Tag Archives: Healthy

How To Successfully Grow A Healthy Organic Garden

Gardening can be more than a relaxing pastime. A well-maintained garden can be the crowning glory of a fine home, and even the humblest abode looks better with a nicely-tended garden. Read on to discover how caring for the growing plants around a house can reflect powerfully on the house itself and its owners.

For the fall season, plant a few fall edible plants in your garden containers. Beautiful selections of kale and mustard greens, have lovely shades of greens and purples and offer different textures to the arrangement. Add a few edible pansies to bring color to the green textures. The combination is fetching and will last well into the winter.

When designing a garden area of your yard, a good place to start is with a tree or hedge as the anchor or structural foundation to your garden. Plant grasses and perennials around the taller centerpiece plant to add texture, color and flow. In time, these plants will fill out as they grow and look splendid against the taller trees or shrubs in the background.

To make your garden more productive, allocate space based on what grows best in your area instead of simply choosing your most favorite crops. Although you may love beets, if tomatoes grow better in your climate then give them more room in your garden and make your beet plantings smaller. Ask your neighbors or take a look around your area to see what grows best in your region.

Consider using your car to dry your home-grown herbs. Simply lay a sheet of newspaper across the backseat and spread out your herbs on it, then roll up the windows. Your herbs will dry quickly in the low-humidity heat of your car, and the interior of your car will have a fresh, herbal scent.

Protect your seedlings from frost with clay pots. Early spring is a perilous time for a new garden. You want to get your plants going as soon as possible to ensure plenty of grow time, but a single frost can wipe out your fragile seedlings. To protect your tiny plants from frost at night, simply place a small, upside down clay pot on each seedling. They will insulate from the cold and protect from the wind.

It is very important to keep the weeds from taking over in your garden. Weeds can turn a thriving garden into a total wasteland. For this task, try using white vinegar. You can use white vinegar to eliminate weeds! If you are too busy to pull weeds by hand, make a white vinegar solution and keep it handy for a quick spray when needed.

During hot weather, water your plants more frequently and deeply. When your plants do not get enough water, their roots work themselves up close to the surface, which means they will dry out quicker. If you water deeply, the roots will stay well underground to get to the water down below.

Consider using organic fertilizers in your garden. These are safer than chemical fertilizers, which can build up salts in the ground over time. The salts restrict the ability of the plants to get water and nutrients from the soil. They can also kill helpful earthworms and microorganisms which eat thatch.

Use stones as plant markers if you want to keep a natural looking motif. You can write with permanent magic marker on the flat side of stones and surround your plant with them. That way you will be able to tell what type of plants you have without having an unsightly white mark.

If your tomato plants have long branches that are not flowering or producing fruit, go ahead and pinch them off. It won’t hurt the plant, but will actually help. Pruning back the branches that are not producing fruit, allows the plant to focus its energy and nutrients on producing larger and more flavorful fruit.

Not only is gardening a great way to grow your own food, but you can also grow your own drink. You can grow apple mint to make a delicious tea or rhubarb stalk to make a tart alternative to lemonade. You should also can or freeze your berries and fruits to make them into soda, hard cider, or wines.

A good but unusual organic solution for weeding your plants is try “boiling” your weeds way. Boiling water is a safe herbicide which won’t damage your garden or your body. Douse the weeds with this pot, just avoid the nearby plants. Boiling water damages weed and plant roots, so be sure to avoid the plants you don’t want to eliminate.

A good garden says a great deal about its gardeners. The best gardeners are innovators, always on the lookout for new ideas and handy tips. A garden tended well, which features a rotation of novel plantings and features, conveys to every observer the diligence, sensitivity and imagination of the gardener who maintains it.

Growing Up Healthy: Tricks To Growing A Great Organic Garden

Gardening can seem like a burden at times. The number of things to remember may seem overwhelming, but often success is easier than one might think. This article provides some advice to remember as you go about gardening so you can keep focused and achieve the garden of your dreams.

Combining different selections of plants in a garden area holds the interest and adds to the enjoyment of the viewer. Merge contrasting plants to craft interesting combinations. Add big leaf plants with fine leaf plants and combine them with plants different in texture and color to create the most eye catching and interesting landscape garden.

Grow seasonings and kitchen herbs in your garden. Herbs are generally very simple to grow, and can even be made to thrive in a window box or indoor pot. However, these easy plants are very expensive to buy at the store. Growing them yourself can save you significant amounts of money.

Make use of an old golf bag to carry your tools such as spades and rakes around your garden. You will save a lot of time and effort (and you’ll have an excuse for a new golf bag!). The bag will keep them all together, so no more lost tools either. Many golf bags even have a stand, in this case you won’t have to worry about it tipping over and causing an accident.

When removing and replanting perennials, it is important to replenish the soil as well. If you remove a large number of perennials, and then replant them without adding additional compost and soil, the bed will be lower, reducing drainage and air circulation. Also, the compost will replace nutrients that have been used up by previous growing seasons.

Keep interested in gardening by trying something new each year. While tried and true favorites will always be a part of the garden, reserve a part for something new and exciting to keep interest. Keep in mind that some trial and error will be required because one crop that will be a flop in the fall, might be an excellent crop in the spring.

Think about leaving some areas of your lawn uncut. Long grass provides a great habitat for beetles, young amphibians and grasshoppers. Grass is also an important food source for some butterflies and caterpillars. Gardens without wildlife would be very sterile environments, and most plants can’t reproduce without the help of wildlife.

Create a record journal for your garden. Keep track of when you planted your seeds, when they germinated, how many grow to full size, the yield, etc. You will have more knowledge about your plants and a good idea of how successful your methods are. Use this information for your next grow cycles.

Make sure that you prune your trees regularly. Dead wood on trees can attract pests that can infect your trees. Also, when you trim back small branches on a tree, it will increase the airflow between the branches and allow the larger branches to develop more. This will result in a stronger and healthier tree overall.

Pay attention when watering your roses. Until their roots are established roses should be well watered, afterwards they will only need watering during dry spells. Water from a can, not a hose, pouring closely to the ground. Splashing the leaves with water can lead to mildew if there isn’t enough sun to dry them off before nightfall.

It is important that you protect your hands while you work in your garden. If you do not wear gloves while you work in your yard, your hands can suffer from infections and other contaminants. Make sure that you keep your body safe by wearing protective clothing and gloves.

Create a non-toxic treatment for black spots on roses. Combine one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of vegetable oil and one drop of liquid detergent in one gallon of water and shake. Fill a spray bottle with this mixture and when the humidity rises, spray your roses down – making sure to get both sides of the leaves.

Collect your dirt for a soil analysis to see the nutrients your soil needs. You can get this tested at a local university’s agriculture department, usually for a fee. The fee is well worth it usually because then you will know what nutrients your dirt needs to have a garden that is successful.

When you have an abundance of seeds from your garden, a helpful way to store them away without drying them out is to use old, nylon stockings as a storage bag. After you add the seeds to the stocking, simply tie a knot at the top and hang the stockings in a warm, dark place to store until spring.

Maintaining a garden can be simpler than you think if you are armed with the right information. This article contains a number of straightforward tips that you can follow to grow a healthy garden, stress-free. Keeping focused on the right gardening methods allows you to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts so that your garden thrives.

Simple Tips That Yield Healthy, Productive Gardens

So you have always thought that you had to be born with a green thumb in order to have one. However, anyone who has some knowledge about gardening can be able to have a nice looking garden. The article that follows will give you some ideas that can help get you that garden.

Plant crops compatible with each other in order to add even more efficiency to your garden. Plant crops that take longer to mature next to faster growing varieties. You can also get ahead of the season by planting cooler climate crops in the shade of larger summer crops. Greens such as lettuce do great in the shade of a large tomato plant.

Make use of rain buckets and barrels around your home. You can later use this collected rainwater on your garden to grow healthier plants, while saving the planet. This method also reduces your water bill, as you can’t be charged for using the water that runs off your roof!

Plants are generally best grown in their native environments. Grapes for example, require a dry, hot environment to maximize their growth while minimizing the amount of microbes that are dangerous to them. When growing plants it’s important to realize their region of origin; generally it’s best to identify the local varieties of horticultural species.

Think about leaving some areas of your lawn uncut. Long grass provides a great habitat for beetles, young amphibians and grasshoppers. Grass is also an important food source for some butterflies and caterpillars. Gardens without wildlife would be very sterile environments, and most plants can’t reproduce without the help of wildlife.

Flush your plants with water if the rim of the pot or top of the soil has white salt deposits. Flush using twice the amount water as the size of the pot. Salt accumulates when using liquid fertilizer and can cause a PH imbalance. Once you have flushed the plant, do not water the plant again until the soil is dry.

Soak seeds overnight, preferably in a cool, dark place. Simply place a handful of seeds in a container, cover the seeds up with water, and stash it away. This will keep seeds hydrated and help them to grow faster. This way, the seeds will have a much better shot at survival once they are planted.

If you are going to garden around your home, you need to make sure that you wear safety clothing. If you wear sturdy shoes, long pants and safety goggles while you are maintaining your lawn, there is less of a chance that you will get hurt from doing yard work.

If you are gardening for the first time ever, read and follow all directions and instructions that come with your chemicals and tools. If you ignore them, you can irritate your skin in most painful ways. Keep your health intact and follow the directions to the letter.

You should get a wheelbarrow and a kneeling stool for garden work. Gardening can take a toll on the knees, but a small ergonomic stool will be a comfortable solution. Using a wheelbarrow or wagon to transport heavy loads of dirt will help protect you from back injuries so make sure that you have one.

Save your eggshells to use as a soil additive. Crushed eggshells add much needed calcium to your garden, and working the shells in also helps keep the soil aerated. A barrier made of crushed eggshells and placed in a ring around your plants can also protect them from snails and slugs. Their delicate bodies are cut and scratched by the jagged eggshells, making them avoid those sections of the garden.

Make sure your garden will get sun before planting the seeds. Plants love the sun and will grow better when exposed to it. If it is not too much trouble, consider moving your garden to another area to get the maximum amount of sunshine. This way your plants will grow bigger.

To prevent pain in your knees while gardening you should use a knee pad. A knee pad is typically a foam board that will allow your knees to rest on padding rather than on the ground. You will find that most of the knee pads that are sold in stores are less than and can be purchased anywhere that gardening supplies are sold.

Make sure your seeds have enough room to grow. It is fine to have many seeds in one container before they sprout, but you will have to replant them as they grow. Use containers that are actually big enough for one plant, and avoid having more than one plant in each container.

With these simple tips it is easier then you thought to have a garden that is just as nice looking as your neighbors. So quit being jealous and do something about it. Before you know it, you will have the garden that everyone desires to have.

Tips From Experts On A Healthy Garden

Gardening is a fantastic stress relieving activity that many people swear by. Making your own organic vegetable garden is a great way to improve your lifestyle, while also producing your own food, saving you money and providing you with quality produce right from your yard. Read on to find out how to have more success at it.

Remember to aerate your soil. If you loosen or puncture the soil, it will increase air permeability and water penetration. Aerating can be as simple as turning the soil over with a trowel, or in the case of lawns, making small holes in the grass. This can be done with an aerating machine, a garden fork, or even by walking on the grass wearing a pair of spiked golf shoes. This brings oxygen into the roots and promotes healthy new growth.

If you want to have a more productive garden, expand your growing season into the fall by using row covers. Row covers keep heat in, frost out, and also protect against deer intrusion. The crops under the row covers should still be somewhat resistant to cold however, so it is best to choose greens and root vegetables.

If you are intending on getting into gardening, be sure to purchase the right tools and equipment necessary to do all the tasks. This will help insure that you do not end up ruining your garden by using improper tools and wasting a lot of time and energy for naught.

If frost has killed your pumpkins before they’ve had a chance to turn orange, it’s not too late to save them. Cut the pumpkins off the vine, leaving a minimum of 4 inches of the vine on the top of the pumpkin. Wash them thoroughly with water mixed with a small amount of bleach to prevent the development of mold. Bring them inside, and place them in a warm, sunny location, turning them occasionally so the sun can reach all the green areas of the pumpkin. Within a few weeks or less, you’ll have bright orange pumpkins to carve into jack-o-lanterns or use to make homemade pumpkin pie.

Controlling pests is essential to a high yield garden. There are a variety of products available on the market that will kill any invasive pest in the garden. Many organic pest controls have been perfected over the years that work very well, although they can be more expensive than chemical alternatives. With a quick internet search one can find many safe home remedies for pest control too.

It is crucial that you have the proper tools before starting a garden. You do not want to begin the process of starting a garden only to realize that you are in need of a tool you do not have. Try to get shovels, trowels, pruners, hoes, garden forks, and rakes.

Start with a small manageable garden if you are new to gardening. If you are inexperienced, gardening can be stressful and frustrating. By starting with a smaller size, you keep your experiences positive and your plants under control. Gardens do require work and upkeep on a regular basis so keep that in mind.

When planting tomato seedlings, be sure to plant them all the way up to the first set of leaves. This allows the plant to grow a larger and deeper root system. The more roots your plant sprouts, the more tomatoes the plant will be capable of supporting and the more flavorful they will be.

If you have a vegetable garden, it can be quite difficult to decide what to do about pest control. You want to avoid spraying harsh chemicals since the vegetables are meant for consumption. So to help you control the pests that may invade your garden, you will want to stay vigilant. Natural pest control depends on the type of soil in your garden and the variety of plants growing there.

Keep your gardening tools organized. You do not want to trek out to your garden, only to realize you do not have everything you need with you and need to hunt your tools down. Keep small tools in a tool belt that you can grab and throw on easily or keep them in a 5-gallon bucket that you can carry out to your garden, quickly.

Gardening can be a relaxing hobby. There are numerous avenues to pursue when attempting to find your personal peace and relaxation. Gardening is a great way to achieve this satisfaction. The returns are huge for a very minute up front investment cost. The best part of it is not the plants themselves, but the stillness achieved by tending to them.

Improve your health and well-being now by applying these easy tips and making your very own organic vegetable garden at your home today. Don’t keep paying for inferior produce at the local supermarket when you could be improving yourself and providing your own food at home.

A Healthy Start: How To Grow An Organic Garden

Gardening is a great hobby. Whether it’s a small patch in your back yard or your entire lawn, it makes your home look beautiful and inviting. But if you’re a beginner, you might not know where to start. This article contains many suggestions that can help you answer some of the questions you might have and get started.

If you have a vegetable garden and plan on eating the vegetables, you should inspect them carefully every week. Look for bugs and worms or traces of disease and damages. Do not eat a vegetable that does not look healthy. Make sure you wash your vegetables carefully before you cook them.

Wait for the right moment if you plan on dividing a plant. Leave perhaps two years to grow and divide it at the end of the season when it looks at its best. If your plant shows signs of diseases or has areas with fewer leaves and flowers than others, it is too late.

Easily dry herbs using your car. Your car is the perfect place to dry herbs, providing a safe, dry, and warm location. Simply place some newspaper or other protection on a car seat, and arrange the herbs in a single, even layer. Make sure the windows are rolled up, and close up the car. Your herbs will be dry and ready to store. Length of time will depend on the temperature, but can be as little as an hour or two. As a bonus, your car will smell wonderful!

If you are going to be doing a lot of work in your garden very close to the ground, such as weeding or planting, use a garden stool or pad to protect your knees. This will make it easier to get back up again and move once you finish, and will also reduce bruising on your knees.

Make sure to pick the right seeds for your location and zone. Certain crops grow better in certain locations. Seed packets usually have information regarding USDA zones. Information regarding USDA Plant Hardiness Zones is also available online. A good example of this is growing oranges in warmer climates and apples in cooler climates.

An excellent way to store the goodies from a homegrown garden is to freeze them in small batches. Using small sealable plastic bags and cutting small amounts of fresh vegetables every few days will help store the extras from the garden. Just bag and toss in the freezer and the packets can be added at any time to soups and pastas year round.

Test your soil before purchasing fertilizer. Fertilizers provide essential nutrients to plants, such as phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen. However, fertilizers can be very expensive. By testing your garden soil to see which nutrients it is lacking, you can avoid spending extra money on a complex fertilizer, and instead purchase a fertilizer containing only the nutrients that your soil requires.

Make your own compost ahead of time rather than purchasing it. Adding compost to your garden gives your plants a needed boost to grow successfully. Begin saving your grass cuttings, raked up leaves, egg shells, and skin from fruits and vegetables in a sturdy bin 6 months prior to your gardening season. Your compost will then be ready to mix in with your dirt on planting day.

Treat yourself while you garden with a little petroleum jelly. Before donning your gardening gloves, apply a bit of petroleum jelly or your favorite moisturizing cream to your hands. The gloves protect from the dirt, while your hand movement works the cream into your skin. You will finish your gardening with silky soft hands!

Know your climate zone. This can be the difference between a thriving garden and one that never grows. Knowing your climate zone will help you choose flowers, fruits, vegetables and trees that are perfect for where you are. This way, you get a bit of a headstart when designing a garden.

Make sure your seeds have enough room to grow. It is fine to have many seeds in one container before they sprout, but you will have to replant them as they grow. Use containers that are actually big enough for one plant, and avoid having more than one plant in each container.

Use mulch to fertilize your beds. You have to make sure you spread mulch evenly, as you need a certain quantity and do not want to waste any of it. Sprinkle mulch as best as you can and use a rack to spread it flatly and evenly. Make sure you cover all the areas that need it.

There is a great satisfaction in enjoying your garden after all the effort you’ve put into making it. It is a great, fun activity but also one that takes time and patience. If you follow the tips in this article, you will find that making the garden of your dreams is easier than you might think.

Expert Advice For Easy And Healthy Organic Gardening

What if you could create an oasis of calm in your own backyard? Mother Nature has blessed us with trees, grass, flowers and many interesting and exotic plants that can add beauty, tranquility and serenity to your yard. There is something about being surrounded by nature and living plants that soothes the soul and relaxes the mind. Start small and choose a few plants that complement your yard, then start building your own private oasis to access any time you want.

If frost has killed your pumpkins before they’ve had a chance to turn orange, it’s not too late to save them. Cut the pumpkins off the vine, leaving a minimum of 4 inches of the vine on the top of the pumpkin. Wash them thoroughly with water mixed with a small amount of bleach to prevent the development of mold. Bring them inside, and place them in a warm, sunny location, turning them occasionally so the sun can reach all the green areas of the pumpkin. Within a few weeks or less, you’ll have bright orange pumpkins to carve into jack-o-lanterns or use to make homemade pumpkin pie.

Do not forget the sun when deciding on a place for a garden. Gardens need sun. Almost all flowering plants and vegetables grow best in excellent sunlight. Vegetables like tomatoes require a lot of sunlight and will not produce without it. If there are trees above the area, trim them back or look for another location because a garden without sun is doomed to failure.

For a natural way to control aphids, populate your garden with ladybugs. Ladybugs are natural predators of aphids and scaly bugs. They are pretty to look at, and they are beneficial to your garden. They do not eat flowers, so you can safely use them on your flower beds. This is a good alternative to using commercial pesticides.

Grow native perennials in your yard to attract local wildlife. Native vegetation is the best food source for your native animals. You will see more birds and colorful insects using this method. This is an easy way to attract wildlife, as native plants generally require less work from you in order to thrive.

Do you hate how fresh mint leaves grow and take over your lovely garden but still like them? You can slow down this growth by planting them inside a pot or container! You can simply put the container below the soil level. Once you do, the container will constrain the roots, preventing them from overshadowing all of your other plants.

Think carefully about how you are going to lay out your vegetable garden. Unlike most other gardens, you want to consider practicality over aesthetics for your vegetables. Some vegetables emit chemicals that can inhibit another’s growth; some tall vegetables might overshadow small vegetables, which might not allow them to grow and ripen. Look at each vegetable plant’s properties and carefully consider where to put it in your garden.

You must water your plants correctly, to achieve success with your garden. When watering your garden, always try to do it early in the morning or in the evening, when the sun has gone down. This gives the soil a chance to actually soak up the water without it evaporating. Also, if you have pots, try to hand water them with a can, rather than using a hose. This way you can make sure that each pot gets enough water, since potted plants can dry out completely in a matter of hours, if they haven’t had a deep watering.

Plant fruits and vegetables that you know you like. If you have children, having them help in the garden will make them want to eat the food that they grow. You will be able to save money on your fresh produce as well as know that your family is eating the best produce around.

Composting for organic gardening reduces the need for fertilizers, is a form of herbicide, can help prevent plant diseases and helps impact the environment in positive ways. Composting is a source of nutrition for insects, helps with soil erosion and reduces waste sent to landfills. It is wonderful for the health of the environment in general.

You should check your gardening tools on a regular basis to make sure that they are still in good condition. Sheers, pruners and lawn mower blades all become dull after many uses. You can easily sharpen the blades yourself or have a professional sharpen them. By sharpening the blades you will not have to replace the tools altogether.

That’s all there is to it. Just follow the tips above and you will be able to enhance your existing garden or start a new garden from scratch. You may want to add garden accessories as well, but whatever you do — creating your own garden space creates an instant getaway that you can indulge in any time you feel the need.

Grow A Healthy Organic Garden With These Tips

Owning and maintaining a successful garden is about more than just having a “green thumb” or knowing when to plant your tomatoes. There is plenty that can be learned through everyday knowledge and tips that experienced gardeners are often willing to share with any listening ears. All you have to do is be interested in learning the right way.

When designing a garden area of your yard, a good place to start is with a tree or hedge as the anchor or structural foundation to your garden. Plant grasses and perennials around the taller centerpiece plant to add texture, color and flow. In time, these plants will fill out as they grow and look splendid against the taller trees or shrubs in the background.

Plan your gardening accordingly to the weather. If you live in an area where the ground freezes during the winter, do not plant anything before frost is expected. If you live in a warmer area, take a break during the warmest months of summer to avoid wasting too much water.

Plants need to take in CO2 to grow and thrive. Plants tend to grow better when the CO2 levels are higher. A greenhouse will provide plants with an environment rich in carbon dioxide. To achieve optimal growing conditions, keep the levels of carbon dioxide high in your plants’ environment.

Make a handy twine dispenser from old clay pots. To always have gardening twine ready to use, take an old clay pot, and place it in your garden where you want your twine dispenser to be. Then place your ball of twine in it, and turn a second clay pot upside down. Thread the twine through the drainage hole of the upside down pot and place it on top of the bottom pot. You now have a handy dispenser!

If space is an issue, try vertical gardening. Even with the limited space of condos and townhouses, many people have thriving gardens in the small area they have using vertical gardening. By using trellised gardens one can grow pole beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a small place during the summer, and in the fall a wide variety of greens can be grown in the same space.

Don’t assume that insects are to blame for all plants ailments. There are many things that can affect the health of a plant. The PH of the water you are using, the location of the plant (under shade vs direct sun), the amount of soil in the pot and several other reasons can be a determining factor.

If you have many potted plants, do not water them all the same way. Some plants do well with plenty of water, whereas other plants might prefer a drier soil. Over-watering can do as much damage to a plant as under-watering. So, be mindful of what types of plants that you have in the pots, and water them appropriately.

When you first plant a seedling, make sure that you keep the soil moist until it germinates. This is very important because, if the soil dries out, you risk the seedling dying. Once the seedling does germinate, the soil can be allowed to dry in between watering, but remember that it is still delicate and needs to be taken care of.

Vegetables tend to soften during the hottest part of the day, which means they are easily damaged, even when handled with care. Also ensure that you use a tool to cut the vegetables off at the vine. If you just yank or twist the whole plant, it may become damaged.

Take care of your knees while working in the garden. Bending over for a long while is quite difficult for a lot of people. Kneeling is a preferred way to get to your plants while minimizing back pain. Knee pads will prevent any pain you may feel because of this position.

It is important to remember to apply sunscreen to the back of your neck as well as your ears when you are gardening. Many people focus on their face, hands and arms when they are applying sun block before going outside to do their gardening. Your ears and the back of your neck will get a lot of sun exposure, so it is important to protect them too.

The best time to buy pots for your indoor garden is at the end of summer. Most stores will be having clearances on their summer inventory and that is the best time to find great deals on all of the gardening supplies you need to keep your indoor garden healthy and strong during the winter months.

Through the article, you should have picked up on a few tips that will help you plant and raise your garden with a little better results. As you can see, it takes a combination of time, care, and planning to make it reach the full potential. Of course, having a “green thumb” doesn’t hurt.

Grow The Healthy Way: Organic Gardening Techniques

There are as many types of gardeners as there are types of gardens, but no matter what your gardening style is, there are certain things every garden has in common and certain ideas will apply to all gardening. Here are some tips that are relevant for all gardeners and many types of gardens.

If you live in an area with clay soil, coat your shovel or gardening trowel with flour or car wax before you start digging your garden. This will prevent soil from sticking to the blade of your shovel, making your work much easier. It also lengthens the life of your shovel by preventing rust.

Have your soil analyzed by a laboratory for a small fee so that you know which nutrients you need to add. Many college agricultural departments or cooperative extensions will provide this service for just a few dollars. Once you have the report, head to a farm supply company and buy what you need.

Keep herb plants trimmed and bushy. By consistently pruning your herb plants you will create a shorter path for nutrients and allow the leaves to grow fuller and quicker. Keep the plants short through trimming as well and increase the density of the leaves. When at all possible do not allow the herbs to flower.

Save money by drying the seeds from your annuals to plant next year. Petunias, zinnias and impatiens are just a few of the flowers from which it is easy to extract and save seeds. You will have to extract the seed pod from some flowers, and wait for it to split open. With others, such as marigolds, you will have to open the flower and extract the seeds yourself. After extracting the seeds, let them dry for at least a week. Place them in a jar with a rubber seal, and add silica gel pouches to keep them from absorbing moisture. Store them in a cool, dry location until you’re ready to plant them next year.

Try using latex or plastic gloves instead of cloth gardening gloves. Cloth gardening gloves do not block moisture well – a problem when working with moist soil, and they often get stiff, crinkly, and uncomfortable after a few uses. A sturdy pair of plastic or latex gloves, like those used for cleaning, are a much better choice. They protect against moisture, and cleaning is as simple as rinsing them off under a hose and hanging to dry.

Carefully plan your garden first. Use this to remind you where certain things were planted, later when they start sprouting. With a plan, you will also be less likely to lose track of small groups or individual plants within a large and ambitious garden.

To be sure a tree doesn’t become a problem with age, think of what size it will become before you plant it. The perfect place for a sapling may not be a great place for a tree several years down the road. You should be especially careful not to plant a tree too closely to your house, as the roots can cause damage.

When you are planning where to put your garden, choose a location that allows it to get plenty of sun. If you place it in the shade, you will be restricting the types of plants that you are able to grow. For example, tomatoes need a lot of sunshine to thrive and a shaded area just won’t work for them.

To help your tomato plants grow strong stems, blow a fan on them for 15 minutes a day. Exposure to wind is essential to a stem’s development, and giving the plant some extra time to blow in the breeze will only make it stronger. Try using a small, portable fan on a low or medium setting.

If your backyard soil isn’t conducive to an organic garden, try installing a raised bed. Within the raised bed, you can create your own mix of soil and compost to achieve the ideal soil for raising your crops. Just be sure the bed is at least 16 inches high so that roots have room to flourish.

When you plan your organic garden, remember that some plants, especially leafy greens like lettuce and spinach will mature well before the end of the growing season. Beds for fast growing plants can often produce two harvests in one season. Have more quick-growing plants ready to replace the early harvest so that you can maximize your garden’s productivity.

Any garden and gardener can benefit from these tips, whether your ideal garden is huge or tiny, whether you prefer flowers or vegetables, whether you like exotic plants or native plants. With this advice in your gardening tool shed, your gardening skills might improve so much that all your gardener friends will want to know your secrets.