Backyard Grown Cherry Sauce

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Unripe Cherries 2013

One of the greatest benefits to growing some of your own food is the recipes you can make with the harvest such as this backyard grown cherry sauce. This sauce can be used in a multitude of ways. Pour it over ice cream. Pour it over pancakes or waffles. Pour it over another fruit pie. Pour it over angel food cake. Fill tarts with it. Make it ahead of time and keep in the freezer or fridge for use within a week. Fresh Cherry Sauce 40 Fresh Bing or Stella cherries (Washed, pitted, and sliced in halves) 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract 1/2 cup …


Perennials That Need to Be Cut Down in Fall

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Purple Centurea

As the gardening season nears the end and the flowers have faded, most perennials get a little straggly looking and not so pretty anymore.  Some perennials and many herbaceous plants like to be cut down in the fall due to mildew and other issues in rainy areas.  There are also some perennials that prefer to be cut down in the spring because they use their dead summer foliage for winter protection usually for the crown of the plant. Here is a list of common perennials to cut down in the spring. There are many other plants that are perennial in other …


Getting Ready For Winter

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Snowflake

The warm summer season is fading and now it’s time to start getting ready for winter. Depending on the specific climate of your region, the winterizing tasks for your container garden are going to be different. The biggest thing you can do to minimize the amount of work you needed at this time of year is to buy plants specifically suited for your climate zone. Rain If you live in a very temperate, warm and rainy area then you can get away with minimal fuss and not too many things to worry about. Your biggest concern will be protecting your plants from …


NPK Simplified

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NPK

What is NPK? All plants need all nutrients in various amounts, but increasing certain ones can boost a particular area of the plants physiology.  Figuring out NPK can get very mathematical and scientific but for this moment we’ll keep it simple and easy to understand.  N is Nitrogen Feeds the “greens” of the plant and helps speed growth P is Phosphates (Phosphorus) Promotes root and new shoot growth K is Potassium (Potash) Promotes flowering and fruit bearing Organic Sources of NPK Choose a good quality fertilizer that’s intended for the type of food or flowers your are growing. I recommend using organic fertilizers, there …


Perlite or Vermiculite?

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Vermiculite

For Drainage: Choose perlite For Water Retention: Choose vermiculite For planters, I suggest using a little of each as they have complimentary properties. The ratio should be 25% of one or both of these total to potting soil. So that means ¾ of the volume of potting soil and the rest (¼ of the volume) can be any balance of perlite and/or vermiculite. Perlite white granular particles a form of volcanic glass containing about 6% water neutral pH surface area of the particles are covered with little indents that hold nutrients and water clean, odourless, sterile and non-toxic will not rot or mold better for drainage …


How to Grow Basil Indoors

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Basil sprouts‏ on a windowsill

There will be no need for you to buy the costly basil plants from the nursery once you see how quickly and easily you can grow your own little forest of basil yourself. The plants for sale in the stores are usually quite expensive. This is because they are quite a high maintenance plant for the stores and nurseries. It’s a very weather sensitive plant and they also attract a lot of different pests. When planted in the garden, they’re often a magnet for slugs, snails, all kinds of bugs, bunnies and so many other creatures. The weather is big factor …


Hosta

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Field of Hosta

The Hosta is a fantastically popular and easy to grow perennial plant that’s commonly used in home gardens and containers. It’s another really good one for beginner gardeners. The Hosta is suitable for a wide range of growing zones, all the way from zone 2 to zone 10. This is just one characteristic that makes them perfect for beginner gardeners, they’re almost guaranteed to grow in any region of the country and climate zone! The very tough and weather hardy Hosta is probably the most recognizable herbaceous plant that you’ll see in the nurseries and garden centers.  They’re easy to …


Yuk! I have Spit On My Plants!

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Spittle Bug Foam

You’ll be out in the garden in early to mid spring admiring all of your fall planting work in its emerging beauty. Then, you’ll see something odd… You’ll see white globs of foamy stuff on some of your plants. You’ll think “yuk, I have spit on my plants”. Who spit on my plants?…will be the question on your mind. What’s this stuff anyway? That’s not Spit It’s not spit at all. It’s a foam created by Spittle Bug Nymphs. In Latin they are called Philaenus spumarius. At this point the nymphs are in the early stage of developing into the adult Froghopper insect. Their …


Pear Slugs

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Pear Slugs aka Cherry Slugs 2011

What the heck is a pear slug?? These are not your typical, large ground sliding, slimy slugs. Despite their name, Pear Slugs are actually an insect. They are the larva of the Sawfly and are also known as cherry slugs. These are tiny little creatures that pupate and become very similar looking to a regular fly. In Latin they are known as Caliroa cerasi. Pear Slugs aka Cherry Slugs have a maximum size of ½”. These little guys are tiny but very destructive. Pear slugs prefer your pear trees and cherry trees but will also eat other similar varieties too if they are available. Among the …


BBQ Potatoes and Veggies

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Home grown Potatoes for Dinner

One of the best rewards for all the effort of growing your own potatoes is the arrival of the first day that you can eat your delicious little potatoes. Wash and cut your potatoes into pieces about the size of a ping-pong ball. If they are already that size, leave them whole. Flatten out a layer of strong tin foil, use two layers if it’s the thin kind. Place the potatoes in the center of the foil in a single layer.   Add a couple of tablespoons of butter (not margarine) Add your desired spices such as salt & pepper, onion powder, …