, yarrow, butterfly bush, irises, evening primrose, lavender, ornamental onion, chives, carmint, sedum, daffodils, and lupine.

On the annuals list of plants the fuzzy animals will avoid are celosia, zinnias, dahlias, cosmos, alyssum, petunia, ageratum, lantana, snapdragons, calendula, heliotrope, annual salvia, marigold, and calendula.

It is good practice to cut off spent flowers. This is especially on marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, coneflowers, or anything else that tends to form a tempting seed head once bloom is gone by.

Once you do this, you will not only prolong the blooming season but also encourage re-blooming. This is while removing tempting seeds chipmunks love to store and eat from your beloved garden.

How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of The Garden Naturally

An easy and entirely natural way to keep these animals from your garden is to provide them with food, away from your garden, where they cause damage.

The rationale behind this strategy is that if the animals have an easier access to their food, they will not make the more difficult choice of foraging or digging for food in your garden.

The animals have natural enemies. These include snakes, owls, dogs, and cats, among many others. Encouraging these enemies to patrol your garden goes a long way in protecting your cherished crops from chipmunks.

You could set out mothballs against the pests. Simply place mothballs near your crop of tomatoes, around chipmunk habitation holes, and around the foundation of your buildings that house potted plants.

These mothballs will not eliminate chipmunks from your environment. However, they will push these critters way back to the perimeter of your garden yard and away from your cherished plants.

Sprinkling hot spices, cayenne pepper, or chili powder for example, around areas chipmunks frequent in your vegetable beds or flowerbeds works perfectly as a deterrent.

Peppermint works diligently as a natural chipmunk repellent. Plant peppermint plants around your garden to repel the animals. A spray mist of water and pure peppermint oil drops on your plants is an excellent natural chipmunk repellant.

 

Other natural repellants include spraying with ammonium soap, predator urine, and castor oil concoctions.

How To Get Rid Of Chipmunks

Once chipmunks begin making a habit of chomping your garden and landscaping, it is time to get rid of them with finality. At your disposal are numerous trap varieties and natural deterrence methods.

Traps present you with an effective avenue to rid your garden off chipmunks.

Being small animals, the same traps used against rats work just as well.

In addition, snap traps and live traps present you with differing ways of disposing snared chipmunks.

Snap traps will kill the animals leaving you with a corpse to dispose.Live traps,on the other hand, present you with an opportunity to transport humanely snared animals to more suitable locations. This is in respect of prevailing laws.

Seeds and nuts for example sunflower seeds and peanut butter are excellent bait for the traps you opt for.

Away from a snap and live trap, you can also use a bucket of half-filled water as a lethal trap.

Lean a wooden beam against the water half-filled bucket.On the wooden beam, on the ground around the bucket, and in the water, scatter sunflower seeds.

The chipmunk will fall into the water half-filled bucket and drown.

Most often, the dead chipmunk will have an infestation of mites, fleas, and various other critters. As such, always wear gloves whenever you handle and dispose the dead animals. Remember to wash your hands afterwards too.

 Chipmunk Repellents

 A common and powerful homemade chipmunk repellent consists of a hot pepper and pureed garlic combination.

Steep these two components in a cup of hot and soapy water and allow the water to cool.

Strain the concoction and into it add a tablespoon of oil.

Shake the resultant concoction and pour it into a spraying bottle.

Use the spraying bottle to mist plants that you wish to keep chipmunks from.

Commercially produced repellents promising to repel squirrels from your garden will also effectively repel chipmunks.

One such repellent is thiram once it is sprayed on plant bark, stems, and bulbs.

Flakes, naphthalene, or mothballs placed around a garden housing your cherished plant crop works just as well.

So does any commercial product that contains thiram, nicotine sulfate, bitrex, polybutune, and methyl nonyl ketone crystals.

Of note is that these products must never be applied to plants that will be consumed by humans.

An application of these products requires repeat performances because watering and rainfall wash away the product from the plants they are supposed to protect.

 

You can make your own homemade chipmunk repellent quite easily.

Mix a teaspoon of Lysol, three ounces of Epsom salt, and a gallon of water.

Make a mist spray of this concoction and apply onto your cherished plants to keep away marauding chipmunks.

Conclusion

Chipmunks are an important aspect of the natural ecosystem that surrounds your garden yard.

Their importance lies in that they consist of the major meal item of numerous larger animals.

They are also critical in spreading certain environmentally important fungi and plants.

That being said, however, chipmunks have a tendency to destroy all that hard work you have put into your favorite plant crop and landscape. In other words, chipmunks are often a destructive pest.

To deal with this menace, exclusion forms the best and most effective avenue to deal with them. Where container potted plants feature, physical deterrents could help in controlling their digging instincts.

Should these forms of deterrence prove ineffective, fatal repellents and snap traps may be an effective last resort.

 

Vegetables that grow in clay soil :

Is it true that there are vegetables that grow in clay soil?

Absolutely yes!

You know clay has its advantages but being good for vegetables is not one of them.

So when I discovered some vegetables actually do well in clay, I felt like shouting “yippee!”

And I swore to share them with you.

So, if you want to know about  crops for clay soil, hold on right there.

Why Clay Soil Is Frustrating

First, I am sure you would like to know what makes clay so stubborn as far as growing greens is concerned.. .

Now, Plants (and useful microbes) will need oxygen so as to access important nutrients.

However, naturally, clay soil is highly compacted, and dense thus it has little aeration.

Thus, growing plants hardly reach the nutrients.

In addition,  it drains water poorly and instances of standing water are ever so common in wet weather.

Come to spring and it further irritates crops by  taking forever to warm.

The bottom line is that even the most daring crop will find it very hard to survive such tough conditions

Improving clay soil

you can make clay more vegetable friendly by Improving it.

How?

Here are some approaches I take:

  • Add grit, sand, or fine gravel

This is an incredibly simple way to breathe life into your stubborn clay. Adding these materials improve aeration.

But there’s a catch:

These components are expensive and largely impractical, especially on large scale. Still, even if you just have a small yard, you need significant quantities of these materials.

  • Organic materials

Applying Rough organic materials can help aerate it. I am talking about items like straw, chopped leaves, garden compost, and even weathered compost.

These materials also build fertility.

  • Mulching

Mulch protects your sticky earth from impact. This improves soil moisture levels while reducing weeds.

If your mulch is sourced from organic materials, you get a bonus of better fertility

 

All in all, improving clay soil gives wonderful results. The problem is that it takes time.

Okay? Very good!

Now, let’s me introduce your long-awaited crops that thrive well in clay soil (vegetables)

vegetables that grow in clay soil

Now, there a couple of things you need to know:

  • First, shallow-rooted vegetables tolerate—and even benefit from heavy clays because such clays are highly stable.
  • Then, Other root crops, such as daikon radishes plus potatoes, help in breaking up heavy clay soil.
  • Lastly, heavy clay soils warm slowly, hence you can forget about planting early spring crops.

Finally, here is my high-value list of the veggies to plant in clay:

  • Broccoli

Broccoli- like most brassicas- requires heavier soils .

When grown in clay, broccoli doesn’t need heavy watering provided your soils’ moisture content remains at acceptable levels.

  • Brussels sprouts

These cabbage relatives actually yield firmer heads when planted in clay soil and really thrives in cool weather. Remember to keep an eye on the soils Ph and moisture content.

  • Cabbages

    Cabbage grows well in almost all soils, provided that it’s well drained. Thus, be sure to amend your clay soil with compost before planting.

To add nutrients,  you can Apply compost tea or fish emulsion around a month after planting.

  • Cauliflower

Cauliflowers survive in clay also. However, work your soil by adding compost or mature manure before planting.

  • Kale

Kale prefers loamy soil types (sand, silt & clay). Add enough compost plus aged manure in soil preparation.

  • Beans

Bean plants aren’t choosy when picking their growing conditions. They, therefore, thrive in compact clay soil, provided it’s amended with compost

  • Pea

These plants generally grow well in almost any soil. Avoid over watering them when planted on clay, as flooding water encourages wilting on top of root rot diseases.

  • Potato

Potatoes reduce compaction and prefer gardens heavy in organic matter and with a fairly acid pH

  • Daikon radish(Forage radish)

This again helps break up your clay soil. It matures without many preparations.

  • squashes

Both winter and summer squashes do well in all clay soils. However, add rotted manure or lots of compost to aide drainage

  • Pumpkins

Pumpkins are not that fussy regarding soil texture. However, they still require fertility. So add one spade of well-rotted manure or compost to every hill during planting.

  • Bulbs like onions and leeks

These shine in well drained and fertile soil. Raised beds, enhanced with more compost are recommended. You can also apply fish emulsion/compost tea to encourage fast growth.

  • Swiss chard

Swiss chard tolerates enriched and well drained clay soils. You just add a lot of compost when preparing the soil.

Final Round Up

If you were to ask them, Even vegetables that grow in clay soil will tell you that they prefer excellent drainage and top fertility.

Amending your clay soil makes the conditions friendlier to clay-loving vegetables and improves your harvest.

With your soil well worked, you will happily grow and enjoy rich vegetables like broccoli, kale ,Brussels sprouts, cabbages, potato, cauliflower, bean, daikon radish and pea
And those are the vegetables that grow in clay soil.

Happy planting!

 

How deforestation affects the carbon cycle

Today will be discussing deforestation and how deforestation affects the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle is one of the most important aspects of the environment.

It is not only a life support system but also a threshold that maintains the balance between human, animal and plant life.

In essence, it is the movement of carbon between all the living forms of life.

Carbon is a very important aspect of life, with it being the fourth most abundant element of the planet.

The presence of carbon in an organism helps in many ways, from energy formation, structure construction or in the case of large living organisms like animals, both.

what is deforestation definitionDeforestation is the process by which human beings destroy tree cover in forests through cutting trees, forest fires or uprooting them for logs.

The excessive need for firewood and other wood products has led to excessive harvesting of trees on the planet.

Deforestation affects the carbon cycle because the plants in form of trees use carbon to make their food through photosynthesis.

Through photosynthesis, the plants produce oxygen for animals to use. Animals then consume the plants for food producing carbon for the plants.

Factories are one of the highest producers of carbon dioxide.

The carbon cycle is important because life forms depend on it. Trees and other vegetation take in carbon and store it up.

In fact, old and mature trees contain a lot of retained carbon. Hence when trees die and leaves fall off, they decompose and leave the carbon on the top soil.

In the decomposition process, it also releases carbon dioxide.

All this carbon is then absorbed by the other vegetation, cancelling out any real threat.

However, without plant cover, the carbon goes out into the atmosphere. However, if it happens to be too much in the atmosphere would translate to poison.

Cutting of trees for various use via deforestation affects the carbon cycle and makes it uneven.

It means the amount of carbon dioxide form cars, industries and other sources becomes excess in the atmosphere. With no trees to help in the transformation of carbon dioxide to oxygen, the very air people and humans breathe becomes toxic.

Also, the more carbon dioxide there is in the world, the more it traps heat from the sun and keeps it into the atmosphere. This also means the amount of heat in the atmosphere becomes more that there is supposed have. Due to this, the effect of the heat increases the ozone effect.

The world is losing its tree cover to deforestation because we are clearing up forests    for farming or building, which is already costing us a lot in terms of clean air and a clean environment.  If the ozone layer is disturbed, there are dire consequences, including the climate change.

The earth then experiences climate change, which in turn turns out badly for the human population.

In respect to how deforestation affects the carbon cycle, glaziers melt, seas overflow and the sources of water all become contaminated with salts. The world is already experiencing all these signs in many areas. All this can be corrected with enough tree cover.

Forests are the lifeline of this planet something most of us tend to ignore.

Recommendations on dealing with deforestation

As established, forests and vegetation are not a luxury but a necessity. The more we cut trees without an alternative action that we could use to carry out the same work that the trees do, the more we suffer, we still need the trees.

There have not been any developments on criteria that can do the work that trees do, so the only solution is to retain as much tree cover as possible.

Reforestation

This is the process of rehabilitating the forests by replanting trees in areas that had trees but were cut off. Since trees take longer to grow, the solution can be to grow trees that grow faster.

Replenishing the forest where it once was is one of the best ways to correct the effect of deforestation on the carbon cycle.

Agroforestry

Since there is a growing population there is a need for food. This translates to clearing of forests for farming.

However, there is the option of agriculture being incorporated with forestry.

People can go on and practice modern farming like use of green houses, grow bags, seed pods, improvised planters and many more  so as to  spare space for trees.

This is a good method that can prevent deforestation from affecting the carbon cycle.This way, there will be food production and tree cover will be maintained.

Corporate responsibility on deforestation

For the factories that emit air that is poisonous need to take responsibility and use filters. This way, their actions do not have to affect the human population. It will also reduce the work load for the trees, so they can continue to produce oxygen for the living beings.

People need to make effort to retain the balance in the carbon cycle because if not, the whole population will have to walk around in gas masks just to have clean air.

We can already see it happening in the east in countries like china, where the large population is making it almost impossible for the trees to take up all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Soon enough, the situation will be the same all over the world.

Growing Broccolini From Seed To Harvest

How to go about growing broccolini from seed to harvest. Yes, Broccolini and not Broccoli as you might have thought.

Broccolini is a treasure on gourmet dining tables because of its tender, sweeter, and milder stems, florets and larger edible leaves, compared to broccoli. As such, Broccolini gives you much more delicate, colorful, and tasty vegetable options.

Broccolini is the trademarked name given to a hybrid cross between, on one hand, the American and Euro-Italian conventional broccoli and on the other, the Chinese standard broccoli or Gai Lan. People also, mistakenly, tend to refer to broccolini as baby broccoli.

A plant from the brassica or mustard genus family, scientifically named “Brassica Oleracea Italica X Alboglabra” or “Brassica Olceracea Var. Botrytis X Brassica Oleracea Var. Alboglabra”, its botanical name infers “eaten as a vegetable.”

 

Lovable Broccolini Benefits and Uses

 Rather than form one large head like broccoli, broccolini bears numerous small and tender shoots.

These shoots have a peppery overtone and a subtly sweet flavor. In addition, you need not peel its stems as you prepare it for the dining table.

Discerning consumers give broccolini high praise for its unique texture and taste. Others refer this temperature sensitive vegetable as simply an expensive and voguish food item.

To enjoy its distinctive flavor, eat it in its raw form. Other ways of enjoying its best form is through adding it to your soups, and stir-frying it alone, or with carrots, mushrooms, and pepper.

Read this Sauteed Broccolini recipe to prepare a lovely dish for your family.

You can also steam it, complement you favorite casserole with it or even chop it up into your calzone filling.

 

Equipment And Material Needed To Grow Broccolini

Certain pieces of equipment are essential if you wish to come up with a decent crop. The list needs to include a soil testing kit and a shovel.

Other items on the list that may depend on the nature of your soil, may include sulfur, peat moss, limestone, 20:20:20 liquid fertilizer, 8:16:16 fertilizer, and either broccolini seeds or seedlings.

Preparing Broccolini Growing Environment

You can grow your broccolini crop in your home garden using techniques similar to broccoli. Of note, however, is that transplanted broccolini seedlings tend to grow better compared to directly sown seeds. As such, your best option would be to sow broccolini seeds indoors a few weeks before you transplant them as seedlings to your grow bag or garden.

Additional resources: video from Edible gardening on planting and growing Broccolini

Broccolini is a cool weather crop that flourishes in foggy environments within moderate summer temperatures.

You need to plant your broccolini crop early in spring in an environment where frost will not be a risk.

This crop is sensitive to high temperatures and grows best when temperatures remain below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Should you live in an environment that does not have this kind of weather, you could put up a green house and create such an environment.

In addition, avoid growing a new crop on the same area each year.

To begin the preparation process, test the soil in your garden to determine that pH levels lie between 6.0 and 7.0.

Should you have clay soil, you need to add finely ground limestone. This way you will increase your soil pH to the required level.

Conversely, should your soil have alkaline traits, add sulfur or peat moss to neutralize it.

About two weeks prior to sowing, apply two to three pounds of 8:16:16 fertilizer for every one hundred square feet of your garden.

Ensure the fertilizer is worked thoroughly into the soil. Do this with a shovel or any other digging tool and then give the soil about two weeks to rest.

Planting A Broccoli Crop

With a stick or using your fingers, create between one-eighth and three-quarter-inch deep holes. The holes need to be between five and six inches apart. They should also be in rows twelve to fourteen inches apart.

Into each hole, place a broccolini seed before covering it lightly with soil. It is critical to note that since broccolini is a hybrid, you must avoid saving seeds for planting in the future.

Conversely, should you be planting seedlings rather than direct seeds, ensure your holes are twelve inches apart. In addition, ensure the holes are an inch deeper than the original depth into which the original seeds were planted.

You need to water your freshly planted seedbed regularly and thoroughly until the soil is moist to a depth of about six inches. Remember, it is moist, not soaked.

Wait until your directly sown seeds appear above ground and apply one cup of 20:20:20 liquid fertilizer per seedling. Make sure the fertilizer is diluted in respect of the package instructions.

Tending And Harvesting Your Broccolini Crop

Ensure that your crop gets at least two inches of water each week. Every fortnight, splash your crop with weakened fish emulsion or fertilizer tea to give it additional and essential nitrogen nutrients.

Gather your broccolini heads once the heads become full grown and prior to blooming.

Remember to cut long stems since the stem is just as wonderful as its florets on your dining table. Look for new heads to flame and leave behind some green leaves on the plant.

In any given year, a good crop will give you three to five sets of shoots per plant.

 

Broccolini Challenges, Pests, And Diseases

A whitefly or aphid attack curls your crop leaves, puckering them and turning them yellow. Spraying with organic insecticidal soap or introducing ladybugs deals with this menace.

Ragged holed leaves infer a cabbage worm or slug attack. Spraying with bacillus thuringiensis is a great remedy against the worms while snakes and birds will deal with the slugs.

Pinhole leaves indicate flea beetles on the rampage. Leaves chewed to the stem announce vegetable weevil attacks. Spaying with pyrethrum splash in the evening, to avoid harming pollinators, controls the beetle and weevil attack.

Leaves with yellow spots that become white mold during wet weather represent downy mildew. A Black leg attack results in black dots, dark patches on stems and leaves, and reddish and wilted bluish leaves. Sunken patches later girdle the stem and a plant then topples over.

On catching these maladies early, spray an organic fungicide, such as bacillus subtilis or copper. If the attack is too advanced, immediately remove and destroy affected plants. Do not compost such plants.

 

In comparison to broccoli, broccolini is easy to roast, sauté, or steam.

This makes it an excellent vegetable to branch out into for those who discern gourmet dishes.

It grows as an annual crop and tends to give its best when grown over the course of one year.

Best of all, it is easy to grow and nurture within your own garden.

 

Benefits of growing your own herbs and vegetables

 

Herbs and vegetables are an essential part of our diets in various ways. There is no better feeling than having a well-prepared vegetable dish or a savory dish made of the finest herbs.

However, the quality of both the herbs and vegetables is crucial. It is highly advisable to grow your own herbs and vegetables due to many reasons as explained below:

  1. Growing your herbs and vegetables ensures you the best quality.

Whenever you plant your vegetables and herbs, you take care of them with special attention since you understand that the products will be a part of the dish you will serve your family. Freshly picked vegetables have the best flavor as well as nutritional value as compared to those bought from supermarkets. When it comes to herbs, you have the ability to use them while they are fresh and hence flavorful.

  1. It is much cheaper

A variety of herbs in the market is expensive. This is due to their fragility and scarcity to satisfy the demand. Additionally, you may have to spend money on transportation to acquire the produce that you could just have planted in your backyard.

There are certain herbs such as rosemary and thyme that can last for years. They will save you the trip to the market as well as the revenue you may need. All you need is a seedling which will give you more cuttings which will give you’re a surplus supply for a long while.

Also read: Best garden genie gloves for your hands

  1. Ensuring you have a variety.

Planting your produce assures you of a variety of what you would rather have on your plate. You have the control that you need on what you cook instead of being forced to use what is available in the market only.

There are certain vegetables and herbs that are difficult to come across in the market and when they are available, they are expensive. To keep up with your budget, consider getting a seedling, cutting or just seeds of the herbs as well as the vegetables you prefer and starting something on your own. For herbs, rosemary, thyme, basil, and parsley are a good place to start. Vegetables such as kale, spinach, and other traditional vegetables could be suitable.

  1. Assurance of food safety.

Most of the food products that we buy in the local markets or the supermarkets are grown and harvested by other people. This makes it difficult to tell if the produce was handled with sanitation in consideration. When preparing vegetables, we often do not cook them on high heat in order to preserve the nutrients. This could be hazardous in case the vegetables were contaminated with pathogens such as e-Coli and salmonella which are difficult to get rid off.

Additionally, there are certain chemicals that are added to plants while in the garden to keep away pests or to enhance the fast growth of the vegetables. A majority of these substances are not fit for consumption and could have various side effects on consumption. There is nothing as satisfying as having the control of what you put into your body.

  1. Gardening improves the well-being and health of the farmer.

Once you begin a small kitchen garden, you are self-driven to start eating what you plant. This is helpful since vegetables  like broccolini are very healthy as compared to eating junk food and other high calorie based foods.

Gardening is also considered to be a very peaceful, rejuvenating activity. It enables the gardener to slow down with the rush of life and instead focus on cultivating and reconnecting with nature. There is also a soothing pride in producing from the earth.

  1. It is a fun, elevating activity for kids

Children in this era prefer to stay indoors and play video games or watch movies. These are activities that barely bring any qualities into a child’s life. On the other hand, gardening allows the kid to go outdoors. Additionally, they gain a sense of responsibility as they nurture their plants to maturity. Whenever a child plants something that they believe is to be consumed, they will look forward to the day it will be palatable. When the vegetables are mature, the child will gladly eat the vegetables which are vital for their growth and development.

  1. Help in building communities

Vegetable gardens always have a way of bringing people and neighbors together. Having a herbs garden will attract the attention of those who do not have their own and are curious on how to go about the activity. There will be those who would want to learn how to go about it while there are those who would like to have a bite to taste. A good way of getting more friends in your neighborhood.

  1. Positive environmental impact.

Having your kitchen garden has a significant impact on the environment. To begin with, you get to avoid using harmful chemicals that spread into the soil, water, and the air. Additionally, the pollution caused by the burning of fuel during transportation of the produce is cut down greatly. This may be a small but great way to start caring for nature.

  1. Reduces wastage of food.

It is common to buy produce in the grocery store and find that it has gone bad or tastes unappealing. Additionally, when picking food from the garden, you will only take what you need.

In case you have leftovers or excess food it is easier for you to handle it since you are assured of its freshness. On the other hand, you can use the stale food as manure in the garden.

With all that said, who would not like to have perfect health, peace of mind and control that comes with nurturing your food. It gives you the ability to enjoy the fresh and highly flavored food. The quality of what you consume is outstanding.

There is a variety of what you can plant as well as simple guidelines on how to start. With or without a big space, there is always a way that includes aerogarden herb pod kits, potting the herbs, urn planters, use of grow bags , or even planting the vegetable vegetables in sacks.

Start a kitchen garden and enjoy your health.

 

BEST marijuana bag

Best Grow bags for marijuana and vegetables

grow bag has per Wikipedia definition is a large plastic bag filled with a growing medium and used for growing plants. But with today’s technological advancements grow bags are no longer limited to plastic material any more, more so the best grow bags are made from non-plastic materials.

Farming using a grow bag is one mode of farming that is preferred by many people due to its easy management and mobile nature. It’s also very cost effective as compared to other modes of farming.

Not forgetting the benefits that come about as a result of growing your own herbs and vegetables.

Factors to consider when purchasing a grow bag.

  1. Material
    When buying a grow bag, it’s important to check if the material allows easy air circulation to the roots and prevents roots circling.
  2. Plant to plant
    Different plants have different requirements and many companies are making bags having this in consideration. For root vegetables it’s advisable to buy grow bags that have access flap while for marijuana farmers bags made for marijuana farming are most advised.
  3. Quantities
    Grow bags come in different sizes, based on the number of plants that can be planted in one bag.
  4. Climate
    Based on where you live choose a bag that is most suited to your climate or rather a bag that can work in any climate.
  5. Place to place
    Where you are going to place the bag plays a big role when choosing what to buy. If you are planning to place your grow bag indoors, it would then be recommended to buy a water proof grow bag to avoid water leakages.
  6. Cost
    This lies securely on your budget. We have different bags in the market with different prices. Best grow bags have more features and a little pricey. But generally grow bags are quite affordable.

 

Based on the above factors, this is a review on the 3 best grow bags in the market today.

Best grow bags reviews 2018

  1. 247Garden 5-Pack

VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON

The 247 garden grow bag is a free standing bag that does not need planters or support.

its thick felt material allows water to pass through freely and at the same time for the water not to pour out on the sides.

The aeration fabric prevents roots from circling thus allowing roots to breathe and grow healthier.

It does well in both hot and climate and can be re used.

It also can be used to grow any plants and vegetables and its available in 11 different gallons.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 420 Grow Bags for Marijuana 5 Gallon (5 Pack). Black Soft Fabric Grow Pots for Cannabis

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This growbag is made from a very high quality porous material that allows easy root aeration and it does not retain heat, thus keeping the roots cool even on hot days.

It’s especially made for marijuana farming.

This 420 grow bag has reinforced handles that ease mobility and built in drawing strings to lock in dirt.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. ASOON 2-Pack 7 Gallon Garden Potato Grow Bag Vegetables Planter Bags with Handles and Access Flap for Potato, Carrot & Onion

VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON


This grow bag is especially made for root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions etc. due to the access flap that allows harvesting part of the produce without damaging the plant.

That notwithstanding it can be used to grow any other type of vegetables.

its lightweight, inbuilt handles and water proof features makes it the most preferred bag since one can place it anywhere with no limitation, from the balcony to the stairs to even hanging it on the walls.

This grow bag is climate friendly, re-usable and allows easy air circulation to the roots.

It can handle 4 to 6 potato plants.