I thought it would be nice to share a few gardening tips and even better if I can make it a habit and post some on a weekly basis. You might be familiar with some of these Gardening Tips, but hopefully one or two will be new to you. Let’s see!
- Tip #1 Soil Bag Gardening:
Now this method is only good for shallow-rooted plants, like lettuce and Castle Rock Tomato (check out Tip #4 as this method is perfect for it). Root vegetables, like beets or carrots, need a deeper growing medium, but don’t worry I have a solution for growing carrots and potatoes using limited or confined spaces as well. You can however, just prop up a soil bag (make sure it won’t tip over) and plant potatoes directly inside in layers.
Soil Bag Gardening is perfect for those climates that have rocky soil, high mineral contents like lime stones, etc., or other soil imperfections.
One of the excellent and hands free things with soil bag gardening is, there aren’t any weeds or other pest in the bags. For a new Gardner this is perfect and that’s why this method just might be perfect to get involved with gardening on small scale, even though you can apply Soil Bag Garden on a much bigger level.
You will want to make sure that your topsoil has natural or organic fertilizer for plant growth. Peat moss is a great way to help retain moisture.
Setting up a soil bag garden couldn’t be easier:
1. Buy a dozen bags of topsoil. You can get these for a couple dollars a bag at any Home Depot or Lowes etc.
2. Place them in your garden, even on top of weeds or you can even use them in confined spaces such as on a patio or balcony as well. (Just food for thought).
3. Cut a few drainage slits in the bottom.
4. Cut out a rectangle hole in the top.
5. Plant seeds and/or seedlings in soil.
No hoeing, no weeding, no leavening the soil with peat moss. Just plant, water, grow.
- Tip #2 How to Encourage Plant Growth from Herbs (and other veggies):
Pinch off (remove) the upper portions of your herb plant stems off to encourage new leaf growth. Herbs have a natural instinct to stay alive and multiply, so when they are pinched, they send a signal to the dormant leaf buds to grow. It’s strange how this works, but it’s true for most plants. This works wonders with mint, oregano and you can even pinch off Rosemary and add a little rooting compound (see tip # 3 and regrow a new plant from the cutting). This tip also works on onions. However, with onions you only need to bend the greens stems and not actually pinch them off.
- Tip #3 Chemical Free Rooting Compound:
If you’re into grafting or making cuttings from other plants like tomatoes, it might be handy to use a natural rooting compound. Here is what I use that is chemical free and you make it from willow trees:
- 15 to 20 thin twigs (any variety of willow tree)
- 1 gallon of water
Directions: Place the twigs in a bucket then top with water, cover with lid. Let this sit for at least 24 hours then strain out the twigs.
To Use: Place cuttings in the water solution a day before potting.
Storage: Can be refrigerated for up to one month.
- Tip #4 Trench Planting:
Do you want to get strong tomatoes and peppers stems so that your plants will produce an abundance of fruit? Then try this method. Plant Tomatoes (and yes Green Peppers too) on their side when transplanting. Doing so will make them develop stronger root systems. This is called “Trench Planting” and as I mentioned, it also works great on peppers as well.
1. Depending on the length of your plants dig a trench. Make sure you dig it about 2 inches deeper than the size of the root ball of the plant.
2. Lay the plants on their sides in the trench. I add some crushed (preferably) powder egg shells and some organic fertilizer in the trench. Cover the entire plant dirt leaving only about 2 inches above ground.
3. Bury the plant up to where its last leaves are. Turn the neck of the tomato upwards or prop up with a stick.
- Tip # 5 Ollas:
Here is a tip for those living in hot and dry climates. Bury plastic milk jugs, plastic water bottles, etc that have holes in the bottom and fill with water for an easy irrigation method. Of course I recommend that your plastic containers are Bisphenol A (BPA) free.
If you are looking for ways to reduce your garden’s water usage this summer (and low maintenance watering) you might even considered trying the Ollas which are buried clay pot irrigation. Make sure to keep the mouth level with (or just above) the soil. By burying the clay pots (or the plastic bottles) you are ensuring that watered is delivered more efficiently at root level rather than above the soil surface, no need for water to travel down to reach the roots of your plants. This method can be used in container gardening as well, you’ll just need to use smaller clay pots or plastic bottles that will fit inside the containers or planter boxes leaving enough room for the plants to thrive. For Ollas use pots that are unglazed.
Tip: To test whether a pot will work or not, fill it with water and watch if the surface becomes damp. If it does, it’s porous enough.
These are my quick 5 tips of the week. If you do try them or have tried them I would sure love to hear from you in the comments sections. Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to share your tip(s) with the readers and of course give you credit for them as well. If I use your tip I will also send you some Heirloom Seeds.
Until then, Keep it Growing!