Monday, August 31, 2009

Planting Vegetable Gardens for Stress Relief 3

Composite image to illustrate the diversity of...Image via Wikipedia

Surrounded with life

Being surrounded with plants alone is both invigorating and encouraging. Days and days spent indoors and at the workplace prevent us from getting in touch with nature, thus we tend to have limited means to appreciate everything that’s grand and beautiful in life. Picture yourself being surrounded with plants that teem with life and growth, and their edible parts improve the appetite and nourish the body with essential vitamins and minerals.

Having your on little piece of nature can help you get rid of stress. The sight of your vegetable garden alone gets rid of stress by giving you that rewarding feeling, knowing you raised those healthy plants with your own hands. Raking, digging, weeding, pruning and harvesting – all these activities done while planting vegetable gardens provide a constructive outlet for all the tensions that the body amassed during a week of stressful work.


Happy gardening,
--Greg

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Planting Vegetable Gardens for Stress Relief 2

Relishing the sunlight

Getting enough sunlight while tending your vegetable garden alone will already significantly improve your mood. It’s also a great and productive way to have enough vitamin D, which is necessary for proper absorption of calcium in your body. Try to picture some of the happiest moments of your childhood; it is without a doubt that most of them were spent under the nourishing radiance of the sun.

Hours spent at the office means exposure to unnatural light. Not that it is bad to be exposed to light coming from incandescent bulbs, but the lack of being exposed to natural light of the sun is. For sure those skyscrapers are blocking out the sunlight from directly hitting your skin even as you walk to work in the morning.

Attending to the needs of your vegetable garden in the backyard is a great opportunity to get enough sunlight. However, it is best if you forgo gardening from 11 am to 3 pm as the sun within this time frame is most likely to cause you irreversible skin damage and cancer.


Happy gardening,
--Greg

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Planting Vegetable Gardens for Stress Relief

Garden in May 09Image by Sbocaj via Flickr

Planting Vegetable Gardens for Stress Relief

More than letting you reduce the sum of money allocated for food, there is another very beneficial effect of planting vegetable gardens that will really give your health a great deal of favor: stress relief.

We all know how stress wreaks havoc to our overall health. Aside from the more obvious fact that stress takes out joy and serenity in our lives, it is also the root of many illnesses known to man. The negative effects of stress in our lives can and will bring several problems such as: heart diseases, depression, migraine, eating disorders and many others. Having your own garden in the backyard is an easy and highly accessible method of stress relief. Since a vegetable garden is fairly easier to look after than one with ornamental plants, you know that working on your garden does not simply create additional stresses.

The weekends are perfect to unwind and make up for stressful hours during a week-long of taxing hours spent at the workplace. Different people have different ways of getting rid of stress. Imagine if you have a vegetable garden in your backyard; just don your gardening attire, step out and you can immediately get in touch with nature and put behind you the stresses of life. Now compare that to a weekend at the beach. Just the long hours of travel, heavy traffic, and the additional expenses for gas and accommodation will only add to your already stressful life.


Happy gardening,
--Greg

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Preparing the Soil

Loess field in GermanyImage via Wikipedia

Preparing the Soil

A very important aspect of planting vegetable gardens is preparing the soil. It doesn't matter whether you plan to raise vegetables in a small plot of land or in a plant box. Soil preparation is an essential step. Soil can be categorized as sandy or clay-like, with silt being a fine mixture of both sand and clay. Clay particles in sand help retain water longer as well as make the soil absorb water faster. Sandy particles in soil makes the water flow through it easily and lets the air in so that the roots can breathe.

Recently I had a friend who's tomato plant leaves looked like they were shriveling up and he could not figure out why. When I looked at them, it was clear that his plants were suffocating and needed oxygen. His soil needed some sand worked in to allow proper drainage and oxygen.

The best way to go when preparing the soil for your vegetable garden is to make the soil a good balance of clay, silt, and sand. Ideally, it should be 40% silt, 40% sand, and 20% clay. To test it, you can scoop up soil and form it into a ball using your hand. It should not be too hard as to not crumble when you poke at it, but it should also be sticky enough that it retains its shape even if you don't press it too hard with your hands.

Planting vegetable gardens require a lot of patience. You have to find what works for you, and experiment on getting the right type of soil for the right type of vegetables. All the hard work will be worth it, though, once you experience eating something that grew from a garden that you planted yourself.


Happy gardening,
--Greg

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Planting Styles

"Siphoneae" from Ernst Haeckel's Kun...Image via Wikipedia

Planting Styles

The more traditional way of planting vegetables is laying them out in straight, organized lines. Some people prefer to plant alternating rows of different types of vegetables so that when one type of vegetable is about to be harvested, the rows in between them have vegetables that are not yet in season. The soil structure quickly becomes ruined because gardeners have to walk between rows, though.

A popular way of planting vegetable these days is planting them in beds rather than the traditional rows. The beds have to be small enough in size so that you can reach into it and pull out the weeds that will grow among your plants. Beds can also be raised a bit higher off the ground so that the heat will be kept inside longer during cold weather. It also makes for a good drainage system around the beds.

Another planting style that is popular is potager which combines vegetables with flowers and herbs and are planted in a way that is aesthetically pleasing.

For people who have constrained living spaces (especially those who live in the city), vegetables and herbs can grow in smaller plant boxes and containers. Vegetables will need a lot of sunlight and open spaces. If you want to reap a lot of vegetables, you should invest in bigger real estate.


Happy gardening,
--Greg

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Building Vegetable Garden Structures

A trellis for plantsImage via Wikipedia

Building Vegetable Garden Structures

Building some decorative arches and some tomato cages not only makes your garden look good but also helps it produce more crops. After all, there is more to planting vegetable gardens than just cultivating a spot of land.

Function Over Form
The most well known form garden structures are those that are built to sustain plants and give them the room to climb, hold up the weight of its fruits and other plants as well.

Building cages and poles lets you have a vertical garden which boosts your produce per square foot since you’ll have more space to plant in the ground.

Vegetables like cucumbers, peas, peppers and eggplants need lots of garden support. Carrying these vegetables above ground not only will produce better crop it also protects it from insects found in the soil. Plus, the fruits will be less likely to rot if planted this way. Building other support structures like stakes and cages will help in making your plants grow stronger and taller.

Choose Your Structure
If you plan to shop for things for your garden online or in a garden store, you’ll notice how many choices there are when it comes to garden structures. Garden structures may vary especially in terms of form and function because they not only are supportive of plants but also make your garden look good. The best kind of garden structure is not only beautiful, but also enhances the health of the vegetables planted there.

Form over Function
There are so many options when it comes to building your vegetable garden especially if you’re purpose is purely aesthetic. You can build ornaments like arches, trellises or archways to beautify your garden. You can even build walls or doorways to surround your garden for a more visual appeal.

For gardens like these, you can decorate them with plants aside from vegetables. You can plant beautiful flowers to cover your trellis but choose flowers that are sun friendly and attract helpful insects.

An example is trumpet flowers, which are not only beautiful but they attract bees for your vegetable garden. Since you also want to attract helpful creatures, you can build a bird bath or a bird house in your garden. If you’re particularly into organic gardening, the birds can certainly help eliminate pests

As long as you keep your garden attractive to birds and other helpful insects, they will spend a lot of time in your garden and repay you by eating away harmful pests.

Supporting Your Plants
Plant supports are essential garden structures which is why it’s necessary to use them in the proper way to maximize results. This does not mean building stakes or cages and leave the plant to grow on its own.

There are other materials like plant ties, jute cords or twines which you can use to tie up your plant to the cages or poles, just don’t tie them too tight.

Another great support when it comes to planting vegetables gardens are stakes. Make sure to drive them properly into the ground and space them a little further from your main plant to avoid hitting its roots.


Happy gardening,
--Greg

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Advantages of Planting Vegetable Gardens 4

A plantation of Douglas-fir in Washington, U.S.Image via Wikipedia

Help save the environment

Society wants to talk about going "green", well I can't think of a better way than to grow a garden. If commercially grown vegetables receive little demand from consumers, then commercial farmers will find no reason to expand their plantations. So there’s no need to cut down rain forests and devastate habitats of wild animals. Also, if demand is lowered farmers will use less pesticide and other harmful chemicals that pollute our rivers and the rest of the environment. You might feel that you as a concerned citizen cannot contribute that much positive impact on the environment by planting vegetable gardens. But imagine the difference made if everyone planted vegetables in their own yard.


Happy gardening,
--Greg

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Advantages of Planting Vegetable Gardens 3

Unloading a truck-load of mulchy soil for gard...Image via Wikipedia

A great way to workout

If you got little or no time to go to the gym or health spa to workout, then let gardening provide your daily dose of exercise. Tending your vegetable garden for at least 30 minutes a day is a great way to burn those excess calories and lose weight. You are able to work several major muscle groups in the body, like the legs, arms, back, buttocks and many others. Gardening is also improves your flexibility each time you stretch to reach for weeds or bend to plant a seedling.

By the time your crops are ready for harvest, you will notice a change in your body, especially if you look after your garden on a regular basis. Unlike jogging, playing basketball and others, gardening has less impact on your joints. Gardening is best were vigorous exercises is not applicable, such as for people with high blood pressure, heart diseases, bone joint disorders and many others.



Happy gardening,
--Greg

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Advantages of Planting Vegetable Gardens 2

Mom's Vegetable GardenImage by Chiot's Run via Flickr

Guaranteed no harmful chemicals

Chances are you might not fully know whether the vegetables you buy at the supermarket are free of pesticides. Some vendors claim that their vegetables are free from harmful chemicals. What about if the soil where those crops grew was exposed to pesticides before or they were planted next to crops sprayed with pesticides? Prolonged dietary exposure to pesticides is linked to various adverse reproductive and developmental effects, although there is little data to support this. Your children are at higher risk to the dangers of such chemicals on the vegetables they consume. Their bodies are not yet fully developed to properly metabolize or excrete such substances.


Happy gardening,
--Greg

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Advantages of Planting Vegetable Gardens 1

L├ęgumesImage via Wikipedia

Advantages of Planting Vegetable Gardens

Is there a patch of land in your backyard that’s been left useless all this time? If you’re still undecided to what to make out of it, maybe it’s high time you consider planting vegetables in it. Read on to learn some of the advantages of planting vegetable gardens.

Yummier veggie treats
Many people attest that vegetables grown in their own backyard tastes much better than those bought at grocery stores. They remark how much flavorful their harvests are, whether used as ingredients in a fresh veggie salad or cooked dishes. Be it because of the extra amount of love and care these home-grown vegetables got or the person taking pride in growing crops in his or her backyard, or that they're vine ripened, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is what you serve on the table is fresh right off your vegetable garden and more scrumptious for every member of the family to enjoy. You are also assured that what you put on the table is fresh and free from harmful chemicals like preservatives.


Happy gardening,
--Greg

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Wheel Hoe

Raised bed of lettuce, tomatoes, 6 different t...Image via Wikipedia

The Wheel Hoe

With a wheel hoe, the work of preserving the soil mulch becomes very simple. If one has not a wheel hoe, for small areas very rapid work can be done with just a basic hoe.

Here are a few practical suggestions that will reduce this work to a minimum:

  1. Get at this work while the ground is soft; as soon as the soil begins to dry out after a rain is the best time. Under such conditions the weeds will pull out by the roots, without breaking off.
  2. Immediately before weeding, go over the rows with a wheel hoe, cutting shallow, but just as close as possible, leaving a narrow, plainly visible strip which must be hand- weeded. The best tool for this purpose is the double wheel hoe with disc attachment, or hoes for large plants.
  3. See to it that not only the weeds are pulled but that every inch of soil surface is broken up. It is fully as important that the weeds just sprouting be destroyed and that the larger ones be pulled up. One stroke will destroy a hundred weed seedlings in less time than one weed can be pulled out after it gets a good start.
  4. Use one of the small hand ones until you become skilled with it. Not only may more work be done but the fingers will be saved unnecessary wear.

The skillful use of the wheel hoe can be acquired through practice only. Make sure to watch the wheels only: the blades, disc or rakes will take care of themselves.

Now for the serious raised bed gardener who wants to save the back, a small tiller can make short work of all this. It will do everything the wheel hoe can do, but with power. It keeps the weeds down and breaks up the soil allowing for oxygen, nutrients and water to feed the plants. The key is that it needs to be small, not only to fit in between plants, but also for lifting into the raised beds. I’ve lifted full size tillers into raised beds before and it’s not easy or pretty.

When it comes to small tillers, every gardener knows that the Mantis is the best. It weighs only 20 pounds and works like a full size one. It has a money back guarantee and one of the best warranties in the industry. Besides, if I buy something, I always try to make sure it can be used for more than one purpose and the Mantis can be used not only at the beginning and end of the season, but all throughout. Plus, with all the attachments the Mantis can do a whole lot more.

And to sweeten the pot further, right now they’re having a special where I can get you FREE shipping and a BONUS 2 FREE attachments (you save $99). Click the Ad below for details.

Happy gardening,
--Greg

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Secrets Behind A Successful Compost

Compost StructureImage by Mickki via Flickr

by Wayne Allen

Composting is a way of getting in touch with nature. Stay away from the chemically enhanced fertilizers at the stores. You can make your own fertilizer through a process known as composting. In the process you will probable have the opportunity to get down on your knees and get your hands a dirty, and nothing is dirtier than compost.

Compost is the process where biodegradable materials are turned into a soil like substance. The material is mixed with water, air, nitrogen in the proper proportions. The result is a compost material that will serve as a soil conditioner, mulch, and fertilizers. It will feed your garden soil the microorganism that plants need to grow strong and healthy.

When starting a compost program it is best to find a spot close to your garden, but some where concealed from plain site. When you show people your beautiful garden you do not want the first thing they see to be your compost heap. They are practical but not very pretty.

After you decide on a suitable area you will want to start the pile with green and brown organic materials. Green materials have lots of nitrogen while the brown material contain lots of carbon. These two elements form the basic foundation of a compost pile.

A properly formed compost pile will not give off any odors. When the ratio of green and brown materials are correct the pile will not emit any odors. Compost should have an earthy smell and not that of rotting material. If the latter is present then something may be in the pile that should not be there or the ratio of green and brown material is off.

Adding some finished compost to the mix helps to kick start the composting process. This will help start the microbial activities in a compost program.

Make sure that the pile is moist also. Keeping the compost pile damp will help to quicken the breakdown of the organic materials. Add water to the pile it should be damp like a sponge.

Producing compost is really a pretty simple matter. It just takes a little know how and a fair amount of time.

This guide to composting for beginners is meant to give you the facts you desire to begin composting. If you would like to learn more visit the Kitchen Composter Blog.


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