Category Archives: Gardening

How to Grow Strawberries

Strawberries are easy to grow. The pretty flowers and red fruits add color to your garden. You also get a regular supply of fresh juicy strawberries half of the year, for the next three to four years.

There are two different types of strawberries: standard or summer-fruiting, and ever bearing or perpetual. You can decide which type to grow based on how you intend to use the berries. The standard will bear a large crop ideal for jams and freezing. The perpetual type will provide you with a small but regular supply of strawberries from summer ‘til until frosty weather comes in August. The method of culture for the two types is similar.

When selecting your varieties, you should also bear in mind that some are susceptible to pests, and may be more suitable to certain areas.

Strawberries will grow in any type of soil as long as there is sufficient water and good drainage. They do prefer sunny spots and need protection from the wind.

You can also grow strawberries in hanging containers, grow bags, troughs and pots. You may need to do this if you have no spare garden space, or your soil drains poorly. This method has several advantages over growing plants in the open. You can select the location of your container, such as a glasshouse or porch. Strawberries grown in containers are more protected from soil-borne pests and diseases. Picking them will be more convenient too.

Planting time depends on the climate in your area. If you have severe winters, buy dormant plants and place them in the ground in early spring. Where there are mild winters, you can plant during the fall.

Prepare the soil one month before planting. Turn it over at least a foot deep. Remove weeds and grass, and add plenty of compost or manure to add nutrients to the soil.

You can plant your strawberries in rows or in mounds. The mounding method is best for the perpetual types, and in soils with drainage problem. Set the plants about 12 -15 inches apart in mounds. Perpetuals should not be allowed to produce runners until the mother plant is exhausted so that they will bear more fruit. Allow the plant to produce runners only if you want to have new plants for the next season.

If you plant in rows, set the plants 18 inches apart, with the first runners spaced six inches apart. Allow only a few runners per plant. Young plants should get at least an inch of water weekly. Mulching is recommended to conserve moisture and deter weeds.

Pick off the blossoms when you see them appear. Avoid letting any fruit develop in the first year, as it will weaken the plant and reduce the following year’s production drastically.

When the berries ripen, pick them up at once. Overripe fruits spoil quickly.

How to Grow Peppers

Grow your peppers using seeds. It is cheaper this way and you’ll have a wider range of varieties to choose from. In addition, most peppers from the store were grown in pest and climate controlled conditions, and are instantly worn down once taken from the environment they are used to and be placed in your garden.

Steps to Grow Peppers

  1. Begin planting 8 to 10 weeks before the last expected frost.
  2. Bring your containers together. These can be peat pots, milk cartons, six-packs, or yogurt cups. Load your containers with well-drained soil. Put the seeds into the soil. Moisten the soil, then put the containers in a plastic bag until the seeds germinate. Place them in a warm area as this can hasten germination.
  3. Once the seed has taken root, remove the seedlings from the plastic bag and place them in a site where they can be fully sunned at least eight hours per day. Lightly fertilize the plants when they develop leaves. If the plants have healthily and sturdily grown to at least 4 inches, move the plant to where the soil’s pH ranges from 6.7 to 7.0 and soil temperature is at least 60°F. Small varieties should be set one to two inches apart, while normal-size types should be planted with a 14 to 16 inch separation. Make sure that there is no frost.
  4. Carefully place the plant into the plowed hole. Water well, making sure you’re not flooding the area. Place a modest quantity of manure or compost into the soil. Sprinkle Epsom salts on the planting surface to provide the plants with magnesium, which they need to develop well. You should also fertilize them with a phosphorous rich fertilizer.
  5. If the weather unexpectedly turns cool, cover the soil with black plastic to aid in the regulation of heat. See to it that the plastic is taken off once the temperature has already increased. It is also necessary to water steadily, especially when the fruits are developing. In a week, one inch of water should be supplied to the plants. Water at the roots, not on the leaves as the latter can promote diseases.
  6. Once the soil is thoroughly warmed, place a layer of organic mulch to hold moisture and prevent weeds. Apply fertilizers or compost around the plants once the plants start to flower and three weeks after that. Pick the peppers early and often. Gently cut them from their stems and rinse.

How to Grow Okra

Okra is a North African plant that has been a kitchen star since the 17th century. It is easy to grow this vegetable. Here’s how:

Steps to Grow Okra

  1. Picking the Site
  2. First, pick a suitable growing site for your okra. This site should be fully exposed to sunlight. You may also add extra warmth by warming the soil using black plastic around 2 to 4 weeks before you plant the seeds.

    Choose loamy soil that has a pH of 6.0-.8.0 and is relatively fertile. Cultivate thoroughly. After that, add a handful of manure or any well-composted organic fertilizer so the plant can get a lot of nitrogen.

    Okra can rise up to eight feet tall. Have a big planting site to ensure that your okra will not shade shorter plants. You may plant the seeds with one-to-two feet of space in between, or you may plant them in a zig-zag pattern.

  3. Planting the Okra
  4. It is best to plant okra during the summer. If you bought seeds, plant them during 65-degree Fahrenheit days. The seeds will just rot if the soil is not this warm. If you bought young plants, set them on the soil when there’s no danger of frost. Follow the 65-degree Fahrenheit rulel. If you decide to get seedlings, add an additional handful of compost to each planting hole.

    The ideal depth is 1.5-inch for your okra seeds. Remember to strike the balance between the okra getting enough sunlight and enough area to encourage root growth.

    Cover your plants with cloches so you can protect them from cold breezes. Water them sufficiently at least once a week. An inch of water will do. They enjoy the heat but they need the moisture to thrive. Don’t add mulch until the soil has absorbed enough warmth.

  5. Harvest Time
  6. Wait for the okra pods to become 2 ½ -3 inches long before you pick them. Pick them while still soft; otherwise, they will already be inedible. Generally, the pods are ready 5 to 7 days after the flowers have opened. Remember to use gloves when you are harvesting because okra skin is spiny.

How to Grow Cucumbers

Grow cucumber in an area where the sun shines all day, except when you are in hot, dry regions. Very hot areas would need some partial shade. The vegetable thrives in a heavy soil that will retain moisture, with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0.

Steps to Grow Cucumbers

  1. Start planting cucumbers when the soil is warm and the peril of winter is over –– at least two weeks after the last frost.
  2. Thoroughly plow the soil to as deep as six to eight inches. Sow cucumber seeds directly into the ground one inch deep,. Keep vining varieties at 2 to 3 feet away from one another; set the bush types 8 inches distant from each other.
  3. Place a shovel full of well-rotten manure at the bottom of each hole. Then cover this with five inches of soil.
  4. Anticipate that the seeds will germinate in 3 to 10 days, depending on the temperature of the soil. The higher the temperature of the soil and air is, the faster the seeds will take root.
  5. When the plants stand as high as 3 to 4 inches, you will have to thin them down to 3 or 4 plants.
  6. Give your plants a spray of fish emulsion fertilizer approximately one month after germination, or side-dress with compost.
  7. Cover the plants with a layer of mulch once they are established. Mulch is a cover of materials such as organic residues and compost. You can mulch with straw or grass clippings. Laying mulch controls the growth of weeds, conserves and promotes soil moisture, and continuously keeps the soil warm.
  8. Cucumbers have shallow roots. So you can water at least twice with at least an inch of water. Start watering once the vines begins to bear flowers and fruits.
  9. Collect the cucumbers while they are still medium sized- between 6 to 8 inches for slicers and 3 to 4 inches for pickling cucumbers. If not, the cucumber will become seedy and bitter to taste. When they are ready to pick, try to pick them at least six to seven times a week. These mature at high speed, so try to give attention to you plants daily.

Cucumbers on trellises grow better than those with vines sprawling across the ground.

How to Grow Celery

Celery is a health food rich in vitamins and minerals. Not only does it taste great, it is also considered a zero calorie snack as you lose calories while munching it. While it takes some effort to grow, harvesting your own celery is its own reward.

Celery is a biennial plant that is usually grown as an annual. There are many varieties of celery, with two basic types: Self-Blanching and Blanching. Celery grows in most climates, but it prefers cool temperate weather with no hot and dry summers. It grows best in fertile soil with good drainage and constant moisture.

If you want to plant your own celery, you can buy seeds from seed catalogues, the internet, gardening stores, or ask for seeds from someone who grew celery the previous year.

Celery seeds are finicky and take a long time to grow. These should be planted indoors about ten weeks before the growing season. You can soak the seeds overnight to hasten germination. Plant them in covered containers to keep the moisture in, with only a few seeds per pot. Some people prefer to buy germinated seedlings ready for transplant.

Seedlings that are 4-6 inches tall can be transplanted outdoors. Make sure that the night temperature is not below 40 F so that there is no danger of frost.

The Self Blanching varieties can be grown directly in flat soil without trenches. However, they are less hardy and should be grown and harvested before any risk of frost.

For the Blanching varieties, trenches must be constructed before the planting season. You need to prepare a trench 18 inches deep, with about the same width.

Make holes one foot apart at the bottom of the trench and plant the seedlings. Your celery will grow best if you fill half of your trench with compost and rotted manure, leaves and scraps. If you don’t want to exert the additional effort, fill half of the trench with water to make sure that the roots are in firmly. A water-soluble high-nitrogen fertilizer will hasten growth.

During very dry weather, you need to soak the trenches regularly to keep the plants from drying out. After the first month, use a liquid organic feed every ten days. Remove weeds regularly. When the plants are about one foot high, begin to earth them up. Do this again after three weeks to make sure that the earth does not cover the plants.

When the celery stalks are white, usually after eight weeks from the first “earthing” up, you are ready to harvest. Enjoy your fresh crispy celery!

How to Grow Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a popular succulent plant that has many different uses. It has been used for treating burns, insect bites and other skin problems for thousands of years. Some aloe Vera plant varieties are also ingested for their health benefits. Their sap can be mixed with tea and other beverages.

Aloe Vera is also grown as an ornamental house plant. It is easy to plant and cultivate, yet grows slowly. It can thrive both in an indoor and outdoor environment. Aloe Vera can grow as small as an inch and as tall as a foot,
depending on the variety.

Here are a few tips to follow when growing aloe Vera.

Materials Needed

  • Aloe Vera
  • Garden plot or gardening pots
  • Fertilizer

Ways to Grow Aloe Vera

  1. Preparing the Gardening Site
    • When planting indoors, plant the aloe Vera in rich soil that has a mixture of sand, compost, and pebbles. Ensure that the pot has good drainage. Use a wide pot rather than a deep one as aloe Vera roots spread outwards.
    • Prepare a glass frame if you are planning to put it in a greenhouse. The glass frame will protect the aloe Vera from the cold.
    • Aloe Vera plants may be planted directly in the ground when planting outdoors. Ensure that the soil you are planting them in drains easily. You may mix small rocks with the soil to aid in draining.

  2. Aloe Vera Propagation
    • Aloe Vera is propagated by transplanting offshoots from the mother plant. Simply pull out the baby plants and repot or transplant them. Give the baby aloe Vera a little bit more water than what a mature plant would need. Your baby aloe Vera should start to grow and mature in a few weeks.
    • Aloe Vera plants also sometimes produce flowers if they are well planted in a suitable environment. The flowers will produce seeds which you can plant in the ground. Take note that aloe Vera plants grown indoors do not produce flowers.

  3. Watering Requirements
    • Water your aloe Vera plants every two weeks, or once a month if they are grown in a cool and shaded area outdoors. Do the same for aloe Vera plants planted indoors.
    • Aloe Vera plants grown in a hot environment should be watered once or twice a week.
    • Too much or too little water will shrivel up the leaves and turn them yellow or brown. The leaves will eventually turn into dry husks.

  4. Sunlight
    • Aloe Vera plants prefer full sun. However, it is not advisable to plant them in direct sunlight as this could burn the leaves and cause the plants to dry out quickly. This could also cause the aloe Vera plants to be susceptible to diseases. Keep them in the shade when planting outdoors.
    • If grown indoors, place aloe Vera plants near a window that receives a lot of light. Ensure that the rays of the sun do not come in direct contact with the plant.

  5. Taking Care of Aloe Vera Plants
    • Regularly weed out your plants to keep the soil’s acidic pH. Ammonium nitrate may also be added to the soil annually as a supplement.
    • Do not water aloe Vera plants too much in order to avoid root rot.
    • Set aloe Vera plants grown indoors outside every once in a while, especially when it is warmer. The plants may not thrive as much or grow properly because of the cooler temperature indoors.

How to Grow Tomatoes

There are more than 20,000 kinds of tomatoes in the plant kingdom, so be careful when choosing which one you will plant.

After you have chosen the perfect variant, you should follow these four easy steps to grow your tomatoes.

Steps to Grow Tomatoes

  1. Choose a Suitable Site
  2. Tomatoes crave heat. Choose an area that gets full sun exposure. Tomatoes taste best when they have received a lot of warmth so protect your tomatoes from cold breezes with a wall or a shed.

    You have to make sure that the soil you will be planting in has a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. Also, make sure that the soil is very clean. Tomatoes are prone to diseases and you can only avoid them if the soil is debris-free.

  3. Buff up the Soil
  4. When you have chosen the best site for your tomatoes, enrich the soil using compost. Tomatoes love organic-matter-rich soil. Prepare crushed egg shells for additional fertilizer because they contain the calcium that your tomatoes need.

    After that, you move the seedlings to the garden when the temperature exceeds 50 F at night.

  5. Plant your Seedlings
  6. First, hollow out a hole about the size of a soccer ball for each seedling. Add an ample amount of compost and a quarter cup of the crushed egg shells to every hole. Make the plant-to-plant space range from 1ft-2ft apart. Jab them deeply so the roots can develop freely.

    After that, install a paper “collar” (simply punch a hole in the center of a round piece of paper with a 9-in diameter) to keep cutworms off. Cover each plant with a cloche to protect it from insects and the cold weather.

    You can remove the covers only when the weather has turned warm. Then mulch the plant’s soil and install twigs that the plant may need as it grows. For maintenance, water the plants sufficiently every week, and spray compost tea four times. When the flowers start appearing, it needs more crucial attention. Wait for the fruits. When they turn glossy, firm, and even-colored, they’re ready to be picked.

How to Grow Salt Crystals

Growing salt crystals consists of several easy steps. First, you need to prepare the things you need. These items include:

  • ½ cup of table salt
  • 1-1/2 cup of Epsom salts
  • fishing weights
  • cotton string
  • paper and binder clips
  • paper towels
  • pencil
  • spoons
  • glass jars and glass bowls
  • charcoal briquettes
  • food coloring

Steps to Grow Salt Crystals

  1. Boil one cup of water. Pour the boiled water into a glass jar. Put the salt in the jar one teaspoon at a time. You may use rock salt instead of table salt. Stir very slowly.
  2. Continue stirring until you notice undissolved salt beginning to collect at the bottom of the container. Take the food coloring you have chosen and add a couple of drops to the mixture.
  3. Get your cotton string. Tie a pencil on one end of the string and a clip to the other end. You may use a fishing weight instead of a paper clip. Put the pencil over the jar and let the string hang down within the jar. Make sure that the clip is almost at the bottom of the jar.
  4. Place the jar in an area where it will not be moved or disturbed. Put a paper towel on top of the jar to prevent dust from entering the mixture. After one day, you may notice that cube-shaped crystals have formed on your paper clip or fishing weight.

You can also create salt crystals from Epsom salts.

  1. Boil 1 cup of water. Pour the water into a glass bowl. Next, put the Epsom salt in the bowl one teaspoon at a time. Stir very slowly until the salt starts collecting at the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Get two charcoal briquettes and put a few drops of the food coloring on them. Place the charcoal briquettes at the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Cover the bowl with a paper towel and set the bowl in a safe place. After five to six days, you will see prism-shaped crystals inside the bowl.

How to Grow Peanuts

Peanuts grow well in sandy soil with good drainage. The best time to plant them is after winter.

You can buy peanuts for planting from your local supermarket. Get peanuts that are raw (still in the shell) and not roasted. You don’t have to buy in a seed store or nursery.

Prepare the soil by plowing seven inches or more. Add significant amount of compost and manure.

When the soil is ready, sow the peanuts two inches deep. Distribute the peanuts seven inches apart from one another. Make sure that the kernels stay whole when planting. Broken peanuts won’t grow.

Put a layer of mulch on the surface of the soil to prevent the growth of weeds, to keep the soil warm, and to promote soil moisture. The ground should be moist so that it will not be too hard for peanuts to grow.

When planting, water the soil well. The next time you need to water may be when the plant starts to sprout. The amount of rain in your climate will tell you how often you need to water the peanuts. Watering peanuts can be complicated. You want to maintain the moisture of the soil, especially during scorching summer days. Still, you have to be careful not to over water and saturate the plants or your nuts will decay.

While the peanuts are growing, get rid of weeds which can hinder the growth of the plant. Over time, the peanuts will grow from a stem that extends downward into the soil. Allow 130 days for the peanut plants to develop.

Harvest by gently pulling the plant out. A spading fork can help you a lot with this. Then let the plants sit for two to four weeks until they are totally dry. Keep your nuts in a cool, dry place until they are set for roasting. You can now enjoy your peanuts.

How to Grow Grass

Grass can make or break your lawn, so it is really important that you know how to keep it growing healthy. Planting grass may be easy; maintaining it is the challenging part.

Start Anew

You should get rid of the old grass before you plant new ones. Use a leveller to get rid of the pesky grass from your area. After levelling, edge the corners and ends of the lawn to achieve a crisp and clean look.

Phosphorus is one of the more important nutrients that you should feed your grass. You can purchase phosphorus at a local greenhouse or garden specialty store.

Till the soil before and after you have fertilized it. Mix the fertilizer well before applying it so that it will spread through the different layers of the soil. After spreading the fertilizer all over the garden, you should till the soil again to ensure that the soil
conditioner has been mixed well.


You can either use a seed spreader or plant the grass with your bare hands. By using a seed spreader, you can be sure that you are planting the grass efficiently. Planting the grass with your hands can also achieve the same results; the only difference is that it can be a bit more tiring and time-consuming.

Whatever method you choose, just make sure that you spread the seeds evenly so that the grass growth will be balanced. You don’t want grass to become clustered on several parts of your lawn or garden.

After spreading the grass seeds, sprinkle them with water. Do not drown your grass with water; a light sprinkle or mist will be enough to keep them growing healthily. Remember to water your grass everyday, especially during the warm and humid seasons.