Down and Dirty with Potting Soil Recipes

What is Potting Soil and How is it Different Than Garden Soil?
Whether you use it with houseplants indoors, or for window boxes outside, potting soil is an essential element in any garden container. That's because potting soil is different than gardening soil: It is lighter and airier, so helps to keep water moving from top to bottom and keep plant roots as healthy as possible. Garden soil, on the other hand, runs water to the base and holds it there.
But pre-packaged potting soil can be expensive, mainly if you have lots of containers and flower boxes. Fortunately, you can make homemade potting soil quickly and easily with readily available ingredients.
   Tailor your potting-soil mixture to the types of plants you want to grow to give them maximum nutrition. You can ensure healthy plants by taking control of the soil used to grow them. To make your potting soil, tailor the ingredients you use in your mix to how you will be using it. Below are some sample recipes that can guide your venture, but feel free to experiment with ingredients to suit the nutritional needs of your container garden. Pick up these must-have soil-mixing ingredients before getting started. A slick way to mix soil is in a Compost Tumbler, wheelbarrow, steel tub, I have even used a turkey basting pan, anything with sideboards, not to lose to much soil as you are mixing. For large batches mix in a wheel barrow and use my mantis tiller to do all the mixing. The mantis tiller also does a good job of mixing compost, it will get clogged a bit.

1. General Potting Soil Mix
6 gallons sphagnum peat moss
1/4 cup limestone
4¼ gallons vermiculite or perlite
4¼ gallons compost
Mix 2 cups rock phosphate, 2 cups greensand, 1/2 cup bone meal and 1/4 cup kelp meal, and add 1½ cups of this fertilizer blend to the finished mix.

2. Potted Perennial and Shrub Mix
1 part compost
1 part coarse sand
1 part sphagnum peat moss
1 part composted pine bark
2 T. lime for each shovel of peat moss
6. General Potting Soil Mix

3. Peat-Soil Combination Mix
2 parts vermiculite
3 parts sphagnum peat moss
2 parts perlite
2 parts dehydrated manure
3 parts garden soil
1/2 part bone meal

4. Soil-based Container Mix
1 part screened compost
1 part garden soil
1 part coarse sand or a mix of vermiculite and perlite
4. Peat-Soil Combination Mix

5. Seedling Soil Mix
Five parts finely screened compost
Four parts garden soil
1-2 parts coarse sand
1-2 parts sphagnum peat moss
2 T. lime for each shovel of peat moss

6. Succulent soil mix
1 part Use all-purpose potting soil as the base ingredient
1 part Perlite and pumice
1 part Coarse Sand
Perlite or Pumice

   Whether you use it with houseplants indoors, or for window boxes outside, potting soil is an essential element in any garden container. That's because potting soil is different than gardening soil: It is lighter and airier, so helps to keep water moving from top to bottom and keep plant roots as healthy as possible. Garden soil, on the other hand, runs water to the base and holds it there.
   But pre-packaged potting soil can be expensive, mainly if you have lots of containers and flower boxes. Fortunately, you can make homemade potting soil quickly and easily with readily available ingredients. I have had my share of recipes over the years mainly for cooking; now we have an arsenal of dirt recipes to play with feel free to modify at your convenience. Spring is still a long ways off for us in Northern Wisconsin. I will be starting some seeds, within the next ten days. Our last freeze is usually in the first week of June. Lots of work to do before then. Happy Gardening to all! 3/22/2018

How to Create a Garden That is Both Beautiful AND Functional!

The knowledgeable gardener's goal is designing and installing gardens that are beautiful, productive and functional. While appearing to be quite easy on paper, reality proves these goals can be quite a challenge to achieve. Here are a few ideas that may serve to challenge the imagination.

Edible Landscaping
Plants that bear fruit are part of the increasingly popular movement promoting edible landscaping. Gardeners find berry plants used as a lovely way to provide ground cover when planting a garden. When searching for plants providing cover for bare spots, consider using traditional fruits. Strawberries, for example, send out rapid growing runners that quickly fill in unsightly patches of dirt. Fruit subsequently harvested is delicious when freshly picked. Strawberries and other fruits planted in the garden provide year-round enjoyment when preserved.

Natural fence
Thorny berry plants are a practical option when planning a fence to keep pests and animals out of the garden area. Berry shrubs are an attractive alternative to traditional fences. When barriers are necessary, mature berry-filled shrubs help create and maintain boundaries.

Bird watching
Finally, enjoy the delightful sight of butterflies, birds, and hummingbirds fluttering to relish the nectar of flowers in the spring and summer, and berries through autumn and winter. Bird lovers can find pleasure in this enchanting display throughout all seasons, no messy bird feeder needed.

Pot's and Planters "Container Gardens"
Urban dwellers have joined the traditional rural gardener in a quest to grow sustainable gardens. Using pots, barrels, and other containers of every shape and size is a creative gardening technique that maximizes the space available to you.

Hiding outdoor appliances
Unusual flower or plants growing in pots offer stunning ornamental effects. On a practical note, pots and containers filled with flowers serve as an ideal spot to place outdoor wireless cameras. They can also conceal ground-level windows from potential intruders, hose coils, etc.

Cleaning the air
Plants proving quite adaptive to living in pots or containers include ferns. They provide a valuable service by keeping weeds at bay while giving a uniform appearance. Ferns provide essential amenities in filtering impurities from the air. Experts recommend using ferns as a way to cleanse the air around your home. By acting as air purifiers, ferns offer significant value, making them highly beneficial to our health.

Natural pest control
Many plants are highly resistant to bugs, pests, and diseases:


 Furthermore, animal pests like deer and rabbits find ferns distinctly unattractive. As these animals are capable of causing considerable havoc to plants and garden, ferns prove helpful in preventing them from trespassing the garden area.
   Plants do more than just improve your home’s curb appeal. They clean the air, provide natural pest cont

Top Tricks for Better Herb Gardening

Top Tricks for Better Herb Gardening

Do you like the idea of growing and cooking your own herbs, rather than spending a lot of money for them? A kitchen garden of your own guarantees freshness and the confidence of knowing where your plants come from. With a little know-how and patience, you can even create your own essential oils using herbs you grew yourself.

First Steps for Beginners

Choose seeds and seedlings from sustainable sources in your area. Your local plant nurseries are likely to have these. Start with one or two herbs you're likely to use the most. Parsley and oregano are tried and true favorites. If growing outdoors, bring in a sample of your soil and ask the experts which plants are best for it, and how to fertilize and improve the soil. Apartment dwellers can grow herbs in containers with generic potting soil.

Seeds or Seedlings

Growing from seeds takes longer than seedling plants but is less expensive and more satisfying when you see your baby plants first poke their heads above the soil. Seeds are also better if you're growing perennials such as oregano, mint, or chives. Some can be grown from cuttings. Many people start herb gardens indoors during the last part of winter or early spring, transplanting outside when warmer weather arrives.

Where to Start Your Garden

Most herbs should be planted in an area that gets full sun. Some like mint or parsley don't need quite as much and you should grow outdoors if at all possible. Your plants will produce better, attract helpful bees and butterflies, and prevent soil erosion. If growing indoors, put your garden in a sunny window. If you don't have one, get a grow lamp.

Maintaining Your Plants

Keep herbs well-watered, allowing them to dry out somewhat between watering times. Check for bugs often, even indoors. If spiders set up shop near your indoor garden, leave them to it. They're often harmless and will help take care of other pest problems. Economize by making your own compost or natural fertilizers. Crushed eggshells, green tea, and coffee grounds are often used.
Herbs usually keep producing throughout the summer. If you grow annuals, save the seeds for next year's crop. According to doTERRA products, essential oil extraction requires large quantities of your chosen herb, so the more you can plant the better.

You can grow helpful herbs no matter where you live. It is a great way to begin learning about gardening, and it's good for your health, the environment, and your pocketbook.

Way Before The "Weed Whacker" Was Developed

 Way Before The "Weed Whacker" Was Developed
 A weed whacker would work, but it flings the grass about and could damage the plantings.  The garden sickle is very precise since you encircle the grass with the hook before cutting it. I am very happy with the hand sickle.  Cutting grass is simple, but you need to be careful.  With one hand you grasp the tall grass and pull it taut.  You place the sickle blade at the base of the grass and with a slicing motion you sever the grass.  Since some force is exerted pulling the sickle toward you and it can come quickly swinging clear, you should keep limbs well out of the way of its path.  Also, take care not to slice the hand holding the grass.  You can fold the green grass in half (if it is several feet long) and use it to border the planting. These cutting will serve as mulch as it breaks down.

Here you will find a  selection of traditional Japanese garden sickles. It is a pleasure to work with them.
Serrated Blade Sickle

Nobori Gama Sicle

Turf Sickle

Traditional Japanese sickles are not stainless. The same thing is true today as in years gone by the best tool blades are made of carbon steel, which simply is not stainless. However, it requires only a little care to keep them from getting rusty. Just dry them after use! From time to time they need to receive a smear of oil. You can sharpen a sickle with a Japanese sickle stone or mini-combination Stone with handle.

A sickle is a hand-held agricultural/gardening tool with a curved blade typically used for weeding, harvesting grain crop or cutting grass for hay. The inside of the curve is sharp so that the user can draw or swing the blade against the base of the plant, catching it in the curve and slicing it at the same time. The material to be cut may be held in a bunch in the other hand (for example when reaping), held in place by a wooden stick, or left free. The blade of a sickle is often cranked to one side, to make it easier to keep the blade closer to the ground; this makes it right- or (more rarely) left-handed. Sickles used for reaping are usually serrated.

The sickle was largely superseded by the scythe, which is more comfortable and efficient to use for many purposes, but it continues in use in many parts of the world, and for certain uses where a scythe is not convenient. The most noticeable difference between a sickle and a scythe is the length of the handle.  A sickle is a one-handed tool with a short handle, used while bending down to the ground, while a scythe is a two-handed tool, used standing up, with a long, often curved shaft and a much longer blade. A blade which is regularly used to cut the silica-rich stems of cereal crops acquires a characteristic sickle-gloss, or wear pattern. Be sure to check out the selection at you will be glad you did! 3/1/2018

Top 10 Must Have Garden Vegetables For The Summer

When you have a bunch of seed options in front of you, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. It is also easy to lose your train of thought when confronted with so many seed options; in there somewhere is sure to be something you had not yet thought of or may have forgotten about but still wish to incorporate. At times like this, having a garden plan is useful, but even more useful than that is a seed selection plan that outlines the type of seeds you want to plant and how they correlate with what your ultimate gardening goals are. Make space for at least one of each of these edible 10 must-grow plants in your garden plot. Easy to grow and reliable producers of scrumptious produce from spring until fall, our top 10 edible plants will fill your plate with garden-fresh flavor. Need help planning? refer to

1.  Basil Tomato's perfect partner, basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow, making it a great top 10 must-grow plant. Add it to sauces, soups, and salads for a spicy, tangy flavor. The many varieties, from lime basil to Thai basil, have flavors ranging from citrusy to spicy with a touch of anise. Grow a few and explore the different tastes. Basil grows equally well in the garden and in containers, and its clean, long-lasting foliage makes it a great plant for the edible landscape, too. Try 'Genovese'. It has the spicy flavor. Basil is easy to grow from seed or transplants. I keep some basil growing year round. I use quite a bit for cooking, love the flavor. Basil leaves hold many important plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health-promoting properties.

2. Beans are some of the easiest vegetables to grow, and a wonderful addition to the top 10 must-grow plant list. Perfect for a first-time gardener or a child's vegetable garden, beans quickly germinate and produce copious amounts of tasty treats. They are available in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes; some plants produce colorful flowers, pods, and seeds. From snap beans to edamame—you can grow them all. Try 'Provider': It is known for its fast growth. Beans are easy to grow from seed. Legumes are called “nitrogen-fixing” plants. They have nodules along their roots, with specialized bacteria called rhizobia, that allow them to absorb nitrogen from the air, then release it into the soil. Fresh beans contain moderate levels of vitamin-C.  It is a natural antioxidant. Studies suggest that it help prevent free radical injury, act as an immune booster, and anti-inflammatory agent.

3. Spinach Scrumptious in a fresh salad and lovely in the garden, spinach is a top 10 must-grow plant for the edible landscape. Plant ribbons of spinach through a perennial border, or use it as a tiny, tidy hedge around a plot of early-season vegetables. Plant a late summer crop for harvest in fall. Try ‘Olympia’. Spinach is easy to grow from seed. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a wonderful source of Vitamin A and one of the healthiest sources minerals and nutrients that we can grow. 100 g of farm fresh spinach has 47% of daily recommended levels of vitamin-C. Vitamin-C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.

4. Mesclun The word "mesclun" is French and originally referred to a mixture of tender salad greens that were wild-harvested in early spring. Today mesclun is cultivated in gardens and containers to make harvesting perfectly tender baby looseleaf as easy as stepping out the door. Many flavor-rich mixes are available, making them a tasty addition to the top 10 must-grow plant list. Try a couple, and enjoy the variety of flavors. Mesclun is easy to grow from seed planted in early spring. Mesclun greens are valued for their color, variety, nutritional punch and the mix of flavors. Salad mesclun is a mix comprised of the young, tender new leaves of several greens species. Often called spring mix, the leaves are rich in vitamins and their color and form add interest to a boring salad. It also contains healthy amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are very much essential for body metabolism.

5. Snow peas Garden-fresh peas are the ultimate springtime treat, and so sweet it's hard to pass them up as a top 10 must-grow plant. This cool-season crop thrives in cool, moist weather and can be planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Best eaten fresh, some peas convert as much as 40 percent of their sugar to starch in just a few hours in the refrigerator. Snow peas and their close relative snap peas are eaten whole—no time-consuming shelling required. Try ‘Dwarf Gray Sugar’. Snow peas are easy to grow from seed. They are versatile, used in salads and stir-fries, or mixed with other vegetables for a medley. Fresh green peas also contain adequate amounts of antioxidants flavonoids such as carotenes, lutein, and zeaxanthin as well as vitamin-A.

6. Cucumbers A couple of cucumber plants will easily produce enough fruit for a family of four—you might even have some extra bounty to share with friends and neighbors, making them a great top 10 must-grow plant. Easy to grow and vigorous, cucumbers thrive in the heat of summer. Their trailing vines can sprawl across the garden, or they can be trained onto a sturdy trellis. Bush types are excellent for small-space gardens and containers. Try 'Marketmore 76' or 'Salad Bush'. Cucumbers are easy to grow from seed planted in late spring after the last frost. It is one of the very low-calorie vegetables; provide just 15 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers 
7. Hot peppers The heat of hot peppers intensifies as the peppers ripen. Chili peppers include Anaheims, anchos, jalapenos, cayenne, and habanero peppers, among others. They ripen through a wide range of colors from yellow, orange, purple, and even brown. Some chili peppers turn bright red, which is more often an indication of ripeness than hotness. One plant will produce many peppers during a growing season, making them a great top 10 must-grow plant. Try ‘Early Jalapeno’ or ‘Kung Pao’. Vitamin C: Chili peppers are very high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, important for wound healing and immune function.

8. Slicing tomato Is Also known as beefsteak tomatoes, this group of tomatoes produces medium to large fruits that are often sliced for topping burgers and sandwiches and is one of the top 10 must-grow plants. Often red but also available in yellow and green varieties, slicers tend to be disease-resistant and easy to grow. Some of the most popular slicers include 'Better Boy' and 'Celebrity'. Several heirloom tomatoes are also excellent slicers. 'Brandywine' is a pink-skin heirloom with soft flesh and full flavor. Lycopene, a flavonoid antioxidant, is a unique phytochemical compound found in the tomatoes. Red variety fruits tend to possess more of this antioxidant. Together with carotenoids, lycopene may help protect cells and other structures in the human body from harmful oxygen-free radicals.

9. Cherry tomato These bite-size tomatoes are packed with flavor and sweet tomato juice, making them a great top 10 must-grow plant. Available in shades of red and yellow, small-fruited tomatoes are often very prolific. One plant can produce several pounds of fruit from midsummer until frost. Try 'Yellow Pear,' 'Super Sweet 100,' and 'Juliet.' They contain very good levels of vitamin-A, and flavonoid antioxidants such as a and ß-carotenes, xanthins and lutein. Altogether, these pigment compounds are found to have antioxidant properties and take part in night-vision, maintenance of healthy mucosa and skin, and bones.

10. Sweet peppers come in all shapes and sizes. Bell peppers are the most popular garden variety of sweet peppers and are an easy, top 10 must-grow plant. Left to ripen, they turn red, purple, orange, or yellow and contain various amounts of sugar depending on the variety. Green bell peppers are the most common. Try 'California Wonder' or 'Purple Beauty.'Paler green and yellow elongated sweet pepper varieties often have a more intense flavor. Because peppers require a long, hot growing season, in cool regions or areas with short growing seasons, they may never develop their ripe color. Try 'Sweet Banana'. Fresh bell peppers, red or green, are a rich source of vitamin-C. This vitamin is particularly concentrated in red peppers at the highest levels.

An In-Depth Look At Digging Tools Let's Get Digging!

If you’re looking for gardening digging tools, recommendations are great! If you’re looking for tools that will help with flower gardening or landscape gardening, here are my recommendations.
Introduction to Garden Digging Tools:
Even among the basic garden tools, you are bound to find a wide variety of designs and sizes - enough to cause confusion when shopping. There is a reason for so many options - using the right tool for the right job makes your work easier and more efficient.
When selecting garden tools, make sure you get the right tool for the job, but don't stop there. Part of selecting any tool is the "How does it feel in my hand?" test. When choosing, try to imagine how the tool will feel after a few hours of use. Remember, as the size of the tool increases, the weight of the tool also increases. Larger tools are efficient, just remember to choose one that won't wear you out too quickly. Here are some of the different tools you might find.
Digging Tools
You use a shovel mainly for digging, but some have other specialized uses, including making deep, narrow holes; edging; moving stuff around, and trenching. The shovel is the mainstay and workhorse of the garden shed.
round pointed garden shovel
Round-Point Shovel
Rounded shovels usually have a beveled edge to help penetrate tough soil situations. They may also have a point to push into soil. The edges are curved to facilitate scooping. Handles are the height at which most people stand and can be ergonomically angled. Grips are often cushioned to prevent blisters. This is the workhorse of the garden, found in virtually every tool shed. It has a rounded blade with a point that permits easier ground penetration. The blade is slightly hollowed, allowing you to scoop dirt, mulch and more, and move it around.

Not all garden shovels are created the same. They come with differently shaped blades and handles and not surprisingly are made with different materials as well. Garden spades, for example, have particularly sharp blades which are useful for edging a garden, cutting sod and transplanting plants. Featuring a shorter handle with a D-grip and a blade with a straight, sharp edge, the spade's main purpose is to cut clean edges in turf or mulch. You can also use it to chop through small roots and dig shallow, square holes for plants.


Today you can buy a miracle broadfork, which will be an excellent replacement for the usual shovel. This tool has a special mechanism, which saves you from the load on your back and arms. When using it you do not need to raise the soil and turn it. In addition, the miracle broadfork not only digs up the ground, it also loosens it at the same time. You will not need a rake to break up large clods and leveling the site. The width of the treated surface (and the tool respectively) is much greater than when using a simple shovel and this is reflected in its performance. Sometimes called a U-bar digger, this tool has anywhere from four to eight 10-inch-long tines attached to a U-shaped bar. The tines loosen the soil as you push the tool into the earth and pull it out

Hoes come in dozens of shapes and sizes and serve many functions, from preparing and furrowing soil to weeding and cultivating it. Garden Hand Hoes, Japanese Garden Hoes, Short Handled Hoes, Long Handled Hoes and garden hand tools online. The floral hoe cuts into the soil quite deeply. Naturally, you wouldn’t want to use this hoe on very shallow-rooted crops. The Warren hoe can get between small plants much easier than the broader bladed hoe. The scuffle hoe, which is pushed back and forth just under the surface of the soil, is for very shallow cultivating and is best used on plants which have roots very close to the surface of the ground. 

This tool is a necessity when your soil is rocky or full of tree roots. Use the broad hoelike blade to pulverize small rocks and soil clods. A wide range of tasks that fall under the remit of landscaping can be undertaken with the use of a pick axe. Normal soil that has become dry and hardened can normally be broken up with a shovel. However, this will be more difficult when it comes to hard clay and hard rocky-type soils. Using the sharp end of the ax will enable you to break up the materials so that it can be removed as necessary.
Garden rakes can sometimes be called soil rakes, bow rakes, ground rakes or level heads. These have fairly long, straight heads which have short, rigid tines. They are designed for some heavy jobs, such as breaking up hard soil and creating planting rows. You’ll probably want one of each type—a steel garden rake and a steel or bamboo leaf rake. Garden rakes make short work of leveling out the ground and creating raised beds, and leaf rakes are good for spreading lightweight mulches and smoothing the finely prepared soil on top of a seedbed.
Spading Fork
A spading fork’s four tines are much heavier than those of a pitchfork. If well-made, it’s a rugged tool, built to do battle with soil — and the rocks it contains — without bending. It pierces the ground more easily than would a shovel or a spade and is great for pre-loosening soil that you can then lift out with a shovel, and for breaking up heavy soil clumps so that amendments can be added. The stubborn, matted roots of meadow grasses yield to it and can then be yanked intact. Dandelions are pulled out unbroken if a spading fork has probed around them. The digging fork, a similar tool with flattened tines, is the best one for prying out root crops such as carrots and potatoes.

If you're looking to till a new garden, cultivators are no match for the raw power and size of a garden tiller. Garden tillers are gas-powered dirt crushers with larger tines and the strength to break through the hard ground. Even if you've already got a large garden that needs tilling and cultivating year-after-year, a garden tiller will help you get your garden ready in less time, covering more area more easily.
Instead of getting down on your hands and knees to ready your soil by hand, let powerful garden tillers do the work for you. Rotary tillers are unsurpassed for breaking new ground, breaking up large soil clumps, digging furrows, and mixing in soil amendments, compost, and cover crops. (But be careful not to over-till because it destroys soil structure.)

Get A Head Start On Garden Planning Now

Get A Head Start On Garden Planning Now
It is time to think Spring, a little winter blues. Start planning the garden now. Drawing a map of your future garden is possibly the most fun part of garden planning! When you are looking at 18" plus of snow covering your garden the soil outside is cold and frozen, dreaming about how your garden will look in just a few months is incredibly satisfying. In the middle of winter and draw out a lovely garden layout map to use in the spring.
Planning your garden is a wonderful way to beat the winter blues. Proper planning will also make your garden planting so much easier once it does warm up outside. Just follow the garden layout you’ve created for yourself and you’ll find that the process of planting your garden outdoors is easy and fun if you’ve got a proper plan.
Before you know what you want, you need to figure out what you have. Start by drawing a map of your yard with existing trees, shrubs, slopes, patios and whatever else is out there. The map can be as formal (a scale version of graph paper) or casual as your need for detail dictates, but the more accurate it is, the more thorough your garden plan will be. Make note of the factors noted above that influence the kind of plantings that will follow. Locate areas with full sun and partial shade. Indicate places that are sheltered from the wind and where the best soil is.
You should only have to do this ounce and create a template. Go outside and measure your available garden space. If you don’t yet have a garden, now is a great time to plan the sizing details out. You’ll already have estimated your total available area in the garden planner, so use that as a guide. While you’re outside, take note of environmental factors such as common wind directions, shadows from other structures, the locations of large trees, and which areas get the most sun. These factors will affect where you place your plants.
I like to use graph paper 1/4 inch equals 1 foot. Your garden planner includes a  layout mapping page. Get your planner out, along with some stationary. I usually use a ruler, pencil, thin black sharpie, and pencil crayons for the garden mapping process. Mapping out your garden begins with setting a proper scale. Since I generally follow the Square-Foot for each plant Gardening Method, I like to draw out my garden layout so that each box on my garden map represents one square foot of real garden soil. It doesn’t matter what scale you set, it just matters that you use it consistently as you make your map. You’ll have to have the real outdoor dimensions of your garden to complete this step.
Once the garden is planned, and the vegetables are chosen it was time to thumb through the seed packets and growing guides to see just how much time they all need to grow, deducing which ones should be started indoors.  I will be starting onions, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and pickles, possibly a few more. So far I have only started onions and garlic since they require a very long growing season. We will see if it works. As the winter winds down I will start more seeds, again taking note of how long each plant requires.
This is another good reason to map out your garden. I never plant the same plants in the same place twice. Put simply, crop rotation is a systematic method of deciding what to plant where in your vegetable garden from one year to the next, based on plant groups. Moving plants to new locations each year. It improves your garden in two major ways. First, it helps keep your soil healthy and fertile. Planting the same thing in the same place year after year drains the nutrients from the soil that the plant needs in order to thrive and produce big harvests. Second, rotating plant families helps manage soil-borne diseases like verticillium wilt, and soil-dwelling insects like corn rootworms. These types of diseases and pests prefer certain kinds of plants, and the longer the plants stay in the same soil, the better the chance that these enemies will show up and cause trouble.
Water sources are another important detail to add to the map. I like to keep the water source in the middle of the garden or gardens in my case.  With underground sprinklers or simply a spigot. Keep the source centrally located. Our garden has a slight hump in the middle for good drainage, the water runs to the ends of the rows. Elevations are also important. Does the land slope towards its borders or rise in the center? Generally, you’ll want drainage to move away from your home, not toward it.
Now that you have your garden planned out. Take an inventory of your garden tools. You might need to replace a handle or two. Get ready Spring will be here before you know it.  Check out the selection a 1/22/2018

Down and Dirty with Potting Soil Recipes

What is Potting Soil and How is it Different Than Garden Soil? Whether you use it with houseplants indoors, or for window boxes outside,...