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Thursday, May 27, 2010

TOMATO PLANTING TIPS

The weather is finally starting to behave around here and the garden is starting to go in. I have to say, this is probably the latest I have ever been in getting things going around here. If you did not get your garden in yet do not despair. We still have plenty of time. Last weekend we purchased some plants from our local greenhouse and received some horticulture education on planting tomatoes and to top it off they had heirlooms. Some very old varieties I may add. I was excited as the ones I started from seed are not to my desired height yet.

The first step is to make sure your soil is in good condition. Add some compost or manure to add nutrients to your soil.

To plant tomatoes take off little leaves going down the stem (not big leaves) and plant all the way down into the soil up to the big leaves. Next pinch of yellow flowers on your tomato plant. Your probably thinking NOoo. This is going to be food! The reason to do this is to establish good root and stem development. (This is how your tomato plant gets its food.) Pinching the flowers on your plant will let your tomato plant concentrate on the root system and not the food. Only pinch flowers for the first week and then let them make you some tasty tomatoes. I was told doing this will yield a bigger tomato and harvest. I planted my tomatoes this way this year and am excited to see how they fair. Until now, I had planted only the ball of dirt and the roots.

If your short on gardening space use buckets and decent size planters to grow your vegies. Sometimes I think this is better as weeds won't get out of control. I was told to wait to water my tomatoes till they sag just a bit. The gardener at the greenhouse told me tomatoes prefer it that way. Just don't wait till their half dead. She stressed only a little sag.

I hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend. Please keep in your thoughts and prayers all our military serving at home and abroad, and of course all the serviceman that fought and died for our country so we have the blessings to be able to have big beautiful gardens.

God Bless,

Shelly



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Monday, May 3, 2010

COFFEE: NOT JUST AN EYE OPENER

Well it's been a while since I've posted, due to being very busy. We have been finishing up our school year and since this is our first year homeschooling our three youngest children, this has definitely been a learning year for the whole family. Time management has taken on a whole new meaning.

Up here in Northwest Ohio, it has been very soggy. Lots of beautiful spring days, but as the ground starts to dry up to start planting, we get torrential rains. I am hoping the beans I planted two weeks ago start to sprout, but fear the rain may have either buried them to deep into the soil or they were washed away. I was out checking on them and low and behold, somehow some jumped into the other vegetable bed. I will give them another week, and if I see nothing, I will replant my beans.

To all the coffee drinkers out there, save those coffee grounds. As I was emptying my coffee grounds a couple of weeks ago to go into the mulch bin, I was wondering if I could just put my coffee grounds into my soil for added fertilizer. After doing my research, I was amazed at how beneficial coffee grounds were to the gardener.

A few uses for coffee grounds are:

* Spreading coffee grounds along with orange peels into your flower and vegetable gardens will keep your outdoor cats from using your garden as a kitty litter box.

* Mixing coffee grounds along with horse manure will give you soil like the professionals use.

* You can increase your carrot and radish harvest by mixing your seeds with coffee grounds just prior to planting. ( I will just work the coffee grounds into the soil where I will put my seeds)

* You can also use coffee grounds as an insect repellent. Sprinkle coffee grounds around places you don't want ants or on ant piles. Ants will move on or stay away. It is also said that coffee grounds will also repel snails and slugs.

* You can use coffee grounds as an effective roach trap:
1. place fresh used coffee grounds into an opened glass jar
2. add a few inches of warm water and mix
3. Add a strip of duct tape or masking tape down the side of the jar vertically, (so the roach can climb into the jar)
4. place the jar overnight in a roaches favorite hangout like the kitchen or bathroom.

Cockroaches love the smell of coffee grounds. They will climb into the jar and drown in the water. (this was from a comment that I thought was interesting enough to post) If there was ever a disaster that brought about filth and waste, roaches I would think could become a serious problem, especially in the cities.

The official gardening season is fast approaching. In Ohio it is May 15. We are expecting an overnight frost in the next couple of days, so if you have tender plants that may be affected you may want to keep an eye on the weather so you can cover them up.

God Bless,
Shelly



* Some info for this post came from: http://curbly.com/diy-maven/posts/1881-top-10-uses-for-used-coffee-grounds

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