Archive for the ‘organic gardening tips’ Category

growing ginger

Grow your own ginger roots from store-bought produce with these simple tips.
Soak the Roots Overnight in warm water. This will stimulate growth and rinse off any chemicals that might be present.
Set the Roots  coconut fiberso that the top of the root is visible, with the green growing tips pointing up. I used a propagating tray, but you can use any container wide enough to accommodate the root. Keep the sphagnum moss lightly moist, but allow it to dry out between waterings.
Transplant to a Pot once the first leaves have formed. At this point you should notice a mass of fleshy white roots, which can be gently teased loose from the moss. Hold the root just beneath the edge of the pot, and fill the pot with fresh potting mix so that the fine roots are surrounded and the top of the rhizome is barely visible.
Caring for Your Ginger is easy, as long as you provide warmth, humidity, moisture and drainage. Summer is the best time to grow ginger because it’s already hot and humid, but if you’re growing it indoors you can place it in a bright windowsill and occasionally mist it with water. Drainage is provided by simply using a pot with drainage holes.

Raise your beds for organic vegetable gardens



if you’ve never planted vegetables in raised beds before, once you do, you’ll be spoiled for the rest of your gardening life.

Some of the benefits of raised bed gardening are:

  1. Less weeding
  2. Better water retention in areas that have super-sandy soil
  3. Better drainage in areas with clay soils
  4. More growing space
  5. No soil compaction from human feet
  6. Warmer soil earlier in the season
  7. Warmer soil for a longer season
  8. Soil that has basically a neutral pH unless you add something to change it (because you’re filling it)
  9. Less soil erosion (especially, if the bed is framed)
  10. preventing weeds without buying and applying herbicides, grow vegetables without buying and spreading fertilizer, and keep the bugs and other pests under control.


Make sure you plant your vegetables in raised beds which consists of a 4 to 6-inch deep layer of mulch. The mulch also reduces the amount of watering, preventing evaporation.
The drawback to the mulch is that it attracts birds. The chickens (if you have any) love to dig holes in it under the vegetables, hunting for bugs. They are excellent bug controllers, but they throw mulch out of the beds and leave huge holes in the dirt.
Your yield will be up to four times more than the same amount of space planted in rows. That’s due not only to their loose, fertile soil but also to efficient spacing—by using less space for paths, you have more room to grow plants.
Raised beds save you time, too. Your veg will grow close enough together to shade out competing weeds. The close spacing also makes watering and harvesting more efficient.
Try growing vining crops, like beans or pumpkins on trellises along one side of raised beds, using sturdy end posts with nylon mesh. Tie the growing vines to the trellis. But don’t worry about securing heavy fruits—even squash and melons will develop thicker stems for support.
Transplant which is already a month or so old when you plant it, and so will mature that much faster than a direct-seeded plant (one grown from seeds sown in the garden).
Choose fast-maturing varieties. Replenish the soil with a ¼-to-½-inch layer of each time you replant. Work it into the top few inches of soil.

Organic Rose Gardening


Raising roses organically requires a lot of patience, and a willingness to experiment around. 

These tips might work for you:

1. Choose rose varieties that are disease resistant. Antique varieties seem to be the hardiest of all, resilient to aphids and black spot. Old fashioned rose varieties are hardy in poor soil conditions and do quite nicely with a no fuss, they come in a range from standard shrub roses to climbing varieties.

2. Well drained soil that’s rich in composted material

3. Turn composted material into your rose beds instead of using chemical fertilizers. Compost improves soil drainage and is high in natural nutrients. Soil that is healthy contributes to healthier plants and provides a home for earthworms and other decomposers that are part of nature’s cycle of decay and rejuvenation.

4. Keep your rose beds clean, provide for good circulation, and lots of sunshine

5. Having problems with blackspot and mildew? try relocating them to a sunnier part of the garden. Even though roses can get by with only six hours of sunshine, placing them in sunnier locations seems to lower their tendency towards fungal type of diseases. Good circulation and air flow is also important in preventing fungal diseases from getting a toehold. Removing dead wood, fallen leaves and petals, and other debris removes places when disease can start.

6. Install a soaker hose system instead if a sprinkler system. Deep, infrequent watering is healthier for the plants, and prevents fungal spores from the soil from bouncing up on the lower leaves.

7. Plant companion plants that attract beneficial bugs, like ladybugs and other beneficial bugs. Yarrow and dill were highly attractive, with coreopsis and geraniums to a lesser degree. Other suggested plants include wild carrot, fennel, caraway, cilantro, and angelica.

8. Use alternate sprays for example, insecticidal soap is one organic product I’ve used in the past that does a fabulous job of killing the pests while leaving the good bugs alone.For particularly bad aphid infestations, one low cost solution is to hose the aphids from your rose buds using a steady stream of water. This done by cradling the rose bud in the palm of the hand, and gently rinsing the bud until the aphids drop to the ground. This technique will have to be repeated every three to four days for a couple of weeks, but eventually the aphids disappear for good.  By replacing the wimpy roses with disease resistant varieties and following the tips listed above, growing roses naturally will be less of a challenge for the organic gardener.

9. If you are looking at growing roses quickly and easily, organic fertilizers do a simple job, helping plants grow quickly. For roses though, most any type of fertilizer will work, just make sure to use NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) fertilizers. Also you must make sure not to overfertilize the plants or else they will just simply die. So now that you know how to organically fertilize your roses, you need to know what kind to buy.
2. Blood Meal – This may sound gross, but your roses will grow at an alarming rate with this organic fertilizer. Blood meal is dried and powdered blood that is spread into your garden to help your roses grow. Because of its high nitrogen release level, it does help the roses grow, but if too much is applied it can burn and destroy the roses. It is recommended to mix the blood meal with water to see the best results for your newly growing roses.
3. Alfalfa Meal – The alfalfa meal actually heats up the surface of the soil. This helps the roses grow through an organic fashion. After using alfalfa meal, your roses should be growing at a much faster rate, but just like the blood meal, do not apply too much or else all of your vegetation might die. This organic fertilizer is a great way to treat your soil before growing roses.
4. Chicken Manure – First of all, be sure to compost the chicken manure or else you will cause severe burning to your plants. After composting though, it should be a quick and easy route to organically fertilizing your growing roses. After applying your chicken manure fertilizer, you must wait for a few weeks until the soil is nourished with your newly applied fertiilizer
5. Bone Meal – Bone meal is a slow releasing fertilizer that has been used for organic purposes for a long time. Watch out for this fertilizer though, as it has a high count of phosphorus. As long as you make sure to follow procedure to not harm your plants, bone meal is a great fertilizer to use to organically grow your roses.

Organic – Fruits, Vegetables, Fertilizer

Organic Fertilizer for your vegetables and fruit garden

A basic requirement for a successful organic vegetable garden is fertilizer, water and full sun. Manure from horses also doubles as a great soil additive that will help even the poorest of soils. The horse manure must be aged and composted for at least 3 months before being added to the vegetable bed. The composted manure will look dark and soil like when it’s ready, almost like top quality potting soil. Cover the top of the vegetable bed to a depth of about 18cm. Water thoroughly and allow sit for 2 weeks. Earthworms will work their way up from the soil into the compost. The earthworms naturally till of the garden bed. Weed seedlings should be pulled out by hand each day.

Plants that are grown in the composted manure are stronger and more resistant to insect pests. They tend to attract ladybugs which in turn like to eat aphids, a major pest in most vegetable gardens. To avoid fungus problems such as powdery mildew I just water early in the day. Leaving water on the plants overnight is the major cause of powdery mildew.
Collect rainwater in plastic barrels or in a tank and use this water for your garden, it should respond much better then chemically treated water from the municipality. Full sunshine is very important in making a vegetable garden a success.

When is comes time to harvest the fruits and vegetables. The tomatoes should definitely have much more flavor. Go organic with your garden, use organic seeds if possible, in the end you will save money on not having to buy chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and your fruit and vegetables will be delicious.


recycle and grow

Wanting to plant Succulants, herbs, bulbs indoors or just display your arrangements, try using old Jam jars and recycle your glass bottles at the same time?

roses are red

For the longest time, I have been admiring and watching my aunt take stem cuttings home from her travels and I have always wished I could follow in her footsteps and grow roses using the stem cutting method.

Growing roses from stem cuttings

What you will need:

  • Healthy rose cuttings from your favorite rose bush
  • Rose shears
  • Razor or sharp knife
  • Small pot (around 3″)
  • 4L bag
  • Rubber Band
  • Potting soil (enough to fill the pot)
  • Sand (about ½ cup)

1. Taking cuttings
Start by taking cuttings from a healthy rose bush that is free of diseases

Be sure to cut from stems that are blooming or have recently bloomed
If you cut from a non-blooming stem, you will get a non-blooming rose bush

cut them 5-20 or more inches depending on you preference and the length of your stem
I used 2 stems about 18 inches long and cut them into sections.

cut off any blooms and remove leaves, leaving only 1 or 2 leaflets as they will take away nutrients needed to survive the change

2. prepping the stems for planting
Once you have your sections prepared, using sharp snips are a razor blade, cut the bottom tip at a sharp angle. Then ‘wound’ the area by cutting a thing layer from the area with the razor place or sharp knife. I personally usually wound one side of the stem from the very tip up to about 1 inch.
After wounding your cuttings, dip the tips into fresh water, tap off the excess and dip in routing hormone. Rooting hormone is not required but is helpful to prevent rotting.

3. potting
Using a small pot (use 3″ terracotta pots), place about 3/4 of an inch of sand in the bottom. Then fill the rest of the pot with a well draining indoor mix. Wet the soil and insure that it is very moist but not soggy.
Place the cuttings in the pot at a diagonal slant. Be sure to push them down as far as they can go with out touching the leaves to insure that they make it to the sand.

4. Ziploc bag method
Once your cuttings are in place, using a 3.8L Ziploc bag, create a safe environment for your rose cuttings. Fill the bag with air, place it over the pot about halfway down the sides and secure with a rubber band to hold the air in. You may have to blow air into the bag to insure that it stays up. You can also use a straw or a stick with a blunt end to place inside the pot and hold the bag up.
The cuttings must be moist, while in Ziploc bag, you will not need to mist them. The bag will create a greenhouse effect and keep the plants humid.
You will see the condensation inside the bag and rest assured, that is a good thing. If you don’t see any with in a day or so then check the moisture in the plant. Simply water as needed every few days.

5. Finally, where to place the potted cuttings once planted
Be sure to place your potted cuttings out of sunlight. Too much sunlight will cause them to dry out, burn and die. Keep them in a shaded area with some diffused light. I usually put them on the floor under my window to keep them out of the sun but still provide light.
In a few weeks check your cuttings for roots. You should be able to lightly tug on them a feel resistance. If you do, then proceed to carefully removing them to check their root systems.
Once they have rooted, replace them if necessary and place the pot outside in a very shaded area for a few days. This will allow them to get used to the heat. Then gradually move them a little further into the sun every few days. Sticking them outside in direct sun immediately will cause them to wilt.

Your Guide to a Lush Healthy Lawn

Your Guide to a healthy Lawn

If you want a lush, green lawn, but like me, prefer the organic route, consider this.
The goal of organic lawn care is to build rich, dark, chemical free soil that is abundant with life, its benefit is the soils ability to retain water.
It is a wise decision to make sure that your soil is healthy having a ph between 6.3 to 6.8.
Because your lawn needs beneficial microbes to grow and flourish, you can accomplish this by adding organic compost to the lawn just prior to the growing season. Your organic compost can comprise of a mixture of things that you use everyday, such as coffee grounds, tea bags, vegetable peels, shredded newspapers, animal manure, etc you should apply a layer, but be careful so that you don’t smother your lawn.
The ideal way to apply this compost is by putting several piles in different areas on your lawn and then with a broom sweeps it into a thin even layer, ensuring that it gets to the soil, and does not just lie on top of the grass blades.
Follow up with a good watering to get the beneficial microbes into the soil
Organic fertilizer is protein based, and includes ground corn, alfalfa, cotton seed, soy and other grains.
In order to manage pests, use regular dish soap and white vinegar which makes for a great organic pesticide spray which you can spray liberally on your lawn to rid it of insects or fungus.
You can apply liquid seaweed to your lawn. It contains iron, magnesium, and zinc support plant health and root development and help fight off fungal diseases.
After the initial application, you can apply it monthly, but keep in mind that “less is better”, and fewer sprayings will provide better benefits.
The key a great lawn is that set your lawn mower higher, so as not to cut your lawn too short, resulting in drying out the soil. Longer length also will discourage an invasion of weeds.
Finally, don’t overwater your lawn and avoid watering late in the afternoon or in evening to prevent fungal growth, however in summer, the evening is the best time to water your lawn.

growing quides for the Fig tree

The fig species has a significant presence throughout Africa, with 112 species. Look for self-pollinating cultivars, as some figs are pollinated by tiny, specialized flies native to the Mediterranean and won’t set fruit without them.


Figs need a sunny spot that’s protected from winter winds. Mulch trees well with compost, and apply foliar sprays of seaweed extract at least once a month during the growing season.


You can propagate figs by taking cuttings, but the easiest way is to bend a low-growing branch down and secure it to the ground or the soil in a container with a U-shaped wire; cover lightly with soil (and a rock if it resists staying buried) and check for rooting. Once the stem has rooted, sever it from the mother plant with pruning shears and it’s good to go.


Problemos: Keep birds away with netting; spread wood ashes around the base of trees to keep ants from climbing up to fruits. Keep plants well watered to avoid leaf drop, especially when they’re growing in containers.


Make sure you know the color of your fig’s fruit when it’s ripe. Some figs turn brown when ripe, while others are gold or even green. Check trees daily for ripe fruit in season. Ripe fruits are soft to the touch; skin may begin to split. Figs will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator, but spoil easily. Cook figs by simmering them with a dash of lemon and honey for about 20 minutes, mashing them as they cook. Then puree in a food processor, blender, or food mill. The puree freezes well and makes an excellent cookie filling, sauce for ice cream or poached pears, or spread for toast. You can also dry figs in a food dehydrator for nutritious snacks.


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blight remedies

Growing tomato plants in your garden provides juicy and plump fruit without having to make a trip to the market. blight and powdery mildew can attack the tomato plants, causing stunted growth, leaf discolouration, premature leaf dropping and discoloured spots on fruits.Water-stressed tomato plants are more susceptible than healthy, vigorous plants to diseases and pests. So if you have sandy soils or in a low rainfall area this disease could occur.

Having problems with tomato blight?

You don’t want to use harmful pesticides?

Types of Blight
Septoria leaf spot is caused by the fungus Septoria lycopersici, which attacks the lower leaves when the fruits have appeared. Leaves may wilt and die, leading to lower fruit yield, and fruits are more susceptible to sun scald. The Alternaria solani fungus causes early blight, which attacks the lower leaves with brown or black spots, eventually wilting and killing leaves. It can also attack and kill stems and occasionally infects fruits with sunken black spots that often cause the fruits to drop before they are ripe. Late blight is caused by the funguslike Phytophthora infestans. This organism attacks tomato plants during moist, cool weather and appears as dark green or nearly black spots on leaves. Late blight spreads quickly in wet conditions, and spots will soon appear on the fruit.
Fighting Blight
Blight spores can survive in the soil for three or four years. Only plant tomatoes in the same bed every three to four years, and remove and burn tomato refuse in the fall. Throw out and replace young transplants that appear to be in the early stages of fungal infection, and, if blight appears in young plants after transplanting, remove the infected leaves so that the spores do not make their way into the soil. When possible, water at the root, as moist leaves and stems are more vulnerable to fungal disease.
Recognise the Symptoms

Although it’s called late blight, this disease can strike at any time during the growing season, so inspect your tomato plants at least once a week for symptoms. Late blight initially shows up on the leaves as small green, water-soaked spots, but those spots quickly grow into purplish-brown, greasy-looking lesions. The undersides of affected leaves might develop rings of gray-white mold around the lesions. The entire leaf dies as the infection spreads rapidly to the stems and tomato fruit. Infected stems develop dark lesions, while affected tomatoes typically turn brown but tend to stay firm. Late blight symptoms can develop very quickly, turning entire tomato plants black and killing them within just a few days.

Respond Quickly
Fast action can slow and even stop late blight from spreading to the rest of your tomato plants. As soon as you spot late blight symptoms in your vegetable garden, immediately pull up the affected tomato plants; seal them tightly in plastic trash bags and place the sealed bags directly in a covered trashcan. Don’t compost any diseased plant tissue or you risk spreading the infection. It takes three to seven days for an infected plant to show symptoms, so inspect your remaining tomatoes every day for the next week to make sure they haven’t caught the blight infection.
Lower Humidity Levels

The late blight disease thrives in high humidity conditions. Watering the soil around the base of your plants with a soaker hose instead of using overhead watering methods helps reduce the air humidity level around your tomatoes. It also helps keep the foliage dry, which makes it harder for the blight pathogens to germinate and spread. Water early in the day to give the leaves a chance to thoroughly dry in the sunshine before darkness falls. Planting tomatoes in locations with well draining soil and ample air circulation can also reduce humidity levels around the plants while reducing foliage moisture.

1.Proper planting techniques can help prevent the development of tomato blight and stop the fungus from spreading to other tomato plants once it has started. Space tomatoes at least 3 feet apart to allow for good air circulation and quick drying time when leaves are wet.

2. Water the plants at ground level rather than from above, keeping the leaves dry. Splashing water moves the blight spores to other plants where they may become infected. Water plants in the early morning to allow the leaves time to dry before nightfall. Watering late in the day or in the evening keeps the leaves wet overnight and will promote blight growth.

3. Inspect the plants regularly for signs of blight. Early detection can help save plants and stop the blight spread. Early blight displays 1/2-inch-round brown spots on infected leaves; small 1/8-inch brown spots with gray centers and darker edges is evidence of septoria blight.4. Remove infected leaves as soon as they appear, cutting close to the stem with hand pruners. Discard damaged leaves to prevent the disease from spreading into the garden, and clean the pruners with a household disinfectant between cuts to stop the disease from spreading to other plants.

5. Collect and discard any diseased plant material from the surrounding ground. Splashing water may cause the spores to jump onto other plants and blight will overwinter in garden debris, quickly infecting new plants the following year. At the end of the growing season, remove and destroy all tomato debris to help prevent a recurrence of the blight. Remove and destroy any plants that show complete infestation.

6. Apply a fungicide. Once infected, the application of sulfur dust may help prevent the spread of blight to other leaves or plants. Regular fungicide application 2 to 4 weeks after transplanting the tomatoes into the garden will help prevent blight development. Apply the fungicide every 10 days throughout the growing season, ensuring complete plant coverage.


  • If growing tomatoes in pots, replace the soil each year to prevent blight development.
  • Refrain from planting tomatoes in the same spot each year; rotate their location to avoid any of the blight fungus that does overwinter in the planting area.
  • When planting tomatoes, add a layer of mulch to help prevent the amount of splashing that can occur when watering.


  • For personal protection, wear garden gloves when working with diseased or damaged plants.

Natural Remedies for Tomatoe Blight & Powdery Mildew
Baking-Soda Spray

Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate, which has antifungal properties that can help naturally control early tomato blight, powdery mildew and anthracnose. Baking-soda spray consists of 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with 2 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once you have thoroughly mixed the baking soda with the oil, add 1 gallon of water and 1/2 teaspoon of castile soap. For easier application, transfer the baking-soda mixture to a pump sprayer and thoroughly apply the spray to the tomato plants, ensuring the mixture covers both the upper and lower leaves as well as the soil. Multiple applications every 5 to 7 days may be needed in order to control the fungal disease. The baking-soda spray can be used as a preventive measure or to control the fungus at the first signs of infection.
Aspirin Fungal Spray

The aspirin used as an over-the-counter pain medicine helps to treat powdery mildew attacking your tomato plants. You must use uncoated aspirin tablets measuring 325 mg and dissolve two tablets in 500ml of water. A garden sprayer or squirt bottle works well to apply the aspirin spray to the tomato plants and allows you to thoroughly coat the entire plant, including the undersides of the leaves. If after a week powdery mildew symptoms persist, reapply the aspirin treatment to the tomatoes. According to the University of Florida, testing conducted by the University of Rhode Island concluded that tomato plants sprayed with the aspirin fungal spray yielded a higher crop than tomato plants treated with commercial fertilisers.
Tomato Virus Protective Spray

The tomato virus protective spray prevents several viruses from attacking tomato plants, including tomato leaf blight, tomato mosaic virus and spotted wilt virus. The recipe for this protective spray is 3.8L of water, 236.5ml of skim milk and 1/2 teaspoon of antitranspirant. Skim milk adds calcium, which is a common deficiency in tomato plants, and antitranspirant will protect the surface of the tomato plant from disease spores without interfering with the plant’s pores. When spraying the plant with the mixture, ensure you cover all areas of the tomato plant, including the undersides of the leaves.
Cultural Control

Providing proper cultural control will reduce blight and powdery mildew problems on your tomato plants. Crop rotation every year will help prevent pathogens living in the soil from infecting the tomato plants. Tomato plants need spacing of about 3 feet apart to allow for proper air circulation, which helps the foliage dry faster. Organic mulch added around the plants will protect roots while preventing fungal spores from splashing onto the plant. Forgo overhead irrigation and water at the base of the tomato plant. When blight or powdery mildew has infected leaves, immediately remove and destroy them to help prevent the disease from spreading.

Spray Plants with Copper

Spraying tomato plants with a copper-based fungicide often helps prevent late blight disease from occurring. Begin treatment when your local weather forecasts predict a prolonged stretch of wet weather. If possible, start spraying your plants about two weeks before late blight disease usually strikes your area. Repeat applications every seven to 10 days until the weather no longer promotes the disease or no more tomato plants have suffered with blight symptoms for at least a week. Following the instructions on the product’s label, use between 1/2 and 59ml of fluid copper product for each 3.7L of water. Spray your tomato plants thoroughly, including the tops and undersides of leaves. Reapply the fungicide if it rains within 12 hours of treatment.

natural plant repellants

Lavender oil keeps hinders’s mosquito’s ability to smell! This plant is very tough and drought-resistant once established, and only needs full sun and good drainage.
Rosemary is a familiar woody scented herb that also keeps mosquitoes at bay. They thrive in containers, which is perfect for those frosty winders. They make great boarders and can be cut into any shape.
The aniseed smell the basil leaves give off are what keep pests at bay. So plant them near your outdoor eating area or in a pot on the table. This herb likes to be kept damp, needs good drainage, and enjoys lots of sun. You can plant basil in containers or in the garden around your outdoor entertaining area.