Tips for Growing Garlic
If you have ever tasted fresh garlic, you will definitely want to learn how to grow garlic for yourself. It is no trouble at all to add garlic to a small home garden.
Preparing soil to grow garlic is quite easy. Make sure the soil has either been tilled or spaded to be six to twelve inches deep.
Fertilize with manure and compost. Garlic prefers soil with a PH level of 6 or above.
Use the biggest cloves and place them root end down so they are sticking up in the soil. Then cover them with an inch of soil.
Garlic is best planted in the fall, so that it has some roots grown before winter when it will lie dormant. Garlic likes moist soil but it doesn’t do well with a lot of water. If sprouts show above ground you must mulch with straw for the winter and take it off in the spring.
Garlic is susceptible to root rot and a variety of leaf diseases. Make sure that you start out with good seed stock.
Make your soil as good as it can be, and make sure you have prepared it to drain well. You can add a fertilizer (5-10-10) and/or manure every two weeks.
Make sure to weed very well as garlic won’t sprout or grow well with other seedlings of any kind. If you are having a drought, be prepared to water garlic.
Because garlic is prone to disease, it is best to use new seed stock each year. If garlic gets very stressed it, may stop producing little shoots and put all of its efforts into growing one large clove, instead of the 8-10 little ones you are looking for.
Find out what varieties of garlic grow best in your area as each kind is very dependent on weather and temperatures.
There are two kinds of garlic: common or hardneck. The common is what most people grow and the kind you find at the supermarket.
The hardneck kind tastes like common garlic but it has a flowering stem, and it does not have the layers of skin to peel away that you normally find on garlic. That makes it a cinch to peel but it also can leave the garlic clove unprotected from the elements.
If you live in a cool to cold climate and are having trouble learning how to grow garlic of the common variety, the hardneck “rocombole” will usually produce the best in adverse conditions.
Knowing how to grow garlic also means knowing when it is the proper time to harvest. You should take the plants out of the ground when the top foliage has died off.
Leaving them in the ground will not allow them to get any larger and might cause rot. If you are having a very wet season, you should pull them out absolutely as early as possible and keep them in a covered place to dry out. For winter storage, garlic likes a cool, dry place.
Tips for Growing Mushrooms
Learning how to grow mushrooms isn’t extremely difficult, but it also is not as easy as putting a seed or a plant into the ground and watching it grow. Mushrooms are fungi.
So, learning to grow mushrooms is really all about learning how to grow fungi, which is not at all the same as growing a green plant. In fact, fungi or mushrooms can grow with no light at all.
The easiest way to learn how to grow mushrooms is to buy a kit. In a kit, all the different the steps have been done for you except the actual growing.
The kits come with complete instructions, but generally what is left for you to do is to keep the substance moist, and expose it to warm and then cold temperatures to start the mushrooms growing. Buying a kit would help you determine if you really liked growing mushrooms or not, and thus whether you would want to go through the entire process from beginning to end.
If you decide you really want to learn how to grow mushrooms from scratch, you would be best advised to buy spawn from a greenhouse. Spawn is more or less a starter for the mushrooms, and to produce it requires just the right combination of sterility, moisture and temperature.
Once you have acquired your spawn, you need to prepare the substrate. The substrate is the organic material out of which the mushrooms will grow.
Good choices are sawdust, straw, logs, wood chips or compost. Compost is harder to prepare and is generally only to grow button-type mushrooms.
Mushrooms usually grown by home growers include such types as Reishi, Oregon Polypore, Lion’s Mane, Pearl Oyster, Maitake, Conifer Coral, Phoenix Oyster, and shiitake. Next, the spawn is introduced into the substrate to produce what is called mushroom mycelium, a word more or less meaning the mushroom roots.
One of the most popular methods of doing this is to cut 4-5 foot hardwood logs—this has to be done at just the right temperature usually in mid-fall. The logs lie dormant in the winter. Then in the spring holes are drilled into the wood log—spaced in a diamond shape so that each log has 48 holes.
In this case the log is the substrate. Then spawn dowels are placed in the drilled holes.
Next the logs are laid in the yard and where they have to be kept at a 30% moisture content. That means they have to be watered for several hours at least once a week.
The best way is to use a sprinkler system. By the time fall arrives you should have your first few mushrooms. In one year, they should be producing a good crop on each log. The logs will continue to produce mushrooms from 2-5 years.
Once you have eaten your own mushrooms, you will probably be reluctant to go back to store-bought mushrooms. However, mushrooms do take time and patience to grow, and it is usual to get varying results with home-grown mushrooms despite the hard work.
Still, you have something unique to show visitors as most people have never seen how mushrooms grow out of a log.
If you’re interested in a detailed step-by-step guide on how to grow mushrooms that are pesticide-free, and comes complete with high-definition instructional videos, go here.
Tips for Growing Juicy Tomatoes
The first thing you need to decide when thinking about how to grow tomatoes is whether or not you are going to start with seeds, or with small tomato plants.
If you live in a northern region that will be an easy decision, as the growing season is so short, you have no choice but to put them in the ground as plants. Still, you can start them from seeds in the house and then replant the seedlings outside once all danger of frost is past.
Usually the best choice is to go with seedlings unless you have a deep desire to grow heirloom varieties. These are old types of tomatoes which people preserve by planting seeds from their own tomatoes plants year after year.
Tomatoes are fun to grow and are a popular garden fruit, high in vitamins and minerals. When deciding how to grow your tomatoes, you also have to choose between determinate types which grow on bushes, or indeterminate, which grow on vines.
If you have a lack of space or wish to grow your tomatoes in containers, the bush variety is the best choice. Vine tomatoes can be left to grow on the ground, but are usually staked or placed in wire cages which can be bought at a gardening store or made by hand. Tomatoes left to grow on the ground often rot before they are ready to eat.
When you go to pick out your tomato plants, make sure to buy the ones with healthy green leaves. Bypass any with yellowing leaves.
If you are at a gardening center, every plant will have a tag with a row of letters indicating the diseases to which that particular plant is resistant.
In alphabetical order they are (A) Alternaria leaf spot, (F) Fusarium wilt, (FF) Fusarium Race 1 and Race 2, (L) Septoria leaf spot, (N) Nematodes, (T) Tobacco mosaic virus, and (V) Verticilium wilt.
So, if the tag on the plant reads FNV, you will know it’s resistant to Fusarium wilt, Nematodes, and Verticilium wilt.
Next, choose a variety of tomatoes that will mature early, medium-season, and late so that you can have fresh tomatoes for as many weeks as possible. Every locality has tomatoes that are particularly suited to its climate so ask around.
Also, ask the salesperson if he or she has any advice on how to grow tomatoes. You should try to pick up as many tips as possible.
All tomatoes need lots of sun to ripen so don’t plant them in a shady area. They also need a lot of water so if it’s a dry season, hand-watering will be in order.
Tomatoes grow well in pots on the deck, in raised beds, or normal garden conditions. Fertilizing with manure or a 5-10-10 mix from the store is always a good idea, especially if you want to grow really large tomatoes.
Don’t put the tomatoes into the ground until all danger of frost is past, or make sure you are able to cover them up on cold nights. Give them lots of room to grow by planting in holes three feet apart and rows three feet apart.
When putting them in the hole, take off the two leaves on the very bottom layer. Put on a collar for cutthroat worms by wrapping a tiny piece of newspaper around the spot where the stem comes through the ground—it should run approximately one inch below the dirt and one inch above the dirt.
If you don’t, you may come to the garden one day only to find that all of your plants have been cut off where the stem meets the ground. Next, put the plant in the nice hole you’ve dug—the stem of the plant should go into the dirt to allow for about 3 inches between the ground and the first set of leaves.
Do not separate the roots—just plant the whole little clump in the hole. The top inch of your cutthroat collar should be visible above ground. It’s easier to stake the tomatoes when they are young, so put a branch or a pole in the ground approximately six inches from the plant and tie the plant to it.
Or buy those tomato cages that come in metal or plastic and place one over the top of the plant. Then just wait for the plants to grow, weed them as necessary, and in 60-120 days you will be eating some delicious tomatoes.
You will never want to buy a store-bought tomato again!
By the way, this is the reference guide I used to grow yummy juicy tomatoes right in my home garden.