Why Growing a Food Garden Is More Important Than Ever

Why Growing a Food Garden Is More Important Than Ever

(images from pexels.com and Green and Prosperous)

The industrial food system, sometimes referred to as industrial agriculture, or “big ag,” refers to the current system of commercial food production, which relies heavily on synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This system developed during World War II, when militaries relied on chemical weapons to fuel their war machines. After the war, the leftover chemicals began to be used in agricultural applications, enabling farmers to go from self-sufficiency to major commercial growth in a relatively short span of time. However, the technologies that enabled farming to go big also brought changes that are currently threatening the livelihood and health of farming families, their workers, the environment, and each one of us.

In other words, the food you eat is nowadays being produced in ways that are often detrimental to your health and the health of this planet. This is just one reason why more people are beginning to grow at least some of their own food at home, or in a community garden plot.

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How to Use Baking Soda as Organic Fungicide for Your Garden

How to Use Baking Soda as Organic Fungicide for Your Garden

Guest post by Owais Shah

 

The use of baking soda as a fungicide is not new. Scientifically known as Sodium Bicarbonate, it has been an effective and safe fungicide for the treatment of various fungal diseases. It is also effective at eliminating the effects of fungal diseases on common vegetable plants.

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How to take care of your indoor seedlings

How to take care of your indoor seedlings

Spring is officially around the corner! Although the weather may not have begun warming significantly where you live, there’s no reason you can’t start your growing season a little early. After visiting my local nurseries for the past month now and repeatedly being told that no new herb or vegetable plants had come in yet, I decided to invest in a few simple tools and start planting some seeds indoors. Whether you’ve got the itch to grow right now, or you’re interested in getting a jump start on your gardening, there are a few things you can do today to start growing something good and make sure that it thrives well into the warm season.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Indoor Gardening

A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Indoor Gardening

Guest post by Ashly Rosa

When the winter gets you feeling down and you find yourself dreaming of fresh herbs and veggies from the summer garden, consider creating your own garden indoors! Besides providing plenty of delicious food to eat, indoor plants clean the air in your home and add a pop of vibrant green space to the indoor space.

Indoor gardening is a great solution for those who do not have enough outdoor space, especially for those who live in cities where space is at a premium. Plants do not have to take up much space - if a sunny window, table, or shelf can work with the current configuration of your space, then a plant can thrive. For outdoor garden spots, indoor gardening may be a great way to get seedlings going before planting them outside the spring.

Here are some important things to consider when starting an indoor garden:

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How to Safely Transport Your Plants

How to Safely Transport Your Plants

guest post by Tess Halpren

(image by Brina Blum on Unsplash)

There has been a ton of research to establish why plants have such a positive impact on the environment, and on our well-being. They add more than just aesthetics to a room. Some of their many other benefits include

  • Improved air quality

  • Improved humidity levels

  • Reduced stress and improved well-being

  • The ability to evoke a calmer, happier effect

  • Reduced negativity in the workplace and home

  • Ability to absorb noise

  • Help in saving energy

  • Aid in speeding up recovery from illnesses

  • Help in reduction of carbon dioxide levels

Based on these impressive benefits, it’s no surprise people hold their plants so dearly. And if you’re planning on moving or relocating in 2019, the thought of how to best transport your plants might have already came to mind. The Zebra created this helpful guide on how to effectively and safely transport your plants. It includes best practices, safety precautions, and helpful tips for before, during, and after your move.

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Soil Amendments for Organic Gardening

Soil Amendments for Organic Gardening

Guest post by Anna Wrench

The right type of soil is important for plant growth, especially in organic gardening. The gardener or specialist in soil knows exactly how the soil has to be treated in order to make it more fertile. If you are cultivating crops, then it requires that the soil be enriched with apposite nutrients to help in the proper growth of crops.

The modern trend is inclining towards environmentally-friendly and healthy organic gardening. Organic gardening seeks to maintain balance and harmony with nature. In this context, soil supplies help with the decomposition of toxins, play an essential role in root growth, maintain the health of the root, and lessen the gardener’s dependency on fertilizer. It is indeed essential for growing productive and healthy crops that are healthier not just for the consumer but also for the environment.

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The Perfect Rainwater Collection System for Homesteaders and Urban Gardeners

The Perfect Rainwater Collection System for Homesteaders and Urban Gardeners

Guest post by Jon Godfrey

Rainwater collecting is enormously helpful. However, if you understand the infrastructure that you put in place, it can be even better for your home and garden. Let's look at how you can set it up yourself.

1. Set Up Your Roofs and Gutters

Your house, garden gazebo, shed, garage, and every other building on your property should have excellent gutters all the way around the roofs. Run a garden hose in them and walk around, carefully checking for any leaks that would cut down on efficiency.

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5 Things you can do now to have a winter food garden

5 Things you can do now to have a winter food garden

Most people who garden believe that the growing season ends when the weather begins to turn cold and morning dew turns to frost. This is absolutely not true, though. A few places (USDA zones 0-2) have extremely short growing seasons that make it very difficult to grow vegetables outdoors without using specialized techniques and growing plants that are uniquely adapted to grow in that climate. However most people, even those who live in places where it reliably snows every winter (like Ontario, Canada), can continue to grow fresh herbs, vegetables, and even some flowers all year round.

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How small-scale farming can help reduce the effects of climate change

How small-scale farming can help reduce the effects of climate change

This past summer was terrible for my crops. I eagerly started the process of sowing seeds and transferring seedlings and cuttings into their permanent homes and looked forward to the day I could begin harvesting the results of my hard labor. I was also in the process of renovating my home for sale and purchasing another, so working in the garden was a welcome relief from the stress and uncertainty of that process. At least it was supposed to be…

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The Five Steps to an Eco-Friendly Garden

The Five Steps to an Eco-Friendly Garden

Guest post by Katie Myers

Did you know that 44% of young people are unhappy with the current state of the environment? There are many ways that we can help to improve the state of the environment, and many of these we try to practise daily such as recycling and leaving the car at home when we can. However, whilst many of us often try so hard to make our homes eco-friendly, we often forget about our gardens.

Becoming an eco-friendly gardener is not nearly as hard as it sounds. There are just five easy changes that you can make to transform your outdoor space into an eco-friendly one. The right gardening techniques will not only help you to achieve your eco-friendly status, but will also attract a wider range of wildlife into your garden, help you save money on your water bills and can even help you to lose weight.

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Effective pest control without the harmful chemicals

Effective pest control without the harmful chemicals

If you have grown plants for food or aesthetics, you have probably experienced the frustration of losing some of your crops to insects and other pests. That is just a part of gardening, although if you grow crops year-round, you’ve probably realized that the upside of winter gardening is that you don’t have to spend much time fighting herbivores, since the cold weather kills them or drives them into a dormant stage. Animals are a different story, however, and you may find that hungry squirrels, deer, raccoons, or other critters are helping themselves to your plants even through the cold season.

To get rid of insect herbivores, many gardeners resort to using insecticide-pesticides. (Pesticides consist of a number of substances, including weed killers like RoundUp, insect-killing chemicals, and molluscucides, or “snail bait.”) In fact, most commercial (and many non-commercial) plants are grown with the aid of pesticides. While this may seem like a solution to the problem of insect herbivores ruining all your hard work, it has many downsides that have implications for your plants’ health, the health of the environment, and your own as well.

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7 things you’re doing wrong in your garden (and how to fix them)

7 things you’re doing wrong in your garden (and how to fix them)

If you have been gardening for a while, you’ve probably realized that making mistakes is a big part of the process of learning. Even the most experienced gardeners make errors of judgment that can lead to a failing or otherwise unsuccessful harvest. Some problems are inevitable when it comes to growing your own food: weather changes can ruin a harvest in a single day, so if you are not prepared (or available) to act fast in case of unexpected frost, heat wave, extended periods of rain or humidity, or sudden insect infestation, all of your hard work can be ruined very quickly…

Whether you’re a neophyte, a seasoned grower, or a business owner looking to make a profit from your harvest (or just earn a little extra cash on the side from your farm), you may be making some of these common mistakes that growers make, all of which affect the health, productivity, and viability of your garden in a major way.

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Preparing Your Bee-Attracting Garden for Winter

Preparing Your Bee-Attracting Garden for Winter

Guest post by Clara Beaufort

Bees, unfortunately, are disappearing at a rapid rate. Those of us who are already gardeners are doing their part to sole the problem by setting up a bee-friendly series of plants. The Honey Bee Conservancy offers some tips for those who are not aware of what makes a garden attractive to pollinators like bees. Bee-friendly gardening is a year-round task, and with fall approaching it’s important to prepare. Winterizing your garden and planting cool weather-blooming species that will keep the bees coming back are crucial steps in making fall adjustments.

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Companion planting: how to do it, mistakes to avoid

Companion planting: how to do it, mistakes to avoid

Companion planting is a small-scale method of intercropping, which refers to the practice of planting one kind of plant next to another or others that help it thrive. It is often associated with small-scale organic gardening (the type of gardening I have exclusively done for the past 18 years) or other biodynamic planting methods, and it is a favorite technique of farmers seeking to produce more yield in less space.

Although popular literature touts the benefits of intercropping over monocropping, there is a lot of debate, and consequently, confusion over which plants go well together, and whether some of the reported benefits of companion planting are consistent or coincidental. This is partly a debate between using scientific methods (usually in controlled, laboratory stings) and using personal experience to determine how to companion plant. There are benefits to both methods, though admittedly, I prefer to rely mostly on experience (my own and that of successful gardeners I know) with a smattering of science to help me understand why certain combinations have seemed to work well in my own garden, while others don’t seem to have much effect one way or another.

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How to Build A Bug Hotel (Infographic)

How to Build A Bug Hotel (Infographic)

Guest post by Eamon Fennelly

For the environmentally-conscious gardener, building a bug hotel can be a wonderful and rewarding DIY project. Not only do bug hotels provide an attractive garden feature, but they also attract beneficial insects that provide natural pollination and pest control. What’s more, building a bug hotel is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy, and is a great way to teach children about the natural world.

Constructed from plant materials and common garden odds and ends, bug hotels offer a cost-effective and fun way to help preserve local wildlife by giving nearby insects a safe place to shelter. When it comes to designing a bug hotel, there aren’t any set rules, meaning you can get as creative as you want.

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