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            1. Showing posts with label Resources. Show all posts
              Showing posts with label Resources. Show all posts

              Friday, August 23, 2013

              Great Store & Great Resources, Grogg's Green Barn

              Grogg's Green Barn, Tulsa Oklahoma
              I wanted to share with you a great place I wondered into... Grogg's Green Barn.  This is Oklahoma's first organically focused & native plant garden center and is located in Tulsa.  The employees were passionate to educate and help the public find and grow organically. 

              I really enjoyed myself and found so many products and solutions I have never seen or heard of. In stock were several heirloom tomato varieties and many herbs, all organically grown at various sizes. They also offer free classes to the public several times a month. A neat surprise was in the back of the property was a very interesting chicken coop with chickens and a living herb roof!

              If you are a Tulsa local - go check it out & if you live out of town, make it a point to come check this place out!

              One of the products I learned about while at Grogg's was Nolo Bait. It seems that we are having terrible grasshopper problems in Oklahoma this year & Nolo Bait is a certified organic biological insecticide.

              Photo Courtesy of Grogg's Green Barn's website

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              Friday, July 26, 2013

              Use a Dirt Box to Teach Gardening Skills and for Imaginative Play

              Many of us as kids growing up either had a back yard sandbox or had access to one to play in. Remember how much fun it was?  Kids just love to play in sand.

              Use a Dirt Box to teach gardening skills and for imaginative play
              Recently after visiting a friend's home who kept her sandbox in a tub for easy storage and seeing how much all the kids loved to play in it, I knew we needed one. I changed ours up a little, though.  We have a dirt box for the kids to play in, learn to use gardening tools, and pot up plants instead of a sandbox.
              Part of the time the dirt box is used by the kids to pot up plants for me. The other, you guessed it... a box of dirt to play in and let their imaginations run wild.  When not helping me, my seven year old uses the dirt box as a mini dirt bike track for his toy motorcycles or a dirt track/mud pit for his monster trucks.  My one year old loves to rake it, fill pots, build mud castles and run her brothers dirt bikes through it, mimicking the sounds he makes. 

              The great thing about this box is that it's very easy to add varying amounts of water and change its use; the kids can even take care of that part for me. If you add too much water, just tilt the box and drain the water out. An added benefit of the box is that you can keep it on the patio and slide it under a chair when not in use. Of course, if you find yourself in a situation when you need to divide or pot something up quickly, you have it handy and the kids know how to help.

              Materials Needed:
              Potting soil or seed starting soil
              Shallow Storage Tub - lid optional
              Any toys or plastic tools you desire

              Scoop or pour some soil into the box, let the kids help. We used enough to make the dirt about an inch deep. You want to make sure that you use potting soil or seed starting soil instead of just dirt from the ground. Ordinary ground dirt in most cases will become a hard dry mess, or could have all kinds of nasties in it. 

              Periodically I add more potting soil, either because we pot up plants, or it is lost due to water drainage. We lost the lid to our tub before it was put into use as a dirt box, so the kids love it when it rains! Instant mud track or lake, depending on the amount of rain we receive.

              If you don't have an potting or seed starting soil around, Walmart sells small bags for less than $1. If you don't see it outside, sometimes it is in by the seed starting mix.

              I highly recommend plastic garden tools, because they will most likely get wet.  Also, if your kids are anything like mine, sometimes they get thrown and used as sparing tools!

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              Monday, July 22, 2013

              Do you have Produce to Donate?

              Have your tomato plants started pumping out more tomatoes than you can eat? I sure hope so. If you are being over run with more produce than you can handle, I have a very easy solution for you.

              Oklahoma Gardening a few weeks back featured Ample Harvest. This non-profit maintains a database of Food Pantries by Zip Code that desire fresh produce donations from local gardeners.
              Donate Home Grown Produce
              Just in my Zip Code alone there were 15 locations listed.  I have been donating to the college where I teach.  The students really enjoy the variety of foods and plants I bring in.  The reason I donate there is two fold. First because it is very convenient for me to drop it off; second, because there a so many in need.

              A few questions that the site covers are ones such as what if you only have one type of produce or even just a few pieces.  Would the food bank still want your food.  The answer is Yes! The produce you bring will be pooled with that of other backyard gardeners in your area. Also, food is not required to be organically grown.

              Remember, the key thing is that food should not be wasted, especially when so many Americans are having a hard time feeding their families.

              Your bounty, large or small, will help to diminish hunger in America. 

              Hopefully you were able to plant a few extra plants this year, or plan to for the fall, and will be soon be able to donate produce.  Please let us know if you are able to donate. Don't forget to encourage your friends as well.

              This is a great way to demonstrate God's love, so be sure to get your children envolved!

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              Friday, July 19, 2013

              Tops of Tomatoes Splitting

              Has the top of your tomato split and you are wondering what happened, is it still good to eat, and what do I do to prevent this from happening again?

              Unfortunately, it seems like you wait forever for your tomatoes to ripen and just as it is getting time to pick them their tops split. When this happens it is so disappointing. But don't fret, you can still eat your tomato.

              Top of Tomato Splitting
              The "Big Boy" variety shown in the picture with the split top, was new for me this year. It had it's first blooms back in mid May.  We had two heavy rains earlier this week that caused the top of this tomato to split. I also accidentally gouged the tomato with the pruners when I was cutting it off the vine.

              Yes, I was bummed. I had wanted an award winning super large red juicy tomato to be the first one off the vine. I have watched and tended after this one tomato for a month and a half. But after I got over my desire for the perfect looking tomato, I decided to settle on the perfect tasting tomato instead! So, I just cut off and discarded a small portion of the top.

              When this happens to you, just use a sharp knife and cut the top of the tomato off, just a bit below the deepest split.  The tomato is still safe and very good to eat.  If the tomato is left on the plant the skin will seal off and look dark, as you can see from the bottom split.

              Why this happens:
              If you are new to tomato growing, if the plant receives more water than usual or dries out between waterings the top of the tomato can split. This is because the tomato will absorb more water quicker than it can grow, bursting the skin.

              There are two main things you can do to avoid this. If you do have a heavy rain and your tomato is just about ripe, you can pull it off the plant and let it ripen in the window.
              The second thing you can do is to make sure your ground is always moist and never dries out. I have my tomatoes in a new bed, and have been fiddling with our drip irrigation system to get the water just right. I figured I would bust a few tomato skins before I got the water just right.

              Keeping the tomato top from splitting boils down to keeping your tomato plant evenly watered. Tomatoes that split are still good for eating, just cut out the affected area.

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              Wednesday, December 5, 2012

              Drip Irrigation System – the Repurpose way!

              Do you have a plant or tree that is a pain in the rump to water? Do you ask yourself every time you drag your water hose over to it, why in the world did I plant this here? Maybe you are going on vacation and you don’t want to worry if your plants will be alive when you get back.
              Here is a Free easy way to create your own drip irrigation system. The best part is that it only takes about 10 minutes to setup from start to finish! 

              This is also a great project to enlist kids to help you with! Little shovels are perfect and since the project only takes a few minutes to complete, kids will be able to finish without losing interest.

              Materials Needed:
              Empty Gallon Milk Container or 2 litter Pop Bottle with a lid
              Ice Pick, Punch, Nail, or something sharp to poke holes
              Kids (if available)

              You are going to use 1 Milk Container or Bottle for each 4 foot circumference area you wish to water. After you determine what plants, bushes, or trees you would like to water add up how many containers you are going to need. You will repeat the method for each one.

              Kid's Gardening Project
              Method: Using something sharp, you will poke 4 small holes in the bottom of the plastic container. The more holes you poke the faster the water will drain from your container, meaning you will have to refill it more often.  If you have a water hungry plant, I suggest sinking more bottles in the ground instead of poking more holes. This way you will have to drag the hose out less often.

              Next, you will dig a hole deep enough and wide enough to sink your bottle into the ground leaving only the spout above ground. Keep the lid on the bottle to keep dirt out and remove when you are refilling it. I keep my spout about one inch above the ground, this way I can easily find it, but low enough so that the lawn mower can pass over without damaging the bottle.

              Repurposed Drip Irrigation Container
              Now place your bottle in the hole, replace the dirt around it. Tamp the dirt down around the bottle. Grab your hose and fill the bottle.  If the ground is dry you will notice the water level in the bottle drop in a few minutes.  If your ground is moist then it will take longer before you notice the level drop.

              Filling Drip Irrigation Container

              You have a Free, scalable, and easy to manage drip irrigation system that delivers water directly to the roots of the plants. You are also free to go on vacation and not worry about that tree or bush that your sprinkler or other watering system doesn’t reach.  Just don’t forget to check on it periodically and add water If you have enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends.

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              Thursday, November 29, 2012

              Where it all began

              As I was watching my weekly fix of Oklahoma Gardening on TV I was struck by a segment on the Oklahoma Food Bank and others desperately needing fresh produce. The brief segment, aimed at home gardeners, asked them to donate their extra crops to their local food bank.

              At the time I had already been taking my extra produce, mainly cantaloupe & tomatoes, to a Faith Based student group at a local college that operates on 100% donated food.  When they don’t have food, they can’t operate and people miss meals.
              I realized that I had been called to do more. In the beginning I thought it was to just plant some extra plants. Then I realized that using my God given gifts, I needed to raise awareness and enlist others in this worthy cause.  Alone I am limited by what I can physically plant and harvest, but united we can do so much more. Together, we can make a substantial impact on hunger and health across America. 

              I’m not talking about ditching the grass and filling your backyard with food producing plants, just planning a few extra plants and donating those crops.  Even if you don’t have a yard, you can make an impact by container gardening indoors or out.
              By utilizing the information this blog aims to provide, we will have fun and be more efficient gardeners.  Saving time and money, though healthy organic gardening practices we will grow and give more. 

              Please join us!