Sunday, January 11, 2009

Growing Organic Plants Indoors

Many organic plants can easily be grown indoors with a little time, effort and tender loving care. There are several varieties of herbs to flowers that grow extremely well indoors. The best part about growing your organic plants out of the elements is that they will resist pests much easier and you can grow them year round.

Bringing Your Favorite Outdoor Plants Inside

If your organic plants are currently growing outdoors you can bring them inside providing you do it properly. First thing you need to do is pick healthy plants. If you are an active gardener you should know after the end of the spring and summer growing seasons which plants fit this description. Dig the selected plants up before the first frost hits. Make sure to dig deeply down into the dirt so that you get the entire root of your organic plants. Immediately plant them in a large enough container with fresh, new potting soil. The root ball should have about two inches of dirt around it in the pot. Make sure there are no insects or signes of disease. If you spot something that shouldn't be there you can treat organic plants by spraying them with soapy water and then watering them thoroughly.

It is important to remember that before you bring the plants inside you have to keep them from hardening off. Start by placing them somewhere outdoors where they will not receive much direct sunlight. Keep them watered and pruned for about will aclimate your organic plants to their new indoor light conditions.

The next step is to bring your organic plants indoors. Remember that they will need five hours of sunlight. If you cannot keep them in the sun try using a fluorescent light that hangs six inches above the plant and left on while you are awake, around fourteen hours or so, does the job of providing light perfectly. Do not let the temperature indoors go lower than 60 degrees because your organic plants will not do well if they get too cold. Keep them moist by placing their pots in water and gravel trays.

Keeping Your Organic Plants Indoors All Year

You can keep organic plants indoors throughout the entire year. The key is to duplicate the outdoor environment as much as possible. Remember that your organic herbs are going to enjoy a humid environment so when you bring them indoors remember to set the pots in trays of gravel and water. This keeps the soil from becoming too damp while allowing the plant to have the moisture that it needs. Keep the plants watered without drowning them. Finally make sure that they get plenty of natural light. If you follow these steps your organic plants will grow well indoors.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Methods of Pruning Roses Varies With the Variety

Methods of Pruning Roses Varies With the Variety

Pruning roses can be a thorny experience no matter what type of roses you grow . The prickles, often mistakenly called thorns growing from the outer dermis of a rose bush can be quite sharp and painful when imbedded in your skin. Pruning roses is considered by some to be an art form and the methods used are dictated by the type of roses being pruned.

Garden roses generally bloom once per year in late spring or early summer with the blooms appearing on two-year old canes. The pruning needs are quite simple. As canes die they should be removed to make room for new ones. Care must be exercised not to remove the canes during their first or second year of growth. By removing the one-year-old canes when pruning roses the next years flowers will also be removed.

As soon as the blooms fade the shrubs can be cut back to limit the height and width of the bush as well as removing any dead canes from an aged rose bush. The pruning needs of the garden rose is minimal and removing the old canes is simply all that is required and is usually done once all the blooms are gone.

Almost all modern hybrids contain the genetic heritage of China roses and have been bred to bloom continuously throughout the growing season. As new canes sprout during the season new blooms will appear on those canes and this will go on continuously until the first frost. Once frost has stopped the growth pruning roses of their old and dying canes will make room for more new ones the following season.

All varieties of rose bush require pruning of all dead or diseased canes regardless of the time of year. Early spring is the best time for pruning roses and cuts should be made above the bud. The location of last year’s bloom and the cut should be at a 45-degree angle. This helps prevent new foliage from growing from the cut and also helps stop moisture build up at the pruned site which could subject the cane to disease.

During the blooming season deadheading of all varieties of roses will help the plants live longer and bloom longer. It is simply a matter of removing the bloom once they die off. In many varieties this will make room for re-blooming of plants as well as reduce the amount of debris from dead blooms from laying on the garden surface. Properly pruning roses will help ensure many years of enjoyment.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Facts About Ice Wine

The Facts About Ice Wine

Ice wine is one of the many types and varieties of wine available for purchase but is one of the most unheard of. Ice wine is a very rare form of wine that is only produced under certain types of weather conditions. Ice wine is mainly produced in the Pacific Northwest region where the weather conditions are right for its production.

Ice wine is produced in very small quantities. With the wine requiring only the fines of quality and a lack of availability the product is extremely rare. There are only a lucky few who are actually able to purchase the wine. Due to the scarce amount this type wine can be extremely expensive and out of the price range for a majority of us.

Much like the beauty of owning a diamond, ice wine is something that many of us hope and dream to experience at some point in our lives. Although the raw materials are rare the weather conditions are even more crucial to producing this wine. Once the right weather conditions arrive the wine maker prepares to produce this extremely rare and priceless wine.

The basic requirements needed to produce ice wine are fully ripened grapes and a temperature of around 5 degrees C. The temperature needs to remain there for several days so that the wine maker can complete the process. Grapes that are frozen during these extremely cold temperatures are hand plucked at night by the wine maker and his assistants.

To produce a bottle of ice wine full vine grapes may be required. Once the grapes have been collected they are gently pressed in order to collect the running juice only. The temperature creates the frozen water crystals which are fermented along with sugars and the particles that are found in the free running juices. Through this process the wonderful and rare ice wine is created.

If you have been looking to try ice wine finding it may be very difficult. As you probably already know most alcohol and wine stores don’t sell this rare wine. Finding it online is very hard to do as well. Even if you are able to find it the cost can easily be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single bottle.

The best way to experience ice wine is to find the right wine maker in the Pacific Northwest region. Even though bottles go extremely fast once they have been made you may be able to catch a wine maker with some on hand. Although it can cost a lot and be extremely hard to find - the taste of ice wine makes it well worth the effort.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hybrid Organic Garden Seeds

Hybrid Organic Garden Seeds

You must use organic garden seeds if you plan to sell USDA Certified Organic produce. Organic garden seeds are grown under the same organic conditions as your vegetables.

You might think it may not matter if the seed comes from a plant that was grown in chemically altered soil or if pesticides were used on the plant. To a certain extent you would be right. If you are growing a pot of lettuce for your own use it may not matter if you use organic seed. To others it could matter a great deal because pesticides and chemical fertilizers can alter the DNA of plant seeds. The seeds may not germinate well or not produce the highest quality or volume.
Organic garden seeds may come from open-pollinated plants or from hybrids but they may not come from genetically modified stock. All organic garden seeds are GMO-free.

Heritage Organic Garden Seeds
Heritage organic garden seeds are organically grown seeds from old, non-hybridized varieties of plants. Hybridized varieties of plants have been developed to produce specific characteristics. Hybridized produce may be larger, juicier, more colorful, more flavorful, and more insect-resistant or may have a longer shelf-life than the original varieties of the plant. Hybridization is an ancient agricultural practice that has produced many wonderful plant varieties.

There are some problems with hybridization. The biggest problem is that you can’t save the seed from hybrids because they don’t breed predictably. Growing plants from hybrid organic garden seed has unpredictable results. The plants grown could have any mix of characteristics from the parent plants but not those of the hybrid.

The second problem with hybridization is that we are in danger of losing some varieties of plants. If the plants don’t have certain characteristics they aren’t grown. It may probably not wise to lose that genetic stock. Nearly all of the organic garden seeds available in the US are hybridized seeds. If the parent stock is lost we may not have a source of new seed in the future.

Many gardeners say that vegetables grown from heritage organic garden seeds are more flavorful than hybridized vegetables. This is why many organic gardeners use heritage organic garden seeds for their gardens. If you use heritage organic garden seed you can save the seeds from your plants to use the next year. You can also join a seed-saver group and trade heritage organic garden seeds with other people. People who save and trade heritage organic garden seeds are preserving these older varieties of plants and are providing a “back up” source of seeds in case it’s ever needed.

New bolg creation

My partner and I along with our wives just started a new blog focusing on one of the most common health issues women have. Check it out here when you have a few minutes.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Things You Can Do With Organic Herbs

Things You Can Do With Organic Herbs

You’ve spent the time and put forth the effort to grow organic herbs and now find yourself with a bumper crop. You can’t possibly use or give away all the herbs you’ve grown and you most certainly don’t want them to go to waste. Here are five wonderful things you can do with your excess organic herbs.

Dry Them
It’s easy to dry organic herbs even if you have a relatively humid environment. Start by harvesting the herbs early in the day when it is cool. Use scissors or a sharp knife to cut fairly long stems. Wash the herbs carefully and lay themon a clean towel so that the excess moisture is absorbed. Next, bundle them together with pretty ribbon, and hang them somewhere out of the way where it is relatively dry (not in a laundry room or bathroom, for instance). Try to also avoid hanging them in direct sun because they will lose some of their color. When your organic herbs are completely dry put them in jars. This way they will last for about a year.

Freeze Them
Herbs freeze wonderfully well and they will be just like fresh when you use them. Harvest the herbs as above and wash thoroughly. Lay them on absorbant towels to dry and turn occasionally to make sure there is no excess water on the herbs. Don’t remove the leaves or flowers from the stem because herbs are best when frozen on the stem. Place them in freezer bags and label. They will be good to use as fresh for six months. To use frozen herbs, remove the package and crumble off a few leaves then put the package back in the freezer.

Make Herb Vinegar
Organic herbs make great vinegars that are wonderful when used on salads and cooked vegetables. Experiment with different organic herbs to find the flavor combinations you like best.

You will need the following:Clean glass jar with lid. Organic herbs - use the flowers too for an extra pretty color.Vinegar - White vinegar works well but you may have to look around to find organic white vinegar. Wine vinegars also work well. Cider vinegar is the old stand-by but it does have a strong flavor of its own. Fresh organic herbs are best for herb vinegars. Harvest and wash as above then fill the jar with them. Add vinegar and cover; set aside for several weeks, then strain the herbs out.

Make Organic Herb Oils
Like herbal vinegars, herbal oils are wonderful on salads. They are also great for dipping bread into and cooking with. You can even use your organic herbal oils as bath oils and skin moisturizers.

CAUTION: Herb oils MUST be refrigerated. Storage time is less when fresh herbs are used. Flavored oils are an ideal environment for the growth of certain bacteria so it is important to follow storage directions carefully. Oils made with fresh organic herbs should be used within two weeks. Oils made with fully dried organic herbs can be stored for up to a month in the refrigerator.

You will need the following: A glass jar with lid
Organic herbs - either dried or freshOil - Extra virgin olive oil is good for cooking, but you can use almost any oil.

To make organic herb oils fill a glass bottle about half full of oil. Add the herbs, fill up with oil and cap.

Organic herbs and things made with them make good gifts. You can tie a ribbon around a bottle of bay oil or chive vinegar, package it with a loaf of bread or a salad set and have a unique gift that anybody will appreciate.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening

Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening

There are many advantages to indoor container vegetable gardening. First, you can enjoy your gardening hobby pretty much year-round because climate will not be as much of an issue. Next, you can enjoy the harvest of a garden whether you live on a large plot of land or in an apartment in the middle of the city. Finally, by cultivating an indoor container vegetable garden you greatly eliminate the problem of weeds and garden pests when it comes to caring for your plants. With so many benefits to gain from indoor container vegetable gardening why not give it a try. Take a trip to your local nursery or garden center to find out how to begin your indoor garden. You will be enjoying some fresh homegrown produce before you know it.

One of the first considerations to make in planning your indoor container vegetable garden is the types of containers that you will use. Keep in mind that you will want to allow your plants plenty of room to grow up, out and down. Roots need plenty of room for growth it they are going to support a healthy plant which makes larger containers almost always a better choice for indoor container vegetable gardening. You will need to make sure that there is plenty of room for drainage in the bottom of your container with a layer of rocks or pebbles on the bottom that will allow the water to run through easily. Soil will be the next consideration. Your plants will thrive best in a potting soil that allows air and water to move through the container easily.

The plants that you select for your indoor container vegetable garden will depend first on the types that do well in this type of environment. While pumpkins and squash are not good choices for this limited amount of space, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers can do quite well in containers. Even root vegetables like carrots can thrive in a container if there is plenty of room below the surface of the soil for them to grow. If you like beans or peas, you can buy the bush varieties or add a trellis to your container to allow your vines a place to climb. Make sure that you have a sunny window to keep your plants in because many of your crops will require at least five hours of direct sun each day for best results.

Indoor container vegetable gardening can offer you the chance to indulge in your favorite hobby year-round and can put fresh produce on your table during any season of the year. With a bit of research and planning you can have a successful indoor container vegetable garden no matter where you live and the time of year.