Organic Gardens

Few pursuits are as rewarding as growing your own organic gardens. Not only do you get to enjoy the fruits of your own labor, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that the produce you are eating was grown free of chemicals, pesticides and herbicides. Growing organically produces healthy, more diverse ecosystems which are better able to resist significant pest damage… naturally!

We continually add to this blog, so please check back often. Also, you can search existing messages for answers or post a new message for others to reply to at our Organic Garden Forum page.

Organic Gardening Guru – How to Grow Organically

Organic Gardening GuruKnowledge is the key to successful organic gardening. Planet Natural has compiled much of the information you’ll need – from the basics of getting started to finding organic solutions to specific problems – here.

The Dirt on Growing Organically

Organic gardening, once seen as something practiced only by health nuts and hippies, is no longer a fad. Everyone wants the food we serve to our families as well as our environment to be safe and healthy. This desire for safety – wanting to do no harm to our families and the world around us– is the central reason people grow organically. The more we learn about chemical herbicides and pesticides, the more we see the effects of synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified crops, the more we realize that we must protect ourselves from them. Growing organically is a way of taking control, an attempt to make the foods you serve full of the good things your family needs, and free of the things they don’t. (more…)

Best Garden Veggies To Over-Winter

Winter Garden VegetablesOrdering seeds? Don’t forget vegetables for fall planting and winter gardens.

We know some gardeners who do more than order seed in February. They’re out in their patch, cutting kale and other greens, pulling a leek or two and generally bringing in fresh veggies they’ve dug out from under mulches or hoop shelters.

Granted, these gardeners mostly don’t live in Montana as we do. They’re situated in the maritime Northwest and in the wide inland river valleys of Oregon and in coastal regions of the south and in the Midwest, even in those areas that suffer frost and the infrequent snow cover. In hardiness zones where you least expect it, winter gardens are producing salads and braising greens, beets and turnips and maybe a green onion, often a volunteer missed the previous season. (more…)

Resolution for the New Year: Grow More Vegetables

Garden VegetablesConsider the space you have for growing vegetables then raise all you can.

Your optimistic and forward-thinking Planet Natural blogger has always enjoyed New Year’s resolutions, especially when they pertain to our garden and landscape. And we especially enjoy learning from other gardeners’ lists. This new year, having not put much of a list together ourselves, we’ve taken a new tact. We’re resolving to do the opposite of what some gardeners are resolving to do. (more…)

Keeping Amaryllis Year Round

Amaryllis CareReceive this winter flowering beauty as a holiday gift? Here’s all you need to know about amaryllis care.

Amaryllis, with its beautiful clusters of fragrant blossoms, is a holiday favorite. A South African-native, it delivers its trumpet-shaped blossoms in the winter, often just in time for the holidays. That can mean Christmas but can also include Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing like the lift the bright red, white or pink blossoms can give your spirit during the coldest part of winter. (more…)

Homegrown Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner PlateBeing thankful for the foods we grow ourselves.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories has to do with green beans. Everything grandma put on the table was excellent — especially the pies — but my favorite Thanksgiving dish was her home-canned green beans. No, they didn’t come in a casserole held together by mushroom soup and topped with French-fried onions. They came just as they were, straight out of the glass jars that grandma had canned them in only a few months earlier. They were and still are the best green beans I’ve ever eaten. (more…)

Fall Is the Time To Plant Lilies

LiliesLilies are among the most beautiful and fragrant flowers in the garden. Here’s how and when to plant them.

Advances in over-winter storage of commercial lily bulbs have allowed gardeners to buy and plant lilies in the spring. But autumn is still the best time to get them in the ground.

Deeply planted and well-mulched, lily bulbs planted in fall will take all but the coldest days of the season to establish themselves before taking off in the spring. Fall planting assures bulb preservation and a good, strong start. (more…)

Get Started With Aquaponics

Backyard Aquaponics SystemGrowing vegetables and raising fish in a sustainable garden system.

Indoor and backyard aquaponics combines the craft of hydroponic growing with aquaculture, the art of keeping fish. The water in which the fish live, along with the fish-produced waste, eventually ends up nourishing garden plants. It’s then recycled to the fish tank. The plants get the nutrients they need and the fish get fresh, recycled water.

In return, the savvy gardener gets organic vegetables for salads and fish for the grill.

This is the simplistic explanation of aquaponics gardening. In practice, it’s a balancing act that supports all its living components, including the microscopic life that facilitates the natural conversion of fish-produced waste into usable, beneficial nutrients for plants. (more…)

Why Are Today’s Vegetables Less Nutritious?

VegetablesHow building soil, growing heirlooms can stop nutrient decline in vegetables and fruits.

It’s an old question among those interested in the quality of the food we eat. Do we get enough nutrition from the fruits, vegetables, and other foods we consume? Or do we need to supplement our meals with vitamins and minerals?

The answers to this two-part question is both no and yes. No, we don’t get enough nutrition from our foods and yes, we do need to supplement to make up the difference. This thinking has been backed by one simple fact. There’s been a decline in the nutritional value of vegetables and fruits over time. (more…)

Green House Buyer’s Guide

Backyard GreenhouseWhat frame and coverings to consider when buying a greenhouse kit.

Gardeners view green houses as a dream or a necessity, the latter by those who already have them, the former by those who wish they did. A greenhouse serves many functions and grants many advantages. It’s a place to give seedlings a jump start ahead of the growing season, a place to raise plants, including everything from tomatoes to lemons, that won’t find the growing season they require outdoors. It’s a place to overwinter potted plants and extend the vegetable harvest well past the first (and second, and third) frost. A green house can add immensely to your enjoyment of gardening and its rewards. (more…)

Mid-Summer Garden News

Summer GardeningWe’re growing great greens, cheering beneficial insects, and planning succession planting half-way into the summer garden.

A friend of Planet Natural, big on words and vegetables, writes in with a summer gardening report. We added the links:

We got our garden in late this year. But the heat we’ve had the last few weeks made catch-up easy. There’s no watering restrictions here in our part of the Pacific Northwest, so it’s been easy to compensate for the dryness. Besides, our garden is so small — not much more than two 4×6 raised beds — that it doesn’t require much water. (more…)

Tips To Save Water This Summer

WateringLawn and garden watering jumps in the summer. Here’s how to save water and money at the same time.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 30% to 70% of the water consumed by America’s residential homes is used outdoors. Summertime lawn and garden watering can multiply household water use two to four times over what is used the rest of the year.

The shocker: half the water used outdoors is wasted.

While the EPA’s website on outdoor water use is promoting their “Water Sense” certification of approved products — and using the highest quality, water-wise products can make a difference — much of water conservation comes from the design of your landscape, especially the plants you choose to grow, and the ways water is applied to that landscape. (more…)

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