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Cutting Height For Lawns – An Organic Gardening How To

Posted by admin on Nov 28, 2014 under organic gardening how to

My neighbors that live three houses down from us have a beautiful home and they work constantly on theirorganic gardening how to landscaping. All of their plants are well trimmed and there is not a leaf in their yard. They do have one problem, however… while their grass is green and they mow it weekly, the grass is thin and they have a number of bare spots. That’s the problem that I want to address in this Organic Gardening How To Blog post.

You see, these neighbors have centipedegrass just like we do. Our grass, however, is thick and green (that’s our lawn in the picture above). The difference between our lawn and their lawn is mainly due to the height at which we cut our lawn compared to the height that they cut their grass. We cut our grass when it’s about 3 inches tall and we cut it to a height of 2 inches. On the other hand, our neighbors cut their lawn when it’s about 2 inches tall and they cut it to a height of about 1 inch. That’s a mistake and it’s a mistake that many homeowners make.

Letting your grass grow taller enables the blades of grass to capture more sunlight and enhances photosynthesis. This strengthens the grass and enables it to protect the stems and roots from the hot sun. Removing the thick canopy of grass by cutting it too short, exposes the stems and roots to the harsh sun resulting in a slow decline and eventual death of the turf.

There are a lot of different varieties of grass and some can be cut shorter than 2-3 inches. For those of you that have a different variety of grass than what we have, you can check out to find out how short you should cut your grass.

Another thing that we do differently from our neighbors when it comes to our lawn is that we cut the lawn with an electric lawnmower. Now, I’m not saying that an electric lawnmower will make your grass any greener or thicker, but if you’re into organic gardening like we are, there is not a better way to do it. I bought my husband a Black & Decker cordless electric self-propelled lawn mower and it does a sweet job without all that noise. I did however, due to the size of our yard, buy a second battery so that we could mow the entire yard before recharging. Changing the battery is easy!

For more information on cutting height for lawns, watch this short video:

That’s it… until next time from the the Organic Gardening How To Blog.

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Controlling Cutworms In Your Organic Vegetable Garden

Posted by admin on Nov 19, 2014 under organic vegetable garden

I ventured out into my organic vegetable garden last week and I was disturbed to find a huge cutwormorganic vegetable garden cutworm had nearly eaten one-fourth of my largest tomato plant. Needless to say, I removed that worm from my plant and I destroyed it with a lot of anger.

Gardening is difficult enough, but adding nasty cutworms into the formula just makes it a little more difficult. These little grubs make my skin shake and I had to find a solution to my problem.

(For more organic solutions on solving other pest problems, visit my posting called Pest Controls From Your Kitchen Cabinet)

Cutworms are the larvae of a lot of different types of moths. They look like caterpillars and are usually green, brown, or yellow in color. … the one I found was a light-yellow. Cutworms usually like the new, tender growth, but some of them will chew through the stem of the plant and sometimes even the roots.

I read a lot of crafty ways to prevent cutworms from eating my plants. I read about placing tin foil around the base of the plants and/or using slitted cardboard to prevent the worms from crawling up the plant. And, of course, I read a lot of suggestions about using chemicals and pesticides… but, these are not an option in my organic vegetable garden.

Easy Solution For Getting Rid of Cutworms

The easiest solution I found for getting rid of cutworms is to simply use corn meal… that’s it!. Simply spread a layer of corn meal around the base of each plant… make that layer about 6″ wide.

As it turns out, cutworms love the corn meal, but they can’t digest.. they consume it and they die.

Originally, I got this idea from the video below, but I also read about it in this eHow article.

Now, in this movie, the girl puts a barrier around each plant such as a plastic bottle and tin can. I didn’t place these barriers… I just put the corn meal directly on the ground with no barrier.

I started doing this in my organic vegetable garden four days ago and I’ve found the dead carcasses of a half-dozen cutworms at the base of my plants… I haven’t found any living cutworms on my plants.

Until next time from the Organic Gardening How To Blog…

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Pruning Tomato Tips – An Organic Gardening How To

Posted by admin on Jun 26, 2012 under organic gardening how to

Depending upon the type of tomatoes that you are growing, properly pruning your tomatoes can lead to a healthier organic gardening how toplant that produces larger tomatoes. I’m not sure that many of us will grow tomatoes as large as the one that I showed in an earlier Organic Gardening How To Blog post, but pruning tomatoes can certainly help.

I’ve posted a video below that will provide you plenty of information on how to prune tomatoes properly, but one of the things that is not fully explained in this video is what exactly are “indeterminate” tomatoes. Patricia Boudier, the author of this video, says that these are the only types of tomatoes that you should prune. So, before watching that video, let me clarify what indeterminate tomatoes are.

Prune Only Indeterminate Tomatoes – An Organic Gardening How To

Tomatoes can be classified as either indeterminate or determinate tomatoes.

Determinate tomatoes are “bush” type tomatoes that grow to about 4 feet in height. The fruit will grow in clusters towards the end of the branches and all of the fruit will ripen at about the same time. After the fruit has ripened, the plant will die.

Varieties of determinate tomatoes include the Super Bush, Better Boy, Bush Beefsteak, Manitobe, Northern Delight, and the Sprite Tomato. If buying tomato seeds, look for the word “determinate” or “DET” on the seed package.

Indeterminate tomatoes are the “vine” type tomatoes that can grow up to 10 feet in height (length), although 6 feet is more common. These type of tomatoes will grow fruit all summer long and won’t die until the first frost kills them. Many gardeners consider these to be the more flavorful of the two types of tomatoes.Varieties of indeterminate tomatoes include the Beefsteak, Italian Roma, Amish Red, Amish Gold, Big Beef, Italian Tree, Brandywine, Black Zebra, Black Krim, and the Cherokee Chocolate. Once again, if buying tomato seeds, look for the word “indeterminate” or “IND” on the seed package.

With this little matter out of the way, watch this great video on pruning tomatoes to learn the proper way to do it:

Remember, don’t prune wet tomatoes… that will only cause problems!

Until next time from the Organic Gardening How To Blog

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Improving Your Organic Garden Soil

Posted by admin on May 30, 2012 under organic garden

Not too long ago, I wrote an article about Greenscaping and explained that it was one of the easiest waysorganic garden soil image to have a healthy organic garden. Well, one of the things that was discussed in that article was to make sure that your soil was rich and healthy. In this article, I want to go into a little more detail about how you can check your organic soil and improve it if necessary.

One of the biggest reasons that most gardeners fail is that their soil is not properly conditioned for the plants that they are trying to grow. While this may sound difficult to analyze and fix, it’s actually quite easy.

Four Easy Steps for Healthy Organic Garden Soil

1. Knowing the Garden Soil In Your Area

You need to know what you are working with. Your soil’s texture is a combination of 3 ingredients: sand, clay, and silt. If your soil has too much clay in it, your plant’s roots will have a difficult time penetrating the soil. If your soil is too sandy, your soil will have a difficult time holding moisture. Silt soil is a fine grain soil that holds moisture, but similar to clay, too much of it makes it difficult for roots to penetrate.

You can determine the type of soil in your area by visiting a library and/or consulting with your local nursery.

2. Knowing the Types of Plants That You Want to Grow

You can’t grow all plants in any locale. Some plants, like Cactus, like sandy soil. Some plants, such as Daylily, like clay soil. After determining what type of garden soil is in your area, choose plants that will tolerate the soil in your area.

3. Soil Testing Is A Must

This is where most organic gardeners fail…they don’t do a soil test. Soil testing will reveal if your particular plot of ground has too much clay or sand, what nutrients your soil may not have or have too much of, and what the pH level of your soil is. These are all key factors for a successful organic garden.

You can do a soil test yourself by using a soil testing kit that you can get online at Amazon or at your local nursury. Or, you can take a sample of your soil and submit it to a USDA Cooperative Center Office in your local area… that’s what I do. There is usually a small fee associated with doing this and sometimes you have to wait several weeks to get the results.

4. Add Soil Amendments to Your Organic Garden

Once you have the results from your soil test and you have determined what types of plants that you want to grow, you can now add soil amendments to make your soil as healthy as possible for your chosen plants. For example, if the soil test reveals that your soil have excessive amounts of sand, you can add some vermiculite to counter-balance it.

Below is an excellent video that I found online that will help you to make these soil amendments:

I hope this short lesson helps you in your organic garden. Until next time from the Organic Gardening How To Blog

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Greenscaping: The Easiest Way To A Healthy Organic Garden

Posted by admin on Apr 17, 2012 under organic garden

Maintaining a healthy organic garden is something my husband and I have always tried to do. Taking care oforganic garden greenscaping our lawn and garden is something we take pride in and doing it in a manner that Mother Nature would want us to do it, makes us proud. Besides, it costs less and is environmentally friendly.

In a recent article that I read written by Ashley Halligan (a market analyst for Software Advice) called “5 Simple Steps to Green Your Properties Landscape“, she says “… a little green TLC can be beneficial to the environment by reducing contaminants in water runoff and providing a toxin-free environment for humans and animals”. We certainly agree with her.

Greenscaping Helps Our Organic Garden

Greenscaping is a set of landscaping practices that improves the health of your garden and it protects and preserves the natural environment. Basically, it’s putting Mother Nature to work in your own yard.

There are 5 steps to successful greenscaping:

1. Build and Maintain Healthy Soil – Remember this…healthy plants grow in healthy soil. Regularly test your soil to find out what nutrients might be missing in your soil. Contact a Cooperative Center Office or check with your local nursury for a soil test kit.

Supplement your soil with compost (read Compost For Your Organic Garden) and use mulch around your plants to conserve water.

2. Plant the Right Plants for Your Site – Pick plants that grow naturally in your geographic area. Choose plants that grow well in the pH of your soil. Don’t grow too much grass and choose plants that don’t need too much water.

3. Practice Smart Watering – Too much water is unhealthy for most plants…give them only what they need. Water deeply and infrequently. Conserve every drop.

Establish a system for collecting rain water. For information, read Drought Insurance For Your Organic Garden.

4. Use a Holistic Approach to Pest Management – Start with prevention…maintain healthy soil and choose plants that are bug resistant.

Identify the type of bugs that are on your plants…some bugs are helpful. Manually removing harmful bugs is one way to control them and their are many organic ways to do it, also. Read Pest Controls From Your Kitchen Cabinet to learn more.

5. Practice Natural Lawn Care – Mow frequently and don’t remove over 1/3 of the height of the grass. Save time by leaving the clippings that will also naturally fertilize the grass. Use “natural organic” fertilizers and water infrequently, but deeply.

To keep us focused on what needs to be done depending on the season at hand, we use this free government seasonal calendar.

Greenscaping has certainly helped our organic garden and we encourage others who are not doing it to give it a try.

Until next time from the Organic Gardening How To Blog

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