Maggies Mentions


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Enhance Your Garden With These Leftovers

wateringcanfdGetting through the summer months with a garden can be challenging with the heat in Florida, but with these 3 leftovers your garden can thrive.

Banana Peels for Roses and Staghorns
Banana’s have what roses and Staghorns love, “potassium” and it is the number one ingredient found in rose fertilizer. Bury a few banana peels around your roses and watch for bigger blooms. Throw a banana peel on top of your Staghorn plant and it will stay healthy and grow. Banana peels are also good for keeping away aphid pests that can destroy your flowers and leaves on plants.

Charcoal from Your BBQ
Next time you BBQ, gather some of the leftover Charcoal ash and sprinkle on your garden soil. Charcoal acts as a filtration and drainage to help your plants contain more water in the hot summer months. It also will decrease the acidity in the soil, adding nourishment that strengthens the root system. I used this on roses before and had great results.

Used Coffee Grounds
This leftover creates what every garden needs, a nitrogen rich soil ”. Even though coffee is brown, it is considered “green” when it comes to composting and adding it to your garden. Worm bins also benefit from the grounds and they are good for attracting earth worms and deterring snails and slugs when sprinkled around a plant. They are good for fruit trees and berries because they are acidic and tomato plants love them because of the nitrogen provided. Coffee grounds can also be turned into Compost Tea, see how here. You can get free coffee grounds from Starbucks.

 

Photo Courtesy dan. at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Attract Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden by Mother Earth Living

ID-100185568In my previous gardening article Green Thumb Gardening – Discover Permaculture I talk about companion planting, growing an organic garden and creating the environment nature intended for my garden. This article from Mother Earth Living on how to attract beneficial bugs to your garden, plays right into what I want to accomplish with all-natural pest control and the plants I need for these benefits.  Get this helpful info Here!
Happy Gardening!

Photo Courtesy Gualberto107 via FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Seeds and Seedlings

seedlingsblog copySince the plants in my raised garden bed are coming up nicely, I am turning my attention to the seedlings I planted a couple of days after I made the raised garden bed.

Most of the seeds I planted take about a week to 10 tens days to sprout up. The ones in the photo are Marigolds in the back and a Cherry Tomato plant in the front.  The Marigolds took about 3 days to show up, the Tomato 7 days. They are not ready to be transferred into the garden just yet. The leaves showing are called the first leaves, and it is best to wait until you have the true leaves, that will be fuller and come on soon.

Starting the seedlings indoors weeks ahead before the last frost up North is a great way to get a head start on your garden. In Florida however, I think we had two cold nights in February, well probably cold for Floridians, and one of those nights that took the digits down to a whopping 35 degrees… If you are from any biting cold, wind chill dropping, snowy part of the country, go ahead and laugh, I understand, its ok.

The spring already here by the first week of March, I started my seedlings on the back porch. They have an adaption already to the temperature and some sunshine in the morning, versus bringing them outside from an indoor climate. See Secrets To Transplanting Seedlings: 3 Tips To Success for more information.

My son told me what plants will help the soil and grow well together.  I happened to be on Facebook, and saw that a company I am following bbbseed.com was having a sale and offering free shipping. Heirloom, Organic seeds were just what I was looking for and this was perfect timing. The site offers great information and companion planting advice for each type of seed. (The links below are not affiliate or a paid endorsement)

Here is the what I have so far:

Green Beans in the garden bed
Sugar Pod Peas in the garden bed
Organic Rainbow Blend Carrots – looking forward to these! More on how I planted them later.
Cherry Tomato’s Seedling
Basil Seedling
Cilantro Seedling
Sage Seedling
Four O’clock Flowers Seedling
Sunflower Giant – Next to my Tropical Guild Garden. Grew one of these before, they are amazing!
Marigold Flowers Seedling and in the garden bed.

My son also recommended LocalHarvest.org  which is a great site for finding local plants, seeds and more from farmers in your area. He planted very tasty Everglade Tomato’s in his food forest and they did well being a local plant, so I am going to do the same. In the search bar I choose seeds, added my zip code and then choose vegetables and tomatoes. Pages and pages were available for all kinds of tomatoes for my area. If you are interested in purchasing these seeds, they are from Southern J Ranch.

While I was researching seedlings, I came across an article by DIY With Kathy for Garden Planning Online. She provides links with great information for making a Raised Garden Bed and what to plant in it. Thank you Kathy.

More on Transplanting the Seedlings when they are ready.

Happy Gardening :}


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Seeds Are Sprouting In The Raised Garden Bed

greenbeaningardenbed2In my last gardening article, I wrote about Preparing my Garden Bed. Since then I have planted green beans, peas and marigolds. The green beans and peas will help to put nutrients and nitrogen into the soil, which will help the other plants when they start growing. I pushed back the mulch a bit, added a seed in each spot, watered and waited for the little spouts to come up.

Success! The Marigolds showed their little leaves above the surface within 3 days. The green beans and peas took about 8 days. (The photo is one of the green bean plants). I have seedlings started of tomatoes, sage, basil and cilantro doing their own growing until ready to get into the garden.

The Marigolds are an all time favorite of mine. First and foremost they are a hardy plant, and act as a natural pest control. They are easy to grow, drought resistant, give you back lots of seeds and beautiful! If you are growing a vegetable garden, they are a must have! Find out more Here.

Next Article – Seeds and Seedlings – Happy Gardening :}

 

 

 

 


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My Garden – Preparing the Garden Bed

ID-10062334Last weekend we came into the month of March, which means that Spring is here and time to plant seeds in my garden. I am preparing the garden using the Permaculture method. (See Green Thumb Gardening – Discover Permaculture for more information on that.)
My son has been a great inspiration for this and helping me along the way. I have purchased my seeds and will be doing companion planting, plants that go well together and compliment the nutrients each offers to the garden. My daughter who does not really like gardening, came over to help out and did a great job :}

This type raised garden bed is considered a lasagna, layered, no-dig, no-till, square foot, type of gardening, mainly because you are not digging or tilling the soil, you are layering it like you would lasagna.

 

 

 

firstlayercardboard copyMy first layer my son tells me, is to lay down cardboard. I was concerned about the writing on some of the pieces, so I tore that off. The cardboard will offer carbon to the garden and as it deteriorates. Laying out the cardboard also gave me an idea of how big I wanted this garden bed to be and it is 5″ x 10″.

 

 

 

 

 

Secondlayersoil copyThe second layer is good natural black dirt mixed with mushroom compost 50/50. I do not want any pesticides or non organic fertilizes, I want the plants to grow as nature intends. That will be a journey of research in itself, but I am off to a good start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fourthlayerclippings copyThe third layer should be natural mulch from your yard, dried leaves, grass clippings, scraps of vegetables, fruits that you would put in the garbage anyway. I did not have much around the yard, but I gathered what I could and took a bit from my other garden, a tropical guild I started last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fourthlayermulch copyThe fourth layer is 1″ high of all natural Cypress mulch. I put this on to make up for the lack of clippings.

 

 

 

 

 

Fifthlayersoil copyThe Fifth layer is adding the natural black dirt mixed with the mushroom compost again, adding a thick layer this time of 3″ high.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixthlayermulch copyThe final layer is adding the cypress wood mulch to top off the garden. This is also put on thick to about 3″ high.

Starting with the cardboard, each layer was watered down before the next layer was added, ending with watering the top layer.

 

 

 

Now that the garden bed is ready, this will be where I am going to plant my peas, green beans and flowers to start and then the Rainbow carrots, that I am really looking forward to growing.

Next post – Seeds Are Sprouting in the Raised Garden Bed

If you would like to take the journey with me, like this post and follow my blog.

Happy Gardening :}

 

Top Photo courtesy of podpad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Green Thumb Gardening – Discover Permaculture

ID-100196322Spring is on its way here in Florida and I am waiting impatiently to plant my seeds and get my garden started.

My son loves gardening as well and has been teaching me how to prepare my garden using the Permaculture method. (He actually had a small food forest he built up in a couple of years in his backyard while going to college).

So you ask, what is Permaculture? It originally was referred to as permanent agriculture or permanent culture and was developed in 1978 by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren of Australia. It is a method of planting, using natural resources and plants that are native to your area, and growing a garden that works with nature rather then against it.  See More from Organic Gardening.com

With so much controversy over GMO’s (Genetically Modified Foods), Pesticides and other forms of growing food these days, I want to grow my garden as healthy as possible, so I am going to take the journey this year with Permaculture.

Last spring, I planted a banana tree and also added sweet potatoes. This was fine, but I did not really understand companion planting  and added kale and tomatoes. Kale and tomatoes do not like each other and the banana tree was not having it with the kale in the garden either. So success was just ok. I still have a Rosemary bush that did not care who was around and has done very well. I got a bunch of sweet potatoes, some orange peppers I planted, but the results could have been better.  That is when I called my son and said teach me what you did for your food forest. I am not building a food forest, but still want the benefits of a great garden. See SmartGardener.com for what plants are best for your area.

Over the winter I have been getting my soil ready for planting, adding natural mulch, compost and will be planting seeds in the next couple of weeks. I will be planting to start with, sweet potatoes ( they regenerate on their own from the ones left in the ground) Peas, Green Beans, Tomatoes, and Rainbow Carrots. For herbs I will be planting Cilantro, Sage, Basil and Parsley. I also have flowers to aid in the process, Marigolds, Four O’Clocks and a Bee Rescue Wildflower Mix. My goal will be two gardens, a tropical guild and one for the carrots.

If you would like to take the journey with me, like this post or follow my blog.

I will be referencing different websites along the way with the first being DeepGreenPermaculture and of course get help and advice from my favorite source, my son.

See the next article – Preparing The Garden Bed

Happy Gardening :}

Photo Courtesy of by hin255  at FreeDigitalPhotos.net