Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Using 5 Gallon Buckets in a Container Garden

We've noticed that our container gardening blogs are a big hit with you guys. Which is great! Container gardens are an easy way to break into gardening or to be able to maintain a garden with a busy schedule. When you have a container garden your work is cut nearly in half (if not more so) as it is easier to keep your plants healthy by keeping weeds at bay and being able to more easily amend the soil. Bucket Outlet featured a blog recently on how to use 5 gallon buckets in your garden and we thought we would share it here as well:
Vegetable gardening can seem like a huge chore to undertake, but if you create a container garden for your vegetables, you can maintain your plants much easier. All you need are some 5 gallon buckets. If you want to mix things up a little, you can also use galvanized tubs or even camouflage buckets. If you have some plants that don't need as much space, you can add smaller plastic buckets to the mix for a stepping stone effect to your container garden.

First step is to prep your buckets:
Be sure that your bucket is either new, or if it is a recycled bucket that it was never used to hold any type of chemical since you will be growing foods for consumption in them.
Using a drill, make drainage holes in the bottom of your bucket, they should be about 5/8". You will need about 10 or so holes for good drainage.
To keep the holes from getting stopped up with soil, add about 1-2" of gravel to the bottom of you bucket.
Fill with a good potting soil, fill to within 1.5" from the top of the bucket.

Plant your Vegetables:
Choose your vegetables that you want to plant, be sure you read how much space each plant needs, how much sun, and water.
Plant your plants according to their needs. Try not to plant too close to the sides of the bucket or you risk your plants getting too hot. Keep them at least 1.75" from the edge of the bucket.
If you have plants that are small enough to plant near one another, keep in mind which plants make good companions to each other.
Place your buckets in your yard for the best sunlight, and easy access for watering. You will need to check container plants daily for whether they need water or not as container plants tend to dry out more quickly.

Be sure to harvest fruits and vegetables as they ripen, this will help your plants continue to produce throughout the season.
We hope this information helps you in getting started on your very own container garden! If you have tips or questions don't hesitate to leave them for us in the comments. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Using a Broadcast Spreader

There are a few advantages to using a broadcast spreader over a drop spreader, especially if you have a larger yard or area that you are working with. The broadcast spreader has a larger area that it spreads over vs. a drop spreader, so it will cut the time you spend spreading down.

If you are using your broadcast spreader for spreading grass seed you will find that it works much better for certain grasses than a drop spreader does. With the drop spreader some grasses will grow in streaks instead of throughout the entire yard.

There are a variety of these types of spreader on the market, many are push spreaders, but if you have a very large area to cover you may want to look into investing in an ATV spreader.

To use your broadcast spreader you will first want to read your instructions thoroughly. As well as the instructions on the fertilizer or seed that you are spreading. The seed/fertilizer should have instructions on them for the recommended speed rate.

It is advised to do a test run with a small amount of your seed or fertilizer on a clean sidewalk or driveway so that you can ensure that you have the correct settings. You will want to make a note of how far the spreader distributes on different settings and write it down for future reference. Be sure to make note of how much product you put into the spreader and how large of an area it covered. Then compare this to how much coverage the product packaging states that you should have. If it doesn't cover enough area or covers too much then you will need to readjust your settings.

Collect your product so that you can reuse it. Do not just sweep or spray off into the yard.

Now you can fill up your spreader with the recommended amount of seed or fertilizer for the area that you need to cover. You will want to walk in a pattern that allows you enough space to only cover about 6 inches of the same area, this is okay to do since the outer edges of your spraying will receive less material. Usually the best pattern to spread in will be a row pattern.

Have more tips on using a broadcast spreader? Please share them with us in the comments.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Preventing Diseases in Your Garden

The weather is warm and the dirt is waiting to be planted and tended for your garden. Excitement is in the air as you dream about the harvest you will have this coming fall. Make sure your harvest is not hindered by plant diseases. Take these precautions to help prevent diseases from forming in your garden:

Using Cured Compost will help your plants to be stronger, a stronger plant will be able to resist diseases more easily. Don't know how to cure your compost? Follow these easy steps:
To begin the curing process stop adding organic material to your compost heap.
Turn your pile once a week to allow oxygen to permeate the materials in your compost.
Wet your compost until it is the consistency of a wet sponge.
After 3 months your compost should be ready. If there are still large particles in your pile it needs to go through the curing process again.
Keep your garden watered during droughts. A weak plant will succumb to diseases more easily.

Space your plants wide and use trellises for plants that like to spread out. This will allow air to get around the leaves and dry your plants well, a continually wet plant is a breeding ground for diseases.

Use mulch to keep any soil born diseases from splashing up onto the leaves of your plants.

If a fungal outbreak begins on your plants you can slow it by using garden shears to cut off affected leaves, branches, and/or fruits. Only cut the plant if the foliage is dry, a wet plant will cause the spores to spread more quickly. There are also sprays that you can create to help kill the fungus. There are several for each different variety of fungus, if you have plants with hairy leaves you can use a mixture of 1 tsp baking soda to a quart of water and some drops of liquid soap as a spray mix.

A great sprayer for applying necessary treatments to sick plants or to spray on preventative treatments are the Solo sprayers.

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