Home Vegetable Gardening – Growing Mustard

No not the yellow stuff you put on hot dogs at your backyard barbecue, I am talking about the green plant that adds some spice to your salads and other dishes. If you like spice with your food then add some mustard to the garden. You will be surprised as to how easy it is to grow. Here is how you can grow this cool weather plant right in your own backyard home vegetable garden.

It is easier to grow mustard if you start your seeds indoors. Start your seeds about two to three weeks prior to the last frost. It is best to use a portable greenhouse or humidity dome as that will speed up germination to less than six days.

Your mustard will grow best if the pH level of your soil is between 5.5 and 7.0. You can easily obtain the pH level of your soil by using a soil testing kit available from any home or garden center for less than a few bucks.

When you move your mustard plants outside, make sure they are in a spot that receives full sun throughout the day and especially sun first thing in the morning. Moderate watering is all mustard will need in order to grow and thrive. Do not over water as that could cause decay in the root system, or even worse, mildew to build up on the leaves.

When the leaves of the plants are about three to four inches they are ready to be harvested. When they reach this size you can clip off individual leaves and let the plant grow. If you let them go to six to eight inches then you can harvest the entire plant. The choice is yours, one of the beauties of home vegetable gardening.

Good companion plants include: bush beans, carrots, celery, cucumber, onions, and potatoes, where as you should avoid following cabbage in a rotation. Pole beans and strawberries make terrible companion plants.

As you can see mustard is not all too difficult to grow. Just make sure you plant your mustard when the temperatures are cooler outside. Early to mid spring and early to late autumn should do.

About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. Sign up for Mike’s vegetable gardening newsletter at his website: AveragePersonGardening.com and he will send you a free pack of vegetable seeds to get your garden started.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Michael_C_Podlesny/125919


Nothing, But Nothing Compares With a Home Herb Garden

Nothing compares to a home herb garden-but why? What are the advantages to growing your own herbs over buying products at the health food store? First let’s discuss the general advantages of using herbs themselves before we move on to the benefits of a home herb garden.

Herbs smell and taste wonderful.

Some claim that herbs help them spiritually and emotionally, while others just enjoy the physical benefits or sensations of these extracts.

Herbs can help to reduce the amount of sugar, fat and salt that you take in which will ultimately help you lose weight and help get your heart into shape. Herbs can also provide medical help to patients who are suffering from disease or persons who are attempting to stay healthy.

The Benefit of Fresh Herbs

That’s all well and good but isn’t it true that one can just as easily buy herbs from the grocery or health food store? Yes, but there is a world of difference in eating herbs grown from a home herb garden and eating herbs that have been stored for weeks on the racks.

Herbs are at their peak when freshly picked off the plant. This is when the herbs contain the highest content of vitamin and minerals. You can taste the difference when applying freshly picked herbs onto a salad or when making tea. If you are using herbs for homeopathic reasons then obviously you want to ingest the products when the vitamin and mineral content is at a peak.

Other reasons for wanting a home herb garden might include the convenience of the location (no need to travel all the way to the store), the ability to stock up on a particular type of herb, and the beneficial exercise that planting provides.

Economy and Other Advantages

Then you have to consider the economy of it all. Indeed, many shoppers are frustrated when they discover that the local store doesn’t carry their favorite type of herb. You don’t want excuses, you want herbs! When you grow your own herb plants, you maintain the full inventory. Why, you could even give away excess herbs to your friends and family members (if they are so lucky!). You can even use the herbs (or seedlings) as the perfect seasonal gift.

Starting your own home herb garden certainly saves you money.

Instead of paying astronomic prices at the supermarket (marked up for front end expenses) you are only paying for the container, plant mix and seedlings. You could save even more money by collecting the seeds after flowering and planting them next season. This saves you money on buying new plant materials.

Last but not least, you can start a garden at home just for the aromatic and aesthetic joy of it all.

Some people find gardening work (not to mention the smells) refreshing, relaxing and worth their time without any extra incentives. There is no downside to starting a garden at home! For more information on how to get started, talk to your local nursery or look up resources on how to plant a home herb garden.

Peter Bourke is a passionate herb gardening expert… for more great information about a home herb garden [http://whatareherbs.com/home-herb-garden/] visit [http://www.whatareherbs.com/].

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Peter_Bourke/426032


Home Water Garden Basics

Many times individuals will see a beautiful water pond and wish that they too had such a beautiful addition to add to the final touches of their garden. In reality they very well can, as they are not difficult to do. You can create water gardens as simple or as elaborate as you choose depending on your environment and your budget.

Ideally if it is your first time getting into building a water garden then you really should keep with something basic. The best way to do this is to start with a small pond. There are many items on the market that can help you build your pond quickly and most attractively.

You can determine whether you want to go with concrete base pond or just simply buy one of the pre-manufactured liners that are on the market. I suggest the pre-formed liners that not only perform well, but come in a variety of shapes and sizes to meet any expectation.

There are many styles of water ponds that are available to you and you’re going to find that it is going to be a most pleasurable project.

o You will need to determine what size, type and theme you are going to use for your home water garden. Following this, you want to pick the area where you are going to install your pond.

o A couple of things you want to consider here is the type of atmosphere in regards to sun and shade in your gardens area. Whether you have fish in your new pond or not you are going to need at least 6-8 hours of sun for proper growing conditions for your plant life.

o Once you have chosen your location consider the ground conditions as well whether you are going to be able to quickly and conveniently put in a liner or a concrete base that is of your choosing.

o Now there are the few different choices you need to make. You can choose plant themes such as a water lily pond or a variety of different types of plants. Once you have decided that you are going to go with a specific theme than your ready to decide on which additional plants you want to fill in the rest of the garden. Remember that you must have plant life that is going to be compatible with any fish stock that you are planning on having in your pond.

Individuals often wonder just how much maintenance there is to a home water garden. Of course there is a certain degree of maintenance and the major one is going to be as keeping your water clean. Nothing becomes worse looking than a pond that has become murky and full of algae. Ideally it would be a good move to try and stay as natural as you can with your pond by letting nature do its job in keeping your pond clean.

There is really no need to go out and buy a ton of chemicals or expensive filters. Everything you have is readily available to you it’s a matter of making the right choices.

Jason Boonstra is the author of “The Ultimate Water Garden Manual” – compulsory reading for anyone considering home water garden [http://www.watergardentips.com/home-water-garden]. This website contains valuable information on how to easily create & maintain your own stunningly beautiful Water Garden with lively & healthy fish…

For a FREE 20 part mini-course on “The Secrets To Creating & Maintaining a Stunning Water Garden!” go to => [http://www.watergardentips.com]

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Home Vegetable Gardening – Growing Chives

Chives make up the smallest member of the onion family. It is a native plant to Europe, North America and Asia. The name chive is derived from the Latin word cepa which translates into onion. Beyond adding chives to soups, stews and of course on top of sour cream, chives give home vegetable gardeners an incredible tool and that is, chives have insect repelling properties that can control garden pests.

As you will see in a moment chives are easy to add to any home vegetable garden, herb garden or simply to grow some in a pot on your window sill all year long. Here is how you can add and grow great tasting chives to your garden.

The seeds of chives are fairly small and therefore do not require to be planted very deep in your garden or in the pot that will sit on your window sill. Just lightly cover the seeds with some dirt. Their seeds will germinate in about fourteen days, sometimes sooner depending on the region of the world you live in.

Chives like the soil neutral to slightly acidic. Make sure your soil’s pH level is above 6.0 and at or below 7.0. In order to test the pH level of your soil you will need to use a soil testing kit available from any home or garden center for less than a few bucks. Once you obtain the reading, follow the instructions on the test kit instruction package to raise or lower your soil’s pH based on your findings.

Chives can grow in either full sun or partial shade and require moderate watering, so make sure you keep the soil moist for your chives. Space your seeds out about eight inches to give your chives plenty of room to grow and spread.

If you live in a warmer region of the world you can harvest chives all year round. Simply cut the plants about an inch above the soil. For those in a cooler climate if you wait too long too harvest chives can die in colder temperatures. You can simply just harvest the entire plant when the reach a size that is ready to use.

Chives make good companions for carrots and tomatoes whereas they make bad companions for beans and peas. Never precede or follow any member of the onion family with chives in a crop rotation cycle and never allow your chive plants to reach the size where seeds will drop. Your garden could become inundated with chive plants.

As you can see it is fairly easy to add this great herb to your backyard, porch or patio garden.

About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. Sign up for Mike`s vegetable gardening newsletter at his website: AveragePersonGardening.com and he will send you a free pack of vegetable seeds to get your garden started.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Michael_C_Podlesny/125919


Adding Dill to Your Home Vegetable Garden

Visit any website that features food recipes, do a search on dill and literally hundreds, if not thousands, depending on the website you visit, of recipes will appear for this great tasting herbs. The first one that comes to mind is dill pickles, but sprinkling dill in with some olive oil over top of some potatoes is a quick and tasty dish as well. Here is how you add dill to your home vegetable garden.

You can start dill seeds indoors before moving them outdoors; however they do not transplant well. Therefore simply wait until the potential for frost has passed in your area. The best way to plant dill seeds is to sprinkle some in the area where you want them to grow, cover slightly with soil and give them a moderate watering.

Dill grows best in soil that is a bit more acidic. A pH range for your soil in the area where you will be growing dill should be in the 5.5 to 6.5 range. If you are unsure of what the pH range of your soil is, purchase a home soil testing kit from any home or garden center. They cost only a couple of dollars. Follow the instructions on the kit to adjust your soil’s pH level to get it in the range noted above.

Dill likes full sun and moderate watering and high amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, so make sure you keep at least a one inch level of good quality compost at the base of your dill.

When the plant gets to the size of your liking it is ready to be harvested. Then simply harvest as you need. Dill also grows best when you simply leave it alone to do its own thing and only bothered when you harvest. So keep that in mind when you weed around your dill plants.

Besides being a great herb to add to your food dishes, adding dill to your home vegetable garden also has benefits to your gardening ecosystem. Dill attracts a variety of beneficial insects that go after insects that would normally do harm to your garden. So even if you do not consume dill, you should consider adding it to your garden.

If you, like me, follow a crop rotation in your garden, make sure your dill follows your beets and avoid following carrots or plants in the carrot family (such as parsnips). On a side note, dill makes for a good companion to plants in the cabbage family.

As you can see dill is easy to grow once you get the basics down. Simply follow the information above and you will be well on your way to growing great dill.

About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. You can follow Mike on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/mikethegardener or on his website at: AveragePersonGardening.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Michael_C_Podlesny/125919


Using Herbs From a Home Herb Garden

You went through the herbs planting and growing process. Now it’s time to use the herbs from a home herb garden.

First thing to do is harvesting the herbs. There are several ways to know when the right time to reap the plants is. You can tell by the color of the hair, the color of the trichomes or hardness of the buds. It is important to harvest them in the right time as this will provide much better quality of the herbs.

Other harvesting tip is to cut no more than one third of the plant at once. The herb needs a certain quantity of foliage to re-grow in better conditions.

Once you harvested the herbs you can do two things. Use them right away or preserve them.

One of the most common ways to preserve the herbs is freezing them. Herbs that you will not use right away can be kept frozen. You can chop the herbs, once clean, and freeze them in cubes of water or broth. Also they can be frozen between sheets of absorbent paper, especially the big-leaf herbs like sage.

Other preservation method is using oil or vinegar, preferably in opaque containers, so that the light does not reach them.

You can also use salt in a bowl alternating layers of salt and herbs. The ratio would be one part of salt to four parts of grass.

The third most common method is drying fresh herbs. This can be done under hot sun (but without direct sunlight) or near a stove. The herbs are dried without washing, tied in small bunches and hung upside down. You must be careful that the bundles do not touch each other. When using dried herbs in the kitchen, you must bear in mind that 1 teaspoon of dried herbs equals 3 of fresh herbs.

If you decide to add dried herbs into any recipe, it’s recommended adding them in the food in the last ten minutes of cooking, so that the heat releases their aroma. Crumbled dried herbs can be stored in hermetic glass jars.

There’s so much you can do with herbs and even better lots of ways to preserve them to be used at any time.

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