Category Archives: How To

Growing Goji Berry or Wolfberry Plants From Seeds

Gojismall

I bought my first goji plant 5 years ago as a small 10″ seedling. The bush is now 5′ tall and taking over the grow box I built to contain it. They grow fast, produce prolifically and provide some of the most nutrient dense berries on the planet.

The health benefits of Goji Berries:

Goji are members of the nightshade family and native to the Himalayan mountains of Tibet and Mongolia.  Goji berries have been used medicinally in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
They have the highest concentration of protein of any other fruit and more carotenoids of any food.
Loaded with vitamin C, high in fiber and 21 trace minerals, Goji berries have 10-15 times the iron found in spinach. They also contain zinc, calcium and selenium.
People are starting to realize the benefits of eating this super fruit and are scrambling to buy the berries fresh, dried or frozen.

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Lasagna Gardening – The No Till Composting System

If you hate digging and turning your compost, then lasagna gardening just might be the ticket for you.  I’ve done it a little on a small bed, but this is the first year I’ve tried it on a larger bed (3’x10′).
The system worPreparing Lasagna Bedks by layering (hence the term lasagna) your browns and green, alternating each layer until you have a stack that’s way above the top of the bed.

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Growing Maqui Berries

We’ve all heard about the health benefits of blueberries, acai berries,, strawberries and other fruits. But few people have heard about the Maqui Berry.  In fact, I hadn’t heard of it until recently.

I was given a few seeds from a friend through our local gardening club. I planted them, not expecting much. However they are now about 3 inches tall and ready to repot. I plan to keep them in the greenhouse as they are hardy down to zone 8.

The health benefits of the Maqui Bery are just now starting to be discovered.

Light Your Indoor Grow Room With Inexpensive CFLs

Lots of questions I get are in regards to my indoor grow room. One question in particular is How do I light my grow room. Contrary to what people think, lighting it is not expensive at all. In this video I explain how I personally light my grow room and what equipment I use.

Where to purchase the CFL lights:

Where to buy the Light Stand:

Sockets for light stand:

How To Figure The Cost of Heating Your Greenhouse

If you’re thinking it is way too expensive to grow vegetables in a greenhouse during winter, think again. I live in zone 7b and grow all year long. In this video I will explain how I figure the cost. If you live in a colder climate of course your cost may be higher. But I believe, in my opinion, it’s well worth it.

Plant Problem Solver

 

if you find any errors or would like us to add to this database, please contact us. check back often as we continually update

Plant

Problem

Possible Cause

All Plants Seedling Dying soil disease, temperature, bug damage, no air circulation, irregular watering
All Plants Slow Seedling Growth compacted soil, no aeration, root bound, too low temps, soil disease, bad nutrients in soil
Broccoli Bolting temps too hot, temps too extreme in either direction varying days (hot then cold, etc), root bound, too much nitrogen, any kind of stress, end of life cycle
Broccoli Holes in Leaves bug damage (possibly cabbage butterfly larva or slugs)
Cabbage Holes in Leaves bug damage (possibly cabbage butterfly larva or slugs),
Carrot Tops Disappear slugs, birds, or bugs bunny (rabbit)
Carrot Tops Falling Over stepped on by humans or animals, storm damage, voles, weevils. heat, insufficient water
Kale Holes in Leaves bug damage (possibly cabbage butterfly larva or slugs),
Pepper Blossom (flower) Drop too cool temp (especially with hot peppers), too much nitrogen, low moisture, lack of pollination, uneven watering
Not flowering Lack of pollination, Temps below 50 or over 80 at night. Daytime temps below 60 deg f.
Curled or wrinkled Leaves Pests (aphids, thrips, whiteflies, mites), Environmental stress, Virus, Root bound
Tomato Blossom (flower) Drop too much nitrogen, too warm or too cold nights, high temps during day, lack of pollination, high humidity (pollen too sticky to fall), low humidity (pollen to dry to stick to female part of plant)
White Spots (not on fruit) Powdery mildew, leaf miners, septoria leaf spots
White Spots On Fruit white flies, grubs, stinkbug damage (fruit damage has starburst pattern), sun scald, bacterial canker
Yellowing Leaves early blight, late blight, bug damage, nutrient deficiency, end of season, fungus or bacteria, irregular watering
 Lower leaves dying fungal infection like Fusarium wilt, early blight, late blight or Septoria leaf spot

Making Your Own Compost For Your Garden

How to make compost in my Lifetime 80 gallon compost tumbler. The biggest challenge is finding the right combo with greens (nitrogen) and browns (carbon).

 

Propagating Container Grown Strawberry Plants

The life expectancy of a strawberry plant is usually only a few years. The plant knowing this is aware that it most have offspring. I’m not suggesting that plants are self aware, but this mechanism is built into its genetic code. That’s the way the plant works.

Container grown plants are unable to propagate themselves so they rely on us to help them.

Strawberries replicate by shoots, also called runners. It sends out these shoots looking for soil to plant itself. Once the runner takes root, it severs its ties to the parent plant. Leaving a separate independent plant.

To propagate the plant, just lay the runner on top of soil in another contain (or on the ground). Within a couple of weeks it should have taken root. You can then cut the runner away from the parent plant. You now have a new plant.

Build a Three Tiered Hanging Rope Planter

 

I needed a planter to grow herbs in. But the problem with some herbs like mint, they like to sprawl and take over the garden. They can become invasive if you let them. So the answer for me was to either grow them in pots or elevate them off the ground.

Since I have two grape arbors, I decided to hang them. This planter holds three plants and can be built with very little amount of wood. I used 1 piece of cedar fencing available at just about any lumber supply. The only other thing you will need is some 1/2” rope.

Drop a few pots into the square holes and you have a nice looking hanging herb planter.

 

How To Grow A Square Tomato

I know what you’re thinking. “Where can I get the seeds for a square tomato”?
Believe it or not, you can grow your own square tomato from any seed you have lying around.
You’re not actually growing a genetically enhanced variety, you’re really just manipulating the tomato during its growing process.

The process is simple. You have to create a square plastic box for it to grow in. Make sure the box is smaller than final size of the tomato. The reason is that once the tomato feels resistance against the sides of the box, it is forced to take the path of least resistance. This results in the tomato growing into the corners of the box, hopefully filling it completely.

Making the box

Find any clear plastic that is thick enough to withstand the pressure of the growing tomato, yet flexible enough to bend at 90 degrees.

Simply draw 4 squares the exact same size horizontally
Now draw 2 boxes the same size on each side vertically.
Next, cut a slit in one of the end boxes big enough to allow the stem of the plant to easily slip through.
Now fold the box at the lines and tape it leaving the end with the slit open.

Slip the box onto a young tomato allowing the stem to slide through the slit in the open end.
Close the lid and tape it shut.
You now have a tomato enclosed in a plastic box.

Now the wait

This is the hardest part of all. If you’re like me, every morning you will run out to see if the tomato is growing. We all know that a watched pot never boils. It isn’t until you decide to stop watching, that it will balloon to the size of the box.

My mistake was in using this on a hybrid tomato that I was re-growing so the tomatoes never produced uniform sizes.
I recommend that you use a plant that produces consistent fruit sizes. It will be a lot easier. I had to try this 3 time before one actually behaved.

If by chance, you give this a try, post a comment and a link. I’d like to see them.
Happy square tomato growing.