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Homemade Tomato Fertilizer

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Tomatoes are one of the most rewarding crops for the home gardener to grow simply because their flavor is better than the one bought from the grocery store.

The other big bonus with growing your own tomatoes is the amazing variety of size, shape, colour and flavour there is available. A bit like the potato (they are, of course, close relations) there are a huge range of different types for very large ‘beefsteak’ varieties to small and sweet ‘cherry’ fruits. They are fun to grow and give such a great reward that they have to be one of stars of the home vegetable plot.

Tomato needs a lot of fertilizer to obtain high growth and yield. Here is how to make a tomato fertilizer at home.

Ingredients/Materials:

  • 2-3 dozens of crushed egg shells
  • 2 cups of bone meal
  • 1/2 cup of Epsom Salt
  • 14 crushed aspirin (a natural rooting hormone

Procedure

  • Wash egg-shell thoroughly and let them dry. Make sure they are dry and brittle before using them
  • Crush egg-shell, bone meal, and aspirin and combine all ingredients in a resealable container to keep dry while storing
  • Put 1/4 cup of the mixture at the bottom of the hole where your tomato will be planted

Application

You can use the fertilizer throughout the growing season by side dressing your plant every 6 weeks. Just sprinkle a handful loosely at the base of the plant and water.

Common Gardening Mistakes

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Gardening is a great hobby and in fact some of the gardeners are generating income from their small gardens. It is also an effective stress-reliever for many people. But in order to do that, you should know the mistakes every gardener must be avoided. However, if you commit some of these mistakes, do not give up. There are many gardeners and hobbyists who are ready to help and assist you and just waiting for you to ask them.

So what are the mistakes that should be avoided by every gardeners?

  • Soil selection. If you are trying to grow a high quality plants in a very low quality soil, expect that you will not have an amazing plants. The plants may grow but might look unhealthy and the yield is less. This is especially true in vegetable gardening. The most important thing in every gardening is preparing your soil. I posted some articles here on soil management. Newly harvest compost.
  • Poor sunlight. Next to soil, sunlight is one of the important things in a garden. It is very important for photosynthesis. Improperly placing your plants or not placing them in the right location can greatly affect the growth of your plants. As a general rule, plants need to receive the maximum sunlight of at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. For food-producing plants, they need more sunlight.
  • Check the back of your seeds when is the right time to plant them. Planting the wrong plants at the wrong time of the year is a mistake committed by some eager gardeners. Although, there are technologies where plants can grow anytime but in backyard or front yard gardening, you are dependent on the nature’s natural temperature/climate. You need to make sure that the plant will be planted at the right time of the year. It is very critical to the success of your garden. Know your plants.
  • One of the mistakes of every new gardener is their eagerness to feed their plants to the point of overwatering them. The rule of thumb on water is to water deeply but infrequently. It is a good idea to fill the soil with water for your plants, after that you should not water again unless the soil becomes dry. Some plants need less water while some plants requires more. In addition, you should know that the water requirement is different for established plants with deep root system and for new seedlings. New seedlings requires frequent watering.
  • Use of fertilizer. Another mistakes of new gardeners is overfeeding their plants. Just like humans, bloating yourself is not good. Fertilizer is like supplements. Always look at the back of the package and follow what the package recommends.
  • Pest control. Some gardeners have no knowledge about the pests in their gardens. You should know and identify the insects/pests in order to eliminate them. Learn how to control them by asking help from your community or group of gardeners.
  • Other mistakes that every gardeners should know:
    • Not pruning properly
    • Trying to grow something that is not a good companion to another plant
    • Underwatering
    • Killing useful insects

How to Grow Lettuce

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Description Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is an annual plant of the aster or sunflower family (Asteraceae) and considered one of the high value commercial crops in the country. It is usually grown as a leaf vegetable with a  height up to 30 cm. Lettuce hasloose to compact leaves, usually green and red in color but some are variegated and others with yellowish or gold tinge, depending on variety.The plants grow as a rosette of leaves on the ground or on a short stalk. As the plant matures, the leaves increase in number.

Lettuce is a fairly hardy, cool-weather vegetable that thrives when the mean daily temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees F. It should be planted in early spring or late summer. At high temperatures, growth is stunted, the leaves may be bitter and the seedstalk too elongated. Some types and varieties of lettuce withstand heat better than others. There are five distinct types of lettuce – leaf (also known as loose-leaf), Cos or romaine, crisphead, butterhead and stem (also called asparagus lettuce or celtuce). Leaf lettuce is best adapted to Arkansas conditions and produces crisp leaves loosely arranged on the stalk. Nearly every gardener has at least a short row of lettuce, making it the most widely planted salad vegetable. Cos or romaine forms an upright, elongated head and is an excellent addition to salads and sandwiches. The butterhead varieties are generally small, semi-heading types that have tender, soft leaves and a delicate flavor. Stem lettuce forms an elongated seedstalk used mainly in stewed, creamed and Chinese dishes. Crisphead varieties are the least adapted to Arkansas conditions and require the most care. They are extremely sensitive to heat and rain and must be grown from transplants that are started early.

Types and Varieties

Crisphead or Iceberg type – has tight, dense heads that resembles cabbage and valued more for their crunchy texture than for flavor. Varieties: Great Lakes, Iceberg, Ithaca and others.

Summer Crisp or Batavian type – it produce moderately dense heads with a crunchy texture and intermediate between iceberg and loose leaf types. Varieties are in red or green color: Batavia, Matador, Lauren.

Butterhead or Boston or Bibb – it has small loose dense head with tender, soft leaves and sweet flavor or b uttery texture. It is matured when the leaves begin to cup inward to form a loose head, the heads will never become compact. Varieties: Marsala, Ballerina, Nadine, Okayama.

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Rommaine or Cos – it is head forming with upright, elongated leaves and excellent for salads and sandwiches. Rommaine type is further classified into size: baby (small size), medium and large sizes. Varieties: Balloon, Green Tower, Triton, Cimarron, Tyrol and Xanado.

Looseleaf – forms tender leaves that are delicate and mildly flavored. Varieties come in green and red and green or purple color: Waldmann’s Green, Grand Rapid, Red Rapid, Red Wave, LolloRossa, LolloRossa Matador,LolloRossa Nicola, Rosette,Fabala, Sierra, RapidmorOscura, Red Fire, Red Sails and Ruby.

  1. Oak leaf type – resembles like looseleaftype but forms narrow leaves with lobes like a leaf of an oak tree. Varieties: Flamenco, Mondai, Kristine

Climatic Requirement

All types of lettuce grow best in cool areas. Optimum temperature ranges from 15 to 18 oC. Head types require cooler temperatures ranging from 10 °C to 18 °C; heading and seeding are prevented at 21 oC and above. Tip burning also occurs at high temperatures. Lettuce is also adapted in areas with relative humidity of 65 to 85 %. Under open field, the crop grows best in moderate rainfall than consistent heavy rain. Lettuce varieties can be selected for their tolerance to the different environmental conditions. Soil Requirement Lettuce grows best in soils with a pH of 6 to 6.8 and in a silty clay loam, loam and clay loam soils. Soils with high organic matter are preferred for good water holding capacity. When the soil is clay (heavy/sticky soil), it is recommended to apply and mix soil conditioners such as coconut coir dust, rice hulls or carbonized rice hulls (burned rice hulls) to make the soil friable for easy root penetration and water percolation.

Cultivation

1. Seedbed Preparation, Sowing and Maintenance

Seeds are sown in seedling trays or seedbed, under greenhouse or open field with grass or plastic roofing.It is recommended to use seedling trays for earlier recovery of plants during transplanting because soil medium is still in tacked compared to uprooted/bare root seedlings. Seedbed is prepared by cleaning the area and pulverizing the soil thoroughly. An adequate amount of organic fertilizer is mixed if necessary. Likewise, soil conditioners such as perlite, coconut coir dust, rice hulls or carbonized rice hulls can also be mixed in the seedbed to make the soil friable for easy rooting and water percolation especially when seedbed has clay soil. Seeds are sown in lines at least 1.5cm distance and covered with very thin layer of soil. When seedling/spadling trays are used, a prepared soil medium (1 part soil: 1partcompost: 1 part sand) is put in the trays then seeds are individually sown per hole. It is recommended that a net should be placed over the seedbed or seedling trays after sowing until germination in order that seeds are intact during watering and to avoid birds from eating the sown seeds. With the use of a sprinkler, watering is done three times a week to provide moisture for seed germination and faster growth of seedlings. Weeding and spraying should be done as needed. Seedlings should be transplanted 14 days after sowing or when there are 4 leaves.

2. Field Preparation

Clean and pulverize the soil thoroughly then prepare plots of 1 meter wide with desired length.

3. Fertilizer Application

Fertilizer applications should be based on crop requirement and soil analysis. Organic fertilizers are broadcasted in plots before or at planting time at the rate of 3 to 10 tons per hectare (300 grams to 1 kg per 10 square meters plot) depending on the kind of organic fertilizer, then mixed into the soil. Organic fertilizer application improves the physical properties of the soil such as water holding capacity and soil structure, thus easy percolation of water and easy root penetration for better root growth.

4. Transplanting

When seedlings are uprooted from seedbed, avoid damage of roots. Seedlings are transplanted at distances of 15 to 30 cm between hills and rows in a plot, depending on types. Heading and large varieties are spaced farther than small types.

5. Irrigation/Watering

Lettuce is adapted in moist environment but do not tolerate continuous rain. Watering is done three to four times per week, done in the morning to dry excess moisture in the late afternoon so as to prevent plants from rotting. Watering is carried out either through water hose, watering cans, sprinklers or irrigation system.

6. Weeding

Removal of weeds is necessary to give way to the growing crop. Weeds compete with crop for absorption of nutrients and sunlight (shading) and space thus, slow growth of crop.

7. Mulching

Mulching is done to conserve soil moisture as well as prevent the growth of weeds. Mulches could be dried cogon grass, dried rice straws or plastic sheet.

Crop Protection

A. Insect Pests

  1. Aphids – soft-bodied, pear-shaped insect with color ranging from green, orange to pink. Adult winged and wingless lettuce aphids have black markings on the joints of the legs, antennae and many black markings on top of abdomen of some wingless aphids. Adults feed in colonies and suck the juice of the plant and cause discoloration or mottling of foliage and excrete honeydew on which sooty mold grows.
  2. Leaf miner – small black to gray flies with yellow markings. Females puncture leaves to feed on plant sap and lay eggs within the leaf tissues. After 2 to 4 days eggs hatch and larvae feed between the upper and lower surface of the leaves, making distinctive winding, whitish tunnels.
  3. Cabbage loopers– green with longitudinal white stripes; body measures up to 30 mm long, tapers toward the head; three pairs of legs near head; three pairs of fleshy prolegs; young larva on underside of leaf; mature larva deep within head. Loopers consume tender leaf tissue, leaving most veins intact.
  4. Cutworms – fat, basically gray, brown, or black with 40 to 50 mm long when fully grown; three pairs of legs near head; five pairs of fleshy prolegs; young larva on underside of leaf; mature larva deep within head; Cutworms usually cut the stems of newly transplanted lettuce at soil level and some can consume tender leaves during the night and hide under the soil at day time.

Control Measures

Leaf spot

  1. The entry of insect pest is lessened under greenhouse condition.
  2. Cultivation, weeding and sanitation
  3. Use of yellow sticky traps for leaf miner
  4. Spray biological pesticides. Azadirachtin or the Entrust formulation of spinosad is organically acceptable against leaf miner

B. Diseases

  1. Bacterial leaf spot – cased by Xanthomonascampestris pv. Vitians. Early symptoms are with small (less than 0.25 inch in diameter) and water-soaked spots on the older leaves. These lesions are typically bordered by leaf veins and angular in shape then quickly turn black (a diagnostic character of this disease). If severe, numerous lesions may coalesce, resulting in the collapse of the leaf. Older lesions dry up and become papery in texture, but retain the black color. Lesions rarely develop on newly developing leaves.
  2. Lettuce Drop – caused by Sclerotinia minor, S. sclerotiorum. Sclerotinia minor only infects the stems and leaves in contact with the soil. Once infection takes place, the fungus will cause a brown, soft decay that eventually destroys the plant crown tissue. Older leaves then wilt and later the entire plant will wilt and collapse usually near maturity, making it unharvestable. Profuse amounts of white mycelia and small (up to 0.125 inch or 3mm), black, hard, resting bodies (sc lerotia) form on the outside of the decayed crown. Sclerotiniasclerotiorum can also infect lower leaves and stems, causing symptoms similar to those of S. minor. In addition, it has an aerial spore that can infect any of the upper leaves. Spores usually infect damaged or senescent tissue when the weather is cool and moist. Infection results in a watery, soft rot that is accompanied by white mycelial growth and formation of sclerotia. S. sclerotiorum forms sclerotia that are larger (0.25– .50 inch) than those of S. minor.
  3. Anthracnose – cased by Microdochiumpanattonianum Anthracnose causes small (less than 0.125 inch or 3 mm), water-soaked spots on outer leaves. Spots enlarge, turnyellow, and are usually irregular and angular in shape. Under cool, moist conditions, white to pink spore masses of the fungus will be visible in the center of the lesions. If disease is severe, the lesions will coalesce and cause significant dieback of the leaf and in some cases result in stunting of the plant. As spots age, the affected tissue will dry up and become papery. Anthracnose lesions are often clustered along the midribs of lower leaves. Romaine cultivars exhibit severe disease along leaf midribs. Seedlings could die if infected severely.
  4. Tipburn Tipburn is a physiological disorder characterized by browning of leaf margins. The brown area may be limited to small spots near or at the leaf margin or the entire leaf may be affected. Brown veins may occur near the brown lesions.

Control Measure

  1. Use tolerant varieties
  2. Use pathogen-free seed
  3. Crop rotation
  4. Regulate watering or watering is done in the morning to dry up excess water until afternoon.
  5. Wider planting distances
  6. Use copper-based fungicides for bacterial leaf spot
  7. For tip burn, supply enough irrigation and there should be enough calcium content in the soil.

Harvesting

Harvesting is done 45 to 90 days after transplanting, usually early morning or late afternoon to lessen transpiration and wilting. Looseleaf lettuce is usually harvested earlier than head lettuce. Late harvesting or near bolting stage (flowering) tends the crop a bitter taste. There are 4 to 8 plants to make one kilogram, depending on type and variety.

Post-harvest Harvested lettuce are cleaned and packed either in plastic crates, cartons or transparent polyethylene plastics then brought to the market at dawn or early morning. Refrigerated van is highly recommended for transporting

20 Gardening Ideas and Tips

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  • Pot-in-Pot Landscaping. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of redoing the landscaping every time the seasons change. Don’t get me wrong, I love the time outdoors, but the shovel and I are not best friends. Here’s an idea that was a bit of an “aha” moment for me. Dig a hole for your seasonal plants and fill it with an empty plastic pot. Now you can just drop your seasonal flowers (or herbs and veggies) in there and easily switch them out once they’re ready to retire.
  • Packing Peanuts & Pots. Because packing peanuts still allow for good drainage, they are perfect for lightening the load in large flower pots. They are also cheaper than soil, so now you can justify a $4 cup of coffee while you get the job done. Just be sure to add a layer of landscape fabric over the top of them so that the soil doesn’t slowly sink to the bottom.
  • Give Your Garden A Calcium Boost. My blender rarely sees daylight, but now it might just get the chance to see the kitchen counter with this genius tip! I’m starting to understand the idea behind compost a little more now that I’m dabbling in the garden, so this just makes a lot of sense to me. Just like grinding your food makes it easier to digest, grinding eggshells makes it easy for your garden to absorb the calcium egg shells provide.
  • Keep The Pets Out. Animals (cats especially) seem to think all of the hard work you’ve put into your garden looks like a huge litter box. To keep them from pooping on your basil, strategically place a few plastic forks around your plants to deter them from destroying your fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies.
  • Rubbermaid Container Garden. Just because you don’t have much of a yard doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice little garden going! Rubbermaid storage containers are lightweight and just the right size to get you started. Fill the bottom with packing peanuts and a layer of garden fabric to keep them easy to move. This could even work on a small apartment balcony!
  • Diapers Retain Moisture. Diapers aren’t just for doo doo! Place one in the bottom of a potted plant to help it retain moisture for longer. This would be great for those summer annuals that require daily watering.
  • Epsom Salt in the Garden. Epsom salt has so many uses, including aiding in a beautiful and healthy garden. It’s rich in magnesium and sulfate which are crucial to plant life. For potted plants, mix a couple of tablespoons of the salt into your watering can once or twice a month. You can also sprinkle it in your garden’s soil to help your seeds germinate better. Tomatoes and peppers benefit the most because they both tend to have a magnesium deficiency. Add a tablespoon or so in with the soil when first planting, and then sprinkle more into the soil once mature.
  • Fertilize Your Plants. Save your vegetable cooking water! The water has a lot of nutrients that your garden thrives on. Wait for the water to cool down first, and then use it to “fertilize” your garden or potted plants. This makes for a green and happy garden! You could also drink the stuff, but who wants to do that?!
  • Seeds & Citrus. Start your seedlings in a citrus peel, and not just because it’s really cute; It will compost in the soil and nourish the plants, so you can just go ahead and plant the whole thing once it’s ready. Just don’t forget to poke a hole in the bottom for drainage.
  • Cinder Block Garden Bed. Not all of us have the skills to build a raised garden bed out of wood, and that’s when cinder blocks come to the rescue. I love how they have all the holes so you can easily separate your herbs. For a smaller space, you could even take out 2 or more of the block to create a narrower bed. After you’ve got a level place to start your garden, the rest is pretty simple!\
  • Line Pots with Coffee Filters. I really like this idea for my indoor plants! Every time I water them in the sink, I lose a lot of the soil down the drain, not to mention the mess it makes under the pot. Coffee filters allow the water to still drain, but keep the dirt contained.
  • Eggshell Starters. Get your garden started early by planting your seeds in eggshells indoors before the weather permits outdoor growth. There are several reasons why eggshells are the perfect pot for this, but the biggest is that they are cheap (free really), full of calcium to give your seedlings that extra boost, and easy to plant in the garden when ready (the shell can stay on!).
  • Roses in Spuds. First of all, I had no idea you could grow a rose bush just from the trimmings of another bush. I love all of this new found information — I’ve never been so excited about my garden! Push the bottom ends of your rose trimmings into a small potato to help it retain moisture as it develops roots.
  • Stop Invasive Plants. Simply cut the bottom off of a plastic pot and bury it in the ground! Use it for invasive plants that tend to grow too large and take over your garden. This simple garden technique limits the growth of the root system, giving you better control over the size of the plant once it reaches maturity, and also protects the plants around it.
  • DIY Mini Greenhouse. Get your seedlings off to a good start with their very own little greenhouse! The bottom 3/4 part of a plastic soda bottle makes for the perfect little dome to cover your little pots with. This would be a fun project to get the kids involved with.
  • Pinch Your Herbs. Pinch the upper portions of your herb plant stems off (basil in particular) to encourage new leaf growth. Herbs have a natural instinct to stay alive and multiply, so when they are pinched, they send a signal to the dormant leaf buds to grow. It’s strange how this works, but it’s true for most plants.
  • Homemade Rain Barrel. How resourceful is this?! Collect the rain directly from your gutter spouts, and use it to water your garden, lawn, and potted plants. You will just need a heavy duty trash can, a drill, a pair of pliers, and a few other basic tools. Doable!
  • Dry Creek Bed Garden. To break up a large portion of the yard, consider a dry creek bed for added visual interest. It not only looks fabulous, but it’s also great for landscape drainage and redirecting rain water on a slope. And, it very low maintenance!
  • Homemade Weed Killer. These three combined every-day household ingredients are great for getting rid of weeds! Even if you love working in the yard, chances are, pulling weeds just gets in the way of all the fun. You’ve probably already got all of these ingredients handy in the kitchen, too.

*Be careful because this solution can be harmful to grass as well, so it’s best used in sidewalk cracks, landscape borders, and other areas where grass, flowers, and other plants won’t be affected. Also, if you spray them when they are exposed to direct sunlight, it works its magic a lot faster.

FROM:  LISTOTIC..Listed and Loved  (Visit their website to learn the details)

Moringa as Fertilizer

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I love moringa because it is very nutritious and for plant lovers, it is easy to grow especially in the Philippines, India, even in the United States. In fact, it is grown all over the world.

Moringa is very rich in nutrients and vitamins that is why it is called a miracle tree. In Ayurvedic medicine, moringa is known as shigru. Moringa leaves and pods have many nutritional benefits such as rich in essential amino acids, vitamin A, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin, B6, folate and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).  Moringa’s minerals include calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Moringa leaves are:

  • Seven times the vitamin C in oranges.
  • Four times the Calcium in milk.
  • Four times the vitamin A of a carrot.
  • Twice the protein in milk.
  • Three times the Potassium in a banana.
  • They also provide high levels of Iron, Magnesium, vitamin B and minerals.

If Moringa has many benefits for human, then plants may also benefit from its minerals. In fact, two Austrian scientists, Mr. Nikolaus Foidl and Dr. Gabrielle Foidl, made a research regarding the use of Moringa as fertilizer. They found out that moringa leaves seem to contain a substance that stimulate plant growth and increase crop production. Mr. Foidl and his colleagues tested the process with various crops and refined the protocol. They have successfully applied the formula to large-scale farming.

Moringa leaves contain a hormone called Zeatin. This plant growth hormone has been reported to increase yields by 25-30% for nearly any crop.

A fresh juice may be prepared from fresh moringa leaves and used as a foliar nutritional spray. Zeatin is a plant hormone from the cytokinins group. This foliar spray should be used in addition to a balanced nutritional fertilizer program containing NPK and minerals. 

How to make moringa fertilizer?

  • Get at least 500 grams of moringa leaves, remove the stems
  • Put the moringa leaves in a blender and add a little water.
  • Mix and strain through a cloth
  • Add strained liquid to 3 liters of water and use as a liquid moringa fertilizer or a moringa foliar spray
  • Moringa fertilizer should be applied immediately to be effective as

You can also dry the moringa leaves. After drying the leaves, crush it to become a moringa powder. Get 1 tablespoon of moringa powder and add to 3 liters of water and spray it on your plants.

Watch the video below:

How To Grow Arugula

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Arugula is not quite popular in the Philippines but once people learn the benefits of this green salad, they will start to appreciate and grow their own arugula plant.

Arugula is one of the easiest green veggies to grow. In Italy, it is called Roquette or Rocket in English. The arugula’s zezty, peppery-tasting leaves have become a popular salad staple and pizza garnish (try Dear Darla of Yellow Cab, it’s so delicious!).

Why we should propagate arugula and what are the benefits we can get from this small green vegetable? Here are some:

  1. Cancer protection
  2. High in Potassium and it is good for your heart and skin
  3. Good for the eye due to its lutein and zeaxanthin contents
  4. Antioxidant
  5. Rich in Vitamin C
  6. It has folate and Vitamin B
  7. High in calcium
  8. Rich in Chlorophyll
  9. Low Calories
  10. Weight Loss

How to grow this magnificent green vegetable? It is so easy especially if you are an impatient gardener. You can grow this from seed and harvest them in just 4 WEEKS!

Arugula grow in full sun or partial shade but it is better if it is in partial shade to prevent early bolting. You will not wait for it to bolt because it will have a bitter taste. It’s better if you will harvest them young.

  • Start arugula from seed or seedlings
  • Germination is 5 to 7 days

GROWING GUIDES

  • Prefers rich soil with pH of 6 to 6.8, but will tolerate wide variety of conditions. Evenly moist soil will help slow bolting.
  • Growth is low and compact until heat causes plant to bolt.
  • Forms a rosette of deeply lobed leaves. Plants become erect when heat induces bolting.
  • Flowers are edible but it has bitter taste.

MAINTAINING

  • Seeds germinate quickly even in cold soil. Plant as soon as soil can be worked in spring.
  • Avoid planting after other cabbage family crops.
  • Plant ¼ inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows, or broadcast alone or mixed with other greens. Gradually thin to 6-inch spacings using thinnings for salads.
  • Make new plantings every 2 to 3 weeks for a continuous supply until about a month before your average first frost date.
  • Slow bolting by reducing heat and moisture stress. Provide some shade for warm-season plantings.
  • Fast-growing plants are good for intercropping and relay cropping.
  • Often self-seeds. Is self-sterile and requires insects for pollination. Will not cross with other members of the mustard family.

HARVESTING 

Arugula is ready to harvest in 4 weeks if you prefer to eat young and tasty arugula. To harvest Arugula, pick off the outside tender leaves at the base of the plant. Leave the center growing point intact for future harvesting. Discard larger leaves as they tend to get tough and very bitter-tasting. Leaves can also taste bitter in warmer weather. Eat fresh or cooked like spinach.

Farm Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes

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This is not a usual food in the Philippines but if you have a farm or garden, would you love to eat a green tomato? Here is one of the recipes for green tomato that you will surely love.

How to Make Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 3 large green tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup unseasoned Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper)
  • avocado oil or canola oil, for frying

 Instructions

  1. Sprinkle the sliced tomatoes lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to draw out moisture.
  2. Using three shallow bowls, place the flour in one bowl, the beaten eggs in another, and the Panko, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and cayenne in the last bowl. Mix the Panko mixture well.
  3. Working one slice at a time, dredge the tomatoes in the flour, then the eggs, and finally coat well with the Panko. Shake off excess.
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the tomatoes, working in batches if needed, for 2-3 minutes, turn and fry for an additional minute or two. Turn the heat down if the tomatoes are browning too fast. Remove from the oil with tongs, draining excess oil, onto a paper towel lined oven safe plate or sheet pan. Keep warm in a 215 degree F oven.
  5. Trim 1/2-inch from the stem and blossom ends of tomatoes. Slice tomatoes 1/4-inch thick. Season tomato slices with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
  6. 2. In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk; set aside. In a second shallow bowl, whisk together flour, 1/2-teaspoon salt, and 1/4-teaspoon pepper; set aside.
  7. 3. Place panko in a shallow bowl along with cornmeal, remaining teaspoon salt, and 1/2-teaspoon pepper; stir to combine and set aside.
  8. 4. Working with one tomato slice at a time, coat tomatoes with flour mixture, shaking off excess. Coat with egg mixture, followed by breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to a wire rack set over a parchment-lined baking sheet; repeat process with remaining slices.
  9. 5. Heat 2 cups oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches, carefully place tomatoes into the heated oil in a single layer. Fry until golden, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. After frying half of the tomato slices, discard oil and heat remaining 2 cups oil in skillet; continue frying remaining tomato slices. Serve tomatoes immediately with aioli.

10 Tips When Buying Plants from a Garden Store

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We want to buy plants, especially new gardeners, because it is easy and ready to be transferred to your garden. But there are important things that you should know when buying plants from a nursery. I hope these tips will help you get the best plants that will survive and thrive after buying them and to save your time and money.

How many of you have tried buying direct from a garden store? Yo must be patient when buying from a garden store because you need to inspect the plants you are bringing into your garden. The following are useful guides in choosing healthy plants in a garden store.

  1. Determine the type of plant you need. When you go to the garden store, you should know the type of plant you want to buy. Visualize your garden, where will you put the plant? Is your garden has full sunlight or semi-shade? If your garden has full sunlight, then you have to buy sun-loving plants. If partially shady, buy plants that do not require full sunlight.
  2. Be familiarize with the plants you are buying. You need to know the name of the plant,how to care for the plant, the type of plant whether indoor or outdoor.
  3. Pick healthy looking plants. Sometimes, garden store are spraying something to make the plants look good. In order not to waste your money, look and check closely the plants. Look at the back of each leaves if there are any pests. Look at the base of the plants. Don’t be fooled by good-looking plants, some of them are not healthy.
  4. Check for pests. This is important and you must give extra time and inspecting the plants carefully especially at the back of leaves because insects and pests are always hiding there. Check of any curled leaves and if there is, get another one. Remember, these plants may contaminate your garden.
  5. Check the soil. A good plants thrive in good soil. Check if the garden store used a well-draining soil for the plant and check whether the plant is watered adequately.
  6. Look around the garden store. Are the store clean and hygienic? This is important as some pests might be present in the plants you are buying.
  7. Check for weeds. Do not buy plants with plenty of weeds that means the garden store has poor maintenance.
  8. Buy fresh plants with healthy leaves and vigorous growth with flowering buds still not open. Do not buy plants in full bloom.
  9. Check if the plants was fertilized using chemical fertilizers. If they do, don’t buy them because you will have to sustain that and you will spent more money and beside it is not good for the health.
  10. Never stop asking questions to the garden store people. It is your right and you need to know everything about the plant.

Growing Apple Tree in the Philippines?

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We are all aware that apple tree will not grow in the Philippines or in any tropical countries. However, in February 1984, six low-chill apple cultivars were imported from the US and were planted in the dry season in Baguio City. Three to five long shoots grew vigorously from the maiden stem. Anna and Dorset Golden varieties were planted and responded well to the climate. After 5-6 months of planting, flower bud formation was profuse at the beginning but after that there was no information if those flowers become an apple fruit.

In 2012, a Filipina posted in her “It’s Really My World” blog some pictures of her first successfully grown apple tree. She said in her blog that it is possible to grow an apple tree in a tropical country like the Philippines.

“Have you ever wish to have an apple tree in your backyard? Or is there anyone wish to have an apple tree in the tropics like Philippines? Being a tropical country is it really possible? Have you ever tried to grow apple tree from seeds collected from an apple? Well the answer is all Yes!” – It’s Really My World

She said, she has been germinating seeds from apples bought from grocery store. After 5 years, she successfully grew an apple tree and propagated 8 more trees through air layering. For information, she’s from Angono, Rizal, Philippines.  So how did she do it?

According to her blog, apple seeds need to experience a period of cold stratification before they will germinate. She even had a case where a seed germinated inside the apple fruit itself. She said, she let the fruit stay for a week in the refrigerator but when she checked it, the seed has germinated.

In April 2016, her apple tree blooms but like what happened in Baguio, there was no update if the flowers become an apple fruit. Until now, we don’t know and I have not heard of any apple tree in the Philippines with apple fruits.

There are many posts in Facebook where they successfully propagated apple tree, if you are one of them, post your apple plant/tree in the comment section and we will be glad to feature you in one of our articles.

A Sample Natural Fertilizer from Ebook “Natural Fertilizers Guide”

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Here is a sample of the natural fertilizer included in our Ebook, “Natural Fertilizers Guide”.  It contains more than 30 natural fertilizers and will show how to make it, how to use it, and how your plants will benefit from it. We are still drafting it at the moment and the below sample is just a draft to be included in one of the 30+ natural fertilizers.

The Ebook will be given free to individuals who LIKE our Facebook Page “Garden of Ein Food Forest Farm” or those who subscribed on our website, www.gardenofein.com.

The Ebook is expected to be out before the end of the year. It will be easy if those interested can send their email addresses to us. You can submit it by sending us a private message, subscribing on website, or enter your email in the “SUBSCRIBE AND LEARN” part inside our posts.

BONE MEAL

We usually throw the bones of pork, beef, chicken and fish. By doing that, we are wasting a great fertilizer for our plants.

HOW TO MAKE  IT:

  • Collect the bones, clean and sterilize
  • Dry them for a month if needed
  • If it is already dry, crush them into a fine powder using heavy-duty mortar and pestle.
  • The product is a powdered bone meal

APPLICATION:

  • To use the bone meal, you can sprinkle some in your soil at a rate of one pound for every ten square feet of your garden space.
  • You can also make a bone meal tea, just add one tablespoon of bone meal for every gallon of compost tea and brew the tea as normal.

BENEFITS:

  • It is an excellent source of Phosphorus
  • Provides smaller amounts of essential nitrogen, potassium and calcium.
  • It will steadily and slowly release these nutrients for plant uptake.
  • Cheap fertilizer

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