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Posts tagged ‘growing vegetables’

Cucumbers and tomatoes doing not well: try this

If it is too late for this growing season, these simple steps will help you have great tomato and cucumber plants next spring; you will also enjoy a rich harvest.

The bad weather we had this growing season opened my eyes. I would never imagine that there is such an insane difference between plants one grows from seeds and between plants we buy at garden centers and nurseries.

It was raining for more than a month, and we did not have any single sunny day. My garden was practically immersed in water. I tried digging deeper ditches along the plant beds to make the rain water go away, but every time when it rained again, all plants were practically floating.

Fortunately, this soaking ended, but the next period came with extreme and intense heat which meant that plants were literally boiling in the hot soil that had become heavy and did not allow plants breathing since in such a soil there is hardly any space for oxygen.

I did what I could; helped plants as much as possible with loosening soil and adding dry soil here and there, but the scene did not look that pretty.

I discovered that tomatoes required simply replanting after shaving off the yellow leaves. It was quite late in the summer, but I noticed they did not mind. They recovered approximately after two weeks. The key is to disturb the root as little as possible. I use a big shovel and take the tomato plant over to a quite deep hole which I prepare in advance. I replanted some tomatoes in large pots. Every single one recovered once it was removed from the previous spot. Even that one recovered which I literally tore out because I was already tired with all this wilting and rotting, and my energy was getting low. I just put it in the closest empty spot and loosely covered with some soil. Whatever, I didn’t care. To my surprise, it started doing so well after a few weeks that I could not believe what I saw.

Cucumbers do not love replanting that much. They will die off anyway. The best we can do is to cut off all the damaged leaves and even damaged parts. I know it feels like we should preserve whatever we can, but if there are any signs of mildew, mold or other similar damage, just cut if off and see what happens. Most cucumbers recovered after a big struggle and efforts from my side.

The plants that seemed to be having no bad weather impact were the ones I had grown from seeds. I was under impression that it is safe to buy plants at garden centers just like we were frequently doing in Europe. That is not the case here in Canada. I can see now that they most likely push out the plant with all kinds of root boosters and fertilizers, so that when this in a controlled temperature and under controlled light kept plant gets out into the garden and in naturally rough conditions it has no way, but to get all plant diseases and suffer from sensitivity to heat, temperature change and intense sunlight. So, I suppose, this is bad news for garden centers: I will not buy any plants from garden centers and nurseries next year. It makes no sense, because all plants which I started from seeds were and still are doing fine: there is no mildew, rotting, wilting or any other issue with them.

We could compare such a plant with a child who has been watched closely and has grown up in a strictly controlled environment, sometimes even sterile: once this kid gets out in the real world with all its disasters and impacts, this kid will get diseases and become sick from any germs that are around and completely harmless to these who have developed immunity gradually. Gradually means being in touch with outdoors and indoors, with anything that comes along.

Therefore, my main observation is: if you want your cucumber, tomato and other plants to be strong, resistant to plant diseases and weather conditions, start them from seeds. The best is also to use seeds which haven’t been genetically modified or processed using chemicals. Naturally strong plants just like humans need everything natural, not enhanced, not improved, not overdone: just naturally beneficial.

One more observation for extremely diverse climate where temperatures can go from very low to very high rapidly or where long rain periods are followed by lots of exposure to direct sun: let the cucumber plants go wide and allow them expanding on the soil without putting them on trellis, strings that go up, I mean, do not raise them up vertically because they will have more chances to do great close to the ground; and the weather impact will be not that harsh.

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Some backyard ideas and my most favorite herbs: the first post of my new blog

It took me a while:  I was planning to write this life blog for some 2 years, and I finally got written and published the first post of my new blog. I hope you’ll like it!

I was just cropping photos and thinking: it was such a blessing to grow up without any internet and without any mobile devices. I suppose, childhood is the perfect time to learn about our surroundings and nature. That is such a great time to find out what each herb a, grass and flower can do for us, how they can help and what they can cure. I had a grandmother who taught me everything she knew about plants, flowers and herbs when I was about 5-6 years old. We moved to a small town afterwards, we had a garden, just like everybody in Latvia did, but I was not surrounded by meadows and forest plants.

I also remember when I arrived in Canada, I saw lots of lawns, every house had it, and most backyards were lawns, too. That was when I thought: what a waste of land and soil! I think, it’s wrong to kill all dandelions, white and red clover, other small blossoming weeds, even nettles, because bees desperately need them. Well, and instead there is a flawless and boring lawn. If every house had flowers and blossoming weeds, we would not need to worry about losing bees.

It is thankfully summer, and summer means planting, weeding, growing and watering plants. I am very happy to have a huge backyard. I haven‘t turned it entirely in a garden yet, but if we stay here long enough, I probably will.

Here are the main reasons why even very busy people should grow some herbs and some basic vegetables in their backyard. It’s not about money and financial gains because starting up a small garden is not that cheap. It is about the huge health benefits. That also means that kids learn nature directly and take part in growing their own and very personally meals.

We obviously can buy everything at the grocery store and farmers market. The latter is a better choice because of a shorter shelf life. However, the soil has been depleted so terribly during last decades that vegetables and fruits we are consuming at the present moment have only 30% of the mineral, vitamin and nutrition content compared to what they had in 70-s. When we add to this processing time, packaging time, time of transportation and sitting on a shelf, we cannot even dream that this fruit or vegetable somewhat compares with that one which has been picked in the backyard or garden.

Strawberries grow anywhere

There are plants which grow themselves. As soon as we have put them in the ground, they’ll only require some water and a few also minimum amount of a fertilizer.

Easy to grow berries strawberries

I love strawberries because they grow wildly and require attention only two times a year: in the fall when we need to detach the new shoots, and in early spring when we should sort out the entire strawberry field or bed. After that, they just bloom and grow, and all one has to do is pick them when red. Isn’t that fantastic? Secondly, you get twice as much plants in the next year, 4 times more in the third year, and so until your backyard is a strawberry field. Just kidding, but still, it’s an easy plant to grow in milder climate.

backyard decorative parsley

The beautiful parsley

backyard simple parsley

The simple or Italian parsley

backyard the beautiful and healthy lemon balm

Lemon balm: so beautiful, so good for us, especially those who suffer from high blood pressure and anxiety or similar disorders

The other absolutely effortlessly growing things are herbs: basil, dill, parsley, mint, lemon balm and thyme. They have extreme contents of healthy stuff inside, yet don’t require practically any work. Dill can be sown every month as a sub-plant for other taller plants. It is a really friendly neighbour of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, radish and similar. Dill grows very fast, and just 1 teaspoon of chopped dill with any salads, soups or potatoes, etc. provides us with a large dose of live!!! vitamin C. I will review in other posts all possible uses of dill, parsley, lemon balm and other backyard plants.

backyard Dill: huge health benefits

The insanely healthy plant: dill for every condition

There is still time to plant and sow many summer herbs and vegetables. Radish and lettuce are ready in a very short time, so eat and put new seeds in the soil.

backyard crisp red radish

Radish: enormous benefits

backyard crisp radish

Crisp and red: eat right away

The biggest advantage of growing herbs and some vegetables is that we really can be sure how clean they are and what have used when growing them. Only tomatoes and cucumbers will need a bit of fertilizer (2 times a season is enough), everything else grows practically on its own.

backyard flowers

Flowers: endless source of pleasure

backyard more flowers

More flowers

backyard first strawberries

More strawberries, these are the first ones this year

backyard strawberries

I have strawberries in pots and everywhere else, we used them for sketching

Enjoy the pictures from my backyard!

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