Welcome the Outdoors ......

Whether your home is a house, apartment, townhouse or condo - you can always find some sort of space for gardening. If flowers and plants are your passion to dress up the home; vegetables, fruits or herbs for cooking and eating; here is the one place to check for tips on creating the best soil mixture, methods of germinating and planting, creative ideas for container gardening. and how to best grow and maintain them. We have updates weekly. Please make sure to visit us often for tips and advice.

I’ve had much success with a basic potting mix using some ingredients I already have. I went to City Mill and picked up this plastic container with an attached cover to hold it all in. Walmart has this Supersoil brand Potting Soil bag for less than $10 which makes an excellent base. I absolutely love the Niu brand Black Cinder rock. Grab a bag from Walmart as well. The cinder rock will help to hold water and provide flexible surface area making it great for root development. I mixed that together and added in cracked eggshells – which are a natural source of calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals. If you are planting leafy veggies or tomatoes, add couple pinches of Epsom salt. This is a natural source of magnesium sulfate. The crystals break down into water, magnesium, and sulfur – three components which are beneficial in some way to most plants.

The best part of growing sweet potatoes!

Sweet potatoes can be slow starters and they don’t like to compete with weeds. They require 4 months of warm temperatures to develop full size potatoes and are surprising easy to grow. Key time frame is to plant them about May. You can then harvest them anywhere in the Fall. Since the vines root wherever they touch the ground, a few plants can produce a generous harvest. They generally prefer full sun, but appreciate some afternoon shade in hot, dry regions. Keep the area clear until the top growth fills in and acts as a living mulch. Sweet potatoes like a slightly acid soil, preferring a soil pH between 5.0 and 6.5 - use empsom salt mixed in soil when planting. Once you've planted them, leave them alone. Water them 3x a week

Papaya - the best breakfast fruit!

Do you know how wholesome and nutritious papaya are? Not only is it available all year but it's pretty easy to grow. Papaya's seeds are edible, although their peppery flavor is somewhat bitter. The fruit, as well as the other parts of the papaya tree, contain papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins. are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium, copper, and magnesium; and fiber. When considering the best papaya growing conditions in your yard, don’t forget about planting location. The best place to plant a papaya is on the south or southeast side of a house with some protection from wind and cold weather. Papayas also grow best in full sun. Water trees frequently for best fruit production. My secret tip is to keep some of the grass cutting when you mow the lawn and place around the base of each tree to help retain moisture. Best to keep the mulch 8 to 12 inches from the trunk.

EGGPLANT - the most ornate veggie to grow in raised garden beds!

In Hawaii who doesn’t like to grill outdoors? I do! And I am a fan of veggies for outdoor grilling along side your steaks, chicken, hamburger and kalbi. These stately plants grow well and look beautiful in containers, ornamental borders, raised beds, and traditional in-ground gardens. Eggplant loves warmth and grows best in very sunny, well-drained locations. Raised beds that have been generously enriched with composted manure are ideal, but any fertile soil with a pH from 6.3 to 6.8 will satisfy the plants. I like to line the container with composte first the mix over a blend of soil, epsom salt, egg shells and a little worm juice. Because eggplant really needs warm soil to grow well, gardeners in cool climates often do best growing the plants in large, dark-colored containers. I have mines in big pot containers on sale from City Mill. On a sunny day, soil temperatures inside black pots may be 10 degrees or more higher than in-ground soil temperatures. Eggplants grow into tall, angular plants, so they should be spaced 24 to 36 inches apart. Fertilize planting holes by mixing in a balanced timed-release or organic fertilizer, following the rates given on the label. At the same time, mix in 2 inches of compost to help hold moisture and fertilizer in the soil.

MULCHING - Nature's Compost!

Want in on a secret? If you're planting trees into the ground directly, using mulch will help give you an advantage of having blossoming flowers; juicy fruits or flavorful vegetables! Since I do yardwork every two weeks, I use the grass cuttings as mulch around the base of my trees. This is nutrient rich and gives much needed support when you water it. The only downside of going organic is you have to replace it quite often.

There is a wide variety of mulch types available, which can be broken down into two large groups: organic and inorganic. Organic – Organic, or natural mulches, include such things as hardwood chips, pine straw, grass clippings and crushed leaves. Inorganic -Inorganic, or synthetic mulches, include pebbles, crushed rock, plastic or rubber mats or chips. Organic mulch tends to cost less than synthetic mulch but has to be replaced more frequently due to deterioration.