Growing a Home Herb Garden

Many people want to grow their own herbs, yet don’t have the option of starting a conventional outdoor herb garden. There are many reasons you might not want to grow herbs outdoors. It might be because you simply don’t have a back yard, because you’re not ready to tackle the challenges that come with outdoor growing or maybe its just because maintaining an outdoor garden requires a lot of labor and can be hard on your back. Whatever the reason, you will be happy to know that having an indoor home herb garden is a piece of cake when you know what you’re doing. This article is going to help you accomplish just that.

Growing a home herb garden is not only easy, but cheap. Some 6 inch planting pots should be all you need but feel free to be creative with what you use to plant the herbs in. Remember that whatever you are using for a pot, it’s good to have holes drilled in the bottom so that any excess water can drain from the soil. Herb’s hate saturated soil. That’s why you will want to line the bottom of your pots with stones and wood chips; these will allow proper soil drainage. Using high quality soil is recommended as herbs can be very fussy. Make sure the soil is loose. You can even add sand to the soil to make it drain better. When planting the seeds of your home herb garden, plant them about an inch apart from each other and don’t bury them deep. Herb seeds need only to be slightly covered.

Where you place your home herb garden should depend on where the sunlight is. Herbs thrive in plenty of light so place the pots in the windowsill that gets the most light throughout the day. Windows on the south side of your home will have the longest periods of sunlight. If your pots won’t fit in the windowsill, consider putting shelving up or purchasing one of those windowsill extenders for cats.

You will need to know when and how often to water your home herb garden. Herbs grown in containers do tend to dry out quicker than outdoor herbs so remember to monitor your soil. You can do this by sticking your finger a half inch deep into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water your home herb garden. Though you may be tempted, do not overwater your herbs. When it comes to herbs, sometimes its better to water them too little than too much.

A common problem people have with the home herb garden is that the humidity is too low in their home and the plants suffer from it. Luckily, this is easy to fix. Just mist the herbs with a spray bottle about once a week. It doesn’t seem like much but its enough to keep your herbs healthy. You can also place a dish of water next to a heat source if there is one near your home herb garden. The heat will cause the water to evaporate and add humidity to the air.

There are many advantages to having an indoor home herb garden. The first is that you don’t have to worry about harmful insects and diseases are rare. The second is that you can continue to grow your herbs all throughout the winter. Last but certainly not least, when you have a home herb garden, you have access to wonderful tasting herbs right at your fingertips. Imagine not having to leave the house to pick fresh herbs to add to your meal.

How to Plan a Home Vegetable Garden Using the Square Foot Gardening Method

Planning a home vegetable garden can be tricky. Gardening is a science, after all! This article discusses the steps involved in planning a Square Foot Garden, which differ in several important ways from the steps involved in planning a row-based garden.

The first step is to select the vegetables you would like to grow, considering how much space you have available in your vegetable garden. Multiply the length of your garden bed by the width to calculate the available planting squares. The “available squares” must not be less than the squares required by the vegetables you select to grow. To calculate the planting squares required by each vegetable, use the “thin to” spacing requirements on the back of the seed pack and convert as follows:

  • 9 squares: “thin to” specification of 24 inches or greater; the plant is placed in the middle of a 9 square block
  • 2 squares: “thin to” specification of at least 12 inches, but less than 24 inches; the plant is placed in the middle of a 2 square block
  • 1 square: “thin to” specification less than 12 inches

When considering the total planting squares required, first calculate how many seeds of each vegetable you will need to plant, based on your harvest goals. For plants requiring more than one square, multiply the number of seeds by the squares required to calculate total planting squares. For plants requiring one square, determine how many seeds can be planted in the square based on the “thin to” requirement: 12 inches = 1 seed, 6 inches = 4 seeds, 4 inches = 9 seeds, 3 inches = 16 seeds. Then calculate the total number of planting squares required for these plants in order to reach your harvest goals. Add the two planting square calculations together, and this is the amount of space you will require in order to meet your harvest goals. Adjust as necessary to match the space you have available.

After selecting the vegetables to plant, the next step is to determine where to plant each vegetable in your garden. If a garden existed in the same location last year, remember to avoid planting a vegetable from the same family of vegetables in the same location in a three year cycle. Doing so will increase the risk that your garden will become infected with pests or disease. Placement of vegetables in a vegetable garden requires balancing a number of different factors:

  • Water Requirements: If you have more than one bed, group vegetables together based on water requirements and assign a targeted water level to each bed.
  • Plant Spacing: Plant the vegetables according to the plants per square calculations. Crowding vegetables can cause several problems, including loss of plants due to disease and lack of pollination.
  • Support Requirements: Some vegetables require a trellis. In the northern hemisphere, place trellises on the north and east sides of the bed to ensure the trellises do not cast shadows on the rest of the vegetables in the garden. In the southern hemisphere, place trellises on the south and east sides. Reserve these locations for vegetables that require a trellis.
  • Sunlight Requirements: Take note of the sunlight patterns in your garden. Areas that receive less sun should be reserved for plants with a Partial Sun requirement.
  • Height: In the northern hemisphere, place taller plants to the north and east sides of the bed to avoid casting shadows on the rest of the vegetables in the garden. In the southern hemisphere, place taller plants on the south and east sides.
  • Good / Bad Companion Relationships: Some vegetables are believed to have a positive impact on the growth or development of other plants (“good companions”), while others seem to cause harm (“bad companions”). Plant good companions close together, and keep bad companions far apart – ideally in separate beds.

The last step is to determine when to plant each seed. It can be difficult to determine exact dates, especially when seed packs use instructions like “plant in early spring”. The key point here is to understand the frost sensitivity of each plant. Plant each vegetable on the appropriate date based on expected weather patterns. Planting too late is just as bad as planting too early – since some vegetables do not tolerate hot summer weather.

Planning a vegetable garden can be time consuming, but if done incorrectly, can cause your garden to suffer. Therefore, it is worth the time you put into it. For those that do not enjoy planning, consider using a garden planner application. A good garden planner will generate a garden plan for you, taking into consideration all of the requirements discussed in this article. If you prefer to create your own garden plan, there are a couple of tools that can help with your vegetable garden planning process:

  • Graphing paper can be a valuable tool for planning the placement of plants. Place the graphing paper inside a plastic sheet protector and use a dry-erase marker to try different planting scenarios.
  • A spreadsheet can also be used for modeling your garden layout. Each cell in the spreadsheet represents a planting square in your garden.

Child Safety Dangers in the Home and Garden

Although any house cannot be 100% child safe there are some straight forward steps parents can take to lessen the risk of accident or injury to you and your children within the home environment. Here we look at some of the key dangers present within the nursery and garden areas of your home and what steps you can take to minimise the risks.

Nursery
For obvious reasons, the nursery is a room in your home that your child will spend a considerable amount of his or her time in. As a consequence, you will therefore need to be extremely vigilant about any dangers posed which additionally will be required to be assessed and monitored on a regular basis. Take into account the development of your child when monitoring the safety of his or her environment and remember that risks which were not posed a few months ago may well be more relevant as your child develops.

Insure that your babies cot and indeed the mattress adhere to the required safety standards and that the mattress is securely fitted to the base of the cot. Should your child sleep in a bed make sure you have a suitable bed rail in place whilst at the same time ensuring that a secure stair gate is fitted at the top of your stairs. Install a suitable dimming light to provide you with sufficient light to walk safely at night whilst at the same time providing comfort and reassurance to your child. Setup a thermometer in the nursery to provide you with an accurate room temperature ensuring that it doesn’t get too hot or too cold. The optimum temperature for a baby’s nursery should be around 18°C or 65°.

Outside in the garden
A significant proportion of accidents occur outside the home with the garden absorbing a large proportion of these accidents. Always remain vigilant if your child is outside in the garden and never leave them unattended. Ensure that all garden implements, chemicals and tools are securely locked away. Make sure garden sheds and garages doors are securely locked and if you have a gate leading out of your property make sure it has a secure lock which cannot be accessed by your child. If your child has play equipment outside in the garden always make sure he or she has an appropriate base to fall on should they require it. If you have a pond or water feature make sure they are securely covered up and a child cannot come to harm even if he or she should fall onto the covering.

Taking just these few simple steps can help to secure your home and garden from dangers thereby protecting the safety of your children from injury.