Caring for Hail Damaged Plants

Caring for Hail Damaged Plants

Colorado gets pelted with hail several times over the growing season.

Nothing is quite so discouraging to a gardener as watching the hail demolish the plants you’ve been tenderly caring for in the garden.

If you are new to caring for hail damaged plants, it is important to take the right steps to help your plants recover.

Use these tips, and before you know it, your garden can return to it’s full splendor!

1. Wait to Trim or Pull Out Damaged Plants

Once you see the broken stems and demolished flowers, the first thing you want to do is trim them up and get them looking healthy again.

WAIT!

The plants actually need the damaged leaves for photosynthesis. Leave them in place to help the plant heal.

2. Immediately Add Mild, Organic Fertilizer

A hail storm puts your plants into distress. Feeding them lightly with an organic fertilizer gives them the energy they need to start healing.

Good options of organic fertilizers include:

Fish Emulsion
Seaweed Extract
Worm Compost
Compost Tea

Hail Damaged Plants

photo credit

3. After 7 to 10 Days, Trim Any Brown or Dying Leaves 

Within 7 to 10 days, it will be easy to identify which stems and leaves have been damaged beyond repair because they will begin to turn brown and wilt.

Carefully remove any leaves that show no signs of recovery.

4. After 2 Weeks You Will Know What Plants to Replant or Reseed

Unfortunately, a traumatic hail storm can damage some plants to the point of no return. If your storm occurred early enough in the season, try reseeding.

If you only have a short growing season left, it may be better to replace the plant with another plant.

Does it hail where you live?

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30 Tips to Use in Your Organic Garden

Organic Gardening Tips

Will you be gardening this year? I’m watching the blowing snow as I write this and am dreaming of the day I can get back to the soil and harvest fresh, ripe produce!

I’ve rounded up 30 Tips you can use in your organic garden. Here’s to warm temperatures, fertile soil, and abundant produce!

At my house, I have raised beds. You can see my garden layout here. If you are planning your garden, here’s a bit more inspiration:

Planning Your Organic Garden:

Here’s a wonderful resource for an Edible Garden How-To.

Keeper of the Home shares How to Plant a Garden That Works For Where You Live.

It’s good to remember that Tiny Gardens Can Grow Anywhere.

Mom Prepares has a list of Decorative Shrubbery You Can Eat.

Have you failed at gardening in the past? Make sure you read these tips on How Not to Fail at Gardening. Good, common sense to starting your garden.

Think you have no room for a garden? Good Girl Gone Green has plans and the low down on Planting a Sustainable Front Lawn Garden. The results are beautiful!

Planning What To Grow:

Now that you’ve got a garden spot, what will you grow?

For first time gardeners, here are Easy Vegetables to Grow. My family favorites? Radishes (shocking, right? but true!), beets, zucchini and tomatoes.

Looking for more advice? Frugal Farm Wife lists her Easy Grow Garden Picks.

The Creative Christian Mama shares her Favorite Herbs to Grow. Please make sure to include some herbs in your garden. Mint grows with no help at all and makes the best tea!

Don’t forget about edible flowers! This Chick Cooks has a list of  Edible Flowers to Grow in Your Garden. Marigolds are always in my gardens and I’m adding nasturtium this year.

If you saw my garden plan, you saw I have a bed that gets partial shade. Here are 40 fruits, vegetables and herbs that grow in partial shade.

How to Save Money on Your Garden:

As you start planning your garden, remember Craig’s List Equals Cheap Plants

Bideshis No More has a brilliant idea for a Community Plant Trade. Fill your garden by trading your extras! No one to trade with? May I suggest finding a local garden forum online? Most have these types fo plant trades.

And of course, remember to upcycle.

Glass Bottles border flower bed

Starting Seeds:

Starting your own seeds helps keep your gardening costs low. Here are a few tips for seed starting.

Smithspirations has a guide to Deciphering Seeds and what terms like “open-pollinated” and “heirloom” really mean.

When it comes to seed starting, Green Bean Gardens has an excellent resource for Seed Starting.

Eliza K shows how to take my least favorite packaging (hint: the apples at Costco) and turn them into mini greenhouses.

Have you made eggshell planters before? Here’s how to do it. These can go right into the garden and they provide extra nutrients for your seedlings.

Vegetable Tips:

If you are including growing potatoes on your list (and this year I am!) remember these Planting Potato Tips from a Master Gardener.

Here’s the low down on Planting Snap Peas from a Life in Balance.

Everyone wants to grow delicious tomatoes. Here is Tomato Growing 101.

If you are planting peas, you’ll need to build a Pea Trellis.

Pea Trellis

 Eliminating Garden Pests and Weeds:

Emily from Random Recycling shares how to Keep Pests Out of Your Garden Naturally.

Small Footprint Family has how to Control Fungus Gnats Organically 

Here’s my tips for How to Kill Weeds Organically.

Weeds Killed Using Boiling Water

Composting is a Key Element to Organic Gardening:

Living Crunchy has instructions on How to Make Your Own Compost Bin. 

Red & Honey has a guide on How to Start a Successful Backyard Compost.

Your Gardening Friend tells How to Take Care of Compost Worms.

Tools:

Here’s a seriously brilliant idea for Storing Your Gardening Tools by A Seed Inspired! When planning your garden, you may want to implement this idea.

Learning and Yearning shares Why Rototillers May be More Harmful than Helpful in an Organic Garden

The first thing that will go in my garden – sugar snap peas – will be planted as soon as this new snow moves out. Are you growing a garden this year?

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All Natural Plant Fertilizer: Eggshells

All Natural Plant Fertilizer (1)

Will you be making hard boiled eggs for decorating this week? If so, I’ve got a helpful household tip you’ll want to use.

Don’t throw the water away after you cook your eggs. Instead, allow the water to cool then use it to fertilize and water all your houseplants!

Eggshells contain both calcium and carbon.

When you boil eggs for hard boiled eggs, some of the calcium and carbon get leeched into the water making a great fertilizer.

Water with this all natural fertilizer as you normally would.

The GBG It Works for Me

“The GBG: It Works for Me” is a weekly series. It’s all about that thing you’ve started doing that you’d wish you’d known you should be doing all along.

Solutions, quick tips, and shortcuts. Time savers and sanity savers. It’ll all be right here.

Have a solution, tip, or time saver of your own? Let me know by filling out this form, I’ll try then share!

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Pea Trellis

On March 15th – St. Patrick’s Day – I did a brave, brave thing. I planted pea seeds.

Peas Grown from SeedMy sugar pod peas about 1 month ago.

A little early for Colorado, but we had such a beautiful spring I just couldn’t resist. I planted two varieties: Oregon Sugar Pod and Sugar Snap. Since the sugar pods are expected to grow to 6 feet, we needed to build a trellis.

We built 3 separate pea trellises. Here is why:

  1. They are heavy. Building 3 separate ones made them manageable.
  2. We plan to rotate our crop. This year they are in a 12 foot bed. Next year, we will move them into the tomato bed which is only 9 feet. Building 3 separate trellises will allow us to use them in the shorter bed.

How to build a pea trellis:

  1. Build an A-Frame out of lumber. You can use recycled wood for this project if you have a source.
  2. Remember the trellis should be about 6 feet high for most varieties of peas.
  3. Use hinges to secure the tops so they can be folded down and stored over the winter.
  4. Staple fine mesh chicken wire across the frame.
  5. These are heavy, but we found they blew over in the high Colorado winds. Secure them when installing them.

These are my pea plants today! They are underplanted with leaf lettuce – which we’ve already harvested one crop – and I added a cucumber plant as well. My plants have blooms and I drool just thinking about the day we have actual peas!

Pea Trellis

 

Why rotate our peas and tomatoes? Peas fix nitrogen to the soil while tomatoes require a great deal of nitrogen. By rotating them, you use the plant’s natural biology to get a better crop. Will it work? I’ll let you know next year! {wink}

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One Year in the Fruit Garden

Fruit BedsLast year’s fruit garden plan

Last year I was struck with either the greatest – or the stupidest – idea I’ve ever had. To grow some of our own food. Little did I know I gardening is not a hobby. It is an obsession.

It’s been one year since we first laid out our plan for our fruit garden (pictured above).  While we laid out our plans with the very best of intentions, we only managed to plant last year the raspberries, the strawberries and the wild currants. Here’s what I learned:

  • Strawberries – The first year we were supposed to pinch the blooms off to make a hardier plant. This meant each family member only got to eat one homegrown strawberry last year. All the other blooms were pinched.
  • Raspberries – I was pretty sure none of our raspberry plants were going to make it. Again, we each got to eat one raspberry apiece – that was it. They were all red raspberries – none of the yellow produced.
  • Rhubarb – I missed the window. I was supposed to plant the rhubarb in April and by the time the weather and my schedule permitted, it was too late in the season. So, I had to wait until this year.
  • Currants – Despite finding these on Craig’s list, driving about 30 minutes away then digging them up to relocate to our backyard, they did ok. No fruit though.
  • White Pumpkins – I did plant these last year, but I moved them to a different location.

So how is the fruit garden this year?

So far, the fruit garden is happy!

The strawberries have tons of blooms and the fruit is starting to set. If we can beat the birds and the racoons, we will actually get to enjoy our own homegrown strawberries this year.

The raspberries are back and are spreading. I think in the future I am going to need a plan on how to best train (or is that restrain?) them. However, this usually involves roping my husband into a home improvement project he has no desire to do. So, I’m letting them grow wild in the meantime.

Hard to see against the big green bush behind them, my currants have survived being transplanted and look like they are filling out. I really don’t hold out any hope that we will have currants this year. So, we’ll wait.

I planted rhubarb but it is totally ticked off. I don’t know if I missed a watering, if I neglected to add enough compost, or if the weather got too cold. Whatever. It is NOT happy. Here’s the deal with rhubarb – you shouldn’t harvest it until the third year. So if it doesn’t make it, it could be 2015 before I ever get to eat any homegrown rhubarb. Crazy isn’t it? So those of you with a patch that you inherited with the home you bought (wasn’t it a prerequisite in the 70’s to plant rhubarb?) treasure it!

Greatest lesson learned? If you want to eat homegrown fruit, you need patience in spades. (pun so totally intended) While I do expect to being eating raspberries and strawberries, gardening is a crap shoot. So the best advice I have? Don’t wait! If you have ever wanted your own little fruit patch, you need to act now.

Linked to Tuesday Garden Party

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The Greenbacks Gal Agrarian Line

Did you see it? The new upscale Agrarian Line from a major retailer who shall remain nameless but begins with a “W” and ends with a “Sonoma”?

I am thrilled to see the real food at home movement has caught the attention of a retail giant. This is big peeps! We are no longer considered the fringe society. We are now mainstream. Happy Day!

The prices associated with becoming mainstream? How shall I put it? Well…chic but expensive comes to mind. And yet, I want them. They all look so pretty and perfect. So what’s a frugal gal to do?

INTRODUCING: The Greenbacks Gal Agrarian Line

Get the look and feel at a fraction of the price!

SPROUTER KIT

Start with seed sprouting. Instead of paying $17 for a kit…let’s not. You can sprout your own seeds with no special equipment required! Here I show you how to grow sprout microgreens. My current favorite seeds to sprout?

Cherry Belle Organic Heirloom Radishes or Gourmet Baby Greens Organic Heirloom Mesculan

In fact, check out all of Botanical Interests heirloom and organic seeds. I’m betting you’ll find something you’ll love for just a few dollars.

FRESH HERBS

You don’t need to pay over $12 for a fresh herb plant. What should you pay?

Fresh herbs

Add about .50 worth of burlap:

Basil in Burlap

TA-DA!!!! Not only did this cost me under $5, but I didn’t pay a shipping fee either. Winning!

KOMBUCHA AND FERMENTING SUPPLIES

Kombucha Starter Kit

Cultures for Health has a Kombucha Tea Starter for only $11.99. And if you don’t really know what you are doing, you can get their FREE ebooks when you sign up for their newsletter.

HEALTHY KITCHEN GADGETS

Food Mill

I found a Stainless Steel Food Mill on sale for only $34.95 at GreenCupboards – an eco-friendly retailer. That is a $15 savings! And they also have the Tribest 7 jar Yogurt Maker for only $39.95

Yogurt Maker

That’s another $10 in savings.

{Confession time here – I’d buy any of the KitchenAid accessories and not even blink at the price. Best gift my hubby could have bought me!}

CANNING AND PRESERVING

Ball Mason JarsI’m a fan of classic Ball Mason Jars – Made in America. They can be purchased almost anywhere. Why would I pay more for a foreign brand? If you can’t find them, you can purchase them through Target, they are eligible for FREE shipping if you spend $50.

BTW – Mangoes are cheap right now. It’s the perfect time to make my Mango Lime Jam – just beware of the hidden dangers of canning.

RAISED BED PLANTERS

GBGal Garden Onion Starts

I’ve got some suggestions on ways to save money on your garden. And I’ve used Craig’s List for Cheap Plants. However, I’m new to gardening, so my best resource for ways to save on gardens has been you my readers! You can see the start of my garden here– and I’ll be updating you on our quest to grow our own organic food soon! In the meantime – check out this Upcycle Idea for your garden. It’s my most popular post – and you can do it for FREE!

BOOKS

They have picked some of the BEST books ever for their Agrarian Line. I own so many of them. However, one I would add would be:

The Garden PrimerThe Garden Primer is one of my favorite gardening resources. To me, it embraces what I need, “Keep it Simple Stupid.” It has really great instructions that are easy to understand.

And, if you aren’t familiar with the cookbook they recommend -Super Natural Every Day – it is the cookbook from the blog 101 Cookbooks. Heidi has tons of FREE recipes on her site.

Honestly? Now that I’ve made this list, I feel like perhaps The Greenbacks Gal has been agrarian all along.  Think about it…I have raised beds – they want to start selling raised beds. I sprout my own microgreens – they have sprouting kits. I feel in love with canning last year – they have a whole section devoted to canning and preserving. What a minute…Super Natural Every Day is sitting on my cookbook stand right now…. MAKING MYSELF PARANOID NOW!

Seriously, “agrarian” is not what I ever thought I do here. But if they want to label it so, that’s cool. The difference will be – I think agrarian means a more frugal, down-to-earth lifestyle – not a trendy, expensive one.

What do you think?

And just FYI  – I’ve started a Real Food Resources Pinterest board I hope you’ll want to follow.

BTW ~ This post does include affiliate links. See my Disclosure Policy.

Linked to Centsational Girl

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Growing Herbs

Growing Herbs at Home

Growing herbs at home was my gateway drug to growing an outdoor vegetable garden.

It all started innocently enough. Sick of buying the expensive pre-cut and washed basil, I bought a single basil plant.

Once I had the satisfaction of using my fresh basil in my cooking, I moved on. And now I grow basil, lemon balm, mint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley.

Growing herbs successfully made me feel invincible. Like I could grow anything.

And the taste of “fresh” had me hooked. So I had to move on to bigger plants. More addictive plants. Fresh grown tomato plants.

Economically? It just makes sense. Take this price comparison of buying prepackaged herbs versus growing your own:

Herb Price Comparison

 It just doesn’t seem worth it to buy the packets of fresh herbs when you can have a whole plant! Besides, if you are anything like me, you’ll buy the packet and use the amount your recipe calls for. The extra goes back in the fridge for the next recipe. Except …. you don’t actually have a next recipe in mind. Which means it gets shoved to the back of the fridge until eventually, two weeks later, you find an interesting mold experiment that used to be fresh herbs.

Herb Garden

How can you successfully grow herbs at home?

Plants versus Seeds: The quick answer: Plants. Plants don’t have the same light, water and warmth requirements that germinating seeds do. Plus, you will most likely find that the plants you can buy are the right varieties for growing on a windowsill.

Light: How much light do herbs need? As much light as you can give them. South facing windows are best, but any sunny location is the ideal place for your herbs. How will you know if you have enough light? Buy a $3.99 herb and give it a try.

Watering: Herbs require more water than a typical houseplant. However, you do want the soil to dry out between watering. How do you know when to water? Stick your fingers in. Seriously. In gardening – even indoor gardening – you need to get a little soil under your nails. Also, you want to make sure you water at the base of the plant on the soil – not on the leaves of your herbs. This makes no sense to me given that in nature herbs get their water from rain, and it doesn’t rain on the soil only – it definitely hits the leaves. All I know is if your water hits the leaves of the herbs you are growing indoors, you are likely to get mildew. So water the soil.

Pruning Herbs

Pruning: Invest in a pair of kitchen shears or pruning shears for your herbs. Just like with humans – a clean cut has less chance of infection. For herbs like lemon balm, mint, thyme, and oregano, you can cut from the bottom, outside of the plant. Basil is a bit more finicky. You want to trim right above leaf growth about 3 to 4 inches up the plant – like in the above picture. Basil will then form two new stalks right above the cut, like in the picture below.

Pruning Basil

Food:
When you bring your herb home, be sure to pick up a good quality bag of organic potting mix too. When you plant your herb in it’s new pot, it will be happiest if grown in good soil. You’ll also want to periodically feed your herbs with an organic food such as a fish emulsion.

As with any addict, I’m also a pusher. I want everyone to experience the “high” that is cutting a bit of fresh mint for a cup or tea, or making a compound butter with lemon balm and sage and using it to roast a chicken, or even just running your fingers over a fresh rosemary plant to enjoy the fresh scent. So give it a go and I’m willing to bet you’ll become a pusher too.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

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