All About Spring Foraging

Spring is a time for rebirth. A call to leave the darkness of winter behind and head outside for sunshine and longer days. The shift from winter to spring happens quickly, providing the baseline truth in the phrase “spring has sprung”. You may be shoveling the driveway one day and then see a skunk cabbage pushing up through the snow the next. The plant world is undergoing the transformation from winter storage and dormancy to spring growth and expansion. This makes spring a wonderful time to get outside and forage.

Before heading out on your foraging journey there are a few tips and tricks to keep you and the plant world safe:

  • Identify the plant correctly. Always be 100% sure of the plant’s identification before you harvest and consume. Many plants have poisonous look-alikes so it is imperative you can ID with certainty. Pay attention to the old adage “when in doubt, throw it out”. There are a number of great plant ID books on the market that cover most geographical areas. You may also find foraging classes in your area which can be a fun way to learn about local plants.
  • Practice sustainable harvesting for any plants you harvest. Never take more than you need and be sure to leave enough for the plants to survive and prosper. Keep in mind that unless you are eradicating an invasive species, foraging should never negatively impact the survival of the plant population. Take time to learn what plants are invasive in your area and also what plants are endangered and should never be harvested.
  • Forage in areas you know are clean and have not been treated with chemicals. Be wary of foraging along roadsides and under power lines.
  • Harvest underground storage organs; bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, etc. with additional consideration as harvesting can kill the plant. Early spring and late fall are the best times to harvest underground storage organs as the plant’s energy is conserved below ground. In late spring and summer, the plant will redirect energy to above ground growth and production of flowers and seed. A few examples of bountiful roots to forage in spring are chicory, dandelion, and burdock.
  • Seek out leafy greens as they are the stars of spring foraging. This fresh food is available long before our gardens start producing. In most areas, there are quite a few leafy greens to choose from. Dandelion, chickweed, lamb’s quarter, garlic mustard, and violet are all commonly foraged greens. Do some research to find which greens are best eaten raw and which taste best steamed or sautéed.

Get out your rubber boots and garden tools and head outside for a foraging adventure. Foraging is free and can provide a fresh and delicious addition to your next meal. Take full advantage of spring foraging as summer is just around the corner!

 

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All About Garden Design

The garden is one of the most beautiful and peaceful parts of a home. It brings us closer to nature, gives us a glimpse and feel of greenery with the comfort of our lawn. You can spend a perfect afternoon in your garden reading a book or unwind after a tiring day enjoying the beauty of green, all these will bring you such solace which you cannot find even if sitting in a fancy decorated room. But in order to get peace and happiness in the garden, its look and design should be pleasing. If you are not happy about the look of your garden then you will hardly find any peace there over all the grumping. The design of garden plays an important role in your outlook towards it. So choose the design carefully.

Before choosing the design for your garden you need to understand the shape and condition of your yard. If the shape of your garden is small then you should not opt for a large number of tall trees. It will hog up extra space, leaving you only a much smaller portion. Medium plant pots with will well-trimmed grass and patio furniture will be a suitable option for small gardens. However, for big gardens, you can choose any design you want. Availability of space is a benefit.

The design of the garden also depends on the fertility of the soil you are reaping and the climate. Every season demands different plant. For example, if you wish to plant a tree which grows in autumn then all your effort will go to waste. Also the climate of the region you live in plays an important role. It is better to do some research before putting your hands in the soil. Make sure the plants receive the appropriate amount of sunlight to grow plus shade exposure as well.

Also, choose your design and theme according to the people living in your home. If your house is one of the kids then choose a theme which they find cute and attractive, like giving it look of a playground. This way they will be spending some time outdoors, doing some outdoor activity rather than just sitting in front of the television. If you are a bachelor then choose any design you find appealing.

Another tip, make your garden your look attractive so that you will be compelled to spend some time there. A garden is a great place for morning exercise. Not only you will get enough space for movement there, but you will also inhale fresh morning air, which is good for your health, plus walking on the grass blades barren feet is really good for brain and body. It is suggested by doctors also.

You give your garden a fancy look by adding garden lights. You can use solar garden lights or LED outdoor lighting. It will not only make your garden look beautiful but will also be perfect for outdoor theme parties.

 

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How To Grow Tomato Plant In Pot

There is nothing that could be more engaging and relaxing than having your patios decorated with delicious and luscious plants that you can view right at the start and right at the end of your day. I’m sure you’ve noticed in some movies or selected artworks that they feature and depict a patio augmented with green and leafy plants and vegetables. It looks absolutely beautiful and inviting. With the right tips and advice from the experts, you too can transform your ordinary patios into an extraordinary landscape of artwork just by adding home-grown plants in those cute, attractive pots.

As you know, there are several varieties of plants you may wish to grow in pots, but being the most popular amongst homeowners are tomatoes. Why tomatoes? This is because tomatoes are basically easy to grow and maintain. There’s no need for fancy and expensive gardening tools required. Knowing the right soil, location, application of organic fertilizers of choice, and love of work is all that it entails.

The Tomato Checklist

Size does matter – when it comes to growing tomatoes in a container or pot, always remember that bigger is better. The essence is the soil capacity – a bigger container means the more soil it can hold. Growing tomatoes requires the roots to have more space to promote optimum growth. A typical tomato plant can grow for up 6-8 feet tall depending on the soil, maintenance, and fertilizers you use.

Soil – with regard to the soil composition, many non-organic-farming professionals argue that it is better to use a potting mix because it significantly yields favorable results. However, others also pointed out that using natural potting soil promotes better growth and is a safer method. Either way, it all ends up to the decision of the gardener. Note that potting mix is obviously expensive but as they say, and probably will always say, it is worth the money.

Fertilizers – if you use fertilizers, you need to understand first that not all fertilizers are the same. Considering that you are growing tomatoes in pots, you want to use fertilizers that provide a well proportionate and balanced fertilizer that has higher nitrogen content, especially when your tomatoes are young; you need more leaves and foliage growth.

Some Common Mistakes in growing Tomatoes in Pots

The use of small containers – the roots of tomatoes need more space so be sure to use bigger containers.

No Stakes – even determined tomatoes still do need some proper staking. It is not that complicated though. You can use metal rods, sticks, or basically anything sturdy for growth support.

Too much water – don’t binge on watering because too much watering will result to Blossom End Rot, split tomatoes and stressed plants. But make sure that your tomatoes are also not deprived of water. The key is to have a working drip irrigation system of basically watering them sparingly.

Know when to stop and change – stop the use of fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen upon maturity and opt for using fertilizers that are low in nitrogen, high in phosphorous and potassium. Never use fertilizers rich in nitrogen once your tomatoes are flowering.

 

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How To Plant Vegetable Seeds

The first thing you will want to do when preparing to plant your vegetable seeds is to get the soil ready. Obtain some garden compost, making sure you remove pebbles and such from it. Next, fill a seed tray with the compost. Create a nice, flat surface on top, although don’t harden it by flattening it too much. You will need to water this before you place the seeds in it since it will need to be moist. Now you are ready to place the vegetable seeds in the compost.

Place the seeds into the top of the compost. Don’t worry about precise placement. If you choose, you can save some seeds for a second planting. Now, you can cover the seeds over with another layer of compost, just about a quarter of an inch.

After you ensure you have a good covering of compost, water gently over it. Afterward, if you have a propagator, you can place the seed tray in this until the seeds have germinated. Then, you can move the seed tray to a greenhouse area, or the closest thing you have to a greenhouse.

Starting Vegetables from Seed and Seedling

Vegetable seeds can be started inside or out. If you start off inside, eventually, you can move them to an outside garden later. Both options are viable, and many gardeners use both methods.

Some Things to Consider:

Depending on where you live, starting your seeds and seedlings off indoors can give them an advantage. You can plant them at the ideal time outside. However, some plants do not like to be transplanted, such as many of the root crops like beets and carrots. However, many of the root crops can be directly seeded outside anyway, due to their cold-hardy nature. Other vegetables like beans and corn do better when directly seeded outside, and are not transplanted.

It is much easier to start seeds inside than outside. You can create the ideal conditions inside for them. Just keep in mind that some do not like to be transplanted.

It is often better to plant some seeds directly outside in the garden unless the region in which you live has an extremely short summer. Some quick growing vegetables do not do well if left in a container for just a day or two longer than needed. Just make sure that if you do plant directly outside, the soil is warm enough for your seeds.

 

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