Category Archives: gardening

Protecting Your Garden From Rodents and Other Small Animals

Protecting Your Garden From Rodents and Other Small Animals via Preparedness Advice

The other day I was talking to a friend who lives in one of the Rocky Mountain states.  It seems that they have an unusual heavy influx of voles this year. These voles have killed several of his young fruit trees by girdling them.

Now, I have talked to a surprising number of people who live in my area, who have never even heard of voles, even though they are fairly common. People are just not used to growing and having to depend on their gardens to survive. If they did, they would certainly know what animals in their area had the potential to destroy their crops.…

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Hand Pollinating Your Vegetables can Improve Your Yield

hand pollinating

This picture shows a self-pollinating tomato flower. You get the pollen from the stigma to the ovule

You have all been hearing about the problems with bee colony collapse, and a shortage of pollinating bees.  Last year we had a very poor tomato crop and I have been wondering why.  The other day I was talking to a friend who had a similar problem two years ago.  He solved his by hand pollinating the flowers and had a much bigger crop than normal.

Now I know that tomatoes are considered a self-pollinating flower so I did a little research on this and here is what I found.…

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Protecting Your Gardens From Insect and Plant Diseases.

protecting your gardens

This is what you want your crops to look like

Yesterday we discussed ways of protecting your gardens from rodents and small animals.  So I thought that today we would talk about ways of protecting your gardens from insects and diseases.  Now this is much harder, because there are so many different types of insect and diseases that can affect your plants.

How much your garden is affected by disease and insects is partly dependent on your climate. Gardens in dry climates with cold winters suffer fewer disease problems than warm, moist climates. This is one aspect of gardening that you don’t have much control over.  …

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Some Advantages of Raised Bed Gardening

raised bed gardening

This picture was taken today April 21.

As we get older, we start to develop different physical complaints.  Now some of these can affect our lives if we let them.  For instance, both my wife and my father still like to garden, but both have problems tending plants at ground level.  My wife has some arthritis and my father who is almost 93 has bad knees.  But with a little bit of planning we have made it possible for both to continue to garden by using raised bed gardening.

Now this is the third year we have used raised bed gardening and I have written previous posts on them. …

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10 Ways to have Hidden Gardens

hidden gardens

A edible garden of native plants

Gardening is a great way to supplement your food storage. The problem is that your neighbors or others may see it and you will then have a theft problem.  Hidden gardens are the solution.  Gardens are not as hard to hide as you may think.  Today most people have no idea what many edible plants look like.

The first idea that most people come up with is to hide the garden behind a tall fence and a locked gate.  This is not a bad idea, but a fence can attract the curious and they are expensive.…

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How Herbicides can Kill Your Garden, Even If You don’t Use Them

herbicidesA friend of mine recently tried straw bale gardening and had a dismal failure.  This caused him to do a bit of research and he found an article in the current (January/February 2016) issue of Backwoods Home magazine, on a product called Grazon, one of many aminopyralid herbicides used on hay and straw field to kill broadleaf weeds.  That may explain his failure.

Grazon or other Aminopyralid-containing herbicides are sprayed on pastures and fields of straw and hay because they  only kill plants such as horse nettle, pigweed and blackberries not the feed grass. After it is applied, the cows, horses and other animals graze on the grass, ingesting the herbicide which passes through their systems and into their manure.…

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Fifteen uses for five-gallon buckets

five-gallon buckets

Five-gallon buckets are cheap, easy to get and one of the most useful items to have at your home or bug out location.  Personally, I always try to keep extra buckets on hand.  My buckets are mostly food grade, but I have some non-food grade that I mark and save for other uses. Here is a link to a post that will tell you how to identify food grade buckets Food Grade Buckets and Why You Need Them.

Uses for five-gallon buckets

  1. Storing food, used with Mylar bags, they are one of the best ways to store large amounts of dried foods such as grains, legumes, sugars or dehydrated foods.
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Grow Bags Can be a Useful Tool for Hidden Gardens

grow bags

Some of our raised planters

A couple of years ago we started to experiment with raised bed gardening.  A large part of the reason was that with age and arthritis it gets harder to bend over.  After looking at all the options, it turned out that is was cheaper to purchase livestock drinking troughs and use them for planters.  So far it has worked out great.  Here is a link to how we did it Some Easy to Make Raised Planters.  Now we have added grow bags to our gardening.

A while back, I was in a gardening store located not to far from my home. …

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Growing and Preserving Figs

figsWe have a large fig tree in our back yard.  For the amount of space and the limited care it takes, it produces way more fruit than any other fruit tree of which I am aware.  It will produce two crops every year. The first crop develops in the spring on last year’s shoot growth.  The main fig crop develops on the current year’s shoot growth and ripens in the late summer or fall. The main crop is generally superior in both quantity and quality to first crop.

Fig trees can be raised in many different parts of the world, depending on which variety you grow. …

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Treat your plants to natural calcium, Eggshells

eggshellsMy vegetable and flower soil looks like it has the measles. I have mixed the soil with eggshells. The eggshells have a lot of nutrients that the plants need. Your eggshells are recycled and you have cheap food for the soil. The calcium from eggshells in garden soil moderates soil acidity while providing nutrients to plants.

I gathered up a bunch of eggshells from breakfast and baking. It doesn’t  take long to gather a couple of dozen I rinse them in cold water and put them on a cookie sheet in the oven. You then sterilize them in a 200°F (93°C) oven for 30 minutes.…

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