Timing Is The Root of a Good Garden

January 2015 is almost here and with it will come time to plan out your 2015 garden. We all know that for a plant to grow well it needs a strong root system. The same can be said for the garden as a whole. A garden's roots are stronger with a good plan and the root of a good garden plan is timing. Timing a garden is probably the most important factor in a garden plan that determines success. To time things correctly there area two things you need to know: The last frost date in spring for your area.  How long seeds take before they can be set outside to grow. The last frost date is THE date to base everything else around. The last frost date is the usual date of the last frost as averaged over time. It isn't impossible for a frost to happen after that…

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Seeds and Where to Find Them

By now you may have received your first seed catalog(s) in the mail. It's a fun time of the year for gardeners. We get to sift through the pages, read the descriptions designed to entice us, and dream of what we will plant next year. When the weather is cold and dreary the catalogs give us something bright and hopeful to look forward to! Which seed catalog is the best one? That really depends on the gardener and what they are looking to grow. Seed companies exist with many different combinations of products from vegetables and herbs to flowering and ornamental plants. Most companies offer a wide assortment of seeds but there are a few that specialize in only a couple types of seeds like tomatoes or peppers. There is a seed catalog out there for everyone! When choosing which company to order your seeds from look for non-GMO seeds.…

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Making a Hoop House for Winter Vegetable Growing

Many gardeners take the winter season off from gardening. They work hard from early spring through late far then take a little break but you don't have to stop growing vegetables in your garden just because the weather has changed. One way to continue growing vegetables in cold weather is to construct a hoop house. A hoop house is simply an unheated greenhouse type structure that will help keep the temperatures several degrees warmer. In areas with mild winters a hoop house can allow you to continue growing all the way through the winter. Hoop houses can be made of many different types of materials. In this post you will see one way to put together an economical, small hoop house for your garden. (The materials for this project were furnished by Lowe's as a part of the Creative Bloggers Network!) How to Make a Hoop House for Winter Vegetable…

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The Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier (Book Review)

Recently I purchased a copy of The Market Gardener written by the Canadian organic farmer Jean-Martin Fortier. As soon as I read the description I was immediately interested in its contents. The Market Gardener explains how to raise enough crops on just 1.5 acres of land to make a full time income and support one's family. With my love for growing the garden, farmers market experiences, and a hope to always be able to continue to do what I enjoy for a living The Market Gardener sounded like a great book.  I was not disappointed! I learned a lot from the pages of The Market Gardener. Jean-Martin Fortier has 10 years of experience in growing vegetables which he then sells through a thriving CSA program, to grocery stores, and at farmers markets. He and his partner Maise-Helene Desroches have created a unique business plan for small scale farming using biointensive…

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Planning Your Next Garden: Evaluate the Garden

The calendar hasn't said so yet officially, but winter weather is already here. As I write this post sleet is spitting through the air outside. Fortunately I have a pot of hot coffee available to offset the cold. What should a gardener be doing on these cold "winter" days when the garden isn't suitable for enjoyment? Cold winter days mean that it is time to plan the next garden. It's time to take what you learned from this year and plan how you want to do next year's garden better, bigger, and more efficient. Today I thought I would tell you about my thought processes for planning the next round of gardens. I'm mainly talking about the vegetable garden but you can adapt the thoughts in this post to herb gardens, cutting gardens, native gardens, or any other type of garden. Planning a garden begins with evaluating the current and…

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Enjoying the Fall Garden

Fall is a great time of the year. It's always been my favorite season because of the fall colors, the cooler weather, and there are always events to enjoy. The vegetable garden is enjoys the cooler weather too. Gone now are the peppers and tomatoes, which both succumbed to frost, but instead we have kale, pak choi, mustard, and Brussels sprouts. All of those fall grown plantings enjoy the cooler temperatures and in fact have improved flavor due to the frosty temperatures. Growing greens in the fall in a Tennessee garden is a fairly simple thing to do. The Challenge of a Fall Garden The greatest challenge to growing a fall garden is pests. Until the frosts come many insects are trying to gather as much nutrition as possible to help them overwinter. Caterpillars are all over the place. Cabbage loopers are happy to eat anything green, not just cabbage.…

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Decorating Through the Holidays with Live Potted Plants

The holidays are an extremely busy time of the year. We go from Halloween with spooky decorations, to Thanksgiving with autumn harvest styles, then to finally to Christmas. For those who enjoy decorating (and have the storage space for all that stuff) it can be a great deal of fun, but for others who may enjoy the holidays much more than decorating for them there are options - especially if you are a gardener! This week I potted up some live plants that will be decorating our front entryway all the way through Christmas. Once Christmas is over they can be planted in the garden to add to the landscape as evergreen plantings. (All the materials for this planting project were provided by Lowe's for Lowe's Creative Ideas) I selected several different types of plants. The main plants are evergreen trees and shrubs that can serve as privacy screens and…

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And the Troy-Bilt Jet Leaf Blower Winner is…

First before I tell you who won the Jet Blower from Troy-Bilt I wanted to say thank you for entering! Giving stuff away is really one of the more exciting parts of blogging! The Jet is an easy to use leaf blower made by Troy-Bilt. The Jet easily blasts away grass clippings on driveways and leaves making cleaning up after yardwork a piece of cake. If you didn't win this JET but find yourself in need of a leaf blower you should be able to find it at your local home improvement centers for around $150. The winner of the Jet was selected through a random number drawing between 1 and 20. (The total number of commenters on the review post.) The lucky winner was the eighth commenter, Emily Rose! Emily please send me an email (TheHomeGarden@gmail.com) with the your shipping address and phone number and I'll relay that information to Troy-Bilt.…

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7 Years of Garden Blogging and A Giveaway from Troy-Bilt!

This week marks seven years since I began this blog, Growing The Home Garden. It's amazing to see how many changes have taken place in the garden and in my life since that late October day. When I started this blog our backyard was vacant of trees, plants, and anything resembling a garden. It's grown and so has our family. When I began blogging our oldest daughter was 2 and the next one was due to be born that Thanksgiving. Now there are four kids running around the garden, 3 girls and 1 boy. Everyday is an adventure! My little garden blog grew from barely anyone reading it (or even knowing it existed) into one that now gets a couple thousand visitors a day. My experiences in plant propagation, vegetable gardening, and assorted other garden projects have given me opportunities to work with great companies like Lowe's, Troy-Bilt, and several…

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