How to Grow Kale Indoors or Outdoors

By Peter Kelly
on August 01, 2016

How to Grow Kale Indoors or Outdoors

Kale is a hardy, cool-season leafy green vegetable that is rich in vitamins A and C, plus several minerals. Kale is part of the cabbage family and can easily be grown indoors or outdoors as long as growing temperatures stay on the cool side. This leafy green grows best outdoors in the spring and fall and can tolerate all fall frosts, but it can be grown year around indoors. Kale can be used raw in salads or cooked like collard or turnip greens.

Outdoor Planting

Select a planting location that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. Improve the soil drainage and fertility by working in four inches of compost to the soil.

Plant kale anytime from early spring to early summer. When kale is planted late in the summer you can harvest it from fall until the ground freezes in winter. Light fall or spring frosts will not impact the texture of kale nor damage the plants, but it will give the leaves a slightly sweet flavor.

Create rows in prepared soil that are 8-12 inches apart. Plant seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep and lightly cover with soil. After about 2 weeks, thin the seedlings so they are spaced 8 to 12 inches apart.

After Care

Water the plants regularly. Add a 2 inch layer of mulch around spring and summer plantings to retain moisture and prevent weed growth. Mulch the soil heavily around each plant after the first hard freeze; the plants may continue to produce edible leaves throughout the winter.

Indoor Planting

Start with the same-sized pots so all plants will be an equal distance away from the light source. Fill pots with good quality potting soil, then moisten the soil and scatter kale seeds on top. Lightly cover the seeds with soil, place under grow light for 12-14 hours per day and keep soil moist at all times. A non-heat producing grow light, like an LED, is best for kale since it prefers temperatures between 50-70 degrees. Use a closed room or grow tent to maintain a steady cool temperature.

After germination, thin plants to 8-12 inches apart and continue to keep soil damp and grow light on.

Plant kale seeds indoors every 2 weeks for a continual fresh harvest of this nutritious vegetable.

Harvest Time

Kale is ready to harvest when the leaves are about the size of your hand.

Pick about one fistful of leaves per harvest. Avoid picking the terminal bud (found at the top center of the plant) so the plant will remain productive.

 

Benefits of Using Grow Tents for Growing Tomatoes

By Peter Kelly
on July 18, 2016

Benefits of Using Grow Tents for Growing Tomatoes

Grow tents enable the indoor gardener to have absolute control over the environment in which their vegetable plants are being grown. Grow tents come in many different sizes and can accommodate any style of plant growing, including soil-filled containers, hydroponic systems, aquaponics or an aeroponic setup. With the use of grow tents, fresh, home-grown tomatoes can be enjoyed year round. The tents are easily put together, simple to organize and provide a better environment for plant growing than open-air grow rooms.

Temperature and Humidity

Tomato plants must have very warm temperatures and consistent moisture in order to produce their best crop. If temperature dips below 60 degree Fahrenheit tomatoes plants will cease to grow, 85-95 degrees Fahrenheit is the best temperature for tomato growing.

Consistent moisture is needed for the production of perfectly shaped, blemish-free tomatoes. When tomatoes receive inconsistent moisture during their development stage, the fruits will either crack open on top or rot from the bottom (blossom end rot). The cracking and rotting are due to periods of abundant water followed by periods of not enough water. Grow tents allow you to control temperature and moisture all the time for perfect fruit development.

Lighting

Tomatoes (and all other plants) must have light to grow. Nothing compares to natural sunlight for growing plants, but grow lights inside of a grow tent makes it possible to grow tomatoes from seed to harvest without ever needing direct sunlight. You can control the amount of light, spectrum colors of the lights and the intensity when growing tomatoes indoors inside of a grow tent.

Indoor/Outdoor

Grow tents are primarily used for growing vegetable plants completely indoors, but the tents and grow lights also have other applications.

Since you can completely control the interior environment of a grow tents, it’s a perfect place to start all of your garden plant seeds. Starting plants from seeds is the most economical way to garden and 100% seed germination is almost guaranteed with the use of a grow tent. When the seeds have germinated and are strong enough for transplanting, they can be transplanted outdoors into an in-ground garden or containers. Selling strong, healthy garden plants in early spring is a great way to supplement income, and a grow tent can help you grow an abundance of healthy garden plants.

Tips For Keeping Moles Out of The Garden

By Peter Kelly
on July 15, 2016

Tips For Keeping Moles Out of The Garden

It’s hard to believe that such a small animal can cause so much damage and destruction to a garden, but that’s exactly why you need to keep moles away from your plants. As they dig their subterranean tunnels, they’ll eat through critical root systems, often killing plants in the process. Allowing an infestation of these critters to persist can have devastating effects on your garden, but thankfully there are some precautions you can take to keep them at bay.

Identify Mole Tunnels

The first step in your battle against garden moles is to identify their tunnels. Like many other subterranean Earth-borrowing creatures, moles build tunnels with two separate entry points. Not only does this offer them an alternative escape route in the event they are being chased by a predator, but it also serves as a natural air conditioning system. The two entry points creates a vacuum, sucking air from the surface and pushing it throughout the tunnel.

Go throughout your garden to look for entry points to mole tunnels. You don’t want to destroy them yet, but instead stick a marker next to them. Tearing them down or covering them up isn’t going to solve your problem, as the mole will simply burrow through it once again.

Castor Oil Granules

One of the most effective mole repellents is castor oil. You can purchase bags of granule castor oil pellets from most home improvement stores for about $10-$20 bucks, making it an inexpensive way to discourage these pests from entering your garden.

Castor oil isn’t designed to kill moles, gophers, voles or any other garden pest. Instead, it acts as a natural repellent, encouraging them to seek a new home.

How To Use Prevent Moles With Castor Oil Granules:
1.Identify the mole tunnels in your garden/yard.
2.Sprinkle castor oil granules throughout your garden, paying extra attention to areas of high mole activity. A good rule of thumb is to use about 1 pound of granules per 1,000 square feet of garden.
3.Water the granules to release their natural mole-repellent chemicals.
4.Wait patiently as the granules work its magic.

Eliminate Garden Grubs

Moles love to feast on tiny garden grubs; therefore, common sense should tell you that eliminating grubs from your garden will keep moles at bay. So, how do you get rid of garden grubs?

One idea is to sprinkle used coffee ground throughout your garden. The highly acidic nature of coffee grounds will kill grubs on contact without poisoning your soil or plants.

All-Natural Garden Pest Prevention With Diatomaceous Earth

By Peter Kelly
on July 15, 2016

All-Natural Garden Pest Prevention With Diatomaceous Earth

Still struggling to eliminate pests from your garden? It’s frustrating when you continue to spray chemical-based pesticides throughout your garden, only for it to have little-to-no effect on the actual pests. It may keep them away for a couple of days, but they’ll come right back once the pesticide has washed away.

How Diatomaceous Earth Works

A safe and effective alternative to chemical pesticides is diatomaceous earth (DE). To the naked eye, it appears to be nothing more than a fine, chalky-white powder. If you were to observe it under a microscope, however, you would tiny fossils embedded inside, which is how it’s able to eliminate and prevent common garden pests.

Diatomaceous earth is actually made of the fossilized remains of a single-cellular plant-based algae known as diatoms. When a garden slug, snail, beetle, aphid or practically any other pest walks over it, they will receive tiny cuts that break through their exoskeleton, causing them to dehydrate and eventually die.

Since DE is consists of nothing more than fossilized algae remains, it’s completely safe to use in gardens of all shapes and sizes. Other types of chemical-based pesticides may poison plants, but thankfully DE is all-natural and safe to use. Rather than killing pests chemically, DE kills them by cutting open their exoskeleton.

Can Diatomaceous Earth Hurt You?

Although it’s safe for people and pets, it’s recommended that you wear a dust mask when handling DE. Inhaling the tiny fossilized algae remains may trigger respiratory problems in some people. Wearing a simple dust mask, however, can protect you from respiratory attacks triggered by the presence of DE.

Steps To Using Diatomaceous Earth In The Garden:
1.Pick up a bag of DE from your local plant nursery or home improvement store.
2.Open the bag and sprinkle it generously throughout the garden, paying close attention to areas of high pest activity.
3.Continue sprinkling DE throughout your garden. Try to avoid pouring it directly on your plants, but instead create a barrier around them.
4.Check back with your garden the following day to see if it made a difference.

Like most powder-based products, DE tends to wash away during rainfall. If a heavy storm blows through, you may need to reapply the DE to your garden. For maximum effectiveness, keep a light-to-moderate layer of DE coating the ground of your garden.

Square Foot Gardening: Space-Friendly Outdoor Gardening

By Peter Kelly
on July 15, 2016

Square Foot Gardening: Space-Friendly Outdoor Gardening

Square foot gardening refers to a space-friendly method of planning and growing plants in a grid-like fashion. Each individual cell in the grid houses a different plant, making it easy for beginners to start and maintain their own gardens. And being that plants are given their own separate cell, there’s less risk of crowding and nutrient leaching.

The Origins of Square Foot Gardening

The term “square foot gardening” was first coined in the early 1980s by Mel Bartholomew in a magazine publication Rodale Press. Bartholomew’s original design consisted of nothing more than a four-sided box – without a top or bottom – with string dividing it into sections.

Bartholomew went on to say that while certain plants require a full cell in the square foot gardening grid, others require just a fraction of a cell. Strawberries, for instance, could be planted four plants per square, whereas radishes could be planted in groups of sixteen per square.

Benefits of Square Foot Gardening:
•Inexpensive (requires just a few basic materials)
•Easy to set up and maintain
•Reduces the risk of plant overcrowding
•Organized way to grow vegetables, fruits and herbs
•Visually appealing
•Simplifies the process of trying to space out plants

How To Start Your Own Square Foot Garden

The first step in creating your own square foot garden is to build the container (see image below). This can be something as simple as four 2x4s nailed together in a square shape, or it can be more complete, such as a plywood-based boxed with a bottom. The key thing to remember is that you want to keep it relatively close to the ground; otherwise, you’ll have a hard time maintaining it.

You can now proceed to fill the container with top soil. Most square foot gardeners prefer to use a light, airy soil that’s fertilized with organic compost. This seems to work well for most square foot gardens because of the lack of tension and pressure placed on it. When adding soil, refrain from going beyond the height of the container. A good rule of thumb is to stop about 2" from the top of the container.

Once the container is complete, create a grid system using string and a staple gun. Run the string vertically and horizontally so each cell is approximately 1 foot, at which point you can staple the string ends to the container. Pull the strings back beforehand to ensure there’s no ‘wiggle’ room.

How To Improve Your Soil Health

By Peter Kelly
on July 15, 2016

How To Improve Your Soil Health

Trying to garden with poor soil is a losing battle. Some plants may initially emerge from the surface, but their growth and health will ultimately be stunted. Soil is responsible for holding vital nutrients, organic matter and moisture that plants need to thrive. Without a healthy concentration of these elements, plants won’t be able to properly grow and develop.

Signs of Unhealthy Garden Soil:
•Feeds dry and arid to the touch.
•Top layer of soil visibly blows off during strong gusts of wind.
•Lack of plant life on or around the soil.
•Natural obstructions, such as rocks and/or trees, prevent water from flowing to the soil.
•Soil is either too acidic or too alkaline.
•Filled with rocks, pebbles or other debris.

Test Your Soil

Before we dive into the different ways to improve soil health, you should first test its pH. Pick up either an electronic or disposable pH tester from your local plat nursery and place it down inside your soil. This will reveal whether or not your soil contains a balanced acidic/alkaline content. If it’s not balanced, you may need to add some fertilizer or other ingredients to achieve a more desirable level.

So, what’s a good pH for garden soil? It really depends on the type of plants you are growing, but Clemson University recommends a pH of 5.8 to 6.5 for most vegetables, grasses and ornamentals. This seems to be a happy medium that works for most types of plants. Going below or above the 5.8-6.5 range, however, can create poor conditions that makes it difficult for plants to thrive.

Tips To Improve Soil Health
•Create a compost bin to recycle glass clippings, egg shells, fruit and vegetable peelings, etc.
•Set up a sprinkler system to supply with your soil with regular amounts of water (assuming you aren’t under a outdoor water ban).
•Use a pitch fork to till up your soil, allowing the moist content to reach the surface.
•Avoid crowding your soil with too many plants, as this will leach the nutrients from it.
•Try to avoid compacting the soil. The more “loose” your soil is, the more air and water can travel through it.
•Trim away excess brush or tree branches that are blocking sunlight from reaching your soil.
•Add compost tea to your soil for a nutritional boost.

Raised Bed Gardening 101: How To Create a Raised Bed Garden

By Peter Kelly
on July 15, 2016

Raised Bed Gardening 101: How To Create a Raised Bed Garden

Are you struggling to create a flourishing garden due to poor soil conditions? Healthy soil is the backbone of any successful garden. Without the proper balance of acid/alkalinity and the right concentration of nutrients and moisture, plants will cease to grow.

Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem that gardeners face. While you can always solve this problem by tilling and fertilizing your soil, doing so a tedium, time-consuming process. And to make matters worse, there’s no guarantee that your soil will be healthy enough for a garden. A smarter solution is to create a raised bed garden.

What Is a Raised Bed Garden?

A raised bed garden is exactly what it sounds like: a garden that’s raised just slightly off the ground. A typical raised bed garden rests about 6-8" off the ground (see image below), and consists of boxed-in containers that hold the soil and the plants. It’s an otherwise simple concept that yields some big benefits when used in conditions of poor soil.

Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening:
•Simple and easy to make (based raised bed gardens feature nothing more than 4 pieces of wood nailed together).
•Offers greater control and freedom over the soil nutrients.
•The soil inside raised bed garden is completely different from the “natural” soil in its surroundings.
•Great way to separate different plants in a garden.
•Retains moisture content better.
•Requires minimal space to create a raised bed garden.
•Raised bed gardens are easier to maintain.
•Less weeds and brush to deal with.

The main benefit associated with raised bed gardens is their independence from the ground soil. Once the container is complete, you can create your own soil/fertilizer mixture, tailoring it to meet the needs of your plants. So even if you have poor ground soil in your garden, you can create raised beds with new, healthy soil.

How To Create a Raised Bed Garden

The first step in creating a raised bed garden is to construct the framework. Granted, the example depicted above features a wooden framework, you can also use concrete blocks, stones or similar materials – as long as it retains the soil without allowing it to fall or escape through the sides.

Once your framework is complete, you should then fill it with a mixture of soil and fertilizer. The exact ratio and type of soil varies depending on the plants you intend to grow, your region, and the time of year. With that said, you can ask for assistance at your local plant nursery for advice. After filling it up with soil, you can then add seeds, seedlings or plants to your new raised bed garden!

Is Poor Air Quality Harming Your Houseplants?

By Peter Kelly
on July 15, 2016

Is Poor Air Quality Harming Your Houseplants?

Do you struggle to keep your houseplants alive and healthy? When you’re busy monitoring pH levels, choosing a well-lit area, and feeding your houseplants the right fertilizer, it’s easy to overlook something as simple as air quality. But poor air quality can take its toll on houseplants in several different ways, restricting their intake of oxygen while exposing them to the potentially harmful the bacteria, mold and other microbes.

Is It Really a Problem?

The short answer is yes, poor indoor air quality is a serious problem. Not only will it negatively impact your houseplants, but it can also impact you and your family’s health.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently listed indoor air pollution as one of the top 5 environmental dangers, saying the average home’s air it’s typically 5-100 times more polluted than outdoor air.

Some of the most common indoor air pollutants include:
•Dust mites
•Pollen
•Bacteria
•Mold
•Radon
•Carbon monoxide
•Carbon dioxide
•Chemical fumes

How To Improve Your Home’s Air Quality

If you believe poor air quality is to blame for the slow growth and/or negative health of your houseplants, you should take immediate action to remedy the situation. Allowing your air to remain pollutant will only further harm you, your family, and your houseplants.

Change The Air Filter

Assuming you have a standard heating, ventilation and cooling system (HVAC), you should get into the habit of changing the air filter at least once a month. This will keep promote clean, fresh air by filtering significantly more pollutants. And being that a typical air filter only costs about $5-$10 bucks, this is a cheap way to create cleaner air in your home.

Install a Water Fountain

How can a water fountain improve  your home’s air quality? Water fountains work as natural filters, catching and holding dust, bacteria, mold and other pollutants. When these pollutants blow into fountain, they remain stuck here until the water is emptied and replaced with fresh water.

Indoor water fountains also double as humidifiers. The soothing sound of water trickling down the fountain means that some of the water vapor is entering the air, raising the humidify to a more respectable level.

Add More Houseplants

Of course, adding more houseplants will also improve your home’s air quality. Plants absorb pollutants while releasing fresh oxygen back into the surrounding atmosphere. Generally speaking, the larger the plant, the more pollutants it filters.

Product Spotlight: The Magic Trimmer

By Peter Kelly
on July 15, 2016

Product Spotlight: The Magic Trimmer

Offered here at GrowTentStore.com, the Magic Trimmer is a revolutionary new gardening tool that makes trimming your buds and shoots a breeze. Its patent pending design allows gardeners to extract buds safely and efficiently, without being forced to use the archaic method of gardening sheers. If you’re still on the fence about investing in a the Magic Trimmer, keep reading for a closer look this product and its unique benefits.

Bud trimming machines aren’t a new concept by any means. In fact, they’ve been around for decades, offering gardeners an alternative means of extracting buds; however, the Magic Trimmer stands in a class above the rest, as it features an ultra-powerful motorized extracting blade packed in a small, handheld frame. Whether you have a single plant or one hundred, the Magic Trimmer will get the job done in a fast and efficient manner.

The makers of Magic Trimmer stand by their product, offering an iron-clad 1-year warranty on the motor. In the rare event that the motor ever goes out or stops working as it should, you send the Magic Trimmer back to the manufacturer to have it either fixed or replaced. Warranties are typically few and far between in this industry, but the Magic Trimmer has a long-standing reputation for being the best of the best, which is why the motor is backed with a 1-year warranty.

Here are some of the specs for the Magic Trimmer:
•110 volts
•50.60 Hz
•115 Watts
•No-Load Speed: 33000 r/min

Is the Magic Trimmer the right product for you? I guess it depends on your current gardening needs and expectations. Gardeners who are frequently faced with the task of pruning and extracting buds will certainly benefit from owning this device, as it allows for a fast, efficient, and more importantly safe harvesting of buds.

Some of the more expensive bud trimmers on the market are more time-consuming and labor-intensive – not to mention their lack of safety features. But the Magic Trimmer brings all of the right elements together to offer a ground-breaking gardening tool.


The truth is that most people fail to realize just how useful the Magic Trimmer is until they see and use it first-hand. Granted, you can always trim your buds the old fashioned way, using nothing more than a pair of gardening sheers or scissors, but this is an archaic method that’s time-consuming. Investing in the Magic Trimmer opens up a whole new world of possibilities for indoor and outdoor gardeners.

Organic vs Inorganic Hydroponic Gardening

By Peter Kelly
on July 15, 2016

Organic vs Inorganic Hydroponic Gardening

Hydroponics is an advances method of gardening centered around the use of a water-based growing medium instead of a traditional soil-based medium. We discuss some of the benefits of hydroponics in a previous blog post here, but the general consensus is that hydroponics – when performed correctly – yields bigger, healthier plants.

But there are actually two different types of hydroponic gardens: organic and inorganic, both of which have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re thinking about creating your own hydroponic garden, you should familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of each method. Only then will you be able to make the best decision regarding which method is right for your plants.

Inorganic Hydroponics

Inorganic hydroponics, as its name suggests, focuses on the use of chemical-based inorganic nutrients. Plants grown in a hydroponics garden require nutrients to sustain their development and health.

Without soil, however, gardeners must add these nutrients in liquid form to the water medium; thus, flushing the plants’ roots with vital nutrients. Inorganic hydroponics refers to the use of inorganic nutrient substances to nourish plants.

Inorganic nutrient solutions are typically stronger and more concentrated, possessing only the key nutrients which are required for healthy plant growth and development.

Organic Hydroponics

Organic hydroponics differs from its counterpart in a few different ways, one of which is its use of organic nutrients to nourish plants. Bacteria and microorganisms are used to break down nutrients so plants can absorb them more easily.

Another nuance between organic and inorganic hydroponics is pesticide. Inorganic hydroponics typically relies on the use of chemical-based insecticides to keep pests at bay, whereas organic hydroponics relies on the use of insects and organic products to ward off potentially harmful pests.

So, what constitutes an “organic” pest control solution? Lady bugs are often added to organic hydroponic gardens to kill aphids and other problematic insects. And neem oil is popular organic pest control solution that’s frequently applied to plants. The key thing to remember is that you want to choose products which are all-natural and not synthesized with harsh chemicals.

The main benefit of organic hydroponics is its nutrient value. Organic substances are generally viewed as safer and better for both plant health and human health. If you’re growing plants for the purpose of consumption, you may want to grow them organically for this reason alone.

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