Image shows kale, one of the vegetables in winter gardening tips.

Winter Gardening Tips

 

Winter gardening is not as difficult as most people think.  There are fewer weeds to worry about than during other seasons.  Winter vegetables also require less water than their summer counterparts.  Low light levels from the shorter days cut down on evaporation and can even eliminate the need for watering from mid-November to mid-February in most areas of the country.
 

Winter Protection Devices

 

Should winter gardeners grow different crops depending on their climate?  Not necessarily.  You can grow the same crops if you use a winter-protection device, such as: a cold frame, a greenhouse, the quick-hoop system, or just a layer or two of floating row cover, often called Reemay.  All of these devices capture some of the earth’s natural warmth, especially at night, and block the chilling, drying effect of wind.  Many winter gardeners said that growing in a greenhouse had been their best garden investment.

 

Winter Vegetables

 

No matter where you live, you can grow cold-hardy winter vegetables that have proven they can take biting temperatures.  Interestingly, many of the vegetables need that snap of cold weather to deliver their unique taste.  Winter vegetables sweeten with the cold.  If you’ve ever tasted a winter-pulled carrot or winter-cut spinach, you’re familiar with the treasures winter gardening can bring. Read more

Image of harvesting tasty apples to represent autumn gardening tips.

Autumn Gardening Tips

 

Autumn is an excellent time to be in the garden.  From late summer through the month of October, you can enjoy a plentiful crop of produce, as well as prepare your flower beds and vegetable gardens for winter and a healthy spring season.  Check out the following tips for a bountiful autumn garden.

 

Clean Up

 

Before planting autumn vegetables, it’s very important to clear out any decayed materials that remain in your garden from summer plantings.  Many organisms overwinter in garden debris.  To prevent your plants from becoming re-infected in the spring it is important to rake up leaves and cut down any diseased stems of perennials.  It is safe to put the debris in a compost pile as long as the material does not include diseased plants.

 

Autumn Crops

 

Choose crops suited to autumn growing conditions.   Gardeners in most states should have success with greens and root vegetables.  Leafy greens (including spinach, arugula, lettuces, chard and mâche) and root vegetables (such as carrots, turnips, beets, rutabagas and radishes) as well as brassicas (such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale and Chinese cabbage) and peas will all thrive in the cooler weather and shorter days of autumn.  In many regions, some of these cold-hardy crops will even survive the winter to produce a second harvest in spring. Read more

Image shows a gardener using natural homemade pest control spray.

Natural Homemade Pest Control Remedies

 

Consistent and careful plant maintenance is always your best defense against pest problems and your best guarantee of a thriving vegan organic garden.  Overuse of deterrents can jeopardize the natural balance of an ecosystem, so use these natural homemade sprays sparingly.  All sprays should be labelled well and keep out of the reach of children.

 

Never spray anything on your plants during the hottest part of the day.  Even water left on leaves can burn your plants on a hot, bright afternoon.  Water and treat your plants either in the early morning or in the evening.

 

Garlic Spray

 

Most insect pests find their target by odor.  Sprays made with strong smelling ingredients such as garlic or eucalyptus oil can confuse them.  To make garlic spray, crush several garlic gloves into a quart (or 1 liter) of water.  Alternately, you can blend them into the water.  Simmer over low heat to soften the garlic and release the essential oils into the water.  Let the water cool.  Strain to remove the chunks.  Pour into a spray bottle.  Spray the tops and bottoms of leaves for natural insect repellant and fungal control. Read more

Image of a bird to represent a nice predator for vegan pest control in your garden.

Vegan Pest Control In Your Garden

 

In vegan organic gardening, it is important to accept that many pests will be competing with you for your tasty plants, and that you’ll have to share some of your crops with them.  Pests are an essential part of a garden ecosystem designed by nature to exist harmoniously in a healthy system.  In a thriving balanced garden, pests exist but not in plague proportions.  These visitors usually won’t eat much, and losing a leaf of lettuce here and there, is to be expected in any natural ecosystem.

 

Healthy plants are rarely completely annihilated by pests or disease.  Pests and diseases are nature’s way of removing the weakest individuals – those that are poorly adapted to thrive in the prevailing environment of soil, climate and season.  If you are having pest problems, put your energy into your growing conditions, not the pests.

 

With some knowledge and planning, you can prevent most harmful pests away from your plants, thus making toxic sprays and deadly traps unnecessary.  Just like most recipes can be turned vegan, most problems in the garden can be solved cruelty-free. Read more

Image of a tomato plant for summer gardening.

Summer Gardening Tips

 

The following are some tips to keep your garden at its peak performance during the summer months.  We hope you find these suggestions helpful!

 

Slow Down Weeds Organically

 

Weeds grow fast during the hot summer months and plants dry out quickly.  To slow down your weeds, enrich the soil and keep it moist at the same time.  Apply a thick layer (2 to 3 inches) of compost and/or straw around the plants. Leave a small gap for air circulation around the stem or crown.

 

When to Weed

 

Try to weed once a week.  Weeds take away the nutrients in the soil intended for your plants.  The best time to pull those weeds is after some light rainfall, because they become much easier to pull out.

 

Lasagna Mulch

 

Are you tired of mowing and watering a hungry lawn?  Make a “lasagna mulch” right on top without having to dig out the lawn.  In about 8 to 10 months the lawn, weeds, cardboard and mulch will be a rich healthy soil ready for planting.  The steps are: Read more

Image shows a comfrey plant used to make liquid feed.

Making Comfrey Or Nettle Liquid Feeds

 

Liquid feeds or fertilizers are a great way to nourish your plants, providing nutrients in a readily available form, so they’re quickly absorbed.  Many plants benefit from liquid feeds to give them a boost during their growing period, particularly crops such as: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, zucchinis, pumpkins and beans.

 

Instructions for Making Comfrey Liquid Feed (Ready to Use Undiluted)

 

  1. Wear gloves, cut comfrey down with shears or pruning clippers to about 2 inches (5 cm) above soil level. Start cutting from April, and ideally before plants flower.
  2. Collect leaves, chopping into small pieces if easier to handle. Let plants reach 24 inches (60 cm) tall before cutting again. This takes about six weeks.  Cut up to four times a year until September.
  3. Weigh about 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of leaves using scales.
  4. Add leaves to 4 gallons (15 liters) of water. Leave for about six weeks. Anaerobic bacteria will break down the comfrey leaves giving off a strong and unpleasant smell, so it’s best to use container with a cover or lid to contain the smell.
  5. Strain. Use liquid undiluted. This liquid will smell strongly.  Add residue of comfrey leaves to a compost heap. Don’t try to store this liquid as it will ferment and may explode (concentrated feed can be stored – see below).
  6. Use the comfrey solution as a potassium-rich liquid fertilizer to encourage flowers and fruit set. Use once a week for tomatoes after their first flowers set fruit.

Read more

Image shows flowers and plants for spring gardening.

Spring Gardening Tips

 

Getting your garden off to a solid start is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success.  Follow the tips outlined below and watch your vegan organic spring garden flourishes and blossoms.

 

Planning

 

  1. Choose planting areas based on exposure to sun, shade, wind and distance from water source.
  2. Study garden for gaps that can be filled by spring-flowering bulbs, and order in August for best selection.
  3. Choose flowering trees and shrubs for color and time of bloom to add to the garden in the autumn.

 

Survey the Yard

 

  1. Make note of tree limbs that should be removed or cabled, especially those that overhang structures.
  2. Cut down last year’s perennial foliage, and toss it into the compost pile.

 

Mulch

 

Mulch provides a blanket that helps keep moisture in the soil and prevent roots from getting too hot or cold and reduce weed problems.  Rake mulch from beds planted with bulbs before foliage appears, and refresh mulch in other planting areas after soil warms.

Read more

Image shows vegan compost for your garden.

Compost For Your Garden

 

Composting is a natural biochemical process of decomposition.  It is possible for every vegan organic grower to produce the darkest, nutrient-rich, earth-smelling compost.  Well-made compost is the building block from which your vegan garden will grow.  The soil and humus that are created from your scraps are also essential to revitalizing your garden and providing your household and garden plants with the nutrients they need to thrive.

 

Building your own basic compost pile is simple to do.  All you need is ‘green’ (nitrogen-rich) and ‘brown’ (carbon-rich) material from your yard waste and household food scraps, and a good place to put it.  The golden rule of composting is ingredients of 2 parts ‘green’ and 1 part ‘brown’ in the presence of air and moisture.  Too much green (nitrogen) and your compost will become green, slimy and probably smelly.  Too much brown (carbon) and you’re going to get just that, a pile of brown twigs and plant stalks that take too long to break down.

 

1. Compost Ingredients

 

Green (nitrogen-rich, lush and fresh):

Leftover fruits and veggies from the garden, vegetable and fruit peelings,  crop residues/foliage, grass cuttings, flowers and cuttings, weeds (without seeds and chopped if needed to prevent re-growth), green plant cuttings, coffee grounds, young hedge trimmings, seaweed and kelp. Read more

Image shows bountiful green kale that is produced via vegan organic gardening.

Intro To Vegan Organic Gardening

 

Vegan organic gardening or veganic gardening is a system of gardening that does not use toxic sprays, chemicals and animal products or by-products.  Vegan gardening methods allow us to minimize the harm to any animal that occurs in food production.  Pesticides are not applied, which would indiscriminately kill bumblebees, butterflies and other insects, then washed into streams and groundwater to cause further harm to fishes and other aquatic animals.

 

Vegan gardening refuses all fertilizers such as blood and bone meal, fish products, manures, or other animal-origin matter, as they are sourced from industries that exploit and enslave sentient beings.  As these products may carry diseases that breed in intensive animal husbandry operations, veganic gardening is also a safer, healthier way to grow our food.

 

In veganic gardening, soil fertility is maintained using vegetable compost, green manures, crop rotation, mulching, and other sustainable, ecological methods.  Some vegan gardeners may supplement this with human urine from vegans (which provides nitrogen) and ‘humanure’ from vegans, produced from compost toilets.  Read more