So today I thought I would share a video I did on Facebook Live about starting seeds indoors without grow lights. I really have a double reason for this – one because it is seed starting season and two because it gives me a bit more time to concentrate on doing the updates on older blog posts. While starting seeds indoors without grow lights does require a bit more work because you have to move the plants outside during the day and bring them back indoors before it gets too cold outside, grow lights can be costly – and I know they are not in everyone’s budget. So this technique is super easy, it is very similar to winter seed sowing only you have to bring the flats of seeds indoors once the outdoor temperatures begin to fall in the late afternoon. This lets the seeds germinate and grow while hardening off at the same time. In the end it saves you time because the seedlings you grow are ready to go into the garden once the danger of frost is over. Click here to continue reading “Seed Starting Indoors Without Grow Lights – Facebook Live Replay – YouTube”
About a month ago I came across a service called TweetAngels.com based in Los Angeles, California. Now as many of you know I have done all of my own social media management for years. I have worked with big name PR companies who have given me their list of what to do and what not to do. I have followed all the advice online – from trading social media follows to sharing your links on all your sites or asking friends to share your links on their sites. I have had some success but still was unable to reach the numbers I really needed to get the campaigns and response rates I wanted. This is why I decided to give Tweet Angels a try. Click here to read more –
The world is changing – everyday it seems there is a new report of how unsafe or contaminated our food or medicine is – and frankly this new trend is downright scary. I’m not surprised though. I saw this coming years ago as the need for more and more food from large commercial farms was becoming evident. I never thought it would get this bad, but I knew – for my own safety and that of my friends and family – I had to do something. What I chose to do was grow my own food and medicine. Now you may be wondering what food has to do with medicinal herbs – nothing really – except eating healthy food full of nutrients helps keep the body in tip top shape thus potentially minimizing the need for medicine.
Understanding how to use the herbs I was growing has taken years of study – and believe me there are no shortcuts – not if you want to maximize the safety aspects of using herbal medicine. I’ve read old receipt books from the 1800’s. I’ve read modern natural medicine books. I completed a course in Basic Herbology Systematic Approach and have my training certificate. Of course I have spent time studying the properties and folklore of plants. I have learned how to distill essential oils, use hydrosols, make salves and tinctures. I have learned how to preserve herbs in a number of ways. Click to read more –
Just Arrived: Sure Fire Mosquito Repellent #cldbrandsnethat #ad It’s been a rainy spring and summer here in Indiana so I was quite happy to receive the #cldbrandsnethat Mosquito Repellent Camouflage Safari Net Hat for trial. The weeds are taller than they have ever been and it is almost impossible to mow because some areas of our yard sit in water. When we do go outside, there are bugs and mosquitos everywhere. The #cldbrandsnethat has helped to alleviate the biting insects on my face and neck. It is lightweight, comfortable to wear and the netting does not restrict my vision in any way. The elastic neck is especially nice because it hugs to the contours of my neck and keeps bugs from getting in that way. Click here to read more –
Start With Good Soil
Growing plants in containers doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are several tips for creating a wonderful hanging basket or container garden this summer. Begin by using an artificial soil composed mostly of peat moss. Good soils such as Fafard or Pro-Mix use perlite, peat, and other ingredients to produce a soil that will not compact over the summer. Real garden soil compacts and turns into concrete under the pressure of regular watering. And when it does, plant roots stop growing because they require good open spaces to move into and absorb nutrients. Hard, compacted soils do not grow good plants so do not use real soil in your containers. I re-use my artificial potting soil from year to year. I dump it out of the pot. Chew it up with a shovel to cut up all last yearís roots and add approximately 10 % by volume of compost. The compost increases air spaces and gives plants a boost in healthy nutrition. I also make my own soil using peat moss, vermiculite and perlite. This mixture is sterile enough for seed starting and good enough to grow large tropical plants in. I top off each container plant with 3 inches of compost per year to add nutrients.
Let’s face it, as gardeners we all want a beautiful yard. Some of us want the prettiest yard on the block – others want the best garden on the local garden tour. Whatever your goal, it’s easy to spend a fortune every year creating a beautiful yard – even if the only thing you grow is a vegetable garden! These five gardening tips can help save you money in both this, and future gardening seasons.
Plan Your Vegetable Garden
1. Plan your vegetable garden according to what your family, friends or neighbors are planting so you can share your vegetables when they’re ready for eating. Many of us – myself included – know what it is like to have too many of one kind of vegetable because you can’t give what you grow away because my everyone’s were ripe at the same time. While you can donate the produce to your local food pantry or soup kitchen even these places can end up with too much of the same item like zucchini or tomatoes and the food goes to waste. Another option is to learn how to preserve the food you grow so you can eat it during the winter months when grocery store prices are high. While this option does take some work, it can save a lot of money on your grocery bill.
Welcome to ExoticGardening.com
As you may or may not know our sister site ExperimentalHomesteader.com is where all the blog posts are now at. It is a multi-site with the various topics broken down by category. There is a navigation menu at the top of this site. For those who don’t want to use that menu or who may want to know more about each individual blog, here is the breakdown.
Experimental Homesteader Home Page – this page is updated every few days with links to all the blog posts across the site. It is the landing page.
Experimental Homesteader EH – This is the page that is sort of a “catch all” if you will. I blog about health topics, prepper topics, clothing, host contests that don’t belong on other pages, etc.
Animal Husbandry – This is the page that I use to talk about all kinds of animals, their care and more. I cover rabbits, chickens, turkeys, peacocks, horses, goats, sheep, dogs, cats and whatever other animal I have personal experience with.
Crafty Creations – This the craft page. It covers all the crafty types of things I like to do – paper crafting, machine embroidery, spinning yarn, weaving, distillation, homemade bath and body products plus so much more. There are kids crafts too!
Elegant Cooking – I love cooking. This pages covers crock pot cooking, Sous Vide, baking, decorating, Isomalt – you name it, you just might find it there if it is about cooking. I even have blog posts on how to make your own butter.
Food Preservation – This is the canning, dehydrating, salting and all things related to preserving food section of the site.
Exotic Gardening Thoughts – This is the gardening section. Many older blog posts from this site were moved there and you all know how much I love plants so expect lots of awesome articles and photos!
Dreams And Destinations – This is the writing, technology and blogger opportunity site. If you are a blogger, check it out.
The store front features my books, my product recommendations – these are products I have personally tested, plus a selection of products I think readers of this site and the sister site may have an interest in.
For those who do not want to click over to the gardens descriptions, I will add them to this post as well. I hope you will enjoy looking around the new site and come visit our sister site too!
Welcome to “The Gardens” At Exotic Gardening Farm & Wildlife Habitat. There are nine distinct gardens here at Exotic Gardening Farm & Wildlife Habitat. A descriptive and pictorial view of each garden awaits. Access this information by clicking on the links below. It’s been a long journey and a labor of love to create these gardens. The work isn’t over yet – in fact, on some of the gardens, it is just beginning.
Garden #1 – The Walnut Garden
The walnut garden resides up the hill and to the left side of the house. It is the garden that borders my neighbor on one side. It is named this because there are numerous large black walnut trees growing there. I did not plant them, they came with the house. I like black walnuts, so the trick was figuring out what else would grow up there with them. Over the years, some wild raspberries took root. I have left them and pick them every year. I have found other plants that thrive underneath the trees – daylilies, hosta, columbine, Solomon’s Seal, paperbark hickory, lilac and a self-sown rose. On the outer edge of the garden, far away from where the walnut tree limbs reach, I have planted numerous evergreen trees of various types for border privacy. I planted more lilacs, bittersweet and Rose-of-Sharon along the edge of the property line as well. To add color, I interplanted planted tulips, iris, passiflora (maypop), valerian and yucca among other miscellaneous plants. It’s always interesting to see what comes back from year-to-year.
Garden #2 – The Front Garden
The sprawling front garden begins on the edge of the driveway and continues across the front of the house right down to the edge of the fence near the stop sign. I have no idea how large this garden is, but it is rather large. It is one of my favorite gardens because it is in full sun, very fragrant and in easy view of the house. I’ve tried a lot of different plants in this area – some thrive and some do not. Roses seem to like it and do quite well, thus there are numerous roses in all colors and sizes. I like fragrant roses and tend to pick the old-fashion varieties, so spring really is the best time to see the roses. Other spring blooming favorites in this area include clematis, poppy, dames rocket, iris, peonies, valerian and columbine. I have a purple melic grass from Kew Gardens in this area that blooms (and multiplies) every spring. There is catchfly, catmint, love-in-a-mist, daylilies, Sweet William, allium ninebark, lilies and so many more plants. You almost have to walk through this garden on a daily basis to see everything.
Garden #3 – The Shade Garden
The shade garden borders the right side of the house and extends into the front garden area. It is lovely year-round especially since there is color in it even in the dead of winter. I have numerous varieties of hellebore, hosta, arum, monkshood, coral bells, geraniums, Solomon’s Seal, columbine, clematis, sweet woodruff, wild ginger, peony and native plants such as Virginia bluebells, jack-in-the-pulpit, trillium, bloodroot. This list is by no way complete. This is another one of those gardens that you simply must see.
Garden #4 – The Butterfly Garden
The butterfly garden was started about two years ago. It is still a work-in-progress. We intend to have a walk-through butterfly house where caterpillars are safe from predators until they hatch and are able to be turned out on their own. There will be regular release dates so the public can come and watch them fly away if they choose. There are two bogs in this area with plans to add one more – and a pond. There are places to sit and enjoy the butterflies as well. Plants in this garden include milkweed, rattlesnake master, coneflower, joe pye-weed, compass plant, stiff goldenrod, sweet shrub, buddelia, spirea, lilac, comfrey, roses, sedum, cosmos, weigela, lavender, catmint, salvia, queen of the prairie, false sunflower, hosta, hydrangea and many more.
Garden #5 – The Bird Garden
The bird garden is still a work in progress. It was set up as a place for our chickens to free-range. Over the years, I have found that letting it grow naturally suits the chickens as well as the wild birds. I have some plants growing already, but intend to add more. The plants currently in this garden include Ohio buckeye, viburnum, ginko, lilac, privet, honeysuckle bushes, hollyhock, artemsia, wormwood, poppy, roses, yucca and iris. I intend to add sunflowers, safflower, white millet, corn, sorghum, broom sedge, black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, evening primrose, bee balm, red clover, goldenrod, peanuts, nyjer, lettuce and other plants birds and chickens enjoy. There are also plans to put in a large pond with boggy edges.
Garden #6 – The Pasture
The pasture is divided into five distinct areas because we rotate our livestock into an area until they eat the grass down, then close it off and move them into another area. Two of the main areas are pretty worn down by now, but that’s ok. There are three other areas where the grass is plentiful in season. Our livestock currently consists of chickens, goats (dairy, angora and cashmere), a horse and Leicester Longwool sheep.
Garden #7 – The Experimental Garden
The experimental garden – as it was dubbed this year, was the old vegetable garden. Fruit trees growing there include apples, peaches, pears, cherries and plums. There are numerous herbs planted throughout the garden and a small tunnel house for year-round vegetable growing. We intend to put in several hot beds for winter growing and this year tried straw bale gardening. I have numerous plants in this area growing in a wide array of containers – and really, anything goes in this area. It truly is for experimenting.
Garden #8 – The Far Acre Garden
The far acre garden consists of the last acre of land we bought. There is a large vegetable garden, a native plant garden, apple trees, roses, peonies and “the hill” that I am currently landscaping with plants such as phlox, bee balm, yarrow, hydrangea and hosta. I have the space up there to also grow numerous trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses and bamboo – and I’m doing just that. Much of the ground is covered in moss under the large maple trees and I find that attractive and soothing. There are places to sit up there right next to the large pasture area. Figuring out what will grow up there isn’t always easy since the plants need to be fairly drought tolerant once they are established, but landscaping this area is certainly fun.
Garden #9 – The Greenhouse Garden
The greenhouse garden area consists of a large greenhouse that is divided into several sections. These sections operate year-round and house a wide array of tropical plants. Some of these plants are edibles, some are highly fragrant and some are just ornamental. I tend to like unusual plants, so you will find many of these in the greenhouse. In addition to the year-round greenhouses, there are four walk-in greenhouses and a cold frame that are positioned right outside the area where the large greenhouse is. These houses and cold frames are used for seedlings and as a holding area during nice weather for plants that go into the garden. During late spring and early summer all of these greenhouses and cold frames are in use.
This is just a continually updated listing of the various blog posts on the Exotic Gardening Thoughts blog. The newest ones are closest to the top.