self-watering

Nature is Calling Us

Nature is Calling Us 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

Trends come and go with each changing year. Gardening trends do the same with many different focuses on edible flowers to wall gardens to what to plant and not plant. The gardening world is no different than the fashion world with the “What’s hot, what’s not! However, one thing for sure never changes and that is the focus on nature and environment. One focus is loud and clear and that is how do we improve our environment? Each year there is a list of trending gardening ideas and the list for 2019 is not disappointing for the environment. There is one clear message in all the trends: We all can get out there and grow something green! It is possible!  Here are some remarkable trends predicted for 2019: Urban gardens Urban gardens are on the rise and should be. With all the possible products and devices out there to choose from everyone should grow something. Small place complaints don’t mean anything with the new and improved pots and raised garden beds available on the market. You do not need land to garden anymore. Small and middle size gardens are available and can be landscaped around or accessorized for aesthetic appeal. If you have acreage it does not mean you have to go big or go home! Pick a location and start small. Community gardens are a nice way to contribute as well. Restaurant gardens Who doesn’t want to eat at a restaurant that brags we grew it ourselves. The popularity of sitting among your food is on the rise just like the trendy restaurants that used to display meat as you walked in to ensure you knew right where your food was coming from. Rooftop gardens are popping up all over the world as the #farmtofork becomes a trademark. Growing…

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What To Do With All That Parsley?

What To Do With All That Parsley? 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

One of my favorite herbs to grow in the garden is parsley. Most people think of parsley as the useless garnish on the plate that gets thrown out after the meal is done. Why this may be true, parsley is a nice addition to any garden that adds beauty, fragrance, and flavor for certain dishes. If you plant parsley regularly in your garden you know there will be enough to share even with the beneficial bugs! I plant new parsley each year even though you can harvest and let it grow a second year. The second year growth will not have as much flavor but it will produce seeds that you can keep for up to three years and plant on your own the following years. Parsley is more than just a garnish! It contains high levels of flavonoids which makes it a powerful anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Parsley can be used in soups, stews and casseroles. It has such a rich green color and strong aroma when harvested it is a no wonder it is heathy for you. Because it is in the same family as carrots and celery it can grow well into the fall season even with cooler temperatures. Planting just one plant in well drained moist soil will yield an ample supply of parsley that can be used fresh, dried, or frozen for future use. I even share some of my parsley with the caterpillars that eventually become pollinating butterflies. Why not, there is so much of it. I enjoyed using it fresh throughout the garden season making sure to harvest it when there were at least three branches on one stem. In past years I was cutting just the top part to use as a garnish and now know that if you use it for…

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September Harvest

September Harvest 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

Carrots September is the month of the harvest. It is that time of the year when we yearn for cooler days and warmer foods. It is the end of summer and the beginning of fall where weekend fun now entails apple orchards and fall festivals instead water parks and pools. It is that time of the year when food harvest is at its peak whether it is corn, grain, grapes or vegetables. It is the Northern Hemisphere’s time to close the door and let winter take over for a much needed break. In the gardening world it is preserving and storing your garden’s bounty for a long winter season. The harvest moon will soon appear and not long after that frost will set in and the snow will fly. As the cool days become more frequent the gardens start to slow down and preparation begins to prepare the gardens for winter. My harvest this time of the year yields many carrots, pumpkins, tomatoes and lettuce greens. The carrots are my favorite due to the fact that once planted from seed it takes the majority of the summer to grow and mature. With much anticipation each carrot is pulled and admired with the idea that next year I will plant more and more of a variety. One of my favorite carrots to plant in the Eco Garden System is the little finger carrot. It is a smaller carrot that has a very sweet flavor and grows with ease in the garden system. I have also planted the rainbow mix carrots and enjoy the different colors they can add to a meal. Carrots are a very popular vegetable to grow and are a staple in most gardens. Thinning carrots They can, however, develop problems if the conditions are right. This year I…

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Water and Your Garden

Water and Your Garden 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

Water is essential for plants to grow. Good quality water is even more important if you want healthy plants and vegetables to thrive. There are many questions asked about the different filtered waters that people have in their homes when it comes to watering a garden. There are four water types: hard water, soft water, reverse osmosis, and of course good old Mother Nature’s rain water. If there was one to choose as the best for gardens, rain water would win hands down. However, we all know that relying on nature’s rain comes with a lot of inconsistency either in the form of drought or flooding, neither that is good for gardens. Hard water Hard water can be good for your plants. If you are using water from a well without a salt softener than that is consider hard water. Hard water contains minerals in the form of calcium and magnesium which can benefit your garden as long as there is not too much of it. Most of your fertilizers will contain these minerals to help growth and healthy foliage. If you notice stunted growth in your plants than you might want to check your soil to see if it test high for any of these minerals. I use hard water in my Eco garden systems and have notice in different locations that a white calcium build up will show up on top of the soil. No worries plants are healthy and soil is at a neutral pH level. Hard water can increase your alkaline level which means acidic loving plants may struggle. If the soil is to acidic plants can’t access nutrients very well. Hard water in an Eco Garden System White build up on top of soil from hard water Soft water Soft water is questionable and is…

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Tomatillos

Tomatillos 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

Grow Something New Every Garden season Last summer I saw countless posts on these green looking tomatoes (which are not tomatoes, but belong to the same nightshade family) that make the most delicious salsa verde. I thought that is something I am going to try in the Eco Garden System next spring. Traveling around to different garden shows I was often asked if certain vegetables would grow in the Eco System and of course my answer was yes, most vegetables and these are the ones I have tried. (I even grew peanuts which was fun to share with interesting buyers.) My goal after these shows was to make sure I tried a few new varieties of vegetables to ensure I knew what I was talking about. Tomatillos, what are they? They are intriguing and I couldn’t resist trying to grow some. Off to the garden center to find one to plant. I was lucky to find one and I proudly brought it home and planted it in my Eco Garden System. As I patiently waited for it to produce these amazing green colored tomato looking fruits, I realized I should have planted two of these overbearing massive plants. (It even said it on the plant marker! Oops) I decided to take my chances and see if one plant would produce and it did! There were lanterns everywhere and they were growing fruit in each of them. Success! Let me give you a little information on tomatillos because when you branch out and try something new you end up educating yourself on a plant you would have never taken the time to know. I have learned five things about the tomatillos: • It is pronounced to-ma-TEE-yo. No L’s in this pronunciation! • You DO need two plants to cross pollinate to…

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Time to Prepare for Fall Gardening

Time to Prepare for Fall Gardening 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

The garden season here in the Midwest is at its peak and it is now time to pull the summer plants that are done producing and plant those that will bring you into a harvest in the fall. These can include numerous vegetables and even though it is hard to pull foliage that still looks good, getting a head start on succession planting will ensure harvesting before estimated frost dates. Fall plants can include peas, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and kale. Tomato plants and pepper plants are in their prime and will continue to produce well into the fall months so they can be left alone to do what they do best in warmer weather, grow and produce. Here are a few tips to consider when preparing and planting your succession harvest. Location! Location! Lettuce is one vegetable I like to have all summer. It can be sowed continually as long as it has a certain amount of shade to cool the soil. If the soil is too hot lettuce seeds will not germinate. If you do get some growth, the heat can still make them bolt early so location is important. Mulching or planting lettuce near towering plants will ensure enough shade to encourage growth. Looking for lettuce seeds that tolerate heat will also help in maintaining lettuce all season long. Some examples include Green salad bowl, Black Seeded Simpson, Summer Bibb and little Gem. These are a variety of lettuce and include bibb, leaf, and romaine types. With the cooler temps going into the fall, lettuce will grow like it did in the spring. Sometimes I seed lettuce in smaller containers and transplant when space opens up in the garden. If it is a mild fall, having fresh greens for the Thanksgiving table is very likely. Temperature Beans! Beans!…

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Growing Herbs in the Eco Garden System

Growing Herbs in the Eco Garden System 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

Herbs are the wonderful accent to every meal whether it is for extra flavor or to just add a little culinary art to the dish. Most of us feel like gourmet cooks when we use one or two of the many varieties of herbs available. Using fresh herbs is the bonus that every chef would like to have at their fingertips. Planting and growing herbs is very simple especially if you plant them in an elevated bed or a container that is easy to reach for an easy harvest. There is a variety that you can choose from to plant depending on your cooking style. Here are five herbs to consider the next time you plant your garden: Parsley I begin with parsley because it is very easy to grow and will continue to grow with each harvest. Parsley adds a lot of color to salads, soups, and mixed vegetable dishes. It is widely known for its use as a garnish. Parsley grows best in moist, well-drained soil which makes the Eco Garden System and ideal garden to grow in. It is used in Mediterranean dishes and is packed with nutrients rich in vitamin A, K and E. Oregano Two common varieties of oregano are Greek or Italian. The flavor of oregano is best before the plant blooms. Harvesting and allowing to dry is better for this herb because it does not hold up well to prolong cooking. If using fresh oregano it is best to add towards the end of cooking. Oregano tends to grow in a drier environment with a neutral pH. However in the Eco Garden System it thrives well due to the well-drained soil and the fact that it is easier to contain and control. It should be snipped regularly to keep it bushy and tender. It…

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The Trial and Error of Gardening

The Trial and Error of Gardening 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

How many of you have been discouraged after planting a garden to find out some of your vegetation is not thriving? From brown spots to yellow leaves to weird looking bugs on your tomato and broccoli leaves, gardening has challenges that can make you want to quit immediately or run to your computer and google “Why are my pepper plant leaves turning yellow?” (If I haven’t googled it once I have googled it five times and that can be in one day.) I want quick answers to salvage what is left of the plant from diseases that will NOT go away on their own! Because I garden in a very large self-watering container, the most common diseases I run into usually come from existing plants that I purchase from nurseries or from organisms that arrive via wind first class. I have had to pull one cucumber plant and one tomato plant as well as some nasturtiums this garden season due to a few significant reasons. Here are three gardening issues that I have had to deal with when gardening in the Eco Garden System. Yellowing of leaves This can be on just about any plant that is growing in the garden. It is common in just about every garden and can be caused by one of three main factors: water, nutrients, or pests. A process of elimination of these three factors and problem solved! My first thought is watering. In a self- watering container this should be the easiest to eliminate. I know our first reaction is not enough water or too much water which with the Eco Garden system this should not be the case! Overwatering gives you wilted plants and under watering gives you shriveled up dry plants. A good way to test is to poke your finger…

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Gardening in an Eco Garden

Gardening in an Eco Garden 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

Who Can Benefit From This Fantastic Garden? I have been busy planting the last two weeks and now with the gardens planted I am amazed how fast the Eco Gardens grow! I planted on May 12th and already the gardens are filled to the brim with a multiple variety of vegetables. I harvested the romaine lettuce for dinner last night and it was what fresh from the garden lettuce is…wonderful! No worries of bacteria or of getting sick from what comes right out of my front yard garden. It really is an amazing garden! I injured my back a month ago and if I had to face the ground garden I had years ago I would have had to of said “Next year!” But with the Eco Garden all I do is watch and harvest. No bending, no kneeling, and no pulling hoses to water every spot. It is not a complicated system. It is a self- watering system that has a water reservoir at the bottom of the garden. It wicks the water to the root of the plants to keep them hydrated at all times. It is the garden for the future generation. I say that, because I have raised three of the future generation and they are more in tune to the Eco concept than the dig in the ground concept. The millenniums are a busy bunch and social media has taken over their lives to the point that if they want to garden they have a small window of time set aside for just that task. Not to mention it is so easy to learn gardening in this system. When young people do sports year round the art of gardening just does not make the list of priorities. My niece Abbey has signed up to take…

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Spring Time Planting

Spring Time Planting 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

Spring is finally here and everyone is anxious to get the yard cleaned up and the garden planted. So anxious we sometimes start too early. If you have a ground garden it is optimal to wait till the ground warms to about 50 degrees or warmer. With 80 degree highs it seems only right to start planting. Just remember a good rule of thumb is to follow what zone you are in.  In southern Wisconsin we are zone 5 and are pretty safe to plant after Mother’s Day.  Check to see what is the last possible day for frost to occur and then plant after that date. Planting in the spring means planting vegetables that love cooler temperatures. Five early spring veggies you can plant now are: Peas There are a variety of peas that you can plant in the spring and then again in the fall. Snow peas, sugar snap peas and shell peas are cold weather plants and are best grown by direct sowing into the garden once the soil can be worked. Once you harvest, wait to late summer and plant again for an early fall harvest. It is recommended to sow 6 weeks before the last frost and that is only if your ground and soil is not frozen. Spinach Spinach loves cooler temperatures that stay below 75 degrees. Plant at least 12 to 15 seeds per foot of the row to ensure plenty of growth. Spinach loves well drained soil and nutrient rich soil. It can be planted in sunny or shaded locations. Lettuce Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in the garden. There are many varieties of lettuce to choose from that can be sown directly into the garden or transplanted from a nursery purchase. I tend to plant lettuce in…

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