Cucumber Planting, Growing and Caring

Cucumber is a gourd family Cucurbtacea known to be the best and fourth most cultivated vegetable around the world. It is a summer season vegetable which has a lot of health benefits especially for skin and eyes. Cucumber is a creeping vine plant which can be grown over trellises or you can leave on the ground. They are easy growing plants and also very easy to care and maintain.

Cucumber Planting, Growing and CaringCucumber can be grown outdoors, indoors and in hydroponic method. As this is a summer season vegetable, you can grow them all year around with hydroponics. Cucumbers comes in many varieties, Burpless cucumbers, Lemon cucumbers, Sweet Armenian cucumbers, Parthenocarpic cucumbers and Gynecoecous cucumbers. Choose the best variety for your garden.

Growing Outdoors:

Choose the best spot to plant your cucumbers where it can receive direct sunlight for at least 6 hours. Cucumbers grow fast in warm soil. Plant cucumber seeds directly into the soil only if the soil temperature is more than 70 to 80 degrees F. Once planted the seeds water them thoroughly to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Cover them with net to protect from birds. Soil should be well-drained and slightly alkaline with pH of 7.0.

Cucumber takes 7 to 10 days to germinate. Once they germinate water them frequently. Let the seedlings grow up to a height of 2 to 3 inches and then thin them. Cucumbers do not like disturbance so be careful while transplanting them. Keep only the healthy seedlings and plant them 1 inch deeply and giving space 8 to 10 inches apart.

If you have a lot of space leave the plant as it is or you can set up trellis for cucumbers to climb up. Water the plant regularly do not allow the ground dry out completely. Feed your plant with basic nutrients and when they start flowering feed them with bloom enhancers. Outdoor cucumbers need not to pollinate, that work is done by natural pollinators (bees).

Growing Indoors:

For indoor gardening choose only dwarf varieties or parthenocarpic varieties. Parthenocarpic varieties produce only female flowers so they don’t require pollination. Choose a big container as cucumbers need lot of room to grow. Fill the pot with small stones or gravel at the bottom for well drainage. Add a mixture of potting soil and compost. Plant 4 to 5 seeds into the container and water them thoroughly.

Place the container near sunny window where they can receive at least 6 hours of full sun. After 6 to 10 days the seed will germinate. Once the seedling set true leaves, separate the plants into each pot. Arrange for small trellis near the pot or insert a long stick so that the plant can climb and grow healthy. Water the plant everyday, do not over water check the soil if it is dry then water the plant. Make sure the water drains out thoroughly. Don’t allow the roots sit in water this will lead to root rot and you will end up killing the plant.

If you are not able to give them natural sunlight, then place HID grow lights and make sure you provide them full spectrum for 16 hours every day.

Growing into Hydroponics:

Cucumbers grown all summer long but with hydroponics you can grow all year around. Growing in hydroponic method cucumbers produce healthier and higher yields comparatively growing in soil. You can grow cucumbers in an expando drip garden, deep water culture, or in ebb & flow using Rockwool as cucumbers grow well in this systems.

Cucumbers are usually very fragile and need specific care even with hydroponic growing. The best way to cultivate cucumbers in hydroponics is usually to grow them in a Rockwool. Drench Rockwool completely and drain them. Once you drain the Rockwool push the cucumber seed into Rockwool about 1/2 inch deep and water them everyday. After 8 to 10 days cucumber will germinate and will set true leaves. Start using hydroponic base nutrients.

For hydroponics growing Choose European Glasshouse as it is the best and most popular cucumber variety to grow. It will take 60 to 70 days to harvest from planting. Cucumbers do best within the temperature 75 and 80 degrees F. Use HID grow lights for 16 hours per day. Place the grow lights above the cucumber plant for about 24 inches and move the lights according to the growth of the plant.

Harvest the cucumbers by seeing its size, color and the firmness. Cucumbers can be picked when they are medium to dark green color and 5 to 8 inches long. After harvesting you can eat cucumber raw or make salad. Pickle it or make a soup out of it. Cold cucumber soup is best on hot summer days. Use cucumber as a facial to cleanse and to sooth your face.

Venus Fly Trap Growing Guide

Venus fly trap is a carnivorous and very hardy perennial plants. They grow best in spring and in summer seasons. Venus fly trap is an easy growing plant, they can be grown indoors as well as outdoor. VFT doesn’t need much attention they grow well even if they are left alone outdoors.

Propagation of VFT

VFT are easy to germinate from seeds and it takes nearly 4 to 6 weeks to germinate. Purchase seeds and put them into the growing medium make sure not to plant them deeply into the soil. Keep the soil moist and ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out completely. For germination you should keep the temperature above 78 degree F up to 90 degree F. Once the seed germinate and set first two to three leaves, transplant them outdoors or in a container.

Venus Fly Trap Growing Guide

Planting VFT Indoors

Choose a right containers for planting VFT indoors. Container should be 4 inches to 5 inches in depth so that VFT roots get enough space to spread, grow healthier and better. Get insulated containers which will keep the temperature stable in hotter and colder seasons. It will also protect the soil from freezing in colder seasons.

Soil for VFT

Ensure you use only nutrient poor soil to grow Venus Flytraps. Use simply pure unenriched peat moss or long fiber sphagnum moss. Nutrient rich soils and fertilizer will burn the roots of VFT and the plant will die. You can also make soil using 5 parts of peat moss with 3 parts silica sand and 2 parts of perlite. Silica sand is also known as white sand, silica or quartz which helps with aeration and also forming healthy root system of the plant. Do not use regular potting soil to grow VFT or you will end up killing your plant.

Watering Venus Flytraps

Use only distilled, RO (reverse osmosis water) or rain water. Do not use any other water as the contaminates present in the water will kill the VFT or any other carnivorous plants. Always remember they should be watered only with distilled or rain water.

Feeding VFT

Let your plant catch their own food for themselves, keep them outside so that it will catch on its own. If it is not possible to keep outside then feed only small insects such as ants and bugs. Once the VFT trap an insects they will close their trap and it will take a lot of time to open its trap. Do not try to open the trap or you will damage the plant and make sure you do not feed them meatball.

Caring VFT on Dormant

Venus Flytraps are perennials so they go dormant in winter and grow back in spring. During dormant VFT looks weak as if they are died. Many more growers throw out the plant mistakenly thinking the plant has died. Dormant period last for three to five months in the winter season and the VFT shed their leaves, become weak, black and they stop growing.

During dormancy reduce watering VFT plants but make sure you do not dry out the soil completely. It’s better to water them only 2 -3 times per month. Keep the plants where they can receive low light such as in garages. Do not worry about the plants growing outdoors. They will die in winter and grow back in spring.

Caring VFT

Make sure the plant should be watered to make the soil wet. Do not allow the soil to get it completely dry out and not soggy or waterlogged. It is best to water the plant and allow the medium to dry until next watering. Keep the humidity level stable by placing a tray under the container this will help the plant to keep cool over summer and winter seasons.

Venus Fly Traps should receive at least 12 hours of light with a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight. The more light the plant receives the healthier it grows. If you are growing indoors make sure to place the plant near windowsill where they can get at least 4 hours of direct light. If sunlight is not possible for you then you can arrange artificial lights. VFT grows best under fluorescent lights and ensure that the plant get enough light to survive. Keep the plant under fluorescent grow lights as much as close at least within 8 inches of distance between the plant and the grow lights.

Repot your Venus fly trap yearly once and the method is very simple. Remove you plant from current pot and remove the soil from the roots and plant the VFT in a new container with nutrient poor soil. Do not plant the VFT deeply into the soil and ensure that you have completely covered the rhizome into the soil. Water the plant until the soil gets wet this will comfort the plant from root shock and to remove any air pockets from the soil.

How to Get Rid of Garden Pests Organically

Many pests such as aphids, mealy bugs, ants, snails and slugs eat the plants and cause great damage to the plants. There are different types of chemicals available to get rid of the plant pests, but it is not safe for our health. These powerful chemicals not only kill the harmful insects but also the beneficial insects such as lady bug, butterflies, dragonflies, spiders and honey bees. Also certain chemicals reach our bodies through contaminated food, air and water. So stop using chemicals and try organic methods to get rid of such harmful pests from your home garden.

How to Get Rid of Garden Pests Organically

Slugs/Snails: Here are three organic method to get rid of slugs or snails from your garden. First method, use crushed egg shells and put around the plant soil, this will keep the slugs and snails away from your garden plant and egg shells becomes a fertilizer to your plants. Second method, use coffee grounds around your plants, this serve as an organic fertilizer for your plant as well as it deter the slugs and snails from your garden. Third method, use sand around your plant this will kill the snail and slug ripping its tender body.

Aphids: Introduce lady bugs in your garden, it is the best way to get rid of aphids. Use pepper or garlic spray to get rid from your indoor houseplants. Another organic way to get rid of aphids is to use orange or banana peel. Cut banana peels and put into the garden soil, this will repel and remove aphids from your plant and also adds nutrients to your plant soil. Orange peel has a strong scent which acts as a natural insects repellent.

Mealy bugs: Shower stream of water strongly on the affected plant and keep on repeating this process until you find no sign of mealy bugs. Swab the mealy bugs with cotton saturated rubbing hot pepper or alcohol directly over the bugs, this will help to get rid of mealy bugs from your houseplants. You can directly spray insecticidal soap or hot pepper spray on your plant and after a week rinse your plant with water.

Ants: Orange peel has a natural chemical extracts which repel ants naturally. Diatomaceous earth is the best organic method to get rid of ants from your garden plant. Use cucumber peel ants don’t like to get in contact with cucumber peels. Use corn meal, ants and slugs are very fond of corn meal they eat and die due to indigestible.

Powdery Mildew: Spray affected plants with the mixture of water and baking soda to get rid of powdery mildew from your plants. You can also spray milk or neem oil is the best remedy to stop mildew problems. Apply neem oil or pepper spray over powdery mildew, continue spraying till you completely get rid of them.

How and When to Plant English Ivy

English Ivy plant is usually known as Hedera helix ivy. English Ivy is adored for its appealing shape and for its deep green leaves. English Ivy comes in large varieties including Gold Heart, Butter cup, Shamrock and many more. Gold heart has green and creamy yellow leaves and Butter cup has bright yellow in sunlight and pale green in shade.

How and When to Plant English Ivy

English ivy is actually a type of flowering plant in the family of Araliaceae, and native of Europe and western Asia. This fast growing ivy is a rambunctious grower that trails gracefully in gardens, on house walls, tree trunks and in wild areas. They also can be grown indoors as a houseplant in containers and in hanging baskets. English Ivy grows in the zone 5 through 9.

How to Plant English Ivy

Planting English ivy is not a big task, if you know its requirements. To plant English ivy, buy it from your local nursery or grow ivy plant from its cuttings. English ivy is very easy to propagate through cuttings. Take several cuttings from the growing shoots of an ivy plant at least 4 to 6 inches long. Remove the bottom leaves and place the stems in a glass of clean water. Keep them near a window where they can get sunlight. Change the water everyday until you see the roots in it. Another method is just dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone and plant them in a planting holes.

Ivy plant is not choosy about the soil but it thrives well in a loamy soil that has a good drainage and have the capacity to hold the moisture. Best time to plant ivy is in the spring.

Growing English Ivy Outdoors

Choose a location where the plant can get bright light, it can also grow in partial shade but the growth will be very slow with pale leaves. Do not place them in a direct hot sun, you will end up killing your plant. Plant the ivy in a ground to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, ensure the soil drains well and holds the moisture. English ivy grows best in a pH of 7. Place them near a wall, tree or trellis so that the plant can climb up and grow healthy. Water them about 1 inch every week after the initial planting or water them whenever you feel the soil is dry.

Growing Ivy in Containers

English Ivy does very well as a houseplant. They look good when it spill over the edge of the containers, or in a hanging basket. Plastic pots are best to grow ivy plants as it has the ability to hold the moisture in the soil. Best soil is potting soil which is specially made for potted plants. It has a good drainage and the capacity of holding moisture. It also provides an arid environment for the roots to get oxygen. Place them near your window where they can get enough bright light. Maintain the temperature of approximately 75 degrees F during the day and 65 degrees during the night.

How to Care English Ivy

Fertilize Ivy in a growing stage with a base nutrients of 12-12-12. Do not fertilize your plant for 3 to 4 months after planting it. Water only when the soil is dry but don’t let the soil to dry hard. Allow the top of the potted soil to dry in between watering. Water less frequently in the winter. Winter growth can often be long and spindly, so cut back to strong growth in the spring. Prune the ivy plant to promote the growth and also to get the bushy look. Check your plants for any pest and disease. Do not plant any other plants near ivy, as it will take over the plant and kill them.

English Ivy plat leaves and berries contains the glycoside hederin which may cause toxicosis if consumed. So make sure to keep this plant away from children and pets. Consumption of these plant will results in gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, hyperactivity, breathing difficulty, coma, fever, polydipsia, dilated pupils, muscular weakness, and lack of coordination.

Growing Sunflower from Sunflower Seeds

I’m a little sunflower look and see
Here is my stem and here are my leaves.
When the sun comes up, I turn my head.
When the sun goes down I go to bed.

Sunflower which has a big bright smiling face which turns its face towards the sun throughout the day. Sunflower got its name because it resembles sun and its scientific name is Helianthus annuus. It is an annual plant native to Americas and there are about 80 species of Sunflowers.

Sunflower PlantSunflower has a tall and thick stem delegated by an excellent, vibrant and bright blossom with rich yellow petals and a brown center, most likely, Sunflowers are most appreciated by children and flower gardeners. Sunflowers are one of the fastest growing plants and they can grow 8 to 12 feet tall in rich soil within six months. Sunflowers takes nearly 90 to 100 days from planting to maturity.

Planting Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower needs lot of warm and grows best in warm hot climates. Best time to plant Sunflowers are hot summers especially in mid-April and late May. Select a location where they can get lot of sunlight at least 6 to 7 hours a day. Prepare the soil for planting. Sunflower prefers pH between 6.0 and 7.5 and grows most types of the soil but ensure the soil drains well.

Purchase Sunflower seeds from online or from your local nursery. Before you plant the sunflower seeds, allow the soil to warm at least to the soil temperature of 55 to 60 degrees F. Once the soil is warm plant the seed directly into the soil pushing them 1 inch deep. If you want to grow more than one plant then grow them in a row giving a space of 18 inches.

Sunflower grows bigger and healthier when given lot of spaces. Cover the seed with soil with a light application of an organic fertilizer to boost fast growth. Water thoroughly the seeding area to wet the soil not to over flood with water. Do not let the seeds dry out. Water them every day until germination, ensure no to make the soil soggy. It takes 7 to 12 days to the seeds to germinate.

Sunflower Care

Once the seedlings reaches to six inches, thin them to two feet this will help the plant to grow fast and healthy. Feed the plant at the growing stage with the base nutrients and with the bloom booster while flowering stage. Keep a bamboo stake to give them a support for a short period until the stem grows thick and strong.

Harvest Sunflower

Once the plant start flowering cut them with a long stem if you want to arrange them for bouquets. If you want to have seeds then leave the flower in the plant itself to mature. But protect your plants from birds, pests and from squirrels as they eat the seeds.

Uses of Sunflowers

Every part of the Sunflower is used in many ways. Sunflower buds are used to cook and eaten like artichokes as they are rich in Vitamin A, B, and E. They also contain 55% protein along with phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium and iron. Sunflower oil is extracted from its seeds which is used for cooking, making soap and candles. Sunflowers is used to decorate your house, keeping them in the flower pot and also in flower bouquets.

Aeroponics Growing a New Technology of Growing Plants

Aeroponics is an advanced method of growing plants in a soilless environment with little water and air as a growing medium. This system is similar to Hydroponics growing where the plants’ roots are grown in nutrient-rich water rather than soil, emerged and overtook aeroponic development. In aeroponics system plants are grown with the help of tubes, troughs and other kind of chambers. The base roots of the plants are developed in this systems are absorbed nutrient supplement results and are permitted to hang to get sufficient oxygen and vital supplements. In aeroponics system the roots are secured from pathogens and debris as air is utilized as a developing media.

Aeroponics Growing a New Technology of Growing Plants

Aeroponics is the future of modern farming and could be applied even in space. Plants grow faster in aeorponic system compared to any other system it is because the plant roots hang in this system and they are able to receive an ample amount of oxygen.

While utilizing this system it’s recommended to supply plants with right way of measuring moisture content at the starting development stage for a week, Continue showering until it reaches the lowest section of the plant. Rinse and clean all the PVC parts very neatly before you apply PVC paste to join the parts as this will protect against any leak.

Aeroponics is simple to use and safe plant growing method to grow healthy and bigger plants. This technique utilizes less quantity of water as well as energy. Since the spray pulse used is sterilized, your plants are protected against pest and diseases. With little maintenance this system can be cleaned and replaced easily. However, it’s advisable to use hydrogen peroxide solution to clean your plants on regular basis to keep them away from harmful bacteria and fungi.

The best feature of aeroponics is basically that you don’t have to worry about exchanging the growing medium since oxygen is the growing medium in this system. You can easily exchange plants in less time and that means you can grow large wide variety of fruits and vegetables without the use of excessive space and money. As a grower and working with organic the fundamental of growing plants you’ll know that aeroponics is a brilliant solution!

Aeroponics is an excellent system for cloning your plants to get speedy development. When using aeroponics system use nutrients in proper ratio with well-adjusted pH balance to encourage instant absorption of nutrients. Once you’ve got learned the art of applying this plant growing system you can easily grow great quantity of plants you would like to grow

Leafy green plant are grown best with aeroponics and also the plants like tomato, eggplant, strawberry, watermelons are best to grow in aeroponics systems. Not all the plants can be grown with this system but few root plants such as potatoes, beets and carrots cannot be grown with this system.