Category: Uncategorized

How to grow your own food in a modern-day victory garden

Originally from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/UrbanOrganicGardener/~3/WvQANexWPBs/

One silver lining of the coronavirus lockdown is that it comes at the start of the growing season. Between now and the fall, folks have the chance to coax food from the soil while also feeding the soul.

This year, a vegetable garden may also provide one thing we seem to be lacking at the moment: control over our lives. It includes the satisfaction of raising nutritious and delicious food, exercising outdoors while socially distancing, relieving pressure on the nation’s food supply system, passing essential knowledge on to your children and growing extra to share with others. At the very least, it’s a constructive distraction in a confined environment.

You can think of it as a Doomsday Garden; I prefer to regard the spring 2020 plot as the Stick It to the Virus Garden.

READ THE FULL STORY: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/how-to-grow-your-own-food-in-a-modern-day-victory-garden/2020/04/05/6a0fa7f0-737f-11ea-a9bd-9f8b593300d0_story.html

Gardening Projects Kids Will Love

Originally from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/UrbanOrganicGardener/~3/RplNqT73vSQ/

Upcycled Sandbox Garden

Put that old sandbox to good use by repurposing it into a fun, kid-friendly garden chock-full of healthy fruits and vegetables they’ll love.

Seed Bombs

Bring life and color to bare areas of your yard with these DIY seed bombs made from scrap paper.

Pizza Garden

Plant a pizza-shaped garden with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and other favorite toppings occupying each “slice.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE & SEE MORE IDEAS: https://www.hgtv.com/design/make-and-celebrate/handmade/kids-gardening-projects-pictures?fbclid=IwAR2j-b_XtGFri1bu3sUiKANT0Z85yCAAaNJbKJiv2Yf0dW3RK3IGeujxN4Q

Take an Online Gardening Class and Learn How to Create Your Most Beautiful Backyard Ever

Originally from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/UrbanOrganicGardener/~3/yK_0P3APJL4/

The coronavirus pandemic, and the broad quarantine guidelines that were put in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19, mean that Americans are spending more time at home than ever before. Staying home doesn’t have to be boring, though; in fact, we think this is the perfect time to exercise your green thumb. After all, if you’re going to log more hours in your own backyard, don’t you want it to be beautiful? Whether you’re new to gardening or consider yourself a total pro, there’s always an opportunity to pick up a few new skills. Now, the New York Botanical Garden is offering online classes—up to seven each day of the week—on a variety of different green topics, Apartment Therapy reports, so you can brush up on your gardening skills from the comfort of your own home.

If you’re interested in signing up, do so soon. One of the most popular classes—Botanical Watercolor for Beginners and Beyond—already has a waitlist for its May 4th session. “Enjoy painting botanical watercolors in a relaxed atmosphere. This class is designed for both inexperienced students and those who wish to improve their skills,” the course’s description on the NYBG website reads.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.marthastewart.com/7797113/new-york-botanical-gardens-online-gardening-classes

 

The benefits of container gardening and why it’s an adequate substitute for conventional gardening

Originally from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/UrbanOrganicGardener/~3/2TuTGXrQ7CI/

Photos: Lance Ellis | EastIdahoNews.com

Most times when we think of gardening, we envision a nicely laid out plot of straight rows of beans, corn, and other garden veggies. Often, we don’t consider other opportunities to produce great crops away from the garden and in unconventional methods.

One of these ways is through container gardening. Not everyone has the acreage or square footage in the yard, such as people who live in apartments, to plant a garden. Others may not have the time or energy required to manage and maintain a garden plot. Container gardening can offer the benefits of fresh produce and the satisfaction of growing your own crops without the extra responsibilities of a conventional garden.

One of the added benefits of container gardening is being able to protect your crops from damaging frosts at the beginning or end of the season by bringing the entire plant and container inside a garage or other shelter.

Containerized gardens are also easier to cover with protective fabric or another covering to save them from frost damage.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.eastidahonews.com/2020/04/the-benefits-of-container-gardening-and-why-its-an-adequate-substitute-for-conventional-gardening/

The Latest Mushroom Cultivation Technique is in “Yesterday’s News”

Originally from http://www.veggiegardeningtips.com/the-latest-mushroom-cultivation-technique-is-in-yesterdays-news/

Here’s a really quick, easy, and simple hack for growing mushrooms at home with just a few easily obtainable items. I learned this technique from a couple members of the Georgia Mushroom Growers Club at the Radical Mycology Convergence in New York last September.

The ingredient list is short and consists of “Yesterday’s News” Kitty Litter (unused and unsoiled of course), Guinea Pig food, distilled water, plastic bags, and some mushroom spawn of varieties such as oyster or shiitake. Sterile conditions are not necessary for success and there is no heating or pasteurization required.

One of the Easiest Ways You’ll Ever Find to Grow Mushrooms at Home

mushroom spawn runThis process is very simple! You place four cups of “Yesterday’s News” Kitty Litter in a clean container and add four cups of distilled or de-chlorinated water. Let sit until all of the water is absorbed by the kitty litter, then mix in one-third cup of Guinea Pig Food and three-fourths cup of mushroom spawn. This mixture is then packed tightly into a plastic bag. Those long slender sleeve type bags work perfectly for this task.

Tamp the media down to compress it and remove as much air as possible, then twist and tie a knot so that you are left with a solid tube of inoculated mushroom growing substrate. Cut four one inch slits in the sides of the bag to allow the spawn to breathe and place the bag in a dark, cool spot.

The Spawn Run and Colonization of Your Mushroom Bags

mushrooms buddingThen it’s just a matter of time as you wait for the mushroom mycelium to spread throughout the kitty litter substrate. Once everything is fully colonized you will notice the light colored mycelium is visible throughout the mixture of kitty litter and mushroom spawn. As is typical with mushroom spawn, it has to run through and fully consume the nutrients in the growing substrate before fruiting.

You will eventually get budding and see tiny clusters of mushrooms start to pop out in various parts of the bag where they are receiving air from the tiny perforations that were made in the plastic bag. At this point the bag should be in an area where it can receive light, but avoid placing it in direct sunlight or where it could over heat or dry out. A slightly humid location is also good but not critical for success.

Fruiting and Harvesting the Mushrooms in a Matter of Days

At this fruiting stage the mushrooms will grow rapidly and should be ready to mushroom harvestharvest within a few days. You can lightly mist the bags with a spray bottle of non-chlorinated water to help the mushroom form but don’t overdo it. Harvest the mushrooms as soon as they reach full size and before they begin to release any spores.

I haven’t tried this yet, but you should be able to let the bags rest for a couple weeks then soak them in water over night to coax a second fruiting out of them. I have some other ideas that I plan to experiment with to keep the spawn going and I will share them if it is successful. Even if this is only a one or two harvest application it will still be worth the effort. The spent bags of mycelium can be composted, broken up and used as a soil amendment, or be fed to earthworms if you have a worm bin.

So if you’ve wanted to try your hand at cultivating mushrooms this is a great way to start the journey. It’s also pretty satisfying as you can go from start to finish in a month or so with just a handful of ingredients and no special equipment!

Making a Great Display of Culinary Herb Plants

Originally from http://www.veggiegardeningtips.com/making-a-great-display-of-culinary-herb-plants/

Last winter wasn’t the mildest but it was a good one for over wintering herb plants outdoors in the garden. Even herb varieties that are typically borderline hardy here in my growing region survived to put on a great show in the landscape this spring and summer.

A big part of that success is location and taking advantage of the various micro-climates that exist on my property even if the temperature variations, southern exposures, and favorable positions are only slightly better than other spots in the garden.

Front Garden

The payoff comes the following season when over wintered herb plants show their full potential and yield results that you don’t get from herbs that are grown as annuals. Over wintered plants grow larger, bushier, and often produce flowers. You’ll also get considerable leaf production that can quickly stock your herbal pantry.

Here’s a look at some common herbs from my garden that show what a difference it can make to shelter the plants through the winter and into additional seasons of growth:

Rosemary

Rosemary isn’t very hardy in my region, but when it survives the winter it will take on a tree-like appearance and become a very ornamental evergreen in addition to being a great culinary herb. It will also produce a profusion of attractive pale blue flowers that many gardeners have never seen in the garden.

Oregano

Oregano is a reliable winter survivor here in Central Pennsylvania and will spread nicely into a rounded mound of leaf growth to season pasta sauces and other recipes in the kitchen. During mid-summer the plant will be covered with tiny white flowers that bees and other pollinating insects can’t resist. The leaves are easily dried and stored to keep your homegrown oregano on hand.

Thyme

Thyme is a common and popular herb plant and this photo is an example of what a single plant can grow into within the space of a few years. It is a great ground cover that will offer a splash of color from the flowers that will completely cover the plants early each spring. This is a carefree herb that you can count on to over winter without fail.

Sage

Sage is hardier and more reliable than Rosemary but still not a guarantee to make it through a harsh winter on a consistent basis. But when it does survive you’ll wind up with enormous plants, plenty of leaves for cooking with, and a display of sage flowers. With all these leaves you’ll need to find new uses for sage such as including this herb in omelets, grits, and even breads for a unique flavor experience.

Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel is another one of my favorite over wintered herbs, but in this case you will have to bring it indoors for the winter if you want it to survive in cold weather regions. The reward will be a tree that will need to be pruned annually just to maintain it at a manageable size that can be moved from house to patio as the seasons change. The prunings will provide you with more bay leaves than you can use in the kitchen and save money on those expensive little jars sold at the market!

How 16 initiatives are changing urban agriculture through tech and innovation

Originally from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/UrbanOrganicGardener/~3/OIrxboRM9uc/

The United Nations estimates (PDF) that nearly 10 billion people will live in cities by 2050. According to a recent publication by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, urban eaters consume most of the food produced globally and maintain more resource-intensive diets including increased animal-source and processed foods — rich in salt, sugar and fats. At the same time, many urban populations — particularly in low-income areas and informal communities — endure acute hunger and malnutrition as well as limited access to affordable, healthy food.

But there are countless ways that cities can feed themselves and create better linkages between rural and urban food systems. In Mexico City, the organization CultiCiudad built the Huerto Tlatelolco, an edible forest with 45 tree varieties, a seed bank and plots for biointensive gardening. In the United States, City Growers uses New York City’s urban farms as a learning laboratory for children to reconnect with nature. And in the Kalobeyei Settlement in northern Kenya, urban agriculture represents a tool for empowerment by improving food security, nutrition, and self-sufficiency among refugees.

“Agriculture and forestry in the city… answer to a variety of urban development goals beyond the provision of green infrastructure and food, such as social inclusion, adaptation to climate change, poverty alleviation, urban water management and opportunities for the productive reuse of urban waste,” says Henk de Zeeuw, senior adviser at the RUAF Foundation.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/how-16-initiatives-are-changing-urban-agriculture-through-tech-and-innovation

Can Landscaping Protect a Home from Wildfire?

Originally from https://gardeninggonewild.com/can-landscaping-protect-a-home-from-wildfire/

Dr. Camille Newton surveys her garden, the day after the Lilac Fire stopped at its perimeter.

 

Can landscaping protect a home from wildfire? Camille Newton, M.D., of Bonsall, CA, says yes. Dr. Newton started her six-year-old succulent garden mostly from cuttings. “It’s my go-to place after work,” she says, noting that gardening is a stress-reliever. The land’s nutrient-poor, decomposed-granite soil serves as a coarse, fast-draining substrate that she top-dresses with composted horse manure. (From another hobby: breeding Andalusians.) Irrigation is by overhead sprinklers. The land slopes, so densely-planted succulents also provide erosion control. On Dr. Newton’s frost-free, west-facing hillside grow swaths of jade (Crassula ovata), aloes, agaves, aeoniums and brilliant orange, ironically-named Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’.

A house next door burned to the ground. The only green thing left was a semi-cooked Agave vilmoriniana.

 

Dr. Newton, whose garden is in my book, Designing with Succulents (2nd ed.), was initially surprised that her garden “stopped the fire in its tracks,” she says, adding that houses next door and across the street burned to the ground. “You’d think succulents would burn, but they don’t.” This is likely because wildfire, which travels at around 15 MPH, doesn’t linger. Plants with thin leaves catch fire immediately and are carried aloft by strong winds, further spreading the blaze. In contrast, succulents—which by definition store moisture in thick, juicy leaves—cook and collapse. They may sizzle and char, but succulents don’t transmit flames.

When Dr. Newton and I were on TV, the segment was called “Saved by Succulents.”

In December 2017, soon after the Lilac Fire destroyed eight neighboring homes, Dr. Newton and I were interviewed on local TV news for a segment titled, “Saved by Succulents.” It’s available on my YouTube channel along with two other videos about  succulents as fire-retardant plants, including a post-wildfire tour of Dr. Newton’s own garden.
Because succulents are colorful, waterwise and low-maintenance, I hope landscape professionals in wildfire-prone, mild-climate regions consider adding firebreak installation to their services. It takes a lot of succulents to surround a house, but here’s good news: It’s possible to do so without buying plants. Numerous Southern CA succulent gardens are becoming so well established that owners have plenty of trimmings that they hate to throw away. “I’ll give cuttings to anyone who asks,” Dr. Newton says, adding with a laugh, “and hopefully they’ll take some manure, too.”

Back To Top