Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

Photo:Jalapeno in Greenhouse


Gardening with Osteoarthrits

I love to garden. Anything that prevents me from doing so would be most unwelcome.  There are many benefits to be gained from the garden, above and beyond growing your own food. Gardening gets me outside to enjoy the wind and sun.  In addition, working in the garden exercises the mind, body and spirit.
However, if you have a bad back or knee problems for example, garden related activities can be painful, no fun at all.
I have osteoarthritis in both knees. This makes standing up difficult and kneeling down impossible. However, I can continue to enjoy the multi-benefits having a garden brings by using raised beds. There are many ways to raise the garden up.
A garden does not have to be a patch of earth on the ground set aside for the specific purpose of growing plants. A garden can be a series, or even one container, placed upon a table or a bench high enough so a chair can slide in and out under that table. Keep the length and width of the table to dimensions that allow the gardener to reach across it from any side.
If you are a do-it-yourself person build your own raised beds. using wood, bricks, concrete blocks, rubber tires, or compost and earth piled up above the ground.
If you have little time, then, buy some organic soil, cut a slit into the bag and plant right into this, if you want it higher, put it on a table or bench.
One of the advantages to using a raised bed, besides the ease of gardening, is that the soil in the raised bed will warm up faster in the spring so you can get an early start. Another advantage to a raised bed is you can build a seat or two along the edge of the bed so that the gardener can sit down while planting, weeding or harvesting.
The ease of access means that the various gardening chores, such as planting, weeding, deadheading, watering and perhaps the most fun, harvesting require less effort.
A major expense, depending upon the size of the garden, will be soil. The plants need healthy soil and this may need to be bought, the first year.
The raised bed will need to be placed where the plants you choose get that light they need. A second location consideration is putting the bed as close as possible to the water source should the rain be insufficient to meet the plants’ needs.
It is also a good idea to keep the bed as close to the house as possible, in order to cut down on the number of steps needed to reach it.
If you are putting in a new garden take a close look at the raised bed garden, you may just appreciate the advantages. Next week we will begin to look at the best vegetable to plant. The ones that provide the most nutrients in return for the work done. Planting season is coming, be patient and happy gardening.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

A weed is...

“A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” Ralph Waldo Emmerson
Most gardeners would not agree with Emmerson. They see weeds as an enemy. One which they will go to extreme lengths to vanquish. They will even wage chemical warfare in desperate attempts to rid their lawn and garden of any invaders.
There is no need to go to the extreme to reduce the weeds in the garden bed. First, instead of seeing weeds as an enemy, view them as an opportunity. An opportunity to get outside and enjoy the weather while getting some exercise.
There are a number of great tools that have the sole purpose of removing weeds. Buy one you like and put it and you to work. Most of us can use some exercise, so turn your garden into a home gym and shed a few pounds while growing healthy and happy plants.
If you do not want to weed, then there are several ways to prevent weeds from becoming a problem in the first place.
The first and most important thing to remember about growing any plant is that healthy soil makes for healthy plants.
I have stated this before and repeat it now, because the next reduce weeding technique I will mention, is close cropping. Close cropping involves placing plants closer together than the planting instruction recommend.
This cuts down on the vacant space available for weeds to colonize. It will also increase the yield the gardener receives from the garden. A true win-win strategy. Close cropping demands healthy soil.
I have planted greens close together and it worked, no weeds and plenty of leaves for salads and so on. Also, peas and beans have provided a superior yield and reduced work when planted closer together than suggested.
Close cropping is a great planting method for gardeners with little space, a desire for a good yield and no time to weed.
Now this next method requires a bit of time at the beginning but can save much effort once the garden is planted. I have discussed it before, the no-till garden. Simply, do not dig or till the garden site, use successive layers of newspaper or cardboard, straw and mulch to create the garden bed. If you build this no-till bed high enough it can be placed just about anywhere, more next week.
If this method interests you start saving newspapers now, depending upon the size of the garden you will need a good stack of paper to get the job done.

The last method is one I have only tried once and am eager to do again. H├╝gelkultur or mound culture involves digging a pit then filling the bottom with logs, gradually adding smaller branches, compost and then soil until the desired height is reached.

Indoor seed Staring

I was at the Galerie Restigouche Gallery the other night and among other topics, I was asked when is the best time to get seeds started ind...