Thursday, April 28, 2011

Garden Smarts Blog

Just found this great blog while looking up some advice on garden drainage issues.

I think you'll like it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Straw Bale Gardening

Came across this alternative to container gardening. Looks like something we could try instead of building more raised beds, or at least until we build some more raised beds. Basically you get straw bales, cover the top with about 6 inches of soil and put our plants in that.

Webpage (one of many, just google straw bale gardening):

Monday, February 7, 2011

Composting Vids

How to Build a Compost Pile for Dummies. (Sorry, I know you're not dummies... :)

Are Coffee Grounds Better than chicken Poop?

Seed Starting Primers

To read more extensively about Seed Starting, here are some incredibly helpful documents:

MU Extension Seed Starting Guide

Purdue University Seed Starting Guide

Three Key Hints for Starting Seeds by the American Community Gardening Association

Seed Starting Videos

In prep for taking about seed starting at this Thursday's meeting, I came across some videos to share with you. It's also good to remember that there a ton of video tutorials and websites out there describing gardening tips and principles. Take a break from studying for 10 minutes and you can empower yourself with more knowledge about growing your own food!

SHORT AND SWEET...from the Bayou Gardener (fella's got a great voice)
1. How to Start Your Vegetable Seeds Part 1
2. Part 2 (thinning)

A helpful series covering the steps of seed starting. Remember that there's many different ideas for the best way to plant seeds. This is one gardener's method which may not be the best for us, but still gives a basic primer.
1. How to Pick the Right Soil to Plant Seeds.
I keep reading and hearing that the best way to grow seeds is with store bought seed starting soil. The compost I used last year to seed start sprouted tons of volunteer seedlings that choked out a lot of the ones I had planted. We should discuss what soil to use in the next meeting. Or if you have any comments, post them below.
2. How to Soak and Score Seeds. Some seeds with harder shells require soaking or scoring prior to planting.
3. Understand the Appropriate Systems for Growing Seeds. This describes some different trays for seed starting. Other options (some say better options) include planting in a cardboard box, egg cartons, larger pots, and yogurt containers. See also the video below about recycled newspaper pots.
4. Learn When the Weather is Right to Plant Seeds Inside
5. How to Plant Seeds Indoors. This video mentions using a grow light, but since we're going to using Dr. Kelrick's solarium, we should have plenty of light without having to use electricity.
6. How to Water Seeds and Seedlings. This guys uses a plastic tray with removable cells so he can water from below. You can also put holes in yogurt containers or the like and water from below in a tray. If you're not doing that, misting the seeds with water from a spray bottle is a good option.
Here's another gardener's opinion:
7.  How to Fertilize Seedling to Keep Them Nourished and Growing
How to Make Fertilizer without Poo (this video's pretty funny)
How make your own organic fertilizer
How to Fertilize Plants with Ashes

8. How to Thin & Spread Out Seedlings
9. How to Acclimate Your Growing Plant to Outside Conditions (Hardening off)
10. How to Transfer Large, Growing Seedlings to a Larger Pot
11. Learn How and Where to Store Extra Seeds

A cool idea to make biodegradable, recycled, and reused pots out of newspaper for starting seeds as well as transplanting the whole thing without disturbing the fragile baby root system. This is something we should experiment with this season:

Here's some tips for planting tiny seeds like lettuce, including sprinkling them out of a salt shaker.