Posts tagged: gardening

How To Build Your Own Strawberry Tower!

How To Build Your Own Strawberry Tower!How To Build Your Own Strawberry Tower!
Photo – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcdtIx1PkS8

This video by Bigelow Brook Farm (Web4Deb) gives us a great project idea – to build a strawberry tower using 4-inch PVC pipe! The creator of this tutorial has gone to a lot of trouble to show each step of the project clearly and to give detailed instructions. The towers can be made to any size and are a brilliant way to make use of vertical space so that a lot of plants can be grown in a small area.

This is a simple DIY project that can be done on a weekend. If you decide to make one or more tower to grow your own strawberries, it pays to know which varieties will be best suited to your area and how to look after them so that you reap the rewards for all your hard work! We found these links that have all you need to know to get you started:
http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/strawberry-growing-guide
http://strawberryplants.org/2010/05/growing-strawberries/

It’s time for a few words about plastic as it is such a big cause for environmental concern!

There have been some comments that PVC may not be very safe to use with food plants due to leaching/off-gassing – this means that the plastic exudes chemicals as it degrades and it’s possible that traces of these chemicals end up in the crop. The comments are well founded – of all the plastics, PVC or ‘vinyl’ is the most environmentally damaging – however, the overall effects of these low-level traces are difficult to ascertain.

Related: How To Grow Your Own Endless Supply Of Berries

There are many types of plastic. PVC requires hazardous chemicals for production, has the highest usage of toxic additives for any plastic (some of which are outgassed over time) and creates toxic waste. So I would definitely suggest using ABS drainpipe, polyethylene or another safer material for your strawberry tower. Please try these links for more info:
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/detox/polyvinyl-chloride/pvc-waste/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic

PVC Production is increasing worldwide despite the fact that safer alternatives currently exist for almost all PVC products! Our main hope for the huge problem of plastic waste could lie with bioremediation since it has been discovered that certain fungi and bacteria that can degrade some plastics safely!

Ok well, I hope that this aside hasn’t put you off growing your own strawberries! – it’s important to us that you stay safe and healthy. On a more positive note, research has found that all plants can help to improve indoor air quality for us because they absorb volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) from the air – it turns out that this is mainly done by the bacteria in the potting compost so you can grow whatever you like! Here’s some of the research:
http://www.biohydrokw.com/pages/benefits-of-indoor-plants

Okay, here is the video:

How To Build An Urban Hoop Garden

How To Build An Urban Hoop GardenHow To Build An Urban Hoop Garden
Photo – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-QhAg2jhvw

Using readily available materials to build a portable polytunnel or “hoop garden”, the presenters of this great video show us this simple way to make your vegetable garden more productive – by simply extending the growing season! Why not give it a go? – the hoop garden is so easy to put together! It’s perfect for raised beds, as you’ll see in the video of TheNaturesFriends, and the same principle can be used for crops grown on open ground. Anything that makes the garden productive for more months of the year sounds like a good investment to me!

Growing vegetables and salads at home is very rewarding but it can be challenging when the weather creates limitations on the growing season. Sheltering your crops means that you can enjoy more home-grown food every year!

The hoop setup gives some options as to the type of covering used. With the same structure it would also be possible to use a cover made from horticultural fleece. This allows some rain to penetrate so that less watering is needed and it can still retain heat without becoming as hot as a plastic tunnel.

There are many parts of the world where it can be difficult to produce crops due to a short growing season. A shelter for plants provides protection from mild frost so that sowing and planting can begin earlier in the year, then it can be used to allow later harvesting of crops in the fall. It can even give you enough time for an extra sowing of some roots and salad crops in the same year!

Related: How To Build A Hinged Hoophouse For A Raised Bed Garden

The hoops of this structure are made from plumbing pipe and metal conduit, both of which are available at hardware stores or builders’ suppliers. If you are interested in using reclaimed materials (as many “off-gridders” tend to be), you can – and this will save useful materials from being thrown away and reduce the extraction of the planet’s resources for making new ones. On top of that, it will of course save you the cost of buying new! πŸ™‚ You could ask for some off-cuts from a friendly builder or try to find them through your local Freecycling scheme.

The hoop garden in this video has been designed with the hoops close together to take snow loading – a great idea if you live in an area where snow is frequent; at times or in areas when there is no snow, the number of hoops can be reduced. The whole structure can also be stored away without taking up much space. In my opinion, the best feature of this simple device is that it will help to save your precious crops from an unexpected frost that could ruin them in late spring or early fall. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Okay, here is the video:

Image For Pinterest:

How To Build An Urban Hoop Garden
Graphic – off-grid.info. Images – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-QhAg2jhvw

How To Make Easy Sun-Dried Tomatoes From Your Garden

How To Make Easy Sun-Dried Tomatoes From Your GardenHow To Make Easy Sun-Dried Tomatoes From Your Garden
Image – Β© Comugnero Silvana – Fotolia.com

Call them a fruit or a vegetable, tomatoes are stars for your healthy recipes! Sun dried tomatoes are rich in flavor and they add a gourmet touch to any homemade savory dish. What’s great about them is that even though there’s no longer any water content in them, they still contain nutrients that are essential for your health – and of course they keep for much longer than fresh tomatoes.

Tomatoes are high in lycopene, antioxidants and Vitamin C. According to some studies, lycopene can prevent certain types of cancers! It is also reported to help make your skin look amazing! Their rich antioxidant content is also considered to help prevent signs of premature aging.

Gourmet sun dried tomatoes can be a little expensive when you buy them at grocery stores. However, you can have the option of making them at home and preserving the tomatoes that you have grown in your garden. We’ve found a tutorial that will teach you 3 ways to dry your tomatoes!

Related: One Man’s Genius Idea To Grow Tomatoes Yields Incredible Results

Once you’ve made your own batch, you can use them in different yummy recipes. Why don’t you make a bruschetta recipe using sardines in oil? Get the flesh of the sardines and place them on a plate and set aside. Chop a few sprigs of basil and a couple of already soaked sun dried tomatoes (soak the sun dried tomatoes in warm water for 30 minutes so that they’ll plump up. You can use the water to flavor certain broths and sauces). Place the SDT’s in a small bowl and add a few drops of extra virgin olive oil. You can also put a few dashes of balsamic vinegar. Spoon this mixture on a slice of toasted bruschetta. Add the flaked sardines and top with your favorite cheese!

Ok, this is making me a little crazy, I think I need to raid the fridge now. Store the rest of the tomatoes in an airtight container so that you can use them in the future.

Here’s the link to the full tutorial: http://www.pickyourown.org/tomatoes_sun_dried.htm

Image For Pinterest:

How To Make Easy Sun-Dried Tomatoes From Your Garden
Graphic – off-grid.info. Image – Β© Comugnero Silvana – Fotolia.com