Sunday, November 28, 2010

Community Gardening

Community Gardening

What is a community garden and what is community gardening all about. That question has been asked of me many times. It is simple to answer in a few words but it is also a very complex subject. Now a days a community garden is a plot of land that has been donated for use to grow food for those in need. This land may have been donated by a city, a church, a business, or and individual with the express requirement that it be maintained and used to grow food for members of a community. This is not the same thing as a food co-op where people get together and each has a share either purchased by cash or by goods contributed and receives a share of the food.

Community gardens are non for profit groups set up specifically for the purpose of growing food to help members of the community by supplying food pantries and organizations that supply meals to homeless people or others who are in need. Some of them are set up through churches and other religious organizations and run by volunteers. Others are groups of individuals who see a need in their community and have gotten together and volunteer their time to help feed others. Whether large or small community gardens are become increasingly important in feeding those in need due to the rough economic condition the recession has left many in. If it were not for these volunteers and generous contributors many people would not be able to obtain much needed produce to feed their families with. In recent years the number of these groups have been increasing and stepping in to help with hunger in America.

How can you help and get involved? Every volunteer organization has one problem that will out weigh others, that is enough volunteers. It maybe that you have talents, expertise, or knowledge that you can contribute. Maybe you have an extra two or three hours a week to stop by and pull weeds, water crops, or harvest some vegetables. Believe me no matter how much or little time you have to offer your volunteerism will be gladly accepted and deeply appreciated.

Along with growing fruits and vegetables a lot of community gardens have expanded to include honey production from bee hives, some are even raising chickens to provide fresh eggs. Did you know that in the City of Chicago it is legal to raise chickens in your backyard. I wonder how many eggs a day could be added to the food pantry if just a couple hundred people in a city of millions would put a chicken coop in their back yard. I am not advocating that you should raise chickens, but I am advocating that you should seriously think about getting involved and help others in your own community that can benefit from the food these great groups provide

Glenns Garden

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Green Gardening to Help the Environment

Green Gardening to Help the Environment

The beauty of a garden can help make your home a more inviting place to go to but it is not necessarily true that having a garden can be green. It may seem counter intuitive that having a beautiful patch of land covered by flowers and greens is bad for the environment but it sure is.

A garden requires a great deal of resources. It needs space to grow and flourish. It needs the energy from the sun. It needs air to turn into carbon dioxide. Water is what they need the most and in this world of El Nino and constant droughts water becomes more and more valuable. Hence, a garden must be able to sustain itself to be considered beneficial to the general environment that it is situated in.

To make a garden green, one of the first things you need to do is make use of indigenous plants. Using indigenous plants in your garden, makes sure that the plants are able to live with the amount of water in your area. It is also adept to the amount of sunlight where you live.

Growing plants that come out of the area, you would have to adjust the amount of water you put in and the amount of sunlight you provide. You might need to put in extra effort watering the plants and exposing it to sunlight. In some cases, you might even need to build a separate greenhouse to house these plants during cold seasons.

Even if the plants are indigenous, it can cause an imbalance in the environment if it is not maintained. If it is allowed to grow out of control then it will require more from you. It would need more water and more space to spread itself out. It not only makes it less aesthetically pleasing, it also needs more to maintain. What is the point of keeping and maintaining that garden if you are not going to take care of it?

Another way to ensure that your gardening practices are kept green is by making sure that the garden has more than one purpose and not just for show. It can be anything that helps you achieve whatever effect you want. If you want to add a little more privacy to your home, you can make use of hedges to shield your windows. But, the ultimate multipurpose garden can be found in vegetable gardens. The reason this is important is because as more and more people populate the earth the space you use on your garden becomes more precious.

The world we live in needs us to ensure their welfare and make sure that everything works well with each other. That is our responsibility as humans but that does not mean we cannot make our surroundings beautiful in the process.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

How to Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden

How to Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden

You might think that growing your own vegetable garden is a lot of work, time consuming and a hassle. The first thing that would come into your mind when you hear garden would be maintenance, time and dirt. Well, that is true. Growing your own vegetable garden would require some time, your maintenance and a little bit of dirt here or there. But you will be very happy with the results from your hard work. Growing your own vegetable garden has a lot of benefits, mostly health wise. And, while waiting for your own plants to grow, you don't need to focus on them that much. All they need is some tender loving care then you are good to go.

Determination of Your Own Garden

First thing you have to consider in growing your own vegetable is whether you are really determined to grow your own vegetable garden. You have to weight out the options on whether you can manage growing your own vegetable garden. You would not want everything you did go to waste now, would you? Be sure that you have enough time before going on and reading on how to grow your own vegetable garden. If you are 100% sure and willing to, read on these helpful tips to help and guide you in doing so.

In growing your own vegetable garden, you have to think about where you will plant these vegetables. This is very important since this will be where you will be placing your own vegetable garden. As we all know, it is very essential for plants that they are exposed to sunlight. So, when figuring out where to start your vegetable garden, always think if the plants would be exposed to proper sunlight when placed there. Sunlight plays a huge part in your vegetables' growth. Never miss out on this very important tip.

Preparing soil

The next step in growing your own vegetable garden would be preparing the soil. Aside from sunlight, well-drained soil is necessary when growing your vegetable garden. Your soil should be stone free so you should be sure to pick out those stones in your soil for a successful garden. Your soil should be supplied with enough organic matter. Your soil should not be wet before you work on it. If the soil sticks together in a ball and it does not fall apart, then the soil is too wet for you to work on. Let it dry for a while.

After this, you should check out the pH level of your soil. You should research on the proper amount of pH because it differs on the vegetable that you are going to plant in that soil. Most vegetables live in soils that have a pH level of 6 and/or 7. Once your soil structure, fertility and pH have been established, the soil should be tilled one last time, and then raked smooth.

Planting Your seed

The next step, and probably the most exciting step for you, would be planting your seeds. It is always best to plant your seeds in a straight line, rather than just placing them anywhere. This is to make them grow properly. The roots might get tangled to one another or they might grow sideways, making them bump into each other, lessening the chance for your vegetables to grow beautifully, so you have to plant them in a straight, orderly line. It is also highly suggested that you plant your seeds in a depth that is twice the diameter of your seed. You may then spray them with water but do not drown them. Spray them with the right amount, just so they could be moistened.

If you are still confused on what you should plant, then consider what vegetable you would eat. Since you are growing your own vegetable garden, you are most likely to benefit from this. If not, then consider on what the people around you would love to eat. Growing your own vegetable garden does not only assure the quality and safeness of the vegetable that you would eat, it also helps you save money since you don't have to go to the market to buy your own vegetables.

Kevin Payne is gardener enthusiast, and enjoys helping others get started in this amazing hobby. The newest eBook, "Herb Garden Kits," teaches gardening and everything you need to know about Raised Vegetable Garden Beds. If you need to know more info starting and maintaining a thriving herb gardening visit

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Container Vegetable Gardening Made Easy

Container Vegetable Gardening Made Easy

If you want to grow organic vegetables but don't have a plot of land to grow them on, you have another option. Container vegetable gardening is the method you want to use and I can get you started. You can grow many different types of vegetables in containers like tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, carrots and radishes. 

These all do very well in containers if maintained properly. The possibilities of container vegetable gardening are only limited by the size of the container. The bigger the container the bigger the plant and the more it will yield. Another advantage of a big container is that it will require less maintenance. Following is a step by step plan to successful container vegetable gardening.

Container Selection: You can use pretty much any vessel that you want to but i like them to look nice because they are usually located near your house and you don't want to wreck your houses appearance. I like to find nice ceramic pots to use because they look nice and are not too expensive. Also make sure the vessel is a light color or not too dark because darker colors absorb heat and this could damage the roots of your plants. One other consideration is the size of the container

Drainage: This is important. You need to make sure that the soil will be able to drain properly so make sure that there are holes in the bottom of the container so excess water can escape. If your soil becomes over saturated for long durations of time it will result in the plants roots rotting. One technique that will help this problem is to line the bottom of the container with some gravel or small rocks to allow the water to escape easier.

Soil Selection: You need to choose a light weight soil mix that has peat and vermiculite in it or make your own. One part compost and two parts soil mix will do an excellent job and will provide the needed nutrients for the entire season. These soil mixes are excellent because they are usually sterile and the pH is adjusted to the proper limit.

Watering: Proper watering practices are critical here. Container vegetable gardening requires more frequent watering schedules than plants in the ground because of the limitations of soil available to the plant. You should plan on watering about once a day if it is really hot and there has been no rain. Another consideration would be to install drip irrigation because this will ensure that the plant always has water and they love consistency. Drip irrigation is easy to install and in a future post I will tell you how to do it so check back soon.

This is a great way to provide healthy and environmentally responsible food for your family and friends to enjoy. It is great for people who live in the city and have limited space available for a garden. If you always wanted a garden but never had the time or space to make it happen this is a great way to go. Give it a try and I bet you will be surprised at the results.

By: Bill M.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Low Maintenance Garden With Decorative Gravel

A Low Maintenance Garden With Decorative Gravel
By David A Robinson

Creating a low maintenance garden with decorative gravel is easy to do. Gravel is available in a dizzying array of colours and sizes that can fit into almost anyone's garden plans. Gravel is quite inexpensive and easy to use. It requires a minimum of maintenance and always looks great.

Decorative gravel can be bought in colours ranging from gold to white, black to red, cream to brown, and purple to green, any shade of grey, and practically any other colour in between. You can get small gravel sizes of 8 millimetres through to large sizes of 75 millimetres. This article offers you five different ways to have a low maintenance garden with decorative gravel.

1. Use gravel around plants and flowers. This will add visual appeal to your flower beds. You can choose decorative gravel in a colour that enhances and contrasts the colour of each group of flowers or plants.

Gravel around flowers doesn't just look good. It will help to avoid soil erosion as well as helping to control the weeds. Gravel around plants and flowers will also help to retain the moisture in the soil, which is very useful on a hot day in summer.

2. The edges of ponds and pools can greatly benefit from decorative gravel. Don't fall into the usual trap of making it all evenly ringed around the pool or pond. That looks unnatural. Vary the area amounts in places making it a more random layering. Use different colours and sizes to vary it even more, and possibly even include pebbles or sand, as well as larger rocks and stones.

3. A waterfall area can be truly enhanced through the use of decorative gravel. It needs to be used in conjunction with natural looking rocks and stones. The gravel can be used to fill in areas between the larger items giving the whole effect a much more rounded-off appearance.

4. Perhaps the most obvious use of decorative gravel is in a main path through your garden. For a path you are probably best to choose one colour and texture and stick to it, though using patterns or mosaics is quite possible too. A path is likely to take a lot of gravel to fill. As a rough guide, expect to need around one tonne of gravel for each five metres of path that's one metre wide and 100 millimetres in depth.

5. A large area of lawn with nothing to break up the monotony is not making the best use of your garden. Lawns need regular mowing. For the best low maintenance lawn, break the area up by creating winding decorative gravel walkways through it. These needn't be too wide, just enough for someone to walk over. You can be very creative here for a most pleasing effect using different colours and patterns.

Having a low maintenance garden with decorative gravel makes sense from so many perspectives. It will look great with just a minimum of planning and thought. There isn't very much work involved in creating it. It is fairly inexpensive, and you can cut down the regular maintenance work required by half if you do it properly. That has to be worth considering.

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