garden

Create Your Own Greenhouse

Create Your Own Greenhouse

Have you wanted to create your own greenhouse? Not sure how? Well these tips and ideas from Custom Made will help you make your greenhouse a reality.

A couple of good reasons to have greenhouse are:

  • It might get too cold to grow certain types of plants. If you have a greenhouse it will allow temperature control to allow you to grow plants that would die if it got frost or too cold.
  • Allow you to grow seeds and young plants. It is always sad and annoying when you try and establish a plant and it dies for a number of reasons, the temperatures outside were too much for it, or you went on holiday and it got neglected. Having a greenhouse will let the young seedlings and plants thrive to then relocate in the garden or you can keep in your greenhouse.
  • Having a controlled environment helps kids learn more about gardening. As said in point two, if your seedlings die it might discourage the kids. Seeing the plants grow from strength to strength will help foster the love of gardening and children will want to do more and more.

What do you need to create your own greenhouse?

  • Flat head shovel, rake
  • Pressure-treated boards for base frame
  • Landscape fabric
  • Landscape staples
  • Heavy duty staples
  • Pea gravel

The great infographic from Custom Made shows you the steps to create your own greenhouse. Don’t forget to have the right garden tools for the kids. Once the your greenhouse is up and running the kids will want to get busy planting. Our Little Green Fingers Gardening Tool Set is just right for little hands and will be the perfect addition to your brand new greenhouse!

Greenhouse Dreams
Infographic by CustomMade

We hope you have fun creating your own greenhouse and your plants love it too! Let us know how it goes and what you plant in your greenhouse.

Tomatoes: Apples Of Love

Tomatoes: Apples Of Love

greentomatoesNative to the Andean region of South American and under cultivation in Peru in the sixteenth century, tomatoes (Lycopersicum esculentum) have been grown for thousands of years. The Spanish introduced them to the European cultures. Europeans were not open to trying tomatoes until the end of the sixteenth century, as tomatoes, being part of the nightshade family, were considered poisonous.

Later, the French tried them and began to call them “pommes d’amour”, apples of love. They felt that tomatoes carried aphrodisiac qualities. It wasn’t until the 1900’s when the tomato gained popularity in North America.

Scientific research shows the health benefits from this tasty fruit. In recent years, researchers discovered that tomatoes were natural sources of the element lycopene. This antioxidant has been shown in tests to dramatically reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and many cancers, including prostate and colon cancers. Tomatoes are an excellent source of phytochemicals, nutrients, fiber, and contain practically no fat or sodium.

They are significant sources of vitamins A, B, and C and a source of iron and potassium. In fact, one medium-sized tomato provides 20 percent of the daily-recommended value of vitamin A and 40 percent of the daily-recommended value of vitamin C.

Tomatoes are very easy to grow from seeds. In all, there are more than 100 types of tomatoes to choose from. Though most people believe ripe tomatoes are red, they actually come in many colours, including green, yellow, purple — even striped.

Unless you grow your own, you will not have the opportunity to experience the many varieties. If you don’t have the time, buy tomato plants from garden centres. Look for different varieties as they are becoming more readily available from growers.

Six to eight weeks before transplanting, start tomato seeds by filling a seedling flat with a good quality seedling mixture. Use an excellent quality potting soil from the garden centre to make sure the soil is sterilized and has a high percentage of sphagnum peat moss and perlite. Don’t use garden soil, as it tends to become hard and inhibits proper rooting of seedlings, and it may contain insects, disease, weed seeds, or chemical residue.

Tips on Growing Tomato Seeds

  • Tomato Plant Seedling. Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Tomato Plant Seedling. Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Sow seeds no deeper than the thickness of the seed: sprinkle the seeds onto the soil-filled flat and press them down gently.

  • Cover the seeds with a thin layer of fine, horticultural-grade vermiculite to prevent drying.
  • Water just enough to moisten the soil with a fine mist spray such as the sprayer on the kitchen sink or a mister bottle.
  • Keep the seeds evenly moist to ensure the mixture never dries out as both germinating seeds and seedlings are very intolerant of dry soil and will die if they are dry for even a short time.
  • Cover the flat or pot with plastic wrap or a clear plastic bag.
  • Remove the plastic as soon as seedlings emerge.
  • Tag each container with the date planted and the tomato variety.
  • To promote rapid germination, place the flat on a heated table, top of the refrigerator, or a heat register.
  • Once they germinate and seedlings begin to appear, move them from the heat source into a location with lots of light.
  • They need very high light levels to grow properly: a south-facing window without blinds or curtains is ideal. Use grow lights to enhance growth. Hang the lights 6 inches (15 cm) from plants and leave lights on for 14 hours a day.
  • Transplant the seedlings into larger, individual containers once the first ‘true’ leaves appear.
  • After transplanting, fertilise once a week with a plant-starter fertilizer such as 10-52-10 at ¼ strength. As an organic gardener, I do not use commercial fertilizer, only fish fertilizer on my transplants. They are strong, healthy plants and are fed weekly until moved outdoors.
  • Harden-off and plant them very deeply where the stems will develop roots helping the plant become established.
  • Tomatoes are heavy feeders and need ample quantities of compost or decomposed manure.
  • Mulch and water in dry weather to maintain soil moisture and stave off wilt disease and blossom-end rot. Blossom-end rot is caused by water stress or calcium deficiency. Watering regularly and evenly is the key to preventing blossom-end rot.
  • Never water tomatoes from the top. Water tomatoes from below and water deeply.
  • In the garden, tomatoes are compatible with chives, onion, parsley, marigold, nasturtium, and carrot. Tomatoes and all members of the Brassica family repel each other and should be kept apart. Plant garlic between tomato plants to protect them from red spider mites.
  • Tomatoes will protect roses against black spot.

Tomato Plants. Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tomato Plants. Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Make a Spray For Roses

To make a spray for roses, place tomato leaves in your vegetable juicer, add 4 or 5 pints of water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Strain and spray on roses when it is not convenient to plant tomatoes as companions. Label and keep any unused spray in the refrigerator.

Tomatoes Have a Variety of Uses

In the kitchen, tomatoes can be used for salads, soups, juices, sauces, stews, baked dishes, sandwiches, stuffed, grilled, broiled, pasta dishes, and salsa. They combine well with meat, fish, poultry, pasta, rice, as well as other vegetables.

Store tomatoes at room temperature. To ripen green tomatoes, place in a brown paper bag with an apple at room temperature for several days. If fresh tomatoes aren’t available, use canned tomatoes or canned tomato juice, which are fine substitutes.

Plant a tree or flowers to celebrate The World Cup!

Plant a tree or flowers to celebrate The World Cup!

Plant a tree or lovely flowers to celebrate The World Cup!

Mark the occasion by adding a special plant to your garden.

Start this tradition and your garden will be full of wonderful memories.

 

Plant a tree/flowers to celebrate the World Cup

Plant a tree/flowers to celebrate the World Cup

 

Once you plant your tree/plant. Take a picture. Tweet about it. Add it to your Facebook or Google + pages. Make sure to add this hashtag below:

#PlantATree4WorldCup2014

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Benefits Of Gardening For Kids

Benefits Of Gardening For Kids

Apparently, we can see how nature is treated these days. It is a sad thing to know that people do not pay attention so much anymore to the environmental problems. What can we do about this? It’s as simple as starting with the children. It is good to see the children’s involvement with environment-friendly activities. One such nature-loving activity that children could easily get their hands on is gardening. Why should you consider gardening for your children?

Here are the benefits that gardening could easily provide the children with:

1. Science

In planting, children are indirectly taught the wonders of science like the plant’s life cycle and how human’s intervention can break or make the environment. They can have a first hand experience on the miracle of life through a seed. This would definitely be a new and enjoyable experience for the kids.

Getting ready to plants some flowers

Getting ready to plants some flowers

2. Life

Watching a seed grow into a tree is just as wondrous as the conception to birth and growth of a child. In time, kids will learn to love their plants and appreciate the life in them. Gardening could actually help simulate how life should be treated — it should be with care. The necessities to live will be emphasized to kids with the help of gardening – water, sunlight, air, soil. Those necessities could easily be corresponded to human necessities, i.e., water, shelter, air, food. By simply weeding out, one could educate how bad influences should be avoided to be able to live life smoothly.

3. Relaxation

Studies show that gardening can reduce stress because of its calming effect. This is applicable to any age group. More so, it stimulates all the five senses. Believe it or not, gardening may be used as therapy to children who have been abused or those who are members of broken homes. It helps build one’s self-esteem.

Looking at the root system of the flower plant. Amazed at how it looks.

Looking at the root system of the flower plant. Amazed at how it looks.

4. Quality Time with the Family

You can forget about your stressful work life for a while be soothed by the lovely ambiance in the garden. You can play and spend quality time with your children. You can talk while watering the plants or you can work quietly beside each other. The bottom line is, always do what you have to do, together with your kids. You might discover a lot of new things about your child while mingling with them in your garden.


Nearly done. It is looking pretty don't you think?

Nearly done. It is looking pretty don’t you think?

Let kids become aware of their environment’s needs. And one way to jump start that environmental education may be through gardening. It’s hitting two birds with one stone — teach them to respect life while you bond with them.