Growing Basil A Must Have Herb

Basil with its sweet and peppery taste is a must have herb in the kitchen great for either sweet or savory dishes it will defiantly add a bold flavor to your cooking.

Growing basil is not difficult but there are some basics which will insure a season long harvest. Check out these articles that will give you all the information you need to add this herb to your garden!

Growing basil is not only easy, it can become an obsession.

Once you taste fresh basil, you will want more. Once you start looking, you will find that there are numerous types available, said University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Greg Stack.

Basil comes from the Greek word basileus, meaning king, and is considered by many gardeners and cooks to be a fitting title for this favorite herb. It comes in different colors and leaf textures and, of course, different flavors.

Dont be in a hurry to plant basil. This is a tender annual that likes both warm air and warm soil to grow well, said Stack. Seeds can be started indoors about 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost in the spring.

Seeds should be sown onto a good seed-starting medium, lightly covered, and kept moist. Germination normally takes 5 to 10 days; optimum temperature is around 70 to 75 degrees. After germination, move the plants to bright light. See this Burpee Seed article for more.

Select a warm, well-lit site. If you’re an experienced vegetable gardener, but new to herbs, plant your basil along with your other vegetables. Basil and tomatoes planted together are said to provide each other with insect protection and vigor, according to folk wisdom.

Loosen the soil by spading at least eight inches deep. Unless you have already grown vegetables or flowers there successfully, a soil test is a good idea; local soil conditions are so variable and their treatment so specific that blanket statements can be misleading. Your county’s Cooperative Extension agent can arrange for a soil test and advise you on the additives that will work in your soil.

You can start basil from seed in the house at any time, but wait until air temperatures and the ground are warm before sowing outside. Sow the seed 1/4-inch-deep in prepared potting mix (inside) or soil (outside).

Firm the planting medium over the seeds and water gently. Seedlings will be up in three to five days if the temperature is warm. Indoors, keep the seedlings in good light (fluorescent tubes are fine, especially if sunlight is limited); transplant to larger pots when roots fill their original container.

Growing Plants Using Kitchen Scraps

I love composting all the kitchen scraps I can but when I fill up my compost bin or run low on some vegetables in the garden, using kitchen scraps to grow plants is a great activity. I love using kitchen scraps to start new plants as a fun gardening activity with my son.

Every day, we check to see how the plants are progressing. It’s a great way to come full circle on produce we buy at the market together and cook together. Starting your own plants from kitchen scraps is really easy for a gardening nerd like me!

If you are going to attempt this, I suggest making sure the scraps you start with are good quality, I like to use organic produce grown locally when I start plants from kitchen scraps.

Growing Leeks, Spring Onions, Scallions and Fennel

You could go out and buy some vegetables specifically for growing but I like to wait until I actually have a need for them in my cooking. With all 5 of these examples, you will use the end of the vegetable with the white roots.

Take the left over white roots and place them in a container with a small amount of water in it. You want the roots to be wet but you don’t want the entire root submerged. Take your container and place it in a sunny window sill. I’ve actually grown green onion scraps in a fairly shady window on the north side of our house, so your success may vary. I like keeping some in a window in the kitchen for my morning eggs, and in my office for snacking on (my wife loves kissing me after that). Within 3-5 days, you will begin to see new growth come up. Remove the produce as you need and leave the roots in the water to continually harvest your kitchen scrap crops. You should refresh the water weekly to keep the plant healthy.

 Gardening With Scraps
Gardening With Scraps

Growing Lemongrass

Growing LemongrassLemongrass is similar to all other grasses and because of that, you just need to place the roots you cut off into a container with water and put them by a sunny window. In my experience, the lemongrass is a little more dependent than green onions and leeks from above.

After about a week, there should be some new growth from your lemongrass. Once you have new growth, you will need to transplant the plant from the water into a pot with soil and put it back into the sunny window sill. You want to wait until your lemongrass reaches a foot tall before you begin harvesting it. Just like before, cut off what you plan to use in the kitchen and allow the roots to continue to sprout. It’s just like cutting your lawn, it will just keep coming on if you keep it healthy.

Growing Romaine Lettuce, Celery, Bok Choy & Cabbage

Growing Romaine Lettuce, Celery, Bok Choy & CabbageJust like the scallions, you will take the white roots of these vegetables to grow your produce. By cutting of the stalks or leafs with an inch or more and placing them into a bowl of water with the roots facing down, you will be on your way. You want to make sure the roots are in water but you don’t want to submerge the entire plant. Make sure to place the bowl near a sunny window and spritz it with water weekly to keep the top of the plant moist.

Several days later, you will begin to see the roots and leaves sprouting. 7 to 10 days in, remove the plant from the water and plant it into soil with only the leaves above the soil. Your plant will continue to grow and in several weeks, you will have a new head ready to be harvested.

If you want a different way to go with your plant, you can try planting directly into the soil, skipping the water staging step from before. Keeping the soil from drying out will be very important that first week.

Growing Ginger

Growing GingerIf you’re looking for an easy plant to grow indoors then Ginger is the one for you. Just take a chunk of Ginger from your kitchen scraps and place it into the soil. Make sure the newest buds are facing up. Unlike the other plants we’ve talked about so far, Ginger will enjoy filtered light rather than direct sunlight.

Soon enough you will begin to see new growth sprouting up out of the soil and under the soil, roots will begin to sprawl out into the soil. After the plant acclimates to its new home, you will be ready to harvest the next time you need Ginger. Pull the entire plant out of the soil and cut off a the pieces you need, and just replant it like you did initially.

As an added bonus, Ginger makes a great house plant. Even if ginger isn’t your thing as far as cooking goes, you can still get some aesthetic value out of the plant.

Growing Potatoes

Growing PotatoesTaking potatoes from produce back to growing is a great way to keep more waste out of the garbage. You can grow any variety of potato you like, but just make sure the scrap has ‘eyes’ growing on it. With a potato that has a strong presence of eyes, you can chop it up into 2 inch square pieces. Make sure each piece has 1 – 2 eyes. After you’ve cut your potato into pieces, leave them out in room temperature for a couple of days. Leaving the pieces out allow the cut surface area to dry out and become callous which will prevent the pieces from rotting in the ground.

Potatoes need a very nutrient-rich soil, so if you have compost you should be sure to incorporate some into your soil before you plant it. When you are planting your potato cubes, make sure they are in the 8 inch depth range with the eyes facing the sky. When you back fill your cube, place 4 inches over the potato cube and leave the other 4 inches empty. Over time as your potato grows and roots begin to appear you will want to add more soil. See this article for more great tips on growing with scraps.

Growing Garlic

Growing GarlicYou only need a single clove to regrow an entire garlic plant. Just place the end with the root down into the soil. Place your container in a warm part of your home with direct sunlight, then sit back and wait for the garlic to root itself and begin to send up new shoots. After the garlic becomes established in the soil, cut back the shoots and the plant will begin to put all its resources into growing a big delicious garlic bulb. Just like the ginger above, once you harvest your produce, you can repeat this process and run through the cycle again.

Growing Onions

With onions you’re going to use the root end you cut off when prepping to cook your onions. Onions are great because of the ease to propagate. You want to try to keep half an inch of onion above the roots. You will want to take your cutting and place it into your soil in a sunny place and cover the top with topsoil. Keeping your soil moist will be very important while the onion begins to establish itself. If you’re in the northeast like myself, you will want to keep the onion indoors in a container during the winter.

If you repeat the cycle and keep planting the onion roots eventually you should have enough onion plants going that you’ve become onion self-sufficient!

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How to Get Started in Greenhouse Gardening

If you’re a newcomer to greenhouse horticulture, you may be wondering where to start. There’s a vast amount of information available about greenhouse gardening, and it can be a little bit overwhelming to find trustworthy sources of information. Well, we all know your pain and have listed the steps essential to getting started.

Gather some supplies.

You’ll need a few crucial supplies to get started in your new greenhouse gardening hobby, including a greenhouse, yard hose, some plants, planting medium and planting pots. A pair of gardening gloves, a hand trowel and a cooling fan may also be beneficial in the garden greenhouse, but aren’t essential. You may opt to gather fertilizers (compost is ideal), insecticides, gardening books and gravel to help with drainage problems you may encounter in the greenhouse.

Pick your crops.

When you have gathered all supplies, you’ll need to decide on what you want to grow. Will you decide on fresh vegetables, fruit trees and bushes, flowering plants, beautiful plants, or exotics? The selection is nearly limitless and is strictly a matter of individual choice. If you’re a true gardening rookie, consider growing tomatoes, lettuce or berries, because they are often simple choices. Flowers like begonias, petunias, bush roses, and daylilies also make great choices for the beginning greenhouse gardener.

Greenhouse Gardening Tips
Greenhouse Gardening Tips

Ready yourself to plant.

Before starting to plant your seeds or seedlings, you must make certain your pots, equipment and soil are sterilized adequately. A blend of diluted bleach water, sprayed on tools and pots then washed with water and permitted to air dry should be sufficient. Potting soil purchased from a gardening supply store is already sterilized and should be put in the original bags and sealed after each use. If you’ve planned to make your own potting soil, you should definitely follow directions meticulously when baking your soil to make certain bacteria and pests are eliminated before use.

Begin planting!

Start by filling your pot roughly halfway with potting soil. Before pulling your seedling from the container softly squeeze the sides first before removing. Gently remove excess dirt from the root ball and place the seedling upright in the new pot. With one hand holding the seedling in place, carefully place planting medium around the plant until the roots are covered and the plant is stabilized enough to stand vertical without your support. Water carefully and extensively and move the pot straight into its new house in your garden greenhouse.

I’ve got a second Las Vegas escort story for you. Sure, it may seem odd that a gardener has a lot of call girl contacts in Sin City. What can I say? I like to get out and have fun! There’s a pretty little Las Vegas Asian escort named Lin that I’ve met (socially!), and got to know. She was good friends with a call girl who worked for the Vegas Fantasy Babes escort agency (I think all these girls know each other). They both got into gardening full time. And they both got really good at it. Not to the point where they made any money from it, but that wasn’t the point. The point (my point) is that everyone loves and needs to have a hobby.

Other tips.

You’ll need to be sure your garden greenhouse panels are clean enough to let sunlight in, and that the temperature in the greenhouse is managed. Adhere to the planting ideas furnished with your seeds or seedlings to formulate a set temperature (tropical plants do best between 60 and 85 degrees, most vegetables and fruits like temperatures between 45 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit) and watering routine for your plants. Always keep in mind that it’s best to water your flowers early in the morning or later on in the evening.

Be sure not to over water your plants! If the soil is damp to touch, leave them alone. If necessary, you can add fertilizer to your plants and flowers or use fresh compost every 6 to 8 weeks. Read this post for more on this topic.

To help make the most of your greenhouse adventure, it’s wise to get together with other gardeners to exchange tips and tricks. You can even keep a gardening journal detailed with snapshots of your progress to help you learn from your mistakes and successes in the greenhouse. Starting off a greenhouse gardening hobby can be extremely fulfilling, so you’ll want to enjoy your experience fully!

See this article for more on this topic.
More greenhouse gardening tips can be found here.

Planning and Planting An Indoor Herb Garden

Growing your own herbs can add a new dimension to your cooking. You can also save money by making your own herbal teas, tinctures and salves. Some think that herb gardening is only an option to those who have access to a plot of land, but this is untrue. Even if you live in an apartment or condo with no outdoor space, you can opt for indoor herb gardening.

Plan your garden wisely

First, think about your home’s gardening potential. South-facing windows without obstructions are ideal for indoor gardens so your plants can bask in several hours of sunlight. If most of your windows face north or are obstructed by other buildings, opt for plants that require little sunlight, or purchase a grow light and timer. Consider where heat sources are in relation to your plants—indoors plants aren’t likely to be affected by overnight chills, but too much heat can harm them.

Take your own habits into account—are you frequently away from home or can you tend to your plants daily? Indoor plants obviously do not receive rainfall, so you’ll need to choose low maintenance plants if you travel regularly and cannot find someone to care for them. If you have cats or dogs, think about where you can locate the plants so your animals cannot reach them.

Indoor Herb Gardening
Indoor Herb Gardening

How to choose the right plants

Unless you’re an experienced gardener, it’s best to start your indoor herb garden by selecting herbs that grow easily. Chives are a good option for those living in cooler climates or for those who don’t have windows with abundant sunlight. Parsley also has low sun requirements but grows more slowly so you won’t be able to harvest it as quickly as chives. Bay trees are also relatively easy to grow, but like parsley, they require more of a time investment. It’s also susceptible to scales if it becomes too dry so you’ll want to attend to its water needs carefully. See this The Spruce article for more on choosing the correct plants.

Oregano, rosemary and thyme also grow relatively easily and can be good starter plants for novice herb gardeners. Consider, however, that these herbs are all used in Mediterranean cooking which means they grow naturally in sunny climates. So if you choose to grow these plants, locate them where they’ll receive abundant sunlight.

Required materials

Once you decide what herbs to grow purchase your seeds and other materials. When buying seeds, always check the expiration date on the package. Plant more seeds than you need, since it’s likely only some of them will sprout.

Although a few plants, such as lemongrass stalks, grow in water, most require soil. Buy some good potting soil for your indoor herb garden and natural fertilizer for your plants. You’ll also need containers. They needn’t be expensive, but you’ll need to consider how they drain. Terracotta planters can absorb water and cause plants to become overly dry so you’ll want to use these only with plants that have low moisture requirements. If you’re re-potting a plant that grew outdoors rather than starting from seed, select a container a few inches larger than the plant’s root ball.

How to care for your plants

Many plants require more humidity than indoor air naturally provides. You may want to place several plant containers on a tray and then cover them with pebbles or marbles and water, making sure to keep the water low enough to prevent root rot. As the water evaporates, it provides moisture to the plant’s leaves. Replenish the water regularly to rehydrate your plants. To protect your indoor plants from pests, fill a spray bottle with soapy water and spray the entire plant, including the undersides of the leaves. When you’re ready to harvest your herb plant, take no more than half if you want it to continue to grow and produce more for you.

Big City Gardening Tips

Gardening in a city may sound impossible to many. Some may wonder how plants are capable of growing in a concrete jungle. Small living spaces may appear restrictive and incapable of hosting a garden. However, with a pinch of creativity and a dash of green-living enthusiasm, urban gardening is absolutely possible. Here are five tips to get you started growing your garden in the big city.

Plant For the Shade

Urban environments often come with more shade then sunlight. Large buildings and tight city blocks restrict sunshine from reaching opportune gardening areas. Choose plants that thrive in little to no sunlight. Your crops will not grow to their full potential, but, you will have crops. If you’d like to grow your own produce, lettuce, spinach and broccoli have high success rates growing in the shade.

If you just want something nice to look at, hydrangeas and jasmine are beautiful flowers that also love the shade. If you have plenty of sunlit areas, take advantage of them. Keep in mind that watering your green nursery is always necessary.

Big City Gardening
Big City Gardening

Grow Vertical

Space is an issue when living in a city. There are several space-saving gardening options when you choose to grow your plants vertically, either indoors or out. Just be aware as to how much sunlight your plants are getting. A traditional vertical garden uses a trellis standing upright on a wall. Take this to the next level by hanging a shoe organizer on your wall instead.

Stuff each shoe slot with some soil and a plant. Another creative vertical growing option is to mount mason jars onto your wall. You can grow herbs and spices right in your own home, making cooking easy, leaving your home smelling delicious. Don’t underestimate using hanging planters as well (more on that at this HG TV page).

Vertical Gardening Video

Get Creative And Innovative

Give your garden a touch of your personality by getting creative with how you plant your greens. Most household items can be turned into artistic, stylish looking plant containers and pots. For example, turn your old baby bathtub into a garden basin. Instead of trashing your peanut butter jars or juice boxes, use them to contain small, individual plants. Your house guests will find your gardening abilities extremely innovative.

Who can be creative? Everyone! Home gardening isn’t just for retired people, or the quiet, loner type. People from all walks of life connect with nature, and love growing their own plants and food. I even knew an escort in Las Vegas who had a beautiful little garden at her home (yes, in the desert city of Vegas). She grew the most wonderful tomatoes you could ever hope to put on a sandwich! Sure, maybe mentioning an escort is a little extreme, but my point is that everyone likes to connect with nature, and everyone get s a kick out of doing something that makes them just a little more self-sufficient. Even a Las Vegas escort agency call girl.

Know Your Growing Seasons

If you are going to be growing vegetables in your urban home, you need to be aware of what veggies to grow and when. Your urban garden will have a higher success rate if you follow this simple rule of thumb; cool in the early and warm in the later. Cool season vegetables are planted very early in the year.

These classified plants are known for their leafy goodness, such as cabbage and lettuce. Warm season veggies, known for needing more water because of their deep roots, are to be planted in mid to late spring. Peppers and tomatoes are examples of warm season plants. Planting too early or too late will cause your garden to fail.

Composting Helps

Having your own composting system is a great way to eliminate waste, but to create a richer soil for your urban garden. Find a container to hold your compost such as an old kitty litter box or a new, stylish compost bin. Place the bin near a well-ventilated area, adding food scraps, dead leaves and other organic materials. Worms and bugs help breakdown the waste, leaving behind a wonderful, nutrient-rich substance that plants thrive from.

Use your compost to support growing your garden. By delivering some valuable nutrients to your plants, compost can be a serious boost to your gardening efforts inside the city limits. See this page for more money saving tips. Also take a read of this post for some more great gardening tips.

If you have disease issues with your plants, you’ll want to read this article.

Incorporating Recycling Into a Cheap Vegetable Garden

After securing the garden space in Staten Island and sleeping on it the past few days, I came up with a plan to make this more affordable and environmentally friendly.

I did as much research as I could into what would be the most affordable, environmentally sound and healthy way to do this project.

The first thing that I looked into was which plastics are food safe and environmentally safe? The numbers on the bottom of the containers surely mean something. Sure enough they do.

Then came across another site, which spoke about which plastic water bottles don’t leach chemicals.

So now I have a better idea on the quality and grade of the plastics that I’ll be recycling and using.

Next onto the self watering containers. Instead of using two buckets or bins, Inside Urban Green filled in the hole that was left from the Incredible Vegetables book. It had a post on building a Simple Sub-irrigation Insert using vinyl tiles.

Vinyl tile likely isn’t the best option in terms of water leaching, but need to balance the affordability with the money.

Up until this point, I still hadn’t thought about the wicking container. I could easily go to the pet store and buy a pond basket, but that would cost money and I’m sure that there ways to make my own.

I started to rummage through my grandmother’s shed and came across the jackpot. She had some old slot containers from Atlantic City (Now get it. Jackpot. Slot containers. Atlantic City). That gave me the idea to use plastic deli containers also that I can drill holes into.

So I asked my grandmother to start to save hers, even though she has an entire cabinet filled with them. She swears she needs and used all of them. My gram, always willing to help, put out a bulletin to all of her friends as well. Also, called my parents to ask them to save as well.

Now that I got the building aspects behind me. Need to compile all of these materials and put all of this together. Oh yea also need to figure out what I am going to plant and where. There’s that too.