Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Garden's Alive also has a good kit. They will analyze the soil and give specific recommendations.$20 FREE off your first order at Gardens Alive!
There is another, often overlooked factor that might be affecting your crop production. This is the absence of bees and other pollinators. Usually if someone is reporting poor production from their garden, they also report an absence of bees. Bees are vital. Without them, fruit and vegetable production will be very limited. A way to address this is to provide bees with a reason to visit your garden. Bees are looking for nectar and pollen. The plants that are often purchased today are hybridized. This is done to make plants more disease resistant and to alter flower color and size. The problem is that frequently when a plant has been hybridized the production of nectar and pollen are reduced and often leaved the plant sterile. At this point, the plant is useless to bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies. Temperature, humidity and soil moisture can also impact the production of nectar.A simple way to address this problem is to plant with the idea attracting bees and other pollinators to your garden. To attract pollinators, you want to plant different plants that will bloom at different times throughout your growing season. Seek out indigenous plants, such as aster, blackeyed susans, purple coneflower, to attract native bees. Many garden plants are good sources of nectar or pollen. It is good to seek out older, heirloom varieties. Perennials, such as strawberries (yes, they are perennials and will be more prolific every year) and herbs, such as bee balm, boneset, basil, rosemary, and English lavender attract pollinators.Here are other tips that will increase your bee and butterfly visits: * Don't use pesticides. When you use pesticides, you kill beneficial bugs as well as pests. Seek out nontoxic pest solutions.
* Plant flowers of different colors and shapes. Bees have different sizes and tongue lengths so they feed on different flowers. Different flowers will increase the range of bees that you will attract. The colors blue, purple, violet, white, and yellow are particularly attractive to bees.
* Grow plants that flower at different times.
* Grow native plants. Research shows that bees are four times more attracted to native plants than exotic varieties.
* Plant where bees visit, such as sunny spots and places sheltered from strong winds.For more information, visit The Backyard Farm and Heaven on Earth Mini Farm.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
I thought you'd like this Mamapedia Sweet Deal: $29 for One-Hour Gardening Consultation from the Backyard Farm ($60 Value)
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Yesterday I amended the soil in my raised bed garden. Fortunately, since I started the bed with a good soil mix and have added compost throughout the year, I did not have to go to alot of expense to amend it. Healthy soil is a critical component of any successful garden. Soil needs air and water to function, and compaction from foot traffic robs it of both. Raised beds are a good idea for sites with clay soil or areas with poor drainage. This makes them ideal for Georgia.You can purchase great raised beds for about the cost of building them yourself at Gardener's Supply. Please don't try to go a cheaper route by filling with dirt from your own yard. The weeds will show up in your bed and the soil will not produce the same amount or quality of food. When you realize that you will not be tilling and weeding, it doesn't seem like such a large investment. It really does pay off. For more on Raised Bed Gardening visit The Backyard Farm.
Use this link for additional savings
A rule of thumb is to fill the raised planting bed with sixty percent topsoil, thirty percent of an organic matter such as compost and ten percent Miracle Gro Organic (or a comparable product). Mix some sand throughout for drainage. It actually requires a lot of soil to fill a raised bed, but it is a worthwhile investment. You will reap the benefits in a more productive garden. Determine the cubic measurement of your bed to determine how much you need: width x length x depth. Those new to raised bed gardening will find it simpler to purchase in bags from a hardware store or feed store. For a 3x6 raised bed, I would recommend starting with ten 40lb bags of topsoil (about $12) one 48 lb bags of Miracle Gro Organic ($8), two bags of mushroom compost (about $9), and two bags of peat moss (about $10). This will make your soil start up costs around $40. If you are composting already, mix it in as well. This might seem like alot, but remember that next year you will use the same soil, only needing to amend it with our own compost, some topsoil, peat moss, and mushroom compost to replace lost nutrients. You would also save by not buying organic soil, but it is my preference when growing my food. You might also find a savings by buying in bulk. This might be a good option if you are developing several beds or have neighbors doing the same.
Yesterday I amended the soil in my raised bed garden. Fortunately, since I started the bed with a good soil mix and have added compost throughout the year, I did not have to go to alot of expense to amend it.
Healthy soil is a critical component of any successful garden. Soil needs air and water to function, and compaction from foot traffic robs it of both. Raised beds are a good idea for sites with clay soil or areas with poor drainage. This makes them ideal for Georgia.You can purchase great raised beds for about the cost of building them yourself at Gardener's Supply.
Please don't try to go a cheaper route by filling with dirt from your own yard. The weeds will show up in your bed and the soil will not produce the same amount or quality of food. When you realize that you will not be tilling and weeding, it doesn't seem like such a large investment. It really does pay off.
For more on Raised Bed Gardening visit The Backyard Farm.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
It wasn't long before we established our own small flock of chickens. We didn't know anyone else raising chickens. So, we made quite a few mistakes and unnecessary expenditures. But, our mistakes have resulted in gain for others. We have learned how to make tending a small flock very easy and affordable. We have also enjoyed the relationship that has developed between us and these lovely ladies who regularly provide us with such wonderful protein.
Although our farm has been in place for awhile, I still have not gotten over the thrill of gathering beautiful eggs daily, making a yummy salad or stir fry from just picked vegetables, or making an omelet from all of these ingredients. I cannot put into words how satisfying it is to be able to go through a complete day only eating off of our land.
When moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle, it is important to remember that you don't have to do it all at one time. One small step quickly led to the realization that I could do even more. My mind frequently goes back to what my mother says when I ask her if she thinks that I can grow a certain vegetable. She says, "I don't know. Put in the dirt and see what happens. If it doesn't work out, you're only out a couple of dollars." She always points out to me that even though she has gardened for over 50 years, every season she always learns something new. There is always a new method to try. I have found that that aspect of gardening and farming has been one of the most pleasurable. I remain in awe of the results because I have never be able to have it mastered. Every year, every season has it own unique challenges and victories. I get to participate in the miracle of life, but I don't control it. I believe that you also will find that you can do more than you ever thought possible, sooner than you ever thought possible.
With the proper equipment and soil, you can grow all of your own produce on your deck or in your yard. If you would like fresh eggs daily, we will assist you in acquiring your flock of hens and providing food and housing for them. Within a month, you can dramatically increase your sustainable lifestyle.
We will gladly give whatever assistance you need to establish your own mini farm. You can find all your resources on our site or we will come to you and walk you through every step. You determine how involved you would like us to be.
Home consultations are available in the Metro Atlanta area. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.