How To Keep Your Garden Alive Through Winter

By Tom Doerr

Given the length and depth of this winter it might be worth keeping up a year long gardening plan otherwise you may not get muddy for many months. Most gardeners turn to indoor plants as soon as autumn hits and don't step out on the grass again until spring but there are a lot of activities to keep a garden in use during the winter months which mean you don't have to sit indoors fiddling with your window baskets.

You can cultivate cover crops to get ready for the spring which will improve the soil and also give you something to keep busy. Compost will decompose over winter and will provide you with plenty of fuel to get going with your gardening when the sun begins to shine.

An obvious option for growing plants during the winter would be to grow them in greenhouses, cloches or cold frames. You can begin by planting bulbs such as daffodils, day lilies and tulips in the late autumn/early winter which will probably bloom towards the end of winter before the spring season even begins, so you don't have to walk out to an empty garden.

To enjoy colour over the cold months try growing plants in containers or raised beds in which you can control the temperature, the moisture and provide a better soil for them to survive the cold. These plants wouldn't normally be the pride of your patch but they will provide some activity and when spring arrives you can plant them directly into the ground and let them thrive.

Evergreen plants need a supply of nutrients and a key to maintaining the health of your garden through the winter it would be your composting. Make sure it gets turned regularly and has a supply of organic material. It can also be a great resource for younger plants in the next season when the compost is ready.

There is a selection of frost-hardy crops can make use of your soil and provide a return if you want to grow some vegetables during winter. Quick maturing vegetables like turnips can be a good addition that may not create exceptional results throughout winter but offer a worthwhile gardening activity. - 32616

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Make the Most of Your Small Vegetable Gardening Space

By Cindy Robles

Growing up, I lived in a 3 bedroom row home in the city. Although we did have a backyard, it wasn't large enough to have the garden my dad always wanted. But he know how to take advantage of his small space using a few techniques that I am about to share with you. None of them are over the top, just some practical, common-sense ways to enjoy high yields from a small garden space.

One of the easiest things you can do right now is to pick plants with high yields. By growing plants that produce abundantly, you will need to plant fewer of them. For instance, cherry tomato plants, peas, beans and zucchini all have very high yields. So, simply planting just one or two could produce all that you need.

Do you companion plant? Companion planting is the process of planting vegetables with different needs next to one another. It may mean that they require different nutrients and by planting them together, they do not fight for the same nutrients. Two plants can structurally support one another. For example, Royal Burgundy Beans planted between your corn will allow the beans to use the corn as a trellis. Or, it may mean that one plant provides needed shade for a smaller plant. I love planting lettuce under my tomatoes in the hot summer. You get a high yield of lettuce will into the summer because the tomato?s shade keeps the lettuce from bolting.

You should always try to rotate crops from season to season to prevent disease. In-season crop rotation is another way to increase your harvest. To accomplish this, you plant your vegetables based on their temperature requirements. Plant cold tolerant plants in the early spring when temperatures are cool and then replace them (after they have been harvested) with summer varieties.

Learn how to grow vegetables vertically. You might be limited on the amount of space you have, but the sky is the limit, literally, when you grow your plants vertically. Vegetables such as cucumbers, beans and some squash are great candidates for vertical growing. Allowing them to grow horizontally can consume a tremendous amount of your precious garden space. If plants grow up a strong structure, you can use all that vertical space to your advantage. And, this will allow you to grow more varieties, too.

As you can see, these simple solutions can help you realize an abundant vegetable garden harvest with limited space. Adopt these common-sense ideas and you will be well on your way to harvesting more vegetables from your garden this season. - 32616

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Hydroponic Strawberries - 10 Reasons To Make Your Own

By Damian Jackson

Have you ever considered growing your own hydroponic strawberries? They are delicious and you could make money from them!

If you would like to know just some of the benefits of growing your own hydroponic strawberries, then read the list below.

1. You don't need a garden to grow hydroponic strawberries so anybody can do it! If you live in a crowded apartment block in the city centre you can grow them! If you live in the desert or Antarctica then its not a problem!

2. Because you're not using soil, no soil borne diseases will be passed on to the plants! This solves a big problem for many gardeners.

3. There will be no need to eliminate any soil loving pests! So you will have no need to use any expensive or controversial pesticides.

4. Once you have your strawberries growing, your running costs will be around 20% lower compared to soil based gardening.

5. You can grow more hydroponic strawberries in a smaller area! This is due to the decreased size of the roots as they don't have to spread out to find nutrients. So you will be able to grow more in your growing trays.

6. Maintenance time is greatly reduced from as soon as your system is set up. There is no need to water your strawberries as they will already have access to all the nutrients. There is also no weeding involved as there is no soil. All you really need to do is pick the strawberries as and when they're ready.

7. The yield is year round. You control the growing conditions and you will have them set to the strawberries optimum levels so that they will continue to produce without a break due to the seasons.

8. You can grow hydroponic strawberries anywhere; greenhouse, cellar, kitchen, conservatory, rooftop, window ledge, living room or in the garden.

9. Hydroponic strawberries grow on average 40% bigger than their soil grown counterparts. This is because they have permanent access to all the nutrients they need and you have created the ideal growing environment for them! - 32616

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9 Reasons To Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes

By Charlie Jackson

If you're thinking of growing your own hydroponic tomatoes then you should as they are delicious and you can make some serious money.

Below are some reasons why you should grow hydroponic tomatoes.

1. As you won't be growing your tomatoes in soil, no soil borne diseases will be passed on! You will end up with much healthier tomatoes as a result which will really show!

2. For the same reason, you will not need to spend money on pesticides to eliminate any soil loving pests and other creatures. A gardeners worst problem is solved.

3. Once the initial start up costs have been made, running costs are around 20% lower with hydroponics as opposed to traditional soil based gardening.

4. You will be able to plant more tomatoes in a smaller area! This is despite them actually growing larger too! The reason for this is because the roots do not need to grow as large in hydroponic environments.

5. Maintenance time is greatly reduced when growing hydroponic tomatoes. Weeding doesn't exist in hydroponic gardens and there is no need to water them as they already have full access to all the nutrients they need! In fact all you need to do is sit back and pick them once they're ready!

6. The yield is year long and permanent! You control their environment and you will make it so that it's optimum for tomatoes all the time. When it's off season you can sell them for higher prices.

7. You can grow hydroponic tomatoes anywhere; conservatory, living room, garage, roof top, window ledge or cellar.

8. They will grow on average 40% larger as you will have created the ideal growing environment for them and they have full access to all the nutrients they need.

9. As you will not be watering them, there will be no danger of you either under or over watering them and putting them in danger. This is a big problem faced by many novice gardeners. - 32616

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Tips On Growing Your Vegetable Garden

By Carrie Smith

Gardening means unusual things to different people. Many people vision gardening as a hobby, an exercise or a soothing get away from the pressures of city environment. For these people, the food produced may be just about secondary. Growing fresh vegetables, herbs, or fruits gives a great sense of happiness and accomplishment. A vegetable garden can also lessen the food budget of a family. One of the major reasons that people garden is that vegetables from the supermarket cannot compare in taste, class, or cleanness with vegetables grown in the home garden.

A number of veggies grow like weeds in definite temperature and others reduce in size or will just die and this is because of the different climate. Growing a vegetable garden depends on the weather situation. So, it is better to talk first to an expert in gardening before putting up your own home vegetable garden.

So, decide on what vegetable you want to cultivate in your garden. This is the first step. But, you should be aware that not all vegetables can grow suitably in your home. And this is because of the different weather, oddly deprived growing situations and the boundaries of space.

The second thing you should do is to create a plan in your garden. This includes the different vegetables you want to be there in your garden, the space amid the rows and the moment you plant your vegetables.

The third concern is soil. You do not need to have the perfect type of soil to grow an excellent garden. If possible the soil should be productive and easy to till, with just the right texture -- a loose, well-drained loam. Keep away from any soil that remains squelchy after a rain. Weighty clay and sandy soils can be improved by adding organic matter. Of course, gardening will be easier if you start with a naturally rich soil.

The fourth concern is water. The most efficient watering system is drip irrigation. It puts the water directly in the soil where it is needed and keeps the tops dry so there are less disease problems. There are also water timers available to take care of watering automatically.

Lastly, there should be good air drainage. Avoid positioning the garden in a low spot such as the bottom of a hill or the foot of a slope bounded by a solid barrier. These areas are slow to warm in the spring, and frost forms more readily in them because cold air cannot drain away. Vegetable gardens placed on elevated ground are more possibly to escape light freezes, permitting an earlier start in the spring and a longer crop in the fall. - 32616

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You Can Grow Vegetables Anywhere!

By Joan Williams

How much more fresh can your salad get. Fifteen minutes ago, these vegetables were in the ground growing. Now they have been picked, washed, chopped and are ready for you and your family to eat. You can't help but smile at the fact that you were able to create food. Useful skill and it certainly will help the pocketbook a little bit. Gardening has become a hobby and a way to make extra income. Plus, you are spending more time outside than you have in a long time.

Can anyone grow vegetables? Sure you can. The basic rules are the same, sunshine and water. But each living situation presents challenges unique to that locale. You can have a garden if you live in an apartment. It just presents different challenges than a huge backyard. If you live in the north, even though it is cold half of the year, you can still have a garden. You could even make money at your local farmer's market using the land on your hobby farm.

Apartment dwellers need to look at their balconies, and then from there, find out what is the best way to set up your garden. There are special growing containers you can purchase, or even make from containers you have around the house. A simple internet search can help you get everything set up. Just remember that you will be somewhat limited with what you can grow, as you won't be able to set up what is needed for root vegetables.

People who live further up north do have the ability to grow outside, but they can also take advantage of greenhouses. Just don't put greenhouses in the "northern climate only" category. Some areas get so hot, that the heat actually stops vegetables growing. Greenhouses can also be used to keep the temperature cool enough for vegetables to grow. Greenhouses are great to keep temperatures stable. That is the best way to describe them. Just remember, no matter what you decide to grow in your greenhouse, make sure you get the seeds that are made specifically for greenhouse growing.

Starting a hobby farm has regained popularity in recent years. For some people it is about avoiding the downside of urban living, while others may be thinking about making it a secondary, even primary source of income. A small family can easily run a small hobby farm with a couple of acres and a tractor. With a smaller farm, the harvest can be sold through the local farmer's market, thereby giving the farmer all of the profits.

All you need is water and a little sun, and soon you too can enter the world of growing vegetables. No matter where you are, if you get sun for a minimum of 6 hours on a piece of your land, you can start a garden. The best place to get information on what will be the best vegetables for you to grow is your local nursery. They can let you know what kind of special things you may need for the crops you are going to be growing.

Your local nurseries and gardening clubs will be able to provide you with all the information you will need to set up in your area. Don't be surprised if what you are able to grow is much more than you initially thought. - 32616

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Planning A Vegetable Garden

By Joan Williams

Vegetables that are picked on your own backyard are more delicious than those on the market. There is a certain gratification on eating vegetables that you yourself have planted. It is recommended that you should have a bigger and wider backyard if you're starting to have a vegetable garden. But if you don't have enough space, you can also plant your vegetables on your window boxes. Now, you and your family can enjoy the crops that you've planted.

Do your planning on advance if you want to have a vegetable garden. Planning can affect the success rate of your vegetables. There are different ways to plant your crops. First, the old fashion way where your plants are arrange in long and orderly rows. Having this kind of planting method can ruin the soil structure every time you walk between rows. Second, plant your crops in a bed method. With this kind of method, you can concentrate your compost in an area where you've planted your crops.

Bed usually ranges from 8 to 12 inches in height to improve the drainage system. This can help the soil stay warmer in colder weather. And finally, you can use the portager. Portager mixes flowers and herbs and vegetables together in one bed to create a functional and ascetic look.

And also location should be considered when planning for a garden. Plants need a lot of sunlight and needs open area to grow well. And vegetables need 8 long hours of sunlight each day to grow well. To economize your garden, you should grow your crops next to each other that mature at different time. So that your garden crops can have all the sunlight and space they want when needed.

Your location should have a good soil. Good soil is not easy to find. To check the nature of your soil, squeeze a handful of soil for moisture content. When it forms a clump then the soil is not good for gardening because it is too wet to work. In order to enhance your soil quality, you should use the right tillage and good organic and soil amendments.

This type of soil might form into hard cemented clumps. In order to enhance the quality of your soil at the same time increase your yield. You should use the correct tillage and good organic and soil amendments. Also, you should plant on ground level for ease in irrigating. Planting on a slope level can wash away your soil during irrigation. To solve this problem, put rows across the slopes. For vining crops like tomato, squash, cucumber and pole beans, plant them in a vertical manner. By using trellises, stakes, cages or other supports can minimize your spaced used and also maximize your work area.

Finally, make sure to plant enough crops for your family. When planting vegetables you should consider factors like disease resistance, maturity date, compactness of plant, and also the size, the shape, and the color of the vegetables. Also, gardening is a way to ease stress. So try to enjoy it. - 32616

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