Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How to Plant Tomato

Tomato is the most commonly grown plant in backyard vegetable gardens today. You need at least two tomato plants per family member. Start your tomato patch by purchasing healthy transplants at your local garden center or over the Internet.

Tomato is one of the best plants for container gardening and it thrives with raised bed gardening techniques. For container gardening, patio hybrid, cherry tomato, dwarf or bush varieties are best since they are compact, with hybrid patio variety being the most common. Those grow two-three feet tall. However, container gardening works for any tomato variety - just choose your container size to fit the mature plant's needs.
First, choose your location to plant and prepare your vegetable garden plot. I recommend composted manure worked into the soil to 6 - 8 inches. You may need to add limestone or sulfur to your soil as well - do a soil test to find out. Tomato plants need at least 6-8 hours of sun daily - full sun is best.

"Hardening off" means to expose plants to the elements in small increments to get them acclimated to new growing conditions. This transition period can be 1 week - 10 days, depending upon climate and weather conditions. Put the transplants in dappled shade, and bring them in at night. Gradually allow full exposure to outside elements. Plant seeds six to eight weeks prior to the last frost date. In hotter climates, plant when temperatures cool in autumn.
Dig a 10-16 inch deep hole.

Gardening Tips:
--Insert the transplant into your hole, and bury the tomato stem (not just the root) up to the second true set of leaves (snip off the others with scissors.) Fill your hole with compost-amended soil and firm down.
--Another method to establish vigorous roots is plant the tomato in a trench on its side. It grows straight up, and dozens of small roots shoot out from the stem's "hairs" into the soil.

Wire Cages
My favorite vine tomato support is the easiest: wire cages which you buy from any garden supply center. Simply position them over the plant, insert them into the ground and you're good to go. The tomato vines grow straight up, need no weaving and shade the ground to keep it moist.
Other supports include wood stakes and twine, trellises, teepees, or plant alongside an existing fence ...

Wood stakes and twine
Put stakes that are 6 feet, 1 or 2 inches wide, every 3-4 feet between your plants, at both ends of the rows, and down the center. After they grow 1 foot, tie twine to the end post 1 foot above the ground. Wrap the twine around each pole down the row. When you reach the end, come back up the other side. As plants grow, weave through the twine.

Gardening Tips :
• Water plants after transplanting. Water in the mornings daily unless it rains. Blossom-end rot results from under-watering. Keep soil moist but not soggy.
• Feed with 10-10-10 fertilizer (or choose your own brand.)
• Mulch to retain moisture.
• Hoe/cultivate shallowly to avoid disturbing roots.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

10 Tips to Enhance the Area Around Your Home (2)

6. Use rocks to support your home and family.

Having large rocks in the garden can be very attractive. In feng shui, they express the element earth. Because they will be somewhat permanent, it's a good idea to place them carefully, with the guidance of a feng shui expert. Rocks can be used to create the impression of a mountain. The general rule is to place such a feature behind your house, at the opposite direction from the front door, to provide added support for your home and family. If you want to place large rocks in garden areas on the sides of your house, the general rule favors the left side as you face out the front door.

7. Avoid "sharp arrows."

In feng shui, a sharp arrow is anything straight or angular that juts out or points strongly in a particular direction. Examples would be tree branches, sharp rocks, corners where two walls come together, or plants with pointed foliage. If you have any such sharp arrows pointed at your home -- especially your entrance -- remove them or place bushes or flowers in front of them to soften the sharpness. Sharpness creates a flow of negative energy, as if your home were being poked with a sword. Plants such as cactus, palms and yuccas should never be placed close to your entrance, and these are definitely not plants to have inside your home.

8. Flat gardens are not the best feng shui.

Having a garden or yard that is flat with only grass is as bad as sharp arrows -- the energy moves too fast over the flat field and is not harmonized. What you want to create is a surface that is meandering. If your landscape is naturally flat, make sure you include raised planting beds, tall trees and shrubbery to alter the feeling of flatness. If you can't do this, place a statue, a fountain or large pots of flowers around the yard.

9. Let clear borders define your property.

It is good to show the outside world what is your property by bordering it with an attractive fence or by simply reflecting a difference in the landscape between your yard or garden and your neighbors'. Let the world see that you like harmonious energy! If one person in a neighborhood develops a beautiful, harmonious garden, then other people follow. Beauty attracts beauty. Chaos attracts chaos. Set an example and the energy of the whole neighborhood can be lifted up.

10. Allow light to brighten your garden.
When you have dark spots in your garden, they disrupt the harmony and can attract clutter. Brighten these areas up with colored shade-loving flowers, a white statue or bench, little white rocks. Sometimes just thinning the bushes or trees will let enough light in to change the feeling of any shady spots and increase the flow of positive chi -- or energy -- throughout the entire garden.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

ID Preference and Photo of Cactus

Here is the link for photo album and preference of cactus identification such as Mammillaria, Echinocereus, Ariocarpus, Copiapoa, Ferocactus, Gymnocalycium, Astrophytum. Link

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

How To Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs

Spring time has begun and also I think it's time to enjoy gardening in sunshine with flower bulb. Spring flowering bulbs offer a reliable colorful display just when you need it most and they require very little effort. Choose bulbs suited to your area and many will improve year after year. The trick to growing large, healthy flowering bulbs is to prepare the soil well at planting. A rich, well draining soil with a balanced pH will feed the underground bulb and fuel the spring growth and flowers.

Here's How:
1. Choose healthy bulbs. Avoid bulbs that are dry and withered, spongy or moldy. In general, the larger the bulb for its type, the more flowers.
2. Choose an appropriate location. Most flowering bulbs prefer full sun, but that can be almost anywhere in the spring. So don’t overlook a spot that seems perfect, just because it’s a bit shady in the fall. Woodland bulbs (Anemone nemorosa (Woodland Anemone), Arisaema (Jack-in-the-Pulpit), Erythronium (Dog's Tooth Violets), Galanthus (Snowdrops) and Trillium) prefer a bit of cool shade.
A well-drained soil will prevent the bulbs from rotting in cool weather.

4. Plant with the pointed side up. The pointed end is the stem. You may even be able to see some shriveled roots on the flatter side. If you really can't tell, don't worry about it. The stem will find it's own way, sooner or later.
5. Plant bulbs to a depth of about 3 times their diameter. For Daffodils, that’s about 6 - 8 inches. Smaller bulbs can be planted to a depth of 3-4 inches and so on.
6. Mix some bone meal or superphosphate into the soil at the bottom of the hole at planting time, to encourage strong root growth. You could mix in some water soluble fertilizer as well, but it’s not necessary if you’ve already amended your soil.
7. If rodents tend to eat your bulbs, you can try sprinkling some red pepper in the planting hole. A more secure method is to plant your bulbs in a cage made of hardware cloth. The roots and stems grow through, but the rodents can’t get to the bulbs. Make it easy on yourself and make a cage large enough to plant at least a dozen bulbs.

8. Replace the soil on top of the bulbs. Water the bulbs after planting, to help them settle in and close any air pockets. Through the fall and winter, you only need to worry about watering your bulbs if you’re having a particularly dry season. Come spring, you should be well rewarded for all your efforts.


  • For A Natural Effect: Bulbs look best in clumps or drifts. To get a natural looking effect, either dig a large area and plant several bulbs at once or simply toss the bulbs into the air and dig holes and plant where ever they fall. You’ll be surprised how well this works.
  • Mark Your Plantings: To make sure you don't disturb your bulbs by trying to plant something in the same spot, mark where and what you have planted.
  • When your bulbs have finished flowering, cut back the flower stalks to ground level. It can get ugly, but let the foliage of your flowering bulbs dieback naturally. Resist the temptation to cut it back while still green, but floppy. The bulb needs this time to photosynthesize and make food reserves to produce next year’s flowers.
  • To Divide Bulbs: Many bulbs spread and increase, making the original planting over crowded. If your bulbs are flowering as well as they used to, this is probably the case. If you wish to move or divide your flowering bulbs, the safest time is when they enter their dormant period. This is usually just after the foliage completely dies back. Dormancy is brief, even though nothing is happening above ground, so don’t put this task off.

By Marie Iannotti

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