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How to Make Potting Soil for Indoor Plants?

It is important to make sure that you are using the right potting soil for indoor plants. This is the only way to make sure that your plants are staying healthy and growing correctly.

The problem is that there are many people that don’t know how to make potting soil correctly for indoor plants.

How to Make Potting Soil for Indoor Plants?

With this guide, you are going to get everything needed to make the right potting soil and to have healthy, growing plants that you can enjoy.

What is potting soil?

The first thing that you need to know is what is potting soil. This isn’t just normal soil that you are adding to your pots for planting plants and flowers.

These plants have different compartments and are is essential for the health and growth of indoor plants and pot plants and flowers. Plants that don’t have this soil, have a higher chance of dying, or not growing and flowering as needed.

Different types of plants require different potting soil

Something that you need to know is that different plants require different potting soil. Meaning that you need to make sure about the type of plant that you are going to replant into a pot. Especially, when it comes to indoor plants.

Some plants need to have soil that is draining water faster, while other plants need a slower water drain. This is why it is essential to make sure about the type of plant, and the type of drainage requirements a plant needs before you start making your own potting soil or purchasing your potting soil.

Talk a professional when purchasing potting soil

It is important to talk to a professional when you are purchasing potting soil for your indoor pot plants. This is especially important if you don’t have much information about the different plants and their potting soil needs.

Even, if you consider making your own potting soil. You still need to know the type of potting soil and the ratio that the soil needs to be. With talking to an experienced person, you will know for sure that your plants will grow and become healthy.

Benefits about making your own potting soil

There are many reasons why you should consider making your own potting soil. Reasons that will let you reconsider when you are on the verge of purchasing ready-made potting soil

The first benefit is that this is a lot cheaper to make your own potting soil than to purchasing potting soil. Yes, you might need to purchase different soil, but this is cheaper and easier to find.

You will know for sure that the potting soil is correct for the type of indoor plant that you are considering planting. Many might think that there is no difference in potting soil, but this isn’t correct. With making your own, you will be able to know that your plants are getting the best possible soil to grow.

Different ways that you can make your own potting soil

There are different ways and different recipes for making your own potting soil. It is recommended that you know as many recipes as possible, in order for you to find the right recipe for your type of indoor plants.

Make your own potting soil

The first type of potting soil is a compost-potting soil mixture. Making sure that the soil is nutrients rich and healthy enough for indoor plants. This is also the most common homemade potting soil that most people are making.

The other type of potting soil that you can make at home is the normal homemade potting soil. For this soil, you will need to have these ingredients:

  • Garden soil
  • Spaghnum peat moss
  • Perlite, vermiculite, or sand

With the third one, you are using the ingredients mentioned above, but you are adding fertilizer or the homemade compost to the mixture. Making sure that your potting soil is just perfect for healthy plants and flowers.

Consider when making potting soil for indoor plants

It is important to remember these things when you are making potting soil for indoor plants. Every type of soil that you are making should still be disease free.

The only way that you can ensure this, is to make sure that you are purchasing it from a nursery. Don’t ever just use soil and sand from your own garden.

You should make sure that the potting soil is great for the type of plant you want to plant. Some might need more garden soil, while others might need to have more perlite or peat moss. This is why you should know your plants before you can start mixing your own potting soil.

With this guide, you are able to make your own potting soil correctly. You can’t just mix a couple of different soil together and say that now you have potting soil. This isn’t how it works.

The more information you are going to get, the better you will understand what soil is needed. And, you will have a lot more success with your plants indoors. If you are unsure about the potting soil, you should talk to a professional and get the right assistance.

Perfect Tips To Take Care of Your Houseplants

Perfect Tips To Take Care of Your HouseplantsAs the summer season progresses in you need to shift your houseplants indoors from the outside. Not doing this could infect your houseplants with flying insects or aphids and other small pests.

Aphids are tiny little sapsuckers live and feed in groups on the stems of plants. They can be different colors including white, green, brown or even orange. To treat aphids indoors, add a teaspoon of dishwashing soap to a gallon of water and wash the whole plant with the solution. You can help the process along by rubbing the stems with your fingers or a cotton ball. Let it set for a few minutes, then rinse well.

Mites are very small insects and can form a thin web over the plant. Affected plants’ leaves may appear spotted and, if there are flowers, they may start to look unhealthy. Try blasting off the mites with water. You can do this by setting the plant in the sink and using the sprayer. You can also use the same method we talked about for aphids.

Scales appear as sticky areas on leaves and stems. If there are tiny dots you can remove with your fingers, the plant may have scales. Remove them by hand and carefully monitor the plant for more outbreaks.

Mealybugs may be identified as mealybug by its white, fluffy, wax coating. They typically appear on the underside of leaves. Try using a little alcohol on a cotton ball and applying it to the mealy bugs. The alcohol will penetrate the wax and eventually kill the pests.

You can also make your own kitchen insect spray that was developed by the editors of Organic Gardening magazine. If you would like to try this natural insect control on your houseplants, here is the recipe: Combine 1 garlic bulb, 1 small onion, and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a food processor or blender and process into a paste. Mix into 1 quart of water and steep for 1 hour. Strain through a cheesecloth and add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Mix well. The mixture can be stored for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

If your spot that your plants are getting affected with pests an even after treating them two or three times these pests persist you need to discard these plants otherwise it will also infect your other houseplants. Scrub the flowerpot and disinfect it before using it again.

Gardeners know that the houseplants have a dormant period just as outdoor plants do. In case of such dormancy waterless and do not add fertilizer. Quite periodically set your houseplants with a shower, and rinse off the dust on the foliage and wash the soil thoroughly. Drain well before putting the plant back on its shelf. You may also need to move plants around the house to give them as much sunlight as possible. Prune off any dead stems and leaves, and keep the soil clean. Adding an attractive mulch, such as pebbles, glass beads, or cocoa shells would be even better.

Perfect Tips For Garden Protection From Winters

Perfect Tips For Garden Protection From WintersIn the garden, you may begin with covering all water faucets and wrapping exposed pipes. This will protect sprinkler valves from freezing as well. Better keep wrapped and covered anything that could possibly be damaged by freezing temperatures.

During winters gardens go dormant, plants in containers, as well as hanging baskets, still need moisture periodically. Depending upon the size of your garden you must prepare months in advance and save approximately half of the grass clippings for the compost pile and half set aside for use as winter mulch.

Use this grass in conjunction with fallen tree leaves as primary mulch material. Add a bit of mushroom compost to the blend to sweeten the mix. This mulch/compost recipe is piled liberally around the base of all our Esperanzas, Jatrophas, Lantanas, Plumbago and Vitex.

For those of you with gardens with fewer plants to protect, sheets and blankets work fairly well to protect from killing frost and offer a few degrees of temperature improvement which may prove the difference in the life or death of the plant.

They say to never use plastic to cover your plants and this is for good reason. The plastic cover could cause a hothouse effect and with direct sunlight end up burning your plants rather than preventing freeze damage. If your option is paper or plastic, always go for the natural material for plant freeze protection.

Using the right fertilizer is crucial in winters. If the fertilizer is of a chemical blend, better avoid that using as a winter lawn fertilizer The soil temperature may be too low to breakdown the chemical blend for the grass to use and could just sit there until such time that the soil temperature rises enough.

If on the other hand an organic fertilizer is used, soil temperature will have little effect on absorption. Even if the grass has gone dormant the nutritional value of the organic materials will improve the soil and prepare your lawn for a flush of growth come spring.

A little protection of your garden in winter will save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars next year in purchasing replacement plants. Take care of your outdoor living space and it will reward you in the spring and for years to come.

Our gardens cycle like us – young when we are young, grow old as we grow old and will die as we die. Think about this for a moment. When we began our gardens at whatever age, most everything is new. For the most part, the plants we use are new except for the pass-along planting materials/gifts from gardening friends or relatives.

The hardscape material we use for edging, seating, or paving, etc are usually new. Our garden experience is new and we have yet to kill a single plant. Just think of the destruction that awaits us but also the joy in getting there. As we age, so also do our gardens in ways that we never imagined in our youth. The clipped hedges and crisp grass edging are not quite as tidy as in the past.

Perfect Soil Preparation Tips for Your Garden

Perfect Soil Preparation Tips for Your GardenFirst thing you need to do with your garden soil is to get a soil test. Results of the soil analysis will guide you for what you need to add to correct the pH and boost deficient nutrients.

A soil rich with organic matter is considered to be best for plant growth. It is a good gardening practice to mix compost into the soil at the start of the gardening year. It enhances the soil’s physical condition, resulting in improved drainage, increased moisture retention and better aeration. Compost compliments soil with organic matter that contains plant nutrients and act as a fertilizer.

Based on specific plant requirements you should add extra nutrients, fertilizers, and additives. For indoor as well as outdoor plants bat and seabird guano provide fast- and slow-release nutrients. It is a nematocide. Bone meal is high in phosphate and good for bulbs and root crops. A blood meal is nitrogen-rich dried powdered animal blood and builds leafy green plants. It also helps in controlling moles, squirrels, and deer. Cottonseed meal is a high-nitrogen, slow-release fertilizer that also adds organic material to the soil.

As topsoil dressing, you may also apply corn gluten meal-a pre-emergent herbicide. It helps control crabgrass and small weeds. You should apply it when seeds are germinating. It will release nitrogen by decomposing. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate – magnesium and sulfur in a highly soluble form. Magnesium is essential for chlorophyll production which makes plants bushy and green. It helps seeds germinate and improves phosphorous and nitrogen uptake.

Fish emulsion, powder, and meal contain many slow release micronutrients. Kelp and seaweed products are rich with sea minerals including trace elements, amino acids, vitamins, and hormones. These are good for indoor plants, houseplants, outdoor plants, seedlings, and transplants.

Milorganite is a biosolid made from composted dried sewer sludge. It provides nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. If used as topsoil dressing it repels rabbits, voles, squirrels and deer. You should not apply this to the on root vegetables as it may contain heavy metals, pathogens, and salts.

Mycorrhizae are beneficial fungi in the soil that work together with plant roots. Mycorrhizae are critical to providing nutrients and moisture to plants. Miracle-Gro offers several highly soluble quick-release fertilizers that fill different plants’ needs. Osmocote acts as a slow-release resin-coated fertilizer.

Many gardeners prefer using sawdust and wood chips in their gardens but only decomposed sawdust should be applied to the lawn and garden. Wood ashes contain phosphorous and potassium but are alkaline and therefore avoid it using around acid-loving plants like azaleas.

Red worms produce worm castings and it has excellent water holding capability. The water when released is full of rich nutrients. It is good for landscape and houseplants.

You must note that the soil in your garden must be fixed prior to growing anything and it is always better to prepare in advance.

Customize Garden Fertilizer To Grow Vegetables

Customize Garden Fertilizer To Grow VegetablesIt is easier and better to use organic stuff to make fertilizer. You should buy all the ingredients separately so it is easy to customize. Things you might require to customize the fertilizer include canola seed meal, bone meal, kelp meal, and lime and one cubic yard of steer manure.

All these items along with your home compost should provide all the nutrition for vegetables to grow in your garden. If you follow the procedure everything will grow just fine with about one gallon of the mix on a bed three meters by three meters.

Fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, or NPK, which are expressed numerically on labels, such as 5-15-1. Each number represents the percentage of the total mix by weight.

The individual items procured by you would have the following composition for a customized fertilizer for your garden;

Canola meal -Slow release nitrogen and phosphorus with a trace of potassium, roughly 6-2-1.

Bone meal -Moderately slow release nitrogen and phosphorus for root development with the bonus of calcium, roughly 3-15-0.

Kelp meal: Relatively quick to release nitrogen but higher in potassium than seed meals and contains lots of trace minerals, about 1-1-2.

Compost: Improves aeration and moisture retention, about 1-1-1.

Blood meal: I don’t put it in my general purpose mix, but it can provide a  quick hit of nitrogen when slow-release isn’t doing the job, 14-0-0.

Basic customized garden fertilizer to grow vegetables will be mixed up in the combination and specified quantity of 10 parts canola seed meal +1 part lime + 1 part bone meal + 1 part kelp meal.

It is good to keep all the above the components of your fertilizer separate so that you can mix on the fly for each bed of vegetables you plant.

If you are growing potatoes in your garden remember not to include lime in your customized fertilizer. Similarly, tomatoes like phosphorus for fruit growth but prefer slow-release nitrogen.

(Adapted from Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, by Steve Solomon)

Growing Vegetables With Raised Beds in Your Garden

Growing Vegetables With Raised Beds in Your GardenRaised bed gardening is gaining popularity among the gardeners across the globe. Even the first time gardeners and homeowners with smaller yards, senior citizens, and novice gardeners are now understanding the importance of compact and easy-to-maintain gardens.

The gardening times are now changing and now you have raised beds in various sizes available in garden centers, catalogs and online. Interlocking corners make it possible to build one in a short period of time. Price varies with materials — plastic or cedar.

A 3-foot-by-6-foot, 10-inch deep bed will hold a variety of vegetables, both above ground and root plants such as tomatoes, herbs, onions, and carrots.

In case the raised bed is only 10 inches deep then you need to ensure that the soil on which it rests is cleared of all debris, grass removed and soil tilled to allow roots to extend into the soil beneath the bed. Fill the space with a mixture of hummus and garden soil. Fill the area to the top edge, dampen the soil and let the bed rest for a day or two, as the soil will settle. Add more soil if necessary.

When using a soaker hose or customized soaker system, lay it in a circular or serpentine pattern before planting. Both systems deliver water directly to the roots without wasting water. After planting, add a layer of mulch to trap moisture and to keep weeds at a minimum.

With raised beds in your garden, you may select any particular theme. Edible plants that are required for a type of food. One garden bed can grow enough produce provided you follow a little research before selecting the plants.

You can easily grow varieties of tomatoes and peppers. Herbs like basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley, and garlic may also be grown with raised beds. Onion sets may be planted two-inches apart around the edge.

Experienced gardeners suggest that a maintenance schedule involving weeding, watering, insect inspection, and harvesting is required.

Flowers grow well in raised beds. Plan a layout with taller plants in the center and graduate the plant sizes to the edge where cascading flowers provide an attractive border. Flower beds also should have the same maintenance schedule, but substitute deadheading for harvesting.

17 Essential Micro-Nutrients and Macro-Nutrients For Plant Growth

17 Essential Micro-Nutrients and Macro-Nutrients For Plant GrowthLet us go back to the basics and learn chemistry that would be extremely helpful in understanding its applications in gardening. Chemical elements analysis reveals that plants need definite proportions of specific elements.

Plant growth is solely dependent on 17 different elements. Presence of all these chemical elements in perfect proportion is primarily responsible for the healthy growth of a plant. As a gardener, you must know about these 17 essential elements. All these elements have been classified into specific categories. Basis of such classification is also interesting to understand. Let us open it up.

Air and Water Macronutrients

There are three (03) macronutrient elements that a plant can derive from air and water. Carbon(C), Hydrogen (H), and Oxygen (O) are these three elements. Clean environment with clean air and quality water are not only important for humans but also for the plants.

Fertilizer Macronutrients        

Some essential elements are primarily derived from the fertilizers. Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K), and Phosphorus (P) are three elements. Fertilizers are the best sources for their replenishment as these elements are required in comparatively large quantities and at regular
frequency. These elements are responsible for the maximum growth of the plants. Adding fertilizers to the soil is one of the best methods to maintain a minimum required level of replenishment.

Secondary Micronutrients

As the name suggests, secondary micronutrients are added with primary micronutrients. More often the process of such addition is coincidental in nature. Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), and Sulfur(S) are three such secondary micronutrients. When you add lime in any form these elements are coincidentally added to it and plants derive them accordingly.

Trace Micronutrients

In chemistry, they are better known as “Trace Elements”. We may also call them minor micronutrients for gardening purposes. These elements are not required in large quantities rather just a trace present would suffice. There are eight (08) such trace elements that are essential for plant growth. These are Manganese(Mn), Boron(B), Iron(Fe), Chlorine(Cl), Cobalt(Co), Molybdenum(Mo), and Zinc(Z).

Common soils contain sufficient quantities of the micro-nutrients. However, a soil test would be better to identify any further need that can be replenished externally. If you apply good soil-building -practices you will perhaps never face any problem.

If you are using synthetic fertilizers in your garden then you must be aware of the fact that there are no trace elements in it. On the other hand, applying organic fertilizers is far better as there are trace elements present in sufficient quantity. Manure, compost, green manures, and mulching are most recommended for this purpose.

Growing Vegetables Outdoors All Winter Long

Hoop FrameIt is indeed possible if the plants are kept properly warm. It would be good to cover the plants during winters, tucking them in and letting the natural light do all the work. Learning this to do with a little skill would enable you to harvest fresh homegrown vegetables any time of year.

Gardeners know it well that planting vegetables normally wouldn’t grow well in winter. Every generation seems to have a better idea and sometimes these ideas give birth to new ideas.

An innovative idea would be to extend the growing season by at least a month on either end with the raised bed hoop house.  The wooden raised bed with required dimensions needs to be installed with flexibility for removable hoops that could be draped heavy with clear plastic. The bed could be as long as we wanted. The plastic should be used to keep out the cold air but let the sunlight in.

The beds should be no wider than four feet. This is because a person’s arm reach usually averages around two feet and this made it possible to pull weeds from either side without straining or having to walk onto the garden bed. Staying out of the garden bed avoided tamping down the soil.

It would be good to plant and seeds more than a month earlier than usual by keeping the plastic tucked around the hoops and the ends of the bed. You may take the plastic off the hoops for the summer, but at the end of the season, you should manage to keep cold tender plants going for a month longer than usual, even after a few good frosts.

Many vegetables including few varieties of lettuce and spinach and other greens can be harvested all winter long with a similar setup. Instead of using clear plastic you may also use floating row cover that keeps plants warm. Floating row cover also ensures keeping insects off the seedlings. The cover enables sunlight and water to permeate its fabric. Different types of row covers with varying strengths are available which would offer even more protection.

It is possible making the hoop houses portable so they can be moved from one garden bed to the other offering a chance to rotate the crops each season. It is extremely important to tuck the cover completely around the bed including both ends and secure it to the ground by either laying boards or pinning it tightly. You can lift off the plastic to harvest your lettuce or spinach, but cover it back up immediately and don’t lift it again until the next harvest.

Perfect Time To Order Seeds

Perfect Time To Order SeedsIt is a perfect time to place orders for your seeds. If you don’t have enough seed catalogs, borrow some from a friend or go online and search for “garden seeds and plants.”

You will surely locate few great seed companies that will send you a catalog or take your order online. You can search for “garden seeds” and find a treasure trove of seed companies specializing in organic seeds, heirloom varieties, exotic and unusual seeds, as well as your favorite varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers, trees, and shrubs. Don’t overlook the specialty companies, which feature potatoes, garlic or tomatoes.

If you plan to start a vegetable garden you can start onions from seed. Seed 20 to 30 seeds in a 6-inch pot filled with seed starting mix. Give them lots of light, a cool temperature, water as needed and fertilize with weak, liquid fish fertilizer.

If they get too tall and leggy, trim them back and use trimmings for salad or stir-fry. When the weather warms a little, expose the whole pot to outdoor conditions gradually. When you get ready to plant them, dump out the whole pot and carefully separate the individual plants by teasing apart the roots. Starting onions this way protects against transported disease and allows you to try lots of different varieties, not just the ones available as starts at the nurseries.

For flower lovers, it is the best time to start perennials from seed. Yarrow, hollyhocks, purple coneflower, dame’s rocket, blanket flower, salvia, speedwell, pansies, and others germinate readily. When growing plants indoors, be sure to provide lots of light either from sunlight or grow lights and slowly expose them to cold before planting them outside.

It is best to plant young perennials in a “nursery bed” the first year where you can keep track of them and baby them just a little. The next year they can be planted in their permanent home. Many will not bloom until the second year. This is a cheap way of adding perennials to your yard — if you have the patience.

Perfect Tips For Non-Chemical Pest Control

Chemical Pest ControlHome vegetable gardeners have been trying to avoid usage of chemical pest controls as this has become a new gardening trend main objective is to garden with no pesticides. It is always better to keep the pesticides at bay from the vegetable garden. Here are some common examples of nonchemical pest controls.

Look for plant varieties that have some degree of disease resistance. New hybrid resistant varieties enter the market each year after extensive evaluation. Roses and tomatoes are susceptible to many diseases.

The newer Knockout shrub roses have a strong resistance to common diseases, including leaf blackspot. These roses require no spraying.

Tomatoes suffer from a wide range of disease problems. Today, many hybrids are much less prone to disease.

There are many types of physical barriers to keep insects, birds, rabbits, raccoons or deer at bay. A floating row cover is a lightweight fabric that lets in light, air, and water, but keeps insects out of a row of melon or cucumber vines that are susceptible to wilt disease. The fabric is kept in place along the edges with old boards or other weights.

The cover prevents cucumber beetles from feeding on the plants. As beetles feed, they transmit wilt disease bacteria to water-conducting vessels. In time the water vessels plug up and cause severe wilting and death of the plant.

When vines begin flowering, the cover has to be removed so bees can pollinate the flowers. It’s important to keep young seedling plants protected from beetles so they get off to a healthy start.

Garden fencing is a common and effective barrier to pests.  Use fencing to protect small clusters of tulips or other plants from rabbits and deer. Deer feed on the young foliage and flower buds. A circular wire collar with netting on top gives complete protection from deer or rabbits. The fencing should be as tall as the plant is when flowering.

A small vegetable garden can be protected from deer with a 6-foot tall plastic netting fence around the garden. Deer won’t jump into a small area because of poor depth perception. For a large area, fencing should be at least 8 feet tall.

single-wire electric garden fence will give complete protection from raccoons in a corn patch. The electric shock is harmless and intermittent so it frightens away the raccoons. The wire gives off enough “bite” to discourage return trips to the sweet corn.

Netting of various types can be used as a protective cover for berry plants. For a large cherry tree, it is easier to cover only a few branches. Birds are clever and will find any small opening to bypass the netting. As raspberries are not attractive to birds and require no protective cover.

Probably the oldest method of insect control. The fingers are readily available to do the job. If the idea of picking up an insect is unpleasant, use a pocket knife to push the insect into a can of soapy water. While time-consuming, it can be effective if done daily.

The larger the insect, the easier to see and handpick. The largest is usually the tomato hornworm, although it is sometimes missed because the green color resembles the tomato leaf color.

Handpicking Japanese beetles from roses is best done during cool temperatures in the early morning or evening. The beetles move slower at that time and are less likely to fly away.

Other common vegetable pests that are good candidates for handpicking include the Colorado potato beetle and cabbage worms on members of the cabbage family. Aphid populations can be dispersed with a forceful spray from a garden hose. Repeat until they are brought under control.

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