The Importance of Soil PH

Photo: Pinterest

The pH of the soil has a direct impact on the fertility of the soil. If you’re serious about your garden or vegetables and fruits which you are growing in your garden, it is important to know about the pH of the soil. Depending on the pH, your soil can be acidic or alkaline. Each of these has its own pros and cons. Also, the pH level of the soil has a direct impact on the nutrients which are available in the soil. Owing to this very factor, you have to always be aware of the pH levels of the soil.

Before you bring out your pH scale, you have to understand the levels on it. The pH scale can go from 1 to 14. 7 is considered neutral. If the pH level is below 7, it is considered as acidic. On the other hand, if the pH level is above 7, it is considered as alkaline. If you’re looking for the optimumpresence of nutrients in the soil, you have to ensure that the pH level is around 6 to 7. Even thoughthis is the ideal level but anything between 3.5 to 10 will provide you with the conducive environment for growing your plants.

One thing which you have to keep in mind is that a slight variation in pH can result in drastic variation in nutrients. This is because each number on the pH scale is to a factor of 10. That is whyyou have to be very careful when you’re looking to maintain the pH level of your soil.

You will now look at both the soil options in order to help you better understand which one is suitable for your garden.

 

Acidic soil

Acidic soil is often found in areas which has a significant amount of rainfall. The main problem with acidic soil is that the nutrients will be absorbed by the soil at a much slower pace. In many of the cases, the amountof nutrients which are found are pretty low. Also, when you’re using fertilizers on acidic soil, they will yield a little result because absorption will not take place.

Solution:

When you’re looking to increase the pH level of the soil so that it is not acidic, a good option is to add agricultural limestone. When you’re adding limestone, it will replace calcium as well as magnesium. This will help you in increasing the pH level of the soil.

 

Alkaline soil

If the pH level of the soil is pretty high because it is alkaline you can easily add organic matter in order to reduce the pH levels. It is much easier to manage the alkaline soil as compared to the acidic soil. You need to test the soil and in order to find out about the sodium contents. Oftentimes, in the alkalinesoil,the sodium content is on the higher side. If it is so, it will hamper the growth of your plants. That is whyit is important to solve the problem of high pH levels when you’re having an alkalinesoil.

Solution:

As we stated above, you can easily add decomposed organic matter. In addition to that, you can use foliarspray or liquid seaweed.

 

All in all, when you’re planning on starting some new plants, it is important to know about the pH level of the soil. Only once you are able to do that will it become easier for you to choose the right kind of plants for your perfect garden.

How To Grow Turmeric Indoors

Here is a quick video I made about how I get my turmeric plants started!

For those who prefer it in text, the process is as follows:

  1. Soak turmeric root in water for 24 hours and leave in a warm, dark location until green spots or “eyes” have formed.
  2. Plant 1 inch deep in good potting soil (I use cactus soil)
  3. In 7-14 days you should have visible shoots coming off of your plant
  4. Transplant into an 18″ pot before the plant becomes root bound as this will prevent a good harvest.
  5. In 10 months,  harvest and enjoy your fresh turmeric!

Thanks for reading,

OOCH

Photo Source

Video: 53 Day Old Dragon Fruit Plants/ Pitaya From Seed!

Here is a quick video I have put together showing off some of my dragon fruit/ pitaya babies that I grew from seed on July 7! These guys are growing fast!

ALSO, I show off my baby Yellow Pitaya plants that I grew from seed as well.

 

If you missed my first how-to, you can watch here:

Ebb and Flow Hydroponics

Photo: The Organic Garden Centre on WordPress

Ebb And Flow Hydroponics Systems are becoming more and more popular. Among the many hydroponics systems which are available these days, this is the most popular system. We will today help you understand what exactly the system is and what the components of the system are.

What is Ebb And Flow Hydroponics System?

An Ebb And Flow Hydroponics System consists of a plant tray, reservoir and pump. With the help of the pump, you will be able to always maintain an adequate level of water in the plant tray. This will mean that you do not have to worry about the presence of water while growing your plants. We will now go into the details of each and every one of these components so that you are able to understand them easily.

The plant tray

The plant tray isnothing but the large container. You have to place your plant in it. A good option to plant will be the half gallon pots. You need to make sure that the pots are perforated. The size of the pots ideally should be double that of the plant. The plant tray will consist of water which is dense with nutrients. It is directly connected to a reservoir. The pump, as well as the drain tube, connects the reservoir and the plant tray.

Reservoir

The reservoiris a large container which is directly placed below the plant tray. It is connected with the help of a submersible pump which contains a timer. This pump controls the flow of water to the plant tray at all points in time. With the help of the drain tube, the water can be drained from the plant tray back into the reservoir. You can then reuse that water by pumping it up to the plant tray. You have to just make sure that you are refilling nutrients on a weekly basis.

With the help of this, you will be able to precisely control the water access to your plants. That is why this water system is much more versatile as compared to any other.

Many of the people think that this water system is actually a bit complicated to create. The truth is that all the components of this water system are readily available. Thus, creating this water system is not a problem at all.

The next time you’re looking for a suitable hydroponics system; do make sure that you consider the Ebb and Flow Hydroponics System as it is one of the most versatile hydroponics systems which you can use.

What is “True To Seed” and Why All Gardeners Need To Know

When you’re taking up gardening, it is important to choose the plants that you cultivate from seed carefully. You need to always keep in mind that the seeds of the plants don’t always grow fruit like the fruit the seed was taken from . That is why you have to always know if the variety you are trying to grow is worth attempting to start from seed. Today, we will speak about a specific type of seeds which are called True to Seed. We will go into the details of what exactly are these seeds.

 

What are true to seed plants?

True to seed plants grow in the exact same way as the original plant. An example is that when you’re taking the seed of a Brandywine tomato in order to plant another plant, the exact same plant will be growing. This will ensure that the plants which grow from the seeds are not hybrid at all.

These are the plants which are not impacted by cross-pollination. A squash grows the same kind of plant from seed, but the product can be swayed by pollination with a similar variety. That is why you will be able to get the exact same plant only if you are diligent with pollen. These days many of the seeds which are available in the market are actually hybrid seeds. They are deliberately cross-pollinatedin order to inculcate some of the useful features of another species of plants. These might include disease resistance or faster growth.

On the other hand, when you’re looking at the fruit trees as well, you will realize that they are often grafted. That is why, when you’re using the fruit seeds, they are also not true to seed. Thus, when you’re looking to plant the seeds, it is important to realize whether it is a hybrid seed or whether it is true to seed. Hybrid plants might have some unique characteristics but they often do not produce fruits and vegetables with the original features.

If you’re looking for organic gardening options, it is a much better idea to go with the true to seed options. With the help of these options, it will become easier for you to grow natural plants without any kind of cross-pollination. Even though, these plants might be a bit difficult to grow and you would have to take great care of these plants but still, these are the natural variants of their specieswhich is whyyou should opt for these seeds rather than any other.

The next time you’re obtaining seeds for your garden, do make sure that you keep these factors in mind.

Photo source

 

Growing Betel Nuts In and Outdoors

Betel Nuts are a very popular plant grown in Asia as well as the tropical Pacific. At the peak, this plant can grow to a height of 20 m. The leaves are up to 2 m long. However, betel nut requires a very specific cultivation pattern which needs to be followed at all points in time. We will today share with you the steps which you need to undertake in order to grow betel nut.

Opting for the mature betel nuts

In order to plant the betel nut seeds, you have to choose the betel nuts carefully. You have to opt for the well-matured ones. Ideally, you should opt for the Orange betel nuts. When you are able to do that, it will become easier for you to have a high growth rate.

 Submerge the betel nuts into the ground

You have to submerge the betel nuts into the ground and keep them in a significant quantity of water. You have to let them be for at least 10 days to 15 days. Only when they have turned black can you proceed to the next step.

Getting the soil right

You need to understand that betel nuts require the perfect composition of the soil. You have to mix certain elements like gold dust, carbon crash, and coconut husk mix in order to create the right composition of the soil.

Getting the pot right:

You have to ensure that you are selecting proper pots. The pots should be at least 6 inches in diameter. Additionally, you have to make sure that these can last for at least one year so don’t buy a shitty pot.

Water and Fertilizing

Water your baby betel nut on a daily basis along with adding fertilizers and pesticides once the plant is over 6 inches tall.

Spacing

Space the plants at least 6 feet apart outdoors or one seed per pot indoors.

These plants will often reach their peak after a period of 3 years. In order to achieve this, however, you must take care to nurture this plant. They are picky when grown indoors.

-GUEST POST

Indoor Flower and Plant Care

Image: Gardening Know How

Indoor Flower Care

Indoor plants help to improve the quality of air inside the home besides providing a warm and colorful décor to the rooms. Growing house plants indoors is easy as well as exciting. However, it is very important to take adequate care of the plants and to ensure their growth as well as safety. Unlike keeping the plants in a greenhouse, keeping them inside the house requires a lot of adjustments and a lot of skills are also necessary for indoor flower care. Adequate watering and sufficient lighting are very important for indoor plant care. The temperature and humidity inside the home also have great impact on the plants. It is not possible to make the indoors 100% ideal for all types of plants to grow. However, when you select the indoor plants for your house, you can identify the basic needs of the plants and by making some changes or adjustments in indoors, you can provide the plants a healthy environment to grow.

Watering

The potting soil should not go dry but need not keep it too wet. When the soil is dry the roots go weak and will affect the growth of the plant. When the potting soil appears very light in color or with cracks on it, watering is essential. Just by sticking a finger on the soil we can determine how moist the soil is. The plants should not wilt and there should be no signs of dehydration. Formation of translucent leaves, slow growth of leaves, curling of leaf edges, formation of brown or yellow colored leaves and premature falling down of leaves and flowers indicate insufficient watering.

Overwatering is also equally harmful. As a result of over-watering roots will be destroyed by bacteria. Appearance of brown rotten patches on leaves, young leaves and old leaves falling off, water standing in the bottom of the pot, appearance of brown, stinky roots at the bottom and formation of fungus on the surface of the soil indicate over watering.

The plants that grow very fast, plants that receive direct sunlight, plants that grow in smaller pots, plants which are potted in clay pots and plants that have started flowering require more water. When the plant is kept in a cool room or in non-porous containers they require less water. Also, resting or dormant plants require very little water. The plants which were repotted very recently and those plants which grow in high humidity also require less water.

Plants prefer rain water as well as melted snow. Tap water at room temperature is also good for the indoor plants. Softened water contains sodium and hence should be avoided. Plants may be watered from top to bottom without wetting the foliage. The entire potting soil must be moistened. Ensure that water flows out of the holes in the bottom of the pot.

Drainage

Proper drainage of water is very important to keep the plant healthy. Specially made organic potting soil is ideal for the indoor plants. The plant should never stand in water. Hence either the container should have drainage holes or there must be a layer of pebbles in the bottom of the container. Check the holes at regular intervals to ensure that they are not clogged. Standing water must be discarded.

Light

Light requirements may vary from plant to plant. Though many plants prefer direct sunlight, the indoor plants may not be able to get it. By way of keeping the plant in a window they will receive sufficient light. If required, indoor plants may be provided supplemented light from grow light. For flowering plants, moderately bright light is good. Hence they may be kept in windows located towards east, west or south of the house.

Temperature and Humidity

Though temperature preferences vary from plant to plant, the ideal temperature for most of the indoor houseplants is 65 – 75 degrees during daytime and 55 – 60 degrees during night. Most plants prefer humidity around 80%. Humidity may drop in the winter. This problem can be solved by using a humidifier. A small tray with pebbles and water in it can also provide more humidity.

Fertilizer

During watering, plants are likely to drop the nutrients in the soil. Indoor plants have no way for nutrient replenishment other than fertilizing. Organic fertilizers ensure sufficient nutrition to the indoor plants. When plants are flowering and growing, fertilizer must be provided once in a month. During winter, fertilizing can be avoided. When the plant is found slow in growing or turns to yellow-green color more fertilizer should be added. Sometimes, the indication may be for less water or more light. Hence action may be taken only after analyzing all conditions.

Repotting the Houseplants

As a result of steady growth as well as thriving, the indoor plants will require bigger pots as well as fresh potting mix. Spring is the ideal time for repotting plants. The new pot should not be too big but it must be bigger than the first pot. Ensure that the root system is not damaged during repotting. There must be sufficient space at the top of the new pot for watering.

-Guest Post

Changing The Acidity Of Your Garden Soil

This post was inspired by the death of a miracle fruit plant of mine due to my inability to acidify the soil in time. RIP.

Changing Soil Acidity in Garden

Those who want to keep healthy plants in their garden should make it a point to determine the right pH for the soil and maintain the same. When the soil has the proper pH, the plants will effectively absorb the nutrients that are required for their growth. As the first step, one has to decide the changes that are to be made so as to ensure the proper pH of the soil. By way of lowering the pH, the acidity can be increased. In case the soil is too acidic the pH must be raised. By way of adding a few common compounds to the soil the pH can be lowered and acidity of the soil will increase. By way of adding a liming material or a different base compound the pH of the soil can be increased so that the soil will become less acidic. Normally, the pH of garden soils will be in the range 5.5 – 8.0. The soil with pH 7.0 is considered as neutral – neither acidic nor alkaline. Hence, when the pH of garden soil is less than 6, it is highly acidic and similarly when it is more than 7.5, the soil is highly alkaline. When it is highly acidic you need to add ground limestone to the soil in order to increase the pH and sulfur is to be added to the highly alkaline soil in order to reduce the ph. In places where there is very high rainfall the soil will be acidic and in places with less rainfall, the soil will be alkaline. Wherever you are, by adding lime or sulfur you can change the soil acidity in the garden.

Quantity of limestone or Sulfur to be added

It is very important to ensure that only the recommended quantity of limestone or sulfur is added to the soil to rectify the pH imbalance. Lawn and Garden service centers and the various labs that conduct soil analysis will provide charts from which we can easily find out the exact quantity of limestone or sulfur required for 1000 sq ft of the garden. From the data you can calculate the total quantity of the material required to change the soil acidity in the whole garden area.

The process of adding limestone/sulfur to the garden soil

A simple machine known as ‘Drop Spreader’ is used to add limestone or sulfur to the soil. This machine is not very expensive and using this machine the material can be spread evenly. One can also rent this machine from anyone of the nurseries. Those who have the skill to spread the material evenly can do this task manually also. However, while spreading the material by hand one must wear the gloves and also should do the work very carefully throughout. Limestone or sulfur is to be added after uniformly tilling the land to a depth of minimum 5 inches.

Testing the pH of your garden soil

Plants like blueberries, rhododendrons, Azaleas and conifers will prefer the soil with pH in the range 5 – 5.5, whereas grasses, vegetables and ornamental plants will grow well in slightly acidic soil with pH in the range 5.8 – 6.5. Once you know the pH range that is ideal for your garden soil you may test the soil to find out its pH at present. Either a commercial soil test can be conducted at the home or at the garden store or the sample of the soil may be forwarded to a soil testing lab that will test the sample and accurately determine the pH of the soil.  In DIY method the pH of the soil is determined by making own pH test strips.

Home Decorating With Plants

Photo: Hum Ideas

Decorating with Plants

We keep a lot of plants to decorate the indoors and the plants make the rooms bright, beautiful and healthier. Many people search for more new plants to decorate the home. Similarly, there are many ways to decorate the home with the plants. Apart from making the indoors aesthetically more beautiful, indoor plants purify the air and improve air quality. Plants help to reduce BP, fresh up the mind and provide good sleep. Indoor plants make the life inside the home healthier.

Orchids

Orchids are bright as well as colorful. They can be kept anywhere in the room and if cared properly, they will be there for a long time. Orchids attract the attention of all and they make the room appear brighter.

Hanging Herbs

Hanging a variety of fresh herbs inside the home will not only make the place more beautiful but also will induce freshness.

Shelf full of plants

When a shelf full of indoor plants is kept at the middle of the living room, it will divide the room into two portions. The plant-shelf will appear more elegant than a piece of furniture or a screen.

Fill the corners

The four corners of the room look awkward when they are left empty. When the corners are decorated with cluster of plants they add to the beauty of the room. Plants fit the corners better than anything else. Plants of different sizes and features can be mixed and kept in the corners.

Spilling plants

The indoor plants that spill out of their containers make the room livelier as well as elegant.

Cut Flowers

When cut Flowers are kept inside the home they make the rooms livelier. Cut Flowers are easier to nurture and one has to spend only very little time to care the Cut Flowers. Cut Flowers are less expensive also. Branches of cut flowers are available in garden stores and nurseries and they are quite inexpensive. The room can be easily provided with a new look just by replacing these flowers. It doesn’t require much effort.

Fresh Herbs inside the kitchen

When a few fresh herbs are kept in the kitchen they not only make the kitchen more beautiful but also add a new freshness to the kitchen atmosphere and make cooking more interesting. The herbs may even create a gentle breeze in the kitchen. The herbs in the kitchen need not be kept in a shelf. The individual plants kept in the kitchen create an exciting pattern and thereby provide a wall art to the kitchen.

Those who have a little creativity can make decorating with plants a wonderful way of decorating the indoors. You can provide a touch of the nature inside the home by decorating the indoors with plants. The indoor plant can be real natural substitutes to the large wall murals, big pillows with pictures of different flowers and the floral scenes painted on the ceiling. The indoor plants will provide better aroma effects than the scented candles, diffusers and the aromatic oils that you keep inside the home. None of these are as real as well as effective as the indoor plants

-Guest Post to OochCo.com

Getting Started Growing Cannabis

Thank’s to new laws passing around the world, more and more people are allowed to grow this awesome plant. As of October 17, 2018 it will be legal for Canadians to grow up to four cannabis plants at a time for personal use.

Growing cannabis inside your home is certainly not a complicated task provided, you are aware of a few basic requirements. Those who follow the proper procedure are able to produce cannabis of superior quality. It is very important to provide powerful lights inside the house for the cannabis to grow. Those who want to grow cannabis indoors may ensure to procure feminized seeds from reliable suppliers. The cannabis plants may be allowed to grow in soil inside the house. However, those who are new to cannabis cultivation indoors may strictly avoid overwatering as well as over-feeding the plants. Overwatering will affect the growth as well as yield of the soil-grown plants. Availability of bright light and fresh air, room temperature at night and a little warmer during the day, water with the correct pH and a proper medium to grow are very important for growing cannabis. It is to be noted that soil is not the only recommended medium for growing cannabis. When soil is chosen, the pH of water must be maintained within the range 6 – 7.

Procuring cannabis seeds

Buying good quality seeds is the best option to grow cannabis indoors. Quality seeds can be purchased either online or from direct suppliers. The seeds that are hard and in dark color are ideal and one should avoid seeds that are small and white in color. Though healthy seeds can be kept in the fridge for short periods, freezing the seeds is not advised. Seeds are to be stored in a cool, dry place away from light.

Finding a suitable space

The cannabis can be grown in the basement, an unused room, a tent or a cabinet. You should ensure that the plants and the equipments used to cultivate the plants must fit the place. Those who are beginners may start with a smaller project. When there are only a few plants, it will be easy to monitor them and the project will be less expensive. New growers are more likely to commit a lot of mistakes which may lead to setbacks and loss. The room must have enough space for the plants to grow and also to keep the lights, fans and various equipments. There must be sufficient space for you to move around and work. Those who grow cannabis for the first time may bear in mind that in its early flowering stage the cannabis plant may double or triple its size. There must be sufficient space or elbow room to remove the plants and perform the various tasks. It is very important to keep the place clean. Raw wood, drapes and carpets must be avoided. In order to ensure that there are no light leaks during the dark periods, the room should be made light-tight. The room must be easily accessible and should be cool and dry. There should be sufficient supply of fresh air from the outdoors. Safety and security of the room should be ensured.

Choosing the grow lights

It is very important to choose the best quality cannabis grow lights for growing cannabis indoors. LED lights are ideal for growing cannabis indoors. They are highly durable and consume less quantity of electricity. LED lights create less heat and facilitate more output and better quality. However, LED lights are about 10 times costlier than the HID setup. HID lights are widely used and are quite efficient. These lights also ensure good yield. HID lights are a little costlier than incandescent or fluorescent lights but are considerably cheaper than LED lights. But, when compared to incandescent or fluorescent lights, HID lights produce more quantity of light per unit of electricity consumed. Fluorescent light fixtures are ideal for the small scale cannabis growers with a small budget.

Choosing the grow medium

Soil is the traditional medium and is the most suitable for the novice growers. Those who use potting soil may ensure that the soil is free of artificial fertilizers. When organic pre-fertilized soil is used there is no need to add nutrients. Instead of soil, cannabis can be grown in soilless hydroponic medium. In this method concentrated solutions of mineral salts solutions are to be fed which will be absorbed by the roots through the process of osmosis.

Watering the plants

Overwatering the plants is a common mistake made by the new growers. If high amounts of dissolved minerals are present in the water, it will affect the uptake of nutrients by the roots and will also contain pathogens that may cause root disease. In case the water contains high levels of chlorine, it is advisable to filter the water. The most important thing to remember is that there should not be overwatering. The frequency of watering must be according to the grow medium, size of the plant and the ambient temperature. Normally, young plants are watered once in a week and grown up plants are to be watered once daily. When the soil is found dry, it is an indication that the plant needs water.

Feeding the plants with macronutrients and micronutrients

Macronutrients required by cannabis plants are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and the micronutrients required by the plants are iron, copper, magnesium and calcium. Those who do not use pre-fertilized organic soil may feed the plants with a suitable nutrient solution once in a week.

Life stages of Cannabis plants and their gender identification

The life duration of cannabis plant is just one year and those who grow them indoors should know about the life stages of the plant. Cannabis plants have two life stages – Vegetative and Flowering. During vegetative stage stems and leaves grow and during the flowering stage buds and flowers will be formed. During the vegetative stage the plants are germinated and they must be put in the pots. The plants must be under the grow lights. For 25 days keep them under light for 18 hours a day and switch off the light for 6 hours a day. Once the flowering stage starts keep the lights on for 12 hours and then keep them off for the next 12 hours. In between, for two days the lights may be kept on for 15 hours.

A cannabis plant is either male or female. Buds are formed only on the female plants and hence the gender of a plant can be identified only at the beginning of the flowering stage. The growers prefer only the female plants so as to harvest the buds. However, a few male plants are also essential to facilitate pollination and seed formation. There are no scientifically proven methods to determine the gender of the plant prior to the beginning of the flowering stage.

Appearance of buds and application of fertilizers

Buds start to form on the cannabis plant after 4 weeks of the flowering stage. This is the time to identify the male plants and eliminate them. Since the plants grow very fast, they require a lot of nutrients. Fertilizers should not be applied directly and always they must be mixed with water. While most of the fertilizers work, the specially prepared marijuana fertilizers give better results. A set of growth and bloom fertilizer will give the best output.

When the plants are 2 weeks old, you can start feeding with fertilizers after mixing them with water. After giving fertilizer-mixed water for 3 times, provide pure water once. In a week, give water mixed with fertilizer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and on Sunday give pure water. Filtered water is preferred.

In case small white spots are found on the leaves look at the other side of the leaf and in case you find tiny bugs moving around, apply Neem Oil to get rid of the spider mites. Neem Oil should be mixed with water as recommended.

Harvesting

The cannabis plants become ripe within 3 months of the flowering stage. When most of the white hairs appear in brown color, it indicates that the plants are ripe. The plants slow down growing and start smelling heavily. The buds become hard and compact. The plants are ready to harvest. Plants that are harvested earlier will be more activating and those harvested too late will have sleepy effect.

-Guest Post to Oochco