How To Grow A Pumpkin?

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Do you know that pumpkins can be made into sweet and savory dishes. Pumpkin seeds are healthy and fun to roast. They usually serve as beautiful and bright full decorations in most homes. Growing pumpkins is very easy and also cheap.

Pumpkins thrive in many different regions and therefore, can survive under various climatic conditions. You just need to know your favorite pumpkin variety and the environment that the variety will survive as well as planting and harvesting your pumpkin.

Do you know that pumpkins can be made into sweet and savory dishes. Pumpkin seeds are healthy and fun to roast. They usually serve as beautiful and bright full decorations in most homes. Growing pumpkins is very easy and also cheap.

Pumpkins thrive in many different regions and therefore, can survive under various climatic conditions. You just need to know your favorite pumpkin variety and the environment that the variety will survive as well as planting and harvesting your pumpkin.

Benefits of Pumpkin: https://www.health.com/nutrition/pumpkin-seeds-benefits

Preparing to grow pumpkin

Find out when to plant in your region

You need to know that pumpkins seeds do not make in cold soil and therefore, needs to be planted when there is no frost. You can plant your pumpkins during in the late spring or early summer so that you harvest in the fall. Pumpkins normally mature after 95 to 120 days.

If you are that type who celebrate Halloween and would like to have pumpkins ready by that time, then you need to plant in late July.

Choose where to plant and prepare the soil

Pumpkins usually thrive well in vines and also need enough space to spread. Choose a space in your garden with a 20 to 30 feet free space. You can plant a pumpkin along the side of your house or along the fence so that it doesn’t take most space in your garden.

  • Don’t choose a spot under a tree,
  • Choose soil with good drainage
  • Prepare the soil in advance by composting it so that you give your pumpkin an extra boost.

Choosing the seeds

You can get the seeds from your local nursery or order them from a known pumpkin dealer. There are three categories of pumpkin seeds.

  • Pie pumpkins which are mainly used as food.
  • Large pumpkins which are normally used for decorations. They can also be eaten by they are less tasty when they are fresh.
  • Small decorative pumpkins. They are normally referred to as mini pumpkins.

Planting the pumpkins

Pumpkin seeds are normally planted in hills. So, you mount small dirt and then plant seeds 1-2 inches deep. Mounts of dirt normally work to improve the drainage of soil and also allow the sun to heat the soil faster which hastens the germination of pumpkin seeds.

  • Plant about two to three seeds in one hole so that if one fails to sprout, the other one sprouts.
  • You don’t have to put the seeds in a certain position. Just put them in holes. It doesn’t matter the position it faces. If the seeds are viable, then it will definitely grow.

Plant pumpkins in wide rows

If you choose a variety of pumpkin which grows along creeping vines, then you need to allow a space of 3.7 meters in the same row and then space the 1.8 to 3 meters apart depending on the pumpkin species that you choose. If you have a bush type variety which normally grows on shorter vines, you need to leave a free space of about 2.4 meters in all directions

Cover the planted seeds with compost

If you had already compost the soil before planting, then you can jump this step. But if you had not done so, then you need to add a layer of compost or mulch in the spots that you had planted the seeds. Composting will help to reduce the growth of weeds and also nourish the seeds for proper germination.

  • Given proper care, the pumpkin seeds should sprout within a period of a week.

Caring for the pumpkins

1.    You need to ensure that you water the pumpkins when the amount of moisture in the soil is low. You need to know that pumpkin seeds require a lot of water when growing, but it shouldn’t be too much. You need to, only water the soil when dry rather than adding water to the already wet soil. When you water, ensure that you water the soil deeply and then stay for some time without watering the soil.

  • When you water the soil, ensure that water soaks deeply into the soil. This is because pumpkin plant seeds sink several inches down the soil depending on the variety that you planted.
  • You need to take care not to apply water onto the pumpkin leaves as this encourages the growth of fungi called powdery mildew. This fungus causes the leaves of the pumpkin plant to wither and then die eventually. It is normally advised that you water the plants in the morning rather than at night so that the leaves that get into contact with water dry.
  • When the pumpkin begins to produce fruits and turn orange, reduce the amount of water that you use. You can stop watering the plant at all for about a week before you start to harvest the pumpkin.

2.    Fertilize the pumpkin plant

When the pumpkin starts to sprout, add fertilizers to it to encourage health growth of the pumpkin. You can go to your nursery and ask for fertilizers that you can add to pumpkins while they are still in the bed.

3.    Control weeds and pests

In order to make sure that your pumpkin grows healthy and produce healthy pumpkin, you need to make sure that you monitor the growth of the pumpkin.

  • Weed the pumpkins from time to time. you need not to allow weeds to crowd around you pumpkin plant as they will absorb nutrients that are meant for the pumpkin plant. You need to have a plan to weed your pumpkin every week.
  • You need to be checking pumpkin leaves and blossoms for beetles which normally eat the tissues of the plant and eventually kill it. You need to be checking them and scrapping them off the plant every week.
  • Put mulch around your plant to reduce the number of weeds that grow around the plant and also conserve moisture.
  • You need also to spray your pumpkin plants to kill aphids which are found underneath the leaves of pumpkin.
  • If possible, you need to use organic pesticides to get rid of pests from the leaves of pumpkin plants. You can ask for organic pesticides from your local nursery.

Harvesting the pumpkin

1. Check if the pumpkins are ready to harvest

The pumpkin normally turns pale bright orange depending on the variety when they are ripe and ready to harvest. You will realize that the vine and the stem start to dry and wither.

2. Don’t harvest when they are still soft

If you harvest soft pumpkins, they will spoil and rot after a few days.

3. Cut the pumpkin stem

You need to use a pair of shears to cut the stem. Ensure that you cut it some few inches long to prevent rotting of the pumpkin.

4. Storage

You need to store your pumpkin in a cool, dry place. They o not need refrigeration. They can stay fresh for several months as long as you store them well in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

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Easy To Follow Steps To Gardening On A Budget

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Do you really know that you can grow a garden virtually anywhere in your home? So, if you do not have a large piece of land, you do not have to worry and throw off your garden towel. If you are staying in a rental, you can easily have your garden in containers. But if you bare living in a suburb, you can easily raise a garden bed.

But if you are living in a place with a small acreage of land, then you can probably grow a garden. You can also do that if you have a large acreage of land.

Sometimes, you can be having the space to grow a garden and also willing to grow a garden, but your budget is so tight that you are not even sure if you cannot afford everything to create a garden. But you need not to worry, read on this article to get helpful information that will help you create a productive mealworm garden on a tight budget.

Here is how to garden on budget.

DIY compost

Most people have turned gardening into an expensive hobby. They fill their gardens with expensive bags of blood meals and décor items. But you don’t have to kill the dream of owning a garden in your home because you can’t afford those items. Most of the people actually do not afford those items. But why don’t you make your own garden starting with a compost?

Compost is the best place in your garden especially when it is in its early planting stages. When you visit the compost store, you will realize that many people are proud of this item. But instead of going to the store to get this compost at a high price, why don’t you utilize the locally available materials? Get some few items that you use every day that will compost well.

You can also google on the internet to find ways which you can use to make inexpensive compost bin in your home.

More: Successful Composting and All You Need To Know To Get Started

Don’t forget the tea

You can use simple ways to make a compost bin in your home that will spin. You can simply use three metal poles and a plastic barrel.

You put two metal poles into the ground. You then put the metal pole through the barrel and then attach all the poles such that the barrel spins above the ground. You can then start dumping a little compost into the barrel every day and then let them spin a little bit every day. When you do this, you will get liquid produced in the compost. Put a bucket under the spinning barrel to collect the liquid so that you don’t waste the liquid.

You can then pour the liquid that you collect into the garden. This liquid is the one which is called the compost tea.  Liquid tea is actually the best addition into your garden. What you need to know is that working on a budget is making sure that you waste nothing.

Find your own seeds

The next thing that you need to do is to find how you will find your own seed to sow or where to get the seeds that are cheap. There are ways to find your own seeds or where to get inexpensive seeds.

The first way to do that is to save your own seeds and then eat the food that you would like to grow. You just need to be careful not to throw away the seeds. Instead of tossing them away, just dry them on a paper plate or a dehydrator. Once they are dried, store them in a plastic bag.

If you want to buy cheap seeds, go to the internet and google cheap seeds for sale. You can be lucky to get a pack for only 99 cents of which you will get the most out of that.

Plant your own

If you plant a garden on a tight budget, you will realize that planting your own is cheaper than purchasing seeds. You can find tutorials online on how you can grow your own seeds. The idea here is just to nurture the seeds from when they are young until when they are fully grown.

This actually takes you some effort, but it is less costly. When your plants are grown, adjust them slowly to the outdoor environment before planting them on the garden.

Muscles over equipment

There is equipment that you can use to nurture your garden. There is a tractor, tillers, and lots of other equipment. But if you are operating on a tight budget, you probably will not afford to buy this equipment.  You will have to focus more to use your muscles rather than the machines. You will invest in essential gardening tools like a hoe and a spade.

What you need to know is that equipment is only meant to make work easier and not cheaper. This means that you have to break your back when operating on a tight budget and you want a garden.

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How To Grow Sweet Potatoes

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How To Grow Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are forward crops that can thrive in hot conditions and resistant ones they are grown. This crop does not need high fertility of soil nor even a lot of organic matter for its growth. Planting of this crop comes later than most of the spring plants which gives you a chance to deal with transplanting first. After sweet potato plants cover the surface, they need less attention apart from just watering them until when they are harvested.

There are so many people who refer sweet potatoes as yams, but that is not right. Sweet potatoes are relatives to morning glory plants. They are roots and not tubers and so cannot even resemble yams. A true yam is a tropical tuber and not morning glory relatives. That is all about. That is all about yams!

One baked sweet potato which is 114 grams contain 185% RDA of vitamin A, 28% the RDA of vitamin C, 100% OF VITAMIN E,  160 calories and a lot of antioxidants. It has no fat.

The main threat to sweet potatoes are deer and are best controlled with guns, dogs, and fences.

Varieties Of Sweet Potatoes:

  1. Georgia jet-This is the modern variety which can grow to maturity in just 90 days
  2. Traditional sweet potatoes- they can be yellow, purple and white
  3. Ornamental sweet potatoes- they are normally used for beauty purposes. You can get some with a fancy cut or heart-shaped leaves
  4. Bunch Porto Ricco- they have short vines, and they are the most suitable for places with less space.

Requirements For The Growth Of Sweet Potatoes

You only need sunshine and warmth to grow sweet potato crops. Fast maturing sweet potato plants require about 1200 growing degree days (GDD) when calculated on a base temperature of 55 degrees F to yield good produce.  Using black plastic mulch, hoophouse or row cover can help to increase the GDD. Day time temperatures of 90 degrees F with 70 degrees F nights.

How To Grow Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are usually planted two weeks after the last frost. The soil which you use to plant sweet potatoes should reach a temperature of 65 degrees F at a depth of four inches on four consecutive days.

Some prefer to transfer sweet potato slips from the greenhouse when they have grown about two leaves rather than rushing them out to the field.

For the big potatoes, you need to plant the slips vertically. For the average ones but rather large total yields, you need to plant the sweet potato slips horizontally 2-3 inches down the soil. You need to have 3-5 leaf nodes underneath the soil and only the tip outside. This helps to give the plant a second chance to grow if frost strikes it.

If you are planting during a dry season, you need to water the soil first and then leave the soil in the damp compost as you are planting. When planting sweet potatoes, the soil is normally raised to reduce damage during the floods. You can raise the sweet potato hills before you plant the sweet potatoes.

But if you are planting your sweet potatoes in colder areas, you need to use black plastic mulch in order to warm the already formed hills. You need to do that about three weeks before you transfer your sweet potato slips. Using black plastic mulch also increases the rate of growth of the sweet potatoes and also increase the amount of yield.

There are those who have planted sweet potatoes on bare grounds and then used the over-head irrigation system. This is good though as it ensures that plants get adequate water during growth, but the problem is that this type of irrigation of the plant results to the growth of bad weeds around the crop.

Due to the shortcomings of overhead irrigation, most people are now using drip tape for irrigation. The good thing with this type of irrigation is that it results in a few weeds and also reduces the amount of water that goes to waste. The only difficulty when using drip irrigation is that it is difficult to keep the drip tape on the ridge. Luckily, there is a way. People now plant sweet potato sleeps on the alternate sides of the tape.

These days, people are using ridges, drip tape, and biodegradable plastic mulch and surprisingly, they experience fewer weeds!

Using biodegradable plastic

Biodegradable plastics are good in that they warm the soil and also helps to get higher yields out of sweet potatoes. It also makes the grown weeds to biodegrade after a few weeks and therefore, do not need you to remove the weeds yourself.

Stages of sweet potato development

Your sweet potato plants won’t grow during the first few weeks of transplanting the plant. But that shouldn’t make you to worry. That is the stage of root development. Sweet potato roots can go up to 8 cm down the ground in 40 days. You just need to apply an inch of water per week as it is needed by the plant and then pull the weeds when they appear.

During the second month, the vines start to grow. The roots start to store starch and sugar close to the base of the stem. You will realize that the weeds will stop growing ones the vines cover the ground.

After about three to four months, sweet potatoes start growing, and vines slow down its growth. Unlike the white potatoes, which usually die when the tip stops growing, sweet potatoes do not stop growing, and so you can decide when you want to dig them out before the onset of the cold weather.

The longer you wait before you dig them out, the bigger the potato grows. The problem with waiting is that you cannot be sure of the weather. You need to make ensure that you dig the potatoes out before the temperatures go below 55 degrees F. when this happens, you risk your potatoes being permanently damaged.

More:

15 Easiest Veggies & Herbs To Grow In Your Garden
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15 Easiest Veggies & Herbs To Grow In Your Garden

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Veggies & Herbs To Grow In Your Garden

Vegetables and herbs that you grow in your home garden bring a delicious and fresh taste to summer meals. But are you late to plant your vegetables and herbs this year? But you never worry as there are so many vegetables and plants that can be grown throughout the growing season.

When your vegetables and herbs are ready, you can then go to your garden and pick some of them and enjoy fresh cooked vegetables and herbs using your preferred recipe.

Actually, growing vegetables and herbs in your garden help you get abundant nutrients to keep you happy and healthy throughout the year. The following are some of the vegetables and herbs that you can easily grow in your garden.

Bush beans:

bush beans

Why they are loved

Many people so much love Bush beans because they are the most healthy and favorite meal during the winter. Most people like their fresh crunch and flavor. Actually, they add a great bright shot to0 your favorite dinner plate.

What you get from the beans

Green beans provide abundant nutrients like vitamin A, C, and K, folate, iron, and manganese as well.

In your garden

You need to plant your bean seeds in soil that is well drained and also in a place which receives maximum sunlight. It is advisable that you sow the seeds every few weeks so that you can enjoy a continuous harvest throughout the summer.

Beets:

beets

Why they are loved

Beets are an earthy sweet treat. You need to eat the bees when they are still young as they are the most delicious raw salad. You can cook the mature ones as you would kale.

What you get

When you take half a cup of cooked mature beans, the amount of calories that is added to your body is just 29, but the amount of fiber that you add into your body is 2grams. It also provides 195 of the daily value folate. 

Beets also provide vitamin B that is needed for the healthy growth of cells. The color of vitamins that come from the betamin which is a phytochemical is perceived to boost immunity in the body.

In your garden

You just need to grow beets in your garden as long as the soil is ready to be worked on during the spring.

Carrots:

Carrots

Why they are loved

Carrots are the most favorite perennial vegetable taken either raw or cooked. There are a variety of recipes that are available for cooking carrots. You just need to choose one that goes well with you.

What you get

The pigment that makes the carrot orange-beta carotene is the same compound that your body converts to vitamin A. this vitamin is important for improved vision, the general health of the skin and the immune system.

In your garden

You just need to plant carrots in your garden as long as the soil can be worked on. Carrots normally do best in fertile sandy loam.

Cucumbers:

Cucumbers

Why they are loved

Cucumbers are tasty additives to salads. You can add a crunch of fresh cucumber to your favorite dinner plate and enjoy your tasty meal. Cucumbers also taste good when they are cooked. So, they can be taken raw or cooked.

What you get from the cucumber

Cucumbers are not well known to provide nutrients, but it provides a great refreshment to your body. When you take a cup of cucumber water, you get a refreshment equal to a glass of water. So, cucumber is good for your body.

In your garden

When you grow cucumber in your garden, provide them with sufficient organic matter as well as good fertilization. When you do this, you will get a lot of crunchy cucumbers. They are normally harvested regularly in order to increase production.

Lettuce mix:

Lettuce mix

Why they are loved

Lettuce is very easy to grow in your garden making it the best choice for container and pot gardening. Lettuce mix has a great taste in a salad or in a sandwich. You should consider trying this out.

What you get from lettuce

There are a variety of species of lettuce, and so, their nutritional value also varies. The green leaves of lettuce are normally a great start to any meal. Lettuce provides vitamins A, C, and folate.

In your garden

Lettuce normally survives in cooler weather, and so, you can plant it in the spring and fall. Grow them after every few weeks to ensure continuous production.

Snap Peas:

Snap Peas

Why they are loved

They are sweet peas with edible pods. They actually make a great snack on their own. Snap peas also make as a satisfying dish when they are cooked. So, the choice is yours. You can eat either raw or cooked.

What you get

When you take a cup, of snap peas, you get almost one-third of your daily nutritional value plus also three grams of fiber. Actually, snap peas are a healthy choice.

In your garden

Snap peas are hard legumes that can grow in temperatures even as low as -40 degrees. They usually do not do well in hot and dry weather. You need to plant your snap peas early so that they can also mature early as long as your schedule allows that.  You need to plant more of snap peas when the cooler season appears again.

Radishes:

radish

Why they are loved

Radishes are spicy crunchy globes that are packed with flavor. Actually, radishes are more versatile than you even think. You can add them to a salad or temper their heat by cooking them in your favorite vegetable fry.

What you get from radish

Radish has only one calorie

In your garden

Radishes are very easy to grow in containers and gardens even if you don’t have green thumb. When you plant spring radish varieties, they get ready for use in just three weeks. They are usually mild in flavor-hotter summer soil and produce spicier radishes.

Mild mustard salad mix

Why they are loved

Peppery and mustard greens like Pac Choi and mizuna add a great taste to salads. You need to try this when you want to have an Asian salad mix.

What you get

The dark leafy greens are normally rich in vitamin C, A, and K.

In your garden

You can grow salad greens in your gardens anytime from early spring to the mid of summer.

Thyme:

theme

Why they are loved

Thyme is the most versatile herbs which are best known for background flavoring of stews and soup. Though they are normally paired with red meat, root vegetables, and poultry, thyme is also good with pears and apples.

In your garden

You just need to grow thyme in an area of your garden that receives maximum sunlight.

Parsley:

parsley

Why they are loved

Parsley is usually used as a garnish. Not only does parsley have a great quality aroma but also contain vitamin A and C.

In your garden

You just need to plat your parsley in fertile soil rich in organic matter and moisture.

Cilantro:

Cilantro

Why they are loved

Cilantro is one of the most flavorful herbs. This type of herb is prominently used in Mexico and south East Asia. You can try this in the place of basil in pesto to top fish. You can even stir it to your favorite salsa recipe. You use both the stem and the leaves as they are all flavorful. You just need to get rid of the hard parts.

In your garden

You need to plant cilantro very early in the start of the season and then continuously sow the seeds for continuous production of cilantro.

Dill:

Dill

Why they are loved

Both the leaves and seeds of dill are used for seasoning.  Dill is also a versatile herb. Its leaves are soft and sweet whereas the seeds have a sweet but citrusy taste that have a slight bitter taste.

In your garden

This type of herb can be used whether fresh or dried. You just need to plant your dill seeds in warmer temperatures. It normally survives in temperatures about 75 to 80 degrees Celsius.

Mint:

mint

Why they are loved

There are several species of mint. You can use it in your drinks like mojitos or mint juleps. You can also add mint to your summer iced tea.

What they do

Mint acts to freshen your breath and also helps to calm the stomach

 In your garden

Mint is best grown in containers.  You need to also know that mint is an invasive plant as it spreads and cover a large area in your garden.

Sage:

sage

This is an aromatic herb that is good for seasoning meat, vegetables and sauces.

What it does

Sage helps to relieve cuts, inflammation, and also helps with the issues of memory failure.

In your gardening

Sage is very easy to grow and care. When you grow in your garden, it attracts a lot of bees.