A Garden in 30 Minutes

Today was beautiful. The sun was out and the temperature was in the low to mid 60's. That's what I call perfect garden weather! I didn't have much time to garden but needed to do a little something and was able to spend about 30 minutes on a small project. Back in the fall I used my black tarp technique to cover an existing bed and the results were great! The black tarp technique helps to kill off vegetation underneath it. It triggers seed germination, growth, then kills the plants off leaving a nearly weed free environment. I learned this technique after reading The Market Gardener (Amazon Aff Link) and it really works. It took me less than 30 minutes today to move the tarp to a new location in the garden, rake the dead weeds out, level the soil, and sow new seeds! It's really very simple. I didn't…

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Black Plastic Tarps in the Garden

This week I began testing a new (to me at least) gardening technique! Using black plastic tarps in the garden to kill off the weed growth underneath. The concept is simple and is something that I read about in The Market Gardener by Jean Martin Fortier (Amazon Aff. Link). I highly recommend his book, especially if running a CSA is something that interests you. (My review of The Market Gardener) What do black plastic tarps in the garden do for your garden? The black plastic attracts heat from the sun which warms the soil. The heat underneath the tarp triggers germination of weed seeds in the soil. Weed seeds germinate! (under normal circumstances we don't like this but for the tarp technique we do!) The plastic blocks light and moisture from getting to the weeds. The weeds can't survive without the light and moisture and die. After a few weeks…

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A Few Gardening Tips Before Fall Arrives

You can feel it in the air can't you? The coolness of an approaching autumn. The each passing day is getting noticeably shorter. We're beginning that transitional period from the hot summer growing season to the fall growing season and that can mean a lot of changes in the garden. The vegetable garden may still be going full speed ahead at the moment but it is time to prepare for the arrival of the fall gardening season. Here are some gardening tips for you to use to prepare for fall gardening: Continue harvesting everything you can from your vegetable garden through the fall. Put away canned vegetables or pack them in the freezer so you can savor them this winter when fresh vegetables are not available. You will think very fondly of your garden in January when you are cooking garden beans on the stove! While you are harvesting be…

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Summer Gardening Tips (Pests, Propagation, and Planning)

Summer is in full gear. Which means there is a lot to do in the garden, there always is isn't there? The tomatoes and peppers are beginning to produce and in a couple short weeks should be ready to pick. Here are a few summer gardening tips to help you in your garden. Watch for Pests Always be vigilant in the garden. Pests can appear at any time, some of which will decimate a crop in a few short hours if you aren't observant. Squash vine borers are out. I found one yesterday on a zucchini. The eggs are laid at the base of the plant and when they hatch the larvae burrow into the stem and eat they way up which eventually kills the squash plant. If you see sawdust at the base of your squash cut the stalk and kill the larvae inside. Then cover the base of…

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Blossom End Rot and What To Do

When the fruit first begins to form in your vegetable garden you may notice a condition where the blossom ends of the fruit turns brown to black then begins to rot away. This can happen to a number of different vegetable garden producers like tomatoes, squash, peppers, and more. Aptly named "Blossom End Rot", this condition is nothing to be overly concerned about. It's disappointing to see something you've been eagerly awaiting for weeks get seemingly ruined - but it is only temporary! Blossom End Rot on Summer Squash   What Causes Blossom End Rot? Blossom end rot is a calcium deficiency that prevents the proper formation of cells in the fruit. Just like people, plants need nutrients like calcium for proper growth. The calcium deficiency can be cause by a couple things but is usually an issue with too much water not allowing the plant to bring in calcium…

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Preventing Deer Damage to Trees

As you can see from the picture to the left that this tree has taken a beating. Last fall when the deer were out in force a buck decided to rut against several of my favorite trees. Coincidentally all the deer damaged trees were young trees that I had planted in the yard including two maples, a dogwood and one of my personal favorite trees a Yoshino Cherry. I was furious. I contemplated a fairly violent solution but it was all talk in my head. Plotting the demise of the deer was not a pleasant thought process. Instead I turned my panicked mind toward finding a way to repair the damage. At one point I actually tried to graft maple bark onto the maple trees. As it turns out that wasn't necessary. In the end I figured out the best way to repair a deer damaged tree, let Mother Nature…

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