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Sunday, November 16, 2014

How to Effectively Use Eggshells to Make a Vegetable Garden Slug/Snail Barrier

How to Effectively Use Eggshells to Make 
A Vegetable Garden Slug/Snail Barrier


Eggshells can be effective barriers that will stop snails and slugs from getting to your vegetable garden plants. However, you have to build the right barrier with eggshells crushed to the right size.

The sharp edges of the eggshells irritate the skin of the pests. The barrier has to be wide enough to stop a slug from stretching over it and you have to put enough eggshells down so the snails can't work their way through it.

Making a Garden Snail/Slug Eggshell Barrier

This video shows you the general size to crush the eggshells and explains the general principle for making the barrier. Remember your barrier has to maintain itself even after a heavy rain. If your eggshell particles are two small they will be washed into the soil. If they are two big, the snails and slugs will be able to go over them with out getting deterred.





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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Understanding Garden Nitrogen: Products, Organic vs. Synthetic, Use and Strategies

Understanding Garden Nitrogen: Products, Organic vs. Synthetic, Use and Strategies


Nitrogen is a macro-nutrient which means it is a main element all plants need to grow. Without it, you can't really have a thriving garden. The earth's atmosphere is made up of nearly 80% nitrogen but plants can't use nitrogen in that form. It must be fixed or transformed into a form the plants can absorb and use. Nitrogen can be changed biologically or chemically. Biological forms are often called organic nitrogen. Chemically processed nitrogen is often called synthetic. Ammonia is the basis for chemical fertilizers.

Understanding Nitrogen Fertilizer - TRG 2014

I made this video to help you understand the different forms of nitrogen available for your garden. I use both organic and synthetic forms of fertilizers. I also use compost and nitrogen fixing legumes like beans, red clover and peas. I believe is in using garden fertilizers in and educated and purposeful way. My recommendation is you use less than is suggest. I feel we are all guided to over fertilize when it really isn't needed.

Plants can't tell the difference between the different forms of nitrogen. The main difference between synthetic and organic fertilizers is that synthetics do nothing for soil structure or the micro-organisms in the soil. Organic fertilizers generally feed your plants and the life in your soil. This video shows you a lot about what else.... nitrogen fertilizer.





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Thursday, October 30, 2014

How to Plant Garlic in the Fall: How, When and Why

How to Plant Garlic in the Fall: How, When and Why


My method for planting garlic is for gardeners in areas that get freezing winters. If you don't get freezing nights, snow and frozen ground... garlic bulbs are often pushed into the garden bed  surface, about an inch deep and covered with some mulch.

I am in Maryland Zone 7 and my beds freeze in the winter. Garlic should be planted 3-4 inches deep depending on how much cold you get. The video will show you how I set up the soil and plant the garlic cloves, broken from the bulbs. I will use diffenernt fertilizers as available. I often use bone meal for phosphorous, as it helps with bulb growth, and blood meal for nitrogen. The key to nice size garlic bulbs is very loose soil and fall planting.


Garlic Sprouts - The Rusted Garden 2014

You plant them in the fall for two reasons. The garlic will recognize the winter and come spring will set off to form a bulb. Planting them in the fall also allows the clove to sprout a tip and develop a really strong root system. When you plant the clove you want to make sure you have some slow release fertilizer mixed into the planting area. Don't worry if your garlic gets a few inches of green growth that gets beat up before the cold arrives. It won't hurt it.


Plant Garlic in the Fall before the Freeze Comes

I plant my garlic about 4 inches deep in my zone. I don't mulch it. You can plant it in late September through October. If you want to push it, early November is okay. The key is that you want about 4 inches of a barrier between the clove you plant and freeze. You could do a 4 inch depth in the soil or 2 inches in the soil and 2 inches of mulch. It is really up to you. You do not need to be exact.

I use garlic from the grocery store. A lot of people say you shouldn't as you have a risk for diseases. I haven't had issues. You can buy it from catalogs and online. You can go to specialty gourmet stores for different varieties that are meant to be eaten... but I plant them.





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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall is Here and Now is the Time to Build Raised Beds and Prepare Garden Beds for Next Spring

Fall is Here and Now is the Time to 
Build Raised Beds and Prepare Garden Beds for Next Spring


Fall often signals the end of the gardening season. It is a great time of year to convert your earth beds over to simple raised beds or to increase the size of your garden with another raised bed or two. If you have a raised bed it also the time to clean out the old plants, amend your soil and prepare them for hibernation. Which really means tossing in some compost, dirt and maybe some cover crops. Come the spring, you just need to turn the beds and get them ready for planting.





If you do the work in the fall, come spring you really just have to turn the soil, add what you like and plant your seeds. Raised beds are a great way to organize your garden. They can be planted earlier in the spring, as they drain better and warm faster. They also help you conserve resources by directing you time, amendments and money into the actual planting area. The space between the beds can be mulched for weed control and walking. The good stuff goes into the raised bed.

If you are framing out a new raised bed, you can actually build the frame, lay it down and put newspaper and cardboard over the grass inside the frame. Cover the frame with basic cheap soil to press down the newspaper and come spring you have a place that is weed and grass free. You can add compost and amendments of your choice and just turn the bed. You will be ready to plant come spring.










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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bulk Seed Sale: 7 Varieties of Cool Weather Salad Greens

7 Varieties of Cool Weather Salad Greens


I selected these bulk purchase seeds based on what I enjoy in my salads. There are 4 types of lettuce with different colors and shapes. A spicy arugula, an endive and some turnip greens. You can grow these in the spring and fall in most areas. They love the cool weather. I am growing these now in my greenhouse cold-frame for fall and hopefully winter greens.


Sprouted Seeds in the Cool Weather Seed Packages

Arugula Roquette
A leafy green with a slightly peppery flavor.  The young leaves can be used fresh or mature greens can be cooked. It will get to 3 feet tall when fully mature. It does not like heat. A definite cool weather crop.

Endive Salad King
Grows 2 feet tall. This is a dark green variety with curled and deeply cut leaves. The plants are slow bolting. Plants can stand a light frost. Plant in spring and fall.

Lettuce Danyelle
This is an incredibly red lettuce from baby leaf size to maturity. It is sweet and crispy with nice full heads and an upright habit. The plants are easy to grow and hold their quality in the field for a long time. 28 days baby leaf. 50 days mature.

Lettuce Grand Rapids
Non-heading variety with fringed and curled, sweet crisp, light-green leaves. Great for leaf picking and cut and come again lettuce. 45 days to maturity.

Lettuce Oakleaf
Medium-green oak leaf-like leaves are born on a single stalk/rosette. As outer leaves are picked, plant continues to produce tender new leaves. A unique loose leaf variety. Good container plant. 40 days.

Lettuce Red Romaine
A great looking lettuce. It is tender crisp with a sweet gourmet romaine flavor. Plants are 12" tall, slow to bolt and widely adapted. The leaves are green at the very base and red on top. The red color intensifies with cool weather. Great for spring and fall crops. It matures later in about 70 days but you can pick it as you wish.

Turnip Seven Top (Greens)
Popular turnip grown not for the root but for the delicious greens. It is an heirloom and has been around for 100+ years. It matures in 45 days. Another great cool weather green.


7 Varieties of Seeds for $ 9.75 (shipping included)



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