Organic Garden Tips And Tricks For New Growers

Because horticulture has been around for centuries, people have developed many ways to grow fresh, organic fruits and vegetables that will not require the use of dangerous chemicals. More »

Improve Your Organic Gardening Skills By Trying These Ideas

Organic gardening is not as easy as some may think! There is a lot more to it than just watering some seeds or digging around in the dirt. It is truly an art form. More »

Great Tips And Advice For Organic Growing

Taking your hobby of gardening an extra step and using organic materials, can be beneficial for the plants you grow, as well as, the environment! Instead of using pesticides and toxic weed-killing sol More »

Organic Gardening Tips That Will Help You Get A Better Garden!

A lot of us plant our gardens during the spring and summer months in order to have fresh vegetables for our families. More »

Organic Gardening Tips From Very Experienced People

Today, organic gardening is an incredibly popular hobby and career that is emerging. The demand for products that come from organic grown plants and crops is numerous. More »

 

Things To Remember, Gardening In Spring

sunflower-448654_640The familiar warmth of sunshine gently caresses the front porch as birds tweet away to usher in the morning. It is that unmistakable mark of spring as the weather turns friendly and inviting. While the first instinct may be to jump into a swimsuit and slap on some suntan lotion, there is another consideration that often goes unchecked. Your garden has been battle – hardened by the winter season and now it’s time for some well – deserved rejuvenation. In doing this, there are a couple of simple cues that one can follow to give one’s garden the sprucing it needs.

The first step is to do some spring cleaning. Make it a point to rid your gardening space of any rubble, leaves and twigs that may have accumulated over winter. Weeding and mulching are also recommended so as to give your new plants a fighting chance, as they will have minimal competition for sunlight, water and nutrients.

After clearing out your working studio, comes the fun part. The winter is usually a harsh period in which the soil undergoes a lot of stress and nutrient deficit. Adding supplementary nourishment to the soil will help to give your garden the foundation it needs. Although fertilizers offer a quick solution, it is always a good idea to go with organic material or compost. In the long term these will prove to be beneficial for both the plants and the whole ecosystem revolving around them.

Focus also needs to be put on the plants themselves. Having gone through the extended cold and possible snow, the plants need to be pruned giving them a chance to grow new leaves and branches that are stronger and will deliver water and nutrients more efficiently throughout the plant. If some of the plants are badly damaged it may be a good idea to uproot them and replant as necessary.

To complete the picture, adding new plants and flowers is a good way to give the garden a new and improved look. To fit the spring feel, flowers with warm, bright colors such as daisies and roses give an ambiance and aroma that makes any garden irresistible.

 

Living The Country Life In Metrospaces

garden-509550_640With the majority of the working population living in urban areas, space is always a long desired consideration that is often expensive and in some cases impossible to come across. For this reason, many people living in cities and towns have resorted to spending time at parks and recreational areas to unwind and de – stress. However, achieving a sense of calm and sanity in one’s daily routine needn’t be costly nor require traveling to a designated venue. With a bit of creativity and DIY work, one can create a little haven of tranquillity, by way of an urban garden.

It is important to note that a city garden can take numerous forms. Depending on your setup, the garden can be on a terrace, balcony or in some cases on your apartment rooftop. In addition to providing a calming past – time, a garden can also provide healthy, fresh produce throughout the year. One way to achieve this is by using containers to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers. This type of agriculture is best suited for plants that typically have thin roots. Examples of such vegetables include lettuce and carrots. It is a fairly simple method which is dependent on sufficient drainage and lighting, something that is easily accessible to any home.

If you wish to have bigger plants or those that have deeper roots, an alternative to container gardens exists. By making use of a balcony or building’s rooftop, a city dweller can utilize what would otherwise be idle space. These gardens require minimal weeding and cultivating due to the limiting soil quantity typically available. This type of gardening is also very convenient as there is optimum exposure to both rainfall and sunlight.

Those who may be doubtful as to whether they have ‘green hands’ need not worry. The manner in which city gardening is done is pretty much the same as ordinary gardening. The same principles apply, requiring cultivating, weeding and watering. Because of the compact nature of urban gardening, it can actually be more interesting as one can plant a variety of vegetables on different shelves, containers or baskets. This can prove to be a relaxing and fulfilling hobby that can enrich one’s lifestyle. It just goes to show that indeed the finer things in life are free.

 

How To Dry Chili Peppers – Part Two

Drying Hot Peppers Indoors

This is the “easiest” method of drying peppers, yet probably the most time-consuming. Place whole or sliced chile peppers single-layer in a bowl, plate, or sheet and set them in a very dry, warm, and extremely well-ventilated area with loads of sunlight. Rotate the peppers regularly and discard any that show signs of softness or spoilage. If at all possible, place your bowl or sheet outdoors when the forecast calls for hot, sunny, and dry weather (this will speed up the drying process). Within one or two weeks, you should start seeing your beloved chiles get dry and brittle.

Drying Hot Peppers Outdoors

There are a couple of different methods for drying hot peppers outdoors. One, you can dry the aforementioned way of laying them out on a sheet and placing them outside when there’s a long string of hot and sunny days. Sun-drying can be very effective if the weather cooperates and if you’ve picked a spot where you can get maximum exposure to direct sunlight. If you’ve sliced the peppers, you may wish to place a screen over the sheet or bowl to provide protection from insects.

Another good way of drying chile peppers outdoors is to hang them from a string. Grab some whole peppers with the stems still on, take a long, sharp needle, and string them together with strong thread or fishing line through their stems.

Unlike decorative ristas (which clump several hanging chiles together in a tighter space), you’ll need to leave plenty of room in between peppers for proper airflow. At one end of the string, tie a small stick or wooden dowel to prevent the peppers from sliding off. Hang up your strand of peppers securely in an area where they’ll get plenty of sunlight and fresh air.

It can take up to two weeks of drying time in good weather.

How To Dry Chili Peppers – Part One

The main reason to learn how to dry hot peppers is simply to enable you to keep them for a long time. Peppers can last for several days to a few weeks at room temperature or in the refrigerator before they start to rot. Freezing peppers, if done right, can make them last several months, but the thawing process can be a tricky one where often you’re left with overly soft and mushy chiles. Dried chiles can last from several months to a few years if store properly.

Removing moisture from peppers will magnify and intensify the heat, flavor, and natural sugars it contains. Dehydrated chiles pack more fiery punch and ferocity in both solid food and hot sauce recipes than fresh peppers. Plus, if you grind or crush dried peppers, you can use it as an all-purpose flavoring and seasoning for any occasion.

Drying in the Oven

You can dry peppers in any regular kitchen oven. It’s convenient that this method of drying can be done in just about any kitchen in the western world, but there is one big disadvantage; it may take several hours to a few days for the peppers to fully dry, depending on the size. It can also heat up your kitchen considerably if you’re drying on warm spring or hot summer day.

Simply position the peppers on a pan or cookie sheet in a single layer and place it in the oven. Set the oven to its lowest temperature setting, which is usually labeled as “WARM”, or just below 150 degrees Fahrenheit (120° to 140° is desirable). To allow moisture to escape, keep the oven door slightly open at least a couple of inches (now you know why it can make your kitchen hot). Every hour, rotate and/or flip the peppers over for even drying.

If you find peppers getting soft, brown/black, or extremely hot on the side where they touch the pan, then they’re getting cooked; you certainly don’t want this, as you’re just trying to dry these to use at a later date. To prevent this, try one of the following:

  • Turn down the temperature slightly. Not all ovens are calibrated the same – some may be off by 10° or more from the “real” temperature.
  • Flip the peppers over and move them around more often
  • Open the oven door wider

As soon as they’re fully dry, remove from the oven and place in an air-tight container. Larger, thicker-skinned peppers will take longer to dry than smaller or thin-skinned chiles.

How To Grow Organic Chili

Pepper should be started indoor approximately 8 weeks prior to the last frost of the spring. Sow ¼” deep in a well-drained starting medium. Seeds require lots of warm to germinate; medium should be between 80-85 degrees F. Using a heat mat, available at home and garden store and elsewhere, can help to ensure ideal conditions. Additionally, young starts will fare much better with additional light. Place in a window or sunny location that receives lots of southern or southwestern sun exposure. Consider supplementing with artificial lighting if possible.

Set plants out 2 to 3 weeks after average last frost when the soil has warmed and the weather has settled. Peppers can be temperamental when it comes to setting fruit if temperatures are too hot or too cool. Night-time temperatures below 60 F or above 75 F can reduce fruit set.

Plant them 12 to 24 inches apart, in rows 24 to 36 inches apart, or spaced about 14 to 16 inches apart in raised beds. Do not rush to transplant your starts outdoors. Select a location that receives plenty of light and heat, and has not been used for tomatoes, potatoes or other members of this family for several years. Peppers will do best with soil that is fertile, lightweight, slightly acidic (pH5.5-7.0) and well-drained.

Wait until soil temperatures exceed 50 degrees F at all times before placing into the ground. Pepper plants should be fairly close to one another, so that there is slight contact between plants.