All posts by Cindy Robles

Grow an Abundant Vegetable Garden with Limited Space

Growing up, I lived in a 3 bedroom row home in the city. Although we did have a backyard, it wasn’t large enough to have the garden my dad always wanted. But he know how to take advantage of the space he did have using a few techniques that I am about to share with you. None of them were particularly crazy, just some practical, common-sense, easy to follow solutions.

One of the easiest things you can do right now is to pick plants that have high yields. By growing plants that grow more produce per plant, you will need to plant fewer of them. For instance, cherry tomato plants, peas, beans, zucchini, all have very high yields. So, simply planting just one or two could produce all that you need.

Do you companion plant? Companion planting is when lay out your vegetable garden so that plants with different needs are next to one another. It may mean that they have different nutritional needs and by planting them together, they do not fight for the same nutrients. Two plants may structurally support one another. For example you can plant Royal Burgundy Beans in between your corn and allow the beans to use the corn as a trellis. Or, it may mean that one plant provides needed shade for a smaller plant. I love planting lettuce under my tomatoes in the hot summer. The tomato?s shade keeps the lettuce from bolting.

Rotating crops from season to season will prevent disease help ensure your garden is abundant. You can also rotate crops within a season by planting your vegetables according to their temperature requirements. Plant cool weather tolerant plants in the early spring when temperatures are cool and then replace them (after they have been harvested) with summer varieties.

Learn how to grow vegetables vertically. You might be limited on the amount of space you have, but the sky is the limit, literally, when you grow your plants vertically. Vegetables such as cucumbers, beans and some squash are great candidates for vertical growing. Allowing them to grow horizontally can consume a tremendous amount of your precious garden space. If plants grow up a strong structure, you can use all that vertical space to your advantage. And, this will allow you to grow more varieties, too.

As you can see, these simple solutions can help you realize an abundant vegetable garden harvest with limited space. Adopt these common-sense ideas and you will be well on your way to harvesting more vegetables from your garden this season.

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Pruning Roses – What You Need to Know to Grow Beautiful Roses

Pruning roses is crucial if you want to grow beautiful, lush roses. Over the years, roses have been highly hybridized and cross bred in order to produce beautiful blooms. This has effected their growth habits. Today, keeping the bush size and shape appealing requires some human intervention in the form of pruning.

Pruning roses isn’t as complicated or mysterious as people make it out to be. In fact, there are just a few basic rules. If you keep these in mind whenever you pick up your pruning shears, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful rose bushes that your friends and neighbors will envy.

1) When to Prune

Rose pruning should be done in the spring, just as the leaf buds begin to swell. It is very important that the pruning is done before the seasons active growth begins. Young roses should not be pruned at all. They need to reach a strong, mature size (2-3 years) before pruning is necessary.

2) How Much to Prune

To some extent, this depends on how large you want the plant to become. Roses height can get out of control without pruning. Generally, a rose bush will grow 3-4 feet over the growing season, so prune it down enough to allow for this much growth. You don’t want the bush to grow so high that you cannot see or smell the blooms at the top.

3) What to Prune

The first thing to do when you start rose pruning is to remove any dead or decayed, broken or damaged growth. Not only does this keeps your bushes looking good, but it prevents the invasion of pests and disease.

Make your cuts just above a strong leaf bud. Notice the direction that the leaf bud is growing. That is the direction that the cane will grow in, if left intact. When pruning roses, you want to leave leaf buds that are growing in the desired direction.

Tiny, spindly canes will generally not amount to much of anything. Remove these so that the plant’s energy can be directed to the larger, stronger canes. Get rid of most of the old remaining leaves to promote new leaf growth.

4) Rose Pruning to Maintain Shape

It is a good idea to keep the center of the bush free of canes that are growing horizontally. This promotes good air circulation which helps prevent fungal infection. Another reason to avoid having canes crossing each other is that they create a lot of leaves that shade lower branches and discourage blooms on the lower part of the plant. When pruning roses, you want to prevent bushes from growing into large tangled masses with small, inferior blooms.

Climbing roses only need to be pruned to control their overall size or when they are growing in the wrong direction.

Continue to shape your rose bushes as they grow. Changing them from wild and unruly to prim and proper is the art of pruning roses.

5) Prevent Disease

Always use sharp pruning shears when rose pruning. Clean the shears after each use to remove any disease or fungus spores. After pruning, any major cuts can be painted with a sealer in order to aid in healing and to help keep out insects and diseases. Regular Elmer’s glue, diluted a bit, works fine and it is cheap.

Finally, finish pruning roses by cleaning up all the dead stuff you’ve cut away. You don’t want to leave infected canes on the ground to spread disease. You also don’t want to be surprised later when you step on an old thorny cane. Pull the weeds from around the rose bush and finish up by placing new mulch around the base of the rose bush.

Correctly pruning roses and controlling their growth habits makes for a lovelier bush and a healthier plant with larger blooms. Proper rose pruning is easy and it is the key to a happy, healthy rose garden. Enjoy your beautiful roses.

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