Every times don’t use same formula in your home garden. Change the formula
- A dramatic, attention-getting “THRILLER”
Tomato , Brinjal , Bhendi
- An accent “FILLER” for shape and volume
Amaranths , Fennel , Mints
- And a “SPILLER” to extend the visual effect downward
Lotus , Hibiscus , Moringa
Discover how easy it is to create a vegetable garden to savor with your eyes AND your taste buds!
You’ll be amazed at how beautiful, productive, and easy this groundbreaking technique makes your vegetable garden!
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If you have an avocado tree that is so rife with fruit, the limbs are in danger of breaking. This may lead you to wonder, “Should I thin my avocado fruit?” Avocado fruit thinning is similar to thinning other fruiting trees, such as apples. Removing avocado fruit may or may not be a good idea, it all depends on how and when you go about thinning the avocado fruit. So how do you thin avocado fruit? Read on to learn more.
About Avocado Fruit Thinning.
Columnar cultivars of avocado are pinched at an early age to attain a more rounded habit, but most other types of avocado require no training and little pruning. Any pruning of avocado that may be done is done so judiciously since avocado trees are susceptible to sunscald, which results in defoliation. Avocado fruit is also self-thinning, so thinning avocado fruit is generally not required.
Should I Thin My Avocadoes?
While thinning isn’t normally required, several cultivars of avocado are in the habit of bearing fruit in alternate years. That is, in a particular year, the tree produces a staggering amount of fruit, so much that the energy from the tree either cannot support the enormous quantity or the resulting yield is high but fruit is small. In the following year, the tree’s energy is so depleted that it barely fruits, if at all. In this case, it may be advisable to lightly thin the fruit. Also, thinning is advisable when multiple trees begin to grow together such that their canopies begin to lose light.
How to Thin Avocado Fruit When trees are bearing overly heavily, they often drop a lot of fruit before it reaches maturity and any fruit that is left behind is often of a small size. Removing some avocado fruit will allow the tree to expend energy on the remaining avocadoes, resulting in larger fruit. Avocado fruit is borne in clusters, sometimes just a few and sometimes many fruit are growing together. Take a good look at the grouping of immature fruit and identify any that are misshapen, diseased or pest damaged, and the smallest fruit. These are the fruit you will remove, leaving just the largest, healthiest looking avocado in the cluster. Using sharp bypass pruners, snip off the immature fruit at the stem. I know it’s hard, but continue in this way until you have evenly spaced fruit on the tree. Space fruit about 6 inches (15 cm.) apart on the tree. If you have a cluster of fruit very close to the one that has just been thinned, it is best to remove it rather than thinning to one fruit.
I have an amazing espalier rosebush in my backyard this year that is setting records with the sheer amount of blooms on it. Unfortunately it’s also suddenly covered in black spot fungus, and needs some major help right now.
Black spot is caused by a fungal infestation that occurs in wet locations, or humid places. It can be triggered by late evening watering, or misting sprinklers, and it spreads rapidly on roses if it’s not caught right away and pruned out. For bushes with major black spot problems a store-bought anti-fungal spray, or an application of horticultural oil can work adequately, but for the DIYers like myself, a home remedy will fix the problem and save you the gas and pocket money.
- Vegetable Oil
- Liquid Dish soap
- One 25-32 oz. spray bottle (reuse a windex bottle, or purchase a commercial equivalent)
Combine 1/2 a teaspoon of dish soap with 1/2 a teaspoon of vegetable oil in your spray bottle, and fill completely with water, leaving only enough room for the straw and cap to screw on without overflow. Lightly shake, and then liberally spray this anti-fungal spray all over your roses, leaves, blooms and all.
For the next three weeks apply this recipe to your roses, and you should see results quickly. For added benefit, if you wash your dishes by hand in the sink you should transfer the soapy sink water to a pail or watering can, and use that water to hydrate the base of your rose bushes. Gentle soapy water can temporarily kill any fungus living in the mulch, or the soil at the base of the plant, and prevent the fungus from attacking your roses again in the near future.
Container gardening is a method of growing fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers in pots, hanging baskets, planters, and other containers. Container gardens are a great way for gardeners who don’t have lots of space to grow their own food!
To create a container garden, you will need:
- Potting soil
- Seeds and/or plant starts
- Water and a watering can or hose.
- A natural fertilizer (compost tea or fish emulsion)
Step 1: Survey for Sun and Shade
Look around your home for the best place to put your container garden. Which areas get the most sun? Which areas are shaded? Put your containers in the spot with the most sun! Vegetable plants need lots of sunshine to grow and produce food. For example:
- Tomatoes, peppers & eggplant need full sun. Leafy greens & root vegetables can live with a little shade.
- Patios, balconies, porches, and windowsills can all be good places for your garden.
- If you have a fence or railing, you can use it like a trellis for peas or beans.
Step 2: Find Your Containers.
For most vegetable plants, you will need five-gallon containers, or larger. The containers must have holes in the bottom so that water can drain out. Otherwise the soil can become waterlogged and plant roots won’t be able to get the air they need to survive!
Step 3: Pick out Your Soil
Soil in a container garden needs to be good at holding water and nutrients. Potting soil is usually made with this in mind. Do not use soil from the ground, because it will not hold water or nutrients very well. You can buy potting soil at any garden store, but make sure the soil package says that it can be used in a vegetable garden. We recommend using organic potting soil, because it holds nutrients better and does not have chemicals.
Step 4: Selecting the Right Plants
Choose varieties of plants that are well-suited for growing in containers. Plants in containers will have less space and less soil than they would if they were planted in the ground. For example: Smaller (dwarf) plant varieties grow better in containers than larger varieties (i.e. cherry tomatoes grow better in a container than large slicing tomatoes).
Step 5: Water Often!
Plants growing in containers need a lot more watering than plants growing in a backyard garden. This is because water drains out through the holes in bottom. You can put a tray underneath your containers to catch the water that drains out. The plant will then absorb the water later.
- During the summer, you will probably need to water your containers every day, especially if they are in full sun.
- Water in the early morning or evening. When the sun is less strong, the plants will be able to absorb more water, and you will lose less water to evaporation.
Step 6: Make the Most Out of a Small Space
- Grow Vertically! Use trellises, stakes, or a nearby fence to help your plants grow UP instead of across. This works with VINING PLANTS like squash, peas, beans, and tomatoes!
- Companion Planting: Instead of planting one type of vegetable in each container, mix and match different vegetables! Most vegetables have other plants that they grow well with. These are called ‘companion plants’.
Step 7: Fertilizing and Soil Care
Well-fed plants are happy plants! Plants in a container garden need to be fertilized often, because nutrients in the soil wash out of the container’s holes every time you water. We recommend that you fertilize your containers at least once a month! This will make a big difference in the amount of food that your garden produces.
Fish emulsion and compost tea are good organic (non-chemical) fertilizers. They are safe for food, people and pets to be around:
- Fish emulsion is a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer. You can buy it at any garden supply store. You will need to dilute it with water, then pour it on the soil around your plants. The bottle will tell you the proper mixture. It is actually made from fish parts—so it can be a little stinky!
- Compost tea: Compost tea is a natural liquid fertilizer made from finished compost and water. Put a few cups of finished compost in a bucket of water and let it sit for 5-10 days, or until the water turns the color of weak coffee. Use the finished mixture to water your containers!
- Worm composting is also great way to make your own fertilizer! Check out our blog in upcoming weeks for more information on worm composting.
Step 8: Preparing for Winter
You can use the same containers and soil for many years.
- Every winter, cover the soil with a layer of mulch to protect it from weeds and rain. Fallen leaves make a great mulch!
- Put the containers under cover if possible, to protect them from the rain.
- Add fresh compost to the containers in the spring.
Gardening Tip #1: Insulate tomatoes with plastic wrap
Tomatoes thrive in stagnant, hot weather. Unfortunately, our weather here is neither. It’s a cool and windy 68 degrees year-round, so it takes extra effort to make warm weather plants produce fruit.
Wrapping the bottom two rungs of the tomato cage with plastic wrap simulates a greenhouse. The heat is trapped inside the plastic wrap and the plants are blocked from the wind. By the time the plants reach the top of the plastic wrap, they’re strong plants and well adjusted to the temperatures and wind!
How To Do It:
Have a small helper hold the end of the plastic wrap onto a vertical stake with two hands. Wrap the plastic wrap around one full time, and then continue wrapping around as you work your way down or up the cage (we started at the top and worked down). Be sure to wrap at least two layers to get the full effect and make the plastic wrap stick to itself. I used the plastic wrap I had in the kitchen, but you might want to consider a 20″ heavy duty plastic wrap if you have several plants to wrap.
Gardening Tip #2: Insulate smaller plants with milk jugs
It’s the same concept as the tomatoes, but we’re using it on bell peppers in our $15 raised garden bed. Bell peppers also need warmer weather, but we’re hoping that insulating them with the milk jugs gives them a fighting chance through our cooler springs so maybe, just maybe, they might bear fruit come summer!
How To Do It:
Using a pair of scissors, cut off the top and bottom of a used milk jug. Rinse it out well and place it over/around the plant. Be sure to pack a little bit of dirt against the outside edges of the milk jug so that it doesn’t easily knock over when the wind blows.
Gardening Tip #3: Catch pincher bugs with oil
Also known as earwigs, pincher bugs like to eat the leaves of the plants. Specifically, they’re eating our zucchini plants. They are hungry, vicious little bugs and you have to act fast if you want your plants to survive (trust me, I’ve already lost one!).
We tried the newspaper trick, where you roll up newspaper, get it slightly damp and place it in the garden bed. Then bright and early the next morning you remove the newspaper and dispose of the bugs. Apparently “bright and early” is much earlier than we wake up, so there wasn’t ever any bugs inside.
Then we tried to lure them and drown them with oil. And it totally worked! Our three remaining zucchini plants are doing much better and now stand a chance to meet the goal of one zucchini for the year!
How To Do It:
You’ll need an old plastic container with a lid (think yogurt, sour cream or cottage cheese). Using a pair of scissors, cut a oval-shaped hole about 1″ from the top of the container. Repeat this so that there are 4-5 holes in the container. Bury the container in the garden so that the holes are ground level. Fill the container with 3 parts cheap cooking oil to 1 part soy sauce. The bugs will be lured in by the soy sauce and will drown and get stuck in oil. (To help gauge, we used about 3/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup soy sauce for a 32 oz yogurt container.)
Gardening Tip #4: Deter other bugs with cayenne pepper spray
While the homemade earwig traps are working well, there are still some bugs in the garden that are chomping on leaves (ants?). While the damage isn’t too bad, we’re taking precautionary measures and keeping them away with sticky cayenne pepper spray!
How To Do It:
Combine 1 tsp of cayenne pepper with 1 cup of hot water. Stir to dissolve the cayenne as much as possible. Pour into a spray bottle and add about 1 tsp of liquid dish soap. Fill the bottle with water and swish gently to combine (don’t shake otherwise you’ll just make a lot of bubbles). Spray directly onto the leaves of the affected plants. Reapply every 2-3 days, or after watering, or as needed. I recommend getting durable spray bottles that you dedicate just for the garden and keep outside so they’re there when you need them. Otherwise it can be a pain walking back and forth from the garden to the house / garage / shed every time you see a bug.
Gardening Tip #5: Deep water tomato plants with a broomstick handle
Plants need water down at the roots, and watering at the surface level is fine for most of the time, but tomato plants especially benefit from a really good, deep water every few weeks or so. I didn’t have the forethought to install a plastic 2L bottle when I planted the tomatoes (nor did I have a 2L bottle!), so I came up with my own method for getting down deep into the roots.
How To Do It:
Taking the handle of a broom, align it with the edge of the container and plunge it all the way to the bottom. Move the handle in a circular motion until you have a hole that is just a bit bigger than the broom handle. Remove the broom and repeat to make 4-6 holes in the dirt, depending on the size of your pot. Water directly into the hole until the plant is saturated!
Gardening Tip #6 (BONUS!):
Fertilize the tomatoes while you’re deep watering
While you’re making deep holes near your tomato plants, go ahead and take advantage by adding a liquid fertilizer to the roots. I make a fertilizer tea for free otherwise I recommend an organic liquid fertilizer.
Even if you have really good soil and a lot of sunlight, there are still plenty of beginner gardening mistakes you can make that can keep your garden from turning out the way you had envisioned it would be.
I have rocky, sandy soil and a lot more shade than sun, so my poor little garden is already at a bit of a disadvantage, and my first few years I made plenty of beginner gardening mistakes.
Let’s just say it’s a good thing I’m not trying to depend on my garden to be my only source of food! I can only imagine the pressure that farmers and homesteaders must have felt back in the days when the success of their crops would decide whether they would go hungry that winter or not.
I still make plenty of mistakes now, too. When things get busy, I don’t put quite as much time into properly preparing the soil like I know I should. And there usually comes a point in the summer when it’s just so hot and humid that I basically give up on weeding completely.
Over the years, though, I’ve gradually learned how to make my garden a little bit more successful. It’s still pretty small, and it’s definitely not going to win any prizes for being the prettiest or the most neatly organized garden, but it’s a lot better than it used to be!
These four beginner gardening mistakes are all ones that I’ve made, and, if this is your first year gardening, hopefully you can avoid making the same mistakes I did and have a better chance at a successful first garden!
4 Beginner Gardening Mistakes to Avoid:
1) Planting Too Many Varieties of Veggies
When you’re just starting out with a garden, it’s a good idea to keep it as simple as possible for the first year. It’s tempting to want to try a little of everything, but you’ll have a much better chance of having a successful garden if you focus on just a few varieties for the first year and then add in others the next year.
When I first started ordering heirloom seeds online, I went a little bit overboard that first year. I wanted to try them all, and I ordered far too many of them. It was a lot to try to keep track of them all, and I ended up not having the time to really learn about how each type should be planted and what type of growing conditions they needed, etc.
Now that I’ve had a garden for a few years, I’ve figured out what types of plants do well in my yard and which ones don’t, but if I could go back to the year I first started a garden, I would have been better off just trying a few simple, easy-to-grow varieties like peas and beans.
2) Crowding Plants Too Close Together
This kind of goes along with the first mistake. If you’ve tried to plant too many varieties, you’re probably also trying to squeeze as many seeds or seedlings into your garden space as possible.
My first year gardening, I had visions of a huge harvest, and I packed the seeds as closely together as possible, thinking I would have more produce that way. I also didn’t thin out the seedlings properly after the seeds had sprouted because I hated the thought of pulling out perfectly healthy plants.
Instead of a huge, productive harvest, though, I ended with up weak, straggly-looking plants, and I could barely find room to step between them without destroying them (since I had forgotten about planning enough space to walk around them too.)
The moral of the story: less equals more. Fewer plants spaced further apart will end up being healthier and producing more fruit than plants crowded together.
3) Watering Plants Too Often, or at the Wrong Time of Day
I’ve been guilty of this mistake many times. It’s easy to worry so much about whether your plants are getting enough water that you end up giving them too much water by mistake. Some plants do need more water than others, but generally they do better with fewer, more thorough waterings (like they would get if if were raining) than they do with getting a shower from the hose every time you walk by and think they look even a little bit thirsty.
It’s also generally considered best to water in the earlier part of the day rather than in the evening because watering at night could contribute to the growth of fungus, especially for plants that don’t do well in very damp conditions.
4) Planting the Wrong Varieties Next to Each Other
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and you still can’t figure out why your garden isn’t thriving, it might be that you’re planting the wrong varieties next to each other.
Certain types of plants do really well when they are together, helping to keep away insects and pests or by helping to enrich the soil. Others plants, though, may actually inhibit the growth of the plants that they are near.
By using companion planting and planning your garden to keep together the varieties that work well with each other, you have a better chance of having a successful garden.
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